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Open Thread 25

Time for a fresh open thread! (the old one being weighed down by over 1000 comments).

The Open Thread is a general discussion forum, where you can talk about whatever you like — there is nothing ‘off topic’ here — within reason. So get up on your soap box! The standard commenting rules of courtesy apply, and at the very least your chat should relate to the general content of this blog.

The sort of things that belong on this thread include general enquiries, soapbox philosophy, meandering trains of argument that move dynamically from one point of contention to another, and so on — as long as the comments adhere to the broad BNC themes of sustainable energy, climate change mitigation and policy, energy security, climate impacts, etc.

By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

590 replies on “Open Thread 25”

I have not closely read the paper. It appears to use 210MW of GT to back up 1680 MW from 2 x S-prisms. Have I missed something?

How does that work?


The bad words are “GT” and “renewables.” It “looks” nice. Looks are deceiving. In a world of engineers and no lawyers, nope, not even then. We are already in too much trouble with the climate. We are going to have a population crash. No “maybe” about it.

You can’t avoid burning fossil fuel by building anything that burns fossil fuel. “Less” is not “none.”


The answer to my question seems to be 10 sites, each consisting of two S-PRISMS plus 5 x 42MW GT’s.

Thus, 2100 MW of total GT to back up 16,800MW of S-prisms.


singletonengineer: WRONG.

Reply-To: “John Coequyt, Sierra Club”

Dear Edward,
Tell the World Bank to Stop Funding Dirty Fossil Fuels.


Today, Sierra Club activists at the UN climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, are working to publicly call on the World Bank to end its addiction to coal by distributing factsheets outside of events where Bank officials are attending or speaking — and we need your help. 

Tell the World Bank that no amount of rosy public relations can hide the fact that a significant portion of the Bank’s energy lending is going to destructive coal projects. 

The World Bank is positioning itself in Cancun to play a major role in delivering climate finance to developing countries. But the Bank’s track record of supporting centralized coal projects harms the health and livelihoods of local communities while doing little to imporve their access to electricity, making the Bank unfit for the role it is trying to assume .1 

However, the bank has an opportunity to show its commitment to sound climate finance by revising its energy strategy to phase out fossil fuel lending and ensure energy access for the poor. 

Send a message to the World Bank today to make it clear that there is no place for institutions with coal addictions in climate finance. 

The World Bank’s continued commitment to coal — the most energy intensive and destructive fuel source on the planet — is a black mark on its record that the Bank is attempting to bury in glossy brochures and hearty speeches. It’s up to us to expose the truth. 

Help us tell the bank that we’re watching, and without a strong Energy Strategy, the Bank should not serve even a trustee role in future climate finance. 

Thanks for all that you do to protect our environment.

John Coequyt
Sierra Club International Campaign

P.S. Want to know more about the Sierra Club’s work at the UN climate negotiations in Cancun? Check out our blog.

[1] World Bank Energy Strategy Review Fact Sheet: Funding Transformation or Propping up the Past?

What that said: Adding ANY fossil fuel burning to a nuclear power plant is justification for the World Bank to fund new coal fired power plants, on the grounds that a high efficiency coal fired power plant makes less CO2 than a low efficiency coal fired power plant.

Both coal fired power plants burn 100% more coal than not having a power plant at all.

Survivors, if any, are likely to be people who are still living in the stone age.

Why do paragraph marks not work in this blog?


“We are already in too much trouble with the climate. We are going to have a population crash”

The second statement doesn’t follow from the first. Yes, there are big troubles ahead, and you and I can only repeat the vague predictions about what will happen, when and to whom. Even less can we predict how our national leaders and the man in the street will respond. But history is full of stories of heroic responses in adversity, with triumphant results. And our “Promethean environmentalist” founder seems to be asking us to be addressing the new climate, bravely.


Hear hear!

The second statement doesn’t follow from the first. Yes, there are big troubles ahead, and you and I can only repeat the vague predictions about what will happen, when and to whom. Even less can we predict how our national leaders and the man in the street will respond. But history is full of stories of heroic responses in adversity, with triumphant results. And our “Promethean environmentalist” founder seems to be asking us to be addressing the new climate, bravely.


Roger Clifton: Global Warming is only one of a number of reasons for a population crash. One does not have to follow from another.

We are headed for a human population crash from 7 Billion to 70 thousand or zero people within 13 years. We don’t have time for research or fooling around with renewables. Causes of a population crash:

Global Warming [GW] will cause civilization to collapse within 13 years because GW will cause the rain to move and the rain move will force agriculture to collapse.
Population biologist William Catton says that we in the US are overcrowded; immigration must reverse. Collapse from overpopulation could happen any time now. The Earth has 4 Billion too many people. An overshoot in population requires an equal undershoot. We overshot by 4 billion, and the consequence is an undershoot by 4 billion. The carrying capacity is 3 billion. 3 billion minus 4 billion is zero because there can’t be minus 1 billion people.
Aquifers running dry No irrigation, no wheat. No wheat, no bread.
Resource depletion
4A oil
4B minerals

War will kill a lot of people. Famine will kill 8 billion out of 7 billion. 7-8=-1, but with population, the crash ends at zero.

NATURE has lots of other ways to kill humans. Don’t provoke her.

The population crash will happen before 2040, possibly as early as 2022. There is simply no time for this eternal refusal to take action. You should not expect to be among the survivors, if any.

Moving people from place to place does not reduce the number of people. So don’t do it.


Edward Greisch

Less is on the way to none, and you shouldn’t oppose tangible improvements just because they’re short of what’s ultimately required.

The gas for GT doesn’t have to come from fossil sources, but that’s something that can be dealt with later The last part’s always going to be the hardest; we should go for the low hanging fruit first.


