It doesn't matter if you're right. If you're right; arguments can be made to show that your opponents are wrong (and he was in fact allowed a rebuttal letter in PNAS). Filing a lawsuit breaks any semblance of civility of discourse and dispassionate pursuit of truth; and results in everyone worse off, as the discussion has become thoroughly toxic.
It's burning down the entire house because someone disagreed with your analysis.
Edit: maybe the downvotes suggest my guess was right.
Here's some examples
> Nuclear energy is often seen as a fundamental or bridging technology for future low-carbon systems (International Energy Agency, 2015a; Echavarri, 2013). While it is true that electricity production from nuclear energy is characterized by very low CO2 emissions during the operation phase of the plant, its full life-cycle CO2 emissions, including all up- and downstream processes, are typically much more CO2 intensive.
While this is true, the paper does not make an equivalent comparison to their scenarios. They do not include the upstream and downsteam emissions from PV and wind. Which should include their energy storage requirements. When addressing storage requirements they hand wave, pointing to two papers that also hand wave the requirement. They all but flat out deny the duck curve. But regardless, they don't include these parts into their own scenarios.
Later when they present their 6 scenarios, they assume no change in nuclear. If you do want to make a good comparison moving forward, you should have a scenario 7 that would shut down the current reactors and replace them with new genIII or genIV reactors. You might say I'm being facetious, but the issue is that this is what the nuclear camp wants. The nuclear camp does not want scenario 1 (business as usual), and agree that it is a bad idea. So to make a claim about which direction we want to move forward to be the cheapest and most environmentally friendly you need to address the other positions. While I wouldn't be surprised if this was still a more expensive option, by not addressing it the authors are creating a strawman argument. In reality they do even worse than this, they create scenario 6 which is scenario 1 but with decreased efficiency (which they don't cite evidence for the number they use).
tldr: I'm not sold on the paper. There's merit to it, but the study was not rigorous enough and did not consider the arguments of the opposing scenarios that it is specifically countering.
>Emissions are considered per kWh of produced electricity (kWhel), including emissions that occur over the complete life-cycle of a technology (cradle to grave). We use the following values (based on Sovacool (2008), Lenzen (2008) and updated values from Jacobson (2009); nuclear: 66 g-CO2/kWhel, onshore wind: 10 gCO2/kWhel, PV (no difference between utility-scale and rooftop): 30 g-CO2/kWhel.
That paper Jacobson (2009), the subject of the dispute mentioned above, factors in emissions from the burning of cities from nuclear war (at the high end, one city every 30 years), as well the "opportunity cost from planning-to-operation delays." The latter assumes 10-19 years to set up a nuclear plant, during which time emissions from a hypothetical incumbent coal plant are attributed to it. Somehow, PVs and wind have no opportunity costs from delays (though section 4b says they should take 2-5 years). Apparently PV production scaling will never bottleneck as they're deployed grid-wide.
This seems like a pretty big error. Enough for me to be unsure of the paper linked here.
"And it’s the 21st century — its embarrassing that we are talking about wind energy!"
"Simply put, we need nuclear power. We need to spend more time and energy trying to innovate on nuclear energy. That’s what is needed to support the power needs of 10 billion people who will have the energy demands of a modern western nation today. Solar and wind will just not cut it."
"Be civil. Don't say things you wouldn't say face-to-face. Don't be snarky. Comments should get more civil and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive."
"When disagreeing, please reply to the argument instead of calling names. "
"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."
"Please don't post shallow dismissals, especially of other people's work. A good critical comment teaches us something."
Personally, I think a history of suing one's critics does open one's subsequent work up to significantly increased skepticism from the community, because it's a strong signal that something's off. There's some norm-breaking going on. I wish I could read this article but it seems like it's behind a paywall.
Is operating the plants until 2050 really something people consider? From a brief google search those nuclear power plants were all built in the 70s-80s. Power plants are usually designed for 30-40 years of operation. Operating them for 70-80 years seems ill advised from an economic and safety standpoint.
There are plenty of folks who consider coal or natural gas to be "more renewable" or "more green" than a nuclear plant.
Knowing that most code deployments for server side software cannot claim the benefits of total rewrite from scratch, many of us would love to get a chance at trying exactly that.
What would this assessment look like for a nuke-to-nuke replacement, instead of nuke-to-wind/solar?
In other words, if they abruptly terminated use of all the aging nuclear plants today, and immediately started building totally new, highly modern nuclear power facilities, how would that stack up against this research favoring renewables?
If you used modern cutting-edge designs things might look differently, but anything that is actually being built are updated versions of designs from the 70s. Nobody wants to spend lots of money on research and take the risks with building more radical new designs.
