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America's Nuclear Future: Lessons from the Past

James Krellenstein

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Chris Keefer  0:00  

Welcome back to decouple. I'm very excited about today's episode in which we're going to be delving into the lessons of America's nuclear construction history from its heydays in the 1970s and 80s. To the drying up of new orders to lessons learned from Vogel and how it should all inform America's thinking about nuclear construction going forward. And to break it all down. I'm very excited to welcome first time decouple guest, James Crellin Stein to the podcast, the warm welcome, James. Hey, thanks so much, Chris. So, James, well, I was gonna say James is, and I've been doing a bit of searching on you, and it's a bit of a black hole and the old Google search. What I know about you is that we are both on a WhatsApp group called arcane nuclear beefs, where you're much more active than I am. Your Twitter profile mentions that you're a physicist. But to be honest, I did a little Google searching. And I could find a few quotes attributed in articles about I think Russia nuclear fuel supply issues, but very little house, how do you manage to keep such a such a low profile on Google? And who the hell are you James Bronstein?

James Krellenstein  1:02  

So really good question. So, you know, my I'm a physicist by training as as you just mentioned, you know, but I spent the last 10 years not in the nuclear energy sector at all. I worked actually a lot in biomedical sort of countermeasure development and production deployment, particularly on a HIV COVID-19 of question that happened and monkey pox and some other high consequence pathogens, like Marburg virus and Sudan virus. But, you know, I do that a lot from an advocacy perspective as well. But you know, I, my dad's a nuclear engineer, I sort of grew up in, you know, immersed in, and with a very big love for nuclear engineering. I spent my eighth birthday party at a nuclear power plant, which I will not name that actually let me in to the actual plant as an eight year old, which is not certainly not in accordance with regulatory requirements. At that time I had started well, reason why I want to name it even now. My I spent my childhood in my basement which was filled with blueprints of nuclear power plants and critical path simulations of construction for nuclear plants. And you know, my father after leaving the industry, he worked at Tabasco before he left building, St. Lucia unit number two, Washington nuclear project three and five, he did regulatory work on Senator Noah Frey units two and three in South Texas project units one and two. You know, he also headed up the JPMorgan Chase's Energy Environmental Group before he retired. So I sort of grew up in an environment where, you know, I'd have dinners with nuclear engineering professors, heads of utilities, who was just sort of the world I was immersed in, in the, you know, the family debates were about the adequacy of the mark, one containment for the boiling water reactor. And then about a couple of months ago, I decided to jump back into the nuclear space. And I've been work doing some consulting work with a advocacy firm called GHS climate, and we've been focusing on how do we get off of Russian uranium enrichment capacity and services. And we did a big, white paper big analysis that I ended up that was actually the basis of a front page, New York Times story just back in June. And we're doing a lot of other consulting work. Some of which I can't really talk about at this point. But that that is sort of where, where my, where I sort of entered into the space from a

Chris Keefer  3:34  

couple months ago. Amazing, amazing. Well, my my fifth date with my girlfriend was actually to the Bruce nuclear power station, and also Western waste management. So we you know, held hands and walked amongst the dry cask containers, it was very romantic. I'm sure your birthday party was equally as exciting. I hope to get my son it was that different type

Unknown Speaker  3:54  

of yellow cake for my

Chris Keefer  3:57  

hope to get my son into a nuclear power plant. I'll try and beat your, your age 11 Oh, I can only imagine I can only imagine. Okay, so I think that's that's a great introduction. And you know, you obviously, were a child who didn't spend a ton of time rebelling against your parents or your father at least it sounds like you had a lot of respect for him paid a lot of attention. That's, that's remarkable. We fought, right. I remember, you know, go over the reg 1150

James Krellenstein  4:26  

at various, you know, family debates, but yeah, sure.

Chris Keefer  4:33  

Love it. Love it. All right. So let's, let's get on to what, what we're here to do. And I'm really excited to have you on again, because there's so much excitement now about a potential nuclear renaissance. There's, you know, a number of different approaches that have been taken historically, you know, differing layers of state involvement and sort of curation of nuclear build outs in the past. You know, I've you know, still in a pretty simplistic I set of frames, I think myself. But, you know, generally speaking, there's been a pretty strong role for governments in coordination of nuclear buildouts. But I'm not sure if you would agree with us that the US is sort of the, the furthest from that and their historical approach. As we look into the future, we're looking at best models as well. I was trying to track down this tweet from Jennifer Granholm prior to this episode. But essentially, it was it was saying, Listen, the way that the Russians and Chinese do this is a great big state backed enterprise, tons of vertical integration. That's not how we do things in America, we're gonna sprinkle some money on some advanced innovative reactor companies. And, you know, let the wonders of the market rule. So I'm interested in learning from the past and applying lessons to the future. With all that in mind, I'm not sure where exactly you would like to get started. But let's, let's go back to like the 60s 70s, if that works for you,

