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LQD: Nuclear Attack

by Crazy Horse Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 12:32:46 PM EST

We're seeing a new propaganda push from the nuclear advocates worldwide. Fitting nicely with both the strong attack against renewables, and the push for austerity. Almost pathetic in the professionalism of triviality, even laughable, except of course it's working.


But of course there's also this issue about Fukushima itself: how can anyone be promoting nuclear power when we've got that plant leaking radiation all over the place? Well, as I've pointed out not entirely seriously here the radiation leakage from Fukushima is of the order of the amount of radiation that humans get from eating bananas. We don't get very excited about the risks of eating bananas so we probably shouldn't get all that excited about the risks from Fukushima. Absolutely certainly there's no risk to anyone at all outside the plant itself: all these stories of the Pacific Ocean turning into a radioactive wasteland that will kill us all are just that, stories. And remarkably ill informed ones as well.


of course, that's from that bastion of intelligence, FORBES.

And here's the point:


By contrast with renewables, nuclear power is scalable, controllable and potentially well able to keep the lights on for centuries or millennia. It is also safe compared to all other methods of power generation (in its three "disasters" so far - Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima - the scientifically verified death tolls from all causes have been and will be zero, 56 and zero: a record which other power industries including renewables can only envy).

The latest version of the circus centers around global warming (it's not climate change) hero Hansen. You've seen the articles, where he attacks renewables for not being able to scale up in time, discounting that we've already scaled up in Europe and China, which could be a lesson for Amurkans, if they weren't surrounded by profi propaganda 24/7.

Which allows the rest of the media to enter advanced marketing.


The point being that Fukushima went through absolutely the worst natural disaster that the world could throw at a nuclear plant: and yes, that plant was wrecked but wrecking the plant hasn't killed anyone and won't do. The amazing thing about nuclear power is not how dangerous it is but how safe it is. And given that we do indeed need to have some power if we're to keep this civilisation thing on the road, given that renewables simply cannot scale up in time, we're going to have to replace some of our fossil fuel fired generating capacity with more nuclear. Which is exactly what Hansen et al are pointing out.

Nuclear safe? Renewables can't scale? Do you think there will be civil war within GE?

Display:
they are scared... trillions of projected profits are hanging in the balance, it's now or never, and they know it.
so it's full speed ahead on the disinfo wurlirzer, and moves like the spanish gvt's draconian measures to discourage folks from getting offgrid reveal just how butthurt the fossil/utility industries are at the idea that their cashcow is keeling over.

even if the pacific ocean were glowing and spitting out three-headed squid they would still hew to the party line.

nice catch CH!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 01:52:29 PM EST
the only answer i know of, responding to a civilization which has zero concept of its roots, and zero understanding of what it means to be human, is to keep supporting the windpower industry in which i've played some role since inception.

and keeping focus on the young, who need to do what i did then now, with more force and wisdom.

tonight's part of me is so sad.

Ach, i forgot to post what i wrote in reply to one of the Hansen articles, in my hometown rag SanFran Chron.


Once more reputable scientists ignore the evidence right in front of them, that renewables have already scaled up enough to show how quickly and efficiently it can be done. There are more than 300,000 MW of wind alone around the globe, and the supply chain is already built. Even for offshore wind, a new technology demanding both a new heavy industry supply chain and significant investment, has already shown it can also be done efficiently. With all due respect, Mr. Hansen, analyze what's already existing before you propagandize it can't be done. (And did you once think through the necessary supply chain for heavy nuclear, which is far harder to achieve than the modular renewables. Further, please try to find non-government supported finance for ever more cost-overruns in the current industry, as in the European EPRs, because you can't. That's why the UK just allowed China to finance its new nukes.)


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 01:54:00 PM EST
Natural Cures Not Medicine: West Coast Strange Animal Deaths As Fukushima Radiation Hits America
Another obvious sign is the recent mass migration of radioactive debris the size of California across the Pacific Ocean. BBC News in the U.K. reported last year that literally millions of tons of radioactive debris had begun traveling across the Pacific Ocean, and that some of it had already impacted Hawaii and even the West Coast. There has also been a series of strange animal deaths recently, including masses of sea lions, sockeye salmon and other sea creatures washing up on the shore. Many of the polar bears, seals and walruses observed along the Alaska coastline have also been found to have major fur loss and open sores, both of which are indicative of radiation poisoning. Then we have the scientific reports that claim radioactive water will continue to impact the U.S. West Coast for many years to come, potentially doubling in strength over the next five or six years. Plankton, bluefin tuna and other sea life collected between Hawaii and California are already testing high for radiation, and these levels are expected to continue increasing.

