They mentioned a few problems everyone knows about nuclear (NIMBY, financing, licensing, etc), but one of the unintuitive problems was the lack of institutional memory for construction. Westinghouse et.al. will design the core of the plant, but each plant is constructed by a series of contractors and subcontractors who many times, have never constructed anything this precise before. Jessica Lovering compared it to constructing cathedrals (in that each one was bespoke). This makes each one effectively as expensive as the last.
This is one of the many problems companies like TerraPower are trying to solve: Not just dropping up front cost (finance) or making it more stable (NIMBY), but also trying to build a living knowledge of how to build reactors repeatably.
Total tangent: My pet theory is that if it gets really bad, we'll just start building floating nuclear reactors and park them within transmission distance from cities. Ironically we have a ton of experience with floating nuclear reactors from maintaining a large nuclear-powered navy.
Hey, it looks like TerraPower at least has some people who share your pet theory .
Honestly, I think for the LWRs in the US, it's more of a financing and risk problem than anything. As I understand it, the two South Carolina LWRs failed mainly because the fracking boom created a glut in natural gas prices. Now no one is willing to make any bets on energy prices 20-years out . Note that I'm not sure if these were Gen-II.
At least from a cost standpoint, building LWRs the way we used to is akin to Space Shuttle launches: Awesome idea 30 years ago, but they match the finance risk profiles of energy markets today.
Re: construction. Funny enough, there's actually a industry-wide skilled construction squeeze in the US right now . After the '07 crash the number of new workers going into construction dropped precipitously. Now when we need skilled project managers there isn't enough to fill demand.
wat? They most assuredly generate electric power. It's just that the bleed steam the sub needs for electric power is trivial compared to the motive power sent to the main reduction gear. They carry diesel generators for emergency use only.
I believe France’s boomers and the next gen SSBN the US is designing both have electric drive.
Isn’t this a bit of a “if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball” question though? Electricity generation and direct steam propulsion both drive turbines, the principal of shipboard operation is well proven.
The bigger issue in my mind is that the nuclear powered ships spend a tremendous amount of time in port ( at least compared to the downtime of a land based power station) and then often just sail around bad weather rather than get hammered by it.
All nuclear reactors generate steam. That steam then drives a turbine which generates the electricity.
The difference in the Ford class is that the steam turbine is bigger, powering most of the ship’s systems via an electrical bus rather than by piping steam around the ship. This approach reduces complexity and maintenance costs.
The steam is used to run generators and provide electricity, as well as run engines that drive screws (propellers are on airplanes).
Naval reactors are smaller than civilian reactors, but are far more efficient and use different fuel.
And "evacuate and sink" isn't an option in a multi billion dollar strategic asset.
The Soviet Alfa-class used molten lead-bismuth coolant. (Which was run through a separate steam generator to generate steam, granted).
Though there's no principal reason why steam has to be the working fluid. Supercritical CO2, for instance, has many attractive properties.
> Naval reactors are smaller than civilian reactors, but are far more efficient
Hmm, define "efficient"? Efficient as in conversion of heat to mechanical power? Or use of uranium fuel? Or what?
Says that the reactor also powers other systems. And sometimes the motor is electric.
Makes sense. Why would you build a nuclear reactor and then only use the steam to power the motor?
If Germany invested that amount of money into Russia, you can bet that it was urgent.
Hopefully Russia has shown more care dealing with their Nuclear power plants...
All in all the West (!!!) provided many more billions for the safety of those approximately 120-180 (!) nuclear-powered submarines.
Russia also has submarines buried at the ground in the arctic sea. Like the K-27 in the early 80s.
> 17,000 containers of radioactive waste; 19 ships containing radioactive waste; 14 nuclear reactors, including five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; the K-27 nuclear submarine with its two reactors loaded with nuclear fuel and 735 other pieces of radioactively contaminated heavy machinery.
The nonradioactive steam handling, turbines and electrical generators should be quite similar to what's used in conventional coal/natural gas plants.
And as dangerous.
The US does a poor job of recycling due to the fact that it listened to the environmentalists and anti-terrorist groups in the 70s. Jimmy Carter was told that recycling was bad for the environment (won't someone think of the children if the train overturns), was not cost effective, and would lead to nuclear proliferation due to terrorists dropping from the sky and stealing the train to Mexico .
Now we can recycle, and we can reuse the fuel to breed new fuel sources. If we did this 30 years ago, even just the first half of the last clause, we would not be looking down the barrel of climate change.
1 - https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-france-plans-to-do-with-i...
2 - https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/10/01/why-doesnt-...
* Edit a typo thing of the children -> think of the children.
> proliferation due to terrorists dropping from the sky
This is exactly what I mean by a cavalier attitude towards these problems. It is dismissive, uses manipulative phrasing like the president "was told" that removes his agency, paints environmentalists as all powerful agents of manipulation, etc.
France is not a perfect example. Fukushima demonstrated the kind of disaster that can happen despite best efforts and good operating records, and there is much debate in France about the risks of relying on nuclear going forward.
Which is all a shame given how much better modern designs are.
Of course, it's far better for health and the environment if we can replace them with solar and batteries. But perspective on the dangers of nuclear compared to fossil fuels is important.
Great advancements to keep an eye on:
Specifically Molten Salt (Liquid Floride) Thorium Breeder reactors are my personal favorite technology I hope to see come around!
Great place to start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3rL08J7fDA
Great videos to follow: https://www.youtube.com/user/gordonmcdowell/featured
I like referring back to http://blog.danieldavies.com/2006/05/nukes-and-nukemen-blair... on this: the industry has a real problem with undeliverable promises of cost and time, and it's not just the fault of environmentalists. The approval mentioned there ultimately led only to Hinkley Point C, which is still not finished and overrunning its costs.
Then there's the weapons history; Greenpeace's campaign originated against nuclear weapons testing, and the industry has always been intertwined with the military. That also limits which countries it can be used in. Remember when Iraq built a reactor and Israel blew it up?
Having said all that, https://www.leadcold.com/technology.html from elsewhere in this thread is the most promising thing I've seen in a long time. Molten lead is far saner than molten sodium and makes good radiation shielding. Nothing flashy required, just some good old fashioned special stainless steel metallurgy.
It's not too late. Or, well, yes, we should have started decarbonizing decades ago. But whatever we manage to do will make the effects of climate change less bad compared to doing nothing.
The scale of global decarbonization is simply mindbogglingly staggering, not only electricity but heat, transportation, etc. There's place for anything we can build, as fast as possible. Including nuclear.
> Having said all that, https://www.leadcold.com/technology.html from elsewhere in this thread is the most promising thing I've seen in a long time. Molten lead is far saner than molten sodium and makes good radiation shielding. Nothing flashy required, just some good old fashioned special stainless steel metallurgy.
