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New Nuclear Reactors For The UK: Is This Really A Good Idea?
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STG



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam1 wrote:
...


Well the technology for breeders is around quite a long time, but never commercial because it is more costly. And there is enough uranium present for quite some time, so there was never a commercial breaktrough for these types.

The finnish reactor (an EPR) is just a design improvement of a PWR-type. The design has more safety features and trough better understanding of the behaviour of core neutrons, we can get to more efficient use.

But the huge problem with wind, is that it isn't always there (or there at full power). The same goes for solar and tidal. So if you build those, you also have to build back-up. To make this economical you're back-up will need a wide range of load following capacity, so that in the event of a lack of renewables you can adjust power of these facilities. And if you really plan this good, you can couple these systems together to have a rather flexible load following capacity (kinda complicated to explain it here). For pure base load, it's both a waste of economical and natural resources.

And of course the nuclear lobby is jumping on this...the same goes for the wind and solar lobby! But they don't have the bad image...

Look I know nuclear is very very complex (I study it, and after 5 years I still have a couple of years left to learn). Instead of reading a book by an author who never got his paper published in a real scientific magazine (Storm Van Leeuwen), try reading papers or books from people who are a scientific reference. Lamarsch his book "introduction to nuclear engineering" is very good to learn the basics. But I assume there are also others...
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STG wrote:
So if you build those, you also have to build back-up. To make this economical you're back-up will need a wide range of load following capacity, so that in the event of a lack of renewables you can adjust power of these facilities.

The depletion of fossil fuels, and low availability of biomass, mean that this simply won't happen. It's "demand-influenced-supply" paradigm thinking. To gracefully escape the problem of electricity balancing with high renewables penetration we need to get into the "supply-influenced-demand" paradigm thinking, using intelligent demand control.
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STG



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bandidoz wrote:
STG wrote:
So if you build those, you also have to build back-up. To make this economical you're back-up will need a wide range of load following capacity, so that in the event of a lack of renewables you can adjust power of these facilities.

The depletion of fossil fuels, and low availability of biomass, mean that this simply won't happen. It's "demand-influenced-supply" paradigm thinking. To gracefully escape the problem of electricity balancing with high renewables penetration we need to get into the "supply-influenced-demand" paradigm thinking, using intelligent demand control.


That's an "intelligent" way of saying: No source, No power. Learn to live with it....

But economics and society don't work like that!
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21st_century_caveman



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It used to annoy me that those on the pro-nuclear side of the debate would continously accuse people on the anti side of being irrational etc etc, when there seemed to be plenty of rational reasons for being against nuclear.
It seems this debate is very similar to other debates such as global warming (or any debate really) where everyone seems to interpret the data to fit there own preconceptions whatever they may be.
I've seen plenty of very good reasons for nuclear and an equal number that persuade me against nuclear, therefore i will have to declare that i cannot use the rational part of my mind to decide this one.
Since when did humans use only the rational mind to decide things anyway? (alright when doing science or engineering you have to), however in the rest of life you use other faculties of mind such as intuition (i've used a fair bit that in engineering too when designing things) and morality to decide things, the only people that work entirely rationally are psychopaths and people with pathalogical personalities and we tend have very dim view of those kinds of people becasue they dont consider other people and end up harming them.

So i will just go ahead and say it, to me nuclear just doesnt seem like a good idea, call it intuition or whatever you like, its going in the wrong direction, taking power (both kinds) away from people and centralising it.
Then theres the moral aspect, it seems very much immoral to me to burden future generations with piles of rotting nuclear waste possibly being washed away by the sea.

Thats just my outlook on it.
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mikepepler
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STG wrote:
That's an "intelligent" way of saying: No source, No power. Learn to live with it....

But economics and society don't work like that!

Which is why they will break - because they don't work in the paradigm we're heading into. Demand management is essential, and will be achieved in an orderly fashion, or a disorderly fashion - take your pick...
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clv101
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STG wrote:
That's an "intelligent" way of saying: No source, No power. Learn to live with it....

But economics and society don't work like that!

