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Nuclear is not renewable - and 'peaks' sooner than you think
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RogerCO



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 11:27 pm    Post subject: Nuclear is not renewable - and 'peaks' sooner than you think Reply with quote

If all the world's current electricity consumption was supplied from nuclear then the available rich Uranium ores would be used up within three years, and thereafter it would require more energy to extract usable uranium (U235) fuel than would be generated by burning it.

(for reference check http://www.stormsmith.nl/ - as the authors say this effectively turns Nuclear plants into incredibly inefficient fossil fuel burning plants with radioactive by-products! The science in this paper is detailed and appears sound)

So even if only 20% of the world's current energy needs was supplied by nuclear, their fuel would run out before the end of their design life (30yrs).

Nuclear is quite simply not a viable power source on a planetary scale - end of debate.

[Edited to amend web address, DamianB]
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DamianB
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More support for this opinion here:

Quote:
As long as the argument remains bogged down at the level of whether the problem exists or not, governments will consider themselves free to do exactly as they want. They will insist that there is no alternative to nuclear power, and nuclear power stations will continue to be built in Britain and around the world - enough to provide a general sense that help is at hand, but not enough to have any positive effect on the problem of energy and climate change. What will be significant will be the negative consequences. An expansion in the nuclear power industry will suck up the funds which should be made available for conservation and renewables. It will be a source of low-level radiation, of materials for proliferation and of carbon dioxide emissions. It will produce some very expensive energy. And then it will hit its limits. The industry will be left with huge reserves of low-grade uranium ores, too poor to be usable, and an equally huge inheritance of contaminated waste which has to be dealt with.

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RogerCO



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good article - he says 6 years electricity supply, Leuwen & Smith say 3 years, but the point is the same.
Also the point about the CO2 generation from the processes getting usable U235 fuel is well made. Nuclear is NOT carbon clean.

RogerCO

[Edited to remove ref to double post, which has also been removed]
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fishertrop



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fast breeder reactors could be used to prolong the life of the base uranium ??
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khim



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fishertrop wrote:
Fast breeder reactors could be used to prolong the life of the base uranium ??

Yes. With fast breeders you can use the same ore 50 or may be even 100 times longer. Why such a big uncertanity ? Easy: no-one is doing it yet. Only 0.8% of all available uranium is U235 - the rest can be used with fast-breeder but since some additional power will be spend in recycling it's not 125 times expansion but more like 50 times expansion. Bigger problem: noone knows how to make them ! There are only one tested fast-breeder: BN-600 in Russia. And if you'll take a look on "Important dates":
Quote:

Construction Start: 1.1969
Grid connection: 4.1980
First criticality: 2.1980
Commercial operation: 11.1981
Expected shutdown date: 11.2021

it does not look promising as medim term solution. Still... fast-breeders will have a role in the future. But people must first be desperate enough to build them then have 10 years to actually finish construction! Will it go this way ? Who knows...
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was also mentioned in "High Noon For Natural Gas".
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Joe



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick question: has anyone calculated the total amount of fossil fuel required to build and run a "typical" nuclear plant for it's entire lifespan?
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Totally_Baffled



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

PROVEN Uranium reserves worldwide: about 4 million tons (current consumption rate of U worldwide is 60 000 tons per year => proven reserves at 80-130 $/kgU these proven reserves are enough for 65 years of use at the current consumption rate)

ESTIMATED Uranium reserves worldwide: about 16 million tons (current consumption rate of U worldwide is 60 000 tons per year => proven reserves at 80-130 $/kgU these proven reserves are enough for 265 years of use at the current consumption rate)

NON-CONVENTIONAL Uranium reserves worldwide (i.e. uranium contained in phosphates): an ADDITIONAL 22 million tons (representing an additional 365 years of use)

Uranium dissolved in sea water: about 4 billion tons (but more difficult and costly to retrieve)

Therefore, leaving aside the U in sea water, the total ESTIMATED + NON-CONVENTIONAL uranium reserves are enough for more than 600 years of use at current consumption rate using today's reactors and at a cost less than 80-130$/kg U (about twice today's spot price).

Source NEA/IAEA RED BOOK 2004



Uranium in seawater = 4 billion tonnes. Ok , no one has mastered harvesting it yet, but well see.

Then you have recycling like they do in France.

And then there is Thorium , which is more abundant than Uranium?

Does anyone else find it a bit coincidental that we are running out of everything at the same time?

Oil, gas , coal, uranium, etc etc

Seems a bit simplistic to me. Very Happy
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genoxy



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally_Baffled wrote:


Does anyone else find it a bit coincidental that we are running out of everything at the same time?

Oil, gas , coal, uranium, etc etc

Seems a bit simplistic to me. Very Happy


Well, we're not exactly running out of everything at the same time, but given the scale of industry in the early 21st. century, we do need, apparently, some unrealistic amouts of fuels.

I don't think it's simplistic, I just think it comes to show what an energy-hole we've dug for ourselves, by planning everything to run on non-renewable energy sources.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally_Baffled wrote:
Does anyone else find it a bit coincidental that we are running out of everything at the same time?

That's exponential growth for you... everything appears hunky-dory until a minute before midnight.

