Quaise Energy doesn't sell drilling equipment but instead they sell the end product of steam. They plan on locating next to say a coal plant and then feeding steam to the plants turbines. The company raised a $52 million dollar Series A this summer.
The only negative from this type of drilling is localized small earthquakes similar to those created from fracking. So there will be opponents, but nowhere near the number of nuclear critics. There should also be a much quicker (and cheaper) approval process than nuclear.
Practically geothermal's Chernobyl in terms of PR. I doubt there's much support for it.
People love to live off the fear they instill onto other people.
Nuclear was the only way to transition to something cleaner later. but green party backed by lobbies ranging from russia, usa, oil and gas made the common people believe that there was a way to go full renewable in the 20's... to be honest those last years have been sickening, looking at youtube videos of charlatan commenting on green energy, co-workers, boss hell even blackrock/nasdaq virtue signaling and retweeting those crooks, pushing this narrative into our schools and our youth to build an army of evangelists of a green world where china-made solar panels with a shelf life of 10-20years would be a solution to global energy while at the same time undermining nuclear... it will be remembered as a dark age in mankind and when people in the future will reflect at our generation it will be with shame and I am pretty sure they wouldn't be able to understand why we made those choices and why they led to a global war.
it's more likely that the electorate is now finally capable of accepting nuclear. The greens are merely trying to get votes and attempt to make their policies match what their electorates would vote for.
I think the previous fear about nuclear is mostly misinformed, and bad PR from high profile accidents isn't helping.
Nuclear is fairly clean, cheap, and available. We really should consider it as a viable source for the long term future.
Also, I don't have the numbers nearby, but I believe gas is mostly used for heating in Germany. Your heating system is outdated - you just didn't care because of the cheap gas from the east.
Stop blaming the technologies that can actually fix this.
Of course, one most realize that Schröder left the office having signed Nord Stream I only days prior and then immediately proceeded to join the Gazprom Board of Directors as well as serving as Director for the Nord Stream I Ltd. company and later Nord Stream II Ltd. That might be a minor case of corruption, possibly. Who knows, courts haven't decided yet.
The Merkel cabinet I-IV never really pushed to change it, since gas was working fine for the status quo.
A good example is the plot of installed wind capacity as a function of time here https://www.wind-energie.de/english/statistics/statistics-ge...
You can see there are a couple of bursts of installed turbines and then it slumps down again. The curve very closely correlates with the party in power for the Economy ministry.
But yes, Germany didn't follow the same growth as say China because the political right managed to stifle offshore wind a decade ago. Very bad move for multiple reasons.
Expensive electricity is driven by the way Germany financed the subsidies for renewables. And those subsidies were paid for by consumers, industrial electricity prices are / used to be rather low in Germany. This pricing structure will change so, if memory serves well.
As already stated, gas isn't burned for electricity in Germany, coal is. The reason why coal is so cheap is way too cheap CO2 certificates. Generally a bad thing, because gas would be better for the climate than coal, the unintended postive side effect is a lower impact of the current gas crisis on electricity generation.
Hinkley is stupidly expensive and I doubt the capacity factor will turn out any better than wind and batteries, but I still think we should build a few more nuclear power stations - the public will turn hard against renewables at the first sniff of power outages being caused because the wind wasn’t blowing, and we’re less likely to run into that with some nuclear baseload in the mix.
People don't talk about it much, but CfD has killed nuclear. It lays the long term costs and risks bare.
Hinckley is going to overrun it's already high cost, and France will be left picking up the tab for any cost overruns.
I wonder if their contract lets them just build the equivalent wind power to save money? Or just shut it down and walk away.
At some point the cost of subsidizing expensive energy for another country is going to become untenable.
Not sure the contract would allow for it though.
But everyone else has responded by accelerating the renewable plans that those same Putin and Fossil apologists kept blocking for whatever reason, so it might work out okay in the end.