Natural Cures Not Medicine: 28 Signs That The West Coast Is Being Contaminated With Nuclear Radiation From Fukushima


1. Polar bears, seals and walruses along the Alaska coastline are suffering from fur loss and open sores...
Wildlife experts are studying whether fur loss and open sores detected in nine polar bears in recent weeks is widespread and related to similar incidents among seals and walruses. The bears were among 33 spotted near Barrow, Alaska, during routine survey work along the Arctic coastline. Tests showed they had "alopecia, or loss of fur, and other skin lesions," the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement.
2. There is an epidemic of sea lion deaths along the California coastline...
At island rookeries off the Southern California coast, 45 percent of the pups born in June have died, said Sharon Melin, a wildlife biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service based in Seattle. Normally, less than one-third of the pups would die.   It's gotten so bad in the past two weeks that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared an "unusual mortality event."
3. Along the Pacific coast of Canada and the Alaska coastline, the population of sockeye salmon is at a historic low.  Many are blaming Fukushima. 4. Something is causing fish all along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs. 5. A vast field of radioactive debris from Fukushima that is approximately the size of California has crossed the Pacific Ocean and is starting to collide with the west coast. 6. It is being projected that the radioactivity of coastal waters off the U.S. west coast could double over the next five to six years. 7. Experts have found very high levels of cesium-137 in plankton living in the waters of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the west coast. 8. One test in California found that 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna were contaminated with radiation from Fukushima. 9. Back in 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported that cesium-137 was being found in a very high percentage of the fish that Japan was selling to Canada... * 73 percent of mackerel tested * 91 percent of the halibut * 92 percent of the sardines * 93 percent of the tuna and eel * 94 percent of the cod and anchovies * 100 percent of the carp, seaweed, shark and monkfish

TEPCO are eco-terrorists. people who still believe nuclear power is viable after fukushima are delusional, and those engaging in the propaganda this diary describes shills for the most evil forces on the planet.

meanwhile, back at rancho realidad, political dialogues still mostly bickering about trivia and snickering about how easy it is to gull the public, if the lies you dare tell them are big and dastardly enough.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 02:03:33 PM EST
generally agreed melo, but i'd be careful about citing some of the bogus Fukushima "results" which are also circulating the digital nerve network.

the actual results of Fukushima will be far worse than the half science (or worse) being used to propagandize the anti-nuclear agenda. Care for data is important right now, and eye acknowledge the propaganda on both sides.

For example, i've already mentioned the studies which show "normal" background radiation is worse than the "it's only a banana" "scientists" show.

But seriously, i've interviewed 39 bananas who fly more than 100k km/yr, and all of them said they felt normal. Gene testing (with our infant understanding of how DNA works, cf. yesterday's brain study) has shown that none of them are likely to evolve into mangoes.

Radon Gesetztinfark, one of the premier scientists sleeping with the CEOs of several companies more important than you, reported not losing a single Mata Hairi, even after liaisons in Denver cellars. She said, and eye quote: "We didn't need to use a banana, he went so damn critical."

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 02:33:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Renewable advocates have promised clean power for over forty years, and their projections have all proven false. Scaling has failed, again, and again.

 France really does have much lower emissions per capita than Denmark does, despite having more heavy industry and  Denmark being routinely held up as the paragon of renewable power, and the toxin load of danish coal use kills, mutates, and maims people year after year, and mercury and dioxin have no halflives.

Simply put - there are poisons other than radioactives, and they will kill you just as dead. They will kill more of your descendants, because they last longer.  

So there is an argument for going one hundred percent nuclear right now. Because that will be safer - relatively - than what we are doing.

Do you want to know the real argument against it? The one that stops investors? It is very simple.

Nuclear is not to cheap to meter. Nor is it as expensive as the lies its opponents tell would have you believe. Given current interest rates, it costs slightly less than coal does. Heck, it costs a lot less than what coal is projected to cost in the future.

 But the money almost all have to be paid up front, and repayment comes over the very long projected life of the plant. Run it for 20-25 years - your loans are paid. Run it for 40, you are deep in the green. The EPR is built to last 60. No brain investment, right?

Wrong. Because if in five, or in fifteen years General Fusion starts selling power plants that cost half of what coal does instead of slightly less? All your billions of hardware are relics of industrial history. And you are bankrupt. Nuclear investment is extremely vulnerable to technological shock.

And just to make things worse? It is every bit as vulnerable to technological shock from itself.

