The Turkish authorities began filling the reservoir last year but stopped after drought-plagued Iraq requested it keep the Tigris flowing. In this arid part of the world, locals fear the dam will spark “water wars” with Turkey’s neighbors who depend on the Tigris.
Hasankeyf tourist guide Mazlum Yildirimer said he feared the dam will become a source of “endless problems.”
“For the last 100 years, there have been problems with our neighbors because of a lack of water,” he said. “Changing the course of rivers changes the world.”
The falls still exist and could be restored if the dam was removed.
But an emerging principle in infrastructure design is that demand grows to saturate supply, and that's not usually sustainable.
This is true for traffic on the interstate (people avoiding rush hour traffic, until a lane is added) or for water availability (the existence of Las Vegas).
Engineers are uncomfortable with the concept, as it tends to veer into public policy. In the case of flood risk management, us policy is catching up with engineering, and FEMA has been offering block grants for relocation of flood prone communities for some time now.
Sometimes the right answer is to help people move to an area that can sustain them.
And I'm all for improving civic development and people's standard of living, fully knowing that it's at some expense to nature. That still meets my definition of practical sustainability.
The Hoover Dam does have a design life and an expiration date. From an engineering perspective, that's sustainable as long as we have a replacement or mitigation plan figured out and in place by that date.
As for right now, there are real present day environmental costs, up and down river, and throughout the desert. The low flowrate of the lower Colorado certainly is not sustainable, although it's also certainly not 100% due to the Hoover dam. And Lake Mead is filling up much quicker than expected. Some people see that the status quo can't last forever, and say that's not sustainable.
It's not much different than New Orleans relationship with levees, although I suspect few people have thought of it that way.
Either way, to think that Vegas could survive without the Hoover Dam is flat out wrong. I'm not saying tear it down and move. I think it was the right decision to build the dam when they did. But if it weren't built yet, would it be the right decision to build it today? I doubt it, at least designed as is.
My assumption was that after the dam is filled the flow rate can be regulated very close to pre dam levels of at least 95% flow rate factoring in any losses due to evaporation.
All the water being siphoned out to supply Vegas and irrigation comes from somewhere. And doesn't make it downstream. Plus all the water retained by Urban build out (ponds, vegetation, pools) that normally would flow straight into a river and head downstream.
Over burden pressure from the lake forces water into the ground. The temperature of the water in the lake rises, causing chemical changes and making evaporation downstream more likely. Sediment drops out of the water column, allowing light to penetrate deeper than it normally would.
All of that is before you even get into the flow rate variance. Because winter floods don't "flush out" the canyon, there are problems with sedimentation downstream, which causes water to slow and evaporate more...
And this is just hydrology/hydraulics, before you touch any of the biological / ecological aspects.
It gets complicated, quickly.
Even if you assume it's only 5% evaporation reduction and exclude what's pumped out, there are at least what? 15-20 major dams that feed the Colorado? Even if you assume 3% times 15 dams, that's almost half the flow of the river, before you even pump anything out.
On the other hand, it's extremely hot there, and not really an enjoyable place to live unless you like being inside most of the year. On top of that, all the asphalt and concrete causes a "heat island" effect, making the city even hotter than the surrounding desert, and unlike the open desert, it never cools off at night (all that concrete and asphalt constitutes thermal mass). And since people don't like living in 100F+ conditions continuously, a lot of energy is used running air conditioners to try to make the place habitable.
On the bright side for the archaeology, the water will protect some parts of the city, and in a century when the existing Turkish government is ashes and dust, some of that will remain to be discovered.
That doesn't help the present residents, but given the situation in their country (which we and other countries have contributed to) nothing will.
We're all to blame, because we share the world.
A neolithic henge, drowned by a dam, was recently exposed for a while due to low water levels. People could visit. I don't think there was serious talk of destroying the dam, even though I doubt it would be built to day.
Prevention beats cure.
People who object to nuclear power often claim that in the worst case scenario, the plant might blow up and render large area uninhabitable. And yet we routinely flood settlements and fields with water for "clean reusable energy" even before any energy is generated! And in the worst case scenario the dam will burst and flood even more cities! Not sure how seismically active this area is, but a nuclear plant near this town might've been more preferable in all possible ways, including the amount of energy produced.
Flip the favorable/deadly bias around, and hydro looks to be safer (1.0 vs. 1.2).
