Nuclear power

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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der Freiherr
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby der Freiherr » 05 Jan 2022, 15:14

Rorschach wrote:
der Freiherr wrote:
Rorschach wrote:Are you for or against?


I don't know. I'm open to the arguments. I just don't know enough to have a real opinion.

I think Q (the infrequent poster who posts the compilations) is pretty passionate about it.


Which way does he swing?


The nuclear way
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Rorschach » 05 Jan 2022, 17:06

der Freiherr wrote:
Rorschach wrote:
Which way does he swing?


The nuclear way


Oh good. He always struck me as the rational type. 8-)
Bugger off.

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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Hightea » 05 Jan 2022, 17:15

Deebank wrote:
Hightea wrote:
Rorschach wrote:

Well, the BBC (and many others) doesn't entirely agree.
Maybe not habitable in the near future but not useless.

Read the same report before, actually pretty well read on the subject.
While plant life and some animal life has returned its still isn't safe for humans.
Let alone the damage it did around the world.
By the way neither of these incidents are the worse that can happen.
Much worse damage can be done from a Nuclear Reactor accident let alone in todays world some terrorist can destroy one.
Nuclear is safer than the 80's but not worth it in my eyes.


Who knows how many cancers and deaths Chernobyl caused in total?
As Samoan's article hinted, the effects were still being felt in North Wales well into the (then) new millennium.

While I believe rates for leukaemia and other cancers were monitored in the Ukraine and its surrounding countries (although IIRC from the blurb at the end of the TV drama Chernobyl widely covered up and suppressed), I'm not sure how tightly they were monitored and correlated further afield... How many kids did walk about in their bare feet?

Which makes me think, that original 180m lives saved figure is a hypothetical (or a model). In that scenario - where nuclear power wasn't used - perhaps the colossal investments put into nuclear were used to develop alternatives? When you postulate an alternative past, all bets are off.

agree

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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Hightea » 05 Jan 2022, 17:30

Rorschach wrote:
Hightea wrote:Good timing Rorschach
check what CHina is doing:

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/china-switched-nuclear-fusion-device-204100017.html


I wish them all the luck in the world, I really do, but I remain sceptical.
People have been trying to produce energy through fusion in an economically and technologically viable way since the 1940's but no-one's come very close to cracking it yet. Every few years there's an incremental improvement in one aspect or another of the required technology and some people are putting serious money into it. Maybe they'll get there eventually, but I think it'll take a long time still.

Notice that the Chinese reactor story is under 'entertainment' news, rather than science. It's not a bigger deal than other stuff that's going on around the world like the National Ignition Facility in California, which claims, with some credibility apparently, to have produced energy from fusion last year. Now they have to repeat that on an ever increasing scale but that's looking difficult.

Anyway, I hope they do succeed. That would give the world another chance. But in the meantime ...


Yes read some more on the subject last night and see its not really what I thought although it is a step so I'm less skeptical then you, I guess.
Want to read more.

I get the main sources now are Nuclear or coal. Although other forms are at least cutting into these two giants for power. Wind, Solar, hydro, biomass. While its not a solution it helps.

Here is another report on USA usage.
https://www.electricrate.com/data-center/electricity-sources-by-state/

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Re: Nuclear power

Postby mudshark » 05 Jan 2022, 21:27

Isn't that 'electricate' report on usage in the USA very encouraging? 20% of all states produce more than 40% of their energy through renewables. I really didn't expect to to be that high (Germany 35%, by the way, and 'only' 22% from brown coal). The USA has 98(!) operating nuclear power reactors which produce 20% of all electricity. It scared the shit out of me to find out there are 98, but in order to go nuclear they have to build at least three times as many (assuming that the new reactors would be more efficient).

In 2018 the 17 reactors in Germany produced only 11% of all energy generated. I think Rorschach's argument is that renewables can (and perhaps have) made up that 11%, but it's much more difficult to compensate the 35% that comes from black and brown coal. And he does have a point there. But in my opinion it's overall better to invest in relatively clean power plants that run on natural gas and use those until renewables have made up the difference, than go nuclear. Reasons given previously.

