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Nuclear - future for Ireland?



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,149 ✭✭✭SeanW

    So much nonsense, deflection and evasion I don't even know where to start.

    Firstly, the link between TMI and the subsequent fall off in new nuclear wasn't made by me, it was made your fellow anti-nuke, and I responded to that. And yes, AFAIK some reactors were cancelled in the wake of TMI and Chernobyl. Secondly, the laws of physics haven't changed since the Cold War, wind and solar radiation are still low-density, unstable "fuels" so any attempt to harness them on a large scale will always be a massive undertaking with severe economic and ecological consequences.

    Thirdly, as to your source that showed a graph of German electric carbon intensity having gone down to 200g/kwh and change, I honestly have no idea where that comes from as the live data usually shows German electricity being much more carbon intense than that, i.e. 400g/kwh and over see attached pic for this time today, which despite costs of at least €100bn (and counting) is still 4-10 worse on average than France. Even if I accepted that German intensity cuts were a big deal (which I don't) it would still be a pathetic reduction compared to what France achieved in the 20th century, in their case by accident as they started their nuclear buildup in the 1970s when no-one cared about carbon emissions. Yet their correct decision all those decades ago is still bearing fruit, as carbon intensity data demonstrates.

    As to your claim that sky high electricity costs in Germany are not related to the Energiewende, that too is at variance with reality, at least 1/5th of it is explicitly renewable-subsidy related and the rest indicates that the German grid is really, really inefficient for some reason. Taxes like VAT in Germany are not at variance with global norms, costs are. BTW Denmark which has similar policies also has ridiculous energy costs.

    And your supposed response to my claims about large birds and bats (I was very specific) your response was both evasive of the point actually raised, misleading and just plain false:

    • I was very specifically referring to large birds (such as eagles) and bats. I could not have been clearer in that respect. For some reason, you responded by attacking an imaginary strawman argument about "birds" as a general, homogenous group.
    • Cats may kill more birds than windmills overall, but the former generally can only kill small birds whereas windmills kill a much wider variety of birds including large birds such as eagles. That's kind of a big deal for a variety of reasons.
    • Most of the birds killed by cats are killed by feral cats, not housecats.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,007 ✭✭✭gjim

    Wow - you're really doubling down...

    "the link between TMI and the subsequent fall off in new nuclear wasn't made by me". Hmm.. you said "Well, your chart and associated comment shows that the failure to build more nuclear power plants since 1979 has more to do with erroneous public perception than reality." given the comment was about 3 mile island.

    "the laws of physics haven't changed since the Cold War, wind and solar radiation are still low-density, unstable "fuels" so any attempt to harness them on a large scale will always be a massive undertaking with severe economic and ecological consequences.". Strawman waffle - nobody claimed the laws of physics changed. The economics have changed - I even provided a link which shows the price per kWh of solar has dropped 90% in 10 years and wind turbines by 85% in the same period while nuclear (which has been uncompetitive since the mid 1980s) has risen 30% in the same period. At this stage for new build nuclear, a kWh costs between 5 and 8 times that of the same electricity generated by solar PV. It's over for nuclear and has been for decades, regardless of what nuclear fluff piece you've gullibly swallowed about nuclear being cheap, safe and good for the environment. It had nothing to do with hippies and everything to do with simple financial arithmetic.

    Not only has there been "attempts" to harness wind and solar but they are now the dominant new forms of generations globally with 80% of new capacity added last year being either wind or solar. And the rate of installation is increasing. And prices are continuing to drop. There's no way back.

    "I honestly have no idea where that comes from as the live data usually shows German electricity being much more carbon intense than that". Seems quite obvious to me - it says "European Environmental Agency" right there at the top of the page. In big letters. These are official EU stats and as the page explained, averaged over a year.

    "Taxes like VAT in Germany are not at variance with global norms, costs are." - I gave a direct link Eurostat link which gives a perfectly clear indication of how much electricity costs for consumers in various countries split by cost paid to the utility vs taxes added by government. 52% of a Germans' electricity bill is tax while in France it's 26%. So yes energy taxes in Germany are at variance with those in France. Ex-tax, there is little difference between French and German ex-tax costs which makes sense since they're part of the same grid and large amounts of electricity are traded between them every day.

