positive potential future of nuclear power

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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Post by 2 As and a B »

Bandidoz wrote:Also, don't forget that when it's not windy, there is likely to be less demand than when it is windy. But that's a bit of a moot point, similarly the point that "no generation when the wind doesn't blow" is also.
Whereas a nuclear power station never goes down.
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Post by DominicJ »

foodi
yeah, wind aint gonna win that race...

Nuclear is well above 90% of capacity actualy produved
Wind struggles to hit 25%
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

DominicJ wrote:Nuclear is well above 90% of capacity actualy produved .....
But you can't turn it down, Dominic, when you need to.
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Post by 2 As and a B »

DominicJ wrote:foodi
yeah, wind aint gonna win that race...

Nuclear is well above 90% of capacity actualy produved
Wind struggles to hit 25%
Do you have references to support those figures?
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Post by clv101 »

An Inspector Calls wrote:Your point that 'there has only been a small growth in nuclear power over the past 20 years and thus no expectation that it can grow faster than this in the next 20' is flawed...
That's not my point. My point is that future growth has to compensate for the high decommission rate over the next couple of decades. This is a serious challenge for nuclear growth.
An Inspector Calls wrote:Well, if nuclear can't achieve it, certainly wind can't for several reasons...
Who's talking about wind? We have to forget about this false either/or nuclear/wind argument.

I'm talking about how quoting uranium resources is irrelevant for the nuclear argument.
wind turbines are an insecure source of supply such that, for example, E.On claims only a 9% capacity factor from their operation.
Really? How come they did so bad? The UK average is 26.9% onshore and 33.7% offshore DUKES 7.4.
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Post by An Inspector Calls »

clv101 wrote:
An Inspector Calls wrote:Your point that 'there has only been a small growth in nuclear power over the past 20 years and thus no expectation that it can grow faster than this in the next 20' is flawed...
That's not my point. My point is that future growth has to compensate for the high decommission rate over the next couple of decades. This is a serious challenge for nuclear growth.
Agreed.
clv101 wrote:
An Inspector Calls wrote:wind turbines are an insecure source of supply such that, for example, E.On claims only a 9% capacity factor from their operation.
Really? How come they did so bad? The UK average is 26.9% onshore and 33.7% offshore DUKES 7.4.
You're confusing load factor and capacity factor.

The former is a measure of average production as a fraction of rated power output and the figures you quote are typical for the UK.

Capacity factor is a measure of the firm, secure supply from a generator as a fraction of its rated output. It's is an important factor used on a daily/half-hour basis to determine how much plant is required to meet the predicted load. Both the load and supply assessments are modelled as probability functions. For conventional plant this is typically 90-95 % of rated power and is a measure of the plant's tendency to trip or derate due to some failure or other. The E.On figure (House of Lords Select Committee submissions for Renewable Energy review) is alarmingly low for wind but many would argue that it should in fact be closer to 0 %. For example, on December 30th last, from the 3,500 MW of installed wind capacity, only 20 MW was produced. It was thus as if the wind plant had disappeared. And we have to replace this loss, so we thus have to build parallel capacity for this contingency. Thus, build 1,000 MW of wind and you'll still have to build 1,000 MW of conventional plant. Who pays?
kenneal wrote:One of the reasons we went for uranium rather than thorium was that fast breeder reactors would provide more fuel than they consumed. Now where have we heard about all that free energy before? This was, unfortunately another of those free energy scams but on an industrial scale.
Where do you get the idea that the FBR was a scam? The experiment worked but was abandoned on the grounds of economy - a decision that might be reviewed as the price of uranium goes up. If you want a power industry scam, look no further than the ROCs subsidy system.
kenneal wrote:
DominicJ wrote:Nuclear is well above 90% of capacity actualy produved .....
But you can't turn it down, Dominic, when you need to.
Well (a) if nuclear is run as baseload (and we need about 30 GW of base load year round) there's no need for it to vary power output, and (b) nuclear stations employ steam turbines and thus a steam range - like coal and oil plant - and such plant is perfectly capable of providing both primary and secondary response.
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Post by An Inspector Calls »

clv101
Capacity factor is also sometimes called capacity credit - and that might be a more explicit term.
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Post by Bandidoz »

An Inspector Calls wrote:The E.On figure (House of Lords Select Committee submissions for Renewable Energy review)
Do you have a weblink for this?
An Inspector Calls wrote:For example, on December 30th last, from the 3,500 MW of installed wind capacity, only 20 MW was produced. It was thus as if the wind plant had disappeared. And we have to replace this loss, so we thus have to build parallel capacity for this contingency. Thus, build 1,000 MW of wind and you'll still have to build 1,000 MW of conventional plant.
It's to be expected that there may be "off-days" from wind, or other renewable generators. You could selectively pick a day from a nuclear plant and make a similar claim. When wind is not producing, the gap would be filled in from *any* other source, not just "conventional" plant. Also, it's misleading to suggest that more conventional plant needs to be built (certainly in the UK) as it already exists. That conventional plant would just be burning less fossil fuel.

