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Nuclear Power is too expensive and slow to build? Opinions?

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,830 ✭✭✭ Be like Nutella


    I've posted similar stuff in couple other threads around Boards but I didn't see this forum before.

    I reckon Nuclear Power Stations are too expensive and take too long to build for Nuclear Power to be seriously considered as a way to greatly reduce carbon emissions from Coal fired power stations.

    I wouoldn't expect anyone to have geeked over the costs associated with building nuclear the way I have of late so I'll just give you the numbers and you can checkem out yourself if you want. It's a massively complex subject so I'll just throw some general numbers out there...which are approx correct...if simplified.

    It costs about 5 Billion dollars to build a nuclear power station that produces 2 Gigawatts of electricity.

    It takes anywhere from 5-8 years to plan and build one.

    There are 435 reactors today which produce about 13-15% of the electricity we use.

    Coal fired plants produce about 41% of what we use.

    094423coal_electricity_page_pie_chart_highlight_right_column.jpg


    The cost of building a Nuclear Power Plant has increased more than 20 fold since the 70's. The Av cost of a car in 1970 was about $3,700...so obviosuly now cars would cost $75,000 on average...if inflation is what you're thinking.

    Most plants were built between 1965 and 1985.

    To replace ALL the electricity gotten from Coal plants with nuclear would require today - another 14/1500 plants....today..

    because next year the demand will have increased 5% and the yuear after...for at least the next 10/15 years.

    The general opinion is that electricity demand will be double todays by 2050.

    so just keeping up with demand will require that we build another 435 stations in the next 40 years which is what... 10 a year say....to keep it the same...13-15% of electricity from Nuclear.

    But...lets assume we all believe deeply in Man-caused Global Warming and also lets assumewe all think Nuclear is completely safe...for a second.

    In that scenario we would WANT very much to massively up scale nuclear generated electricity right?

    How many plants would it take to make a big difference...not a little one...a big FAT difference.

    Well to replace HALF of the coal plants produced electricity with nuclear by 2050 and thereby (hypothetically) halving carbon emissions from coal fired plants would require us to build by 2050...

    approx

    1500 New Plants

    (and that's ignoring the more than 150 plants which will close during the period to 2050...100 of which will be closed within 15 years)

    So that's the Maths anyway....to replace 50% of coal electricity with Nuclear by 2050... in order to significantly reduce Carbon Emissions.

    I only illustrate the numbers because it seems that pro-nuclear global warming concerned people seem to think Nuclear will and should play a central role in electricity production given that renewables will not play a large part over the next 40 years at least realistically speaking. (Renewables will not for instance replace 25% of coal electricity or anything like it...)

    and either...I'm saying....will Nuclear.

    I think this because....when you look at the costs and time and barriers and constraints and limits and drivers that exist right now....verses SAME back in the nuclear golden age of the 60's/70's/80's...you quickly come to the conclusion that Nuclear CANNOT and therefore WILL NOT scale up fast enough to make a large difference when it comes to the issue of Carbon Emissions and man caused global warming....at least over a reasonable period like 40-50 years....now....over 100 years or more then that is a different conversation and would include things like Nuclear Fusion etc.. but that's not my thesis here... I'm merely saying that I can show you that we CABNNOT AND WILL NOT replace coal electricity with Nuclear in any signiuficant way to 2050....and therefore Nuclear should not enjoy a central role within this debate.... It is in fact...relatively speaking.... a red herring.... as far as carbon emission reduction up to 2050 goes.

    We managed to build approx 300 stations between '65 and '90....300 in 25 years say... that was during the Cold War...which served as a major driver for nuclear build....and it was impressive...but since then the cost of building has risen 20 fold...it takes longer...and there's a global backlash against nuclear right now.

    There's no way we could build an average of 30-50 stations per year every year to 2050.

    I doubt we could build 18 per year every year to 2050.

    Russia and America managed about 12 a year between them at the height of the Cold War !!

    There aint no Cold War now.

    Sure, China is building 25 right now and plans for 100 over thenext 20/30 years but America hasn't delievered a nuclear power station in 30 years...in fact it cancelled or stopped more than 60 projects in the last 30 years!!


    Maybe you could meet current nuclear demand....which will require a lot of new stations...and maybe you could increase nuclear supply by 50%-100% current level over the next 20 years.....but not 500%...no chance.


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Comments



  • There is no doubting that there are severe delays in the building of nuclear power stations currently, and question marks remain over their costs, but I feel that nuclear will continue to grow over the next 50 years.

    There are serious issues with security of supply, particularly in Ireland, so nuclear will have to become an option in the future. There is no chance that 1500 new nuclear will be built by 2050, but several hundred could be, but changes to the industry need to be made.

