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Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Sun 23 Apr 2017, 12:00:14
by dissident
BTW, Canada's public sector spending is clearly corrupt. The gun registry computer expenses were $2 billion. Stop and think about this figure. No freaking registry requires TOP10 supercomputer capacity. You can register every potential gun owner in Canada (15 million) including coarse digitized black and white photos of their faces on a simple PC with a multi-terabyte SATA RAID system. The only possible way to explain the $2 billion is through extortion level fees for contractors and consultants to write software and give advice. The cost was not even for workers who would process registration documentation.

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Sun 23 Apr 2017, 12:21:32
by Subjectivist
onlooker wrote:Can I ask the nuclear advocates here, does the time and resources still exist for a wide scale transition to Nuclear especially the Fast breeder reactors? I ask because I have reluctantly concluded that nuclear seems now a necessary avenue to pursue to both power civilization and be more climate friendly in the process

That all depends on exactly what model reactor is picked and how much the NIMBY crowd are allowed to interfere.

If you are building modular units in a fatory mass production set up, and you then delivery those unit sets to locations where nuclear plants are already located and considered acceptible you could in theory replace all the coal power stations within a few years.

To do this you would need full federal and state government support, not to mention the court system bouncing all the frivelous lawsuits from anti-nuclear nutcases who hate science. The biggest cost in nuclear projects today bare delays, many of which are caused by people who fight every step of every project in court and in news reports slanted anti-nuclear.

On a pound for pound basis fissionable material gives off about 2,500,000 times the energy you get from burning the same weight of fossil fuel. On a death per kWe energy produced coal kills thousands of people, natural gas and petroleum kill hundreds, hydroelectric and solar kill dozens. The safest are Nuclear and Wind, and if you take away the massive wind subsidies the government passed nuclear is about half the cost of wind.

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Sun 23 Apr 2017, 13:21:02
by onlooker
On a pound for pound basis fissionable material gives off about 2,500,000 times the energy you get from burning the same weight of fossil fuel. On a death per kWe energy produced coal kills thousands of people, natural gas and petroleum kill hundreds, hydroelectric and solar kill dozens. The safest are Nuclear and Wind, and if you take away the massive wind subsidies the government passed nuclear is about half the cost of wind.--- I have slowly but surely come to this view, in part from comments and links on this site . I have had a visceral discomfort with nuclear propelled by scary reinforcement by society. But we don't have the luxury of many options anymore. So reluctantly, I am pro Nuclear

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Sun 23 Apr 2017, 17:16:00
by Tanada
dissident wrote:
Tanada wrote:
dissident wrote:Thanks for the information about the absurd financing model. But I am quite sure about the calandria cracking excuses since I personally heard them. The financing model was never used as an excuse. But I doubt it accounts for all the costs since the refurbishment is being tagged initially as 14 billion dollars. This means the final bill will be much higher and even accounting for inflation vs. 1980 this figure is insane.

If the workers were making $100,000 per year then you would need 14,000 of them working for 10 years to cost this much. There will not be even 1,000 of them and they will not work for 10 years. They must be using platinum and palladium by the ton.

What an odd way of looking at things, as if all the money will be spent on labor and none on the specialized highly tested and certified materials used in the refurbishing.

Labour costs are always invoked as the main portion of the expense. So it is your way of looking at it that is odd. How can labour costs be less than 1/14th of the total expense? Certified materials like gold and plantinum? Enriched uranium does not cost that much. The refurbishment would consist of fuel assembly replacement and control systems upgrades. Unless they want to replace the freaking calandria again. Neither the control systems nor the fuel assemblies could possibly cost almost $14 billion without any labour costs.

Where did I say labor costs would only be 1/14th of the cost of the upgrades/repairs in question?

Nuclear certified equipment is routinely marked up 4 or 5 times the price of the identical equipment for other applications, and specialized equipment just for nuclear power applications is comparably priced though there is no equivalent non-nuclear application to compare costs too.

