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Ringhals: unforeseen risks

by DoDo Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 04:58:40 PM EST

On 10 May 2011, during the power-up after a maintenance shutdown, there was a fire in Reactor No. 2 of the Ringhals Nuclear Plant (which houses four of Sweden's ten active reactors). Today (1 April), the reactor has been down for a full year, costing operator Vattenfall over €300 million. Berlin's left-alternative daily taz reviews the reasons:

  • The fire was caused by a vacuum cleaner that was left behind during a routine maintenance stop and short-circuited during the pressure test, burning all the plastic around it within the containment.
  • The human error was a result of being in a hurry: the power-up of the reactor was brought forward compared to the original schedule.
  • During the repairs, workers found litter in the piping of the emergency cooling system, enough to throttle it 15%.
  • It was found that the litter rested there undiscovered since the early eighties.
  • The reason for the lack of discovery was that the routine functionality test of the emergency cooling system was done with compressed air instead of water and there were no visual checks inside the piping.
  • Checking further, the oversight authority found inadequate tests used for vents, too.
  • Improper testing is apparently a widespread problem. In the 2006 incident at the Forsmark Nuclear Plant, the faultiness of the automatic startup of the emergency generators wasn't discovered because the generator's functionality was always tested manually.

(As far as I can see, none of this was covered on ET before, only implicitly in an askod comment.)

These problems underline my problem with the view that we could and should evaluate nuclear power with a risk/benefit analysis: there are just too many overlooked, unexpected failure modes with potential safety relevance to do a calculation that won't significantly underestimate the risk side.


Here is the one article in English I found on the vacuum cleaner, from last November:

'Vacuum cleaner' behind Swedish nuke plant fire - The Local

The fire broke out when performing a pressure test of the reactor's containment on May 10. Someone forgot to remove a wet vacuum cleaner from the premises, which then caught on fire.

"Those items aren't supposed to be left in the containment, when testing," said energy company Vattenfall's nuclear power head Peter Gango to SVT.

"It was a human error, and those shouldn't occur in our power plants."

Display:
The article also mentions that Sweden's environment minister is fed up with the stream of bad news (the oversight authority will present its finaly report on the review of all Swedish reactors only in October) and is threatening the withdrawal of operating permits.

Do you have any deeper details in Swedish?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 05:02:15 PM EST
April Fools? Wet vacuum cleaner?

NO? then i guess we're all april fools.

C'mon Deutschland, get it right, we can do this. (But i'm betting it won't be done right.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaďs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 05:12:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of Germany, the Brokdorf nuclear plant was shut down on 28 March after the discovery of broken fixing springs on fuel rods in a storage pool, so that the rods in the reactor be checked for broken fixing springs, too. I'm not sure if this is safety-relevant (the springs are there only to compensate for heat dilatation), but the fact that the rods with the broken springs were unused throws up some questions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 05:34:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Technology is complicated. I'm the first one to recognize where windpower needs to improve, and we have accidents as well.

Just a few days ago, one of the brand new Vestas V112s burned in Germany, electrical fire likely.

But there's something different both quantitatively and qualitatively about a wind turbine failing. Know what i'm sayin'?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaďs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 05:57:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure if this is safety-relevant

Brokdorf has had problems for a long time with fuel rods losing their form. This is very much safety-relevant, because it may affect a reactor scram. Now we know that the rods can't be properly fixed, and this may well be the reason. Very safety-relevant, probably.

by Katrin on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 06:54:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice catch, Katrin.

And in the article is a screen shot showing electricity production during that period, where wind and solar (with biogas storage) served over 50% of Germany.

(Left: Actual Generation      Right: Planned Generation)

Step by step the renewable future is being proven.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaďs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:04:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's nice to see that something I banged about on a theoretical level (thinking it may come to pass in decades...) actually works: wind+solar with comparable capacities combine to something resembling the diurnal (and annual) variation of consumption on average. On a related issue, a recent article on the economic unviability of a pumping storage power plant pointed at the merit order effect of solar as cause.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 09:00:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While the day shown was exceptional, here is another news on the whole of 2011: CO2 emissions by the 1640 plants which have to participate in emissions trading (who together emit about half of Germany's CO2 emissions) fell 1% vs. 2010. That while the economy grew 3% and several nuclear plants were shut down and closed after Fukushima. The combined 450 million tons of CO2 were below the 452.8-million-ton limit – which to me indicates that cap-and-trade is not necessarily the fastest possible way of emissions reductions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Apr 4th, 2012 at 10:35:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm. If the heat dilatation of the rods results in bending, then that may be a serious safety-relevant problem whether the springs are broken or not. Where exactly are the eight springs on the rods?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 09:06:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The key passage from your source:

Es gibt seit ein paar Jahren Handhabungsprobleme beim Ent- und Beladen der Brennelemente. Ursächlich hierfür sind Brennelementverformungen. Diese haben zu tun mit steifigkeitsbeeinflussenden Designmerkmalen der Brennelemente, so die Antwort auf meine kleine Anfrage.There's been handling problems during the loading and unloading of fuel rods for a few years now. This was caused by fuel rod deformations. These have to do with the stiffness-influencing design characteristics of the fuel rods, so the answer to my small inquiry.

