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Should Disney World Have the Right to Build a Nuclear Power Plant? (citylab.com)
56 points by cienega 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 102 comments





I really wish nuclear power would stop getting all this unnecessary hate - apparently in the grand canyon there was a bucket of uranium[1] sitting in a storage closet, this wasn't particularly dangerous but far more dangerous than a well regulated power plant would be. We need to stop being irrational about the power source that may end up saving the planet.

[1] https://www.npr.org/2019/02/19/696001017/grand-canyon-museum...


Great is the enemy of good.

Nowhere is this proven stronger than in alternative energy.

Nuclear is proven, practical, and we have technological benefit of decades of experience.

If finding alternative energy was really necessary (and thanks to the abundance of coal and the tragedy of the commons, it won't be for ages), there wouldn't even been a discussion.


The thing is, nuclear power straight up isn't profitable to build now. 15 years ago, sure, but according to Lazard's most recent analysis, nuclear power is beaten by alternative sources with storage. The cost of financing projects on such large timescales is huge, not to mention the risk of fiascos like the one going on in South Carolina and to some extent Georgia. We should keep the plants we have running, but use the available funding for new renewables. If we really want to go to the nuclear power route, the government should just do what France and China did by nationalizing new nuclear plant construction. The prviate sector is past the point that it makes sense to choose new Nuclear plants over gas baseload or renewables.

A lot of the problem comes from the excessive, ridiculous, way-too-onerous over-regulation of nuclear power plants. Over-regulation brought on by an irrational fear of nuclear power- a fear fostered (and herein I put my conspiracy theory hat) by oil lobbying groups, who identified nuclear as one of the few energy solutions that would jeopardize their energy monopoly.

What I never understood is why Exxon/BP/etc never positioned themselves to corner nuclear/solar/etc. At their level, pivoting from being a "Gas Company" to an "Energy Company" seems like a no-brainer. Who cares which energy source wins, if you own all the energy sources?


In the West over-regulation destroyed nuclear as a viable option a long time ago. However even where there is no over-regulation there are still economic problems - China hasn't broken ground on a new reactor since 2016. Nuclear is too expensive.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612564/chinas-losing-its-...


The economics analysis of nuclear power vs renewable always depend on the assumption that it is acceptable to burn fossil fuel when renewable is unable to fill demand. It is the central problem in all such discussion.

I would like to see a complete ban of all air and water pollution that can be sourced to power and heating plants. A zero tolerance policy. If alternative sources with storage can economically beat nuclear in such world then that is great. Lets put the regulations in place today. If not then lets still put the regulations in place because the environment really need us to do so, but we need something to fill demand when renewable alternatives can't produce.


> I would like to see a complete ban of all air and water pollution that can be sourced to power and heating plants.

Does that include the natural gas heating furnace in my basement, or just commercial stuff? Because in my area electric heating costs about 3x more than NG.


There are discussions already to ban people from connecting new homes to gas lines (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47306766).

In general however I think politics should focus on bigger problems before small ones. Industry, power plants and central heating are the primary users of natural gas. In Germany, over half the energy production is generated from gas, which the pollution graphs clearly shows (https://www.electricitymap.org/?page=map&solar=false&remote=...)


Current cost estimates deserve some skepticism; they've be magically increasing for years, despite not building any more plants.

We have literally built actual, real, currently operating plants almost 50 years ago for half the inflation-adjusted cost of some of the estimates. Even better than an estimate is real-world evidence.


There is also the problem of nuclear waste being highly radioactive for thousands of years and us not knowing how to deal with it properly.

My understanding was that waste, or indeed any radioactive substance, is either highly radioactive for a short period of time, or not very radioactive for a long time. A mole of stuff has a set number of spare neutrons, and it can release them either quickly or slowly. If it releases them quickly ("highly radioactive"), we can probably get power from it somehow.

These are some factiods I've been accumulating on Nuclear, which I'm still trying to refine and learn more about, so any corrections on this would be appreciated if I'm factually wrong:

1) Thorium is safer but isn't being used effectively. Mostly because development of Nuclear power coincided with nuclear weapons, and Thorium can't be used to make weapons.

