I have gone the complete opposite and for GOOD REASON! I was a big advocate for nuclear power some 10-15 years ago, because we were promised that thorium reactors, pebble reactors and a whole host of other innovations were around the corner. Not to mention wind and solar at the time seemed to not have made any dent in electricity production.
But to suddenly abandon renewables now in 2019 when wind and solar is seeing staggering success and really impressive price drops while every nuclear reactor is profoundly delayed and over budget is simply odd.
We have been talking about nuclear power for decades and invested massively in it, yet got little to show for.
Prices are not dropping. When you bring up the safety issue advocates are quick to point out todays reactors are much safer. When you point out today's reactors are extremely expensive and slow to build, they counter with that is just because of safety.... eh well yeah. You cannot have a cake and eat it too.
Nuclear power is NOT CHEAP! No private company is willing to insure them. Hence governments have to give insurance for free. That means the tax payer. Chernobyl cost tax payers 235 billion dollars to clean up. Fukushima cost tax payers 183 billion dollars to clean up. Nuclear power is getting a free ride because they are not pay for this. That is a massive subsidy to nuclear power.
Solar and wind meanwhile is beating coal on price even without subsidies. Yeah sure... it doesn't always shine or blow wind. But we have a multitude of storage solutions: thermal, pumped hydro, flow batteries, gas-to-power and there are many good solutions for adjusting power usage on demand to fit lower production.
It seems like these nuclear advocates have not even investigated all the storage solutions that exist before going crazy about nuclear power. These solutions will only become more viable as we get a bigger renewable mix, because it will cause the spot price of power to drop really low, making it profitable for companies to buy and store power.
No one's suggesting abandoning renewables, far from it. Renewable use will continue to increase. They're simply not enough, because of their nature as a variable power source.
>Nuclear power is NOT CHEAP!
The power itself is cheap. The amount of regulation around 40 year old reactor designs is high, so that's expensive. Implementation of a newer design would be much, much cheaper.
>Chernobyl cost tax payers 235 billion dollars to clean up. Fukushima cost tax payers 183 billion dollars to clean up.
Source? Neither of them are actually "cleaned up", you know. Also, both of these are very old reactor designs. You're complaining that a piece of 1950s technology which qualifies as an antique has problems 65-70 years later.
> But we have a multitude of storage solutions: thermal, pumped hydro, flow batteries, gas-to-power
..none of which are scalable enough to meet the demand. We'd have to have a dedicated energy storage system for each house, school, factory and store in the world. That's not only not possible due to physical space constraints, it's disastrous in terms of carbon load.
Our power systems work from a central source. There is no technology that can replace the multiple fossil fuel plants that run the grid except nuclear, period.
>It seems like these nuclear advocates have not even investigated all the storage solutions that exist before going crazy about nuclear power.
I can't speak for other people, but I have investigated and I continue to research. No storage solution exists that even comes close to meeting the demand for power when renewables aren't generating on the scale needed. The individual ideas are good, but they can't match decades of investment and expertise in generating electricity from giant central sources.
To take advantage of the distributed nature of renewables and corresponding energy storage, we'd have to completely rebuild the worldwide electrical grid AFTER we research and agree on standards for control and maintenance. That will take decades, and we don't have time. It'll happen eventually as renewables continue their growth, and maybe a century in the future we'll use all renewable sources with distributed power storage and a fully distributed, redundant power grid.
But if we want to survive climate change, we need nuclear, or else we need to force every person on earth to accept a lower standard of living that uses far less energy than we do now. The latter just won't happen, our species isn't that advanced.
> Source? Neither of them are actually "cleaned up", you know. Also, both of these are very old reactor designs. You're complaining that a piece of 1950s technology which qualifies as an antique has problems 65-70 years later.
For Fukushima, the 200 billion figure came from opposition politicians who used the plant failure as part of their election platform. Japan has spent nowhere near that amount of money.
And the irony is that this decision to close nuclear plants likely killed more people than the plant failure itself: https://www.economist.com/asia/2019/11/07/was-shutting-japan...
You have of course to factor in the total cost for the power produced. That is building the reactor, running and maintaining it, disposal of the radioactive waste and dismantling of the radioactive reactor itself.