They used to be required to pay into a fund for long-term waste storage, and that fund has about $40 billion now. But after the Yucca Mountain project was shut down, the nuclear operators had to store the waste in concrete enclosures on their own properties, so they went to court saying they shouldn't also have to pay the government to do nothing. In 2013 the courts agreed.
There are actually a lot of companies that want to spend money on R&D and build radical new nuclear designs, including Terrapower, Moltex, Terrestrial Energy, Flibe, Thorcon, Elysium, and many others. In the U.S. the NRC makes this extremely difficult.
A couple years ago I got to sit in a meeting between representatives from about a dozen of these companies and a former head of the NRC. The reactor people said their biggest problem was that the NRC requires a near-complete design before they'll even look at it, and then they give a straight yes or no. If yes you still just have a paper reactor, and if no then you're done. The design process costs several hundred million dollars and you have no idea whether the NRC will let you do anything with it. It's a very difficult environment for investors.
The reactor people said just a more phased process would help a lot. The NRC person dismissed their concerns, said it wasn't the NRC's job to help develop new technology or promote nuclear power, and wasn't interested in climate change.
But from people that I've talked to in the UK, they seem to be more afraid of nuclear than Americans. This seems to be a common trend in Europe. Many people citing radioactive mushrooms from Chernobyl.
Another bright spot is Canada, whose regulators are much friendlier to reactor R&D. Terrestrial Energy has gotten through the hardest part of their licensing process, and expects to have a demo MSR operating by 2025 or so. Seeing their success, Moltex has moved into Canada as well, after making little progress with UK regulators.
Probably not well.
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612564/chinas-losing-its-... (China’s losing its taste for nuclear power. That’s bad news.)
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/17/hitachi-set... (Hitachi scraps £16bn nuclear power station in Wales)
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/climate/nuclear-power-pro... (U.S. Nuclear Comeback Stalls as Two Reactors Are Abandoned)
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/hinkley-point-managemen... (Hinkley Point management is the perfect illustration of how not to conduct a modern energy policy)
https://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/trigaux-abando... (Trigaux: Abandoning another nuclear project, Duke Energy mimics its failed Levy plant)
https://www.wfae.org/post/duke-cancels-florida-nuclear-proje... (Duke Cancels Florida Nuclear Project, Plans Solar Expansion)
Shutting existing nuclear without ramping renewables would be catastrophic. Best case scenario is extending their operating licenses 10-15 years in the future until generation capacity has been replaced. It only takes about a year to replace the generating capacity (including capacity factor) of a nuclear generator (which takes ~10 years to build) with renewables.
In the US, there are 65 pressurized water reactors (PWRs) with a combined capacity of about 65 GWe and 33 boiling water reactors (BWRs) with a combined capacity of about 34 GWe – for a total capacity of 99,221 MWe. ~50% more than this amount of generating capacity is coming online as utility scale solar over the next five years in the US. Five years! Replace the entire nuclear fleet with replacement nuclear in five years? Never.
https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/01/01/solar-tsunami/ (Developers have applied to build 139 GWac of large-scale solar projects in the territory of six grid operators – around five times what is currently online across the country – and that figure doesn’t even cover the entire United States. By any metric, we are looking at an unprecedented boom in solar development over the next five years.)
To really get a good idea why this is the case, check out the maps on the right side of https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/#tabs_unit-4, and compare the maps between generating units coming online in the next 12 months to the map of generating unit retirements in the next 12 months. All new generation is solar, wind, and natural gas. All retired generation is primarily coal or nuclear.
To be blunt, no further commercial nuclear generation will be built. Maybe we subsidize renewables more? That'd be swank.
The links all just point to trends. The inventory just says the way things are. And then a map of actual plans? Who asked about actual plans?
That wasn’t the question at hand. The fundamental question at hand was the difference between old versus new nuclear technology, whether or not whatever the actual plans are.
But yeah, just drop links and say no. Really great. Top notch discussion.
From the Union of Concerned Scientists:
> The first generation of nuclear power plants proved so costly to build that half of them were abandoned during construction. Those that were completed saw huge cost overruns, which were passed on to utility customers in the form of rate increases. By 1985, Forbes had labeled U.S. nuclear power "the largest managerial disaster in business history.”
> The industry has failed to prove that things will be different this time around: soaring, uncertain costs continue to plague nuclear power in the 21st century. Between 2002 and 2008, for example, cost estimates for new nuclear plant construction rose from between $2 billion and $4 billion per unit to $9 billion per unit, according to a 2009 UCS report, while experience with new construction in Europe has seen costs continue to soar.