Huh? I interpret that as implying permament deformations!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 09:11:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When it comes to the threath of withdrawing the license, it won't happen. Ek, the environment minister is from the Center party (rural, farmers) that once (around 1980) had nuclear abolition as a main plattform. They are also hovering around the 4% limit in the polls.

In the same coalition is Folkpartiet (liberal) that is the only party advocating building more nuclear (they are also pretty close to 4%).

But in reality, the nuclear policy in Sweden is ten reactors, as a result of a deal between Soc-dems (pro nuclear), Center party (anti-nuclear) and Vänsterpartiet (left of soc-dems, anti-nuclear) with what I see as tacit agreement of Moderaterna (EPP, pro nuclear). For Moderaterna and Socialdemokraterna this removes a question that made it hard for either to govern last time around (1976-1982 saw four governments), and closing Barsebäck was not that high a price.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:03:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
(the oversight authority will present its finaly report on the review of all Swedish reactors only in October)

Huh? You mean Sweden won't keep to the EU deadline of June 2012 for the ENSREG stresstest?

by Nomad on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 05:42:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thi si what I find at SSM:

Swedish report on national stress tests submitted to the European Union - News - SSM

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has now submitted the Swedish national report on stress tests of nuclear power plants in Sweden to the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG).

All EU Member States having nuclear power plants must report their respective results from stress testing to ENSREG, the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group, by 31 December 2011.

Today, on 29 December, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority submitted the Swedish national report. The Authority's assessment of Swedish nuclear power plants' stress testing was published in connection with a press conference held on 16 December.

Stress tests - Start - SSM

A specially appointed group of international experts, a `peer review team', is currently reviewing the respective countries' reports.
On 25 April 2012, the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) will present the results from these reviews in an integrated report covering all the countries.

Appears to be a different report due in October. SSM handles all kinds of things concerning nuclear power.

More info on Ek's blog:

Kärnkraftverken måste hålla hög säkerhetsnivå - Lena Ek bloggar Nuclear power plants must maintain a high level of security - Ek blogs
Kärnkraft är en farlig industri och jag har som miljöminister ansvaret för lagstiftningen och Strålskyddsmyndigheten sorterar under Miljödepartementet. I oktober ska SSM rapportera den långsiktiga utredningen om säkerheten på svenska kärnkraftverk. Jag vill ha en uppdatering kring denna utredning samt läget när det gäller säkerheten på svenska kärnkraftverk och jag har kallat myndigheten till departementet för att få mer information. Nuclear power is a dangerous industry and I have as environment minister responsibility for the legislation and Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) sorts under the Ministry of Environment. In October, the SSM report the long-term study on the safety of Swedish nuclear power plants. I want an update on this investigation and the state of security in Swedish nuclear power plants and I have called the authorities to the Ministry for more information.


A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 05:57:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I had checked Ek's links before clicking post I would have found that her predecessor gave SSM the job according to this press release from 9 april 2010 in light of recurring problems at Forsmark and Ringhals.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 06:00:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd say that one of the main reasons for the weakened safety cultures at Ringhals and Forsmark (which as late as the early 90's got an award for "safest nuclear plant in the world" or somesuch) stem to a great degree from the deregulation of the Swedish power market, where focus shifted from safety first to profit first. Interestingly, it's not mainly about private vs. state companies, as both state and private companies had a great safety record previously, and both have a bad record now.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 06:33:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess the difference is that one study is on long-term safety and the other (the stresstest) a deterministic safety analysis.
by Nomad on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 06:17:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One more time (with feeling):

Nuclear power operators are criminally negligent.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 11:30:30 PM EST
I think the entire design philosophy behind watercooled reactors is somewhat problematic, both fundamentally and from a PR perspective. Adding ever more redundant safety systems makes the system as a whole so complex that something ends up likely to be malfunctioning or overlooked at any given time. Mostly this doesnt matter because of the redundancy, but it is not good, and it scares people, which causes more complexity to be added...
 Really should just redesign the technology from the ground up to fail-safely instead of attempting fail-safe.
Molten Salt Fuel reactor designs that gravity dump their fuel into passively cooled tankage at any malfunction sort of thing.
by Thomas on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:33:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Safe nuclear reactor design is always just around the corner :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:38:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and No. Reading the papers on this, I get the impression that lots of our present fission research is stuck. The lessions from SuperPheonix, ELSY, the french work on molten salts? We know how to build at least 3 types of reactors fundamentally superior to any water cooled design. We have known how for more than a decade.
The problem is that the next logical step in all of those research directions is to build a production prototype, Which nobody but the russians seem willing to actually do. So instead most of the funds and manhours allocated gets spent on esoteric materials science that will be very useful if we ever want to send a probe to the dayside of mercury. This is actually pretty nifty science, but for the purpose of building a power reactor, it is besides the point.
by Thomas on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 05:19:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't call SuperPhénix anything but a dead end...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 05:32:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I still prefer it over coal, mind. This is a obvious to me, because coal is a disaster when everything works as intended, but nuclear technology can, and should be, improved. If nothing else, people who insist on living in locations with crappy renewable resources are going to need an alternative to lighting the planet on fire.
Which mostly means we should bloody well build some prototypes - Most of the current research programmes strike me as largely academic vankery aimed at goals like high-temperature reactors. Which.. Why? Getting another 5 % efficiency out of the conversion of uranium-> electricity in a breeder reactor is not worth the materials science hassle or risk from running the damm thing hotter.
It is a breeder, fuel is never going to run out!
by Thomas on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:46:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
people who insist on living in locations with crappy renewable resources are going to need an alternative to lighting the planet on fire