2) We can re-enrich nuclear waste but don't because of regulations. My understanding here is that the waste product becomes much smaller.

3) We have no clue what were going to do with all the solar panels after we're done with them either? They contain a ton of lead. They also produces something like 1000x the waste mass as nuclear. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we shouldn't go this route, but I AM saying that we really need to have a wholistic well thought out solution rather than knee jerk fear.

4) If you compare CO2 emissions of France and Germany, one who went all in Nuclear and the other who went all in Solar/Wind. France has significantly dropped their CO2 emissions.

5) Gas power plants are typically used to supplement the downturn in supply of Solar/Wind. Nuclear is a terrible supplement for this.

Now Opinion:

I think that it's safer in the short term (assuming Global Climate Change for deniers out there) that Nuclear power is a better option for large scale reduction of CO2 Emissions until we have repeatable large scale solutions with solar/wind that are both recyclable and work at night / when wind is down. Because to support Solar/Wind Germany has had to rely on Gas power plants to supplement their gap in supply. Which they sell the excess to their neighbors instead.

As I stated above, I'm still digging around forming an opinion on this but it's why I'm at where I am now.


Thorium, alternative reactors, reprocessing - all of this requires a lot of research and it's exceedingly expensive. Private entities won't touch it and it's difficult for governments to invest.

If the numbers added up China would be doing it already, but even for them - where they can still socialize the costs of failure (i.e. if it blows up, oh well, whereas in the West there's $100B in lawsuits) - it's expensive.


Private entities won't touch it and it's difficult for governments to invest.

Not Thorium, but Bill Gates is invested in alternative nuclear, along with the US govt: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/TerraPower


Yes, thorium. And everything else. Gates put $35M into it, which is peanuts. In order to transform Nuclear the R&D will have to be in the order of billions.

Drug companies can put more than that into a single failed drug, for comparison.


A nuclear meltdown in China would call into question the government’s competence. “If an event like Fukushima punctures that image of competence, that’s very, very consequential,” says William Overholt, a China expert at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. “That would delegitimize the regime.”

Nuclear likes to produce a slow, steady, constant output. If there aren't good on demand fill sources the alternative (point 5) either involves batteries (or another reservoir of some-kind, EG reverse pump hydro; which BTW exists near some river dams) OR a variable consumer. A consumer that doesn't mind getting suddenly cut without warning. This might be an electrolysis process for separating water in to hydrogen and oxygen for industrial applications / chemical fuel production, or it could be some other similar process that might benefit from a stable run cycle but isn't catastrophically affected by loss of power.

Nuclear can absolutely load follow. It's just not used that way today in the USA because the nuclear generation capacity is below the base load, the cost is completely sunk, so you as the plant owner might as well run it at 100% and sell all of the electricity into the grid.

If nuclear was a much larger component of the overall generation capacity in the USA we'd see them load following up and down over the 24 hour cycle.


1. Dig a hole

2. Put a fence around the hole

3. Put a sign on the fence saying "if you cross this fence you will die"

4. Put radioactive waste in the hole

5. Cover the hole

It's not a complicated problem.


"We cannot guarantee that any simple or complex message, even when recognized and correctly interpreted, will deter a human being from inappropriate action."

From https://prod-ng.sandia.gov/techlib-noauth/access-control.cgi...

See also https://www.damninteresting.com/this-place-is-not-a-place-of...


Unless humanity reverts to a pre industrial state, future inhabitants should have tech to detect radioactive material —just as we can now. If we fall to a pre industrial state, it’s doubtful we’d be able to get to the buried waste material like Yucca mountain.

Just add Geiger sensors to phones. If it goes beyond a certain level, you lose data connection. Then watch the people flock away.

> I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

Albert Einstein, in an interview with Alfred Werner, Liberal Judaism 16 (April-May 1949), Einstein Archive 30-1104, as sourced in The New Quotable Einstein by Alice Calaprice (2005), p. 173


The sign wasn't kidding. Leave any skeletons from people who thought it was in place and that will be warning enough.

I hate water tables too.

