I’ve talked recently on BNC about various recent energy plans. which seek to replace fossil fuels with low-carbon alternatives. On the whole, I’ve been left dissatisfied. For instance, there was the Scientific American article ‘A path to sustainable energy by 2030‘ (technology = renewables only, critiqued by me here) and the UK Royal Academy of Engineering study Generating the future: UK energy systems fit for 2050 (technology = renewables + nuclear, critiqued here). Neither pass muster, even when evaluated on general principles.
In this post, I’ll describe a third study. It provides a contrast to the other two, because it doesn’t start with the (preordained) premise that renewables and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage WILL together do the heavy lifting. Instead, it focuses on nuclear power deployment as the primary ‘decarbonisation silver bullet’ (although other techs do play a role — perhaps an overly generous one at that). This energy map was developed by the World Nuclear Association and is called the ‘Nuclear Century Outlook‘ (NCO).
The NCO projects out 90 years, to the year 2100 — I use the term ‘project’ loosely, as really, any forecast that stretches beyond about two decades will axiomatically fall into the ‘crystal ball gazing’ category. But that’s not meant to dismiss the value in such an exercise (or others that attempt to take the long-term view). I just want to make it clear that any such long-term projection represent a ‘storyline’ (sensu IPCC SRES) rather than a ‘prediction’.
The aim of the NCO is to conceptualize nuclear power’s potential worldwide growth in the 21st Century, based on country-by-country low/high build-out assessments. Nationally aggregated data are given in tabular form here, for 2030, 2060 and 2100. The figures in this table are updated as new information comes to hand (for instance China recently upgraded their 2030 forecast from 150 to 200 GWe, and India’s 2060 goal from 350 to 500 GWe). The low/high projections are considered boundaries of a possible domain, with “low reflecting the minimum nuclear capacity expected and the high assuming a full policy commitment to nuclear power“. The forecast includes nations that currently use nuclear power, those which have expressed intention to entering the market (e.g. UAE, Egypt, Poland, Turkey) and potential future entrants (including Australia and Italy). Here is the overall projection:
As you can see, the domain (in green) is wide (!), with the lower bound approaching 2 TWe by 2100, and the high bound being >11 TWe (that’s the equivalent of 11,000 reactors, worldwide, of the size of an AP1000). To quote:
This order-of-magnitude estimate of future Clean-Energy Need gains credence from an alternative calculation. Today the IEA judges that that nuclear power’s 370 GW represent 6.3% of world primary energy consumption. If so, world energy consumption corresponds to the output from 5,875 Nuclear GW. If total primary energy consumption doubles by 2050, 85% of energy must be supplied by clean technologies in order to attain a 70% GHG cut from 2000 levels. On that basis, Clean-Energy Need in 2050 would be 9,990 Nuclear GW.
Here’s how the projections line up with the NCO’s anticipated demand curve (which factors in population growth and some serious energy efficiency):
Bold stuff, no doubt. Here’s my brief take — we can explore the pros/cons of the forecast further in the comments section.
Important features of the NCO include its explicit recognition of the need to deal urgently with the climate problem (and associated issues of environmental degradation), and the imperatives of a relatively rapid replacement of transportation fuels, whilst meeting the changing needs of the developing world. Some problems include a lack of transparency about how the low/high scenarios were parameterised, and overall, a lack of ambition for some countries — and for the worldwide 2050 target — which stands in juxtaposition to the grand ‘vision’ goals (in short, 3.7 TWe by 2060 just ain’t gonna cut it fellas). At least they admit the problem of this ‘clean-energy gap’ in the period 2000 to 2080 (red area of the above chart) — it’s just a pity they don’t really seek a way to plug it.
One underlying problem with the NCO forecast — a problem that is common to all large-scale energy outlooks I’ve seen — is the lack of explicit detail about technology type/role and their relative contribution to overall system reliability. Like other plans like those cited at the top of this post, the NCO also sets aside the (ultimately crucial) question of cost — which makes it difficult to assess feasibility and likelihood. Now don’t get me wrong — I can understand their reticence to tackle this thorny problem. The ‘nuclear renaissance’ might well be gearing up big time, but hasn’t really produced the goods yet, and this makes ‘settled down costs’ tough to gauge, even for Gen III nuclear power, let alone Gen IV. But leaving economics out does beg the question of how realistic it is assess relative fractions of nuclear vs fossil-CCS and ‘new renewables’. Indeed, it might be that some technologies never even make it to the starting gate, let alone see major commercial deployment, if allowed to compete on a cost-levelised playing field. Still, it’s worth keeping in mind. On that point, I’m co-authoring a technical paper with Martin Nicholson (lead author) on this very topic at present, which we plan to submit to a peer-reviewed journal within a month or so.
What of the technological mix WITHIN the nuclear domain? For instance, what is the likely proportion of Gen II, Gen III and Gen IV technologies, and how will that mix of contributions change over time? Which of the current Gen III designs will see the major deployment in the 2010 to 2030 period? What would such a massive nuclear build-out mean for uranium demand? How might nuclear power growth rates be constrained (or otherwise) by the availability of fissile material? On these seemingly rather important points, the NCO is, alas, silent. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to make an informed guess as to the answers…
In an upcoming post I’ll try to do just that (for a teaser, read this and this), and will propose a plan that’s even bolder than the NCO high scenario. But, before I write more on this technology breakdown, I need to add one more post, on fissile inventories, to the IFR Facts & Discussion series. That’s next.
Okay, for now, I want to hear your view on the NCO storyline. Shoot.
460 replies on “Nuclear century outlook – crystal ball gazing by the WNA”
An aside to the BNC website crew – it would be great to have a link button like the one on the Guardian comments.
That’s a great vision. Excellent ‘big picture’ thinking. We need more of that!
Re: shonkly accounting
Peter claims that coal is “cheap electricity” because he zero ratyes the subsidy from the commons, which turns up in Quality Life Years (QLY) costs associated with damage to ecosystme services.
He also fattens the pig by trying to associate one factor in civilisation — energy — with all the benefots of civilised society. While general provision of despatachbale energy is certainly one key factor in human development statistics, it is not a sufficient condition and certainly, at the margins, having access to more energy may make very little difference at all.
Having access to refrigeration, rapid bulk transport, lighting, the treatment and supply of bulk potable water, the materials for housing and food production at industrial scale and so forth are doubtless good things which energy enables. Yet if one’s energy choices entail poisoning or injuring sections of the populace, and particularly the children or the able bodied, then this is a cost against the system.
Peter simply expunges this from the ledger.
Personally I think those who think our economy / society / civilisation depends for it’s productivity and value on energy consumption, i.e. GNP is linearly related to energy consumption, are correct. And I think Peter’s referencing the Gapminder cites is also correct.
There is just one thing I see wrong with Peter’s comments – if burning coal is a chief cause of climate changing emissions, and if these emissions are likely to cause the most and a lot of trouble for the developing world e.g. messing with the monsoon, increasing sea level (probably disproportionately), then that’s a cost that should be factored in when talking about costs to the developing world.
But perhaps he has addressed that and I just didn’t see it.
But the general observation that nuclear has been overpriced because of extraordinary safety measures I’m sure is correct.
I doubt that that is in fact the case. The FOAK costs would surely be the key issue in price, along perhaps with the unnecessarily long lead times for environmental assessment..
I like the standards for nuclear but think they should be general.
I also like the bumper sticker I’ve proposed but is it as good as nuclear?
Perhaps I will make some and market them, with variations (e.g. clean, safe, sustainable, eco-friendly etc)
Peter seems to want to wind back safety. Apart from being politically destructive to the campaign, I can’t imagine that it would make a fly speck’s bit of difference to the costs, and if it did, this would be worse because we would have opened the door to bad faith objections on both sides — affirmning coal and letting big business trade safety to force it through.
I don’t know whether nuclear will make it to Australia, but if it does Peter’s approach will not be the way it happens.
I don’t think I can agree.
FOAK costs occur only once.
Peter says (paraphrasing) if we impose unnecessarily high costs on power production we make everything worse.
He says (now I remember) all power production should meet the same emissions (or generally speaking, safety) standards.
If you do that, nuclear wins.
John Newlands. The M/D Basin will continue to produce a lot of food although probably there will be less for export. I think that a sustainable level of production which will feed Australia with still considerable export is preferable to a continually degrading agricultural environment which will ultimately die if we don’t do something fairly radical. If we ultimately kill the system then no-one will derive benefit from it. And I think we are at present on track to kill the system. If we don’t rationalize our irrigation effort, I reckon the rivers will do it for us. Very pessimistic to be sure. I was in the Riverland last week and there are lots of irrigators who have pulled the plug. We need to make it possible for many more to exit the industry as soon as we can as per my suggestion.
Thanks Peter Lang for your positive support for my vision. Cheers Terry K
Not if one keeps coming up with new reactor designs.
That’s true, though the issue turns on what is unnecessary
The costs of power production are what they are. The only question being discussed is on whose shoulders should each factor of production fall?
Allowing coal, for example, to allow gas from mines to vent freely into the air without cost, to allow dust from coal mining to fill the lings of miners or for production to continue when mines are unsafe, or for small children to go down the mines or for dust from coal transport to asphyxiate people en route, or for large volumes of water or air to be contaminated with effluent from combustion all free of charge means that all those affected bear these costs instead of the users of the output … and then the cost shows up in poorer health outcomes and ruined lives and in lost production and in higher health costs in the system.
And we haven’t even mentioned CO2 …
Peter’s argument has the same form as those who argue that because CO2 is part of the cycle plants use to produce sugars that more CO2 in the air must lead to a fall in world hunger. The argumentation is utterly facile because it simply ignores the complexity in human systems which authors human development outcomes.