Aidan Stanger: The low hanging fruit is to build reactors that have already been approved for factory production by the NRC. See

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has certified 6 reactors for factory production.  More certifications for factory production are on the way.

“Design Certification Applications for New Reactors”
copied from:

“By issuing a design certification, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approves a nuclear power plant design, independent of an application to construct or operate a plant. A design certification is valid for 15 years from the date of issuance, but can be renewed for an additional 10 to 15 years.


4 reasons for population to crash:



Overpopulation, especially the US is the most overpopulated country.


Fresh Water depletion. See sink holes in California


Other resource depletion


There is no open, empty farm land. The last of it was occupied in the 1880s What is left is not farmable.


In the book: “Too Smart for our Own Good.” by Craig Dilworth, says we were better off in the stone age. Dilworth is a sophisticated luddite, not recognizing that we cannot stay on one planet for ever. Dilworth denounces capitalism and profit as the main culprits in our demise by Global Warming. Dilworth also denounces the solutions.


Roger Clifton: You are supposed to have some general knowledge. Read “Overshoot” by William Catton, 1980 and “Bottleneck: Humanity’s Impending Impasse” by William Catton, 2009.


Let’s see if paragraph marks work this time.


I wouldn’t go that route; because:
It is “decorated” with renewable energy.
Fossil fuel, no matter how little, is an integral part of it.

From the paper:

The reactor can operate at a 90% capacity factor while providing 99.9975% of all electricity.

For those who don’t do arithmetic well, providing 0.0025% of electricity from fossil fuel at 400 gCO2/kWh (the system operates combined-cycle) adds a whole 0.01 gCO2/kWh to the average emissions.  If you were concerned, it would be quite feasible to supply the required turbine fuel as e.g. pyrolysis oil from biomass rather than fossil fuel.  Pyrolysis oil is not long-term stable but it is both storable and easily shipped.

Being able to work around the crappy availability of ruinables while still making a profit leaves the nuclear industry in prime position to eliminate the ruinables when the public gets tired of subsidizing them.


Engineer-Poet: I can do the arithmetic just fine. To an engineer, you are making sense. The trouble is that my career also included ¼ century as a federal regulator and acquisition executive. 0.0025% of electricity from fossil fuel is enough of a loophole to drive shiploads of coal through.

If you want to get the CO2 level in the atmosphere down to 350 ppm, you don’t give anybody any wiggle room. Right now our CO2 is over 400 ppm and hundreds of billions of tons of ice sheet are melting every year. Farm fields in the corn belt are too muddy to drive a tractor on.

I knew you were going to insist in putting in that loophole. I won’t agree with it even if you specify that it must be pyrolysis oil from biomass. The presence of a combustion turbine is too much temptation to dangle in front of a politician from a fossil fuel state.

Did you know that there are political campaigns going on right now? Did you realize that Congress and a president can change the law overnight? Did you realize that bureaucrats are obligated and sworn to do exactly as the law says, no matter how absurd?

So far, nobody in the US has done anything about GW, but a lot of politicians have pretended to.



Frank – the question I raised was about the risetime, I doubted that Hydro could match the risetime of wind or solar. (The highest frequencies of a noisy input are inevitably lost because the risetime of its balancing generators simply cannot match them fast enough.) There are hundreds, possibly thousands of tons of water in each of those pipes leading from the reservoir to the turbine. These have to be accelerated each time there is an increase in the throttle. Yes, it would be possible to store the energy of the previous deceleration in the compression of gas in a closed chamber, along with enough water for a fast response when the throttle opens again. It’s a PV calculation needed here.



I realize that special engineering is needed to deal with the fact that a long water column cannot instantly be accelerated, which would be the case with a Pelton water wheel operating from a head of a few hundred or more feet, but I think that we have engineers who are capable of dealing with that. Probably it’s not a new problem resulting form renewables on the grid since even before there were renewables, a large power plant could fail and go off line or a transmission line could fail. Surely it must have been dealt with before.

That reminds me of something I heard when I was a kid, several decades ago. My mother told me about someone whose job it was to watch the sky and advise the power company about approaching clouds. At the time I was too young to understand it, but apparently the power company wanted warning to increase the steam pressure before people started turning on lights. Probably that would have resulted in a more gradual increase in demand than some other situations.


Frank, the standpipe that you and Jim mentioned would lower impedance than the main pipe, so would speed up the response time if it stored enough mass at height for the interim supply.


Roger, the vertical length of pipe doesn’t store water to a significant extent. Its function is to allow high pressure surges to run into the pipe rather than to travel through the whole system. Some arrangements can, however, provide a ready supply of water to the system to avoid underpressure and thus to avoid cavitation (column separation). When the gap between two columns of water close, they meet with explosive force. I have seen the resulting damage many times in large long pipelines… the failure is typically a blow-out of an oval section of barrel, followed by individual pipe sections being washed out of the trench or off their pipe supports. Fibreglass, prestressed concrete,asbestos cement, cast iron… many pipes and many situations.

As somebody stated upthread, competent engineers can design to avoid both underpressure and overpressure problems. The result is that a combination of rotational inertia (eg from turbines and generators that are in service) will take care of the first few cycles following a partial loss of available generating capacity or a step increase in load. By then, the column of water feeding those Pelton wheels will already be accelerating and meeting some of the load.

Call it rise time if you like – others call it ramp rate or instantaneous response or other names, which properly designed hydro can do very well.

Here is a Utube example of a pumped hydro scheme in Wales. It’s worth the 7 minutes.


0.0025% of electricity from fossil fuel is enough of a loophole to drive shiploads of coal through.

Not unless you gasify and filter it first; gas turbines cannot burn anything with significant ash content.

