[ RadSafe ] Nuclear Power in Saudi Arabia

blreider at aol.com blreider at aol.com
Sun Aug 22 14:07:33 CDT 2010

I asked "why does the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia need nuclear power?" and in trying to answer that I have a new comment:    can you trust any reports providing the cost of energy production?   I have looked into a few papers and articles on cost and I find that special interest and politics seem to bias results of various reports. 

I think that we nuclear folk have come to expect that with *.orgs that have obvious agendas, data and projections are biased. Some of the projections for solar cost and nuclear cost per MWe in a much quoted report out of North Carolina have projections for cost that look to be highly biased and unrealistic.  This report is used by many news agencies as providing the definitive argument against nuclear energy.  I found a pro-nuke newspaper like article that talks about cost of solar v nuclear in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and it was not scientific, talked about solar needing lots of water as a problem, but does not mention how much water the Westinghouse AP1000 uses.  

Phy.org had a solar v nuclear cost article (below link) that used "data" from the North Carolina report.  While dismayed that the reporter on a supposed scientific site did not research the subject, I was heartened to see that some of the people whose comments were attached to the article did.  Some put links to government reports of cost; the discussion was thoughtful and brought up various options.


I  looked at some of the energy cost numbers in the DOE documents at the below DOE EIA website for costs and information about a number of energy sources.  In the synopsis report coal is cheapest, then natural gas, then nuclear, last renewable (solar and wind).   Raw data not being given, I looked at gross language to see whether some large concerns had been addressed, for example,  aquifer degradation and its impact on projected natural gas availability and costs.  I couldn't find these addressed. So how can you do cost evaluations without including all expected costs?


Sergeant Lundy did a study for DOE that had quite low cost projections for solar.  It looks like a good report, I hope it is accurate.  http://www.nrel.gov/csp/pdfs/34440.pdf

Bias from all sources with regards to energy impact reporting is nothing new.  Please note that I am not slamming government contractors and scientists.  When I worked for Argonne Nat. Lab on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Fuel Use Act http://www.eoearth.org/article/Powerplant_and_Industrial_Fuel_Use_Act_of_1978,_United_States, the project was limited to evaluating the impact for business use other than  commercial electric generation.  Commercial electric generation was expected by many of the scientists who worked on this to have a larger environmental impact than the small generators included in the EIS.  A statement was put in the Executive Summary of the draft stating this limitation. I recall that this statement of limitations was deleted by the federal gov when the Final EIS was published.   How can one make good decisions or understand issues without information that is as good as possible? 

Sigh (if I am allowed a personal comment).  Anyway sorry for being log winded.  I hope some of you find the links provided of interest.

Barbara Reider, CHP

-----Original Message-----
From: Stewart Farber <radproject at sbcglobal.net>
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Sun, Aug 22, 2010 11:37 am
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] Nuclear Power in Saudi Arabia

Quick thoughts on the question. I should really just be reading the NYTimes. 
egarding building a nuke for Saudi domestic electricity. It is 
orth much more for the Saudis to meet their own electric needs with the
atom, and keep their oil in the ground for long-term revenue from their good 
riends in the West. The Saudis must get a good laugh when they hear the term 
energy independence" by the US, which is a lovely phrase since 'Carter, but 
as failed to be started because of political 
nfighting and lack of will. 
The US has reacted to the terrible Gulf spill by shutting down much of the oil 
roduction and drilling in the Gulf, leading to greater oil imports, and putting 
ens of thousands of US workers into joblessness. I'm not for endless oil 
rilling in the Gulf and other areas like Alaska, but it can be done with less 
verall environmental impact vs. the true impact of the security threats to the 
S posed by our oil dependence on foreign nations who exploit this dependence. 
lso our oil dependence has forced the US to get involved in wars like Kuwait 
nd the Iraq war which have isolated the US and hurt us in so many ways  --I 
on't want to open a tangential debate on oil demand driven wars. However,  it 
s clear energy/oil imports by the US has vast security implications.
The US is importing far more oil now than at the time of the first oil embargo 
n 1974. Oil supply and Western demand gives the Saudis power to influence world 

The Saudis also will gain some regard with environmental interests 
utside their country by being able to show they are meeting their 
nergy needs without CO-2 emissions.
Regarding solar. The Saudi government would not be getting "tax credits" from 
he State to build a solar electric plant that could put out 1100 MW[e], like 
rivate developers get throughout the world from their host nations, paid for by 
he taxpayers.  Solar development cost & benefits is largely a shell game and 
he Saudis know it. If they built a large solar electric power plant, the 
acility would actually have to pay for itself. Solar costs can not really 
ompete with nuclear power plant costs over the long haul.
During the 1970s, it has been well documented that the Saudis funded antinuclear 
roups in the West because they saw nuclear power plant development to be a 
hreat to their sale of oil to the US and other major buyers. Nuclear plants 
ould have had a real impact on long-term oil [and LNG] use in the West. In 
972, the plans were to have one-thousand [1,000]  1,000 MW[e] plants in the US 
y the year 2000 and perhaps another 200 by 2010. . Do the math. If the US had 
,000 more 1,000 MW[e] plants maybe we could actually supply electricity to run 
lectric cars and make a dent in our oil imports for use in transportation. We 
ould also be saving our own oil for use as petrochemical feedstocks rather than 
ust BTUs.

Stewart Farber, MS Public Health
Farber Medical Solutions, LLC
inac & Imaging Equipment Brokerage
Bridgeport, CT 06604

[203] 441-8433 [office]
website: http://www.farber-medical.com
--- On Sun, 8/22/10, blreider at aol.com <blreider at aol.com> wrote:
From: blreider at aol.com <blreider at aol.com>
ubject: [ RadSafe ] Nuclear Power in Saudi Arabia
o: radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu
ate: Sunday, August 22, 2010, 10:08 AM

The Shaw Group, Inc., Toshiba & Execelon are planning to work with the Saudis on 
uilding nuke electric generating plants in Sudi Arabia.  Note that Shaw & 
oshiba own Westinghouse Nuclear, the designer of the AP1000 series nuclear
Question:  With all that sun and all that oil why does Saudi Arabia need 
lectric energy from nuclear fuel?  
Barbara Reider, CHP
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