There are all sorts of ways in which we could insist upon those in the coal cycle progressively internalising what is externalised — a concept to which Peter occasionally pays lip service — and which would, if implemented, eventually make nuclear — which already internalises nearly everything — the cheapest industrial scale energy source not just in practice but on paper too. Peter urges a course that would be a massive own goal with virtually zero upside rather than one which would force nuclear’s main rivals (coal and to a lesser extent gas) to score an own goal
Need one point out how utterly diabolical the politics of this would be within the constituencies one would want to target?
You seem to be liking nuclear and arguing about the politics of getting it accepted.
I don’t suppose Peter knows how to do that, I thought he was asking for input about that.
As the saying goes, I can’t speak for Peter.
He seems to think the realistic approach is based on making nuclear cheaper, which he thinks would require lessening the safety expenditures of nuclear.
I’m terrible at politics, so don’t ask me. If DV82XL is right, the hard part is overcoming corrupt politicians, not the public.
The bulk of those making up their minds on nuclear power are not going to be greatly exercised by the costs. Renewables will cost a lot more but most people who favour them don’t care. They think renewables are clean and safe and that is all that matters. Self-evidently, trying to sell nuclear on the basis of “now at 10% off the marked price and 10% more dangerous” isn’t going to sell people who in their ignorance think it is already much too dangerous. In fact, a better sales pitch would be the opposite — now twice as safe and twice as expensive.
We don’t have to do that of course, and we should not. Our objective should be to make the flipside of Peter’s point — that what is wrong with coal and gas is that under no circumstances could these be as safe as nuclear power and that nuclear power should be the benchmark for measuring the worthiness of industrial scale energy systems.
Once that argument starts, we are well on the way to getting acceptance of nuclear power.
I strongly suspect the pollies here would mostly favour nuclear power, but the problem is that unreasoning prejudice infects the ranks of both parties and advocacy of nuclear power is strongly associated with the right. This means that although the majority of both parties might think it a good thing there is a Mexican standoff in which the proposer will be wedged by the other side, who cares more about power than good public policy.
Isn’t the whole point of GEN3+ increased safety, decreased material input, decreased complexity, lower construction time and lower construction cost? If we want to push Nuclear then I feel we also have to push all of the advantages GEN3+ brings. Also, let’s not forget that the planned AP1000 units at Vogtle are over twice as expensive as the identical units being built in China.
It’s getting late so my brain is getting fuzzy.
But now you seem to be saying the public should accept nuclear power for reasons that require a pretty good knowledge of the amazing safety of current nuclear power operation. Do they know that much? Do they know how poor the standards are of fossil fuel power production? Do they know how poor the economics of renewables are, if renewables were really required to provide the majority of our power (which eventually, when the fossil fuels run out, and if we don’t go nuclear, they would have to)?
I don’t know what the pollies think. Good old Noam Chomsky I think would say it’s not important to know what they think – only to oppose what they do when it is not in the public interest.
I’m sorry to have to stop for the evening, but I think my brain is shutting down.
The last flickering embers of my mind tonight recall just this one possible objection to Gen3+ as a practical matter – like all PWRs they require a pretty massive pressure vessel which in the world today can only be manufactured by one place – I can’t remember the name – Japan Big Welding or something – if we want to do a fast rollout of nuclear (not Gen4), the alternative is CANDUs that don’t require that pressure vessel.
Without (yet) studying the issue in depth, it seems to me that Peter Lang’s point about renewables (except hydro) never being a major contributor to electricity generation gets a tick. I also go along with David Walters when he says “Peter is 100% correct when he has argued that *cheap, abundant, reliable* electricity is a key to developing our planet in an environmentally friendly fashion”. I’m not sure I fully appreciate yet why renewables hold back nuclear, or necessarily have to hold it back, but I suppose I will when I’ve read some more (no need for people to educate me here). In the meantime, DV82XL, I believe that research into all areas, nuclear as well as renewables, can only be of benefit to personkind. And while I remain impressed by Peter Lang’s and Terry Krieg’s posts about Chernobyl, I’m grateful to Peter Lalor for reminding me, if no-one else, that official reports can be tainted by politics and other factors.
Thank you, David, for your welcome! But I’m not necessarily “anti-nuclear” – having read quite a lot of the anti-nuclear arguments, I’m now looking at the pro-nuclear side in order to arrive at my own position. As for not being intimidated by Ph.Ds, nuclear geeks etc, I’ve found that many experts lose sight of the big picture and thus can have only a limited input to an argument that involves many disciplines, points of view, and factors such as people’s fears (rational or not), ignorance, prejudice etc. I don’t know John Newlands’ qualifications or background, but his denigration of people’s genuine and heart-felt concerns about eagles and platypuses (“It’s all sort of warm green and fuzzy”) is the kind of thing that could lead to a public relations disaster for the pro-nuclear lobby.
Steady on there Martin. What I’m doing is ridiculing the idea that Renewable Energy Credits which heavily distort energy markets can be so subjective in nature. As it happens I make a slight surplus of household electricity, make most of my own car fuel from veg oil and pay no water or sewage rates. Alas I’m not that good at food self sufficiency.
What I’ve learned from all of this is renewables cannot underwrite the lifestyles of the global middle class. It’s a fantasy that is being propped up with undiminished coal burning and handouts (like RECs) to make renewables look better than they are. The longer we kid ourselves the harder the eventual reality check will be.
Scott, on 4 April 2010 at 18.06 Said:
I agree with all these points. However, I don’t know the following:
1. Is the AP1000 less expensive (total life cost per MWh) than the CANDU 6 or other Gen IIs?
2. Is the AP1000 more expensive than a simple, nuclear power plant with equivalent safety to the coal plants we accept now? For example, would a relatively simple NPP, like those in a nuclear powered ship, be less expensive than an AP1000?
3. Would the Russian NPP’s be less expensive than the AP1000? Their safety record is far superior to coal fired plants, so why not these if they are less expensive?
Do you know the answer to these three questions?
I realise I am pushing the envelope with my comments and questions. I am doing so to try to get people to think about the cost of requiring ridiculous levels of safety. And also to get them to consider why we are wanting to impose carbon taxes and ETS while we are not prepared to tackle the policies that are causing nuclear to be more expensice than it needs to be.
I realise the ‘start from scratch, low cost NPP’ are not ready to go and would take a long time to develop and gain approval so it is not a realistic option. But it gets some people thinking about the inflated costs and delays their excessive demands are causing.
I had another question for you,
How much would new, small power plants like Hyperion cost if there were mass orders for them?
I think the points you have been making have been reasoned and have merit. I can’t really see that they are incompatible with the objectives espoused by Peter Lang and several others here but for a single exception. This relates to Peter’s wish to reduce electricity costs by reducing “redundant” safety of nuclear plants. You suggest that this would be politically inept and I’m inclined to agree. For some reason, Peter has decided that you are from the extreme green left and this seems to generate such an emotional response in him that it appears to preclude the use of his normally astute cognitive faculties.
I have tried to argue, and I think you and Scott are inclined to agree, that the engineering costs of nuclear safety, redundant or not, may not be the principal factors determining the overpricing of nuclear power in western democracies. Should this not be so, Peter’s case becomes stronger.
The debate about the internalising of externalised coal costs is becoming more nuanced and is unlikely to progress further. After all, we all want to see its use for power production phased out as soon as practicably possible and must accept that the Chinese and Indians will continue using it until they have something better to replace it with. None of us has faith in CCS coal so we agree that this has to be nuclear.
To which, Douglas, I would merely add that those who need to be won over are precisely those whom Peter would label “deep green” (and thus agents of “evil”) whether they are in fact deep green or not.
If these people could be brought to look at nuclear power favourably — making it a green issue the policy could go forward very quickly.
We’ve been trying to win over your mates with rational arguments for 40 years. It hasn’t worked. You and your mates want to add Carbon Tax and ETS to increase electricity prices but don’t want to look at what is making nuclear more expensive than coal. As long as you and your ilk take this approach there will be resistance from the wiser, rational, vast majority. I am trying to get you to go after you brethren and change their mind, rather than try to burry the problem under an ETS or Carbon Tax.
If you want to impose an ETS or Carbon tax without first committing to remove the cost imposts on nuclear, I submit we will keep mucking around for another 40 years, or for however long it takes to get over these irrational policies.
Renewable Energy Targets, feed in tariffs, subsides for renewable energy production, and funding for renewable energy research while none for nuclear, need to be stopped before I would be willing to support an ETS or carbon tax. While I see your ilk arguing for all these distorting and money wasting policies and also wanting an ETS and Carbon Tax, I just feel it is green-wash. I don’t trust the motives.
Did you miss, or have you already forgotten this post:
You very reasonably wish to do everything possible to encourage transition to clean energy while keeping electricity prices from rising. Your recipe is to avoid the imposition of carbon taxes and, instead, regulate coal out of production at a rate that would allow its replacement with nuclear. How will your prescription prevent a dash to gas? What will it do to facilitate the electrification of transport?
Might I suggest that, if you favour the dictatorial (regulatory) route rather than a free market one, you would achieve a better outcome by mandating nuclear while phasing out both coal and baseload gas? If you were to take this route, you might as well nationalise the energy sector in its entirety. This would allow you to ride roughshod over those attempting to delay your aims (nimbys, planners, regulators), prevent gouging by nuclear plant providers and remove the need to rely on private investors with short term investment predelictions. It would also remove the need to greenwash and subsidise renewables. To summarise, the best outcome would be best achieved by adopting a Chinese political model and suspending democracy. If that’s what is needed to get the job done, I might back you to be my dictator but you wouldn’t need my backing in such circumstances anyway.
OK, this is somewhat tongue in cheek. However, power is shifting away from western democracies and the shift will accelerate and lead to terminal decline if we continue to dither. Peak oil will see to that before the added woes of AGW even kick in in their more severe manifestations.