In any case discussing the merits or otherwise of wind or any other renewables in this topic are irrelevent.
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Post by An Inspector Calls »

Bandidoz wrote:
An Inspector Calls wrote:It's to be expected that there may be "off-days" from wind, or other renewable generators. You could selectively pick a day from a nuclear plant and make a similar claim. When wind is not producing, the gap would be filled in from *any* other source, not just "conventional" plant. Also, it's misleading to suggest that more conventional plant needs to be built (certainly in the UK) as it already exists. That conventional plant would just be burning less fossil fuel.

In any case discussing the merits or otherwise of wind or any other renewables in this topic are irrelevent.
The fact that ONE nuclear plant might be down for maintenance or unplanned failure is not the same as the possibility of losing the entire wind generation fleet, as happens at least once every time there's a UK winter high pressure area. The REF has numerous papers on this phenomenon. The equivalent nuclear position would be that a type fault emerges that means ALL nuclear power stations must be taken off line at the same time., which is a good argument for not rolling out one reactor type, but at least two.

If you set out to build 35 GW of wind power, and in so doing displace all conventional plant, then where is your cover coming from? We may have sufficient conventional plant now, but an awful lot of it is also aging rapidly and it needs replacing. And how does the conventional plant, new or old, earn its keep? And is that plant going to be held as a reserve, complete with maintenance staff? Who pays for all this?
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Post by Bandidoz »

Quite, wind turbines don't produce any power when there's no wind, nuclear power stations don't produce when there's a fault. Yes there may be days when there's no wind anywhere in the UK, and yes there is a small possibility of all nuclear power stations being offline due to faults or maintenance. No-one has an electricity supply with 100% availability.

They're both pointless observations/statistics, as none of it is unexpected. We've also done the "what to do when there's no wind" question to death elsewhere; there's no point in repeating it here.
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Post by An Inspector Calls »

Bandidoz wrote:Quite, wind turbines don't produce any power when there's no wind, nuclear power stations don't produce when there's a fault. Yes there may be days when there's no wind anywhere in the UK, and yes there is a small possibility of all nuclear power stations being offline due to faults or maintenance. No-one has an electricity supply with 100% availability.
Yes, no one has 100 % availabilty: the target is one major supply disruption every twenty years - which you could, perhaps, characterize as 95 % availability. But with a large wind fleet and no parallel system of cover, you'd get one, perhaps more, supply failure every year, potentially for days on end.

Mechanical failure, and this failure of wind are not comparable. Lack of wind is a breakdown of the fuel supply route, not a mechanical failure. It is highly unlikely that a fleet of nuclear power stations would find themselves immobilised through lack of fuel. Wind turbines also suffer mechanical failures. We may have done this to death elsewhere, and the BWEA has tried to dismiss this failure of the fuel route as of no consequence by arguing that geographic diversity will avoid it, but the work of the REF, and experience of large wind fleets in Spain, Denmark and Germany reveal that this type of failure is far from rare and is a serious and expensive problem for wind use.
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Post by Pepperman »

An Inspector Calls wrote:If you set out to build 35 GW of wind power, and in so doing displace all conventional plant, then where is your cover coming from? We may have sufficient conventional plant now, but an awful lot of it is also aging rapidly and it needs replacing. And how does the conventional plant, new or old, earn its keep? And is that plant going to be held as a reserve, complete with maintenance staff? Who pays for all this?
Build up a strong network of interconnectors with France, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Iceland; keep some fossil plant in reserve to make up the balance; most importantly - cut demand a lot
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Post by DominicJ »

Build up a strong network of interconnectors with France, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Iceland; keep some fossil plant in reserve to make up the balance; most importantly - cut demand a lot
Except a "wind famine" can affect most of that area.
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Post by Pepperman »

Hence bringing Iceland and Norway into the fold. Iceland has far more geothermal potential than it can ever deal with and Norway has enormous hydro capacity.

Whenever discussions turn to high penetration renewables, the naysayers always seem to assume that wind will be the only renewable source in the mix. It won't.
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Post by DominicJ »

Pepperman
I said on another thread recently I'd happily damn every stream and river in the country.

Unfortunatly, the green movement, or perhaps the subsidy chasing part of it, has spent rather a lot of effort discrediting hydro.

We wouldnt need Icelandic Geothermal or Norwegian Hydro if we would merely access our own hydro.

With the others, theres simply little call for wind...
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