Would have been nice just to have 4 decades of sensible climate action, cleaner air, healthier citizens, less terrorism, cheaper energy, warmer homes and no-one threatening to nuke Europe when they lose an Illegal war of conquest of part of it though.
money is not an issue when building energy such as nuclear. you'd need to price all the outcomes a nuclear reactor would bring to your economy and trust me no industry will want to rely on wind to meet their production goals.
2. Most of the real costs that exist for nuclear are construction. Repurposing coal plants saves a good chunk of that.
2. And yet nobody's ever done it, probably coz its not feasible https://www.wsj.com/articles/utilities-want-to-convert-coal-...
And then there are efforts to make them recycleable: https://www.siemensgamesa.com/en-int/explore/journal/recycla...
There's never ever going to be this much nuclear "waste" from all reactors worldwide (notice the tiny machine for scale): https://assets.bwbx.io/images/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/itxthAhXDAL...
For comparison, ALL of Switzerland's nuclear "waste" is on this picture (and it's going to be used as fuel in the future): https://external-preview.redd.it/8EhLSoS5P8Cmi-ytsY_XoDrTnh6...
> Wind turbine blades probably only make up a very small fraction of the nonrecycleable waste we produce.
Then stop producing so much other waste. Producing even more is super-bullshit, and your mentality is exactly what caused the current situation.
The medium to low radioactive waste is magnitudes higher and needs to be dealt with as well.
The problematic waste is only produced by non-breeder reactors that leave 99% of the extractable energy of the uranium unextracted. Breeder reactors would allow mankind to sustain 1,000 times current electricity consumption levels for over a million years with known uranium and thorium supplies, while generating almost zero extremely long-term waste.
Or some supervolcano hick-up. Or, or, or, whatever.
That seem to be incomplete.
1) https://www.ensi.ch/en/nuclear-facilities-in-switzerland/was... says there are more places than that, including at each reactor:
] Each nuclear power plant has facilities for the conditioning and interim storage of the radioactive waste that is produced during operation. In addition, the ZWIBEZ interim storage facility is located on the site of the Beznau nuclear power plant.
] The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) has facilities for the treatment of its own radioactive waste and for waste originating from the medical, industrial and research sectors. This waste is stored temporarily in the Federal interim storage facility on the PSI site.
2) Not all of it is spent fuel that can be reprocessed
3) That's mostly the waste since 2006. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Switzerland comments:
] Radioactive waste from nuclear power plants is in the tens of thousand tonnes in Switzerland. Its management is the responsibility of the producer. Up until 2006, processing of nuclear waste was mostly done overseas.
4) I don't believe Switzerland mines and produces it own fuel rods, so the radioactive waste during that production would not be stored at Zwilag
Nonsense. You need to consider that the entire plant ends up as waste when it's eventually decommissioned.
Wind turbine blades typically weigh a few tonnes each. Up to around 10 tonnes for the very largest ones. Meanwhile, building a new nuclear power plant (Hinkley Point C in the UK) takes 3 million tonnes of concrete and 230,000 tonnes of steel.
All the wind turbine blades in the entire world would only add up to the waste of one or two nuclear plants!
Then they are left in a shutdown, de-fuelled state (safe storage) for 60 years or so before they can be safely dismantled.
This whole process is very expensive, in part because you have to pay to manage and maintain the site for such a long time.
Decommissioning all the UK’s existing civil nuclear sites is estimated to cost taxpayers over £132bn, and the work will not be complete for 120 years.
Do you have a link to that? Are we talking same effective generation capacity?
Especially the section that starts:
> As a starting point: it is undoubtedly true that industrial-scale nuclear power, as built in advanced Western countries in the 1970s-1990s, has provided, and still provides, cheap power, even taking into account the uncertainty on the cost of both long term waste storage and dismantling of the plants. And, until recently, low carbon alternatives like wind and solar were between “somewhat” and “a lot” more expensive. To a large extent, French skepticism about renewables over the past 20 years was not unreasonable given that the country did not have carbon-spewing (and otherwise polluting) coal-fired plants to replace - it had and has a low-carbon and cost competitive power sector.
