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Ford researchers: global light-duty CO2 regulatory targets broadly consistent with 450 ppm stabilization

15 May 2014

An analysis by researchers at Ford Motor Company Research and Advanced Engineering in Dearborn and Ford Forschungszentrum in Germany concludes that existing global light-duty vehicle CO2 regulations through 2025 are broadly consistent with the light-duty vehicle (LDV) sector contributing to stabilizing CO2 at an atmospheric concentration of approximately 450 ppm—a target often proposed in the literature as preventing dangerous climate change. Their paper is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

In the study, the Ford team derived regional CO2 targets for new LDVs while still providing an integrated view of the global LDV fleet—a perspective critical to the planning needs for global automotive firms. The teams calls the time-varying LDV targets “CO2 glide paths”.

In the study, the teams considers only CO2—not CO2eq. Further, the study compares 450 ppm LDV CO2 glide paths derived using only vehicle efficiency improvements against those derived using both vehicle and fuel actions.

They developed the LDV CO2 glide paths using a modified version of the Sustainable Mobility Project (SMP) model developed by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The SMP model calculates 2000−2050 well-to-wheels (WTW) transportation sector CO2 emissions in 11 world regions for a number of vehicle types.

The Ford team updated the SMP model with historical data for 2000, 2005, and 2010, and extended the model to calculate the total CO2 emissions (tonnes) and the TTW (tank-to-wheel) emission rate (g CO2/km) for the new vehicle fleet.

The researchers used a four-step process in their study:

  1. Determining the relative change in global, all-sector CO2 emissions required for CO2 stabilization at 450 ppm. They converted from an absolute amount to scale relative to 2000. They assumed that all sectors of the economy follow the same proportional reduction.

  2. They then applied the relative scale to the global LDV fleet WTW (well-to-wheels) CO2 emissions of approximately 3 GtCO2/yr in the year 2014 to get the absolute (Gt CO2/yr) emissions. They refer to these emission trajectories as the global CO2 caps.

    To achieve 450 ppm, WTW LDV CO2 emissions decrease 25% from 2000 and 34% between 2010 and 2050.

  3. Holding vehicle efficiencies, powertrain shares and fuel characteristics constant at 2010 levels, they then considered the effect of only vehicle actions. They calculated the TTW vehicle efficiency improvements required for the new vehicle fleet such that the global WTW LDV CO2 cap is met.

    They reduced the new fleet fuel consumption (FC) rates by the same proportion in each region, relative to their own starting points. The resulting full fleet WTW fossil CO2 emissions in each region become the regional CO2 caps.

  4. In the final step, they added fuel actions to reduce CO2 (e.g., biofuels, carbon intensity) and updated input variables from 2010 levels to reflect regional future conditions. The variables included biofuel availability, WTT fuel carbon intensity, and powertrain characteristics and mix, with unique assumptions for each region.

Master.img-002
Because of the high LDV emissions in 2000−2010, the 450 ppm CO2 cap (solid black line) is already exceeded in 2010 (dashed black line). To meet the cap by 2015 requires an “infeasible” 40% new vehicle fuel consumption (FC) reduction per year in 2011−2015 (<0.6 L/100 km or >400 MPG by 2015) to overcome the inertia of the higher-emitting older vehicles in the fleet. The new vehicle FC reduction in the following years would be essentially zero.

Instead, the Ford team used the area-preserving best fit global LDV emissions, allowing a potentially feasible solution in the near-term but requiring the fleet WTW CO2 emissions to be less than the cap in the long term. The cumulative CO2 emissions 2000−2060 are the same or less than defined by the global WRE450 cap while the vehicle efficiency requirements are fairly stable but remain very aggressive. Credit: ACS, Winkler et al.

Results. When only vehicle efficiency actions are considered (Step 3), the required FC reductions are 4−5%/year. By 2050, all regions have reduced new vehicle fuel consumption by 83% relative to 2010 yielding average new vehicle TTW emission targets in 2050 ranging from 24 g CO2/km in Latin America to 32 g CO2/km in North America.

