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15-03-2019, 22:28   #16
cgcsb
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Nuclear doesn't contribute to energy independence. We have no indigenous nuclear industry so we would be reliant on a foreign country with foreign expertise and foreign technology to build and run the plant. We'd also be reliant on nuclear fuel from somewhere like Mali.

Right now the French EDF are building (ahem, trying to build) Hinkley Point C but as they are effectively bankrupt (but keep getting bailed out by the French state), the Chinese have stepped in and taken a large stake in the project.

But ignoring that plus the astronomical costs plus the long lead-in time, Ireland's grid is just too small for nuclear. And high shares of variable renewables and inflexible baseload do not go together very well from a market opereation perspective.
Saying that we wouldn't have energy independence because of imported tech is nonsense. No country produces all of the components from scratch in energy generation. Even chinese wind turbines are based on stolen designs. Yes we'd be importing fuel like we already import coal and gas the difference being coal is killing us/ the plannet and gas is going to run out.
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16-03-2019, 00:00   #17
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While traditional high output reactors have massive initial capital costs, costs which Ireland certainly couldn't afford without massive private investment/ EU funding, I don't see why we couldn't build smaller fast breeder reactors based off models used in submarines and aircraft carriers.

These reactors like lead cooled or liquid sodium cooled models have a number of advantages compared to traditional thermal reactors:

The high operating temperatures and low pressures eliminate the risk of an explosion and also greatly reduce the quantities of radioactive waste produced.

They are capable of turning the useless Uranium 238 in fuel rods into fissile Plutonium 239.
While this would usually carry weapons proliferation risks, I don't think anyone would be afraid of Ireland developing bombs.
these reactors have been around for decades, and it's not just the US that's has them,
But for some reason they haven't really been used anywhere, but American aircraft carriers (can't remember Wether or not the French one is nuclear) and submarines... I assume there's a reason why nuclear proliferation is Considered a bad thing...
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16-03-2019, 03:21   #18
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There's been talk of smaller reactors for years. Still no sign of anything that will be market ready in the next 10 years.

The nuclear industry has one hell of a hype machine. Amazingly, nuclear is the only energy generation technology that is getting MORE expensive over time, not less.

Last edited by Macha; 16-03-2019 at 03:31.
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16-03-2019, 03:28   #19
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Saying that we wouldn't have energy independence because of imported tech is nonsense. No country produces all of the components from scratch in energy generation. Even chinese wind turbines are based on stolen designs. Yes we'd be importing fuel like we already import coal and gas the difference being coal is killing us/ the plannet and gas is going to run out.
Take a look at the entire Hinkley Point C debate in the UK - both around French involvement and Chinese involvement
In the project. The UK Parliament is very concerned and it has interfered a lot with UK/French relations and stirred up a lot of worry about the broader trend of China buying up strategic energy assets in Europe, eg stakes in TSOs etc. This stuff is strategic national assets.

Not sure the point you're making on fuel imports, saying coal and gas are no better isn't a contradiction. The whole point is to replace them with renewables. Why do you think the French got involved in the Mali conflict a few years ago? They were protecting their uranium supply.

Then we can talk about the role of Rosatom in Eastern European countries and how that has created a nice amount of leverage for Putin in those places. Best example is Paks II in Hungary. All sorts of extremely dodgy dealing going on.

People don't seem to realise how closely the nuclear industry is linked to its supportive governments. EDF/Orano (as Areva is now called) are almost 90% owned by the French state. That is the ONLY reason they still exist financially. Same with Rosatom and Russia.

Westinghouse has filed for bankruptcy.. These projects are big and expensive. They ALWAYS take longer and cost more than promised and that even with the sort of government support (both policy and financial backing) that, quite frankly, the renewables industry doesn't need anymore even with the market still stacked against them.

Last edited by Macha; 16-03-2019 at 03:40.
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16-03-2019, 03:39   #20
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No, because we’d only be substituting imported oil for imported nuclear fuel. We don’t have massive quantities of fissile uranium here in this island, so why should we invest heavily in a technology that will make us dependent on countries that do?

This is all apart from the other obvious stuff like risk of irradiating the whole island in the event of a catastrophe, etc.