The costs for reactors currently built are ballooning, some have even been given up half finished. The dismantling is usually not calculated in and can approach the cost of building it in the first place - in most countries the cost of disposing the radioactive waste can't even be calculated as there are few permanent storage solutions and we only assume they are permanent.
And of course, the costs in case of a major incident are completely not covered.
Yes. Current reactor designs are a non-starter, especially considering the regulatory mess around them. Years of them being an easy target for new "safety" laws because politicians want to look good have left them too expensive to build. We need a simpler, newer design that works around that by needing less regulation.
Radioactive waste from power generation is simple to handle, especially when newer reactor designs can for the most part re-use fuel. It's the waste from nuclear weapons production that's the issue.
Which "new design" provides safe reactors that are cheaper to build?
Radioactive waste from power generation is simple to handle, especially when newer reactor designs can for the most part re-use fuel. It's the waste from nuclear weapons production that's the issue.
No, it is all nuclear waste that is a problem. There are no reactors which can re-use spent fuel. Fast breeders could theoretical do it, there is no one operational in the west.
A trivial Google search for "molten salt reactor cost" or "new reactor design cost" can find this. Here's an example:
By the way, this reactor can re-use spent fuel.
Distributed storage can make sense when it is colocated with a generator (like a wind farm) as it helps increase utilisation of the expensive grid connection.
You state that as if it's a fact.
> The amount of regulation around 40 year old reactor designs is high, so that's expensive. Implementation of a newer design would be much, much cheaper.
That regulation is the price paid for insurance by the government. It's the only control the public have with potentially disastrous plants.
Go to a private insurance company and try to get an insurance for your new plant design, if you succeed I'm sure a government somewhere will be willing to look at the regulation.
Because it is. If you Google it, you can find plenty of sources that state exactly this. Even anti-nuclear activists generally agree that economically nuclear power is cheap per kilowatt hour simply because of the capacity of nuclear plants multiplied by their longevity. They just argue that the cheap power isn't worth it because of the "other down sides" surrounding nuclear.
>potentially disastrous plants.
False. No electrical generating nuclear plant in the US has had a "disaster" associated with it. The closest was three mile island, and that had no injuries or negative health effects other than psychological.
Only nuclear weapons manufacturing has had a significant environmental impact.
The regulation around nuclear reactors is insane, and much of it doesn't add in any way to their safety. That's what you get when big, scary reactors become an easy target for politicians who want to look like they're doing something for a change.
None of which scale well. I'm kind of baffled by this approach, I would assume that posters here would be hyper sensitive to the ability of technologies to scale and as such would immediately point out the issues here. Solar and Wind prices have dropped substantially, that is true. However just like coal hides and exports it's true costs (carbon emissions and general air population), variable production renewable energy hide their true costs to an energy grid. If renewables are so cheap then why is German and Californian electricity costs so damn high considering their respective investments into them? It's because they're paying more on other parts of their grids to keep everything stable. And those costs only increase as percentage of renewable increases. Choosing a solar plant over a equivalent nuclear because construction costs are 1/5th only to get hit with 10x costs on keeping your grid stable is not a wise decision.
>It seems like these nuclear advocates have not even investigated all the storage solutions that exist before going crazy about nuclear power. These solutions will only become more viable as we get a bigger renewable mix, because it will cause the spot price of power to drop really low, making it profitable for companies to buy and store power.
And had you really investigated all those different storage solution's you'd see that there aren't panaceas. Quite the opposite. And to suggest that they will become more viable as you get a bigger renewable mix is ludicrous. A bigger renewable mix means that your production is becoming much more variable. Which means you need more and more over capacity storage in order to smooth out greater lows and highs. Worse of all the best and highest efficiency storage solutions, Lithium Ion batteries, are consumables and would need regular replacement.
There is a startup that has developed a battery that was designed from the start to scale as much as possible for grid level storage.
So far I've seen no reason to think that we won't be able to solve the energy storage challenges over the next 10-20 years.
To be clear, I'm talking about smoothing out the power over hours and maybe days. If it's suddenly windless for a couple of weeks for some reason, there's no battery that will cover that. But we could just keep gas power plants around. They're great for that, and running them a few times a year is not gonna make a big dent in emissions. If they're used that rarely, we might even be able to use renewable gas.
