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Whale seen near Diablo nuclear power plant

The UK should construct more nuclear reactors and substantially reduce its investments in offshore wind power to meet targets for carbon emissions and renewable power, says the government's climate advisory panel. Specifically, two more nuclear reactors, capable of pumping out a total of 3.2 gigawatts of energy, will be needed by 2030, according to the UK's Committee on Climate Change.

The Committee noted that the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may put a damper on nuclear developments across the globe, but says that nuclear is the only practical way for the UK to meet its "aggressive" goals of deriving 15 percent of its energy for power, heat and transport (i.e. plug-in vehicles) from renewables by 2020. David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee, says that:
Nuclear, for the foreseeable future, looks like it will be the lowest cost low-carbon technology. It's only as you get to the end of the 2020s and the beginning of the 2030s that the cost of renewables starts to converge.
If the UK decides to go the nuclear route, then plans for massive offshore wind farms will either, most likely, be delayed or canceled.

[Source: Bloomberg | Image: mikebaird – C.C. License 2.0]


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  • 55 Comments
      Marcopolo
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Nuclear debate always attracts a great deal of emotion and misinformation, and very little commonsense. IMHO, the issues are fairly simple in principle. In a world increasing reliant on electric energy to replace oil, generation has become the major issue. Currently the major sources of generation, are Coal, Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Hydro, Solar, Geo-thermal, Wind, Wave Bio-mass etc. Once Oil is removed, (and the silliness of including wood, dung, third world cooking fires etc) , The choice become very clear between three types of technology , Mature,Opportunist, and Immature, . Mature technologies are Coal, Natural Gas, and Nuclear, these are proven generators of power. These technologies can replace oil (for most energy use), and can be built with existing technology. These mature technologies are still improving rapidly to become more economic and less harmful. Opportunistic power generation like Hydro, wave and Geo-thermal, require terrain required by the technology . Of these, only Hydro is a proven, mature technology. Immature technologies, like solar, wind, wave, etc.. do not produce sufficient base load power for industrial economies at the present time. I am not suggesting that Solar, Wind, Wave and especially Geo-thermal technologies shouldn't be encouraged, but for a long time they will remain, at best, peripheral. The options appear simple, Build either Coal, Nuclear, Natural Gas Generators. Natural Gas is the best option, but not really economic, except close to its source. Of all three, uranium has the greatest reserves. So in most cases, the choice becomes Coal, Nuclear, or do nothing. On the balance, I would prefer Nuclear to Coal. (If it were available on an industrial scale, I would prefer Solar or Geo-thermal, and my bet is Geo-thermal). The "Let's do nothing while we wait for Solar, Wind, Wave, Geo-thermal", approach is not feasible in reality. Although millions of idealistic adherents to this approach argue, that if we totally restructure society to an idealistic model, these technologies might just work, maybe, ...these are the same people who who demand reductions in carbon emissions. Governments can not, and will not, wait for idealistic technologies to provide reliable power generation. The choice becomes Coal or Nuclear. Avoiding the choice is irresponsible. (for whatever reason). The whole concept of a Solar or nuclear option, is irresponsible. Solar technology just doesn't exist in a realistic format. I prefer Nuclear to Coal, with stringent safeguards and an International Nuclear Inspection and Licencing Authority to ensure safety standards. However, the 'Clean Coal' industry, also has it's adherents. Meanwhile, in the real world, with no regard for utopian visions, the PRC is building 854 giant coal fired power plants over the next 7 years. India is following, with even dirtier brown coal plants. Wouldn't Nuclear pebble reactors be preferable?
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Very well put. The 'alternative' of renewables in the sense of powering society with it simply does not exist, there is no current way of engineering it. That leaves fossil fuels and nuclear, and in fact renewables especially wind rely on very large inputs of fossil fuels to make up for when they are not available. Since for many of us CO2 levels are of concern and in any case fossil fuel supplies are relatively limited, the question for me is not 'should we use nuclear power' but' how can we make it as safe and cheap as we can?' We don't stop flying because and aeroplane crashes, nor should we stop building nuclear reactors. Fortunately the risks hypothesised by Greenpeace et al of millions of deaths, huge areas being uninhabitable etc are gross exaggerations. On any rational risk assessment carried out in the normal manner of such procedures the risks are less than our current way of doing business, and future reactors can reduce them far more. Nothing is perfectly safe, and it is wrong to compare risks to fairy dust. They are safer than any other way of generating the power we need that we can actually build.