I'm a fan of lead-cooled fast reactors. Though it seems to me the one major innovation leadcold has come up with is the aluminizised stainless steel to prevent corrosion; turns out that molten lead at 450C is pretty corrosive. Seems practical reactor design is more to do with nitty-gritty materials issues than fanciful reactor concepts themselves.
All in all, is this easier than going the traditional path of natural U + graphite piles to produce weapons grade Pu? Perhaps not, considering apparently all actual nuclear weapon states have gone the U-Pu way. But nothing to dismiss out of hand either.
The reason that they didn't want to use it in WWII was because of a combination of politics and that one of the trans-uranics that is produced creates gamma rays that are easily traceable. Imagine having gamma ray imaging in a satellite and being able to see all of the nuclear silos clear as day because they have U233 bombs.
Nuclear energy does not comes for free, there are nuclear wastes, but the dangers and difficulties were greatly overblown in the course of anti-nuclear propaganda.
I believe we can find the way to reuse nuclear wastes - my guess is that nobody was doing serious research in this area since being "pro" nuclear was not fashionable (and it is still not in many places).
But global warming is a far bigger problem, which poses far larger threats to the world. We should do whatever it takes to cut back on CO2. We shouldn't be having any coal plants anymore. Everything is better than continuing to burn coal and oil, and that includes nuclear.
I don't see nuclear as a definitive energy source for the next thousand years, but I think we need it as a transitional energy source while we take coal offline and continue to invest in solar, wind, and energy storage.
It's not so simple: the ongoing environmental disaster is caused by many different sources of CO2 (e.g. concrete production), particulates, water usage and pollution, overfishing, animal farming, land pollution, ozone layer depletion.
First, almost all electrical energy ends up being released in the environment as heat.
Then, cheap energy only encourage faster production and consumption of goods, aka consumerism.
There's a very strong correlation between per-capita income, energy use and waste/pollution production throughout human societies and past centuries.
Very few environmental problems are solved by spending more energy.
CO2 is the big one that we can't seem to get a grip on, because it's so strongly tied to energy production, and energy is tied to prosperity. Carbon emissions were reduced the most during severe economic downturns. But we don't want to save the environment by making everybody poor.
Recently, economic growth has become a bit more independent from energy use, thanks to improved insulation, LEDs and similar advances that help reduce energy use without reducing comfort. And that's important, because if you ask people to sacrifice comfort, prosperity and way of life to save the environment, they will resist.
I don't mean to be arguing for consumerism, but if you ignore this, you're going to make the struggle a lot harder. Success is easier if you make it easy for people to do the right thing.
The nuclear waste generation is a _HUGE_ problem, the problem is so big that very few (if any) country really know how to solve it, look a the US for example as a really frightening example of an out of control waste problem, both from civil and military sources...
It's tricky because of a combination of factors like long half-lives and unusual suitability for some of the material to be reprocessed into a weapon (both fission devices for nation states and terror devices for small groups, the latter more thanks to public perception than any actual effectiveness). This creates a lot of political obstacles, as it's easier to pass responsibility to someone else than it is to double-down and implement methods to reprocess, transmute or reuse the waste.
On the other hand, there are so many cases of contamination with persistent environmental toxins that aren't as easy to detect, or who's toxic effects are initially not understood. Just look the sad history of PCBs or at 3M's ongoing saga with PFOA and PFCs.
You just changed your argument. You originally said nuclear waste is less toxic than “‘regular’ waste from chemical industry,” not just that there was less of it.
Even a smaller amount of highly toxic waste that stays that way for thousands of years is a huge problem.
In every post in this thread, TeMPOraL has been making a consistent argument that nuclear produces orders of magnitude less waste than other not-routinely-treated-as-horrible industrial waste issues.
You appear to be making the argument that “because there isn’t much of it” is a new argument, but that appears to be the core of their argument everywhere.
Perhaps you were confusing who said what?
Anything that remains radioactive for thousands of years is not very radioactive by definition.
It's mind boggling that we can generate all this energy by splitting atoms but we're still burning things and putting up windmills like it's the 1500s.
Its almost impossible to solve because people think about it the wrong way, we need a change of understanding.
Just like Oil before it was useful, we need to think of nuclear waste as a resource. It is mostly fuel and a combination of other potentially useful stuff.
We need to be a nuclear society not a chemical society who wants to 'shut away' all the 'waste'.
And if the UK didn't do silly thing like selling profitable nuke companies to Japan (source senior guy at Sellafield) - and allow you junior collation partners to kill of a key project to placate the green wing of the libdems.
BTW I worked on research for fast breeders in my first job in fact one of the few times I went into our labs was to wrap a dummy fuel pin for two-phase flow tests.
Nuclear dies not because of 'eco' organizations, but because we've put zillions into it and now the nuclear landscape we got speaks for itself.
The Severn barage will be more, but it is a “first of type” demonstrator design and it is hoped that costs would be lower for future, larger projects.
The Severn barrage is, of course, much larger in scope and there isn’t any near-term proposals to develop it.
Because of the 'eco' and other organisation successful 'anti-nuke' organisation any improvement or discussion is made extremely difficult. I would say its one of the most successful 'campaigns' the 'eco' people have ever pulled.
You ask normal people, who don't have a clue about nuclear energy if they support it and 'normal' people will simply say 'no' and the reason is some vague 'dangerous and waste'. Exactly what the messaging from these organisations was for 50 years.
In some states, like Australia for example the minister is expressly forbidden by law to even consider a nuclear solution to a environmental or energy problem.
In Austria Greenpeace activists surrounded newly build nuclear plant and forced is shutdown (it was replaced by coal but Greenpeace of course doesn't care).
In Germany massive anti-war and green movement went strongly anti nuclear and progressively increased pressure against nukes and in a politically opportune moment they managed to shut down the whole industry.
In Switzerland we passed a law not even allowing research on nuclear reactors mostly for the same nonsense reasons.
You can go back to the original Sierra Club Anti-Nukes, they quite literally had an express strategy to sell one thing 'danger/waste' and they specifically did this to increase regulation in order to make it unprofitable. That is directly stated in their communication. This has been their strategy for 50 years and it has worked on the population and on governments around the world, people are simply misinformed.
Of course they could not do it alone, but while they are loud the Oil/Coal lobby is massively against nuclear energy and always has been. You can find that even 40 years ago they cross financed anti-nuclear 'eco' people.
The problem with the current landscape is that because of regulation in most countries is basically impossible to bring a new nuclear plant to market. Lots of government money dumped in a few (mostly government) project does not mean that nuclear as a technology is the problem.
Nuclear has been sponsored with zillions of government money and lots of pro-nuclear propaganda.
We had a discussion about this for two decades. We observed more zillions put into nuclear with ever less return.
Germany invested for example into a Thorium-based high-temperature pebble-bed reactor.
Guess what? The promised reliability was not there. Even more, the thing was not commercially viable - so the INDUSTRY closed it, not green eco groups.
