Renewable Energy Uneconomic and Ecologically Dangerous

Renewable energy is a nice idea, but Peter Lang crunches the numbers and finds solar and wind power are crushingly expensive, do little for greenhouse gas reduction, and are ecologically dangerous. Cap and trade is actually a giant scheme to tax and redistribute, for the benefit of political insiders.

A letter submitted by Peter Lang argues that the numbers prove nuclear power is the only way.

Solar realities: Solar power is uneconomic. The capital cost of solar power would be 25 times more than nuclear power to provide for demand. The minimum power output, not peak or average, is the main factor governing solar power’s economic viability. The least cost solar option would emit 20 times more CO2 (over the full life cycle) and use at least 400 times more land area compared with nuclear Government mandates and subsidies hide the true cost of renewable energy.

Wind realities: Wind power does not avoid significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Wind power is very high cost way to avoid greenhouse gas emissions. Wind power, even with high capacity penetration, can not make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Nuclear power is the least-cost, low-emission electricity generation technology that can provide the large amounts of electricity needed to power modern economies.

Despite the common belief, nuclear is about the safest and most environmentally benign electricity generation technology. Nuclear is about 10 times safer than coal and gas generation. We have over 50 years of operating experience that demonstrates this fact.

Nuclear waste is a tiny problem from a technical perspective. To put the quantities of nuclear waste in perspective, all high level nuclear waste produced by the UK in over 50 years of operating civil nuclear power plants would fit in the foundation excavations for one wind turbine.

Besides, no utility wants to see its used fuel disposed of. Only about 10% of the energy in the fuel is used in the current generation of reactor designs. In the future it will be economic to use the remainder of the energy in the used fuel. So we do not want to permanently dispose of the once-used fuel.

Just two, multi-unit power stations in each of NSW, Vic, and Qld, and one in WA and SA would provide most of our electricity demand.

The modern nuclear plants, like the European EPR, can run at anywhere from 50% to 100 % power and can ramp a 5% of capacity per minute. So they can ramp up and down at 80 MW per minute.

With a little bit of hydro pumped storage capacity we could have very low emissions from electricity in Australia in three decades. France commissioned 63 GW of nuclear plants in 2 decades. France, with 76% of its electricity being generated by nuclear power has the
lowest emissions from electricity of any country in EU15. Denmark with the highest wind penetration of any country has the highest emissions from electricity – 10 times higher than France. France = 83 kg CO2/MWh, Denmark = 881 kg CO2/MWh.

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0 thoughts on “Renewable Energy Uneconomic and Ecologically Dangerous

  1. David,
    I clicked on your Peter Lang link, and got some complete nutter telling me that carbon capture and storage would bury the world supply of oxygen, leaving us like the Moon or Mars.

    I eventually found Lang’s paper. But it was full of the kind of spurious stats that you quoted. Solar uses 400 times as much land as nuclear? Big Whoops. But is land usage a problem for either? Emits 20 times as much CO2. Great – nuclear emits none. So what?

    • Nick,

      “But it was full of the kind of spurious stats that you quoted. Solar uses 400 times as much land as nuclear? Big Whoops.”

      I notice you give no references for your claim that this is a mistake. Please give some references.

      “Nothing ad hom, Geoff, I just described what I read.”

      No, you described your OPINION of what you read. Where are your FACTS???

      “And he recommends nuclear with no real attempt to analyse the downside of nuclear waste.”

      You might want to look into the French model. When you reuse the waste those high costs are severely reduced.

      ” He doesn’t seem to look at what is much more likely, with solar supplementing other sources.”

      What is the point of the huge up front expenditures in Renewables if they are only going to be supplemental and a serious problem to integrate???

      Would you hire someone to work for you if they would only provide about 10% of others capability, would randomly not produce ANYTHING, would be hard to work with, AND would require their money up front before you know what they will actually deliver???

      James G,

      the only lesson I am getting from Scandinavia, and especially France, is that Nuclear WORKS. Renewables are expensive conscience salving.

      The problems cited for the EDF experience are typical of large organisations and their projects and have little to do with the actual technology. IOW, the same, or similar, problems would be experienced if this company were to do wind/solar/gas…

  2. David,I clicked on your Peter Lang link, and got some complete nutter telling me that carbon capture and storage would bury the world supply of oxygen, leaving us like the Earth or Mars.I eventually found Lang's paper. But it was full of the kind of spurious stats that you quoted. Solar uses 400 times as much land as nuclear? Big Whoops. But is land usage a problem for either? Emits 20 times as much CO2. Great – nuclear emits none. So what?

  3. Come on Nick, I’ve read both of Peter’s papers and cross checked when within my expertise. He did not say that nuclear produces no CO2 – see his figure 11 in the Solar paper.

    Let’s have a session with no ad homs, no shooting the messenger.

    If you agree/disagree, state your case and back it up with logic and figures. Not waffle.

    Peter has a lot of experience behind his writing and it’s likely his database is about as good as you can get. But, I’ve read comments from readers who are so shocked at his findings that they go into denial/rejection then name calling.

    …………………………

    For those who fail to refresh their minds periodically, a few words about nuclear.

    (1). The official figures for Chernobyl are fewer than 100 fatalities (not all nuclear) and an indeterminate number indistinguishable from the number who would have died had there been no Chernobyl. That is, within the noise envelope. IAEA.