          • 5 Months Ago
          What gets me is that the money that would be needed to develop far better energy systems, including nuclear and renewables, is being wasted on fusion in nuclears' case and subsidies for the premature deployment of immature technologies in renewables. It is difficult to conceive of a less efficient way to finance improving solar pv, for instance, than putting arrays on the roofs of German houses, where in winter on some days they are down to as low as a staggering 1% of nominal output! Many fine ideas are not pursued for the want of a few million dollars, when umpteen billion is thrown at building plant where it is going to be a money drain for the next 20 years. In no particular order breakthrough technologies could include high altitude wind, space based solar and molten salt reactors. Right now technologies include nuclear and home fuel cells, where Japanese corporations reckon by 2013 they can sell them for around $2,500 or so, increasing the efficiency of natural gas use by perhaps 30%.
          Marcopolo
          • 5 Months Ago
          Thank you for those kind words. Sadly, we have few options, and little time to replace oil as the dominant fuel for the entire planet. Some countries like Norway, Iceland and NewZealan are blessed with an abundance of Hydro or Geo-thermal. Geo-thermal power interests me, since for small Island nations, or resorts, with atolls it would appear to be very economically viable. Geo-thermal also appears to be more of an engineering challenge than inventing a whole new area of physics. The conductivity of graphene technology and the relatively lost cost of building Geo-thermal generating plants than can achieve base load capacity, strikes me as far more feasible than wind or Solar. But, I am not an engineer, and while such things fascinate me, I am not really qualified to express an opinion as to the economic or technical feasibility. Oh, and hey, the Guys at the University of Padua, still maintain they will release a working, peer reviewed, Cold Fusion power generator within 15 months! Far fetched, but if true , ...a wonderfully disruptive technology! Oh,..And if it fails or disappears,...well, a wonderful conspiracy theory!
        lne937s
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Overall, it comes to your point of what we can do now. Solar can be done at a small scale and be scaled up- you do not have to commit billions of dollars or decades of time to start to implementing it. It tends to displace peak load demand, so it actually helps the grid and would require no storage up to 25% of electricity generation. Up to that point, it seems like a good place to put our emphasis. And there is less political, human, catastrophic and financial risk involved- although the last nuclear plant went online in the US in th '70's, it wasn't the last project started and shut down.
          Marcopolo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @lne937s
          So, if I understand you correctly, you are saying that we shouldn't build proven nuclear power plants to replace base load power for industrial use, because it might take a long time (20 yrs) to build. Actually, the PRC just built and completed a large Nuclear power plant in under 4 years. (27 more are under construction) . Instead, you suggest that we should persist with Solar in the hope that one day Solar will be able to create power in the winter, at night, or factor X technology will be invented to make possible to create Solar base load power on an industrial scale. In the meantime we'll burn coal, and increasingly, brown coal? Am I right? That's it? That's your proposal? I hope not, or I'd rather put my faith in the guy's at Padua Uni!
          lne937s
          • 5 Months Ago
          @lne937s
          Marco, No- you are mischaracterizing my statement. I am saying that we should continue to concentrate on Solar, which tends to generate electricity when we need it most, untill it reaches 25% of generating capacity, or approximately the level where we would have to start considering storage. We are a long way away from that point. Including financing, risk assessments, geological assessments, local, state, federal and international approvals, safety assessments, arranging financing (which requires government involvement), building containment, infrastructure and containment, nuclear takes far longer than the installation time you are citing. Especially if you add in delays, financing interruptions from going over budget, etc. that led to the average times I mentioned. And as Nuclear basically has only 2 speeds (on and off), you end up wasting capacity or rely on storage if you want that as your only option. Currently, nuclear relies on natural gas generators to meet peak demand. Investing solely in nulcear is wasteful, in addition to all the potential financial, technological and catastrophic risks involved with such a long commitment. Solar can be implemented now. Some total cost estimates already place it cheaper than new Nuclear now for commercial systems. Solar is going down in price double digit percentages every year, while the recent disaster will no doubt raise the cost of nuclear with additional safety measures. We should be finishing the nuclear plants we have already started building, but I would not concentrate energy investment in new plants. Considering that the US has lower manufacturing output but twice the energy consumption of Germany, some investment in efficiency would also go a long way. I am not saying that solar should be our only energy source, but considering how quickly we can start placing it into action, it makes the most sense for an immediate public investment (as nuclear also requires public investment, but on a larger, longer-term scale) while other technologies develop. It will without a doubt save more electricity in the short term (as you can't put nuclear into operation that fast), and if costs continue to come down as they have been, will save us money in the long run. Once solar hits the 25% of energy generation that would lead us to have to think of storage options, then we can re-examing the level of our public investment in nuclear in comparison to storage costs and other alternative technologies. But untill that time, investment in solar is a better option.