    Could you start a separate thread for your concern about birds and wildlife? I'll be happy to provide feedback on the article you linked to there. I do find it curious that EVERY one of the posters on this thread who seem to believe that nuclear fission is great also happen to be very enthusiastic ornithologists. I mean one nuclear promoter I could overlook, but EVERY one who presents 10 year stale arguments has repeated the bird-murdering-turbines concerns. And strange, I've never noticed your contributions in the Nature & Bird Watching board?

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,435 ✭✭✭mandrake04

    Ireland wont have Nuclear, they cant even be trusted to run a decent Health system and the European Neighbours wouldn't have a Nuclear risk like that on their door step. Ireland will have a bit of renewables and like the Germans who are already running down Nuclear and committing to go Green Hydrogen they will probably buy in the G Hydrogen from middle east or further afield and will pay through the nose for it. The Germans will give you a good pat on head like good boys for all your good work.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,435 ✭✭✭mandrake04

    Its not really nonsense at all, you are partly correct the cost and such a small population not feasible. The reason why Health system is basically a joke is because Ireland cant really afford it... some will say its because its mismanaged etc which is partly true but if they threw enough money at it it would definitely improve it. Its like Metro North etc its all for show makes the gaff sound more cosmopolitan, Ireland is the great pretender. The future is G Hydrogen lads.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Have to agree with the previous poster, nonsense

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 18,853 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    Mod: The HSE is not on topic. Less nonsense.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,843 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    As well as cost, there are also practical technical issues that make it not suited to Ireland. The type of reactors that are built today, large EPR’s, are simply far too large and powerful for a grid as small and as disconnected as Irelands.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 89,344 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

    At the start of the year you'd have expected the UK to have it's 16 units online in the middle of December.

    Only 8 today on full power and another one on reduced power because Nuclear is expensive AND unreliable.

    In addition to the 2 units closed ahead of schedule this year, there's 4 units closing down in 2021 and another 4 in 2024. "trust us, this time it will be different"

    Sizewell B Estimated decommissioning date: 2035

    Reactor 1 - In service

    Reactor 2 - In service

    Torness - Estimated end of generation: 2030

    Reactor 1 - In service

    Reactor 2 - In service - (Next statutory outage May 2022)

    Heysham 2 - Estimated end of generation: 2030

    Reactor 7 - Offline - Off-load refuelling - Expected return to service 22 December 2021

    Reactor 8 - In service

    Heysham 1 - Estimated end of generation: March 2024

    Reactor 1 - In service

    Reactor 2 - In service - At reduced load to manage fuel temperatures

    Hartlepool - Estimated end of generation: March 2024

    Reactor 1 - Offline - Expected return to service 15 January 2022

    Reactor 2 - Offline - Non planned Expected return to service 15 December

    Hinkley Point B - Estimated decommissioning date: July 2022

    Reactor 3 - In service

    Reactor 4 - Offline - Graphite inspection outage - Expected return to service 18 December 2021

    Hunterston B - Estimated decommissioning date: January 2022

    Reactor 3 - Offline - Moved to defuelling phase. Will not return to power generation.

    Reactor 4 - In service

    Dungeness B - was supposed to keep going till 2028 but too many repairs needed.

    2 reactors offline in extended outage since 2018

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  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 89,344 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

    EDF share price has fallen 13% because of corrosion# in one power station in France meant shutting down another of the same type. It puts 13% of current availability in France offline and other reactors will likely need to be checked too.

    It said the French utility could need to spend about 2 billion-3 billion euros ($2.3 billion-$3.4 billion) in 2022 to buy back some of its power to cover outages at the nuclear reactors.

    Again Nuclear is unreliable. And it's bloody expensive to subside. This will also affect EDF's profits which will affect it's future viability.

    # faults had been detected near the welds on the pipes of the safety injection system circuit of the second reactor in Civaux, western France. A similar problem had already been detected in the plant’s first reactor

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    France had lowest inflation in western world this year 1% vs 5% in Ireland and up to 10% in US precisely because of nuclear power and not relying on others

    Not sure where you are getting your data, but its incorrect. Frances inflation is rocketing up, the same as every other country. Maybe not at the same rate, but its climbing, and climbing fast

    France 1 year inflation

    France 5 yr inflation

    Also, just to be clear, yes energy prices have an impact on inflation, but so do consumer goods, property etc. One element can push it up a bit, but it takes price increases across the board to raise it as much as we've seen globally

    Ireland 1 yr

    Ireland 5 yr

    US 1 yr rate

    US 5 yr rate

    100% agree with regarding gas. The sooner we fully transition away from fossil fuels, the better. Note I'm including nuclear as a fossil fuel

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I'm not sure that qualifies as a "gotcha" when I freely stated "Frances inflation is rocketing up, the same as every other country. Maybe not at the same rate, but its climbing, and climbing fast"

    Iridium, huh?