More seriously though the uranium reserves argument is not dissimilar to the peak oil argument. The greater than 1 part per 5,000 in hard rock and 10,000 in soft rock is the conventional oil, easy to get at, we know how much is there and it's not enough. The billions of tonnes in sea water are like the billions of 'barrels' tar sands or depending on your level of pessimism the hydrocarbons on Jupiter! Potential, but just as no one is suggesting we can run a country on oil from tan sands (EROEI, natural gas for heating and hydrogen upgrading, environmental arguments), we can't we run one on uranium from sea water.

Those figures are at the present rate of consumption... with nuclear providing something like two and a half percent of global energy. Sure we can continue to use nuclear to generate a very small amount of energy for a long time, however we need a large amount of energy, 10 or 20 times that amount to go someway to displace oil and gas. Those R/P ratios don't look so great divided by 10 or 20, not to mention the 'flow rate'. Can the uranium flow rate be increased form 60,000 tonnes per year to a million tonnes per year?
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Totally_Baffled



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstly. I dont think we should try and replace oil and gas with nuclear.

Realistically the world isn't going to be able to scale it, so any use of nuclear will be part of our 'low(er) energy future'.

But we will need to retain nuclear for some of our electricity supply. In which case the KNOWN uranium reserves are not an issue.

Also , you have to remember there has only been two brief exploration cycles for Uranium. Once in the 50's and again in the 70's.

Uranium until recently has been plentiful (weve been using surplus from weapons for god knows how long, WHY LOOK FOR MORE?) Indeed uranium prices have been very low until recently.

Again given the incredibly incaccurate forecasts for peak oil (how many times wrong over the last 150 years?), any sort of judgement on peak Uranium is a little premature.(given the relatve infancy and small scale compared to oil industry)

As for R/P ratios. May I remind us (politely Smile ) that the R/P ratio for oil 25 years ago was 29 years (1980). I dont think anyone is suggesting no oil will be produced in 2009? Smile
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clv101
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally_Baffled wrote:
As for R/P ratios. May I remind us (politely Smile ) that the R/P ratio for oil 25 years ago was 29 years (1980). I dont think anyone is suggesting no oil will be produced in 2009? Smile

R/P is rubbish - What is it for oil today? 37 years? I don't think anyone sensible is suggesting that 84 million barrels per day will be extracted in 2042! R/P has historically been rubbish for oil since P has always grown and R has always grown even faster giving the impression of an ever improving situation. We can now be reasonably sure that R isn?t going to grow much more, we also know about bell shaped production curves meaning problems occur way before the R/P result.

You're quite right regarding the infancy of uranium exploration compared to oil in terms of how much time/money has been spent on the project. Unfortunately however it's very easy to find high concentration deposits - they are radioactive and can be surveyed from the air. I don?t expect the uranium discovery profile to look anything like the oil discovery profile.

R/P analysis for uranium is more useful since R isn?t likely to grow like it did for oil and P is likely to grow much faster than oil. There?s also no reason to suspect anything other than a bell shaped production curve due to the way the highest concentration ores are mined first.

There should be enough uranium to maintain the current demand ~430 reactors globally for many decades ? there is every indication that that number is going to grow rapidly over the next couple of decades. There?s a very real question mark over whether a the 1000th or 5000th new reactor, switched on in 2020 will be able to be fueled through to 2060. If that is in doubt we should think long and hard about starting to build said reactor in 2010.
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Totally_Baffled



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

You're quite right regarding the infancy of uranium exploration compared to oil in terms of how much time/money has been spent on the project. Unfortunately however it's very easy to find high concentration deposits - they are radioactive and can be surveyed from the air. I don?t expect the uranium discovery profile to look anything like the oil discovery profile.

R/P analysis for uranium is more useful since R isn?t likely to grow like it did for oil and P is likely to grow much faster than oil. There?s also no reason to suspect anything other than a bell shaped production curve due to the way the highest concentration ores are mined first.



Oh there will no doubt be a 'peak uranium' , any resource which is finite will have. I just think that we are a long way from it.

I just think we are in our infancy in exploiting uranium.

With the up and coming economic issues , I suspect the said expansion upto 2020 will be peak 'nuclear build'.(i think it will bring the total to around 600?)

Beyond that I think economics will mean the amount of reactors will stay the same and eventually decline through 2050/60. By then we either have fusion , or we are living extremely low energy lifestyles which don't require much more than the renewables, coal, gas generated electricty we can manage to produce.
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fishertrop



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nuclear Energy Plan Would Use Spent Fuel

By Peter Baker and Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 26, 2006;

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/25/AR2006012502229.html

Quote:

With worldwide energy demands on the rise and U.S. reliance on foreign oil increasing, Bush has held out nuclear power as a solution that will not affect global warming. "We ought to have more nuclear power in the United States of America," Bush said in a speech last week in Loudoun County. "It's clean, it's renewable, it's safer than it ever was in the past."
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WolfattheDoor



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 3:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Nuclear is not renewable - and 'peaks' sooner than you t Reply with quote

By the way, the link for the site:

Quote:
(for reference check http://www.oprit.rug.nl/deenen/


is now http://www.stormsmith.nl/.
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