          lne937s
          • 5 Months Ago
          @lne937s
          basically, I am saying the $36 Billion being used for new nuclear loan guarantees in the 2012 US Federal budget and all the other spending on direct and indirect nuclear subsidies would be better spent elsewhere, at least for the immediate term.
        BipDBo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Bro, you have way too much spare time.
        lne937s
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Marcopolo
        Considering that geoligic assements, threat assements,permitting, and building a nuclear power plant averages over 20 years, Nuclear is not doing anything now. Starting a new nuclear project will start producing power when kids born today graduate from college. Nuclear only makes sense if you believe that there will be no technological advancement over the 20+ years it takes to put it into operation and the 75 year projected lifespan, upon which cost projections are based. If there is any new technology in the next century that is more environmentally friendly and cost effective, then nuclear plants being planned now lose out. Remember that a century ago there were no nuclear reactors or solar panels. Solar panels, by comparison, have been dropping in price dramatically, with installed cost dropping by double digit percentages every year. They can be installed, including permitting and planning, in a matter of days to months, as opposed to decades for nuclear. Solar that can be installed today may be more expensive than coal, but a number of estimates place solar to be at parity with coal in 5 years, much less 20 years from now when the nuclear reactors being planned now go online.
      FREEPAT75014
      • 4 Years Ago
      These guys are perfectly right, even if this is against all stupidites repeated every day in the medias, by irresponsible ecologists only good at exploiting fears to serve their own little interests. Nuclear power is the only effective green carbon-free power for the main power sources we need to secure our electricity supply, in all countries in next 30 to 50 years, and make ourselves ready for EVs and secure a bright future for our children, at least for that period. The more we wait to build the extra new safe and effective EPR plants, and wrongly expand the old ones far beyond their design period, the more risks we take to replicate Fukushima 40 years old reactors accident. Renewables can have a role too (Decentralised/local off grid sources for remote sites today...more tomorrow when appropriate energy storage can be invented), but not the main one, and Germans are kidding the world lying on that. The 2 x main renewables, with capacity to expand to a meaningfull level vs total demand, are Solar and Wind, and both have the same leak : They are intermittant, hence USELESS for the Grid without HUGE COSTY Energy Storage backing them and more than doubling today their already un-competitive costs/MWH produced. When you have sources that you can't rely on when demand peaks, then you need to keep the other secured sources on all the time (Nuclear, fossil fuels plant) to cover for the entire demand that can't tolerate that a passing cloud or a sudden wind drop can shut your TV down at any time, so at the end your intermittant energy sources supply is just WASTED, a pure pollution for our current grids that can't tolerate more than 25% without CRASHING, unless they can be regulated with huge energy storage to turn them into a reliable/predictable sources, than can be effectively used along with the other one. And that Energy Storage still needs to be invented, I mean at a cost acceptable for mainstream purposes, when combined with Wind and Solar farms, means down costed hundreds or even throusands folds vs today solutions, so you can close a business case. Not mentionning the additional environmental impact of building and recycling all these energy storage devices over their lifetime, on top of Win and Power generation equipments already questionnable.