Broadly, the Ford team found that new light-duty vehicle fuel economy and CO2 regulations in the US through 2025 and in the EU through 2020 are consistent with the CO2 glide paths. For the EU, the glide path is at the upper end of the discussed 2025 EU range of 68–78 g CO2/km. While the proposed China regulation for 2020 is more stringent than the glide path, the 2017 Brazil regulation is less stringent.

  • Biofuel plays a large role in North America, enabling the relaxation of the near-term (2015−2025) vehicle CO2 reduction task from 4.5 to 5% YOY to 3.5% YOY. The overall ethanol volume blend share in the gasoline/ethanol fuel pool grows from 14% (10% by energy) in 2020 to 30% (22% energy basis) in 2030. The long-term biofuel blend share is 66% by volume (56% by energy) in 2050.

    With fuel actions the NA glide path is reasonably consistent with the US regulations for fuel economy and vehicle CO2 emissions.

  • Similarly, with the addition of fuel actions, the OECD Europe glide paths are relaxed from 4.5-5% YOY to 4.25% YOY in the near-term. The resulting ethanol blend shares are 5% by energy in 2020 (8% by volume), 10% by energy in 2030 and 24% blend share by energy (32% by volume) in 2050.

    The biodiesel blend share is restricted to 7% by energy through 2020, consistent with regulations. Then both the biodiesel (FAME) blend share and share of drop-in renewable diesel like BTL begin to increase, reaching 75% blend share (energy-based) in 2050.

    The industry-average OECD Europe CO2 glide path is consistent with European Union regulations.

  • With fuel actions, the China glide path is relaxed from 4.5 to 5% YOY to 3.5% YOY in the near-term. Ethanol use results in a 4% blend share by energy (6% by volume) in 2020, 11% (16%) in 2030, and 67% blend share (76%) in 2050.

    Chinese regulations are less stringent than the glide path (153 g CO2/km) in 2015, but in 2020 the regulation overachieves the glide path target of 128 g CO2/km. The combined vehicle and fuel actions reduce WTW CO2 by 42% between 2010 and 2050.

  • Adding fuel actions in Latin America relaxes the near-term (2015−2025) vehicle CO2 reduction task to 3% YOY. The ethanol blend share in 2010 is 27% (energy-based; 36% by volume). This is consistent with Brazilian Otto-cycle fuel sales (gasohol E20-E25 and hydrous ethanol E100) which have been 40−50% ethanol by volume since 2007.

    By 2020 the ethanol share increases to 32% by energy (41% by volume) and reaches a maximum of 94% by energy (96% by volume) in 2050. Most countries in Latin America do not have CO2 regulations. Brazil recently proposed passenger vehicle CO2 emissions regulations of 135 g CO2/km by 2017,57 considerably less stringent than the 450 ppm glide path result of 126 g CO2/km in 2015. Combined vehicle and fuel actions reduce LDV WTW CO2 by 52% between 2010 and 2050 in Latin America.

The vehicle glide path targets for 450 ppm beyond 2025 are very challenging for internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs). … The near- and mid-term glide paths over the next 5−15 years could probably be met using improvements to existing technologies. The long-term glide path targets beyond 2025 imply the need for a substantial penetration of alternative vehicle/fuel technologies.

We frame the glide paths in terms of tank-to-wheels (TTW) CO2 targets for internal combustion engine vehicles, recognizing their likely future dominance over the next 5−15 years and to facilitate comparison with regulations.… Alternative vehicle/fuel technologies which may contribute in the future include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) running on low-CO2 electricity, low-CO2 hydrogen, or low- CO2 liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

The glide paths do not prescribe the powertrain/technology shares, but provide the required CO2 targets. Future vehicle/fuel choices will be driven by economic and policy considerations which are beyond the scope of the present analysis.