Feel free to read the entire blog post to understand exactly why nuclear is so expensive it can't be built. There is also a link to a report the UCS published in 2009 and a financial analysis published in 2011 that goes into great detail.
It's no use saying it would be great in theory if it turns out not to work or be cost effective in practice. This problem dogs a lot of technologies but nuclear has a particularly bad case of making promises that it doesn't meet in practice.
And what Floridians are going yo do at night? Fornicate?
So emissions will actually rise, until Magic Future Tech (TM) arrives to save our bacon? Great plan. Just great.
Well, if not the climate, at least the fossil industry will be happy about this paper.
That's exactly how we arrived with solar and wind so cheap between the 70s and now. Batteries will get cheaper, as demand for them for EVs brings more manufacturing capacity online.
> “At the end of July, Gigafactory 1 battery production reached an annualized run rate of roughly 20 GWh, making it the highest-volume battery plant in the world by a significant margin. Consequently, Tesla currently produces more batteries in terms of kWh than all other carmakers combined.”
> Panasonic recently commented that ‘production at Tesla is gaining momentum’ and they plan to add 3 battery cell production lines. It should result in an annual production rate of 35 GWh.
> At 35 GWh, they would be producing at the originally announced production rate, but Tesla has since increased the planned total capacity to 105 GWh of battery cells and 150 GWh of total battery pack output.
It’s much simpler to say that NY will just have it’s future indefinitely wedded to fossil fuels.
Power generation is no longer based on demand. Weather sets the energy price, which dictate when it is economical to use fossil fuels. Wind is already at the point where the price per wat is fantastic, the environmental effect minimal, but if you include the need to infuse dirty energy when weather is not optimal the average wat start to look very different.
If we have to pick between wind + coal, or only nuclear, the carbon emission will favor nuclear. An other version is wind + fewer nuclear plants and lower energy usage during low wind conditions, but there is only so much that the energy usage drop when prices goes up. There is also a bunch of wind + "battery" research, but I have not heard of any national power grid fully investing in that.
I would say though, in the short term, we could stand to increase renewables massively with out needing to solve the storage problem, virtually every watt of installed capacity we add is directly offsetting dirty producers.
Grid scale battery storage is just starting to be implemented, theres also hydro, and 'smart' grid solutions. Whether any of this turns out to be a silver bullet I don't know.
Nuclear could operate just like the dirty producers and only operate when the combined wind and solar is too low for the demand, which would further reduce the environmental impact, but the massive investment needed in nuclear makes the economics of it a bit complex and I have not read if the marginal costs of nuclear operations make this a viable tactic. It would however reduce the nuclear pollution down to the gaps where wind and solar is not enough.
That leaves future tech solutions. Smart grids sounds great, through I do not know how big part of it is a political issue or technical problem. Just getting the steel industry to focus operation on energy producing peaks seems to be a major challenge, and they already have the incentive that the energy get cheaper if they do so. Converting hydro to create burst of power rather than continuously is also something very interesting but has also both political and technical issues to solve. Then we have different from of battery ideas, all from pumping water to different heat capturing concepts, through I think that is even further away form being implemented on a large scale.
The article talks about the proposed subsidy, and this is where I think we need to think about the grid as a whole. If the goal is to fill the gap when wind and solar can't supply the demand then the discussion should not be renewable vs nuclear. It is very possible that the specific subsidy is a bad tactic and they would be better served by trying to narrow the gap with even more wind and solar, but then we need data to show that existing dirty producers are preferred over nuclear in order to fill the remaining gap. That to me is a hard sell, but I am open to be convinced :).
Not quite. Nuclear isn't that dispatchable.
In general I agree though, short term we should be using all tools at our disposal, long term depends on how energy storage etc works out.
A couple years ago MIT had a simulator online that let you try out different grid energy combinations to see their total cost, and this was the cheapest I came up with.
The one I mentioned let you pick different proportions of energy sources for the entire U.S. grid, and told you how much it would cost, the carbon impact, etc.
The last time I looked they were importing power from abroad when it's not, which usually meant pulling in excess power from French nuclear plants.
That said, there is a lot of import/export in Europe on the energy grid.
In NY there are plenty of places where one can build on-demand hydro-electric dams, which can tide over short term peaks.
Everything else is mostly predictable. In new york state, in summer, peak power should correlate with solar power production during the day, but at night, not so much. So you'll need something to supply all those aircon units.
take spain, it has 35% renewable, but it costs 230g per kwh, france, which is almost entirely nuclear is 86g per kwh.
Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
The cost of remediating all of this legacy generation is going to be eye watering, every nuclear and coal power plant a Superfund site.