    In order for nuclear power to take-off again, it needs to be cost effective, and public opinion must be satisfied that the technology is safe. In order for this to happen, more regulation of the industry is needed, such as the standardisation of reactor design worldwide. In France, their industry is based on this ethos, which has resulted in an efficient nuclear industry. This needs to happen on a global basis if nuclear plants are to be rolled out efficiently with cost effectivness




  • France kick ass when it comes to nuclear...the oil shocks in the 70's made up their mind for them and they just went for it in a big way.....and the government backed the loans...and they haven't had to step in even once so far....that's how they funded it..... with AAA guarantees!!!.... and there are French experts who have been traveling around the world advising counries to take this path...but unfortunately the financial landscape has changed as of late and credit markets and sovereign ratings are all over the shop so the issue of funding is and will remain one of THE main barriers..... incidentally France plans on yet more power stations.... looks like they'll virtually get 100% of their electricity from Nuclear within a couple decades....and any electricity they dont use will be exported....to a limit of 10% of the total...by law....and because they use the same reactors and have a good regulation system, geographically safe locations...they are pretty much doing nuclear the best that you can expect to do it....doesn't mean it's 100% safe.

    Nuclear is steaming ahead regardless of Fukushima...which will just delay and complicate it's renaissance. I'm sure a few hundred plants will be built in China, South Korea, Russia, France, Britain, Brazil and even America but during the next 40 years Nuclear WILL find it difficult to continue to give us 13-15% of our electricity..... and extremely unlikely to increase its supply to 20%....which could reduce our use of coal plants theoretically by 5% at the very best.... which in terms of the steps required by mainstream Global Warming people is negligible.

    The truth is...if you're a GW believer then what you MUST HAVE...is
    a maaaaaaasive up scaling of wind....
    a maaaaasive up scaling of Nuclear (which I don't want...and which I believe is technically impossible anyway)
    ...a maaaasive increase in solar panel efficiency and decrease in solar panel cost for homes in hot countries (which will obviously be taking money out of electricity companies pockets) and
    a maaaaasive increase in efficency in terms of smart grids and more efficient homes and factories....which can...unbeknownst to most people....reduce electricity use more than all renewables combined.

    According to GW people (whic I'm not 100% part of) we need to do big things quickly.....i.e. by 2050

    Nuclear is not one of those big things.... we simply WILL NOT BUILD ENOUGH PLANTS FAST ENOUGH TO MAKE A BIGGG DIFFERENCE QUICKLY ENOUGH.

    Theoretically:
    We actually could if we solved some little things like what to do with Waste and small risks like meltdowns, proliferation risk and stuff like that.... and then if we literally stopped funding all other sources of energy and diverted everything...research, brain power, funding, tax breaks... to nuclear to build 5000 reactors in a factory line system over the next 50 years.... 5-10 trillions dollars minimum.....then we could replace coal plant power.....(which would still leave the issue of carbon emissions from transport.... of course...then we'd have 5000 freakin nuclear reactors spread around the whole world....which statistically increases risk....in a completely imeasureable way...but increases it significanly for certain.

    Check out these reactors...Bill Gates is involved...

    http://www.terrapower.com/Technology/TravelingWaveReactor.aspx



    100 YEARS FROM NOW.... is such a different debate and almost pointless... no body or group or government has planned anything 100 years out or taken action directly for a 100 year point in the future (bar some Chinese emperors back in the day...very patient folks)

    But when you look at the real numbers...and especially when you appreciate how much demand is increasing and how many coal plants are rolling out.... it is very difficult nye impossible to say....Nuclear is the answer...or....wind...solar...etc....or all of them combined....developing an energy mix....which is what the world is and will do untill there's a clear winner in this..... will not achieve carbon emission reduction fast enough on a large enough scale in terms of what the GW people numbers are saying.

    I'm not striving to be pessimistic...but at present there is no carbon emissions reduction idea worth piss... relative to the numbers being bandied about.... Nuclear WILL NOT solve it...not in the next 50 years.... and renewables globally speaking will have just as small an effect on the total carbon emissions released per year.

    I personally feel that market forces are unfortunately the only thing that's going to effect this equation in the end.... and it will take a 100-150 years.....which will bring us through the transition from oil to ?? whatever is going to juice cars in the future..... coal plants are polluting and this is eventually going to lead us away from them...not carbon emission reduction.....nuclear will get better by 10 fold....I genuinely think there will be a solution to the waste issue.....and future reactor designs like the one above will increase safety by magnitudes untill track record alone will solidify nuclear as a staple power source for the world....untill something radically disruptive like Nuclear Fusion happens.

    But my main point stands:

    Anyone who thinks that Nuclear Power is some sort of answer for carbon emissions in anything like the next 50 years is mistaken. It cannot and will not be scaled up sufficiently....which as I've said suits me fine...as the current set of problems nuclear power creates in my view are still unacceptable...even if there may be a point in the futre where I change my mind.