Imagine that in 8 days a hypercane sweeps through the midvest, doing billions in damage, killing tens of thousands, and incidentally - wrecks all the windmills. Reeling with shock, congress decides to build 400 storm-hardened nuke plants and shut down the coal and gas sectors. Is this good news for the existing operators of nukes? No, Because being built in series production by the army corps of engineers makes the "National Emergency Reactors" cheap. So all the existing nuke plants go bankrupt.

by Thomas on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 02:38:02 PM EST
But the money almost all have to be paid up front, and repayment comes over the very long projected life of the plant. Run it for 20-25 years - your loans are paid. Run it for 40, you are deep in the green. The EPR is built to last 60. No brain investment, right?

Wrong. Because if in five, or in fifteen years General Fusion starts selling power plants that cost half of what coal does instead of slightly less? All your billions of hardware are relics of industrial history. And you are bankrupt. Nuclear investment is extremely vulnerable to technological shock.

And just to make things worse? It is every bit as vulnerable to technological shock from itself.

This is equally true of any long-lived plant, be it nuclear, renewables, or fossils. Or in Energy or any other industrial sector.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 02:56:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and it probably is one of the reasons renewable scaling has so consistently not happened. Those statistic about the price of solar/wind dropping people always like to quote? If you are an investor looking to build actual plant, they are a damn good reasons to find someplace else to put your money.
by Thomas on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 03:00:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any place to put your money is vulnerable to technological shock.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 03:14:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And we have the data from approx €700B in wind alone to measure.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 03:24:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your fantasy is always appealing, with some data (yeah, me know everyone hads the backup data) would it be even more so.

  1. None of the projections from 40 years ago have proven false. Wish to argue?

  2. Do we wish to compare the actual statistics from France and Denmark against someone else's set of variables? Have you computed all the variables? Can you cite the ones you left out?

  3. Yes you are correct, there are some poisons which last longer than the half life of plutonium, but umhh, i know porn stars which last longer than normal folk, but does that mean we should ban porn? Seriously, do you have any understanding of what the word poison means?

Actually, i stop here, because arguing with you is like offering a carrot to a horse with blinders. For every stat you think you know, there is another stat which says you're wrong.

As to your economics, if they were true, wouldn't everyone including your mother be investing? But they're not, which is also a fact, unless you count the Chinese in formerly great Britain.

Hypercane against windmills? I'll take the damage, since there are already many who've survived near "hyper canes." (Oh fuck, we have to replace the blades. Even though many didn't.)

When you've spent even a mere 15 years studying all the data, i meant to write studying all the data, then let me know what you've found.

And we're still cheaper, and get the supply chain up to speed far faster and more cost effective than the high tech necessary for nextgen nukes, as any actual procurist would tell you.

Really thomas, volunteer to work a year at Fukushima, when you come back, you will be the leader in advocation of fissile technology, and everyone will bow to your understanding, expertise, and courage.

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 03:15:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scaling has failed, again, and again.

Ah, I'm noticing that "scalability" is the new anti-renewables buzzword. But, what exactly does it mean? From my short observation, it changes meaning whenever and whoever uses it: installation rate, penetration, potential penetration, price. And it's always mis-interpreted (sometimes by shifting between the meanings).

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

by DoDo on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 10:57:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the industry, it's generally taken to mean the combination of factors in setting up the necessary component supply chain, infrastructure (transport modules, cranes, local construction...), and finance pipeline. How quickly could a local market build from 1 GW to 10GW, for example.

Thus scalability leads to penetration...

Perhaps the number of different WT types for different wind regimes would also enter into the equation.

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 11:10:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, lets say things without buss-words, and with specificity.
Solar and wind have failed at eliminating coal and gas. That is the goal - Nations with good resources have achieved low-emission power via geothermal, hydro and mixes of the two (Iceland, Norway, NZ) Sweden and France have gotten there by a mix of nukes and hydro.

These are real-world examples of solutions that have worked, and can be applied elsewhere.

Nobody has gotten there via solar or wind. I am very skeptical anyone will, barring truly astounding breakthroughs in energy storage. The day-to-day variability in output is just too large. And by this I am not referring to the rare "Very low or very high" output days - those could be dealt with, but to the standard variation, which is a factor of about 3 on a national scale.

Unless that can be dealt with, all the wind-and-solar sector can ever be is a coat of greenwashing on a gas-based grid. Which is not good enough, and will likely kill astonishing numbers of people in the long run.

Nuclear power is scary, it is problematic, and I trust the private sector with it about as far as I can throw it. However, coal and gas are a near-apocalyptic threat to the continued existence of civilization. Which is just worse.

I find this entire debate depressing as all hell because as far as I can tell, Nuclear is the only extant technology that can practically displace carbon, and it has become politically impossible to use it on a sufficient scale. Noone wants to invest billions in plants that may be shut down in 5 years when the government changes hands. And so the world will burn gas until a superior technical solution happens, and if that does not happen soon, we are deeply fucked.