Just on a side note: in the USA only 14% of all energy comes from coal. I'm rather pleasantly surprised!
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Hightea » 05 Jan 2022, 21:34

mudshark wrote:Isn't that 'electricate' report on usage in the USA very encouraging? 20% of all states produce more than 40% of their energy through renewables. I really didn't expect to to be that high (Germany 35%, by the way, and 'only' 22% from brown coal). The USA has 98(!) operating nuclear power reactors which produce 20% of all electricity. It scared the shit out of me to find out there are 98, but in order to go nuclear they have to build at least three times as many (assuming that the new reactors would be more efficient).

In 2018 the 17 reactors in Germany produced only 11% of all energy generated. I think Rorschach's argument is that renewables can (and perhaps have) made up that 11%, but it's much more difficult to compensate the 35% that comes from black and brown coal. And he does have a point there. But in my opinion it's overall better to invest in relatively clean power plants that run on natural gas and use those until renewables have made up the difference, than go nuclear. Reasons given previously.

Just on a side note: in the USA only 14% of all energy comes from coal. I'm rather pleasantly surprised!

US has been changing daily, those charts might already be old. My disappointment is that its coal has mostly been replaced by oil and gas. I was expecting more renewables. What I do know is the northwest has tons of Hydro and the midwest is pushing wind because they actually have wind almost all the time. Maine is using biomass but I heard there are issues with that too.

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Re: Nuclear power

Postby souphound » 05 Jan 2022, 22:02

I think we're pretty lucky here in Quebec (and in most of Canada for that matter, I believe). We produce tons of hydroelectricity. Sure, there's a price to pay for the land that needs to be modified/destroyed in order to accomodate the process, but still, I'll take that over coal or gas burning.

But I know very little in this arena.
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby mudshark » 05 Jan 2022, 22:08

I work in the oil & gas industry. I'm all for phasing it out in 3-5 years which is when I hope to retire.
It's all a bit double. I made quite a bit of money from fracking projects in West Texas. I used some of the money to invest in solar power. The rest I spent on a gas-guzzling RAM 2500 which I need to haul around hay, horse-, pig- and chickenfeed for our very nature-friendly animal farm. And to safely evacuate everybody in case of a major hurricane. I think the only way out is to become an Amesh in Pennsylvania or something. Which ain't gonna happen.
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby mudshark » 05 Jan 2022, 22:17

You're probably right about Quebec, Souphound. But move a bit further West, mainly Alberta, and you'll find that Canada is one of the major polluters in North America with their catastrophic oil production, mainly at the Athabasca oil sands, not to mention the big Hebron fields ExxonMobil are operating offshore of Newfoundland.
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby souphound » 06 Jan 2022, 00:13

mudshark wrote:You're probably right about Quebec, Souphound. But move a bit further West, mainly Alberta, and you'll find that Canada is one of the major polluters in North America with their catastrophic oil production, mainly at the Athabasca oil sands, not to mention the big Hebron fields ExxonMobil are operating offshore of Newfoundland.


Of I totally agree. It's an ugly scene out there. Just from seeing pictures you get disgusted. Imagine living/being anywhere near there.

Personally, I've never been west of Thunder Bay, Ont. and that was back in the mid-seventies! So, I ain't seen much, that's for sure.
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby mudshark » 09 Jan 2022, 16:05

It seems that in Brussels they're reading our forum as well, and they are listening to Rorschach's plea: some French Eurofucker wants a Euro 500 billion investment in 'new generation' reactors. I think those are the relatively small reactors I recently read a short (thank goodness) article about. It seems these are so-called ' small modular reactors' (SMR's) which can be built in a factory and then shipped out in pieces for assembly at a desired location. These occupy an area of 2 soccer fields and the 'safety area' around the reactor needs to be about the same size (as opposed to some 10-20 km for a reactor like they're never going to finish at Hinkley Point). Rolls Royce plans to build one of these in 2030, within 500 days. Costs about Euro 2.3 million. GE and Hitachi have similar plans). The energy these SMR's are supposed to produce should be enough to serve abt. 300,000 households. The idea is exactly what Tym mentioned: to help out until the world can go fully green by 2050 (not gonna happen). Currently apparently 26% of Europe's energy comes from nuclear. This should be reduced to 15% in 2050, which sounds quite contradictory to these ears. So the plan seems to be to have let's say around 100 or so SMR"s spread from out from Sweden to Romania in a couple of years. I think this is begging for an unmitigated disaster.
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Qube » 09 Jan 2022, 18:23

Excellent thread and good discussion so far!