And yet it still hasn't been done. Why do you think that is?

It's already done. What makes you think it wasn't done?

How do you prevent it from raining on the fenced off area?

The way around this is to put the waste in an old salt mine. Salt deposits accumulated there in the first place because it's been dry for thousands of years due to geological features like an impermeable rock dome overhead.

The real problem is that nobody wants this waste dump in their state. The Yucca Mountain complex is pretty much perfect for this application but politicians killed it.


Clarification - Feb. 19, 2019

A previous version of this story didn't explain that the proximity to uranium ore described was unlikely to cause health problems, and it referred to uranium instead of uranium ore.


Your comparison is invalid.

My comparison of the dangers of nuclear power to a paint bucket of uranium?

As someone who grew up in Boston I have lived within 40 miles of a nuclear power plant for a decent chunk of my life. The times that nuclear power has caused disasters it has always been closely tied to mismanagement and human errors - which are solvable problems if we're open about the costs to utilize nuclear power in a manner more similar to France.

I'm pretty sure you're more likely to be killed by a particularly ill mannered seabass than a nuclear power plant explosion (It definitely, for realsies, looks like being struck by lightning is a much more common way to die, but the specific counts are hard to dig up)


I like nuclear power. But as you point out, human "error" is why I'm against it.

It was not even human error for Fukushima, they had ignored experts because the solution would hit the company's bottom line.

So the solution is having it government owned. But unfortunately, there's a clear history of governments selling assets.

Sorry, but until there's tiny reactors, the risk is huge because; human nature not science.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japa-nuclear-risks/specia...


Does the decommissioning process for a nuclear plant involve returning the space to other uses? Does it become a permanent dead zone? Half-lives of thousands of years are no joke. Practically infinite is a long time.

Yes. In the United States the NRC requires that civilian nuclear power plants be remediated to a point where the property can be released for unlimited use within 60 years of termination of the license. Most of this time span is provided for financial reasons, not technical, as decommissioning is financially secured by a trust fund which gains value with time (the use and investment of which is monitored by the NRC).

The NRC does recognize an "entombment" state for facilities in which they are secured so as to be permanently safe, but this does not remove the 60-year requirement, so is usually done when another facility on the same site still has an active license, preventing full-site remediation.


> Practically infinite is a long time.

Nuclear power plants are not large. They're definitely smaller than the literally hundreds of acres of equivalent solar panels. [1]

[1] Solar requires 3.4 acres/GWh/yr according to 2013 study. (https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/56290.pdf). The smallest U.S. nuclear power plant was built in 1970 and generates 582 MW (https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=104&t=3). That's 3.4 acres/GWh/yr * 1000 GWh/MWh * 582 MW / 24 h/day / 365 day/yr = 225 acres of solar panels.


> (It definitely, for realsies, looks like being struck by lightning is a much more common way to die, but the specific counts are hard to dig up)

Of course. But what are the chances that almost every human in a big city get's struck by a lightning at the same time? It only has to happen once. I can't understand how people can think so carelessly when it comes to something this dangerous.

"It's really really really unlikely that something goes horribly wrong" something goes horribly wrong "welp."

We better find us some more planets to fuck up.


> The times that nuclear power has caused disasters it has always been closely tied to mismanagement and human errors

Is is really really hard to solve the problem of human mismanagement though. The technical challenges with nuclear are solvable, but the human factor is not. Take something like the space shuttle disasters - arguable both do to bad management. If NASA cant solve this problem even with the brightest minds and enormous resources, how can nuclear?

If someone can solve the problem of human mismanagement, I'm all for nuclear.


You are the one being irrational here. Nuclear power is just way too expensive (when done safely at today's standards) and can't compete in any way with renewables, if you start to factor in all associated costs (e.g. insurance, waste management and security,...) which the government/taxpayer usually has to bear.

Nuclear power won't save the planet, but given the political will and investments we have all necessary instruments to get to 100% carbon-free power sources available today (better, cheaper and more sustainable than fission nuclear).


