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[PV post] Nuclear EPR deficit
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:33 pm    Post subject: [PV post] Nuclear EPR deficit Reply with quote

This is an edited re-post of a topic that existed before the forums were hit by a virus in June 2005. Please feel free to add comments at the end.

I read somewhere that nuclear power has a negative EPR taking into account building and decommissioning it - yet I can find no links to research on this - can anyone help?
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi James

I'm sure I read this too - on dieoff I think, but no luck finding the page or link again (I've spent hours trying!). It would be great to verify this info as I'm sure that there will be massive pressure from certain parts of the population to start building nuclear plants once the scale of the issue become apparent.

I read also that 10,000 reactors would be necessary worldwide to replace current gas-, oil and coal-fired plants. If this were to happen in the future, world supplies of urainium would come under pressure and last as little as 30 years.

On the subject of lost links, I believe I read a year ago somewhere, that there was a site on the north coast of Scotand where the tidal race was so powerful that 14% of the UK's current electricty demand could be generated from this one point. Ring any bells with anyone?

Regards,
DJ
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out http://www.eroei.com/eval/net_energy_list.html

This shows a EPR of 4.5 for nuclear. I don't know if this is accurate. Heinberg is quite anti-nuclear.

It seems to me that if we focussed on the total energy cost of building the reactor, rather than the financial cost, then maybe nuclear could have a positive EPR. If it can, we should build it, but only as a stepping-stone to a replacement, because as you correctly point out, it's only a matter of time before Peak Uranium if we build a lot of reactors....

Also, remember uranium is mined using oil-powered machines.....

Fusion is a different matter, but a long way off, even if it can be made to work effectively and on a large scale.
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the place you are talking about for tidal race is Pentland Firth:

Quote:
Tidal stream power is at an early development stage. Huge resources are known to exist in the Pentland Firth, between Orkney and Scottish mainland. The Scottish resource is 85ThW, equivalent to 50% of Scotland?s current supply, but transmission would be difficult, and maybe best as exported electrolytic hydrogen for fuel cells. Sites have been identified in the Bristol Channel, between Scotland and Northern Ireland and at Alderney.

taken from here.

also see:
http://www.marineenergy.soton.ac.uk/resource.html
http://www.bratach.co.uk/bratach/archive/Dec03/dec03_energy-dividends.html

and even the MPs discussing it:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmhansrd/vo040610/debtext/40610-01.htm
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the links Mike

I searched on the parliament site for peak oil" and got nothing "oil depletion" turned up about 15 items including this gem from 12/02/02:

27. Finally in relation to oil supplies we considered the more traditional question of whether the world would soon be running out of oil. We heard evidence to this effect from the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre[17] but the great majority of our witnesses discounted any problem of this nature pointing to new discoveries and advances in technology which were broadly keeping pace with the depletion of the world's oil resources. We did not study this issue in depth and are not able to compare the arguments in detail. But we believe that there is some truth in both propositions. On the one hand we accept that it is inevitable that the world will become increasingly dependent on OPEC for its oil supplies and that at some stage this century oil production will start declining. However we go along with the majority view to the extent that we do not believe that this presents an immediate security issue of itself. The key priority as indicated above is in our view to establish a stable investment climate and secure trading and transit conditions. Provided this is done we should receive adequate warning of any shortage of oil through the normal mechanisms of the market higher prices giving the incentives to develop alternatives whether these are unconventional sources of oil or alternatives to oil itself.

***

I think the rebirth of coal and nuclear power are enevitable; the sheeple will demand them for their electric blankets leaf blowers electronic heroin etc.

Regards
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikepepler wrote:
Also remember uranium is mined using oil-powered machines.....

There are a lot of plutonium already mined and refined. The only problem is that governments are quite reluctant to use it now but if push comes to shove...."
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damien, I just can't see the government going for coal. At least I hope not! Global warming will make it a total nogo area unless they can achieve viable carbon sequesteration and then the problem can be swept under the carpet.
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right khim, there is a lot of plutonium around, having been extracted from spent nuclear fuel during reprocessing. The problem is that to use it you have to created mixed oxide fuel" or MOX which mixes the plutonium oxide with uranium oxide. Last I knew there were two plants making this stuff one in France and one at Sellafield though there could be more by now (it was 10 years ago that I worked in the nuclear industry...).

The fact is that people are using MOX simply to get rid of the plutonium because it's highly toxic can be made into nuclear weapons if stolen and though it's only an emitter ot alpha radiation (which is easily shielded) it decays into a strong beta emitter fairly quickly which is a lot more unpleasant. These problems are such that they even cause people to wonder whether we should reprocess at all and should just bury the spent fuel rods whole instead!

The shame of it is if we had more plants set up to make MOX and reactors to use it then you can use fast-breeder reactors to turn uranium-238 (which can't be used as fuel) into plutonium-239 which can. We used to have a fast-breeder up at Dounreay but it's being decommissioned now: http://www.ukaea.org.uk/dounreay/
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't want coal or nuclear either but I think there will be considerable pressure to resort to these technologies. Many people are wedded to their current high energy-use lifestyles and won't want that to change, they rather than the govt. will be the pressure.

