The 21st century nuclear renaissance is starting – good news for the climate

Despite what some may like you to believe, the nuclear renaissance is upon us. Don’t let anyone get away with telling you otherwise — they are badly misleading you. Indeed, given that the the real-world facts are so readily available, one really does have to wonder how long these ideologues imagine they can pull the wool over the eyes of the public? Do they really care about fixing climate change?

What is happening now

The bastion of atomic energy over the next two decades will be Generation III reactors, despite the enormous medium- to long-term promise of Generation IV (as I recently explained, here). This is not idle speculation -– it is already happening in the world’s fastest-growing economies. At the time of writing this blog post, over 65 of these modern nuclear reactors are under construction (or nearly so). Twenty-three new nuclear power plants are being built in China alone, which is targeting 70 gigawatts of extra nuclear power by 2020. In addition, there are serious plans in China for two sodium-cooled fast reactors (BN-800) of the “Generation IV” design, following the completion of the first Russian unit in 2012 — the sort of reactor that some people think ‘don’t exist’.

How about this for some supporting statistics: 29 new reactors, totalling 26 gigawatts of electricity output (operating at high capacity factors without the need for energy storage/backup), will start operation in 13 different countries in the 2010 — 2012 period – that’s within the next 3 years (average reactor size is 880 MWe). Of course, this new-generation nuclear deployment rate must continue to accelerate if we’re to have any realistic chance of completely replacing fossil fuels by 2050, but it’s a great beginning!

Justifying assumptions of lifespan and capacity factors

If nuclear energy was too costly and slow to deploy, as some (such as Prof Ian Lowe in his section of the book Why vs Why: Nuclear Power), why would China, South Korea, India, Russia and other rapidly developing nations risk their precious finances on such foolhardy ventures? The answer, these governments say, is that their investment in nuclear power is both prudent and timely, and so they are willing to put their money where their mouths are. This is reality and trumps the hand-wringing concerns of disengaged critics.

With regard to the economics of new nuclear power, Prof Lowe argues (in the Why vs Why book) that my estimates of the economics of nuclear power are “unrealistic” and represent nothing more than “wishful thinking on a grand scale”. He says this is because I assume that a nuclear power station will last for 60 years and deliver power 90 per cent of the time. Let me allay his concerns with some examples from real-world experience.

For the period 2006 to 2008, the 104 reactors operating in the United States reported an energy availability factor of 91.4 per cent. In Korea, Finland and Switzerland, it was 91.9, 93.3 and 92.8 per cent, respectively. Even the Chinese, who are still accumulating experience in optimal operations, reached 86.6 per cent. Furthermore, while the reactors built in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s had a nominal design lifetime of 40 years, more than 60 of them have since been granted licence renewals, extending their operating lives out to 60 years. Others are expected to apply for similar extensions. This is actual performance data, not speculation.

Current construction costs

As I explained above, nuclear power is being most actively pursued today in China (23 reactors currently under construction), India (4), South Korea (6) and Russia (8), and in terms of forward projections through to 2020, China plans to expand its nuclear generation capacity to 70 GW (up from 8.6 GW in 2010), South Korea to 27.3 GW (up from 17.7 GW), and Russia from 43.3 GW (up from 23.2 GW). Looking further ahead, India’s stated goal is 63 GW by 2032 and 500 GW by 2060, whilst China’s 2030 target is 200 GW, with at least 750 GW by 2050. These nations are heavily focused on rapidly overcoming first-of-a-kind (FOAK) costs and establishing standardised designs based around modular construction and passive safety principles. By contrast, the country with the most installed nuclear power – the United States, with over 100 commercial reactors – has announced loan guarantees to support new plants, but has not yet started construction of any Generation III reactors.

It is therefore in the rapidly developing Asian countries that current real-world costs can be most reliably established. The two leading reactor designs now being built in China are the indigenous CPR-1000 and the Westinghouse AP-1000. Reported capital costs are in the range of $1,296 to $1,790/kW. Korea has focused attention on its APR-1400 design, with domestic overnight costs of $2,333/kW. A recent contract for $20.4 billion has been signed with Korean consortium KEPCO to build four APR-1400 reactors in the United Arab Emirates, at a turnkey cost of $3,643/kW. This price is notable considering that it is offered under near-FOAK conditions, because these will be the UAE’s first nuclear plants.

Alternatives are not stacking up

Prof Lowe touts a crystal-ball-gazing exercise by some Stanford University researchers as offering a pathway to a renewable energy solution. I have critiqued that study heavily elsewhere , but the bottom line is this:

If non-hydro renewable energy were truly as cost-effective and could be built on the scale these authors would like you to believe, why has no nation yet followed this energy pathway?

Denmark has done the most in this respect, with 18 per cent of its average energy coming from wind power. Yet, despite this investment in non-hydro renewables, the carbon intensity for electricity production in Denmark is 650 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour. By contrast, the figure for France, which draws 77 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power, is 90 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour. This is more than 7 times lower than Denmark, per unit of delivered electricity. This is the stark reality, not the spin.

Yet again, real-world experience says far more about energy truths than any ivory tower speculation. Importantly, this is an energy truth that is actually great news for carbon emissions reduction and our pursuit of a sustainable society. It’s now urgent that this message to be understood by the classic environmental movement.

Conclusion

Allow me to quote the conclusion of my recent book:

It’s time to embrace nuclear energy as a core technology in the carbon-free revolution that the world needs to address climate change.

Many environmentalists believe the best low-carbon solution is for governments to guide us back to simpler, less energy-consuming lives, a vastly less consumer-oriented world. That is unrealistic. The world will continue to need energy, and lots of it. But fossil fuels are not a viable option. Nor are renewables the main answer. There is no single solution, or “silver bullet”, for solving the energy and climate crises, but there are bullets, and they’re made of uranium and thorium, the fuels needed for nuclear plants.

It is advanced nuclear power that provides the technological key to unlocking the awesome potential of these energy metals for the benefit humankind and for the long-term sustainability of our society and the environment on planet Earth.

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264 Comments

  1. Do they really care about fixing climate change?

    I think they are strongly committed to as much reduction in carbon intensity as the replacement of coal with natural gas can provide. I am often struck by their saying such things as “Use natural gas only as a transitional source for as short a term as *ka-ching* possible” or “I am a strong believer in the use of CNG as an interim *ka-ching* bridging fuel source. I’m not sure what the “*ka-ching*” means, not being old enough to have heard — um, well, really, what could it mean? Perhaps it’s Chinese for short-term temporary stand-in.

    (How fire can be domesticated)

  2. ” How about this for some supporting statistics: 29 new reactors, totalling 26 gigawatts of electricity output (operating at high capacity factors without the need for energy storage/backup) ”

    I do not have problems with more nuculear, given that I am really concerned by increasing sea levels.

    HOWEVER, if I believe the attached information provided underneath, a baseload nuke plant NEEDS energy storage to properly work . . .

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/05/taking-grid-energy-storage-to-the-edge

    Taking Grid Energy Storage to the Edge, by Brad Roberts, S&C Electric Co.

    The concept of storing electricity generated in a utility grid has been tried since the beginning of the power industry.
    In the U.S., large-scale storage projects flourished in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s as utilities added 18 GWs of pumped hydro facilities to support the rapid build out of the fleet of nuclear power plants across the nation. Nuclear plants run best at higher power ratings, so pumping water in these hydro plants presented ideal off-peak loads during nights and weekends when customer demands are lowest.
    Now, as the grid faces a rapidly growing component of renewable energy sources (wind and solar), the job of balancing generation sources and load demands is becoming more challenging. With most regions of the U.S. trying to achieve renewable portfolio standards (RPS) of 20 to 30 percent in the next 10 to 20 years, stable and reliable control of grid voltage will be a bigger task for utilities and system operators. Utilities and regulators know they must deal with this, and major changes are in the works.

    http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/10186/intersolar-solar-pv-conversion-and-storage-project-in-field-testing/

    http://solarcoaster.blogspot.com/2008/09/solion-energy-storage-solutions-for.html

    Critics of renewable energy and the fossil/nuclear energy establishment like to highlight the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources like wind and solar. I will leave it to the words of Hermann Scheer, one of the most forceful and eloquent advocates for renewable energy, for a insightful rebuttal in his book, Energy Autonomy:
    In a strongly centralized and internationalized nuclear/fossil energy supply system, this simultaneity [of production and utilization of energy] is, on principle, not possible. The storage warehouse for petroleum is the oil tanker, for coal it is the coal heap, for natural gas the major storage caverns and the gas tank, for nuclear energy the fuel rod store, and for water power (if necessary) the reservoir. Transport and distribution systems–pipelines, tanker ships and trucks–take on supplementary storage function. Or else it is the power plants themselves that operate as steam power plants, that is, they produce steam, which they must then keep holding in side the power plants as a reserve in case there is a rapid increase in production. All nuclear power plants and all large fossil power plants are of this type…
    In its campaign against renewable energy, the energy business never mentions its own storage capacity, as if this were not as easily usable as a reserve for solar- and wind-based electricity…The possibility that the sun might not be shining or the wind might stop blowing just when these sources are most needed to produce electricity is presented as an insurmountable obstacle–as if, by way of contrast, extra coal or uranium could be hauled out of the mines at the very moment there is a spike in demand for coal- or nuclear-based electricity.
    The role of energy storage in an on-grid application—such as that of a residence with solar panels connected to the grid—is to store excess PV energy until it is needed. Effectively, energy storage will ‘time-shift’ PV energy produced during the day, peaking at noon, to make it available on demand. This will both maximize local consumption and enhance the efficiency of the PV system. Surplus energy can also be fed back into the grid, for which the owner of the PV system would be remunerated at a higher tariff.
    Energy storage will also increase security of supply while making individual consumers less dependent on the grid and help to boost the development of energy self-sufficient houses and buildings and contribute to the continuous growth of PV as part of the global energy mix…
    The main benefit of on-grid energy storage for utilities is that it will reduce the peak load on their grid while at the same time making PV a source of predictable, dispatchable power that they can call on when needed.
    The Sol-ion kit has been developed to accommodate solar PV energy production of 5 kWp with a battery rated from 5 to 15 kWh and a nominal voltage of 170 V to 350 V. The Sol-ion battery is based on Saft’s high energy Li-ion modules, with a nominal voltage of 48 V and 2.2 kWh capacity. The compact, maintenance-free modules can easily be connected in series or parallel to create the desired voltage and capacity for each installation. Saft’s Li-ion technology has already proven a 97% energy efficiency in a recent 2-years field demonstration in residential solar PV systems in Guadeloupe.

    The part that upsets me the most is the profits the damn electric companies are making!!!

    In Belgium, 55% of all electricity is already being provided by nuclear power, being generated at 1.5 cents per kWh. However, when I look up my retail home electricity bill, I have to pay 18 cents per kWh. So much for cheap nuculear energy . . .

    I therefore installed 4200 Watt in solar PV panels on my roof, providing me 3500kWh per year in electricity at 25 cents per kWh gross purchase price, but if I subtract the yearly green production certificates income and the income tax rebate I can receive, then my own produced electricity do cost me exactly zero cent per kWh, covering the 1300 kWh in home electricity consumption, and adding another 2200 kWh in spare reserve, to be used to power a temporary electric oil filled radiator to reduce my home heating natural gas consumption, until I can afford myself an electric car or a plug in hybrid, to be recharged using that spare 2200 kWh reserve per year, allowing me to drive for free.

    Given the income taxation funds earned by the government, and given the government subsidies lavished on the FF sector, I do not have any qualms using some of that income tax money to make a personally profitable solar PV panel investment that will be repaid in full in 7 years, and will continue to operate for free for the next 20 years or more.

    http://www.iea.org/files/energy_subsidies.pdf

    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06-07-iea-stunner-global-subsidies-dirty-energy-top-550-billion-year/

    IEA stunner: global subsidies to dirty energy top $550 billion a year. The IEA estimates that energy consumption could be reduced by 850m tonnes equivalent of oil — or the combined current consumption of Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand — if the subsidies are phased out between now and 2020. The consumption cut would save the equivalent of the current carbon dioxide emissions of Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, and Spain. Fossil fuel subsidies average out to 2.1% of GDP of the 37 countries surveyed.

  3. I have a good deal of respect for Ian Lowe.I have heard him speak on several occasions.He is on the right page in the environmental sense however I can’t understand his stubborn opposition to nuclear electricity generation.
    We urgently need to get coal off the map.Here in Queensland there are more problems appearing with CSG extraction – land degradation and saline water.It shouls be obvious that we can’t continue to burn fossil fuels without horrble consequences yet a segment of society is happy to turn their backs on one of the obvious solutions.

    Like the coal industry,the anti-nuclear crowd are the goats in the herd.But how to wake up the sheep,that is the question?

  4. The only group that counts now in the opposition to nuclear power is fossil-fuel interests that are watching in horror as the one serious threat to their hegemony is rising from the grave that they worked so hard to bury it in all those decades ago. All others, the hairshirt human-haters , and the whimpering Greens are a small annoyance, and wield almost no real power ether politically or with public opinion.

    Fossil took a swift kick between the legs with the Gulf of Mexico disaster, that has come swift on the heals of some high profile gas explosions, and ash-pond breaches, that have the sector on the defensive, something that hasn’t happened for a very long time. They are reeling as the quick acquiescence of BP to President Obama’s administration demand to set up a $20 billion escrow account to help clean up the spill and compensate coastal communities for the loss of income. BP’s Chief Executive Tony Hayward’s embarrassed apology for calling victims, ‘the little people’ was just further indication of how much of the industry’s political capital is gone.

    Furthermore the abject failure of wind, solar and other renewable sources to make a difference is percolating down to the general public who are becoming soured off at ‘smart’ metering, and higher rates and the other issues attending power conservation initiatives that are looking more and more like simple rationing every day.

    However the game is far from won, and the pronuclear side cannot begin to think that the war is over. Paraphrasing Churchill: It’s just the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end.

  5. Yet another great post fro Barry!

    A short look to history: Here I made a “time table” of the construction times (From Construction Started to Connected to Electricity Grid) of all NPP:s in France. The first image here:

    http://planeetta.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/ydinvoima-vahensi-ranskan-co2-paastoja-110-miljoonaa-tonnia/

    The second image shows the growing rate of nuclear power production in France between 1974 and 1999 (light blue). The other curve is growing rate of wind power production in the whole world between 1997 and 2010 (dark blue). In other words, one single country and nuclear – compared to the whole planet and wind.

    The third image shows CO2 emissions from different fuels in France during the time period 1950 to 2005. The strong blue curve is production of nuclear power and the strong orange curve is production of electricity. These two curves are not in scale. Emission curves are in metric tons of carbon.

    I think this does not need any further explanation. You can try Google translation from Finnish to English if you want.

    Yet, despite this investment in non-hydro renewables, the Danes have the highest carbon intensity for electricity production in Europe, at 881 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour.

    According to another source, this is not true:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/pdf/Appendix%20F_r071023.pdf

    The source is from EIA, showing only 358 grams for Denmark. The lowest is Iceland, one gram.

  6. Thanks Barry! Your Knowledge, energy and enthusiasm influence many people.

    The emergence of nuclear power as the mainstay of industrial civilisation is inevitable given that fossil fuels are going to become more and more expensive over the next few centuries, while renewables lack the capability to produce enough power at acceptable prices.

    Even so, it takes people like you to make sure we do not waste too much time and treasure exploring dead end solutions

  7. Its nice to wake up in the morning and read some good news for a change.

    I can’t vouch for the veracity of this, but I heard on Radio National the other day someone remark that pretty much everyone in the Chinese cabinet has an engineering background. Maybe that has something to do with the choices they’ve made.

  8. Kai, I did a bit of searching in response to your Denmark question, and lo and behold I see that our own Peter Lang has asked the same thing, here. This is what he said (and Lightbucket’s response):

    Peter Lang
    This article would be fantastic if the data was reliable. But I don’t think it is. I’ve looked in the CARMA data base and find errors. For example, I believe Denmark has near the highest GHG emissions intensity in EU. However, in the data base the figure is intensity (converted to SI units) is just 0.374 t/MWh. Only 57% of the electricity generation is included. Fossil fuel is shown as 39% whereas, according to IEA, fossil fuels comprise 78%.

    name region type intensity 2007 fossil 2007 nuclear 2007 hydro 2000 renewable 2007

    Denmark Europe 0.374 39% 0% 0% 18%

    The rankings seem to be wrong Germany, Ireland and UK are shown as having the highest emissions intensities from electricity generaton in the EU. This is different from other figures I have seen elsewhere, eg David Mackay Without Hot Air, page 335 which I believe is derived from an IEA report: http://iea.org/Textbase/publications/free_new_Desc.asp?PUBS_ID=1825.

    Another example of a large discrepancy: for Finland, CARMA = 0.90, EIA = 0.239 t/MWh

    then

    Lightbucket
    Hi Peter,
    Comparing the MacKay p.335 figures with the CARMA figures in Table 1 above,

    MacKay / CARMA in kgCO2/MWh

    France 83 / 88
    Sweden 87 / 17
    Canada 220 / 213
    Belgium 335 / 317
    Finland 399 / 295
    Spain 408 /487
    Japan 483 / 365
    UK 580 / 557
    Germany 601 / 612
    USA 613 / 611
    Netherlands 652 / 548
    Italy 667 / 429

    Some are in close agreement, there’s a massive discrepancy on Sweden, I’ve already noted some of the Finland discrepancies. (The CARMA database now shows Finland as having 323 TWh of electricity generation, the Finnish Energy Industries press release gives 90 TWh of supply).

    Has CARMA missed some major chunks of capacity in some countries?

    …I’ve emailed CARMA to draw their attention to the queries, and inviting them to reply if they wish.

    There is more over in the Lightbucket thread, but it didn’t seem resolved. Perhaps Peter can update us? I’ll look around for other figures.

  9. Pingback: The 21st century nuclear renaissance is starting – good news for the climate « BraveNewClimate | Eclipse Now

  10. As I’m sure most of you have read the German Ministry of Finance has slapped an additional €2.3 billion ($2.8 billion) per year ‘windfall tax’ on nuclear operators as part of the 2011 Federal Budget and its financial plan up to 2014.

    The government has justified the additional tax on the basis of the extra profits earned by the nuclear operators, following increased electricity prices as a result of the additional costs of carbon emissions in the sector borne by fossil fuel users, Thus in essence the nuclear plant operators must now pay what amounts to an negative carbon tax for producing clean energy. The powers of rationalizations of this type, particular it seems to the Teutonic mind, are breathtaking. Add on the fact that German nuclear power plants are currently limited by a set of generation quotas and they truly beggar the imagination.

  11. Fran – thanks for sharing that. I have friends in Sweden and they have been advocates of removing these restrictions on new nuclear reactors. It’s a pity it passed with such a thin majority but a win is a win.

  12. Kaj and Barry,

    Regarding the Denmark emissions from electricity, this is where I got to:

    1. I don’t know the source of David MacKay’s figures. It is most unlike him not to state the source. I wrote to him before the book was published to ask about the source of these figures, but he didn’t answer. (I had the draft version that was available on line for a long time before the book was published).

    2. I suspect his figures are from an IEA report that is not available unless you pay for it. It costs EUR132.00. So I’ve never been able to get it.

    3. I wrote to CARMA about their figures which are the ones used on Lightbucket. I think CARMA’s figures are total rubbish. I’d give them zero credibility.

    4. I’d like to get hold of the IEA report. Perhaps you might have access through academic sources. http://www.iea.org/w/bookshop/add.aspx?id=36

    5. Until I can get better, I’d trust David MacKay over CARMA.

    6. I’ve looked around a lot for better figures and have not been able to find. I’ve done quite a bit of work extracting figures from IEA but it is not easy, so I gave up.

    7. I also have a good report somewhere which shows that nearly all Denmark’s wind power is exported, some of it at a negative price, and then they buy back power at the high prices that can be charged for hydro power. Denmark is paying a fortune for its wind power.

    The IEA report that I suspect is the source for David MacKay’s figures is here: http://www.iea.org/w/bookshop/add.aspx?id=36.

    The section I would like to see is “CO2 emissions per kWh from electrcity and heat generation” page II.61. I hope there the country breakdown includes this information. Denmark is on page II.186 and France is on II.204

  13. Fantastic post thanks Barry.

    Do you mind if I make a suggestion, last week I was revisiting some old posts on BNC as I was trying to talk nuclear with some anti-nuclear friends. The recent posts were quite technical and then using the search function it took a long time to give them something that could bring them up to speed quickly.

    I was thinking it would be useful to have an evolving “The Essential BraveNewClimate” category or link that is a guided tour of the critical pieces of the puzzle. A bit like RealClimate’s “Start here” link – although that is a bit of a link-a-thon. Unfortunately I’m not someone who can instantly recall key facts and figures and prefer to say “this is what convinced me, you should have a look.”

    A link people could just post to their facebook pages for example.

    Just a thought.

    Cheers

    Matt

  14. Great piece, as usual Barry, I just disagree with one part;

    “Many environmentalists believe the best low-carbon solution is for governments to guide us back to simpler, less energy-consuming lives, a vastly less consumer-oriented world. That is unrealistic.”

    It might be just a case of wording (as I too don’t think guiding us back to a simpler life is realistic), however, when the US per/capita equivalent oil use is roughly twice that of someone in western Europe, but does not equate to a proportionately improved standard of living, it seems that we could trim the fat quite literately as well other inefficiencies of energy use.

    Surely being more energy efficient users (and not filling the void by using that excess energy elsewhere) should be part of phasing out CO2 emitting energy supplies?

  15. ….when the US per/capita equivalent oil use is roughly twice that of someone in western Europe, but does not equate to a proportionately improved standard of living, it seems that we could trim the fat quite literately as well other inefficiencies of energy use.

    The reasons for this discrepancy is not so much fat as it is differences in infrastructure. Far from cutting fat, changing North American transportation networks such that they would be equivalent to Europe’s would entail massive and expensive construction projects and essentially rebuilding a good percentage of the cities there.

    This is not a trivial undertaking, nor would it be completed in time to do anything about the fuel/CO2 issues.

    While energy efficiency is all well and good, proponents simply expect too much of this, and when one gets down with the numbers the real gains are minor compared to the costs, and the length of time needed to implement them.

  16. DV8 said:

    The government has justified the additional tax on the basis of the extra profits earned by the nuclear operators, following increased electricity prices as a result of the additional costs of carbon emissions in the sector borne by fossil fuel users …

    I completely endorse the substantive point you go on to make about this amounting to a negative carbon tax. That said, it is telling that German nuclear power turns out to be profitable enough in a carbon constrained economy to pay taxes, whereas German renewables need subsidies.

    If the RE people were honest they’d reflect on how they could possibly reconcile this fact with their claim that nuclear power is less economically feasible than renewables. Presumably, more nuclear plants would mean more taxable profits, whereas more renewables would lead to higher taxpayer overheads.

  17. Cheers for that DV82XL. I certainly agree with you on infrastructure.

    Surely though, there must be room to improve efficiencies. Agriculture and the choice of primary foods (primarily plants), for instance, over consumption of increasingly processed produce, carnivorous species (eg. salmon, tuna etc), and large long lived herbivores (esp. cattle), should make a dent to emissions of a large country like the US?

    I understand political limitations (I don’t know how often I hear someone, “it’s against freedom and liberty!”), but I can’t help but see sense in not only shifting away from fossil fuels, but changing practices (where conceivable or within appropriate time spans) to also lower energy requirements of a given practice?

  18. Nuclear power can provide us with a high-energy global economy far larger than the current one. No emphasis needs to be placed on reducing our energy consumption, only in transitioning to nuclear power as quickly and thoroughly as possible. The goal of reducing energy consumption is a delusion of renewables advocates.

  19. I just don’t see why efficiency shouldn’t play a role.

    It’s like each generation has built a bigger and bigger SUV and kept the mentality of lead-foot economy. The tank runs out or (more likely and far more urgently addresses) the exhaust turns out to be doing us and all around us harm… so what? We’ll convert the engine to nuclear and keep belting it down the road?

    I know the metaphor isn’t perfect, but it just addressing what I consider to be impractical – this go hard economy. We have a terrible history for inappropriate value of produce, on the back of cheap abundant energy and just moving to the next phase of energy (ie. nuclear) continues this tradition at the expense of natural resources and wider ecological systems.

    This is not to say that I at all disagree with Barry, and I’m not a renewable advocate. I just disagree that we shouldn’t bother concerning ourselves with the efficiencies of our activities and thus energy consumption solely because we have an alternative. It’s basically business-as-usual under a new mask.

  20. To be fair Finrod the goal of reducing energy consumption is pretty damn essential in addressing climate change…

    … if you ignore the nuclear solution.

    Further to my last post – I just got the “yeah the fuel will run out so soon we should not use nuclear” line. I just need a link to a swift correction:)

  21. Judaeo–Christian cultures have an unconscious belief in the ethics of doing with less. Because of this some people can be convinced that small sacrifices are the correct choice, but even collectively these cannot make a significant difference unless everyone does it, and that can only come through some type of enforcement.

    If you want to walk two kilometres to the market, bully for you – when you make it a crime for me to drive the same distance, if I want too, up yours.

    As for convincing everyone to do this voluntarily; knock yourself out, for all I give a damn – we both know you’ll get nowhere. So in the end this debate bolls down to what penalties you intend to apply for not conforming to your personnel moral beliefs.

  22. DV82XL, on 18 June 2010 at 9.35 Said:

    http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-74483

    As I’m sure most of you have read the German Ministry of Finance has slapped an additional €2.3 billion ($2.8 billion) per year ‘windfall tax’ on nuclear operators as part of the 2011 Federal Budget and its financial plan up to 2014

    Germany has just raised the ‘windfall tax’ on nuclear power. At the same time it continually raises its subsidies for coal mines in Germany. Other countries in Europe also have a “windfall tax’ on nuclear energy.

    What is the relevance of this for Australia?

    1. This demonstrates that nuclear is inherently a very economic way to generate electricity. There are many other imposts in Germany which are making nuclear more expensive than it should be, such as the taxes on nuclear and subsides to coal and renewables. Plus many regulatory imposts imposed by decades of Greenwash political parties in the governing coalition. If all these imposts were removed, nuclear would be even cheaper than it already is.

    2. I think Sweden and/or Finland and some other countries also have higher taxes, levies or some other penalty on nuclear energy.

    3. Such actions by governments, to collect more government revenue from nuclear and use it to subsidise fossil fuels and renewables, is a real threat for investors considering investing in nuclear power. So the investors need a higher return for investing in nuclear than they would if we ensured a level playing field for all electricity generators.

    4. The fact that governments even consider making these sorts of revenue grabbing, irrational policies is enough to scare investors. Investors need to be sure their capital is secure and they will get a good return. If nuclear is more risky than another investment, they will invest elsewhere or demand a higher return. If we have to pay a higher return to the investors this means we have to pay more for electricity, if we want nuclear.

    5. Governments that scare the investors, raise the cost of future projects for their country. The governments create sovereign risk when they create policies that scare investors. The longer the project, the greater is the risk premium the investors demand. For a project with a 60 year life, such as nuclear,, the risk premium will be higher than for a shorter term project. This makes nuclear more sensitive to sovereign risk, and hence more expensive than it needs to be. It favours gas generation. Gas has a 30 year design life and a 2 year construction time compared with nuclear’s 60 year life and 5 year construction time.

    6. The new Australian government has taken exactly the actions to increase sovereign risk, and raise the risk premium we will need to pay for nuclear. The government has announced its intention to raise a “super profits tax” on mining companies. The tax will be retrospective an apply to all existing mining projects. Investors world wide are aghast by this action. At the same time, the government subsidises our extremely uncompetitive and inefficent car industry – by around $200,000 per worker per year. The government is also in the process of legislating to devalue the assets of Telstra, a private company, so this government can set up a government owned and run National Broadband Network company. The previous government sold Telstra to investors. The investors bought it on the basis of what the Australian government said. Now this new government is changing the rules and devaluing the assets. That is sovereign risk. These types of activities will add to the cost of nuclear in Australia. As will policies like the Renewable Energy Targets.

    7. I’ve been harping on for a while that nuclear could be cheaper than coal generated electricity in Australia. But not with the sort of sovereign risk we are imposing. I urge readers to take seriously consider all the cost imposts we impose on nuclear, and consider what we need to do to remove them. If we removed them all, we should be able to get civil nuclear energy in Australia at a cost less than coal. We have no chance of achieving that the way we are going. And the majority of the electorate is not going to embrace nuclear unless there is cost advantage.

  23. Thanks for the feedback everyone. I’ll have more comments tonight, e.g. on energy efficiency. Peter, I’ll try to get hold of that report, as it is important to track down these figures. Mattb, very good suggestion — this is a little project I should do, and might try to knock off this weekend. I definitely need a “BNC for Newbies” page, sooner rather than later…

  24. “Judaeo–Christian cultures have an unconscious belief in the ethics of doing with less.”

    Yet America is by far doing the opposite – and are quite clearly doing so in the name of a Christian god.

    As for having to enforce, again I see it differently. If you say, “stop doing what you’re doing so much and so often!” of course people are more likely to retort with, “up yours!”
    However, there are a number of cases where the general population change their habits, if they see the merit. However, I’d add to this that I’m not saying, walk to the market, don’t use your car etc. Internal combustion vehicles haven’t become greatly more efficient since their invention. You’re always going to lose more energy than you use. This is inefficient. Without major infrastructural changes or expense, we’re stuck with internal combustion engines, limited range electric vehicles and rail as major transport.

    This is my point. Nuclear isn’t going to solve all problems and it certainly will not allow us to keep a business-as-usual approach.

    Efficient energy use much be included and technology must be continually improved upon with the hope to reduce wasted energy. We can’t simply jump mindlessly to a new source – by constantly improving (and keeping efficiency on the cards) we may not make a great deal of different to the overall phasing out of fossil fuels, but we can certainly ensure future supplies last longer and (hopefully) develop more appropriate value of products and services (included ecological).

  25. Someone over here is banging on about nitrous oxide production from the nuclear fuel cycle (but he never talks about volumes, only adjectives):

    http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/55401#comments

    So, the key thing he doesn’t discuss is how much nitrous oxide is released in the production of nitric acid for dissolving uranium fuel. I imagine that once the nitric acid has been made, it can be used again and again to process uranium fuel rods. But does anyone have the figures to back up my assumption? I assume these sort of life cycle emissions are accounted for during LCAs of nuclear.

  26. Mattb,

    We have discussed this many times on BNC comments, but I can’t quickly point you to the best comments. DV*2XL posted a link to the WNA page that covers this.

    My answer is that there is no shortage of uranium. We’ve only scratched the Earths’s surfae in a fow places. We have hardly looked for it yet. It is as common and tin and many other metals. There is no shortage.

  27. Despite the demise of the ETS I believe that governments continue to tinker with energy prices. It appears most States will have raised household electricity prices 30% between 2007 and 2010. Perhaps this is at the behest of gas fired generators who want the public softened up. I’m not sure if big energy users like aluminium smelters will be affected but they’ll only pay a fraction of what households do. I would like to see an economic justification for this discrepancy.

    I also suggest that operators of coal ports and railways should get no taxpayer assistance. After all we were supposed to be worried about CO2 at one stage. Then scrap Federal RECs and State feed-in tariffs. Then make CSG drillers pay for long term aquifer damage. Then make coal burners clean up ash dumps so no arsenic or tar can escape for the next million years. Better still modify all coal and gas plants to become ‘CCS ready’ for when the day arrives. One rule for all.

  28. Essentially John Newlands, that was what I was calling for in relation to all energy sources — full internalisation of the footprint of their costs.

    I note that Fran is calling for “dirty energy” to be not tax deductible and for things like the diesel fuel rebate and the FBT on cars to be scrapped. I think this is also worth pursuing. Effectively, that would mean that the company tax rate would apply to all these costs. She also suggests that the revenue raised/saved could then be handed back to most consumers in cash or tax rebates or some kind of service.

    Who could be opposed to that?

  29. DV*

    If you want to walk two kilometres to the market, bully for you – when you make it a crime for me to drive the same distance, if I want too, up yours.

    I doubt this is an accurate characterisation of Mothincarnate’s proposal. The poster seemed to be focused on fuel efficiency. Less reliance on private transport and more reliance on mass transit or car polling would also meet the standard. AFAIK, few people walk 2km in Europe to do their shopping.

    There are limits to how much you can save this way, but at least during the period when ready alternatives to liquid FFs aren’t widely available, these seem fair enough.

  30. DV82XL, I’m happy if you drive, so long as the market charges you to park instead of spreading the cost of the parking infrastructure across the items I’m buying, subsidising your car driving habits:) And so long as you’re paying car tax and insurance on a per km rate rather than an annual fee (which encourages you to drive more and punishes those who drive less). And making sure that the carbon costs of the petrol you are using are fully internalised in the price of petrol.

  31. Finrod,

    I’ve just read your article here: http://channellingthestrongforce.blogspot.com/2010/03/is-nuclear-power-sustainable.html.

    Excellent job of bringing it all together so it is easy to understand and follow.

    I have one point to add for other readers. We cannot envisage what the mining and exploration technologies will be ten or 20 years from now, let alone 50 or in future centruries, so getting convcerned about uranium supply beyond the life of reactors is not of much relevance. I’d alos like to point out that we will not have to move all the material you referred to. We are already using in situ leaching to mine uranium.

  32. Finrod,

    It’s worth summarising your conclusion. It may be useful for the FAQ that Marion and Ms Perps are working on.

    If I understand your conclusions correctly, in my words, there is sufficient uranium and thorium in the top 4 km of the Earth’s land areas to supply all the energy needs of 10 billion people at the USA’s current rate of energy consumption for 220 million years. That’s as long as far ahead as the start of the dinosaur era is behind.

    That should answer the question about sustainability of nuclear fuel supplies satisfactorily for most people.

  33. Barry,

    I wonder what your take on this Tom Blees’ quote is, from the reportage-enviro.com link you provided;

    “Ironically, Australia isn’t going to be ready to build a nuclear reactor for the next 5 years. But in the next 5 years we could have these up and running…and then Australia could go straight to Generation 4 [nuclear power] and then never mine uranium for their own use. “

    And I agree with the “BNC for newbies” idea. Perhaps something like the “start here” option on realclimate.org.

  34. Conservation isn’t an energy plan any more than starvation is a food suppy plan.

    It all boils down to enforcement of some description or another, and it is all based on the moral position that less is best. You can argue and rationalize it until you are blue in the face, but this is at the bottom of this meme.

    It is better in the long run to work towards making more energy available and letting the market decide what the cost is, ASSUMING (as we are with nuclear energy) that there are no other impacts, like CO2.

    The conservation argument is a sideshow and the only real gains can be made by individuals which are minuscule, industry has already ‘cut the fat’ to lower costs long ago.

  35. Thank’s Peter and Barry.

    I simply don’t believe on 881 g/kWh for Denmark electricity.

    I don’t trust in CARMA-databese. I found some odd things there before. For example the information of Finland is totally rubbish. As Peter pointed out in an earlier comment:

    Another example of a large discrepancy: for Finland, CARMA = 0.90, EIA = 0.239 t/MWh

    Have you noticed that the unit for intensity in CARMA is “Pounds of CO2 emitted per megawatt-hour of electricity produced.” according to their glossary?

    IEA has some informative graphs. This is for Finland:

    http://www.iea.org/stats/pdf_graphs/FIELEC.pdf

    and this for Denmark:

    http://www.iea.org/stats/pdf_graphs/DKELEC.pdf

    You find all of them here:

    http://www.iea.org/country/index.asp

    For all kinds of statistics this is the site to go:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/contents.html

    You can download information in Excel-format so it is a good tool to do some study. Here are the emission factors:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/emission_factors.html

    Back to original question about emission factor for Denmark. I looked at Danish Energy Agency and found some key figures. It says CO2

    ”Emissions per kWh Electricity Sold kWh: 547 Gram/kWh”

    Here is the source:

    http://www.ens.dk/en-US/Info/FactsAndFigures/KeyFigures/Sider/DanishKeyFigures.aspx

    I believe this information is the best you can find. Remember there’s a lot of CHP in Denmark, so you should know how the emission factor is calculated to fully understand the numbers.

    A friend of mine should have access to IEA Repport, but he’s an holiday at the moment.

  36. Hello everybody,

    We are living in an increasingly complex world. Increasing complexity reguires increasing energy. In fact, we are living in an exponentially growing world.

    HOWEVER, we are living also in the midst of the biggest bubble bursting humankind has ever created. Thus Great Depression is probably ahead of us.

    Can anybody imagine renewed nuclear growth (nuclear power plant are very much complex structures!) under conditions of economic rapid contraction and de-complexification? Who will take care about nuclear plants in an unsecure and politically instable world, ahead of us?

    Could for instance Greece, or the rest of Europe for that matter, build new nuclear reactors, or replace the old ones?

    In other world: *Can we rely on nuclear energy in an unclear world?*

    Thanks for debate,
    regards, Alexander

  37. DV
    “Conservation isn’t an energy plan any more than starvation is a food suppy plan.”
    Gluttony isn’t sensible eating anymore than mindlessly chewing up energy while it’s cheap and easy.
    “The conservation argument is a sideshow and the only real gains can be made by individuals which are minuscule, industry has already ‘cut the fat’ to lower costs long ago.”
    Conservation is an important aspect whether it’s energy, fiscal of ecological.
    Gains might be minuscule from individuals contribution (as like water savings more or less were in SA compared to industry use), however ignoring this is a defeatist attitude and would undermine efficiency measures at large.
    A major aspect of efficiency is a change of attitudes and that will include everyone, regardless of how small their individual contribution would be. Otherwise, why not buy a bigger SUV next year? That’s just rubbish and counter productive.

  38. If we develop a global nuclear economy with synthesised hydrocarbon fuels, or truly effective electric batteries for motor vehicles, why the hell not buy a bigger SUV next year?

  39. Here is the core of my counter argument: I don’t agree with any of you that we use too much energy. Therefore for you to implement your ideas you will have to use the force of law and the power of the State. You will do this for no other reason than ideological ones, In a world with readily available nuclear energy usage restricted by anything other than the market, is not justifiable. I don’t care for your religious-driven morality, and I don’t want it stuffed down my throat just because you think it is right,

    Do, to yourself, what ever you want. If you feel good about not using energy, knock yourself out, but do not presume to lecture the rest of us or force your ideas on us.

