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Power madness

 
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Adam1



Joined: 01 Sep 2006
Posts: 2707

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:18 am    Post subject: Power madness Reply with quote

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/22/nuclearpower.pollution

This is a good update on the unfolding nuclear boondoggle.

Jeremy Leggett in yesterday's Guardian wrote:
With spiralling costs, leaky reactors and dangerous cost-cutting at plants, Gordon Brown's pursuit of nuclear power is misguided

Sometimes, the unfolding nuclear rennaissance suggests to me that God has a sense of humour. Consider the latest passage of play. On July 9, a uranium leak from an Areva reactor causes a ban on all use of two rivers in Provence.

The accident at the Tricastin site near Vaucluse is only grade one on an ascending seven-point French scale of nuclear danger. But perception is all in the radioactivity business. One swimmer at a lake under evacuation observes that it was as if sharks had been spotted in it. Two days later, an Areva-led consortium wins the contract to run Sellafield.

The £1bn a year contract is for the next five years with a view to 17 years. Because the profits for the winner are to come from squeezing efficiencies out of running the site, unions and environment groups queue up to voice fears about safety.

Two days after that, Gordon Brown says there should be no upper limit on nuclear plants in the UK. He wants to see at least eight new stations within 15 years, because most of the 10 existing plants (with their 19% share of national electricity) will be shut by then. He and business minister Hutton increasingly see long-term energy strategy as a political battleground, and want to attack the Conservatives' pro-business credentials on this basis. In their minds, it seems, they can use nukes to nuke the Tories.

Within less than a week another £10bn is added to the UK nuclear clean-up bill by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, making £83bn in all. The reasons given by the NDA are inflation, a decision to tackle more complicated hazards at Sellafield, and low income from Thorp and the Mox reprocessing plants.

An NDA spokesman can't give a guarantee that the cost won't rise again. The same day, British Energy announces sheepishly that four broken nuclear plants will not be back on line before the end of the year. Two of the plants, where problems were found nine months ago, involve "significantly higher" costs than expected for an engineering solution, and much more time than expected. The other two reactors have boiler problems. A million hours of work have already been invested in trying to fix the four reactors.

Meanwhile, in France, a second leak is reported under another reactor, and an unexplained older contamination is found in the groundwater at the spill at the Tricastin site. The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) accuses Areva of "human negligence" and "dysfunctional" processes. The French government orders a radiological assessment of groundwater around all 58 nuclear reactors. Ecology minister Jean-Louis Borloo says he is ordering the investigation because "I do not want people to think we are hiding anything." Areva insists there is no threat. However, ASN's findings have been passed to the prosecutor's office, which may decide a criminal investigation is required.

Who would bet on the outcome of the 58-reactor drilling and sampling programme? Evian must be among those sweating. When nuclear fans accuse clean-tech advocates of dreaming about the prospects for renewables, it seems ever more likely that a simple response will suffice: "Go nuclear? Good luck."

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RenewableCandy



Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12459
Location: York

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another reason for not drinking Evian... Very Happy
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IanG



Joined: 23 Jan 2008
Posts: 263

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uranium

Quote:
In 2005...

• Supply from mines was 102.5 million pounds
• Demand was 171 million pounds
• The gap was 68.5 million pounds.

Totals for 2006 aren’t in yet, but demand probably topped 180 million pounds.
....
....
The fact is production from world uranium mines now supplies only 62% of the requirements of power utilities. The rest is made up from rapidly dwindling stockpiles, mainly old Russian nuclear warheads that are converted to material for power plants. That agreement expires in 2013
....
....
Moreover, in the U.S., utility consumption of uranium outpaces U.S. uranium production by more than 20-to-1.

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