EDIT: Also, what's with that variance on nuclear? Another thing is that calculating the long term effects of nuclear fallout is quite difficult. How much evidence for and against could we have for rising cancer rates in Europe since 1986? (I don't actually know what the cancer rates are, but figuring out causation is probably very difficult, and may or may not have something to do with Chernobyl)
And cancer rates in general have been rising for 80+ years, so yes, causation is difficult.
A better statement would have been that "the soviet union reported 31 immediate deaths at the time".
That 30 number was highly disputed unto itself, and doesn't include fatal cancers directly caused by radiation exposure.
There's an entire wikipedia page about it if you're interested in learning more.
>>Maybe 60 for eventual cancer deaths for people that were actually on-site.
It's the 10,000+ numbers that I take real issue with. And am skeptical of even the 4,000 "agreed-upon" estimate. I don't doubt radiation was released. I don't doubt radiation exposure can increase risk of cancer.
But when you need statistical methods to calculate deaths, that's just not as meaningful as counting body bags on-site. I get that radiation plays a part in increased cancer risk.
Claiming that there were 1,010,000 cancer deaths, but there should have only been 1,000,000, and not being able to tell which 10,000 were "caused by Chernobyl" is problematic for me. It diminishes the pain of the other 1,000,000. Is this logical? Idk
Some studies in Fukushima claim over 1,000 more people have died by continued forced evacuation, than if they been had been allowed to return to the exclusion zone after a few weeks.
It just gets hard to take these numbers seriously when you only have statistical speculation to rely on. Moreso to treat them with the same equivalence as deaths on-site.
Agreed, but it's necessary if the government lies to you -- which of course was a frequent problem with the soviets.
More recently, the Puerto Rico death toll for Hurricane Maria was just 64, and remained that way for a year. The only way it was eventually changed was proving (through statistical analysis) that the death toll was in fact higher.
And that's my point. There are really two sets of numbers that are being called the same thing when they clearly are not.
You can say "See, Chernobyl wasn't so bad. Nuclear power accidents aren't as bad as they say."
Meanwhile the mismanagement of Chernobyl is still regarded as one of the greatest atrocities that came from the Soviets.
In the immediate aftermath, Trump repeatedly complained about how expensive it was to help the island, and said the hurricane wasn’t a “real catastrophe.”
“If you look at the — every death is a horror, but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds of people that died and what happened here with a storm that was just totally overbearing. No one has ever seen anything like that. What is your death count?” he said during his visit after the hurricane.
And I still think 64 is closer to the real death toll for Maria. It's certainly no where near 3000. People who have been through a hurricane know what it's like. You don't need to inflate your numbers to get sympathy. A body count based on "expected mortality rates" is by-definition, not a body count.
"Which meant that in the first few weeks and deaths after the storm, doctors failed to record many deaths that were indirectly related to the storm..."
They even admit that they're "indirect" deaths. Maria didn't kill those people. If people that died weeks later are being counted, that's absolutely wrong.
You can be against Trump's policies, but no one can claim with a straight face that Puerto Rico wasn't at fault for the state of their infrastructure. Or empty bank accounts.
The reporters needed a shock-value to try and get people in the US to care. It didn't work.
(Also, vox isn't exactly a neutral source, even by mainstream standards.)
Humanity could survive to even thousands of accident each killing thousands of people, but a thousand Chernobyl would be quite problematic.
The question is how much we want to trust the risk.
In part I am also worried about nuclear power plants in case of war.
I understand that there are many advantages on many sides, but in my opinion it is not worth it considering what could happen if thing go very wrong.
Is this factoring in all future deaths from existing nuclear incidents?
If nuclear causes 1 death a year for 500 years and hydro causes 100 immediate deaths, which one is more lethal? Also consider the morality of pushing the costs of a failure generations down the road.
I don't mind hydro. I don't particularly like the habitat destruction but they provide tons of clean power and tons of fresh water. But those dams have to be maintained for those 500 years. A collapse of a dam is pretty catastrophic.
There are two cases to consider. Accident and normal waste. Accidents aren't nearly as contained. Normal waste is contained for now, but what about long term? We are looking at time length longer than any government has been stable.
>Two, some waste products decay alpha particles which are basically harmless unless consumed.
Also, what vectors could these particles enter into food when you consider their lifespan?
>Three, some waste products have short half-lives which increases their risk in the short term but substantially decreases their risk over a 500 year period.