  40. Now Mothincarnate has collided with the great light he has been drawn to. Faced with the defeat of his foolish paradigm he resorts to cheap shots and desperate evasion of the issue at hand.

  41. Just listen to yourself DV;
    “core of my counter argument: I don’t agree with any of you that we use too much energy.”
    You don’t agree, so I’m ideological?
    lol – great rebuttal there.
    I mentioned above those kinds of statements, “It’s against my free will…” etc
    I don’t think I’ve mentioned force at all and yet you rush to the delusion of a governmental force working against the consumer..
    You haven’t addressed my argument at all (except to say that you don’t agree) – just because we’re got lots of something doesn’t mean we should use it hard and fast without any regard for how well we use it…

  42. But sometimes to maximise effectiveness at a certain function (such as the ability to move large quantities of rock and dirt) a vehicle must sacrifice energy efficiency for more torque, for example. Energy effficiency is just one of many dimensions to be considered in the design of machinery. If there is no shortage of energy, why elevate efficiency to some mystical status?

  43. Kaj,

    Thank you for this post:

    http://www.ens.dk/en-US/Info/FactsAndFigures/KeyFigures/Sider/DanishKeyFigures.aspx

    And this

    http://www.iea.org/stats/electricitydata.asp?COUNTRY_CODE=DK

    You may be correct, but I’ll be interested to see what the IEA report says. I am concerned that Denmark is claiming 18% of their electricity comes from wind energy. But actually only about 3% comes from wind energy. The remainder of the wind energy Denmark generates has to be exported. Then Denmark imports electricity from the Scandinavian and European grids. The emissions intensity for the imported electricity is the average emission intensity for the grid they import from. If the emissions intensities are based on consumption, which I believe they should be, and Denmark consuming only 3% wind energy, 9% from biomass and waste and the remainder from coal and gas, I would expect the emissions intensities should be higher than those quoted. It will be interesting to get to the bottom of the discrepancy in these figures. One thing for sure is the figures are ‘all over the shop’ and there are significant discrepancies between different sources.

  44. Finrod and Peter Lang
    Thanks for the heads up.
    I have just added the link( and highlighted the brilliant quote) on Finrod’s blog, to the FAQ re: Won’t we run out of uranium? The post is just about ready to go to Barry. I have to say though that Marion done all the work ( with a very few tweaks from me)- and I am sure that, when you read it, you will think she has done a great job! It is a real CALL TO ACTION.

  45. Sure, work vehicles are great (I’d have a hell of a time doing my job, climbing over dunes without a 4WD), but there’s a difference between a work vehicle and the ol’ school mum SUV. The first is an efficient trade off (excusing for this case the internal combustion engine), while the second is inefficient and rather reckless.
    I’m sure when fossil fuels started to make a name for themselves the “experts” at the time were sure it’d be around and used safely for centuries and this isn’t the case. Sure, we know that with these newer nuclear reactors that we can potentially produce energy for a very long time, but I think it’s naive and counter productive to go hammering through the supply of a finite source as quickly as we can.

  46. DV8, Finrod and Moth
    Please -enough already!
    Pragmatically,the cost of power in the future, will probably determine how much we all use on an individual basis anyway- as is the case now.

  47. Yes, enough has been said on the matter for now.

    Ms Perps and Peter Lang, thank you for your kind words concerning my essay. That was what it was written for… to help out with the pro-nuclear cause as a resource to refer people to. I’m glad people see value in it.

  48. To meet this growing demand for nuclear energy, there is a strong and urgent need to develop sufficient levels of human capital and expertise for both existing and new sources of energy production. Ensuring a skilled workforce for the nuclear sector is inseparable from other policy actions towards meeting growing energy demand, and this should therefore be a top priority policy issue in nuclear energy policy strategies.

    There sector simply does not have enough engineers, designers, scientists, physicists and mathematicians to do the job, let alone enough skilled technicians to install and connect the machinery. The global talent pool is so small, bringing employees in from abroad is not an answer, and the reality is that a large proportion of nuclear power plant workers in the West are within 10 years of retirement.

    There is an acute skills shortage that is prevalent in many sectors of this industry but, arguably, the most severe in growing nuclear energy is in building and construction sector, qualified to take on projects of this type.

    This must be addressed now if we are to move forward.

  49. DV82XL is correct when you think about it. We do use too much of a depleting resource, and we do emit too much carbon, therefore in this context we do use too much energy. But if you find an energy source without those problems then what is too much? It will be determined by cost, with something other than carbon being the limiting factor – concrete? Some precious metal integral to the system I dunno?

    The main thing is that the system needs to be set up so that a consumer just decides how much to use based on cost, and we should aim to avoid at all cost the current situation where a consumer has a decision on cost, and balanced with a decision on carbon, where reducing carbon hands a competitive advantage to someone else.

  50. I quite often hear a comment, that ”too” low-cost energy is increasing the consumption of other depleting resources and it is increasing pollution that way. When I look what’s happens in the world, I recognize that increasing the consumption is possible enough without nuclear power so this is not a very good argument.

    Do we use too much of energy, it depends. Less energy, less emission, less NPP’s required to replace the dirty energy and most important, less time is needed to get rid of dirty energy. If you can illuminate your room by a 5 W LED instead of a 60 W incandescent lamp, it’s nothing but stupid not to prefer the LED. Or if you can save energy AND money by insulating your house, why not do it?

    You can compare cars in USA and Europe and ask, is it necessary to burn more gasoline to do the same thing, move yourself from one place to another.

  51. Peter Lang:

    I am concerned that Denmark is claiming 18% of their electricity comes from wind energy. But actually only about 3% comes from wind energy. The remainder of the wind energy Denmark generates has to be exported.

    Ok, now I understand what you are looking for. Actually, you can’t say where the electricity comes from that you are exporting, can you? You could export coal power and use all the wind power yourself, or vice versa. It comes from the same grid anyway. I think it’s unfair to say that only wind power is exported. So you can get different values for the emission factor and they can all be correct. Or is there some king of a standard how to calculate?

    Why not email Danish Energy Agency and ask how they calculate it?

  52. “ The goal of reducing energy consumption is a delusion of renewables advocates. “
    “ Conservation isn’t an energy plan any more than starvation is a food suppy plan. “
    “ Faced with the defeat of his foolish paradigm he resorts to cheap shots and desperate evasion of the issue at hand. “
    “ If we have a well-developed, integrated nuclear economy, what’s wrong with using more energy? “
    “ Energy effficiency is just one of many dimensions to be considered in the design of machinery. If there is no shortage of energy, why elevate efficiency to some mystical status? “

    Finrod,
    There are now 6.5 Billion people out there, of which 2 Billion aren’t even connected to the grid or don’t use electricity, too poor to afford that luxury.
    If 25% of ALL energy now used by mankind would be supplied by nuclear power plants, we would need to build three plants a month for the next 60 years. That’s how big our carbon energy use is right now.
    Now, you don’t have to be a bright light to understand that it is simply not possible yet to achieve that goal, therefore we MUST be more careful with our energy use, and not waste it as the US Americans are doing. Yet. Until someone like you manages to find a solution to this gargantuan energy use we as mankind are now devoted to. I am not holding my breath on that one.
    It basically boils down to supply-demand issues that are of balance, and can’t be balanced right now given that there are 2.5 Billion Asians that want to have the same wasteful Western lifestyle as you have.
    Of course it is clear I do not share your views. As a Belgian, I was born and grew up in central Africa (Zaire), and lived a decent life with not much. Which of course I continue to this day, living and working in Western Europe. And I feel as happy as anyone else, or more, since I do not crave or do get frustrated by the lack of such status symbols as the biggest SUV to drive around, just to show off how pathetic I really am without my big shiny metal wheels.
    Regards,
    Alain

    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5401870,00.html

    http://www.biomassmagazine.com/article.jsp?article_id=2325

    The European Union officially adopted a 20-20-20 Renewable Energy Directive on Dec. 17 2008 setting climate change reduction goals for the next decade. The targets call for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, a 20 percent cut in energy consumption through improved energy efficiency by 2020 and a increase to 20 percent in the use of renewable energy by 2020. In 2005 renewable energies from hydro power, solar, wind, biomass or geothermal sources accounted for less than seven percent of the EU’s total energy consumption.

    http://euobserver.com/885/28171

    Mr Obama’s plan would require the average US vehicle – cars and light trucks – to achieve 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, a 30 percent advance over current fuel standards.
    China currently enforces an average fuel efficiency standard of 35.8 miles per gallon (mpg) and Japan demands 42.6 mpg.
    Europe meanwhile requires vehicles achieve 43.3 mpg and by 2016 – the deadline of the Obama scheme – vehicles in the 27-country bloc will have to meet an efficiency standard of 50 mpg.
    Using a slightly different measuring stick to that of the US, the EU would require that the average carbon emissions from all new cars be reduced by 18 percent to 130 grams per kilometer by 2015.
    Fines for breaching the standard were also watered down. Originally to have been € 20 per excess grams, they are now to be only € 5 per grams.

    http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/7092/wind-power-tops-new-eu-electricity/

    The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) says 39% of all new capacity installed in 2009 was wind power, followed by gas (26%) and solar photovoltaics (PV) (16%). Europe decommissioned more coal and nuclear capacity than it installed in 2009. Taken together, renewable energy technologies account for 61% of new power generating capacity in 2009.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/1733&format=HTML&aged=0&language=en&guiLanguage=en

    Brussels, 18 November 2009. The agreement will strengthen the building codes and energy performance requirements for buildings across the EU and fixes 2020 as deadline for all new buildings to be nearly zero energy buildings. Moreover, the recast Directive also improves the information provided to consumers in the buildings energy performance certificate. Not only the energy performance certificate shall be shown to the prospective new tenant or buyer of the building, but the energy performance indicator of the building shall be stated in the sale or rental advertisements. Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of EU CO2 emissions. It is estimated that, by strengthening the provisions of the Directive on energy performance, the EU could achieve a reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 70% of the current EU Kyoto target. In addition to this, these improvements could save citizens around € 300 per annum per household in their energy bills, while boosting the construction and building renovation industry in Europe.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/08/693&format=HTML&aged=0&language=en&guiLanguage=en

    More energy efficient buildings provide better living conditions and save money to all citizens. The estimated impact of the recast is energy savings of 60-80 Mtoe in 2020 or the total EU energy consumption will be reduced by 5-6%. The energy consumption of buildings varies enormously; whilst new buildings can need less than 3 to 5 litres of heating oil or equivalent per square meter floor area and year, the existing buildings stock consumes, on average, about 25 litres per square meter, some buildings even up to 60 litres. Available construction products and installation technologies can drastically improve the building’s energy performance – and so reduce its energy consumption – and create net benefits: the annual energy cost savings are exceeding the annual capital costs for the investments. The best moment for energy improvements is when buildings are constructed or they are anyway renovated.

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/06/chilling-out-in-the-sun-solar-cooling?cmpid=SolarNL-Tuesday-June8-2010

    by 2008, a total of only 450 to 500 solar cooling systems had been realized worldwide, the vast majority of which are in Europe, where the market has increased in the last five years by 50%–100% annually.

    http://www.bisol.com/home/120-interview-with-james-rifkin.html

    INTERVIEW WITH JEREMY RIFKIN

    We are in the twilight of a great energy era

    In a special edition of »European Energy Review« you can find an interview with the president of the Foundation of the Economic Trends, Jeremy Rifkin who also serves as an advisor to the European Union on issues related to the economy, climate change, energy security, and sustainable development. Rifkin served as an advisor to the Prime Ministers of the Slovenian, Portuguese and German presidency of the EU. He is the author of seventeen best-selling books on the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment.

    In the interview Rifkin calls attention to the fact that Europe has the opportunity to lead the world into a third industrial revolution that will take us away from the disruptive centralized power systems into a new age of energy – producing buildings, distributive power and smart grids.

    Rifkin: »It is very clear now that we are in the twilight of a great energy regime of coal, oil, natural gas and uranium. And we have four critical problems: climate change; increasing debt all over the world, especially in the developing nations where the price of oil and gas continues to spike; increasing political instability in the oil producing countries of the Persian Gulf; and peak oil. I don’t think we have grasped the enormity of the problem of climate change. New data now shows that the permafrost is melting. The whole Arctic-Siberian continent is permafrost-covered. It’s a burial tomb for all the carbon deposits of the pre-Ice Age. What we did not anticipate is that the carbon entombed in that permafrost is going into the water and coming up as methane, which is 22 times more potent than carbon. The context is that 3°C takes us back to the temperature on earth three million years ago and we risk up to 70% of our species becoming extinct in maybe less than a century. We have only had five waves of biological extinction on this planet in 450 million years. And every time we had a wipe-out it took 10 million years to recover the biodiversity loss.«

    Rifkin talks about nuclear power plants as well. There are 439 of them in the world, producing only 5 % of the energy people use. To affect climate change nuclear power would need to be responsible for 20 – 25 % of the used energy. For this we would have to build 2000 nuclear power plant, 3 every 30 days for the next 60 years. There is also a lack of water for the nuclear power which is needed for cooling the nuclear reactors. When the water comes back heated, it dehydrates the lakes and streams. We don’t have enough water to provide for nuclear power, irrigation and people.

    In continuation Rifkin talks about the 4 pillars of the third industrial revolution. The first one is commitment to the 20-20-20 rule (20 % increase in energy efficiency, 20 % lower carbon emissions, 20 % renewable energies) EU made last year. The second one lies in the distributive renewable energies that are found everywhere. Every building can be a power plant. Solar roofs, wind turbines, garbage on site that can be converted into energy, agriculture and forestry waste, ocean waves and the tides on the coast, geothermal and hydro. Pillar three is about storage of the energy. That’s where hydrogen comes in as a universal storage carrier. With some forms of renewable energy, you can even get the hydrogen directly without electrolysis. The fourth pillar connects the communications revolution to the energy revolution. The question is how do we distribute this energy? Rifkin sees the solution in the »smart grid« or »intergrid«. We take the same technology that we used to create the internet and we make the power grid of the EU smart, distributed and intelligent. when millions and millions of buildings are producing their own locally generated power, stored in the form of hydrogen, the way we store digits in the form of media, the smart grid allows us to share liquidity of energy across the entire Europe. Europe started with energy: coal, steel and atomic energy. This time Europe leads the world into a third industrial revolution. Europe has 500 million consumers in the biggest internal market in the world, additional 500 million people in associated regions into the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa and the most powerful currency in the world.

    Rifkin says: »We can’t afford any mistakes. We’re already making big mistakes. First was corn, the biofuel mistake. Scientists have done studies for years showing the amount of energy required to produce the corn results in almost no net-benefit gain on the energy when the ethanol is finally processed. But what’s worse, it forces basic changes in the land-use pattern for arable land. The price of food goes up because the arable land is being used for corn for biofuels. As more arable land is used for biofuels, then we are deforesting. And that means more CO2 is being released.

    He is against the carbon capture and storage. His team of scientists thinks storage is not commercially feasible at the present time. Maybe at some point in the future but then the question is where would you store all that CO2? The Earth’s plates are shifting all the time so if you place massive volumes of CO2 in one period of history underground or under the oceans, there’s no way to assure that it’s vaulted in for another period of history. Rifkin thinks we are in denial because we are trying to hold on to the old centralized energies and trying to create a political and public stance around them in order to convince everyone that everything’s okay. That is why he closely cooperates with EU technology platforms that are supposed to be the economic and R&D engines for the future and are essential to lay down the infrastructure for a third industrial revolution.

  53. OK, Alain tell me you can bring about this new energy order on the world without doing it by legislative fiat. Then tell me how you are going to get a majority of voters to select politicians that will pass this draconian laws.

    Don’t any of you get it? No one but you wants this sort of low energy future. Do you not understand that you can’t mandate your 20%-20%-20% system without what amounts to rationing? Do you honestly think that the whole world will fall in behind this idea?

    Practical solutions take into account the political reality, and as it stands people want to solve the energy and climate issues without dialing back their lifestyle.

    You are not offering a path to a solution, you are proselytizing for your personal religion.

  54. Again for the ones opposing renewables :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EROEI

    http://www.eoearth.org/article/Energy_return_on_investment_%28EROI%29

    energy cannibalism refers to an effect where rapid growth of an entire energy producing or energy efficiency industry creates a need for energy that uses (or cannibalizes) the energy of existing power plants or production plants. The solar breeder overcomes some of these problems. A solar breeder is a photovoltaic panel manufacturing plant which can be made energy-independent by using energy derived from its own roof using its own panels. Such a plant becomes not only energy self-sufficient but a major supplier of new energy, hence the name solar breeder. Research on the concept was conducted by Center for Photovoltaic Engineering, University of New South Wales, Australia. The reported investigation establishes certain mathematical relationships for the solar breeder which clearly indicate that a vast amount of net energy is available from such a plant for the indefinite future.

    The first energy breeder in the world is in Germany :

    http://www.pv-tech.org/news/_a/solarworld_places_faith_in_competitive_manufacturing_in_germany/?utm_source=PV+Tech+-+Newsletter&utm_campaign=4994ccdf7a-PV_Tech_Newsletter01_06_2010&utm_medium=email

    SolarWorld is investing € 350 million in the new production facility and brings internal solar wafers production to 750MW by the end of the year. To remain competitive with low-cost regions in Asia, SolarWorld has automated the entire manufacturing process as well as built facility systems that use less energy and water to reduce costs. An example of cost reductions is the use of waste heat from the crystallization process to heat the entire building, according to the company. The facility also includes approximately 1MW of solar modules on the rooftop.
    Mr Röttgen said, “The constantly progressing climate change is forcing us to make our energy supply more and more carbon free. My idea is that by 2050 the renewable energies will cover our energy needs almost completely. A new market is emerging, in Germany and worldwide.”

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/04/women-solar-entrepreneurs-transforming-bangladesh

    Women Solar Entrepreneurs Transforming Bangladesh. Dipal Barua is implementing renewable energy solutions that empower women, create jobs, facilitate rural development and protect the environment. By the end of 2009, more than 300,000 solar home systems had been installed, bringing electricity to more than two million people.

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/04/accelerating-solar-a-look-at-the-next-decade?cmpid=SolarNL-Tuesday-April27-2010

    Many parts of the world already have electricity rates that are over $0.40/kWh. Solar today averages $0.25/kWh. In almost all of Africa, Pakistan, Hawaii, Italy and large portions of Japan, the price of electricity is already in excess of what the cost of electricity is coming from solar. Where solar goes today is largely in grid-connected applications. There’s about 15 GW of solar installed in the world. Where solar makes a big difference is in the time of day. It matches where electricity is needed during the hot summer afternoons when we all run our air conditioners. The utility-scale market is a relatively new one. It’s that market segment that caused that roughly 45 to 50 percent (cumulative annual growth rate) over the last few years. Roughly speaking, the range is somewhere between 80 and 160 GW worth of scale by the year 2020. What that translates into is roughly a scenario in which 3 percent of the electricity used around the world comes from solar over the next decade.
    Where solar photovoltaics fits and where it has the greatest opportunity is in meeting peaking power needs.
    The potential here on a worldwide basis is that’s about 10 percent of the electricity that’s needed and that there’s the potential for about 800 GW worth of overall business over the next decade or so. Solar is, roughly speaking, a little more than half of the current price of using a peaking gas turbine to meet that peak time of day electricity need here in the U.S. It assumes that the total installed price is around $3.50/Watt which is about where a lot of the large-scale systems are being priced today as they’re being installed. It assumes that here in the U.S. where we have an investment tax credit that’s applicable to a large number of utility or independent producers. It also assumes the cost of money is about 9 percent. 10% SunFab Panels are more economical than gas peakers even under conservative assumptions.

    So given that nuclear power plants works best as baseload units, it is clear that their aren’t the solution for peak power demand, given that they aren’t designed to cycle with the daily power demand cycles.

    However, I am glad that 15% of global electricity supply is supplied by nuclear power, imagine what it would be if that was coal . . .

  55. http://www.energyict.com

    We help our End Customers to reduce their Energy and CO2 Footprint by at least 15%, sometimes up to 60%!
    EnergyICT N.V. provides large-scale interval meter data collection, processing, and management solutions to utilities, energy service providers, and commercial and industrial end use customers worldwide.
    EnergyICT offers energy management solutions for data collection for grids, data collection for pseudo-grids, trains and railways, energy suppliers, and multi-site industrial and commercial purposes, as well as offers retail energy solutions.
    EnergyICT was founded in 1991 as D&C Group and changed its name in 2000. The company is based in Kortrijk, Belgium with international offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands.
    Our WebRTU®’s measure their Energy Consumption while EIServer® provides them Continuous Commissioning, Measurement and Verification!
    We help the Utilities to build Smarter Grids by providing them EIServer® as a Meter Data Management Software. Our WebRTU®’s make their meters Smart!
    EnergyICT® is one of the top 3 Global Market Leaders.
    EnergyICT was the prize-winner at the “Belgian Energy & Environment Awards 2009″ ceremony in Brussels in the category “Belgians Abroad Eco-Award” ?

    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-03-15-time-to-bury-cheap-coal/

    Time to bury cheap coal. In 2009, nearly 15,000 megawatts of proposed coal fired power plants were canceled. To put that in perspective, that would represent about a third of all electricity generating capacity of a state the size of California. This is not a consequence of a slow economy alone; eight years ago, 36,000 megawatts of new coal plants were on the drawing boards and a mere 13 percent of those were actually built. The cheapest new power plant is the one you don’t build. California is 40 percent more energy efficient than the rest of the nation — and Denmark is a third more energy efficient than that — so real savings can be achieved while stimulating the economy with projects that replace inefficient appliances, machinery, and even simple doors/windows with modern versions that save energy. While electricity appeared cheap, little was done to be efficient. Now that we know better, efficiency can be the major source of “new” supply for a decade.

  56. Actually, you can’t say where the electricity comes from that you are exporting, can you?

    There’s a painfully obvious correlation between periods of high wind energy production and net flows of electricity out of denmark to neighbouring Norway and Sweden.

    You could export coal power and use all the wind power yourself, or vice versa.

    Yes; you could engage in sophistry but that doesn’t help you figure out what proportion of electricity exports and imports are due to wind power or why the pattern of imports and exports looks like it does; or what the effect on imports and exports of adding another generator of a specific size and type to the grid is likely to be.

  57. ” Practical solutions take into account the political reality, and as it stands people want to solve the energy and climate issues without dialing back their lifestyle.
    You are not offering a path to a solution, you are proselytizing for your personal religion. ”

    oooh, I not offering anything. You are a free man. I am a free man. I choose to reduce my energy consumption, and installed solar PV panels on my home. I am a shareholder of the utility that (during the night) provide me 100% green electricity through the grid. I plan to heat my home with an air/water heat pump system powered by electricity supplied by my PV panels or by the 100% green grid electricity. I am waiting till a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle is commercially available, so that I can reload that battery using electricity provided by my PV panels or by the 100% green grid electricity. Solutions are available. We only need to implement them on a giant scale. That will get us out of the Great Depression we are now in. And apparently, I am not the only one thinking like this :

    http://www.pv-tech.org/news/_a/project_focus_morocco_secures_agreements_for_9billion_solar_plans/

    Morocco has now reportedly secured agreements with the World Bank, the European Commission and Germany in connection with its large-scale US$ 9 billion solar project, which is expected to produce 38% of the country’s power by the year 2020. The project consists of five power generation sites that will produce 2000MW of electricity, with a combined surface area of 10,000 hectares, in Ouarzazate, Ain Bni Mathar, Foum Al Oued, Boujdour and Sebkhat Tah.

    http://www.windpowermonthly.com/news/986517/Iberdrola-outlines-renewables-expansion/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH

    Spanish electricity giant Iberdrola has announced plans to invest € 9 billion in renewables over the next three years, after recording a €2.8 billion profit last year. In total, the company plans to invest 18 billion up to 2012, consolidating its international expansion and strengthening its involvement in renewables generation. Its focus for growth will be the US, which is in line to receive 39% of the company’s total investment. Much of this will go towards wind farms and electricity transmission and distribution, the company said. The company already has 3,500MW of installed wind capacity in the US, and a project pipeline of 23,500MW, reflecting the $577 million of US Treasury grants it secured last year for renewables. Meanwhile, the UK is set to receive the second largest share – 25% – of Iberdrola’s planned investment, with the bulk again earmarked for renewables.
    Iberdrola already has 802MW operational and a further 5,200MW projected. Along with Sweden’s Vattenfall, Iberdrola is also in line to develop a possible 7,200MW, having successfully bid for one of the UK’s round 3 offshore zone licences. Spain will receive 24% of Iberdrola’s investment, and Latin America and other parts of the world 12%.By business area, renewables will account for the largest share of Iberdrola’s planned investment – €9 billion – while €6.3 billion and €2.7 billion will be invested in networks and generation and supply respectively.

    http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/6616/retail-giant-completes-major-solar-electric-installation/

    Walmart has completed its largest solar power project at its Apple Valley distribution centre in southern California.

    http://www.pv-tech.org/news/_a/samsung_will_invest_21bn_in_future_growth_drivers_including_solar_cells/?utm_source=PV+Tech+-+Newsletter&utm_campaign=0418f98cb1-PV_Tech_Newsletter_12_05_2010&utm_medium=email

    Samsung has announced that it will invest US$21bn in renewable energy and healthcare over the next decade, identifying solar cells as one of its future growth drivers. Samsung expects that between its key growth developers, which include; solar cells, rechargeable batteries for hybrid cars, LED technology, bio pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, it will generate US$44bn of annual sales by 2020. Samsung will invest approximately $10bn in solar cells and rechargeable batteries, while Won8600bn will be spent to expand S-LCD’s LED business.
    Lee indicated back in March that Samsung’s future would be tough if it didn’t rethink its business model, forecasting that most of the group’s current businesses and products would disappear in 10 years.

    http://www.flanderstoday.eu/content/enfinity-signs-%E2%82%AC8-billion-contract-china

    Enfinity signs € 8 billion contract with China. Flemish company to provide China’s first solar energy park. The contract is reported to be worth € 8 billion over 10 years.

    http://www.ubergizmo.com/15/archives/2009/09/solar_plant_will_power_3_million_homes_in_china.html?src=rss

    US-based First Solar will build a 2000 MegaWatt solar plant in China that will power three million homes. The plant will cost about $6B and will start sometime next year. As part of the deal, a plant will open in China to make the panels over there. This is currently the biggest project of that kind, although expect the record to be broken soon.

    http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tech-transport/energy-cellular-network-africa.html?campaign=th_weekly_nl

    An Energy-Sipping Cellular Network To Be Deployed in Africa
    Over 80% of Africans live without access to the electricity grid. However, over 1/3 of the population owns a cell phone and that portion is rapidly growing. Developing nations are leapfrogging from no phone to cell phones – skipping the expensive and unnecessary infrastructure of land lines – and the use of mobile phone technology for everything from agriculture to banking services to health care is helping to improve the quality of life of people living in these areas. However, it still takes a cell phone base station to connect the mobile devices, and those take power.
    Technology Review reports that a cell phone base station that uses as little as 50 watts of solar generated power has been developed by VNL, a telecom company based in Haryana, India. The base stations – which can range from requiring 50 to 150 watts of power – are easy to assemble, requiring only two people to assemble and mount on a rooftop in just six hours. That makes these ideal for use in rural villages, and the units will soon be sold in Africa, where sunshine is plentiful.
    With these new solar powered base stations, an installed station can turn a profit even if customers are spending just $2 a month to access the service, as opposed to the average $6 per person required to make traditional systems cost effective. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s also using a clean source of energy.
    With proper use and an inexpensively, reliably connected mobile network, cell phones can significantly boost the quality of life of people around the globe. These new base stations from VNL are a wonderful and welcome solution to networking people living far from electricity. They come in addition to the solar powered Ericsson stations that began installation across Africa last year, Huawei Technologies and their solar powered base stations going in to rural areas in conjunction with Bangladesh mobile operator Grameenphone, and likely many more to come. ABI Research predicts that over 335,000 base stations worldwide will be using powered by the sun by 2013, with 40,000 of those being completely autonomous and off-grid.

    http://www.pv-tech.org/news/_a/project_focus_masdar_total_and_abengoa_to_construct_worlds_largest_csp_plan/?utm_source=PV+Tech+-+Newsletter&utm_campaign=d052329225-PV_Tech_Newsletter_14_06_2010&utm_medium=email

    The Masdar initiative in Abu Dhabi has enlisted the help, expertise and investment of the bidding consortium of energy company Total and Abengoa Solar to collaborate on the construction of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant. The 100MW plant will be located in Madinat Zayed, southwest of Abu Dhabi, and will be known as Shams 1. Encompassing an area of 2.5 km2, the new plant will be kitted out with 768 of Abengoa’s parabolic Shams 1 trough collectors. Masdar will be the major partner at 60%, and together with Total and Abengoa, will build, operate and own the new plant, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East.

    http://www.grist.org/article/on-rooftops-worldwide-a-solar-water-heating-revolution/

    On rooftops worldwide, a solar water heating revolution. If China and the European Union achieve their goals and Japan and the United States reach the projected adoptions, they will have a combined total of 1,180 million square meters of water and space heating capacity by 2020. With appropriate assumptions for developing countries other than China, the global total in 2020 could exceed 1.5 billion square meters. This would give the world a solar thermal capacity by 2020 of 1,100 thermal gigawatts, the equivalent of 690 coal-fired power plants. This would account for more than half of the Earth Policy Institute’s renewable energy heating goal for 2020, part of a massive effort to stabilize our rapidly changing climate by slashing global net carbon emissions 80 percent within the next decade.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroelectricity

    Worldwide, an installed capacity of 777 GWe supplied 2998 TWh of hydroelectricity in 2006.[1] This was approximately 20% of the world’s electricity, and accounted for about 88% of electricity from renewable sources.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydropower

    Hydroelectric power now supplies about 715,000 megawatts or 19% of world electricity.
    There is a common misconception that economically developed nations have harnessed all of their available hydropower resources. In the United States, according to the US Department of Energy, “previous assessments have focused on potential projects having a capacity of 1 MW and above”. This may partly explain the discrepancy. More recently, in 2004, an extensive survey was conducted by the US-DOE which counted sources under 1 MW (mean annual average), and found that only 40% of the total hydropower potential had been developed. A total of 170 GW (mean annual average) remains available for development. Of this, 34% is within the operating envelope of conventional turbines, 50% is within the operating envelope of microhydro technologies (defined as less than 100 kW), and 16% is within the operating envelope of unconventional systems.

    The total undeveloped hydropower resource is equivalent to about one-third of total US electricity generation in 2005.

    Developed hydropower accounted for 6.4% of total US electricity generated in 2005.

    Hydro-powered electricity, however is not without its drawbacks. Dam failures can be very hazardous, e.g. the Banqiao Dam, which killed 171,000. Also, rivers move silt, and therefore dams fill with silt, and eventually become unable to store enough water to provide water and power in dry weather. [6] In addition to the significant threat that dams pose to fish populations and the ecosystems of rivers and streams, hydropower can negatively impact both the flow and quality of water. Lower levels of oxygen in the water can present a threat to animal and plant life [7]. However, these issues can be addressed if fish ladders are put in place to ensure safe passage around the area, and the water is aerated on a regular basis to maintain adequate oxygen levels safe for animal and plant life [7]. The flow of water should be monitored closely to prevent the ecological dangers associated with over-stressing bodies of water. These dangers can easily be avoided by shutting down pumping operations temporarily to allow balance to return to damaged ecosystems.

    http://www.epuron.de/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-204/414_read-531/

    EPURON, a member of the Conergy Group, is currently developing a 1.79 megawatt biogas installation in Jüterbog, Germany (near Berlin in the state of Brandenburg). Energy generated would be sufficient to supply the entire Jüterbog community with electrical power. The installation, which will go on stream in April, is designed to handle the fermentation of approximately 24,500 tons of pig liquid manure and 31,500 tons of corn silage per annum. Input feedstocks will be supplied by a neighbouring pig farm and the Jüterbog agricultural co-operative society. A long-term supply has been contractually secured. The fermentation substrates by-product from the power generation process will, in turn, be purchased by the agricultural co-operative society and used in local fields as organic manure. This mass has less odour compared to conventional manure and does not pollute the environment. Six and a half million cubic metres of biogas will be produced annually in three fermenting vats with a total capacity of 7,500 cubic metres. The biogas will thereupon be converted to approximately 13.7 million kilowatt hours of electrical power in three block power heating stations. The electrical power will be fed into the E.ON.edis grid over a period of at least 20 years. The annual electrical power output is sufficient to supply some 4,000 households; i.e., more than the population of Jüterbog. In addition, e.distherm, a partner company of E.ON.edis, has agreed to purchase a large portion of the heat produced by the power generation and feed this into its long-distance heating network.

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2008/07/biogas-flows-through-germanys-grid-big-time-53075

    As much as 20 percent of Germany’s natural gas needs could be supplied from biogas by 2020, according to Andrea Horbelt of the German Biogas Association. Horbelt said that some studies predicted that Germany could even supply its entire natural gas needs using biogas if it were able to tap the agriculture potential of Eastern Europe with sufficient efficiency.
    Small-scale biogas plants that use liquid manure as a raw material have also been given a boost by a revised renewable energy law that cleared its last parliamentary hurdle on July 4, 2008. Biogas plants of 150 KW that use liquid manure will get EU €0.04 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), making them more attractive. By setting a generous tariff for manure, the government is hoping to encourage the biogas industry to switch away from corn and wheat amid concerns of rising food prices.
    “Research is just beginning to look at the many types of plants that could be used to produce biogas,” said Horbelt. “We are confident there will be many alternatives to using crops such as corn.”
    With the price of natural gas in Europe set to double in the next year according to some economists, Europeans will be hoping the biogas boom lasts.
    The Konnern biogas plant is almost as big as the Huckabay Ridge Renewable Natural Gas facility in Stephenville, Texas, where 635,000 MMBtu of biomethane generated from cow manure and other organic waste has been injected into the Enterprise natural gas pipeline since January 2008, making it the world’s biggest.

  58. Alain; mining, manufacturing and other heavy industry has to happen somewhere and it sure as hell won’t be in California or Denmark; don’t forget to account for this in efficiency.

    Note that Sweden, where I live, consumes 5.7 tonnes of oil equivalent per capita per year of primary energy; while Denmark consumes only 3.6; and yet, Sweden emits only 5.1 tonnes of CO2/(capita*year) versus Denmark’s 9.2.

    Do you think Swedes should feel guilty for consuming so much energy(largely for having a significant mining, lumber and paper industry) or happy they emit so little CO2?

  59. ” Alain; mining, manufacturing and other heavy industry has to happen somewhere and it sure as hell won’t be in California or Denmark; don’t forget to account for this in efficiency.
    Note that Sweden, where I live, consumes 5.7 tonnes of oil equivalent per capita per year of primary energy; while Denmark consumes only 3.6; and yet, Sweden emits only 5.1 tonnes of CO2/(capita*year) versus Denmark’s 9.2.
    Do you think Swedes should feel guilty for consuming so much energy(largely for having a significant mining, lumber and paper industry) or happy they emit so little CO2? ”

    No, they should NOT feel guilty to consume so much energy. They pay for it dearly ($ 8 per gallon ?), unlike the US Americans who pay only $3 per gallon, thus consuming twice the amount of oil per capita and per year compared to a Swede.

    Of course, Swedes could do even better, by buying electric drive machines for their mining industry :

    http://www.cat.com/D7E

    Caterpillar bulldozer with electric drive, using considerably less fuel.

    Swedes of course should be happy to emit so little CO2. I read underneath that they intend to reduce it further with 30% in the next decade, is that true ? Oh, sorry, it is Norway. Well they have enough spare money, with all the oil&gas that they export to the rest of the world . . .

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/12/brazil-signs-into-law-bill-to-cut-co2-emissions.php

    Brazil Signs Into Law Bill to Cut CO2 Emissions 39%

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/02/norway-reveals-plan-cut-emissions-30-10-years.php?campaign=weekly_nl

    Norway Reveals Stunning Plan to Cut CO2 Emissions 30% in 10 Years

  60. Well, Alain is a real peice of work. Rarely have I recently seen so many of the tired old renewables myths presented in one package like that. I don’t really have the energy to critique each point in detail now, but for nuclear plant construction it is indeed clear that we need to educate and train many scientists, engineers, technicians and construction workers to meet the demands for those skills. So what? Ten years, fifteen, then we’ll be ready to roll out hundreds of plants each year. It’s not magic, just proper planning.

    Presenting Denmark as a poster child for efficiency is just too laughable. After decades of wasting resources on wind power, they have the highest electricity costs with the highest carbon intensity in the EU. Compare them to France to see what is really possible.

  61. Again and again, people show up here with no grasp of basic science, basic economics, and basic sociology. They are most likely also innumerate as well. They hold forth on renewable energy and energy policy, generously sprinkled with their personal ideology, and expect us to drop whatever discussion we are having and see the wisdom of their ideas

    They don’t bother to go back and read the material that is here, and see all the times that we have carefully dismantled most of these breathlessly held beliefs, not once but often several times. Worse, their little private Utopian visions are held with such conviction, and their ignorance runs so deep that reasoned arguments roll of them like water off a duck’s back.

    The reality is that these people cannot be convinced of anything that falls outside their prejudiced word-view. In this they are like doctrinaire members of some religious movements, or like cranks with strange ideas held by no one but themselves. They are almost impossible to convince, and they use up vast amounts of time and energy in forums like this.

    The truth is individuals of this type do not represent anyone but themselves and perhaps a razor-thin demographic of similar idealists. They are not a factor in the general debate, and if they were not being supplied a pulpit in places like this, and engaged with, they would have no audience at all.

    Back in the old USENET days, those that jumped willy-nilly into threads with half-baked, and ill-conceived posts were promptly told to consult the FAQ, and not post again until they had. In the better run groups, this was an editorial policy that was enforced rigorously.

    I understand that blogs, and web forums, can not be run with this sort of iron hand, but it does seem to me that keeping an up to date FAQ and demanding that it be read before posting might be an idea from that time that should be resurrected.

  62. DV82XL said

    To meet this growing demand for nuclear energy, there is a strong and urgent need to develop sufficient levels of human capital and expertise for both existing and new sources of energy production. Ensuring a skilled workforce for the nuclear sector is inseparable from other policy actions towards meeting growing energy demand, and this should therefore be a top priority policy issue in nuclear energy policy strategies.