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Sun 23 Apr 2017, 18:00:55
by sparky
A large engineering project has a lot of design work done by people who are far from the site .
CAD studies and design are quite costly ,
some inspections are done at the manufacturer location ,prior to shipping the gizmos
for every on site worker there is probably another in the background working is some head office
if the gear is one off , made to comply to complex and demanding specifications, the cost can get quite astronomical
I've worked with gear whose price per weight was not far from solid gold, much to the anguish of the bean counters

Some standard instrumentation was much more expensive if it had to be certified to a higher degree
the stuff was exactly the same but had to be re-tested in an authorized lab with proper certificates issued

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Sun 23 Apr 2017, 18:18:01
by Subjectivist
pstarr wrote:Sub and diss, we may have our disagreements elsewhere but here I appreciated your facts and opinions. Are there still valid anti-nuke folks around this forum anymore? Or are they all knee-jerks?

Seems how you ask there are some recent arguments on both the Nuclear thread and for some wierd reason on the Coal thread as well.

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Fri 05 May 2017, 13:50:53
by Tanada
Here is a decent article from Reuters about the trouble Westinghouse is having financially. Early in the piece they mention the cause of the problems started with regulatory delays, basically the Obama Administration dragged its feet on giving approvals despite the fact that the law says they should have been given automatically. See back about 15 years ago the Combined Building and Operating license was created to avoid exactly this issue. The way it is supposed to work is, the NRC reviews and approves your reactor design, evacuation plan and everything else before you break ground. That way all regulatory delays take place before you invest a lot of time and effort in construction, and any spurious legal challenges in court are mostly nullified because the design and operation are pre-approved. Instead someone who disliked nuclear got inside the bureaucracy and gummed up the works after construction began and ended up costing Billions with unexpected delays that were never supposed to happen.

Business News | Tue May 2, 2017 | 5:44am EDT

How two cutting edge U.S. nuclear projects bankrupted Westinghouse

By Tom Hals and Emily Flitter | WILMINGTON, Del./NEW YORK

In 2012, construction of a Georgia nuclear power plant stalled for eight months as engineers waited for the right signatures and paperwork needed to ship a section of the plant from a factory hundreds of miles away.

The delay, which a nuclear specialist monitoring the construction said was longer than the time required to make the section, was emblematic of the problems that plagued Westinghouse Electric Co as it tried an ambitious new approach to building nuclear power plants.

The approach - building pre-fabricated sections of the plants before sending them to the construction sites for assembly - was supposed to revolutionize the industry by making it cheaper and safer to build nuclear plants.

But Westinghouse miscalculated the time it would take, and the possible pitfalls involved, in rolling out its innovative AP1000 nuclear plants, according to a close examination by Reuters of the projects.

Those problems have led to an estimated $13 billion in cost overruns and left in doubt the future of the two plants, the one in Georgia and another in South Carolina.

Overwhelmed by the costs of construction, Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy on March 29, while its corporate parent, Japan's Toshiba Corp, is close to financial ruin [L3N1HI4SD]. It has said that controls at Westinghouse were "insufficient."

The miscalculations underscore the difficulties facing a global industry that aims to build about 160 reactors and is expected to generate around $740 billion in sales of equipment in services in the coming decade, according to nuclear industry trade groups.

The sector's problems extend well beyond Westinghouse. France's Areva is being restructured, in part due to delays and huge cost overruns at a nuclear plant the company is building in Finland.

Even though Westinghouse's approach of pre-fabricated plants was untested, the company offered aggressive estimates of the cost and time it would take to build its AP1000 plants in order to win future business from U.S. utility companies. It also misjudged regulatory hurdles and used a construction company that lacked experience with the rigor and demands of nuclear work, according to state and federal regulators' reports, bankruptcy filings and interviews with current and former employees.

"Fundamentally, it was an experimental project but they were under pressure to show it could be a commercially viable project, so they grossly underestimated the time and the cost and the difficulty," said Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, who has written and testified about the AP1000 design.

Westinghouse spokeswoman Sarah Cassella said the company is "committed to the AP1000 power plant technology", plans to continue construction of AP1000 plants in China and expects to bid for new plants in India and elsewhere. She declined to comment on a detailed list of questions from Reuters.


By early 2017, the Georgia and South Carolina plants were supposed to be producing enough energy to power more than a half a million homes and businesses. Instead, they stand half-finished. (For a graphic see

Southern Co, which owns nearly half the Georgia project, and SCANA Corp, which owns a majority of the South Carolina project, have said they are evaluating the plants and could abandon the reactors altogether.

"We will continue to take every action available to us to hold Westinghouse and Toshiba accountable for their financial responsibilities under the engineering, procurement and construction agreement and the parent guarantee," Southern said in a statement. A spokesman declined to elaborate.