I've come across a couple of items recently about the Germans making petrol from coal during WW2 - this technology will be revived too unless we can change people's attitudes.
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DamianB wrote:
I've come across a couple of items recently about the Germans making petrol from coal during WW2 - this technology will be revived too unless we can change people's attitudes.

I think attitude change is trivial part of problem: when price of gas will jump to $10 per gallon attitudes will change out of necessity. The problem is - there are no replacement for oil in many places where there are no suitable alternative (pesticides and gerbicides for example). We know of no way to just fed people without oil. Overpopulation. And this problem can not be solved by "natural way" for centures! There are only two non-quite-natural solutions: war and infectious diseases (in epidemic form).
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

khim wrote:

I think attitude change is trivial part of problem: when price of gas will jump to $10 per gallon attitudes will change out of necessity.


Well its already $7 here in the UK (imperial gallon) and I believe it will have to go quite a bit higher (say $20) before demand is significantly affected to make any meaningful difference. I think attitude change is going to be a major issue and other discretionary spending will fall first.

khim wrote:

We know of no way to just fed people without oil.


Not strictly true organic farming uses no oil directly. Admittedly yields will fall but there'll be plenty of people looking for work who can partially replace the oil-based horsepower and herbicides. What will happen is that the vast acreage given over to feed for beef will be taken back for humans. Also I believe that urea (fertilizer feedstock) can be made from coal - whether the EROEI numbers work is another question!

khim wrote:

Overpopulation. And this problem can not be solved by "natural way" for centures! There are only two non-quite-natural solutions: war and infectious diseases (in epidemic form).


Agreed. It seems to be a taboo subject especially for the capitalist economists. The longer the world waits to seriously address this issue the more people will die especially in LDCs.

There is one way to make a start here in the west - strongly suggest that each woman has a maximum of two children. If adhered to the average would be about 1.5 after allowing for those who had zero or one child and deaths of children before reaching child-bearing age.

The point I was trying to make in my orginal post is that the denial will continue as prices rise for many years to come especially as people have been told and believed for the last 40 years that technology and market forces will come to the rescue. They will want nuclear electricty or petrol from coal inspite of the drawbacks unless they can be persuaded to connect with a different way of living.

Regards
DJ
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PowerSwitchJames wrote:
I read somewhere that nuclear power has a negative EPR taking into account building and decommissioning it - yet I can find no links to research on this - can anyone help?
Don't worry. THE EROEI for nuclear power is 10-50 depending on a whole range of different parameters.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf11.htm
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is quite encouraging, though I note it's on the website of the World Nuclear Association" which would unlikely to admit if there was a problem as their "about" page says:
Quote:
The World Nuclear Association is the global industrial organisation that seeks to promote the peaceful worldwide use of nuclear power as a sustainable energy resource for the coming centuries


Still it's good to balance data like this against the more negative stuff. There's still the problem of the waste though.....
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikepepler wrote:
This is quite encouraging though I note it's on the website of the "World Nuclear Association" which would unlikely to admit if there was a problem as their "about" page says:
Quote:
The World Nuclear Association is the global industrial organisation that seeks to promote the peaceful worldwide use of nuclear power as a sustainable energy resource for the coming centuries


Still it's good to balance data like this against the more negative stuff. There's still the problem of the waste though.....


Even though it is the industry web page I find it very reliable. Nuclear industry can't afford to lie about things anymore not after Chernobyl. They have become extremely pr-sensitive. Still if you find any errors on their page mail them!

Quote:
WNA Publications are updated regularly to serve as a comprehensive and reliable resource.

The WNA can vouch for and support anything it publishes and unreservedly offers to correct promptly anything that is shown as wrong or misleading.


And well the waste then...
As I wrote in another thread

Quote:
Waste management is in hand. In Sweden (where I live) we have already constructed a research prototype for the Final Repository at Asp?. The repository will be 500 meters down in the bedrock. Waste management including plant decomission is funded by a tax on nuclear electricity. The tax is 0.2 cents per kWh.


The only problem with nuclear that hasn't been solved is that of weapons proliferation. That problem is huge but well global energy chaos is even worse.

Nuclear will be the future
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure that I'd describe nuclear waste management as "in hand" having worked in the nuclear industry myself. We store it in shielded warehouses above ground worrying about what to do with it.

It's difficult to find sites that are geologically stable enough to site a repository in as the waste is dangerous for tens of thousands of years. An even more difficult problem is how to protect the site for that length of time - how do we know that our society will still be here functioning as it is now in 200 years never mind 10000? What if we are wiped out and the coutry re-settled by people with no knowledge of where the waste is? They might dig it up and cause huge environmental damage.

Despite all this I am in favour of using some nuclear power but only just! It is an important power source especially with Peak Oil on the way but we shouldn't be fooled into thinking it has no risks.
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