    There sector simply does not have enough engineers, designers, scientists, physicists and mathematicians to do the job, let alone enough skilled technicians to install and connect the machinery. The global talent pool is so small, bringing employees in from abroad is not an answer, and the reality is that a large proportion of nuclear power plant workers in the West are within 10 years of retirement.

    There is an acute skills shortage that is prevalent in many sectors of this industry but, arguably, the most severe in growing nuclear energy is in building and construction sector, qualified to take on projects of this type.

    This must be addressed now if we are to move forward.

    I agree – and add a word or two :)

    Ziggy Switkowski headed the Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy and Taskforce. The report, published in 2006, said the two long lead time items for getting nuclear energy in Australia are 1) setting up the regulatory environment, and 2) developing the necessary skills in Australia.

    How long would it take to develop the skills? From my position of total ignorance on this, I would expect the longest path would be establishing the top end of the experience chain of project managers. You know, the project managers and construction engineers who have had 20 to 40 years experience building nuclear power plants. We have more time to build the skills of the operators.

    Sure we can import some of these top people, but the rest of the world wants them too. And sure the subordinate levels pick up skills from the higher levels. But it all takes time. My thinking on this is being influenced by Ralph Spinney. He built four projects in his life. They were four large hydro electric schemes in British Columbia. That is the sort of experience that is able to bring mega projects to completion on time and on budget and meeting the technical requirements. I recall the enormous problems encountered on one of these, and the fantastic decision making process that led to fast and correct decisions for each major problem. Since I’ve started blabbering I may as well keep going. Revelstoke Project is a 2600MW, run-of-the-river hydro project on the Columbia River, British Columbia. It was Ralph Spinney’s fourth project. The project was being built largely to export electricity to west coast USA. The key to the success of the project was to divert the river during the winter while the river was low – before the snow melt started. (By the way, the annual snow fall at Revelstoke is 26 feet and upstream and Mica dam it is 36 feet!!). When the snow melt comes the river floods. So the river had to be diverted when the river is low. To do this we had to build the diversions tunnels, the 90 m high coffer dam and divert the highway all in one season. If we didn’t succeed, the project would be delayed a year, and one year’s revenue would be lost. One year of revenue from a 2600MW baseload power station, with near immediate response time to load changes (i.e. very high value power) is an enormous amount of money to forgo. The financiers get very concerned about such a risk

    Like all such projects, many things go wrong. One of the major problems that occurred was the left bank started to slide. It cut the highway before we’d completed the diversion. The decision making process was fantastic. They flew in all the skills they needed the following day and made the decisions within a couple of days. A Bailey Bridge was constructed across the Columbia River and the highway was diverted. The bridge was constructed in the area where the main dam would be constructed (just downstream of the coffer dam).

    The decision making process was fantastic. It may seem simple the way I write it here, but it wasn’t. The relevance to bringing nuclear to Australia is that all large projects needs highly experienced people to lead them. It will take us time to develop that expertise.

    We need to start to build the skills base by developing the education facilities. I imagine it would take at least a year, from the time funds are approved, to set up undergraduate engineering faculty. Then four years for the first undergraduate degrees. Then the graduates need experience on overseas projects. We’re looking at 10 years before from decision to proceed before we have engineers that can take even a middle level role on building an NPP. Am I being too harsh?

    The point: we need to get started.

  63. Kaj,

    Actually, you can’t say where the electricity comes from that you are exporting, can you? You could export coal power and use all the wind power yourself, or vice versa. It comes from the same grid anyway. I think it’s unfair to say that only wind power is exported. So you can get different values for the emission factor and they can all be correct. Or is there some king of a standard how to calculate?

    This issue has been batted around for a decade or more. This is a recent report that covers it fairly well.

    http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/sharman-winddenmark.pdf

  64. Obviously the first few power reactors built in Oz are going to be done by off-shore firms. Generally this means bringing in project managers from firms like SNC-Lavalin or Bechtel, who will use local contractors as much as possible. If you government is wise, they stipulate technology transfer as part of the deal so that eventually you can build NPPs with your own resources.

    India cut that deal with Canada when we built the first CANDUs there, and it was understood that the Indians would start running their own builds. They did not reverse-engineer their CANDUs, an accusation I have seen made elsewhere, but were beneficiaries of technology transfer. China too will begin to make CANDUs for themselves under licence in time, again part of the deal they signed with AECL.

    Nevertheless, you are most correct in seeing that you will have to have a cadre of skills to transfer the technology to, or it will not happen, and the time to start training them, is now.

  65. Added to a skills crisis there are likely to be problems with raising future capital, servicing debt and running an economy dependent on dwindling liquid fuels. I expect the decision for Australia to adopt NP will be made in a panic eg a heatwave-blackouts-king drought-coral bleaching-expensive gas kind of scenario.

    Assuming we get an ALP-Green coalition by year’s end there will be no acceptance of NP until 2013 or later. An each way bet like sending graduates to overseas NPPs is off the cards as well. Our best hope might be modular construction of overseas prefabricated NPP. Perhaps roving crews could set them up from country to country and instruct locals as they go.

  66. Australia can probably leverage its large uranium export potential in return for priviledged access to top engineering expertise, so long as we have a canny government making the deals. We should also set up enrichment facilities and world class engineering institutes to ride the rennaissance for all it’s worth as a main player… but first we have to overthrow the anti-nuke faction in the Australian decision-making classes. First things first, we are going to need a mass movement to make this work. That was the idea behind N92, and once I’m out of hospital and back in circulation, I’ll be pursuing that aim harder than ever.

  67. David B. Benson,

    I couldn’t let this go:

    3 MM/yr SLR x 60 years = 0.9 m. Looks to me that the NPPs in your picture are sited too close to the ocean. Move them up the hill just a bit.

    Am I missing something? 3mm/y for 60 years = 180mm, not 0.9m. Which amounts to “so what?” It is insignificant. It is only the mean level in the cooling water intake that is affected. This might mean we need the pipes to be 180 mm longer. I’m exaggerating just a little to make the point that worring about sea level rise in the design or a NPP is a red herring. It is easily allowed for.

    By the way, did you know that the engineers who designed and built the underground hydro-electric power stations at Niagra Falls a 115 years ago included adjustors to allow for the rate the land was tilting as it recovers from the unloading of the ice sheets. I make this point to show that the sorts of problems that are often raised as serious issues, such as sea level rise as a threat to NPP’s, are acftually trivial issues. They are easily accommodated in the design.

  68. Yes, Oz has to leverage their uranium resource, and that definitely should include value-added services.

    Given that spent fuel itself may become a valuable commodity, you should also start to think in terms of leasing fuel grade uranium, while maintaining title to the material itself once it has been used. You may think this is crazy, but mark my words: this will be the next big thing to develop in the world uranium market.

  69. DV82XL,

    I agree. I went off the track a bit with that long post. Australia has been doing technology transfer on hydro electrcic projects to Asian countries for 50 odd years. One day they will be doing technology transfer to Australia on nuclear. By the time it happens I expect we’ll be able to afford reactors and technology transfer from North Korea, Burma and Bangladesh.

  70. I think that politically we should be ambitious enough to assume we can influence the result of the 2013 election and plan for official backing from then.We can still cut a deal with S Korea then.

  71. Small steps could be happening with uranium leverage. An ISL miner plans to produce uranium fluoride at the minesite, as opposed to the usual yellowcake which is one of several oxy-salts. While that is a long way short of enrichment facilities it brings the value adding chain a bit closer to home.

    Rather than just small press releases I’d like to see a full summary of last month’s Australian Uranium Summit in Fremantle WA. I think both Federal Minister Ferguson and SA Premier Rann are closet nuclear supporters but are obliged to toe the party line.

  72. As a point of interest modern yellowcake is almost pure U3O8, and is quite black in colour. The days of mixed urania as various ammonium and sodium salts is behind us.

  73. Kaj,

    I gave the wrong link in my previous post. This is the link I intended:

    Danish wind power – how much is exported?

    http://www.reo.dk/data/archive/Rapporter/danish-wind-power-exported.pdf

    And here is another:
    CEPOS, Wind energy – the case of Denmark

    http://www.cepos.dk/fileadmin/user_upload/Arkiv/PDF/Wind_energy_-_the_case_of_Denmark.pdf

    To keep them together, here is the link in my previous post:
    Why wind power works for Denmark

    http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/sharman-winddenmark.pdf

  74. Right, I think I have the Denmark electricity EI sorted as best as I can. The most thorough data come from this IEA report from 2006:

    http://www.iea.org/textbase/nppdf/free/2006/denmark2006.pdf

    and

    http://www.iea.org/stats/electricitydata.asp?COUNTRY_CODE=DK

    Although this does not report electricity EI directly, there is enough data to reconstruct it. For 2007 electricity generation figures, and at EIs (t/MWh) based on Weisser 2008 review, this yields and electricity EI of ~650 g/kWh. This is an internally consistent figure, and I believe is more reliable that either the Mackay figure (880) or the CARMA figure (370). Actually, this figure is generous to Denmark, as it assumes that all of their wind energy is used domestically, which it is not. However, they do also buy in nuclear and hydro electricity from France and Scandinavia. A figure of 600-700g/kWh feels about right to me, and sits in the upper 1/3 of European countries. You have to go to the large hydro and nuclear producers to see the lower 1/3. Using the same methodology for France, based on the IEA data, I get 90 g/kWh, which is in agreement with the Mackay figure.

    As such, my revised text in the post above reads as follows:

    Denmark has done the most in this respect, with 18 per cent of its average energy coming from wind power. Yet, despite this investment in non-hydro renewables, the carbon intensity for electricity production in Denmark is 650 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour. By contrast, the figure for France, which draws 77 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power, is 90 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour. This is more than 7 times lower than Denmark, per unit of delivered electricity. This is the stark reality, not the spin.

  75. DV8,
    You have dominated this thread and I could not be more impressed.

    In awe of your insights I am planning to spend the next few months doing a “hands on” evaluation of the various Canadian beverages you have recommended even though my local liquor store has never heard of any of them.

  76. Concerning the staffing of NPPs (cf. P Lang, DV): some years ago I did an interesting tour of the sewage plant serving a city. It was running in automated mode with only 15 operators but around 1960 it had employed ca. 100. This seems relevant to the following:

    BNC is focussed on AGW and its manmade GHGs, understandably. However, there is also volcanic activity pending (Katla in Iceland, which is said to have contributed to the French Revolution of 1789 as from 1783 by ruining French harvests); Yellowstone in the USA; any number of actives in Indonesia. There have been Krakatoa and Tomba. There have also been SARS, H1N1 and other potential pandemics fostered by the agrobusiness meat production mode probably favoured as “modern and efficient ” by the bulk of BNC. The next pandemic is waiting to happen.

    Now last night I heard a claim that in the USA, 300 NPPs have only 5,000 operators. That may or may not be true but it throws up the question of what happens in the all-electric economy envisaged by BNC and providing centralised power across a grid if the operators fall ill, die, or get scared to go to work and there is nobody eg soldiers or paramilitaries (National Guard, gendarmes, carabinieri etc.) who know enough about an NPP to be ordered to take one over and keep it running.

    Does NPP design over time from Gens II to IV across various countries show a secular reduction in the number of staff needed to run a given plant? are there figures to show how long a plant can run by itself, if at all, with some sort of minimal intervention by somebody who has no understanding of its operation but has been ordered by his commanding officer to press a few buttons every day in a given sequence?

    The failsafe quality or not of a nuclear society is relevant to arguments by Green smallholders that decentralised home-based power production using wind turbines in a tower in the back yard and PV on the roof is “better”. That is, the pandemic death of all centralised natgas (backup) power production operators does not affect a smallholder deep-cycle battery bank using battery charger and inverter and some local power source (It is immaterial that this can never produce the aluminium for a beer can or other industrial artefact, it is the perception that matters here.)

    I could envisage a statistic analogous to energy density: it would reveal the number of FTEs, full-time equivalent (employees) needed per MW produced for coal, natgas, nuclear, solar thermal, etc.

    I am sure that some BNCers will say that nuclear needs the fewest employees per MW; my point would then be: once GHGs are at zero due to NPPs, how self-administering is power output? is any designer factoring this into current designs?

  77. Peter – capitalism entails efficiency gained from specialisation and trade. Anything that disrupts that, from pandemic to a supply shock, will lead to economic hardship. It’s the price we pay for giving up subsistence farming. Well worth it and quite managable in my view.

  78. ‘I am sure that some BNCers will say that nuclear needs the fewest employees per MW;’

    More likely the fewest per MWe.h, a very important distinction. If true, which I’m not sure.

    5000 operators for 300NPPs, if true, may refer to military facilities such as submarine power plants.

  79. Peter Lalor,

    Nuclear energy is about the safest of all the electricity generation technologies. The statistics you mentioned are distractions; they are ‘down-in-the-weeds’ stats. I’d suggest before looking at ‘down in the weeds’ stats it would be worth getting an understanding of how we know that nuclear is about the safest electricity generation technology. Once you have an understanding of this, then you’d be in a better position to discuss future scenarios.

    See the second and third figures here http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/08/13/wind-and-carbon-emissions-peter-lang-responds/ and then follow the links to the sources.

  80. Barry,

    I had a look at that link you gave for Denamrks 650 gms of CO2 per kWh. What are the CO2 numbers assigned to each method of stationary generation in Denmark (e.g. what sort of coal do they use)?

  81. @P. Lang: a weed is merely a herb growing in the wrong place (compare: stinging nettle tea, dandelion wine. etc.); a weed is a plant that has learned all survival techniques bar how to grow next to itself in a straight line.

    Apart from that, it may well be that is you who are distracting, not me.

    Because the safety record of NPPs since 1945 compared to coal or oil hydro or natgas is not the point. It is nevertheless this red herring that you are seemingly evidencing.

    By contrast, I am addressing the resilience of any all-electric economy obtaining all its power from uranium, thorium or derivatives thereof. It is not clear how many people are needed to keep running a given NPP and whether they can be replaced by eg unskilled soldiers at short notice in a pandemic. My question is whether the staffing requirement of an NPP has fallen over time since 1945 and what the nature of that staffing expertise is.

    Between 1900 and 2000, men under orders were used by States in civil and other wars and emergencies to perform various industrial processes for which they had not been trained when the skilled workers were not available (death/illness, desertion, captivity). But the power production sources in those societies will not have been all-nuclear-electric, so there will have been a certain redundancy.

    I am trying to envisage a similar, because realistic, scenario for nuclear. In other words, for how long and in what way can an NPP run itself?

  82. The deal with the danish wind grid is actually not very relevant for the overall carbon intensity of the danish grid – mostly, the danish utilities export zero carbon wind to Norway/Sweden during high production periods, and then import about as much zero carbon hydro power back during low output – so the net effect on carbon intensity is very small. The economics are, of course, horrid and as a practical matter, it implies that anyone without extremely large amounts of hydro power in the vicinity would find it very difficult to get nearly as much wind online as Denmark has without frying their grid. (you could, alternatively, back the wind with open cycle gas, but this is a horrible idea from a carbon perspective.)

  83. ” Finrod, on 19 June 2010 at 4.40 Said:
    Well, Alain is a real peice of work. Rarely have I recently seen so many of the tired old renewables myths presented in one package like that. I don’t really have the energy to critique each point in detail now, but for nuclear plant construction it is indeed clear that we need to educate and train many scientists, engineers, technicians and construction workers to meet the demands for those skills. So what? Ten years, fifteen, then we’ll be ready to roll out hundreds of plants each year. It’s not magic, just proper planning.
    Presenting Denmark as a poster child for efficiency is just too laughable. After decades of wasting resources on wind power, they have the highest electricity costs with the highest carbon intensity in the EU. Compare them to France to see what is really possible. ”

    Finrod,

    You are a joke. Ten years, fifteen years from now, we won’t be ready to roll out hundreds of plants a year. The USA took 30 years to build it’s own 104 NPP’s, that’s 3.5 NPP’s per year. China is planning to spend 40 years over the same target. And India even longer. That rest my case that you are a joke.

    As I wrote earlier, we need to roll out 3 NPP’s a MONTH for the next 60 years, to increase NPP’s share of global primary energy supply from it’s current 5% to a needed 25%, just to curb the GHG emissions in a relevant way, which of course you help increase with your mammoth fuel guzzling SUV, and wasteful living habits.

    To stay in topic, Finland is now 2 years over time with it’s only NPP being built. Why ? Construction manpower issues, not enough capable design engineers at the general contractor Areva due to too many sold NPP projects at the same time, global special steel supply issues, winter weather issues and so on. The relationship between the general contractor Areva and the Finnish government has soured so much that they do not talk to each other anymore, because Areva wants to increase the price tag very much halfway the project, to cover all the encountered issues. And Finland’s (or for that case Australia’s) salaries and work regulations aren’t China’s or India’s , where you can find a dude willing to work for $ 500 a month, working 6 days a week on 12 hours a day shifts.

    If you had bothered to read what I posted here up, which of course you conveniently forgot to do, you would have seen that Denmark is NOT my poster child, YOU made it sound like that.

    Just relying on 100% wind power as your solution is simply nuts, since wind power is a variable energy resource, and needs to be used right away, or stored in pumped up water storage or other relevant storage technology for later dispatching, if not used right away. By the way, Denmark is exporting most of its wildly fluctuating wind power to larger neighbours while finding other solutions for supply and demand at home, so there goes you national Denmark carbon footprint.

    http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/wp-content/uploads/sharman-winddenmark.pdf

    Let’s talk again in a decade, when the 800 million people European Union will have mostly achieved it’s intermediary goal to reduce energy consumption by 20%, increase it’s electricity supply from renewables from current 7% to it’s target of 20%, while reducing it’s CO2 emissions by 20% from 1990 levels. We will use biogas digesters, biomass cogeneration, wind, solar thermal CSP, solar PV, geothermal, nuclear, heat pumps, near zero energy passive housing, combined heat an power coupled with district heating and cooling, hydropower, electric trains, electric cars, PHEV, hybrid car and truck technology, reduce fossil fuel subsidies, tax FF use to pay for increasing RE penetration, already implement high ceiling prices on petroleum consumption, cap & trade on CO2 emissions, force stringent fuel consumption standards on truck & car manufacturers, push for more public mass transportation systems, forbid the production of incandescent lighting bulbs, allowing only energy efficient lighting and appliances to be sold, and so on, till we get where we want to be.

    I am pretty sure that by then, you still we be whining about a nuclear solution to all energy problems, conveniently forgetting that you need a few thousand people per NPP to be built, and you need to built 3 NPP a month just to avoid global warming, starting from NOW.

    And if you knew a bit about nuclear power, you would also point out that France has serious summer time operational issues with it’s 85% nuclear power plants power park : since most NPP’s are designed to work in a baseload cycle to obtain their 65% energy efficiency levels and 90% plus operation record, France has discovered that this is draining their rivers and inland lakes so much during the summers due to cooling water over consumption, that they are forced to shut many of those inland built NPP plants down to save their rivers and lakes. Of course they then have to rely on their backup coal or hydro power plants to complement the daily peak power loads that cannot be supplied by their own shutdown NPP’s, since there is simply not enough water available to keep them operating in a safe way, for the NPP’s that are built inland and not near the sea.

    So my point is that NPP’s are great as a baseload electricity solution WHEN USED IN AN APPROPRIATE SETTING, but ISN’T a panacea for every power production issue, as you want me to believe.

    Yeah, indeed, you are a joke.

    Regards,

    Alain Verbeke

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/04/women-solar-entrepreneurs-transforming-bangladesh

    Women Solar Entrepreneurs Transforming Bangladesh. Dipal Barua is implementing renewable energy solutions that empower women, create jobs, facilitate rural development and protect the environment. By the end of 2009, more than 300,000 solar home PV systems had been installed, bringing electricity to more than two million people.

    http://www.pv-tech.org/news/_a/project_focus_morocco_secures_agreements_for_9billion_solar_plans/

    Morocco has now reportedly secured agreements with the World Bank, the European Commission and Germany in connection with its large-scale US$9 billion solar project, which is expected to produce 38% of the country’s power by the year 2020. The project consists of five power generation sites that will produce 2000MW of electricity, with a combined surface area of 10,000 hectares, in Ouarzazate, Ain Bni Mathar, Foum Al Oued, Boujdour and Sebkhat Tah.

    http://www.pv-tech.org/news/_a/spainish_government_outlines_plans_for_reduced_installed_capacity_for_solar/?utm_source=PV+Tech+-+Newsletter&utm_campaign=a97dbf5396-PV_Tech_Newsletter_16_06_2010&utm_medium=email

    The Spanish government plans to reduce the country’s installed capacity targets for both wind and solar power. Despite the cuts, the government still plans to generate over 20% of its total electricity output from renewables by 2020, reports Dow Jones.
    However, the Renewable Energy Plan draft – which needs to be submitted to the European Commission before June 30 – outlines that the government now expects installed capacity of 13446 MW of solar power by 2020, down 14% from its previous estimate.

    http://www.ubergizmo.com/15/archives/2009/09/solar_plant_will_power_3_million_homes_in_china.html?src=rss

    US-based First Solar will build a 2000 MegaWatt solar plant in China that will power three million homes. The plant will cost about $6B and will start sometime next year. As part of the deal, a plant will open in China to make the panels over there. This is currently the biggest project of that kind, although expect the record to be broken soon.

    http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/2082/power-stations-can-solar-power-join-the-big-hitters/

    Spain is roaring ahead with plans for additional CSP. The government has approved more than 50 projects and by 2015 total capacity should be over 2 GW. Torresol Energy alone intends to have 1 GW installed within a decade. When finished, the Seville complex should be capable of generating more than 300 MW, providing power for some 180,000 homes – meeting most of the city’s domestic needs. Almost a third of a gigawatt represents genuine utility scale and the complex should, moreover, prevent emissions of some 600,000 tonnes of CO2 over its intended 25-year life.
    Assuming that the California Public Utilities Commission gives the green light, the first 100 MW units could be operating by 2013 at a site near Ivanpah, delivering some 286,000 MWh of electricity per year to Californians. The full 1300 MW of projects, when completed, should deliver enough clean energy to serve nearly 845,000 homes, avoiding more than 2m t of CO2 emissions annually. Solar power towers will contribute about 900 MW of this.

  84. Alain,

    “The USA took 30 years to build it’s own 104 NPP’s, that’s 3.5 NPP’s per year”

    Given that the world’s population is about 6.9 billion, and the U.S. is approx 310 million, the U.S. is approximately 1/22 of the world’s population (6.9 * 10^9 / 3.1* 10^6 = ~22). Given that, the world could build 3.5 * 22 = 77 reactors per year, or ~6.5 per month, at that exact same rate per capita. That doubles what you see as a necessary 3 NPPs per month. (NOTE – that’s a very conservative figure as the U.S. population was considerably less than 310 million when it was constructing those reactors).

    Modern nuclear power plants also have much better standardised designs than most of those that are currently operating in the U.S., meaning construction times could be considerably less. And given that we are facing a climate emergency, we have all the more incentive to roll these plants out at a rate far faster than the U.S. did when it constructed its 104 plants.

    “which of course you help increase with your mammoth fuel guzzling SUV, and wasteful living habits”

    I agree that we do live in a wasteful society, and things do need to change. You can’t consume indefinitely without reaping the consequences of breaking the machine. That said, most of the increase in global consumption now is coming from the developing world, especially energy demands. And that’s not going to just stop. So that brings us to our options: a fossil fuel powered future, or a nuclear powered future.

  85. Alain, you’re drivelling on about matters which have already been covered here in-depth. Try reading up before flying off the handle and posting whatever nonsense comes to mind.

  86. ” That doubles what you see as a necessary 3 NPPs per month. That said, most of the increase in global consumption now is coming from the developing world, especially energy demands. And that’s not going to just stop. So that brings us to our options: a fossil fuel powered future, or a nuclear powered future. ”

    Well, we can continue to argue till we both see blue, however I do not see 3 NPP’s a month being built anywhere in the world, and it apparently won’t change a bit for the foreseable decades, so I rest my case by saying that your argument is based on pure wind, given the realities on the ground . . .

    A proper balanced grid needs nuclear as 20% base load, given that peak load following isn’t NPP’s strong suit. 15% of global electricity now being generated by NPP’s mirror that assumption.

    And apparently, there are many people out there who don’t share your opinion, and they are voting with their own money, which of course you cannot change one bit even if you wanted, which is very satisfactory for me . . .

    Have a nice day. Enjoyed stirring up your honey pot. Hope you did learn a bit about decentralized energy generation possibilities, and I certainly enjoyed the discussion . . .

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/05/taking-grid-energy-storage-to-the-edge

    Taking Grid Energy Storage to the Edge, by Brad Roberts, S&C Electric Co.
    In the U.S., large-scale storage projects flourished in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s as utilities added 18 GWs of pumped hydro facilities to support the rapid build out of the fleet of nuclear power plants across the nation. Nuclear plants run best at higher power ratings, so pumping water in these hydro plants presented ideal off-peak loads during nights and weekends when customer demands are lowest.

    http://www.pv-tech.org/news/_a/samsung_will_invest_21bn_in_future_growth_drivers_including_solar_cells/?utm_source=PV+Tech+-+Newsletter&utm_campaign=0418f98cb1-PV_Tech_Newsletter_12_05_2010&utm_medium=email

    Samsung has announced that it will invest US$21bn in renewable energy and healthcare over the next decade, identifying solar cells as one of its future growth drivers. Samsung expects that between its key growth developers, which include; solar cells, rechargeable batteries for hybrid cars, LED technology, bio pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, it will generate US$44bn of annual sales by 2020. Samsung will invest approximately $10bn in solar cells and rechargeable batteries, while Won8600bn will be spent to expand S-LCD’s LED business.
    Lee indicated back in March that Samsung’s future would be tough if it didn’t rethink its business model, forecasting that most of the group’s current businesses and products would disappear in 10 years.

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/03/solarworld-jumps-in-mena-solar-market-opportunities-to-grow-in-2010?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-March3-2010

    MENA Solar Market, Opportunities To Grow in 2010. In 2009 the potential for the region really started to heat up with some of the following announcements:
    * Qatar Solar Technologies will invest a total of more than $500 millions in construction of a production facility with a planned annual capacity of around 3,600 tons of high-purity polysilicon in its first stage of expansion. Start of production is planned for the third quarter of 2012.
    * Egypt: Cycle Power Island, which will use a 20-MW CSP system was contracted, is currently under construction and expected to start operation in the year 2010.
    * Tunisa: Government outlined plans to develop 40 solar projects planned between 2010 and 2016 and 29 will be financed by private sector
    * Morocco: Undertaking a US $9 billion solar energy project, with five solar power generation sites throughout Morocco producing 2,000 MW of electricity by 2020.
    * Jordan: The JOAN1 project is expected to enter operation in 2013 and will be the largest CSP project in the world using direct solar steam generation.
    * Saudi Arabia: Kingdom’s Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources says solar will be a major contributor to energy supply in the next 5-10 years and has begun building the first solar-powered water desalination plant.
    * Masdar & Abu Dhabi: 1.5 GW of CSP is slated for development by 2020, with the first 100 MW already under construction at Madinat Zayed and due for completion in 2011.
    * Abu Dhabi: Made $2 billion investment in photovoltaic manufacturing.
    * Algeria: Set goal to provide for 10 percent of the energy demand with renewable energy by 2025. One solar thermal plant is under construction.
    * Syria: Increase in investment, especially foreign, in non-fossil fuel electricity sector.

    http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/7092/wind-power-tops-new-eu-electricity/

    The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) says 39% of all new capacity installed in 2009 was wind power, followed by gas (26%) and solar photovoltaics (PV) (16%). Europe decommissioned more coal and nuclear capacity than it installed in 2009. Taken together, renewable energy technologies account for 61% of new power generating capacity in 2009.

    http://www.windpowermonthly.com/news/986517/Iberdrola-outlines-renewables-expansion/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH

    Spanish electricity giant Iberdrola has announced plans to invest €9 billion in renewables over the next three years, after recording a €2.8 billion profit last year. In total, the company plans to invest 18 billion up to 2012, consolidating its international expansion and strengthening its involvement in renewables generation. Its focus for growth will be the US, which is in line to receive 39% of the company’s total investment. Much of this will go towards wind farms and electricity transmission and distribution, the company said. The company already has 3,500MW of installed wind capacity in the US, and a project pipeline of 23,500MW, reflecting the $577 million of US Treasury grants it secured last year for renewables. Meanwhile, the UK is set to receive the second largest share – 25% – of Iberdrola’s planned investment, with the bulk again earmarked for renewables.
    Iberdrola already has 802MW operational and a further 5,200MW projected. Along with Sweden’s Vattenfall, Iberdrola is also in line to develop a possible 7,200MW, having successfully bid for one of the UK’s round 3 offshore zone licences. Spain will receive 24% of Iberdrola’s investment, and Latin America and other parts of the world 12%.By business area, renewables will account for the largest share of Iberdrola’s planned investment – €9 billion – while €6.3 billion and €2.7 billion will be invested in networks and generation and supply respectively.

    http://www.electroiq.com/index/display/pv-wire-news-display/1188868528.html

    iSuppli: Solar thermal to supplant PV in four years. According to iSuppli, the global concentrated solar power (CSP) installations will outpace photovoltaics in terms of growth rate, soaring to 10.8 GW in 2014, up from just 0.29 GW last year. Meanwhile, PV installations are projected to reach 45.2 GW from 7 GW in 2009.
    Even though the market for CSP is currently limited with the US and Spain dominating, the segment could very well see high growth in North Africa, China and Australia as well.
    The solar thermal technologies use mirrors to reflect the sun’s heat energy onto collectors filled with fluids or gases that drive a turbine. A strong advantage of the technology is the ability to store the energy for release to steam generators at night.
    “About 10 CPS projects are online at present, but by the end of 2011 the number of projects will grow to 40 and another 100 are in the planning phase from 30 vendors”, Greg Sheppard, chief development officer at iSuppli pointed out.

    http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/10186/intersolar-solar-pv-conversion-and-storage-project-in-field-testing/

    http://solarcoaster.blogspot.com/2008/09/solion-energy-storage-solutions-for.html

    Critics of renewable energy and the fossil/nuclear energy establishment like to highlight the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources like wind and solar, e.g. click here. I will leave it to the words of Hermann Scheer, one of the most forceful and eloquent advocates for renewable energy, for a insightful rebuttal in his book, Energy Autonomy:
    In a strongly centralized and internationalized nuclear/fossil energy supply system, this simultaneity [of production and utilization of energy] is, on principle, not possible. The storage warehouse for petroleum is the oil tanker, for coal it is the coal heap, for natural gas the major storage caverns and the gas tank, for nuclear energy the fuel rod store, and for water power (if necessary) the reservoir. Transport and distribution systems–pipelines, tanker ships and trucks–take on supplementary storage function. Or else it is the power plants themselves that operate as steam power plants, that is, they produce steam, which they must then keep holding in side the power plants as a reserve in case there is a rapid increase in production. All nuclear power plants and all large fossil power plants are of this type…
    In its campaign against renewable energy, the energy business never mentions its own storage capacity, as if this were not as easily usable as a reserve for solar- and wind-based electricity…The possibility that the sun might not be shining or the wind might stop blowing just when these sources are most needed to produce electricity is presented as an insurmountable obstacle–as if, by way of contrast, extra coal or uranium could be hauled out of the mines at the very moment there is a spike in demand for coal- or nuclear-based electricity.
    The role of energy storage in an on-grid application—such as that of a residence with solar panels connected to the grid—is to store excess PV energy until it is needed. Effectively, energy storage will ‘time-shift’ PV energy produced during the day, peaking at noon, to make it available on demand. This will both maximize local consumption and enhance the efficiency of the PV system. Surplus energy can also be fed back into the grid, for which the owner of the PV system would be remunerated at a higher tariff.
    Energy storage will also increase security of supply while making individual consumers less dependent on the grid and help to boost the development of energy self-sufficient houses and buildings and contribute to the continuous growth of PV as part of the global energy mix…
    The main benefit of on-grid energy storage for utilities is that it will reduce the peak load on their grid while at the same time making PV a source of predictable, dispatchable power that they can call on when needed.
    The Sol-ion kit has been developed to accommodate solar PV energy production of 5 kWp with a battery rated from 5 to 15 kWh and a nominal voltage of 170 V to 350 V. The Sol-ion battery is based on Saft’s high energy Li-ion modules, with a nominal voltage of 48 V and 2.2 kWh capacity. The compact, maintenance-free modules can easily be connected in series or parallel to create the desired voltage and capacity for each installation. Saft’s Li-ion technology has already proven a 97% energy efficiency in a recent 2-years field demonstration in residential solar PV systems in Guadeloupe.

    The part that upsets me the most is the profits the damn electric companies are making!!!

  87. ” Alain, you’re drivelling on about matters which have already been covered here in-depth. Try reading up before flying off the handle and posting whatever nonsense comes to mind. ”

    And what exactly have you been adding to the discussion ?

    Oooh, yeah, anything out of your well established viewpoint is to be discarded : energy efficiency is for losers, being thrifty with our earth resources is drivel, NPP are the silver bullet to energy supply, anything goes excepted baseload renewable energy supplies, of which hydro power already contribute 20% on a global scale. Yeah, let’s destroy all hydro power dams, and replace them by NPP’s !!!

    Happy to rattle your cage. The world will prove you wrong, even if you don’t like it. Learn to adjust, Hitler.

  88. Alain, did you read my post about nuclear power in France:

    http://planeetta.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/ydinvoima-vahensi-ranskan-co2-paastoja-110-miljoonaa-tonnia/

    Yes, a lot of new NPP’s are needed, as well as other zero-emission solution, a huge amount of them also. And a lot of improvements in energy efficiency (= less consumption). I don’t see them either in a required amount at the moment or in the foreseeable future. The focus should always be on the reduction of CO2-emission. Is it done by renewable energy source or not is just a secondary issue. NPP’s discussed here is mostly for electricity production but that’s only a part of the problem. Most of the energy is used in some other way than electricity.

    If you read and understand all 35 pages in this paper from IEA , “Scenarios and strategies to 2050”,

    http://www.iea.org/speech/2008/Taylor_ETP2008.pdf

    you should have a quite good image of the challenge in your mind.

    This blog of Barry is among the most realistic ones I ever seen on the net. It’s about to be green but without any illusions.

  89. @Peter Lalor – I see that the term nuclear power plant operators needs some clarification. A nuclear plant operator is any worker that involved in the day-to-day functioning of the plant, they are not just the crew on watch in the control room, in fact that position is one that is aspired to by those on the floor. They normally begin their careers in the plant as labourers, even though they were selected by competitive examination and survived several courses, prior to being hired.

    They spend a fair amount of time doing things like inspection checks, and working on fuelling crews, before they even have a shot at a seat in the control room, where another long training period occurs before they can write for their licence.

    The other path to the control room is via engineering, and again the candidate spends a lot of time at the bottom (qualifying latches for the loo doors, and such, as one guy described it) before moving up.

    Thus there is generally a block of skills that could in an emergency moved up, and backfilled by lesser trained people in a pinch.

    Like everything in a modern NPP there is very high redundancy in operators as well at every level, so it would take quite a hit, in terms of manpower losses to make SCRAMing down the reactor the best option. One would suspect that should such conditions ever occur so widespread that significant number of reactors would have to shut down due to lack of people to man them, the loss of electric power would be of secondary importance.

  90. And what exactly have you been adding to the discussion ?

    Oooh, yeah, anything out of your well established viewpoint is to be discarded : energy efficiency is for losers, being thrifty with our earth resources is drivel, NPP are the silver bullet to energy supply, anything goes excepted baseload renewable energy supplies, of which hydro power already contribute 20% on a global scale. Yeah, let’s destroy all hydro power dams, and replace them by NPP’s !!!

    Happy to rattle your cage. The world will prove you wrong, even if you don’t like it. Learn to adjust, Hitler.

    I love ranting like this from doctrinaire Greens, because it only comes from those lashing out in the knowledge that they have lost. Forced, lest they be dismissed as cranks, that nuclear power is acceptable in some cases, they are fighting hard to keep their pet technologies from being dismissed outright. This in the hope that they can still win the war in the end by proving those systems superior to nuclear in the field, However their real fear from nuclear is that it will render needless the infrastructure they believe will make renewables competitive like smart metering (aka rationing) and low power lighting.

    They are left with dropping into pages like this that are saying the nuclear renaissance is upon us, and discharging their load of built-up bile, and insisting that they will prevail in the end. It’s pathetic really, and tragic when you thing of how much of their lives they have spent backing what, to their horror, may have been the wrong side.

    Typical too, are the insults thrown at power companies, and other large capitalist institutions, and insinuations that all pronuclear supporters are Fascists and Nazis

    Alan, the only one who looks like they have had their cage rattled, and is having trouble adjusting to the new reality is you, son, and your rants only make you look like the looser you are.

  91. “Yeah, let’s destroy all hydro power dams, and replace them by NPP’s !!!”

    I don’t recall advocating the destruction of hydroelectric facilities. Why would I? They’re the one form of ‘renewable’ energy that actually deliver worthwhile results.

    “Happy to rattle your cage. The world will prove you wrong, even if you don’t like it. Learn to adjust, Hitler.”

    Given the degree of social control which would be required for the anti-nuclear green renewable energy paradigm to work, I should be careful about appying the ‘Hitler’ label to anyone else.

  92. “And apparently, there are many people out there who don’t share your opinion, and they are voting with their own money, which of course you cannot change one bit even if you wanted, which is very satisfactory for me . . .”

    There are plenty of people who are using their wealth to exploit the feed-in tarrifs for solar power, the cost of which is passed on to less wealthy electricity utility customers., so it’s not exactly their own money theey’re voting with. I’m sure this is very satisfactory to Alain and his green fascist friends who want to see the masses forced to use less power through exhorbitant costs and regressive social policies.

  93. “Have a nice day. Enjoyed stirring up your honey pot. Hope you did learn a bit about decentralized energy generation possibilities, and I certainly enjoyed the discussion..”

    This whole ‘decentralised energy generation’ business is doubletalk. Fascist greens such as Alain like to talk about how everyone having a PV panel on their roof will somehow ‘empower’ them in some abstract democratic sense, but what people really want, what really empowers them, is to have their electrical appliances ready to work whenever they chose, rather than having that access be a privilege granted by some ‘smart grid’. Big centralised power stations release people from the burden of having to be their own personal electric utility managers, and provide them with the power they really want, when they need it, and in whatever quantity they desire.