The current public opinion is not the result of green eco fanatics, but because the the nuclear political/industrial/military complex could not demonstrate its commercial viability and because nuclear is fundamentally opposed to a free, decentralized and open society.
We've seen the breeder concepts. A disaster. Seen the fate of the breeder in Japan? It was damaged during construction, sitting around for a long time - not because of eco fanatics - because neither government or industry were willing to put more money and work into it. After some time they decided to revive that old reactor - which then had even more problems. Now it will be dismantled.
Don't tell me eco-fanatics were responsible for this failure.
Germany invested into its own breeder. Which is now an amusement park in Kalkar. Another failed project which cost zillions of tax payer money.
Germany than had a demonstrator for a nuclear storage site (Asse II). Industry and government were handling it. Water leaks into it. It is unstable. Etc. It now costs zillions to fix that.
The result of 'build reactors first and care about storage later' is that nuclear material piles up near reactors. Which was one of the reasons for the cost of the Fukushima event: the spent-fuel pools were full and were located high up in the buildings. You probably have see the desperate attempts to cool these pools from the outside which contributed to the damage of the buildings.
We had a stream of these failures. Each time the industry and government came with new proposals. More money poured into it and more failures. Technical failures. Economical failures. And gradually the acceptance for new projects was going down - even among the proponents.
Siemens then invested zillions into the development of the French next generation reactor. That reactor turned out to be another problematic project and Siemens (a former proponent of nuclear technology) pulled out of that - because it cost them lots of money. The construction problems of these reactors are real (faulty steel, complex software, ...) and not green eco inventions. These reactors are built in France and Finland in nuclear friendly surroundings - yet they have massive cost increases and time delays... for a current update see here:
The problems costs the industry hundreds of millions and we are not talking about eco propaganda, but real technical problems and delays.
Claiming that the failure of the nuclear industry is because of green propaganda, forgets a stream of expensive and failed nuclear projects. In the end the government and industry were not able to demonstrate their capability to handle this complex system - it was fully exposed in Japan, where the reactors are still mostly shutdown - despite massive needs for their electricity. Building them and in this way in an area of high seismic activity was simply a failure. Before Fukushima its reactors were inspected and rated save. After Fukushima multiple failures were contributing to the problems - each single one were unthinkable before: full meltdowns, complete loss of outside energy, tsunami flooding the building, failing emergency electricity, failing electricity to cool spend fuel pools, hydrogen explosions in the building, etc. etc. This thing is a total collapse of any promised safety of these. Now don't tell me that this was an old design - it was claimed safe just weeks before the collapse. Thus undermines any trust into the industry and government - not green eco propaganda. This cleanup will cost several hundred billion dollar and will be extremely hard work for three or four decades.
Civilian Nuclear industry was always pretty tiny compared to the competition.
Funny how all this propaganda was useless as people (including smart people) believe lots of nonsense about nuclear that stems from lies made up by Greenpeace types.
I literally talked to a highly educated people who believe utter scientifically false stuff about nuclear because these lies have been embedded so deeply in our culture.
I consider it one of the most effective propaganda campaigns ever. I wish the nuclear industry was half as good as Greenpeace at promoting their ideas.
> We had a discussion about this for two decades. We observed more zillions put into nuclear with ever less return.
Except of course that it is the largest low CO2 energy source and has saved the world from billions of tons of CO2. Counties like France have been at CO2 levels that would basically solve global warming (or as close as you are gone get without replacing transportation fuel) but the rest of the nations did not follow.
You seem to assume that I said that every single failure of any nuclear plant ever is the responsibility of the eco people. That is not what I'm saying. The nuclear industry and governments have made tons of bad design choices, in nuclear and lots of other things.
The drama made over nuclear power, nuclear waste and so on has thrown a huge wrench into everything nulcear. Its incredibly hard to cite a project. Its incredibly hard to get political support for a project. Its incredibly hard to build a research reactor. Its incredibly hard to even get a licence for anything or specially materials. Its basically impossible to develop a new reactor type. These issue go from research to operation on every level the environment is terrible for nuclear.
The West started out making new reactors all the time and the reactors built back then were incredible cost competitive and up to that point nuclear had a speed of adoption unseen by any technology ever. This progress was essentially stop and grind to a halt because
> it was fully exposed in Japan, where the reactors are still mostly shutdown
Guess what, if you shut down fully function reactors for political reason its not the nuclear industries fault. Japan does not have a great industry but the idea that after Fukushima all nuclear plants had to be shut of was an idiotic political move that killed many more people then it saved (as it saved a grand total of 0 people).
> Before Fukushima its reactors were inspected and rated save.
The US Regulatory agency told Japan that these reactors were exposed but for political reasons Japan wanted to build on the coast.
> Building them and in this way in an area of high seismic activity was simply a failure.
False. The reactor didn't care about the seismic activity it had no issue what so ever.
In fact had the reactor itself not been shut down, it could have delivered the energy for its own cooling system.
> Thus undermines any trust into the industry and government - not green eco propaganda
Yeah lets play the lets focus on isolated examples. The nuclear industry global has the least amount of deaths per energy produced. And it has the lest amount of resource use and the least amount of pollution.
Basically 0 people died from civilian nuclear in the Western nations, a couple 100 that have long term lower life expectancy. However we build more gas plants, coal plants, wind turbines and so on.
There is lots of civilian nuclear industry. But they all depend on government money, regulation, funding, insurance, ... And they prefer to have monopolies - like in France.
> I wish the nuclear industry was half as good as Greenpeace at promoting their ideas.
I think you are mistaken. The failure of the nuclear industry is self made. Entirely.
> Counties like France have been at CO2 levels that would basically solve global warming (or as close as you are gone get without replacing transportation fuel) but the rest of the nations did not follow.
Luckily - we would have a world full of nuclear reactors and large amounts of material nobody knows to handle. Plus the nuclear technology would be a wonderful entry for nuclear weapons.
> The West started out making new reactors all the time and the reactors built back then were incredible cost competitive and up to that point nuclear had a speed of adoption unseen by any technology ever.
We got many out-dated reactors with very little safety, no storage and lots of nuclear waste in return.
> if you shut down fully function reactors for political reason
If. But it was not the case. There was a large earth quake. The nuclear industry was exposed as a fraud with nuclear installation in areas with high seismic risks.
> The US Regulatory agency told Japan that these reactors were exposed but for political reasons Japan wanted to build on the coast.
See. The nuclear industry is not in a vacuum. In old nuclear installations there is so much money involved, that there is a high corruption risk.
If you don't deal with these types of risks, then the best technological solutions can and will FAIL. Technology is always embedded in a society and since billions of revenue streams are involved, we can't expect that safety first will prevail. Instead greed and corruption is much stronger. Or the will to have a nuclear industry to have technology transfer for weapon production. In many countries the weapon technology was first. Like in the UK, where the first power plants were modified designs used to create weapon material.