But to what extent are these the ones being pushed for?
>Four, most deaths from nuclear waste would be slow and probabilistic (e.g. 18% increase cancer risk for an individual with high exposure) whereas deaths from some other power source would be immediate and devastating (e.g. flood, destruction of habitat).
Are we really suggesting that the death isn't comparable because it is a long term probabilistic? Imagine if some company dumping sludge into drinking water was making the same argument. Would we find it acceptable?
98% of radioactive waste is "safe" after 40 or so years. After 40 years the radiation is 1/1000th of its initial waste state. The 1,000 - 10,000 year period generally cited is for the radioactive products to decay back to their original ore's radioactive intensity.
> Also, what vectors could these particles enter into food when you consider their lifespan?
> Are we really suggesting that the death isn't comparable because it is a long term probabilistic?
Yes. Would you rather die now or have a 10% increased chance of developing a cancer that may or may not be treatable 10 years from now?
That isn't the comparison being made.
That'll be great news for all the governments who haven't come up with a plain "solution" that'll definitely work for all the time it needs to work, because only God could really make sure of that:
> It is widely accepted that spent nuclear fuel and high-level reprocessing and plutonium wastes require well-designed storage for periods ranging from tens of thousands to a million years, to minimize releases of the contained radioactivity into the environment.
Compared to tens of thousands, 500 years sounds great. Though you do have a point in that dams are not great, either, because 500 years are a long time, too.
But a risk being "probabilistic" also applies to dam accidents, since not every single last person in the wider area of it dies. I know it sucks either way, but having cared for cancer patients, I would rather drown in 5 minutes than over the course of months like one might with lung cancer.
The EPA estimates zero deaths for Three Mile Island.
The worst dam failure in history (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam) killed somewhere between 150,000 and 230,000 people. Hydro has a big head start.
The 150k-230k death toll most likely is estimate for whole flood event, not just for this dam. We can say that if the constructions of the dams or coordinates between dams were better death toll can be much lower. But if dams were not existed at all, for that level of heavy rainfall, some people at some specific locations may be alive, but for the whole basin, I don't think there will be a huge difference.
So 4,000 is a good upper bound, if anything.
Also, per the Wikipedia link they included following famine in the numbers killed. Is that accurate?
However, it's mostly a moot point now that photovoltaic is so cheap.
i.e. you don't need someone else's power plant, you can have a small one dedicated to black start.
Yes, hydro works really well for this. But it's not the only option.
Isn't black start almost always provided via a distant grid connection? Do you work in transmission or generation?
As I understand it, in the US, the NRC prohibits nuclear power plants from providing black start, for safety reasons: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2019/05/f62/Hydro-Bl...
From the same source: "Historically, power systems
have relied heavily on hydropower plants for black start capability. ... About 40% of the units in the United States maintained and tested for providing black start are hydropower turbines, although hydropower makes up only about 10% of overall US generating capacity."
It also answers the question of what is usually used, namely, gas combustion turbines — in the US, that is. Gas turbines provide over 50% of both black start capability and black start events in the US.
Maybe nuclear plant black start diesel generators do provide black start in some other countries? Where? Bueller? Bueller?
But to suggest that nuclear is sited near hydro for that purpose is just wrong.
The 40% number is not based on the New York blackout, which was in 1965 and not in 1967 as you say, and it is not hypothetical; one number is based on the black start capacity system operators file and pay power plant operators for, and the other is based on actual black start events.
It is true that that is not why nuclear plants are sited near water.
The 1967 study was conducted in the wake of the 1965 blackout.
And that's only if they build a hydroelectric dam somewhere where it runs such a risk. They aren't cheap either, and I doubt they'd just build one without careful considerations beforehand.
If you build renewable power generation, but still have to build a backup power plant, the renewables lose a big chunk of efficiency by the very nature of that plants existence (in the form of wasted embedded energy/cost). You could choose to also operate the backup regularly, but then you need to over-build transmission capacity, and you're admitting defeat in needing to operate non-renewables to justify the renewables. As usual, it's complicated. But it doesn't make sense to rely on solar to supplement hydro during a drought.
2-You're talking about hydraulic storage, which is really inefficient, but has some valid use-cases. But drought isn't one of them, for quite a few reasons. If there's a water shortage you want (and are probably treaty bound) to allow that water to flow downstream.