The projects suffered setbacks from the start. In one instance, to prepare the Georgia plant for construction, Westinghouse and its construction partner in 2009 began digging out the foundation, removing 3.6 million cubic yards of dirt.

But half of the backfill – the material used to fill the excavated area - failed to meet regulatory approval, delaying the project by at least six months, according to William Jacobs, the nuclear specialist who monitored construction of the plant for Georgia's utility regulator.

He declined to be interviewed.

But the source of the biggest delays can be traced to the AP1000's innovative design and the challenges created by the untested approach to manufacturing and building reactors, according to more than a dozen interviews with former and current Westinghouse employees, nuclear experts and regulators.

Unlike previous nuclear reactors, the AP1000 would be built from prefabricated parts; specialized workers at a factory would churn out sections of the reactor that would be shipped to the construction site for assembly. Westinghouse said in marketing materials this method would standardize nuclear plant construction.

Westinghouse turned to Shaw Group Inc, which held a 20 percent stake in Westinghouse, to build sections for the reactors at its factory in Lake Charles, Louisiana. There, components for two reactors each in Georgia and South Carolina would be manufactured.


Seven months after work began in the May 2010, Shaw had already conducted an internal review at the behest of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to document problems it was having producing components.

In a letter to the NRC, Shaw's then-executive vice president, Joseph Ernst, wrote: "The level and effectiveness of management oversight of daily activities was determined to be inadequate based on the quality of work."

He laid out a laundry list of deficiencies ranging from Shaw's inability to weed out incorrectly made parts to the way it stored construction materials.

Ernst did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.

Over the next four years, regulatory and internal inspections at Lake Charles would reveal a slew of problems associated with the effort to construct modular parts to fit the new Westinghouse design, NRC records show.

When a sub-module was dropped and damaged, Shaw managers ordered employees to cover up the incident; components were labeled improperly; required tests were neglected; and some parts' dimensions were wrong. The NRC detailed each one in public violation notices.

Then there was the missing and illegible paperwork.

The section that was delayed more than eight months by missing signatures would become one of 72 modules fused together to hold nuclear fuel. The 2.2 million pound unit was installed more than two years behind schedule.

It was not until June 2015 that the Lake Charles facility was building acceptable modules, according to a report by Jacobs. By then, Shaw had been bought by Chicago Bridge & Iron.

Gentry Brann, a CB&I spokeswoman, said the company put the Lake Charles plant under new management and installed new procedures after the 2013 acquisition. She said Westinghouse was to blame for subsequent delays, citing "several thousand" technical and design changes made after work had already started on various components.

Westinghouse declined to comment.


To some extent, Westinghouse also was hamstrung by the NRC, which imposed stringent requirements for the new reactors. To comply, Westinghouse made some design changes that were tiny tweaks; others were larger.

For instance, before the NRC would issue the utilities an operating license for the Georgia plant, it demanded changes to the design of the shield building, which protects against radiation leaks. The regulator said the shield needed to be strengthened to withstand a crash by a commercial jet, a safety measure arising from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The NRC issued the new standard in 2009, seven years after Westinghouse had applied for approval of its design. The company, in bankruptcy court filings, said the NRC's demand created unanticipated engineering challenges.

A spokesman for the NRC, Scott Burnell, said the changes should not have come as a surprise, since the agency had been talking about the stringent requirements for several years.

Westinghouse changed its design to protect against a jet crash, but at that point the NRC questioned whether the new design could withstand tornadoes and earthquakes.

Westinghouse finally met the requirements in 2011, according to a report by Jacobs.

By 2016 Westinghouse began to grasp the scope of its dilemma, according to a document filed in its bankruptcy: Finishing the two projects would require Westinghouse to spend billions of dollars on labor, abandoning them would mean billions in penalties.

Westinghouse determined it could not afford either option.

Reuters is the news and media division of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on, video, mobile, and interactive television platform. ... SKBN17Y0CQ

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Fri 05 May 2017, 15:57:58
by kublikhan
I heard a different version of the story. Westinghouse hired someone(Shaw Group) to build nuclear reactors and they had no idea how to do so. Supposedly buying up nuclear company Stone & Webster would get them the expertise they needed. Only problem: Stone & Webster had not built a nuclear power plant in over 3 decades. Any expertise they once had was long gone. Owner Bernhard saw the writing on the wall and sold out before everything hit the fan. Certainly the regulatory delays were a factor as well. But the bigger issue is if you are going to be building a nuclear plant make sure you hire someone who known what the hell they are doing.