James Krellenstein  5:53  

or maybe actually asked this question about the role of government, maybe we should go back to the 50s and late 40s, and read about what the why do we have Pressurized Water Reactors in boiling water reactors that represent the vast majority of the global fleet. And right now 100% of the US has power generation fleet. And the reason, you know, comes back to two big US government programs, right? That we're not actually out of weapons production, right. There's some recent confusion about this, but instead, the case of Pressurized Water Reactors really came out of the Navy, right and the need for Navy Nuclear Propulsion, and we had Hyman Rickover and his team, you know, really develop the first pressurized water reactor up in Idaho. Right, working out actually alongside Westinghouse in developing that technology, which led for the Nautilus into the first sort of nuclear power plant and shipping port. But that was really the genesis of that as a practical power generation system. Right was really Genesis in the Navy and the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program. And in the boiling water reactor has come out of something completely different, right? Boiling Water Reactors, for various reasons are not very good at the Navy. Right? And not very good shipborne power sources, but came out of a series of experiments done by Argonne National Lab, although actually at that time in Idaho, called the borax experiments where we actually answered this basic question, can a boiling water reactor ever be stable, and there's some interesting nuclear physics reasons why you would think it wouldn't be stable. And the borax experiments one through five, prove that this this actually is very stable and can be self regulating. We actually even exploded catastrophically borax five, the reactor in the Idaho desert, some great footage, you can track down on YouTube. But it was out of those two major government programs that when we worked alongside commercial companies in a very US government post World War Two method where the USG would do the prototype plans and then identify a commercial partner at first Westinghouse for the PW ours and General Electric for the boiling water reactors, out of those government programs that launch the genesis of the nuclear power fleet, that powers almost obviously not in Canada, on some other exceptions, owns all of the global nuclear power generation capacity that we have today. So that really is the start of the start of the US is government's role in it. And the whole genesis, the birth of this can really be traced back to US government research and development programs. But then what we did see in the United States, rather uniquely, as I think you're alluding to, is that it wasn't just Westinghouse, who did the pressurized water reactor, we started to see two other major players, a big fossil fuel companies combustion engineering, and Babcock and Wilcox develop their own PW AR technology. And then in this discussion, we had General Electric to get evolving their own DWR technology outside of the US government. And then we also even had General Atomics in the United States. Although we don't talk about this very often. It's wonderful to have them develop some high temperature gas reactor, plants reactor designs at first a Peach Bottom unit number one, and then at 14 frame in Colorado. And what's really unique about the United States in some ways in the history of nuclear power development is because we don't have a national utility. We have the Tennessee Valley Authority. Of course, we have the Bonneville Power Administration, yes, some federal utilities, but most utilities are private companies or even state owned companies or municipal owned companies that serve a region. And there's no direct federal coordination of those activities. So what that allowed was each one of these utilities to choose sort of their favorite reactor technology, and to choose the turbine manufacturer and to choose the contractor and engineering company that would then sort of integrate it and actually build all of this things out an actual power plant. As a result, the US nuclear fleet right now is highly non standardized. I think it's actually probably the most non standardized global fleet anywhere even though it's the largest nuclear power fleet where We have reactors of four different manufacturers of two different major types, with six or seven different engineering firms at auction integrated those all together. And it's really this sort of, you know, wonderful, diverse rainbow of nuclear steam supply systems, and EPCs, that integrated this all together. And I think that had some real strengths, some real weaknesses, too. And I think some of the quirks of the US nuclear industry are sort of embedded in this approach.

Chris Keefer  10:29  

Wow. So much so much to sort of branch off from from there. Of course, there's the the joke about France having, you know, hundreds of different types of cheese, and two types of reactors, three types of reactors, and the kind of inverse being true in the US. This kind of like buffet lunch approach. I mean, certainly, when I look at the deployment of nuclear in China, it was let's, let's try a whole bunch of different things, maybe, and see what works and indigenize, you know, a reactor or two, and maybe they're into a stage of kind of standardization. But clearly, this this is a very different approach. I mean, why don't we talk a little bit about diving a little bit deeper into that, you know, you mentioned this leads to some of the idiosyncrasies that we see in the modern nuclear power sector in the US, what was the impact of this this mean? I mean, this sounds like a, an environment ripe for innovation, of trying lots of new and different things competition, that can have certainly positive impacts, is nuclear different in that it doesn't benefit from that. I mean, there's critiques of the Soviet economic system, just being terrible at innovation and just cranking out the same thing over and over again, a 1945, motorcycle basically still being produced and sold in the 90s make a lot of units, but they're all the same. What are your some of your thoughts in terms of, of the strengths and weaknesses of that of that approach that the US took?

James Krellenstein  11:45  

So I think the strengths of it are, you know, we really do get a initially at least a diverse nuclear sector, right, we did end up building the United States is still the world's largest producer, of course of nuclear electricity, in terms of your kilowatt hours generated. But, you know, I think there were a lot of, you know, the most basic question that you would ask. Okay, so now we've tried out, you know, all sorts of different reactor types, all sorts of different manufacturers in models, if even within those vendors, what who want? Right, right, what's really fascinating is, if you go into the data, what you find is that you can't really actually find a clear signal, right? What it turned out to be, which is so interesting to me, in looking at this objectively, is that the management and sort of operations of the plants themselves turned out to be more important than the underlying nuclear steam supply system technology. So it's really hard right now to actually go into the performance data, all of these, you know, so many different data set data points, to actually show a clear winner, even if you try to compete Pressurized Water Reactors versus boiling water reactors, like maybe each year when they sort of switch positions, and they're all by, you know, a couple of tenths of a percent on the capacity factors. And that was a really interesting lesson, what happened was, is you the same fleet that we were had, we were struggling in the 70s, to get above 65% capacity factor. When we put all the money in, you know, as the US started stopped building nuclear power plants, but really started operating nuclear power plants, we became some of the world's best operators in nuclear plants. And what we saw as we seen the same reactors who 20 years ago or 40 years ago, we're operating at a 70% capacity factor, now operating in a 90% capacity factor. And that's really the sort of lesson that I take away from this. There's not as much of the underlying reactor technology, in this set of light water reactors that we have a lot of operational experience is learning how to operate them and getting that management and operational excellence that the nuclear industry to its credit, has done an extraordinary job of being the most reliable highest capacity factor by far sorts of generation in the in the United States generating portfolio. And so we just really didn't get a great signal. I think one of the lessons that we did learn is this came at a huge cost, though, for the United States. You know, it's hard for us to appreciate just how unstandardized the US nuclear fleet is a perfect example of this. My favorite is Arkansas nuclear one, which of course is a nuclear power plant, as we could guess in Arkansas. And in that plant we have unit number one is a Babcock's and Wilcox pressurized water reactor with a famous one through steam generators with two reactor coolant pumps per loop and unit number two right next to it in the same turbine building. You look at them, they look at the identical plant. It's a combustion engineering pressurized water reactor, totally different steam generators design, totally different instrumentation and control. So totally different standard, you know, operating procedures and technical specifications. So the fleet is highly highly nonlinear. anodized and that really did prevent us, I think, from getting some of the learning curve aspects that we would expect of building, you know, 100 plus power reactors and bringing them to operation. And I think the the devastating example of this and builds was what happened in Washington State with a famous oops, right, a Washington public power supply system, where this utility, which we call WPS, s WPP. SS, excuse me, whimsically named oops, you know, tried to go five nuclear power plants at three different sites using three different designs. They tried to build a Babcock and Wilcox, Pressurized Water Reactor combustion engineering Pressurized Water Reactors in a joint General Electric boiling water reactor. And they failed completely, except for one of those plants, which is now known as Columbia Generating Station, the four out of the five plants that we started construction, and they're they're there, you can see the building and they never finished. And it led to add in the largest municipal bond default in his in the United States history with billions of dollars of bonds defaulting, and still the second largest municipal bond default in history. And one of the lessons that, you know, you learn from that talking to people on that project my father was on that project as an engineer, is that one of the problems when using three different designs at three different sites, it's really, really hard to take the lessons that you learn from one reactor site and translate them to the next you need three different supply chains, three different sets of engineers and drawings, three different workforces, all trained on it, none of those lessons, sort of were able to translate. And there were some attempts at standardization with a snip with some of those snips, which we ended up only building two plants on standardized nuclear unit power plant systems. But to be honest with you, we I think, paid a very big price for in the first rollout of of nuclear plants not to have standardization of any sort.