@Lang: you appear to be writing to Ewen Laver that you (undefined) have been propounding rational policies for 40 years, i.e. 1970.
For AU this includes part of the career of e.g. Sir Ernest Titterton, d. 1990. You can easily find a listing of the positions he held on various boards in AU. These show how military and civilian use of atomic energy have been conflated.
Looking at December 1969, just outside your time frame, it would appear that the forerunner of ANSTO supported the construction of a plant at Jervis Bay NSW that could produce weapons-grade plutonium.
If I may mention the name Diesendorf on BNC without having to wash my mouth out with soap: he adverted to the conflation of military/civilian in AU in his videoed debate with the Blog Owner and Blees in ADL.
Your “rationality” has thus included that of mutually assured destruction, MAD.
1. It can be difficult to tell when GENII ends and GENIII begins. My understanding is GENIII are essentially the same in principle and operation as GENII but with advances in operation, cost, and safety. Both GE & Westinghouse have products that are simplified compared to existing reactors, utilize modular construction techniques and have improved or passive safety. The AP1000 doesn’t require active systems for safety which probably cuts down the cost significantly. I have no figures or direct comparisons, but it’s clear the world wants to head in the direction of GENIII. I don’t know a whole lot about CANDU technology, however the Enhanced CANDU 6 is a GENIII design, but a quick search lists the following advantages it has over the CANDU 6:
Increased plant margins, both operational and safety
Enhanced environmental protection
Improved severe accident response
Improved fire protection system
Improved plant security
Modern computers and control systems
Improved plant operability and maintainability
Optimized plant maintenance outages
Reduced Overall Project Schedule
Advanced MACSTOR design for spent fuel storage
Ability to perform deep load-following (50%-100% FP)
2. I have no idea. I suspect an AP1000 without all the enhanced overblown safety like the crash-proof containment would be cheaper. This could be eliminated by reducing the regulatory burden which is probably the lowest hanging fruit. I suspect this is followed by further plant simplification with designs such as the B&W mPower. They integrated the steam generator into the RPV virtually eliminating the possibility of a loss of coolant accident, and all the safety systems designed to deal with it. This also is supposed to make the plant cheaper and easier to construct. I also believe that our future plants must have similar or better safety to existing plants – I wouldn’t expect the public to accept anything less.
I think the best question is:
– Why is the AP1000 in the west over twice the cost of the AP1000 in China?
3. I haven’t seen any cost projections on them. I can’t help but liken the Russian Nuclear industry to that of the Russian civilian aerospace industry. They build cheap hardware that is very unpopular internationally that pretty much nobody buys. I don’t know how true that is, but it’s my perception. (even China is proceeding with plants that are based on the AP1000 – the CAP1400)
4. Hyperion is not in production and is not licensed. I don’t think we will know that for some time.
I apologise if I did not specifically comment on your comment 52619. Problem is that I’m in a different time zone and a lot of water has gone under the bridge before I get to reading everything here. This means it often seems too late to make specific responses to comments that appear soon after I’ve gone to bed. However, since you have invited a reply, I’ll have a go.
You stated that you couldn’t answer the questions I raised but that your gut feeling was that “excessive safety requirements increase the cost of the nuclear plant by more than a factor of 2.” However, you went on to conflate the extra costs of redundant pumps, valves, containment etc with “changed requirements, redesign, ever increasing new requirements, more design changes …” I don’t dispute your gut feeling but the information I was hoping for – namely the actual extra build costs associated with redundant safety- was not provided, even from your nether regions. I agree that ever increasing new requirements and design changes are unacceptable.
Later in your comment you suggest that “we could have power from nuclear for about 25% of what it is under existing safety requirements.” I wonder what the reference point for your 25% is – the cost of nuclear power in France, the UK, theUSA , Russia or China? In the UK, there are several reliable sources that suggest that new nuclear will produce electricity as or more cheaply than that produced from a new coal plant with no CCS. Am I to take it, therefore, that your gut feeling is that nuclear electricity should cost one quarter that of coal electricity on a level playing field?
Finally, can I ask you to reconcile your “more than doubling build costs” to your 25% electricity costs? I’m not sure what you are including in your build costs. I believe the up front costs of nuclear plants contribute roughly 70% to the costs of electricity emanating from them. Up front costs are made up of more than build costs. Also, build costs of nuclear reactors are not the same as total build costs for a nuclear power plant. I am therefore struggling to understand how your separately stated gut feelings are consistent.
I must have answered this about 10 times already in different posts on different threads. I am worn out with repeating the same thing over an ovr again when it seems it is slipping right past.
That must be a joke. You call imposing an ETS or carbon tax as a free market approach. You must be joking.
Let me reiterate what I wrote in my last post – I don’t think safety is what causes the high nuclear construction costs. Something is causing AP1000’s proposed in America to cost $6000 a kilowatt, and something is causing the AP1000 to cost $2000 per kilowatt in China. The Korean (aka CE) reactors that will be built in UAE were about $3500 kilowatt iirc. Something must make up these differences:
– Is it because China can produce things cheaply?
– Is it because China has cheap labour?
– Is it because China is developing and building many units at the same time?
– Is the regulatory burden different?
We need more expertise in this area.
Thank you for all those answers. What I am really asking about is costs. The AP1400s Korea has contracted to build in UAE are about US$3700/kW. That is FOAK in UAE and FOAK for Korean export. So we should expect them to cost less next time, everything else being equal.
DV82XL has mentioned capital cost of about $1300 to $2200/kW for the CANDU 6.
New Super Critical coal plant in Australia is estimate at about $2239/kW. Nuclear in Australia at $5200 (FOAK), but I argue that is too high. It is because of the impediments. We need nuclear at somewhere between $2500 and $3000/kW (settled down cost) to be competitive with coal.
I realise what you say about the Russian plants, but let’s push the envelope. We want low cost electrcity for all the benefits it brings. It will also be easier to bring clean electrcity to Australia quickly if it is cheaper than coal. So what do we have to do to get low cost nuclear in Australia? I am not really advocating Russian or Chinese reactors, although it might seem like that. I am trying to get the people blogging here to get away from their one track solution of an ETS or Carbon Tax and look at the problem of the impediments to nculear. These are the real block to nuclear in Australia; and an ETS or Carbon Tax are not going to bring nuclear to Australia until we tackly the fundamental underlying policy issues. That is, the greenie and Labor objection to nuclear. That is what we must tackle. Let’s not hide or avoid the real isue by arguing about ETS or Carbon Tax.
So let’s, look at what could/should be the cost of nuclear in Australia if we removed all the impediments. And let’s identify the impediments and work out how best to remove them. Forget about the ETS or Carbon Tax until we’ve done this. That is what I am getting at.
You are asking never ending questions for clarification. I feel I am answering them, and have been for a long time, but they are spread through many posts on many threads. It nis not possible to bring it all together in short web posts. I think if you read back over them you will see the difference between the factor of 2 and the 25% and that these are big picture gut feel figures in answer to your earlier questions. I feel I gave you the basis for these, but you are not picking up on them. Enough from me from on this for tonight.
Why don’t you have a go at trying to come up with some answers to my questions instead of turning them back on me to answer?
Why was FOAK in UAE $3700 per kilowatt and FOAK in Australia projected to be $5200? Also, my math puts Qinshan Phase 3 CANDU at $2100 USD per kilowatt in 2003, $2500 today taking into account inflation. That’s higher than AP1000 iirc.
True to your instructions, I’ve been browsing. This seems to give good information on relative costs. You may, of course, be au fait with it already.
I only ask never ending questions of you because your answers rarely strike me as entirely convincing. Perhaps most others here have more knowledge and greater intelligence and are thus able to accept that you are almost always right. Sorry to be so irritating.
Thank you for that update on the cost of Qinshan Phase 3 CANDU. Do you have a link to an authoritative source for that figure? It would be useful for me to have that for future use.
Here is the source of the $5200/kW capital cost for FOAK nuclear in Australia: http://www.aemo.com.au/planning/419-0035.pdf
It is based on an Australian study by ANSTO. However, it is consistent with EPRI and MIT (2009) projected costs converted to Australian conditions. It gives the projected costs through to 2030.
I don’t know if you have seen this paper: https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/09/emission-cuts-realities/.
It has the projected capital costs and electricity costs to 2050 for coal, gas, nuclear, wind and solar thermal.
Happy Easter to you too. We can continue discussions another day. I am sure we are not really very far apart. I am hoping you and otheres will eventually drop the obsession with ETS and Carbon Tax. I suspec Ewen is rusted on to that because that is what the Greens advocate. And Peter Lalor simply wants renewables and thinks nuclear is evil, so that will never go anywhere. There will always be some on the fringe that will never be rational. I’d include in this group: Jim Green, Mark Diesendorf, Mark Jacobson, David Lowe and all those who belong to WWF, FoE, Greenpeace and ACF.
Not exactly an authoritative source, LOL It’s just my math by adding up savings.
Click to access Qinshan.pdf
“Project completed 10% under budget saving 2.5 billion RMB”.
2500000000 * 0.9 / 0.1 / 1300000 = yuan per kilowatt convert to USD then adjust for inflation. Probably wildly wrong, I used it for a rough guess.
This is precisely what I do say. Once nearly everything is internalised i.e we have a nearly level playing field then these are an impediment — they are kind of like your proposed counter-subsidy for nuclear as a response to the public subsidy to coal you want to keep.
All – happy Spring Equinox celebrations,
The Qinshan Phase 3 savings calculation in that pamphlet Scott linked to seems to be for total plant cost end-to-end, so it probably is a good ball-park number to use. The contract with China was a complex one and involved some technology transfer, so that the next builds could have greater local content. AECL has made it clear that they will sell rights to build CANDUs independently to groups that qualify, and this was part of moving the Chinese in that direction, as their plans for new plants are quite ambitious.