—Winkler et al.

Resources

  • Sandra L. Winkler, Timothy J. Wallington, Heiko Maas, and Heinz Hass (2014) “Light-Duty Vehicle CO2 Targets Consistent with 450 ppm CO2 Stabilization,” Environmental Science & Technology doi: 10.1021/es405651p

May 15, 2014 in Climate Change, Emissions, Fuel Efficiency, Policy | Permalink | Comments (39) | TrackBack (0)

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Cost recovery is just an opaque feed-in tariff.

I suspect you actually believe this, so I must correct you:  it is nothing of the sort.  Cost recovery is a financing method in regulated markets.  It reduces the basis cost of the plants under construction, which reduces the rates paid to those plants once they begin operating.

A feed-in tariff has no relationship to construction or financing cost.

At least in Germany, utility customers get electricity out of the deal.

And more and more lignite burned, and historic villages razed to make way for the mines.  Germany's way leads to climate catastrophe just as certainly as ours.

Since renewable energy facilities can be built in such a short time

China's first-of-a-kind AP1000 is expected to go into service about 5.5 years from the start of construction.  Plodding schedules in the USA are the result of NRC-imposed delays; after the bugs are worked out we should be able to build a unit in no more than 4 years, as we did under the AEC.

it is unfair that other energy sources, especially clean renewables, do not get this benefit.

CWIP is a feature of regulated utilities.  In a regulated market, wind farms would probably not get permission to build because of poor availability.

There is no evidence of anti-nuclear activists causing power plant build times to take so long.

Who's driving the demands, fronted by Barbara Boxer et al., for nuclear plants in shutdown be continued to have to plan for 30-mile evacuation zones?  Not the industry, it's the activists (and the fossil interests who finance them).

anti-nuke activists aren't the ones that caused the contractor building the new units at Vogtle to pour substandard concrete

The concrete at Vogtle was just fine.  The problem was that the plans received by the contractor listed a specification for the rebar, but not the version of the specification.  The NRC approved the older one, the contractor used the newest one, the NRC got its panties in a bunch.  In a component as over-engineered as the base mat (a concrete slab below the reactor containment building), such fussiness is beyond absurd.

NRC already streamlined their process to combine the build and operating permit for new nuclear reactors.

The NRC was commanded to by Congress.

If you can point to specific examples of unnecessary regulations holding up reactor construction

The NRC's plant approval process takes a MINIMUM of 42 months, even for plant designs already reviewed and approved.  There are also factors such as EVERY STEP in the construction of many nuclear-rated parts required to be documented for the NRC, when there is no indication that this does anything except drive up costs and keep vendors from entering the market (which increases lead times).

Such documentation is not required for key airframe components in airliners, where a failure would lead to the aircraft coming down with 100% fatalities.  There is no reason to require it of anything nuclear except to hobble the industry and make it less competitive—and less able to replace coal and gas.  The only beneficiaries of these regulations are the hordes of unneeded inspectors and the fossil industry.

Strict regulations and 24/7 application is what protects the people in our new Moneycracies.

Remove regulations and the 97+% quickly become slaves, working in coal mines 24/7 for pittances and dying from pollution and lack of health-medical care. In USA, many still work in restaurants for $2.70/hour because minimum wage regulations do not exist or are not applied. Many corporate leaders-owners make 1,000 to 20,000 times more than the underpaid workers, all in the name of free enterprise and liberty.

Nobody should work for less than $10 to $15/hour. On the other hand, nobody should earn more than 50 to 100 times the average salary of the workers in his group or 100 to 200 times more than the minimum wages. All excess should be taxed at 50+% and extra revenues used to reduce the national debt.

Interest rates for family housing (single homes or condo) should be reduced to 1% for 40 years (currently as low as 1.99% for 5 years) for families with income of under $60K or so. Loans for solar energy systems (including storage) should be even less.