  • Will superconductor technology not counter act a lot of the problems you mention.? Firstly reducing our need for electricity buy using it more effectively, and secondly (and possibly more importantly) being used in (nuclear) fusion technology's being currently developed.

    I think you problem while valid fails to take into account the current advances being made in the scientific community as we speak. The scenario is not static.

    Also I don't think the answer to your problem initially is to figure out a way to increase electricity generation but rather reduce our need for it.




  • It is technically possible to make nuclear plants fast enough.

    Getting the public support, planning permission, guarantee of future fuel costs, guarantee of disposal costs, guarantee of stable political climate for the life of the station are somewhat harder.

    yes it is possible to extract uranium form seawater.
    whether it is economically possible or sustainable is a different story as it requires a lot of plastics/hydrocarbons.

    This would suggest that the EROEI is too small to justify it's use unless you can use something like bioaccumulation , and even then you have to take into account the harvesting costs.

    www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/2/4/980/pdf - fishing numbers are interesting on their own
    To give some idea of the requirements, consider that
    a 1 GWe nuclear plant needs about 170 tons of natural uranium per year, or 6 grams per second.
    ...

    However, we can develop an approximate evaluation of the EROEI of
    uranium extraction from seawater considering that, from Table 2, we would need to process at
    least 2 × 10^13 tons of water every year in order to produce enough fuel for the present fleet of nuclear
    reactors. This amount is more than one thousand times the amount of water desalinated today and that
    gives an idea of the size of the task. Another way of appreciating the size of this mass of water is to
    consider that it is about the same as that of the whole North Sea.

    ...
    Therefore, the “energy density” of seawater in terms of energy that can be
    produced by the present nuclear technology is about 0.1 kWh/ton.
    ...

    From data about the energy expenditure of the fishing industry [22] we can estimate that the
    industry uses fuel for about 7 kWh for each kilogram of fish recovered. Another estimate derives from
    knowing that the total world fish catch in 2003 was of 90 million tons (9 × 1010 kg) per year [23],
    while the total amount of fuel used by the world’s fishing fleet in 2005 was of some 14 million tons of
    diesel fuel [24] (2 × 10^11 kWh, considering that the energy content of diesel fuel is 43 GJ/ton). The
    result is about 2 kWh of energy per kilogram of fish landed. These are rough estimates that only take
    into account the fuel cost. Yet, it is known that fuel is the main energy expenditure involved in ocean
    fishing. So, a mid-range value of 5 kWh/kg cannot be too far off in terms of the energy cost of
    extracting something from the open sea and bringing it back to land
    ...

    We need also to consider that these membranes are synthetic chemicals that would be obtained
    starting from crude oil or natural gas, and that the crude oil used as feedstock is lost as an energy
    source. We can make a rough evaluation of this energy considering that, as an educated guess, we may
    consider a yield of 30% in the synthesis process and conclude that we need about one ton of crude oil
    as the feedstock for 300 kg of membranes [17] able to produce 1 kg uranium per year. Since crude oil
    has an energy content of about 12 kWh/kg, we would be using an equivalent of some 12 MWh that, if
    used in a high efficiency combined cycle gas turbine, would produce about 6 MWh of electric power.
    One kilogram of uranium in a nuclear fission plant can generate about 40 MWh of electric power, so
    the result is an overall gain only if the membranes can last for a few months at least, but the energy
    involved in manufacturing the membranes is not negligible, and it would negatively impact the overall
    EROEI of the process.




  • k.p.h wrote: »
    Will superconductor technology not counter act a lot of the problems you mention.? Firstly reducing our need for electricity buy using it more effectively, and secondly (and possibly more importantly) being used in (nuclear) fusion technology's being currently developed.

    I think you problem while valid fails to take into account the current advances being made in the scientific community as we speak. The scenario is not static.
    Energy storage benefits all forms of electricity generation and would most likely benefit renewables far more than nuclear.

    Commercial fusion power won't be happening any time soon unless there is a scientific breakthrough like cold-fusion. The big problems are engineering ones, the physics behind the reactions are well understood. I'd guess the empirical knowledge is more important than theoretical for fusion development.

    If you are talking about fission then I have to ask which current advances. As I don't know of any major advances in reactor theroy since the 1950's, excluding the use of new materials or safer working practices as in lessons learned. Pebble bed reactors would be new but no one's got them working reliably yet never mind economically.


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  • Energy storage benefits all forms of electricity generation and would most likely benefit renewables far more than nuclear.

    Wouldn't energy storage make wind energy possibly the most effective form of generation?

