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Author Topic: Is my career in real danger soon? Nuclear promise, commercial nuke future, etc.  (Read 8229 times)

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Offline Coolestower

So anyone who works in this industry has probably been hearing at least some about the strain our industry is facing right now. The pressure from natural gas prices is causing a great challenge for nuclear power to remain profitable. Unfortunately, this has gone on so long now that there is a big push to get cost down which involves largely cutting staff along with other streamlining processes (reduced outages, training, etc) I work as a contractor myself, so the duration of outages was already short as is, and is only getting worse.


With all that said, the climate in the plants i've worked in all seem very dire, with the company reps saying the industry is in a downward spiral, contractor leads threatening us saying only short outages from here on, telling us how screwed we are.. All while telling us to stay working for them, it's all very strange feeling. I'm not sure if i'm missing the obvious warning sign to just try and find a new job, or if there is a reasonable chance that things will remain alright?


Fact of the matter is, both myself and my wife work in this industry, we are recently new home owners, medical bills, etc, the stresses of money have never felt so strong to us, and all during a time our industry is telling us how bad things are going to get, it's a very scary feeling.


I wanted to inquire on the wisdom here, to see perspective on what the situation is, is likely to become, etc. I'm not looking for false hope, but just a reasonable opinion of what is going to happen and I guess, if things are really going away, the estimated timeframe for when things will begin to collapse if they do, and how that would pan out for contractors.


I feel like during my entire recent outage (I prefer not to say where I was working) that they used the term Nuclear Promise a LOT as a scare tactic, intimidating people and really just making us all worry, and I can't really tell if it's really that bad already or is there some embellishing going on.


I've never been more worried in my life, I have only been doing this about 10 years and had assumed I had a career here, unfortunately only having a high school education, i'm not sure where I could turn without my job, so any advice or words of wisdom, even if bad, would be helpful to me to gain perspective. Thanks, I hope to get some thoughts soon and I hope this isn't a bad place to put this, wasn't really seeing a shoe in spot :P

Offline RRhoads

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The "DNP" (Delivering the Nuclear Promise ) as its termed at MY plant IS real and IS coming faster than anything I've witnessed in this industry in my 25+ years!
However,  nobody here is talking in terms of it being a scare tactic, fact of the matter is we have all known for a while that WE as an industry that supplies electricity could improve on processes to be more efficient.....and that's more evident when you have been a house tech for 10+ years.
Don't know what part of the country you are located but maybe you should look at DOE to ease your fears of not making a living in Commercial nuclear, fact is Hanford has (and has since the summer) 20+ SR HP tech positions open that they apparently can't fill.

Offline bopeep

Making a living as a RP contractor in commercial Nuclear  power these days is not a bright future. 80's and 90's ,thats gone.If you want to work 5 or 6 months a year,and sit on your butt the rest of the time,you can,but  isn't very productive.If you'r smart,jump on a long term DOE job. Just saying.

Offline SloGlo

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our pea contracting is sketchy n doesn't a peer two have much improvement awn the horizon. probly the best money move wood bee too go house at a knew power plant. that kin give you awl the earnings yew wood want until retirement age.
quando omni flunkus moritati

dubble eye, dubble yew, dubble aye!

dew the best ya kin, wit watt ya have, ware yinze are!

Offline Coolestower

Well I work as a Decon that would like to move into RP someday, but a house job is not ideal since there exist no plants where I live. I do live in the US but being in the Midwest, the house options are slim. In content working 6 months a year, but fear I soon won't have any work option at all in nuke :(

Offline SloGlo

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witch is a good reason too go house. got the training, move the career. gist mite find other places r nice four living two.
quando omni flunkus moritati

dubble eye, dubble yew, dubble aye!

dew the best ya kin, wit watt ya have, ware yinze are!

rlbinc

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There is a pendulum in commercial nuclear power. The Nuclear Promise is an attempt to synchronize the multitude of pendulums into the direction of cut staff and cut budget.
Its a noble cause. We have to compete in the deregulated markets our executives so ferociously sought in the 1990s when they were mortified at the spectre of ENRON moving into their power markets.
We later found out our power markets should have been left regulated - because Enron was a fraud that likely never earned a legitimate nickel.
That's neither here nor there - we cannot go back barring an economic zombie apocalypse.
There are windmills out there generating power with a $26 per Mw hr leg up. They can sell at minus $15 per Mw hr and still make $11 - which zero fuel cost accommodates all too frequently.
Natural Gas is much larger threat - with US Natural Gas selling at 1/3 Global Average Natural Gas Price.
Your executives must act.
They have to lower costs or we'll hear more Kewaunee, Crystal River, San Onofre, Vermont Yankee, Fitzpatrick, and Pilgrim news - featuring YOUR favorite place to work.
We are closing many more nuclear plants than the four units we are building - and they're not on line yet.