The cause of this latest problem seems to have nothing to do with nuclear power and everything to do with incompetent business practices, particularly Toshiba’s construction contractor.

Westinghouse signed deals to build four new reactors for the utilities Southern Company and Scana Corporation in 2008. These were the first U.S. nuclear plants since the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island to be approved for construction by regulators.

Westinghouse selected the Shaw Group, led by James Bernhard Jr., to spearhead construction. Bernhard, a wheeler and dealer, had built Shaw up from a small Louisiana metal fabricator through a series of acquisitions into a Fortune 500 company. The company had never built a nuclear plant, but it had bought out of bankruptcy Stone & Webster, an old nuclear company that had built many of America’s nuclear plants between the 1950s and the 1970s. That helped lend Shaw the credibility to win the contract.

However, the remnant of Stone & Webster had no real nuclear assets left, and no staff with sufficient experience to pull off a successful first new nuclear build in 30 years.

Together with the U.S. government’s package of tax credits, cost-overrun backstops, and federal loan guarantees, Shaw made Toshiba an offer it couldn’t refuse.

But Shaw wasn't up to the task, with regulators calling it out for shoddy work; amid significant cost overruns and and serious delays, the projects fell way behind schedule. In 2012, Bernhard decided to cut and run, selling Shaw Group to Chicago Bridge & Iron Company for an overpriced $3.3 billion, and unloading all liabilities.

CB&I is a much larger engineering firm that was eager to get in on what seemed at the time like a nuclear renaissance. However, CB&I quickly thought better of it after discovering the true depths of the problems on the projects, and sold Shaw to Toshiba for only $229 million, including relieving CB&I from liability on the plants. Toshiba later accused CB&I of inflating the value of Shaw’s assets by $2.2 billion. Renegotiation of the deal is stuck in court, something that is likely to drag this out even further.

It's not likely that Westinghouse’s bankruptcy will stop new nuclear builds in America, but it will muddy the waters. Reactors are being built around the world, particularly by China, South Korea and Britain, so it can be done. But once again, bad management, financing problems and incompetent business practices, not the nuclear technology itself, has painted nuclear power with the same brush that taints many other industries. We need to put experienced people, and the experienced companies, on these projects and listen to the nuclear engineers. We do not need to listen to wheelers and dealers.
Westinghouse Bankruptcy Shakes The Nuclear World - Forbes

Experts said the delays and cost problems were due to America’s lack of recent experience in building atomic power plants.

“I don’t think it is necessarily because of an inherent issue of US skills but rather the lack of practice,” said Richard Nephew, a professor at the Centre on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University. “There simply have not been as many new reactor builds in the US and this has reduced the overall pool of skilled labor, no question.”
Toshiba's US nuclear problems provide cautionary tale for UK

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Fri 05 May 2017, 16:59:36
by dissident
kublikhan wrote:
Experts said the delays and cost problems were due to America’s lack of recent experience in building atomic power plants.

“I don’t think it is necessarily because of an inherent issue of US skills but rather the lack of practice,” said Richard Nephew,

An epically retarded statement if there ever was one. Humans hold skills and after they depart that skill capacity has to be replaced by other humans. A company is not a human that just needs some "practice" to apply its skill better. Clearly Shaw couldn't handle engineering plans. So the issue is, in fact, the inherent lack of skilled US nuclear industry workers. Some garage "entrepreneurs" and Wall Street share flipping will not fix this gap.

When it comes to "waste" reprocessing, the USA has no skills.

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Thu 11 May 2017, 12:12:37
by vox_mundi
Perry Advocates for Nuclear Power

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Wednesday vowed to advocate for nuclear power as the nation looks for ways to fuel its economy and limit the effects of electricity generation on the environment.

Perry made the comments during a visit to Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico, current work at the lab centers on nuclear deterrence, nonproliferation and the modernization of the U.S. nuclear stockpile.

"If you really care about this environment that we live in — and I think the vast majority of the people in the country and the world do — then you need to be a supporter of this amazingly clean, resilient, safe, reliable source of energy," Perry said during a news conference.