    (2). The high cost of nuclear modeled by people like Ross Garnaut have room for argument about transaction and compliance costs for nuclear. I’ll give an example of why nuclear models are higher cost than they should be. From World Nuclear News, 10 July 2009:

    ‘US nuclear utilities challenge waste fees. US nuclear utilities have written to Energy Secretary Steven Chu asking him why they should continue paying some $770 million annually towards the Yucca Mountain waste repository, since the project has now been put on hold and no alternative has yet been proposed. Utilities pay 0.1 cents/kWh into the national nuclear waste fund, which also gets over $1 billion per year in interest. The Nuclear Energy Institute has written to Chu on behalf of its members to “express its deep concern about the federal government’s failure to fully carry out the statutory obligation to implement the nuclear waste policy established almost three decades ago in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.” This required the Department of Energy to take over all used fuel and dispose of it from 1998, funded by the levy on electricity production.’

    I’d be upset at paying 7.7 billion $ for 10 years of inactivity too.

    • Nothing ad hom, Geoff, I just described what I read. Peter chsose those headline stats, and they are red herrings. Both methods are noted for very low CO2 emission, so the fact that solar is larger is not relevant.

      But most of the analysis relates to the notional costs of running a predominantly solar system, with PL’s ideas of what are required for storage. He doesn’t seem to look at what is much more likely, with solar supplementing other sources.

      And he recommends nuclear with no real attempt to analyse the downside of nuclear waste.

  4. Come on Nick, I’ve read both of Peter’s papers and cross checked when within my expertise. He did not say that nuclear produces no CO2 – see his figure 11 in the Solar paper.Let’s have a session with no ad homs, no shooting the messenger. If you agree/disagree, state your case and back it up with logic and figures. Not waffle.Peter has a lot of experience behind his writing and it’s likely his database is about as good as you can get. But, I’ve read comments from readers who are so shocked at his findings that they go into denial/rejection then name calling.…………………………For those who fail to refresh their minds periodically, a few words about nuclear. (1). The official figures for Chernobyl are fewer than 100 fatalities (not all nuclear) and an indeterminate number indistinguishable from the number who would have died had there been no Chernobyl. That is, within the noise envelope. IAEA.(2). The high cost of nuclear modeled by people like Ross Garnaut have room for argument about transaction and compliance costs for nuclear. I’ll give an example of why nuclear models are higher cost than they should be. From World Nuclear News, 10 July 2009:‘US nuclear utilities challenge waste fees. US nuclear utilities have written to Energy Secretary Steven Chu asking him why they should continue paying some $770 million annually towards the Yucca Mountain waste repository, since the project has now been put on hold and no alternative has yet been proposed. Utilities pay 0.1 cents/kWh into the national nuclear waste fund, which also gets over $1 billion per year in interest. The Nuclear Energy Institute has written to Chu on behalf of its members to “express its deep concern about the federal government's failure to fully carry out the statutory obligation to implement the nuclear waste policy established almost three decades ago in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.” This required the Department of Energy to take over all used fuel and dispose of it from 1998, funded by the levy on electricity production.’I’d be upset at paying 7.7 billion $ for 10 years of inactivity too.

  5. I agree with Nick. Same old nuclear green-washing and same old bad accounting. What’s mainly missing though is a report on “Nuclear realities”. Instead we get the same old myth that nuclear is cheap, which is arrived at only by ignoring all past and current real-life experience and pushing off the main problems ie, the waste and nuclear proliferation in the hands of despots, way forward into never-never land.

    Nuclear definitely has it’s place (though maybe only Thorium liquid salt, Candu and Pebble-bed IMO), as does Wind and Solar where Wind and Solar energy are abundant. None are the single answer and all are improving technically. Solar and wind are also improving in costs by leaps and bounds while nuclear seems still just as costly in reality (quite different for the propaganda) as it always was – as EDF’s Finnish experience is reminding us.

    But what about Natural Gas? About 50% more efficient, much cheaper in fuel and construction, much simpler plants than nuclear and we have hundreds of years worth of coal to gasify and much gas as yet untapped.

  6. I agree with Nick. Same old nuclear green-washing and same old bad accounting. What's mainly missing though is a report on “Nuclear realities”. Instead we get the same old myth that nuclear is cheap, which is arrived at only by ignoring all past and current real-life experience and pushing off the main problems ie, the waste and nuclear proliferation in the hands of despots, way forward into never-never land.Nuclear definitely has it's place (though maybe only Thorium liquid salt, Candu and Pebble-bed IMO), as does Wind and Solar where Wind and Solar energy are abundant. None are the single answer and all are improving technically. Solar and wind are also improving in costs by leaps and bounds while nuclear seems still just as costly in reality (quite different for the propaganda) as it always was – as EDF's Finnish experience is reminding us.But what about Natural Gas? About 50% more efficient, much cheaper in fuel and construction, much simpler plants than nuclear and we have hundreds of years worth of coal to gasify and much gas as yet untapped.

  7. Nothing ad hom, Geoff, I just described what I read. Peter chsose those headline stats, and they are red herrings. Both methods are noted for very low CO2 emission, so the fact that solar is larger is not relevant.But most of the analysis relates to the notional costs of running a predominantly solar system, with PL's ideas of what are required for storage. He doesn't seem to look at what is much more likely, with solar supplementing other sources.And he recommends nuclear with no real attempt to analyse the downside of nuclear waste.

  8. Nick,”But it was full of the kind of spurious stats that you quoted. Solar uses 400 times as much land as nuclear? Big Whoops.”I notice you give no references for your claim that this is a mistake. Please give some references.”Nothing ad hom, Geoff, I just described what I read.”No, you described your OPINION of what you read. Where are your FACTS???”And he recommends nuclear with no real attempt to analyse the downside of nuclear waste.”You might want to look into the French model. When you reuse the waste those high costs are severely reduced.” He doesn't seem to look at what is much more likely, with solar supplementing other sources.”What is the point of the huge up front expenditures in Renewables if they are only going to be supplemental and a serious problem to integrate???Would you hire someone to work for you if they would only provide about 10% of others capability, would randomly not produce ANYTHING, would be hard to work with, AND would require their money up front before you know what they will actually deliver???James G,the only lesson I am getting from Scandinavia, and especially France, is that Nuclear WORKS. Renewables are expensive conscience salving.The problems cited for the EDF experience are typical of large organisations and their projects and have little to do with the actual technology. IOW, the same, or similar, problems would be experienced if this company were to do wind/solar/gas…

  9. Nick, I spent 30 years involved with nuclear, both science and policy, and I am well aware of the theory and practise of management of nuclear waste. If you would care for a trouncing, please make a list of what you regard as “the downside of nuclear waste”. We might quickly agree on a short list that troubles you, rather than repeating dogma till we are both too tired of it. My short list of troubles is very short and mainly involves politicians and uneducated meddlers.