Ways must be found and applied to even the playing field a bit more.

@Harvey,

Regulations are important, however, regulations and minimum wage law also drive companies and manufacturers away from the USA to low-cost and low-regulation locations where they can pollute more freely and pay workers $0.5/hr without benefits nor labor laws nor OSHA standards etc...

$10-$15 minimum wage level would be nice, but illegal immigrants will work under the table for a lot less and paying no tax, and will take away jobs from legal citizens...who will go on welfare and food-stamps, while industrial workers got laid off when their factories are moving to China etc...BANKRUPTCY will be the result when the gov will be bled dry from too much social security, unemployment, and food stamp payouts without enough tax collection. Pretty soon, the West's glorious civilization and rule of law will go down the drain and China will own the world!

To remedy the above, tariffs must be assess on products from countries with less regulations and hence lower cost of doing business...to level the playing fields for US domestic manufacturers and US-based businesses and to keep jobs here in the USA.

If the public is not yet ready for sky-high tariffs on foreign imported goods to counteract our ever-increasing regulatory burdens, then perhaps Congress should not yet impose too many regulations on US corporations and manufacturers, nor too high minimum wage level until we can keep our borders free of illegal immigration. Poor leadership by knee-jerk ever-increasing regulatory burden will destroy this country.

Re kalendjay,

"In fact, containment dome hardening to prevent 911 like aerial strikes on nuclear plants is the kind of regulatory fetish..."

Fetish is kind of a loaded word, isn't it? Containment hardening also prevents radioactivity release in the event of an earthquake, hydrogen explosions (like at Fukushima) and many other unforseen disasters.

"Also, many regulations become obsolescent as physical depreciation levels off."

Actually, older reactors become increasingly likely to experience failures as the article I linked to showed. And the NRC has made a habit of continually weakening the standards so these old plants can continue to operate. Again, if boogeyman regulations by the supposedly anti-nuke NRC were supposedly making nuclear power so expensive, why would the agency do the exact opposite and endanger us all just so nuke plants can make an extra buck?

"At least we are at the point where the building and foundation can be reused even as the reactor and plumbing can be scrapped and replaced."

No way. Not in a million years. Even the best-kept reactors experience Tritium and other radioactive leaks that seep into the foundation and soil on the reactor site. While it only presents a health hazard if you use this concrete to build your house or something, good luck trying to get anybody to be interested in owning a decommissioned nuclear plant in hopes of making use of this contaminated material. And in all, we have no idea what the decommissioning costs of each individual reactor may be given these leaks and each reactor's specific history.

"At least point to me an example of a scorecard in which a plant has ever flunked and been closed down."

Did you read the article I linked to? Agian, the NRC repeatedly weakens safety standards to PREVENT these plants from flunking.

"On the other hand, substandard concrete, untrained construction crews (there was plenty of that on the Shoreham LILCO plant) etc. are clearly punished by the free market..."

On the contrary, a lot of the cost overruns from the Vogtle plant have been passed along to Georgia Power customers with the willing obedience of the state utility regulator. And how is the electric power market anywhere CLOSE to free when you have a regulated monopoly utility allowed to FORCE its customers to pay for new nuclear plants for years before they even become operational? The customers don't even have a choice! Free market, my foot!

"As for the feedbate analogy to cost recovery, you do not consider the very long payback schedule that such utility investments require."

Only large, centralized plants like nukes need such a long payback time because their price tags are so astronomically high. Regardless, if other energy sources aren't allowed to do cost recovery, how is this fair? Aren't we distorting the free market in order to prop up one energy source over another?