One last item that needs to be factored into the the equation when looking at appropriate reactor designs in the fuel. CANDU reactors do not require enriched fuel. For all others currently available an enrichment facility will have to be built, or fuel imported. No one is giving SWUs away and the cost is likely to go up long before it comes down, thus difference between these two types of fuel should be factored into the discussion.
I believe that this conversation needs to take a moment and settle some definitions on the mater of ‘safety costs,’ in my opinion there seems to be some confusion in how that idea is interpreted, which is causing the appearance of conflict where none might exist.
In general safety is a function of system design, quality control/quality assurance, operating procedures and discipline (a term here meaning the degree to which the prior functions are adhered to.) This breakdown is important because the areas in NPP construction where costs are driven upwards unnecessarily is in quality control and quality assurance. Over zealous application of regulation and licensing terms, particularly in areas that are far from critical, like ridiculous demands for ever finer environmental impact studies after the plant design has already passed the previous three, for example is typical.
Refusing to allow even the smallest substitution in materials, even if that substitution is standard industry practice, without a lengthy review; demands that all systems preform initially exactly as described in the licence application, even if they are preforming well within design limits for normal plat operation, and similar nit-picking is typical. Demands on fail-safe and no-fail systems, far exceeding those required by any other technical domain (like aviation, for example) are also another source of delay and expense.
Which brings us to how this impacts NPP costs. Normally the capitalization of a project of the nature of a NPP requires that the firm building it set and adhere to a schedule of payback for the funds borrowed. Money in the volumes involved here cannot wait for interest payments and as a result most projects of this kind in the West finds itself paying lenders before there is revenue from the plant to draw on. Every delay of one or two months, drives the price of that borrowed money higher, and to service this debt, the builders often must float even more loans, now at higher rates, and the cycle continues.
Antinuclear forces know this effect well, and they too move to file injunctions, or make other legal manoeuvres even knowing that these will fail, because they know it will drive up the costs.
Both of these sources of delay, although they are framed as such in the media and the propaganda, are not over true safety issues, and it is the the lack of this sort of activity that permits export CANDUs to be build for so much less that domestic projects. It is this aspect that needs cleaning up, not a general reduction in standards, as is often implied when criticizing these effects.
A most helpful contribution. I totally endorse the conclusions expressed in your final paragraph.
Someone asked about the dichotomy between the very low price per KW installed of the AP1000 in China (and other places) vs that of the US where the prices are similar to the far more expensive EPR.
The cost figures in the U.S. are not given by the contractor building the project, nor by the vendor (in this case, Westinghouse) but by the customer, that is, the utility that has to negotiate the loans and other monies involved. Thus, these costs are very broad estimates and, based on the ability of the utility recover the costs through rate increases to the ratepayer. Thus, additionally, there is a huge incentive for the utility to overprice the costs of any project since it’s assumed that the costs are “cost-plus” but given statically, a one shot, “we’ll let you recover this amount but no more” by the various state Public Utility Commissions.
Secondly, regulatory expenses are huge in the US, not just upfront feeds (200 million USD at least) but by ancillary reports for environmental impact studies, grid tie-ins, huge delays and host of other costs associated 100% with the paper work.
Thirdly, wage labor costs. Westinghouse stated once that it takes about 10,000,000 to 20,000,000 “man-hours” to build an AP1000 in the 36 to 42 month period they *estimate* it cost. If we use the *low* number, 10 million and multiply that by a hefty wage-benefit package of $60/hr average (say, $30/hr average for craft-labor plus another $30 for various insurance, vacation, sick leave benefits), you get a $600 million dollar price tag for wage labor alone excluding salaried positions for engineering, regulatory paper work, etc etc.
If we use the high 20 million man-hours, that’s about 1.2 billion USD alone for the costs. The Chinese? About 1/10 to a likely 1/40th that cost. Essentially the labor power costs for a reactor there is statistically irrelevant.
None of the financial and regulatory expenses exist under Points 1& 2 above for the PRC. There is an engineering expense for plant citing, obviously, but there is almost zero paper work vis-a-vis the kind of requirements the various state PUCs, and ISOs demand nor the large forest-killing requirements of the NRC.
Martin, think about the consequences, if your views on nuclear power are wrong, and they prevail. There have already been numerous efforts by nuclear supporters to answer the questions you have raised. What more do you want?
David Walters – I agree with your analysis of the financial picture in the U.S. as well as the bureaucratic paper-burden, however, in the case of labor, I think you are a little off when you write that the labour costs for a reactor China is statistically irrelevant.
While China still has a vast pool of cheap unskilled labour it is already a relatively difficult skilled labour market. The World Bank’s 2008 Ease of Doing Business Report ranked China 86th out of 178 countries in terms of ease of employing tradesmen, well below regional peers such as Thailand, Vietnam and India, with non-wage labour costs being comparatively high as well.
For those many thousands of you who were following along my attempt to criticize an example of renewables that I don’t like in Ontario with my maths here and here and here,
I thought of one or two more points.
Homes in Ontario are commonly heated with natural gas. Renewable electricity will have to be replace more than current power consumption if it is to replace heating in homes in Ontario. Just generally speaking as the use of fossil fuels decreases, if we want to maintain overall energy usage, electrical energy usage will have to increase. The current peak usage in Ontario is about 25GW in summer, but the peak usage in a future without fossil fuels might well be more than 25GW in winter. Add the extra usage of electricity for transport, and extra usage of electricity for industrial heat, and peak electricity generating capacity goes up even more.
So now to replace the grid in Ontario with renewables requires more than 125GW of renewables. I don’t know how much, but it’s a lot of windmills. If renewables were expanded in the ratio of the Korean/Ontarian 2500MW scheme of 80% wind and 20% solar and lets guess the electricity demand would be 50GW, then 40GW of 5MW windmills at a capacity factor of 20% would be 40,000 5MW windmills.
Using the numbers I arrived at of nuclear power costing $13/W and therefore renewables would need to be cheaper than $2.6/W to be a better deal, I know that windfarms can be built at that rate, if you don’t count the extra powerlines needed and there is no backup other than the 5X capacity built to make up for a 20% capacity factor. So you can argue that it’s workable and cost competitive to do renewables rather than nuclear, but I don’t think it’s realistic. Looking after such a lot of renewables and wires has got to be more expensive and time consuming than 50 1GW reactors, placed near to where the power they generate is used, and from which excess heat can also surely be used too.
But for now, having in one hand an estimate for nuclear of $13/W, they can point to renewables and say this is cheaper and doesn’t produce nuclear waste.
Small point Lawrence, but “windmills” is the wrong term to use. Firstly it is wrong as the wind harvested will never turn a “mill” and it sounds like an attempt to deprecate as outdated a technology that many take seriously and is still being refined by serious engineering firms.
Resort to wind is unlikely to prove feasible in producing industrial scale energy, but using terms of derision in an ostensibly serious piece is likely to subtract from the credibility of your contribution.
Ewen Laver – the term windmill is in wide popular use in North America for wind turbines as evidenced by Working Windmills and Wind mill Power Equipment among others.
Also the word ‘mill’ was, at the time the term windmill was coined, used to refer to the running train of any machinery, not just a device for grinding grain.
I’m fairly sure that we need to make deprecatory remarks about wind because as you say , it is unlikely to prove feasible in producing industrial scale energy. You are correct in saying this. In SA , our government is going gangbusters on wind farms and building them all over the place. I’ve driven past three different farms on a total of 12 occasions over the past three months. On only two of the 12 occasions were they producing any power. Denmark, the biggest wind power producer isn’t building any more farms as far as I know but they are maintaining their production to sell to suckers like us. [They don’t want to close down an industry employing 30,000 people]. We need to expose wind for the fantasy that it is and to encourage our governments to stop building such dilute discontinuous sources of power. You and I know that if we want a secure, greenhouse-free energy supply, then we have to get our governments to start getting serious about introducing nuclear power. And at the risk of being simplistic could I suggest that we all accept that various costs of introducing nuclear in countries, while important, has not stopped an additional 20 countries from building new reactors. In five years there will be 53 countries with nuclear power. They all want secure, clean power and know that nuclear is the way to get it within the time the planet would appear to have to beat the global warming problem. And they’re not letting the cost stop them. Australia should be right up there giving some leadership on future world energy supply and use. Let’s get stuck into Rudd, Abbott and the rest of them and urge them to wake up and see what our biggest uranium reserves, world’s best waste disposal site and political stability can do for ourselves and the rest of the world. I think I’m saying that we should perhaps reduce the amount of discussion we’re having [all interesting to be sure] and start targetting the general population and the politicians with our ideas. Peter Lang and I have been doing it. How about a few of you others joining us?
As one of the contributors to the Nuclear Century Outlook I was pleased to see it reviewed here and the general debate that has prompted.
If nuclear generation is needed to develop on a path nearer the upper boundary of our outlook the debate laid out here will have to be resolved, matched by political commitment.
Barry, you highlight that there is a ‘clean energy gap’, even with the highest boundary of nuclear generation and regret we do not seek a way to plug the gap. Providing such an answer was not the intension of the NCO. We put forward separately our assessment of future need for clean energy and our assessment of realistic boundaries for nuclear development. That even the upper boundary does not meet that clean energy need highlights the severity of the challenge we face and should act as a spur to policy action to support nuclear energy.
Ensuring there are sufficient skilled people is a necessity, as DV82XL states, and is very much an issue that needs to be addressed now. The World Nuclear University is one contribution to meeting that need, providing a opportunity for the best of the industries young employees to learn from some of the most experienced people in the industry.