The other challenge is seasonal variations. But Northern Europe has ways to deal with that. Norway has massive amounts of hydro power, and is building new power lines to help nearby countries. Sweden has built a lot of trash burning facilities that also supply heat to nearby areas. I think I read these run mostly in winter. Not sure what the solution for northern North America is.
I'm not sure that necessarily follows. It seems just as likely, at least in California's case, that high energy prices are due to our stringent emissions standards. If fossil-based power plants are required to invest more in exhaust scrubbing technology or cleaner-burning fuels or more efficient processes to keep the air clean, that raises prices.
Possibly relevant that this fellow just took a new job as President & Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Nuclear Association.
The wind may not blow all the time in New York, but it's blowing somewhere in North America. You can average down fluctuations in wind power by building wind turbines on the East Coast, in the Midwest, in the West Coast, etc., and linking everything together.
That reduces the need for storage. You can even further reduce the need for storage by working on adjusting demand dynamically, based on the price of energy. Big office buildings can go for an hour without A/C without people noticing much.
It would be interesting as well to see what the overall variability of wind + solar + hydro generation would be for various distributions of wind + solar plants over North America.
But dollars and the attention that produces them are finite. In that light, nuclear has to compete on its merits with the alternatives.
As you correctly point out, that's not going to cut it. However, there's an easy solution that has been suggested by various people for at least the past 50 years: Lower consumption, lower energy requirements, halt the desire for infinite growth.
US/EU energy consumption has been relatively flat despite population growth. The increase in energy consumption is largely in Asia.
Expecting these societies to limit themselves with your "easy solution" shows a lack of realism.
See also  for a counterpoint to your claims of increasing efficiency.
When you view Western energy consumption, it's growth is largely correlated to population increases.
Solar is especially good at this, because with the right incentives you can have people put it on their roofs - it's the sort of scaling that's impossible to achieve in megaprojects like nuclear power plants.
That said, if you look at the total amount of energy consumed worldwide, the grow rate of this energy consumption, the amount currently generated by renewables, and the growth rate of renewables, it's pretty obvious that there's no realistic way to cut emissions 50% in a decade. Absolutely none short of a global war that devastates both modern society and reduces world population by 25%.
However, that framing is de-emphasized in favor of politicizing the issue, imposing guilt on those who consume resources, and trying to alter the way billions of people live through coercion or decree.
We're screwed until the modern-day luddites yield that all of humanity wants, needs, deserves, and can sustain effectively endless economic growth and prosperity as long as the universe's limitless resources remain uncaptured. To think that at this junction we should consider the boundaries of human activity are now fixed is to just continue the endless tradition of doubters and cynics who have lacked imagination over the centuries, and held back all good things.
Safety is still a concern, and don't let anyone tell you it isn't. Simply look at Brownsferry Nuclear Plant. One of their three reactors was shut down for decades due to a fire, another reactor had a turbine blade break off and hit the reactor wall in the 2000s, and the reactors themselves are an old Boiling Water design where the radioactive water runs the turbine (newer Pressurized Water Reactors use transfer pipes for heat so the steam generator isn't radioactive). Newer reactors like Bellefonte were almost complete, but never went online after Three Mile Island brought the industry to a standstill. TVA also has bought up more land around Wattsbar nuclear to hide the fact that they couldn't find where a tritium leak was occurring.
The biggest problem with nuclear reactors is the waste. Most of it is still stored at nuclear sites. I use to think the protesters at Yucca Mountain were being overzealous and non-nonsensical, until I stayed a week with a friend of mine who was a newspaper editor out in Vegas. They had published several stories about existing facilities leaking radiation into the environment.
There are a lot of reasons to avoid nuclear. Honestly if we want to be serious about pollution in general, we have to consume less power. Each renewable takes metal, dirt, oil and various hydrocarbons to make. We can't consume out way out of, not only CO2, but all the other massive amounts of pollution that go into all our construction effort. We can't buy ourselves out of environmental disaster. We have to consume less; and that takes much bigger changes in the way we live our lives and look at the world.