    Do you know of any current research into storage of wind energy actually? Other than that reservoir proposal a few years ago (I cant remember the details but I'm sure you know the one I am referring to)




  • Nuclear power dirty little secret is that the fuel rods of depleted Uranium or Plutonuim and other long life nuclear wastes wastes will require storage for thousands often millions of years.
    No accountancy numbers are ever built in to cover these huge multi decade long costs.
    If these real costs were included Nuclear power would be so expensive no nuclear power would ever be built . So the accountancy trick often done is just to get the governments to agree to cover these costs with double speak about plans to eventually make rockets safe enough to take the waste into deep space .
    Also rarely mentioned is the time and cost to decommission a Nuclear plant when it 40 year life span is finished and often they pass that cost onto the government


    After Fukasima You would want to be stark raving mad to think nuclear power as we know it is a good idea .

    Presently there is nearly ~2000 spent fuel rods in reactor fours cooling pools . A few rods if they spread their nuclear radiation world wide will kill a billion people or about ~50 will definitely exterminate the entire human race from this planet.

    Look this high up Japanese official guy who explains the truth of reactor 4 and its very vulnerable ~2000 spent fuel rods and how critically close it is now to going AWOL . Now might be a good time to learn how to put your heads between your legs and ........

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwCfAY4iyPQ

    Well these ~2000 rods are vulnerable to events that might remove all the water from the cooling pool . If for example a earthquake hit the pool caused the pool to crack and drain out the ~2000 spent rods fuel rods would heat up catch fire and melt down.
    This pool is not enclosed in the containment roof so it easily open to the atmosphere
    The large fire lasting long periods months year who knows would spread the nuclear stuff world wide.
    The predictions are entire northern hemisphere would all be dead in a decade or two max . It is predicted it might take few more decades to kill of the entire southern hemisphere but it would happen .

    Now as we such as those in TIR NA SAOR RADIO who study this know the ultra rich such as Bill Gates adhere to very simple plan to solve the planets environmental problem . If they exterminate 90% of the human race they will have so few humans that environmental problems will be stopped .

    So the likes of Bill Gates and the other ultra rich have built deep underground bunkers where they plan to live while the rest of the world dies of on the surface when something like the reactor no 4 goes on fire. Alternatively they might release some bio weapon flu that kills everybody who hasn't got the real vaccine the ultra rich will only have .The vaccines they will give us will be fake vaccines.
    So that's why the Ultra rich built nuclear power stations in the first place they intended all along to eventually blow up enough of them to exterminate the humans that cause all these environmental problems in the first place

    Already in west America California the Nuclear radiation from Fukashima is very much higher and this nuclear material is spreading across the northern hemisphere mostly in the pacific basin like China and Siberia and western parts of North America .

    Yes we need nuclear power to solve the CO2 issues that were all fake scare stuff anyway and the grand father of CO2 warming James-Lovelock new book he admits he was WRONG and there is no global warming crisis

    http://climatedepot.com/a/15621/Alert-Gaia-scientist-James-Lovelock-reverses-himself-I-was-alarmist-about-climate-change--so-was-Gore-The-problem-is-we-dont-know-what-the-climate-is-doing-We-thought-we-knew-20-years-ago

    However with nuclear power we can thank them that soon the Polar bear in Alaska will glow in the dark and that will kill them faster with cancers than any fake global warming crisis could

    The real hidden costs of Nuclear might be its already too late and its exterminating us all as we speak presently ????

    Derry




  • Lads, please stick to the science.

    If you want to talk non-science, go to the Conspiracy Theories.




  • Don't want to derail the thread; however this post mightn't warrant starting a new one.

    On the matter of nuclear waste has anybody seen the brilliant documentery [url= Into Eternity[/url]?

    It's totally unbiased and raises the question of the authorities' responsibility of ensuring compliance with safety criteria legislation and the principles at the core of nuclear waste management.

    Aside from the "Nuclear Debate", for me this film does a excellent job of presenting the concept of geological time and mankinds fractional place within it.

    I can't say whether I'm for or against development of a global nuclear power strategy with regard to either its viability or safety. I simply don't know enough about it.
    Thanks to the posters giving factual empirical information, without a subjective opinion, it is a subject I'm becoming informed of.

    I will say this though.
    Even without further development of the nuclear power industry, storing here on Earth the derived waste stocks we currently have, is a task with implications that require a globally committed effort that is very very hard to even contemplate let alone implement.




  • On the matter of nuclear waste has anybody seen the brilliant documentery [url= Into Eternity[/url]?
    Finlands storage times are ten times those of the US , the point being that the best practice lifetime for a waste repository keeps getting longer. To meet today's standards Finland is spending three billion euro for a population similar to ours.

    Anyone who proposes nukes should be able to explain where we would get this funding from.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4948378.stm
    The time period is so mind-bendingly long that it will almost certainly take the world through another ice age; which, if history is a guide, would bury Finland and Sweden under 2-3km of ice.
    ...
    "The maximum [ice] thickness is 3km, which equates to a pressure of 30 megapascals (MPa)," says the engineer in charge, Kalle Nielsson.
    ...
    "I would say that it's safe," is Kalle Nielsson's conclusion. "And we have made a probabilistic calculation - 'what is the probability that it would fail at this 45 MPa?' - and it is less than one out of a million canisters that would fail. So I would say as a concept that it's safe."