But let’s take that 0.0025% number and run with it.  US consumption of all fossil fuels for electric generation in 2011 was 26,477 trillion BTU.  One-four-hundredth of one percent of this is 66.2 trillion BTU.  Total US coal consumption in 2015 was 801.6 million short tons containing 17.93 quadrillion BTU of energy, or about 22.37 million BTU per short ton.  66.2 trillion BTU of coal would be about 2.96 million tons.  This is less than 8 Chinamax bulk carrier loads.

Would that we only had 10 times that many Chinamax loads of coal to worry about.  We could get rid of far more carbon than that with some effort to reforest Indonesia, Malaysia and Brazil.

If you want to get the CO2 level in the atmosphere down to 350 ppm, you don’t give anybody any wiggle room.

If they want to wiggle something in, it doesn’t hurt if they wiggle out at least twice as much elsewhere.

I won’t agree with it even if you specify that it must be pyrolysis oil from biomass. The presence of a combustion turbine is too much temptation to dangle in front of a politician from a fossil fuel state.

I’m afraid it’s going to have to be there.  The electric grid requires emergency reserves.  An S-PRISM just plain takes too long to put into service to respond to deficiencies in a timely fashion.  If you make the combustion fuel as clean as you can, use very little and (especially) tax anything that comes from fossil sources, you’ve done everything you can practically do.

Did you know that there are political campaigns going on right now?

Did you know that Citizens Climate Lobby has been campaigning for a carbon fee and dividend for years, and is getting roughly nowhere?  Until there is a practical ENGINEERING solution to the problem, like Cal Abel’s sketch, I don’t think anything much (of value) is going to happen on the political end.

As for water hammer, you’ll still have it even with a standpipe at the end of a long penstock if you shut off the outflow at the bottom fast enough.  The water in the standpipe has less inertia than the long penstock, but not zero.

How much of a problem is it?  Take Ludington pumped storage facility.  It’s roughly 1000 feet from the power station to the edge of the reservoir, maybe 2000 to the reservoir center.  I recall that the ΔH of the system is about 400 feet (122 meters) and the penstocks are 28 feet (8.53 meters) diameter.  Producing 372 MW(e) from the upgraded pump/turbines at 90% efficiency, the water would be moving at a whole 6.3 meters per second.  The kinetic energy in a 600-meter water column moving at 6.3 m/s would be 654 MJ, or about 1.8 second’s worth of max output.  Water hammer is not a significant issue at Ludington.

If you want or need almost-instant power, one or more hammer-stops with air bladders can supply or take up water flow without waiting for the water in the penstock to change speed.


Engineer-Poet: SO you didn’t understand the political implication of Cal Abel’s sketch.

OF course the coal wouldn’t be burned in Cal Abel’s system. So what? The point is that the coal would be burned.

The Cal Abel and Bojan Petrovic system would be a further excuse for causing confusion. The way to make nuclear cheaper is to remove unnecessary safety stuff, like soldiers guarding the reactor.

Yes, I know about Citizens Climate Lobby. I doubt that any progress will be made until Americans start dying of starvation in large numbers. In other words, civilization is going to crash. And the 1% are going to be hunted.

The engineering is done. We have all the engineering solutions we need, and a lot more. Concentrate on psychology, social engineering, advertising, learning how to deal with the people problem.


Online Opinion has another article suspicious of nuclear waste dumps in Australia, and suspicious of the political process to get one. I wrote the following comment in reply.

Shock! Horror! An industrial process has dangerous waste by products!? Wow. This is somehow news?

Solar PV uses the “heavy metal cadmium, which is both a carcinogen and a genotoxin, meaning that it can cause inheritable mutations.”

“Many of the solar panels that now adorn European and American rooftops have left behind a legacy of toxic pollution in Chinese villages and farmlands.

The Post article describes how Luoyang Zhonggui, a major Chinese polysilicon manufacturer, is dumping toxic factory waste directly on to the lands of neighboring villages, killing crops and poisoning residents. Other polysilicon factories in the country have similar problems, either because they have not installed effective pollution control equipment or they are not operating these systems to full capacity.”

But FOE LOVE Solar PV! Surely, following the same logic, we should ban Solar PV the way they’ve banned nuclear because there are some waste products?

The bottom line? I’d rather LIVE in a low, no, let’s make that high level radioactive waste bunker than live in a quaint Chinese village next to a Solar PV farm. Why? Because the high level waste bunker would be over-engineered to the nth degree for safety because everyone is so utterly paranoid about the word ‘radiation’, (newsflash: people are radioactive!), while the Chinese solar manufacturers are just dumping cadmium in the river or neighbour’s farm.

The project of civilisation has wastes. We know how to deal with it. Let’s build the fastest way to wean off fossil fuels, which is nuclear, and get over the fact that there will be a tiny amount of waste. (Approximately 1 golf ball per human lifespan, cradle to grave!)


My responses to the OLO article are #3 and #6.

It’s early days yet, but only 1 of 8 comments endorses the article.

In the same vein, I saw Dr Karl Kruzelniki (spelling) on ABC-TV this morning singing the praises of “renewables”. Unfortunately, the ABC and its associated luvvies seem to consider that the bad guys are coal and the good guys are “renewables”, even though those renewables have exposed South Australia again to blackouts, wholesale market prices of $14,000/MWh and fleeing manufacturing industries, as reported in yesterday’s A
“Australian” newspaper.

Akin to Californian accounting, South Australia proudly trumpets its goal of 100% renewable electricity while throwing money at a smaller generating base which only functions when the interconnector across the border is available to bring brown coal generated power from Victoria.

South Australia is daily living a low or no carbon lie. If they included in their calculations carbon emissions from their imported electricity (1.3t/MWh), their carbon intensity would be heading towards that of NSW (1.0 t/MWh), ie, not good at all.