And that references these:
> Le coût complet économique du parc nucléaire en exploitation, incluant
le Grand Carénage, s’élèvera environ à 55 €/MWh avec une durée
de fonctionnement de 50 ans, en moyenne sur la période d’ici 2025, un prix
permettant aux clients de bénéficier d’une électricité compétitive (Source : Cour
First, why does he discard the idea that nuclear power plants can be fully financed by the state, as RTE assumed in their report (in which nuclear came out slightly cheaper)? EDF is getting renationalised currently, and honestly financing from private markets something as expensive, crucial and with such a long life doesn't make much sense. A Nuclear Power Plant can operate for many decades (50+ years easily), so even if it breaks even in 40 years, that's completely acceptable for a state and it's budget. Private investors, and private financing, would like returns much easier.
Second, the elephant in the room - not all MWh are equal. When they are produced, and the load factor. Onshore wind, which the author mentions as cheaper, doesn't produce at 100% all the time. Solar is even worse, because at best it could produce energy during half the day. Both are subject to weather, like the few months of clouds and low winds we had last autumn all across Western Europe. To even them out, you either need luck, or storage, lots of it. Price that in, over a 50 year lifespan, and i very much doubt it will come out cheaper.
What he's complaining about is the same WACC being used for nuclear and wind, when the wind one is much higher than reality, because they are so predictable in terms of how long and how much they take to build.
And even with that (and all the other advantages he's willing to give to nuclear, the French still can't make a good case for nuclear.
He covers the "not all MWh are equal" thing near the start and correctly counts that as a problem for nuclear, not a benefit.
> Its generation profile, “baseload” (i.e. constant production at full capacity) does not actually correspond to what the market demands, and does not easily provide for flexibility, reliability or load following. The fact that our systems have been built around baseload (nuclear and lignite) has pushed us into ways of thinking that are not actually useful - baseload is not enough, and it’s not that useful
Canada? It's not quite adding 50 more years: it adds around a 30-35 year life extension to each refurbished reactor, so the reactors currently being refurbished will be certified through to about 2055. And the refurbs aren't exactly cheap: they replace all the major reactor components, and cost a significant portion of the price of a new build.
Nevertheless, it does seem better to extend the life of existing sites where it's possible to do so. It speaks highly of the CANDU reactor design that this has been possible! Most other country's reactor designs haven't been so successful in this aspect.
> "We pay more for maintenance of the little wind power we have than we pay for nuclear reactor refurbishment"
I doubt this very much.
It's a really great deal from a well-run local power company in the Midwest US. There is a fair amount of coal in the mix still (about 1/3 of summer generating capacity) which is being phased out over the next few years so we'll see what happens to rates.
Nuclear seems like a normal price for the bay area
Anybody on PG&E should have solar panels. Hang them off your balcony if you have to. The electricity rates are astronomical.
Nuclear power is highly centralized so one strike at transformers or pylons leaves millions without electricity.
The problem with nuclear is also not millions without power, but a strike that sets the nuclear plant without power (including backups), then it is quickly game over.
Wdym ? All modern designs are safe to shut down even without power.
Yes, but thousands of them given that plants are much smaller than a nuclear plant.
Shees, do we even have to explain what decentralization is on HN now?
> misinformed, and bad PR from high profile accidents isn't helping
I'd say that people were fairly informed by the accidents. Nuclear has a "radioactive black swan" problem: the worst-case accidents have contaminated such huge areas that the tolerance for risk of any kind is low. If the Russians blow up Zaporizhzhia while the wind is blowing east-to-west Europe will have to throw away half its dairy production again, possibly for years.
(On the other hand, if Chernobyl had happened while the wind was prevailing west-to-east, would we have even heard about it?)
The argument has never been that nuclear doesn’t have any downsides. The argument is that without nuclear you’ll freeze. There is no serious alternative. The risks of accidental nuclear contamination are minimal and the risks of nuclear war are greatly underestimated.