Seems a tad unfair to cost in complete lifecycle analysis for nuclear but not its competitors. And the assertion that it can't compete "in any way" with renewables seems to omit some salient advantages - it has the potential to provide constant, basically unlimited power with virtually no land use and no ecological disruption of any kind.

Virtually no land use, despite nobody wanting to live besides a nuclear reactor? My argument was that renewables can provide the same unlimited power (and the "constant" part can be done via batteries or other means, given sufficient investment. No other energy source comes even close to nuclear when it comes to "hidden" lifecycle costs. Alone the fact that a nuclear plant is not insurable shows, that nuclear depends on enormous public subsidies and will never be commercially viable on itself.

Interesting that I am getting downvoted without anyone providing any arguments or facts against my narrative.


> despite nobody wanting to live besides a nuclear reactor

I certainly wouldn't say this is true. I live 13 miles from Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Not only is its proximity a non-issue for the vast amount of us in San Luis Obispo county, the economic vitality it injects into our economy (high paying jobs, taxes, etc.) helps make our area very desirable to live in. For reference Diablo gives us $22 million in local property taxes annually, of which about $8 million per year is allocated to the school district. It's going to be tough when it shuts down in 2024/2025.


We don’t—grid scale battery technology is a necessary piece of the puzzle. The only reason renewables work at all is that we have sufficient fossil fuel capacity to cover the entire demand.

I challenge anyone who downvote me to provide a sound reasoning why my position is wrong and how nuclear energy on a large scale is viable and more cost efficient than renewables (with storage/distribution costs factored in already!).

Fact is: Even the pro-nuclear lobby did not manage to show how nuclear is competitive anymore. If you totally dismiss external effects and subsidies, sure, nuclear looks attractive on paper. If you start accounting for longterm waste management, safety costs, insurance (this is a biggie! No insurance company in the world will insure a nuclear power plant. This alone shows that the technology can not be commercially viable. Calculations usually just assume zero-cost government guarantees...) and factor in realistic building costs (please look up the last reactor projects in western countries), it becomes clear that (fission) nuclear is not the solution. As said at other places in this thread: Even China, where many of the external effects can be discounted vs the west does not build new nuclear plants on a great scale.

But sure, downvoting is easier than discussing that topic critically or providing any sound arguments in favor of commercial viability of nuclear vs renewables.


First, I think the downvote issue is more you making several statements but not providing supporting evidence, and then challenging people to provide evidence for not agreeing with you, which is whack.

I don't necessarily think nuclear energy on a large scale is more viable or more cost effective than renewables, however, I think you're overstating some of the issues you present. Based on the nuclear industry in the U.S.:

You say "No insurance company in the world will insure a nuclear power plant" which is false. Taken directly from the III website, "Nuclear insurance consists of two tiers. The first tier is private liability insurance coverage made available by a pool of U.S. insurance companies, called American Nuclear Insurers. The second tier is made up of an assessment on nuclear power plant operators... which is supplied by the nuclear power industry as a whole. Under the Price-Anderson Act, all reactor owners are committed to paying their share of any damages that exceed the incident reactor owner’s first tier limit of $375 million—up to $111.9 million per reactor. Since [there] are currently 104 reactors in operation, the amount that would be available in the industry pool to pay claims totals $12.6 billion (2011)."[1] Clearly the insurance arrangement for nuclear power plants is atypical, but they certainly do have coverage (both private and public) and really most everything about nuclear is treated as atypical anyway. Hydro dams have similar insurance issues, despite having nothing to do with the nuclear industry, and can't rely on normal insurance companies for worse-case scenario incidents like total retainment failures.

Building costs for nuclear reactors are certainly high, but they significantly drop after the first reactor is built. Each subsequent reactor added to an existing plant creates immense value at a fraction of the cost. I work for an energy company that owns several nuclear plants. A nuclear operator trainer once told me the "first reactor is built to get all the permits and licenses in order, the second reactor is built to print money." The French, who deeply invested into nuclear, enjoy one of the lowest electricity rates in Europe[2], so I would challenge how how are they managing that? An uncited statement from Wikepedia (my favorite type of statement) suggests insurance only accounts for 0.1% of nuclear costs. The upfront capital costs of nuclear are a given, but the point is that the costs are eaten away over the long-term, as the plant operates for 40, 50, or 60 years. The big financial issue here (i.e. political issue) is that the cost recoupment of nuclear is not designed to give the capital investor an ROI 4-10 years after construction, it's meant to pass on the ROI to the next generation 30 years later. This kills the lender. Nuclear is also a cornered niche market that allows major price gouging and lacks a decent-sized pool of experienced construction experts, which accounts for the construction issues and cost overruns that occur.

