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Uranium shortage poses threat
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clv101
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal wrote:
Quote:
enso wrote
run out of (affordable?) fuel before they reach the end of their operating life and be stuck with a load of redioactive waste we can't deal with in a low energy, bankrupt nation.


My nightmare too. That's one of the reasons that I'm completely against nuclear. Another is that our government and civil service couldn't organise a pissup in a brewery, so when the energy does run out we would still be stuck with dozens of festering piles of radioactive concrete and steel from the last lot.


Urm, what do you think is happening today to the ex-Soviet reactors that were built in the 60s? They are at end of life, there are at least ten times as many as in the UK and the UK decommission bill was ?56bn last I heard. The ex-Soviet states aren't spending anything like that amount so ether we are doing something unnecessary or they aren't doing something that is necessary.

The funny think about the nuclear industry, is that a lot of the horror stories we hear have already happened. See the rotting ex-Soviet nuclear fleet, spent fuel rod sitting naked on the sea bed in Barents etc. I'm not too worried about the radiation and contamination of a defunked nuclear industry in the future. Don?t forget there have been over 2000 nuclear bombs detonated on the planet over the last 60 years and there are more of us hear than ever before. Plenty of other more worrying things to think about.



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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last I heard he Russians were encapsulating their old reactor in concrete and leaving them, but they have a far greater land area than we have. They can just move away from them.
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Blue Peter



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:

I'm not too worried about the radiation and contamination of a defunked nuclear industry in the future.


Is this a change of position by you, Chris? If so, could you elaborate on your reasons for making that change?


Peter.
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
Don?t forget there have been over 2000 nuclear bombs detonated on the planet over the last 60 years
...and most of them have been detonated underground
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clv101
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blue Peter wrote:
clv101 wrote:

I'm not too worried about the radiation and contamination of a defunked nuclear industry in the future.


Is this a change of position by you, Chris? If so, could you elaborate on your reasons for making that change?


Peter.

Not really - I think nuclear is a stupid idea for a whole host of reasons but I don't buy into the radiation horror stories. At worst tens of miles of no-go areas around several hundreds of sites globally. That's absolutely nothing compared to the land lost by a meter of sea level rise. I think we need to get a little perspective regarding the quantitative dangers of radiation associated with the nuclear industry and not push it as a convenient ?popular? anti-nuclear argument.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandidoz wrote:
clv101 wrote:
Don?t forget there have been over 2000 nuclear bombs detonated on the planet over the last 60 years
...and most of them have been detonated underground

For sure, but lots weren?t and those that were underground were only a few hundred meters underground. Whatever the future holds, I?m sure we?ll be able to dump the remains of the nuclear industry a few hundred meters underground to not vastly greater impact than the previous nuclear testing.
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Blue Peter



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:


Not really - I think nuclear is a stupid idea for a whole host of reasons but I don't buy into the radiation horror stories. At worst tens of miles of no-go areas around several hundreds of sites globally. That's absolutely nothing compared to the land lost by a meter of sea level rise. I think we need to get a little perspective regarding the quantitative dangers of radiation associated with the nuclear industry and not push it as a convenient ?popular? anti-nuclear argument.


I must admit that I thought that your position was that nuclear was an industry only suited to rich countries and that since we were likely to be looking to a poorer future, then it wouldn't match our coming circumstances. I had probably assumed that you saw this mismatch in terms of radiation problems, i.e. that in the future we wouldn't be able to afford to look after nuclear properly, so that there would be leaks, inappropriate disposal of waste etc. But are your concerns, then, more along the "it just won't work in a poor economy" line? or nuclear proliferation concerns? or have I misunderstood rather more?


Peter.


Last edited by Blue Peter on Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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clv101
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter, Ah yes! Well remembered, I have said something along those lines in the past. My point then was that only growth in the UK economy has enabled the 1970-80s era fleet to be decommissioned. Had we asked the economy of the past to pay the current bills it couldn?t hope to. If in the future we aren?t going to be richer than the past (likely) then we won?t be able to afford the decommission.

My supplemental position today is that not being able to do a gold plated job of decommission isn?t as catastrophic as some make out. Sure it?s undesirable but not the end of the world, and whatever problems we have coming are already on their way from the existing industry. Not much we can do about that now, hindsight it would have been better had we never dabbled in nuclear power but we did and now have to live with it. The marginal problems of additional nukes at this stage are pretty small.

My stance on nuclear today is mainly that it?s simply bad value ? there are better things to do for the money on both supply and demand side. The first ?30bn we throw at this problem should be spent on conservation, offshore wind and marine energy not nuclear.