In our energy poor medium term future, I doubt this will be an option for said people.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 01:56:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.. I have a question for you. Do you consider the 1950s, the 1960s to have been energy poor? Because adjusted for inflation, the cost of electricity back then was well over ten times what it is now. Which means that even the renewables we have now, today, and the most goldplated and overbuilt reactors available absolutely crush the energy technologies of the 1950s on price.  The future will not be energy poor. The future will be electric.
by Thomas on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:26:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Därför brann Ringhals 2 - NyTeknik why burned Ringhals 2 - NyTeknik
Uppgifterna om att ledningen på reaktor 2 i Ringhals ville vinna tillbaka förlorad tid och därför frångick rutinerna på ett sätt som man aldrig gjort innan, framförs i SVT Uppdrag Granskning i kväll.The information that the management at Unit 2 of Ringhals wanted to win back the lost time and therefore deviated from practices in a manner never done before, will be shown in SVT's Uppdrag Granskning this evening.

The program was shown in February and appears to be the source for the details. The vacuum cleaner was known in November.

It can be noted that it was the same show that blew the lid of the cover-up after the Forsmark 2006 incident. That time the internal report talked about neglected security culture, while the managment claimed it was a freak accident. Local leading politician claimed that even tough half the security measures had failed, it was still 100% safe as it was 200% safe from the beginning (I kid you not).

Local managment was in the end fired by Vattenfall. Anyway, back to Ringhals.

Därför brann Ringhals 2 - NyTeknik why burned Ringhals 2 - NyTeknik
- För att tjäna in 40 dyrbara timmar valde man att tidigare lägga det nödvändiga tryckprovet inför en återstart av reaktorn - trots att servicearbetet fortfarande pågick, säger Uppdrag Gransknings reporter Henrik Bergsten i programmet.- To earn 40 precious hours it was chosen to bring forward the necessary compression test before a restart of the reactor - despite the maintenance work was still ongoing, says reporter Henrik Bergsten of the program.
Servicearbetena avbröts men verktyg och annan utrustning lämnades kvar i reaktorbyggnaden eftersom service och bränslebyte skulle fortsätta efter tryckprovet. Service work was interrupted but tools and other equipment was left in the reactor building as servicing and refueling would continue after the pressure test.
Bland annat lämnades en vattendammsugare kvar - med förödande konsekvenser.Among other things, was a water vacuum cleaner left - with devastating consequences.

Därför brann Ringhals 2 - NyTeknik why burned Ringhals 2 - NyTeknik
Och varför blev det inte utstädat? And why was it not utstädat?
- Det fanns organisatoriska brister i vem som hade det slutliga ansvaret.- There were organizational deficiencies of who had ultimate responsibility.
Hur menar du? What do you mean?
- Det fanns olika order på hur det skulle se ut. Det fanns motstridiga order och sen fanns det inte någon organisationsenhet som hade det slutliga ansvaret för att se till att se till att det såg ut som det skulle göra, säger Gösta Larsen i programmet som sänds i SVT klockan 20.00 på onsdagen.- There were various orders about what it would look like. There were conflicting orders and then there was no organization unit that had the ultimate responsibility to ensure to ensure that it looked like it would do, says Gösta Larsen in the program broadcast on SVT at 20.00 on Wednesday.

To try shortcuts to save time, issue conflicting orders and have no one really responsible for the result, I guess that can sort under neglected security culture too.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:46:21 AM EST
Thanks! What about the litter in the emergency cooling system? The taz article onléy says that it was left during welding work in the early eighties. What I wonder about is whether this litter could have been picked up by the water, in which case I would also think about potential turbine or vent damage, not just a throttling of the water flow.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 05:15:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't find anything. NyTeknik is the engineering paper in Sweden and in general has good coverage of technology news.

Might be mentioned in the actual program (which I have not seen, but can be seen online, just click "Branden på Ringhals" in the little box to the left of any of these articles).

SVT's articles about the program are:

The reactor is by the way up and running now, and the estimated cost of trying to cut 40 hours is around 200 million euros.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 06:07:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't find anything.

Digging back in time, I found an earlier article, which has more details that could help tracking it down in Swedish: the litter in question is a piece of isolation, and (answering my own concern) it was found already stuck inside the piping. The find was made at the "end of August" [2011], the report is from September 2011. The news in the current article is that tests were done with pressurized air instead of water.