Chris Keefer  17:01  

Oops, aptly named. I mean, you're telling me and telling me in any sort of pre recorded conversation, that's, you know, this is this is truly kind of unprecedented. We did actually with the the AP 1000 units in summer, did we see a similar municipal utility default? Is that is that kind of unique to nuclear?

James Krellenstein  17:20  

You know, I, you know, something was a little complicated yet both investor owned utilities and municipal utilities participating in the project. But what we did see is that, you know, the the main project lead on summer, right, defaulted, doesn't exist anymore, it's called a company called scanner was actually bought in a fire sale. And we saw the CEO, CEO and the CEO of that company, go to jail, actually, for lying to the public service commission about the status of that project. And to go to your broader point. One of the things I think is the biggest challenge, although we don't talk about it very often, as nuclear advocates, or even inside the industry, I think sometimes is the track record, as you were alluding to, of nuclear plants, being in the United States, sometimes utility killers. And one of the things that's really interesting about utilities, if you think about utilities very rarely go bankrupt, because of power utility, they've got to often especially in a vertically integrated or regulated utility, right, they have a sort of captive audience, right, they have a captive customer base, and you sort of always need power, even in the midst of the, the deepest recessions, people still turn their lights on, they still cook dinner, they still heat their house, or turn the air conditioning on or watch TV. And so we generally don't expect power utilities to go bankrupt or to disappear. But nuclear plants have been the exception to this and the United States. And the reason has to do a lot with the way that in the US, we finance nuclear power projects, because the nuclear power plant on one of the great benefits of it has very low operating costs and fuel costs are very little, it's really just paying the personnel paying for the fuel and maintenance. But the capital cost, the cost of actually building the facility is extremely high. Right, we're not talking about 10s of billions of dollars for a new, you know, clean unit at 1000. For example, and, and historically, were at that sort of price level when you adjusted for inflation, you need to finance you need to raise that money from the bond markets to be able to do this and investors want to buy that bond, don't want to just bet that nuclear project is going to succeed, they want to be protected even in the event that we don't complete that nuclear power plant. So what ends up happening is utilities, issue bonds using single system financing where they pledge to service the bonds, not just on the revenue generated by the nuclear power plant, but instead by the revenue of the entire company and the assets of the entire company. Which means that if the power plant doesn't succeed, or has major cost overruns, the entire company can be at risk. And historically this has happened as you brought up it just happened a couple of years. to go in South Carolina in the summer, we have summer units two, and three with the AP 1000 is being built there and the ratepayers are being forced to pay. But historically, it's happened a bunch in the industry, right? We had oops, that I talked about already, where we caused this massive municipal bond default. We had Seabrook station, although we ended up bringing unit number one of C workstation in New Hampshire, online, that cost overruns that were associated bankrupted the public service of New Hampshire, which was the first investor owned utility bankruptcy in US history since the Great Depression. in Shoreham in Long Island where I actually grew up, right, we had a power plant called Shoreham, that we built and actually finished and brought on to low power operation, but because of vehement anti nuclear opposition, and then, you know, some conspiracies with To be honest, the governor at the time of New York State Mariette Cuomo, it was never allowed to operate, which meant that the ratepayers of Long Island had to pay billions of dollars for a plant that never generated anything. And the utility that ordered it, some of the line lighting company or little co didn't, you know, had to basically be destroyed, and a state owned utility had to take it over. And the assets sold off. So nuclear, you know, this is the one exception to utilities being like the safe conservative, frankly, boring investment in place to work that nuclear plants have had this track record, unfortunately, of maybe threatening that.

Chris Keefer  21:34  

Okay, let's, let's zoom back out and make sure that we're proceeding I guess, from a kind of historical process through the decades. So yeah. This all informs that right, because I want to get at the issue of you know, what's behind it, cut it up a little bit? No, no problem, what's behind the cost overruns. But let's kind of follow that history through, you'd have to be went back to the 40s and 50s, to get it get a sense of kind of the history of government involvement early on, particularly in r&d. But what's happening 60s 70s 80s I think a lot of people think that we stopped building nuclear, Iran, the timer just after Three Mile Island, but I think there's a lot of inertia in the system, a lot of there's a lot of cancellations, but a lot of builds happen after. So just walk us through, you know, from a 30,000 foot view, how that progresses, and when things kind of slow down and stop and why in your opinion, because there's there's so many competing hypotheses, and I'm sure a lot of them have different validity. But I'd love to hear your perspective.

James Krellenstein  22:24  

So what happens is, so, in the late 50s, we begin early 60s, we begin seeing these first demonstration plants come online, right, we see shipping port in the late 50s, the first pressurized water reactor, we start seeing dressed in unit number one on the boiling water reactor side. And these plants are generally pretty small, they're 50 6070. So it's 100 megawatts, 130 megawatts, large. And what we start to see is, is that these are actually pretty attractive opera options. And, and so we start seeing utility start ordering more and more plants. And we start seeing as the technology matures, the size of these plants really start increasing. And we really start seeing going from a couple 100 megawatt plants all the way up to 500 600, to 700, to 800, to a gigawatt, and a gigawatt plus throughout the 60s and early 70s. And what we start seeing is this sort of a little bit of I don't want to call it mania but real optimism on the utility side that nuclear plants allow an opportunity to generate power in any location that has a you know, cooling water source, and then later even not that in a way that doesn't depend on supply chains for fossil fuels. So this is really important for areas like New England and even New York State that don't have, you know, coal, or oil or natural gas resources, at least conventionally. And we start seeing this, this maturity of the technology coincide with a couple of historical events. And the most important one of this was the oil embargo of 73. But right before that, even before that, you have to understand that during this time, there are huge theories about the finite supply that we had of fossil fuel resources. And you'll Hubbard, who was a geologist came out with his Hubbard peak hypothesis in 1956, this idea that for oil, which was still actually you know, 15 to 20%, of electric power was generated from burning or using oil as an energy source during this time, there was this idea that we're going to start running out of oil, it would be peak oil that we'd be throwing in external declining oil production, and other coal was a little bit you're gonna be a lot longer lasting, there isn't there's increases in the prices of coal going on at this time. So utilities looking to meet also a massive increase in electric power demand. During this time, the United States where we started really seeing the quality of life start increasing, there's technological innovations really start translating to the home, you know, utilities were trying to chase and serve this demand and do it in a way that looked like something that would have a really cheap fuel source to do it. And nuclear was a natural sort of supply of power for that. And this, you know, peaked in 1973, when we had the peak number of orders for new nuclear power plants placed in the United States, we in that single year, we placed over 100 orders for reactors just in 73. And 73, of course, was not just a really interesting time, you know, in the United States historically, but it was also the year of the OPEC oil embargo. And the year of the energy crisis, the idea the United States knew there were lines at gasoline stations starting to emerge 7374 75. So we really are in this place where we thought there was going to be a real energy crunch. And in fact, there was an energy crunch that's impacting people every single day. And utilities were trying to respond to this with a technology that could really actually assert, you know, achieve and US energy independence,