    James G, the activities of heavily nuclear countries like France, USA, etc, are not of necessity a cause of weapons proliferation by rogue states like Nth Korea. The technology of making crude bombs is relatively simple and smaller countries can arrive at their own designs and source their own materials for whatever cost they consider gives them advantage.

    Your argument is a bit like saying that rope should be banned worldwide because some countries use it to execute people.

    Peter’s figures are designed for application to the east Australian electricity grid. It would be apt to keep that in mind. For example, if we do not want any nuclear reactor waste to get to other countries, we just do not ship it. Just as now.

    • Geoff, I haven’t advanced an argument. I’ve just pointed out that if PL wants to say nuclear should be preferred to solar, he’ll have to put the full case, not ignoring the chief issue that is blocking nuclear at the moment.

    • Sherro
      Did you really compare nuclear weapons to rope? Maybe you should rethink that one since it’s utterly ridiculous. It shouldn’t be an either/or question anyway. It’s just a matter of dealing with very legitimate concerns in an adult manner and being honest about every energy source’s problems and total costs, now and in the future.

      And proliferation isn’t just about bombs; an airborne burst of, for example, radioactive polonium would do quite a bit of devastation. A Russian dissident in London was injected with that (probably by the Russians) and he infected about 3 others just by talking to them – they all died in agony. Strong alpha emitters are dangerous to an incredible degree. Imagine a few suicide bombers with that and you’ll perhaps be less dismissive. Yes we can trust the West. That much is known. But France is selling technology to Libya and Russia is selling technology to Iran. These countries are despotic. Where does it stop? When do you guys start to worry about these incredibly important issues? When it’s far too late?

      Andrew
      Try and be realistic and look at all sides to an issue before planting your feet. There are pros and cons to everything yet anyone selling you something just glosses over the problems with it. It is up to you to find out the bit he didn’t mention. Caveat emptor. I’d be happy to let the market sort it all out. I strongly suspect that solar and wind would still be with us but nuclear wouldn’t. And natural gas being actually cheap and clean would be the natural choice. (No I don’t have any gas company shares, it’s just an honest opinion).

      Kuhnkat
      The lesson you should learn about Scandinavia is that real nuclear costs are always far greater than the projected costs – repeat always. Peter Lang is using unreal nuclear costs to compare to the real costs of wind+solar. Once again, you are being had. This time don’t say you weren’t warned.

      I’ve helped design and even build nuclear reactors and I’ve dealt with nuclear propagandists all my life. They become zealots – every bit as bad as the AGW zealots. Some of you guys are going that way too by dismissing real and important concerns with truly facile comments.

      I repeat that nuclear has a place but those older designs, which were chosen purely for bomb-making capability, should be ditched. I like some of the newer ones (and I really like CANDU) but anyone who tells you, sight unseen, that they will be cheap is just making it up – just like they did last time.

      • Okay, fair. I just tend to think that people criticizing nuclear tend to be people who claim a desire for subsidizing low carbon energy-UNLESS it it kills birds or uglifies the desert-but I can see where nuclear may have difficulty being viable.

      • “The lesson you should learn about Scandinavia is that real nuclear costs are always far greater than the projected costs – repeat always. Peter Lang is using unreal nuclear costs to compare to the real costs of wind+solar. Once again, you are being had. This time don’t say you weren’t warned.”

        JamesG,

        …costs are always far greater than the projected costs – repeat always.

        Repeat this 10 times every time you read about the costs of ANYTHING, but, especially relatively new technologies, like, umm, say RENEWABLES!!!!

  10. Nick, I spent 30 years involved with nuclear, both science and policy, and I am well aware of the theory and practise of management of nuclear waste. If you would care for a trouncing, please make a list of what you regard as “the downside of nuclear waste”. We might quickly agree on a short list that troubles you, rather than repeating dogma till we are both too tired of it. My short list of troubles is very short and mainly involves politicians and uneducated meddlers.James G, the activities of heavily nuclear countries like France, USA, etc, are not of necessity a cause of weapons proliferation by rogue states like Nth Korea. The technology of making crude bombs is relatively simple and smaller countries can arrive at their own designs and source their own materials for whatever cost they consider gives them advantage. Your argument is a bit like saying that rope should be banned worldwide because some countries use it to execute people.Peter's figures are designed for application to the east Australian electricity grid. It would be apt to keep that in mind. For example, if we do not want any nuclear reactor waste to get to other countries, we just do not ship it. Just as now.

  11. Geoff, I haven't advanced an argument. I've just pointed out that if PL wants to say nuclear should be preferred to solar, he'll have to put the full case, not ignoring the chief issue that is blocking nuclear at the moment.