Regarding China, there is certainly evidence that their build rate has slowed, but this is less caused by nuclear pricing (otherwise why would they have committed to ((I think) 25 reactors!?) but rather caused by supply chain issues with fuel, building materials, and trained personnel who can operate and maintain the plants.[3]

I'm self-admittedly not a power pricing expert, but I do know that most cost calculations for energy do not account for site maintenance, decommissioning, waste management, and other similar long-term issues, with the exception for nuclear. Nuclear pricing often does have a lot of this built into its pricing models because these are all actions that are (1) highly regulated by the government, (2) legally required to be planned for, (3) will cause a company to incur fines if not managed correctly, and (4) have enough of an impact on price that they front-load the costs into nuclear pricing schemes specifically to avoid balloon pricing issues later in life (long-term lifecycle planning is a staple of nuclear management). So unless you can provide some specifically sourced dollar-to-dollar comparisons of energy commodity prices, I choose not to believe your statement on this. I would personally argue that nuclear is comparable in price to on-land wind generation, and slightly more expensive than solar at the $/kwh level. However, nuclear can produce significantly more power than solar in a similar physical space.

All of this ignores the low-carbon footprint of nuclear, and also assumes that battery and storage technologies that turn "renewables" into "reliables" are present (from my view they're barely here, and they're super expensive). Nuclear fears have also deterred nuclear R&D, which has left the industry slagging behind where it could have been by now. Nuclear also has one of the most fuel-efficient "burns", where the amount of mass required to "burn" to get energy is orders of magnitudes lower than other sources. The amount of waste from nuclear is also significantly lower than amounts generated by other sources, but obviously it can be highly hazardous. Though nobody really ever asked what power companies were doing with all that CO2 they were producing as a byproduct, it literally just floated away, and it was by volume significantly more than the amount of spent nuclear fuel sitting around right now. How much actual realized damage have we caused by CO2 emissions vs radioactive byproducts? I genuinely don't know.

[1] https://www.iii.org/article/insurance-coverage-nuclear-accid... [2] https://en.selectra.info/energy-france/guides/electricity/co... [3] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-01-11/china-sho...


> given the political will

Don't gloss over this that quickly, this is literally the hardest part.

You might as well wish for a viable commercial fusion plant. Honestly, it's probably easier than getting China to go carbon-free.


The legal machinations Disney went through to secure the site for The Florida Project, as it was then called, are unprecedented and will never be repeated. Disney is the government there.

The rationale was that Disney knew more about safety and engineering than the cities that surrounded the property. And you know what? They were right. A drive through the area will make it obvious as soon as you hit Disney property (40 sq miles or larger than Manhattan, BTW). It's cleaner and safer with better roads, signs, and landscaping. There are no overhead power lines, for example. Even their parking lots are smarter with sensors that lead you to the nearest empty space.

Having said that, I don't think they would ever attempt a nuke plant and I'm glad about that.


> Having said that, I don't think they would ever attempt a nuke plant and I'm glad about that.

I'm... not?

If they did it well they could demystify and de-...demonize nuclear power and maybe return some of that "Magic of Science" feeling they were famous for before the 90s. Disney was a real innovator back in the day, I'd be quite happy to see them take on nuclear power and do it well - maybe with a Gen4 reactor like thorium MSR.


A nuclear plant is many billions, it's a bridge too far.

Moreover, the potential negative PR could be problematic for them.

Finally, Disney is not what it used to be, it's now mostly an entertainment company. They have 0 understanding of these things, it's way beyond their capacity. It's a regular public company without founder/visionary and I can't ever see a board approving this.