One source of indicative carbon intensities for all NEM power stations, large and small, is:


EN – a glance at your link shows a familiar polemic, pumping life into an old bogey. This is the sort of text that is designed to be shouted through a megaphone, interspersed with choruses of slogans. Because it is designed to make us angry, we should not tackle her arguments head-on. So I wouldn’t take it literally. In fact the webpage advertises her as “Anica Niepraschk is a political scientist specialised on governance issues and civil society participation in democracies”. Ahah, she nearly had us fooled!

As a rabble rouser, she has the skills that a rescue of the greenhouse needs. As a spreader of a political position, she would want technical advice that could be chanted without contradiction. But as far as a movement being politically effective and timely, it would be us seeking her advice and not vice versa.


A closer look at the webpage tells us more about her role: “She is a member of Friends of the Earth’s Anti-nuclear & Clean Energy Collective” and a further link to her other works shows her as fully anti-nuclear. So I regret apologising for her bilious claptrap. However, the struggle against fossil carbon does need voices like hers – one-eyed, self-righteous and loud. But for credibility, it needs to be uncontaminated by “Clean Energy” funding, no matter how laundered through charitable foundations.


Maybe I could have answered Engineer-Poet a bit better:

Over the last half century, when the fossil fuel industry propaganda said: “Nuclear is too dangerous and too expensive, so let’s increase the cost of nuclear.” we have always bent over to receive another spanking. That is the wrong response.

What we should do: Stand up, turn around, and fight back by telling the truth on them. Whatever you do, don’t agree with the coal industry by doing more engineering. We are adult now, and big enough to fight back.

We like to do engineering. Engineering is fun. Engineering pays well. We need jobs. But doing the fossil fuel industry’s bidding is self-defeating. We will get more jobs by putting the fossil fuel industry out of business.

Insults, assaults and battering should be returned in kind or handled by the police. We are not King Coal’s whipping boy.


Nuclear Power Daily has an article stating that the Madras nuclear power plants is producing potable water for just US $0.0015/liter using a thermal desalination method. I assume this uses the reject heat at the bottom of the Rankine cycle.


Nuclear Power Daily article on Madras nuclear power plant producing potable water for just US$0.0015/liter by a thermal process. I suppose this is using the reject heat at the bottom of the Rankine cycle.


DBB’s story is also covered in the Hindu, which includes a good description of their process, also in MED. I am keen on water-producing MED as an alternative to water-consuming cooling towers. MED also provides a use for off-peak electricity, to increase the number of stages in action.


singletonengineer: Laser enrichment depends on the laser being fine tuned. We need to read original articles to check, but the laser has to ionize either U235 or U238 and not the other. The difference in the frequency for ionization depends on the gravitational influence of 3 neutrons on the orbits of electrons. That is a small difference indeed. My guess is that only the US will be able to do it any time soon. So find an article with more details before panicking.


It’s the magnetic influence of the odd neutron in U235 that couples with the electrons to split their energy levels. Thus energised, these atoms react and can be separated by chemical means. If there is to be a mass rollout of non-carbon power generators, there needs to be a matching tooling up of enrichment facilities, and it may be that this process fits the bill.

The possibility that this expansion creates work for the proliferation police should be of no concern to us. Considering the vast influence of fossil carbon, we must expect its PR machine to be throwing out red herrings about non-existent threats requiring prohibition. We can leave it to the inspectors etc to do their work – as long as they don’t get in the way of decarbonisation.


The neutron magnetic moment is similar to the proton magnetic moment but only .001 of the electron magnetic moment. The split in the outer electron line must be very fine. Can somebody find more detail?


I recommend reading Schellenberger’s Environmental Progress .org and then recommend your encouraging others to do the same.

Clear exposition with unnecessary technical detail.


Just after California has reached an agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric to close their last nuclear plant at Diablo Canyon, there has been a proposal by an environmental group,Californians for Green Nuclear Power, to bring the closed San Onfre plant back on line by reversing the decommissioning process and fixing the steam generators (the reason excuse for closing in the first place)

The website for the group is pretty basic but they cover the reasons for supporting nuclear power quite well

The Environmental Progress site is the one discussed by Eclipse Now and myself a week or so ago. There’s is undoubtedly the most well presented argument for why environmentalists should support nuclear power, that I have ever come across.


Computers may need more power than the world can generate by 2040
Thomas Overton
2016 Jul 26

which is a way of saying that computers will become another major consumer of electric power. So better mothball those turned off nuclear power plants which still have operational life.


It appears there are 2 approaches for laser enrichment of uranium – atomic vapour and molecular. Silex falls into the latter category and still required UF6 so it’s not a process that can be used with a fair level of supporting industrial equipment.

Interesting stuff – I have a hard time imagining how it can scale to commercial quantities.


EG asked for the ballpark of the energy difference in hyperfine splitting, where Silex separates U235 from U238. I couldnt find one, but the definition of the second (CGPM13) comes to mind: “the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom”. So the ballpark delta-f is about 9 GHz, and delta-E is 38 ueV. Since that delta-E is k*delta-T for 0.44 kelvin, thermal jostling would seem to swamp any distinction between the isotopes, so it is still a mystery to me how it works.


Hi all,
Because these open threads fill up so quickly, I’ve started this next conversation over in the Brave New Climate forums. Just remember to bookmark the thread if you want to receive an email every time someone replies, and we’ll be able to continue this very interesting conversation over there rather than clogging up this thread.

Basically, can extremophile bacteria become 10,000 times more land efficient than modern agriculture? Please don’t answer here as I don’t want to take away from any conversations above. These Open Threads fill up so quickly, maybe we should use them to direct BNC regulars over into topic-specific forum threads over on the actual forums? They have all sorts of powerful formatting tools and allow graphs and a wider variety of formatting options. And it means the moderator doesn’t have to open as many open threads here. ;-)


I now know of 5 locations in the USA where plans are in progress for future nuclear power generating stations.


