Author Topic: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry  (Read 1641 times)

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Offline estockly

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2017, 08:14:24 PM »
It's rare to find a nuclear plant built since 1980 that wasn't massively over budget and behind schedule.
Have there been any Nuclear plants built since 19801990?

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IMO safety isn't the issue.  It's cost.  New reactors are safe and have fewer parts but the cost has still gone up.

They are safer to operate than previous generations, yes.


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It's important to make the distinction between short term storage and long term storage.  It was the fuel pools in Japan that created the problem.  Long term waste storage is very secure and as far as I'm aware there has never been an issue.

But the issues are related. The reason so much fuel was held in short term storage was they had no long term storage available.

There was an issue with long term storage of Nuclear waste in NM, but I don't believe that was reactor fuel. Until that happened, there had never been an issue.

As for Solar, PV was a very limited potential and the costs are still high, compared to everything but nuclear. But the large scale solar plants that generate via molten salt are pretty impressive.

« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 08:16:59 PM by estockly »
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Offline nwdiver

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2017, 05:20:33 AM »
When I referred to long term storage I wasn't referring to nuclear repositories.  I was referring to 'dry cask storage'.  There has never been an issue with 'dry cask storage'.  Fuel pools are risky since the fuel rods must be kept submerged until the decay heat subsidies.  This can take several months.  But once they are moved to 'dry cask storage' the risks are minimal.

How is solar limited?  The only true limitation is reliability.... a non-issue up to ~20% generation and something that will be progressively solved with storage and demand response as it's necessary.  The lack of sufficient storage is a bit of a canard.  Somewhat like saying I'm defenseless against Tigers when I go for a hike.  That's not the same as a defense against Tigers isn't possible.  I have enough batteries to never use the grid... but I don't use them because there's ZERO benefit.  It's currently more cost effective to export energy to my neighbors than to store it for later use.  Once there's a benefit to storage then storage will become more prominent.

Solar is also now on par with many types of fossil fuel generation. Power Purchase Agreements from solar are now going for as low as $0.03/kWh. https://cleantechnica.com/2016/12/05/ppa-signed-800-megawatt-dubai-solar-power-project-2-99¢kwh/
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 05:25:56 AM by nwdiver »

Offline Pusher Robot

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2017, 12:38:57 PM »
Coal is only worse in the very short term. Nuclear waste is forever.

Not really - the danger declines with the intensity, which declines logarithmically.

As to the cost issue, I'm not persuaded that it is an inherent, rather than extrinsic, problem.  http://www.vox.com/2016/2/29/11132930/nuclear-power-costs-us-france-korea
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Offline estockly

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2017, 12:56:16 PM »
Coal is only worse in the very short term. Nuclear waste is forever.

Not really - the danger declines with the intensity, which declines logarithmically.

For the materials where the half-life is decades that's relevant. When the half-life is measured in millions of years, that's not.
 
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2017, 01:39:47 PM »
When I was young, "they" were touting "Atoms for Peace" and promising that with nuclear power, electricity would be free. You'd pay for the wires to come into your home, and the electricity would be "too cheap to meter."

The reality turned out very different. Nuclear power ended up being very expensive, and they built the plants (both power plants and plants to produce weapons-grade fissile materials) with no plans for how to decommission them at the end of their life when they would be highly radioactive, or where to store the radioactive waste.

Coal is worse, but nuclear was sold to the American people with lies, poor design, and bad planning. Steve may well be right that we need nuclear and that new designs are much better. I am inclined to believe that when he speaks, he knows what he's talking about. But the nuclear industry has only itself to blame for the highly negative public opinion.

The new reactors are less prone to a "China Syndrome" type accident, where the radioactive rods collapse into a critical mass in case of a meltdown. They are also simpler, their cooling systems less prone to leaking radioactive gasses or water. And they are more reliable. But, the new reactors still generate a a lot of waste.

We generate and have to store tons and tons of waste.

Following the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan it was the nuclear waste stored on-site that caused most of the issues. Waste storage and maintenance issues of issues don't go away with the new plants, and no one in our democracy wants the radio active waste transported to and stored in their back yards.

Coal is only worse in the very short term. Nuclear waste is forever.

You may be underestimating the volume of traditional waste and overestimating the volume of nuclear waste.

The World Nuclear Association discusses these quantities (excerpt below). The bottom line is that a coal powered power plant produces about 14000 tonnes of waste for every tonne of nuclear waste. I don't know what natural gas waste tonnage is, so can't compare - but even if it is 1000 times cleaner than coal it's still producing more than ten times the waste that nuclear power does for the same unit of power.

There are lots of reasons to be concerned about the viability of nuclear power generation, but 'too much waste' isn't among them. It is entirely possible to transport it as or more safely that we transport other brutally toxic waste, and to store it where it will have very limited environmental effects even in the case of a complete breakdown of the storage system.