Compared to what though? Sending it up into the atmosphere - in far larger quantities - like we do today with the alternatives?
This seems inane. Keep the nuclear plant running, even if it's more expensive, and shut down a gas plant instead.
We need them all for base load. But new ones should not be built, we simply don't have time and the resources should be better spent on a massive increase in solar and wind.
Batteries, hydro and pumped hydro can follow the demand curve, nuclear should be viewed as strategic.
Solar is so ridiculously cheap and easy to run, we should drop a trillion dollars and build as much as we can, as fast as we can.
Asking an expanding population to "consume less" is a nonstarter.
This is a human problem that doesn't have a human solution. It has to be a tech one.
Edit- This comment is not meant to be pro or anti-nuclear.
We need more power, as carbon clean as possible. Any talk of reducing usage is naive at best.
The kind of massive overhaul/re-de-regulation it would take to bring back a nuclear manufacturing capability and functioning market in america today would be much much harder than simply running HVDC between the grids and building twice as much wind.
It just doesn't pencil out anymore. It used to. But even optimistically going forward I don't see it. The curves have crossed.
edit: here's a source for all the downvoters
Nuclear: $118 - $192
Solar + 4hr: $102 - $139
Wind: $28 - $54
Newer plant designs will be cheaper to build and simpler. They will need to be regulated differently as a matter of course because they're fundamentally different designs.
What you're saying here is that building a 1960s nuclear power plant design with modern regulation is expensive, which is true, but that's like saying that driving a 1955 Ford Thunderbird is expensive when compared to a Tesla S. That's true, but you're comparing apples and rocks, here.
Sure, we have some research reactors which use (the now meme'd by armchair scientists) thorium reactors but we need power today, not in 2035. Why pour billions into unproven technology when we have proven technology that gets cheaper every year. Additionally, Lazard just put out their LCOE report for 2019 and for the first time new-build unsubsidzed wind can be cheaper than the marginal costs of a fully paid-off nuclear plant.
Molten salt reactors, traveling wave designs, even thorium energy amplifiers.
You're right, though, we need new reactors now, which is why we're looking toward the designs already tested.
It's true that no significant research has been done for decades and no new designs approved for commercial use, but that's something that can be changed, and changed quickly.
In any case, we don't have a choice... it's renewables+nuclear or renewables+a cut in standard of living for the world... or else climate change we can't survive.
Again... we're not substituting nuclear for renewables. That wouldn't work any more than substituting renewables for nuclear. Neither one is enough on its own.
It's not a matter of what power is cheapest, it's a matter of what serves the needs of the population without generating fuel for climate change.
Renewables aren't enough, period, because of their variable nature, and "running HVDC between the grids" won't fix it. It's not that simple.
Studies of existing systems and projects under development
demonstrate that HVDC can be effective in mitigating these
impacts [intermittancy] on non‐dispatchable generation.
There is a huge difference between mitigating the present uneven implementation of "non dispatchable" renewables and in providing sufficient capacity and stability to power literally everything in the world from renewables by shipping power from point A to point B using any technology at all.
The problem is that whether you take renewables in individual installations or in aggregate over a region they're still variable sources of power. The storage capacity to turn renewables into 24/7 power sources at a scale large enough to supply all needs doesn't exist.
Using small scale energy storage widely would require a completely different power grid structure that doesn't exist yet.
Given the needs of our civilization and the prerequisites that we don't have time to build out a power grid centered around distributed energy generation and storage before irreversible climate damage happens, our options are limited.
Renewables aren't enough on their own, simply because they aren't constant.
Or how about Miami when a slow moving tropical storm shuts down wind and blocks solar for a few days? You do know wind turbines get shut down when the wind is too high, right?
Now consider seasonal differences and you're going to need even more to compensate.
- Gas cooled high temperature reactors
- Gas cooled breeder reactors
- Liquid metal fast breeder reactors
- Molten salt thorium breeder reactors
In the intervening 36 years, none of these have reached commercial/industrial operation in North America, France, Japan, India, South Korea, or China. Russia has one industrial scale liquid metal FBR , and it has indefinitely suspended plans to build successors .