Does either Party ever speak of a carbon tax? Committing all that capital on a nuke would worry financiers when the future price of gas might undercut their product.



You’re right. I’ve been at meetings at Power New Mexico, the local electric company, and a reason that they will not consider nuclear now is that the risk would be too high. The state legislature has (successfully) encouraged solar systems but the attitude seems to be anti-nuclear.

One really cannot blame power companies for eschewing projects that might cause bankruptcy.


Roger Clifton — Unsure the question is addressed to me. All 5 utilities are facing the loss of baseload generators as coal burners come to the end of their usefulness. It seems that these 5 utilities prefer the certainty of prices which comes with a nuclear power plant to the vagaries of the market for natgas, which are at historic lows and so may well rise from this day forward.

Two of the projects are going to start site preparation, no more just now. One has all llicenses in place and has sent out a ROB for a contractor to construct a brace of Westinghouse AP1000 units; I predict Fluor will win the bid. A fourth is determined to put in some Nuscale modules, I don’t know how many, and is selecting the site within the boundaries of Idaho National Laboratory. The fifth is a 12-pack of Nuscale modules right next to the Columbia Generating Station, the nuclear power plant the utility already owns and operates.


Greg Kaan — Yes. The other site preparation is TVA at Clinch River for a generic SMR. TVA had originally planned on an mPower unit but B&W is not moving forward fast while Nuscale is committed to sending everything to the NRC at the end of this year. So TVA is considering a Nuscale module or several.

Interestingly, Nuscale seems to be seriously considering building their module factory in England despite the fact that all the current interest is in the USA.


DBB, that is encouraging to hear. The AP1000 is being selected in several countries as though it is a well-proven design. It is certainly a well studied design, having passed not only the NRC requirements, but also the scrutiny by the Chinese nuclear community, rebuilding their own version of it. Certainly a gigawatt sized design is going to make a decent dent on carbon emissions.

An exciting thing for me about the commitments to the NuScale reactor is that the industry seems to have faith in the idea of the factory-built reactor. Each 600 ton reactor is to travel from the factory to the site as a complete module, to be popped into its pool and delivering power and paying its rent within two years. By the same token, that means that purchases in the United States are going to need NuScale factories in North America. Such an object could travel on a barge around the coast and up the big rivers of each continent. It seems that crossing the North Sea would be practical for British-built units. However the logistics of transporting such an object across the North Atlantic would indicate the alternative of putting factories on both continents.

If there is to be an urgent global rollout of carbon-free electricity, such factories would be popping up in all corners of the world.


In the 1960’s to the 1980’s, 300 tonne components for 500 MW 660 MW turbo generators and transformers of inland coal fired power stations were transported from Japan by sea and trans-shipped via barges and rail to power station construction sites in New South Wales, Australia. Examples are Bayswater, Liddell, Wallerawang and Mt Piper Power Stations.

It is not unusual for similar sized components to be transported by road for hundreds of kilometres for maintenance and rebuilds, eg 750km Singleton to Brisbane, although side tracks have been needed around a few bridges which are not strong enough.

It is entirely reasonable 50 to 60 years later, to plan for 600 tonne Nuscale components to be delivered by barge and/or road to these same sites as the ageing coal fired power stations are redeveloped on the same sites as carbon-free, low cost generators which make use of the existing cooling water supplies, land and HVAC transmission lines.

Sure, a handful of bridges will need to be reconstructed or duplicated, but that is trivial. The sea voyages are far from exceptional, whether across the Pacific or the Atlantic.


The issue I see with the NuScale is the relatively low power output. The Westinghouse SMR (virtually a mini AP1000) is only a little larger than the NuScale but has over 4 times the output (225 MWe vs 50 MWe) using similar fuel (< 5% enriched U235) and has similar safety features. I can’t see how NuScale can build their reactor at a quarter the cost of the Westinghouse.

Click to access Brochure.pdf


Greg points out that NuScale modules at 45 MW apiece, are tiny compared to conventional standalone reactors. However, these are just modules, not the final power station.

As I understand it, the first module is put in place and into operation along with a control room, to be followed in due course by further modules. The site and the control room is set up to handle 12 eventual modules to a total of 540 MW.

In this way a quite hefty power station is being built up with off-the-shelf modules. On a brownfield site, where an ageing but not quite dead thermal power station is to be replaced, the transition can be gradual, with the load shifting piecewise to the new, carbon-free power station on the same site. As the first units prove their worth, funding for successive modules becomes cheaper and easier to get.

For carbon-rich and nuclear-fearing Australia, one module at a time might be all that the public can handle during the introductory period. By that time, they may be so common around the world as to be seen as power pills, to be popped in wherever necessary. In the event of a global emergency rollout, the factories for mass-producing the rescuing module can themselves be mass produced and spread around the world.


I just a more detailed presentation of the Westinghouse SMR.

Click to access 12.SMR-Westinghouse.pdf

Hopefully, the NRC application for certification goes smoothly and hopefully for an ONR GDA, too.

The UK seem keen to be involved in the production of this SMR as well as the NuScale


Roger, my concern is that the unit costs for the NuScale reactors may not prove cost/resource effective. For what looks (given the limited information available) like a very similar size and therefore, likely cost, the Westinghouse SMR delivers over 4 times the output. NuScale would need to be able to deliver their reactors for a quarter of the cost and then there is the still the 4x overhead for shipping/installation/control/refueling cycles…

The NuScale would be good for more localised generation if the additional overheads for deployment and maintenance were acceptable (most likely for medium sized island grids IMO).


At 225 MWe, the Westinghouse SMR (they really need to give it a snappy name or acronym) is granular enough for Australian main grids.