 

by Thomas on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 11:23:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Solar and wind have failed at eliminating coal and gas.

False. Conjuncturally, gas became extremely cheap in the US (this is a transient phenomenon, much more ephemeral than e.g. the North Sea oil and gas which gave Thatcher her free lunch). As a direct result, (American) coal became exceedingly cheap in Europe (gas not being fungible, coal is the market proxy for American shale gas.) This phenomenon is transient too.

Simultaneously, the European CO2 market was allowed to fail, reinforcing the advantage for coal in electrical generation.

Political backing for the build-out of solar and wind faltered, because

  1. suddenly and conjuncturally, they were less competitive, and
  2. the financial crisis was used as an excuse to slash public spending.

This is not failure, but a temporary setback. The industrial capacity, technical mastery and skilled workforce for scaling renewables is still there. When energy prices jump sharply upwards again, we will wring our hands and wail about the years we are currently wasting in building out the alternatives.

And I won't attempt, right now, to set you right on the question of how much penetration solar and wind can get. But if you are taking the griping of utility CEOs as gospel, you are very naive.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 11:57:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhm, no, I am basing this off the records of nation wide energy production from wind in Denmark and the UK. From first principles, when the actual production varies by a factor of 3 nigh-constantly, that is a really severe problem unless you have absurdly good ways to store electricity. I suppose, in principle, one could overbuild by a factor of 3 and just throw most of the power away, but at that point, costs get really unreasonable, and the wind resource might not support that level of drain regardless. There is a lot of energy in earths weather systems, but not an infinite amount, and if we extract a significant percentage of the total flow, that will very obviously also screw with the climate.
by Thomas on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 12:30:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For Denmark, if we first look at wind:

And then at gas:

I'd say that gas increased first in the late 80ies, then wind and gas in the 90ies and then wind in 00ies. So it is not clear to me at all that wind is driving gas.

Denmark, being some underwater power cables away from  Norway and Sweden with massive hydro resevoirs, does not need gas for load-balancing on a day-to-day basis. They may be using it thusly, but that is because of the North Sea bonanza.

And for the UK:
Dash for Gas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Dash for Gas was the significant shift by the newly privatized electric companies in the United Kingdom towards generation of electricity using natural gas during the 1990s.

The key reasons for this shift were:[1] (a) political: the privatisation of the UK electricity industry in 1990; the regulatory change that allowed gas to be used as a fuel for power generation; (b) economic: the high interest rates of the time, which favoured gas turbine power stations, which were quick to build, over coal and nuclear power stations, which were larger but slower to build; the decline in wholesale gas prices; the desire by the Regional Electricity Companies to diversify their sources of electricity supply and establish a foothold in the profitable generation market; (c) technical: advances in electricity generation technology (specifically Combined cycle Gas Turbine generators (CCGT) with higher relative efficiencies and lower capital costs. An underpinning factor in the dash for gas was the recent development of North Sea gas.

As at the end of 2010, the dash for gas was the last major transformational change to have happened to the UK's energy system. In 1990, gas turbine power stations comprised 5% of the UK's generating capacity, by 2002 the new CCGT power stations comprised 28% of UK generating capacity with gas turbines comprising a further 2%.

Notice how wind is not included as a reason.

UK installed wind power capacity 1990-2012:

It is hard for wind that was not built until the 00ies to cause the gas in the 90ies.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 03:33:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh good, you're stuck in the "wind is useless because it is not baseload as we expected" fallacy...

Denmark is a small country, and in itself, doesn't have a variety of different wind regimes, so the wind contribution varies. Luckily (or rather, by design) it is part of the Nordic grid system, with a variety of electricity sources (Norwegian and Swedish hydro, yes and Swedish and Finnish nuclear) which easily provides ample balancing capacity. I'm quite sure that Denmark could double its wind park without wasting any electricity at all, because (unlike Germany, for example) they have planned their grid, both on national and international level.

So no, first principles do not oblige Denmark to store wind generation.

I can't say much about your assertion of "a factor of 3 on the national scale" of wind variability with respect to the UK, and at what point of market share that might start to be a problem. Clearly it isn't a big deal at 6% of electrical production (2012 figures). I suspect the day to day variability in output will turn out to be much lower than you imagine, if you are going by current figures, which are necessarily dominated by a few large wind parks, notably offshore, in a very few regions. Once there are major parks in various regions with different wind regimes, the variability will be reduced.

But yeah, the UK is in a bad place with respect to electricity production, due to decades of having no plan at all.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 04:35:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From first principles, when the actual production varies by a factor of 3 nigh-constantly, that is a really severe problem unless you have absurdly good ways to store electricity.