And in the case of Fukushima we are talking about Japan - a technological advanced nation. We are not even talking about the shitty nuclear industry in, say, Russia.
> alse. The reactor didn't care about the seismic activity it had no issue what so ever.
Of course they do. Every reactor NEEDS a full inspection after a major earth quake. Claiming that nothing happened WITHOUT inspection is impossible. Power plants are built to certain levels of expected events. If new information about events and their risks is available existing installations need to be approved again...
> In fact had the reactor itself not been shut down, it could have delivered the energy for its own cooling system.
If? It did. If it hadn't failed it would still be running. But it failed. Badly. Multiple ways.
> The nuclear industry global has the least amount of deaths per energy produced.
I try to explain again: the clean-up of Fukushima will cost probably half a trillion dollar.
> Basically 0 people died from civilian nuclear in the Western nations
It's just that a single incident caused a many year long shutdown of basically all nuclear reactors in Japan. Many of them will never be restarted again. The economic loss is unbelievably large.
Switching to green energy isn't just a technical challenge as it is often reduced to here. There are many aspects, including social and geopolitical ones. We cannot just wave those away and discuss about (the certainly cool) tech.
Its ridiculous to say we want to solve our own energy problem with nuclear while forbidding Iran, North Korea & co to do so as well. Do you expect them to R&D solar+wind+storage by themselves?
Nuclear waste can be fed in to a breeder reactor and continue to generate useful energy. The key is understanding why nuclear waste is dangerous in the first place: because it still contains lots of energy!
But we do. Redox batteries basically solve the problem of storage and scale very well , it's just the question of commercialization now (which is ongoing)
HN has this idealistic image of nuclear power where everything is handled by passionate responsible scientists, when in practice those plants are run by corporations trying to cut costs wherever possible. Better and more modern designs wouldn't change anything about that.
Currently, and increasingly in the future, there is this huge “externality” in the full costs of burning fossil fuels, which is not being connected to the use.
Basic economic theory argues that externalities need to be handled by “non-market” means. Which essentially means regulation.
For whatever reason, the particulars of nuclear power enable enough political will to make a serious attempt at regulation aimed at minimizing (horrific) externalities.
The problem of human induced climate change presents a scary political reality, in which the political structures required to apportion the “true” cost of fossil fuel use might be not be possible. Or possible in a way where the cure is worse than the disease.
If these costs were indeed born by users, the competitive position of nuclear power might be improved.
However, this is not a sufficient argument to relax regulatory requirements for nuclear power.
Also the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds that it costs to clean up nuclear disasters. But sure, good to know that nuclear power would be profitable if only corporations didn’t have to comply with all those pesky safety regulations.
I'm torn however, on one side its a reasonable proposal that will yield waste far far less dangerous, on the other side, it distracts from investing in renewables.
The waste produces by every reactor current in production or planed is a huge problem that is greatly underestimated by the general population.
Sweden have for 30 years tried to figure out a way of storing the waste and still not have a finalized plan, and we have one of the best places to store it, stable bedrock with very little seismic activity....
Read more here about the plans for the Swedish storage:
I sometimes wonder if authors of these pro-nuclear articles are paid to astroturf for the nuclear power industry or if they are just unaware of what solar is capable of.
The "huge amounts of land" claim is incorrect (https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/09/22/we-could-power...) and in reality much of solar power could be deployed on urban hardscapes.
The second claim seems to ignore the possibility of batteries and other large scale energy storage, never mind that solar would be complemented by other renewable energy sources.
The other problem with the nuclear industry (ignoring all the much talked about safety and waste storage issues) is that it ends up being a centralized power source. Living in a solar unfriendly state with the most profitable energy utility in the country (no rate review in 30+ years) I do not want to see any more centralization and the corresponding corruption. Yeah, I know centralization doesn't imply corruption and abuse of power, but it sure makes it easier.
Also isn't that article also assuming that all of the solar panels would be in the Sahara desert? Where solar power is extremely efficient. If we spread these solar panels across the world we would need significantly more because they would located in places much less suitable for solar power.
If that is all the space required to power the planet I find cause for much hope. I doubt there would be much impact on anyone once you distribute across all the countries. How much area is available globally that is currently empty roof? Car parks as others have noted. What of offshore, covering reservoirs, road and rail side verges and medians, wind, wave and nuclear. How much scrub and desert that provides little for us or the local flora and fauna?
Unless Minnesota plans on actually powering the world it doesn't seem a reasonable comparison or objection.
Natural Gas is still the biggest source of electricity generation in the UK, by some margin. But it is declining, slowly.
By the early 2020s, it's likely that wind turbines will have overtaken nuclear as the #2 source.
UK electricity generation mix: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/data-portal/electricity-generation-...
Who's most up to date or accurate? Given the steady drop of fossil capacity, perhaps electricitymap that seems to be volunteer run simply hasn't caught up yet?
There's over a 5GW difference in amount of installed wind power between that site and the "over 20GW" claimed in the Imperial report. Solar varies by a similar percentage.
There have been other reports on the same lines throughout this year of the dropping off of fossil and rise of renewables, for both generation and capacity. Even with the distraction of fracking and changes to feed in tariffs.
Sorry, but more of what precisely?
Not all kinds of energy, surely?
I assume wind and solar are < 1% of that "renewable" total.
http://gridwatch.co.uk/ has nuclear, solar and wind at 18%, 6% and 15%. Wind reached 37% this year, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/wind-power-r...
If you could somehow have cars without carparks (maybe the car folds up, I dunno), it would be one the biggest quality-of-life improvements in my lifetime. Probably about on par with the smartphone for me personally, probably a bigger improvement for people who are very poor.
Moreover re: the other comments about parking being an ecological disaster, I agree, but that’s more because of the car-dependency that parking comes with than the pavement itself. Pavement is ALSO a problem, particularly re: surface water permeability and flooding. But most solar and wind installations don’t require the same vast expanses of impermeable surface.
Lastly, remember that wind, at least, can and is often installed off-shore, so when you consider the surface of the ocean as a viable place to distribute some of this land use its even less concerning - at least relative to the continued burning of fossil fuels and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
Neither of those numbers seem out of reach to me.
I assume a large amount of solar can be placed on existing rooftops or other pieces of the (already) built environment.
I also note with interest that the most recent Iraq war cost somewhere between 2 and 3 trillion dollars and that bill was mostly footed by a single country which was hardly impoverished as a result.
I do question the externalities and pollution and embedded carbon costs of 43k SQMI of solar panels, however - I think that's the logistical issue that's most pressing.
YES! especially considering the life cycle of PV - it is short!
Here is some great stats to consider: https://youtu.be/V2KNqluP8M0?t=454 (alarmist tone + admittedly biased toowards nuclear - for a reason - the numbers are sound)
My expectation is that most large solar plants will not be PV.
