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TEQs & Nuclear Power
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jo



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:21 am    Post subject: TEQs & Nuclear Power Reply with quote

Funnily enough, Nuclear TEQs would be quite Carbon Intensive, as there is a lot of mopping up to do, which takes "conventional" i.e. Carbon Energy to do that. It's all a bit bungled, Nuclear Power :-

http://www.changecollege.org.uk/html/atomic_bungle.html
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jo



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:10 am    Post subject: Nuclear is not Low Carbon Reply with quote

Yet again, a Government Minister stands up and weaves a tissue of fallacies about Nuclear Power :-

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/homeaffairs/story/0,,2238711,00.html

"Mr Speaker, nuclear power has provided us with safe and secure supplies of electricity for half a century. It is one of the very few proven low-carbon technologies [that] can provide baseload electricity...Nuclear power will help us meet our twin energy challenges - ensuring secure supplies and tackling climate change"

=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=x=

1. Safe ? So, Windscale fires don't count ?
2. Secure ? So, cracked boilers and leaking pumps and significant downtime over the last five years have guaranteed electricity supply is secure ?
3. Low-Carbon technology ? No, not really, as shown by several researchers, including stormsmith.nl - yeah - so one of them's Dutch right, and his report English is not perfect, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know what he's talking about !
4. Proven ? The reason nothing else has been proven is because it hasn't been properly trialled.
5. Tackle Climate Change ? At best, Nuclear can reduce current emissions by a few percent. Given that demand will rise, that doesn't amount to much, does it ?

What we need is to put in place the very reasonable Stable Renewable Grid envisaged by Zero Carbon Britain :-

http://www.zerocarbonbritain.com

Don't talk to me about intermittency when only 3% of the UK's electricity comes from Wind.

Talk to Graham Sinden about how variability can be answered.

We've tried Nuclear and it has given us extra costs - extra energy has had to be expended to sort out problems arising - and extra energy cost means extra Carbon Emissions.

Nuclear is not Carbon Efficient.

If we were permitted to cost it correctly, with all the subsidies, then it would not be Cost Efficient either.

People do not want to spend their Carbon Rations on Nuclear Electricity.
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:47 am    Post subject: Re: Nuclear is not Low Carbon Reply with quote

jo wrote:
People do not want to spend their Carbon Rations on Nuclear Electricity.

Nice Cool
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:32 am    Post subject: Re: Nuclear is not Low Carbon Reply with quote

jo wrote:
1. Safe ? So, Windscale fires don't count ?
2. Secure ? So, cracked boilers and leaking pumps and significant downtime over the last five years have guaranteed electricity supply is secure ?
3. Low-Carbon technology ? No, not really, as shown by several researchers, including stormsmith.nl - yeah - so one of them's Dutch right, and his report English is not perfect, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know what he's talking about !
4. Proven ? The reason nothing else has been proven is because it hasn't been properly trialled.
5. Tackle Climate Change ? At best, Nuclear can reduce current emissions by a few percent. Given that demand will rise, that doesn't amount to much, does it ?


You're not being rational there Jo.

On your points:
1) Safe - nuclear's history has been incredibly safe, unbelievably so. Whether we look at deaths from coal mining, air quality or the CO2 impact from fossil fuel etc. True nuclear has the potential to cause a big problem but nowhere near the scale that fossil fuels have. Hutton is spot on when he say nuclear has provided us with safe electricity.
2) Secure - nuclear's load factor has been the highest from all our installed capacity. Yes the old reactors are old now and increased downtime is to be expected, dispite this the load factor has remained high and historically speaking, as Hutton is, he's again spot on. It's coal that has turned out insecure through miners strikes causing the 3 day week.
3) Low-Carbon technology. Not really? What are you smoking? Nuclear is way lower than coal - it's natural competitor, around an order of magnitude. That counts as low in my book. It's not zero-carbon, nothing is, but it certainly earns the right to call itself "low-carbon".
4) Proven - so you agree with Hutton on this one?
5) Tackle Climate Change - being low-carbon is can tackle climate change. Anything below "average" carbon can tackle climate change. You say "given that demand will rise", why given? How is that relevant to how nuclear can tackle climate change? By saying it can only reduce emissions by a few percent so lets not bother is EXACTLY the same argument people use for not bothering to address climate change. You can't use this argument yourself and at the same time criticise people who use it to justify continuing to drive an inefficient car for example.