David Walters describes our projections of steadily increasing load as optimistic, I’d agree. We show an on-going clean energy gap. If that gap is met by polluting energy sources the environmental and subsequent economic consequences are dire. If we fail to meet that demand through any means the it will consign a significant proportion of the world’s population to ongoing desperate poverty.
While you offer here almost always amounts to good sense, pointing out that some retailer of garden equipment likes the term windmill doesn’t flatter you.
Strictly speaking, a windmill is a mill drawing the energy for its motion from a wind. The turbines are not the mill. What you are looking at in those painting of traditional Holland is the energy harvesting device for the mill. There’s also no technical reason why a windmill could bot be powered by a kitegen-style collector. As you may know, there are also watermills in which the power of running water drives the mill. If someone described hydroplants as “watermills” people would laugh but it would make rather more sense. The turbine at the other end is at least a kind of mechanical mill.
oops … from the above … should read …
More real-life numbers
planned capacity in excess of 1,000MW
(not very exact)
598 turbine layout
construction cost of approximately $2bn
3,500,000 MWh for 430,000 homes
so they expect a capacity factor of up to 40% – wow.
started planning late 2007
Start building 2010
expected to reach full operating capacity by 2015
I don’t know if there is built in backup power. No mention on the pages quoted.
Yes the second link was an error on my part, however
is not a garden equipment retailer and any time with Google shows that the term is in wide common usage when describing electric generating systems, driven by the wind, particularly in N.A.
The point here being that it is not automatically regarded as a diminutive term in all parts of the Anglosphere, which is what you contend.
In terms of the politics of the nuclear issue, let us be clear.
The number one issue, daylight to second, for most people (and especially those who are uncomfortable with the concept is “are they safe?” broadly defined.
Deal effectively with that issue and the other issues largely vanish, in part because while safety is a fairly nebulous concept, issues like cost are not.
People who fear nuclear power generally accept that accidents are rare and don’t want to sound like people with irrational or baseless fears and so what they tend to do is to elevate secondary issues to prime importance or cite values issues (e.g. a preference for “clean and green” country)
Some years ago, when my own view on these issues began to change I began discussing with my peers what they thought about nuclear power. Know that these are by and large teachers and other people who are far from being the least well educated in our population. And yet if you probe carefully unquantified fears of “nuclear meltdown”, “dirty bombs”, “terrorists with suitcase bombs”, “another Chernobyl” are never far from their minds.
“Meltdown” doesn’t even mean what a nuclear power plant engineer would understand by the term. In the public mind, one has the image of the “core” becoming so hot that it melts its containment vessel and leaks through the floor of and penetrates the water table spreading its insidious cancer-causing and baby-deforming radiation over an indefinite area for all eternity. Some people think that Chernobyl exploded like an atomic bomb. Nuclear waste is like a running sore and seen as like tumours on the face of a hitherto untainted land that we leave as a legacy for future generations to remember us by.
This is why the idea that one would compromise safety to save a few dollars would be a massive own goal. To do so is to open the door to all manner of hysteria. Within reason, people don’t care how much they pay for secure energy supply, but allowing them to think that we want to put them at risk of annihilation, even a small risk is simply not a serious proposition.
Instead, what we should do is to allow the coal burners to defend these charges — insidiously and silently poisoning the country and the planet for all time and leaving a barren wasteland as a monument to us while nuclear contains its footprint to the piddling area within its plant perimeters.
Using the simpleminded formula of multiplying the capacity factor up to 100%, always on power from Silverton would cost $5*1/0.4=$12.50/W. That’s fairly close to the price Ontario was quoted for absolutely guaranteed power, isn’t it?
Safety need not be compromised ether in design or in construction of NPP and other nuclear reactors, however as I wrote up thread there is much that is assumed to be safety issues that are nothing of the kind, and these can be rationalized, without compromising anything.
For example, in the strange world of reactor licensing, credit in safety analysis is taken only for the second trip on the slowest shutdown system. This is just ludicrous from an engineering point of view, and is unique to nuclear reactors.
Rationalizing B.S. like this is not a case of making nPP any less safe, it only lowers the cost of proving them so.
@Lawrence I think that the Silverton wind farm fails the requirement of being seen from a Sunday afternoon drive while the gas generators are tucked away in an industrial suburb. Eerily that is the Mad Max country from the movie that prophesied Peak Oil some 30 years ago. No mention in your link of extra transmission requirements from Broken Hill to Sydney.
I think the 250 MW Cattle Hill wind farm is more likely to get built. If you read the link you see it has to have low eagle mortality. This is apparently necessary to sell RECs as offsets. The desired REC price seems to be around $50 or so per Mwh. Thus more wind farms will allow more coal burning since they generate offsets. I wish the Dept of Climate Change would explain the logic behind that instead of spending the next year debugging the insulation scheme.
Scott @ 4 April 2010 at 23.09,
Thank you for the AECL Quinshan sheet. Simple, ‘back of an envelope’ figures like you have done are great. However, when I see publicity sheets like this I wonder what is included and what is not. Is the cost they quoted for the AECL part only or does it include the cost of the Hitachi and Bechtel components (the balance of plant).
This http://www.nti.org/db/china/qinshan.htm and this says the project cost was US$2.9 billion which I presume is the full project cost (for two 728 MW units). This http://www.cnnc.com.cn/tabid/168/Default.aspx says “The total construction cost of the Project is US$2.88 billion.”
This calculates to US$1,978/kW (A$2,197/kW). This is roughly half the cost of the Korean AP1400’s contracted to the UAE (US$3,700/kW = A$4,100). Of course, the Quinshan Phase III cost needs to be escalated to 2009 $ to be equivalent to the UAE AP1400 contract price.
If these costs are comparable, the CANDU 6 would seem to be the way to go, and would seem to be competitive with new coal in Australia (A$2339/kW for new super critical black coal, air cooled).
As an aside, the 728 MW size units would be more easily incorporated into the Australian grid than 1,000 MW units.
With the design improvements incorporated in the CANDU 6 they should be considerably safer than the Gen II’s that have been operating for the past 40 odd years and which have a proven safety record that is 10 to 100 times safer than coal. How much safety do we want, or don’t we want nuclear at any cost?
By the way, regarding the CANDU 6’s load following capability I noticed this:
“The CANDU 6 can operate continuously in the reactor-following-turbine mode and be capable of load cycling that typically involve a rapid reduction of power from 100% to 60%, steady-state operation at 60% power for 6 hours, and a return to full power over the following three hour period.
The plant power-maneuvering rate is limited by the turbine design, and is typically 5 to 10 percent of full power per minute.
During normal plant operation, assuming an initial power of 100 percent, xenon load at a steady state level, and with a normal flux shape, the reactor power may be reduced to 60 percent of full power at rates up to 10 percent of full power per minute. The power may be held at the lower level, indefinitely. Return to full power can be accomplished within three hours, or less, depending on the degree and duration of the power reduction.”
Click to access 20054402.pdf
Looks good to me :)
I was going by this story
They seem to approve everything.
Is Tassie windier than NSW? According to this
shows cap fac from Woolnorth of 28.8%
Silvertons cap fac of 40% would seem optimistic. Using 30%, they would get 300MW equivalent, for the same $2B, so it’s more like $7/W. Then using my simpleminded formula for estimating the cost of 100% availability of just multiplying up to %100 then 7*100/30= $23/W. A lot more than nuclear.
I think my maths is wrong. Multiplying a number by the reciprocal of the capacity factor after deriving the number using capacity factor already can’t be right.
Somewhere there must be statistical math to figure out what it would take to get a 90+% real cap fac. Something to do with two or three standard deviations.
It seems to me that the wind blows steadily on the coastline but tends to be all or nothing at inland locations. In a mountainous area you’d think wind-electric pumping using variable speed motors might scale up for large hydro dams, though this hasn’t taken off.
I’m not sure if using capital cost/capacity factor is the right proxy for the required overbuild in the same location e.g. ($2.50)/(0.25) = $10/w. This would seem to require steady wind or solar without extended lulls. If the repeat builds are spread out to avoid lulls add extra transmission costs.
Consider too that one of the features of the Enhanced CANDU 6 (a GenIII) is superior load-following, if that is a consideration and there is also the CANDU 9 – a single unit design with an output of ~950 MWe if you’re looking for something bigger.
Multiplying nameplate by capacity factor I believe gives the right figure for mean capacity and then dividing cap fac into nameplate cost gives the mean $/W. But nowhere does the wind blow at the mean rate – it’s totally statistical. So to get how much capacity to build requires some statistical model over an area deemed big enough to always have wind. There must be some simple approximate statistical model for that. My memory from maths class is that everything becomes Gauss normal eventually so that would be the basis I suppose. I still don’t quite know though. Have to think about it.
The CANDU 6 is around 750mwe gross, but 600-670 mw net.
Also, the Korean reactor is the APR-1400, which is unrelated to the AP1000 and the 1400mw AP1000 derivatives planned in China. I also think it is somewhat difficult to compare the CANDU in China with the planned UAE units because there are many variables, labour costs for example.
Thank you for those comments.
All I am interested in is least cost of electricity, what is the earliest achievable commissioning date for the first unit, and build rate for the next units.
From my perspective, the safety of all NPP’s is more than adequate, including Russian and Chinese NPPs.
I do agree with your’s and others excellent posts on safety and what is causing costs in western countries to be higher than they could be.
I also agree, that to get around these problems, there are reasons to consider public ownership. But that is an enormous issue. Would the government buy back the Australian electricity system (assets of A$120 billion http://www.esaa.com.au/ )
Scott 5 April 2010 at 15.08 Said:
Thank you. I had included a sentence and figures for CANDU 6 = 650 MW net but deleted it. I thought it would confuse the message because I don’t know the net for the APR1400.
What happened to the ACR? From reading world-nuclear, it seems like a significantly better reactor over the CANDU 6.