Google - this would be a company for which it would be outlandish but still within reach, i.e. they have (had?) 'moonshots' - those heady founder-backed 'change the world' projects which are part of how companies winning the current 'visionary narrative' get to spend their money.

That's all gone; fortunately Bezos can spend, and it's SpaceX's business to do that, not a side-show, so they'll be around. And the Virgin billionaire as well.

Edit: I should add - Disney is firmly an entertainment business, they are effectively a Hollywood Studio, mostly like any other. For anyone with any exposure to this business, it seems abundantly clear how out of bounds this would be; and this is good because these are maybe the last people we want building nuclear power plants.


I'm not sure tritium-laced drinking fountains would go over well with Disney's safety team, nor their guests.

There might be possibilities between "no nuclear power plant" and "tritium-laced drinking fountains".

That would be great! Let's get that tech for Turkey Point.

Can you elaborate?

Also, credit where credit is due: "Turkey Point has been a contributing force to the reclassification of the American crocodile from endangered to the less serious category of vulnerable." - Wiki


Yes. It leaks radioactive tritium, like the vast majority of nuclear plants.

And those legal machinations were arranged by a lawyer who used to be a CIA recruiter. I'll add this video of Walt Disney's original plan for the land, in which Disney World is overshadowed by the (u/dys)topian city he called EPCOT (later mangled into the showroom we know today by his brother and investors who were scared of costs and didn't see reliable earning potential in running a city) with a timestamp to when the fun starts: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sLCHg9mUBag&t=06m21s

This is the stuff that inspired BioShock and similar settings (I believe I read an interview years ago where one of the designers mentioned it as an influence, but I wouldn't know where to find a link).


Source on lawyer, etc?

Thanks very much in advance!


I couldn't find my original source for this, but in finding another one[0] (that wasn't crazy -- searching for Disney and the CIA bring up a lot of crazies) I actually found an interesting take on why EPCOT wasn't legally viable as a city while maintaining the control of the land that Disney (the company and the man) wanted:

>Indeed, Walt's comments on a May 23, 1966, memo suggest that he himself had privately backed away from the model city vision before he died. In the memo, which was found in Walt's desk and is now kept at the Disney Archives in Burbank, Calif., Florida attorney Paul Helliwell sketched out the problem of allowing permanent residents at Epcot. If people lived there, they would vote there, diluting the company's political control of the property. It seems that Walt's thoughts were headed in a similar direction: On the memo, every time Helliwell referred to "permanent residents," Walt crossed it out and substituted "temporary residents/tourists."

[...]

>In that memo, Helliwell expressed concern about state and local laws that might limit the company's "freedom of action" in developing its 43-square-mile property. He proposed a Disney-controlled government with regulatory powers "superseding to the fullest extent possible under law state and county regulatory authorities." There was just one hitch: Under Florida law, as Helliwell explained, planning and zoning authority could only be exercised by a popularly elected government. To escape external land-use controls, the company had to submit to control by voters. Disney attorneys, however, found a clever way to avoid this fate.

[...]

>To acquire such powers, the company had to convince the Florida legislature that Epcot would be a bona fide community. Paul Helliwell, acting as lobbyist, frequently used the term "resident" in describing the company's plans. Disney lobbyists also told lawmakers that Disney would include "public school sites and other public needs in their two cities," according to an April 22, 1967, article in the Orlando Sentinel-Star. And Helliwell told legislators, few of whom had read the thick Reedy Creek charter, that the company was not asking for anything "that had not been done before." At best the statement was half-true: The charter combined the powers available in three kinds of special districts. But Florida had not combined those powers in one district before.

The CIA is actually hosting a formerly secret letter by Helliwell here[1] (you can find a full PDF on the linked page), but that's technically concerning the CIA predecessor the OSS. For a strictly CIA connection, we have to go pack to another Washington Post piece[2]:

>Castle Bank was set up and principally controlled by the late Paul Lionel Edward Helliwell, a Miami lawyer. Helliwell, who had longstanding ties to the U.S. intelligence community, was instrumental in helping to direct a network of CIA undercover operations and "proprietaries." (A proprietary is a concern secretly set up and controlled by the CIA, ostensibly as legitimate business.)