        Neil Blanchard
        • 5 Months Ago
        @FREEPAT75014
        How is nuclear power carbon free? It is not carbon free. It consumes a fuel, and carbon is used to produce that fuel: uranium has to be mined, it has to be transported, it has to be refined and enriched, it has to be processed and constructed into fuel rods, and then it's useful lifespan is only about 3-6 years. Then it has to be moved to water storage for at least 10 years, then large casks have to be constructed, and then these have to be stored for a very long time, and they have to be protected from sabotage or theft by terrorists, etc. The plants have to be constructed, maintained, and then decommissioned. Nuclear power emits about 75% as much carbon as does coal; making it about as dirty as natural gas (until you add in the fracking). The myriad of renewable energy sources that can meet our needs right now; as soon as we build them, is obvious. Wind, solar PV, and solar heat, wave power, tidal power, geothermal, biogas, small scale hydro, all in combination can easily provide as much energy as we will need -- for as long as our Sun and Earth exist. These consume no fuel to produce power, and they are largely recyclable materials, and if you use renewable energy to build the next generation of wind turbines, etc. then the carbon content gets lower and lower over the years. They produce zero pollution, and they produce zero waste. Neil
          FREEPAT75014
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Neil Blanchard
          Niel, the proportions are not these ones, at all. You're just dropping tons of ZEROs on Nuclear energy production side, versus the negligible amount of fossil energy required for everything you listed for them. Plus as we move to more Electricity driven machines, those recharged with Nuclear sourced electricity will get the same savings, minimising end to end carbon print overtime. While on renewable the proportions today are inverted, when counting everything, due to the huge un-efficiency of these solutions today on Solar, and the huge maintenance required and small life cycle of Wind devices. Although solar efficiency is progressing, and this is very good. But don't take me wrong, I'm not against renewables, I'm totally in favour of them, what I'm against is the vaporware arround them, that counts only portions of their costs ignoring the extra ones required to cover for their intermittance, and that pretend they could replace Nuclear in the comming years so we can stop investing in anything else right now, while this is out of proportions, and since new Nuclear plants take >10 years to plan for and build, we've delayed them far too much already in my view, at least in Europe, where we now have a majority of active Nuclear plants well >20 Years old, and we keep delaying their replacements, taking un-necessary risks on our future. I don't work in that business today, only toutched it when I was a student, but I'm an engineer, and the need for more nuclear, in addition to more renewables is just an evidence today in Europe, as we're heading to EVs at accelerated speed now we know we passed Peak Oil in 2006/2007.. This technical discussion has turned to clericals and this is something I just don't admit. Yes there are risks associated with Nuclear, and they can be mamaged, as previous generations of Nuclear plants manageed them in Europe for 40 years, with appropriate research, and tight design targets, and tight control of the end to end process. As there are risks in EVs, and the larger the batteries will get, the more risks they will represent in case of accidental fuse. But again this is "manageable", like for the petrol tanks of the ICE cars had to be managed before us. There is no progress without risks, humans just need to control them.
          ss1591
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Neil Blanchard
          I would like to see your information on the carbon produced by Nuclear energy! Oil, gas and even renewables require manufacturing and mining to build and maintain. You have not taken into account how new atomic plants will be built and recycling old rods to reduce mining in the first place. Gas and oil are a 100 times more difficult to defend against terrorists the Nuclear will ever be. The reason that nuclear storage has not been attached is the difficulty in stealing or getting to it in the first place. Unless you are going to just make dirty bombs from the waste there is little else you can do with it. I can't imagine terrorists just driving in and picking up concrete cases that weigh tons and just driving off with it! Most nuclear waste is now mixed with concrete to make a solid waste that is neither flammable or can be disbursed in water or air. Once we can build geothermal or hydro plants that do less damage to the surrounding wild life I will be in 100 percent but at this time neither are practical.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @FREEPAT75014
        Freepat, what's wrong with having a bunch of natural gas fired power plants ready and waiting to fire up in case a gigantic cloud envelops the whole continent and solar falls short for a brief period? They can be fired up in 15 minutes. The other thing about the "intermittency" of solar energy is that in some locations it isn't intermittent at all, like in the mid latitude deserts. Why can't it be produced in somewhere like North Africa or Saudi Arabia, and then transmitted to Europe? Then Germany doesn't have to worry about meeting its power needs in winter with solar. Granted, Europe would then still be dependent on unstable hostile countries to the south for its power, but technically, there is nothing holding back this solution. In the US, it has vast empty areas of Nevada desert that could be covered with solar panels, although of course care would be need to be taken to protect sensitive desert habitats. Considering that the ENTIRE world economy could be powered by an area of Arizona desert 400 km X 400 km, covered with solar panels of today's efficiency, any discussion of the impracticality of solar power centers purely around politics and unfair subsidies to the established fossil fuels that make solar energy not quite as competitive as it should be based on fundamentals. Neil, do you have any links to how much carbon is emitted by nuclear?
