ANS nuclear cafe goes over the economics of wind power and hydro power
Wind-generated electricity is not free. The cost of fuel for any power plant is just part of the cost that a consumer needs to pay. Because the fuel cost is zero does not mean that the cost of the generated electricity is zero.
This is similar to the electricity generated by hydro. The cost of the water is zero, but the hydro-generated electricity is not zero. It includes O&M costs and the cost of building the hydroelectric dam.
For a nuclear plant, the fuel cost is not zero, but it is a relatively small portion of the generation cost. It is certainly smaller than the fuel cost in a natural gas plant, where the fuel cost is about 80 percent of the generation cost.
In conclusion, there appears to be no economic justification for building windmills except when low-cost alternatives are not available. This is especially true when windmills are placed on a grid with ample hydro, as there are no compensating fuel savings in that situation.
Nextbigfuture contributed a summary of world nuclear reactor news.
India is confident of starting new 500 MW breeder reactor in 2012. Japan is restarting unit 5 at its Hamaoka nuclear power plant, which has been offline since a strong earthquake struck Shizuoka prefecture 18 months ago.
Poland is looking to start construction of a 6 GWe (4-5 reactors) nuclear reactor complex in 2013 for completion in about 2020. They plan to follow that up with another complex of the same size and complete it by 2030.
Nextbigfuture also had details on a newly revealed proposal for an underwater reactor
The Flexblue underwater nuclear reactor project is targeting a prototype proposed for 2013. If successful, commercial production could begin by 2016
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