Solar thermal has a couple of advantages - peak supply extends through into peak demand (around sunset), because it's basically its own storage system - efficiency is around 70% (compared to PVC which is ~ 15%, and is expected to rise very gently - as you noted in another thread). The lack of sensitivity to technology improvements makes it more attractive to investors, which is convenient as it's obviously a larger capex per installation. (I suspect R&D for pvc is higher per, say, unit of technology - though this isn't a big concern in terms of capex per user.)
Either way, most nation states have electricity grids that lend themselves to larger power generation installations, than a totally distributed system (where someone else looks after short term storage and baseload) - plus larger installations (solar thermal) work well in regions where there are disparate climates within the reach of long-haul power cables. (Definitely the case in AU for most major metropolitan areas - there are solar-thermal-favourable sites within a few hundred kilometres of the larger population centres.)
I've just done a pvc vs cst - and the latter's numbers really make a mockery of the anti-solar apologists' estimates on surface area required to provision estimated power requirements.
We worked hand in hand with middle east dictators for centuries now, to get their oil. Oil is interesting because it is cheap to transport (pipelines).
In the 20th century storage was super expensive, and large precise construction was inexpensive; that's being flipped. In five years, solar plus enough lithium ion storage (or other tech) will be cheaper than the cheapest nuclear. In 10-15, winter levels of sunlight + storage will be cheaper than the cheapest nuclear. They're trying to address the problems of toady, in 20 years. If their development pipeline is 20 years out, they need to anticipate the problems 20 years out, rather than skating to where the puck is now.
The problem has changed; there will be niche needs for nuclear power, I'm sure, but unless they can drive down current nuclear costs to be cheaper than wind or solar, there's going to be little need for nuclear at all.
You can use time of day pricing to get people to do their laundry at a better time. You can't use it to get people to heat their homes during the day instead of at night. Once people are no longer burning oil for heat, there is going to be a winter month where the average nighttime temperature in the northern half of the country is -4 degrees and that is going to drive high non-responsive demand for electricity at night.
In theory you can install enough batteries for this and charge them with solar during the day, but what happens when it's cloudy during the day and cold at night for a straight month?
Non of this has real engineering issues, nor even refit issues. Some economic impact sure but nothing blocking.
Like all real world power systems, we have drastically more production capacity than average demand. This would not change in a nuclear system as average grid demand is about 50% of max demand.
Sure it does. Just have to store it in something else:
Ground source geothermal has been deployed for decades without negative environmental effects.
The ground a few meters down (where ground source loops are placed) is a huge thermal mass, whose seasonal temp varies little, and space heating/cooling of buildings is not a significant enough force to overcome its inertia.
It is alao deep enough to have little effect on the air to ground temp ratio.
The biggest factor in that ratio is the variance it weather itself.
The ground source loops is highly localized near the building.
Putting up the building and the road to it was probably more damaging to indigenous vegetation than anything the heat pump would do.
Some places are already there with excess power from renewables every year. We just need the will to scale up.
Insulation is great for new construction but cost prohibitive for existing structures -- the new codes require 2x6 construction instead of 2x4 to leave more room for insulation, but you can hardly change that for a hundred million existing structures that aren't going anywhere.
Wind and wave aren't diversification because waves are caused by wind, so a still night is still for both.
Community heating from wind and solar doesn't provide any efficiency improvement without a cold sink that many areas won't have -- or something that generates waste heat, like nuclear. (Using waste heat from a steam turbine as the cold sink for a heat pump for community heating would be extremely efficient.)
Energy storage and time-based pricing is great for handling the high demand low sunlight period in the early evening. You still need something for baseload.
There's also option of tidal energy plants, which pull power straight from the Earth-Moon-Sun system, but AFAIU this only works if you have a large enough body of water available.
I agree with your overall point. We need something for baseload Playing nuclear against renewables is ridiculous. We need both.
Heating from ground and water source heat provides a thoroughly well documented 4 to 6 fold increase in efficiency and still works even when the sea or ground is only at a small differential and the absolute temperature is single digits above freezing. You don't need a handy nuclear plant or gobs of geo-thermal like Iceland.
You power the pump and heat exchangers from spare renewable capacity, the heat comes from the ground, sea or river. It works well enough in the Nordic countries and N Scotland (Orkney) to be fairly popular. Of course they benefit from going a bit deeper with ground source which further encourages community over individual installations, but sea works surprisingly well even at those latitudes.
Fully becalmed is pretty rare for much of the planet even when onshore is still. There is often wind a little offshore and the waves can result from winds pretty far offshore. Not forgetting tidal and pressure contributions. Sure, some areas will be less suited to wave or tidal than others, just as the UK is far better served by wind than solar. Though solar is still effective enough to be worth installing. Install the right mix for local geography and climate, balance with the national or regional grid. You're right that pumped hydro is particularly constrained by suitable geography, but there's plenty of spots it could be added to the grid still, just not in Florida, Kansas or The Netherlands. :)
Insulation isn't so hard either if you promote insulation for existing structures or apply judicious subsidy. New build should, of course, be better and we're a long way from achieving the insulation standards of Nordic countries. UK for instance had a decade of promoting and requiring the energy companies to provide subsidised installation of roof and wall insulation. It was remarkably popular, and pretty damn effective. Not all buildings were suitable of course, but start with the easier ones to get an 80% fix, then worry about the difficult sites and edge cases for the next steps.
When you ignore all problems of scale and cost then you don't actually solve the problem.
Facts are that it has been proven that you can (and quite cheaply) produce energy for a modern industrial nation with nuclear power.
And we know that no country, however much investment in all these 'hip' technologies you are talking about, has managed to even come close to powering the whole country with these technologies. And in those that have pushed on these its the opposite of cheap.
Centralized production has won out because the waste majority of the time it is a far better idea.
And as somebody has lived in a low energy house in northern Europe its neither cheap nor easy to have all these systems and any 'solution' that assumes we can do that for all houses is doomed to fail.
Hinkley C is going ahead, and currently estimated to cost almost double wind and solar per MWh at current prices Building isn't expected to start until next year and generation some time in the mid 2020s. Wind and solar costs are still falling steadily. Not what I would call "quite cheaply". The French govt (majority owner of EDF) looks to be getting the best of that particular deal.
But I don't claim we can instantly switch to fully decentralised renewables. Nuclear is a sensible part of a withdrawal from fossil, if nothing else to buy us an extra few decades and baseload, as I've commented elsewhere. Whilst it performs poorly on cost it does well on CO2 so has a place. By the same token we couldn't go entirely nuclear without dramatically over-specifying grid capacity as nuclear doesn't respond well to transient peak demand. We'd still need a good chunk of diesel, battery or pumped hydro for shorter term reserves, and more intense demand management.