By definition, dams were favored in places with irregular rainfall patterns, because in most cases, flood control was the primary use.
If applicable, navigation is typically a primary or secondary use. If the area is also dry, irrigation supply is secondary / tertiary use.
Power generation is usually last; a happy by-product except in a few cases- with the Manhatten project being the prime example. Sometimes flexiblity allows for on-demand operation, but only after the other use conditions are satisfied (usually during fall draw-down). But even TVA dams operate based primarily on flood control parameters.
Anyway, everytime there is some headline blaring about some region or country being 99% renewable based (for example, Costa Rica) is because it leverages one or more of those.
For example, here's a live view of the energy of my home province: http://live.gridwatch.ca/home-page.html .. we're pretty much carbon free because of Nuclear and Hydro. On the other end, Germany decided to go with solar and wind and they aren't expected to be carbon-free until 2060s because they need natural gas as backup. This is also why they are spending billions on pipelines to ship MORE natural gas from Russia.
Makes you wonder why we're bothering with solar and wind, which can't power a modern economy without fossil-fuel backup and therefore are only good for niche applications.
And they can't. Solar and wind are intermittent power sources, meaning that there are times when you aren't generating any energy because the sun ain't shining and the wind ain't blowing. There is also no battery technology that can scale to the level of cities or nations for a period of hours, days or weeks (and we would need around 8 to 16 weeks of storage to bridge seasonal intermittency). Instead what we're seeing are those regions that heavily invest in solar and wind need to make a comparable investment in natural gas to make them viable.
Can you make a little effort here?
Just something that would demonstrate to me that I'm incorrect. I want to be wrong.
Right now it sounds like you feel like I'm wrong but you can't actually explain in what way. So instead you've decided to tell me I'm wrong (but not why). And now you've decided to insult me as well.
Here's what I see:
- We don't have a battery technology that can store enough energy to power an economy for even minutes. In solar/wind deployments we would need batteries to store energy for up to weeks. If there is, please tell me what it is. Lithium Ion doesn't work at that scale and cannot be relied upon to hold weeks of storage. Pumped storage is expensive but more importantly need particular geography to work. There are no examples of this large scale energy storage in practice.
- Because we don't have such a battery technology, solar and wind deployments require burning some fossil-fuel (coal, natural gas garbage, corn etc.). We see this in regions that decide to double-down on solar and wind. A perfect example is Germany. As they increase their solar/wind footprint, they are increasing their natural gas dependency by spending billions on NEW pipelines to Russia to ship their natural gas for decades. What do they know that you don't?
- There are also NO regions that power their economy wholly on renewables that don't involve nuclear, geothermal and hydro. No regions have plans in the immediate future (e.g. within 10 years) to do so either.
- There are a lot of other major issues with solar/wind, such as the huge land area requirements, and the need for large quantities of rare earth materials and lack of recycling. All these issues will be magnified as more and more regions invest in large-scale solar/wind deployments. I shudder at the thought of 100x or 1000x increase in solar cell production and what that would do to the environment, especially as these cells reach the end of their 20-25 year life.
I don't think any of those statements are wrong or controversial.
I'm not happy that this is the case. I would like solar and wind to be viable, but nobody will ever tell me how they could be without arguing that we will invent some new technology (like a better battery) to make it all work. To me it looks like nuclear, hydro and geothermal are the only real answers (with solar/wind having niche applications).
This is a live view of the energy mix of my home province (pop:14m): http://live.gridwatch.ca/home-page.html - depending on when you look you may see 98% carbon-free energy generation. Don't need to wait until 2060 (the time that Germany is expected to be carbon-free)
To me this looks like the future.
I appreciate the invitation, but I decline.
Existing coal and nuclear plants are shutting down before end-of-life because they're losing customers to cheaper competition.
Intermittency for wind/solar are well understood problems, with a growing body of performance logs, which makes them very predictable (and "wind ain't blowing" is much less of a problem than you probably think). That makes cost modeling for storage predictable as well, and storage technology costs are improving as fast as production costs. This isn't magic. The math is very straightforward. As long as renewable + storage + gas is significantly cheaper than coal/nuclear - and it already is - we're going to see the industry shift rapidly in that direction.
Is this a perfect, carbon-free solution? No. Is it radically better carbon-wise than the old coal plants? Yes. Is it significantly cheaper than the old coal and nuclear plants? Yes. I'll take two wins and a draw over three losses.
