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Fear of nuclear power is out of all proportion to the risks

 
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Aurora



Joined: 24 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:32 pm    Post subject: Fear of nuclear power is out of all proportion to the risks Reply with quote

Quote:
The Guardian - 04/04/11

Pollution from coal-fired power plants is responsible for more than 100,000 deaths per year, whereas the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant is unlikely to kill a single person.

Article continues ...

Rolling Eyes Don't shoot the messenger. Smile
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cyanide is more poisonous than arsenic, but you shouldn't put either on your dinner and we shouldn't use nuclear or coal. It's an inconvenient truth. Discussing which kills more people rather misses the point.
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the issue here is the nature of the risk.

Nuclear, unlike coal, has the potential to make large areas uninhabitable with very little prior warning, whereas with coal the damage rate (for those not directly involved in the industry), though widespread, is relatively slow. Or, in other cases, there is prior warning ("We're about to blow the top off that mountain"), which, for some reason, people find more acceptable...perhaps because, in theory, in a democracy you could stop it happening.

But people compare nuclear with coal because it's one of the few ways of putting the former in a good light! It's an artificial comparison. Doubly so in the UK, where nuclear can't do load-following.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trying running with that theory in an Aberfan pub.

And you still haven't grasped that nuclear can do load following - how do you think the French manage?
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mobbsey



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
Trying running with that theory in an Aberfan pub.


The local council were complaining about the potential slippage on the spoil heap three years before the disaster -- http://www.nuffield.ox.ac.uk/politics/aberfan/letters.htm

Most risks are entirely foreseeable, but people chose not to because they underestimate the factors involved. What's even worse is a wonderful trend recently discovered called 'risk homeostasis'; for example people by light trucks masquerading as 'cars' and then drive in a more risky fashion because they believe they are safe.

To recount the bard, the nuclear industry and their acolytes are full of sound and fury but signify nothing.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fits in with Canide's theory "Or, in other cases, there is prior warning ("We're about to blow the top off that mountain"), which, for some reason, people find more acceptable...perhaps because, in theory, in a democracy you could stop it happening. "
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
you still haven't grasped that nuclear can do load following - how do you think the French manage?

Easily - they're part of the European supergrid. The minimum load on that grid is more than the total generation of all nuclear plants.

Saying that France produces 80% of its electricity from Nuclear is a bit like suggesting that Suffolk produces 100% of its electricity from Nuclear. I once said this to a guy in NGT (who was on that "Secret life of the National Grid" programme) who thought about it for 5 seconds, and then nodded.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandidoz wrote:
An Inspector Calls wrote:
you still haven't grasped that nuclear can do load following - how do you think the French manage?

Easily - they're part of the European supergrid. The minimum load on that grid is more than the total generation of all nuclear plants.
As I referenced before:
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf01.html
In 2009 and 2010 nine countries averaged better than 80% load factor, while French reactors averaged 73%, despite many being run in load-following mode, rather than purely for base-load power.

And there's nothing to stop a nuke with a steam range that includes a steam receiver drum being capable of providing a small response service on the UK grid - it's exactly what a coal fired station does. The load following myth you hold probably follows from the magnox days when the reactors had limited net reactivity (unenriched fuel) and argon poisoning could stop criticallity on a sharp downward edge of power output.


Bandidoz wrote:

Saying that France produces 80% of its electricity from Nuclear is a bit like suggesting that Suffolk produces 100% of its electricity from Nuclear. I once said this to a guy in NGT (who was on that "Secret life of the National Grid" programme) who thought about it for 5 seconds, and then nodded.


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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Search ze leetle grey cells, Inspecteur!

Or should that be the archives of the IEE?
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:

And you still haven't grasped that nuclear can do load following - how do you think the French manage?
I said in the UK...it would help if you read people's posts before sounding orf. And indeed, it would help if you spelled people's names correctly.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nuclear power plants can vary the output as needed, even if not part of the original desisgn, this feature should be relatively easy to add.

In practice though, nuclear plants are normally run at full load for as long as possible.
It is a case of economics. If a coal or oil or natural gas plant is run at part load, then less fuel is burnt, at a significant saving.
If it is shut down, then little or no fuel is burnt, and if shut down for more than a few hours then fewer staff may be needed. Fuel is the biggest overhead in FF plant operation.

A nuclear power plant is hugely expensive to build, and even more expensive to decommision. The fuel cost is trivial, and the saving in fuel by part load operation is insignificant.
There is therefore a clear financial case for continual full load operation were possible.
The running costs consist largely of wages and the interest on the capital invested to build the facility, these are the same at full load, part load, or even if shut down since staff are still required.
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RenewableCandy wrote:
An Inspector Calls wrote:

And you still haven't grasped that nuclear can do load following - how do you think the French manage?
I said in the UK...it would help if you read people's posts before sounding orf. And indeed, it would help if you spelled people's names correctly.

Makes no difference. Magnox with a steam range can give response but can't load follow. But then there's only one left. The AGRs use enriched fuel, aren't stopped by argon poisoning, so can load follow. The Sizewell PWR can load follow like the French.

[Bandidoz - edited]
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An Inspector Calls
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

adam2
Nuclear will usually run as base load (except summer when at times it might be required to part load) but all the UK's generators are required by NGT (as part of the Grid Code) to provide a tested response and reserve capability. You only have to back-off a nuclear station by a small amount to get this capability.

Coal, oil (not much left now, if any) and gas can provide response and reserve but the CCGTs hate doing it because it ramps up their maintenance costs. Coal can be part loaded, but it then runs at reduced efficiency.

The ideal solution is to place all the response and reserve with Dinorwig. That was the Design Intent. It was claimed that Dinorwig would pay for itself even if it never ran, but just maintained guard duty on response.

But privitisation [sic] killed all that!
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mobbsey



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Inspector Calls wrote:
But privitisation [sic] killed all that!


Oh my God!, a pro-nuclear socialist! Shocked
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