Chris Keefer  26:11  

a couple of things. I've heard rumors that maybe it was JFK, maybe was Nixon talking about, you know, in election platform, saying, you know, we're going to build, basically, we're going to transition the US electricity system to be all nuclear. And if the utilities don't move fast enough, we will get involved to force them. I think that was more on the JFK side. You know, Nixon, again, these may be false attributions, or completely made up quotes. What what do you know about that? No, it's not

James Krellenstein  26:33  

right, that what I'm alluding to is actually buying Nixon, it's called Project independence. Right. And it was announced in November 7 1973. Right, and it was a commitment, as you said, to construct 1000 nuclear power plants by your year 2000. In the United States, right. And it was similar in some ways to the messimer plan in France that was announced at the exact same time, right. The only difference is the French followed through in the US, the Americans did not. Right. So we did actually have that announcement by Nixon, in November of 73, in the midst of the OPEC oil embargo, to basically build 1000 reactors in the United States by year 2000.

Chris Keefer  27:17  

So what ends up happening and why you mentioned orders peak then and then they crashed pretty shortly thereafter.

James Krellenstein  27:23  

Yeah, so what's so a couple of things begin to happen in 7374 75. We have, first of all, we have a big DC district as DC circuit court decision come out called, I think it's covered cliffs versus the national reform Resources Defense Council, NRDC, an anti nuclear environmental group. And this was Calvert Cliffs, which is a nuclear power plant combustion engineering Nuclear Power Plant in in Maryland. And that basically said that the Atomic Energy Commission at the time had to basically input you know, take the National Environmental Policy Act much more seriously. And I'm hand waving a little bit here in the regulation of the environmental impacts of nuclear power plants. And this actually caused an 18 month pause and construction and new acceptances of operating licenses at that time, by the AEC by the predecessor of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. So we started to see a real increase in regulations even before the NRC was created, even during the time of the AEC caused by by vital environmental laws at the National Environmental Policy Act, which really started to change. The Economics of construction for nuclear power plants, coupled with a real environment of real inflation and labor shortages in the US economy writ large. And when we talk about what a nuclear power plant, a large nuclear power plant construction looks like, it's 1000s and 1000s of people working at a single job site for a couple of years. And when we had dozens of reactors literally being constructed in the United States simultaneously, during this time, we were seeing the impact of having both labor and supply shortages simultaneously, really start slowing down the productivity of nuclear power construction sites going on. And this really started to change the economics of how nuclear power plants were being perceived as we charge started trying to build them. And we just watched productivity even before Three Mile Island, really start plummeting at the plants in terms of how much percentage complete they got each year.

Chris Keefer  29:29  

Yeah, and especially on number levels, and one of which is, you know, where I'm at in Ontario. We're planning 6000 megawatts of new build nuclear, I was sitting down with the head of the Ontario building trades the other day, and he was talking about some of the big infrastructure projects we've got going on and the CEO of one of them saying Okay, so we're starting this wasn't nuclear just transportation infrastructure job. We're gonna start this light duty railroad project in October and he said, No, you're not and the guy said why What do you mean Who are you to say this to me? He's like, you're not gonna have the workers are like, we need to carefully plan where we're putting or welders are steamfitters everything else and we don't have them for October. So that's I think something that often gets overlooked as we focus on blueprints and designs and all sorts of things. There's there's just so so many multifactorial, that kind of planning that goes into something like a power plant construction. But the question I had was, you know, again, comparing this Nixon's plan for a Mesmer plan versus the French, do you think it was the lack of standardization that partially accounted for this? Because I'm thinking of, I'm not sure if it was, it should lose. I remember seeing photographs of, you know, one of the big heavy forging factories, or they're banging out, you know, four or five reactor pressure vessels every single year, that must have fit into, you know, some state organization and planning and standardization. Did you think that had an impact on on those shortages?

James Krellenstein  30:45  

I think, absolutely. I mean, what was really interesting about the way that you know, we had our 14 capacity as well, you know, primarily combustion, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, and at about HKex, and Wilcox out in Indiana, was where we forged most of our own pressure vessels in the United States. And as we can imagine, we were not doing what the French were doing at this time, which was, the French literally came, as you may know, to Beaver Valley nuclear power plant out in Pennsylvania, the Westinghouse three loop, and they copied that. And that was the basis of festen Haim in France, right by the German border. And that became the basis of the CP why a standardized 900 megawatt electrical, French fleet, which is the first real French pressurized water reactor. And we were not doing that we were building three, even the Westinghouse product line we were building to loop Westinghouse three Westinghouse for loop, Westinghouse is of all different. Of all different power sizes of all different engineering firms trying to do this was the French, you know, with framatome, with his joint venture initially, with Westinghouse, we're basically building one plant and just copying it over and over and over again, and only the most minor changes, that really did contribute a lot to I think the supply chain issues that we had, because the suppliers were having to make reactor pressure vessels of completely different types, nuclear qualified supply chain that were making totally different valves, totally different pipe types of pumps for each different plant. And that really did contribute to this overall crunch that I think started happening post 1975, when we really started to construct, you know, we saw the completion rate of nuclear power plants dropped below 1% per month, right of how much construction were actually getting done at the facility. So I think that was the case. But I do think the inflationary environment in the United States really played a very large role, as well as just the labor crunch that we were seeing across the sector. This coupled also with the the steps in the United States that had to be taken by the Federal Reserve to crunch down inflation, we started increasing interest rates very, very significantly, which meant the capital costs because we're privately financing them on the capital markets, these are bonds that are tied to those underlying interest rates, it suddenly became a lot more expensive to build a nuclear power plants, even if none of the actual costs change on the underlying plan, the so called overnight costs remain constant, right just to cut costs of financing, it became much, much more expensive. And then three, and then remember, although we think about Three Mile Island, as this time, when we stopped ordering power nuclear power plants was in 1979. If you actually look at the historical record, the mind was in April of 79. The last orders really were in 1978, for new plants, so even a couple so even in that couple months of 79 no utility was placing an order and we do see a dramatic Trump, even before TMI, and TMI sort of added this perfect storm element with the NRC.