Perry also acknowledged the tons of radioactive waste that have piled up at Los Alamos and other federal facilities around the country after decades of research and bomb-making.

Los Alamos has had its own problems related to legacy waste.

It was a container inappropriately packed at the lab that caused a 2014 radiation release and the costly shutdown of the federal government's only underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico.

Oops! Rick Perry Forgets Agency He Wants to Abolish

Nuclear subsidies distort markets, hurt business, say FirstEnergy opponents

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Business and consumer groups joined forces Tuesday to oppose FirstEnergy's plan to change Ohio law to create new subsidies for the power company's nuclear power plants.

The Ohio Manufacturers' Association, the Ohio Consumers' Counsel, the Lordstown Energy Center, Dynegy, now the state's largest owner of coal-fired power plants, the American Petroleum Institute and the Electric Power Supply Association were among more than a dozen groups testifying against enabling legislation before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee.

"House Bill 178 or the Zero Emission Nuclear credit bill would provide an enormous subsidy to one nuclear operator for units that they contend are no longer economic to operate," said Robert Flexon, CEO of Houston-based Dynegy Inc. He told lawmakers:
"Our economy will not grow and prosper by artificially keeping alive business that can no longer compete in the marketplace without expensive subsidies,"

"That has been the case throughout American history. Were that not so, we'd still have buggy whip and icebox manufacturers and teletype and elevators operators."

Flexon said the zero emissions argument, meaning the plants deserve higher rates because they don't produce carbon dioxide, is a "red herring."

He said FirstEnergy received $9.8 Billion in subsidies between 2001 and 2010 to help it transition from the old regulated markets to competitive deregulated markets. And as of Jan. 1, the company has been permitted to collect an additional $204 million a year for up to five years in additional subsidies.

Nuclear plant executives face skeptical crowd at Columbia session

COLUMBIA, SC Apologizing for a breach of safety standards at a Columbia nuclear fuel plant, Westinghouse Electric Co. leaders said Tuesday they’ve instituted new procedures and installed equipment they believe will prevent any more hazardous accumulations of uranium on the site.

During a public meeting in Columbia, company officials conceded that Westinghouse needed to improve the safety culture at the 48-year-old facility on Bluff Road.
The plant, just up the road from Congaree National Park, has had a string of safety violations during the past two decades, most recently the uranium buildup last year.

The Westinghouse factory is one of a handful in the U.S. that make fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.

The 2016 accumulation was not significant enough to send uranium into the air or to threaten the general public, but it could have led to a burst of radiation and exposed workers to potentially lethal doses, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The plant employs about 1,000 people.

Company executive Michele DeWitt said Westinghouse fell down on the job when it let uranium accumulate in the air pollution device, known as a scrubber. The problems were discovered last May and elevated uranium levels were confirmed in July 2016, forcing part of the plant to temporarily shut down.


Some in the crowd of about 50 questioned why Westinghouse and the NRC had not told the public about the uranium buildup at the plant sooner. The uranium buildup became known last summer when The State newspaper wrote about it.

Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy in March, casting doubt on the future of the company’s nuclear operations, primarily whether twin nuclear plants will be completed for SCE&G in Fairfield County.

America's first '21st century nuclear plant' already has been shut down for repairs

The 21st century is shaping up as not a good one for nuclear power, and Watts Bar Unit 2 may show why. The U.S. nuclear industry is running in neutral, except when it runs in reverse.

When the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar 2 nuclear power plant was finally approaching completion the big public utility hailed it as “the nation’s first new nuclear generation of the 21st century.”

That was in October 2015, and the plant was thought to be only a few months away from going online. But it wasn’t until October 2016 that Watts Bar 2 began operating commercially. In March, just over five months later, the plant went offline — and it’s expected to remain offline at least into this summer, the TVA region’s peak period for electrical demand.

The immediate cause of the Watts Bar shutdown is the failure of components of the unit’s condenser, which cools steam used to drive the generating turbines back into water. TVA took the plant off-line on March 23 and is still trying to pinpoint the cause of the condenser failure.

“Nuclear technology is very unforgiving,”
says David Lochbaum, director of the nuclear safety project at the Union of Concerned Scientists. That’s true even of components other than the nuclear reactor itself.