  12. SherroDid you really compare nuclear weapons to rope? Maybe you should rethink that one since it's utterly ridiculous. It shouldn't be an either/or question anyway. It's just a matter of dealing with very legitimate concerns in an adult manner and being honest about every energy source's problems and total costs, now and in the future.And proliferation isn't just about bombs; an airborne burst of, for example, radioactive polonium would do quite a bit of devastation. A Russian dissident in London was injected with that (probably by the Russians) and he infected about 3 others just by talking to them – they all died in agony. Strong alpha emitters are dangerous to an incredible degree. Imagine a few suicide bombers with that and you'll perhaps be less dismissive. Yes we can trust the West. That much is known. But France is selling technology to Libya and Russia is selling technology to Iran. These countries are despotic. Where does it stop? When do you guys start to worry about these incredibly important issues? When it's far too late?AndrewTry and be realistic and look at all sides to an issue before planting your feet. There are pros and cons to everything yet anyone selling you something just glosses over the problems with it. It is up to you to find out the bit he didn't mention. Caveat emptor. I'd be happy to let the market sort it all out. I strongly suspect that solar and wind would still be with us but nuclear wouldn't. And natural gas being actually cheap and clean would be the natural choice. (No I don't have any gas company shares, it's just an honest opinion).KuhnkatThe lesson you should learn about Scandinavia is that real nuclear costs are always far greater than the projected costs – repeat always. Peter Lang is using unreal nuclear costs to compare to the real costs of wind+solar. Once again, you are being had. This time don't say you weren't warned.I've helped design and even build nuclear reactors and I've dealt with nuclear propagandists all my life. They become zealots – every bit as bad as the AGW zealots. Some of you guys are going that way too by dismissing real and important concerns with truly facile comments. I repeat that nuclear has a place but those older designs, which were chosen purely for bomb-making capability, should be ditched. I like some of the newer ones (and I really like CANDU) but anyone who tells you, sight unseen, that they will be cheap is just making it up – just like they did last time.

  13. JamesG,

    I don’t expect people writing here to go hysterical at the mention of certain words.

    Nuclear waste, in the context of Australia, is decidely an “either/or”. Either we keep control of it, or we do not. Nothing too hard in that concept.

    BTW, I did a back of the envelope the other night, with the result that our team work at Ranger and Jabiluka and after I retired has substituted for enough fossil fuel to prevent about 5,000 million tonnes of CO2 going atmospheric. Not many people can make a claim to helping the GHG footprint like that. Roxby Downs, even more.

    Sometimes I think of radioactivity like tiger snakes. More people are said to be bitten by playing with them/trying to kill them than by walking away. You do not have to walk many metres from a shielded high activity reactor to be safe from worry. Like about 1.

    I used to keep a cube of Plutonium 240 on my office desk as a paperweight to frighten greenies until some offical nark confiscated it. It was dense and a good paperweight. With a half life of 6563 years, it’s a lot less worry than Rn 222 with its 3.8 days. Even the feared Po 210 has 138 days half life of alpha emission and then comes to a full stop with stable Pb 206. It’s radon and daughters that you should be concerned about.

    Uranium is good fun. Some of the secondary minerals are quite fluorescent and pretty under ultraviolet light. One night at Ranger we took the Prime Minister into a shallow costean after dark, so he could see this fluorescence. Unfortunately, one of the fieldies had doctored the trench with the paint used to retouch barramundi lures and it was lurid when the UV lights went on.

    When the Shah ruled in Iran I helped manage a very large program to discover uranium. It was common knowledge way back then that any country willing to spend enough could find enough U on its own territory to make rudimentary weapons, so what the heck. It was unlucky that Singapore and Lichtenstein were so small that their chances were reduced, but there was already experimental extraction from seawater, Israel being one country.

    You know as well as I do that solar’s key is the minimum output, hence the size of backup needed. Peter Lang explains this in big words for the Australian case. Same for wind. We have used up essentially all our hydro spots, so the backup of choice is nuclear – especially if you want to economise on CO2.

    Nick, this is where you went wrong by writing “Both methods (solar and nuclear) are noted for very low CO2 emission, so the fact that solar is larger is not relevant.” Well, it is, because solar does produce considerably more CO2 than naive people think, because of the needs of backup, especially if nuclear is a no-no. Sure, a solar unit in isolation is not a big GHG producer, but without backup it’s pretty academic. Peter gives the figures that you should read more carefully.

    Nick, I am puzzled by your parting shot “not ignoring the chief issue that is blocking nuclear at the moment.” The chief issue blocking nuclear at the moment is zealotry and I have no scientific antidote for the chanting of mantras, any more than I carry an antidote for tiger snakes. Waste management is not a problem, never has been, but all earlier objections to nuclear have been answered and the cry of “Radwaste needs management for 250,000 years” is silly, physically incorrect, intellectually corrupt and, to use that word again, hysterical.

    JamesG, the chances of someone implanting a bead of Po-210 in your backside from a pointy umbrella is so low that I suggest you can be relaxed about the possibility. If I were you I would not stop kissing people in case I was radioactively contaminated worse than Homer Simpson ought to be.

    Killing people by talking to them? Urban Myth stuff. Po 210 is not a gas, it’s a solid and eventually it lodges in the body or is Excreted more than exhaled. You’ve worked with radioacticity, so you can do the sums as easily as I can to show the remote probability of contamination by talking.

    Natural gas is clean? Sure, it produces a bit more heat than coal when burned, but it still produces inexorable CO2. Far dirtier than nuclear. Why not save it for transport like aircraft will need?

    Nuclear always more expensive? Show the data, don’t just quote slogans. There’s been a whole unproductive industry for 40 years trying to devise ever more ways to make nuclear seem more expensive. Look at the Yucca Mtn example I gave. What is your resonse to that? The fundamental physics at large scale have always placed the order as hydro, then nuclear, then fossil, then a long gap to the dismal pair of solar and wind. And even further to bobbing ducks. It’s these added costs that seem to influence your thoughts. Have a look at the prices the Chinese are building for, having declined some of the externalities.