I think you are letting your fundamentally anti-nuclear position cloud your judgement, this isn't helpful. We need to be totally rational. I'm also anti-nuclear but you won't see me criticising nuclear on those aspects above

I'm not fully convinced of the nuclear energy debt required to sort out the legacy problems. But I agree that it does not appear cost efficient.

If the anti-nuclear lobby is going to be productive over the next few years it needs to develop strong arguments - I don't believe that includes saying it isn't safe (compared to the damage fossil fuels are doing), saying it isn't secure (compared to the loss of North Sea gas and arguably UK coal), saying it isn't low-carbon (again compared to fossil fuels), saying it isn't proven (look at France, Japan, South Korea...) or saying it can't tackle climate change (it can, just may not be the best way).
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jo



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:02 pm    Post subject: Rational, but Rushed... Reply with quote

Hi clv101,

I guess you're really called Clive (or bizarrely "Carbon Love" ?), and you like to educate people without a clue, hence the "101" part of your login name.

I am being rational, but sadly, I've been too rushed to back up what I claim.

So here goes in terms of what I call the real order of priority :-

a. Carbon Emissions Reductions from Nuclear Power

The Sustainable Development Commission worked out an estimate for Carbon Dioxide Emissions that Nuclear Power displaces : 5 to 12.6%

That figure is for the current fuel mix, which includes "unclean" coal. Given that future power stations burning fossil fuels are mostly going to be running on imported Natural Gas, and if the amount of Nuclear Generation is kept stable by replacing current reactors, the proportion of UK CO2 emissions that Nuclear Power will replace will fall.

http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications/downloads/Nuclear-paper2-reducingCO2emissions.pdf

Friends of the Earth have calculated that even doubling the existing nuclear capacity would only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at most 8%.

http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/nuclear_power_is_not_the_s_09052005.html

My conclusion on this information (and other related work) is that Nuclear Power cannot significantly reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions, even with stable electricity demand going into the future.

It is wrong to sell Nuclear Power on the basis of it "tackling Climate Change". It can't and it won't.

b. Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Nuclear Power

I'm not smoking. I don't smoke. I have been forced to inhale the smoke of others, but not through choice, and I'm not chemically affected this very minute.

If you compare Nuclear Power to Coal, it looks favourable, but it's not Zero Carbon.

If you take into account the full lifecycle Carbon Costs (meaning, Energy and Materials Costs for building, decommissioning, waste disposal, mining, spinning fuel etc), Nuclear Power has non-negligible Carbon Emissions.

If you look into the reports on Storm van Leeuwen and Smith's work, you can find this figure, quoted by the Oxford Research Group :-

http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications/briefing_papers/pdf/t...

Table 4

Coal : 755 (CO2 emissions for energy sources per kilowatt hour, gCO2-e/kWh, grams of Carbon Dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour)

Nuclear (Storm & Smith) : from 84 to 122 (CO2 emissions for energy sources per kilowatt hour, gCO2-e/kWh, grams of Carbon Dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour)

http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications/briefing_papers/pdf/s...

Table on page 12

Coal : 755 gCO2/kWh
Nuclear (Storm and Smith) : 84 - 122 gCO2/kWh
Wind : 11 - 37 gCO2/kWh

The point is that the whole lifecycle analysis puts Nuclear Energy at a disadvantage due to the long, long periods after plant closure where decommissioning and waste disposal require continued energy inputs, hence CO2 outputs :-

http://www.stormsmith.nl/report20071013/partC.pdf

This continued energy input after the plant has stopped producing energy output is the very good reason why their estimate of CO2 emissions is higher than those of other people for Nuclear Power.

c. "Proven" is a Weasel Word

How can Renewable Energy technologies have proved themselves if they have not been given the chance to ?

What I mean is this : the UK has invested heavily, through direct grants and indirect subsidies, in the development of the provision of Energy and Electricity from Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power.

The same opportunities have not been afforded Renewables, even with the Renewables Obligation, the Levy etc.

I don't like Government Ministers using weasel words like this.

When there is a free-thinking Department of Energy, independent of the lobbyists representing outmoded, costly and dirty forms of Energy Engineering, then there will be no more insane talk about Big Nuclear.

d. Energy Security has to survive Plant Lifetime

It is true that all engineering installations have a lifetime - even windmills grow rusty, car engines wear down, coal boilers become coked etc

The point is that the security of Energy supply has to be able to survive the death of power plants - that there should be a Low Carbon way of building new generation capacity when the old plants are proving unreliable and start to die.