    ...
    Three billion euros is a significant sum of money. Is this another example, then, of the state having to pay vast sums to clean up a nuclear industry which has in the past generated profit for private ends?


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  • Finlands storage times are ten times those of the US , the point being that the best practice lifetime for a waste repository keeps getting longer. To meet today's standards Finland is spending three billion euro for a population similar to ours.

    Anyone who proposes nukes should be able to explain where we would get this funding from.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4948378.stm

    So are you saying that US waste repositories are design for a lifespan of ~10,000 verses Finish designs for ~100,000?
    And this is due to US policy?

    Never mind finding funding, for me it just seems an insurmountable task to deliver a programme whose successful completion requires a commitment over a time span that is hard to comprehend, even at the lower US standards.




  • So are you saying that US waste repositories are design for a lifespan of ~10,000 verses Finish designs for ~100,000?
    And this is due to US policy?
    http://www.wagingpeace.org/articles/1996/09/00_warf_disposal.htm
    Total hazardous life for these shorter lived nuclides is considered to be between 600 years and 1000 years depending upon one's point of view.

    The longer lived isotopes are plutonium-239 whose t1/2 is 24,110 years, plutonium-240 whose t1/2 is 6,540 years, and curium-245 whose t1/2 is 8,500 years. Plutonium-238 whose t1/2is 88 years will have essentially disappeared after several thousand years, so in storage terms of the longer lived elements this isotope is not of concern as long as it will have been successfully contained for the next several thousand years. As for the life of these longer lived materials, the NRC considers 10,000 years as the storage time required; however, some people consider a lifetime as long as 100,000 years to 500,000 years as more appropriate.

    http://politiken.dk/newsinenglish/article611464.ece




  • The Indians are building thorium base fast breeder reactors which reduce the waste by 97% and increases the fuel supply to thousands of years. Also the waste from thorium is not really suitable for proliferation.
    No need to knick down plants as the op was elluding to, just build as required and replace end of life plants.


    With regards the poster who mentioned wind, at best its a hobbyist supply of power. The land mass required to generate the required amount of energy is ridiculous, it also needs a baseload back up. The baseload backup will run at a very low effiency and hence the environment will be worse off as a result of wind.

    Coal power kills tens or maybe hundreds of thousand people a year. The sooner its gone the better.

    And cars do cost over 20 the price they were. Present day reactors are producing 3.6 times the output of 15 years ago and only using 2..5 times the input.




  • ted1 wrote: »
    With regards the poster who mentioned wind, at best its a hobbyist supply of power. The land mass required to generate the required amount of energy is ridiculous, it also needs a baseload back up. The baseload backup will run at a very low effiency and hence the environment will be worse off as a result of wind.

    ..
    And cars do cost over 20 the price they were. Present day reactors are producing 3.6 times the output of 15 years ago and only using 2..5 times the input.
    wind turbines use next to no land
    since you can still farm under them.


    the increase in efficiency of nukes is mainly due to attaining a higher steam temperature, simple Carnot efficiency, CCGT gas turbine plants have made similar gains. If you look into the change of density/volume of things like plutonium / uranium with temperature you'll see there are some very hard problems up around the melting point of aluminium (which is also a problem)


    Thorium reactors were tested back in the 1960's
    until someone puts serious money into them ( how much are the Indians spending ? ) it's a pipe dream.




  • ted1 wrote: »
    With regards the poster who mentioned wind, at best its a hobbyist supply of power. The land mass required to generate the required amount of energy is ridiculous, it also needs a baseload back up. The baseload backup will run at a very low effiency and hence the environment will be worse off as a result of wind.

    ..
    And cars do cost over 20 the price they were. Present day reactors are producing 3.6 times the output of 15 years ago and only using 2..5 times the input.
    wind turbines use next to no land
    since you can still farm under them.


    the increase in efficiency of nukes is mainly due to attaining a higher steam temperature, simple Carnot efficiency, CCGT gas turbine plants have made similar gains. If you look into the change of density/volume of things like plutonium / uranium with temperature you'll see there are some very hard problems up around the melting point of aluminium (which is also a problem)


    Thorium reactors were tested back in the 1960's
    until someone puts serious money into them ( how much are the Indians spending ? ) it's a pipe dream.
    They have one coming online shortly.