I am, as has been pointed out, incredibly passionate about nuclear energy. I sincerely believe that there is no alternative to rapidly decarbonising our emissions without it. Indeed, where nuclear plants have closed, emissions have always gone up - see recently in New York where Indian Point was recently closed and emissions have sky-rocketed: https://www.nuclearny.org/indian-point/ we can't afford to keep making these mistakes.

People might be surprised by how many people died due to the nuclear power plant in Fukushima (and Chernobyl for that matter): https://ourworldindata.org/what-was-the ... -fukushima

I think you have to pick your battles and weigh up the pros and cons in anything, but I think the cons of nuclear are manageable.

Costs - it's expensive to make individual plants, but there are a lot of individual designs out there, costs should be reduced by using the same designs and builds. Regulation eats into a lot of the cost, and I'm in favour of regulation in general, but many other energy sectors aren't burdened with such high regulation, nuclear plants have to have waste disposal/handling baked into their costs for example, yet we don't count the cost of emitting carbon into the atmosphere. I don't necessarily buy the problem of cost with nuclear.

Waste - newer reactors can use existing waste that we already have, think of it as recycling. We're still left with some waste of course, but nuclear waste is not some oozing green goo that sloshes around in barrels. If anything, at least waste has a lifetime, whereas the carbon we pump into the air never goes away.

If you believe that we have to get to a point (and soon) of globally producing net zero carbon emissions, then nuclear has to play a vital role. If you think that we just need to reduce our emissions, and we can still pump out carbon where carbon-free alternatives can't fill demand, then nuclear is less important. Based on the evidence, I believe we need to get to a net zero scenario, and that to me is impossible without the huge baseload of carbon-free energy that nuclear can provide, and that climate change will kill a lot more people as we continue to pump carbon into the atmosphere than even the unlikely, worst case scenario disasters involving nuclear could ever do.

I also care massively about energy poverty, where huge parts of the world don't have access to reliable electricity, or indeed any. The world needs to produce more energy to give people better lives.

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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Rorschach » 09 Jan 2022, 20:28

Hurrah! The cavalry's arrived.
Bugger off.

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Re: Nuclear power

Postby mudshark » 10 Jan 2022, 20:13

Good E-mail Qube. Some of what you're saying makes sense. Do you really think an investment of 500 billion in the EU alone is worth it? Isn't it better to invest that money in renewables and carbon removal? After all, it's only to hold us over until we have made the transition from fossil sources, a period of 20-30 years, or so they say. On a different note, nobody's mentioned the influence of methane on climate change. Methane is only about 18% of the total emissions of GHGs across the globe, but it is responsible for at least 30% of the global warming that has occurred since 1850, according to an article by a Mr. Jim Stump, an expert, supposedly. If we gradually reduce livestock by 30% we can happily continue to responsibly use coal for a few years, until wind, solar etc. have caught up. Energy poverty in the third world is indeed a major issue. I have no idea how to solve it but I know for damn sure it's not a good idea to put SMR's in Nigeria, Mali, Ethiopia etc. etc. That's asking for a whole heap of problems.
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Qube » 10 Jan 2022, 21:31

mudshark wrote:Good E-mail Qube. Some of what you're saying makes sense. Do you really think an investment of 500 billion in the EU alone is worth it? Isn't it better to invest that money in renewables and carbon removal? After all, it's only to hold us over until we have made the transition from fossil sources, a period of 20-30 years, or so they say.


I think I'm ultimately a little unsure if renewables will ever be able to do the job required for a few reasons (I'll omit Hydro from this, a great source of carbon free energy where available, but we've already damned most of the options at this point):

They require a lot of space to produce reasonable amounts of energy, especially if you add in battery storage, which requires even more space to provide backup power that disappears in the blink of an eye (https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2021 ... e-economy/), we're already seeing NIMBY-ism stopping so many wind and solar projects get started I can't imagine this will get better.

They produce energy intermittently, and as we fight climate change, do we really want to bet on sources that come from weather-dependent systems? One of the problems of climate change is that things will become more unpredictable, or more extreme. Now more than ever we need stable, reliable supply.

People talk about nuclear waste like a bogeyman, but solar panels contain toxic chemicals that cannot be recycled, and a lot of these panels end up in landfill, given the life-cycle of solar panels, I think we're in for a bit of a reckoning - https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/12/clim ... frica.html or https://www.instituteforenergyresearch. ... problem/or just a general google on the problem... wind turbines are also difficult to recycle, not impossible, but a lot end up in landfill still.