  94. Peter Lang, on 19 June 2010 at 11.25 — Thanks for the correction. I was mostly just commenting on the picture, where a goodly wind looks like it would produce surge highr tthan allowed for.

    A combination of increasing frequency of severe storms and SLR (about double the average along east coasts) means mocing uphill for an installation which is expectedd to last until the concrete crumbles (a long time indeed).

    Of course proper engineering does account for all these factors and the locally designed dams (from Grand Coulee on) show no sign of needing replacement.

  95. Just looking briefly over the many links Alain has provided, a good many of them seem to be discussing investment plans for production facilities making ‘renewable’ infrastructure. This does not really prove much concerning the effectiveness of ‘renewable’ technology, but it speaks volumes about the malign influence the ‘renewables’ lobby has had on government planners worldwide, that such investments are likely to pay off. A factory producing aphrodesiacs made from rhino horns could also be quite profitable if enough fools fall for the con.

  96. I think in practice the function of the ‘smart grid’ will not be to accommodate intermittent generation as that will never become a major component of the energy mix. The real purpose of the smart grid will be to enforce energy rationing particularly as gas fired electricity becomes more prominent. LCD meters will lay on a guilt trip every time you want coffee or toast unless it’s 3 a.m. No doubt aluminium smelters will get off lightly.

    ABARE or some other research group should do a scenario analysis of future energy affordability for different sectors. One scenario should be moderate efficiency gains say of the order of 20%. Another scenario would be painful energy cuts of say 50% which I note David Mackay says will be necessary for the UK. Additional factors will include population growth, desalination, electric transport, CO2 emissions and investment capital requirements. Some belt tightening seems inevitable medium term.

  97. I think in practice the function of the ‘smart grid’ will not be to accommodate intermittent generation as that will never become a major component of the energy mix. The real purpose of the smart grid will be to enforce energy rationing particularly as gas fired electricity becomes more prominent. LCD meters will lay on a guilt trip every time you want coffee or toast unless it’s 3 a.m. No doubt aluminium smelters will get off lightly.

    Got it in one John, but the renewable crowd has bought into the fantasy that the smart grid will make their problems go away, and they have bought into it uncritically. This, of course is because the purveyors of smart grid technology have been tell them as much.

    In this fantasy, flexible rates are just the beginning. They paint a picture of all the refrigerators in the neighbourhood talking to one another so they don’t start all at once, the same with hot water heaters, and so on. They see micro-generation from rooftop solar, and backyard windmills, seamlessly switching loads on the local mini-grid. This is what they hope will support renewable energy.

  98. I’m not sure all these fights about energy use are productive … it’s materials where the fights should
    be. e.g. Suppose I can use X GWe to create furniture from
    plastic (using recycled materials) rather than X/4
    GEe creating it from wood. Which is preferable? Given
    the reforestation imperative (we will be 50ppm over
    safe CO2 levels even with a total phase out of
    coal by 2030), the extra energy may be a better
    option. A world of cheap energy gives us such choices.

  99. “Given the reforestation imperative (we will be 50ppm over safe CO2 levels even with a total phase out of
    coal by 2030), the extra energy may be a better
    option. A world of cheap energy gives us such choices.”

    Well said, Geoff. Let me add that if major geoengineering projects become necessary to fight climate change, we’ll need high-power systems with some grunt to run them as well.

  100. The thinking seems to be that in most parts of the USA up to 30% of power demand can be met by so-called renewables. Of course also considerable energy efficiency is possible; in this region the NPCC 20 year plan, updated every five years, calls for a rather amazing 50% of new power needs to be met via energy efficiency measures.

    We shall see.

  101. @Geoff Russell – Of course it is about energy usage – that is why Alain showed up on a thread titled The 21st century nuclear renaissance is starting spitting blood and fire: (practically) unlimited energy cuts every single renewable/low energy argument off at the hips. The whole ideological foundation of their movement’s philosophy, is that we have consumed too much and now we must pay for our sins through self-denial. Nuclear energy is their worse nightmare come true, and the web lies they told the public for years to keep nuclear at bay is becoming unravelled, no wonder they are lashing out in blind fury.

  102. Kaj,

    Thank you for pointing out the apparent error with the emissions intensity for Denmark’s electricity. And thank you Barry for your calculations that give a figure of 650g/kWh.

    I would really like to see a table of figures that have been prepared on a properly comparable basis by an authority such as IEA. I do not trust the EIA’s figures on this because they contain obvious errors. I believe they used CARMA’s figures, which are clearly wrong.

    I would still like to know where David MacKay got his figure of 880g/kWh from. I am also very interested to know what are the IE figures in the 2009 IEA report: http://www.iea.org/w/bookshop/add.aspx?id=36.

    For the moment, I tend to agree with Kaj and Barry that the 880g/kWh figure seems too high.

    Barry, I am not sure about this statement:

    Actually, this figure is generous to Denmark, as it assumes that all of their wind energy is used domestically, which it is not. However, they do also buy in nuclear and hydro electricity from France and Scandinavia.

    We have clear evidence that most of Denmark’s wind energy is exported (as you state). However, we cannot say what proportion of Denmark’s electricity imports is from nuclear or hydro. I believe we have to assume that the imported electricity has the average EI for the grid from which the energy is imported. West Denmark is connected to the Scandinavian grid and East Denmark through Germany to the European grid.

    Having said all this, I suspect your figure of 600 to 700 is probably in the right ball park.

    Kaj, thank you for pointing out the probable error.

  103. Jeremy C said:

    I had a look at that link you gave for Denamrks 650 gms of CO2 per kWh. What are the CO2 numbers assigned to each method of stationary generation in Denmark (e.g. what sort of coal do they use)?

    I don’t know (but would like to, if people had the information). As such, I used the following default values: coal = 1 tCO2/MWh, oil = 0.8, gas = 0.6, biomass/waste = 0.05, wind/nuclear/hydro = 0.01. These are based on the average emissions intensity figures given in Weisser 2007 (A guide to life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electric supply technologies, D. Weisser, ScienceDirect, Energy, Vol. 32, Issue 9, pp. 1543-1559, September 2007). I then multiplied up using the GWh energy usage reported by the IEA for both Denmark and France. As I noted, given that the France figure came out as 90 g/kWh, which is very close to other reported figures, I am confident that the Danish figure of 650 (plus or minus ~50) g/kWh that I so derived is now about the correct value.

  104. DV8: When we use energy for heating and cooling, that’s
    pretty close to pure energy use, but mostly, we use
    energy to consume other things. Cheap energy will make
    recycling of some of these other things feasible, but
    some will continue to be in short supply … is there
    enough aluminium on the planet to allow western
    levels of consumption for 9 billion? Is there enough
    wood? Is there enough land? soil? I think we need to
    live in a way which is sustainable for 9 billion and I
    don’t think the lifestyles “of the rich and famous” will
    scale to 9 billion people with or without nuclear power.
    Nuclear will enable far more people to live a reasonable
    life and give us a fighting chance to avoid the
    worst climate instability, but it will not solve
    all the problems caused by super affluence
    and greed. E.g., How will nuclear power prevent
    the agony of sharks who have their fins sliced off
    to provide $450-a-bowl shark fin soup for rich
    gourmet sadists? Nuclear power won’t stop the
    suffering or save the at-risk-species. Nuclear power
    may allow wider trawler rigs to destroy more ocean
    bottom quick and cheaper … not a good thing. Will
    nuclear power stop slave labour coltan mining in
    the Congo? No. Cheap energy doesn’t solve all
    our problems … just a few of the easier ones. We
    have indeed consumed too much and would benefit
    from a lifestyle rethink. It isn’t all about energy, but
    also about the broader consequences of our choices.

  105. Geoff Russell, – To start off with most of the really serious environmental damage that is being done is driven by poverty and the poor practices that follow from it. That is particularly true of land use, and bad soil management.

    The worst deforestation is caused by those harvesting wood for fuel. If slave labour is being use to mine, then it is only because it is too expensive to use machinery.

    Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, and the third most abundant element therein, after oxygen and silicon. It makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth’s solid surface. It is found combined in over 270 different minerals. To win it requires energy, for some compounds more than others, but nevertheless they can all be reduced.

    Population growth can be shown to slow as standards of living rise in every instance.

    As for the sharks, what can I say? Let’s all pour ashes on our heads, and take vows of perpetual poverty, because a world freed from human poverty will mean everyone will want shark-fin soup.

  106. Unethical treatment of animals cannot of itself be solved by cheap power, but cheap power is a necessary prerequisite for so much that is essential to worthwhile survival that it must be pursued until the victory is won. The two issues don’t connect directly.

    On the other hand, I believe that a well-off humanity will have the energy to look at these other issues to a degree a more impoverished world will not.

  107. Geoff Russell,

    We cannot get your message to the vast majority of the world’s population until they are literate, have the time and inclination to worry about more than staying alive, and have computers and internet access.

    All that comes with electricity. In fact, it all comes with cheap electricity. We cannot communicate with the vast majority until they have electricity and jobs and education. The cheaper electricity can be delivered the faster the poor will be lifted out of poverty. It is all related.

    Free trade (as opposed to aid hand-outs) must also be pursued. The EU is the greatest block to progress on free trade.

  108. Barry,
    Thanks for the figures and the Weisser reference – sounds useful and when looking at the link you can see that Denmark has no chance against France with its nuclear infrastructure.

  109. “ We cannot get your message to the vast majority of the world’s population until they are literate, have the time and inclination to worry about more than staying alive, and have computers and internet access. All that comes with electricity. In fact, it all comes with cheap electricity. We cannot communicate with the vast majority until they have electricity and jobs and education. The cheaper electricity can be delivered the faster the poor will be lifted out of poverty. It is all related.
    Free trade (as opposed to aid hand-outs) must also be pursued. The EU is the greatest block to progress on free trade. “

    I lived some time in Qatar, working in Ras Laffan on a $ 800 million process plant that converted natural gas into liquid ethylene, that then got piped 110km to Messaieed, to be transformed in another process plant into HDPE granulates for export. HDPE is the basic stuff for which much of plastic pipes are made off.

    During some nights, I watched TV at the hotel. I got lucky in that French speaking TV5Monde got piped in through satellite technology and that I do understand it, because it was a channel of the same quality a National Geography or Discovery Channel, which I also watched in that same hotel. A documentary about renewable energy was shown on TV5Monde, and the small difference it could make for the world, if we continued to invest in it.

    The first slice was about France. And more specifically during a serious winter night storm that flew over south west France at wind speed of up to 160km/h (100mph). There was a 2000 MW NPP operating on the sea shore near Bordeau. The sea surge and wind speed caused by the storm resulted in fallen tree logs hammering the protecting inlet grate screen of the pipeline, that served to suck up cooling water towards the NPP. The protection grate screen got destroyed because of the sea fury and hammering tree logs. The result was that log parts got sucked in, and jammed the inlet cooling pumps, red lighting up some part of the visualisation screens in the control room. Operators started to ‘panic’ : shut down a 2000MW plant ? They called their supervisor to cover their ass. He called the plant director to cover his ass. The plant director called his boss in Paris to cover his ass. The boss in Paris was asleep, and didn’t pick up the phone. Finally, the situation got so worse that operators had to shut down the 2000MW plant or risk a core meltdown. They were lucky, in that the fury of this storm caused a few million trees in the area to be blown over, falling on transmission lines, and cutting ten of thousands home off the electricity supply grid, in december freezing temperature. This result rendered most of the 2000MW power supply not necessary, given that the demand was not there anymore. Well, the demand was there, but could be supplied because the centralised grid was off line. The only ones left with some juice were home solar PV panel owners. It took 2 weeks to get the 2000MW NPP back online, because the millions of felled trees caused a national emergency plan to be activated, and it took that time to clear the roads full with fallen trees, rewire the transmittion grid and clean up the place in sufficient manner, to get to the part were repairing the inlet suction pumps that were jammed with tree logs could be done safely, given that the NPP wasn’t producing one milliwatt in power anymore.
    Luckily for France, Spain had decided a decade ago not to invest in NPP’s, instead giving building permits to any private investor who was willing to build wind turbine parks using his own bank loans. The result during that winter period, was that Spain had strong winds blowing over their country, ample spare electricity capacity from wind turbine parks, that were partially shutdown due to low electricity demand. The French bought a 500MW block from Spanish windturbine parks, that got transmitted over the Pyrenees mountain ridge, towards the disaster zone in France, to help alleviate the emergency shutdown of the 2000MW NPP. I found it pretty ironic to discover that wind turbine parks could act as a backup for a baseload NPP during winter times . . .

    The second slice was about Africa, and more specifically Kenia. The camera was filming the energy minister, a fat negro with very smart eyes. ‘Why did you have black outs in Nairobi and Mombasa?’ . ‘Well, we are a developping African country, and a such do not have the tools to monitor properly our energy needs. So we were caught off guard when we got a tourist sector surge filling up our many hotels, coupled with an indigenous population growth spike that exacerbated our electricity demand. So we had the choice : install controlled black outs, or face a global shutdown of our grid. We couldn’t fall back on our neighbors, they have the same problems as we have, so we had to find another solution. We signed a contract with Aggrekko, who air lifted from Europe diesel power plants installed in 40 foot container block units. Aggrekko installed in one month all those containers in 50MW blocks around Nairobi and Mombasa to temporary alleviate the situation. So we solved our problem in one month thanks to the Europeans. We rapidly discovered that the diesel fuel consumption was very costly to Kenia, since we have to import 100% of our diesel. So we decided that this wouldn’t become a permanent solution to our problems”. ‘What energy alternatives did you consider ? ’. “ Well, we looked at NPP’s, and ruled it out rapidly. We couldn’t wait 5 years to have the electricity supplied to us, and we couldn’t get a World Bank loan for such a big project, given our financial situation. So we then looked at coal. It takes 2 years to get it running. And a 1000MW plant consumes 10 000 ton of coal a day. Our rail network is almost non-existant, so we have to build this plant near mombasa, given that we then can import our coal through our mombasa port. But we were again faced with having to spend our few financial resources to import coal from Australia for the next 40 years, and we therefore rejected this solution. We looked at natural gas, given that it was the cheapest capital investment cost for us, but again Kenia doesn’t have any indigenous natural gas reserves. So we had to spend our financial reserves to import liquid natural gas from Qatar, which means we also had to invest in a LNG terminal to regasify the gas, and building a LNG terminal takes 2 years, and we couldn’t affor to pay for that. So we couldn’t use natural gas. Then we looked a wind. We have a large plateau in Kenia, with strong steady winds blowing for many hours a day, a very regular breeze that start around 10AM till 18PM. We decided to buy 300MW in windturbines, and the contractor assured us that it would be operational in one year, and it was financially interesting, given that we had to pay $ 1.5 million per installed MW all-in, which Kenia can afford to pay without having to go to the World Bank. Then we looked at other indigenous energy resources. Kenia is located on the African great rift, and as such has pretty strong vulcanic activity. The Kilimandjaro is in Kenia, you know. We found out that we could install 50MW and 100MW geothermal plants rapidly, it was expensive, but once installed, we wouldn’t have to import fuel to keep it running, and as such it was a good solution to our long term energy supply issues. We ordered several 100MW’s in geothermal plants, that are now operating to our satisfaction 24h per day. Aggrekko’s contract was not renewed at the end, and Aggrekko air lifted their gear to Oman, given that Oman is now facing the same problems that Kenia faced 2.5 years ago’.

    It is therefore clear that NPP’s are a great tool to combat global warming, but that NPP’s have strenghts and weaknesses. A properly designed electricity supply network takes into account the locally found situation, and makes sure that the weaknesses of one power system are compensated by the strenght of another power system, to mimic Mother Nature’s biodiversity and redundancies. That is why I find it great that NPP’s are being built in greater numbers, but I find it laughable to say that 100% of our needs MUST be covered using ONLY NPP’s, as some people here up are advocating. That is putting us all into a corner. And if I see underneath stated figures, I think many decision makers in the world are getting to the same conclusion as I am, which is that we need to develop alternatives to fossil fuels, and it would be stupid to just bet on NPP’s. After all, the greatest NPP is located 95 million kilometers from earth, the nuclear waste stays 95 million kilometers from the earth, and the lifetime of that machine is rated at around 4 Billion years. I still have to see how Big Utility will manage to meter incoming sun rays, but I am pretty sure they will find a way.

    Global installed wind turbine capacity in 2000 : 5 000 MW
    Global installed wind turbine capacity in 2010 : 158 000 MW (great)
    Current global installed NPP capacity in 2010 : 372 000 MW (Fantastic)

    China foresee to get to 150 000 MW in new windturbine capacity by 2020
    Europe foresee to install 100 000 MW in new windturbine capacity by 2020, to add up to it’s current 75 000 MW that is already operational.

    China foresee to expand his NPP capacity to a total of 70 000 MW by 2020, South Korea to 27.3 GW (up from 17.7 GW), and Russia to 43.3 GW (fantastic).

    Of course you have to understand that a baseload NPP provides 3 time more power than a wind turbine per same MW in installed capacity, given that a wind turbine has a capacity factor of only 30%, while an NPP achieves 90% plus.
    And for the ones arguing that renewable energy is expensive, maybe they can add the subsidies lavished on fossil fuels and nuclear to understand that there is no such thing as a free balanced energy supply market, and that the game is rigged from top to bottom. As such I do not have any problems with greens lobbying to have more renewable energy being installed globally, at the cost of other polluting resources. And NPP’s fall in that polluting category, untill someone invent a solution to the nuclear waste issue that has to be stacked for thousands of years, like finally getting a commercial IFR plant operating to the satisfaction of their owners.

    http://www.iea.org/files/energy_subsidies.pdf

    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06-07-iea-stunner-global-subsidies-dirty-energy-top-550-billion-year/

    IEA stunner: global subsidies to dirty energy top $550 billion a year. The IEA estimates that energy consumption could be reduced by 850m tonnes equivalent of oil — or the combined current consumption of Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand — if the subsidies are phased out between now and 2020. The consumption cut would save the equivalent of the current carbon dioxide emissions of Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, and Spain. Fossil fuel subsidies average out to 2.1% of GDP of the 37 countries surveyed.

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/02/global-wind-installations-boom-up-31-in-2009?cmpid=WNL-Friday-February5-2010

    The Global Wind Energy Council this week announced that the world’s wind power capacity grew by 31% in 2009, adding 37.5 gigawatts (GW) to bring total installations up to 157.9 GW. A third of these additions were made in China, which experienced yet another year of over 100% growth. The main markets driving this significant growth continue to be Asia, North America and Europe, each of which installed more than 10 GW of new wind capacity in 2009. “The Chinese government is taking very seriously its responsibility to limit CO2 emissions while providing energy for its growing economy. China is putting strong efforts into developing the country’s tremendous wind resource. Given the current growth rates, it can be expected that the even the unofficial target of 150 GW will be met well ahead of 2020,” said Li Junfeng, secretary general of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association.

    http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/10203/ewea-predicts-10-gw-of-wind-to-be-installed-in-europe-during-2010-/

    EWEA predicts 10 GW of wind to be installed in Europe during 2010. Total installed wind power capacity by the end of 2009 was 74 767 MW.

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2009/12/brazil-conducts-first-wind-only-power-auction?cmpid=WindNL-Tuesday-December29-2009

    December 17, 2009
    Brazil Conducts First Wind-only Power Auction
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [RenewableEnergyWorld.com]
    Brazil this week held its first wind-only power auction. More than 1,800 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity was contracted. The average selling price for electricity from these projects was US $84.88/megawatt-hour. The auction will allow for the building of 71 wind power plants located in five states of the northeastern and southern regions of the country. In the 20 year period in which the contracts will run, the projects are expected to drive investments of more than $11.2 billion.
    “This auction shows that the price difference between wind and thermoelectric sources of energy is diminishing and today they are closer than ever. It also shows that from both an economic and environmental perspective, wind energy is viable option for complementing Brazil´s hydraulic generation,” said Mauricio Tolmasquim, president of the Brazilian Energy Research Company, Empresa de Pesquisa Energética (EPE).

  110. Luckily for France, Spain had decided a decade ago not to invest in NPP’s, instead giving building permits to any private investor who was willing to build wind turbine parks using his own bank loans. The result during that winter period, was that Spain had strong winds blowing over their country, ample spare electricity capacity from wind turbine parks, that were partially shutdown due to low electricity demand. The French bought a 500MW block from Spanish windturbine parks, that got transmitted over the Pyrenees mountain ridge, towards the disaster zone in France, to help alleviate the emergency shutdown of the 2000MW NPP. I found it pretty ironic to discover that wind turbine parks could act as a backup for a baseload NPP during winter times . . .

    Because it wouldn’t have worked if that power had come from Spanish NPPs. right?

    And NPP’s fall in that polluting category, until someone invent a solution to the nuclear waste issue that has to be stacked for thousands of years, like finally getting a commercial IFR plant operating to the satisfaction of their owners.

    We have covered the fact that there are already solutions to the ‘nuclear waste’ issue being applied right now in the real world many times on these pages. You should go back and read some of them, you might learn something.

  111. ” We have covered the fact that there are already solutions to the ‘nuclear waste’ issue being applied right now in the real world many times on these pages. You should go back and read some of them, you might learn something. ”

    Well, I now live in Belgium, a country that produce 55% of it’s electricity from NPP’s. Our Energy Minister decided to invest 350 million euro into a research program to find a solution to our plutonium and uranium wastes. They managed to get an operational prototype producing a few kWh, and need 350 million euro to try to scale it up to megawatt class. I was all shown up on TV big time, with great fanfare. As such I concluded there is actually no real solution to degrade the nuclear waste radioactivity from a few thousand year to let’s say 500 years right now in the world.

    Maybe you can show me the dough and were those solutions are applied right now in the world, outside of labs, on a megawatt class size, operating for at least a few years without any issue. Always happy to learn. And no, I won’t spend time wadding through this site, you of course can rapidly supply the missing information, given your knowledge of the matter.

    http://myrrha.sckcen.be/en/MYRRHA_in_brief/Purpose

    http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Features/UndergroundLabs/Mol/mol.html

  112. Unfortunately I am tied up with activities pertaining to Father’s Day (being both a father and a son) and I cannot give your post the response it deserves at this time.

    However the French have been reprocessing for some time now, and CANDU reactors burn fuel so efficiently that the SNF emissions become reasonable in a relativity short time.

  113. ” Unfortunately I am tied up with activities pertaining to Father’s Day (being both a father and a son) and I cannot give your post the response it deserves at this time.
    However the French have been reprocessing for some time now, and CANDU reactors burn fuel so efficiently that the SNF emissions become reasonable in a relativity short time. ”

    Well, I hope you can give me the information later on. Always interested to learn more.

    The French are reprocessing nuclear wastes in their The Hague plant, but the final end waste product is still highly radioactive and really nasty stuff, that has to be kept away from dubious users. The French reprocessed nuclear end waste still needs to be stored in very special conditions, and this for thousands of years.

    During the same TV5monde documentary that I mentioned here up, the reporters went to Canada, to view some Candu NPP’s built in Quebec. The corporation that designed the Candu system promised an operation of 30 years without any problems to the Canadian government. Several got built. And Canadians being serious folks, they monitored everything like the true professionals they are. After 10 years of flawless operation, they started to discover issues with the high pressure piping circuits going from the core to the heat exchangers, that powered the turbines. Apparently, microscopic parts of the core fission material had been transported with the fluid, depositing on the various HP pipes, reacting with the stainless steel and causing wall metal brittleness. The investigations showed that if the plant continued to operate at the foreseen high pressure, pipes would rupture, causing core meltdown. The solutions were twofold. Either close down the plant, take out the pipes, and replace them with new ones with much thicker wall thickness, to guarantee the 30 years lifetime. Price tag = CAD$ 1 Billion per core. The second alternative was to reduce the pressure on the piping circuits to 60% of design capacity, therefore decreasing the nominal power plant rating from 1000MW to 600MW, allowing to continue operate the plant in a same manner without having to spend CAD $1 Billion per plant.
    Canadians being financial conservatives, they decided to reduce the power plant rating to 600MW, so that the payback period of 25 years on investment could be achieved, and decided to close the plant down before reaching it’s forecast 30 year lifetime, once the investment had been paid off with electricity sales, to avoid having core piping circuits leaks.
    With the saved CAD $ 1 Billion per Candu NPP plant, they invested in new hydro power dams providing more than 400MW in capacity per CAD$ 1 Billion. The ironic Canadian commentator stated that there is not much difference between an hydro power dam and a Candu NPP, given that they both consists of a lot of concrete and some metal connected to spinning turbines, but that with the hydro power dam, they were at least certain to have electricity without any problems for decades to come. I therefore wonder why the Canadians bothered to invest in Candu plants anyway, if you pursue this logic to it’s logical end. I guess that the Candu design corporation greased some wheels in the government, and that building hydro power dams required new transmission lines that added to the final price tag.
    I assume that the Candu concept flaw in the meantime has been solved, given that China is investing in Candu NPP’s. Of course, I hope that the same story won’t happen with newer generation NPP’s, but I am not holding my breath on that one, knowing how mankind operates in the real world . . .
    That’s why Brazil is investing in hydro power dams and some wind turbines, both are renewable energy, as far as I know . . .

  114. Alain,
    As DV8 is busy may I draw your attention to various emerging nuclear technologies that have the potential to consume most of the so called “Waste” from Gen I & II nukes.

    Specifically, fast spectrum reactors such as Phenix & Super-Phenix (France). More recently, Russia and China are building BN-800 family reactors.

    A prototype LFTR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) was operated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for five years. Designs based on this concept are “on the drawing board”. A solid fuel Thorium reactor is under construction in India. LTFRs have integrated (closed cycle) fuel reprocessing with the capability of eliminating higher Actinides. They also have the ability to consume higher Actinides produced by Gen I nukes.

    Rubbia (CERN) has proposed Accelerator Driven Nuclear Reactors (also known as Sub-Critical Nuclear Reactors). Prototype reactors have been built by the ADNA corporation and testing has been carried out at Virginia Tech, the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory and at Los Alamos National Laboratory. These reactors have great potential for achieving dry nuclear waste reprocessing.

    If you are wondering why these technologies are so late into the field, the simple answer is that they are not useful for producing weapons. It is impossible to use them to produce more than tiny amounts of Plutonium. Fissile materials produced such as U232 are not suitable for bomb applications.

    The tremendous depth and breadth of materials relating to nuclear technology available through this site are daunting so I understand your reluctance to wade through it. At least take the time to look at the following fun video:

    http://energyfromthorium.com/2008/11/21/joe-bonomettis-tech-talk-at-google/

  115. DV8, Finrod, Peter Lang and the rest of you,
    Please don’t jump all over me because I buy at least one of Alain’s arguments. I have not been seduced by the “Dark Side”.

    Until recently I lived in a part of the USA that is notorious for unreliable power distribution. In the winter ice storms would cause huge outages and in the summer hurricanes had similar effects. Power could be out for up to 2 weeks.

    As my water was from a deep well and my sewage went into a septic field, all that was needed to achieve that rosy feeling of being totally independent was a local source of electricity. As average wind velocities were low, windmills were not an option so I concentrated on photo-voltaics. It looked really promising until I realised how much storage capacity would be needed.

    In the end I bought a generator driven by an IC engine running on natural gas connected to a 1,000 gallon liquid gas tank. From then on my neighbours were able to get water and other services until power was restored. The crazy thing was that the cost of generation was only slightly higher than what my local utility was charging (but that is another story).

  116. I still haven’t the time for a full post, however I will note that Alain’s ignorance about both the French reprocessing efforts (all the long lived waste they produce can be stored under the floor of one room at Le Hague, and it has been immobilized in as a vitreous solid) .Your understanding of CANDU’s (it is an acronym, and is properly spelled all caps) and the Canadian power market,is breathtakingly shallow and shows that you have not done the least bit of research on the subject. I suspect that you are parroting some antinuclear propaganda you read somewhere.

    There were never any early CANDU rated at 1000MWe particularly those that required re-tubing, the only working ones that come close are the CANDU 9 at 950MWe. There was never any de-rating. There is only one CANDU in Quebec, and it’s running very well thank you, and Ontario, where most of the nuclear plants are, has very little hydro. Large hydro has all been built in Quebec. Quebec and Ontario are served by separate electric utility companies, that compete in the sale of power to the States, They do not co-ordinate on generation projects, and nether are under control of the federal government.

    I am a Canadian, and I have followed the industry here for years. You are not impressing anyone with your poorly researched, half-baked ideas.

    And now I am off for dinner with my Dad

  117. With regards to emissions intensity, the CARMA figures are not credible for three reasons.
    1. Real emissions are only obtained for US power plants. For others, they are calculated based on the technical specifications of the plant and some theoretical assumptions. More details about the methodology can be found here.

    http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/16101/

    2. Emissions from backup generators are omitted, otherwise nuclear and hydro power plants would have small but non-zero emissions.
    3. The database contains obvious errors. For example Seinajoki, a small peat-fired combined heat and power station in Finland, is listed as the largest power station of any kind in the world. This dramatically distorts the figures for Finland.

  118. “The first slice was about France. And more specifically during a serious winter night storm that flew over south west France at wind speed of up to 160km/h (100mph). There was a 2000 MW NPP operating on the sea shore near Bordeau. The sea surge and wind speed caused by the storm resulted in fallen tree logs hammering the protecting inlet grate screen of the pipeline, that served to suck up cooling water towards the NPP. The protection grate screen got destroyed because of the sea fury and hammering tree logs…” And so on.

    Is anyone able to confirm whether or not this alleged event ever actually occured?

  119. DV8/Peter: Agree entirely that electricity will be a huge boon and that it can ease pressure on deforestation but not that it a global nuke network will (or can) be rolled out
    fast enough or cheap enough to make energy efficiency a redundant goal. It is also simply false that most deforestation is carried out for fuel biomass by the
    poor, nor is this the most important consideration for
    reforestation. Some 70% of previously forested Amazon was
    cleared for a variety of reasons but is currently under
    cattle. It can’t be reforested without dietary change.
    Ditto 70 million hectares in Australia. Some of the 1 gigatonne of biomass used for fuel wood (Krausmann, see Boverty I) causes deforestation but far more
    important is the 2.5 gigatonne of burning in annual
    pastoral fires.

    I agree with DV8 and Peter about many things, but I
    don’t understand DV’s somewhat biblical gnashing of teeth at those who advocate reduced consumption.
    Sure it’s over-hyped, but it can help if done intelligently.

    My view of over-consumption is of
    course is biased by daily experiences with
    people driving 3 or 4 tonnes of gas guzzling metal who
    drive with all the arrogance of people who know they
    will win any confrontation with me and my
    8 kg of carbon fibre and aluminium … but without any apparent care.

  120. Alain, on 20 June 2010 at 22.27 — Great reporting! I especially liked the Kenya solutions.

    Finrod, on 21 June 2010 at 6.31 — The extreme event windstorm certainly did and the rest is highly plausible.

  121. Geoff Russel,

    On the short comments we can post on a blog site we have to simplify. I, nor you, can include every needed caveat for every statement we make. I agree we need to improve energy efficiency and reduce wasteage. However, I’ve been involved in this at all levels from policy development to implementation. At the policy level we had true believers advocating major government interventon with regulation and subsidies to force industry, building owners and vehicles to improve energy efficiency. We had the arguments between the advocates who think much more is feasible than is, to the ‘hard heads’ who pointed out that most is not practicable. ABARE did the modelling. That was 20 years ago. Then I was involved with the actual implementation of some of these schemes to reduce energy use in existing buildings. Most of what is theoretically achievable is not commercially viable.

    We have the McKinsey reports showing that energy efficency improvements, such as adding insulation in buildings, is the ‘lowest of the low hanging fruit’. So then our government conducted a $2.5 billion program to insulate homes. Then we find out that this program is avoiding GHG emissions for a cost of $200/tonne CO2 avoided. That’s about 10 times the cost of reducing emissions by changing coal fired power stations to nuclear.

    We have David Mackay’s ‘Plan C’ which includes massive energy enfficiency improvements to the point of collecting your own wood and burning it for heating, and riding bicycles, etc. This is way beyond what I believe people are prepared to do. And the question needs to be asked: “Why go to these lengths when we could have the energy we want?”

    I agree we need to avoid waste and improve energy efficency. But I believe energy efficiency improvements will provide a small component of what we need to do in the next 20 years. Energy efficiency improvements are already included in the ABARE projections for the next 20 years and I believe the amounts they include will turn out to be about right – given that they got it about right 20 years ago.

    Importantly, I see our focus being distracted from where it should be. We are being distracted from what we need to do to get cheap nuclear energy in Australia. We are being distracted by discussions on: energy efficiency improvements are important, renewable energy is important, safety is important, management of used nuclear fuel is important, and so on and on and on.

    We are being distrracted from what is really important which getting low cost nuclear power in Australia.

  122. Peter: Assuming that my message is about
    compassion for animals, then it isn’t just a province of the well to do. I don’t have
    first hand experience in developing countries but know a few people with
    very long term experience and they all say the same thing. Compassion and
    cruelty both cut across boundaries, the desperately poor will
    volunteer in a dog shelter in Cairo while the rich will organise dog fights …
    and the reverse. Similarly in India, Bangladesh (or Adelaide).

  123. Geoff Russel,

    If we cannot achieve the desired rate of CO2 reduction with nuclear, than we have no hope at all with anything else. Kaj’.s excellent article shows that the rate of nuclear build in the 1970′s and 1980′s in single countries (eg France) is about the same as the rate of RE build in the whole world now. And renewables provide only 1/3 of the energy of a nuclear power plant. We”d need equivalent amounts of energy storage to make renewables equivalent to nuclear. The idea of renewables doing anything useful is ridiculous.

    If France could build Gen II plants at the rate of 3 NPPs per year for two decades in the 1970′s and 1980′s, then surely Australia could do this with Gen III’s if we wanted to. Don’t forget, the existing power stations we’ve been building have to be replaced. We’ve been replacing them with coal up until now. We have to change what we build from coal to nuclear from now on.

    If Australia can, so can the rest of the world. It won’t happen over night. It will take many decades. But there is no point saying that isn’t fast enough. If nuclear isn’t fast enough then nothing will be faster. Wasting time on things that have little effect is actually diverting focus and slowing us down.

    The sort of discussion we are having about all the other things we need to do is exactly what has stopped Australia making any real progress for the past 20 years. And there is no sign of any policy change coming in Australia at the moment.

  124. David, that may well be true, but it’s nibbling around the edges. With nuclear we can address the core of the problem in one fell swoop. It is the obvious first step, and energy efficiency/conservation is a sideshow.

  125. Thank’s Peter for those interesting links about wind power in Denmark. It’s just the kind of information I have been looking for.

    Barry:

    Although this does not report electricity EI directly, there is enough data to reconstruct it. For 2007 electricity generation figures, and at EIs (t/MWh) based on Weisser 2008 review, this yields and electricity EI of ~650 g/kWh.

    Ok. Did you take into account the large use of district heating by CHP plants in Denmark. Some of the emission is allocated to the heat thus reducing emission of electricity.

    You may find this interesting:

    http://193.88.185.141/Graphics/UK_Facts_Figures/Statistics/yearly_statistics/2007/energy%20statistics%202007%20uk.pdf

    On page 23 it says:

    One kWh of electricity sold in Denmark in 2007 led to 547 grams of CO2 emissions. In 1990, CO2 emissions were 937 grams per kWh of electricity sold.

    At the moment I have no time to read through the paper, so I cannot tell how these numbers are calculated. Anyway, the main point here is crystal clear: Denmark + wind is far from France + nuclear and will never come even close. It is simply impossible.

    Germany is another case. They once “decided” to get rid of nuclear power. There is about 20 GW of operating nuclear power in Germany. They have a lot more wind power in Germany than in Denmark. But they are also building new coal plants, and guess how much? Yes, about 20 GW. What a coincidence!

    See this:

    It’s a scan from McCloskey’s Coal Report, December 2007.

  126. Alain,

    Spain is nearly broke. They are having to massively reduce their subsidies for renewable energy. The irrational RE subsidies have driven business and investment out of Spain. Spain lost 2.2 real jobs for every “green job’ created by the government.

    The idea of distributed generation with solar panels is believed by people who have never thought it through. The transmission grid for distributed generation would be ten or 100 times more costly than for centralised power, if it was possible at all. Have a look at this: http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/08/16/solar-power-realities-supply-demand-storage-and-costs/

    I suspect it is a waste of time discussing any of this with you. Your mind is shut.

  127. “I suspect it is a waste of time discussing any of this with you. Your mind is shut.”

    What else can you conclude about someone who thinks that wind power would fare better than nuclear power in a 160km/h windstorm?

  128. I think the problem with energy efficiency/usage avoidance is not that it is wrong, but that raising it in this context can bwe grossly misleading.

    The amount you can cut demand for stationary and transport energy is never going to be enough to retire any significant quaintity of capacity. At best, it can defer the day when new capacity is needed and perhaps allow us a smoother transition to clean energy.

    Such benefits are not to be sniffed at, especially if they can be had cheaply, and they can build the kind of community engagement that will support the serious structural changes needed. Yet it would be wrong to suggest, as sime imply, that it is a substantial solution to the problem even in first world countries. And in the developing world, it is not even a minor one. They are already using a tiny fraction of the energy we are using and suffering for it.

    Their primary need is to radically ramp up their capacity to produce clean power. Doubtless, for other reasons, regard should be had to good design in cities and non-wasteful use of energy — especially liquid fuels — since most LDCs are net importers. The idea though that first worlders can be ascetic enough in their lifestyle choices to defeat the impact made by LDC-inhabitants gearing up to live in dignity is simply fanciful — almost a new iteration of eating your veges because people in “Biafra” were starving — (my own personal recollection). There’s simply no connection.

  129. Ewen Laver, on 21 June 2010 at 9.51 — Portland, Oregon, has an ambitious plan to cut electricity consumption by 40%, enough to retire the Boardman 600 MWe coal fired plant. I hope that works, since that plant is (a long ways) upwind of me.

  130. Good luck with that David. Unless the plan involves economic contraction or is relative (some sort of per-capita extrapolation) it’s not achievable.

    To shut Boardman (which they are discussing doing by 2014 or possibly 2020) and cut by 40% on the same timeline would be impossible. About 3% of Oregon’s power comes from nuclear and gearing that up would make more sense.