The reactor is by the way up and running now

Checking Vattenfall's homepage, no it isn't: only the three other reactors at Ringhals are up and running.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 08:51:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Still no success. Found this instead:

"Ringhals order var tydliga: ingen får veta om säkerhetsriskerna" | Debatt | svt.se "Ringhals orders were clear: no one may know about the security risks" | Debate | svt.se
KÄRNKRAFT Kvällens Uppdrag Granskning (8/2) visar på allvarliga säkerhetsbrister och lögner för att hålla skenet uppe om den "säkra" svenska kärnkraften. Jag jobbade själv på Ringhals som säkerhetsvakt för ett tiotal år sedan och känner igen mycket av det som Uppdrag Granskning fått fram. Allvarliga tillbud, som vi rapporterade till bolaget överlämnades aldrig till högre instanser eller till polis. Det kunde handla om alkoholförtäring, vapeninförsel eller spioneri, bolagets praxis var tydlig. Locket på. Det skriver tidigare säkerhetsvakten på Ringhals Roger Windahl.NUCLEAR Tonight's Uppdrag Granskning (8/2) showing serious safety and lies to keep up appearances on the "safe" Swedish nuclear power. I worked myself at Ringhals as a security guard for about ten years ago and recognize much of what Uppdrag Granskning have determined. Serious incidents, that we reported to the company was never passed on to higher authorities or the police. It could be alcohol, weapons or espionage, the company's practice was evident. The lid must stay on. This was written by former security guard at Ringhals Roger Windahl.

DoDo:

Checking Vattenfall's homepage, no it isn't: only the three other reactors at Ringhals are up and running.

Ah, then its down again. In one of the many articles I browsed it was mentioned that it had started (jan/feb) after the long downtime.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 02:33:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I found one report in Swedish, albeit in what appears to be a countryside paper.

it was mentioned that it had started (jan/feb) after the long downtime.

If Google translate is right, here they say that only the first permission was granted in January, when testing showed problems with the valves. Then a permission to run at 94% was granted at the end of March, and although the plan was to start it again on 4 April, they are again in a hurry and are starting it up right now(!).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 02:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
I found one report in Swedish, albeit in what appears to be a countryside paper.

Yes, it is the local countryside paper (Halland is the landskap (and län) that hosts Ringhals). Local papers are often the best as long as you are interested in what happened in their local area.

In short, it is isolation in an emergency sprinkler system that probably was left there in the late 80ies when a security filter was installed. The isolation was used to "keep gas in place during the welding". Reactor 4 was also checked at the time of the article and had similar problem, reactor 3 was scheduled to be checked within days.

Ringhals claimed it was not a big problem, since it would only have clogged one pipe out of a lot of pipes in case if it had been needed to spray water. Sounds like a reasonable explanation, to bad then that the source has so little credibility left.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:21:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A few days ago eurogreen quoted the following article in the Salon (quoted below in the article's updated form and with an extra detail of relevance):

Nuclear giants RWE and E.ON drop plans to build new UK reactors | Environment | The Guardian

The government's nuclear energy policy is in disarray after German utilities RWE and E.ON scrapped plans to build two reactors in the UK, prompting warnings of serious knock-on effects for jobs and economic growth.

...Progress on those projects was shelved on Thursday when Horizon's owners put the business on the market, citing doubts over financing the projects and costs associated with the German government's decision to abandon nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

...The decision sent shockwaves through the sector. A senior nuclear industry figure told the Guardian: "It's a total train wreck - you can't imagine the importance of this to the economy of north Wales. This programme is bigger than the whole Olympics. The government now has to try to find another buyer."

...EDF stood by plans to build two new plants at Hinkley Point in Somerset, with hopes to open the first in 2019, but a final investment decision is contingent on the government underwriting long-term electricity prices. EDF and other nuclear power companies are wary of investing multibillion pound sums in facilities without a guarantee on how quickly their investments will be paid off.

What I find most significant is not how this impacts the UK's nuclear plans (EDF didn't pull out yet). Nor the insistence of operators on long-term price guarantees (ET covered several times how technologies requiring long-term investment and deregulated markets don't mix, and that applies to nuclear as well as renewables); nor the financial squeeze private companies, too, are under. This isn't even the end of support for nuclear in other countries from Germany (just last week, it was revealed that the government circumvented the safety condition for the granting of export guarantees for Brasil's Angra-3 project by doing the safety evaluation on the basis of dated standards). What I find significant is that the two energy giants RWE and E.on are in effect giving up on the technology: no other project remains in which RWE would have gained experience with a modern reactor design, and E.on only has a hand the Pyhäjoki project in Finland (which is now in trouble due to waste storage questions).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:15:57 AM EST
They are being realistic. After Fukushima the usual lies won't work, and they can't be sure how long their reactors will be allowed to run. I mean, nowadays there won't be anyone left who tolerates a reactor in the neighbourhood, right? (Thomas?)

Suddenly the risk has become incalculable not only for the public. Look what price RWE would like to get:

E.ON und RWE kippen AKW-Pläne in Großbritannien | Top-Nachrichten | Reuters E.ON and RWE-tilt nuclear plans in Great Britain | Top News | Reuters
Bei einem Strompreis von 60 Euro je Megawattstunde können Sie kein Kernkraftwerk bauen", hatte zuvor bereits der künftige RWE-Chef Peter Terium erläutert. Damit sich neue Meiler lohnten, müsse der Großhandelspreis für Strom deutlich steigen. "Der müsste wahrscheinlich jenseits der 100 Euro sein", so Terium."At a current price of 60 euros per megawatt hour, you can not build a nuclear power plant, "had previously explained the future RWE CEO Peter Terium. Thus, for new reactors to be profitable, the wholesale price of electricity would have to increase significantly." The price likely would have to be beyond the 100 € "said Terium.