    I guess you did not read Peter’s paper closely enough.

    • So first rope and now tiger snakes. Can we dispense with these really poor analogies?

      About the Litvinenko poisoning – educate yourself.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Litvinenko_poisoning
      as you seem to be mixing it up with something else. Whether exhaled or sweated out, the Po left dangerous trails all over the place. Now imagine a suicide bomber or an airborne burst. Why is imagining that very real possibility hysterical? And I could have dozens of other nuclear byproducts though Polonium is practically undetectable which is why it was chosen for Litvinenko.

      There’s a curious oddity though that some who are so blasé about nuclear contamination were among the first to advocate the Iraq invasion to remove Saddam of his small clutch of Anthrax and Uranium. Well maybe you think Saddam was the only nutcase out there but I see a few more. On the other hand, it is the USA who are the only ones so far to actually use nuclear weapons and nuclear-tipped dirty bombs and the US who have been planning a nuke strike on Iran, so maybe you have a point – maybe it’s really the despots that need to beware of the West. Do you suppose they have noticed?

      I have made it abundantly clear i am pro-nuclear but all technologies are not created equal. If there was a worldwide ban on uranium enrichment the world would be a lot safer. Sure you can make bombs from heavy water reactor waste but it’s a lot more difficult. And we should be using reactors that can burn waste rather than just assume it’s just not important, or those that can use Thorium (ok maybe not Australia). After all the technology is there already.

      I don’t argue with Peters paper on the costs of wind/solar, though he ignores that they are continually coming down in price and mass production would make a big difference. However he completely hand-waves the potential cost of those new nuclear designs. Hence it is one-sided propaganda.

      By the numbers, in France heating by nuclear-generated electricity is officially compared with heating by gas and diesel and it is 2.5 times more expensive than both. Those figures didn’t include decommisioning or build costs – just running costs. In the UK just one nuclear facility at Sellafield is costing 70 billion+ to decommission, yet they have many more yet to do. It’s not slogans, it is reality. The huge extra cost of nuclear was borne by France because they have no fossil fuels of their own – in the UK, where they had gas, nobody wanted to buy into the nuclear industry when it was privatised by Thatcher because finally everyone was finally able to see the real costs that had been hidden for so long and they didn’t just back away – they ran away. And there ended Thatchers nuclear crusade (really an anti-coal miner crusade – which was the real start of the CO2 scare and of Hadley Centre according to Nigel Lawson). Nuclear didn’t die in the UK by greenie pressure but by the harsh realities of proper accounting by the business world. French (and Japanese) companies have bought up the UK industry remnants now only on the condition that the UK taxpayer foots all the bills. That will soon die though when they finally realize they have no money left. Or maybe it has already because they are now talking about going back to gas again.

      Finally, i don’t a rats ass about CO2 levels but i do recognize that some compromise is necessary with those who do. On your question about gas, if there is provably enough of it, for example by coal gasification, then why bother even with rationing it? Previously unreachable seams, eg under the Firth of Forth in Scotland can now be gasified. The Uk has 200 years of coal, the US and China about 500 years. Australia has a goodly amount too. On top of that, just imagine we additionally reduced our home-heating and cooling bills 50% with some greenie geothermal pipes. Proven green technology that saves money – who knew?

      Kuhnkat
      Ask yourself what the people actually prefer – nuclear or renewables? Then ask yourself – what if we had spent all that massive amount of government research money on renewables rather than nuclear, where could we have been right about now? It’s not a level playing field and it never has been, neither in money terms or in propaganda terms.

  14. JamesG,I don't expect people writing here to go hysterical at the mention of certain words.Nuclear waste, in the context of Australia, is decidely an “either/or”. Either we keep control of it, or we do not. Nothing too hard in that concept. BTW, I did a back of the envelope the other night, with the result that our team work at Ranger and Jabiluka and after I retired has substituted for enough fossil fuel to prevent about 5,000 million tonnes of CO2 going atmospheric. Not many people can make a claim to helping the GHG footprint like that. Roxby Downs, even more.Sometimes I think of radioactivity like tiger snakes. More people are said to be bitten by playing with them/trying to kill them than by walking away. You do not have to walk many metres from a shielded high activity reactor to be safe from worry. Like about 1.I used to keep a cube of Plutonium 240 on my office desk as a paperweight to frighten greenies until some offical nark confiscated it. It was dense and a good paperweight. With a half life of 6563 years, it's a lot less worry than Rn 222 with its 3.8 days. Even the feared Po 210 has 138 days half life of alpha emission and then comes to a full stop with stable Pb 206. It's radon and daughters that you should be concerned about.Uranium is good fun. Some of the secondary minerals are quite fluorescent and pretty under ultraviolet light. One night at Ranger we took the Prime Minister into a shallow costean after dark, so he could see this fluorescence. Unfortunately, one of the fieldies had doctored the trench with the paint used to retouch barramundi lures and it was lurid when the UV lights went on.When the Shah ruled in Iran I helped manage a very large program to discover uranium. It was common knowledge way back then that any country willing to spend enough could find enough U on its own territory to make rudimentary weapons, so what the heck. It was unlucky that Singapore and Lichtenstein were so small that their chances were reduced, but there was already experimental extraction from seawater, Israel being one country.You know as well as I do that solar's key is the minimum output, hence the size of backup needed. Peter Lang explains this in big words for the Australian case. Same for wind. We have used up essentially all our hydro spots, so the backup of choice is nuclear – especially if you want to economise on CO2. Nick, this is where you went wrong by writing “Both methods (solar and nuclear) are noted for very low CO2 emission, so the fact that solar is larger is not relevant.” Well, it is, because solar does produce considerably more CO2 than naive people think, because of the needs of backup, especially if nuclear is a no-no. Sure, a solar unit in isolation is not a big GHG producer, but without backup it's pretty academic. Peter gives the figures that you should read more carefully.Nick, I am puzzled by your parting shot “not ignoring the chief issue that is blocking nuclear at the moment.” The chief issue blocking nuclear at the moment is zealotry and I have no scientific antidote for the chanting of mantras, any more than I carry an antidote for tiger snakes. Waste management is not a problem, never has been, but all earlier objections to nuclear have been answered and the cry of “Radwaste needs management for 250,000 years” is silly, physically incorrect, intellectually corrupt and, to use that word again, hysterical.JamesG, the chances of someone implanting a bead of Po-210 in your backside from a pointy umbrella is so low that I suggest you can be relaxed about the possibility. If I were you I would not stop kissing people in case I was radioactively contaminated worse than Homer Simpson ought to be.Killing people by talking to them? Urban Myth stuff. Po 210 is not a gas, it's a solid and eventually it lodges in the body or is Excreted more than exhaled. You've worked with radioacticity, so you can do the sums as easily as I can to show the remote probability of contamination by talking. Natural gas is clean? Sure, it produces a bit more heat than coal when burned, but it still produces inexorable CO2. Far dirtier than nuclear. Why not save it for transport like aircraft will need?Nuclear always more expensive? Show the data, don't just quote slogans. There's been a whole unproductive industry for 40 years trying to devise ever more ways to make nuclear seem more expensive. Look at the Yucca Mtn example I gave. What is your resonse to that? The fundamental physics at large scale have always placed the order as hydro, then nuclear, then fossil, then a long gap to the dismal pair of solar and wind. And even further to bobbing ducks. It's these added costs that seem to influence your thoughts. Have a look at the prices the Chinese are building for, having declined some of the externalities.I guess you did not read Peter's paper closely enough.