Wherever coal is replaced it is replaced with natural gas (occasionally with hydro and nuclear).
>As long as renewable + storage + gas is significantly cheaper than coal/nuclear ...
This is a red-herring. It wouldn't matter if solar and wind were free. We can't use them without fossil-fuel back-up, which today means coal or natural gas.
This is also why natural gas companies are one of the biggest lobby groups for solar deployments.
>(and "wind ain't blowing" is much less of a problem than you probably think)
It's actually a huge problem. If the wind speed is too high, you can't generate electricity (due to risk of damage to the turbine). If the wind speed is too low, you can't generate electricity.
But the elephant in the room is storage. You can always dump more and more money to over-provision your generation capacity (meaning that in certain seasons you would have a ton of generation capacity sitting around doing nothing). The problem is that we don't have storage figured out at all.
>which makes them very predictable
Yes as much as weather can be predictable.
>and storage technology costs are improving as fast as production costs.
To be clear, we don't have storage technology that can store enough energy to power a reasonably sized city (pop:~1m) for a few minutes, much less a modern economy for weeks. There is no such storage technology on the horizon either. You need natural gas as back-up. Maybe in certain geographic region you can build a pumped-storage reservoir (at a great environmental cost).
Take a step back and look at the big picture. No region with a reasonable population is currently being powered by solar and wind even though there is huge amount of pressure to do so - why is that?
Furthermore your estimates for nuclear are contradicted by real world performance. How is it that France's electricity is 20-25% cheaper than the EU average despite 70% of it coming from the purportedly more expensive nuclear power?
edit: Start here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source
Feel free to offer rebuttals of the numbers in there, with sources.
I'd be perfectly happy to see new coal plant construction banned from a regulatory perspective, but right now there are ZERO new coal plants being built in the US. The rest of the world will not be far behind.
Not knowing what the next administration is going to change adds cost of uncertainty.
If it weren't due to regulation, that would mean it's due to technology or raw cost. Both of which are ruled out by the fact that the US is the third largest coal exporter in the world, and exports have increased in the last 3 years.
If our coal weren't cheap, it wouldn't be worth exporting. If coal power plants weren't cheap, developing countries would be switching to the cheaper technology.
https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/pdf/electricity_generation.... <- Note that in this one, coal is only counted with carbon capture technology, which increases cost
Coal is among the cheapest conventional source. Note that solar (other than solar thermal) and wind do not include cost of energy storage. Gas combined cycle (basically, a jet engine + a steam turbine heated by the jet exhaust) does beat coal in many of these estimates, but this is new technology that has only been deployed widely by first world countries. Generally, only countries with developed aerospace industries have that infrastructure to built thermally efficient gas turbines. Thermally efficient gas turbines need advanced materials and fabrication techniques like monocrystal casting.
These figures are highly dependent on the kind of infrastructure available to a country. What's cheap for a country like the US with extensive gas turbine manufacturing is not going to be cheap for other countries. There's a reason why so many developing countries use coal: it's a much more low tech solution that does not require complex industry. If your claim about the lower cost of gas was limited in scope to the US and similarly developed countries, I'd agree, but I was talking in global terms. Many countries are sticking to coal because it's cheaper:
There are good reasons to move off of coal, regardless. Coal extraction is dirty, and it generates pollutants that are much worse than gas turbines. It'd probably be good policy to facilitate the export of gas turbines to developing countries.
As well as Africa: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/05/lamu-island-...
South America, fortunately, is more mountainous and countries get by with more hydroelectric power.
Countries with established gas turbine production can build gas combined cycle plants at a cheaper cost, but other countries without established aerospace industries (most countries other than Europe, and North America) would be looking at building up gas turbine production capacity largely from scratch.
Response to the comment below, my work IP is getting rate limited:
The articles definitely have a pro green energy stance, I don't deny that. But these articles' optimism is contradicted by the actions of the countries in question. They're building coal plants. The fact that the articles think this is a bad choice does not change this fact. Their claim that the region will see a decline in coal usage is speculative. Furthermore the fact that countries are continuing to build coal plants despite bank's reluctance to offer capital reinforces the fact that coal is the most accessible energy source for much of the world.
> As for turbines, most poor countries buy their turbines (of whatever type) from rich countries
Which costs more and makes them dependent on foreign countries for energy production. Hence why they choose coal.