  • ted1 wrote: »
    They have one coming online shortly.
    wikipedian_protester.png




  • I am somewhat reluctantly supporting the idea of nuclear energy to replace e.g. coal fired power; I would like to mention though another possible long-term problem: Uranium is actually a pretty rare commodity and known deposits even at the current consumption rate and reactor efficiency will only last another ~70 years. It is estimated though that undiscovered deposits may extend that to about 200 years, by which time new technologies should be firmly in place anyway.
    How the changing price for U will affect electricity production feasibility is anyone's guess. Long term, fewer people on this planet and far more intelligent use of power might be much better ideas, in which case the current "growth" mantra will have to come to an end.
    PS: The US, Canada and Japan should perhaps go to 220V, to minimise wiring losses, but I don't know how big a difference that would make (any ideas?) - The US use 50% more energy pp than the EU for all sorts of reasons.




  • I am somewhat reluctantly supporting the idea of nuclear energy to replace e.g. coal fired power; I would like to mention though another possible long-term problem: Uranium is actually a pretty rare commodity and known deposits even at the current consumption rate and reactor efficiency will only last another ~70 years. It is estimated though that undiscovered deposits may extend that to about 200 years, by which time new technologies should be firmly in place anyway.
    How the changing price for U will affect electricity production feasibility is anyone's guess. Long term, fewer people on this planet and far more intelligent use of power might be much better ideas, in which case the current "growth" mantra will have to come to an end.
    PS: The US, Canada and Japan should perhaps go to 220V, to minimise wiring losses, but I don't know how big a difference that would make (any ideas?) - The US use 50% more energy pp than the EU for all sorts of reasons.

    Thorium nuclear reactors are currently at an advanced stage of development which could solve the long term problem of uranium shortages. Further advancements such as the the Travelling Wave Reactor (although not commercially viable for at least 15years) will result in nuclear fuel being re-used in the nuclear reaction rather than being discarded at nuclear
    waste.

    I think we would be clutching at straws if we were to expect the US to adopt an intelligent use of power, it just doesn't seem likely in the medium term at least.




  • fewer people = less problems.. yes this is true but the pop is likely to increase by a couple billion at least in the next 30-40 years by any measurement.

    The fact is, if we try and do nuclear the way we've been doing nuclear up to now it is an irrelevant power source as far as having a global impact on carbon release. It takes too long and is too difficult and expensive - at least in the format we've been applying so far. There are better ideas out there as Gates and his friends have been harping on about but as 'they' say this is a huge problem which requires a huge 'fix'. They want a super dooper ridiculously stupendously massive investment into nuclear at what is really the worst time to attempt such a thing so it's unlikely to get traction any time soon therefore IMO nuclear, as it stands, is simply a business for people in that area to make money and certainly will have no global impact in any relevant way going forward UNLESS A MASSIVE TURNAROUND AND CRAAAAZY INVESTMENT AND INNOVATION HAPPENS IN THIS SPACE... in which case I'm all for it but it really can be proven with out doubt that nuclear, in its current format ( i.e. cost and time from planning to grid and limit of production and political and economic constraints as they exist in reality right now) is not a feasible answer to the global electricity problem and will it seems play a small part of a complex mix of approaches to solve this problem. There is no silver bullet as much as we would like there to be unless fusion is solved 'soon' which is a million to one.




  • Nuclear means huge capital cost and having to dig a big hole to put the waste in later on

    Geothermal energy here would mean going down 4,000 - 5,000 meters
    I don't think it's economic, but the costs per MW aren't too dissimilar to nuclear, also those costs may drop as new technologies come on board. I can't see any advantages to nuclear. Especially since geothermal is much quicker to come on line

    other thread - with links to maps n' stuff
    https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056697026


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  • Here's Bill Gates explaining TerraPower in 6 mins.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieX88nBFVS4&feature=related


    http://bcove.me/3ee648wn

    ______________________________

    I posted this before but the math is approx right and I personally think it's important to understand the reality in this area.. as it stands now. Things can and do change but in this case it would require a radical, massive and abrupt change.

    I reckon Nuclear Power Stations are too expensive and take too long to build for Nuclear Power to be seriously considered as a way to greatly reduce carbon emissions from Coal fired power stations.

    I wouldn't expect anyone to have geeked over the costs associated with building nuclear the way I have of late so I'll just give you the numbers and you can checkem out yourself if you want. It's a massively complex subject so I'll just throw some good numbers out there which are approx correct...if possibly over simplified.
    • It costs about 5 Billion dollars to build a nuclear power station that produces 2 Gigawatts of electricity.
    • It takes anywhere from 5-8 years to plan and build one.
    • There are 435 reactors today which produce about 13-15% of the electricity we use.
    • Coal fired plants produce about 41% of what we use.



    The cost of building a Nuclear Power Plant has increased more than 20 fold since the 70's. The Av cost of a car in 1970 was about $3,700 so obviously now cars would cost $75,000 on average if inflation is what you're thinking.

    Most plants were built between 1965 and 1985.

    To replace ALL the electricity gotten from Coal plants with nuclear would require today - another 1500 nuclear plants....and that's today, right now.

