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Time for Ireland to introduce Nuclear..?

  • 11-08-2022 12:01pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭ Brief_Lives

    Small modular reactors (SMRs) are defined as nuclear reactors generally 300 MWe equivalent or less, designed with modular technology using module factory fabrication, pursuing economies of series production and short construction times.

    • There is strong interest in small and simpler units for generating electricity from nuclear power, and for process heat.
    • This interest in small and medium nuclear power reactors is driven both by a desire to reduce the impact of capital costs and to provide power away from large grid systems.
    • The technologies involved are numerous and very diverse.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭ Brief_Lives

    An interesting company in the States, NuScale (I wish I had invested in these lads)..

    NuScale Power Corporation is the industry-leading provider of proprietary and innovative advanced nuclear small modular reactor (SMR) technology with a mission to help power the global energy transition by delivering safe, scalable and reliable carbon-free nuclear power.

    Each NuScale Power Module (NPM) is capable of generating 77 megawatts electric (MWe) of electricity and can serve as a reliable, carbon-free source of baseload power that complements renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydropower generation.

    In 2020, NuScale’s NPM became the first and only SMR to receive Standard Design Approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The advanced design of the NPM eliminates the need for two-thirds of the safety systems and components found in today’s large commercial reactors, which significantly improves the economics of NuScale plants compared to traditional nuclear power plants.

    NuScale’s scalable technology and diversified business model are designed to drive exceptional financial results and create long-term value.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭ Brief_Lives

    There's also companies setup to handle the waste that will be produced in a very safe method...

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,764 ✭✭✭✭ ted1

    No, it’s take 30 odd years before it would be commissioned.

    planning consultation would go on for years.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭ Brief_Lives

    this is the biggest problem..... Archaic old goats that just remember chernobyl and Sellafield....

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,712 ✭✭✭ PommieBast

    Maybe if they bring out SMRs that can be shipped and installed as a single unit rather than needing on-site construction then they might be the answer for Ireland. Won't happen though due to Ireland's planning system.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭ Brief_Lives

    If they are small enough to run a ship or submarine, surely companies like NuScale mentioned above would install as a single unit....

    More reading for me needed...

  • Registered Users Posts: 211 ✭✭ Irish_wolf

    In my opinion we'd be better off taking all that time and money needed to; set up a nuclear engery board/department, fill it with experts, pay all the consultants, sort out the legal aspects, plan, commision, and build a nuclear plant somewhere where no one would object to it (good luck!), and instead use said resources to build a **** load of wind turbines and a massive power interconnect to France who already have all that stuff set up. When it's windy as **** here port off some of our wind power to mainland Europe to top up their supply and when it's not windy buy back the excess power from France.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭ Brief_Lives

    Thats a good idea, but relying on someone else, as we have seen recently, isn't always the best idea..

    Yesterday I think Ireland nearly ran out of electricity, not a puff of wind for the last 2 days, and 75% of electricity produced was from gas alone...

    I'm currently doing research into Geothermal, but modern safe small nuclear reactors are such a win win situation...

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,712 ✭✭✭ PommieBast


    Yesterday I think Ireland nearly ran out of electricity, not a puff of wind for the last 2 days, and 75% of electricity produced was from gas alone...

    The thread on "Green" policies is covering this in painfully repetitive detail. 94% from thermal sources (gas+coal+oil).

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  • Registered Users Posts: 211 ✭✭ Irish_wolf

    That's not good news all right. However the article states that to make up the shortfall they will be importing energy from abroad, in particular the UK, which is currently producing 1.7GW of wind energy with much the same weather conditions. If we had comparable off shore wind farms like the UK does we would also be prdocing a lot more wind power even in a calm day like today which we could sell to france to help them in situations like today. Off-shore is much more reliable in that sense.

    There is no prefect solution. I just feel that as it stands we have much more to offer in the current climate by exploiting our wind resources than we do planning to go nuclear.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 91,504 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    Modern safe small nuclear reactors exist. Hundreds have been in use since the 1950's. There's a huge market for them, or rather there would be in they weren't still seriously expensive even after 70 years of optimising them. Lots of snake-oil merchants selling computer generated images and unicorns. Rolls Royce who are actually in the reactor business want £32Bn contacts for 7.04GW total reactors delivered sometime around 2040. Too little, too late to have any impact. Over the timescale of nuclear power solar, wind, batteries and other storage prices are in freefall.