There's been a continual fight since then by some states to continue poisoning their fish with mercury and other coal byproducts while other states try to stop them.
Here's a story from a few years ago when the government decided that it wouldn't enforce this 20 year old law anymore:
> Attorney General William Tong today joined a coalition of 25 states, cities and counties in suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its rule reversing the agency’s determination — first made nearly 20 years ago — that it is “appropriate and necessary” under the Clean Air Act to regulate mercury and other toxic air pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants. The new rule undermines the 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), a landmark rule that has substantially reduced emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants that harm human health and the environment, and that pose especially significant health risks to children and pregnant women.
> “Mercury emissions are hazardous and must be controlled. These successful standards have protected countless Americans from the devastating health effects of mercury and toxic air pollution. Down-wind and coastal states like Connecticut are particularly vulnerable and rely on strong federal regulation to protect our air and water from harmful air pollution. This rollback is an unlawful gift to the coal and oil industry and must be reversed for the sake of the health and welfare of Connecticut’s citizens,” said Attorney General Tong.
You can see why a state with half their electricity from nuclear would be annoyed by this.
When it becomes an immediate problem, the way nuclear radition is. So, never.
It's not just about impact, how densely concentrated and timely / pressing the impact is matters a lot.
I can stay for a couple of months next to a coal plant just fine. I wouldn't stay for an hour next to a nuclear accident site.
The typical nuclear accident just results in a temporary shutdown and some extra maintenance/repair work. If you live next to it you'll be just fine.
Yeah, that's the numbers you can get if you sweep increased cancers in the area under the carpet or as "unrelated"...
Though you don't need to live next to it for that to apply.
> It's hard to believe that fish that looks, smells, and tastes fine may not be safe to eat. But the truth is that fish in Maine lakes, ponds, and rivers have mercury in them. Other states have this problem too. Mercury in the air settles into the waters. It then builds up in fish. For this reason, older fish have higher levels of mercury than younger fish. Fish (like pickerel and bass) that eat other fish have the highest mercury levels.
So environmental groups have done more than most, possibly tied with the military, for nuclear power.
Greenpeace for its part has lobbied hard against nuclear power for decades.
As for regulation, nuclear is governed by a totally separate regulatory structure, that can have its stringency throttled up by anti-nuclear types to prevent new plant approvals.
I can easily name environmentalists who called for more nuclear power. I can even name nuclear PR reps who pretended to be environmentalists (who probably count for this purpose).
Meanwhile, the key benefits of nuclear over coal are various reductions in pollution.
If you dont care about pollution, then there's no reason to not use coal. So Environmentalists win again.
After Chernobyl, a full train load of milk powder, from Eastern Europe, vanished in Bavaria. It was bought by a major dairy producer, when it was decided to destroy it said train was nowhere to be found... Funny coincidence...
Nope. Chernobyl was a different beast altogether.
Nothing beats free millions of years in the making energy stored on the ground for us to extract - but even that's non-renewable and getting more cumbersome and expensive to extract.
The very opposite. It makes nuclear even more expensive.
> "Either option will be an uphill battle. In the United States, any new reactor must gain the blessing of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), a process that can take up to five years and drive up costs in a sector already facing rising prices. Only one nuclear power plant is currently under construction in the United States, in eastern Georgia."
The article completely seems to miss the existence of NuScale. NuScale SMRs design has already been approved by the NRC [1, 2].
> A specific challenge would-be-conversions must face is that the NRC’s standards—both for atmospheric pollution and for the amount of radiological material a reactor can release—are much tighter than federal standards for coal plants.
Either tighten the standards for coal, or loosen them for nuclear, but the current situation is not logical.
We just need to end coal plants, immediately.
Coal plants kill 25 people per TWH generated and spread nuclear radiation all over the nearby area. Nuclear plants kill 0.03 people per TWh (between wind and solar), including Chernobyl (killed 4000) and Fukushima (killed 1). 