€ 100 for nuclear but € 80 for wind... This is the end of nuclear power.

by Katrin on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 11:53:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 12:07:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fission done right is not cheap. But it also isnt a threat to the future of the planet the way fossile fuels are, and if accidents of history and geology mean that you are stuck supplying energy to people in a location where "lots of windmills" are not even theoretically an option..
by Thomas on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 12:43:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear power is a very acute danger to whole countries, Thomas. News from Japan will come in regularly. Just when people forget one bit of information, the next one will emerge. And northern Japan is uninhabitable. For practical and cultural reasons it can't be evacuated, but the Japanese will pay dearly for having trusted the advocates  of nuclear power, by very high cancer rates. And we know from Chernobyl that the sorts of cancer that hit children only take very short time to develop.  

The rest of the world will watch, debate the different methods of power generation and build wind mills (and solar and so on). Renewables are a lot cheaper than nukes, even if most costs and risks are shifted to the tax-payer. Unless you want to build bombs there is no reason to want nuclear.

by Katrin on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:33:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... You do know that geiger counters are very cheap? And easy to construct from scratch, if need be? This is high-school shop electronics. The level of radiation in northern Japan is not something which can be hidden or in doubt. Uninhabitable is not what actually happened.
by Thomas on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:37:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cancer rates, stillbirths, disabilities at birth will shoot up. I call that uninhabitable.

The Japanese will have the statistics of the consequences of radioactive matter on one hand and their jobs and homes on the other hand. A Geiger counter doesn't help. There are hot spots and there are spots that are cleaner.

Imagine people who have just got a real job, hope for a career, pay a mortgage for a home that they can't sell because more people leave than move into the area. A high cancer rate doesn't mean everyone gets cancer. There will even be healthy children being born, even if there is a high rate of disabilities.  What would you do, move away?

And what will people do who don't live in Japan, but live near a nuke that so far hasn't melted down, but it could? Or people who are told that a new plant is planned in their area?

by Katrin on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:59:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh. You dont get it. Radiation is a carciogen, but it is a relatively weak one. heck, it gets used to treat cancers. For results of the kind you anticipate, the average lifetime dose of a citizen of northern Japan would need to be increased by an order of magnitude as a result of the accident. Which just flat out did not happen, and will not happen. Basically, what you are anticipating is roughly equivalent to accusing a smoker of mass murder-by-cancer because he smoked a pack of cigarettes inside city limits.  
by Thomas on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:15:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh. You don't get it. I am not talking about radiation, I am talking about radioactive matter which you eat or inhale. Your citing the pack of cigarettes isn't the prelude to citing the inter-continental flight, I hope.
by Katrin on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:21:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess we'll have statistics on that next year.

How much has the still birth rate in Japan risen so far? That should be showing up by now, and it should be at its peak, surely? The radiation level is dropping all the time, as far as I know.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:29:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Figures for stillbirths would be fine. I don't find any. In Germany after Chernobyl they peaked 9 months after the disaster, should be the same for Japan. And there we had radiation levels that were completely harmless TM too, of course.
by Katrin on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:51:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On births I only found this so far in reliable sources (there is also a Japanese video blog made around the anniversary claiming that stillbirth statistics are being assembled but kept under wraps):

Fukushima, Tokyo log fewer births | The Japan Times Online

The number of births between April and June slumped 25 percent in Fukushima Prefecture and also declined significantly in Tokyo, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, but the tally rose in northern and western Japan, a recent survey showed.

The Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which conducted the nationwide survey, believes many pregnant evacuees gave birth in areas they considered to be at less risk of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

I also found this:

573 deaths 'related to nuclear crisis' : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

A total of 573 deaths have been certified as "disaster-related" by 13 municipalities affected by the crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.

This number could rise because certification for 29 people remains pending while further checks are conducted.

...A disaster-related death certificate is issued when a death is not directly caused by a tragedy, but by fatigue or the aggravation of a chronic disease due to the disaster...

IOW these deaths are (prbably) not related to radiation or pollution, but evacuation conditions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 05:33:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Radioactive particles give off radiation. If there was a lot of them floating about, they would set off the counters. In fact, if there was any amount of them about, they would set off the counters. Radiation detection equipent is ridiculusly sensitive.

And again, ingesting or inhaling radioactives is not as carciogenic as you would think. People who had accidents while working in the bomb programmes have gone on to die of heartfailure at age ninety with plutonium in their bodies.

by Thomas on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:32:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny that anecdotal evidence in favour of nuclear power always is conclusive, while deaths by radioactive matter are only anecdotal evidence.
by Katrin on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:56:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People who had accidents while working in the bomb programmes have gone on to die of heartfailure at age ninety with plutonium in their bodies.

sounds rather like " My grandmother smoked 40 a day and died in her bed at age 90"

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 06:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is exactly like that. The point is that radioactivity is carciogenic, but it is not a powerful "one exposure and you die" carciogen. There are chemical carciogens where one droplet dooms you to a horrific death, but radioactives are much weaker than that.
Dose, general health, and genetics matter. And we have quite good statistics on exactly how powerful it is, and the likely killcount from this accident is in the single digits.
by Thomas on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 12:32:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
radiation related deaths, that is. The evacuation killed orders of magnitude more. In theory it might have been better to just tell everyone to stay put and eat the exposure, but obviously the authorities couldnt know in advance exactly how much would hit the area near the site.
by Thomas on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 12:37:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thomas:
It is exactly like that.