The problem with Nuclear Reactors is that when they die, they die big-time - and then it's very, very, insanely costly to build new ones. Plus you have to factor in the decommissioning (big expensive job) and disposal of waste (big expensive job).

In the period between 2003 and 2023 most of the current phase of Nuclear Reactors will have to be closed down, and we have seen how unreliable they are getting in their "old age" - how leaky are their waste storage facilities, etc etc

So, the Nuclear Reactors were fairly Carbon-Lite and productive in infancy, but now they are a liability, and British Energy cannot make money out of them, in effect.

Coal by comparison has remained entirely secure. Coal is cheap to mine, cheap to burn, it's everywhere, just under the soil.

Who cares about British miners ? We can get it from India and South America.

The thing is clv101, my judgement is definitely not clouded.

I studied Nuclear Energy when I was reading for my Physics degree.

Fine in theory. Messy in fact. Like a lot of technologies.

I haven't even begun to address the issues of cost and safety, and already my arguments against the new development of Nuclear Power are powerfully strong.

From the point of view of creating a new energy system, Nuclear Power is a liability, not a boon.
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jo



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Nuclear is not Low Carbon Reply with quote

@Bandidoz

Bandidoz wrote:
jo wrote:
People do not want to spend their Carbon Rations on Nuclear Electricity.

Nice 8)


We are, in effect, living in an Age of Carbon Rights Scarcity.

We have, in effect, an individual Carbon Ration, it's just that it's not formalised yet.

Join me : switch your Electricity Supplier to one that does not source its power from Nuclear !
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clv101
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jo,

Fundamentally I?m on your side, I don?t support new nuclear build anywhere, least of all here. But we need to ensure the arguments are sound. I?m having difficulty with yours.

Btw it?s Chris, not Clive and we met briefly a couple of years ago a climate event somewhere in London.

On carbon emissions, you say Hutton is wrong to refer to nuclear as low carbon. I absolutely disagree. To support your argument you talk about how much of the countries CO2 emissions nuclear can displace, claiming it to be small. This is the wrong way of looking at and I?m disappointed to see someone as clued up as you using it. It?s the same argument that suggests we don?t need to do anything about aviation as it?s only a few percent, or don?t need to do anything about inefficient cars as they are only a few percent. Doubling our nuclear capacity would reduce the country?s emissions by 8%? That?s huge! In reality over the next 40-60 years (life of any new build) is it could be better than that as the gas contribution will fall and coal will rise. This could be offset by growth in renewables though.

You also cite Smith and Storm whilst a valuable contribution it is not without its criticism, their reliance on gaseous diffusion for enrichment for example, their 25% of decommission energy expense is likely high. You must agree it is at the extreme end of the debate. However, even looking at their figure of 84-122g it is still low! As I said above approximately an order of magnitude lower than coal.

So in conclusion I think we have to agree government and industry are right to describe nuclear as low-carbon. Thankfully they aren?t talking about zero carbon anymore but low-carbon is fair.

Proven ? you?re twisting the point. Government say it?s proven. This is correct. The fact that renewables haven?t proved themselves for whatever reason is beside the point. I have every belief renewables work and will make a massive contribution in the future. This doesn?t detract from nuclear?s past performance though.

In terms of energy security, the Government is talking about electricity availability over the medium term. Historically they have performed well it?s reasonable to expect half a dozen new reactors to also perform well. I agree with your points on difficult legacy liabilities, just that isn?t the terms of reference the original quote of ?energy security? was based on. Looking forward we face a situation were the UK is massively dependent on imported energy ? this exposes the country to geo-political energy-security issues, an order of magnitude tighter than nuclear does (days rather than years).

I don?t think nuclear is a good idea ? but CO2 and reliability are not the ways to argue that. Concentration on showing there are alternatives that can improve the supply demand balance in a sustainable way FASTER and CHEAPER than nuclear... and without being vulnerable to sea-level rise. That?s where the anti-nuclear argument will be won.

p.s. you aren?t the only one with a physics degree? Wink
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Adam1



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

clv101 wrote:
You also cite Smith and Storm whilst a valuable contribution it is not without its criticism, their reliance on gaseous diffusion for enrichment for example, their 25% of decommission energy expense is likely high. You must agree it is at the extreme end of the debate. However, even looking at their figure of 84-122g it is still low! As I said above approximately an order of magnitude lower than coal.

So in conclusion I think we have to agree government and industry are right to describe nuclear as low-carbon. Thankfully they aren?t talking about zero carbon anymore but low-carbon is fair.