    Our problem is that we weren't able to import from the UK. Probably because EDF have 27 reactors down out of 56 in France because of corrosion which is a common complaint of that sort of nuclear reactor. They also have another 5 or so running at reduced load because rivers are too warm. Last year they were exporting up to 15GW ( three Ireland's worth ) now they are importing an Ireland or two depending on how much wind and solar they have. The UK have to keep them happy because the UK is a nett importer of an Ireland's worth of power from them.

    We knew renewables were intermittent, that's why we have backup and interconnectors. It's unreliable nuclear that's let us down.

    UK has 6 reactors out of 11 at nominal full load after recent issues at multiple plants. But the long delayed Hinkley C gets some new water intakes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,150 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern

    The implication of your post seems to be that in 2050, Ireland will have solved its energy needs, but is that really true? If so why not export it? Or use it to decommission environmentally catastrophic power generation like Ardnacrusha, or wind power which although environmentally catastrophic has a larger impact than nuclear. Germany's new high speed train line from Berlin to Munich took about 30 years. I am glad they went ahead with it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,764 ✭✭✭✭ ted1

    No thats not the best implication at all.

    we need energy now, but. Nuclear isn’t available firv30 yard is the implication

    hope in 30 years we will have viable wave and tidal

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,150 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern

    Right fair enough. I think tidal is not viable. We are around 18% wind today (in total energy, not just electricity) yearly now. That drops well below 5 in good weather. So there is a long way to go.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 91,504 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    Thorium and molten salt etc aren't new. They dust down the plans every generation and go looking for investors to hoodwink. Shills are useful.

    No hard questions are ever answered. Neutron economy with thorium ? , doubling time for thorium ? nevermind that no one has built a reliable over-unity breeder even though we've been trying since 1944 on an industrial scale and most of that time with huge "I can't tell you what that 14,000 tons of silver is for" type budgets.

    The cold war and the oil shock of 1973 meant that every possible nuclear technology has been tried, repeatedly by the best most motivated people. The technoloies involved are either proven to be too expensive or unworkable to use. Anything new is totally unproven and best case scenario will be in development hell for ages.

    Hundreds of small modular reactor have been used safely since the 1950's by Western navies in submarines and aircraft carriers. They have never been commercially viable. Unlike lots of startups with no real experience Rolls Royce are a company that have been making reactors for submarines forever, their SMR's plans actually have some basis in reality. £32Bn in orders and they'll deliver 7GW by 2040 (excluding the almost mandatory delays and cost-overruns of nuclear)

    Nuclear provides only 10% of gobal electricity. I can't see how you can ramp up to provide energy for transport and heating as well as decarbonising the cement, steel and fertilizer industries and replace the end of life reactors too. Most of the stuff accumulated for weapons during the cold war has been burnt up so there's no cheap uranium source anymore. Uranium deposits can be picked up by low flying aircraft with gamma ray detectors. Or just use lots of fossil fuel to process granite which kinda defeats the whole carbon thing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,150 ✭✭✭ Yellow_Fern

    Be very cognisant when an environmentalist tells you the problem with nuclear is that it is not commercially viable, as if environmentalism ever believed in commerce in the first place.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭ Brief_Lives

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 91,504 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    Be very wary of anyone who claims nuclear is reliable when French nuclear output is running at less than 40% during a fossil fuel shortage. Japan , Italy and Germany have also lost most of their nuclear power at very short notice.

    Nuclear power costs multiples of offshore wind. The capital cost of the equipment to convert water to hydrogen is only 1.5 times the price increase so far this year for Hinkley-C. The Rough storage facility cost about £70m a year to run and could store about 10% of UK annual gas supply as hydrogen.

    But the BIG problem with nuclear is that it takes too long to build. It won't arrive in time to help with out 2030 targets. Or 2035. So we will need low carbon sources in place and if we have them we don't need nuclear. Hinkley-C was to have started in 2017 but will miss that target by 10 years (or more) Luckily it's place in UK baseload was taken by Drax which burnt up to 10 million tonnes of coal a year. And luckily the UK government has a magic money tree to pay for the extra interest on billions in loans over the extra decade.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,811 ✭✭✭✭ Danzy

    Nuclear power is crazy expensive, it's one redeeming feature, is vast output of low emission energy.