Chris Keefer  33:45  

But to me, that's interesting, because you know that the kind of depth of the nucleus in terms of new orders happen prior to the bogeyman that most people think of in terms of Three Mile Island and the NRC. Before we jump to that, though, one other idiosyncrasy? I think Chris Adam, brought this to my attention. And we see this in France, in Japan and Ontario, you know, nuclear sites with, you know, 468 reactors, I think an idiosyncrasy of the US system, as I understand it, is there's a fair number of single and just two unit sites. I think the several that have 40 units now. But in general, you know, for such a large country with such a large grid, we don't see single sites with you know, 5678 reactors on them, as we do in these other jurisdictions is that again, a product of

James Krellenstein  34:29  

we don't actually have we only have you know, one site that has four units, and that's not even that's Vogel right, which had Vogel one and two that were built and finished in the 80s. Then three and four, obviously, that are just coming online now. We have a couple of three unit plans Palo Verde, akoni, right. We have kind of quasi ones like Fitzpatrick and Nine Mile point. But yes, we don't have very many multi large for six or eight units like you guys have a lot in Canada. Just be honest. And I think that It is a little bit of a byproduct, as I said about financing issues that we had, right? You know, if you have a much easier way to finance a nuclear power plant, right, it doesn't require you issuing 10s of billions of dollars of debt simultaneously. Right? A building a four, eight unit nuclear power plant makes a lot of sense. If you can slide along and apply those lessons learned to the next react to the next react to the next reactor. And that labor force that you brought in, can kind of stay there and sort of slide along as each unit progresses down the line. And this has been associated even in those two and three unit plants. Even at Vogel three and four, we saw a pretty large reduction with how much Vogel for cost versus what available to be cost. But the problem is in the US, you're putting yourself on the line for financing for nuclear power plants simultaneously. No one has ever done it. I mean, oops, tried to do with five, I guess, agree, different sites that blew up in their face. And so this issue with how do you raise the capital and put your company at risk to even know do the most economically efficient approach, which, as you would suggest it really doing what the Canadians are signs of French do? And building these large, you know, six or seven, eight unit plants just didn't happen? The United States, and it's one of the downsides? I think we have from having a less state involved enterprise. But I will say on the on the flip side, right, we TVA, it's not like the Tennessee Valley Authority, which is a US government institution, they built one three unit reactor plan, which is Browns ferry, but they didn't build a huge number of multi unit plants. So I think it was a little bit also, just to be honest, what really happened at works was the idea what why they chose three different plant designs was they thought they were going to figure out which one was the best, right? And then the second fleet would, you know, the second orders would be of that one design. And I think that's a lot of what these utilities in the 60s and 70s thought they were doing. They're kind of prototyping out seeing which reactor worked best. And then the next ones may have been those mega five or six unit plants. But we just never got to that point.

Chris Keefer  37:13  

Interesting. Interesting. I mean, we've been slinging a bit of mud, we've brought up full goal we talked about oops, let's talk about, you know, one of the shining examples of really great builds that have happened in the States. I think, when we were again, in our pre recording conversation, you mentioned Palo Verde as being maybe the shining gem of American nuclear construction and really operations and also just building this plant in a desert without, you know, an obvious source of water cooling. If we could take a moment to go into that if indeed you agree that that is, you know, maybe the shining example of a no, no,

James Krellenstein  37:42  

of course. You know, I you know, I think one of the weird, sort of, sometimes we're a little bit almost schizophrenic about how nuclear power works in the United States. It's always been a disaster. Or it's, you know, while the construction has always been a disaster, well, we're so glad that we have it. But the real truth is, if you look into the history of the individual plant builds, there's many examples of very, very successful nuclear plant builds. And what I love about Palo Verde, is a couple of really interesting quirks about it. The first is, is that Palo Verde is entire construction process was overseen by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, right, the construction permit for Palo Verde was granted by the NRC, which meant that the entire nuclear construction was done by the nuclear reg regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And just so for listeners who don't aren't aware of this, in 1974, we had an organization called the Atomic Energy Commission, that both was in charge of promoting nuclear energy among other things, and regulating it. And the Nixon administration and then forward actually ended up signing this decided it would be maybe prudent to split those two functions in the Department of Energy, enter the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And so a lot of US nuclear power plants have the initial construction permits and subsidies, the operating licenses were granted by the AEC rather than the NRC. But in Palo Verde, we had an interesting example. The NRC was really in charge. There's a couple other examples of the entire process. And the the interesting about the NRC about Palo Verde is it was a new reactor design by combustion engineering called the system Edie. And that design, as you may know, laid the foundation for the very successful Korean nuclear power fleet, which is all derivatives of that system at the OPR 1000, the EPR 1400. And that entire safety review was done by the NRC. The NRC really held this entire thing throughout this entire process, including giving the operating license and the safety analysis acceptance for totally novel reactor. And we had in the middle of Palo Verde, we had the Three Mile Island accident happened in 79 construction permits granted 75 We're in the middle of construction 79. And not to mention the last thing is until Vogel gets finished. Palo Verde was an is the America's largest nuclear power plant in the middle A little bit desert in Arizona, hundreds of miles away from a large body of water uses treated sewage water to make the cooling water blowdown. And all of these factors, if you think about it independently should lead to a project disaster. It's a mega three unit plant by utility, Arizona Public Service has never built a nuclear power plant before they were operated one, it's in the middle of the desert. It's near New shipping lanes to get the barge in the components is in the middle of his terrible regulatory morass that happens with the NRC after Three Mile Island. And yet despite this, this turns out to be one of the most successful nuclear power plant bills in the US history, right where we build basically unit number one and unit number two for about 6 billion apiece in inflation adjusted dollars. I don't know what unit three costs. We don't actually have data on unit three, because the Energy Department actually stopped reporting on that. But we saw a massive price reduction between each unit one and unit number two and number three, and although it took about a decade, to get online, we brought two gigawatts from 1985. From 1975, construction started to 1986 in rapid succession back online, and unit number three starts in 1988. So we really had a relatively good build out that was very, very affordable. If we could just replicate what happened at Palo Verde in the United States today, I think we would be seeing utilities line up to build nuclear power plants, if you could get that amount of power. That and unreliable clean, baseload power for that price. This would be a totally different environment. And we're operating in today. And what I like about Palo Verde, just to end is that all the factors that worked against Palo Verde are actually I would argue, maybe controversially easier today than they were then. And I think that's the lesson I take from Palo Verde is that we can do it if we really focus on it and put the right pieces on there.