Jerome has an article on nuclear power from the French point of view at The Oil Drum at the moment:
A review of the underlying fundamentals of nuclear energy
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
I?m sure we?ll be able to dump the remains of the nuclear industry a few hundred meters underground to not vastly greater impact than the previous nuclear testing.
I don't believe it's as straightforward as that. There's a world of difference between an underground test and burying many tonnes of intermediate level waste.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandidoz wrote:
clv101 wrote:
I?m sure we?ll be able to dump the remains of the nuclear industry a few hundred meters underground to not vastly greater impact than the previous nuclear testing.
I don't believe it's as straightforward as that. There's a world of difference between an underground test and burying many tonnes of intermediate level waste.


You think? I'm yet to be convinced.
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Blue Peter



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
Jerome has an article on nuclear power from the French point of view at The Oil Drum at the moment:
A review of the underlying fundamentals of nuclear energy


Yes, I've read Jerome's article. I wondered if that and your change of position were connected.

If I understand it correctly, nuclear could be seen as a reasonable approach if you imagine that we'll somehow move to a smaller, yet similar, economy. In such an economy, you need something to provide base-load electricity. It's not going to be oil or gas, and coal has very bad global warming implications, so it has to be nuclear.

I guess that I can't really see this managed transition to a mini-me economy. I don't think that complicated systems work like that,


Peter.
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Adam1



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not as optimistic as Chris about how future decommissioning will work out here in the UK. Comparing the situation in the former Soviet Union with the situation in a few decades here:

1 The UK has a tiny land mass/high population density relative to the FSU (this point was made above) we can't relocate very far from a comprimised nuclear site.

2 Our nuclear facilities and many of those over the water in France are on coastal sites, some/most (?) of which are at sea level. As sea levels rise and climate change exacerbating extreme weather events take their toll, keeping the sites secure will require a lot of energy intensive construction.

3 The FSU is currently energy-rich, we will be energy poor.

4 Things haven't been so bad so far in the FSU but there's plenty of time yet for a disaster to unfold.

5 I have no confidence that our record of nuclear safety and competent management is any better than in the FSU - maybe I'm wrong here.

That said, this is not the main reason why I am against more nuclear build. As Chris says, there are much better ways to spend the money, plus, the quantity of EROEI-positive uranium, combined with the growth in nuclear elsewhere means that the fuel will 'run out' before the end of the service life of the stations.
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Totally_Baffled



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think for once , I am going to be brave and change my view on an issue.

I have now been convinced (by mainly arguments on this board and from my own reading) that nuclear power is NOT worth persuing.

Although I dont think uranium supply will be an issue, and I think the UK could physically build them , I do now have to accept that actually they do represent very bad value for money.

I now fully accept that actually, if we spent tens of billions on wave/wind/conservation/limited bio fuels/methanol/ethanol from sugar etc etc etc I would be more confident of acheiving much imporoved energy security and sustainability.

Also , I just cannot justify to myself the waste management issue. Ok, we could build a UK "Yucca mountain", but the cost would be unacceptable and could do much further good in the wave/wind areas.

One of the things that I notice is that in debates people very rarely change their view. So with that in mind , I am not going to be one of those people and declare that I no longer support nuclear power. Its simply too complex for our future society to maintain, and we are more likely to get a better result from throwing everything we have at renewable/sustainable energy sources.

You can give me stick if you want Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well the way the energy provision market in the UK is looking, I think we are more likely to see a flood of companies into the ESCO (Energy Services Company) sector, providing sustainable/renewable localised solutions to individual organisations and communities on private distribution networks.

I don't think that the big utilities have the confidence to build a new generation of nuclear power stations. Already RWE Npower, to name but one utility, is concentrating its efforts on the Energy Services market.

This approach should also take the strain off the grid, and compensate at a local level for declining national generation facilities.
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Aurora



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally_Baffled wrote:

I now fully accept that actually, if we spent tens of billions on wave/wind/conservation/limited bio fuels/methanol/ethanol from sugar etc etc etc I would be more confident of acheiving much imporoved energy security and sustainability.


I tend to agree with Dr Bakhtiari, the recently retired senior adviser for the National Iranian Oil Company about some of the alternative fuels:

Quote:
Ethanol and biodiesel are simply not sustainable. For every litre of ethanol, between three and four litres of water is needed to produce it. Sugar cane is the best option. ?That is what the Brazilians are doing today. With sugar cane, you need one square kilometre of cane to produce 3,800 barrels of ethanol a year. It is not easy and it is inefficient".
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