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Offline estockly

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2017, 02:02:12 PM »

You may be underestimating the volume of traditional waste and overestimating the volume of nuclear waste.


Not really. Nuclear waste must be stored in a manner that will be isolated from life for thousands (100 thousands) of years.

Coal waste and other traditional waste may have toxic waste that may have an impact on the local environment, but it much more easily managed, even if the volume is much greater.

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Offline Pusher Robot

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2017, 02:19:29 PM »
Coal is only worse in the very short term. Nuclear waste is forever.

Not really - the danger declines with the intensity, which declines logarithmically.

For the materials where the half-life is decades that's relevant. When the half-life is measured in millions of years, that's not.

Yes, it is.  Substances with a half-life in the millions of years are not very dangerous because they supply such a small dose of radiation per unit time.
A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
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Offline estockly

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2017, 02:26:25 PM »
Coal is only worse in the very short term. Nuclear waste is forever.

Not really - the danger declines with the intensity, which declines logarithmically.

For the materials where the half-life is decades that's relevant. When the half-life is measured in millions of years, that's not.

Yes, it is.  Substances with a half-life in the millions of years are not very dangerous because they supply such a small dose of radiation per unit time.

Yet they are in such high concentrations in nuclear waste that it must be isolated from the environment. Most of the waste has a half-life of decades; some centuries; some thousands of years.
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Offline Pusher Robot

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2017, 02:44:34 PM »
Coal is only worse in the very short term. Nuclear waste is forever.

Not really - the danger declines with the intensity, which declines logarithmically.

For the materials where the half-life is decades that's relevant. When the half-life is measured in millions of years, that's not.

Yes, it is.  Substances with a half-life in the millions of years are not very dangerous because they supply such a small dose of radiation per unit time.

Yet they are in such high concentrations in nuclear waste that it must be isolated from the environment. Most of the waste has a half-life of decades; some centuries; some thousands of years.

After that amount of time it would actually be better to disperse the material into the environment as widely as possible, as it would imperceptibly raise the background radiation level, representing a negligible hazard to anybody, whereas concentrated in one spot someone who ate it could get cancer.
A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”
Knight turned the machine off and on.
The machine worked.

Offline 2397

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2017, 10:58:14 PM »
After that amount of time it would actually be better to disperse the material into the environment as widely as possible, as it would imperceptibly raise the background radiation level, representing a negligible hazard to anybody, whereas concentrated in one spot someone who ate it could get cancer.

Better how exactly? A minuscule risk of cancer for everyone could mean more deaths than certain cancer for a few people.

Offline Pusher Robot

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2017, 11:19:00 PM »
After that amount of time it would actually be better to disperse the material into the environment as widely as possible, as it would imperceptibly raise the background radiation level, representing a negligible hazard to anybody, whereas concentrated in one spot someone who ate it could get cancer.

Better how exactly? A minuscule risk of cancer for everyone could mean more deaths than certain cancer for a few people.

It's a much fairer distribution, for one, and the effect is almost certainly going to be swamped by other factors.
A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”
Knight turned the machine off and on.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2017, 11:25:18 PM »
After that amount of time it would actually be better to disperse the material into the environment as widely as possible, as it would imperceptibly raise the background radiation level, representing a negligible hazard to anybody, whereas concentrated in one spot someone who ate it could get cancer.

Better how exactly? A minuscule risk of cancer for everyone could mean more deaths than certain cancer for a few people.

It's a much fairer distribution, for one, and the effect is almost certainly going to be swamped by other factors.


I'm confused.

Putting a small volume of toxic crap (TC) in an intensely isolated place where the TC has almost no chance of affecting or effecting anything living in the next 105 years (+/- an order of magnitude) is a bad idea because...

...why?

I mean sure, you could make it an aerosol and dump it into the atmosphere the way we do with radioactive coal emissions. I come back to that 'why' bit though. With nuclear, at least, there are better options for the waste that contain it quite well.
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Offline Pusher Robot

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2017, 12:45:03 AM »
Because, if you are concerned that containment will not hold, then it's better not to have a concentrated hazard.  On the other hand, if you believe, as I do, that containment is not so impossible a problem to solve, then I agree, you might as well leave it contained.

I favor vitrification and embedment in deep sea sediment.
A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”
Knight turned the machine off and on.
The machine worked.

Online daniel1948

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2017, 08:51:21 AM »
Some wag once suggested that we get rid of nuclear waste by putting a tiny little bit of it into every bottle of soda pop. It would be distributed so thinly that the health risks of the tiny dose of radiation would be insignificant compared to the health effects of the soda pop itself.  ::)
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Online Ah.hell

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Re: Economic Collapse of the nuclear industry
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2017, 09:35:32 AM »
It's an old joke, "dilution is the solution to pollution."

 

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