Chris Keefer  42:06  

So you mentioned all the challenges, what was the secret sauce? How did how did they supersede all those challenges?

James Krellenstein  42:11  

There's actually some really great papers on this, a group of hybrid associates to deck show right up of consulting group about what actually went right at Palo Verde among other plants. But it was really a very, very tight integrated project sort of delivery before that was a buzzword between the utility, Arizona public service, the nucleus team supply system, vendor combustion engineering, provided the reactor in the engineer and and the associated steam generators and practical and pumps, and construction firm, which was backfill, and they all work incredibly closely together, that will build an entire scale model of Palo Verde, you know, this was before, really 3d computer aided design really came into the main form. So they were able to see even before they began construction, how every single little piece fit together really, really well. They did just general amazing supply chain, sort of simplification procedures, for example, they used all nuclear grade components, even for systems that didn't require Nuclear Grade components even know that was much more expensive. The EPC income in cooperation with Bachtel input and cooperate cooperation with APS, notice that actually, it was more expensive to make sure that you didn't integrate in a non Nuclear Grade component into something that needed a Nuclear Grade component than just being everything Nuclear Grade, they had very, very clear management structures of how they were going to deal with change control over the entire project lifecycle. And most importantly, I think the one lesson that we've learned universally, is they finished every element of the design before they began construction. And that really allowed them to do that planning and resource loaded scheduling way, way before that. And they also had real great cooperation as all three, when they were going up with the NRC due to that regulatory changes that were happening two to three mile island.

Chris Keefer  44:11  

Right, right. I think you've already answered this. But you mentioned this strategy. We'll move on from Palo Verde. Now I just want to kind of tie a few few knots here. That's the right thing. I think you answered this, but essentially, you know, there was this approach of let's try and build a whole bunch of different stuff, see what works best operationally, the US fleet, I mean, there's been obviously been some some branches of reactor development. You mentioned, the high temperature gas reactors that didn't pan out. But in terms of the fleet, we have the majority of reactors we built operationally, they're all doing pretty well. They're all hitting cap factors in the 90s. Is that Is that correct? Are they all Yeah, the

James Krellenstein  44:47  

US fleet is, I think, the highest performing fleet by country. And maybe there's, you know, I think maybe Romania with their candies may actually be there too, too. kittehs baby deeding us a little bit year to year, but um, you know, for as large and as diversified fleet, we are averaging above 90% capacity factors year after year after year. And we're increasingly getting even better than that as we increase the refueling outage length, your cycle length from 18 months, 24 months, and they maybe as Leu plus comes online even longer than that, although we don't know about that the capacity factors are starting, or even really going up even still a little bit now. It's truly exceptional. What has has happened there. And that is a testament I think, and one of the nuclear industry's most proud achievements, because before Three Mile Island, right, the capacity factor of the fleet couldn't reach 60%. And if you look what happened after 1979, it's like, right after Three Mile Island, actually, we just see, literally, it's like a cliff, this the capacity factors skyrocket. And there's a combination of factors that are driving this one is obviously operational experience, we started to we started to have operated PW RS and BW Rs for a couple of years to kind of learn their quirks. But also, we really started the industry itself started to organize the Institute of nuclear power operations, which was originally created actually in response by the industry after TMI, for SSAT case, but in addition to I think, dramatically increasing the safety of the operating fleet really excelled at getting operational excellence, really out of the fleet. And really sharing best practices, across utilities and across different reactor types. We also saw empowerment of what are called the owners groups. So for combustion engineering, PW Rs, we have a group, that combustion engineering owners group that talks to each one of them and they started really working alongside every Electric Power Research Institute on this real project of how do we really get the most out of these plants. And the regulator in the case of the NRC after TMI made very, very clear that they expected operational excellence and they would not tolerate anything less than operational excellence. And that obviously was controversial, and in some cases drove up the price of of the operating fleet. But it also made clear that things like nm, you know, unplanned SCRAMS, or unplanned power changes, and when necessary, due to maintenance reasons, or, you know, preventable causes, we're gonna really negatively impact your, you know, your rating with the safety regulator, and would have regulatory consequences. So the industry to its immense credit really got together and said, We're going to solve this problem and did. And I often sometimes in my dreams wish that we would take the same approach to construction now. Yeah, and that's a we, we really, I mean, it's a Grand Slam what the industry was able to do. And it really was the industry who mainly did this, and there's some government funding to do this some national lab support, but it really was at three, and went in I MPO, you know, really working to make operational excellence the norm. And that really has transformed the entire fleet. And I think we can do the same thing with with a construction,

Chris Keefer  48:22  

I'm inspired, I'm inspired not to have anything to do with engineering construction. But it's good story. I mean, I've heard this called the age of the operator. And I think it's pretty extraordinary when you think about these capacity factors being stuck in the 60s, not just in the 1960s. But in the 60% range. You know, it's almost like adding like 40 more kind of ghost units to the US fleet. And we're seeing that in Canada with you know, just this is not so much operator dependent, but adding kind of upgrades, upgrading our turbines, etc. It's like building a new candle at Bruce Power, just in terms of what we can squeeze out of those units. I think that's, that's pretty extraordinary. But you're getting back to this. It's not

James Krellenstein  48:59  

just even on the capacity factor, it's on the upgrades that we've been super successful in getting getting upgrades, but also even maintenance activities like steam generator replacement, where we've just made enormous strides and how long it takes to replace steam generators for Pressurized Water Reactors. I mean, so, you know, people say the nuclear industry hasn't learned it's stuck in the 50s and stuck in the 60s, all I say is look at what we're doing with the operating fleet. And if you're not inspired, I don't I don't know what you're, you're not looking at the same data set that I'm looking at, like this is an industry that took a real challenge was in the mud stuck in the mud and hit it out of the ball. polpark.