    What carbon Europe and North America put out is small globally and falling rapidly.

    Net zero in those 2 regions won't matter because any elimination of carbon only cancels out a few years of carbon output in Asia.

    Europe and North America being empty bar nature isn't going to change that.

    So there is a question, should Western focus be on creating cheap scalable nuclear for Asia because that's Where it will be won or lost and pretty much no one in Asia has any interest in preventing climate change.

    Zero interest not zero emissions.

    Go for a win and

    not a narcissistic approach about what we must do locally.

    Whatever Europe and North America domestically do will not change the outcome. Our tech might.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,811 ✭✭✭✭ Danzy

    The private market have made it clear on nuclear being unviable, for a very long time.

    That's just hard business. I'm sure many of them hate environmentalists but no one is going to put their money in based on that.

    There are good arguments for nuclear power on low carbon grounds, on strategic energy reasons, as a job creation boondoggle in many economies.

    You could not force private capital in to investing in nuclear at gun point. Even with the jaw dropping support it gets in America, its non stop business disaster story after another.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,746 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia

    It takes decades to build the new carbon free grid. If we don't do it now, we'll be at the mercy of increasingly volatile oil and gas markets

    If we do commit now, our dependence on fossil fuel imports will fall every year until we become net exporters

    It's not just altruism that means we need to escape from the grip of OPEC and Russia and America. It's in our own long term strategic interests.

    I'd love if Nuclear was viable for Ireland but we don't have the time or money to spend experimenting l. We have one of the best off shore wind resources on the world. We should build where we have a natural advantage.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 91,504 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    French nuclear is only producing 25GW out of 64GW installed capacity. Vast amounts of power that were being exported this time last year have been replaced by imports. The only thing nuclear can do is baseload and it's failing miserably.

    China is deploying way more wind and solar than nuclear. 1000GW vs 50GW.

    There is no cheap scalable nuclear. When you scale up you increase the demand for uranium, double the demand and you double the price because of extraction costs from poorer ores. And if you don't have enough uranium to keep the plants running for decades you will end up with lots of white elephants. Actinide burners ? Over unity breeders ? No one's gotten one working properly yet. And even if they do it will take a long time to debug and roll out.

    Reducing demand would be a better option. Insulation. Low energy lights. That sort of thing.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,748 ✭✭✭✭ Strumms

    There is no energy shortage in Ireland.

    the country is simply over populated. And the rate of population growth due to unnatural forces that we are not permitted to control..

    our population growth breakdown.

    2022 : 5.12 million

    2016 : 4.76 million

    2011 : 4.58 million

    Our population is almost 70% larger compared to 1961..

    Between 2011 and 2022 our population grew approximately 11.79%… in a very short time.

    those levels and rates of growth are dangerous… it’s why our services are struggling to provide for the population.

    other examples besides power..longer waits for ambulances, fire services, Gardai, less attainable healthcare especially rehabilitative treatments…

    now, we are even beginning to struggle to power the country… the fix for that will be €€€€€€€. To provide upgraded, power infrastructure, will take serious time, huge investments of public money and ongoing associated costs…they cost billions to build and maintain and run.

    Wind energy is currently the largest contributing resource of renewable energy in Ireland. It is both Ireland’s largest and cheapest renewable electricity resource. In 2020 Wind provided over 86% of Ireland’s renewable electricity and 36% of our total electricity demand. It is the second greatest source of electricity generation in Ireland after natural gas. Ireland is one of the leading countries in its use of wind energy and 2nd place worldwide in 2020, after Denmark..

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,746 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia

    We're not over populated we've one of the lowest population densities in Europe. FF/FG have failed to plan or maintain our infrastructure

  • Registered Users Posts: 205 ✭✭ Ramasun

    Can't build any kind of renewable infrastructure without nimbys though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15 Raven1221

    I think the HT energy is far superior. No pollution, low upkeep, low cost in various thing such as money, food and more.

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,748 ✭✭✭✭ Strumms

    We are certainly overpopulated, population isn’t a sole measurement barometer.. is relation to the services we have and as they can expand and improve to meet to overburdening demand,

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,772 ✭✭✭ Brief_Lives

    Holy moly

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,746 ✭✭✭✭ Akrasia