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Toto deVeer

Is The Future Nuclear?

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I remember a few years back Labour and Tory politicians said we have to copy Spain and Portugal's economy and go heavily into renewables. They were pointing out the high growth rates and vibrancy of those nations economies.

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IMO burning coal, gas or oil to generate electricity is a waste as these natural products can be used far batter in chemical or pharma industries ...

currently the only acceptable renewables for me on the industry scale are water and passive solar heating ....

Solar PV is the one wildcard that might work on a huge scale simply because it is solid state and hence can work from 1watt to 10GW.

If prices drop to sub 4p/kWh you will see a huge expansion and by huge I mean TWs of power.

As for fossil fuels they are so plentiful that their only use is for heating/transport/electricity every other use is a drop in the ocean.

BTW one thing most greenies don’t consider is that no matter how good or cheap renewable get we will still burn fossil fuels because they are so cheap. Saudi will keep pumping even at $5 a barrel if renewables can generate the equiv at $6. I suspect more than half of the worlds fossil fuel production would continue at prices below 80% of what they currently are for decades.

it seems that the nuclear industry is turning to build smaller plants (e.g. 300MWs) and commodities them -> serial manufacturing, standardised design, inherently safe, quick build, close to the consumer ...

Keep in mind there are lots of suggestions about all aspects of technology most of which never happen. Nuclear is a good technology and I don’t oppose it but it only seems to make sense on a very large scale eg 50+ reactors in a short time like the French or US fleet.

Building 1 or 2 or 3 once in a while so far has not really worked. Just like building 1 car is going to cost you a £million building a million cars is going to cost you only £5k each with better quality.

For nuclear to expand in capacity any great deal you need a global or at least continental push. China can do it, it could build 300 reactors within 30 years. The EU could also do it, add 100 reactors over 30years.

Of course to truly make a difference the world would need some 1000 new reactors. It could be done however even then more than 2/3rd of the worlds power would be from fossil fuels.

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Governments love nuclear power because it is big engineering, needs a centralised infrastructure, is inflexible, requires loads of security and enough regulation to keep and army of bureaucrats employed until doomsday.

They hate the idea that people might actually generate their own energy one day and not be dependent on them and their corporate chums

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Not true high voltage system about 97% efficient. Low voltage about 90%.

Not easy to improve unless you want to bump up the voltage from 230k to about 500 but then less safe.

Is this true all the way to the outlet in one's house? Or is it just the primary transmission network?

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Is this true all the way to the outlet in one's house? Or is it just the primary transmission network?

To your home socket is about 90% efficient but depends exactly where you are

To a good connection on a factory it is over 95%

There is a very very good wiki article explaining all the losses at each stage.

Plus the government record all production and consumption and hence losses etc and it is published. It may even be more efficient than most people estimate because I know of at least one electricity thief (not me) and that would be included as a loss.

Some countries like India have losses of over 50%, not because the network is shit but because so much power is stolen.

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Keep in mind there are lots of suggestions about all aspects of technology most of which never happen. Nuclear is a good technology and I don’t oppose it but it only seems to make sense on a very large scale eg 50+ reactors in a short time like the French or US fleet.

Building 1 or 2 or 3 once in a while so far has not really worked. Just like building 1 car is going to cost you a £million building a million cars is going to cost you only £5k each with better quality.

For nuclear to expand in capacity any great deal you need a global or at least continental push. China can do it, it could build 300 reactors within 30 years. The EU could also do it, add 100 reactors over 30years.

Of course to truly make a difference the world would need some 1000 new reactors. It could be done however even then more than 2/3rd of the worlds power would be from fossil fuels.

Reading your posts I see you have a very advanced understanding of energy economics and options. I agree with you that CCGT is a great technology.

One way I think Europe is dealing with the economies of scale issue is to go to less manufacturers of reactors. A couple decades ago each nation had its own nuclear plant manufacturing companies. But today Areva is the only major one left in Europe.

So these dozen or so proposed reactors in Britain would likely all be Areva EPR's. The only proposed alternative is the Toshiba/Westinghouse AP1000's which are being built in China.

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Why? Nature recycles everything naturally. Plus the uranium or whatever was not conjured by magic it came from the earth and it can return to it.

In the example if the rig it would slowly erode away plus the size of a rig vs an ocean is minute.

I'm not talking about dumping bulk goods on the ocean flier but expensive to recycle or store indefinitely.

Use your logical mind not emotions & it makes sense. Btw the top scientists at the time agreed with sinking the rig in an ocean.

