lives of existing nuclear plants to be extended

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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lives of existing nuclear plants to be extended

Post by adam2 »

The planned working life of several existing UK nuclear power stations is to be extended by some years.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35583740

Details here.

A cynic might suspect that this is a cover up for another few years of consultations, studies and reviews regarding new nuclear in the UK.

PLEASE KEEP THIS THREAD ON TOPIC regarding life extension of existing nuclear plants. Remarks about Hinckley or Moorside should be added to the relevant threads on these subjects.
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Post by biffvernon »

Perhaps they think it will be cheaper to patch up the old ones than to build a new one. This gives EDF a bit of a face-saver when it pulls out of Hinkley C, stopping folk blaming it for letting the lights go out.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/201 ... t-decision
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Post by clv101 »

I find it very impressive that a generation+ ago, we were able to fund, design and build a dozen or so reactors in little more than a decade. There weren't rubbish either, most having significant life extensions and none have blown up.

It's a damning indictment for decades of economic growth and technical 'progress' that we can't repeat this feat.
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Post by johnhemming2 »

Processes have been made more complex.
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Post by fuzzy »

Or civil engineers have learned the same lobbying and gravy train tricks as Doctors, Lawyers, Military contractors, Charities and governments.
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Post by adam2 »

clv101 wrote:I find it very impressive that a generation+ ago, we were able to fund, design and build a dozen or so reactors in little more than a decade. There weren't rubbish either, most having significant life extensions and none have blown up.

It's a damning indictment for decades of economic growth and technical 'progress' that we can't repeat this feat.
Agree, it is a great pity that we seem unable to repeat the successes of a generation or two ago.
I have more faith in an old but life extended reactor than I do in a new one.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Presumably the "life extension" comes with a reduction in the safety levels surrounding the ageing of the concrete and steel that can't be inspected because it's in contact with the radioactive bits. The estimated life of these bits is being extended with fingers closed that none of them fail.
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Post by biffvernon »

Not being a nuclear engineer I'm not sure that your presumption of greater risk acceptance is correct. You might be right but you might not be and I wouldn't want my opposition to nuclear power for various other reasons to be clouded by an area of risk I know little about. At some level we need to trust the engineers.

Part of the reason why we were more able, a few decades ago, to build nukes more quickly and cheaply than now is because safety standards have been tightened and, importantly, some of the issue of reducing the waste management problem is factored into new design. The previous generation of nukes externalised that problem, leaving it to the next (our) generation to deal with.

A good reason for extending the lives of the current fleet is that it is a relatively low-carbon electricity source, much of the emissions embedded in the concrete and steel having been released long ago.

Of course they should all be shut down by tea time this afternoon, but extending their lives a few years may be a less bad option compared to charging ahead with building a new fleet.
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