This is everything we need.
Harnessing this maturely, appropriately, means that we don't burn < 10% of the power before disposal.
This means that we use molten salt, not pressurized water, and we leave the technology of the 1950’s behind.
> which features a cost-competitive sodium fast reactor combined with a molten salt energy storage system
The molten salt is basically a big thermal battery.
Which is why building in US is not the best option. There's a deal made last year to build small modular reactors in Romania (by a US company). I think they may actually have been talking about using old coal plants as well.
I'm normally skeptical about my country being used in this kind of experiments (I still remember you, Pepsi, with your reusable plastic bottle!), but I'm very much on board with this one.
Nuclear is inherently an extremely complex technology that requires construction techniques that are advanced and expensive. The steam turbines and cooling towers are the only parts that are easy and standard construction with well-contained costs.
It is, at best, an energy storage mechanism, not a source.
Electrolysers are dirt cheap (and prospects of technologies with battery-like efficiency commercialising are pretty good). You still only get back 50% of your energy by burning, but if the energy from the lower capacity times is enough to fully fund your panels, then electrolysing the energy from 10-3 during spring till autumn allows the use of a resource you'd otherwise dump as heat.
Storage is hard, energy to power electrolysers is only cheap with solar or surplus wind, and the second stage of a ccgt is big and expensive.
This would solve one of those problems.
The other two are already cheaper than drilling a bunch of 20km deep holes or building a nuclear reactor.
Unless another has come online since the last time I looked, there is only one (1) grid-scale solar installation in the entire world, and it was built with massive government funding.
What a bizarre line to draw. The technology that benefits from being distributed rather than needing massive centralisation to be viable isn't concentrated to the point it causes the grid to be over-centralised?
Whatever metric you need to satisfy those mental gymnastics you can watch it come true realtime over the next year or two by adding 'unsubsidized solar park GW' to your news topic feed.
You're not going to run an industrial civilization from a few hobby solar panels on someone's roof, any more than Mao was able to run an industrial civilization from crude cast iron smelted in people's back yards.
> you can watch it come true realtime over the next year or two
Yeah. Not happening. Not in a year or two, nor even in a decade or two.
What powers heavy industry in your decentralized utopia? Some kind of reverse grid?
Only about 34% of electricity is used for residential purposes in the United States, and I would be surprised if the proportion were much different in other countries.
Yes, it's what allows solar modules to see 10-20% yoy reductions in price per watt and 15MW wind turbines to be more cost effective than 1MW ones. You achieve this by doing the same thing enough times that you get good at it. This is something the nuclear industry has never achieved.
> You're not going to run an industrial civilization from a few hobby solar panels on someone's roof, any more than Mao was able to run an industrial civilization from crude cast iron smelted in people's back yards.
Good thing there are thousands of 10-100MW scale solar parks finished every year and several GW scale plants being finished each year. Almost all new development is completely unsubsidized and auctioned of for $15-40/MWh before completion.
> What powers heavy industry in your decentralized utopia? Some kind of reverse grid?
The 15MW wind turbines, 5GW solar plants, 1GW battery facilities and the existing gas plants running on green fuels. Putting more than a few hundred MW in the same place creates bottlenecks in your grid and reduces its resilience.
Rooftop solar can happily produce enough to cover commercial, personal transport/transit and residential with plenty to spare because you can cover worldwide average primary energy with about 50m^2 of sunlight per person. It's largely irrelevant at the moment though hecause costs are dominated by installation and coordination.
> Only about 34% of electricity is used for residential purposes in the United States, and I would be surprised if the proportion were much different in other countries.
This is entirely irrelevant
It is entirely relevant. How is that power getting from someone's rooftop to an aluminum smelter? Magic?
> Yes, it's what allows solar modules to see 10-20% yoy reductions in price per watt and 15MW wind turbines to be more cost effective than 1MW ones.