Thanks to DV82XL’s intervention and your response to it, it appears that our points of view are not poles apart (as, indeed, we had both suspected anyway).
I would still like to debate the most favourable economic route to clean energy transition. In no way would I claim to know the answer, but I think it can be hepful to throw up a variety of ideas and, also, to point out the possible pitfalls in the ideas of others.
It would be helpful if we could first agree with the following statements:
a) transition to clean energy is extremely urgent
b) transition should be achieved at least possible cost
c) In pursuing objective b), we accept DV82XL’s position on nuclear safety
d) objective b) requires that the “heavy lifting” will be achieved by nuclear power
e) we oppose subsidies to renewables – totally or at least until such time as equivalent subsidies are available to nuclear providers
f) that, for the purposes of this discussion, we do not, at this stage, get distracted by arguing over the pros and cons of different nuclear designs and generations
g) we accept that, even were we to arrive at some sort of agreement, it is only politicians, responding to signals from their electors (in the case of democracies) that can influence matters and we may therefore be wasting our time
To start the ball rolling, I will list what I think are the options and hence potential areas for disagreement:
1) nationalised or privatised approach to transition or a combination of both
2) method of raising the finance necessary for transition:
a) general taxation
b) ETS type schemes
c) Carbon Tax with returned dividend
d) Carbon tax, hypothecated, and to be spent only on clean energy transition
As I believe you know, I like a nationalised approach and option 2d). You are open minded on the choices in 1) but are unequivocally in favour of 2a).
I suspect, by now, that you are already foaming and thinking that I’m starting to misrepresent you. You will tell me that you favour regulation, not general taxation. I will finish this comment, while hoping for ongoing debate, by explaing why I don’t think I’m misrepresenting you at all.
You wish to regulate out coal and regulate in nuclear at a rate that allows the majority of coal plants to reach end of life first. This gradual approach may or may not be fast enough to avoid the worst consequences of peak oil or climate change (I don’t know and don’t want to get distracted by this) and it may or may not be as quick as one could practically transition anyway from a technical perspective. Anyway, I think we could agree rate of transition has financial consequences with the gradual approach being the immediately more affordable. I still think that your approach will not be fiscally neutral. Starting on a nuclear trajectory while winding down coal is almost certainly, in the short term, going to be more costly than BAU. In effect, this means that the discretionary income of taxpayers has to fall. This will either be effected directly by an increase in general taxation or by a reduction in their purchasing power, which come to the same thing.
I accept that your proposal is not without merit, particularly if one has the luxury of a gradual transition without danger. My gut feeling is that we may need to transition faster, but I don’t want to go there in this debate. This leaves me to come up with alternative criticisms:
1) Your regulatory approach seems to leave the oil and gas sectors alone. You have already told me that you have explained why this won’t lead to a dash for gas or delay transition to electrical transportation and invited me to look back to your past posts. I have done so but may have either missed something or been too thick to understand.
2) If the public are going to have to accept a drop in living standards to enable transition, I believe they would more readily accept the necessity, for the benefit of the younger generation, if they could see how the extra money was being raised and what it was being spent on. An increase in general taxation or a general drop in purchasing power would, in my view be less acceptable. Furthermore, the more transparent approach would be more likely to influence public habits in favour of energy efficiency.
I await your response with interest in the hope of a continuing and amicable discussion. I hope others will join in and then i might learn even more.
Far from it. This is excellent. This is as far as I’ve read. I’ll think about this post and get back to you, but probably not tonight.
Thanks, Peter, for your holding reply.
I note from one of your comments in your pumped storage post that you have already come up with a figure of, I think, Au$35 billion net for transitioning to nuclear rather than continuing with coal. This, obviously spread over a number of years, is quite modest. Does it include any compensation to coal plant investors or would you rely on coal plants ending life to avoid the necessity to compensate? What about coal mining investors or would they be left free to export?
I thought , again for purposes of the discussion, it might be better to assume that the same level of extra finance will be necessary for a given rate of transition’ regardless of how it is acquired. This would make it possible to discuss the pros and cons of the different money raising scenarios.
As you know, I suggested a limited period of hypothecated tax to be used for transition and you doubted that limitation would be adhered to. However, depending upon build rate of nuclear, I would have thought that something like 15 years, possibly less, could be sufficient. This would enable the income stream from the earliest nuclear plants to fund the continuing build.
As to nationalisation, you asked about investor compensation. How about share issues in nuclear instead of money for forceably retired fossil fuel investments, starting from a nationalised position that would transform to a public/private hybrid?
As an aside, one of your previous comments caused me great hilarity. You chose banks to illustrate the superioity of the private sector over the public. I think you might chosen a more apt example. You said you could always get your money from a private bank but would be kept waiting by a public body. Perhaps Australian banks haven’t been in the trouble ours have. The only reason our banks can return depositors their money is because the taxpayer has made good all their losses. Bank investors have lost most of their investments. I write this as one who is probably more right of centre than you (judging by the opinions of my friends who think it impossible to be more to the right). However, in an emergency, which clean energy transition is, I think philosophical or party differences are likely to get in the way of the optimum solutions.
Here is my response to your first section of numbered points (the points we think we agree on). I’ve changed some of your words and added some clarification of my thinking.
1. transition to clean energy is important – Yes
2. transition should be achieved at least possible cost – Yes
3. In pursuing objective b), we accept DV82XL’s position on nuclear safety – Yes, as long as Australia can have electricity from nuclear at less cost than from coal. Otherwise, I see no reason to require nuclear at 10 to 100 times the safety of coal. I am willing to reduce the safety and educate the public that there is a trade off between safety and the cost; and the cost is borne by all of society – we are all poorer when we impose irrational policies. Educate the public regarding how many hospitals and nurses and doctors the public loses and what effect requiring extreme safety is having on life expectancy etc for no benefit. Then let the public decide, but get the facts out to them first.
4. objective b) requires that the “heavy lifting” will be achieved by nuclear power – That is my belief too, but I’d advocate we frame it in a non ‘picking winners’ way. So I propose we frame it as ‘least cost, acceptably safe, clean energy’
5. we oppose subsidies to renewables for production. We support R&D but the funding of R&D will be distributed according to expected return on investment, not on ideology. We continue to fund commitments already made, but stop further commitments for renewables such as MRET, feed in tarrifs and subsidies for power stations and solar panels etc.
6. that, for the purposes of this discussion, we do not, at this stage, get distracted by arguing over the pros and cons of different nuclear designs and generations – Yes
7. we accept that, even were we to arrive at some sort of agreement, it is only politicians, responding to signals from their electors (in the case of democracies) that can influence matters and we may therefore be wasting our time – Yes
Scott, on 5 April 2010 at 16.53 Said:
“What happened to the ACR? From reading world-nuclear, it seems like a significantly better reactor over the CANDU 6.”
To make a long story short, CANDUs advantage on the market has always been that it uses NU fuel, is available in smaller sizes, and is comparatively simple. These factors have lead to generally lower construction and operating costs, which makes the reactor attractive to smaller markets.
The ACR was designed to compete with the larger offerings, and in attempting to do so they chose to abandon all the better aspects of the standard design. ACR need enriched fuel, both heavy and light water circuits, and are large and expensive. Nor are there any examples of this type built, and shake-down costs are going to be high for any first of a kind build. No one in Canada wants the reactor, and AECL cannot compete in a market that has little room at the top, with an untried product, especially given their last attempt at a mixed water design was a total failure (Gentilly I)
I strongly doubt this design will ever see the light of day, as anyone that wants a 1000MWe CANDU can go for the well-tested CANDU 9.
I am finding it hard to answer all your long posts because I often need to reply to almost every sentence. Unfortunately, the BNC website doen not allow me to copy your post, insert text in uyour text and highlight it in another colour. So I cant keep up.
However, I notice that a lot of clarification will be needed unless I can persuade you to have a pretty good understanding of this paper https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/09/emission-cuts-realities/
And less important this one too: https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/
This figure is from the first paper mentioned above. It is based on no payment to coal fired power stations for early retirements. It assumes coal fired plants will be replaced at 40 years of age (many are already over due and replacement is being delayed because of 20 years of uncertainty in what is happening with government changes in rules, regulations and threats.) The cost figures is based on the very high cost of nuclear ($5200/kW in 2010). This figure is the ACIL Tasman cost estimate and is based on US costs, transferred to Australia and with most of the imposts in place. In fact the terms of reference from the regulator to ACIL Tasman provided an indication of the sorts of restrictions that DV82XL referred to that apply in Canada.
If you want to discuss Carbon Taxes, ETS and other options for raising the cost of electricity, its going to be a long discussion. The more I’ve thought about it the more opposed I am to that route. I have given my reasons in a number of posts on a number of threads. I don’t have them all together, and it would take me a while to gather them. Perhaps you’d like to have a look back. I think the majority were on this thread https://bravenewclimate.com/2010/01/31/alternative-to-cprs/
and perhaps a thread or two before and after, but I am saying that from memory, I haven’t checked.
No. I think the banks are an excellent example to demonstrate the difference between the public sector and the private sector. The banks have been competing and have kept their costs low through implementing technology, efficiency and focusing on good customer service. I can move money from my computer. I can purchase on line.
If I compare this with the public sector I have memories of waiting on line for half an hour in England for any of the public sector run organisations to answer the phone. It was just a standard practice. The service levels in the public sector here are pretty much the same. When I was in Canada I could go to a phone shop, provide my details and the address for house I was moving into, pick up a phone, go to my house, plug it in and it would be comnnected the same day. When I returned to Australia our Telecom was still a public owned, union controlled, organisation. It would take 3 months to get connnected from the time you submitted your request in triplicate with carbon paper. Then a technician would come around, drill a hole through a leg of a chair, put the telephone cable through it just to show who was in charge around here, and come back a week later to plug it in. That’s public sector for you. Sydney Harbour Ferries keep crashing into the wharfs. NSW trains get lost. Want to know more? :)
I’ve just realised, we are not focusing on the key issues. The key issue is: how do we remove the impediments to nuclear? DV82XL pointed out a lot of them. How doo we remove them?