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    CSO pointed out that inflation in Ireland rising is primarily due to increased gas prices

    Again, your information is incorrect, not sure where you are getting these things. You may want to double check your sources. The CSO, in their latest CPI data release stated increases due to "Transport (+2.07%), Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels (+1.92%), Restaurants & Hotels (+0.61%) and Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco (+0.23%)" for the last year

    Under Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels they specifically state "Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels rose mainly due to higher rents and mortgage interest repayments and an increase in the cost of electricity, home heating oil and gas."

    Under Transport, they stated "Transport increased primarily due to higher prices for diesel, petrol and motor cars, an increase in airfares and a rise in the cost of services in respect of personal transport equipment."

    Here's is the CSO's latest press release on the topic

    Anyway, I'll let the CSO be the final word on the topic as this thread is focused on nuclear, so I'm happy to discuss that with you. If you wish to discuss inflation further, happy to meet you over on the Taxation forum.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,540 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    Germany was wrong and foolish to close the plants before other energy sources were in place.

    It was a political stunt and ill thought out. They have paid for the insane costs of nuclear, they might as well have spread it out as much as possible.

    Solar costs on a pure free market basis, no subsidy etc are the cheapest source of energy. Cheaper than coal in India, which is very cheap.

    Efficiency has doubled every 18 months and costs halved every 28 months for the last decade.

    That's common in relatively new tech.

    The public will get over the risks of nuclear, they are very small, they will not get over the cost.

    Nuclear can't survive without incredible govt support, it's Why only dictatorships are building new plants.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    A high-level analysis of the potential of SMR's, their development, potential markets and risks

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,540 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    It has and we should import electricity via a connector.

    There is an established free market here now for electricity and across Europe.

    That's staying, for right or wrong.

    If we had a nuclear plant here, you couldn't force consumers to cough up extra, they will go for the cheapest every time and talk about Bats or Putin, won't matter to them.

    Nuclear falls down on cost, everything else can be overcome.

    Nuclear plants should be kept running as long as possible though.

    They had immense potential once but it never really delivered on that potential.

    I think nuclear should be included in sustainable energy funds, that existing plants have a lot of use and if the French want to pony up then let them.

    There are strategic energy reasons, powerful unions, national pride etc as reasons for nuclear that override vulgar talk of the insane costs.

    It doesn't mean that nuclear will be more price efficient in the free market or the future.

    It was the future once.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,843 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    “It’s only cheap because variability is externalised onto grid which then needs gas etc as backup”

    Hold on there a second, you know if you build a 1000mw reactor, you would also have to build a 1000mw of gas power plants to back it up!

    Nuclear needs a backup, in case the reactor goes offline, either for regular maintenance (which often last for months, if not years) or if there was an accident. I can give you dozens of examples of offline reactors around the world.

    Other countries can get away with it, because they are part of a much larger grid, with many synchronous AC interconnecters to their neighbours.

    Ireland being a small, isolated grid doesn’t have that luxury. So any Nuclear reactors would need natural gas backups too.

    That is why Nuclear doesn’t make sense here. Either way, if we go wind or Nuclear, we would still need the same natural gas power plant backups (or hydrogen, etc. in the future). So that cost is a wash. But wind is much faster and cheaper to build and operate.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Canada is developing Sodium based SMR's which will consume nuclear waste as fuel (U238 instead of U235). It'll be interesting to see how these go when they come online in the 2030's if they don't suffer from the construction curse of regular nuclear plants

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  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 89,344 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

    "Nuclear falls down on cost, everything else can be overcome."

    Nuclear is unreliable. That hasn't been overcome in 77 years.

    Nuclear is putting all your eggs in one basket and then counting your chickens. Far too many examples of reactors dropping offline to consider it reliable. Parts scandals, design flaws, predictable weather events and political decisions can put fleets of nuclear reactor out of service. Nuclear only provides base load power and only dependable when you have serious amounts of backup.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,540 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    1 reactor is insanely expensive to build, you want to build multiples and idle them periodically.

    That's a whole new level of thinking.

    Who will pay for it, the tooth fairy?

    Or does the money part not concern you?