Ireland would probably benefit more if it put the same money into researching better ways to store energy (or refining battery technology) and coupling the better energy storage methods with our unpredictable energy sources such as wave farms or solar energy or something like that.
I’d say nuclear fission should be near the bottom of the list for a country like Ireland, we should only turn to that if everything else fails and we reach some sort of crisis

Last edited by yoke; 16-03-2019 at 03:45.
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16-03-2019, 03:39   #21
 
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While traditional high output reactors have massive initial capital costs, costs which Ireland certainly couldn't afford without massive private investment/ EU funding, I don't see why we couldn't build smaller fast breeder reactors based off models used in submarines and aircraft carriers.
.
Of course Ireland could afford them, we've built out massively expensive power projects over the decades and continue to do so. There's no need for EU funding for stuff like this. We're one of the wealthiest regions in the EU. We were prepared to build at least one pressurised water or boiling water plant in the 1970s under FAR less economic buoyancy than today. It's a big piece of infrastructure but we could do it easily enough, if we wanted to.

Whether Ireland builds them or not would be a political and practical decision.
One of the major downsides of nuclear is the lifecycle cost. Most of the British plants for example were many, many times over budget and the fuel cycle (reprocessing) and decommissioning costs have been astronomical.

Also looking towards the UK in the past there were plants were construction went on for decades. Dungeness B : started 1965 - commercial operation only began in 1983 and Hartlepool 1968 to 1989!! Even the last AGR, Torness took over 8 years.

If you look at the EDF/Areva EPR plants being built at the moment in France and Finland, they're also massively late and over budget. Meanwhile the UK's proposed new plants have all fallen through or are in a mess before they've even begun.

Overall, I think we're stuck with renewables and gas for the foreseeable future.

We could also probably do a huge tidal project in Cork Harbour which could double as a flood protection measure for the city. Offshore wind also absolutely should be happening.

Last edited by Anteayer; 16-03-2019 at 03:43.
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16-03-2019, 06:44   #22
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whether we 'go Nuclear ' or not it happens that ireland has a number of promising Uranium prospects in Donegal (especially) Carlow and Galway and elsewhere in the south east
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16-03-2019, 16:13   #23
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Originally Posted by Markcheese View Post
these reactors have been around for decades, and it's not just the US that's has them,
But for some reason they haven't really been used anywhere, but American aircraft carriers (can't remember Wether or not the French one is nuclear) and submarines... I assume there's a reason why nuclear proliferation is Considered a bad thing...
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor

Look at notable reactors. Japan, Germany, and France also use them but on a bigger scale than a ship model obviously.

Proliferation is a risk with rogue states such as North Korea/ Iran, but Plotoum 239 is also a really good nuclear fuel, and I don't think any country would have a problem with us building such a Reactor as we don't have weapons aspirations.
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16-03-2019, 17:11   #24
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Take a look at the entire Hinkley Point C debate in the UK
The UK planned 6 new nuclear plants. Hinkley C is the only one still going ahead. That alone should give pause for thought. EDF , Toshiba & Co. are all struggling. If the UK can't do it after 60 years in the business what chance do we have ?

And Hinkley C won't be cheap. Baseload electricity at twice the average grid price ? Guaranteed for longer than the life of most windfarms.

It won't be on time or on budget.


Here in Ireland the size of modern nuclear reactors rules them out.
Our setup just doesn't have the capacity to provide 1.6GW of spinning reserve. End of story.

Smaller 300MW reactors do exist, navies around the world have used hundreds of them since the 1950s. But they still haven't been commercialised.

All nuclear does is take money away from renewables. Both require spending on gas or hydro to load balance. Both require planning permission and pylons in remote areas.
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18-03-2019, 17:29   #25
 
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Actually the output of most of the British AGR plants is very small by modern standards. As little as 849MW to 1195MW.

The French plants are far bigger output.
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18-03-2019, 18:15   #26
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IIRC 5% of the ARG's output was used to power the gas pumps.

Which is why most reactors use liquids instead of gas to transfer the heat.


The AGR's also have problems with cracks in graphite. They are near the end of their lives. Most of them will be shut down in the next 5 years.

EPR's also have cracks. And failed welds. And they still haven't finished the first one yet.
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18-03-2019, 18:38   #27
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Originally Posted by TheEngineer1 View Post
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor

Look at notable reactors. Japan, Germany, and France also use them but on a bigger scale than a ship model obviously.
When you say Japan used them, strictly speaking that's correct.

Monju Nuclear Power Plant coat $12Bn but there's another $20Bn investment in reprocessing and other facilities needed to produce a breeding cycle.

Construction started in 1986. Decommissioning is expected to take until 2037 so lots more money.