  15. Okay, fair. I just tend to think that people criticizing nuclear tend to be people who claim a desire for subsidizing low carbon energy-UNLESS it it kills birds or uglifies the desert-but I can see where nuclear may have difficulty being viable.

  16. “The lesson you should learn about Scandinavia is that real nuclear costs are always far greater than the projected costs – repeat always. Peter Lang is using unreal nuclear costs to compare to the real costs of wind+solar. Once again, you are being had. This time don't say you weren't warned.”JamesG,…costs are always far greater than the projected costs – repeat always.Repeat this 10 times every time you read about the costs of ANYTHING, but, especially relatively new technologies, like, umm, say RENEWABLES!!!!

  17. So first rope and now tiger snakes. Can we dispense with these really poor analogies?About the Litvinenko poisoning – educate yourself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Litvinen…as you seem to be mixing it up with something else. Whether exhaled or sweated out, the Po left dangerous trails all over the place. Now imagine a suicide bomber or an airborne burst. Why is imagining that very real possibility hysterical? And I could have dozens of other nuclear byproducts though Polonium is practically undetectable which is why it was chosen for Litvinenko.There's a curious oddity though that some who are so blasé about nuclear contamination were among the first to advocate the Iraq invasion to remove Saddam of his small clutch of Anthrax and Uranium. Well maybe you think Saddam was the only nutcase out there but I see a few more. On the other hand, it is the USA who are the only ones so far to actually use nuclear weapons and nuclear-tipped dirty bombs and the US who have been planning a nuke strike on Iran, so maybe you have a point – maybe it's really the despots that need to beware of the West. Do you suppose they have noticed?I have made it abundantly clear i am pro-nuclear but all technologies are not created equal. If there was a worldwide ban on uranium enrichment the world would be a lot safer. Sure you can make bombs from heavy water reactor waste but it's a lot more difficult. And we should be using reactors that can burn waste rather than just assume it's just not important, or those that can use Thorium (ok maybe not Australia). After all the technology is there already.I don't argue with Peters paper on the costs of wind/solar, though he ignores that they are continually coming down in price and mass production would make a big difference. However he completely hand-waves the potential cost of those new nuclear designs. Hence it is one-sided propaganda.By the numbers, in France heating by nuclear-generated electricity is officially compared with heating by gas and diesel and it is 2.5 times more expensive than both. Those figures didn't include decommisioning or build costs – just running costs. In the UK just one nuclear facility at Sellafield is costing 70 billion+ to decommission, yet they have many more yet to do. It's not slogans, it is reality. The huge extra cost of nuclear was borne by France because they have no fossil fuels of their own – in the UK, where they had gas, nobody wanted to buy into the nuclear industry when it was privatised by Thatcher because finally everyone was finally able to see the real costs that had been hidden for so long and they didn't just back away – they ran away. And there ended Thatchers nuclear crusade (really an anti-coal miner crusade – which was the real start of the CO2 scare and of Hadley Centre according to Nigel Lawson). Nuclear didn't die in the UK by greenie pressure but by the harsh realities of proper accounting by the business world. French (and Japanese) companies have bought up the UK industry remnants now only on the condition that the UK taxpayer foots all the bills. That will soon die though when they finally realize they have no money left. Or maybe it has already because they are now talking about going back to gas again.Finally, i don't a rats ass about CO2 levels but i do recognize that some compromise is necessary with those who do. On your question about gas, if there is provably enough of it, for example by coal gasification, then why bother even with rationing it? Previously unreachable seams, eg under the Firth of Forth in Scotland can now be gasified. The Uk has 200 years of coal, the US and China about 500 years. Australia has a goodly amount too. On top of that, just imagine we additionally reduced our home-heating and cooling bills 50% with some greenie geothermal pipes. Proven green technology that saves money – who knew?KuhnkatAsk yourself what the people actually prefer – nuclear or renewables? Then ask yourself – what if we had spent all that massive amount of government research money on renewables rather than nuclear, where could we have been right about now? It's not a level playing field and it never has been, neither in money terms or in propaganda terms.

