Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Heat Sends U.S. Nuclear Power Production to 9-Year Low"

This is a pleasant surprise.

"Nuclear-power production in the U.S. is at the lowest seasonal levels in nine years as drought and heat force reactors from Ohio to Vermont to slow output.
[...]
Nuclear plants require sufficient water to cool during operation, and rivers or lakes may get overheated or fall in times of high temperatures and drought..."
Nuclear generating capacity actually decreases somewhat as a function of heat.

5 comments:

portland_allan said...

That is interesting. I saw the other day where San Onofre doesn't appear to be coming back online anytime soon. I tried, albeit not v. hard, to see just how big an 1100 MW plant is in relation to typical base load plant (plant is 2200MW, but was already running at half-cap).

We have nukes 25-50% past their original design life finally getting shutdown, and coal plants being regulated out of existence by the EPA, and dams being breached all over the place in the PacNW, and oil is getting competitive with solar (hee-hee), well that doesn't leave much choice but NG.

portland_allan said...

San Onofre story

CP said...

Right. I suppose mechanical defects are what you would start to see when stuff was just getting too old.

California peak demand today is forecast to be 35000 MW - so S.O. total is >6%!

http://www.caiso.com/outlook/SystemStatus.html

portland_allan said...

Wow, that IS a big plant. I guess that makes sense. In the 60's it was go big or go home.

As for the parts that failed, actually they were replaced just a few years ago. Apparently the new metal alloy isn't holding up like they thought it would. I bet it's either a cheap Chinese manufactured part or the alloy was inferior crap to begin with because the original can't be built due to EPA regs. More boring and, yeah, more likely, they're too broke to afford the OEM part so they value-engineered a replacement that was supposed to be "just as good", but will now cost twice as much.

To which my standard reply is, "Hey, if it's 'just as good,' why didn't they use it in the first place? Do you think those earlier engineers, limited to using pencils and slide rules, were idiots?"

CP said...

Interesting! More signs of civilization in decline?