Any new approach to nuclear power that promises to be "cheaper, faster, safer" than boring old light water reactors should be evaluated with extreme care. These aren't new ideas. Why didn't anyone build them up in the past 40 years? If your answer is "blame the Nuclear Regulatory Commission," keep in mind that most of the world is not under the thumb of the American NRC. But e.g. India didn't build out MSRs either, even though they have fully domestic nuclear technology and thorium resources plus a vast need for more electricity.
The chances of a revolutionary new reactor design actually powering a grid near you appear, empirically, to be about as poor as those of the Battery Breakthrough of the Week ending up in your next mobile phone.
What will happen to the EPR in Europe after Flamanville 3 and Olkiluoto 3 are finally complete?
The faithful would say "build more EPRs. Future ones will be cheaper due to lessons learned on these original projects." And they might well be correct. Unfortunately, the Flamanville 3 and Olkiluoto 3 projects were also touted as affordable and predictable to build back when they were originally started. How do you convince buyers that the lies and/or irrational exuberance that lead to bad predictions in 2005 have been tamed, and that the next reactor project will be the real affordable, predictable reactor project?
The reason why new plants are more expensive is that they're often not part of serial production runs. When France put big investment in nuclear and built 170 reactors mostly of 6 specific designs, the per unit cost was much lower. Newer reactors are usually unique or part of only a single digit production run.
So we're back to the question: do you keep pushing forward with more EPRs? How do you keep pushing forward with EPRs if there is a credibility gap on cost and schedule predictions? Or if you choose to standardize on a different reactor than the EPR, how do you estimate its cost and construction schedule?
That said, I just don't believe it can be part of a realistic solution to the climate crisis. Not anymore, at least. These things are very difficult to design, engineer, and build, and the costs of a screw-up can be so high that taking things slowly and methodically is imperative, much more so than with most other alternative energy options. Combine that with decades of divestment in nuclear, and it just doesn't seem realistic to think that this is a solution that can be brought to bear quickly enough to count as a serious option for diverting a climate crisis. The time for using nuclear to stave off climate change was a quarter century ago.
Not to mention you need a lot of metals (which emit co2), other resources (and energy) to build those renewables. Installing wind turbines is no easy task either.
It's crazy how the interests of coal/gaz would intersect the arguments of greenpeace, but it actually does.
1. Keep existing reactors running as long as it's safe to do so. Nuclear that goes offline is generally replaced with fossil energy.
2. Don't invest too much in building new nuclear with current designs. They take a long time to come online and we have cheap and fast pathways available with renewables.
3. Invest much more in R&D for new designs. They will be important once the low hanging fruit of mitigation is already dealt with. They will also probably become more important as energy demands for things like manufacturing synfuels and DAC become important around mid-century.
This is probably helpful to evaluating his arguments.
(My view, if it matters: we can put inexpensive solar and wind in the field today, the best nuclear plant comes on line in ten years, and we need action today, so: forget nuclear, it's too slow. But no, don't decommission nuclear plants as long as there are fossil fuel plants to decommission.)
but let's not consider only his personal bias. Gorman bases some of his assessments on a report by the IEA - International Energy Association. Consulting the Wikipedia article about it:
we read that:
"In the past, the IEA has been criticized by environmental groups for underplaying the role of renewable energy technologies in favor of nuclear and fossil fuels. In 2009, Guy Pearse stated that the IEA has consistently underestimated the potential for renewable energy alternatives."
Indeed, it is quite possibly the case that renewables _can_ entirely replace fossil + nuclear - e.g. in the USA - soon. See here for example:
I have not read the arguments on both sides, but the article we are commenting on simply makes the assumptions convenient for Gorman's support for nuclear technology.
On the one hand, you get much higher energy density. Earth has 2-3 billion people coming online with higher standards of living, greater needs for (desalinated) fresh water, etc. Do we have enough space for large-scale wind and solar to address this? And do we truly understand the local effects of wind farms, like less surface wind?
Against nuclear, when we see statistics like "nuclear has fewer deaths" I sense that there's a snow job taking place. How do you measure the public health effects of radiation? Do these really account for that?
When there's an accident, clean up costs are socialized but when things are going well, profits are private. Maybe that's worth it for carbon-free energy, but if the costs of a single accident annihilate the entire economic value of the industry, I scratch my head.