    It will be the taxpayer, unless sine private investors can be forced at gun point.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    As pointed out by several others, at the end of the day, cost is the death blow for Nuclear (and other non-renewables)

    The most up to date LCOE figures from Lazard show this quite clearly

    Everything else being equal, investors will not invest in something that is not profitable

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,155 ✭✭✭✭cnocbui

    Nuclear is the most reliable power generation technology, and that's the US talking.

    "Nuclear Power is the Most Reliable Energy Source and It's Not Even Close

    March 24, 2021"

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,155 ✭✭✭✭cnocbui

    Not this rubbish again. H2 as storage is having a lot of money thrown at it currently, and it needs that because it's completely unproven technically and uncosted at whole grid scale - no one has done it.. So it's not valid to go invoking a non existent technology as a solution, which in the absence of environmentally damaging pumped storage, leaves you with batteries. Using batteries to back up intermittent renewables is far more costly than nuclear. You have to compare system cost and like for like.

    Gas turbines, do not, and never can, get you to net zero, which is the ultimate goal. It's a false economy to go throwing hundreds of millions at more gas turbines when you know before spending one cent, that they won't do anything to solve the core issue you are ultimately trying to solve.

    You might as well put that money into nuclear now and that will get you to net zero a decade or two before the current goal of 2050

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,843 Mod ✭✭✭✭bk

    "No it doesn’t you build multiple reactors and rotate some down for maintenance"

    Really, and what happens when all the reactors need to be taken offline as a common flaw is found in all the reactors, like happened in France a few years ago and they had to import power from their neighbours. To be clear, had France not been part of the EU wide grid, their power would have gone out country wide for months!

    Or what happens when you have an accident in a reactor and the other reactors in the plant also have to be taken offline as a result. Like happened in Three Mile Island, when one reactor melted down, the second reactor in the plant also had to be taken offline for 6 years! Again the only reason that the lights didn't go out is because they imported vast amounts of electricity at a massive cost ($600 million) from their neighbours via the asynchronous grid.

    These aren't theory, these happened and we don't have asynchronous grid like them, so we wouldn't have the same backups and would need our own, non Nuclear backups.

    BTW Professor John Fitzgerald, chair of National Expert Advisory Council on Climate Change, on Newstalk last month, said exactly the same, that any Nuclear power plants we build would need to be backed up by Natural gas plants.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,540 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    Germany ducked up, no argument there, not just a small bit either.

    It is a significant economic hit to all of Europe.

    I think nuclear power should be kept where it is, extended life for plants but starting a plant now, it is outcompeted already, in a decade+ when it comes online, the economics will even be worse.

    There is certainly a good and compelling argument to back the French nuclear industry as back up and base load for the continent or to build new ones there for wider base load, forget the crazy economics but view it as a strategic energy source, a security issue not a business decision.

    Regardless of that, nuclear power is not an option here, we can import via interconnector if needed from elsewhere at a fraction of the cost.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,540 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    In a big market it is. Other plants can take the slack up.

    Here it wouldn't be.

    There are only a few plants being built in the Western world. The Southern power one in Georgia are already at 31billion dollars and years to go till the last reactor comes online and much more money expected.

    Georgia power customers are paying a tariff of 15 dollars a month to subsidize the cost and burden to the company. The shareholders already being roasted.

    All this to power a million homes, despite evidence showing that any other alternative, no matter there problems would be many many multiples cheaper. That's even with nuclear having incredible federal and State supports.

    The economics of nuclear are absolutely insane. It's not just a small bit dearer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,555 ✭✭✭✭end of the road

    nuclear is not green, it just pollutes in a different way by requireing large expensive storage of waste for generations.

    gas is generally natural so it's pollution is natural therefore it is still some bit green and is better then coal and certainly better and reliable unlike nuclear.

    france's inflation rate had nothing to do with nuclear but it's general economy.

    Protect the rights of the alcohol enjoyers of ireland. Remove all funding from alcohol action ireland now!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,155 ✭✭✭✭cnocbui

    There are currently 455 reactors, and 50 are currently being built. We can argue over semantics that 50 is few, but given it's an 11% increase in a sector where people like to pretend it's dead, it's not what I would call few. The number is only going to grow as it's still the only proven path to net zero by 2050. Both France and the UK have announced they are pushing ahead with SMR developments.

    Storing nuclear waste is not pollution.

    People in Ireland are more fearful of nuclear energy, despite the incredible safety record, than they are of the prospect of climate change - fair enough, let there be climate change.