In other words duplicitous propaganda by means of anecdote?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 04:15:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you have all the Manhattan Project scientists who died of cancer.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 04:23:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But a nexus to radioactivity is unproven. Perhaps they had just smoked too much.
by Katrin on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 04:52:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am obviously being very unclear here. Let me see if I can make a post that is clear. Hmm.

Okay, Radiation is a carciogen. A carciogen very like all other carciogens. If I came across as trying to deny that radiation causes cancer, then I am very sorry, because the science behind the link is based on very large samples both in animal experiments and follow up studies on accidential human exposure and these data have been gone over with an astonishingly fine comb over and over again. Radiation is one of the most well understood carciogens. And one of the things which is very well understood about radiation is exactly how powerful a carciogen it is. If you get so-and-so many extra rems, then publically available statistics will tell you exactly how much this increased your lifetime risk of cancer above the baseline.
Radiation levels are also very easy to measure. - basic Geiger counters good enough to detect even very minor variations in background radiation can be bought for the price of a resturant meal, or built by anyone capable of reading basic blueprints and not soldering their own tumb onto a circut board. Scientific grade radiation measurement equipment is even more ridiculusly sensitive, and ubiquitous because it is so very useful in nearly every branch of science.  
What this means is that the level of additional radiation in northern japan is not in doubt. A conspiracy to lie about it would simply not work - the published numbers have to be correct, because anyone and everyone down to highschool students looking to score extra credits can check them.

Finally, northern japan just did not recive enough rems to do anything to the cancer rate. Which is why I objected so vorciousferly to the "uninhabitable" claim. It is simply wrong. The evacuation zone did recive doses that would statistically matter, but the only people in it at that point in time were the emergency workers.

by Thomas on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 04:54:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]

You are not a very practical-minded person, I suspect. You are harping on these Geiger counters!

My daughter used to eat lots of sand when she was a baby. I don't know why, but try to argue with a baby... Do you seriously believe I would have used a Geiger counter to see how much sand she could eat without increasing her risk of cancer in a statistically relevant way?! I wouldn't have taken her to the beach, if I had had reason to suspect radioactivity there and that's that. And then I would have raised hell about nukes (I have always done that anyway).

I could write a terribly long post about the contamination after Chernobyl and compare it to northern Japan, but what for? Fortunately even CEO's of nuclears admit that nuclear power is too expensive to be considered if its dangers can somehow be downplayed. Hey, it's too expensive anyway! We are flogging a dead horse here.

by Katrin on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 05:16:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is that if people walk down that beach with a counter and say that there is no unusual radiation there, then you have reason to belive that there is no  radiation risk there - this is a case where you can prove a negative.  And this isnt a matter of trusting the authorities, because it is so very easy to check their work, and people do. I mean, the first time I held a counter, I was.. 12? yes, think it was twelve, and we were being dragged on an excursion.
by Thomas on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 05:26:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point is that if people walk down that beach with a counter and say that there is no unusual radiation there, then you have reason to belive that there is no  radiation risk there - this is a case where you can prove a negative

Alpha radiation: short range, low energy, easier to miss with a casual screening with the detector, harmless outside the body. Deadly if ingested/inhaled.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 05:29:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But you do have unusual radiation in Japan. It now depends if a baby hits on the contaminated sand or on the clean spot a few inches away. A few grammes of sand might just contain radioactive particles and kill a child. This is not statistically relevant. You can then take out your Geiger counter and calculate how much sand of that beach a child can eat per week. It is done by statistical relevance, nothing else. The fault in your thought is that you believe parents think in the same way, about statistical risk.
by Katrin on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 05:41:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Grown-ups can perhaps minimise their risk by adapting their behaviour. It would mean a loss in the quality of life. Children cannot even do that. "Inhabitable" is a term that must take that into account. "Inhabitable" means that I don't have to use a Geiger counter.
by Katrin on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 05:50:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin also made the point that contamination doesn't just result in an increase of ambient radiation, but also in increased exposure to inhaled or ingested radioactive nuclides. And that is what's deadly. Remember Alexander Litvinenko? Polonium is a very weak alpha emitter so it is harmless as far as background radiation goes, but inhale picograms of it and you'll die a horrible death in threee weeks, and not exactly because of the carcinogenic effects.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 05:19:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thomas:
Radiation is a carciogen, but it is a relatively weak one. heck, it gets used to treat cancers.
Yeah, because highly localised radiation will kill the tissue. In the case of radiation, what doesn't kill you doesn't make you stronger (contra the Marvel/DC comic superhero universe) but may give you cancer.

Katrin:

I am talking about radioactive matter which you eat or inhale
Thomas:
And again, ingesting or inhaling radioactives is not as carciogenic as you would think.
I am not inhaling any weak alpha emitters, thank you very much.