Peter Lang, on 5 April 2010 at 23.31 Said:
“In pursuing objective b), we accept DV82XL’s position on nuclear safety – Yes, as long as Australia can have electricity from nuclear at less cost than from coal. Otherwise, I see no reason to require nuclear at 10 to 100 times the safety of coal.”
In terms of real safety you don’t have a choice, unless you want to develop a system from scratch. The manufactures have designs that have passed type approval in several jurisdictions, and are not likely to agree to derate their product for your market.
For example the CANDU has a ‘defense in depth’ emergency shutdown feature (SCRAM) that has four independent ways to kill the reaction if needed. Without asking I can tell you AECL would not be amenable to a modification that would eliminate any of them. There are similar examples. Now to what extent the regulator will need proof that all methods will function – that’s another story. It would be fiendishly expensive to demand that the reactor be run up 20% above rating to see if the last-ditch, neutron poison injection will work in real time, as it would require a full replacement of the heavy water charge. However there are ways of testing this without a full SCRAM.
These are the areas where costs can be reduced, without compromising safety. All others are fixed into the design.
Thanks for taking the trouble to keep this discission going. You have made 5, so far unanswered, responses. I will deal briefly with each.
#52921 Agreed, with the proviso that we acknowledge that DV82XL’s most recent post (#52930) places reasonable constraints on what can and can’t be done over the issue of safety.
#52925 I should have recalled that you were planning to avoid compensating coal plant operators by the expedient of allowing the plants to operate for 40 years. Sorry. However, you didn’t answer my point about coal mine operators and possible compensation. I am a bit concerned that, with no compensation, they would wish to continue to export, but at a higher than previous level and thus prevent any overall global emissions improvements. They might also contemplate going into the coal to liqids business. I also recall that you were suggesting an (I think uncosted) accelerated educational push to make up for the nuclear skills deficit. I am therefore suggesting the possibility that your Au$ 35 billion may be an underestimate.
#52927 re carbon taxes, ETS and the extra tax implications of your regulatory approach. I was trying to suggest that, for a given rate of transition, the extra money that would need to be found would be more or less the same by whatever means it was raised. Your objections to carbon taxes and ETS seem to assume that more would have to be raised by the last two approaches (actually I agree over ETS because of gaming and dealers). I think the amount needed is more a reflection of the rate of transition required. As a matter of fact, though quite radical, one might even consider a total rebasing of the tax system based around carbon but, I think, at this stage, it would be distracting. In other words, I am suggesting that, having decided how much extra money is needed and for how long, one then discusses the best way of raising it. If you can persuade me that transition can be achieved at a satifactory rate by the additional expenditure of AU$35 billion at a rate of $1 billion/annum for 35 years, then I will try to persude you that you’d get more bangs for your buck through a carbon levy than through general taxation.
#52928 On the more frivolous matter of banking, the fact that you have totally missed my point persuades me that Australia hasn’t experienced the worse- than- 1930s- crash attributed to the banking crisis. We could argue whether it was regulatory failure or banking failure that was primarily to blame. However, in the States and Europe, most banks would have failed but for governments using taxpayers’ money to bail them out. As an aside, when one rings one’s “private” taxpayer owned bank in the UK, one will most likely be answered with a usually unintelligible voice from an Indian call centre. In fairness, the voice’s owner generally endeavours to be polite, despite the often rising frustration and irritation of the caller.
I forgot to reply to #52929. I thought we’d already agreed that, should we fail to persuade politicians, we’d probably be wasting our time. I originally added this proviso precisely to accommodate DV82XL’s reservations, which related to the inadequacy of politicians in their ability to stand up to fossil fuel and renewable lobby groups. It was his impression that this could only be rectified from the bottom up rather than the top down. I am pursuing the current debate so that I can focus my mind sufficiently to influence others with a possibly coherent strategy. I’m definitely coming from the bottom!
Peter Lang, on 6 April 2010 at 0.23 Said:
“The key issue is: how do we remove the impediments to nuclear?”
The key, in my opinion is to avoid what is called regulatory ratcheting during the course of a project.
You can always improve safety by spending more money. Even with our personal automobiles, there is no end to what we can spend for safety — larger and heavier cars, blowout-proof tires, air bags, passive safety restraints, rear window wipers and defrosters, fog lights, more shock-absorbent bumpers, antilock brakes, and so on. In our homes we can spend large sums on fireproofing, sprinkler systems, and smoke alarms, to cite only the fire protection aspect of household safety. Nuclear power plants are much more complex than homes or automobiles, leaving innumerable options for spending money to improve safety.
According to one U.S. study, between the early and late 1970s, regulatory requirements increased the quantity of steel needed in a power plant of equivalent electrical output by 41%, the amount of concrete by 27%, the lineal footage of piping by 50%, and the length of electrical cable by 36%. And of course in addition to increasing the quantity of materials and labor going into a plant, regulatory ratcheting increased costs by extending the time required for construction. In the States, quite aside from the effects of inflation, this quadrupled the cost of a nuclear power plant.
One point of view often expressed privately by those involved in design and construction is that it has bought nothing. A nuclear power plant is a very complex system, and adding to its complexity involves a risk in its own right. If there are more pipes, there are more ways to have pipe breaks, which are one of the most dangerous failures in reactors. With more complexity in electrical wiring, the chance for a short circuit or for an error in hook-ups increases, and there is less chance for such an error to be discovered. On the other hand, each new safety measure is aimed at reducing a particular safety shortcoming and undoubtedly does achieve that limited objective. It is difficult to determine whether or not reducing a particular safety problem improves safety more than the added complexity reduces safety.
Regulatory ratcheting applied to new plants about to be designed is one thing, but this ratcheting applied to plants under construction has been shown to cause much more serious problems. As new regulations were issued, designs had to be modified to incorporate them. In nuclear power plant construction, there were situations where the walls of a building were already in place when new regulations appeared requiring substantial amounts of new equipment to be included inside them. In some cases this proved to be nearly impossible, and in most cases it required a great deal of extra expense for engineering and repositioning of equipment, piping, and cables that had already been installed. In some cases it even required chipping out concrete that had already been poured, which is an extremely expensive proposition. Often changes included features that were not required in an effort to anticipate a rule change that never materialized.
Requiring elaborate inspections and quality control checks on every operation also frequently held up progress. If an inspector needed extra time on one job, he was delayed in getting to another. Again, craft labor was forced to stand around waiting. In such situations, it sometimes pays to hire extra inspectors, who then have nothing to do most of the time.
This supercharged regulatory environment had other impacts For example, in the course of many design changes, miscalculations might cause two pipes to interfere with one another, or a pipe might interfere with a valve. Normally a construction supervisor would move the pipe or valve a few inches, but this would be a serious rule violation. He now had to check with the engineering group at the home office, and they must feed the change into their computer programs for analyzing vibrations and resistance to earthquakes. It might take many days, if not weeks for approval, and in the meanwhile, pipefitters and welders stand around with nothing to do.
As you can see these sorts of antics have nothing at all to do with safety, by any rational interpretation of the term. The root cause of this is really the regulatory philosophy that is in force at the time. There is a huge difference between attitudes and what is required to understand the fine details of a nuclear reactor design enough to regulate it. A large part of that requirement is knowing which potential problems are part of the critical path to demonstrated safety and which are utterly superfluous.
Clearly, this regulatory ratcheting is driven not by new scientific or technological information, but by public concern and the political pressure it generated. Changing regulations as new information becomes available is a normal process, but it would normally work both ways. The ratcheting effect, only making changes in one direction, was an abnormal aspect of regulatory practice unjustified from a scientific point of view; it was a strictly political.
Thus to my mind the single most important thing that must be done is to establish good, competent regulation, before embarking on a project, which means employing people with the education and the experience to do the job, and constitute the agency such that it is not being blown about by external political pressure.
Thanks for the reply.
Also, do you recall which study that was? It would be a fascinating resource.
Scott – the study was Spiewak and D. E Cope, “Overview Paper on Nuclear Power,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory Report ORNL/TM-7425. I have only a hard copy. I tried to find it on the web, but I can only find reference to it, not the text itself.
I think , once again, that this comment from you is extremely valuable. When responding to Peter’s question about avoiding the impediments to nuclear, I thought he was thinking in terms of your other comments which had more to do with the inability of politicians to distance themselves from lobby groups. However, your present point, relating to gold plating of regulations is, undoubtedly , another impediment which, as you say, applies in many other spheres. It is almost certainly, as you say, more pernicious and damaging when the attitude is applied to nuclear power, given the irrational fear of the public in this area. This will encourage the media to whip up these fears even more and encourage the bureaucrats/regulators to ever greater endeavours in irrationality.
Peter Lang, Douglas Wise and DV8. Thanks for your last few points. Surely to goodness, with 60 years of nuclear power generation behind us, the World nuclear Association and others can agree on a mutually acceptable regulatory framework for the construction of new power plants. The continually changing requirements, thanks to the totally irresponsible actions of the anti nukes who persist with frivolous law suits etc have got to be standardised for all new plants wherever they are built. That will ensure a huge cost save and it will probably ensure that the public will accept the already over the top safety requirements for nuclear power as being sufficient. With 20 additional countries now building reactors [53 in total] it seems to me that many new countries and their people are prepared to trust that nuclear is clean, green ,safe [safer than most other energy forms in fact ] and cost competitive with filthy coal which we all agree needs to be replaced in coming decades.