A failing condenser at a fossil-fueled power plant, Lochbaum observes, could be kept online for months, with a fix deferred until a low-peal period after the summer. “With nuclear technology, you don’t really have that luxury.”

The nuclear industry is very optimistic about its projections of performance,” Lochbaum says. “This is more evidence that they need to temper that optimism.”

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Thu 11 May 2017, 14:12:10
by Subjectivist
Newsflash, steam condensors are not nuclear technology, they are used in every thermal steam plant, even those vaunted combined cycle natural gas burners and the solar thermal plants they build out in the deserts.

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Thu 11 May 2017, 16:16:04
by KaiserJeep
Newsflash, nuclear energy has nothing whatsoever to do with nuclear weapons manufacturing. Nuclear weapons are manufacured by the US Government and they do in fact have an atrocious safety record compared to commercial nuclear power plants.

Did any of you ever notice that the nuclear critics have to delve deeply and at length to uncover anything even remotely questionable about nuclear energy, they not infrequently uncover government incompetence in the management of nuclear weapons materials? Then they rant and rave about nuclear energy.
...he's alive and well, and still scaring them.

Re: Nuclear Power discussion

Unread postPosted: Mon 29 May 2017, 22:04:58
by Subjectivist
What if nuclear power was invented today?

If it was invented and unveiled to the world today, there would be celebrations.

Picture an alternative 2017. Just like today, the world is gradually meeting the challenge of global development and facing the need to slash emissions of carbon dioxide at the same time. Hydroelectricity has helped but it’s hard to scale up, and its expansion is costing humanity scarce rainforest and river ecosystems.

Renewable technologies, like wind and solar, have made leaps and bounds. But overcoming the challenge of their variability makes the prospect of an all-renewable system daunting, and the gains seem constantly outstripped by overall growth in coal, gas and oil.

Then, the breakthrough is announced.

“We have devised a power system that can liberate us, all of us, from our dependence on fossil carbon,” a team of researchers announces.

“It provides all the scale and reliability of coal, but with a fuel that is not based on carbon at all. For the first time, humanity has a fuel that doesn’t burn. No carbon and no combustion means no carbon dioxide”.

At this point maybe you’re questioning how this alternative 2017 differs from today. Well this ‘new’ power source is nuclear fission.

“Using this fuel produces no air pollution at all. Communities living nearby will enjoy clean air. The entire process happens inside a sealed unit at the same scale as a normal power station but it only needs to be refueled about once every two years”.

“The really remarkable thing is, we also know how to get 150 times more energy from it with some recycling effort. It’s a total game changer, and we only see it getting better from here with further innovation and development”.

Nuclear power…to date, it's the only proven, scalable solution to displacing coal, oil and gas from the generation of electricity. But of course, it hasn’t just been invented.

Fission for electricity emerged after fission was first used for weapons. It’s a legacy that has seemed near impossible to shake. At that time, human-driven climate change was not even broadly understood, let alone the policy driver it is today. Founder of environmental NGO Bright New World, Ben Heard, muses that nuclear power was probably invented “before we really needed it”.

“I was in a panel in the United States and we were asked about how we might change the people’s perspective of nuclear energy when the thought occurred to me. Nuclear power is astounding technology, held back by outdated legacies. Were it invented today it would be embraced as a phenomenally environmentally friendly energy source”.

“Right now, we are in some danger of hating nuclear power out of existence in many parts of the world. That’s going to damage the future because fossil fuels will just retain and grow their dominance of the energy system in the vacuum that creates”.

The counter-argument in the real-life 2017 is that renewable energy technologies will affect a takeover of not only nuclear but also fossil fuels. Heard dismisses that idea as more fallacy than fact, with some powerful research published this year in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

“We examined 24 such studies at various scales. We found not only huge gaps in demonstrating that it even works, but a huge reliance on two really damaging technologies: hydroelectricity and biomass.”

While classed as renewables, the researchers argue they are unsustainable, with Heard saying, “At the necessary scale their impact on ecosystems would be a profoundly destructive one, even after assuming unrealistic cuts to energy demand that would likely entrench poverty”.

“There is just no need for that. Pairing nuclear fission with proven renewable technologies at smaller scales can generate feasible, reliable energy systems anywhere in the world”.

“We need to start loving nuclear technologies back into the picture if we really want to make a brighter world. That requires a reinvention of environmentalism itself, based on people who are prepared to learn about nuclear as though for the first time”.