Danish wind production correlates extremely well with Danish consumption, to the extent that the actual load balancing requirement from an all-wind grid (even assuming no further portfolio effects from the addition of more wind sites) reduces that factor from 3 to 2.

Which, incidentally, means that an all-nuke grid would need to overbuild by about 50 % and dump the excess into spinning reserves in order to account for demand variability.

If you're willing to overbuild nukes by 50 % and dump the excess into spinning reserves, then overbuilding wind by 100 % and dumping the excess into spinning reserves suddenly doesn't sound so unreasonable.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 8th, 2013 at 03:08:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
when one looks over the entire global marketplace, one sees that nowhere in the world have renewables been given the chance yet to achieve their critical mass. Of course we have high penetration in Denmark, but that's a small country with limited other resources (and yes Thomas, much coal, but they're trying very hard to eliminate it.)

Germany is an example of the most advanced scale-up, but the energy giants and the politicians they own are strongly putting the brakes on.

UK has been a nightmare, despite the variable but strong wind resource. Renewables in Spain and the US have been knifed in the back. But they provide good examples of how you can't build a supply chain with boom and bust politics.

Supply chain and infrastructure take time under a stable policy, as China is now doing. As Germany and Denmark have done.

the US was able to put 13.1 GW in the ground in 2012, will possibly hit 2GW this year, as parts of the supply chain go out of business.

With over 300GW of wind alone, the logistics of scaling have long been proven. But the timeframe hasn't yet been long enough.

So you can't say it's failed, as renewables haven't yet been given the real chance. But it's clear from the past it can be done.

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 11:58:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
forgot to mention a key aspect of scalability. most of the world's grids were built to accommodate central generation, and often, windy areas are distant from load centers. so the availability of grid load greatly affects the scalability speed.

Germany is beginning to be constrained in the north, for example, and the politics of grid infrastructure provided disincentives to modernize and upgrade the grid.

Lovely how market competition stifles infrastructure investment.

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 12:14:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lovely how market competition stifles infrastructure investment.

Wasn't that Thomas' complaint about Nuclear? To which I replied

This is equally true of any long-lived plant, be it nuclear, renewables, or fossils. Or in Energy or any other industrial sector.
The short-termism inherent in having a bunch of marketista politicians has nothing to do with the Nuclear vs. Wind/Solar debate. Heck, Thomas like hydro and no hydro would be built by market-driven utilities. Hydro projects were mid-20th-century Big Government, just like Nuclear.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 12:29:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also early 20th century Big Government.

The US really got big in hydro during world war one, in order to be able to make synthetic fertilizers and explosives independent of access to South American sources. Coal for electricity had a big boom in Germany at the same time, for the same reasons. Thomas Hughes in Networks of power if anyone wants to read more.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 03:41:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It means that the most cost effective sustainable energy portfolio will not be composed 100% of any single sustainable energy technology, and indeed not likely composed 50% of any single sustainable energy technology, so when we add up all the shares of total energy supply where each viable sustainable energy source hits their "scalability barrier", it adds up to more than 100%.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 11:19:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
> wrecks all the windmills

Not bloody likely

by mustakissa on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 at 11:32:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True, thanks.

For decades, WTs have been designed to two standards. One which allows automatic restart once the winds drop back into operational range, and for higher winds, i think >125 mph, restart only after a safety check.

Killer storms could well cause some damage, which then gets fixed in most cases, for example a new rotor blade. But then we lose blades to lightning now and again.

thomas, windpower engineering is always learning more, but the industry contains truly top masters, who are aware that weather events do tend to happen, as they go about their design exercises. ;-)

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 at 12:07:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PS. Certification demands load calculations include survivable high storm winds.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 at 12:10:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, could have gone with "little green aliens mindcontrol congress into doing it". Probably should have to avoid distraction from the point, which was that a nuclear build program ambitious enough to clean up the power sector would be highly likely to bankrupt the existing nuclear sector via series production savings.
by Thomas on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 at 03:27:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah yeah, series production savings, that must explain the excellent deal the UK is getting on the 4th and 5th EPR reactors.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 at 03:33:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... but sure, if they place a firm order for 30 or 40, voilà, too cheap to meter!

You'd thing that if anyone could do it, it would be EDF... having worked extensively in the French nuclear sector, the abject failure of the EPR was a surprise and a bitter disappointment to me.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 at 03:35:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... This may in fact explain why the nuclear industry is so very inept at pr. Most of the incumbent players in the US nuclear industry bought their plant at way below cost, or have paid of the loans - power from reactors with paid of capital costs sold into a grid with prices set by fossil fuels is obscenely profitable. A nuclear revival strong enough to cut costs on new reactors would cost incumbents a lot of money.