> While the region “has been a laggard” on renewable energy he points to game-changing recent developments. “The finances are shifting to green globally. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand will all pivot over the next two years.” Vietnam, for instance, has seen a surge in solar power development in the last year alone.
> “No-one forecast Vietnam can do that. That’s how quickly you can pivot markets,” [sic] said Buckley. Earlier this month an auction for a solar power project in Cambodia saw the lowest power purchase tariff for solar so far in Southeast Asia. The Asian Development Bank, which supports the scheme, described it as “a new era for renewable energy development in Cambodia and the region”.
> In a survey of regional leaders last year, media platform Eco-Business found “the ever-increasing risk of stranded fossil fuel assets” was another factor that would drive Southeast Asia’s transition to a greener economy. A big sign of the shifting financial backing for coal regionally came in April as three top Singapore banks said they would stop financing new coal-fired power plants. And in a June meet of Asian coal leaders in Indonesia, they talked of the difficulties of securing finances for projects. Some experts believe that the majority of proposed coal plants won’t emerge.
> It’s a “tipping point” in Southeast Asia, said Justin Guay, director for global climate strategy at The Sunrise Project, an environmental group. “It’s the last major region on earth where we are seeing the transformation” away from coal and “it’s a question of when not if.”
> “In many ways Southeast Asia reminds me of where India was five years ago,” he added. “They built a significant number of coal plants, but now they’ve got stranded assets. It’s a big problem. Southeast Asia has the opportunity to avoid that.”
...this is your evidence for nuclear power being the cheapest source of energy and coal being second? That banks are increasingly refusing to lend money to finance plant construction because already-built plants in India have become stranded assets that can't compete with solar?
The NPR link is equivalently pessimistic about the future of coal plants.
As for turbines, most poor countries buy their turbines (of whatever type) from rich countries.
> Which costs more and makes them dependent on foreign countries for energy production. Hence why they choose coal.
This makes no sense. Perhaps you aren't aware that coal power plants universally generate electricity using steam turbines? Do you think they're using pistons like an old steam locomotive?
> But these articles' optimism is contradicted by the actions of the countries in question. They're building coal plants.
Well, no. I mean, Indonesia is, but India isn't, and China isn't, and the articles claim that Vietnam is rapidly ceasing to. And politicians' choices often have explanations that go beyond maximizing profit.
Steam turbines are subject to much less heat than gas turbines. Are you aware of the difference between how combined gas cycle turbines and steam turbines function? In a coal plant, coal is burned to heat water into steam which turns a steam turbine to rotate a dynamo. In a combined gas cycle plant, gas burns in a gas turbine to rotate a dynamo. Then the gas turbine exhaust is used to boil steam to turn a steam turbine to rotate a dynamo.
Gas turbines are subject to much greater heat than steam turbines. Without advanced metallurgy, the turbine blades would melt. There's a reason why the steam turbines were first used in earnest in the 1890s while gas turbines didn't get used extensively until the 1930s and 40s.
What about this is confusing? Combined cycle plants require gas turbines to build. The term gas turbine exclusively refers to turbines burning gas (or gasoline if "gas turbine" is being used to refer to gasoline turbines) to generate an impulse. Plants that burn natural gas to heat a boiler don't use gas turbines, they exclusively use steam turbines. Gas turbines (both the gasoline and natural gas kind) are complex to fabricate and few countries have the technical ability to manufacture large and efficient turbines needed in combined cycle plants.
We just don't fully appreciate side effects of new technology until it's fully deployed. It took decades to realize that fish hatcheries weren't going to solve the salmon problem for hydro. If anything history should teach us to approach all new miracle tech with skepticism, especially when deploying it on a massive scale.
Also, do not forget that Fukashima is still an ongoing disaster that's only just recently begun to stabilize.
"3 Dams to Be Removed in American West to Restore Rivers
A new $50 million fund will help communities remove “deadbeat dams,” starting in California, Oregon, and Washington." https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2016/11/dam-removal-...
Not really, no.
You should take a look at how many people die due to coal, and how much long term environmental damage coal is responsible for.
Even in the worst case scenario of a Nuclear Accident, I would still rather that happen, than deal with the effects of coal.
Reactor design has changed significantly since Fukashima was built. Newer reactors are far safer.
I'm strongly in favor of traveling wave reactors. We need more tools for reducing, mitigating our stockpiles.
When the Hanford Nuclear Reservation's contaminants in the water table reach the Columbia River, everything downstream dies.