  18. Some links for Sherro:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/nuclear-industry-sets-sights-on-privatisation-government-review-could-clear-the-way-for-early-sale-1504400.html
    “But Sizewell C, even if granted planning permission, could not go ahead because the Government has placed a moratorium on building new reactors. Its previous attempts to privatise nuclear power, along with the rest of the electricity supply industry, foundered in 1989 on the issue of the cost of demolishing old reactors and reprocessing their fuel. It promised to review the moratorium in 1994. Since 1989, the Treasury has become more willing to underwrite historical liabilities in nationalised industries such as British Coal and British Rail in order to ease privatisation, opening the way for a rethink on how to deal with the nuclear industry’s liabilities.”

    http://www.economist.com/world/americas/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13871858
    Canada’s troubled nuclear industry:The government opts not to pour more money down the nuclear “sinkhole”

    http://www.economist.com/businessfinance/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12724850
    “WE THOUGHT there was a future in nuclear power when no one else believed in it,” says Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive of Areva. The French, government-owned company is building the first nuclear reactors to be constructed in western Europe for nearly 20 years. With “no oil, no gas, no coal and no choice”, France decided to go nuclear in 1974, and today about 80% of its electricity is generated by 59 nuclear plants across the country. But even France became pessimistic about nuclear power: it stopped building new reactors at the end of the 1980s and in 2002 a government report called the industry a “monster without a future”. How things have changed. Nuclear power is back in favour, thanks to fears about oil supplies, energy security and global warming.”

    NB: Nuclear was widely considered a financial money pit and has only been revived by fears about global warming and peak oil, both of which are grossly overblown. And you can reasonably say the AGW scare arose originally from a nuclear greenwashing attempt by Thatcher and her establishment of Hadley Centre, which then became the backbone of the IPCC. You could also reasonably conclude – as Matt Tiabbi does – that it was/is commodity price manipulation by Goldman Sachs and their ilk that was the real problem with the oil price spikes. Opec had been saying this for years of course. GS are poised to do the same with carbon permits too. And of course all future nuclear power liabilities will be expressly underwritten by the taxpayer, which is why it is handily ignored by the propagandists.

    Things are always a bit more complicated when you take the trouble to look past your dogma. Wind/solar certainly isn’t the one true religion but nuclear sure isn’t either.

  19. Some links for Sherro:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/nuclear-in…“But Sizewell C, even if granted planning permission, could not go ahead because the Government has placed a moratorium on building new reactors. Its previous attempts to privatise nuclear power, along with the rest of the electricity supply industry, foundered in 1989 on the issue of the cost of demolishing old reactors and reprocessing their fuel. It promised to review the moratorium in 1994. Since 1989, the Treasury has become more willing to underwrite historical liabilities in nationalised industries such as British Coal and British Rail in order to ease privatisation, opening the way for a rethink on how to deal with the nuclear industry's liabilities.”http://www.economist.com/world/americas/display…Canada's troubled nuclear industry:The government opts not to pour more money down the nuclear “sinkhole”http://www.economist.com/businessfinance/displa…“WE THOUGHT there was a future in nuclear power when no one else believed in it,” says Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive of Areva. The French, government-owned company is building the first nuclear reactors to be constructed in western Europe for nearly 20 years. With “no oil, no gas, no coal and no choice”, France decided to go nuclear in 1974, and today about 80% of its electricity is generated by 59 nuclear plants across the country. But even France became pessimistic about nuclear power: it stopped building new reactors at the end of the 1980s and in 2002 a government report called the industry a “monster without a future”. How things have changed. Nuclear power is back in favour, thanks to fears about oil supplies, energy security and global warming.”NB: Nuclear was widely considered a financial money pit and has only been revived by fears about global warming and peak oil, both of which are grossly overblown. And you can reasonably say the AGW scare arose originally from a nuclear greenwashing attempt by Thatcher and her establishment of Hadley Centre, which then became the backbone of the IPCC. You could also reasonably conclude – as Matt Tiabbi does – that it was/is commodity price manipulation by Goldman Sachs and their ilk that was the real problem with the oil price spikes. Opec had been saying this for years of course. GS are poised to do the same with carbon permits too. And of course all future nuclear power liabilities will be expressly underwritten by the taxpayer, which is why it is handily ignored by the propagandists.Things are always a bit more complicated when you take the trouble to look past your dogma. Wind/solar certainly isn't the one true religion but nuclear sure isn't either.

  20. James G

    There’s more to it than tiger snakes and rope, of course. Many people in the world are like Pavlov’s dogs when “nuclear” is mentioned. I’m trying, as I have for years, to remove the immediate, irrational response that propaganda has so successfully implanted in the brains of too many.

    Uranium is an ordinary commodity, and a useful one. Those who seek to restrict it, and there are quite a few activists, will stress the tall tales and the true, where it suits them. I’m just trying to bring it back to earth.

    It’s not easy. For decades there was a saying attributed to a nuke industry sorce that nuclear power would be so cheap that we would not even have to bother to meter it. After a very deep investigation, no industry source could be identified and the source was narrowed to a handful of outsiders. That’s at the personal level.

    At international level, there has been a huge increase in costs estimated for new nuclear at the same time as huge subsidies for new alternatives. Of course the costs will seem to converge until you start digging towards the truth. I gave an example above of the hugh “artificial” inpost in the latter years of Yucca Mountain.

    My relaxed attitude comes from years of reading the literature from many angles. On the waste matter, there have been many calculations of the time lapse for radwaste to decay tothe levels of the ore it was mined from. The calculations vary according to reactor types and managementregimes, but equality is reached somewhere between a few hundred and a couple of thousand years. We already have managed waste for 50 years rather well, so what’s another few hundred?

