China’s nuclear options

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China's nuclear options

220px-fort_calhoun_power_plant_1Fort Cal­houn Nuclear Plant, another vic­tim of the anti-​nuclear movement

This week, cov­ered up by elec­tion cov­er­age, the Fort Cal­houn Nuclear Power Plant closed down for good. Some­where, a whole bunch of anti-​nuclear activists are cheer­ing. To replace Fort Cal­houn, Omaha Power will instead use coal fired plants in Nebraska City, unless of course the future Pres­i­dent Clin­ton shuts down coal, in which case Omaha will just not have enough power.

Fort Calhoun’s prob­lems are just the sur­face of a grow­ing threat to the future of nuclear energy in Amer­ica. More nuclear plants are clos­ing, and we aren’t build­ing replace­ments. The soar­ing cost of nuclear reg­u­la­tion is pil­ing on to what should be cheap power. The build­ing of nuclear plants requires high level engi­neer­ing work, some­thing that nor­mally brings in sta­ble, long-​term and high pay­ing jobs.

But not any­more. I keep in touch with a head­hunter that places nuclear-​trained offi­cers (like myself) into jobs after they leave the Navy. He sent a very depress­ing email to his dis­tri­b­u­tion group, where he declared that he would no longer place offi­cers in the com­mer­cial nuclear field:

The promise of cheap power via com­mer­cial nuclear was sup­posed to be its big advan­tage. It was once even touted as “too cheap to meter!” But it is eco­nom­ics that are now killing the indus­try. Util­i­ties are decid­ing it’s less expen­sive to close plants that are already oper­at­ing than con­tinue their oper­a­tion. Think about that: it’s more eco­nom­i­cal to idle bil­lions of dol­lars worth of exist­ing infra­struc­ture and spend the money to be build new gen­er­a­tion facil­i­ties. That’s crazy and a pow­er­ful indi­ca­tion of how uncom­pet­i­tive com­mer­cial nuclear power has become.

We at –redacted– believe that strong pro­fes­sional suc­cess­ful Navy Offi­cers should now avoid jobs and careers in com­mer­cial nuclear power and are sus­pend­ing our rela­tion­ships with our cor­po­rate clients in that sec­tor. If a career in com­mer­cial nuclear power is your focus, we will not be a good career tran­si­tion resource for you.

Recent and future nuclear power plant clos­ings and changes:

  • San Onofre in CA closing
  • Dia­blo Canyon in CA closing
  • Crys­tal River in FL closing
  • Ver­mont Yan­kee in VT closing
  • Pil­grim in MA closing
  • Kewaunee in WI closing
  • Har­ris in SC, 2 plants cancelled
  • Levy County in FL shift­ing from nuclear to nat­ural gas
  • Comanche Peak in TX, 2 plants cancelled
  • Quad Cities in IL closing
  • Clin­ton in IA closing
  • Oys­ter Creek in NJ closing
  • And more are coming…

I have a for­mer Naval Offi­cer friend that worked at San Onofre who con­firmed all this bad news. She has since left with her hus­band for a com­pletely dif­fer­ent career field.

pm2anuclearpowerplantMod­u­lar nuclear plant? That’s so 1960’s

Mean­while, China is rapidly build­ing nuclear capac­ity, grow­ing their engi­neer­ing base in the process. Now they have designed a small reac­tor capa­ble of pro­vid­ing 6 MW of power, enough to power a small island (South China Sea any­one?). Although the media is tout­ing this as an accom­plish­ment, it’s not. The Army built a num­ber of small reac­tors, the Navy cur­rently oper­ates reac­tors on its sub­marines and air­craft car­ri­ers, and even the Air Force attempted to make nuclear pow­ered air­craft. And this was back in the 60’s and 70’s. If we had con­tin­ued invest­ing in nuclear power, we could have closed our dirty coal plants and low­ered elec­tric­ity costs, per­haps enabling us to build the renew­able energy sources for long-​term elec­tri­cal gen­er­a­tion. Instead, we’re tak­ing a sec­ond seat to China.