    Apparently about 10% of Boardman’s output goes to Idaho, and that is going to be covered by gas.

  131. The whole consumptionn reduction idea is complete nonsense from start to finish. Even to get up to a basic decent living standard, the majority of the world’s population has to increase consumption of power, and any attempt to prevent this is an exercise in genocide.

  132. The other bizarre thing about it Finrod is that the only form in which it could begin to make sense is if the savings in energy here were transferrable in greater energy consumption over there.

    Of course hardly anyone here says: let’s all economise on our energy here so that poor people can burn more dirty energy over there. In fact, they resent the whole notion that poor people might “copy our mistakes” or that there might be such a thing as “fugitive emissions” or that companies meeting enviornmental and OHS standards here might locate to low wage dirty countries over there. So all of the benefits (whatever they are) are necessarily stovepiped over here.

    What is inevitable is that if poor people are to live at standards we would find minimally acceptable, they will have to use a lot more energy per capita than they are now — perhaps not as much as we are now, but still — a hell of a lot more. You need new capacity to meet this — either dirty or clean. Energy savings can’t supply this.

  133. Yes Ewen, and I reckon that just underscores the emotive/religious nature of the reduced-energy-consumption doctrine. It is an irrational meme which contributes nothing to the real solutions we need to embrace to overcome the problems facing humanity. Still, we’ll be battling this nonsense for a long time to come.

  134. The whole consumption reduction idea is complete nonsense from start to finish. Even to get up to a basic decent living standard, the majority of the world’s population has to increase consumption of power, and any attempt to prevent this is an exercise in genocide.

    Not only that but political terms it would be next to impossible. Geoff how do we stop Brazil from converting jungle to farmland? By threatening them? Do we do the same to those living in the central North American plains, and tell them to stop growing wheat and let natural succession reclaim the Parries?

    Questions like this are outside the debate on nuclear energy. That is why I get upset when people say that we have to make conservation part of the solution – it is no solution to the energy issue, and the areas that is the solution too are never going to be helped until there is widespread energy security, that will grant us the luxury of looking at other options.

    I’m not sure that there is anything left from Alain’s postings uncovered, but I’m sure he’ll get back to us if there is.

  135. Further to the UK Telegraph link upthread on negative prices for windpower some googling shows it is a widespread practice in continental Europe and in Texas. The grid operator has to pay for privilege of refusing obligatory wind power or the wind operator pays the grid to take it in order to keep the subsidy coming , either a feed-in tariff or production tax credit. Negative pricing for wind power is the counter argument to those who say off-peak pricing is an artefact of coal and nuclear baseload. However the latter is a discount while the consumer still pays twice when there is a subsidy. The defence given in the Tele article shows how self-righteous renewables advocates have become in the belief they have the moral high ground.

    If the world is now roughly 3.5bn each of haves and have-nots I don’t see that continuing. By the time we hit 8bn it might pan out at say 6 bn Cuba style middle class and 2bn underclass.

  136. In 1941 America had a fraction of todays industrial capacity producing 3.7M automobiles compared to 2007 America when America produced 10 million vehicles. In 1941 American tank production was almost zero and yet by 1945 we had produced 80000 tanks weighing in at 30 tons each. Auto production was essentially zero 1943 to 1945.

    While perhaps only part of the solution, a total fossil fuel elimination with the hot tub size factory produced 30 Mwe Hyperion unit weighing in at about 15 tons illustrates the small amount of industrial capacity required. Two units – made almost 100% of steel with a few pounds of enriched uranium weigh about the same as 20 automobiles or a Sherman tank and are lot less complex. 50000 of them would be needed to convert American from fossils to nuclear about the equivalent of a half million vehicles – .5% of American’s 2007 auto production per year for 10 years.

    There is a lot of unemployed autoworkers and mothballed auto factories just waiting for orders.

    Not a trivial thing certainly but well within our capacity. What would work best is a giant public national power authority like the Bonneville (Grand Coulee) Power Commission or TVA one time national technical and environment certifications – no lawyers allowed – charged with replacing all the nations coal plants efficiently on budget and on time just like Asian countries are doing.

    Big nukes are 99% steel and concrete and today’s much smaller units require about the same materials as a bridge or building. They can be largely mass produced in factories. Labor is a relatively small part of nuke cost but we sure have a lot of that available. With orders for 10000 nukes worldwide, colleges would have hundreds of thousand of graduates ready for the big push three or four years now the road.

    10000 big mass produced nukes worldwide costing $10 trillion is well within our industrial/financial capacity to build within the next ten years. It is paid for by and ends fossil fuel use, saves millions lives every year from toxic radioactive waste from coal plants and ends global warming. Reasoning progressives (most I hope) and almost all Neocons and Deniers will go along with this at least part way as momentum builds.

    Alains way.

    Thirty years from now some new tech renewables we’ve been waiting for are now less than 10 times the cost of nuclear. Apparently attaching a microprocessor making them “smart” helps with the cost. Unfortunately, the “opinions” of those silly scientists were right and most of the worlds coastal cities are flooded, the gulf stream has stopped, billions are dead and starving from toxic radioactive coal plant emissions flooding and bad weather. Europe and eastern North America are frozen solid. Deniers and Republicians still refuse to spend on renewables because the treasury is empty feeding the starving, CO2 is plant food and we need lotsa that. The new age renewable “religion” with High Priest Al Gore wants to start culling humans because we produce too much CO2. Jesus and Mohammed have been seen walking together.

    You Pick

  137. Great post Barry. Lots of useful contributions and some less so from the usual anti-nuclear brigade. Some of them are just totally immovable. Forget them. On wind and Denmark, to the best of my understanding, the Danes are not building any more wind farms. They have done nought to reduce their emissions and have given them the most expensive power in the EU. They are however continuing to produce the technology to sell to unsuspecting dills like us in South Australia. We can’t really blame them for maintaining an industry which employs 30,000 can we? Surely everyone knows that the capacity factor of wind might average 20% around the world. Why do people still delude themselves into thinking that dilute, discontinuous wind will ever meet more than a fraction of the increasing amount of energy we’ll all need. The same is true of solar. Energy authorities around the world are saying things like “no person can be serious about climate change without being serious about greatly expanding nuclear power” etc. The Chair of the World Energy Council study group reported that there was no way the world would clombat climate change without “a strong dose of nuclear power.” As Barry pointed out at the beginning, nuclear power generation is growing rapidly around the world with new reactors bobbing up all over the place especially in China and india. And why? Because those and other countries want a secure, clean, safe cost competitive source of power. I’m assuming that all of those countries have considered many of the questions raised by many of you on this thread. They’ve decided that nuclear is the way to go. We need to convince our governments that it is indeed what we should do here in Australia. And I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m becoming a bit anxious about the future of offshore oil and gas, not to mention the new onshore coal mines in Queensland. Nigeria last year, Gulf of Mexico disaster on right now, and offshore fire in the Timor Sea last year should make us all think about putting a halt to all fossil fuel exploration leading to a gradual phasing out of fossil fuels over coming generations and replacing them all with a rapid and massive uptake of nuclear generation. And here’s a thought for the undeveloped countries who are daring to take up valuable land to feed themselves by clearing their forests etc. Give them electricity by, for a decade or so, giving them aid [0.7% of GDP from all developed countries] in the form of appropriately sized nuclear reactors. There are plenty of options in size from 165Mw PBMR’s to newly marketed Hitachi-GE 400- 600 -900 Mw reactors.

  138. seth,

    Me too! I want this:

    What would work best is a giant public national power authority like the Bonneville (Grand Coulee) Power Commission or TVA one time national technical and environment certifications – no lawyers allowed – charged with replacing all the nation’s coal plants efficiently on budget and on time just like Asian countries are doing.

    The Australian equivalent of the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) is the Snowy Mountains Authority (SMA).

  139. Peter: I agree entirely that nothing will be faster than nuclear and that
    we should get on with it. But the “we” here is Governments and those in
    the nuclear industry. What can everybody else do? Elect the right Government,
    lobby politicians, and live in a way that reduces the size of
    the infrastructure required … plus
    all the things I normally talk about … the other side of the problem. If a country
    needs 40 GW and people+companies make 20% savings, that’s 8 fewer
    1GW nukes that need to be built … that’s significant and 20%
    isn’t tough to do and
    it makes people feel involved and they need to be involved because the
    other side of the problem … reforestation+non-co2 forcing reductions,
    doesn’t have a silver bullet and will require behavioural change.

  140. Geoff, in a post not so long ago you yourself openly questioned the primacy of energy conservation over materials conservation, and rightly so. We should be prepared to use whatever amount of energy is needed toensure the sustainability of the natural world, and we should be educating the public of this necessity. This does not sit well with a home-rationing of power.

  141. And while that is true in principle, Geoff one doesn’t get the saving, whatever it is, in one nice neat bundle delivered before you make the decision on how much capacity you need. We find this out retrospectively, and, as per Heisenberg, the game changes because of what we do in the game.

    Nobody can guarantee that if we don’t build that 1GWe of capacity we will get the requisite savings, nor is it clear that even if we do that we are in fact better off, and even if we are, for how long that will remain true. Maybe we just get to wait another five years before we have to build more capacity, when, if we had just built it, the marginal cost would have been more modest. If there really are low hanging fruit in energy efficiency and other measures to reduce demand, then by all means, let us pursue them but they aren’t an alternative to new capacity, because sooner or later, we are going to need it, no matter how succesful energy usage avoidance turns out in practice to be.

  142. Think conservation can make a difference?

    Think again.

    There are 151 new conventional coal-fired power plants in various stages of development in the US today.

    Home Depot
    Home Depot is funding the planting of 300,000 trees in cities across the US to help absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions…
    The CO2 emissions from only one medium-sized (500 MW) coal-fired power plant, in just 10 days of operation, will negate this entire effort.

    Wal-mart
    Wal-Mart is investing a half billion dollars to reduce the energy consumption and CO2 emissions of their existing buildings by 20% over the next seven years. If every Wal-Mart Supercenter met this target…
    …the CO2 emissions from only one medium-sized coal-fired power plant, in just one month of operation each year, would negate this entire effort.

    California
    California passed legislation to cut CO2 emissions in new cars by 25% and in SUVs by 18%, starting in 2009. If every car and SUV sold in California in 2009 met this standard…
    the CO2 emissions from only one medium-sized coal-fired power plant, in just eight months of operation each year, would negate this entire effort.

    Every household
    If every household in the US changed a 60-watt incandescent light bulb to a compact fluorescent…
    the CO2 emissions from just two medium-sized coal-fired power plants each year would negate this entire effort.
    The Campus Climate Challenge
    The Campus Climate Challenge calls for all college campuses in the US to reduce their CO2 emissions to zero. If every college campus building in the US met this challenge…
    the CO2 emissions from just four medium-sized coal-fired power plants each year would negate this entire effort.

    The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
    The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cooperative effort by 11 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce their CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by 2014…
    the CO2 emissions from just 13 medium-sized coal-fired power plants each year will negate this entire effort.

    THERE IS A ‘SILVER BULLET’ FOR SOLVING GLOBAL WARMING…

    NO MORE COAL

    Without eliminating coal, none of the positive efforts underway can make a difference.

  143. My last post was only to illustrate that conservation efforts, decoupled from source selection was too little to matter. The WWF paper makes many assumptions, the most telling is that many of their carbon mitigation schemes assume that combustion will be reduced and that this reduction can be prorated into savings. However with a move to nuclear, thus eliminating the source carbon to begin with, many of these savings disappear.

    For example a switch to low powered lighting only saves carbon, if carbon is being burned to produce this energy in the first place. Highly sophisticated natural gas fired generators don save any carbon, if the generators themselves are not needed, and so on.

    The problem is that every penny spent on these other initiatives, is not being spent on building nuclear power plants, where the gain across the board will be the greatest.

  144. Your request question, and underneath my response. I will stop replying, too much work to do, concluded we will waste our time if we continue down this road on this subject. Thanks for the nice comments.

    ** As DV8 is busy may I draw your attention to various emerging nuclear technologies that have the potential to consume most of the so called “Waste” from Gen I & II nukes. If you are wondering why these technologies are so late into the field, the simple answer is that they are not useful for producing weapons. It is impossible to use them to produce more than tiny amounts of Plutonium. Fissile materials produced such as U232 are not suitable for bomb applications.
    The tremendous depth and breadth of materials relating to nuclear technology available through this site are daunting so I understand your reluctance to wade through it. At least take the time to look at the following fun video:http://energyfromthorium.com/2008/11/21/joe-bonomettis-tech-talk-at-google/ **

    Thanks. Watched the video. The guy confirmed my pro’s and con’s against nuclear : Huge capital investment requirements + lot’s of long lived really nasty radioactive wastes for current conventional NPP’s. LFTR technology is great, now only works in labs, no megawatt scale proven commercial application, can’t say how much costs per kWh, how much for a 1000MW plant, Uncle Sam isn’t ready to fund such a plant to discover the price costs, and no one else in the world does want to invest in it. Conventional NPP’s are ‘cheap’ coz the military footed the $ Trillion research bills for decades.
    Here some other reaction snippets from other people found on this blog :

    http://www.grist.org/article/2009-11-09-do-we-need-nuclear-and-clean-coal-plants-for-baseload-power/#comments

    I don’t know that most progressives are anti-nuke, not any more. Of those who were anti-nuclear power a year ago, quite a few told me that they changed their mind after reading this article: with footnotes: http://www.quaker.org/fep/FJ-Nuclear-Energy-Debate.html
    What I see is that awareness of the cost of nuclear and time to build nuclear is rapidly lowering its popularity. I think Lester Brown has it about right when he says that nuclear plants won’t be shut down before their “normal” lifetime, which is a shift of progressives because of global warming concerns. In other words, it’s easier to build up to a billion or two dollars in wind farms, by just adding a few here and there, then to say you’ll spend so many billions on one nuclear reactor. Nuke has higher capex, but also much higher capacity factor, and nearly comparable fuel costs (that is to say, near zero). That said, nuclear has a pretty robust history of cost overruns while wind is much more predictable, so my guess is that on a completely level playing field, nuke would still lose out. 40 years ago nuclear looked unbeatable. Too cheap to meter, we were promised. By 30 years ago, even before Three Mile Island, the reality of what nuclear really costs had already soured the market.
    Here’s a bit from Wikipedia…
    Notable Breeder Reactors
    Experimental Breeder Reactor I (U.S., decommissioned 1964, world’s first electricity-producing nuclear power plant)
    BN-600 (Russia, end of life 2010)[12][13]
    Clinch River Breeder Reactor (U.S., construction abandoned in 1982 because the US halted its spent-fuel reprocessing program and thus made breeders pointless)[14]
    Monju (Japan, being brought online again after a serious sodium leak and fire in 1995)[15]
    Superphenix (France, closed 1998)[16]
    Phenix (France, operational since 1974, stopped its grid electricity production as of March 2009, prior to decomissioning)[17][18][19]
    And Britan’s breeder is being decommissioned as we speak…. http://www.dounreay.com/news/2009-11-09/fast-breeder-was-britains-man-on-the-moon-moment

    They’re kind of like pebble bed reactors, sounded good on paper, but not so good when tried in the real world….
    Lots of things we haven’t yet done. Some of them will probably happen, some most likely not. Like pebble bed reactors, the true believers have a lot of faith but that faith hasn’t exactly yielded a lot of results.
    To argue that anything built by the socialist Soviet Union is proof that “it can be done commercially” is highly suspect. Just as suspect as saying that nuclear energy is cheap because China is building some.
    China also has been working on pebble bed reactors and recently sort of admitted major problems. Again, just because someone is going to give it a try does not mean that it is something proven. We can’t afford to base our transition away from fossil fuels on something that might work. We need to move forward with what has already been proved to work.
    Concerning ‘The SuperPhenix reactor’ : From Wikipedia. And make sure you read the last sentence…
    “Power production was halted in December 1996 for maintenance. However, following a court case led by opponents of the reactor, on February 28, 1997 the Conseil d’État (Supreme State Administrative Court) ruled that a 1994 decree, authorizing the restart of Superphénix, was invalid. In June 1997, one of the first actions of Lionel Jospin on becoming Prime Minister was to announce the closure of the plant “because of its excessive costs”. Jospin’s government included Green ministers; pro-nuclear critics have argued that Jospin’s decision was motivated by political motives (i.e., to please his Green political allies) rather than rational considerations. However, the reactor did not produce electricity most of the time in its last ten years because of malfunctions[4] (in fact it was consuming substantial power to maintain sodium above melting temperature).”
    IFR technology makes it a new ball game. There’s always a new solution just over the horizon that is going to change the world. Fusion is only 20 years away. And has been for the last 50 years.
    And do remember, even if IFRs can be made to work they only deal with spent fuel. They do nothing to clean up the 91 million gallons (345 million liters) of high-level waste left over from plutonium processing, millions of cubic feet of contaminated tools, metal scraps, clothing, oils, solvents, and other waste. And with some 265 million tons (240 million metric tons) of tailings from milling uranium ore—less than half stabilized—littering landscapes.
    If we continue down the nuclear pathway we simply create more and more of this dangerous stuff for which we have no solution. We are currently “storing in place” hoping that someone will think of something. For every nuclear plant we build we create one more rot in place dangerous problem for those who follow us.

    ** I still haven’t the time for a full post, however I will note that Alain’s ignorance about both the French reprocessing efforts (all the long lived waste they produce can be stored under the floor of one room at Le Hague, and it has been immobilized in as a vitreous solid) .Your understanding of CANDU’s (it is an acronym, and is properly spelled all caps) and the Canadian power market,is breathtakingly shallow and shows that you have not done the least bit of research on the subject. I suspect that you are parroting some antinuclear propaganda you read somewhere.**

    Dude, you should get off the vinegar. I told you from the beginning that I am a Belgian, I am not a nuclear engineer, and that I only related what I saw on TV5Monde TV channel. Go piss on your wife or son. Belgium does spend every year 3.5 million euro to store it’s nuke wastes in special protected custody, given that our 10 million people country produces 55% of it’s electricity from NPP’s. What is the price tag for 7 Billion people ? Here under what we do in Belgium to stay safe. I don’t care what you canuks do over there, we have 6000 km of water between us to dillute eventual spills.

    http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Features/UndergroundLabs/Mol/mol.html

    ** “The first slice was about France. And more specifically during a serious winter night storm that flew over south west France at wind speed of up to 160km/h (100mph). **
    **Is anyone able to confirm whether or not this alleged event ever actually occured?**

    http://www.liberation.fr/societe/0101314376-la-tempete-dans-le-sud-ouest-heure-par-heure

    1.3 million homes cut off from the grid. 22h32 Quelque 1,3 million de foyers sont toujours privés d’électricité dans cinq régions de la moitié sud de la France, à la suite de la tempête.

    Wind gust above 184km/h. On a enregistré des pointes de vent de 184 km/h à Perpignan, Biscarosse (Landes) de 172 km/h dans les Landes et 161 km/h à Bordeaux (Gironde).

    http://www.flutrackers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=92327

    EDF launched internal emergency plan, to protect the NPP against flooding. EDF a par ailleurs déclenché un Plan d’urgence interne (PUI) à la centrale nucléaire du Blayais (Gironde) pour faire face à une éventuelle inondation, a annoncé l’Autorité de sûreté nucléaire.

    http://www.dissident-media.org/infonucleaire/news_0_1.html

    3 NPP incidents in three months in France. Closure of suction inlet for alimentation of cooling system of one of the 4 reactors. Quelques heures après l’obturation d’une prise d’eau alimentant le système de refroidissement d’un des quatre réacteurs de la centrale nucléaire de Cruas en Ardèche
    The reason for all those problems is the demand load following that the French NPP have to do to cover the national electricity demand, using prematurely the NPP’s, compared to the USA, where only 20% of NPP’s are used in a baseload mode, allowing them to run at constant speed and load capacity, avoiding tear and wear. Contrairement aux Etats-Unis, comme 80% de l’électricité consommée en France est produite par des centrales nucléaires, le parc est obligé de suivre la courbe des variations de puissance, ce qui l’use énormément. Une centrale nucléaire nécessite un usage le plus linéaire possible, ce qui peut se faire aux Etats-Unis avec seulement 20% de l’électricité produite par le nucléaire.

    **ABARE did the modelling. That was 20 years ago. Then I was involved with the actual implementation of some of these schemes to reduce energy use in existing buildings. Most of what is theoretically achievable is not commercially viable. But I believe energy efficiency improvements will provide a small component of what we need to do in the next 20 years. **

    Peter, you are a smart man, but you need to gear up to current building technology. We in Europe have been issued a Directive from the European Union, forcing anyone that wants to build after 2020, to stay below a certain energy consumption per square meter of flooring. It will allow us to reduce our CO2 emission by 70% from 1990 levels, this in a $ 15 Trillion economy. This can be done in a financially very easy way, it is called Passive Housing or near passive housing and only cost 5 to 10% more than current home building, extra outlay being won back in 10 years with the energy savings. Belgium imports all it’s oil and natural gas and coal. Our only free resource is the 850kWh in sunrays per square meter per year. We already build such homes right now in Belgium, it is basically a fantastically well insulated fridge (30cm roof and wall insulation, 20cm floor insulation). The high insulation grade allows us to simply use a very very low kW heat pump that convert one kWh in electricity into 3.5 to 4 kWh in heat, being powered by the grid or your own solar PV panels. The alternative to a heat pump is a micro combined Heat and power system. Or simply a 3kW furnace. Or some log wood. Once your extra heat requirements are very low, you do not need to add much energy into the sealed buidling to be confortable. A human being produces 70W per hour on it’s own, and that amount increases exponentially with torid sex . . .
    Here some examples to illustrate my point, please go thru it all, it is really great material.

    http://www.bostoen.be/Bostoen/Nederlands/Ons-aanbod/Passief-huis/Wat-is-Passief-wonen-/page.aspx/89

    Belgium is already now building PassivHaus accommodations, given that in 10 years time, it will be mandatory, according to the E.U. Directive legislation hereup.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/09/1733&format=HTML&aged=0&language=en&guiLanguage=en

    The agreement will strengthen the building codes and energy performance requirements for buildings across the EU and fixes 2020 as deadline for all new buildings to be nearly zero energy buildings. It is estimated that, by strengthening the provisions of the Directive on energy performance, the EU could achieve a reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 70% of the current EU Kyoto target. In addition to this, these improvements could save citizens around € 300 per annum per household in their energy bills, while boosting the construction and building renovation industry in Europe.

    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/03/passivhaus-comes-to-california.php?campaign=th_weekly_nl

    Passivhaus Comes To California, Shattering Stereotypes

    http://www.treehugger.com/galleries/2010/01/go-passivhaus.php?page=1

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passivehouses#Space_heating_requirement

    http://www.azsolarcenter.org/tech-science/solar-architecture/passive-solar-design-manual/passive-solar-design-manual-cooling.html

    Passivhaus is The Real Standard for a Real Green House.

    ** We”d need equivalent amounts of energy storage to make renewables equivalent to nuclear. The idea of renewables doing anything useful is ridiculous. **
    Well, other people have other ideas, and you won’t be able to change one thing about that.

    http://www.windpowermonthly.com/go/windalert/article/1007939/?DCMP=EMC-WindpowerWeekly

    World’s second biggest offshore project gets green light, the 576MW Gwynt n Môr project off the Welsh coast. The project will significantly aid Wales ambition to supply a third of its electricity through wind. Installation of the 160 3.6MW Siemens turbines will begin late next year. These are expected to start producing electricity by 2013. Overall completion is set for 2014. The project will cost € 2 billion with € 1.2 billion of this going to Siemens, which has a five-year O&M contract. The budget also includes grid connections and two transformer platforms. (Investment of € 3.5 per Watt). Permission to build Gwynt n Môr was agreed in late 2008. Gwynt n Môr will the second biggest wind farm in the world, however it falls some way short of the 1GW London Array project that is currently being build in the Thames Estuary.

    **Spain is nearly broke. They are having to massively reduce their subsidies for renewable energy. The irrational RE subsidies have driven business and investment out of Spain. Spain lost 2.2 real jobs for every “green job’ created by the government.**

    Spain is broke because they did spend way too much on social welfare programs to buy votes from disgruntled seniors and women. Spain never had a big industry, their main sectors are tourism, building construction for tourists and farming under glass to supply us all with tomatoes and cucumbers during winter.

    ** What else can you conclude about someone who thinks that wind power would fare better than nuclear power in a 160km/h windstorm? **

    The germans are planning to erect 980 wind turbines offshore, in wind gust territory. I am pretty confident that they will shut down their wind turbines in that event, and will power up some other inland backup system.

    http://www.fino3.de/joomla15/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=229&Itemid=459

    Planned 980 units wind turbine park offshore Germany. 3MW , 3.6MW and 5MW machines

    **The amount you can cut demand for stationary and transport energy is never going to be enough to retire any significant quaintity of capacity. At best, it can defer the day when new capacity is needed and perhaps allow us a smoother transition to clean energy.**

    EXACTLY !

    **Further to the UK Telegraph link upthread on negative prices for windpower some googling shows it is a widespread practice in continental Europe and in Texas. The grid operator has to pay for privilege of refusing obligatory wind power or the wind operator pays the grid to take it in order to keep the subsidy coming , either a feed-in tariff or production tax credit.**

    China is doing the same.

    http://featured.matternetwork.com/2009/12/china-requires-utilities-buy-all.cfm

    December 27, 2009
    China Requires Utilities to Buy All Available Renewable Energy
    By Susan Kraemer
    This weekend the main Chinese legislature adopted an amendment to the renewable energy law, requiring that utilities must buy all the electricity produced by renewable energy generators. Utilities refusing would be fined up to an amount double that of the economic loss of the renewable energy company.
    The big question is: for how much? Whether this would create a boom in renewable energy in China will depend on how much money companies could earn in the sales. So far, this figure is not in the news reports. This amount paid per kilowatt-hour produced is the key to the success or failure of Feed-in Tariffs to generate more renewable energy.

    **There are 151 new conventional coal-fired power plants in various stages of development in the US today.**

    Let’s talk again once the USA has done his power plants selection. By the way, China build and started up one coal power plant a week, since 2000 . . . While you guys were endlessly blahblah thing about nuke power plants.

    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-03-15-time-to-bury-cheap-coal/

    Time to bury cheap coal. In 2009, nearly 15,000 megawatts of proposed coal fired power plants were canceled. To put that in perspective, that would represent about a third of all electricity generating capacity of a state the size of California. This is not a consequence of a slow economy alone; eight years ago, 36,000 megawatts of new coal plants were on the drawing boards and a mere 13 percent of those were actually built. The cheapest new power plant is the one you don’t build. California is 40 percent more energy efficient than the rest of the nation — and Denmark is a third more energy efficient than that — so real savings can be achieved while stimulating the economy with projects that replace inefficient appliances, machinery, and even simple doors/windows with modern versions that save energy. While electricity appeared cheap, little was done to be efficient. Now that we know better, efficiency can be the major source of “new” supply for a decade.

    http://www.grist.org/article/death-of-a-thousand-cuts

    http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/files/pdfs/allgemein/application/pdf/eeg_kosten_nutzen_hintergrund_en.pdf

    A messy but practical strategy for phasing out the U.S. coal fleet : Death of a Thousand Cuts.
    I would propose, as “Knife #10,” something like feed-in tariffs.
    Look at what Europe and China are doing. For example, in 2000 Germany set a 12.5% renewables target for 2010, which they achieved by 2007 with a feed-in tariff. In 2006 the renewables price subsidy was 10.9 cents/kWh, which corresponds roughly to a $100/ton carbon price incentive. The cost to ratepayers amounted to 0.75 cent/kWh, or about 1.1 euro per person per month. Economic benefits exceed costs by about a factor of three.
    Using a similar approach, carbon fees of order $10/ton could finance price subsidies for new renewables equivalent to a $100/ton carbon price — immediately, not years or decades in the future. As renewables gain market share, fees would increase and subsidies would decrease, maintaining revenue neutrality and maintaining the relative price advantage of renewables.
    What impact would an immediate and sustained price incentive of order $100/ton have on the electricity market?
    Congress should consider this kind of approach in their quest for a politically viable carbon pricing mechanism.

    http://ecohustler.co.uk/2010/06/16/the-biggest-no%E2%80%93brainer-ever/

    The biggest no–brainer ever, June 16, 2010. The World Bank estimates that over 150 billion cubic metres of natural gas are flared or vented annually, an amount worth approximately 30.6 billion dollars, equivalent to 25 percent of the United States’ gas consumption or 30 percent of the European Union’s gas consumption per year.[5] This flaring is highly concentrated: 10 countries account for 75% of emissions, and twenty for 90%.

    http://www.grist.org/article/chinas-changing-energy-economy/

    China’s changing energy economy. These ambitious projects are just scratching the surface; a study published in the journal Science calculates that China could generate more than seven times its current electricity consumption from the wind alone.

  145. Ewen Laver, on 21 June 2010 at 11.46 — I think the planners in Portland OR know what they are about although 40% does seem high.

    As for NPPs in the Pacific Northwest, forget about adding any for several more decades; the memories of the WPPS (pronounced Woops!) will persit that long.

    But maybe that attitude will change as

    http://www.nuscalepower.com/

    is an Oregon based company with a passively safe 45 MWe module coming up for NRC review.

  146. DV82XL, on 22 June 2010 at 0.51 — Measures to achieve energy efficiency often result in net savings for households and especially businesses (where the savings then flow to the bottom line). Such measures, if properly administered, don’t interfere in the slightest with promoting NPPs. In fact the resulting savings can help with one of the hardest aspects of building NPPs; obtaining the capital at reasonable finance rates.

  147. David B. Benson I refer you to my post on 21 June 2010 at 23.20 – The actual amount of savings are very small to the point of being counter-productive in some cases. It’s not clear to me how Wal-Mart, investing a half billion dollars to reduce the energy consumption of their existing buildings by 20% over the next seven years eliminating the CO2 emissions from one medium-sized coal-fired power plant, for just one month of operation each year, is cost effective, or indeed how it frees up capital, as you suggest.

    Much of the major energy efficiency gains have already been made – by industry, because they had a financial interest in doing so. While certainly building codes should mandate more energy efficiency in new construction, the pay-back for major retrofits of existing dwellings simply have too long a global pay-back period (both in money and carbon) to make anything but a token contribution in the long run.

  148. Alain, It seems you are eager to publish your book on BraveNewClimate.com, but don’t you think this is not an appropriate place to achieve your goal. Just a suggestion, why don’t you get your own blog and publish your book, chapter by chapter, there. And then you can reference your book, on other sites, like this one.

    Do you really think anyone is going to wade through page after page of your rather dubious material? Are you really interested in engaging in debate?

    Maybe, you might just take one point at a time, write your position, include a few links, and let others critique that point.

  149. Alain suckered us into believing he did not have a clue about NPPs and then he produced a compendium of NPP problems. While most of you will not accept his arguments you should be gracious enough to admit that some of them are weighty matters.

    For example what is the real reason for junking Super-Phenix? Was it fundamental design flaws as Alain suggests or political pandering?

    It is hard to explain why MSR research has so little support at high levels in most countries. Even advocates such as DV8 admit that there are some unresolved issues with the materials required to contain high temperature cores and blankets.

    I used to build equipment used in fusion research yet I regard Alain’s comments on fusion power to be spot on. It took me a while but I now hold the same opinion that he does.

    I could go on but I would like the brighter bulbs on this blog to take his criticisms seriously. Please be nice to him; I lived in Brussels for long enough to have some sympathy for Belgians (e.g. what dismal weather).

  150. Please be nice to him; I lived in Brussels for long enough to have some sympathy for Belgians (e.g. what dismal weather).

    I for one will not engage with someone that uttered such a crude statement as he did to me. I have no issue with fielding insults, any more than I have handing them out, but there is a line, and he crossed it.

    Others may chose to interact with him, I will not.

  151. gallopingcamel, you give him far too much credit. It is easy enough to critique fusion [and what did he say, other than regurgitate the old joke that has been told around nuclear circles, in one form or another, for decades??], or indeed to ‘machine gun’ us with the critiques of others on any number of variants of nuclear technology. Alain has delivered to me no obvious evidence that he understands energy — at least in any practical technological sense — or he would not have deluged this comment thread with so many reams of irrelevant, uncontextualised or downright wrong ‘spin-formation’ about renewable projects.

    As to:

    For example what is the real reason for junking Super-Phenix?

    Alain offered nothing more than a cut-and-paste from a Wikipedia entry. For goodness sake! If you wish to know the actual reasons for this, I strongly suggest you read Megawatts and Megatons: The Future of Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons. There is an excellent section on this topic, presumably written by Georges Charpak, one of the co-authors and a Frenchman.

  152. I’m sure if Crazy Al had anything worthwhile to say he’d find a way of saying it a bit more succinctly than with his flood-the-thread writing technique. That’s just a cover for lack of relevent content.

  153. DV82XL, on 22 June 2010 at 9.55 — Actually, in at least the USA there is still lots of room for enhanced energy efficiency irrespective of the coal plant figures. So I fear we’ll just have to disagree on that small matter.

  154. David, of course you are free to hold your own opinions on the matter, however it as you say, you will hold them irrespective of fact-based quantifiable arguments to the contrary, then indeed we will have to remain in disagreement on this subject.

  155. DV82XL, on 23 June 2010 at 10.03 — I try to stick to the facts. For example, there a numerous opportunities to use ground heat pumps to provide HVAC, at least as suppliments. Etc.

    The electrical power plan from NPCC for this region includes a considerable amount of energy efficiency which then lessens the requirment for new generation in the face of increasing population. They work with PNNL and I suspect that all of them, doing this full time, know better what is achievable than either of us.

  156. http://www.globalwindpower.com/en/greenfield/markets/france.aspx

    The French government’s objective is for wind power to reach a level of 25000 MW by 2020. This is equivalent to seven times the level at the end of 2008. It is expected that 6000 MW of this will be developed offshore, leaving 19000 MW to be implemented onshore. This goal should ensure that France achieves its overall EU target of 23% renewable energy in 2020.
    It is not difficult to work out that this would require the installation of around 1500 MW annually. We feel that this is unrealistic within a very short period (2010/2011), since it would involve an annual installed power level approaching that which currently exists in Germany.

    http://www.windpowermonthly.com/go/windalert/article/1010844/?DCMP=EMC-WindpowerWeekly

    Spain’s central government intends to cut its 2020 (40GW) installed wind capacity target by 5% (2GW). In terms of energy, the draft NAP earmarks 78254GWh for wind in 2020, a 6.51% drop on the Zurbano Pact target. The reduction is in spite the NAP’s 6% increased estimate in total electricity consumption in 2020, to 317944GWh. It means wind will cover 24.61% of electricity demand, down from 27.89% under the Zurbano Pact.
    Still, renewables will provide 40% of total electricity, as previously targeted. Furthermore, the objective for renewables to cover 22.7% of primary energy consumption remains unchanged. That is 2.7 percentage points above the EU target.

    http://www.windpowermonthly.com/go/windalert/article/1010514/?DCMP=EMC-WindpowerWeekly

    Map of present and future UK offshore wind projects.

    http://www.windpowermonthly.com/go/windalert/article/1006702/?DCMP=EMC-WindpowerWeekly

    America’s Export-Import bank has seen both the volume and monetary amount of requests for loans skyrocket since the wind industry downturn at the end of 2008. He says recent solar photovoltaic applications have hovered around a cost of $4 million per installed megawatt compared to $1.2-$1.3 million for wind. “Wind energy is becoming recognised as more affordable,” says Guthrie. “Maybe it doesn’t work everywhere, but where it works, it works very well.”

    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06-21-is-a-utility-only-cap-and-trade-bill-worth-passing/

    It is good to start examining the huge spread of prices paid for ‘clean energy’. For everyone’s edification, not one of the 260 energy recycling projects built by companies I have led have ever received more than 6.5 cents per kWh in external power sales. A few backpressure turbine projects in small facilities displaced more than 10 cents per kWh, but our major projects pencil at 6.5 to 8.5 cents per kWh, and there are no line losses or need for standby generation. All of the approaches that use energy twice including Biomass CHP, gas fired CHP and recycling of industrial waste energy pencil at under the 9.9 cents per kWh.

    Re nuclear, we repeat the assertion that all new nuclear will raise the current rates. Amortize $5,800 per kW over 25 years at 11% all in costs, assume the plant operates 8,000 full load hours per year, and you need 8.6
    cents per kWh just for capital. Add labor, O&M, fuel, and reserves for decommissioning and spent fuel disposal and the owner will need 12 to 13 cents per kWh for the investment to pencil. I am not aware of any evidence
    that the $10,300 per kW estimate is high, and it is in the middle of the Vogtle Georgia NPP estimates.

    Bottom line: There are options that cut or eliminate CO2 and lower the cost of power. They all involve generating both heat and power – using energy twice.

  157. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/06/chilling-out-in-the-sun-solar-cooling?cmpid=SolarNL-Tuesday-June8-2010

    by 2008, a total of only 450 to 500 solar cooling systems had been realized worldwide, the vast majority of which are in Europe, where the market has increased in the last five years by 50%–100% annually.

    SorTech AG develops, manufactures and distributes adsorption chillers for cooling and air-conditioning applications in the small and medium scale performance range up to 75 kW cooling capacity. Using heat as the primary energy source for cold production, including solar or waste heat, the company’s adsorption chillers – available with a nominal cooling capacity of 8 kW (ACS 08) and 15 kW (ACS 15) – are suitable for air-conditioning and cooling of one- or multi-family houses as well as smaller commercial and office buildings. The machines use water as refrigerant, and the company claims innovative coatings, compact design, and an optimized subsystem including the re-cooler as key advantages.

    An absorption chiller manufacturer headquartered in Kulmbach, Germany, AGO AG was founded in 1980 as a specialist in the area of energy supply and facilities and focuses on the three business segments. AGO offers absorption chillers in a range of 50–500 kW cooling capacity and also markets the ammonia/water absorption chiller developed by the Dresden Institut für Luft und Kältetechnik (Institute for Air and Refrigeration Engineering). For 2009 AGO AG reported a turnover of about € 50 million, some 36% up on the previous year.