I haven't found a good source establishing Helliwell as a CIA recruiter -- my memory is that he was, but my memory is made of water and I haven't found bits and bytes backing it up yet, so who knows. It's late here, and I've gotta get some sleep. Hope that helps!

[0]: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/magazine/19...

[1]: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/document/0005657712

[2]: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1980/04/24/c...


It is also a real city with permanent residents, nearly all of whom are Disney employees. The city portion is called Celebration. More recently, Disney began offering on-property fancy housing (ie: mansions) with access to the park, Disney topiary and landscaping,etc.

Reedy Creek is not a sovereign nation, building a reactor would still need to clear the federal NRC.

It’s a great concept to demonstrate how much leeway WDC got from the state of Florida, but not much else.


Disney is more likely to run a nuclear powerplant better than any government agency as long as there are no backroom deals with states/local governments that Disney keeps the profit but taxpayers pay for the liability.

A lot of American companies there were trying to setup nuke powerplants in India always haggled on that point. They keep the profit where as government of India pays for the liability insurance.


I mean yeah I get the immediate fear monger response to the contrary a headline like this is meant to illicit, but... nuclear power plants are already built but private companies. Disney clearly has the capitol and I can think of no better company to run a nuclear power plant than disney! Think of their proven track record and commitment to maintence, and the culture that inevitably has had to subsequintly evolve to maintain that commitment to maintenance. Seriously there’s not another company like them that’s even in the same ballpark as to the level to attention to detail that they’ve been able to pull off for over half a century!

> It created the Reedy Creek Improvement District, making Disney World its own tightly controlled governmental entity with its own laws. Disney has the power, for example, to create its own police force, even though it hasn’t so far.

It has, however, created its own Fire Department.


Actually, they do have their own police force and also an on-property jail. Nearly all Disney security personnel are undercover, dressed as tourists or other kinds of workers so as not to be off-putting to guests.

The book Vinyl Leaves is an incredible and comprehensive look at many of the secrets behind the Disney empire.


Security forces and police forces are not the same thing.

Disney has both security - with no arrest powers - and contracts with Orange County Sheriff's Office to staff on-duty officers. "Jail" means a security office where they detain you while waiting for the cops to cart you off, just like a shoplifter at a store might sit for a few minutes in the manager's office awaiting the cops.

https://www.clickorlando.com/news/disney-world-law-enforceme...


Any private company with sufficiently large compounds has its own fire department(s). To pick a few random examples, Boeing, FedEx, Lockheed Martin, ExxonMobil, Electric Boat, Pratt & Whitney all have at least one.

Yes, please, let them keep the option. In 20-50 years when we are actually willing to build these things the correct way again I want everyone to have that option.

In Florida Walt Disney had a greater plan than another theme park. He wanted to try and provide a living experience, a prototype for the cities of the future. He died before this could happen but the original plans for EPCOT were epic:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPCOT_(concept)

That's why they wanted a power plant, to be independent from that externatlity. With Walt, that plan died.

I am pretty pro-nuclear but that's probably not a bad idea to refresh an agreement made during the 60s and either revoke it or add some security constraints.

The last thing you want if you are pro-nuclear is another scandal of a nuclear power plant being poorly handled.


Youtuber Rob Plays did a video[1] about this as well

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEbqhJQKaVE


Good one! Thanks.

Disney was a great genius, and his charter city was extremely ambitious. It is amazing how far he got. I think he may have succeeded if he had lived.

EPCOT is an insult to his vision.


His brother, Roy, and the other members of the Board did want to do the full Epcot but they didn't think they could pull it off without him.

There’s a surprising amount of FUDD in here regarding nuclear power. Nuclear power is the only serious option we have for clean, reliable, carbon-free power. A no-brainer if you believe in climate change. Generation 3 reactors have been in operation for decades, proving themselves perfectly safe. Bonus - they use nuclear waste as fuel.

Realistically, hydro meets your three objectives (clean, reliable, carbon-free) with way less risk of irradiating a city or proliferating nuclear fuel generation.