Chris Keefer  49:38  

So in terms of you know, those growing pains of getting up and getting this operational excellence up getting the upgrades happening. I mean, I think that's instructive. When talking about the future of US nuclear with you know, a lot of I think, ideas around well, the existing fleet is not good enough. It's not safe enough. It's not technologically advanced. It's not advanced nuclear, that you know, new designs They're gonna solve some of the problems, whether they're purely sort of aesthetic or non technical, but you know, new designs are going to kind of leap to the rescue. And one of my concerns is always well, it's going to take a while to master that technology as it did with the PW and btbr. Fleet. Is that true? Or have we learned enough about how to

James Krellenstein  50:19  

think it is true? But, you know, let me let me give you the bull's case for nuclear right now in the United States, which I don't think we talk about enough. Sure. And I think we're hitting something right on the on the, you know, the hammer on the nail. Right. So the first thing is, is one of the big problems is I think we've kind of been eluding around what happened after Three Mile Island with the NRC. And I think a lot of the historical hatred of the NRC stems out of this right, what happened in the NRC was under the the old licensing process, or still on the books and some people are going to use it now again, called part 50. The way that you you build a nuclear power plant is you've got a construction permit. And you start and you do some preliminary safety analysis and preliminary design specifications will be in that, you know, as part of that grant for the construction purpose. But in order to basically get what we call it, an operating license would apply mid construction. And the NRC would apply the current regulatory standards to granting an operating license, which meant that when you started the design of the plant, the regulations may have changed in the middle of you constructing it. And we have these issues where literally a power plant system would be built at a nuclear plant in the United States. And then the regulations would change after that construction was already done. And the engineers would have to come back and destroy that and rebuild it, to comply with the new regulations. And this became was already a problem before 1979, after Three Mile Island, where we change, depending on your estimate, between a quarter and a third of all the regulations regulating new nuclear power plant construction, this became a crisis. And it was a massive, massive driver of cost overruns and schedule overruns in the 80s of new nuclear power plants. And we did learn from that. And that was what why Palo Verde is so if, you know, Palo Verde St. Lucie unit number two, these bills are so exceptional is because they were able to get through that. And despite an impossible regulatory situation, we're still relatively on time and on budget. That's extraordinary. But we did get a new regulatory pathway starting in 87. EDA, called part 52, which allows everything in the plant license to be done before construction even begins for the combined construction, operating license. And even better than that we have in that license that is granted, the sets of tests were called itax, are inspections, test analyses and acceptance criteria that are going to be used to prove to the NRC that actually you built the plant in conformance with what the license said. So there's nothing that can change in the middle of construction, once you get that operating license. And this was battle tested. We've got that now. Right? We didn't have that then. We have now in the case of Volvo, let me go back to where you're going. I'm sorry, if I took this off. We now have through Vogel three and Vogel four, we've actually gone through that process all the way to the end. And we have a regulator that's familiar with a design a, we have a standardized design, we have the AP 1000, which has a standardized design certification. And we can really copy that plant and standardize that AP 1000 that we built, that fully designed that has a mature supply chain, and we can copy it, and we can know that the exact same regulatory standards will be applied as they were applied at Vogel. And that in my mind, going back to this sort of lesson that I think we can extract from it as not so much how fancy the technology is how cool the technology is, it's the more human aspect of how familiar the workforce is with it, how mature the design is, how mature the supply chain is, how much we know, the quirks for lack of a better term of the construction that don't ever appear, until you actually get a work team out on a work face, trying to put it together in reality, we have that in a design. And we have for the first time, I think in the history of the US nuclear industry, a regulatory process that can be replicated in a predictable manner. And and that is, I think, a really, Bull's case for nuclear in the United States that we don't talk about and there's a really big reason why we don't talk about it. I hope that answer your question. I think so. Yeah, it's trying to get to it. And when a little bit around No, no, no, no problem at all. I mean, I

Chris Keefer  54:57  

think it was intriguing that idea of of taking you know what the new industry has knocked it out of the park on in terms of operational excellence, sharing information, these owners groups, etc. I guess you know, and this gets into sort of the the political side and again, the role of government in this, when talking about learning and construction excellence, that implies that there's some cohesive plan to build multiple units across the country. And I think that's where we start to get into difficulties with the US system in terms of having a whole number of different utilities, some regulated some, I won't call them deregulated, but differently regulated. I think that that seems to me to be the challenge to sort of, you know, this Mesmer 2.0, with with AP 1000.

James Krellenstein  55:37  

So I think, you know, one of the interesting things that we don't talk about is the first nuclear renaissance, which is where we got Vogel and summer actually built. But in addition to volgend, Summer, right, the NRC granted licenses to a close to a dozen additional new nuclear power plants around the country. And we still actually have those licenses active today, in Michigan, in Virginia and South Carolina and in Florida. Right. So hypothetically, if we could get a utility, like say, Florida, power and light are DTE to order, you know, to want to actually build another nuclear power plant in Florida, we have a site that's has a license to the NRC and can say basically, you can start construction tomorrow. Same thing with the ESP WR obviously, we've never built them before in Detroit or outside of North ama unit number three. The question I think is, and we we've seen much more since my life, I'm 32. I've never seen the United States as Pro nuclear as it is today. You're the inflation Reduction Act, although it had a lot of money for renewables, wind and solar, it really does have a huge amount of money for new nuclear as well as existing nuclear, and we have a huge amount of money available at the loans program office to guarantee new nuclear power projects. I think the question needs to we need to be asking is why aren't utilities, ordering the plants or even the plants that they've already gone through the licensing process, and literally have gotten that license and have that license? Why aren't they constructing that plant now? And I hate to say it, but I think the answer is the pink elephant in the room, which is Vogel and summer. Right, we thought that we were going to have this marvelous new design, the AP 1000, which was greatly greatly simplified, compared to, you know, a predecessor, pressurized water reactor. And we had it modularized, the most modularized nuclear power plant that has ever been built is the AP 1000. And the results were, frankly, a disaster. As we all know, for that construction, and of course, I'm here saying the right thing to do is, you know, you know, Please, Sir, give me another right. You know, it's like, literally, we gotta go back and do it again. But I think we, as an industry in an advocacy community have not talked enough about what happened there. And about why actually won't, it will likely never happen again, if we stick to it. The problem, I think is, is that rather than us talking about it, your initial question that you asked me, were sort of hand waving around it, were saying we have these marvelous, new small modular reactors that are going to solve all of these issues, even though many of the same issues that came up in those plant builds, I think are going to could happen again, with the SMRs. And I think just like the the lesson of operating excellence was not getting the best technology, it was doing the human factor, you know, the cutting the organizations together, sharing information, doing the same thing, you know, standardizing operating procedures. In my mind, the thing that we need to do as the US is figure out a way that we can actually repeat the same lesson, the same design over and over again. So those lessons we learned the hardest possible way now been translated over.