Centralised production works when it's a multi GW coal plant next to the colliery, or gas near the pipeline etc. As we adopt an increasing amount of renewables the grid becomes necessarily more localised as weather and climate will differ between regions and the grid is served by thousands of generation sources instead of a few dozen. Simple economics are driving that transition not whether they are 'hip' or not.
As for claiming a low energy house isn't cheap, well that makes no sense considering the size of bill reductions.
You need scale in nuclear just as with anything else. Whenever people build lots of nuclear plants the cost go down and the build becomes much faster.
You can easily go to South Korea or China and have them build you a massive capacity of nuclear in the next 10 years.
> By the same token we couldn't go entirely nuclear without dramatically over-specifying grid capacity as nuclear doesn't respond well to transient peak demand.
That is a actually not really correct if you build modern plants. Even modern Gen3+ do a OK job, and if you have lots of them, together the can actually do a pretty good job. Furthermore there is a fair amount of innovation in fuels that improve load following capacity.
If you go to GenIV they are great at following load. Not to mention that in a GenIV you already have a hot salt loop that you can use as a heat battery (uses basically the same heat storage as a solar plants do) for peaking if that what the grid needs.
Look at the design of Moltex Energy for example. The see that because of renewable the value of JIT based power delivery is gone go way up they build a GenIV nuclear plant that will be 1GW but the have a huge salt loop and 3GW of turbines in order to peak if there is no sun or wind.
That is of course an extreme case that is rather unneeded if you have an all nuclear grid.
> Centralised production works when it's a multi GW coal plant next to the colliery, or gas near the pipeline etc. As we adopt an increasing amount of renewables the grid becomes necessarily more localised as weather and climate will differ between regions and the grid is served by thousands of generation sources instead of a few dozen. Simple economics are driving that transition not whether they are 'hip' or not.
But that is the whole point. Why should you have more renewables at all? Its a total anti goal, low carbon is the goal not renewable.
If we had picked nuclear then this would be a non issue, its only an issue because of renewables in the first place.
And if you have some ideological 'anti centralisation' thing then GenIV nuclear offers lots of options. In fact one of the main research areas is nuclear for communities cut of from the grid, like military or research outpost. You can get reactors that you can put on a truck and they run for 10-20 years, after that you simply pick it up and drop another one.
However the reality is that most humans live in cities and centralization into large plants makes sense if you have the market.
> As for claiming a low energy house isn't cheap, well that makes no sense considering the size of bill reductions.
Yeah but that requires that the majority of houses in the world have to be rebuilt. And its not really worth it most of the time, at best it is worth it after like 30 years.
Also, what does that have anything to do with using them in first world countries?
The road to zero carbon emissions passes through reducing carbon emissions by converting existing demand for electricity to renewables.
So saying 'well, lets solve the easy part of the problem with renewables but lets ignore are the hard problems' is not a acceptable.
If you want to actually propose a solution you need solve all these problems in the next 30 years.
If as you say electricity expansion is 'inconceivable' then we have already lost anyway. Because we will need more electricity for electric cars at least.
It only seems inconceivable because we consider it difficult to expand electricity generation without building coal or gas plants. Looking at historical examples you can see that you can have very rapid expansion with nuclear is not 'inconceivable at all'.
France is case and point, it already uses electric heating in many places. And they did this with 60s technologies in the 70 and 80. But somehow it is now impossible. How does that make any sense at all?
What percentage of people have their car at their house during the time the sun is providing most of its power?
On a weekday, most people drive them to work for the day.
Using vehicle battery is a naive way to think about it. Your car battery cycle is not appropriate (and will surely not be) to house consumption: as a result you will just crash your battery life expectancy.
The only advancement for large scale is fly wheel storage. But the record is only 40 MWh for a duration of 4 hours. Waw. Not even close.
The point of the nuclear is namely to think that 4th generation nuclear power plant are a way to reduce nuclear fossils cost to zero. Zero because many countries recycled their nuclear waste (if France is using 4th generation, they will not need to buy uranium before 10000 years). And Russia succeeded to make work a 650 MW 4th generation power plant.
Governments have paid large subsidies (140 billions in 15 years in France) for renewable energy. But in most cases, it resulted in a few percent of energy consumption - and it will not be much more in next years. If we want to solve global warming today, thats just not a working solution.
The only solution is to enhance nuclear powering.
Flow batteries have already reached 60 MWh storage, and their capacity scales linearly with the volume of electrolytes, so it's effectively unlimited, unlike flywheels, which can only get so massive before their mechanical systems would fail.
They also have extremely fast response times, and unlike Lithium Ion batteries, are capable of charging to 100% and total depletion to 0% without damage to the battery.
Therefore they are already being deployed in grid-scale renewable energy applications to smooth out supply and demand.
The only thing they don't do well at is energy density, but for grid storage applications, that's not an issue.
Basically pump water underneath a large mass of earth to lift it up. Then let the water pump back out to retrieve the energy. Main issue is the seals that would need replaced.
For mechanical storage, pumping water could be more viable than fly wheels.
Nuclear is now trying to solve the problem 20 years away. If we had a mass producible MSR we have practically unlimited fuel and we can mas produce the power plant.
Lets remember that nuclear is still the largest source of carbon free energy and by many calculations, the amount invested solar/wind/batteries in renewables could already have solved the carbon issue (Germany being the example).
Furthermore we actually have prove that the nuclear solution works. France went to almost 0 carbon energy 30-40 years ago. While Germany and its fight for renewables is the biggest polluter in Europe and after absurd amounts of investments in renewables they have only just replaced nuclear, added lots of infrastructure investment and by their own plans it will take many, many more years of massive state investment to even have chance to run Germany on renewables.
If Germany had done a France/South Korea style program they could be carbon free now already (or at the least well on its way) and in 20 years. And that is with 1970 tech, not even considering GenIV.
What are the directions that can improve construction costs for nuclear? The reason that they went to massive huge scales in the first place was cost, because giant steam turbines work better on bigger scales.
Lets assume that the thermal energy could be taken completely free, without any cost to get it. This is the best case possible situation of improvements in advancing nuclear technology.
In that scenario, thermal energy still needs to be converted to electricity. And then we're in the situation of geothermal, or solar thermal, and we're in a situation where we are at one of the most optimized engineering areas that's ever been explored, and where our skills have plateaued. I'm not even sure if massively improved costs on materials will improve that area much.
Natural gas is winning among thermally-related tech because of combined cycle technology, where you get energy through two different ways. I don't see how thermal plants alone can compete with the cost trajectory of solar and wind.
I mean, I could be wrong, I'm not "100% sure" as you strawman me. But the chances that nuclear can 1) make the thermal generation part super cheap, and 2) make the thermal to electric conversion cheaper, or 3) come out of left field with some sort of direct energy conversion or whatever, are just such loooooong bets that when someone makes them I'm guessing they're just being a contrarian, or just haven't paid attention to the field in a long long time. I'd not sure which camp to put Myhrvold in, since he invested a while back it could be either or neither or just one.