We need massive innovation in a lot of technologies to fight this problem, but I think we also really have to focus on the options we have right now to do as much as we can while R&D around the world try and come up with some new, feasible solution.

I think renewables and nuclear energy can compliment each other in the sense that, having diverse sources is probably a good thing, but the absolute worst thing that can happen right now is closing down existing nuclear power plants, as we're seeing in Germany, in New York, and many other places, the only way to replace nuclear is with gas and coal to provide that reliable baseload. I struggle to think of a universe where it makes sense to replace carbon-free electricity with carbon generating sources, and unfortunately, a lot of people are getting duped into thinking that we're replacing already clean nuclear with supposedly alternative clean energy sources, but that's not the case in reality.

And again, we need to come from this problem with the fact that we are going to need to produce a lot more electricity around the world for the millions of people living in energy poverty, energy access numbers make for bleak reading: https://ourworldindata.org/energy-access

mudshark wrote:On a different note, nobody's mentioned the influence of methane on climate change. Methane is only about 18% of the total emissions of GHGs across the globe, but it is responsible for at least 30% of the global warming that has occurred since 1850, according to an article by a Mr. Jim Stump, an expert, supposedly. If we gradually reduce livestock by 30% we can happily continue to responsibly use coal for a few years, until wind, solar etc. have caught up. Energy poverty in the third world is indeed a major issue. I have no idea how to solve it but I know for damn sure it's not a good idea to put SMR's in Nigeria, Mali, Ethiopia etc. etc. That's asking for a whole heap of problems.


Why would small modular reactors be asking for a heap of problems? I don't quite understand what people mean by saying "until wind, solar, etc. have caught up", caught up to doing what? When the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine, they don't produce electricity. Electrical grids around the world have been thrown into chaos because of erratic weather patters and gas supply.

I sympathise with countries in developing countries throwing up coal plants to provide electricity for their citizens, it's cheap(est), quick(est) and reliable to do that, obviously horrific for the environment but if your day to day life includes not having electricity - imagine not being able to store food in a fridge, or kids trying to study/do homework under candle light only, working sanitation, then there are pros and cons.

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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Deebank » 11 Jan 2022, 09:35

I would be very uncomfortably with the idea of 'small modular reactors'.

Like I mentioned above, at Hinkley Point C they had to build a massive sea wall (cost £50m +) to proof the site against tsunamis.

Presumably, small modular reactors would still be susceptible to extreme seismic and weather events? And certainly targets for terrorism etc. One thing we have learned is the 'extremely rare' and 'once in a millennium' type events do happen and you have to make sure your plant can withstand them - not to mentaion the more run of the mill factors like mechasnical failure and human error.

There comes a point when it just all becomes too much of an arseache. Bear in mind that half the current UK nuclear programme (three plants) were cancelled (I think for financial reasons, by the partners/contractors) and only the Chinese backed ones remain. For whatever reasons the Chinese Communist Party is willing to shoulder the burden :?

You could be forgiven for being sceptical.

And apart from anything else, the government has pledged to pay double the going rate for power from Hinkley Point C... Xièxiè / Merci!
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Deebank » 11 Jan 2022, 09:39

Qube wrote:

Why would small modular reactors be asking for a heap of problems? I don't quite understand what people mean by saying "until wind, solar, etc. have caught up", caught up to doing what? When the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine, they don't produce electricity. Electrical grids around the world have been thrown into chaos because of erratic weather patters and gas supply.
.



Battery technology? 'Small modular' would work very well in this field.
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Qube » 11 Jan 2022, 14:23

Deebank wrote:I would be very uncomfortably with the idea of 'small modular reactors'.
Like I mentioned above, at Hinkley Point C they had to build a massive sea wall (cost £50m +) to proof the site against tsunamis.


Seems completely and entirely sensible!

Presumably, small modular reactors would still be susceptible to extreme seismic and weather events? And certainly targets for terrorism etc. One thing we have learned is the 'extremely rare' and 'once in a millennium' type events do happen and you have to make sure your plant can withstand them - not to mentaion the more run of the mill factors like mechasnical failure and human error.