Taking that step back can yield some surprises. When Electricity Map launched their real-time tool for visualizing which electricity systems are clean and which are dirty, the green colour didn’t belong to vaunted renewable champion Germany. Even Denmark fluxes from green to brown depending (quite literally) on whether the wind blows. The steady green champions are Finland, Sweden, France and Ontario — the common thread? Nuclear power. Norway joins those ranks with its huge hydro electric resource.

“It’s the overlooked evidence that stares us in the face” remarks Heard. “Decarbonising electricity supplies may be a challenge, but it’s no riddle. Provided nuclear is included, mixing that with locally advantageous renewable resources provides a proven answer. Or, if the renewable opportunity is weak, nuclear can nearly do it all if required”.

While evidence of the like provided by Electricity Map is hard to deny, thoughts inevitably turn to nuclear waste. Alone, those two words don’t tend to be popular. In sequence they provoke a visceral response of fear and loathing. Heard sees a certain irony in that.

“For one thing, it’s recyclable. There is about 25 times more energy in that spent fuel when we want it, and when we do that the material we are left with only has a 30 year half-life”.

“For another thing, it is only an issue because we actually can take responsibility for it. Fossil fuels never faced that hurdle. It is simply impossible to contain that much polluting gas every day. So we don’t even bother trying. We permit pollution on one hand, and fear responsible waste management on the other. If we could start anew, people might regard that very differently”.
“There is a huge difference between waste and pollution. All energy sources have waste streams. Some cause pollution, which is what happens when we throw our waste into the environment without care or concern”.

It’s an intriguing concept. Around the world, women in pregnancy are advised to avoid consumption of certain type of fish due to concerns of contaminants like mercury. But why and how is the mercury even in the fish? While it occurs naturally, the elevated levels of concern to would-be mothers comes from burning coal. The effect is so great that the recent trend away from coal in the United States (driven by low prices of fossil gas) is already causing rapidly declining mercury levels in Atlantic Bluefin tuna.

But air pollution reaches beyond the impact of toxins on the unborn. In 2014, the World Health Organisation declared air pollution the world’s largest single environmental health risk, estimated to be responsible for 7 million premature deaths every year. That’s seven times greater than HIV-AIDS and about 15 times more than malaria.

“Cleaning up the air we breathe prevents noncommunicable diseases as well as reduces disease risks among women and vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly,” says Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant Director-General Family, Women and Children’s Health. “Poor women and children pay a heavy price from indoor air pollution since they spend more time at home breathing in smoke and soot from leaky coal and wood cook stoves.”

Yet for ionising radiation, the bogey man of nuclear power, the World Health Organisation doesn’t even allocate an estimate. They highlight instead that 98% of the artificial radiation exposure comes from medical procedures – radiation as a diagnostic tool and a life-saving treatment.

These facts lead to a sobering question. Has environmentalism, for all its passion, botched the priorities when it comes to nuclear technology and harmed us all along the way?

“Sadly, yes” says Heard, “and I’m saddest because as a young environmentalist I was a small part of that”.

“Environmentalism fought one of our most beneficial technologies to a near standstill, leaving us exposed to pollution of far greater harm and sending global greenhouse emissions skyrocketing”.

“For example, had the China boom of the 1990s and 2000s been driven by uranium instead of coal, we would have a much cleaner world today, with decades more up our sleeve to decarbonize the rest of our energy. But nuclear power wasn’t ready, in part because its development in places like the United States and United Kingdom had been ground to a halt by the green movement”.

“We need so much more clean energy. We need it for the poor of today and tomorrow. We need it to cut the impacts of our food and agriculture systems and give land back to nature. We need it to create new, clean fuels for transport and industry. We have lost crucial decades, but a fightback is under way. Nuclear technology remains innovative, and new environmental organisations like Bright New World are taking up the fight for the future”.

So, it seems that a different environmentalism exists, one born of a different era, with a new generation of leaders and innovators. It will need a powerful tribe to make the difference it seeks to make. But it seems well worth it.