We are not really talking though about Uranium are we? Whats the half life of Plutonium 239 and could you advise where this is found routinely in nature?

As for the rig - I never said anything about that. Indeed providing it was properly cleaned down as a regular diver I would have had no objection seeing it sunk as an artifical offshore reef.

As you see I am being objective rather than subject of my emotions <_<

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Why? Nature recycles everything naturally. Plus the uranium or whatever was not conjured by magic it came from the earth and it can return to it.

In the example if the rig it would slowly erode away plus the size of a rig vs an ocean is minute.

I'm not talking about dumping bulk goods on the ocean flier but expensive to recycle or store indefinitely.

Use your logical mind not emotions & it makes sense. Btw the top scientists at the time agreed with sinking the rig in an ocean.

The reason I object to this type of dumping is that at present we have a complete world wide moratorium. The second that position is compromised the oceans will be used step by step for more and more dumping of different wastes turning into a global open cess pit of chemicals / compounds / elements that are simply not found in nature.

There is something called ocean circulation ;)

You talk about nature recycling. This is a strawman argument becaus the time scales are millenia and meaningless to us as a species today.

Edited by Kurt Barlow

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Yes, and the best technology to use is tried and tested coal. The CO2 helps our environment, we have hundreds of years of supply which will supply many jobs to UK workers, and it is the cheapest.

The more you look at it, the more you realise that the whole thing is a fiddle.

Groan - I see you subscribe to the fantasy. We would have a million years supply if we use it slowly enough. :lol:

If the UK derived 100% of its energy from its own coal the reserves it would last about 6 months. Maybe 9 with a bit of prospecting and technological advances to get at difficult seams. <_<

Oh and yeah - all that mercury, SO2, particulates, dioxins, uranium, etc that comes out with the CO2 is good for our environment too...

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Yes Sarah but it was April 1st ;)

Well, people do get a bit over-excited about radioactivity. I've two anecdotes on it.

The first was at university, doing some experiments with various samples. We'd been given a whole load of instructions for handling them safely, yet for many we got stronger signals from the walls of the building.

The other one is second hand, and comes from my brother at school. Some carefully locked away low-level samples, put a counter next to them, the needle moves up a bit. A kid then points it at a lump of granite he'd picked up off Dartmoor, which sent the counter into far more activity.

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sorry, but you got your numbers wrong ... the key here is that you need only 1 or 2 tons of the lightly enriched Uranium to provide 2GWs for a year .... this is the reason why the nuclear electricity is the cheapest one produced ...

I'm not saying Nuclear is neutral, its just not as positive as people (including Engineers) think. Where does the 2 tons of Enriched Uranium come from? how did it get there? What energy was used building the plant to refine it etc, etc. Complete energy cycle and pollution efficiency calculations are new things and not known accurately in most cases.

The main problem with nuclear is the lack of easily collectable material, (as is becoming the problem with fossil). But a secondary, mostly ignored problem, is what to do with the waste and old reactors. This has mostly not been taken into account for the costs and is currently the reason we don't now have lots of nuclear power stations. I would guess France has 'cheap' nuclear power because the gov't deal with the waste.

I'm also not saying we should not use nuclear, but if you believe in global warming from CO2, we also need renewables and every kind available. Fusion is the only single solution that might work for the future in terms of commonly available materials, but we can't really make it work yet. The problem is we need to be building 1 station per week from about 2 years ago to replace all the coal stations by 2025 if we have any hope of having a decent habitat.

Renewables are somewhat unreliable, but a reliable power source is becoming a luxury we cannot depend on, we therefore need to engineering our way round the unreliability problem instead, something that IS happening with the High Voltage and smart grid technology.

Cost wise there isn't much in it if you consider the full picture. The big problem has always been that the people doing the costing see the environment as an infinite sink, and fuel as an inexhaustible supply.

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The waste is also fuel for future breeder reactors. Right now the fuel is so cheap that it is easier just to build the normal reactors. But say 100 years from now when a majority of global electricity is coming from nuclear, it might make sense to build the breeder reactors. Which is a known technology and already has been built by several nations.

With the breeders I believe an additional 10-30 times as much energy can be extracted from the uranium, as from the first pass through the normal reactors. A century of waste from a normal reactor therefore could power an equivalent sized breeder reactor for a millenium.

So the waste fuel from today needs to be stored somewhere contained, but also in a way it can be used later.

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  • 315 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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