Don't understand. "learn to live with it..." is a good thing! Of course, learning to live with it mean minimising the hardship of being without power, ie not minding or evening noticing.

What do you mean by economics and society don't work like that? I'd like to have pay less for my electricity in exchange for a say a 5amp limit at peak times.
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STG



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all: there doesn't exist such a thing as rotting piles of nuclear waste. It's metalic waste which means it won't rot away. Second the waste decays, so in a limited amount of time the waste is just new material. And technologies are being developed to speed up this decay with specialised nuclear reactors. The biggest problem of the waste are minor actinides (Americium, Curium, Plutonium, Neptunium, Protactinium), they have a long lifetime. But they also have a high energy content. So ways are investigated to separate them from the waste and use them in specialised nuclear reactors. So in the end you get a controllable amount of waste, which decays in a controllable timeframe. And only a small fraction will end up in a final disposal site. The concept of final disposal is also not that strange: there exist such a thing like natural reactors:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_nuclear_fission_reactor

Where nature showed us that it can contain the waste.

Society wants to keep it's luxury, or at least a high degree of living standard. When you want to give up some, the green scheme works. Otherwise you'll run into trouble.

For the economics side: If we start doing such demand side management strategies, other countries who don't give a damn will take over the loss of production capacity. And at that point your society will collaps, which isn't beneficial for the environment.
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're still missing the point.

Having intelligent demand controls means that our society will be better prepared for fossil-energy-descent. Those societies that don't will have to tolerate frequent unplanned rolling blackouts without notice - see "Olduvai Theory" in my signature.

...and check out this article about the unplanned blackouts in Bangladesh:

http://www.powerswitch.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3015

Quote:
After a day of Ramadan fasting, nothing to drink, no food and no smoking, they had gathered in the mosques where they would have to stand for an hour and a half of ritual.

The only relief from the wet heat was the fans overhead.

And when they stuttered to a halt, grumbling resentment about the daily hours of power cuts turned to rage.

Crowds gathered in the streets.

They smashed and burned the local electricity substations.

Control rooms of the power distribution company were attacked, the metal panels kicked to pieces, the dials and switches broken. And when the police arrived some of their vehicles were destroyed too.

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STG



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No I'm not missing the point...

and substations are only groups of transformer coils...no generating capacity, so I don't see your point.

You are thinking in terms of fossil fuel is fueling nuclear, and a shortage of nuclear fuel.

Both are very untrue, I studied the original Storm Van Leeuwen article and there are some misconceptions in it which make their conclusion very doubtfull. And the data about breeding technology is very complex, so when I say you have to believe me please do...because I can't explain it. But if you have acces to scientific literature, I would suggest reading articles from Dr.Manheimer and MSR (Molten Salt Reactor) related articles.

Furthermore they are only considering LWR technology, while new near-deployment technologies are available. And when you do a long term investigation, you have to take these into account. These also include new high temperature reactors which can convert agriculture waste (or easy available biomass) into fuel or water into hydrogen, making it easier to shift from current day oil driven economy to a hydrogen/biomass driven economy. Furthermore it are small modular units, making them easy to deploy. This combined with smart usage of solar, wind and tidal could give a very good energy mix. And I know I'm thinking in supply side management....But that's the only way you can make sure your grid holds, because there are lots of limits to demand side management. And one of these limits is the unpredictability of people!
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STG wrote:
I don't see your point.

The point is that societies react very badly to unplanned outages. They deal with planned outages (rationing) in a far more positive manner.

STG wrote:
You are thinking in terms of fossil fuel is fueling nuclear, and a shortage of nuclear fuel.

Wrong again. At no point have I implicated nuclear's dependencies on fossil fuels (even though that's an issue in its own right).

Reports on the WNA (World Nuclear Association) website indicate severe limitations in the ability of Uranium suppliers to increase their rate of production ("flow") in the coming years.

If you look at DTI statistics, you'll see that only 6% of the UK's primary energy demand is provided by nuclear fission. The majority of the UK's energy demand is met by fossil fuels.