    BUT next year the demand will have increased 5% !! and the year after...for at least the next 10/15 years.

    The general opinion is that electricity demand will be double todays by 2050.

    So just keeping up with demand, will require, that we build another 435 stations in the next 40 years which is what? 10 a year say, to keep it the same 13-15% of electricity from Nuclear.

    But...
    lets assume we all believe deeply in Man-caused Global Warming and also lets assume we all think Nuclear is completely safe, just for a second.

    In that scenario we would WANT very much to massively upscale nuclear generated electricity right?

    So how many plants would it take to make a big difference, not a little one, a big FAT difference?

    Well to replace HALF of the coal plant electricity with nuclear, by 2050, and thereby (hypothetically) halving carbon emissions from coal fired plants would require us to build by 2050 approx

    1500 New Plants

    (and that's ignoring the more than 150 plants which will close during the period to 2050...100 of which will be closed within the next 15 years)

    I only illustrate the numbers because it seems that pro-nuclear global warming concerned people seem to think Nuclear will and should play a central role in electricity production given that renewables will not play a large enough part over the next 40 years at least realistically speaking. (Renewables will not for instance replace even close to 25% of coal electricity or anything like it in that period)... and either, I'm saying, will Nuclear and not because I'm an irrational nuclear pessimist!

    I think this because when you look at the costs, time, barriers, constraints, limits and drivers that exist right now....verses... THE SAME back in the nuclear golden age of the 60's/70's/80's , you quickly come to the conclusion that Nuclear CANNOT and therefore WILL NOT scale up FAST ENOUGH to make a large difference when it comes to the issue of Carbon Emissions and man caused global warming, at least over a reasonable period like 40-50 years. Now, over 100 years or more? then that is a different conversation and would include things like Nuclear Fusion etc etc but that's not my thesis here. I'm merely saying that it can be clearly shown that we CANNOT AND WILL NOT replace coal electricity with Nuclear in any significant way in the period to 2050 even 2060, and therefore Nuclear should not enjoy a central role within this debate.
    It is in fact, relatively speaking, a red herring as far as carbon emission reduction up to 2050 goes.

    Note:
    We managed to build approx 300 stations between '65 and '90, 300 in 25 years say, and that was during the Cold War which served as a major driver for nuclear build and it was impressive, but since then the cost of building has risen 20 fold !!! and it takes much much longer now AND there's a global backlash against nuclear right now.

    There's no way we could build an average of 30-50 stations per year every year to 2050. In fact I'd like to hear a solid argument for 25 per year to 2075 because from what I've learned it currently seems so unlikely as to be almost impossible.

    I doubt we could build 18 per year every year to 2050.

    Russia and America managed about 12 a year between them at the height of the Cold War !!

    There aint no Cold War now although there is a global warming war, alas mostly a war of words.

    Sure, China is building 25 right now and plans for 100 over then ext 20/30 years but America hasn't delievered a nuclear power station in 30 years... it actually cancelled or stopped more than 60 projects in the last 30 years!!

    MAYBE
    you could increase nuclear supply by 50%-100% of current level over the next 20 years, but CERTAINLY not 500% .. no chance in hell. That's the reality and that's why I regard the whole nuclear debate as marginal in terms of the big problem and a relevant time frame of solution. If you think I'm wrong you better bring the facts because I put a lot of work into understanding this area and I don't think I'm far off base. The stats and figures are there to be found and the math is simple and speaks for itself.




  • Hurler85 wrote: »
    Thorium nuclear reactors are currently at an advanced stage of development...
    It's been said already, but thorium reactors have been at an advanced stage of development for decades but they’re still nowhere near commercially viable.




  • fewer people = less problems.. yes this is true but the pop is likely to increase by a couple billion at least in the next 30-40 years by any measurement.

    The fact is, if we try and do nuclear the way we've been doing nuclear up to now it is an irrelevant power source as far as having a global impact on carbon release. It takes too long and is too difficult and expensive - at least in the format we've been applying so far. There are better ideas out there as Gates and his friends have been harping on about but as 'they' say this is a huge problem which requires a huge 'fix'. They want a super dooper ridiculously stupendously massive investment into nuclear at what is really the worst time to attempt such a thing so it's unlikely to get traction any time soon therefore IMO nuclear, as it stands, is simply a business for people in that area to make money and certainly will have no global impact in any relevant way going forward UNLESS A MASSIVE TURNAROUND AND CRAAAAZY INVESTMENT AND INNOVATION HAPPENS IN THIS SPACE... in which case I'm all for it but it really can be proven with out doubt that nuclear, in its current format ( i.e. cost and time from planning to grid and limit of production and political and economic constraints as they exist in reality right now) is not a feasible answer to the global electricity problem and will it seems play a small part of a complex mix of approaches to solve this problem. There is no silver bullet as much as we would like there to be unless fusion is solved 'soon' which is a million to one.