There are studies attempting to define “rational risk analysis”, how much to spend now for how much risk reduction. These assume, AFAIK, that the probabilites and outcomes are known.
Now NPPs might be overly safe, I wouldn’t know. But coal burners are overly dangerous from emissions and improper disposal of fly ash, risks only now beginning to be addressed in the USA at any rate.
DV82XL, on 6 April 2010 at 0.36 Said:
That is not related to electricity. It is not Australia’s role to tell other countries what fuel they can use. If they want to use coal, we should export it to them. If we don’t, others will. This idea that we can tell the rest of the world how to behave is totally ridiculous. You cannot change the demand. You can only cut off your nose to spite your face.
My objections to ETS and Carbon taxes are many. I’ve stated them before. And here is an example as the lead article on the front page of todays Australian. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/kevin-rudd-32bn-health-and-hospital-funding-favours-labor-seats/story-e6frgczf-1225850109365 .What I take from this article is any money governments collect or control is used to get that government re-elected. So, I say no to the ETS, no to Carbon Tax or any other way for government to raise the cost of electricity. Let’s focus, instead on what we can do to get nuclear generated electricity in Australia at a cost less than coal. If you want to talk about these damned taxes, can you please go back and review the numerous reasons I’ve provided as to why I believe this is the wrong approach. I may come back to being interested after we’ve explored fully what can be done to get nuclear to Australia at a cost less than coal.
I don’t understand this comment:
It was in reply to my comment where I said:
I emphasise again, this is where I believe we need to focus our attention. Not on taxes and how to fund the higher cost of nuclear. There will be no higher cost of nuclear once we get nuclear cheaper than coal. So you can forget all your government taqx schemes. If we sort this out, then nuclear will be cheaper than coal. Nuclear will replace coal. We simply need to set up the right regulatory framework. Forget the damned carbon taxes. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is another reason I don’t want carbon taxes (it’s about my 15th reason).
The only reason we would need a carbon tax is because nuclear is higher cost than coal. The only reason this would be the case is because the Greens, ACF, Greenpeace, WWF, FoE, Mark Diesendorf, Mark Jacobson, Jim Green, Peter Lalor and their ilk are still arguing against nuclear instead of strongly for nuclear. By so doing they are preventing the imposts and distorting regulations from being removed. If that is the reason for a tax, I don’t want it. I want us (chatting on BNC) to make it clear what needs to be done to make nuclear cheaper than coal. Then set up the education faculties in each university so that the academics can work it out for themsleves, and then explain it to the media, public and politicians.
DV82XL, on 5 April 2010 at 11.49 Said:
Lots and lots of good info!!!
I have a suggestion directed to Barry and DV82XL.
DV82XL, could you compile the info you’ve provided in these posts (and any more that comes to mind) and put them in thread of their own.
If you were able to expand it in any way that would be great too. For example if you are able to suggest how much could be removed, in man -hours of cost, I reckon it would be a great contribution. It would be really dissapointing if we lose this material you have posted and we can’t get back to it and find it easily.
Here you go. Here is the authoritative reference for my assertion that the cost of nuclear should be 25% of what it is now: :)
Authoritative source: DV82XL @ 6 April 2010 at 4.10
The authoritative source was Spiewak and D. E Cope, “Overview Paper on Nuclear Power,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory Report ORNL/TM-7425
DV82XL @ 6 April 2010 at 0.23:
I thank you again for the fantastically informative posts.
Now I’ll get flippant (again)
This is why the Russian safety record in manned rocket launches and space flight is not much different to the American’s safety record. Despite the Americans much higher expenditures, the safety is little better. As far as I can see, the Russian nuclear reactors (excluding the now mostly decommissioned graphite moderated reactors), have a sufficiently good safety record – it far better than coal. Therefore, if we cannot have CANDU or AP1000 cheaper than coal, then I am happy to consider Russian and Chinese plants. I think 10 to 100 times higer safety than coal is ridiculous. Did I mention that before? :)
Well at this point in time CANDUs have not been subject to this sort of modification, what I wrote mostly applies to the US experience. I don’t think you will find that Russian and Chinese plants are much less expensive, Indian reactors`on the`other hand….
I still don’t have a cost estimate for a complete CANDU 6 generating plant with fuel, training, turbines, and all the balance of plant for build in a western country. We have the cost for CANDU 6 in China at about US$2000/kW. And we have Korean APR1400 in UAE for about US$3700/kW. Can you give me a link to some reasonably authoritative cost per kW figure for CANDU 6 in Canada, Argentina, Turkey in 2010 US $?
It is already cheaper than coal, if coal were priced to internalise what it externalises. That’s the problem and it’s why if they can’t or won’t internalise, we must deem them as if they had. The simplest way of doing this is with a cost on emissions.
Not acceptable. Why should I accept your view of what is the cost of the externalities? Why should I accept your view of what price should be put on Carbon? I would never trust the green extremists with such a decision. And because the green extremists have such a powerful influence on left-wing governments, I would be reluctant to trust this to government either.
The problem is that you want to avoid addressing the real issue, which is the imposts on nuclear. You want to leave those in place and hide the problem by increasing the cost of electricity. You do not recognise the cost to society of doing this.
I, on the other hand, want to remove the imposts on nuclear and allow it to compete so we can get to the lowest cost electricity. Not a high cost caused by masses of embedded distortions imposed by the deep-green extremists.
You are not addressing the externalities of all the other industries, so I do not trust your motives.
This is the sort of thing that needs to be sorted out, because there will be a broad proportion of the community thinking as I am expressing it to you.
You really are absloutely stuck on wanting a carbon tax, aren’t you?
For some reason you totally avoid looking at what is causing the cost of nuclear to be higher than it should be.
The answer is: the beliefs and politics of your deep green extremist mates. That is what is stopping nucear in Australia, and has been for some 30+ years.
correction: the free ride to coal and fossil fuels more generally
You want to hand them the right to, for example, kill approximately 3 miners in the Ukraine for every million tonnes hauled out, or to mass poison people with mercury at the other end of the cycle. You think black lung disease costs for example should be carried by the community as a whole. You think even the lowball estimates of ari pollution externalities associated with coal of about $US40 per tonne should be a free gift.
Why when nuclear does none of these things and in part costs more because it doesn’t, coal should get freedom to do it is anybody’s guess. This is quite separate from whether we could change things to make nuclear cheaper to implement.
Some of the things DV8 speaks of sound absolutely stupid in cost-benefit terms and I’d have no problem abandoning them, but when you propose a race to the bottom on safety, I can’t but wonder what you are thinking. Effectively, this is an argument for b-a-u.
I can assure you, nobody who currently opposes nuclear power will be won over by promises to reduce safety so it can be implemented at a discount, even if that means a similar end price to coal. And I also doubt that many who do support it will be impressed either. I’m keen on rapid replacement but if someone quoted your lines to me in arguing against it, I’d be finding ways to explain that people like you were simply an irresponsible minority, that most of us take safety very seriously and are pushing nuclear precisely because it is 100 times safer than coal and for that reason a lot less expensive on humans.
Let us compete on safety and sustainability rather than the nominal end price and let no energy producer get away with cost shifting to the public.. That’s what will sell this to the doubters and drive the change.
It is a pointless discussion. You cannot see the big picture. You cannot see the balancing benefits of low cost electricity to society. I do recognise these costs of coal. If you look at ExternE and the contained NEWEXT study you’ll see the fatalities from coal per MWh of electricity produced. So I do understand this. But I also recognise the benefits of low cost electricity which you do not.
You seem to have completely missed the point of my argument which is to focus on getting nuclear to Australia at a cost that is competitive with coal (i.e. for cheap electricity). Instead, you want to leave all the deep-green extremist driven distorting policies in place so that nuclear will be more expensive than it needs to be. And you want to hide this by raisning the cost of electricity. I say absolutely no way to that. The more I’ve seen of your extreme agenda the more it has convinced me that you guys are dangerous. These extremist activists have caused enormous problems and damage in the past and continue to do so.
If you want to do something useful why don’t you convince Ian Lowe to change his mind. He has a letter in today’s Australian: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/nuclear-is-unnecessary/story-fn558imw-1225850093561
Once you’ve convinced Ian Lowe and the ACF to become strong supporters of nuclear and to renounce renewables, then do the same with Bob Brown, Mark Diesendorf, Jim Green and you get my drift ….
It is indeed “pointless” to talk if, Peter, if you simply keep repeating your mantra in the face of evidence which you claim to acknowledge i.e. the externalities.
As I’ve said a number of times, I’m for removiong tyhe impediments to nuclear and other market distortions (FiT, MRET etc) . Why aren’t you willing to price externalities?
I don’t want to raise the cost of electricity. In fact, I want to reduce its total imposition on humanity by ensuring that the true cost appears in the price rather than showing up in hidden subsidies to prolong waste.
In practice, you are the one wanting to underpin electricity costs. Yoiu just think the burdne sharing should include the imposition of negative health consequences on humanity. You want people to pay with their lives for “cheap” electricity.
I think Peter may be attempting to win from within the system according to the current system rules, and Ewen wants to change those rules.
According to Dodge vs Ford, corporations must act ruthlessly to increase shareholder wealth. To get a different outcome the only variants are costs and revenues. Nothing has anything like intrinsic value. Human life is just a resource, a cost to be minimised with a capability to produce revenue that should be maximised.
Peter is trying to get there from within that system, Ewen is not, as far as I can see.
If I’m right, the two things are not much reconcilable.
And I’ve just posted a letter, at the site Peter. I have in the last two weeks also responded to the ACF in similar terms following an appeal for funds (which I declined)
Further, this doesn’t mean that Peter endorses the system; he is possibly hoping to short-circuit it. Who knows if that will work.