      uncle_sam
      • 4 Years Ago
      How long will it take to clean up Fukushima? When will the ppl be able to return to their homes? What if an accident happens in the UK??? How can you evacouate millions? U can't... What if Winter 1946–1947 happens again. The grid collapses and one plant goes bad. no cooling. and thanks to the winter no access. OHHHHH it won't happen. What about Windscale. Oh they have renamed it. Its sellafield now. what about the waste that is dangerous for millions of years. oh who cares. what about the uranium. Oh only those poor Africans that mine it die a slow death. but who cares about those funny africans. or in australia the radiactive dust is spread across the county. but wait it are mostly aboriginies that die and suffer. nuclear wast for our chiuldren great. Yes cancer for my children. I don't get it
        ss1591
        • 4 Years Ago
        @uncle_sam
        If you have a plan to heat our homes and provide lights at night without using the Atom we are all in! The truth at this time is we need to stop burning fuel to save our oceans and to stop the earth from over heating and at this time only the Atom can do this. I hope that we can build safer plants and recycle the radiative waste so miners don't have to breath radioactive dust but the truth of the matter is if they don't mine it they have no jobs and they will take the risk to feed their families. Ask your children if they can go without heat in the winter or lights verses the slight risk that they may someday get sick from nuclear energy! Japan made their own problem by using plants that are 40 years old and failing to follow their own procedures on building plants near the coast to save the cost of bringing cooling water from the ocean to the plants.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Apparently solar energy has now reached grid parity http://www.kirainet.com/english/almost-reaching-grid-parity/
        Edge
        • 4 Years Ago
        Great website for technology articles. An ad on the side about a book on the Japanese porn industry, and a list of contributors on the site, all very attractive women! LOL! Sheesh, I don't know what to say.
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Edge
          Good point, I just happened to see a link to this so I am not endorsing what it says.
      Edge
      • 4 Years Ago
      Since the wind does not always blow, and the sun does not always sun, nuclear all the way baby!!! Well nuclear with solar, wind, and other green energy tech. Nuclear is not a standing still technology, just like any energy tech, and all kinds of advances are being made on safety, cost, and radiation issues. The future is the atom, whether you like it or not. Don't like Fukushima change your mind against the nuclear. An older design, with lack of foresight, and many many abuses in the Japanese nuclear industry, where lying is the norm at many places, in terms of safety reports/procedures. Fukushima is not a nuclear problem, but a Japanese nuclear industry problem. The Japanese nuclear industry has a long list of problems, starting with a cracked containment vessel, that was fixed, when it should have been replaced. That was Japans pride in building their first containment vessels, and making a mistake, and not have the guts to admit it, and deal with it interms of the cost. Just look up the Japanese powered ship, the Mitsu, and what a disaster that was. A complete failure on their part when it came to nuclear technology, and roughly at the same time they were designing and making their first containment vessels.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Edge
        But the sun does indeed always shine, in the mid latitude deserts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The UK Government has just come out with an energy calculator, so that you can feed in your preferred pathway and show the consequences for supply and demand, including land use for biofuels etc. Here's mine, but you can alter it to your own preferences: http://2050-calculator-tool.decc.gov.uk/pathways/3011111111111101131310024424014410320230441032012/primary_energy_chart What I did within the limits of the model is not compromise living standards or convenience, switch to highly efficient energy strategies by the use of insulation, heat pumps, electric vehicles etc and go for a medium build of nuclear power, so you end up with about 1.5 times France's present capacity. All renewables options are taken to zero under this, with the exception of using waste for biomass to power farm tractors etc. So the society runs fine with an energy expenditure of only around 1.5kw per person. Costs are not shown in these calculations, but the cost for our build of off-shore wind is running at around 3 times that for on-shore or nuclear. Solar pv is not only ludicrously expensive in the UK, but works against the grid as it provides no power when you need it most. Residential solar thermal is OK for cost, but not really helpful as again most of it's power is in the summer, and so works against nuclear and geothermal as they like steady load. The reasons for my choices are that solar is no good in the UK, wind is intermittent and so needs heavy back up. If you are not going to use fossil fuels for the back up you need to use biomass, which is enormously environmentally destructive. Trying to severely reduce UK carbon emissions, or even make up for the rising costs of fossil fuels without nuclear is nearly impossible. In my view the Fukushima will only have improved the engineering, and even with present reactors risks are acceptable, although I would like us to go on and develop inherently safer reactors such as molten salt. The death toll in the UK from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels at around 50,000 a year is in my view unacceptable, as are the 'excess winter deaths' at up to 50,000 pa, which would rise hugely if very expensive energy solutions are adopted.