    A developer and producer of adsorption heat pumps driven by waste energy or solar heating, currently InvenSor GmbH offers two types of chillers: LTC with 7 kW and HTC with 10 kW of cooling capacity respectively. InvenSor High Temperature Chillers (HTC) are particularly adapted for solar cooling in a warm climate, operating at a typical ambient temperature of more than 30°C and driving temperatures of 65–95°C. In cooling mode the water chiller unit has outlet temperatures of 6–18°C depending on specification. The compressor of a conventional chiller is substituted by a thermally driven adsorption reactor which is regenerated by solar energy. The evacuated reactor is operated without any active components like pumps or valves inside. Therefore maintenance is limited to the peripherical parts of the machine. The adsorption process operates using water instead of volatile or corrosive fluids that are typically used in many other chilling devices.

  158. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/06/foster-wheeler-to-supply-torresol-steam-generators?cmpid=SolarNL-Tuesday-June22-2010

    June 18, 2010. Foster Wheeler AG announced that a subsidiary of its Global Power Group has been awarded a contract to design, supply and provide site advisory services for two sets of solar steam generators, including preheaters, kettle type evaporators, superheaters and reheaters, as well as low pressure and high pressure feedwater heaters. The equipment delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2011.
    The plants will use Seners’s concentrated parabolic trough technology (SENERtrough) and will have energy storage capability by means of molten salt tanks that is designed to provide up to seven hours of plant operation without sun radiation. The plants are expected to operate approximately 3,500 hours/year. The equipment will be integrated into the Valle 1 & Valle 2 Solar Thermal Power Plants, located in San José del Valle, Spain. The plants, which are owned by Torresol Energy, a company created by Spain-based Sener (60%) and the Abu Dhabi-based company Masdar (40%), will have an installed power capacity of 50 megawatts (MW) each.

  159. http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06-16-local-power-tapping-distributed-energy-in-21st-century-cities

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=distributed-energy-urban

    In many ways the evolution of centralized energy into distributed energy parallels the evolution of computers from central mainframes to PCs and smart phones, and it may have many of the same democratizing effects. Though it takes many forms, distributed energy boils down to two basic strategies: The first is to harvest as much power as possible locally, close to where it is consumed, from small-scale, low-carbon sources. The second is to wring the maximum amount of useful work out of every unit of energy available. The overarching goal is to create resilient, self-reliant cities prepared for the economic and political volatility ahead in the 21st century. Residents of Hammarby Sjöstad, a district on the south side of Stockholm, Sweden, don’t let their waste go to waste. ……………. After they are done district authorities hope Hammarby Sjöstad will produce about half its power independently, a task made easier by the fact that residents, thanks to a broad range of efficiency and conservation measures, will consume half the energy of the average Swede (who already consumes only about 75 percent as much as the average American).

  160. http://www.grist.org/article/death-of-a-thousand-cuts

    http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/files/pdfs/allgemein/application/pdf/eeg_kosten_nutzen_hintergrund_en.pdf

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2009.12.044

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/06/an-embarrassment-of-riches?cmpid=SolarNL-Tuesday-June22-2010

    A messy but practical strategy for phasing out the U.S. coal fleet : Death of a Thousand Cuts.
    I would propose, as “Knife #10,” something like feed-in tariffs.
    Look at what Europe and China are doing. For example, in 2000 Germany set a 12.5% renewables target for 2010, which they achieved by 2007 with a feed-in tariff. In 2006 the renewables price subsidy was 10.9 cents/kWh, which corresponds roughly to a $100/ton carbon price incentive. The cost to ratepayers amounted to 0.75 cent/kWh, or about 1.1 euro per person per month. Economic benefits exceed costs by about a factor of three.
    Using a similar approach, carbon fees of order $10/ton could finance price subsidies for new renewables equivalent to a $100/ton carbon price — immediately, not years or decades in the future. As renewables gain market share, fees would increase and subsidies would decrease, maintaining revenue neutrality and maintaining the relative price advantage of renewables.
    What impact would an immediate and sustained price incentive of order $100/ton have on the electricity market?
    Congress should consider this kind of approach in their quest for a politically viable carbon pricing mechanism.
    The nations that have led the way on renewable energy in the last decade have used robust “feed-in tariffs” to create entire new industries. Germany, Italy, Spain, Ontario (a province in Canada) and now China have all seen growth go from low levels to record levels practically overnight right after they started requiring that utilities buy power at a set price from third party developers of wind, solar and other renewables. Under an auction system, financiers may require 12-15% return on equity, which is pricey. But with a true feed-in tariff, financiers are happy with less than 10% because they know they’ll actually make this money year in, year out, without a lot of money wasted on speculation or failed projects.

  161. “In many ways the evolution of centralized energy into distributed energy parallels the evolution of computers from central mainframes to PCs and smart phones, and it may have many of the same democratizing effects.”

    This is a vicious lie designed to delude people into surrendering their rights and their access to useful power in order to satisfy the lunatic demands of a small band of anti-freedom, anti-democracy radicals who lust to control the human race through control of the power grid. Green fascists such as Crazy Al are trying to prime the populations of the advanced nations to welcome power rationing and reduced living standards with the eventual aim of a mass population cull. They are being aided and abbetted in this by fossil fuel interests who see this ridiculous agenda as a neat method of extorting more money from their helpless clients. Nuclear power can smash this nightmare vision if we embrace it soon enough.

  162. ” This is a vicious lie designed to delude people into surrendering their rights and their access to useful power in order to satisfy the lunatic demands of a small band of anti-freedom, anti-democracy radicals who lust to control the human race through control of the power grid. Green fascists such as Crazy Al are trying to prime the populations of the advanced nations to welcome power rationing and reduced living standards with the eventual aim of a mass population cull. They are being aided and abbetted in this by fossil fuel interests who see this ridiculous agenda as a neat method of extorting more money from their helpless clients. Nuclear power can smash this nightmare vision if we embrace it soon enough.”

    Well, the French and the Spaniard obviously disagree with your radioactive crap, so to speak. And you won’t be able to change that.

    http://www.globalwindpower.com/en/greenfield/markets/france.aspx

    The French government’s objective is for wind power to reach a level of 25000 MW by 2020. This is equivalent to seven times the level at the end of 2008. It is expected that 6000 MW of this will be developed offshore, leaving 19000 MW to be implemented onshore. This goal should ensure that France achieves its overall EU target of 23% renewable energy in 2020.
    It is not difficult to work out that this would require the installation of around 1500 MW annually. We feel that this is unrealistic within a very short period (2010/2011), since it would involve an annual installed power level approaching that which currently exists in Germany.

    http://www.windpowermonthly.com/go/windalert/article/1010844/?DCMP=EMC-WindpowerWeekly

    Spain’s central government intends to cut its 2020 (40GW) installed wind capacity target by 5% (2GW). In terms of energy, the draft NAP earmarks 78,254GWh for wind in 2020, a 6.51% drop on the Zurbano Pact target. The reduction is in spite the NAP’s 6% increased estimate in total electricity consumption in 2020, to 317,944GWh. It means wind will cover 24.61% of electricity demand, down from 27.89% under the Zurbano Pact.
    Still, renewables will provide 40% of total electricity, as previously targeted. Furthermore, the objective for renewables to cover 22.7% of primary energy consumption remains unchanged. That is 2.7 percentage points above the EU target.

  163. “Well, the French and the Spaniard obviously disagree with your radioactive crap, so to speak. And you won’t be able to change that.”

    Typical of doctrinaire anti-nuclear luddites is the assumption that there are certain magical words such as ‘radioactive’ which contain some kind of curse which can be used as a substitute for reasoned discourse. It’s true for some people, but more of the public are waking up to these dishonest tactics and are not reacting like the pavlov’s dogs the antinukes want them to be.

    Sorry DV82XL. You are right, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.

  164. ” Typical of doctrinaire anti-nuclear luddites is the assumption that there are certain magical words such as ‘radioactive’ which contain some kind of curse which can be used as a substitute for reasoned discourse. It’s true for some people, but more of the public are waking up to these dishonest tactics and are not reacting like the pavlov’s dogs the antinukes want them to be.
    Sorry DV82XL. You are right, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. ”

    blah blah blah blah blah. What have you to say about the fact that Spain will provide 40% of total electricity and 22.7% of primary energy from renewable energy in just ten years time, this is a country of 40 million people, twice Australia’s.

    You should go into politics, all wind and no content.

    At least I try to stick to FACTS : new nuclear is NOT cheaper than current RE technologies per produced kWh, when being built in western high salaries, 50 hours workweeks, stringent regulations environments. And the inherent flexibility provided by spread out RE energy supply harvested close to home, allow us to have a more spread out and thus more resilient energy supply infrastructure, making our western civilization stronger against major exporters of energy like Australia and OPEC countries, who can cut us all off our energy needs in case of disagreement.

    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06-21-is-a-utility-only-cap-and-trade-bill-worth-passing/

    It is good to start examining the huge spread of prices paid for ‘clean energy’. For everyone’s edification, not one of the 260 energy recycling projects built by companies I have led have ever received more than 6.5 cents per kWh in external power sales. A few backpressure turbine projects in small facilities displaced more than 10 cents per kWh, but our major projects pencil at 6.5 to 8.5 cents per kWh, and there are no line losses or need for standby generation. All of the approaches that use energy twice including Biomass CHP, gas fired CHP and recycling of industrial waste energy pencil at under the 9.9 cents per kWh.

    Re nuclear, we repeat the assertion that all new nuclear will raise the current rates. Amortize $5,800 per kW over 25 years at 11% all in costs, assume the plant operates 8,000 full load hours per year, and you need 8.6 cents per kWh just for capital. Add labor, O&M, fuel, and reserves for decommissioning and spent fuel disposal and the owner will need 12 to 13 cents per kWh for the investment to pencil. I am not aware of any evidence that the $10,300 per kW estimate is high, and it is in the middle of the Vogtle Georgia NPP estimates.

    Bottom line: There are options that cut or eliminate CO2 and lower the cost of power. They all involve generating both heat and power – using energy twice.

  165. “What have you to say about the fact that Spain will provide 40% of total electricity and 22.7% of primary energy from renewable energy in just ten years time, this is a country of 40 million people, twice Australia’s.”

    I would advise you not to boast about yet-unachieved achievements, to reconsider iron-hard ideological positions based on government projections concerrning dubious programs, and to examine the actual state of the Spanish economy, the demonstrable fraud which has resulted from the Spanish RE policy, the collapse in employment resulting from their skyrocketing power bills and the economic studies which have revealed the Spanish policy for the unmitigated disaster that it is.

  166. “If non-hydro renewable energy were truly as cost-effective and could be built on the scale these authors would like you to believe, why has no nation yet followed this energy pathway?”

    Because it becomes effective and cost effective on a supranational scale with wide area distribution and that kind of collaboration is only just coming about.

    Just for the sake of balance on this renaissance thing…:

    What plant capacity is projected to be decommissioned this decade and based on the figures quoted in the article, what is the net change in capacity?

    Figure 5 of this publication:

    http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/iaea-rds-2-30_web.pdf

    Suggests very roughly that there might be about 10-15 being decommissioned each year in the coming decade and 20-30 per year in the next (based on a lifetime of 30 – 40 years)

  167. Alain, please cease and desist from spamming this thread with cut-and-paste slabs of text from web articles. It is impossible to determine what you have written/thought versus what you are regurgitating or straight out copying. You are on moderation until you can show more restraint and comment in the spirit of this blog, i.e. with an ounce of personal responsibility.

  168. JohnP – First of all most of those plants will be give life extensions, as many already have been. Life expectancy was set very low at the beginning, but as more is learned, and as inspections have determined, the live of most plants may well be extended to 60 – 80 years.

    Newer builds, in most places, are moving at a much faster pace than was the case in the past, thus it is unlikely that there will be a net drop in nuclear capacity in the next decade.

    Second, while the engineering has been proven for nuclear generation, particularly for the Gen III and Gen III+ that will make up the majority of new builds for the next ten years, the same is not true for wide-area distributed generation. Nor is the infrastructure in place.

    A nuclear plant can be built on the same spot as a coal plant, and hooked to the grid forthwith, massive non-hydro renewables will require a vast upgrade of the network before it can be deployed. Even then, just how this network would function has not been worked out down to the command and control level. Software needs to be written and tested, safety and security protocols will have to be developed, and new apparatus installed on a unprecedented level before this would work. Unfortunately the nature of working on a supranational scale precludes doing this by stages, it would have to all be in place, and then a grand cut-over staged, again a non-trivial task.

    In the end, however because of the nature of the sort of generation you envision, this network would still not meet current standards for reliability without the deployment of vast amounts of storage, again impossibly expensive with current technology, and no guarantees that newer methods would be significantly less costly.

    This idea of a vast distributed generation network is simple much more expensive,more time consuming, and much harder to build than new nuclear plants.

  169. Barry, DV8, Finrod and Co,
    Sorry about what I said earlier. It seems that sympathy got the better of my good judgement.

    The consequences of the investments in wind/solar in Denmark, Germany, the UK and Spain are becoming clearer with every day that passes; even the “Main Stream Media” are beginning to realise that there is “something rotten in the state of Denmark”.

    Taking the long view, there is an inevitability about nuclear power so I think of these large scale “renewables” projects as field trials that need to be monitored carefully to make sure we have the facts when governments in our countries try to pick our pockets to pursue crackpot energy “solutions”.

    In the meantime, I appreciate your efforts to educate the general public about the pros and cons of nuclear power.

  170. Taking the long view, there is an inevitability about nuclear power so I think of these large scale “renewables” projects as field trials that need to be monitored carefully to make sure we have the facts when governments in our countries try to pick our pockets to pursue crackpot energy “solutions”.

    gallopingcamel, that’s very much the way I view the mandatory renewable energy target of 45,000 GWh/pa for Australia by 2020. As we pursue this pre-ordained target — if we do — and the evidence on cost and scalability emerge from these ‘field trials’, then the question of sensible and pragmatic energy solutions will inevitably rise in the public consciousness. At that point, everyone will be wanting to talk about energy and electricity, and this is, I suspect, the time that nuclear power will get its fair run. It seems almost a necessary evil to have this next decade of piecemeal progress and trial-and-error tinkering, alas. This is true of Australia, and likely also true of the US, Canada, and any number of other OECD nations. Meanwhile, Asia powers on.

    DV82XL — the problem you describe for supranational grids strikes me as a classic chicken-and-egg problem, or perhaps a catch-22. If only it could all be in place and massive economies of scale could kick in, well, then it would all be built and it be cost effective! If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, if turnips were watches, I’d wear one by my side…

  171. The beginnings of the infrastructure for continental-scale deployment of renewables is under construcion in Europe as we type, although perhaps not strategicaly linkd at the moment (although I’m sure it’s onlya matter of time). Plenty of work still to do, of course, but it’s on the way.

    I’d be interested to see analyses that point to the need for vast amounts of storage as well as a comprehensive HVDC grid.

  172. Barry,
    It is really hard to get research funds for advanced nuclear reactors in the US. We enthusiasts have indeed been reduced to “tinkering” and “skunk works” activities. For example, my university was seeking a modest $20 million to build a scaled up Sub-Critical Nuclear Reactor following the successful testing of the first prototype 8 years ago. No luck so far!

  173. gallopingcamel – I would not use the word ‘forced’ so much as the life spans of German nuclear plants were set artificially low in the first place. But yes, plans made by the previous government there to shut the plats were put on hold due to the failure of renewables to meet projections.

    JohnP – With all due respect the work being done in Europe on the grid amounts to regular planed upgrades, no matter what the spin being placed on it. The degree of sophistication required for a transcontinental active grid incorporating distributed variable generation is several orders of magnitude beyond anything that is currently being considered or built.

    ‘The sun is always shining and the wind is always blowing somewhere’ conceit of wind and solar fails to take into account just how much of a load can be born by that part of the system producing at any given time. If the whole grid needs to load into say 20% of the nameplate capacity at once, it really doesn’t mater how good the interconnects are. Ultimately fossil fuel will have to be burned, or storage will have to be available to cover the shortfall. no matter how you work it out.

    Modern technology, modern industry, modern societies cannot run with an electrical supply with the sort of reliability common in Third-World pestholes, with brown-outs and blackouts a common affair. Backup would be mandatory, no matter how large the geographical catchment is wind and solar.

    At any rate you are about the only renewable supporter I have run into that doesn’t assume the need for good storage. The others take it as a given

  174. Kaj Luukko,
    What a great piece by Monbiot.! The guy can flat out write and his TV persona is pretty good too.

    There is a delicious irony as only a year ago he was the darling of the Joe Romm and Tim Lambert. Apparently he encountered some kind of epiphany as a result of Climategate and is fast becoming a pariah among his former friends.

    Imagine a love fest between Monbiot and Delingpole!

  175. DV82XL, on 24 June 2010 at 0.07 — Well, right here (as well as elsewhere) research goes forward on so-called smart grid technologies. Furthermore, there is a sizable grant in place to develop distance learning courses for power company EEs and plant operators having to face the task of integrating substantial portions of wind power. Nobody locally finds any of this insurmountable although I am sure some form of learning curve will produce a few unpleasant surprises as the amont of wind power ramps up.

    Transnational? No big deal. The Western Power Grid includes at least Alberta, the western US and a portion of northern Mexico. Has for many, many years.

    By the way, it looks that the prospects for a new NPP northwest of Boise ID are indeed going to go forth. But since they’ll have to deal with NRC, don’t hold your breath.

  176. I believe you are mistaken, GC. In my recollection, Monbiot was rejected by the mainstream green movement earlier because of his advocacy of nuclear power as a climate change mitigation strategy. It had nothing to do with the so-called climategate matter.

  177. David B. Benson – you are manifesting one of the most hypocritical positions that I regularly run into debating with renewable supporters: you seem to have great faith in undeveloped, untested ideas that are decades away from possible deployment, (if they indeed work) but seem to imply that nuclear energy will be standing still.

    Right now, right this moment there are Gen III+ designs, that have been field-proven, with several working examples that could be built in large numbers at a very respectable pace. There is no waiting for research, there is no need to rewire whole continents, if there was any political will at all, we could start poring concrete within six months. But we don’t.

    The reason is that there is a large powerful lobby in the form of the fossil fuel industry that will do anything they can to impede the growth of nuclear energy. On of the tools that they use is to get their puppets in government to back these Rube Goldberg schemes and lie outright to the public that these will make a significant difference to the GHG issue. These are outright lies.

    You don’t know me from Adam, and I could have written anything about my background in my profile page, so I do not expect anyone to take this on my say-so. Take a real hard look at what is being promised, and what the current state-of-the-art is in both nuclear and renewables, and if you take a few hours to study the timelines involved in the history of technology, from concept to commercialization. You will see which of these has the possibility of saving our skins, and which one is pie-in-the-sky.

    I have yet to run into anyone, that has some technical background, and does not have some sort of financial interest in the renewable sector, that doesn’t believe what I wrote above. I have however been lectured by English teachers, restaurant owners, and social services agents, on the evils of nuclear pwer, and how renewables are the wave of the future.

    They are wrong about renewables, you are wrong about renewables – they are never ever going to be anything but a distraction, and the only reason some of these projects will be built is to provide a green fig-leaf for gas and coal. There is no ‘opinion’ here there is only physics, and it will ALWAYS bat last. Do yourself a favour and study the fundamentals carefully from the ground up. You will change your mind.

  178. DV82XL, on 24 June 2010 at 8.30 — You obviously completely misunderstand what I write. I don’t think it is that hard to comprehend.

    I just reported some facts in my latest. Jeez.

    I already know the fundamentals: thermodynamics and Kirchoff’s laws. The actual power enginning issues are in the form of controlability in the face of uncertainty, hence the need for proper statictics. Those used to just include generation and trasmissiion “random” failures part due to earthquakes and extreme wind events. Adding intermittent generators just imposes some additional control requirements, readily solved with modern computers and communications. There are some interesting computer algorithms required which at least two faculty here are working on.

    Numerous studies indicate that up to about 1/4 penitration by wind/solar works fine with the remaining 3/4 being dispatchable. Very large smart grids might possibly have more at the cost of considerably more transmission lines.

    Whether that is the most economic way to build or expand a grid depends upon the region, as best as I can make out. What is eventually (almost surely) going to happen in this region is about 20% wind with the rest the already installed hydro and (for decades to come) the rest run by natgas plus a tiny bit of tidal and wood burning. That’s if we can shut down the 4–5 coal burners which supply this region.

    I’d be perfectly happy to see somebody start building NPPs at Hanford, an ideal site. But tthat isn’t likely to occur until the bad taste of the WPPS failure grows dim in decision makers minds.

    Got it now?

  179. David B. Benson – Renewable energy on the grid is never a good idea. You don’t seem to understand this one simple fact. It doesn’t matter if the local population doesn’t like it, it doesn’t matter how many thing renewables are a good idea, they just are not because they do not deliver what they promise, and have not anywhere in the world where they have tried.

    You have bought into a fantasy that will not work and people like you are only delaying the time when we can get ourselves of of fossil fuels. I’ve given it my best shot, I obviously can’t convince you. I won’t waste anymore of your time.

  180. DV82XL, on 24 June 2010 at 9.14 — Here we have a group of power professors widely acknowleged to be the best in the West (Western US, that is). They are engineerings working closely with two computer science professors. Their task is a typical engineering one: here are the components and their capabilities and limitations; here are the system requirements; make it work.

    They see no obstacles up to about 1/4 penitration, the same figure others studying the matter find, even for regions without the advantage of significant hydro that we have here.

    In case I didn’t mention it earlier, I’m not making a claim that this is the most economic route or “best” by any metric other than being both politically and financially feasible. But as I previously commented, southern Idaho is going to have a brand-new NPP a few years down the road. Too bad, IMO, we won’t have a few in the region for a long time to come.

  181. Itdoesn’t ma/tter what the qualifications of a bunch of engineers and scientists are. If they’re pursuing a Rube Goldberg philosophy, they will reach a Rube Goldberg outcome, and it will be inferior to the more logical approach. As DV82XL says, this whole renewables/smart grid scam is just a cover for the continued burning of fossil fuels, and those who support it are knowingly or unknowingly standing in the way of the real solution. It is the moral duty of all who reach this understanding to speak against the ‘renewables’ scam at every opportunity, and in the strongest of terms, even, (or perhaps especially) if they have previously been ‘renewables’ supporters.

  182. ” As DV82XL says, this whole renewables/smart grid scam is just a cover for the continued burning of fossil fuels, and those who support it are knowingly or unknowingly standing in the way of the real solution. It is the moral duty of all who reach this understanding to speak against the ‘renewables’ scam at every opportunity, and in the strongest of terms, even, (or perhaps especially) if they have previously been ‘renewables’ supporters. ”

    Well, I think that DV82Xl and you should get your head out of your respective asses, it is long overdue ….

    new NPP costs 13 cents per produced kWh (if privately funded, given that investors want a 10% return on investments).

    Read underneath what Kenya pays for his green geothermal energy, without wastes other than a bit of steam. Yeah, it’s 50% lower than NPP.

    What is that deafening silence from the NPP freaks ?????

    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/06/kenya-bets-big-on-renewable-energy?cmpid=GeoNL-Thursday-June24-2010

    – click link to read

  183. ” Numerous studies indicate that up to about 1/4 penetration by wind/solar works fine with the remaining 3/4 being dispatchable. Very large smart grids might possibly have more at the cost of considerably more transmission lines. ”

    I apologize to again put a cut and paste, but this allows me to grow the ongoing interesting debate without spending too much time typing. Hope you understand this. This is also my last posting for today, I have other things to do. Have a nice day. regards.

    http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/10343/ireland-can-accommodate-40-renewable-electricity/

    – click link to read

  184. Finrod, on 24 June 2010 at 9.45 — When you learn about the just-grewed nature of power grids, evrywhere, you’ll finally realize they are all, every one, Rube Goldbergs.

    Amazing the d****d things wrok at all, much less as realiably as they do.

    Thge fact remains that every grid can accomodate some negative load, i.e., unschedulable intermittent generators. The larger the portion the harder it becomes; consider Denmark backed up by Norway’s hydro.

    But I opine they ought to start building NPPs now…

  185. “new NPP costs 13 cents per produced kWh (if privately funded, given that investors want a 10% return on investments).

    Read underneath what Kenya pays for his green geothermal energy, without wastes other than a bit of steam. Yeah, it’s 50% lower than NPP.

    What is that deafening silence from the NPP freaks ?????”

    13 cents/KW.h is less than I currently pay here in Canberra., and, pertinently, not every population centre in the world is sited next to a volcano or other convenient geothermal site.

    It is known that some regions of the world have access to abundant renewable energy in the form of hydro or geothermal. It’s also well understood by most people that these places are rare. We’re looking for solutions for everyone here. Cheap geothermal power in some places does not make wind and solar cheap or reliable, no matter the illogical claims of green fascists like Crazy Al.

    Fully amortized NPPs in the US can produce power at a cost of less than 2 cents/KW.h.

  186. Well, for the ones still stating that the renewable energy path is a scam, I hope with my numerous postings to have shown it is possible to get there, if we continue to invest in it, be it in developing countries or in already mature economies. One thing is certain : we will need massive amounts of new energy supply in the coming decades.

    I logged in on this site in 2000-ish. Stating just the same as here up : that RE is the solution to our energy and environmental pollution issues. I got laughed at, when I said that NPP’s are only good for base load production, and aren’t well suited to do peak demand following. NPP were the only solution for long term energy supply issues, they were cheap and provided energy on demand. Please look at what the site has to offer. You will understand that you are a joke. Global wind turbine capacity in the year 2000 ? 5000 MW. Spain wind turbine capacity ? A few hundred megawatts. China wind turbine capacity : zero. My own home was using fossil and nuclear electricity supplied by the grid. I had no other choice, there was nothing else available. Country regulations wouldn’t allow me to install solar PV panels on my home, unless I disconnected my home from the grid. I couldn’t afford PV panels, way too expensive back then. Heat pumps were also a very expensive proposition. Micro combined heat and power generation was still in development, no commercial applications available. Cars were all ICE based, burning oil derivates, not achieving more than 30mpg average in mixed use.

    The same arguments were used then as now : it would cost a fortune to get this RE off the ground, and it would be financial suicide for private persons to try to get there on their own, it was a giant scam. Only NPP’s would be able to supply electricity too cheap to meter, and this was the only option available to lift the billions of poor people out of their misery. I then left the site, I could provide any real life examples to sustain my views against yours.

    In the past decade, we had a monster economic crash in 2001, when the twin towers collapsed in New York, taking the global economy with it down the drain for at least 2 years. We had a big war in Dumbistan and one even bigger and costly in Shiite country, costing $ Trillions to the involved governments, with zero return on investment, unless you count the economic benefit of spending that amount on the military industrial complex employing millions of people back home, all voting to the one promising the most and that would allow them to keep their jobs . . .

    Fast forward to today, 2010.

    China is now the third biggest economic block at a $ 6 trillion GDP per year, next to the USA and the European Union, who are tied at $ 15 trillion each. In 15 years, China will be bigger than the USA or EU. Today, the combined BRIC country economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are already bigger than the USA or EU each taken apart.

    There is now 158 000 MW in installed wind turbine capacity globally, Spain has 20 000 MW, China 35 000 MW. China will try to get to a 150 000 MW wind park by 2020, while Europe will try to add 100 000 MW on it’s 75 000MW that is already available and operational.

    Geothermal and biomass + biogas CHP are all being deployed in 0.1, 0.5, 1, 5, 10, 50 to 100 MW power systems increments all over the globe, and located near users or near the fuel sources.

    Solar PV is now around 15 000 MW in Europe. Solar thermal is minimal, but will explode in MW size during this decade. I am pretty sure that by 2020, we will have 80 000 MW in installed solar PV panels, and 40 000 MW in solar thermal plants (using molten salt storage) built all over the sunny parts of the world, including Australia. I think Australia will become a solar thermal molten salt storage superpower, it has it all to get there, smart and financially wealthy people, unbelievable sunshine amounts, lots of place to built it all, one government, and I think Australia will be a major exporter of this technology once it’s done in house, using it’s homegrown expertise to sell it to neighboring countries, making a profit all along the way.

    I installed 4.2kW in solar PV panels on my home roof in 2010, and connected it to the grid, my government finally allowed it, and I finally could afford the investment, that will be paid back in 7 years thanks to the feed-in-tariffs. I got the opportunity in 2006 to switch from a FF+nuclear electricity utility (Electrabel), to one garanteing me a 100% green grid electricity (Ecopower cvba) supply. I did not pay one cent more per consumed kWh to do the switch (now 18 cents per consumed kWh), it was therefore a no brainer to do it, from my side of the ledger.

    I therefore conclude that the assumption that NPP provide cheap electricity is a misnomer, the end user (me) doesn’t see the difference in it’s bill compared to a RE energy supply, it is the utility who pockets the NPP profits, stiffing everyone down the consumer line in the process . . .

    My new utility Ecopower cvba sources its fuels from 52% biomass (CHP using wood pellets shipped by ships or canal barges from Austria, Ukraine, Scandinavia, Canada) and biofuels (locally grown vegetable oil producing crops, oil burned in ICE power generators), 2% from run-of-river hydro power, 38% from wind turbines, 6% from solar PV parks and a few small scale biogas digester powering gas turbines supplying the rest.
    I can install a 8kW heat pump for less than 5000 euro, that is twice the price of a classic natural draft furnace of the same capacity, but I do not consume FF energy anymore, payback is therefore less than 7 years for that heat pump with a 20 years lifetime, since I can power it with my own solar PV panels or the 100% clean energy supplied from the grid.
    Or I could install a micro combined heat and power generator, today New Zealand developed and built 10kW Whispergen micro CHP appliances are sold in the thousands in the UK alone each year, using Stirling engine technology, providing electricity and hot water to their home owners, being installed next to the laundry machine and cloth drier, in one long line of convenience appliances.
    If I install a ground heat pump, I heat my home during winter, and cool my home during summer, simply by reversing the fluid circuit flows. My 200 square meter home is so well insulated, that I only need 4000 kWh in capacity heating a year to stay comfortable and heat all my sanitary hot water demand. I do not need air conditioning in the Belgian summer, my home is then partially shaded by trees, and home insulation works both ways, if I do not forget to vent my home during the night, to cool it using natural draft, by partially opening some windows downstairs and opening the Velux windows in my attic, closing it all during the day to keep the home cool, saving a lot of cooling demand energy in the process, and thus reducing significantly the peak power demand on my grid utility, while also saving a bunch of my money to-be-paid-to-the-grid-utility .
    At the end of this year, I can now buy a GM Volt or a Toyota Prius plug-in battery + IC engine hybrid car, or a Nissan Leaf or a Think 100% electric vehicle. Each has a substantial battery set built into the car, that can be plugged into a wall socket, and reloaded using the solar PV panels on my home, or 100% green electricity supplied by my grid utility. During a winter storm, if I get cut off from the centralized grid by falling trees and am unable to go to work because of blocked snowed-in roads, the battery capacity stored in the Prius or the Nissan vehicle can power my home for at least 36 hours, and be reloaded during the day using my home solar PV panels. So my car batteries can power my heat pump to heat my home, and can provide the electricity needed during day and night, can be reloaded during the day using my solar PV panels, and allow me to drive with zero petrol consumption for the 20 to 100miles reloaded battery capacity driving range, before the vehicle has to switch to the ICE engine for longer distances, if you use a Toyota Prius or a GM Volt car. So cars are becoming more fuel efficient, going from the average 30 mpg in 2000 to a minimum of 100mpg for a GM Volt, to infinite mpg if I use a Nissan Leaf or Think EV being reloaded using only 100% green sourced electricity.

    Multiply this by millions of people financially able to do the same, doing this over decades, and you got yourself a sustainable, profitable, energized, growing economy supplying ever cheaper RE appliances and power systems, being manufactured and shipped and installed and maintained and 100% recycled by many millions of people all over the world, allowing us to say to the next generation that we did our part to leave the world in a better shape than we received it.

    And it really does cost nothing, since in Europe, we pay 1.1 euro per person per month to subsidize a Feed-in-tariff that serves as a motor to get it all done, by taxing CO2 emitters a fee of € 1.5 cents per consumed kWh, and using that money to fund this transition to a cleaner energy supply, through fixed prices per produced kWh paid to installer of such RE power systems, price amounts listed in the various Feed-in-tariffs, various Fee-in-tariffs decreasing by the years, following the price decreases of the RE power equipments, to avoid overpaying RE power producers and taxing too much the remaining FF consumers.

    To put those FIT paid sums into perspective, you have to compare them with other fields : the USA spent $ 2 500 per person in Iraq in a decade, we in Europe did spend $ 600 per person to just save a whole string of banks, banks run to the ground by unscrupulous $1000 suits wearing scumbags cutting corners to increase their multimillion option laden paychecks. And the 38 richest countries in the world provide $ 550 BILLION in subsidies PER YEAR to the fossil fuel lobby, the links have been supplied here up, several times. So FIT are a temporary support system to level the game playing field, and I have no scruples to use it’s benefits to implement my views.

    Nuclear can be a temporary significant power supply source to get there, I am in total agreement with you on that, we do need the not really cheap energy provided by those NPP’s to built this new RE infrastructure over the several decades ahead of us.

    But in the long run, I do not see a solution with NPP’s, unless someone finally find a solution to the NPP radioactive waste issues from mining residues till end life of the remaining fuel rod and other maintenance wastes, which are the damocles sword hanging over this technology. And by the time smart people will have solved this (if it can be solved….), we will be decades away, and well on our way to implement a truly RE energy supply all over the globe.

    By then even the most illiterate backwater in the world will be able to afford a cheap Iphone, allowing him to surf on the internet, learn, and understand that there is another way forward, and that it is not a scam, but that it is our future. You are free to fight this trend, you can also try to join the flow. I cannot change your decisions.

    You are free men and women, so use you influence (vote) and your wealth to direct the flow in the direction you prefer. I already choose my way, it will be the RE road. NPP’s will only be a temporary tool to get there, if we really need them.

    I hope you will be prove wrong. We shall see. May you all prosper and stay healthy and have meaningful lives.

    regards,

    Alain Verbeke

    http://www.windpowermonthly.com/go/windalert/article/1006702/?DCMP=EMC-WindpowerWeekly

    America’s Export-Import bank has seen both the volume and monetary amount of requests for loans skyrocket since the wind industry downturn at the end of 2008. He says recent solar photovoltaic applications have hovered around a cost of $4 million per installed megawatt compared to $1.2-$1.3 million for wind. “Wind energy is becoming recognised as more affordable,” says Guthrie. “Maybe it doesn’t work everywhere, but where it works, it works very well.”

    http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tech-transport/energy-cellular-network-africa.html?campaign=th_weekly_nl

    An Energy-Sipping Cellular Network To Be Deployed in Africa
    Over 80% of Africans live without access to the electricity grid. However, over 1/3 of the population owns a cell phone and that portion is rapidly growing. Developing nations are leapfrogging from no phone to cell phones – skipping the expensive and unnecessary infrastructure of land lines – and the use of mobile phone technology for everything from agriculture to banking services to health care is helping to improve the quality of life of people living in these areas. However, it still takes a cell phone base station to connect the mobile devices, and those take power.
    Technology Review reports that a cell phone base station that uses as little as 50 watts of solar generated power has been developed by VNL, a telecom company based in Haryana, India. The base stations – which can range from requiring 50 to 150 watts of power – are easy to assemble, requiring only two people to assemble and mount on a rooftop in just six hours. That makes these ideal for use in rural villages, and the units will soon be sold in Africa, where sunshine is plentiful.
    With these new solar powered base stations, an installed station can turn a profit even if customers are spending just $2 a month to access the service, as opposed to the average $6 per person required to make traditional systems cost effective. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s also using a clean source of energy.
    With proper use and an inexpensively, reliably connected mobile network, cell phones can significantly boost the quality of life of people around the globe. These new base stations from VNL are a wonderful and welcome solution to networking people living far from electricity. They come in addition to the solar powered Ericsson stations that began installation across Africa last year, Huawei Technologies and their solar powered base stations going in to rural areas in conjunction with Bangladesh mobile operator Grameenphone, and likely many more to come. ABI Research predicts that over 335,000 base stations worldwide will be using powered by the sun by 2013, with 40,000 of those being completely autonomous and off-grid.

  187. Perhaps some people are interpreting “renaissance” differently. They may be referring only to the western world when pointing to a failed renaissance (a), or not regarding the big difference between 13 (or 65) reactors under construction & the 1,500 minimum actually required, as being significant enough (b). Alternatively, they could be referring to the need to allow for the older retiring reactors that will be replaced by some new ones, slowing up the total number coming online. Skepticsm about the rate of reactor building has been covered in the Scientific American (c). Some reactor parts require specialised machinery & could also hold up the renaissance significantly (d). Notice the article dates.

    (a) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=will-nuclear-power-reach-critical-mass
    (b) http://web.mit.edu/nuclearpower/pdf/nuclearpower-summary.pdf (page 3)
    (c) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=nuclear-cannot-solve-climate-change
    (d) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/18/sheffield-forgemasters-loan-new-nuclear
    The French are supposed to be experts at nuclear power, but their Gen III project is having some problems (e, f). Hardly encouraging. Naturally, they kept quiet about the higher radioactivity.

    (e) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/defects-found-in-nuclear-reactor-the-french-want-to-build-in-britain-808461.html
    (f) http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/new-nuclear-plants-will-produce-far-more-radiation-1604051.html

    “why would China, South Korea, India, Russia and other rapidly developing nations risk their precious finances on such foolhardy ventures?”