EP,

The connecttion between a FIT and cost recovery is that utility customers under both arrangements see a surcharge on their bill for a specific energy source. However, in cost recovery, if the nuclear reactors under construction at Vogtle are abandoned because their cost balloons them into oblivion, the billions of dollars that Georgia Power customers forked over to help pay for the reactors is gone for good. This is just another example of "Socializing the Losses" that the nuclear industry has conducted time and time again. Just ask the people in the Pacific Northwest paying for the nuclear flubs of WPPS or Canadians paying for the "stranded debt" of Ontario Hydro that was mostly accumulated through disasterously expensive nuclear plant builds. Again, at least in a FIT, you only pay for actual electricity that you get to use instead of promises to maybe send you some electricity who knows how many years into the future. And coal power does not get a feed-in-tariff, so your attempt to distract from the issue at hand by trying to pull on people's heartstrings is entirely invalid.

"China's first-of-a-kind AP1000 is expected to go into service about 5.5 years from the start of construction."

I'll believe it when I see it. And if you trust the safety and workmanship aspects of anything with the "Made in China" label, I've got some oceanfront property in Nebraska you might be interested in too...

"Who's driving the demands, fronted by Barbara Boxer et al., for nuclear plants in shutdown be continued to have to plan for 30-mile evacuation zones?"

This has no effect on plant CONSTRUCTION costs, so it is a total red herring. And the fact that you subscribe to the crazy conspiracy theory that anti-nuclear activists are on the payroll of the fossil fuel companies borders on the ridiculous. You do know that the large monopoly utilities operate nuclear AND coal / gas plants, right? Why in the world would they be shooting themselves in the foot? Please try to stay away from the tinfoil hat salesman who feeds you this garbage...

"The concrete at Vogtle was just fine."

No, you can't just switch out un-approved parts like this, especially in something as expensive and potentially dangerous as a nuclear reactor. Do you know for certain what each and every knock-on effect of the rebar change is? And let's just assume that you're right, that the newer spec of rebar poses no additional risk to the plant. Regardless, this mishap shows that the contractor does not have an adequate process in place to make sure the correct components get installed to the correct specifications. We were "lucky" this time, although Georgia ratepayers are probably going to eat most of the cost overrun given how cozy state regulators are with the companies invloved:

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2013-07-31/deal-reached-vogtle-cost-overruns

Sure, nuclear plants take 42 months to get approved. However, they are also massive, risky and expensive undertakings. You have presented zero evidence that the length of this approval process is unwarranted. And no, Dr. James Hansen is a climate scientist, not an energy or utility sector expert, so his claims need to be taken with a grain of salt in this area. I am still waiting on the first piece of evidence showing that specific NRC regulations and procedures are unnecessary.

"There are also factors such as EVERY STEP in the construction of many nuclear-rated parts required to be documented for the NRC, when there is no indication that this does anything except drive up costs and keep vendors from entering the market (which increases lead times).

Such documentation is not required for key airframe components in airliners, where a failure would lead to the aircraft coming down with 100% fatalities."

The big difference is that a nuclear meltdown could kill TEN TIMES as many people as a plane crash or more, plus cause hundreds of billions of dollars in damage (just like Japan is seeing at Fukushima). Oh, and since the government is on the hook for the vast majority of those damages (and thus the vast majority of the risk), it is only prudent that the utmost care is taken in fabricating nuclear reactor parts.

Look, nuclear power failed in the 70's and 80's, taking billions in bad debt and taxpayer bailouts down with it. Why do you want to repeat the same mistake?

Fetish is kind of a loaded word, isn't it? Containment hardening also prevents radioactivity release in the event of an earthquake, hydrogen explosions (like at Fukushima) and many other unforseen disasters.

Fetish is correct.  Paranoia over tiny hazards to the neglect of much greater ones is at least a fetish, more properly a phobia.

the NRC has made a habit of continually weakening the standards

Citation?

The "weakening" sounds like an ill-informed reading of racking density in spent fuel pools.  When the anti-nukes held up the disposal of SNF to try to kill the industry, the NRC first approved higher-density racking and then dry-cask storage.  If this is "weaker", it's because the opponents of the industry were in charge of roadblocks and left them no choice.