For me, any discussion about new civilian nuclear is fullstop until all the other aspects are addressed. Meanwhile, we prop up the nuclear power we have during the transition to wind, solar.
These problems have lead to dam removal (in he western USA at least) to restore fisheries and other resources.
Nothing is without consequences of course so it’s hard to praise or condemn any single approach.
The response was ultimately: "way less than you'd think."
The explosive force of the steam that would have erupted underneath the already exposed reactor is, without a doubt highly debatable. But suppose it only ejected 30% of total fuel - about 20x what happened in Chernobyl. Chernobyl's exclusion zone is - today - about 1000 square miles. Would it have to be 20x that? I don't know. Would very much depend on the weather probably.
The wikipedia article on the disaster is a pretty good introduction to the topic.
No it wasn't. At no point did Chernobyl threaten to make 'much of Europe and the Middle East' uninhabitable for hundreds of years. About the worst that could have happened with Chernobyl happened. There just wasn't enough radioactive material in the reactor to have that big of an impact at that scale, and saying this does not invalidate the regional devastation that it did cause.
Just one of four reactors "melted down". I'm no expert, but I imagine the worst possible is all four reactors literally exploding simultaneously, or one after the other in a rapid chain reaction, or something like that.
Nuclear plants typically need to be paired with storage, which often involves pumping water. Thus, a nuclear plant in this location could still result in some form of a dam or artificial lake.
But I've never actually heard of nuclear requiring storage, except for emergency cooling.
Off course they need cooling pools with radiators, but that doesn't require a dammed off river.
Nuclear as used doesn't need utility-scale storage, but that's because it's almost always providing the base load with mixed generation. Modern European plants are sometimes load-following, but that's generally just two phases of high and low output. And even then, it's often more efficient to run at peak output 24/7, with cogeneration during low demand.
As far as I know, nuclear has never been used for peaking demand, but doing so would presumably require battery or pumped-water energy storage. (Since current nuclear is steam cooled, I don't believe molten salt storage is especially viable outside of theoretical high-temp plants?) Although pumped-storage hydro doesn't necessarily look much like damned-river hydro, so I don't think it's a great comparison there either.
That said, the gulf between where we are now and "nuclear as all of base load and some load-following output" is absolutely massive, and I'm not sure anyone actually intends 100% nuclear generation?
But this assumes 100% nuclear. Even a couple of fast reacting natural gas plants (or hydrogen or biodiesel or anything fast reacting) solves this.
Nuclear's on-demand ramping does actually seem to be between coal and gas, but my impression was that actually doing that absolutely destroyed cost-efficiency, to such a degree that it's usually better to just run at optimal efficiency and do whatever you can to recoup some money on the waster power.
Of course, we totally agree on the last point. There's room for major nuclear scaleup even in pure base load, and with a nuclear-heavy grid in mind it's not hard to work out a few peak sources.
But also nuclear has at least the flexibility to do it when needed :
German Isar 2 nuclear power plant holds the record among currently running plants in adjustability. The reactor's nominal output is 1,400 megawatts, and it can be adjusted in a range of 400−1,400 megawatts, with an adjustment speed of 40 megawatts per minute. The need for this great an adjustment capacity has resulted from Germany's current energy policies.
It was built to pair with nuclear power stations on the Connecticut river, specifically, to pump water at night during low demand, and then generate during high demand.
I suspect they're confused about what exactly requires the pumped water though.
But it's true that the public backlash to dams is far weaker than nuclear. And together with developing nations being free to dam rivers, but blocked from refining uranium, bulk hydro is probably going to keep outpacing nuclear for a while.
Edit: I'm pretty sure that's the right accident - been a while since I read the book!
If anything nuclear warning systems (in the us, at least) are extensive within the ~30 mile zone (sirens everywhere), and have published plans for a ~60 mile zone, while I've never heard of warning systems for dams. Which isn't too say they're not-existant.
Also, dam failures tend to happen during bad weather where evacuation is greatly hindered. This was an issue with the Oroville dam partial failure in 2017.
Whereas in Fukushima, the warning and evacuation was effective even in the midst of the tsunami aftermath.
For instance, the Aswan dam on the Nile has decimated the flood deltas ecosystem and disrupted traditional eco friendly farming practices. https://www.quora.com/How-has-the-Aswan-Dam-negatively-impac...
We already sinned Chernobyl.