Advances in transmission line technology also enable hydro plants to be hundreds or even thousands of miles from power consumers. There's a project currently underway to connect a huge hydro plant in Quebec, where all the water from the Great Lakes drains to the Atlantic, to the New England market via a transmission line through Maine.


Hydroelectricity is cheaper than nuclear, but relatively niche. It needs a lot of flowing water and a large change in elevation. In many places it is dead in the water.

Compare this to nuclear, which only needs a large body of cooling water. Saltwater or fresh water, doesn’t matter.


HVDC means you can literally be a thousand miles from the power plant. That's distance from the Hoover Dam to Kansas City. There's literally nowhere in America beyond the range of a viable hydro plant.

Strange that America isn’t pure hydro. Also strange that so many startups ignore hydro and jump to nuclear.

> Generation 3 reactors have been in operation for decades, proving themselves perfectly safe.

That is just not how it works.


So how does it work in France?

Proof by example does not work in France either.

Nuclear power is reliable, safe, clean, and carbon-free. It’s the best technology choice for combatting climate change. People who dismiss nuclear energy aren’t serious players.

People who deny the danger of nuclear power (which is not the same as supporting nuclear) are no better than climate change deniers.

Where did I deny either? Generation 3 plants have a perfect track record. And nuclear is worthwhile to pursue, no matter one’s stance on climate change.

The question is not "do they have the right", but rather should they be prevented via the government. Seeing as a coal plant (the other likely option) has impacts all its own, I think not. It is the lesser of two evils, if not a perfect good.

A forward-thinking Disney would buy the rights to the Simpsons and make a (mal)functioning nuclear plant the centerpiece of Springfield, FL.

Disney owns Simpsons already!

Though, they don't own theme park rights! Fox previously sold theme park rights to Universal

Doh!

From deep in the article:

Even Antone, who almost filed the bill that would nix the nuclear option, doubts that the step is necessary. His bill, he told CityLab, is aimed at making contract arbitration binding for Reedy Creek firefighters; the nuclear clause was likely added for leverage, he said.


Only if the fuel cooling ponds double as a "small world" boat ride.

The fact that Disney controls their own governmental entity also means they have a cheaper cost of capital for (some) improvements. RCID can sell tax exempt bonds, which saves them money on interest.

You solve all the nuclear reactor bullshit by demanding full insurance coverage - nobody can effort this. Problem solved.

No, it's just a cover for their missile program.

No

OK I'll expand on this since it was downvoted. Legislation, however old, allowing corporations to build nuclear power plants is a big no for me. Imagine Amazon or Apple building their own nuclear plants...

What's the difference between Disney and FirstEnergy?

Corporations already own power plants, possibly most of them.

A lot of big power users own their own power generation facilities, such as the Chicago Transit Authority.


Letting them build sounds good to me. Nuclear power is safe when you want it to be, and we need more of it.

There is still the problem of nuclear waste being highly radioactive for thousands of years and us not knowing how to deal with it properly.

As mentioned above, it can't be both highly radioactive and active for thousand of years. If it were that it would not be waste.

Why do you think we don't know how to deal with it properly?

What do you think we do with our current nuclear waste? What is "improper" about our current processes?


> Why do you think we don't know how to deal with it properly?

Is this a serious question?

We bury it underground in vast bunkers with hundreds of warnings and ominous-looking signs inteded to warn people thousands of years into the future not to fucking open the thing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onkalo_spent_nuclear_fuel_repo...

Of course we don't know how to handle it. We basically dump nuclear waste in glorified landfills. Look how great that turned out for our regular waste that doesn't pose the grave threat of biological/ecological hazard.


Yes its a serious question. Why do you consider burying it in a vast underground bunker not a sufficient solution?

You talk as if that's obviously a bad idea but to me it seems peefe fly reasonable. Yes there is some concern about people thousands of years from now not understanding the warnings, but the people during right now and in the near future due to coal and climate change seem like a bigger concern at the moment.


Letting a media company design and build a nuclear power plant when they have precisely no experience in that sphere seems dumb to me.



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