The silver bullet would be if there were truly economically viable and safe reactor designs. How scalable are the former, and how confident we can be of the latter?
However you do it, be sure to measure the public health effects of radiation emitted from coal plants, which is far higher than that of nuclear.
How often does a typical nuclear plant emit nonzero levels of radiation? How does this compare with normal background levels?
Germany would need 50% more nuclear energy than France to completely replace all other power generation. This would cost €600 billion if Germany could match France’s build from the 1980s. Costs and safety regulations have increased even though France’s nuclear power has operated without incident for over 30 years. 80 nuclear reactors would now cost €1600 billion euros for Germany. This would still be cheaper than the estimated costs for the solar and wind buildout that is underway.
Over the past five years alone, the Energiewende has cost Germany €32 billion ($36 billion) annually, and opposition to renewables is growing in the German countryside.
Der Spiegel cites a recent estimate that it would cost Germany “€3.4 trillion ($3.8 trillion),” or seven times more than it spent from 2000 to 2019, to increase solar and wind three to five-fold by 2050.
Between 2000 and 2019, Germany grew renewables from 7% to 35% of its electricity. And as much of Germany's renewable electricity comes from biomass, which scientists view as polluting and environmentally degrading, as from solar.
Germany gets 33% of its electricity from solar and wind.
The reason why this is so expensive for Germany is the political decision to subsidise renewable energy generation by guaranteeing energy purchase prices for 20 years via the EEG law. This led to a lot of the non-competitive inefficient early-gen solar and wind being installed in Germany, which will continue to receive subsidies for another 5-10 years; for new generation being installed, the subsidies reduce every year.
One of the intended effects was that the solar and wind industries had income that they could invest in research to improving the cost and efficiency of solar and wind generation. IIRC an article that I'm sadly unable to find now claimed that this accelerated the development such that today's very competitive costs would only be achieved 6-7 years later if there had never been an EEG, which I find a remarkable achievement. Of course if you're installing solar or wind in your country today you'll benefit from these improvements.
> Der Spiegel cites a recent estimate that it would cost Germany “€3.4 trillion ($3.8 trillion),” or seven times more than it spent from 2000 to 2019, to increase solar and wind three to five-fold by 2050.
Assuming this is the article you mean:
What the article actually says:
According to ESYS, [...] by 2050, the costs would add up to 2 to 3.4 trillion euros, depending on the scenario. Other forecasts fluctuate between 500 million and about 2 trillion euros.
I'm thinking 500 million has to be a typo and should be 500 billion; still that's quite a range of estimates.
This technologies have the killer attributes of almost no externalities, incremental investment and very short implementation horizons.
Sure, countries will still like to keep training physicists in nuclear fusion to maintain a skilled group for nuclear weapons which is fine.
My impression so far is that offshore wind, onshore wind, and solar are promising solutions for doing the bulk of the heavy lifting for energy production. Of course it isn't an all or nothing, but scaling up nuclear isn't 'vital'.
One such location exists on the Columbia River and is being considered for development.
It is also possible to modify existing damns to have pumped hydro capacity. One under consideration is the Hoover damn.
After the disaster the true-believers will have a million and one reasons why it shouldn’t have happened; but it will.
Not worth it.
France has done so.
As opposed to a nuclear explosion delivered by an ICBM?
The strike price of offshore wind in UK energy capacity auctions came in at less than half that of prospective nuclear plants.
Only one nuclear plant is going ahead, Hinkley C.
I guess that countries without plentiful renewable potential have no choice though, its nuclear or nothing.
it is only late because the managers insisted on marketing and building it on 5 years while the engineers knew that it would be 10 years from the beginning. Pretty sure most people here know this exact situation from their job :-)
That being said all I know about the project comes from the news on the French radio... What new regulations are you talking about?
More clean energies and products won’t save us. The usage of earths resources is now roughly double of what the planet could sustain long term and it is still growing and I am afraid more cheap energy won’t help to solve this very systemic issue.
Todays teenagers are consuming more than teenagers ever before, mostly due to availability and online shops. Three decades ago you had to go to the next city and find something, nowadays you just order the thing and it is in your doorstep next day.