Note that even if you don't believe mass build of reactors would cut costs, the managers of nuclear utilities almost certainly do believe this. And so actually persuading the public of the merits of nuclear isnt in their strategic interest. They want to be allowed to continue to run existing plant as long as possible, but no new build to happen. Which they can achieve by only expending pr efforts at the local level.

Gosh, now I feel paranoid. Someone point out where my reasoning is wrong?

by Thomas on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 at 03:39:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mostly you didn't differentiate clearly enough the competing goals between plant owners and plant builders. And conveniently forgot to mention that every energy industry suffers from such differentiation of interests... including windpower.

Secondly, mass build is likely to cut costs in every industry. But windpower has already achieved that, as opposed to the investment necessary to effect a containment vessel supply chain.

And you might also mention that the "potential" costs savings, never yet demonstrated, still do not include the external, social costs, which are not included in build costs, which seem to be rather huge these days, and only grow with mass production.

Also you didn't address the evidence that wind turbines are designed for storm loads. And don't demand evacuation in worst case scenarios.

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 at 05:26:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, perhaps you could give us a brief history of how nuclear power stations have been built in various countries because they were cost competitive?

It would be very brief indeed...

Nuclear is built for strategic reasons, when the sovereign state decides to do so. Tell me, how much does it cost to insure a 1000 MW nuclear plant? (Of course, big insurance companies are renowned for being silly and emotive. That would explain it.)

Profitability of nuclear power is an exceedingly arbitrary concept, determined by the regulatory environment and by the hidden costs borne by the government. This will continue to be the case.

All this is objective, and completely independent of public sentiment. There is a huge subjective element which has emerged in the last couple of years; the notion that existing nuclear plant is unsafe and needs retrofitting with extra security, and that additional safety constraints must be imposed on new build. But that's the new reality, and doesn't help with building new nukes at reasonable prices.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 at 05:53:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
> why the nuclear industry is so very inept at pr

I don't think they are particularly inept... their problem is the reality they have to work from. A bit like climatology denialists who, given the state of the science, cannot help themselves from sounding like loony conspirationalists. There are few good options open to you once reality turns against you.

by mustakissa on Mon Nov 11th, 2013 at 12:25:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear accidents that killed literally noone - Ie, three mile island - are vastly more infamous than Bhopal (killcount > 15000. Half a million poisoning cases.) or Banqiao Dam (Killcount > 150000, eleven million displaced)
Partially, this is racism, but claiming that the fear and loathing nuclear evokes is objectively proportional to it's sins is.. Not accurate. Or if it is, a whole lot of chemical plants ought to be equipped with containment domes.  
by Thomas on Mon Nov 11th, 2013 at 02:32:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thomas:
Nuclear accidents that killed literally noone - Ie, three mile island - are vastly more infamous than Bhopal (killcount > 15000.

That seems to me to be a considerable exaggeration. If you mean that low-information Americans have heard of Three Mile Island but not of Bhopal, you might be right.

Thomas:

a whole lot of chemical plants ought to be equipped with containment domes.  

And products of the chemical and pharma industries, such as pesticides and antibiotics, should not be disseminated with gay abandon into the soil and water and hence into foodstuffs.

You're preaching to the converted here.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 11th, 2013 at 03:32:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Renewable advocates have promised clean power for over forty years, and their projections have all proven false. Scaling has failed, again, and again.

No, the political will to mount a serious industrial policy failed.

Nukes had a head start from two to three decades of dirigist industrial policy run by people who viewed a well-functioning industrial state as a key national security issue. Wind was ready to launch on an industrial scale at around the time our civilization decided to stop doing industrial policy.

Wind flatlined. Nukes flatlined. Hydro flatlined. Railways flatlined. Hell, coal flatlined. Because we collectively decided to turn the capital development of our civilization into the byproduct of a casino.

And here's the thing: Thirty years of neoliberal brain rot pretty much wipes the slate clean as far as supply chains and mass production efficiencies go. Which means that nuclear's head start on installed capacity doesn't count for nearly as much as you'd think in terms of planning for the future. Any halfway serious (i.e. > 5 % of gross planetary product) energy build-out would hit nukes' supply bottlenecks so fast it's not even funny.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Nov 8th, 2013 at 03:03:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bye the bye, i'd like to report that i'm writing these days on a computer which not only sometimes shows a complete page of chinese characters when i move between sites, but tonight even has the sites display upside-down, eye'm not kidding, though the upside down-ness melts into can't click on anything weirdness while literally melting on the screen. Not counting the growing grey lines compressing all the digital data into mud.

