Proposed new nuke at Wylfa

Is nuclear fission going to make a comeback and plug the gap in our energy needs? Will nuclear fusion ever become energetically viable?

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adam2
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Post by adam2 »

A local political figure* recently said "if hitachi can not build decent trains, then I for one don't want one of their nukes"

Said person* has suffered somewhat from the new hitachi trains that are now running to/from the west country.
They are often shorter than the old trains, seem less reliable, have underfloor engines, no buffet and very hard seats.

*It is not my intention to name the politician in question, firstly because the remark quoted was "off the record" at a social event, and secondly I don't want this thread to degenerate into a party political bunfight.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

They have underfloor engines, Adam, because nationalised Network Rail couldn't build out the infrastructure for a fully electrified service anywhere near on time and anywhere near on budget. And people are calling for the whole network to be nationalised!!
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Post by BritDownUnder »

I would prefer the UK to have a nuclear baseload of 15 to 20 GW for 'energy security' reasons. I can fully understand that people actually living in the UK disagree with this. I am also living 6682km away from the nearest operating nuclear plant (in Southern Taiwan BTW) and I think people in the UK are less than 300km away from a nuke so may be more worried about the possibility of an accident. There is a small 'research' reactor in Sydney if that makes you feel better. I certainly do.

The alternative reliable baseload is unfortunately coal, Russian or Qatari gas with political and security ramifications or some form of tidal power. Tidal power seems about a likely as nuclear at the moment so I think the muddle through will be more offshore wind, more energy imports once the HVDC links to Norway and Belgium are opened, delay coal plant closures and more gas.

I think it is a shame that the UK industry could not have continued the AGR program even though it was fraught with construction issues but there you go.
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Post by emordnilap »

The whole of the fossil fuel industry, in which I include nuclear, should be being shut down now. Instead the opposite is happening.

Humans are thick and certainly don’t derserve the adjective ‘wise’.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

emordnilap wrote:The whole of the fossil fuel industry, in which I include nuclear, should be being shut down now. Instead the opposite is happening.

Humans are thick and certainly don’t derserve the adjective ‘wise’.
Your lumping in nuclear with fossil fuels is at least debatable but the immediate shutdown of the fossil fuel industry/economy without a replacement, up and working in place, would result in the premature deaths of billions.
Is that really what you want?
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Post by BritDownUnder »

emordnilap wrote:The whole of the fossil fuel industry, in which I include nuclear, should be being shut down now. Instead the opposite is happening.

Humans are thick and certainly don’t derserve the adjective ‘wise’.
The problem is how to get the energy and remain an 'advanced' civilization. Not all fossil fuels go to make electricity. A lot are used in transport and manufacture. Making cement produces between 4% and 8% of CO2 emissions. I think the desire to drop fossil fuels is admirable but they are intricately linked to civilization. I think from a lot of your postings you are something of an anti-civilization person. Not everyone wants to reduce their energy intake. Just see how it works for an elected official or someone seeking office.

In the UK anyway, I think the population density is too high and the available sustainable food and energy per capita from the land area is too low to go renewable too quickly. So the UK is stuck with buying overseas energy with the risks that Russia will use it to develop new nukes or to buy from the middle East and risk becoming a Muslim dominated state in the long term. It is really a stark choice in the short to medium term, say 5 to 25 years, from where the UK can get its energy before renewables and storage can come into serious use.
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Post by emordnilap »

vtsnowedin wrote:
emordnilap wrote:The whole of the fossil fuel industry, in which I include nuclear, should be being shut down now. Instead the opposite is happening.

Humans are thick and certainly don’t derserve the adjective ‘wise’.
Your lumping in nuclear with fossil fuels is at least debatable but the immediate shutdown of the fossil fuel industry/economy without a replacement, up and working in place, would result in the premature deaths of billions.
Is that really what you want?
Not my problem. It should happen, full stop.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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Post by emordnilap »

BritDownUnder wrote:I think from a lot of your postings you are something of an anti-civilization person.
It really depends on the definition of civilisation.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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Post by adam2 »

This project now appears to be dead.
Hitachi have withdrawn from the project "due to rising costs" Reported on BBC TV evening news today 15 September.

IN THEORY the project might continue without Hitachi, but in practice it seems most unlikely.
If Hitachi are frightened of by rising costs, then it seems probable that their competitors would take a similar view.
Regulatory approvals might be a challenge also.

EDIT TO ADD LINK.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-54158091

Second edit to add that this project might be going ahead, see about 5 posts onwards for details
Last edited by adam2 on Thu Nov 12, 2020 3:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by clv101 »

I actually think fully funding a couple of new nuclear builds would be a better use of public billions than HS2.

Nuclear is simply far too expensive, with the risks all front loaded, for the private sector.
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Post by adam2 »

You might be right, but I have a fear that the cost of a publicly funded nuke would balloon even more quickly than a privately built one.
Hitachi for all their faults, do have a desire to stay in business and have decided against continuing when the costs became excessive.

IF HMG committed to a new nuke, then they could not "do an Hitachi" and cancel it. Too much loss of face, too many angry trade union members put out of work.
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Post by BritDownUnder »

I think the government of the day probably tried to cancel Hinckley Point C but the Chinese government made a few threats and on it still goes. The problem is they will have one power station and no economies of scale. You could see that all the projects were for different PWR designs and there would have been no economies of scale among them all. Another reason for Department of Energy bureaucrats to be executed.

I would prefer to see the money going somewhere in baseload generation and nukes are an obvious choice for low carbon generation. I could be persuaded that tidal and wind/pumped storage could provide an alternative use/waste/spend (delete as applicable) of the peoples' money.
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adam2
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Post by adam2 »

This project MIGHT be proceeding.
After Hitachi pulled out, I and others thought it was dead.

This has now changed with an American group, Bechtel expressing an interest.

I have a bit more faith in the Americans than I have in China. I am in general "neutral" on nuclear power.
I was, and I remain opposed to the Hinkly project on account of the great cost.

I remain opposed to chinese innvolvement on both national security grounds, and for fear of fake or substandard chinese components being used to build a reactor.

If however the Americans can build a reactor on time and within budget then I might support it, provided that we dont pay too much towards the cost overuns. Three mile Island was a long time ago.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-54894212
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