Will that figure still be true in 20 or 30 years time when the fuel those new reactors are burning will come from much more marginal ore with a very low EROEI?

Also, we are supposed to be making those cuts early on to have the best chance of avoiding a climate tipping point. The potential saving from new nuclear won't start kicking in until the 2020s.

Then there's the issue of the poor management of the UF6, which even though it sublimes at 64C, is still an unknown factor. There is no audit data to show that it is all being managed safely to avoid it gasifying. If left outside in unsealed containers in hotter climates, it could easily reach 64C.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Chris said. Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ballard wrote:
What Chris said. Wink


Ditto that....
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ballard wrote:
What Chris said. Wink


Chris (if I may) I am afraid support from here won't do you any favours with Jo Shocked! but I do applaud your hatchet job on some of the frankly embarrassingly spurious and feeble arguments put forward by anti-nuclear folk.

Can I extrapolate your position a bit further to propose that we'd both be happy with the approach of putting all energy generating technologies on a level playing field (no subsidy, equal tax), ensuring that emitting carbon carries a commercial cost and energy security carries a commercial value, and leaving it to the market to decide what to invest in? If you're right that other technologies offer quicker and more cost-efficient ways of meeting energy needs and reducing carbon emissions, then the market will invest in them rather than nuclear; so there's no need to block nuclear.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:05 am    Post subject: Energy Systems Engineering Crisis Reply with quote

Hello boys !

It's nice to see a small crowd forming in here.

Let me talk about the problems of Big, not just Big Energy.

I'd like to put it to you that our national capacity to successfully complete large engineering projects is severely compromised.

This goes for most large developments - poor workpersonship, budget overruns, late delivery.

Tabloid newspapers are not the only publications to lament and scorn poor performance in building and/or maintaining hospitals, schools, housing developments, public infrastructure projects.

How late will the Olympics facilities be ? How much more expensive ?

It's not just the UK that is having a problem with Big. Many European countries are suffering from Large Failing Public Project Syndrome.

Let me just say, for the record, that a new round of Nuclear Power stations in the UK will also suffer from LFPPS.

Why is it that we cannot do large projects any more without huge concentration of funds and resources and skilled labour, imported if necessary.

How is it that some projects succeed (or appear to). Even the fantastically fabulous new-look St Pancras in London, and the Eurostar Billion-Dollar high speed rail link to the Kent coast had "issues", including fires on-site and last-minute pedantry.

Finland has been trying to build a new Nuclear Power station, and the project is failing. It will happen here too.

Why is this ? Why the white elephant syndrome ?

My personal view is that our social organisation is no longer capable of producing fine works of engineering, that we have become de-skilled, and that outsourcing via layers and layers of sub-contractors with poor attention to their brief have ruined our development abilities.

It is, if you like, a kind of social entropy.

This kind of argument against Big Nuclear is not "embarrassing" or "spurious" - there are neither quality development teams nor sufficient nuclear engineers to man/woman the jobs created.

Why, they even called ME up to ask if I'd like to be a nuclear engineer ! They can't have looked in depth at what I write about the abject failure of Nuclear Power systems engineering in the UK.

The shine has gone off Nuclear Power. What we're left with is people squabbling in the dirt over how to stop massive leaching from saggy ponds - because nobody's sorted out the permanent disposal systems (or paid for them) yet.

?Nuclear power has been subsidised for fifty years. The history, the evidence of nuclear power in this country, is poor performance and expense.? Dr Catherine Mitchell, Warwick Business School, former government energy adviser, BBC2 Newsnight 16th May 2005

If you can't face the facts about Nuclear Power, I'll have to leave you in your padded cells with those up-cast tearful eyes, praying for a Fission Rennaissance.

You genuiunely believe, don't you ? Well, I've got some sordid news for you : the public purse will not be able to cough up to support new Nuclear by clearing up sites and waste, because of the Carbon Crunch from Peak Energy, which will destroy our Economy, so the wise choice is not to start with new Nuclear.

Yeah, let's have a level playing field for all energy technologies - but only AFTER the new Renewables have received the same level of funding/investment/subsidy/support that Nuclear Power and Fossil Fuels have always received.

New infrastructure always requires new investment.

We need to decarbonise. Nuclear is a mess. We'd better drop it and move on to truly renewable and sustainable energy systems.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:31 am    Post subject: Nuclear : Large Spend : Little Gain Reply with quote

@clv101

Hi Chris,

Don't you remember me ? The pompous, podgy twippy in dreadfully baggy non-conformist clothing ?