If yo[ure wondering if eye try to represent my selves here as a reputable persons, given the way reputable peoples are these days, my handlers, located deep in the Swiss Alps, have me forbidden to attempt reputable, despite my reputableness.

they ptolmy it has gotten that far.

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 02:48:09 PM EST
(Editor: We remain irresponsible to the purported writings of this diarist. However, in the name of Swiss freedom, we continue to allow him to make the fool of himselves, even at our expense.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 02:51:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Climate experts to enviros: "The time has come" to embrace nuclear power - Salon.com
Using a bit less tact, Hansen told the AP: "They're cheating themselves if they keep believing this fiction that all we need" is wind and solar.
Who is not cheating himself on this Earth? We can keep this progress in amazing tempos, just allow free fracking, more nuclear plants, more deals for Goldman and more iPads from Shenzhen. Ri-ight.
by das monde on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 03:58:00 PM EST
Which "time has come to embrace nuclear power?" When it was said 10 years ago, 20 years ago, forty?

When comes the time we embrace understanding?

Facts are dead. Data is dead. (That's correct, i said data is dead, after a life of data.)

understanding is what we need, and who understands understanding?

Without a change of course, this civilization will die, while playing Goldman funded Speed Banker in 3D.

I can't write anymore, i look like an idiot pointing out the obvious.

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 04:26:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This civilization is certainly trying hard to die, instead of just busting into other dark age.
by das monde on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 05:37:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please, let me post one further comment.

In the past six months, we've lost some 1800 jobs here in Bremen/Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven alone. If you count Hamburg, nearly an entire 45 minutes away, we've lost another 700.

Please, do not expect me to be rational. Rational can my ass kiss.


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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Nov 4th, 2013 at 07:09:03 PM EST
How i woke this morn...

thinking about the mindset which allows someone to write that nuclear waste is no more dangerous than a banana. that's equivalent to what the Tea Party promulgates. These people, in a society with a resemblance to sanity, would be incarcerated, no?

Yes nuclear power is safe, and we need a police state to protect our bananas. (Which cost is not included in any Tea Party calculations.)

Thomas, you may well know some purported shit about nuclear power. But you have to agree to stop writing about windpower as if you actually know anything. Why don't you take a month off, and every day interview a manager for a company that makes a component part, who sources steel, who supplies the equipment which rolls tower section plates, which winds generators, which produces pitch mechanisms, control systems or blade spar layups.

Perhaps then, after a month, you would have some idea about what windpower actually costs... and you still wouldn't be close to what i've learned in my 40 years of windpower.

Police State? Bananas? Does your cost calculation include the €40M paid to ransom the engineers in Niger? Does it include the cost of what happens when a part of that €40M blows up a French embassy somewhere, or a shopping center, or takes over a city? Then it's already become €400M, no? Where does the calculation stop?

Hubris. Thomas, say anything you want about nuclear power. Say nothing anymore about windpower, renewables, or sustainability, because you actually don't know.

No wait. Stop being an advocate. Get yourself a job where every single day you have to put on a dosimeter before you start. Perhaps then your promotion (it's not science) of nuclear power might carry some weight. Perhaps then you could look your daughter in the eye as you give her a banana.

I undertook that risk in my work.

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

by Crazy Horse on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 02:36:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Everybody here talks about power as something which is made somewhere central and piped to me.
Good thinking inside the box, but I think I see a new box coming.

The box I live in has lots of roof area and a big sunny south-facing side. We often get pretty good wind. There is some dirt I could drill way deep into to harvest the temperature differential. I am happy to share my car, my daughter has already gone carless, and the friend-technology business seems to be developing along lines which will surely expedite car-sharing. With 75% of the cars in the non HOV lanes every morning, there seems a lot of potential there. I live at the bottom of a hill, and with a big enough water-tank, I could harvest enough winter rain flow to irrigate my garden all summer. Sunday I attended a meeting about solar cooking, which I can easily do on  my deck.

Every day it becomes more possible both practically and economically to live off the grid.

by greatferm (greatferm-at-email.com) on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 01:16:37 PM EST


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 01:40:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only in America?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 02:01:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More a matter of population densities (leaving aside the mindset questions). Big house, big roof, big garden etc... Nevertheless, city living is and will remain the least energy-intensive. Off-grid is for niche applications. Autonomy is not a reasonable goal in itself. But distributed grid, energy-positive buildings etc, will get us nearer to neutrality eventually. If we don't give in to pauperisation.