Now, in case it has escaped your observation, the primary subject material of this forum is Peak Oil. Closely related is the depletion of other fossil fuels. What this means (in case you haven't noticed) is that the post-peak flow (supply) reduction of fossil fuels will no longer be able to match demand, therefore the demand-influenced-supply paradigm of fossil fuels will no longer exist. I doubt very much that increases of renewables and nuclear electricity generation capacity will be enough to offset the fossil fuel depletion, hence we will be forced into a paradigm of supply-controlled-demand for primary energy.

It therefore follows that the same paradigm-shift will apply to the balancing of the electricity grid. This is far more serious than the case for primary energy, because the primary fuels can be stored in large quantities. That is not the case for electricity. Yes we can use pumped storage and compressed air. However their impact is small, controlling supply will no longer be an option, so the only way of maintaining balance will be to control demand.
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STG



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see any benifit in planning outages...and I hardly see how you can manage an outage with wind or solar. It's like sun down => grid down and same for wind. And rationing energy usage doesn't fit into the liberal market the EU is making us follow. It's more a socialistic (communistic even) way of thinking. Not that I have a problem with socialistic thinking, but most people have!

And have you actually read my text: It mentions HTR reactors which can generate so called "bio-crude" and produce this primary energy, with their waste heat! And those HTR's can also run on plutonium...So with these reactors the supply decrease of oil can be halted by a supply increase of nuclear produced oil. Keeping the market in balance to shift towards a hydrogen economy (which as far as I know is the only alternative!)

And I must agree that suppliers probably will have trouble to increase there flow in the following years, this will put a halt on the growth of nuclear generating (and also non-electrical) capacity. Therefor I am in favor for breeder technology which can convert tailing wastes such as thorium and uranium-238. These wastes are therefor "saved" and not like environmentalist say "forgotten". And the amount of plutonium necessary for this, we already have!

I know this forum is about peak oil, but it's like more about overall energy production. Otherwise wind and solar don't belong here, because they can not generate an oil equivalent like nuclear. Luckily they can play a role in the hydrogen economy.
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STG wrote:


That's an "intelligent" way of saying: No source, No power. Learn to live with it....

But economics and society don't work like that!


err, not quite. Less source, more-expensive power, more like. Or, less source, less-reliable power. People get used to working round things, after all if you know a road is congested (resource not available) and you possibly can, you travel some other route or some other time. If I know good clothes are cheaper in January, that's when I buy. Heavy users of electricity already do this, farmers and builders have to work their plans round bad weather, perhaps it's time for the rest of us to treat our resources a bit more intelligently, it needn't lead to a hard life.

The addition of nuclear power into our electricity mix does NOT make the grid more reliable: in fact the National Grid company, in their calculations of margins (total capacity minus demand) have to factor in the biggest single source of electric power in the UK (i.e. the biggest possible power drop should it fail): Sizewell (nuclear) power station.
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STG



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RenewableCandy wrote:

The addition of nuclear power into our electricity mix does NOT make the grid more reliable: in fact the National Grid company, in their calculations of margins (total capacity minus demand) have to factor in the biggest single source of electric power in the UK (i.e. the biggest possible power drop should it fail): Sizewell (nuclear) power station.


Well that is because the UK has rather bad margins at the moment. And normally for a nuclear power plant you have to obey the 10% rule of thumb. That's why I'm against the EPR and in favour for the AP-1000.

And in France they use lots of nuclear...is there grid less reliable?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STG wrote:

And in France they use lots of nuclear...is there grid less reliable?


No it's not, but that's because they have many more options than the UK does for the import and export of electric energy. This makes balancing much easier, and failure much less likely. It is also its own argument for the UK not increasing our nuclear share: France has already moved to provide a large part of the baseload for Europe, and nuclear isn't agile enough to provide anything but baseload.
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STG



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="RenewableCandy"]
STG wrote:

France has already moved to provide a large part of the baseload for Europe, and nuclear isn't agile enough to provide anything but baseload.


Well France is indeed supplying lots of base load capacity to neighbouring countries. But nuclear is capable of providing load following capacity, be it less with lesser efficiency...The French invented so called "grey" control rods for this.

The base load scenario is more an economic consequence then a technical one...
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