If you do remember me, then you'll know I'm always right (or at least assert that I am, which from my point of view is the same thing).

So you'll be expecting me to come down like a ton of bricks right now.

You say :-
"Doubling our nuclear capacity would reduce the country?s emissions by 8%? That?s huge!"

The major question is here : How large are the Carbon Cuts provided for the amount of Cash spent on a particular technology ?

In other words, how much Carbon bang for your buck ?

To put it another way, if people/Government/companies now spend ?30billion on 20 new Nuclear Power stations, would that cause the same kind of Carbon Cuts as spending ?30billion on Renewables ?

Let's look at those Storm/Smith figures again, shall we (said very patronisingly) ?

Coal : 755 gCO2/kWh
Nuclear (Storm and Smith) : 84 - 122 gCO2/kWh
Wind : 11 - 37 gCO2/kWh

Now, I know you do not accept Storm/Smith figures, but there is something very enlightening about their approach.

They point out the very obvious fact that as you start your nu nuclear build you go into Carbon Debt for the first tranche of years until the plant is operational.

It cannot be known whether the plant will ever become operational, or at what efficiency, so the whole approach is Carbon Risky - it risks significantly more Carbon Emissions for the sake of possibly cutting some.

Apart from your couple of technical points about Storm/Smith, can you please explain to me why other, lower estimates of Nuclear Carbon Emissions never seem to factor in decommissioning and disposal of waste ?

And estimates of Carbon Emissions from Renewables are still favourable with any of the other estimates of Nuclear Carbon Emissions.

It is from my point of view, a waste of time, energy, resources and Carbon to go Nu Nuclear. You get less kWh for your euro and probably much more CO2 than Wind Power.

Wind Power works economically, even at the small- to medium-scale end (as long as it's not on your house in an urban area, Mr David Cameron).

Community-scale schemes are able to fund themselves and make handsome profits too.

You can do Wind at any scale you like.

The same cannot be said of Nuclear Power. It's just not flexible.

All this talk of "baseload", that we need a "guaranteed baseload" and that only stalwart, worthy Nuclear can provide it. Well, when a nuclear reactor fails then the stepdown is significant - all that generating power lost in one hit. When a Wind Turbine fails, or the wind dies down in one area, another one will still be whirling somewhere else.

You really ought to read the work by Graham Sinden on the compensation for variability.

You really ought to read up on Zero Carbon Britain (dot com) and our Plan To Take Over The World With Green Electricity Generation.

We love TEQs.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 3:59 am    Post subject: Re: Nuclear : Large Spend : Little Gain Reply with quote

jo wrote:

Let me talk about the problems of Big, not just Big Energy.

I'd like to put it to you that our national capacity to successfully complete large engineering projects is severely compromised.

.........

You can do Wind at any scale you like.


I think much of the malaise with big projects is due to the accountancy and regulation, rather than the engineering itself. Many large projects (e.g. Channel Tunnel) just simply couldn't be done decades ago, so I wouldn't be inclined to say that "engineering has gone to the dogs".

If we built a second Forth bridge today, we'd probably use far less material than the original. However it would probably take a lot longer to build, since we do not allow people to walk around like Manhattan's Flatiron building workers any more...

...and sure enough, the project would over-run, because competitive tendering means that everyone involved has to promise unrealistic estimates of lead time and cost (and this effect propagates through their suppliers).

There is also the marketing paradigm of "people say they want x but won't necessarily buy it when it comes to stumping up the money". That paradigm hurt many companies in the 1980s. Now, suppliers take orders for subsystems that often don't even exist in R&D thus stretching the downstream project delivery times further.

If you think that large, complex systems have no chance of succeeding, then you might as well forget about large-scale penetration of renewable energy; the demand-control systems required to keep the grid stable will be very complex indeed, and it will be a gargantuan task.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keeper of the Flame wrote:
Can I extrapolate your position a bit further to propose that we'd both be happy with the approach of putting all energy generating technologies on a level playing field (no subsidy, equal tax), ensuring that emitting carbon carries a commercial cost and energy security carries a commercial value, and leaving it to the market to decide what to invest in?
On the narow point of level playing fields, I don't think this is really ever possible. With energy sources that involve finite resources the market place is not open to all potential players. Future generations till eternity would need to be represented. What right have we to exclude future generations just because they don't make it to the market in time? Given the opportunity, they might bid up the price of uranium and fossil fuels, making renewables the only economic energy source. To ignore this makes any attempt at levelling the playing field a sham.
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