Even the best-kept reactors experience Tritium and other radioactive leaks that seep into the foundation and soil on the reactor site.

So use it for another nuclear plant.

This has no effect on plant CONSTRUCTION costs, so it is a total red herring.

Of course it does.  It's part of the legal costs for the permit.

the fact that you subscribe to the crazy conspiracy theory that anti-nuclear activists are on the payroll of the fossil fuel companies borders on the ridiculous.

Hah!  Friends of the Earth (started as an explicitly anti-nuclear spinoff of the Sierra Club) was bankrolled by Robert Anderson, former ARCO executive.

You do know that the large monopoly utilities operate nuclear AND coal / gas plants, right?

That's why they are very lukewarm about advocating nuclear energy as the solution to GHG emissions.

you can't just switch out un-approved parts like this

It's a slab of concrete.  Such are over-engineered to a ridiculous degree, and the difference in the qualities between two versions of the same rebar standard is going to be minimal.  That's why it's a standard.

Do you know for certain what each and every knock-on effect of the rebar change is?

Demands proof of a negative:  that there are no knock-on effects.

nuclear plants take 42 months to get approved.

That's the minimum time the NRC will allow for approval.  The AEC took as little as 10 months.

they are also massive, risky and expensive undertakings.

They are expensive and risky in no small part because of the long and costly approval process, billed to the applicant at $272 per staff hour.  If wind had to pay for such extended approvals, not even a 10¢/kWh PTC would get a single farm built.

The big difference is that a nuclear meltdown could kill TEN TIMES as many people as a plane crash or more

Bull.  The expected number of radiation-related fatalities from the THREE meltdowns at Fukushima Dai'ichi is zero, and that includes the 3 workers who were sent into a turbine hall basement without protective gear and wound up wading through water full of Cs-137, Cs-134 and Sr-90.  If you were going to kill people that way you'd have to march them up to the plant at gunpoint.

Compare zero to the steady toll of people who fall to their deaths from wind turbines.  Wind is not safe.  Modern nuclear is as safe or safer than anything else.

"Such documentation is not required for key airframe components in airliners, where a failure would lead to the aircraft coming down with 100% fatalities."

"Compare zero to the steady toll of people who fall to their deaths from wind turbines."

The issue is not how many people die but *Assumption of Risk*. The people who board aircraft or work on wind turbines know there is a risk of death/injury and have CHOSEN to take that risk. The people who live down wind, down stream, or up the food chain from a nuclear reactor have not chosen to take the risk.

Can somebody imagine USA with 400+ private NPPs without strict regulations. Six+ Three Miles Islands accidents and a lot worse would already be history let alone a few more. To increase the profit margins, many private free enterprise operators would cut corners and reduce safety measures until it blows up and (as usual) declare bankruptcy not to have to pay for damages.

Site selection should be done with more care. Japan East Coast (and many other similar places) should never be selected.

NPP Operators should be compelled to have $100+B insurance against possible damages. That may add another $0.01 to $0.03 per kWh produced or sold but it should be a minimum.

Accidents in Russia and USA and near accidents in France have to be avoided with more improved safety a security measures NOT with less.

The issue is not how many people die but *Assumption of Risk*.

People who choose to use electricity don't have the right to make others assume the climate consequences.  The impacts of even the worst nuclear meltdowns remain relatively close to home; CO2 doesn't.

Six+ Three Miles Islands accidents and a lot worse would already be history

Hogwash, Harvey.  An un-regulated nuclear industry would not have a risk-averse and highly prescriptive NRC telling it exactly how to respond to threats, and changing its mind several times along the way.  Once there was a single TMI-class accident (which harmed no one, BTW) the rest would go out of their way to learn from it and make sure it didn't happen to them.