    The Russians have the gun to the heads of all Western European states with regard to gas supplies, hence leaving us in a position that leaves us in an unstable position in terms of security of supply and price. The sooner we embrace nuclear power the better, because IMHO, sooner or later we are going to rely on it due to circumstances of other fuel sources.




  • Hurler85 wrote: »
    The Russians have the gun to the heads of all Western European states with regard to gas supplies...
    The reliance of the EU on Russian gas is grossly over-stated - Russia needs EU revenue far more than the EU needs Russian gas.




  • Also don't we have a trillion cubic feet of gas being connected up in Mayo ?

    That be on line before a nuclear power station could be built.

    It will supply 10 million cubic meters per day
    we average ~ 15.5 million cubic meters per day

    And chances are that there could be other finds on our continental shelf.

    as new technologies are developed costs of gas extraction are going down and efficiency of CCGT has gone up.

    Max temperature in a Nuclear plant is determined by the properties of the fuel, things like non-linear expansion and volume changes at temperature mean rod crack, also may have two heat exchanges to keep the turbines from getting radioactive, these inefficiencies all add up. cba looking it up but the early UK reactors used something like 10% of the power output to power the fans.


    I don't expect CCGT to go much over 60% because it's a Carnot engine and there isn't a lot you can do with the ambient temperature short of locating the plant in Siberia. Perhaps if they used MHD with CCGT they might get a little more. Alternatively if the waste heat could be used productively - my favorite is using it in green houses / algae farms so the CO2 gets used too , but probably not economical.




  • This:





  • Nuclear power is probably more expensive now than it was, as more safety measures are put into place.




  • QuantumP wrote: »
    This:
    we had working molten salt reactors 58 years ago

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_Reactor_Experiment
    The US Aircraft Reactor Experiment (ARE) was a 2.5 MW thermal nuclear reactor experiment designed to attain a high power density for use as an engine in a nuclear powered bomber. It used the molten fluoride salt NaF-ZrF4-UF4 (53-41-6 mol%) as fuel, was moderated by beryllium oxide (BeO), used liquid sodium as a secondary coolant and had a peak temperature of 860 °C. It operated for a 1000-hour cycle in 1954.


    Don't get me wrong an actinide burning thorium reactor could be vastly cleaner than any nuclear power we have at present.

    But like fusion the technology isn't likely to happen in the short term, economic or not.

    As for the economics the hidden costs mean it's got to compete with geothermal power which is quicker to setup , more reliable , cleaner and fewer worries about Nimbys or fuel costs.


    Bottom line - nuclear is competing with geothermal. Nuclear is a mature technology and few real improvements are expected apart from the use of higher temperatures because of better materials. Better materials mean fossil fuel plants are ~50% more efficient since the start of the Nuclear age btw. Improvements can be expected in geothermal as it's early days yet.




  • Nuclear power has one great long term prospect.
    When the lights start going out - as they inevitably will if the Tweety Pie solutions of the Greens continue to be followed - citizens will be damn glad to turn to it for both grid and transport energy.
    A few years of rolling power cuts and cold dinners - that's if they have a dinner - will concentrate the collective mind wonderfully.


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  • Nuclear power has one great long term prospect.
    When the lights start going out - as they inevitably will if the Tweety Pie solutions of the Greens continue to be followed - citizens will be damn glad to turn to it for both grid and transport energy.
    A few years of rolling power cuts and cold dinners - that's if they have a dinner - will concentrate the collective mind wonderfully.
    In a word Enron. They arranged rolling power cuts and blackouts to pump up the price of electricity.

    If we had a nuke it would supply about half our base demand.
    we would also need the same capacity backup in case it went offline
    US outages - http://www.roadtechs.com/nukeout.htm

    http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL2E8E19QL20120302
    March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. nuclear power plant outages on Friday were more than twice as high as this time last year and more than 60 percent over the five-year average, according to Reuters data.
    ...
    Despite the continued low gas prices, natural gas traders said the high number of nuclear outages, among other things, was preventing gas from challenging the 10-year low of about $2.23 hit in late January.

    Again there is the problem of fuel supply, at current usage there is ~70 years proven resources left. Nukes supply 13.5% of the worlds electricity. Electricity demand is increasing by about 2.4% year on year. Nuclear power stations are capital intensive and generation III reactors have a design life of 60 years.

    Putting all that together means that if you were to replace the worlds reactors with new ones then there is just enough known uranium deposits to keep them running.

    To build new reactors instead of replacing existing ones means finding more uranium or using less economic sources.

    In 30 years global electricity demand is likely to double. If nuclear power is still providing just 13.5% of it by then the problem will be finding enough uranium to keep the reactors going for just a few more years, also those reactors may not have broke even by then.


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