    Back to costing, you seldom if ever see people taking to the streets demanding that huge deposits be lodged as insurance if any form of alternative energy plant went wrong and exploded (albeit with a smaller explosion possible). No, the propaganda word has been spread that alternatives are safe, whereas in reality their past records compare badly with nuclear.

    Peter is in a position to access good figures on costs. I’m not, any more. If you disagree with his his methodology, I’m sure he’d accept improvements and make revisions. But you have to be explicit as to what they are and where they can be referenced. Post the details here. No good debating with me, I’m just a messsenger awaiting the (rope) lash.

    If your quotes below (and thank you for them) part at least of the French hiatus in the 1980s was because 3 Mile Island in 1979 (where nobody was killed) caused USA over-reaction that slowed down the world nuclear export program. It’s the realisation of the huge personal power bills that alternatives would bring that has pushed them back again and nuclear foreward. I’ve never seen much of a link to peak oil etc., but I say that as a passing comment rather than a discussion point.

  21. James GThere's more to it than tiger snakes and rope, of course. Many people in the world are like Pavlov's dogs when “nuclear” is mentioned. I'm trying, as I have for years, to remove the immediate, irrational response that propaganda has so successfully implanted in the brains of too many.Uranium is an ordinary commodity, and a useful one. Those who seek to restrict it, and there are quite a few activists, will stress the tall tales and the true, where it suits them. I'm just trying to bring it back to earth.It's not easy. For decades there was a saying attributed to a nuke industry sorce that nuclear power would be so cheap that we would not even have to bother to meter it. After a very deep investigation, no industry source could be identified and the source was narrowed to a handful of outsiders. That's at the personal level.At international level, there has been a huge increase in costs estimated for new nuclear at the same time as huge subsidies for new alternatives. Of course the costs will seem to converge until you start digging towards the truth. I gave an example above of the hugh “artificial” inpost in the latter years of Yucca Mountain. My relaxed attitude comes from years of reading the literature from many angles. On the waste matter, there have been many calculations of the time lapse for radwaste to decay tothe levels of the ore it was mined from. The calculations vary according to reactor types and managementregimes, but equality is reached somewhere between a few hundred and a couple of thousand years. We already have managed waste for 50 years rather well, so what's another few hundred?Back to costing, you seldom if ever see people taking to the streets demanding that huge deposits be lodged as insurance if any form of alternative energy plant went wrong and exploded (albeit with a smaller explosion possible). No, the propaganda word has been spread that alternatives are safe, whereas in reality their past records compare badly with nuclear.Peter is in a position to access good figures on costs. I'm not, any more. If you disagree with his his methodology, I'm sure he'd accept improvements and make revisions. But you have to be explicit as to what they are and where they can be referenced. Post the details here. No good debating with me, I'm just a messsenger awaiting the (rope) lash. If your quotes below (and thank you for them) part at least of the French hiatus in the 1980s was because 3 Mile Island in 1979 (where nobody was killed) caused USA over-reaction that slowed down the world nuclear export program. It's the realisation of the huge personal power bills that alternatives would bring that has pushed them back again and nuclear foreward. I've never seen much of a link to peak oil etc., but I say that as a passing comment rather than a discussion point.

  22. James GThere's more to it than tiger snakes and rope, of course. Many people in the world are like Pavlov's dogs when “nuclear” is mentioned. I'm trying, as I have for years, to remove the immediate, irrational response that propaganda has so successfully implanted in the brains of too many.Uranium is an ordinary commodity, and a useful one. Those who seek to restrict it, and there are quite a few activists, will stress the tall tales and the true, where it suits them. I'm just trying to bring it back to earth.It's not easy. For decades there was a saying attributed to a nuke industry sorce that nuclear power would be so cheap that we would not even have to bother to meter it. After a very deep investigation, no industry source could be identified and the source was narrowed to a handful of outsiders. That's at the personal level.At international level, there has been a huge increase in costs estimated for new nuclear at the same time as huge subsidies for new alternatives. Of course the costs will seem to converge until you start digging towards the truth. I gave an example above of the hugh “artificial” inpost in the latter years of Yucca Mountain. My relaxed attitude comes from years of reading the literature from many angles. On the waste matter, there have been many calculations of the time lapse for radwaste to decay tothe levels of the ore it was mined from. The calculations vary according to reactor types and managementregimes, but equality is reached somewhere between a few hundred and a couple of thousand years. We already have managed waste for 50 years rather well, so what's another few hundred?Back to costing, you seldom if ever see people taking to the streets demanding that huge deposits be lodged as insurance if any form of alternative energy plant went wrong and exploded (albeit with a smaller explosion possible). No, the propaganda word has been spread that alternatives are safe, whereas in reality their past records compare badly with nuclear.Peter is in a position to access good figures on costs. I'm not, any more. If you disagree with his his methodology, I'm sure he'd accept improvements and make revisions. But you have to be explicit as to what they are and where they can be referenced. Post the details here. No good debating with me, I'm just a messsenger awaiting the (rope) lash. If your quotes below (and thank you for them) part at least of the French hiatus in the 1980s was because 3 Mile Island in 1979 (where nobody was killed) caused USA over-reaction that slowed down the world nuclear export program. It's the realisation of the huge personal power bills that alternatives would bring that has pushed them back again and nuclear foreward. I've never seen much of a link to peak oil etc., but I say that as a passing comment rather than a discussion point.

  23. You can find more information about what radon is, how radon occurs, why it is harmful, not least how you can make radon measurements in your own home. (Her finner du mer informasjon om hva radon er, hvordan radon oppstår, hvorfor det er helseskadelig og ikke minst hvordan du selv kan foreta radonmåling i ditt eget hjem.)

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