One for one swapouts could be done for the Yallourn boilers and they would pretty much be a unit replacement for boilers at the closed Northern and Playford plants in Port Augusta. Especially since all of these are/were subcritical coal plants

Of course they aren’t even certified yet but then Westinghouse have proven expertise in building and maintaining reactors.


Sorry, the Playford generators were 60MW each so the NuScale would have possibly been the ideal reactor to have driven these.

Still, I don’t think there are many baseload generators this small in Australia still operating.


As a point of clarification, do the modular systems include everything to generate power, i.e., turbines, condensers, and generators, or only the reactor?

It seems to me that having multiple reactors, turbines, condensers, and generators would run up the cost.


Modular means it comes in modules. It could be complete in 1 or 2 truckloads or not. It depends on which brand and model you are talking about. In general, more power means more truck or barge or train loads.


Greg, by all means collect the relevant information from the websites and do the cost comparisons. For a start, the NuScale site projects 5 $/W for a NOAK, averaging to 90 $/MWh over its life.

Cost isn’t the criterion if you can’t roll out your NPP’s as fast as the orders roll in, and climate urgencies may require a fast rollout. AFAIK, only NuScale could be scaled up to produce generators on the scale of 100 GW /a. That’s 100 GW of increased capacity every year, something for our leaders to know when they head off to the next climate summit.


Fred Eggers — Having smaller components holds down the costs as all components are factory made and easier to assemble on site.

Greg Kaan — My understanding is that the Westinghouse SMR is sufficiently large that it is not road transportable.


NuScale containment vessel – 76′ x 15′
Westinghouse SMR containment vessel – 89′ x 32′

So the Westinghouse would be too wide for the 5.5m limit for Australian roads but the NuScale would be marginal.

As for production scaling, I don’t see much difference between the 2

Frank, have a look at the following link to see what is inside these 2 SMRs (the NuScale is very similar)

Click to access 12.SMR-Westinghouse.pdf


The economics of NuScale change radically if you can get approval to make the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) inside the reactor building and thus site units inside cities.

Brent crude is currently going for about USD6.80/GJ; I’m not sure what natural gas costs delivered to NYC, but I’m sure it’s similar.  A NuScale putting off 110 MW(t) of waste heat has a potential revenue of $65,000/day from steam sales.  Nuclear fuel at $0.015/kWh means heat at about $1.25/GJ (figuring 160 MW(t) to make 47.5 MW(e) net).  Heating northern cities like NYC using NuScales to feed district heating systems looks like a huge money-making possibility, and the local generation means that there is no issue with failed LD power lines in the summer either.


As an Aussie living in sub-tropical Sydney, I hope to see a good doco on NY’s steam system. It’s such an alien concept to me! Here I am in the heart of winter, and just having a reverse cycle air-conditioner seems optimal to me.


My understanding is that the radiation exclusion zone is a circle of 70 meter radius around each module on the site, for the Nuscale units.


The tray of a CAT 777 truck is 280 inches (7+ metres) wide. They are carried routinely on local highways.

500 MVA generator transformers are transported by road from LIddell Power Station to Queensland for maintenance routinely. That’s a 300T load. The insulator horns are removed but not the conservators. I don’t know the height, but it must come close to 6 metres. They do need special escorts and occasional sidetracks, but they get there.

I once personally arranged road transport for a 110′ x 14′ conveyor gantry – it arrived on time and with only two police vehicles as escorts… on Easter Sunday, a day when oversize loads are normally forbidden to travel.

If 300 tonne, overwidth and overheight loads are needed, then it can be made to happen. The real problems are political, not logistics.


Scientists convert carbon dioxide, create electricity
Science Daily
2016 Aug 04

This seems too good to be true. I may not understand it but it consumes aluminum?


Actually, I didn’t quite understand it.

Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

On Sat, Aug 6, 2016 at 10:06 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

> Edward Greisch commented: “I agree with DBB, Roger Clifton and > Engineer-Poet. Looks too good to be true. Uses up oxygen and aluminum.” >


This seems too good to be true.

Well, you know what they say.

Here’s the full paper:

I’m not going to have the time to dig through it, but you can be certain that it obeys all the laws of thermodynamics.  Worse, the production of aluminum by electrolysis of molten fluorides with graphite cathodes generates perfluoromethane which is an extremely powerful greenhouse gas.  So far as I can tell this is interesting chemically but not anything like a way to scrub the output of powerplants.  Then again, I’m an engineer, not a chemist.



When the first line of the abstract insinuates that the paper reveals an effective way of vanishing carbon dioxide out of the greenhouse, its authors should be placed immediately at at sword point, against the city gates, and invited to explain just how effective it is. In fact it is not effective at all, the paper is addressing some obscure points of academic chemistry, and en passant is seizing the opportunity to pitch for funding from a worried public.

Voices like these are just parasites, siphoning off our resources needed to respond to the global carbon crisis.

If we ever find ourselves saying, “every little bit helps”, then we will find such voices emerging from everywhere, whispering their gimme-gimme-gimme message that if we throw them a few coins, our emissions will be forgiven. Don’t fall for it. If we allow ourselves be distracted by every little bit, then a little bit will all we can ever achieve.


Given the number of charlatains out there and the damage they do, I am very much inclined to favor the program of Roger Clifton.  Making them back up their claims or suffer dire consequences would inject a great deal of desperately-needed prudence into today’s insane noösphere.

Liked by 1 person

Unfortunately, they would not understand the need to back up their claims or even understand what it means to back up claims.

To some people, thinking nice thoughts about something or really believing it is all the proof that is needed. If you disagree with their nice thoughts, you are a bad person who should at best be ignored. One can make something come true merely by constant repetition just as repeating enough times, “The moon is made of green cheese.” would change the composition of the moon.