Look at it this way: alpha emission is short range even in air and won't set off detectors at a distance like beta or gamma will. In addition, it will be stopped by the skin. So alpha in the environment is harmless. But if you ingest it, the beta and gamma will mosly just fly out of your body as if it were transparent but the alpha will be deposited in your body in its entirety. And it won't be stopped by a layer of dead skin cells but the energy will be deposited in live tissue in the respiratory, digestive, or circulatory systems.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 05:28:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia: Alpha particle
Because of the short range of absorption, alphas are not, in general, dangerous to life unless the source is ingested or inhaled, in which case they become extremely dangerous. Because of this high mass and strong absorption, if alpha-emitting radionuclides do enter the body (upon being inhaled, ingested, or injected, as with the use of Thorotrast for high-quality X-ray images prior to the 1950s), alpha radiation is the most destructive form of ionizing radiation. It is the most strongly ionizing, and with large enough doses can cause any or all of the symptoms of radiation poisoning. It is estimated that chromosome damage from alpha particles is anywhere from 10 to 1000 times greater than that caused by an equivalent amount of gamma or beta radiation, with the average being set at 20 times. ...


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 05:38:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, France and Korea are still wholly committed to fission, and in general people who dont have any other choices than "fission, gas, or coal" end up picking fission.

And some nations really do not have other choices. Renewable energy is a relatively fixed quantity dependant on what annual solar insulation, which wind patterns and what quantity of annual rainfall you have been alloted by nature, and in some cases - High latitudes, very high population densities, or both - this natural endowment just does not cover the needed energy expediture to live and work there.
Canada and Russia are not going to get through winter on "sun and wind". Sweden is too comitted to low carbon emissions to abandon fission, regardless of stories like this and I expect that even Japan is going to end up turning the reactors back on. Not happily, but given the choice between that and importing coal and gas for all eternity?

by Thomas on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 12:35:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This persistence is admirable, Thomas. It won't help nuclear power, though. It is dead. Even in France. They will try to prolong the lives of existing reactors, but no-one will build a new one. You will see.

You claim humanity was able to handle nuclear technology, but not to find room for some windmills. Astonishing. You are right about the low carbon emissions of nuclear power plants, but apparently you underrate the carbon emissions of mining and processing uranium. So if you feed the nuclear power plants with fuel rods your carbon emissions are comparable with modern gas plants. It's of no consequence, though: the costs of nuclear power are coming home.

Unbelievable, actually, isn't it? We have a technology that can kill millions and that can make whole countries uninhabitable, and the achilles heel is--money. So the French and a few others will go on to sing the praise of nuclear (unless a major catastrophe happens on their doorstep), but they won't build new ones. That's because the costs are uncalculable and the times of open and hidden subsidies are past.

I am a bit curious: why do you think Japan would prefer to use fossils or nuclear to wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal?

by Katrin on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 02:06:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nitpick: in debates past, it transpired that CO2 emissions from mining and transport are included, and so are those from uranium's extraction from the ore, treatment and enrichment, which dwarf the former. However, it also transpired that these numbers are dependent on the grade of the ore. If nuclear power were to be expanded significantly on a global scale, ores extracted would have to be used which contain orders of magnitude less uranium. At one time I made a calculation finding that the amount of earth moved would become comparable to that of coal mining.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:21:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the case where nuclear expands that agressively, (.. and I dont actually see this happening short of something like a global, absolute ban on new coal plants) a transition to breeders is inevitable, in which case mining stops for quite a while while the existing stocks of depleted uranium gets used up.
by Thomas on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:34:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wanted to stick to the scenario that is more favourable for poor Thomas, although it is bad enough. You are right about the medium and long term though.
by Katrin on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:40:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Geothermal on a scale nessesary to supply their needs is likely to cause earthquakes. (see also: Fracking). Japan has lost a lot more people to earthquakes than to nuclear, so..
 The windpatterns over the islands of Japan are very chaotic due to the topography of the islands, which means that their wind resource is surprisingly bad, and any wind parks placed offshore are quite likely to get wrecked.
Anyone suggesting that a square meter of japanese soil not already built on be covered with solar cells would be lynched by japanese conservationists, so that is limited to rooftop installations and. Well, you have seen pictures of Tokyo, I trust? Not really going to make a dent.
Japan does have quite a decent hydro reserve, but everything that can be dammed already is.

It isnt that I think the japanese just like to split atoms or burn carbon. The islands are heavily industrialized, and not well suited for renewable generation.

by Thomas on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:59:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Geothermal causes small earthquakes and Japan is used to really bad earthquakes. Since Japan is a highly industrialised country they can find all sorts of things they can integrate solar panels or windmills in. And there is tidal. Sounds ideal for islands in an ocean.  
by Katrin on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:06:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thomas:
Sweden is too comitted to low carbon emissions to abandon fission, regardless of stories like this

No, that is not it.

Sweden could replace nuclear with wind - lots of sparsly populated space in the north where the winds sweep down from the mountains - and has so much water power that even the most variable power source could hardly create a problem.

Sweden will not do that because the politics is locked on ten reactors, which in turn has a long history that includes Vattenfall acting very independently for its own sake - the bureacracy expands to serve the needs of te expanding bureacracy. But still could.

Thomas:

Canada and Russia are not going to get through winter on "sun and wind".

Solar heating surprisingly works quite well on these latitudes. Visited a house some years ago that had built solar heating with wood backup and hardly needed the backup.