Adding cheap and clean energy into this mix is like taking painkillers when you have a open fracture so you can keep going. Might soothe your short term pains, but is ultimately a counter productive thing if applied just on its own.
Based on what data exactly? Mankind has only ever scratched the Earth's surface for resources, and still only on land. If you imagine the Earth is a perfect sphere, we have far from used much resources at all.
> or oil, which has been getting harder and harder to extract.
Harder to extract but still in much larger abundance than what was predicted by mostly everyone back in the 70-80s. I don't know if you were around then, but you may have heard of "peak oil". It never happened (as in, not yet, and that was already a long time ago).
The utter demonization of nuclear for the last 50 years is beyond criminal. Many in Germany probably regret their recent knee jerk reactions. Should be a fun winter for them (not!)
Germany phasing out nuclear and opening new coal.
Business as usual.
If you haven't figured it out yet, if you still believe in the government's figures, I've got one thing to tell you: pull your head out of your ass.
For one example, the leaders of the free world are now leaving the so called Paris Agreement, because they believe anthropogenic climate change is a hoax.
Are they still telling you the truth?
Okay, back to nuclear now for a second round. We are likely to see a worldwide collapse due to many reasons, but lets blame a lot of it to the actions of the government's mentioned. Before you dismiss this premise I would like to inform that this is a major fear, and therefor a major field of research for the nuclear industry and is a major reason to why we even care about long term storage of the waste – if everything "went well", why would we care about a thousand years? if we can manage "it" now we for sure can in the future when our GDP is like risen by a gazillion percents.
We must pause here, this is the thing: we are talking about waste that is extremely insanely dangerous if it would "leak" out, if this would happen our civilization would be finished, life could die out (not like we are not killing of 100-200 species a day already, but hey, gotta go faster!)
Where were we now, right: can you imagine this planet in five hundred years? and the nuclear waste has to be securely stored for hundreds of thousands of years. This is the reason they try to universal signs instead of writing the warning in plain language .
I am way off the article now, so Sweden and France has a decarbonized their economies? Where a the figures? I would guess without looking into any numbers, that both Sweden and France has in fact increased their carbon output since they started using nuclear power, I would go so far that I would argue that they have in fact increased their carbon output because they have added nuclear. By using nuclear power we grow our economy, the larger the economy the more carbon output.
Modern nuclear reactors don't use plutonium or weapons grade uranium. The ratio of U-235/U-238 is only 3~5% unstable in a nuclear power plant (where weapons grade is over 95%).
Thorium rectors have been experimented with in the US, but they do have problems with corrosion.
Using MOX in conjunction with thorium is also being tested to improve the void coefficient, making reactor operation more stable and safe.
Molten salts in tubes. They claim "cheaper than coal" can be realistic again.
I would imagine that if we really cared about climate change the best approach would be maximal effort on all fronts. So build renewables as fast as we can and build nuclear as fast as we can. That would be the quickest way to get carbon emissions to 0.
We could always spend the latter half of the century decommissioning the nuclear again.
1) Do we build exactly enough solar to meet our average power needs but have to build several-month-long battery storage capacity to bring summer sun into the winter,
2) Or do we build enough surplus solar so that we can run 100% load for 24 hours on a cloudy winter solstice, and just need big enough batteries to get through the longest night of the year, and under every other circumstance just be wildly over-provisioned
#1 is probably impossible with current technology. But our solar installations already produce surplus power during the summer that we don't use ("curtailment"), even at today's prices. It doesn't seem out of the question that we'd just build much more absurd extra solar to make up for our lack of storage. And then maybe we'd find a use for the excess summer electricity, like desalination or hydrogen production or bitcoin mining. It's technically possible, but it does increase costs - twice as expensive? three times? That might still be economically viable, if solar costs continue to fall or if the cost of natural gas spikes upward
Solar and wind will be integral to the overall mix, but unless there's a wild breakthrough in battery technology we need to be building nuclear to replace fossil fuel power generation.
If people are uncomfortable with the word "nuclear", let's go with isotopic batteries.
How about a 80% power-to-gas-to-power roundtrip efficiency?
For those who want to know more: https://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/wind/norway-wants-to-be...