That is sort of what happened in the end, but the NRC's way of doing things messed up a whole lot of stuff before they finally settled down.  From what I read, they left a lot of regulatory "cruft" in place that has been superceded and no longer has a legitimate purpose, but they refuse to repeal it.  This forces the industry to comply to overlapping and marginally contradictory requirements, which costs money that could be spent on dealing with real problems.

Speaking of real problems, there's been a nagging recurrent leak in the secondary coolant loop at the Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan.  The amounts of radioisotopes leaked are trivial, but the problem could use to be corrected.  The easiest way to do that would be to just replace the problematic tank during a refueling outage.  The problem is that the NRC's requirements for building new parts are so onerous, the utility has no choice but to try patches until it can figure out what's going on.  Unregulated industries fix such problems without blinking, because they don't have to get permission in advance and then file reports in octuplicate.

Re ai vin,

Look up the definition of "fetish". It is nowhere NEAR what you think it is.

You quoted me saying, "...the NRC has made a habit of continually weakening the standards..." and then asked for a citation. Did you even read the article I posted earlier? Here is the link AGAIN just in case you missed it:

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/43455859/ns/us_news-environment/t/safety-rules-loosened-aging-nuclear-reactors/

There is nothing in that article about racking density and everything about leaking, corroded and dangerous plant components and the weakening standards the NRC keeps inventing in order to keep the nuclear industry from replacing them.

"It's a slab of concrete. Such are over-engineered to a ridiculous degree, and the difference in the qualities between two versions of the same rebar standard is going to be minimal."

Again, how do you know this is true? This is not trying to prove a negative. There are specific, quantifiable impacts to using different kinds of rebar. And again, even if we lucked out this time, this mistake shows that the contractor building the foundation does not have an adequate process in place to prevent unapproved parts from being incorporated into its work.

"Hah! Friends of the Earth (started as an explicitly anti-nuclear spinoff of the Sierra Club) was bankrolled by Robert Anderson, former ARCO executive."

LOL...somebody lays down $200k to start a group over 40 years ago and the nuclear fanboys are STILL complaining about it. This is still merely an ad hominem attack, implying guilt by association of just ONE group out of many, instead of actually making an effort to prove your point with facts.

"That's why they are very lukewarm about advocating nuclear energy as the solution to GHG emissions."

LOL...the utilities are the companies BUILDING these reactors, for Pete's sake! The only stronger supporters of nuclear energy are the fanboys it has on the Internet...

"If wind had to pay for such extended approvals, not even a 10¢/kWh PTC would get a single farm built."

Citation? (Pot, meet kettle...)

"The expected number of radiation-related fatalities from the THREE meltdowns at Fukushima Dai'ichi is zero..."

That may be the case, but you must realize that the Japanese people were EXTREMELY lucky on the days surrounding of the reactor explosions since the wind blew the vast majority of the radioactive debris out to sea. Had the wind been blowing towards Tokyo instead, I don't think Japan would have been able to recover from the astronomical financial damage and human suffering. We won't always be so lucky the next time a plant melts down.

Crud, my last comment was in response to Engineer Poet, not ai vin.

"Once there was a single TMI-class accident the rest would go out of their way to learn from it and make sure it didn't happen to them."

o_O

What's your problem, ai vin?  Any company management and directors that failed to do so and suffered a repeat would have been sued into oblivion by their shareholders.

Yes, free enterprise will always find reasons NOT to effectuate costly repairs because it would reduce their profit margins. That's why they will continue to pollute our rivers, lakes, air, underground water etc if strict regulations are not applied. It is the nature of the golden beast.

One sure way to ensure that safety and pollution regulations are duly applied would be to force free enterprises to have comprehensive accident and damage insurances (up to $100B or even more for NPPs). When Insurances Cos have to pay $$B, their tariffs would quickly be increased. Insurance Inspectors would do all the verifications required to establish the proper risks and tariffs and protect their own profit margins.

The 97% paying most of the taxes (general public) should not have to pay for those so called free enterprise accidents.

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