It might help to have better science classes in high schools. For example, instead of merely teaching the laws of Newtonian physics and Ohm’s law, they should also teach exactly how these laws were determined and verified, i.e., the history of science should be taught. That way a few more people might appreciate the need for testing, verifying, and quantifying.

Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

On Sat, Aug 6, 2016 at 11:26 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

> Engineer-Poet commented: “Given the number of charlatains out there and > the damage they do, I am very much inclined to favor the program of Roger > Clifton. Making them back up their claims or suffer dire consequences > would inject a great deal of desperately-needed prudence in” >

Liked by 1 person

I have read only 25% of the above linked document and may not get time to finish for a few days.

Better understanding will only come from reading the WWS Plan and related.

However, I recommend it because it points to a strong parallel between the 100% WWS Plan (Water, Wind and Solar) of USA and the locally-grown variants which advocate 100% renewables by yesterday.


Jacobson has been debunked a sufficient number of times already. There is no need to say again: “Jacobson assumes away the major problems.”

As the paper you cited says: “I’ve gone through the 100% WWS Plan at some length, and here’s my critique of it. Spoiler alert: The amount of land that it needs is vast; the amounts of money and material are enormous beyond your wildest dreams; and it won’t work.”


If Jacobson has been debunked repeatedly, and if peer review in academia means anything at all, then how does he keep his job and the title “professor”? Has his university no pride?

Of course, the same can be said for a small number of illogical Australian academics who, while claiming to be professionals and offering their opinions as experts also wave away problems such as intermittency, build cost, transmission system upgrade cost (or even the need for same, while assuming that electrons can mysteriously jump across the Australian continent sans infrastructure).

Others feed the fantasy that nuclear power is too unsafe, too expensive, too slow, too old-fashioned, too illegal, or simply ignoring it entirely in their analyses.

Are there rogue universities that foster false experts, or is there some kind of “freedom of speech” thing going on that somehow morphs into “Freedom to say silly things without defending them or recanting when demonstrated to be silly things”?

Does the court of public opinion have/need rules of evidence, in the same way that even the lowest court in the land has an Evidence Act and an Oaths Act at its foundation? I am reminded of the saying “It is hard to soar with eagles when in the company of turkeys”.


Having served some time as a very junior academic, I know that senior researchers spend half their time writing research proposals, most of which fail to earn funding. Money has strings, so the proposals must show at least lip service to the interests or policies of the funder. It is familiar to us here that German researchers are as competent as any in the world, but their alternative energy work often shows anti-nuclear bias that seems dutiful to biased paymasters.

That said, a senior academic wants to attract to his team the most brilliant and energetic of the young students coming past his lab. High flying students want to be seen to be working for the fashionable causes of the day, so we should expect their research team leaders to be beating the same drum. That must be true of universities all over the world. Many years after graduating, we realise how tired and reactionary our “revolutionary” ideas were.

Liked by 3 people

Could someone who is knowledgeable about HVDC interconnectors comment on the feasibility and costs involved in realizing the energy model presented to me recently by a solartopian?

The solartopian claimed that we could meet all the world’s energy needs with CSP and PV, without needing to deploy any energy storage capacity (I presume he meant “large scale energy storage capacity”), in the following manner:

Deploy CSP plants across the world’s deserts.
Deploy solar PV in distributed fashion to cover the world’s built surfaces.
Deploy large scale PV farms across the world’s time zones (including in the high arctic – but not in the antarctic which was deemed impractical – in order to harvest the midnight sun) to ensure that solar power is always being produced wherever the sun is at or near its zenith. (The problem posed by winter and the Pacific Ocean was not dealt with directly, but the solartopian did seem to indicate in hand-waving fashion that solar power from the Atacama and Australia would be sufficient to cover global demand at that time of year.)
Use HVDC interconnectors to distribute solar power across the planet and thus circumvent the need for storage.

This solartopian, who claims to be an engineer who works on HVDC projects, said the biggest HVDC interconnectors his model would require would be the ones connecting Australia with SE Asia, North Africa with Europe, and Eurasia via the Bering Strait with the Americas. According to him, no trans-oceanic submarine HVDC cables would be needed. He claimed that the additional interconnectors needed to link the world’s electric grids and forge a single global electric power distribution system would represent a relatively minor additional cost, and that the total construction cost of all the HVDC his plan envisions might come to not much more than $10 billion at most. He backed up his claim by pointing to figures indicating an HVDC construction cost of $250,000/km.

I have a feeling this guy is massively low-balling his estimate of the pricetag for the amount of HVDC his model would require, even if I assume a world free of conflict snd geopolitical power politics. It seems to me that during northern hemisphere winter, for example, when the Americas are in darkness, their power demand will be in the terawatt range and all of it will have to be delivered via the Bering Strait-straddling HVDC line envisioned in this plan. That HVDC line will have to traverse 4,000+ km of virtually uninhabited terrain with some of the harshest weather conditions on the planet, and it will have to have a transmitting capacity that is perhaps two orders of magnitude greater than the highest capacity HVDC line constructed to date. These factors lead me to suspect his $250,000/km figure is likely to be on the low side. Then again, as I said, I really don’t know much about HVDC, and less than I’d like about transmission in general. I’d be interested to hear from someone familar with this technology if this solartopian’s HVDC ambitions and cost estimate is in the right ballpark or if my suspicions are correct and he’s delusionally optimistic. (I’m just focusing on the HVDC aspect here. The system he’s proposing would be astronomically expensive for other reasons, as this blog’s readership undoubtedly realises.)


“Deploy CSP plants across the world’s deserts.”
That sentence there should have stopped you. CSP is exponentially more expensive than nuclear. Forget PV, the upgraded grid, and storage required for when even CSP shuts down. Just the CSP is many many multiples of the cost of nuclear.