The great thing about the nuclear industry is that it's one of, if not the most regulated thing in the world and there are a lot of data. Re nuclear safety due to seismic activity: https://world-nuclear.org/information-l ... uakes.aspx

Terrorism? Worried about a terrorist flying an aircraft into a nuclear plant, then there have even been some tests carried out. In 1988, the US government's Sandia National Laboratory took the initiative to examine the strength of reinforced concrete measuring 3.66 meters (12 feet) thick by launching a fully-loaded F-4 Phantom jet directly, traveling at 500 MPH to investigate the survivability of a nuclear power plant in the event of a terrorist attack. Want to see what happens? Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... toutdotcom

The EPRI also did a study on whether a nuclear power plant could withstand a Boeing 747 being flown into it: https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML0412/ML041200200.pdf

Good piece in general on energy safety: https://ourworldindata.org/safest-sources-of-energy

There comes a point when it just all becomes too much of an arseache. Bear in mind that half the current UK nuclear programme (three plants) were cancelled (I think for financial reasons, by the partners/contractors) and only the Chinese backed ones remain. For whatever reasons the Chinese Communist Party is willing to shoulder the burden :?


To me, the arseache is spewing carbon into the air indefinitely while people fart-arse around with alternatives that don't work. I don't see a credible way to get to net zero without nuclear, we can chop away at emissions and pat ourselves on the back in the meantime...

You could be forgiven for being sceptical.


Of course, I don't blame anyone, but I would urge people to look at the data and think reasonably about it.

And apart from anything else, the government has pledged to pay double the going rate for power from Hinkley Point C... Xièxiè / Merci!


You've seen the recent issues re: energy costs in the UK, no?

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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Deebank » 11 Jan 2022, 16:07

Re: working alternatives to nuclear.

Hinkley Point is being built on the Severn Estuary.

The estuary has (I think) the second largest tidal range anywhere in the world. There are a number of locations which are suitable for 'tidal barrage' type installations. There are a number of other locations around the UK that also fit the bill - The Menai Straights where I grew up springs to mind.

Quote from wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severn_Barrage#Power_generation_potential:
The Severn Barrage plans would provide a predictable source of sustainable energy during lifetime of the scheme, with claims of up to 5% of the UK's electricity output from the 10-mile version.[40] This could reduce the cost of meeting UK's renewable energy targets, and help the UK to meet such targets, including those to tackle climate change.[26] This is because of the few carbon emissions associated with the plan, because unlike conventional power generation, the Severn Barrage plans do not involve the combustion of fossil fuels. A consequence of this plan is that the carbon payback time—the time it takes for saved carbon emissions (those produced by generating the same amount of power in other ways) to outstrip those produced during construction— could be as little as four-and-a-half months, although likely to be around six.[41]

It could continue to operate for around 120 years,[26] compared with 60 years for nuclear power plants.[42] An additional benefit would be to improve energy security.[26]


Estimated costs for existing plans could be as low as £10bn and as high as £34bn.


Comparable with Hinkley then and doable with current technology.
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Re: Nuclear power

Postby Qube » 11 Jan 2022, 18:30

I like tidal barrages, they're a good compliment to nuclear power plants because they largely provide reliable carbon free electricity (ignoring the actual construction, etc). There's little reason why most nuclear power plants can't last 100 years, however.

Estimated costs for existing plans could be as low as £10bn and as high as £34bn.


That's a pretty high variability of cost estimates, and potentially more expensive than Hinckley C, and speaking of which you're omitting some key cost information from the same link...

As a cost comparison, Hinkley Point C nuclear power station (also being built on the Severn Estuary) will cost £25bn, and deliver 3.2GW of power sold at £92.50 per megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity generated for the 35 years of the contract.[45] The Hafren scheme proposers state they would require £25 billion capital investment, and power costs would be £160 per MWh for the first 30 years, and £20 per MWh thereafter. Other schemes have been costed at between £150 and £350 per MWh.[2]


It's nice to have a single alternative for this one individual site, and there's a good case to be made for the barrage over nuclear, but not at this point given the stage of Hinckley C. The entire world needs large amounts of carbon free electricity, and where natural resources make sense (IMO this only really lends itself to hydro and geothermal), we should explore those, but nuclear can be put just about anywhere, safely and securely, and I just don't see compelling arguments against it as a means to fighting climate change around the world.