Chris Keefer  59:04  

I'm feeling you brother, I mean, up here in Canada, we're, you know, neck deep in our candy refurbishments, $26 billion infrastructure projects, looking at refurbishing, almost our entire fleet, and hopefully, Pickering will be joining that four of its eight reactors. And we have this tremendous momentum supply chain coordination. We're you know, Mike Vogel, we're on budget ahead of schedule with these refurbs. But there's still this opportunity to fumble this baton, which should be seamlessly passed between refurb and new build in terms of Vogel I mean, thinks things are basically wrapped up there. What's happening to that supply chain and workforce have they already diluted too quickly? That was the issue with Vogel right is that anyone who had built a nuclear plant was already in a retirement home and couldn't really be there to help them automate construction. That seems to me to be a like what I argue in Canada's This is not a $26 billion investment just in these vital clean energy assets. It's a $26 billion investment in human beings and people in human In capacity and institutional excellence, that seems to be what's at stake. Right? Preach brother, or maybe already have. But

James Krellenstein  1:00:07  

I really think that the big crisis that we face in the United States right now, is that Vogel four just I tacked out where that term I used before, but it just passed all of its inspections and tests saying that we built it in compliance with the license. And it's ready, we'll get permission, I imagine in the next couple of weeks to load fuel and begin the testing that aspect of testing before it can go critical. The problem, as you just said, is what we have a massive workforce now and a supply chain that was built. Boy, it failed a bunch of times when we finally got it to work. And although some of that supply chain is going to be deployed now for the AP 1000s, that we're hopefully going to build in Poland. I think the biggest challenge that we have today is how do we build another ap 1000 in the United States. Now, you might sound Westinghouse is not paying for me, chemical is not paying for me, you know, Brookfield, I wish, you know, Hey, brother, I'll send you my address, send me a check. But you know, the real truth is, even though it's not maybe my favorite reactor design, having that real world experience of having a workforce supply chain, and having a design that is not only finalized, but we built it, you can go and walk in the building, right and say that that steel beam is there that piping, that cable raceway is organized this way, that is a killer asset. And what we are, unfortunately, when I'm scared about is that we're letting that dilute away, in the hopes that the next technology is just going to magically have engineered away the very human challenges that are associated with the deployment of the new technology. And I don't think we can actually engineer that away. And I think the SMR cars, as much as I think SMRs are really, really important, and has huge applications all across the world. I am a little bit perplexed by the idea that SMRs are really going to be a great solution for a grid like the United States or frankly, like Canada, where we have gigawatts and gigawatts and gigawatts of clean energy that we need to generate. And even even if you assume a huge role for wind and solar, right, if we're going to come close to reaching our decarbonisation goals, we need hundreds of gigawatts of new nuclear in the United States. That's not you know, those economies of scale are really, really profound. That's why we were scaling up the 50s 60s and 70s, I don't really understand the argument that we're trying to do with SMRs.

Chris Keefer  1:02:46  

Right. And I think we're gonna have to cut it here. And we're gonna have a follow up episode, because we've we've really delved into maybe the past and the present, we have lessons for the future to draw from here. We tried to keep it to an hour. But maybe just before we go as a kind of teaser. I mean, why is it again, I've said this a number of times, I'm not as informed as you by any means. But my impression is that 15 years ago, maybe even 10 years ago, if you'd said the future of nuclear is to go small to abandon economies of scale. And let's just bet on economies of multiples. And you know, that the modularization only applies to small things, etc. I think you would have been called a bit crazy. If you thought that was the future of the nuclear industry, certainly going back to the 80s 90s or whatever, right. But what what is it about the nuclear industry that, you know, has has jumped onto a hype train and where I mean, I think our voices here questioning some of the sort of panacea SMRs are heterodox voices. And frankly, there's a lot of it, he could do shut up about that, please, coming from the industry, people that I talked to, or some pressure that I feel from the association's this kind of tendency to kind of move in lockstep towards, you know, the next, the next big thing, or in this case, the next small thing, I'm not sure if you can comment on that you're kind of pretty outside of the industry, other than your maybe your parental connections, but like, just culture, just culturally, I'm just, that's the kind of personal curiosity that I have.

James Krellenstein  1:04:02  

I think there's a couple of things going on. And, you know, actually, back in 2010, before Voegelin, summer went south in any stretch of the imagination. Actually, my father testified, whose lead expert for the United States Congress on SMRs. And his argument for the SMRs before SMR is, as you noted, were really that big of a deal in 2010 his argument for why SMRs were going to play a really big role is that that financing issue that I suppose Yes, yes, not financing in the classical way that you think about can you raise money or not? Of course, you can raise the money of course, you're gonna loan guarantee actually for this entire project. But the problem is, is you're betting your entire company on a large, multi gigawatt plant as the way the EP 1000s or an ESP WR AB WR when you finance and when you look back in when the utility executive looks back at what happened in the 80s and 90s was Shoreham in Seabrook, and oops, You know, and then what they saw what happened that summer, right? All of a sudden, even if the power is is going to be generated from the plant is more expensive on an SMR. The overall cost because it is, as its name implies much smaller, that issue makes it more attractive, just by the total price tag is smaller. We're not betting the entire shop on this, you know, if this thing fails, it's going to be obviously not great. It's gonna go way over budget, not great. But it's unlikely to provide, you know, to be an existential corporate risk to the company. And that is very different than building another ap 1000. Let's just be frank, right, in AP 1000, brought already down, we only tried building four of them, and two of them brought down a utility with them. The other issue I think, is is it allows you to hand waving allows us to not talk about what really happened at Volvo in summer. And it allows us to say, you know, don't even worry about doesn't think about that we have new technology that will solve all the problems. Yeah.

Chris Keefer  1:06:07  

All right. Well, that's where we're gonna leave it for now. I think that's a great teaser for our next episode. Or we'll look at the future a little bit more. We'll deep dive this SMR topic. Thank you so much, James. It's really a pleasure meeting you. As I said, I had no idea you were the one. That's a beautiful thing that's about to change fast, my friend. Your decouple famous now. So thanks for joining us. Thank you, listeners, for your mouth to God's ears. Absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you for joining us and listeners. Thank you for listening. Please do support us on Patreon. And like subscribe, review all that stuff. We will see you next week. Thank you so much.

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