Now, Sweden has warmer temperatures then Canada and Russia, but the limits to how much you can improve isolation are ridicoulous. Want to get rid of your heating needs? Here you go.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 02:57:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweden has warmer temperatures then Canada and Russia

However, what counts is not temperature but latitude. 99.7% of Canadians live south of 60 degrees north, and that's the latitude of Oslo. In fact most live south of 50 degrees north (the latitude of Frankfurt). Even in Russia, few cities lie north of 60 degrees north (Murmansk and Arkhangel'ks are the two most significant, the only significant nuclear plant is between them).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Latitude counts for how much solar you get, temperature for how much heating you need.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:28:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK. My mind was set on electricity...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:33:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nitpick: ditch nuclear plans, not tilt.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:02:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More UK nukes:

Plans to build a nuclear fast reactor at Sellafield come a step closer - Science - News - The Independent

Britain's own fast-reactor programme was abandoned two decades ago and yesterday it was announced that the fast-reactor site at Dounreay in Scotland will be dismantled by 2025 at a cost of £2.7bn.

However, The Independent can reveal that nuclear officials have signed a feasibility study to investigate the possibility of building an American-designed fast reactor to "burn" the plutonium waste on-site at Sellafield.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), which has overall responsibility for Sellafield and its 100-tonne plutonium-waste problem, has signed the deal with GE-Hitachi to see whether its Prism fast reactor can directly eliminate the plutonium waste rather than the alternative method of converting it into mixed oxide (Mox) fuel for conventional nuclear reactors.

The deal represents a remarkable U-turn on the part of the NDA which has consistently said that its preferred option to deal with the plutonium waste at Sellafield is to build a second Mox fuel plant at Sellafield - the first Mox fuel plant was closed last year after a catalogue of failures costing £1.34bn.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 06:25:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article doesn't say what they think where the investors will come from. They will want a guarantee that the plant's permit will never ever be revoked by future parliaments, I guess. And they will want a higher price for the power they generate than for wind... Santa Claus can supply the funds.
by Katrin on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 06:52:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The implication is that GE and Hitachi will bring together the financing on their own, but want to be paid for the fuel:

Daniel Roderick, senior vice president of GE Hitachi, said that if given the go-ahead the company will form a consortium that will build and operate the plant at no up-front cost to the UK taxpayer.

"We will only charge for each kilogram or tonne of plutonium we dispose of. We're not going to build a several billion pound plant that doesn't work," Mr Roderick said.

Which also means that this plant is offered to Britain more for plutonium waste elimination than producing electricity. I guess the consortium itself is more interested in an opportunity to demonstrate the technology, though. However, all of this is at feasibility study stage, and even Britain's nuclear authority is sceptical so far:

In a statement to The Independent, the NDA said that it had originally ruled out fast reactors as a "credible option" for disposing of the plutonium because the technology was immature and such reactors would not be commercially available for several decades.

"GE Hitachi subsequently approached NDA to suggest their technology was at a more advanced stage of development. Discussions are now ongoing and a contract has been signed between NDA and GE Hitachi for a feasibility study which will be delivered over the next 3-4 months and, after review of the outputs, NDA will consider the credibility, or otherwise, of the proposal," the NDA said.

"At this stage, evidence has not been provided which changes the NDA position that fast reactors are not credible," it added.

So even before the question of financing (and it is a question how much credit private banks would be willing to give to a multi-billion technology demonstrator), don't hold your breath yet.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 10:30:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.. If I was buying a fast reactor for plutonium burning, I would not be talking to the americans. I would either be asking the russians how much they wanted for a BN-800 (this is designed as a net breeder, but you can operate it as a net burner easily enough) or coughing up the cash to take the ELSY live. Slight PR problem buying russian tech, I suppose?

Disposing of thirty tonnes of plutonium in a single fast reactor would also take a while. scratches  50 to 60 years? Depending on how low you can get the breeding ratio. Longer with the prism, as it is smaller than the BN-800. Building 30 of them and using the full stockpile as initial fuel load would certainly make it unavailable for weapons, tough.

by Thomas on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 12:47:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Slight PR problem buying russian tech, I suppose?

I would say a slight PR problem in any case, "Russian" is just a little extra problem.

by Katrin on Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 at 01:29:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tomgram: Michael Klare, Welcome to the New Third World of Energy, the U.S. | TomDispatch

Here's a simple rule of thumb when it comes to energy disasters: if it's the nuclear industry and something begins to go wrong -- from Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979 to Fukushima, Japan, after the 2011 tsunami -- whatever news is first released, always relatively reassuring, will be a lie, pure and simple.  And as the disaster unrolls, it's not likely to get much better.  The nuclear industry is incapable of telling the truth about the harm it does.  So when the early stories appear about the next nuclear plant in trouble, whatever you hear or read, just assume that you don't know the half, not even the quarter, of it.

When it comes to the oil and gas industry and disasters, a similar rule of thumb follows: however bad it first sounds, the odds are it's going to sound a lot worse before it's over.  (See BP, Deepwater Horizon.)  So when you first hear about an oil leak from a Chevron well off the coast of Brazil or from a natural gas well in the North Sea operated by the French oil giant Total and you get those expectable reassurances, they, too, are likely to be nothing but gas.

h/t meteor blades @ dkos

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:41:38 AM EST
A minor nitpick: for me the linked story on the results of the endoscope test at Fukushima is not an example of lies (in the sense of premeditated telling of untruths) but of optimistic evaluations on the basis of scant evidence, and of situations where even essential evidence is hard to impossible to get.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 05:22:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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