This post is the opin­ion of the author and does not reflect the views of the Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of the Navy, or any other gov­ern­ment agency.


If you enjoyed this arti­cle, check out my blog and per­haps buy my kids book. And, instead of pay­ing 5 dol­lars for a latte from Star­bucks that they’ll use to fund Planned Par­ent­hood, you should con­sider send­ing that to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar instead.

Lastly, please say a prayer for all the fam­i­lies of the engi­neers affected by Fort Calhoun’s shut­down. They now have to find new employ­ment, and it’ll be hard on them for the next few years.

220px-fort_calhoun_power_plant_1Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant, another victim of the anti-nuclear movement

This week, covered up by election coverage, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant closed down for good. Somewhere, a whole bunch of anti-nuclear activists are cheering. To replace Fort Calhoun, Omaha Power will instead use coal fired plants in Nebraska City, unless of course the future President Clinton shuts down coal, in which case Omaha will just not have enough power.

Fort Calhoun’s problems are just the surface of a growing threat to the future of nuclear energy in America. More nuclear plants are closing, and we aren’t building replacements. The soaring cost of nuclear regulation is piling on to what should be cheap power. The building of nuclear plants requires high level engineering work, something that normally brings in stable, long-term and high paying jobs.

But not anymore. I keep in touch with a headhunter that places nuclear-trained officers (like myself) into jobs after they leave the Navy. He sent a very depressing email to his distribution group, where he declared that he would no longer place officers in the commercial nuclear field:

The promise of cheap power via commercial nuclear was supposed to be its big advantage.  It was once even touted as “too cheap to meter!”  But it is economics that are now killing the industry.  Utilities are deciding it’s less expensive to close plants that are already operating than continue their operation.  Think about that:  it’s more economical to idle billions of dollars worth of existing infrastructure and spend the money to be build new generation facilities.  That’s crazy and a powerful indication of how uncompetitive commercial nuclear power has become.

We at -redacted- believe that strong professional successful Navy Officers should now avoid jobs and careers in commercial nuclear power and are suspending our relationships with our corporate clients in that sector.  If a career in commercial nuclear power is your focus, we will not be a good career transition resource for you.

Recent and future nuclear power plant closings and changes:

  • San Onofre in CA closing
  • Diablo Canyon in CA closing
  • Crystal River in FL closing
  • Vermont Yankee in VT closing
  • Pilgrim in MA closing
  • Kewaunee in WI closing
  • Harris in SC, 2 plants cancelled
  • Levy County in FL shifting from nuclear to natural gas
  • Comanche Peak in TX, 2 plants cancelled
  • Quad Cities in IL closing
  • Clinton in IA closing
  • Oyster Creek in NJ closing
  • And more are coming…

I have a former Naval Officer friend that worked at San Onofre who confirmed all this bad news. She has since left with her husband for a completely different career field.

pm2anuclearpowerplantModular nuclear plant? That’s so 1960’s

Meanwhile, China is rapidly building nuclear capacity, growing their engineering base in the process. Now they have designed a small reactor capable of providing 6 MW of power, enough to power a small island (South China Sea anyone?). Although the media is touting this as an accomplishment, it’s not. The Army built a number of small reactors, the Navy currently operates reactors on its submarines and aircraft carriers, and even the Air Force attempted to make nuclear powered aircraft. And this was back in the 60’s and 70’s. If we had continued investing in nuclear power, we could have closed our dirty coal plants and lowered electricity costs, perhaps enabling us to build the renewable energy sources for long-term electrical generation. Instead, we’re taking a second seat to China.


This post is the opinion of the author and does not reflect the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.


If you enjoyed this article, check out my blog and perhaps buy my kids book. And, instead of paying 5 dollars for a latte from Starbucks that they’ll use to fund Planned Parenthood, you should consider sending that to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar instead.

Lastly, please say a prayer for all the families of the engineers affected by Fort Calhoun’s shutdown. They now have to find new employment, and it’ll be hard on them for the next few years.