Rolls-Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,256
SE PA
They are rolling the dice here on cost, and admit it. The next admin, or the current one in a few years could see the price of storage fall, and still kill it.

In the US, the 'bridge fuel' to the future, natural gas, is now being seen as a marginal or poor investment for new construction. That bridge is looking a lot shorter than it did 10 years ago.
 

sloeffle

Minister of Fire
Mar 1, 2012
704
Central Ohio
In the US, the 'bridge fuel' to the future, natural gas, is now being seen as a marginal or poor investment for new construction. That bridge is looking a lot shorter than it did 10 years ago.
By "bridge fuel" - I'm assuming you mean a fuel that bridges us from coal, etc to full renewables ?
 

DBoon

Minister of Fire
Jan 14, 2009
1,191
Central NY
The push by some politicians and by utilities for more nuclear completely stumps me. Today's site-built plants are crazy expensive - there is no way this power will ever be cheap enough to compete with fossil fuels or even with renewables with battery storage in a market where carbon has a price associated with its emissions. If you are a utility and you can convince your local PUC to invest in a nuclear plant and then stick the rate payers with the bill for the next 30-40 years, then good for you, I suppose, but bad for your customers (i.e. us).

I thought the modular small nuclear plants might be different. But I am reading that these will still be about a billion dollars for a 500 MW plant, and they are 5-10 years away (at least). So I don't get the economics of these either. Remember that PV and wind didn't start to make a really big dent in power production until the economics were favorable, and in 5 or 10 years, PV and wind will have an even larger footprint and be more economical and battery storage will be less expensive. I could also see some green hydrogen projects starting to show enough promise for green long-term storage and dissuade a move to expensive modular nuclear.

So I just don't get it.

What makes perfect sense is to continue operating the batch of nuclear plants we already have for as long as possible, and (gasp) toss a few subsidies their way until there is a real market price for carbon that levels the playing field with (still dirty) natural gas.