    The answer should be obvious – because those countries apparently do not know of any other solution, for baseload power & some of the above countries have a political system that won’t tolerate public dissent so reactors are readily forced upon them, while US & Japanese residents have more freedom to object (g) but they are also being forced on them. The nuclear industry heavily over-promotes their view that it is the only source of such power available with a claimed negligible carbon footprint. They also ignore & ridicule any objections from similarly qualified people while continuing to present their technology in the best possible light by even using wildly exaggerated data. For the moment, their claims appear genuine to the buyers, who feel there is no choice but to accept all the nuclear dangers. To help sell their reactors, excessive manipulation & downplaying is being done about the dangers. Why should other countries adopt nuclear power when there are already many US citizens satisfied it is dangerous (h) & their industry is ignoring their concerns by also forcing the technology upon them (like France & China) with political manipulation (i). Is this the ‘honest’ industry we have to get used to? It will also bring with it a form of ‘police state’ due to the terrorism threat. It looks like we have to do more than just say No. Why can’t we benefit from their unfortunate & costly mistakes instead of possibly duplicating them? The industry has had decades to lift its game but still relies more on denial rather than good engineering. Even the Chinese are now hiding accidents & downplaying iodine releases (j). The industry can’t even present a true picture of their routine radiation emissions or their net generation efficiency, doing what they can to hide it because it is so low. The US govt has even been misleading us with their claim of how much electrical energy can be obtained from a ton of uranium (gross yield). This low efficiency implies a significantly larger carbon footprint than is commonly shown (k, p18), even though nuclear has a much bigger mining & fuel processing requirement than renewables. Far more “misleading” claims are coming from the nuclear camp (k, p5) which can be readily clarified. The very low energy recovery alone (1%) is bad enough (k, p19). Is this the best the nuclear industry can do after all the money & time expended on research over 60 years? Reject this hopeless & expensive technology. There are new ideas already being conceived. Even standard renewables are not as bad as the one-eyed nuclear supporters claim (l). The average citizen can see the obvious absurdities with nuclear power more readily than the biased physicist, once they are given a true description of it. Apparently, not too many people noticed Mike Skeketee’s article ‘Invent our way out of crisis’ (The Australian 16-8-08). The title says it all, as there have already been other researchers working on better solutions while the nuclear industry has been bumbling along consuming huge amounts of govt subsidies & leaving millions of tons of mine tailings at many sites around the world. Contrary to how James Lovelock feels, we do not have to wait much longer for a “visionary” new power source, so why spend huge amounts needlessly on more nuclear nonsense when Australia can be in a position soon to do it much better, as long as these ideas receive adequate support? With the US & UK having a very large net debt (m), the expensive nuclear option would be a likely cruel additional burden for their population, when dedicated mavericks have already identified much cheaper & safer practical alternatives that are completely radiation free.. All we have to do is to continue with gas-fired co-generation until the newer ideas can be demonstrated soon, then the rest becomes easier. All the expensive & dangerous, & contentious problems accompanying nuclear power will be eliminated forever.
    (g) http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100331/full/464661a.html
    (h) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samuel-s-epstein/nuclear-power-causes-canc_b_251057.html
    (i) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harvey-wasserman/nuclear-industry-to-vermo_b_501991.html
    (j) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/china-nuke-leak-kept-secret/story-e6frg6so-1225880097860
    (k) http://www.c2c.ucsb.edu/summit2007/pdf/presentations/mujid_kazimi.pdf
    (l) http://www.smh.com.au/environment/energy-smart/solar-wind-power-may-meet-2020-energy-use-20100621-ysdt.html
    (m) http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/feeding-off-incompetent-governments-20100620-yp55.html

  188. Machiavelli,

    I didn’t bother going through all your post. Your points have been answered numerous times before on BNC threads. I read the first paragraph or so and notice you are saying that nuclear power cannot be built fast enough. I am wondering, if nuclear cannot be built fast enough, what can?

    I understand the whole world is not building wind capacity at about the same rate as individual countries built nuclear capacity 40 years ago. And wind capacity generates about 1/3 the energy of nuclear and does so only when the wind blows, not when the consumers demand the power.

    So wind energy (with back up generators, energy storage, transmission, and grid stabilisation) is much more expensive than nuclear energy, slower to build, and requires some 10 times as much material (i.e. mining, manufacturing, transport, etc).

    You mention replacement of existing nuclear capacity. There is nothing unusual about that. All power stations ahve a life and have to be replaced at the end of their economic lives. Have you looked at how long wind turbines are actually lasting?

    Just for one example look at “Tehachapi Wind Farms – Southern California, USA” here http://webecoist.com/2009/05/04/10-abandoned-renewable-energy-plants/

    So, my question to you is: if you say nuclear cannot be built fast enough, what can?

  189. You’re right. All we need to do it build up our natural gas generation and all our energy problems will magically be solved. After all, natural gas has proven to be a safe, cheap source of electricity that helps bring us energy independence.Yes, I am being sarcastic. But seriously, what you just wrote is worse than a high school English essay, nothing worthy of this website. Oh, and you forgot paragraphs thus you get awarded with a ‘F’.

  190. @Alainhttp://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-76554

    Did you noet see last week’s critical report by the German physicists on cogeneration?

    I notice that, like the Austrian “Marcus”, a rural farm owner proud of his micro or was it pico hydro on this blog some months ago, you jump swiftly from telling us about how renewables can power and heat your own car and house needs to the word “economy”, ie that of Belgium or the EU.

    I cited to Marcus the fact that in his country in 2008, according to Internet-available figures, households in the Austrian definition took only 25% of all power consumption.

    He chose to refuse to answer my statement that he was de facto fantasising a pre-industrial future for Austria minus fossil fuels and that he had zero concern for anything in the way of social equity for that reason. It is admittedly true that A currently obtains 70% of power from hydro, but this is not small-scale in the backyard.

    Please show me what total Belgium power useage in a year of your choice was; what percentage of that was household useage, and how you envisage e.g. manufacturing Belgian beer cans using renewables for the aluminium. You need ca 15 kWh for a kg of aluminium. Or you might like to choose the industrial activity in Belgium, that is shown by the figures to have consumed the most power in a given year.

    As I find your non-neoliberal, non-neocon approach more congenial than that of the predominant corporate apologists on BNC, who often evince a political naivete peculiar to Anglo countries, I hope you can help me.

  191. Barry Brook, on 19 June 2010 at 12.13 Said:

    Right, I think I have the Denmark electricity EI sorted as best as I can. The most thorough data come from this IEA report from 2006:

    http://www.iea.org/textbase/nppdf/free/2006/denmark2006.pdf

    and

    http://www.iea.org/stats/electricitydata.asp?COUNTRY_CODE=DK

    Although this does not report electricity EI directly, there is enough data to reconstruct it.

    I’ve just found the IEA report that has the EI figures for electricity by country, and by year from 1971 to 2007. You can download the pdf report and/or the Excel file here: http://www.iea.org/co2highlights/

    IEA calculate the figures using the IPCC 1996 guidelines. So the figures vary somewhat from the figures reported in the UNFCCC.

    I have trouble trusting the figures reported in this IEA document. For example, for the EI for coal (in g/kWh for 2007):
    Australia: 1068
    New Zealand: 2282
    Belgium: 1337
    Denmark: 589
    Finland: 576
    Sweden: 621
    Norway: 639

    France: 938
    Canada:910
    USA: 920
    Japan:910
    Korea: 902

    There is a factor of 4 variation between Finland and New Zealand, and this is all for coal generation!). I suspect the Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway EI figures have been washed in a green washing machine. (or some how reported differently to the others). There is no existing coal technology that can come even close to those EI figures. I suspect the explanation we wioll get is the Scandinavians have a different way of calculating the heat use. Perhaps. But can the figures really be compared?

    I do accept that David MacKay’s EI figure of 881 for Denmark does seem to be too high. It was 883 in 1974 and suddenly dropped to 597 in 1976 and stayed low ever since. More Danish Magic!

    If we can’t trust IEA with these sorts of figures, who can we trust? (Note there are many caveats and explanations for poor data quality at the start of the IEA report)

  192. It is now very sunny in Belgium; My home solar PV panels are producing their 25kWh per day full blast. Whoooaaa, my grid teller is spinning crazy, but in reverse. THe NPP owner will be pissed off, but hey, screw them.

    Now, here some about NPP renaissance in Europe, articles to allow you to stay busy on this Sunday.

    http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50308

    Brief comment> Here’s the rub for true believers of capitalism. The plant require large commitments from taxpayers, using funds that could be used to provide basic needs in more sustainable ways. They also require a commitment to a set high price long term and this creates its own potent self-serving ethos in which other more viable investments are blocked.

    http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/7092/wind-power-tops-new-eu-electricity/

    The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) says 39% of all new capacity installed in 2009 was wind power, followed by gas (26%) and solar photovoltaics (PV) (16%). Europe decommissioned more coal and nuclear capacity than it installed in 2009. Taken together, renewable energy technologies account for 61% of new power generating capacity in 2009.

  193. Finrod, on 26 June 2010 at 10.37 — Belgians, it seems, are rich enough to afford boutique solutions.

    Also few enough; there’s not enough wood pellet potential to go around for all.

    I suppose that’s theology. :-)

  194. Alain says:

    The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) says 39% of all new capacity installed in 2009 was wind power.

    Wow! 39% increase on 1% = 1.39%. Big deal. It’s still next to useless, causes more harm than good, and is increasing the cost of everyone’s electricity for no benefit. Wasting money on RE is being driven by noisy, belief-ridden, people like Alain.

  195. DV82XL 19 June 2010 at 4.59

    “They don’t bother to go back and read the material that is here, and see all the times that we have carefully dismantled most of these breathlessly held beliefs, not once but often several times.”

    Unfortunately, those of us who are very satisfied nuclear energy is a complete engineering disaster will feel that it is the pro-nuke’s that cannot or will not see the truth. We can see your repeated attempts to dismantle our objections but are satisfied that good engineering & science alone adequately exposes your blatant efforts to mislead others. There is abundant solid evidence on our side to support the view that nuclear energy research & development has been a shocking waste of time & money, being good only for making bombs, power packs for space probes & maybe some medical applications. Why can’t you reflect on the previous industrial failures in trying to make a nuclear powered car (Ford), a similarly powered rocket & aircraft – all of which consumed large amounts of money. The failed StarWars X-ray laser program consumed about US$60bn alone. The entire US bomb making programme with clean-up efforts has cost about US$6 trillion to date. Yet supporters like Peter Lang 14 June 2010 at 19.37 still ignore the very obvious evidence of danger, excessive costs & extreme engineering, all adequately verified by people well placed in the industry & even some US govt agencies. In his 7 points, Peter Lang continues to suggest that nuclear power has ‘glowing’ advantages, with all his points already having been successfully countered by Prof Ian Lowe & many others. We feel that you guys are the ones not listening well enough.

    “The inescapable conclusion is that more and better public information campaigns are needed in those countries where supporters want to advance the cause of nuclear power. This is the heart of the challenge for advocates for nuclear energy. It is not enough just to say we never met a reactor we didn’t like. We need to get the public up to speed, because when they know the truth it does look like they can make an informed decision and back nuclear. Antinuclear forces have held the public in high contempt for decades so much so that they lie almost reflexively now, and that makes them very vulnerable.” DV82XL An informed public is key to acceptance of nuclear energy

    Anti-nuclear followers are entitled to feel there are too many deniers in the nuclear camp & have to object to your efforts to present us as liars & cranks. You are the ones that are vulnerable as more truth is exposed about the many unsolved engineering weaknesses of nuclear power plants & will be seen to be ‘twisting the truth’ far more than us. How about explaining why we should accept this incredibly inefficient form of energy (1-3%)? As Prof Ian Lowe has already pointed out, for you not to assume that the reason for the public’s failure to accept nuclear power, is due only to ignorance. Not surprisingly, we will feel rather the pro-nukes have held the public “in high contempt” due to the grubby way they have forced their heavily flawed technology down people’s throats & continue to engage in misleading claims. In Canada, a poll taken at a new proposed site Weberville, shows 85% were opposed to the nuclear power. Yet their government is still trying to build a plant there. If Canadian nuclear advances were so terrific, why are so many people rejecting it?

    On Safety from a US Gov OTA Report 1984. Chap 4
    “Safety concerns also arise because nuclear powerplants have encountered hardware malfunctions
    in virtually every system, including control rods, steam generators, coolant pumps, and fuel rods. The majority of these hardware problems have been resolved by retrofits, changes in methods of operation, and redesign. Some problems are expected as a new reactor matures, but many of the LWR problems have persisted. Others continue to surface, some because of the intense scrutiny of plants following the Three Mile Island accident and others because of the aging of the earlier reactors. Most of the difficulties probably have technically feasible solutions, but it is not always clear that they would be cost effective to implement. Meanwhile, the discovery of new problems and the slow resolution of old ones continues to erode confidence in the safety of LWRs.”

    NRC ‘Special Inquiry Group’ on TMI Accident
    “The generation of nuclear power can never be risk-free. It will inevitably present certain risks to public health & safety no matter how “safe” plants are made.”

    Wash-740 Update (suppressed US govt report)
    “In any machinery as complex as a reactor facility, it is inevitable that structural failures, instrument malfunctions, operators’ errors & other mishaps will occur, despite the most careful design & rigid schedules of maintenance. Such has been the experience with reactor installations.”
    “The emergency Core Cooling System cannot be made foolproof.”

    President’s Commission on TMI Accident Overview
    “We do not claim that our proposed recommendations are sufficient to assure the safety of nuclear power. The belief that nuclear power plants are sufficiently safe grew into a conviction. The Commission is convinced that this attitude must be changed to one that says nuclear power is by its very nature potentially dangerous, and, therefore, one must continually question whether the safeguards already in place are sufficient to prevent major accidents. Whether in this particular case we came close to a catastrophic accident or not, this accident was too serious. Accidents as serious as TMI should not be allowed to occur in the future. While throughout this entire document we emphasize that fundamental changes are necessary to prevent accidents as serious as TMI, we must not assume that an accident of this or greater seriousness cannot happen again, even if the changes we recommend are made. We have not found a magic formula that would guarantee that there will be no serious future nuclear accidents.”

    In view of these official findings, how are we expected to believe pro-nuke claims of safety? Why would any reasonable person want such a heavily flawed & woefully incomplete engineering?
    Each successive insider from that industry that comes forward, reveals further disadvantages, as you will soon see. If you are a Canadian resident, then you can hardly claim the nuclear industry there has been a fantastic success (a, b, c), as Canada’s total carbon “emissions are still rising” (d) & their reactor design releases excessive tritium into the environment (e) while also (contrary to what you claim) encourages proliferation with the highest plutonium yield (g). No wonder China is buying them. We wonder why the ‘positive void coefficient’ feature has also been conveniently downplayed in CANDU reactors. Isn’t nuclear power supposed to lower Canada’s carbon footprint, or is the Alberta Tar-Sands project a multiple disaster? Is your idea of a “fair evaluation of the subject”, to bluntly rubbish any alternative evidence (in any way possible) to the false or exaggerated claims made by other nuclear supporters? Even Dr Edward Teller, Admiral Rickover, US government agencies & a more recent French physicist have publically acknowledged the dangers of nuclear power, while most pro-nuke contributors here still live in denial, claiming it is safe. Your version of “truth” & of pointing me “in the right direction” is to only promote nuclear propaganda & ridicule any dissenters. How about concentrating on your own country’s energy failures first before interfering with Australian views & let them actually show the way with better ideas (f). You can keep the toxic nuclear mess.
    (a) http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/programs/atmosphere-energy/nuclear-free/candu-case/ten-reasons.html
    (b) http://nuclearfreealberta.ca/theissues.html
    (c) http://energy.probeinternational.org/nuclear-power/nuclear-safety/candu-reactors-buyer-beware
    (d) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/jul/16/canada-environment-carbon-emissions-g8
    (e) http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/canada/en/documents-and-links/publications/tritium-hazard-report-pollu.pdf
    (f) http://media.beyondzeroemissions.org/preview-exec-sum14.pdf

    “Canada has never built a nuclear weapon even though we have been able to since the late 1940′s out reactor designs use unenriched uranium, they burn the plutonium they breed to practically unrecoverable levels. Our program is not and never has been the handmaiden of any weapons program.” DV82XL 16 May 2010 at 2.53
    Then how come India is credited with obtaining their 1st bomb material from a CANDU research reactor (c) & appears willing to sell CANDU reactors to suspect countries (g)?

    (g) http://paulmckay.com/AA%20in%20D&IC.pdf

    “one practical way to distinguish between a sceptic and a denier is the extent to which they are willing to update their positions in response to new information. Sceptics change their minds. Deniers just keep on denying” (h).

    (h) http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627606.000-living-in-denial-when-a-sceptic-isnt-a-sceptic.html

  196. @Macchiavelli: a piece of advice, if I may. The reports you cite talk of danger and accidents; your opponents on BNC will point firstly to the minute number of deaths due to nuclear power generation since 1945 in eg France since 1974 or Switzerland or Germany.

    Secondly, they will cite you the much higher ongoing numbers of deaths due to coal and other FF burning and extraction for power generation since 1945. They will say, if NPPs are as “flawed”, why do various countries obtain huge amounts of power from them decade by decade? They will accuse you of suppressing all mention of coal-fired power station deaths.

    It is true that there are ex-NPP managers such as Klaus Traube in Germany who came out against nuclear 20 years ago after 20 years in the business. The question is, why.

    Thirdly, your opponents will ask you to specify how to provide current and future global power needs. If you reply “Renewables”, they will ask you for numbers and not expressions of optimism mixed in their view with ignorance among other things of Jevons Paradox.

    But if you take eg the line taken by AU permaculture co-founder David Holmgren, who looked forward in a 2010 Youtube interview to people “using less energy after the pending crises”, because that is what the current technical state of renewables would mean, they will infer that you want a population crash by mass death in AU and elsewhere, so as to unburden Gaia.

    That would achieve a global return to eg 350 ppm C02e and a long-term reversal in the increasingly lower oceanic pH. Do you want this crash?

    And as regards the crash: are you inclined to think that you and your friends could get by nicely, when the grid went down, with your backyard bantam hens and some feral olive trees yielding, as they do, your daily calories with only 400g of fruit? What is your view therefore of social equity?

    I say this because there is a noticeable and bucolic Green Property Smallholder strand among Renewabilists. I dealt with one on BNC some months back.

    Vananda Shiva said on Democracy Now TV last week that 40% of global C02e emissions could be cut inside 3 years if current agribusiness production modes were abolished. When challenged on this, she said that “the young people” would bring it about. Is this your solution?

    By way of conclusion, it is evident that the style of your writing is such that you and BNC opponents are actually talking past each other. I do not think that any dialogue will occur.

  197. Machiavelli’s latest rant (above) showed up in my comment feed and while his past tacit acceptance of the chem-trails concept places him squarely in the ranks of the deluded, and despite the fact that I promised myself not to comment on these matters anymore, I cannot let this go by, on an international forum:

    Then how come India is credited with obtaining their 1st bomb material from a CANDU research reactor (c) & appears willing to sell CANDU reactors to suspect countries (g)?

    First the only link between the Indian nuclear weapons program and Canadian technology is the suspicion (never confirmed by the Indian government, or by evidence better than circumstantial) that India bred weapons grade Pu in the CIRUS reactor (not a CANDU.)

    CIRUS (Canada India Research U.S.) is a research reactor (not a power reactor) at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) in Trombay near Mumbai, India. CIRUS was supplied by Canada in 1954, but uses heavy water supplied by the U.S. (hence its name). Its design is based on the NRX/NRU series of pool reactors AECL operates at Chalk River. It was bought by India prior to the NPT and the reactor is not under IAEA safeguards (which also did not exist when the reactor was sold), although Canada stipulated as a condition of sale, and the U.S. supply contract for the heavy water explicitly specified, that it only be used for peaceful purposes.

    Furthermore the highly enriched uranium that the Indians used to breed the Pu did not come from the U.S., or Canada, but is suspected of having come from French sources. It is also suspected that there was involvement by the British in some technology transfer to the Indian weapons program. Thus as far as international blame for India’s bomb, there is plenty to go around.

    As a consequence of India’s suspected violation of the terms of sale, Canada cut India off from all nuclear trade, as did the U.S. and for its part Canada stopped offering high-power research reactors for international sale.

    The bottom line being that no CANDU has ever been used to breed Pu for weapons.

    @Peter Lalor IMHO this Macchiavelli is nothing more than a crank, I’m sure the bulk of the readership of BNC gives his comments the weight they deserve.

  198. DV82XL, on 15 July 2010 at 21.26 — Nonetheless, it is necessary to “peat and repeat” the safety statistics, again and again.

    Just saying, “coal kills, nukes don’t” fails to get through to some.

  199. David B. Benson (16 July 2010)
    If you are referring to my recent entry, I am certainly not advocating continuing with coal & never have. What makes you think I have been? As indicated elsewhere, I put confidence in other solutions. You guys need to wake up to the totally unacceptable disadvantages with nuclear power – & there are plenty, but you are all keeping your heads in the sand 7 refusing to acknowledge them. If nuclear is so wonderful, how come many Americans are waking up to its many flaws after having experienced it first-hand for many years & are sick of it & all the denials that went with it?

    http://www.countercurrents.org/baker010310.htm

  200. Scott (23 July)
    The newswire poll isn’t believable. Even if it is accurate, then most voters are mislead into thinking nuclear is the great saviour, when it isn’t. Sorry.
    Chemtrails belong in a different column. Open your eys & see some video footage of them before you form an opinion.

  201. Peter Lang (27 June)
    I am just submitting several links having material not seen on this site yet, because I don’t think the points they raise have been adequately considered. For the Scientific American to have an article about the delays of nuclear plants (a) suggests a valid theme. In general, it seems they are saying that nuclear plants would take the longest time to build, so the general response to your question would be – alternative technology wouldn’t take as long due to the simpler physics involved & wouldn’t have the same risks. A common theme at present is to use a mix of technologies to provide 24-7 coverage. Those who are satisfied of the legitimacy of nuclear’s risks & multiple problems, will simply omit that option from the mix. There is very adequate confirmation of nuclear power’s risks from many scientists & engineers working in that field over deacades, who have already spoken out. Why would anyone dispute those in-house experts unless they have an axe to grind? In my earlier comments (b), you will see I have a different vantage point for substituting nuclear with newer research (already being done by others) on a previously unidentified form of renewable energy for baseload power. Yes, I know it is unfortunate, but for proprietary reasons, no details of this research can be released for quite a while. Only general points about its advantages can be made, which wouldn’t of course satisfy people like DV82XL. People need to be reminded that the discovery of nuclear fission was definitely not the ultimate step in understanding how energy can be generated. Look how the ‘cold fusion’ claims in 1989 were treated, yet now there is more evidence of a genuine heating effect (c). Since the above-mentioned new renewable research uses existing techniques, materials & hardware without needing any extreme protective systems, then it would also be expected to take much less time to build a given centralised power plant as we are familiar with today. It does not need to be spread out over large areas like a wind farm & uses no obviously dangerous source of energy. It will be a breakthrough concept.
    (a) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=nuclear-cannot-solve-climate-change
    (b) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-77066
    (c) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090323110450.htm

  202. Peter Lalor 15 July 010 (Your first main point)
    The problem here seems to be (as identified by others) that the nuclear industry is only conceding to the very obvious & undeniable deaths & injuries usually involved with reactor operation only while ignoring the more subtle & less obvious ill-effects of radiation on people, when considering the entire nuclear cycle, such as the radiation induced lung cancers in the miners & the cancer clusters near some nuclear facilities, along with any significant accidental radiation releases. The nuclear industry has grudgingly conceded radiation ill-effects only with higher doses (because they’re more obvious) but have ignored any possible ill-effects from lower doses despite independent evidence of them & limited evidence of any truly safe level of exposure (a). They are also ignoring the many more claimed affected residents from the Chernobyl accident (b). There is very adequate evidence for those effects from independent researchers (see links at c). The industry has also gone to some length to conceal serious errors in the early reactors that have caused fatalities (mainly experimental breeder reactors) & of course deny any connection with cancer clusters, using the same approach as ‘big tobacco’. In fact, ‘New Scientist’ confirmed recently that the US nuclear industry had joined a disinformation group (TASSC) that was also assisting the climate change deniers & ‘big tobacco’.
    Even the pro-industry, 1959 ICRP publication (# 2) stated: “The permissible doses can therefore be expected to produce effects that could be detectable only by statistical methods applied to large groups.”
    So even back in 1959, the possibility was recognised of obtaining evidence of low-level radiation effects. But when adequately qualified (independent) researchers actually do statistical surveys checking for ill-effects at low levels & identify evidence of such effects, they are ignored by the nuclear industry which then downplays the new evidence or ridicules it. Even when US govt surveys were done for low-level radiation effects, they were ignored & funding was removed when the results were unfavourable. The pro-nukes claim that peer-reviewed studies counter any ‘tooth-fairy’ type of research. But unfortunately Dr C. Busby (UK) has already pointed out why the peer-review process can be flawed & ineffective when hostile reviewers are used with a conflict of interest (d). Even the highly regarded Sir Richard Doll (UK) (who also defended nuclear power) was later found to be conflicted. Conflicts of interest are still exposed occasionally (d). There are in place several identified confirmed mechanisms to explain low-level radiation ill-effects; the Petkau effect, genomic instability & the bystander effect. The German government has accepted the results of the KiKK cancer study however, showing a dose relationship near many reactors. There are additional reactor surveys suggesting similar residential health impacts. The nuclear industry is deliberately insisting on very restricted definitions of radiation caused illnesses (e) to minimise damaging statistics. Dr Rosalie Bertell felt she could provide estimates for illnesses caused by the atom bomb & power reactor programs using corrected data (e). She felt the nuclear power industry (1943-2000) was responsible for approximately 1 million people experiencing ill-effects, (possibly 20% were premature cancer deaths) with over a hundred million stillbirths also occurring. Now that a more recent estimate is available for the Chernobyl accident (f), there may be an additional million casualties. If this is even close to being accurate, then we cannot possibly rely on any expensive reactor expansion in Australia in order to gather evidence over decades to spot additional low-level radiation casualties. We must learn from overseas experience now. If Dr Betell’s figures appear excessive, then consider this extract from an internal NCR memorandum to James Yore, (1977), about just their uncovered tailings radiation concern:
    “Since the radon continues to seep from the tailings for a very long time, the total dose to people over all the future generations could become very large. Deaths in future generations due to cancer & genetic effects resulting from the radon from the uranium required to fuel a single reactor for one year can run into the hundreds. It is very difficult to argue that deaths to future generations are unimportant. In summary the values given in Table S-3 (not available) for the amount of Rn-222 emitted per annual fuel requirement is grossly in error. So also is the dose to offsite population from milling due to one annual fuel requirement – the current number is more nearly 10 million person-rem rather than 100 person-rem. The correct value would be some 100,000 times greater.”

    Since no actual figures are included in the above NRC quote, it is interesting to use a cancer-yield value currently accepted by BEIR in order to use with the above revised figure (10m person-rem). It gives an expected minimum, (simple calculation) of approximately 5,000 additional cancers amongst those affected by the tailings radiation. Dr John Gofman (who was well placed in the early nuclear industry) felt that by using revised figures, there would be at least 30,000 additional cancers from 10m person-rems exposure – not necessarily all fatal – assumed to be over many years or decades from uncovered tailings. Recall that this result is for the mining to get uranium fuel for just 1 year of reactor operation. Now why would the NRC fail to openly talk about this unacceptable health risk?

    (a) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051027090539.htm (Notice in this link how nuclear workers & uranium miners are classed as a “high-risk” group)
    (b) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/mar/25/energy.ukraine
    (c) http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/19/radiation-facts-fallacies-and-phobias/#comment-72568
    (d) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jun/04/swine-flu-experts-big-pharmaceutical
    (e) The Ecologist November 1999
    (f) http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/apr2010/2010-04-26-01.html

  203. Peter Lalor 15 July 010 (Further points)
    I have never suppressed coal power deaths, nor supported coal fired technology in any way on this site or anywhere else. The absence of any mention of coal power is not to be construed as a form of suppression, but rather more of my disinterest in that technology. I am all in favour of coal plants being phased out along with nuclear plants. They both represent a shocking failure for modern science to devise something better, while another industry (electronics) streaks away well beyond the stagnant power generation industry. Not all coal miners need lose their jobs (they can be retrained), as coal will still be needed to supply other markets. The carbon sequestration idea only adds excessive expense for a partial, unsatisfactory solution. Both coal & nuke plants have unacceptable failings.
    Nuclear power is currently used mainly because it appears to be the only remaining source of impressive heat output, despite its many engineering challenges for safety (see extract from US Govt OTS report ‘On Safety’ at (a). It was heavily promoted & subsidised by the US govt to convince their public that supposedly peaceful, safe & cheap power could be obtained from the atom instead of just making powerfully destructive bombs. With some basic research, it can be readily seen the US govt made every effort to encourage the building of nuclear plants, even to the point of limiting the owner’s accident liability with the Price-Anderson Act. This alone indicates how unsafe nuclear power is. Their first practical nuclear plant at Shippingport (1958) was a total economical & partial engineering failure, since the cost of the power generated was about 10 times the norm at that time, & very significant amounts of reactor releases were later confirmed by detective work from Dr Sternglass, while the official emission releases were dishonestly given as ‘zero’ by state authorities. This public health disaster was an indication of things to come later (b, c). The increased cancer rates were readily apparent in nearby residents. The plant was however regarded as a public relations triumph in the cold war climate with the USSR. Countries still using nuclear plants are apparently not convinced of these failings yet, or haven’t devised anything better – but Germany is reconsidering after the KiKK study. The nuclear industry is still trying to mislead us with their low-carbon claims. They have a very significant mining & processing need that renewable power doesn’t require, yet they say their footprint is about the same. This cannot be.
    A similar experience occurred with the introduction of X-ray equipment in the late 1800’s, where a technology was implemented without ensuring public safety first. The early gas X-ray tubes in use were very poor, requiring very long exposures (45-60 min), resulting in needless radiation damage & early deaths to early radiologists & some patients. It wasn’t until after the Coolidge tube was invented (1913) that doses & exposure times could be lowered. But even then it wasn’t widely used until the mid 1920’s. Even in the 1970’s, mammography was using doses that were too high. The medical profession rushed into using X-rays well before carefully evaluating their nature for public safety, preferring to use the public as guinea pigs. Public statements have been made by key identities from the nuclear industry saying the same thing about their technology – they rushed into it without proper consideration. Now that there is adequate evidence of the health dangers of nuclear power to the public, accumulated over 40 years of data gathering, the industry doesn’t want to listen. We cannot trust that sort of behaviour. Well unfortunately, there is more evidence accumulating that radioactive emission releases into the environment (that would be considerable when 1500-2000 reactors come on line) will damage the ozone layer & their water vapour releases will also be large enough to have a detrimental effect on the ozone as well as contribute to greenhouse gas temperature rise. More on this shortly. Nuclear has far too many disadvantages.
    (a) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-82301
    (b) http://www.countercurrents.org/baker010310.htm
    (c) http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/07/12/28744.htm
    Some nuclear supporters are so blinded to nuclear power’s many problems that they don’t even bother to search out such evidence for themselves – probably because they don’t want to. Many seem to support nuclear power like fanatical sports lovers, barracking for their team regardless of the player’s abilities & shortcomings. They are really the ones that are immovable, with one of them even confirming a deliberate “agenda in promoting nuclear power” (d) by also using ridicule instead of rational logic to counter our concerns. That seems to be why this site is so one-sided. Admittedly, some aspects of radiation physics can be confusing to newcomers.
    (d) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/05/04/dv82xl-2/#comment-62775

  204. DV82XL (15 July 2010)
    There are many sources that don’t agree with your version of the CIRUS reactor only being “suspected” of providing plutonium (a, b). In any case, it hardly matters if it was just a research reactor – it was still effectively a Canadian product. The tritium output is also useful for weapons production. By 1996, the Canadian nuclear program had cost the taxpayer at least $13bn, for a string of very imperfect reactors having a positive void coefficient & unsatisfactory pressure tube life. While Bruce Power has had significant problems keeping as many of their eight (PT Elgin) reactors on line (c). Like the Americans, your country has had a long time to improve the nuclear mess, but it still looks like a very unattractive option.
    (a) http://dailymailnews.com/0610/30/FrontPage/FrontPage1.htm (Indian paper)
    (b) http://www.ploughshares.ca/libraries/monitor/monj07a.pdf
    (c) http://www.ccnr.org/exports_1.html 1996 (see Executive Summary & Chap 3)

  205. Peter Lalor 15 July 2010 (Industry experts crossing the floor)
    There certainly are more professionals swapping sides or at least being more willing to recognise nuclear failings after reconsidering nuclear power effects & disadvantages. Klause Traube appears to have been convinced after the TMI accident, to change his views (Wikipedia) not surprisingly to those who have seen the scraps of convincing evidence scattered around many sources. We know that inside the containment bldg, approx 4,000 rads were present at one stage. Later, NRC consultants confirmed about 200 rads were being released from containment stacks. An early public media statement from a Met Ed official said there had been a release of about 40 rads heading away from the plant. All these readings suggest much larger releases than that officially admitted. These engineers & scientists ‘crossing the floor’ are (or were) heavily involved in that industry, so they were in a position to see far more than the public.

    Before he resigned from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Peter Bradford said,

    “The first casualty of nuclear power was the truth”….. “the history of nuclear power is a history of silenced concerns, rigged studies, and suppressed scientists”. He was in a position to know.

    Confirmation of this approach comes from investigative journalist, Laurie Garret: (2000)

    “It is clear from public records that are now available that the AEC knew all along that any use of nuclear weapons would create a public health catastrophe. Nevertheless, in the name of national security the Eisenhower Administration veiled all radiation research in secrecy and disinformation. And, in 1955, with the creation of the first nuclear power plant, it extended that veil to cover the civilian sector. For nearly four more decades all information regarding the public health impacts of radiation would be rife with critical flaws. The Atomic Energy Commission and its descendant, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, would hide—literally—mountains of data and obfuscate or distort the information that was released. Employees of both government and civilian industries would be compelled to sign secrecy agreements, violations of which would constitute grounds for prosecution on charges of treason or espionage. Scientists who independently studied the human health impacts of low-level radiation would be vilified, their reputations smeared.”

    Three General Electric nuclear engineers resigned in 1976, due to their concerns about safety issues not being addressed adequately.

    A French professor of physics has recently written:

    “One might expect a physicist to favour nuclear power. Not a bit. I’d like for us to do without nuclear power, but I don’t see how we can. The main problem is the waste. [He sees two main problems with generation IV reactors – the requirement of a liquid sodium cooling system & the large amounts of plutonium (12 tons) required for each 1 GW fast breeder reactor]. For 60 reactors in France, that will mean 720 tons of this dangerous material, 6 times more than all of the [current] French reactors have produced up to now.” Sebastien Balibar

    In 1990, the UK, nuclear scientist Lord Marshall conceded he was “losing enthusiasm” for nuclear power after 25 years (a). Even Admiral Rickover confirmed the TMI accident was more serious than the official version & later felt nuclear power “should be outlawed.” Industry whistle blower, A. Gundersen also confirmed the TMI accident severity. Even the Kemeny commission overview acknowledged the potential danger of nuclear power (b) as did also US nuclear physicist Dr Edward Teller (c). In fact one Kemeny commissioner further stated in a little known supplement:

    “I recommend the development by our federal government, before we become more fully committed to the vulnerable nuclear energy path, of a strategy which does not require nuclear fission energy.”

    The same Kemeny commissioner also predicted a worse nuclear accident occurring later. It was fulfilled with the Chernobyl tragedy. The ‘pro-nukes’ should catch up with this additional material from official US govt FoI sources confirming the dangers of nuclear power. If they are concerned, then why are the ant-nuke public ridiculed for sharing the same concerns?

    (a) http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg12517041.700
    (b) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-82301
    (c) http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/71feb/jacobs.htm
    (Complete paragraph quote near the bottom of the page).

  206. Peter Lalor (15 July 2010) (Alternative energy source)

    “Yet even if it (uranium supplies) lasted a mere 1,000 years, we would have ample time to develop exotic new future energy sources.” Barry Brook

    There is enough good evidence of many alert maverick researchers having already been busy over the last 80 years devising new ways to generate small amounts of energy using new principles not found in mainstream textbooks. With ingenuity, some of these same principles can be used to enlarge the energy output significantly – but only those who are able to break free from the conventions set in stone decades ago, will recognise this. We don’t have to wait 1,000 more years for James Lovelock’s “visionary” power source – we can have it much sooner, without enduring nuclear hazards at all. The nuclear physicists have completely missed these ideas because they have tunnel vision (like their supporters) & have been mislead into ignoring classical physics. Look how they reacted to the cold-fusion announcement in 1989. Cold fusion has been recently shown to be more than a mere mistake (a). Pro-nukes seem to be prepared to put up with all the dangerous aspects in the belief that nuclear power is the last remaining choice for baseload power, just like Prof S. Balibar (b) when it needn’t be.
    The best alternative idea for a heat source I have found was very briefly mentioned at (c, d) & is a new renewable form identified long ago by a private researcher in Prof Brook’s hometown. This researcher feels certain (based on his long industrial training & experience) it can be scaled up to industrial sizes for use as centralised baseload power. But he needs financing to produce a demonstration model to illustrate the principle. Once this is done, it will be obvious that large scale deployment will be readily possible. It is not an obvious form of energy but more a result of alert observation in recognising a known process that can be modified to produce much better results. Unfortunately, no hard details can be given yet for proprietary reasons despite Finrod’s criticism with another contributor (e). All ideas have to have an initial theoretical stage. The nuclear enthusiasts have squandered far too much money on failures, so it’s now time to look at new ideas.

    “If you can’t provide details, the proposal has no place in the public debate.”

    This new approach will also be expected to be completely free of any need to mine for fuel, & therefore not emit any CO2 during operation since there is no combustion of any kind. No extra drain on the planet’s oxygen either. It won’t therefore make any huge demands on the environment by digging up fuel resources. Since there is absolutely no radiation involved, a complete plant can have a much longer life as it isn’t subjected to any strong ionising radiation effects. Replacing any worn sections as needed like in normal industrial machinery will be easier than in a nuclear plant. It will not even need any cooling towers due to its superior thermal efficiency (like gas), so there will not be any need for huge amounts of cooling water, unsightly towers & continuously rising water vapour plumes, which are now suspected of affecting the ozone layer & influencing global warming as a greenhouse gas. Classical physics still has some surprises for us, but suppression thuggery is still used by other fanatical people with an axe to grind. If Tom Blees & Prof Brook can promote the radically new IFR, then why can’t I do likewise with another new, much safer energy concept? It would be in practical use well before any new nuclear design because it is much simpler & cheaper.
    (a) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090323110450.htm
    (b) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-92269
    (c) http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/19/radiation-facts-fallacies-and-phobias/#comment-75631
    (d) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-77066
    (e) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/05/04/dv82xl-2/#comment-66026

  207. Pingback: Pebble Bed Advanced High Temperature Reactor at UC Berkeley – low cost nuclear? « BraveNewClimate

  208. Accident Risks – Testimony from Early Industry Insiders

    Additional examples following on from earlier entries (a, b) showing that not just the public were concerned about nuclear power’s risks.