Staff will be cut, severance packages can be paid out of pension funds. O&M costs will decline. But our complex nuclear plants get no simpler to Operate or Maintain by decree.
They still need upkeep or go ahead pull the plug, they'll become too unreliable to justify continued operation if neglected too long. We have all seen 19 day Refueling Outages. We have also seen plants barely make it online before a trip or scram. Most outages are "Reactor Building" focused, unfortunately the Turbine Building and Switchyard can host the dragons unfought during the outage. And those trips do have very real economic consequences.

In my opinion, the aging workforce crisis is being mitigated by the early closure crisis - by fortunate coincidence. Enough experience exists to relocate talent where it is needed to take good care of what's left. It is high time employees are rated, ranked, and trimmed to promote long term plant health. As far as contract work goes - its regional and variable as always. There's a stack yea high on someone's desk, and they can bring in a contractor that is NOT full time payroll, work that person until no longer needed and everyone leaves happy. I see a greater role for temporary skilled contract work to keep the plants up without burdensome payroll costs.

If US Nuclear Power survives long term with many of its present plants operating, we will do it cheaper.

Offline hamsamich

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Good post.  Some things that could throw a wrinkle in this hypothesis are high future natty gas prices, slower and more expensive renewable development, subsidies being reduced on renewables, and the future placing a higher value on carbon free production that can't be met by renewable.  Oh yeah and political agenda can always trump reality or perceived reality.

Offline a|F

There is a pendulum in commercial nuclear power. The Nuclear Promise is an attempt to synchronize the multitude of pendulums into the direction of cut staff and cut budget.
Its a noble cause. We have to compete in the deregulated markets our executives so ferociously sought in the 1990s when they were mortified at the spectre of ENRON moving into their power markets.
We later found out our power markets should have been left regulated - because Enron was a fraud that likely never earned a legitimate nickel.
That's neither here nor there - we cannot go back barring an economic zombie apocalypse.
There are windmills out there generating power with a $26 per Mw hr leg up. They can sell at minus $15 per Mw hr and still make $11 - which zero fuel cost accommodates all too frequently.
Natural Gas is much larger threat - with US Natural Gas selling at 1/3 Global Average Natural Gas Price.
Your executives must act.
They have to lower costs or we'll hear more Kewaunee, Crystal River, San Onofre, Vermont Yankee, Fitzpatrick, and Pilgrim news - featuring YOUR favorite place to work.
We are closing many more nuclear plants than the four units we are building - and they're not on line yet.

Staff will be cut, severance packages can be paid out of pension funds. O&M costs will decline. But our complex nuclear plants get no simpler to Operate or Maintain by decree.
They still need upkeep or go ahead pull the plug, they'll become too unreliable to justify continued operation if neglected too long. We have all seen 19 day Refueling Outages. We have also seen plants barely make it online before a trip or scram. Most outages are "Reactor Building" focused, unfortunately the Turbine Building and Switchyard can host the dragons unfought during the outage. And those trips do have very real economic consequences.

In my opinion, the aging workforce crisis is being mitigated by the early closure crisis - by fortunate coincidence. Enough experience exists to relocate talent where it is needed to take good care of what's left. It is high time employees are rated, ranked, and trimmed to promote long term plant health. As far as contract work goes - its regional and variable as always. There's a stack yea high on someone's desk, and they can bring in a contractor that is NOT full time payroll, work that person until no longer needed and everyone leaves happy. I see a greater role for temporary skilled contract work to keep the plants up without burdensome payroll costs.

If US Nuclear Power survives long term with many of its present plants operating, we will do it cheaper.

Could someone please like this post for me?  ;)

Offline Marlin

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Could someone please like this post for me?  ;)

Gold memberships are cheap but I gave him some Karma several hours ago. It is a well thought out post.

Offline Rennhack

Could someone please like this post for me?  ;)

I added an option for you to "Like" posts.

Offline Coolestower

It was a good post, then I read about fort calhoun shutting down now, was that something people knew about? I hadn't heard it mentioned among the doom and gloom until today -_-

Offline Nuclear NASCAR

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I believe that it was announced this summer.
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge."

  -Bertrand Russell


 


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