It provided power to the grid for ONE HOUR.



The max output was 280MW
So 280,000 Units of electricity at $107,000 per unit.
which is about two million times the current market price
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19-03-2019, 07:58   #28
 
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It's an odd industry.
What worries me in Europe is that, other than France and Finland, a lot of the nuclear fleet is aging and not being replaced. The commercial realities of nuclear didn't live up to the 60s and 70s promises and the result is pretty ancient technology running way beyond the lifespan the designers had envisioned. You've a risk of plants that are going way past their best before date being life extended by regulators due to economic arguments stretching safety cases to their limits.

The British AGRs are too old and cracking. Belgium remaining two pressurised water plants are similarly on their last legs. You see this all over Europe and the US.

Hardly any new nuclear plants are being built in the West and I'm not really seeing a strategy to directly replace them.

The original industry seems to have been hugely reliant on state subsidies and the majority countries that have tended to pursue it most have historically (although perhaps not now) crossover between research for nuclear power and fundamental nuclear research that was originally based around weapons investment. That was certainly true of the US, France, UK, USSR/Russia and China.

Canada and Japan are exceptions and German and Swedish etc companies and actually most of Europe except France have given up on nuclear power. Big companies like Siemens and ABB no longer have nuclear power divisions. Meanwhile the French EDF / Areva / Franatom agencies are basically arms of the public sector and heavily protected due to France's large scale investment in nuclear power domestically.

I'd be very concerned that if you are to invest in nuclear power here it would be jumping into a dying technology that requires massive state funding and that funding would be going to subsidize the EDF in France or the operators of Sellafield. The economic and technical knowledge benefits to be Ireland would be fairly low.

I'm not really seeing current nuclear fission technology as very economically viable.

If a clean and stable technology were to emerge maybe based around a breakthrough in fusion and that were popular and available reliably off the shelf, then maybe we might have an argument for nuclear.

I think however current technology is struggling and you only have to look at the lack of new projects in Europe and the collapse of the British ones to see that.

Talk of Ireland hosting some weird new take on fission (molten metal, fast breeders or even new gas cooled systems) is absolute pie in the sky. We don't have the technical skills or industrial base to support it. You'd need large nuclear research institutes and all of that and really that's limited to a few countries and EU or multinational agencies that have been doing this stuff since the 1950s. Even the UK has lost most of the skillset needed for that as they haven't been doing large scale nuclear power research in decades. They would be struggling to even come up with the industrial facilities needed to produce the components these days. It would have to be bought in.

If Ireland did buy anything it would need to be standard, off the shelf technology and that would mean right now the latest generation PWR or BWR.

My view of it's I wouldn't touch current generation nuclear with a barge pole but I would monitor the pipeline for future developments. It's possible that some major breakthrough does eventually happen bringing about a solution to energy needs but I think current generation nuclear power technology is just not stacking up in terms of business case and it's loaded with huge ancillary costs and shutdown costs and major political issues.

We need to be looking at what we can do with renewables and things like tidal and energy storage.

Realistically though we are going to be stuck with fossil fuels, notably gas, for a long time to come for our base load.

Last edited by Anteayer; 19-03-2019 at 08:07.
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19-03-2019, 08:28   #29
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There has been global accidents that prove it is not safe.
Are you referring to the Three Mile Island incident?

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And last, but not least, where would you put it..?
East coast; it's already radiated. Also, very little chance of a big wave totaling it.

=-=

The sooner molten salt comes to all countries, the better. Can we build anymore hydroelectric dams? If not, we'll need to plant wind farms around Ireland with CPOs. It's either a fcuktonne of windfarms, or nuclear, IMO, and the former produces less waste to bury.
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19-03-2019, 11:13   #30
cgcsb
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There definitely needs to be serious discussion about it and I don't think Irish politics is mature enough for such a discussion. Can you imagine the site selection process? We can't even close car through access in one small suburban street for metro without a political crisis.

The facts of the minute are:

-Electricity consumption is set to rocket
-Moneypoint is to close
-Effective grid storage doesn't exist yet in sufficient scale for us to be 100% renewable
-Connecting to French nuclear power effectively exports the decision for us, for a while


Certainly we need more renewables, if we can get 60% of consumption from renewables with present technology, then lets do it. More offshore wind, wave power, tidal systems all need investment. We need something more stable though and buying French nuclear, and letting them set the price, isn't a permanent fix.

Last edited by cgcsb; 19-03-2019 at 11:19.
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