        Neil Blanchard
        • 5 Months Ago
        Check out the wave power machines already in use off the coast of Scotland. Neil
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Neil Blanchard
          This is an entirely immature technology, and currently has a cost of many times current prices. You cannot seriously propose a research project as something which can run society, or not responsibly. I suggest you look up some of the issues surrounding running equipment in salt water stormy environments. The choice for sensible people is between technologies which actually currently produce substantial amounts of power, not for gleams in the eye of inventors. That is why I compare other energy resources to current and near current nuclear power, not to molten salt reactors, which in my view hammer most other projected resources such as tidal etc.
      Ford Future
      • 5 Months Ago
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium
      Neil Blanchard
      • 4 Years Ago
      When you account for all the carbon inputs of nuclear: from mining to transportation, to refining and enrichment, and fuel rod construction, plant construction (concrete is very energy intensive, and so is steel!) spent fuel storage, plant decommissioning, and long term waste storage -- it all adds up to a substantial amount, and nuclear actually emits about 75% as much as coal. So, lets end this myth that nuclear power is zero carbon, or even that it is low carbon! Neil
        letstakeawalk
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        Nuclear is about the least sustainable form of power generation there is. "In his analysis, Abbott explores the consequences of building, operating, and decommissioning 15,000 reactors on the Earth, looking at factors such as the amount of land required, radioactive waste, accident rate, risk of proliferation into weapons, uranium abundance and extraction, and the exotic metals used to build the reactors themselves." “Due to the cost, complexity, resource requirements, and tremendous problems that hang over nuclear power, our investment dollars would be more wisely placed elsewhere,” Abbott said. “Every dollar that goes into nuclear power is dollar that has been diverted from assisting the rapid uptake of a safe and scalable solution such as solar thermal.” http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-nuclear-power-world-energy.html
          lne937s
          • 5 Months Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          "Why is it that everyone who's opposed to nuclear power somehow thinks that a win for nuclear is a loss for solar or wind?" Because all of them compete for limited financial resources. The billions it takes in government loan guarantees and subsidies to build a single new reactor takes money away from other energy investments. http://www.grist.org/energy-policy/2011-03-04-wall-street-journal-poll-most-popular-spending-cut-is-to
          letstakeawalk
          • 5 Months Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          Danaon My comment was that nuclear generation isn't a sustainable solution, not that it isn't renewable. There's a difference. Sustainability takes into consideration the need to build reactors with a limited amount of resources (ie the exotic metal alloys) and the need to build waste storage facilities with a limited amount of land to place them on. I'm not saying nuclear is bad - indeed I support nuclear power and much of my home state's power comes from nuclear. OTOH, the study I linked to indicates that nuclear power alone is not the answer, and that there are many real issues that limit its *sustainability*. Once the nuclear industry gets to a certain size, the downsides get really bad really fast. 1. Hard to find enough ideal locations to build reactors 2. Reactors have a limited lifespan, and then must be decommissioned 3. Accident rate indicates that more reactors = more accidents, no matter what failsafes 4. Environmental impact from the exotic alloys required in reactor construction.
          Giraffe Sense
          • 5 Months Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          @letstakeawalk I disagree with the guy in your original post. Why is it that everyone who's opposed to nuclear power somehow thinks that a win for nuclear is a loss for solar or wind? I never got that memo. It is possible to have all three, you know. In fact, in my dream energy world, the majority of energy (60-70%) would come from next-generation nuclear, with the rest provided by wind, solar, and other renewables. Say what you will about such a world; at least it's pretty much carbon-free, and gives us total energy security and independence.
          letstakeawalk
          • 5 Months Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          "Why is it that everyone who's opposed to nuclear power somehow thinks that a win for nuclear is a loss for solar or wind? I never got that memo." I ask myself the same question when the anti-hydrogen crowd start claiming that any money spent on FCVs is a detriment to BEVs - when they clearly are complimentary techs and many BEV advances were made while researching FCVs. I agree with you, nuclear should be a part of our energy portfolio, alongside solar, wind, and other renewable sources.
          letstakeawalk
          • 5 Months Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          To be clear, my post of the Abbott article on Physorg was merely meant as a charitable support of Neil Blanchard's comment. I don't necessarily agree with the ultimate conclusion Abbott reaches, but his study does corroborate many of the pitfalls regarding nuclear power that Neil Blanchard was trying to point out.