    (a) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-92269
    (b) http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/19/radiation-facts-fallacies-and-phobias/#comment-95378

    Even Dr Edward Teller, one of the foremost nuclear proponents, was later (1967) to express his serious doubts about the breeder & plutonium as fuel.

    “In order for a fast breeder reactor to work economically in a sufficiently big power producing unit, it probably needs quite a bit more than one ton of plutonium. I do not like the hazard involved…..If you put together (just) 2 tons of plutonium in a breeder, 1/10th of 1% of this material can become critical.” Dr Teller was also to go on record as saying that not a single atomic power plant should be built above the ground.

    Even some proponents of nuclear power such as Dr Alvin Weinberg, former director of the AEC’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, acknowledge that for nuclear power to be a viable energy alternative it must be a technology free of catastrophic accident.

    When Dr George Weil, a former research associate of Dr Enrico Fermi, had started working with the WWII Manhattan Project, radium had been the major source of radioactive poisoning. The entire world radium inventory amounted to only about 1,000 curies. But with nuclear plants planned for the future, it would be possible for (just) a single large reactor to contain up to 20 billion curies of radioactive inventory. With future projections of hundreds of nuclear plants being likely, Dr Weil was having doubts of their complete safety. He felt that if there were to be just one major accident, such as was possible in the AEC WASH-740 1957 & 64 studies, then the public outrage would be so great, that it would immediately spell the end of nuclear power. Thus the billions of dollars invested would be wiped out – to say nothing of the billions more needed for damage, clean-up & compensation. Dr Weil was only one of many who were to equate a critical mass which created a blast with an atomic explosion. Despite AEC assurances to the contrary, there was a clear-cut risk of a nuclear explosion in a fast breeder reactor, with a very obvious possibility of breaching the containment structure. A yield of about 500 – 1,000 tons of TNT would be expected. The containment vessel would not survive that blast.

    Dr George Weil, one of the most competent & qualified of the critics, who had assisted with the very first Chicago carbon pile chain-reaction experiment in 1942 said:

    “Under current plans for the accelerated growth of nuclear fission to meet our energy requirements, we are committing ourselves to the nightmarish possibility of a radioactive-poisoned planet. Today’s nuclear power plant projects are a dead-end street. There are too many, too large, too soon, too inefficient & they offer too little in exchange for too many risks. The commitment of billions of dollars to the development of breeders…would almost certainly be an irreversible decision, foreclosing any serious consideration & adequate federal funding of alternative energy sources. With determined efforts to harness fusion, solar & other energy systems, we may well escape the threat of ecological radioactive disaster.”

    Professor Henry Kendall of MIT was later to reveal that the safety assurances put forth by AEC for the light-water nuclear reactors were “gravely defective” & that the nuclear power plants being designed were a serious threat to the health & safety of the public. He later pointed out that all atomic power plants were affected. In a later paper written with Daniel Ford, he said:

    “The safety systems in presently operating nuclear plants are crude & untested. A number of design weaknesses in these safety systems have been confirmed. Moreover, there is extensive evidence that the workmanship going into nuclear power plant construction is far from adequate. The increasing number of quality assurance problems, maintenance deficiencies, management review oversights, & operator errors is disturbing. The AEC has itself acknowledged that there have been a number of “near-misses” in the brief operating history of commercial reactors, accidents that could have resulted in major public health incidents. An official AEC assessment of some off the operating records of the nuclear reactor program is that the absence of direct injury to the general public to date is largely the result of good luck.”

    Peter Faulkner, an experienced electrical engineer was fired from a nuclear consulting firm for recommending in a written statement to a 1974 US Senate Subcommittee, that a congressional committee investigate the industry’s quality problems. He later declared,

    “I’m convinced that none of my (recommended) reforms will be implemented,…..(I’m) adamant that nuclear plant construction should cease now.”

    Carl Hocevar, an engineer assisting with reactor safety research for the AEC, resigned in 1974 & said in his letter to the AEC chairman:

    “In spite of the soothing reassurances that the AEC gives to the uninformed, misled public, unresolved questions about nuclear power safety are so grave that the US should consider a complete halt to nuclear power plant construction, until……these serious questions can somehow be resolved.”

    By August 6, 1975, (note the date) 2,300 scientists had signed a petition drafted by the Union of Concerned Scientists, to Congress & the president that called the dangers of nuclear power “altogether too great” & urged a “drastic reduction” in nuclear plant construction, along with greater efforts to develop a non-nuclear energy future for the nation.

    In January 1976, Robert Pollard, also an experienced electrical engineer, resigned from the NRC because he felt the agency was “blind” to unresolved reactor safety issues. In 1978, he testified before the House Subcommittee on Energy & Power, saying:

    “From this personal experience as a reactor engineer & project manager, I believe that the core of this country’s nuclear regulatory problems is the fact that the entire process is largely a charade designed to create the appearance of legitimacy. This has come about because the regulatory process has been controlled by single-minded individuals, who in their zeal to promote the growth of the nuclear industry, have deliberately & systematically abdicated their responsibility to regulate nuclear power in the manner necessary to protect public health & safety.”

    Also in 1976, three more experienced engineers from General Electric’s reactor division also resigned, telling the US Congress that nuclear power was

    “so dangerous that it now threatens the very existence of life on this planet”.

    In June, 1976, the (1972) ECCS controversy was re-opened by a NRC consultant. Keith Miller, Professor of mathematics, was one of ten consultants to the NRC on the computer programs that are supposed to predict ECCS performance. Prof Miller cited a wide divergence between the NRC’s public posture of “almost absolute certitude” the ECCS would function, & the private opinions & doubts of some NRC & industry personnel. Prof Miller called for a halt in licensing nuclear reactors until there could be experimental verification of the NRC’s computer codes.

    In October 1976, another engineer Ronald Flegge, resigned from the NRC, writing that the NRC

    “covered up or brushed aside nuclear safety problems of far-reaching significance. We are allowing dozens of nuclear plants to operate in populated areas, despite known safety deficiencies that could result in very damaging accidents.” In December, he joined five other engineers still employed by the NRC, to testify before the Senate Government Operations Committee on problems with nuclear plant safety.

  209. Response to ‘Greens’ uranium stance dated’ (from The Australian Sept 15 2010)

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/despite-the-alliance-scott-ludlam-and-his-greens-colleagues-will-not-drive-policy/story-e6frg9if-1225922951345

    “How ironic it is that the party that wants the world to lower its carbon emissions also wants Australia to stop exporting uranium, one of the cleanest forms of energy production available to supply base load power.” Peter van Onselen

    Peter’s definition of “clean” is too restrictive. Using a wider meaning, “clean” should really cover no pollutants of ANY kind. Unfortunately, radiation is a pollutant, & has always been the Achilles heel of the nuclear industry, where today, the BEIR VII report clearly states that even low doses can cause some harm in more vulnerable members of the population. Uranium tailings release a radioactive gas for a very long time above ground, potentially exposing people to lung cancer. Is this part of Peter’s clean fuel approach? Once a detailed research effort is made, it becomes very obvious the nuclear industry has been founded on flawed logic covered by propaganda to manipulate unsuspecting people into supporting it. All countries using nuclear power during the last 30 – 50 yrs, have very significant technical & economical difficulties as a result of their efforts to make it work truly safely & profitably. We can learn from their continuing failures – don’t go nuclear. We don’t need to. How much more time & public money do they want to squander for this terribly inefficient (less than 1% overall) & dangerous form of power generation? It has very significant capital costs throughout the entire nuclear stages. Ask the former Chernobyl residents how dangerous it is, then read the US TMI Kemeny report (a) & the internal NRC reports saying how there will always be accident risks to the public regardless of how well the plants are built & maintained. Include the confirmation from many nuclear specialists inside the industry about the dangers that have appeared in many public statements (b).
    (a) http://www.threemileisland.org/downloads/188.pdf (see Overview)
    (b) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-98112

    “We have the world’s largest uranium stocks and the world has moved to nuclear power as a way of cleanly satisfying energy needs.” Peter Van Onselen

    The world certainly has NOT moved to nuclear power en-mass (c), although it seems so to nuclear advocates. There are still only a very modest number under construction, many in countries with a non-western democracy, where the population has little informed choice & are having the technology forced upon them. There are also still groups opposing nuclear power in countries that already have it (even France & Canada), because they have already experienced the defects in their country long enough.
    (c) http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/aug/16/nuclear-energy-renaissance

    “Yet the Greens want to stop the export of uranium in this country, driving up the price globally and thereby leading to more coal-fired power stations being built.” Peter van Onselen

    The Greens recognise both forms of power generation are unsatisfactory, & are unlikely to support any more coal plants either. They wish to stop the export of uranium because it leads to continuation of a heavily flawed power generation industry, & not because they just want to raise the uranium price.

    “And that’s before considering the damage to our domestic economy of ceasing uranium exports.”

    “As a consequence, they can suggest ceasing the export of uranium without considering how to make up the many billions of dollars in lost revenue it would lead to.” Peter van Onselen

    Apparently Peter gives greater priority to mining royalties rather than to public health. There will be many more likely standard mineral resources found to replace the uranium profits. Any uranium earnings would be consumed many times over if we commenced a nuclear power industry in Australia. The routine costs of mining, government regulation & inspection of the industry, just paying for the reactors & related infrastructure, then one or more repositories & dealing with any major accident will completely wipe out any earlier mining profits many times over. Whereas renewable energy cannot cause widespread radioactive damage or require an extensive mining industry that scars parts of the environment. With new renewable ideas approaching, there will greater cause to abandon nuclear power.

    “How ironic that the Greens condemn the fear-mongering (quite rightly) when major parties pander to people’s concerns about asylum-seekers, yet they fear-monger just as violently about uranium and planet-threatening perils attached to using it.” Peter van Onselen

    The Green’s genuine concern for public health & the environment is not ‘fear-mongering’, but would only appear to be so, to those who have not caught up with the extensive subject material showing how dangerous the industry really is. Yes, it can be daunting to work your way through the nuclear information, but until you do, an uninformed opinion will not count for much.

    “Back in the 1970s and 80s when the science wasn’t settled and technology hadn’t yet evolved, the argument that uranium mining and nuclear power were too dangerous was worth hearing out. In fact, it probably helped lead to the safety standards that exist today. But the likes of Ludlam, who stick to that 30-plus-year-old view, are either too pig headed to change their minds or haven’t done enough reading on the subject to get up to speed with the not-so-new paradigm that suggests uranium can be safely handled, and any minor risks are worth the massive reward it offers to price efficiency, economic growth and the environment.” Peter van Onselen

    It isn’t just the uranium handling that concerns people, because yellowcake is not heavily radioactive. The radon released from the tailings however, are a different story – they will continue being released for over a century contributing to a cancer risk (d). The radon bearing ores should never have been brought to the surface. That’s one direct reason why uranium should be left in the ground. There are many more dangerous, polluting & expensive aspects to the uranium fuel cycle & nuclear power generation that cannot be called “minor risks”. Since the industry still hasn’t removed the major concerns indentified more than 30 yrs ago, then the Greens’ objections are still valid today. People not accepting this yet are the more likely ones that need to do more research. Furthermore, recent nuclear advocates want to use far more plutonium in their IFR’s, subjecting us to even greater criticality accident risks (e). Why should we add significant greenhouse gases to our tally in order to mine the Olympic Dam uranium for others, when we know it is part of the most dangerous & inefficient form of energy generation? We will not need nuclear power, as there has already been many researchers identify alternative ways to generate power without the problems of the nuclear industry – some methods are not well known yet. Vested interests are behind the illogical push for nuclear power in Australia. With all the failed attempts to make a nuclear power automobile, aircraft, rocket engine, x-ray laser & other smaller projects, it still hasn’t dawned on some that nuclear physicists have grievously mislead humanity down the wrong path for decades, resulting in huge expenses for what has been achieved. Fortunately some industry insiders have shown their concern in public statements (b).This might be the last big chance for Australia to show it can be a clever country by NOT duplicating many nuclear countries mistakes & to show we can come up with something better without being manipulated by slick nuclear industry propaganda. But we are going to have to be on the lookout for talent to help with this huge challenge. For what it is worth, there are good ideas already available – they just need backing.
    (d) http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/Pollution/radon
    (e) http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/19/radiation-facts-fallacies-and-phobias/#comment-97529

  210. Response to ‘Nuclear power plants are not bomb factories’ (The Australian Sept 18 2010)

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/nuclear-power-plants-are-not-bomb-factories/story-e6frg6zo-1225925594625

    “Factual accuracy is a frequent casualty in discussion of nuclear issues in Australia.”

    Perhaps Prof O’Neil should consider applying the above to his own claims.

    “STATES acquire their arsenals through military programs, not civilian facilities.”
    “Since 1945, global nuclear proliferation dynamics have remained largely disconnected from the civilian nuclear industry.” Prof O’Neil

    Al Gore while he was in the White House, said:

    “every nuclear weapons proliferation issue we dealt with was connected to a nuclear reactor program.”

    Wasn’t he in a good position to know?
    A former Sellafield director has also written (1996):

    “Queen Elizabeth II formally inaugurated Britain’s civil nuclear power program in October 1956 by pressing a switch which transferred electricity to the national grid. With considerable patriotic fervour, the new station was hailed by the British press as the world’s first full-scale nuclear power station. Rather less was made of its prime purpose, to produce weapon-grade plutonium. Calder Hall is still operating today (1996) & still producing plutonium for Britain’s nuclear weapons program (but in lesser amounts than in the Cold War years).” H. Bolter

    “The fact there has been no documented case of Australian nuclear fuel being misappropriated should inform, at the very least, the deliberations of those who would close down Australia’s uranium export industry.” Prof O’Neil

    All this shows is that any likely misappropriation is just well concealed from the public.

    A defence lawyer in the US Karen Silkwood case, through his investigations stated (1979):

    “The private industrial complex that is utilising this nuclear power is knowingly & wilfully taking plutonium & special nuclear materials from those facilities with the knowledge of the US executive department & bringing those bomb-grade materials to such countries as, it used to be Iran, & it is South Africa & Brazil. Special materials are being taken out of those facilities to arm those countries with nuclear weapons. That’s a fact, & the US Congress knows it, as does the CIA. The fact of the matter is we have come to the knowledge that we are being deceived on the body counts, we’re being deceived on the costs, we’re being deceived on the basic reasons why this thing continues.”

    The K. Silkwood lawyer further speaks of a little known organisation within the US federal government called the Defence Industrial Security Command which works with US industries that it believes are necessary to the national dense.

    Then there is the better known pathway to India’s first nuclear device, being aided by a Canadian research reactor (a).

    Prof O’Neil obviously hasn’t made any allowance for possible clandestine activity as suggested above, so Scott Ludlam’s case is still valid (b) while Prof O’Neil’s arguments are NOT strong enough.

    (a) http://forum.stopthehogs.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=886&sid=a87230bbeeeda28c7dad89ec40c903c1
    (b) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/old-tech-nuclear-power-is-not-the-answer/story-e6frg6zo-1225925023935

  211. Typical Examples of Nuclear Industry Performance that the Greens Object To

    The chronology of the way the 1957 fire was handled by the Sellafield management is very revealing of the attitudes that prevailed on site. It became known for certain that something untoward was going on in Pile # 1 at about 2pm on Thursday 10 October, when dust from a routine air sampler half a mile away from the pile buildings was found to be abnormally radioactive, although there had been earlier suspicions. Health physics staff began taking additional air samples at a dozen or so sites inside the site perimeter. Two & a half hours later it was discovered that some of the uranium at the centre of Pile # 1 was red hot. Major releases of radioactivity took place around midnight that night & somewhere between 9-11am on Friday 11 October. Over the years the estimates have varied between 21,500 – 55,500 curies. For comparison, Sellafield discharged 3,400 curies of radioactivity during the whole year of 1994. It is now considered the accident possibly led to a minimum of 100 cancer deaths, with an additional 100 non-fatal ‘effects’. Former Sellafield Director (1996)

    Sellafield’s bosses seem to have treated the fire as though it was a purely local difficulty, not something that could’ve affected the whole country if it had got out of hand, as it certainly threatened to do. This uncommunicative attitude in times of crisis persisted throughout my career with BNFL – & almost certainly still exists. It is as though engineering & scientific virility demand that any problem should be solved before it is mentioned to anyone outside the select group of people immediately responsible for dealing with it. Things will always go wrong on a site which has employed as many as 10,000 people & which handles materials that are highly dangerous, even in minute quantities

    In the case of the early natural uranium fuel, the need for reprocessing was also dictated by the way in which the fuel was stored after being taken out of the reactor prior to reprocessing. It was stored in water, which acted as a coolant & as a shield against direct radiation reaching members of the workforce. Unfortunately, the magnesium oxide metal used in the cans which held the fuel element corroded easily. Left in the storage ponds for a year or so, radioactive materials would start to leach out into the storage pond water, which then had to be washed out into the Irish Sea. If there was a delay in processing for any reason, as there was during the early 1970’s, then these discharges built up to levels that wouldn’t be acceptable today. Magnox fuel did not have to be stored in water, but water containment was easier & cheaper technology to develop in a hurry & as the country thought it necessary to process as much fuel as it could in the early years in order to build up a stockpile of plutonium, the need for water storage wasn’t really questioned. The spent fuel was also transported from the power stations to Sellafield in water-filled containers. The pattern was set & to change it by building dry stores at the Magnox stations & at Sellafield, then use dry transport flasks, would’ve cost enough to probably terminate the entire Magnox electricity generation program by now (1996). Former Sellafield Director (1996)

    Have a look at these above examples showing obvious disregard for public health, reckless decisions in solving nuclear issues, a total lack of thought of the implications of their actions & the continuing culture of secrecy. Why wouldn’t many people object to this behaviour?

  212. Nuclear Waste Problems are too Difficult

    “This is a fundamental moral issue: to produce waste for which there is no proven treatment or storage is to impose an unacceptable burden on future generations.” Prof Ian Lowe

    “Professor Lowe demands impossible proof, which cannot come until after the fact. This is not science, nor risk management. He also ignores the fact that we know perfectly well how to recycle nuclear waste – we just need to start doing it on a massive scale.” Prof B. Brook

    Prof Lowe’s comments appear to be based upon the early UK nuclear industry, with relevant points below, provided by a former Sellafield director in 1996. Prof Lowe is preferring the nuclear industry to provide logical & reasonable engineering evidence that all the waste categories can be safely dealt with. If “impossible proof” is the correct way to refer to this issue, then it is more likely because the industry is finding it “impossible” to solve the waste problems to the public’s satisfaction. The industry has been trying to find a good solution for at least 40 years. Even the French Professor, S. Balibar was doubtful about solving the waste issue adequately (j). Prof Lowe is also well aware of the IFR claims & isn’t ignoring them. More likely he doesn’t agree with them.

    “BNFL has spent over £2bn on the waste management & effluent treatment plant associated with reprocessing since it took over the Sellafield site from UKAEA in 1971. It has transferred most of these costs on to its customers, who as a result have become increasingly disenchanted with reprocessing. Big as it is, the expenditure so far is only a drop in the ocean. The company still has to dispose of the growing stockpile of waste at Sellafield & deal with the contaminated debris which will be created when disused buildings are knocked down – possibly costing six or seven times as much. Despite strenuous efforts to get costs down, BNFL expects to spend nearly £15bn on decommissioning & waste management projects at current (1996) undiscounted prices. Through a combination of mistakes & bad BNFL management & the massive over-reaction of the Government & regulatory authorities to environmentalist & media pressures, waste management costs have turned out to be a far bigger burden than anyone anticipated in the early years of BNFL. The company has been driven to a near zero environmental discharge policy, forcing it to store more & more waste at Sellafield risking further contamination of plant, buildings (& workers)”. H. Bolter 1996

    Then abandon nuclear power, & the above shocking expenses will be minimised. Even if we accept the new IFR plan to consume most of the existing high level wastes, there will still be a very significant waste burden to dispose of (a, b). Then there is the extra mining & processing wastes & tailings to secure or dispose of as well (c). The nuclear industry would have to be one of the most prolific waste producers ever, added to all its other disadvantages. Aren’t we supposed to be minimising our waste on this planet? The IFR cannot be the ultimate Holy Grail solution, because it will only be using the HL Waste for fuel, while the lower grades of waste will still accumulate (a).

    It has taken far too long for the nuclear industry to get to the present stage of underground disposal. The disposal of solid radioactive waste, like the dispersal of liquid & gaseous effluents into the environment, should’ve been given far more attention at the beginning of nuclear power. But the problem was deferred for later generations to deal with. The reason for this was that in volume terms it was not a particularly big issue, but in the continuing absence of a good solution, it is growing in importance. Yet, volume was not the most important criterion, but keeping millions of curies of radioactivity away from the environment certainly was.
    The developing problem of solid radioactive waste disposal was first drawn to public attention in the UK with the 1976 Flowers Report (d, e). Sir Brian Flowers was a highly respected member of the UKAEA. The report recommended that there should be a substantial research effort made. H. Bolter 1996

    The Flowers Report concentrated on the need to find a way of disposing of high-level waste, which contains over 95% of all the radioactivity present & is heat generating, making disposal more difficult because it retains significant heat for at least 50 years. But there is not much of it. After 40+ years of reprocessing at Sellafield, the volume of HLW stored there in high-integrity stainless steel tanks is equivalent to the volume of four double-decker buses. The Flowers Report however insisted that storing it as a liquid with a risk of leaks, wasn’t suitable. H. Bolter 1996

    I t seems even Harold Bolter is understating the HLW volume at approximately 360 cubic metres in 1996, where in 2004, reference (a) gives about 2,000 cubic metres.

    The BNFL management hadn’t really accepted the Flowers Report analysis of the problem. They argued that the best & most practical option, on costs & environmental grounds, was for HLW to be stored at Sellafield for at least 50 years. By this time, it would have cooled sufficiently for it to be reclassified as ILW & disposed of accordingly. Unfortunately, later research showed some forms of HLW could take about 700 years to reach that reclassification stage.
    Since 1949, the industry had dumped a sizable part of its ILW & LLW into the Atlantic Ocean, reaching about 2,000 tons a year in the later stages of the program. By 1983, the National Union of Seaman had convinced the UK Government to cease the practice. H. Bolter 1996

    The above unsatisfactory attempts to deal with the waste show how formidable the problem really is. Abandon nuclear power before the mess becomes excessive (a). Future generations will not be impressed when they learn smarter solutions were available all along. Government inspectors are still finding safety breaches (f, g). Why would Australians accept this obviously messy, highly expensive & inefficient form of engineering when they have become accustomed to the conventional power sources (especially gas) with relatively few problems? Our government health watchdogs are still unable to protect us from standard forms of industrial poisoning (h, i).

    (a) ‘Revealed: the huge mountain of ‘unofficial’ nuclear waste…’

    http://nucnews.net/nucnews/2004nn/0411nn/041105nn.htm

    ‘Nuclear waste gridlock looms, officials warn’
    (b) http://nucnews.net/nucnews/2004nn/0411nn/041105nn.htm

    (c) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/05/public-advocacy-nuclear-climate/#comment-81919 (# 3)

    (d) http://www.rcep.org.uk/reports/06-nuclear/1976-06nuclear.pdf (still relevant today)

    (e) http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/jun/29/lord-flowers-brian-flowers-obituary

    (f) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/may/31/sellafield-hse-nuclear-radioactive

    (g) http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/may/17/safety-scares-at-sellafield

    (h) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/the-toll-lead-takes-on-isas-infants/story-e6frg6nf-1225925070875

    (i) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/child-poisoned-every-9-days-in-mine-town-mount-isa/story-fn59niix-1225900248172

    (j) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-92269 (quote)

  213. Response to ‘Nuclear option deserves our most objective gaze’ by Ziggy Switkowski (a)

    Again we have a pro-nuclear advocate effectively promoting his own livelihood, still implying that nuclear power is the only base-load option left & conveniently ignoring the many well documented hazards & inefficiencies of that industry. Perhaps he could tell us why more German people are now opposed to nuclear power after enduring its effects for decades (b). Recall that this is the same country that accepted their own controversial KiKK reactor health study (c) & also received some Chernobyl fallout. Maybe Ziggy can explain why many US residents decided to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant (d), & why we should have any confidence in an industry that has regularly acted irresponsibly as learned by author Stephanie Cooke (e). Will Ziggy also explain why we should use a terribly expensive & inefficient form of energy (less than 1%) when we are really supposed to be conserving our resources wherever possible. He acknowledges that the generation IV reactors won’t be online until about 2040, so LWR’s will need to continue. The Gen IV types have a whole new series of hazards anyway with the 12 tonnes of plutonium inside. Even industry insiders have warned against the risks (f, g).

    “But time has moved on. No nuclear weapon has been fired in anger since 1945, new and better reactor technologies have been accredited, safety and security continue to be strengthened, and this 55-year-old industry sets standards within the global energy industry for power station productivity, employee and community safety, and integrity of the fuel supply chain. Whole economies rely on their national nuclear energy platforms.” (Ziggy Switkowski)

    Yes time has moved on, but the same old problems are still unresolved even though only two bombs were used in warfare. The proliferation risks are increasing. Why doesn’t Ziggy tell us about how reactor grade plutonium can still be used for weapons? Aren’t we supposed to be trying to phase out nuclear weapons? Nuclear power safety cannot be made foolproof according to the 1979 Kemeny Commission (h). The Sellafield processing plant has had many unacceptable accidents, clearly showing it isn’t a safe industry (i). Then get rid of the reactors. Where is the world’s first genuinely safe waste repository? Why is so much money still squandered on nuclear research while depriving other alternatives, when already there are many failures littering the scene. Why has the nuclear industry consistently mislead governments into providing still more tax dollars for their flawed technology? Whole economy’s do not rely on nuclear power outside of France, due to the low contribution it makes. Furthermore, coal power is expanding in the US (j) even though it has problems as well.

    A 1978 Congressional Report stated:

    “More than half the energy produced in the US is wasted. For the next 25 yrs the US could meet all its energy needs simply by improving efficiency. Americans waste more fuel than is used by 2/3rds of the world’s population. The energy saved could relieve the immediate pressure to commit enormous resources to nuclear power, before all alternatives have been fully explored. Reducing energy demand through conservation would be safer, more reliable & less polluting than producing energy from other sources, & could save consumers billions of dollars a year.”

    Why doesn’t Ziggy also explain the large debt caused by nuclear power programs in those countries still using it? Does he want to impose a similar financial burden on Australia?

    (a) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/nuclear-option-deserves-our-most-objective-gaze/story-e6frg6zo-1225926989266
    (b) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tina-gerhardt/germanys-burgeoning-anti_b_740232.html
    (c) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2696975/pdf/Dtsch_Arztebl_Int-105-0725.pdf

    (d) http://www.countercurrents.org/baker010310.htm
    (e) http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/19/radiation-facts-fallacies-and-phobias/#comment-101138
    (f) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-98112
    (g) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-92269
    (h) http://www.threemileisland.org/downloads/188.pdf (see Overview)
    (i) http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/19/radiation-facts-fallacies-and-phobias/#comment-100850
    (j) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/17/coal-power-industry-sees-_n_684506.html

  214. Pingback: SNE 2060 – thermal reactor build rates, uranium use and cost « BraveNewClimate

  215. @Macchiavelli: you keep referring to Germany. For reasons that need not concern you I have forgotten more about this country than you will likely ever know.

    You say that Germans are opposed to nuclear power after having endured its effects for decades.

    It is true that 76% of Germans currently think, unlike the CEOs of wind/PV firms in Germany as interviewed in the leading German right-wing paper FAZ , that Germany could swap over entirely to Renewables overnight.

    But then a majority of US nationals likely believe that the world started in 4,004 BC and in Lucifer as well, not to mention witches and goblins. So big deal.

    Germans base their opposition to NPPs on fear and on folk memory of Chernobyl. There has not ever been any incident in Germany like TMI or Harrisburg. If you were able to read German, you could appreciate the near-panic against Nuclear whipped up by Greenpeace Germany in its newsletters to subscribers to its green power: German residents can choose their own power supplier in the deregulated market. Greenpeace insinuates that its power is PV and wind, whereas it is mainly hydro.

    Note that German rhetoric against NPPs is not anti-capitalist as such, but anti- “Energiekonzerne”, a Konzern being a group of companies. So what we seem to have here is a fight within Capital of small and medium-sized Renewables firms against big groups such as E.On and RWE, which are diversified across: nuclear/wind/coal/solar.

    You say that “the country” (who?) has accepted their controversial KiKK study. This is the Mainz Kinderkrebs = child cancer, study, and no, it has not been accepted by “the country.” Define your terms, please. Your chums at IPPNW have an entirely different view of it from Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz.

    You say that Germany received some Chernobyl fallout: true. Germans scraped kindergarten sand out of sandboxes at the time (1986). And?

  216. Response to ‘Greens must shrug off nuclear naivete’ (The Advertiser 16-09-10) (a)

    “……they’d also like a nuclear-free world. Guess what? It’s not going to happen. It’s bad policy, naive politics,….” C. England

    Public health is far more important than heavily flawed science & economics. The nuclear industry has continued to promote itself using many false premises. The Greens are more aware of these & other complex realities experienced by populations in other countries that have endured nuclear power for decades. Many more of those people are now prepared to protest to their short-sighted governments & pro-nuclear scientist advisors (b). It has taken far too long for the unacceptable recklessness & deviousness of the industry to emerge (c,d,e,f). It’s about time critics like C. E. catch up with the shocking performance of the overseas nuclear industry. Why not be smart, & let Australia benefit from the overseas nuclear failures & show the world how it can be done better, instead of enduring the same disadvantages.

    “Any move to phase out uranium mining would involve shutting down one of Australia’s largest mines, which could soon be expanded into the largest mine in the world, creating more than 10,000 new jobs and generating billions of dollars in export revenues for a mine life estimated to be more than 100 years.” C. England

    Again, monetary gain seems to be more important than health & wellbeing. There is adequate evidence today that the industry subjects many people to unacceptable effects of radiation carried by uniquely different fission products. Unfortunately, governments appear to be absolutely hopeless in truly protecting the public from those effects. They cannot deal adequately with just standard pollution. Even though radon is ‘natural’ in the mining phase, the amounts being released to the population certainly are not.

    Anyway, there will likely be many more standard mineral ores located to still keep employment in the high figures, without depending just on uranium. At the very worst case, any uranium that is mined as part of other mineral deposits, should only be sold to countries who are clearly not a weapons proliferation risk, so they can continue to use their reactors while they devise safer replacements. Since the difficulties in policing this will likely be too great, the uranium should be used for other more benign applications.

    While the nuclear industry has been bumbling along for over 50 years, there have been other researchers simultaneously working on alternatives. There will not be any need for this insane nuclear technology that defies so many points of common sense. Despite all the effort & expense, the current Light Water reactors cannot even deliver an over-all efficiency of more than ~1%. The highly touted IFR has a different set of disadvantages & cannot be a safe solution. The plutonium proliferation risk has not been eliminated as their supporters claim.

    (a) http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/greens-must-shrug-off-nuclear-naivete/story-e6freai3-1225924730257
    (b) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-101489

    (c) http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/19/radiation-facts-fallacies-and-phobias/#comment-101845

    (d) http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/19/radiation-facts-fallacies-and-phobias/#comment-101696

    (e) http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/19/radiation-facts-fallacies-and-phobias/#comment-101138

    (f) http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/19/radiation-facts-fallacies-and-phobias/#comment-100850

  217. Peter Lalor, on 30 September 2010 at 4.59 Said:

    “You say that “the country” (who?) has accepted their controversial KiKK study. This is the Mainz Kinderkrebs = child cancer, study, and no, it has not been accepted by “the country.” Define your terms, please.” P. Lalor

    Unfortunately, there were several studies done over many years. I am referring to the more recent ones completed in 2007. All the following links have been provided in my earlier entries. I have also stated more clearly earlier in a previous response to you which Government, so I assumed you knew about it (a).

    (a) http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/06/18/21c-nuclear-renaissance/#comment-86216

    http://www.ehjournal.net/content/8/1/43

    http://www.hse.gov.uk/newreactors/presentations/250609/ian-fairlie.pdf

    http://www.currentconcerns.ch/index.php?id=706

    http://kn.theiet.org/magazine/issues/1006/nuclear-safety-1006.cfm

    http://www.robedwards.com/2008/05/new-evidence-of.html Not all the links are freely accessible

  218. More Nuclear Advocates Acknowledging Problems

    Nuclear power poses a major threat to the environment & to humanity. Most of the time, it has proven to be safe & successful, but on some occasions its results have been disastrous. The production of nuclear power is accompanied by the production of radioactivity. Like the pollution produced when fossil fuels are burned, radioactivity can be very dangerous to living creatures. This is especially true about nuclear accidents which have occurred infrequently throughout recent history. In 1957, the core of a nuclear reactor at Windscale in England caught fire. Soon radioactivity spread throughout Britain. Official statistics on how many people died from radioactivity poisoning were never compiled. In that same year, an explosion occurred in the Soviet Union at Kyshytym. The surrounding area was heavily contaminated & 270,000 people had to be evacuated. As many as 10,000 people died.

    Probably the greatest nuclear power disaster in history occurred in 1986 in Chernobyl in the Ukraine. The explosion released a cloud of radioactivity that spread throughout Europe & into Scandinavia. Huge numbers of animals had to be slaughtered & food had to be destroyed because it had been contaminated by radioactive material. In total, 21,000 Western Europeans are expected to get cancer from exposure to radioactivity released by the explosion, & 100,000 Soviets were likely affected. In addition to nuclear power disasters, there is also the problem of nuclear waste, which can cause health problems. US storage facilities in Hanford released 422,000 gallons of radioactive material from 1945 to 1973. In 1968, a British nuclear plant put 180 kilograms of plutonium into the Irish Sea.

    The nuclear industry is in near-terminal decline world-wide, following its failure to establish itself as a clean, cheap, safe or reliable energy source. The on-going crisis in nuclear waste management, in safety & in economic costs have severely undermined the industry’s credibility. It is currently desperate to find a valid rationale & justification for renewed state support & funding. It is promoting the claim that as nuclear power stations do not emit CO2, then switching to nuclear power is the only way to reduce greenhouse gases without changing consumption patterns. However, even the most perfunctory examination of the issue shows that nuclear power has no role whatever in tackling global climate change. In fact quite the opposite is true; any resources expended on attempting to advance nuclear power as a viable solution would inevitably detract from genuine measures to reduce the global warming threat.

    Economic Failure

    According to the American business magazine ‘Forbes’, “The failure of the US nuclear power program ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history.”

    Early hopes of cheap nuclear energy were based on an expectation that whilst nuclear power stations would be more expensive that fossil fuel plants, their running & maintenance costs would be extremely low. Experience has shown that the early optimism was totally misplaced.
    The cost of nuclear activity at all levels has exceeded those early predictions. In many countries, the construction costs of nuclear power plants have proved to be much higher than first expected. Plants have taken longer to build & there have been many unforseen technical problems. Running costs have also been much less predictable than was first thought. The costs of increased safety demands & regular equipment breakdowns have been compounded by the expensive question of how to deal with the nuclear waste. In addition, the predicted costs of decommissioning power stations has also escalated. The external costs of nuclear power include the cost of environmental damage, the effect on human health & society following an accident, damage to human health & the environment during routine operation of nuclear facilities & also long term problems associated with nuclear waste & decommissioning.

    from Nuclear Energy & Power Dr M.S. Yadav 2007

    Admiral Hyman Rickover, who was in charge of building the first nuclear power plant in the United States, Shippingport in Pennsylvania, and is heralded as the “father” of the nuclear navy, finally realized that. In a farewell address before a committee of Congress in 1982, as he retired, Rickover said, “I’ll be philosophical. Until about two billion years ago, it was impossible to have any life on Earth; that is, there was so much radiation on earth you couldn’t have any life—fish or anything.” This was from cosmic radiation around when the Earth was in the process of forming. “Gradually,” said Rickover, “about two billion years ago, the amount of radiation on this planet…reduced and make it possible for some form of life to begin…Now, when we go back to using nuclear power, we are creating something which nature tried to destroy to make life possible….every time you produce radiation” a “horrible force” is unleashed, said Rickover, “and I think there the human race is going to wreck itself.” Rickover went on to declare: we must “outlaw nuclear reactors.” K. Grossman Nov 2010

    “All of us must recognise that the widespread use of nuclear power brings many risks.” Nuclear engineer – President Jimmy Carter, May 1976.

    He should know, as he assisted in one of the Canadian Chalk River accident clean-ups in the early years.

    “The nuclear industry is no different in this respect from any other industry – it will be unable to avoid accidents completely.” Sir E. Titterton 1979

    Professor Edward Teller has said (late 1970’s) of breeder reactors that:

    “they are a waste of funds, they are no more ahead of where they were 15 years ago. It’s the wrong way to go.”

    Even the Soviet physicist Pjotr Kapiza publically acknowledged the main problems in 1975:

    a) The effects on the surrounding environment (nuclear plant emissions)
    b) Waste disposal
    c) Proliferation concerns

    The NRC also publically repudiated the US$3 million Rasmussen Reactor Safety Study of MIT, with a team of 60 experts from US universities & government, in Jan 1979. The report was a blatant attempt to counter the WASH-740 update called:

    ‘Theoretical Possibilities & Consequences of Major Accidents in Large Nuclear Power Plants’

    It estimated a grim accident scenario for a major radioactivity release, whereas the RSS was flawed.

    One reason why the RSS methodology consistently underestimates failure rates is because it cannot identify all the ways in which a complex system can & actually does go wrong. For example, 20% of the Apollo ground test failures & more than 35% of in-flight malfunctions were of types not identified as by similar prior analysis similar to those of RSS. Because of this approach, the RSS data yield absurd results when used to predict the likelihood of major multiple fractures having actually occurred in BWR’s. RSS estimates gave a predicted rate of 2.5 per 10E18 reactor years, yet 15 such events have already occurred in the US with only about 1,000 reactor years of accumulated experience. Similarly with the high-pressure-coolant-injection systems, where the RSS estimate was 7.8 per 1,000 demands. But in 47 tests in four reactors near Chicago, the actual failure rate was 2.1 per 10 demands. F.P.J. Robotham 1979

  219. Pingback: Gas aplenty, but UAE opts for nuclear – a lesson to be learned? « BraveNewClimate

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