Kayla Paradiso, for Bright New World ... nted-today

Re: Nuclear Power discussion

Unread postPosted: Tue 30 May 2017, 14:52:22
by DesuMaiden
Nuclear power is no solution to anything. First of all, conventional nuclear fission relies on radioactive ore (like uranium and plutonium) which is then processed into fission fuel for the nuclear power reactors. This ore--like almost all ores--is nonrenewable, finite and nonrecyclable. If we were to scale up nuclear power, we will need to build considerably more nuclear power plants. And if more nuclear power plants are built, more radioactive ore will be converted into fuel for generating electricity from these plants. The result is--the remaining supply of uranium ore will be depleted in 30 to 40 years max. Or even less time depending on how many more nuclear power plants we build in the future.

Plus, it takes nearly a decade to build and comission a nuclear power plant from scratch. So you can't just build one in a year or two, and expect it to generate electricity ASAP. Also, decomissioning a nuclear power plant is very energy extensive (just like how it is to build and maintain one).

Not to mention, radioactive waste from the by-product of these plants is very difficult to safely deposit into the environment. If you don't safely dispose of radioactive waste, it can cause serious damage to surrounding local ecosystems and human communities.

If you've read accurate information on the crisises of civilization, you will realize no solution can prevent it from collapsing from its excessive complexity and unsustainable growth. The Earth is better off without these pesky humans destroying the biosphere with their ever-increasing expoloitive and destructive technologies.

Relying on a technofix--or in other words, relying on technology to fix a problem originally caused by a previously implemented technology--is like trying to put out a fire (that was started by the lighting of gasoline by a match) by dumping more gasoline onto the fire. It is a futile effort.

Yet we continue to rely on technofixes to solve problems that were originally caused by technology. It's basically doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result, which is basically the definition of insanity.

For example, car accidents are an unfortunate side-effect of driving cars, and no technofix can prevent or soften the impact of car accidents. Self-driving cars--which some people claim willl reduce the probability of such accidents--actually don't...they are useless, and don't make driving a vehicle any safer. Therefore, we need to accept the fact that car accidents are an inevitable side-effect of driving cars at high-speeds, and the only way to prevent them in a full-proof manner is to stop driving in its entirety.

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Wed 31 May 2017, 11:07:56
by Subjectivist
Desu your post is a perfect exampke of basing ideas on propogandainstead of of real world facts.

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Wed 31 May 2017, 11:56:19
by yellowcanoe
Nuclear power is like any other technology -- it takes time to mature. The earliest power reactors had top physicists and engineers involved in their construction and operation. Large scale deployment of power reactors brought in engineers and managers who didn't have the same level of understanding of nuclear power and/or whose previous experience was with thermal generating plants that didn't have the same complexity and safety concerns that nuclear power did. The result was two very serious accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl plus a large number of less serious accidents. The safety record of nuclear power has improved significantly since those days and yet as a society we've written off further development of nuclear power.

The situation reminds of the introduction of iron bridges in the 18'th century. Engineers switched to using iron as it allowed larger and stronger bridges than could be built from wood or stone. However, they did not foresee the phenomena of brittle fatigue which could cause a railroad bridge to fail catastrophically without warning. Thousands of people died in bridge collapses and yet society did not demand that use of metal in bridge construction be stopped. Engineers eventually discovered that steel was a much better material for bridge construction than iron. I am rather annoyed that we simply gave up on nuclear power rather than trying to improve it.

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Wed 31 May 2017, 14:59:20
by KaiserJeep
I don't understand why you consider TMI a "serious accident". YES the reactor melted - but it was within a reinforced concrete containment structure. The only radioactivity released was some unknown (but fairly small) amount of Tritium vented from the dome. No adverse environmental impacts were ever found.

Chernobyl was a disaster. As accidents go, this one killed a few dozen people. It does not hold a candle to a hydropower dam failure, which have killed 100's of thousands of people via sudden flooding. It also doesn't compare to the 12,000 or so people each year in the USA killed by toxic coal emissions. Chernobyl doesn't even compare to the dozens of people killed by falls each year installing rooftop solar in the USA alone.

Nuclear energy, far from being a problem, is the safest form of energy production by a country mile.

Re: THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 8 (merged)

Unread postPosted: Sat 03 Jun 2017, 02:04:55
by Simon_R
If nuclear is as safe as touted, then surely the sensible thing would be to build the plants in the middle of population centres so they can provide without any transmission loss adjustment factor, also providing work for the unemployed, you could have one in DC one in Manhattan, London etc etc.
Land could be obtained under eminent domain, its gonna be a bright future

That I would support safe clean etc etc etc