The end 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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vtsnowedin
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Post by vtsnowedin »

biffvernon wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote: The owners give both reasons in support of their proposed plan.
A better reason might be that the owners will be dead by then and it will be someone else's problem. That's kinda how the system works.

Meanwhile, there's trouble at Chernobyl's neighbour:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 47540.html
Corporate "persons" don't age and die like the rest of us but I take your point. It certainly will be a continuing effort to do whatever gets done with someone elses money. :wink:
vtsnowedin
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Post by vtsnowedin »

Actually radio active half-lives aside I am not too awfully concerned with the decommissioning. The more immediate concern is the loss of generating capacity. There has been the fiction that the power produced at VY was sold out of state for the last several years but that occurs more on paper then in the wires. The plant produced about a third of Vermont's consumption and replacement power will have to come in over considerable distance. The state is critically under served by natural gas pipelines so quickly building NG powered generation plants is not a viable option. The plant was down on a regular basis so other plants are available to pick up the slack but there is that much less reserve in the system . Knock off a couple of other plants from mechanical breakdowns and the grid could be under supplied and vulnerable to cascading collapse.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

vtsnowedin wrote:Meanwhile back at the ranch!
Vermont's only nuclear power plant shuts down permanently this week.
This will leave a 640 megawatt hole in New England's generating capacity and puts 230 people out of work at an average of $110K per year each.
Some places are doing well
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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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

Nuclear power is not 'low carbon'

This is something most of us here instinctively knew but Keith Barnham's meta-analysis confirms it. It demolishes the sole remaining piece of greenwash used to defend nuclear. Well worth reading.
Greenhouse gases are emitted in all stages of the lifecycle of a nuclear reactor: construction, operation, fuel production, dismantling and waste disposal. Leaving out any of these five stages will bias estimates towards lower values.

The last two contributions, dismantling and waste disposal are particularly difficult to estimate. Not many commercial reactors have been fully decommissioned. Also there is still no scientific or political consensus on the approach to be used for the long-term storage of waste.

The fuel preparation contribution is also problematic. Considerable amounts of carbon are released in the mining, milling and separation of the uranium from the ore. Also the carbon emitted is very dependent on the concentration of uranium in the ore.

It's important to appreciate that these three problematic contributions, fuel production, dismantling and waste disposal are either non-existent or small contributions in the case of electricity generation by renewable technologies. Estimates of the carbon footprint of renewably generated electricity therefore should be much more reliable than those for nuclear.
The contract will commit the UK public to paying heavy subsidies and may be signed before it is known if the prototype works or what its environmental impact will be. This would be engineering, investment and, possibly, political stupidity.
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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clv101
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Post by clv101 »

I don't agree with this. Whether it's 6g, or 50g/kWh is irrelevant whilst coal is our largest source of electricity and produces 900g! The fact is that nuclear is of a similar order as renewables and at least an order of magnitude less than the prevailing fossil fuel electricity. That in my mind earns it low carbon status. There are many reasons not to build any more nuclear power stations, many are good, but CO2 is not one of them in my opinion.

I think folk arguing against nuclear on CO2 grounds are letting ideology get in the way of the facts.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

With our present knowledge, yes, it compares well CO2-wise to coal at the point of use. But with respect Chris, that's not really the objective of the article, is it? Supporters of nuclear are really the ones selective with the facts.

Firstly, it's the biggest argument on the environmental front used by nuclear proponents and the article shows it's wrong. Obviously, they have so little to offer they have to big this one up.

Secondly, we don't know the true CO2 burden imposed by nuclear because the full life-cycle has never been analysed - there are no real examples. Who knows what the true environmental cost of disposal of waste is going to be?
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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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

Letter from Dr Becky Martin to Bryony Worthington.
I watched on in horror as you championed the removal of local authority’s right to decide over the disposal of nuclear waste in their communities. I didn’t know who you were at the time, and your position of the matter left me thinking perhaps you were a stakeholder in some nuclear power supply chain company.

I was dismayed to learn that you used to be a key member of Friends of the Earth. Further research shows that you have a background in environmentalism and appear on the surface to be concerned with climate change.
Source
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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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

Accidents, waste and weapons: nuclear power isn’t worth the risks

https://theconversation.com/accidents-w ... -303431749
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

World Nuclear  Industry  Status  Report  2015 
http://www.worldnuclearreport.org/IMG/p ... -v1-lr.pdf
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