More precisely : if we don't give in to extreme social stratification. Ecologically-sensitive habitat is a nonsense if it's reserved for the rich.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 03:23:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one Serious© expects urban areas to be self-sufficient for power production/consumption.  What can be done is to turn useless space, such as rooftops, into useful space.  Also power generated in a building, used in that building, is of greater value since transmission line loss is minimized.  Another potential source of power for urban areas is burning the trash an urban area generates.  Supposedly the tech exists for "clean burn."  I haven't followed the technology so I don't know how clean it actually is.

Anyway, the idea is to decentralize power production as much as possible and locate it as near to the demand as possible.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 03:51:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Supposedly the tech exists for "clean burn."

Shamefaced admission : I have shares in two different French companies with clean technologies for burning waste (one with plasma, the other by pyrolysis with red-hot cannon balls). Both are on the verge of opening their first commercial plants.

Shamefaced, because I've lost money on both so far (great tech, but companies apparently run by complete idiots. Also, not a great time for capital-intensive startups.)

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 04:46:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
companies apparently run by complete idiots

Is there any other sort?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 04:50:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would that there were not, but it seems some are run by evil geniuses. There is strong demand for evil, it seems. I have trouble deciding if it would be better or worse if they were run by evil idiots.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 08:05:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why "shamefaced?"

You put your money where your mouth is.  Good for you.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Nov 5th, 2013 at 06:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and hope springs eternal. They are both the Next Big Thing in waste to energy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 at 03:22:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The removal of the "spent" fuel bundles from the renovated #4 not-yet-actually-spent fuel pool is about to begin. Given the importance of this effort to the global citizenry having some connection to the Pacific Ocean, in an age where many hundreds of millions watch Champion League matches, and news of missing blondes circle the globe, one might expect this gargantuan, risky undertaking to be beamed live for all of us to savor the wins and gnaw at the losses of the technological top teams.

As of yet, I haven't found live coverage anywhere, even on the illegal UEFA sites.

(Posted for clarities sake on two competing diaries, to add to the page views, and spark interest in the match of the century.)

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Nov 6th, 2013 at 05:55:47 PM EST


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Nov 7th, 2013 at 09:30:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'It was like a science-fiction movie': Chernobyl - site of the world's worst nuclear accident revisited - Europe - World - The Independent

Every stage of the project has been painstaking and potentially dangerous. Dismantling the reactor chimney, one of the trickiest jobs, is due to commence this month and must be finished before the onset of Ukraine's ferocious winter when temperatures reach -25C. Chimney sections weighing up to 55 tons each, full of radioactive soot and dust, will be cut off with a plasma cutter by teams of two men and removed by crane. Lifting out the sections will be nerve-racking: if a crane fails, or an operator miscalculates, and a section falls into the reactor, a new cloud of radioactive dust could be released into the atmosphere.

The problem of dismantling and removing the reactor and its dangerous contents are the reason for the huge size of the Arch; it must accommodate giant cranes in a sealed area, where work can be done without radioactive dust getting out.

However, Philippe Casse, 61, the site manager, who has worked on the project since 1998, admitted that even after the Arch is finished, it may still be decades before the mess inside can finally be removed. "There is no money at the moment," he said. "Perhaps it can be done in 50 years when the right technology is developed."

:(

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Nov 7th, 2013 at 11:58:58 AM EST


"I hope it works, but in my opinion there is only an 80 per cent chance of getting the Arch into place, perhaps by 2018. Whatever managers say I doubt it can be done before that."

He fears the Arch's 15,000-ton weight may be nudged off course as it is slid into place, and may even crash into the reactor building. The discovery of massive underground pipes buried under the route has given engineers a new difficulty, he said. Until the Arch is finished, the only thing containing the radiation within is the increasingly decrepit object shelter.

But he believes the biggest flaw in the project is the lack of a plan to permanently dispose of the radioactive material inside the reactor.

"There is no plan for that, no money, and no nuclear waste dump in the Ukraine to put it in anyway. The Arch will look fantastic for sure, and we need to cover that reactor. But even when it is finished, for the Ukraine it won't be the end of the Chernobyl nuclear headache."



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Nov 7th, 2013 at 12:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But he believes the biggest flaw in the project is the lack of a plan to permanently dispose of the radioactive material inside the reactor.

Laugh or scream?  Laugh or scream?  Laugh or scream?  

h'mmm

That's a toughie.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Nov 7th, 2013 at 12:38:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
when you think about the $ spent on this fiasco, and then think how many eco-improvements that money could have been used for, plus all the skill, time and dedication...

have a banana.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Nov 7th, 2013 at 12:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another good site to save for the record:

DeepSea News

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

by Crazy Horse on Fri Nov 29th, 2013 at 06:10:51 AM EST


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