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Subsidies for nuclear
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:09 pm    Post subject: Subsidies for nuclear Reply with quote

Energy Minister Hayes opens mouth again

Quote:
The nuclear industry could get subsidies from the taxpayer to build new reactors, the new energy minister has said, despite opposition in the coalition agreement and repeated assurances to the contrary.

John Hayes told MPs on Thursday that new nuclear power would not receive specific government subsidy but could be eligible if other forms of electricity generation also benefited from the scheme.

The Conservative minister's admission during energy questions in the House of Commons appears to back up a long-held suspicion that the government's proposed scheme to offer a guaranteed minimum price for new low-carbon energy to encourage companies to build new capacity known as Contracts for Difference would become a backdoor subsidy for the expensive nuclear industry.

In reply to a question from the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, Simon Hughes, Hayes said: "Let me be crystal clear there will be no direct payment, no market support for electricity supplied or capacity provided by a private-sector nuclear operator, unless similar support is also made available more widely to other types of generation."

His reply was seized on by the Green party MP, Caroline Lucas, who said: "A subsidy is still a subsidy, even if it is given to others."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/01/nuclear-reactors-subsidies-minister
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clv101
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really don't see the problem here. If we are to provide public subsidy for low-carbon electricity generation then nuclear operators are every bit as eligible as their carbon footprint allows.

Folks painting this as a 'nuclear subsidy' are just playing politics.
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PS_RalphW



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it is a straight cat fight for limited tax subsidies between nuclear and wind, with the energy minister publicly declaring for nuclear and against wind.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
I really don't see the problem here. If we are to provide public subsidy for low-carbon electricity generation then nuclear operators are every bit as eligible as their carbon footprint allows.

Folks painting this as a 'nuclear subsidy' are just playing politics.


The point is that the government has previously very clearly stated that there would be no subsidy for nuclear. It is a mature technology that should be able to stand on it's own two feet by now.

Renewables are newer technologies that may need to be subsidised during the period that the industry is scaled up.

There are other reasons why renewables might deserve subsidy as well but each must be looked at on it's own merits. Low CO2 emissions is only one of several factors.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
clv101 wrote:
I really don't see the problem here. If we are to provide public subsidy for low-carbon electricity generation then nuclear operators are every bit as eligible as their carbon footprint allows.

Folks painting this as a 'nuclear subsidy' are just playing politics.


The point is that the government has previously very clearly stated that there would be no subsidy for nuclear. It is a mature technology that should be able to stand on it's own two feet by now.

Yes, they have said no 'nuclear subsidy', but I don't read that to mean a nuclear power station isn't eligible for non-nuclear related subsidies. They should still be eligible for low-CO2 subsidies, as they should be eligible for subsidised apprenticeships for workforce training for example. So, no special nuclear subsidises, but that doesn't mean they aren't eligible for other stuff.[/quote]

biffvernon wrote:
Renewables are newer technologies that may need to be subsidised during the period that the industry is scaled up.

This point is getting harder to argue with regard to wind power. Wind is a very mature technology delivering double digit percentage supply in many countries now. One could argue that 4th Gen, fast breeder, thorium etc nuclear technologies are the immature technologies warranting subsidies. (Note, I'm not proposing this!)

biffvernon wrote:
There are other reasons why renewables might deserve subsidy as well but each must be looked at on it's own merits. Low CO2 emissions is only one of several factors.

Agreed, there are lots of factors - but regarding CO2 I believe nuclear should be eligible. What if it's not even a subsidy? Would you say a high carbon tax (making low-CO2 generation much more economic against coal and gas) is also a nuclear subsidy?

There are many reasons not to like nuclear power - but I don't think we do ourselves any favours by not admitting that nuclear is a low-carbon source of energy and should be treated as such.
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JohnB



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be interesting if all the energy sources were compared to a checklist of permaculture ethics and principles, and were subsidised (if necessary) on ethics, people care and long term sustainability, as well as carbon emissions.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be more than interesting, it would be a Good Thing. Though clv101 is quite right - it's just politics.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If carbon taxes were worldwide we might find that nuclear became too expensive as the carbon used in mining and processing the fuel came into context. That might promote the design of electrical trucks, trolley trucks working off an overhead wire for their climb out of the mine and batteries for loading and unloading. Should I patent that idea? The digging equipment is already electric, I think.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
If carbon taxes were worldwide we might find that nuclear became too expensive as the carbon used in mining and processing the fuel came into context.


Aha! Someone else gets it.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
kenneal - lagger wrote:
If carbon taxes were worldwide we might find that nuclear became too expensive as the carbon used in mining and processing the fuel came into context.


Aha! Someone else gets it.


Nuclear clearly isn't zero-carbon, nothing really is. But even considering the conventional mining operations, it's still 'low-carbon'. There are many sticks to legitimately bash nuclear with, but carbon just isn't one of them.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
emordnilap wrote:
kenneal - lagger wrote:
If carbon taxes were worldwide we might find that nuclear became too expensive as the carbon used in mining and processing the fuel came into context.


Aha! Someone else gets it.


Nuclear clearly isn't zero-carbon, nothing really is. But even considering the conventional mining operations, it's still 'low-carbon'. There are many sticks to legitimately bash nuclear with, but carbon just isn't one of them.


No, but the point is, nuclear is treated - that is, bandied about in the media thus lodged in the public consciousness - as if it is CO2-and-equivalent-free, when it quite obviously is not, as you say.

It's a point which, facing overwhelming odds, cannot be repeated enough.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
No, but the point is, nuclear is treated - that is, bandied about in the media thus lodged in the public consciousness - as if it is CO2-and-equivalent-free, when it quite obviously is not, as you say.

It's a point which, facing overwhelming odds, cannot be repeated enough.


I don't think that's the issue. By that metric, wind turbines with their hundreds of tonnes of steel (iron ore mined, smelted with coal etc.) shipped half way around world aren't close to CO2-and-equivalent-free.

Anyone suggesting wind and solar are CO2 free has to also accept nuclear is similarly CO2 free. The fact is nothing is CO2 free so the best we can do is categorise things as low, or high CO2. In this case burning fossil fuels as the primary source of energy is high CO2 and harnessing wind, water, atomic fission is low CO2 (even though the infrastructure used some fossil fuels).
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The notice on the gate of our nearby windfarm says that the turbines payback the CO2 produced in manufacturing in about six months. I've no idea what the time is for nuclear but I suspect it is longer.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This article has some interesting numbers:
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf11.html

Suggests nuclear's input energy as a percentage of lifetime output is in the same ballpark as wind, a few percent. A 2006 Vestas turbine is listed at 2.8% (6 months would equate to a 36 year life time) so roughly in line with the sign on the gate. Nuclear would be similar - months of its ~40 year life time.

Also gives gCO2/kWh, coal and gas around 900 and 500 respectively, nuclear and wind 22 and 29.

On the carbon or EROEI metric, nuclear is okay, as good as renewables. Whenever people attack nuclear on these grounds I feel they are playing politics and not sticking to the data. Which is a shame as there are many legitimate ways to criticise nuclear.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's Natalie Bennett being political about John Hayes

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/natalie-bennett/john-hayes-green-party-natalie-bennett-wind-farms_b_2059142.html
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