Even with Gen3 if you effectively construct and build it can be quite a bit cheaper. As places like South Korea show at the moment.
However when you go to advanced nuclear, you gain massive benefits because the scale is just so much smaller. That means the core itself, but even more importantly, the technology around the core, such as turbines, can be moved outside of the nuclear island. Meaning far less civil engineering and that the turbine island can be identical to those build for gas or CSP.
We know that the construction and financing of that construction is the main point of cost today.
The second gain in cost also comes from scale, but of the reactor core itself. A nuclear reactor is not far more complex or bigger as many other things we mass produce already, planes, cars, rocket engines and so on. Mass production can bring down the cost of individual reactor cores as it did for everything else.
> 2) make the thermal to electric conversion cheaper
Using the same technology as a Gas power station, Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine. You can do that with advanced nuclear because of high operating temperatures.
Beating gas in the US where it is absurdly cheap will probably not be possible if CO2 is not prized. But it can beat coal and everything else in most places of the world.
If you want to really want to go to zero carbon by 2050, we need to mass produce nuclear reactors like we do planes. You don't need massive changes to the grid. No need for massive expansion in cross regional grids. You don't need highly complex extra regional power management schemes. You don't need an incredibly complex system interaction between highly intermittent energy sources and peckers working together.
These reactors can be built close to where the users actually and more importantly you can build them where currently coal and gas power plants are located. Meaning you can reuse existing infrastructure far more effectively then trying to replace these coal plants with wind and solar resources.
Not to mention that nuclear is far more long lived, all these solar and wind farms have to be completely replaced twice or three times over while nuclear plants can live for 60-100 years.
Matter of definition. Based on facts it is huge in my opinion.
>>> The second claim seems to ignore the possibility of batteries and other large scale energy storage, never mind that solar would be complemented by other renewable energy sources.
No, it just matches reality. As of today we can not store huge amount of energy this is why you need to charge your phone every day. If battery capacity and energy density was developing the same speed as CPU power we would charge our phones once a year. The best option we have today is called pumped storage hydroelectricity, which is a really invasive way of storing energy and reduces the efficiency greatly. Unless we found a radically different, better way of storing energy solar power can be used only in smaller scale (like Tesla Solar Roof style) and nuclear power is still one of the cleanest and best option for mass production of eneregy.
Disclaimer I have graduated in energy engineering
But solar, batteries, wind, thermal, hydro, gas etc all connected via continent wide digital grids definitely can. And it's the option that nicely avoids the NIMBY problem you get with nuclear.
Also many of those sources have seasonal variations that the grid doesn't solve. The sun goes down at 4:30pm in many parts of the USA in winter, at the time when heating energy peaks. It's easy to underestimate how much energy is needed to heat the midwest in winter.
China has a related problem but people are dying from the coal emissions. Their solution? Scaled-up TRIGA reactors (typically used for research) that provide district heating, not electricity. Brilliant! 
There is no reason we cannot rapidly expand on this with additional solar and wind, as well as batteries as the cost drops.
But how!? The answer is nuclear power plants.
Don't forget also that electricity is roughly 40% of energy usage for most people, the rest being heating and transportation. Those are very fossil dominated so even though you see green here, there's a huge huge way to go.
Legacy nuclear bridging the gap is an acceptable solution. As I've mentioned elsewhere in this thread, nuclear simply takes too long to build and is too costly (when compared to renewables as low as 2 cents/kwh and deployment times measured in months, not years or up to a decade). China is installing 40-50GW of solar per year; the world in aggregate installs about 100GW annually. The largest nuclear power plant in the US (Palo Verde in Arizona) has a nameplate capacity just shy of 4GW; assuming you need 16GW of solar to replace such a generator due to 25% capacity factor, that is an install time of just around a year).
> Don't forget also that electricity is roughly 40% of energy usage for most people, the rest being heating and transportation. Those are very fossil dominated so even though you see green here, there's a huge huge way to go.
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory did a study about a decade ago  that ~73% of light vehicles could move over to the electrical grid with existing generation capacity. EVs are a perfect match for intermittent renewables generation, as they can charge when the sun is shining during the day, or charge at night when the wind is blowing. I concede heating has a long way to go with air source heat pumps, insulation, and other energy saving measures.
"This initial paper estimates the regional percentages of the energy requirements for the U.S. LDV stock
that could be supported by the existing infrastructure, based on the 12 modified North American Electric
Reliability Council (NERC) regions, as of 2002, and taking into account congestion in regional
transmission and distribution systems. For the United States as a whole, 84% of U.S. cars, pickup trucks
and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) could be supported by the existing infrastructure, although the local
percentages vary by region. Using the light duty vehicle fleet (LDV) classification, that includes cars,
pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans, the technical potential is 73%. This has a gasoline displacement
potential of 6.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, or 52% of the nation’s oil imports.
Existing nuclear plants should be kept operational as long as feasible (from a safety perspective), but the writing is on the wall.
Duke Energy collected almost $368 million from ratepayers in South Carolina  to pay for a nuclear power plant, and then gave up on it, with no recourse for ratepayers. It spent another $1 billion on the failed construction of a nuclear plant in Florida (north of Tampa). If I'm a ratepayer, I'm going to burn you at the stake (metaphorically) if you try to force me to pay for another boondoggle.
If you want to save the planet, buy every solar panel you can get your hands on and install it as soon as you can, especially if you live near a coal plant; it'll drive the plant into insolvency, no nuclear power required.
But there is a solution: SMRs
More coming soon
Examples of renewable in Spain and Germany have shown that you still need an alternative source of energy - you just reduce its usage.
Nuclear, on the other hand, provide the opportunity to eliminate coal/gas.
Which prompts users to install battery storage (which, in the US, is eligible for a 30% federal tax credit, not to mention state and local incentives in some cases).
If the coal plant can bill you double, so can the nuclear power plant. You can't charge me for the sun on my roof, nor the energy I store in my Powerwall.
So nuclear has to face excess production from wind/solar exported by e.g. Germany at times, and can't make up for it when wind/sun is offline, because the germans then adapt with gas. That is kind of a bad situation if you optimize for co2.
Also power walls are not a scalable solution. The raw ressource just isn't there for it to happen.
I'm a fan of LFTR reactors and similar new designs, but the writing is on the wall for nuclear power. Alternative energy shot by it. I still think we should invest in Thorium reactors at the state level, but solar/wind energy has won.
Examples like Iceland and Norway are nice, but most countries can not use them. On the other hand, e.g. France and Sweden have driven their co2 emissions down without such natural advantages.
It would seem a little more objective to have an independent scientist write pieces like this.
Any scientist who knows enough to write an informed piece is going to have an opinion, whether they are hiding it or not.
I think that figure is on the right order, then break that 40,000 sq. mi. into 100 pieces ... and each is 20 miles on a side. Compare that to the amount of sunlit desert in the world. Simple, obvious, self-explanatory.