          Danaon
          • 5 Months Ago
          @letstakeawalk
          Actually, nuclear is renewable. They're called breeder reactors, and they run on common elements like thorium.
        BipDBo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        So per kw*hr, nuclear reactors require more building materials and land than wind, solar, and hydro. I don't think so.
        Giraffe Sense
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        Neil, Is that 75% that you allege in comparison to direct coal emissions, or the total carbon inputs for coal as well? That includes coal mining, transportation, coal plant construction, decommissioning, etc. If you're not doing a total cost analysis with coal as well, the comparison is worthless. In any case, I question where you're getting that information. The total cost analysis for carbon that I've seen puts nuclear roughly on par with either wind or solar, I can't remember which. Neither of those are carbon-free either, by the way, though they're much lower than coal. Also, you argue that eventually the total carbon cost for wind and solar would go down as more energy came from wind and solar in the first place. Well, can't the same argument be made for nuclear?
      Ryan
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why can't they do both? Nuclear for the baseline load. Wind, tidal, and geothermal for renewable targets. Molten salt reactors (Thorium Fluoride) might be the better way to go.
      MBCoast
      • 4 Years Ago
      I used to believe nuclear was the way, but no longer. It has little to do with Fukashima and everything to do with poor application and checkered safety records over the decades. No standard pressurized water fission plants should be allowed to be constructed. Existing nuclear nuclear plants need to be retrofitted with a "walk-away" option allowing the entire plant to be sealed indefinitely by simply closing a massive steel reinforced concrete door which would be part of a massive concrete entombment structure surrounding all reactors on site and cutting them off from the world if necessary. Fast neutron reactors could be installed on site to begin using up existing spent fuel to slowly make a dent in the waste problem. Fusion and perhaps thorium reactors may provide a way forward for the nuclear industry, but that remains to be seen. The nuclear power industry has a lot of unanswered safety questions and should not be allowed to move forward without addressing them first. I think I'm being kind by not even including the ore mining damage to the planet. As far as other forms of power, I believe solar to hydrogen is the immediate way forward, allowing energy to be stored and used with the help of fuel cells whose prices are indeed falling. Requirements for solar cells on all new construction could also help to shoulder the burden as well as create economies of scale necessary to offset old, dirty, and dangerous (ODD) fuels. Yes nuclear power is a Mature technology as Marcopolo states, but entrenched interests resistant to change tend to grow around matured technologies even when those technologies become obsolete. I would like to see the sun set on fission. It's true that they have very few accidents, but the ones they have that are noteworthy are truly horrific.
      letstakeawalk
      • 5 Months Ago
      Solar to hydrogen. http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20047814-54.html http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-cu-method-doe-solar-thermal.html http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-cheap-abundant-cathode-material-hydrogen.html
      PhilipHa
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the author of this article had bothered reading the report what it didn't call for was a substantial reduction in investment in offshore wind, but a slight reduction, essentially delaying some of the investment. What the report pointed out was that offshore wind is currently quite expensive mainly because of high demand and partly because it is a relatively new technology. The report's advice was to delay some of the offshore investment, in the hope that the cost of offshore wind comes down. Being an early adopter of new technology can be expensive; delaying the investment for a few years could save considerable costs. There is a lot of new technology which is being developed for example floating turbines and vertical axis turbines which may substantially reduce the capital and operating costs of offshore wind turbines. The suggestion is that if you delay some of your investment for 5 years, you might see a 50% reduction in cost? At the moment although onshore wind has similar costs to nuclear, offshore is about twice as expensive. I heard a radio interview with Lord Turner – the report’s lead author and he said they were suggesting a 15% reduction in the current planned roll-out of offshore wind –which for the UK is already a significant investment which should lead to about 30% (30 GW) of the UK’s electricity being produced from wind (nuclear is currently about 17%). The main problem with onshore wind in the UK is because of the high population density it is difficult to get planning permission to build onshore farms as there are generally numerous objections from those living in the locality – so the UK government has been forced to license offshore wind farms where there are fewer objections. Where the report does fail a little is the discussions of the cost of a nuclear disaster, it does mention Fukushima, but fails to add in any costs associated with dealing with a nuclear disaster, which could be very expensive in the UK as nuclear plants are often within range of large populations.
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