If it were really "cost effective" it wouldn't need the constant cheerleading and handwaving. Nor would it need the massive government subsidies.
And no, the entire power grid isn't going to be rebuilt within the next two years. Or the next two decades.
You are a fundamentally unserious person.
The total subsidies ever spent in solar are about the same order as the subsidy on a single nuclear reactor. That age is now over and most new utility scale projects (the majority of installations) are fully unsubsidized.
It won't even be economically preferable to keep existing gas running soon, let alone run a nuclear plant. Any money spent on nuclear now is just a handout to the builder and a handout to the gigawatts of fossil fuels that money could make obsolete.
Here's a simple model using very pessimistic costs of last generation technology with 100% uptime for lower LCOE than new nuclear https://model.energy/?results=ee966ba4279eec9f32fcdadb8dd4dc...
Much more importantly you're buying capacity that can come on as soon as each part is done with that money rather than capacity that comes online between 2032 and 2045 and won't see full return until 2100.
As you said the planet is dying now and I'd much rather have 3W for the capital in 3 years (with a vast surplus for variable loads) than 1W in 10-20.
All we have to do is stop helping the fossil fuel industry block new wind and solar projects, delay them and drive costs up. The variability will fund storage and drive fossil fuels out of business on its own. Pouring those billions of public funds into gigawatts of nationally owned electrolysers to kickstart the industry would be a vastly better use of money than spending it on nuclear projects that will never open or be a drain on public coffers for decades via tarriff guarantees 10x the projected cost of electricity.
So IMHO the scale of power that nuclear needs to operate at in order to be efficient, $1B doesn't seem like much. Nonetheless, where did that cost come from? Does it really take that many hours of engineering? Is there a $950M payment to the regulators to evaluate the design?
A 100 person team working for 4 years at $200/hour is only $160M.
Really curious how a billion dollar could be spent on something like this.
My problem with nuclear, besides it seeming to be an outdated tech, is that proponents seem to have an extremely shallow understanding of the tech and the difficulties it faces. I find that I, a mere amateur just poking into energy as an hobby, often know an order of magnitude more than any proponent I've ever encountered.
And the more I poke into the details on my own, the more convinced I am that nuclear is a terrible technology without a future. It's time for somebody with knowledge to make the case to me, rather than me doing more and more homework that entrenches my existing dim view of nuclear. But I just need to find someone who advocates for nuclear who has deeper knowledge and can make that case.
Like the nuclear plan, it doesn't really save any money as you can already reuse the transmission lines for solar/battery/energy-intensive-industry.
https://model.energy allows you to play with the numbers. Note that there are existing solar projects with lower whole
sale prices than their 2030 projections in low latitude areas.
You can explore different scenarios like 'what if the hyasa 95% efficient electrolyser is commercialisable without needing platinum' or put in figures for ammonia in the h2 electrolyser column (just tweak the h2 capital and efficiency costa until price per kg of the 'hydrogen' is equivalent to a price you like for green ammonia keeping in mind H2 is about 7x the energy per mass)
Additionally keep in mind that nuclear lcoe figures tend to have very low discount rates (so compare like for like) and they also ignore build time.
Here's a press releasehttps://h2-ccs-network.com/blog/verdagy-hits-lcoh-below-3-00...
Note they do not mention energy cost, so grain of salt. $2/kg (including storage) is roughly the magic number where you stop thinking about nuclear at all. $3-5 means you need to think about how little time you can runthe turbine and how much it costs you when it's off. H2 is more efficient and cheaper, Ammonia can be moved and stored more easily (and used in deisel engines as long as you can increase fuel tank size).
LMK if you want anything specific and/or you know of a good way to text search a folder full of pdfs on android.
Here's a slightly more sceptical take https://www.science-climat-energie.be/2021/07/16/the-present...
Another optimistic one https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/solr.202100487
Keepin mind it's a lobbying body https://www.ammoniaenergy.org/topics/levelized-cost-of-ammon...
And its still better then coal.