Of course, the fuel cost of solar is zero. The energy can be created anywhere there's sunlight. Consumed locally. And there's no waste. A threatening vision for the power brokers. They may say anything to have their way.
Agreed - That is why Small Modular reactors are exciting:
Back during the Great Leap Forward, Mao got really into this idea of the people generating energy & doing metallurgy & manufacturing locally. Hipsters would approve. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a leap backwards.
edit: my math was wrong; solar is actually worse than I said. Solar costs over 100 times more workers per watt than fossil fuels.
Anyway, as someone who lived on a nuclear vessel and responded to Fukushima and has degrees in physics and medicine, I'm honestly fine with nuclear power, but renewables, by having lower energy density, are just way more managable. The workforce problems being a major part of it. I have solar on my house. I'm not putting a reactor on my house, ever. I always go back to this: I'll grant that more people will die falling from roofs while installing solar, than will ever die in all nuclear events, including Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Nagisaki. Still, solar and wind are the better options. Energy density matters. Not to high. Not to low. Juuust right.
Just because the Germans can't do it properly, doesn't mean it's impossible.
And a BBC World Service podcast about Onkalo for your perusal: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cswvxg
Also this disposal site is still in construction and a research group in 2012 already has cast doubt on the corrosion proofness. Nothing has been proven yet. This is not an easy problem.
There's more than enough space and geologically stable locations to put this stuff. Politically speaking and in terms of getting nuclear back in the game, I wouldn't worry too much about waste with the modern solutions within storage.
The french actually are allowed to do it, and have the facilities, and don't have nearly as many issues.
Why people always talk about that like it's the worst thing that ever happened? There's also dangerous chemical storage facilities and these products most of the time don't even degrade over time (so even longer than thousands of years), they are also stored in worse condition than nuclear waste. Despite all of that, I don't see any environmental group talking about it.
> these products most of the time don't even degrade over time (so even longer than thousands of years)
Just see fate of the German storage site Asse II:
That's a very costly problem: it will cost billions to fix it.
The reactor Krümmel actually had incidents in the past where the emergency generators failed, and where the connection to the grud failed. Just by sheer luck never at the same time.
In contrast to the above-mentioned studies, which focus on the Elbmarsch geographical area, the EUROCLUS study attempted to find matches between the 240 leukemia clusters identified in the study.
The evaluation of the study showed that environmental factors such as proximity to nuclear power plants, military airfields or other facilities often causing pollutants do not correlate with the occurrence of leukemia cases, but that demographic factors are the most significant characteristics in which they were studied Clusters match.
And not to downplay at all - but 14 cases being the total possible over a ~30 year time-frame seems like a mute issue compared to any other life threatening issues.
We might give up on tall buildings too as they got demolished in earthquakes...
As you can see renewable energy has been massively expanded. 2018 was another record year. Solar had this year an increase of 20% in the first half year.
Also despite green protests.
There will probably be another (hopefully temporary) increase in coal consumption following the shuttering of the remaining German reactors in 2022.
It's fair to say that Germany has surrendered several years of progress on CO2 cuts with its move away from nuclear power. It's not accurate to say that Germany is burning more coal now than before Fukushima, or is currently increasing its rate of coal burning.
Either way, a result has been that the electricity prices are currently quite high here. Many people are reacting by deploying solar on their roofs. However, the pressure on electricity producers to deliver clean power is yielding results. It is likely that
> Germany just doesn’t have the strong history in this area compared to Russia, France, US, Japan
Germany had provided lots of expertise to Russia over the years. Especially in dealing with old and dismantled reactors. Russia did just dump them...
> It’s just they have trouble paying bills.
Russia had lots of money and they invested it into modernizing their nuclear weapons and their nuclear-powered submarines. Safety of existing or closed nuclear installations was of no concern.
OTOH Russia's Rosatom was interested to build nuclear powerplants together with Siemens in the early 2000s...
Siemens earlier built reactors together with Rosatom... in 2011 Siemens was quitting this business.
I'm also unclear on how I'm talking behind anyone's back on an open forum in a language readable by a majority of Germans.
And you know, screw Fukushima (which made even China, those crazy hippies, pause for a bit, but hey)... I remember Chernoybyl, and yeah nothing bad happened (to us), but it was real scary in those weeks, when it rained. I remember these stickers... "Unsere Kinder sollen lachen, nicht strahlen" ("our kids should laugh [have a beaming smile etc.], not emit radiation"). The nerve to throw all that, and all these people into one big bucket... I'm at a loss of words that are allowed on HN, to be quite frank.
Oh, and when vaguely important things like human extinction come up on HN, most of the comments are along the lines of how it's all really depressing or best to not have kids, or "AI" this or that. But these ignorant people who don't have the full picture and don't get everything exactly right when they protest between barely getting by on two jobs, they're surely the problem. Jesus Christ.
I know I'm ranting, and please don't take it too personally, but I totally stand by what I'm ranting about. I just don't have good place where to put it, it's off-topic in all of the hundreds of discussions it would apply to, and of course it's nothing to do with HN per se.
> When once you were in the grip of the Party, what you felt or did not feel, what you did or refrained from doing, made literally no difference. Whatever happened you vanished, and neither you nor your actions were ever heard of again. You were lifted clean out of the stream of history. And yet to the people of only two generations ago this would not have seemed all-important, because they were not attempting to alter history. They were governed by private loyalties which they did not question. What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself. The proles, it suddenly occurred to him, had remained in this condition. They were not loyal to a party or a country or an idea, they were loyal to one another. For the first time in his life he did not despise the proles or think of them merely as an inert force which would one day spring to life and regenerate the world. The proles had stayed human. They had not become hardened inside. They had held on to the primitive emotions which he himself had to re-learn by conscious effort. And in thinking this he remembered, without apparent relevance, how a few weeks ago he had seen a severed hand lying on the pavement and had kicked it into the gutter as though it had been a cabbage-stalk.
-- George-Orwell, "Nineteen-Eightyfour"
How many miles is everybody here flying per year on average? I mean, that's just for starters. What about those insanely cheap short holiday flights? How will nuclear energy help there? At some point, you will have to step on toes, maybe make sacrifices, nuclear energy or not. Even if you had perfectly clean, infinite energy, we would have to make uncomfortable changes either, and rethink some things, certainly consumerism as a way to compensate for being unfree. But that's hard stuff, that might require principles, courage, drawing lines and then holding your ground -- painting "green protesters" with a broad brush, that's easy.
Solving problems is fun, being told to stop causing them, that's gross.
> I simply disagree with their assessment of tradeoffs.
And you attributed it to "stupidity", without even having the courtesy to fully type it out.
The assessment of tradeoffs by whom, exactly? Who spoke, to whom is it a response? To nobody in particular, just a very vague cherry-picked aggregate, just like the initial comment by the other poster.