I’m worried about your solartopian friend. Sadly, many groups quote Dr James Hansen on the problem of climate change, while ignoring his stated solution.
He says:
1. Believing in 100% RENEWABLES is like believing in the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. (Yes, he’s aware of all the ‘studies’ that say we can, but still thinks storage is ridiculously expensive and cannot do the job).

The world should build 115 reactors a year*
(Note: on a reactors-to-GDP ratio the French *already beat this build rate back in the 70’s under the Mesmer plan. 115 reactors a year should be easy for the world economy. France did it faster with older technology, and today’s nukes can be mass produced on an assembly line. Also, GenIV breeders are coming that can eat nuclear waste and covert a 100,000 year storage problem into 1000 years of clean energy for America and 500 years for the UK with today’s levels of nuclear waste).


The impotence of universities when it comes to maintaining standards of academic excellence and their core reputations as places of “higher learning” (ie knowledge), is mind-numbing. It also impacts on the reputation of universities as a whole – even, in Australia and as witnessed recently, to gutting of the national CSIRO research organisation.

After 13 years as an undergrad or postgrad student at two mainstream Australian universities, I understand that tenure is sacred to those who possess it and is much sought after by those who have not yet attained it, but are there not limits to the damage that individuals can be permitted to do in the name of the institution which feeds them and upon which thousands of students and staff rely? Are the governing bodies of universities without power to defend the reputation of the organisations which they lead?

Professor Brook’s short book “Why Vs Why – Nuclear Power”, published circa 2010, is a rare example of where a debate on a contentious subject is brought into the public arena and discussed politely from both sides. The opposing case was provided by Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe. At least they were civil in their disagreement and responded to each other’s points.

What really gets up my nose are the shallow academics who use their university’s reputation and resources to publish contentious material but who subsequently fail to respond to criticism. It’s past time that universities attacked the cancer within, despite the philosophical and historical arguments against doing so.

Liked by 2 people

Russia is to build two fast reactors. By building two of the new BN-1200 design, the Russians show confidence in lessons learnt from the BN-800 and the venerable BN-600 (born 1980) and BN-350 (1964).

Being a utility-scale (~1200 MW) design, the BN-1200 is being adapted for China. China plans 1400 GW of fast neutron capacity by 2100, so the design may become the progenitor of many descendants.


A 2011 agreement between USA and Russia comitted Russia to burn weapons-grade plutonium in BN series fast reactors. Although the HEU from the disarmament treaties has already been blended in and burnt, there is still plenty of low-240 Pu to be burnt – or denatured by n-absorbtion in fast reactors.

Increasing the Pu240/239 ratio is sufficient to reduce the weapons-grade stockpile, while allowing the increase of stockpiles of reactor-grade fuel for subsequent fast reactors. I think that is the British intent (to use S-PRISMs) , as they have a lot of ex-Magnox plutonium that has quite low content of Pu 240, a worry to the non-proliferationists.

The Chinese plans for expansion of slow neutron, then fast neutron reactors allows them to start up the latter by reprocessing all their used fuel.


Roger Clifton: Bomb grade Pu means less than 7% isotopes other than Pu239. The non-proliferationists are just paranoid. They lump all isotopes of Pu together. Most of them don’t know what an isotope is. Our job is to teach them enough science so that they will know that there is such a thing as an isotope.


Marmoset – tell us what you think. Then we can respond to your opinion, perhaps developing your ideas. But asking us to comment on the work of an absent author is like shooing a dog onto the postman. For example, calculate the number of kilometres he can buy with that money at that price, and give us your opinion of his judgement. Then we can respond to your opinion. Yours, not his.


The proposal to interconnect renewables across country boundaries to make the entire world was interesting. I suppose that in theory it could be made to work, but I see significant problems which have not been considered.

With such an international grid, a hostile country could easily cut off power to its neighbor. That has already been done with gas; Russia cut off gas to Ukraine.

Per the proposal, some of the power would come from solar installations in the Sahara Desert. That would indeed be challenging considering that the Sahara Desert constantly has sand dunes drifting across it which would block access roads and from time to time cover up the solar installations.

I see the project as exceedingly high risk and unlikely even to be started.


I was inviting this group to comment on New Matilda’s misguide piece, not endorsing it. Ever heard of giving someone the benefit of a doubt? Sheesh! Too bad the laws of manners and politeness are lost on you. I guess it’s not your fault though. The laws of Aspergers are the deciders, not you.


“Sheesh! “. sheesh |SHēSH|
used to express disbelief or exasperation: sheesh! what fun is it to mock people when they don’t even get it?
I know what Eclipse Now doesn’t get: Science. Any of it, starting at the high school level.

I know what all those politicians don’t get: All of science and engineering since the high school level. The electric company will build whatever is mandated. But it won’t work as advertised,



Hi all,
I only posted the New Matilda link in case anyone wanted to back me up. It’s an activist opportunity, as the New Matilda piece mixes trite political cliche’s with a belief in wind and solar as the answer, and desperately needs some serious ‘education time’ from you guys. But given Edward lurks here, and by the way he treats me — a fellow nuclear activist — I’m beginning to doubt the wisdom of sharing such opportunities here. He might go there. That would just convince the anti’s that all nuclear activists are bastards. That’s NOT what Ben Heard recommends as the best way forward for nuclear activism, and I’d encourage the Moderator to watch Edward’s harsh manner here. He risks completely alienating any newcomers to nuclear power.


Eclipse Now: Harsh? Who is harsh? NATURE is harsh. There is no politician who can order Nature to change the laws of Nature. You can find this out the cheap way, by going to college and getting a degree in a hard science, or you can find it out the hard way, by spending billions of dollars on something that doesn’t work.

In the end, Nature wins every time. Not me, Nature. I am giving you a very gentle warning. Take my warning or get into the train wreck. Your choice.


I think you meant to write:

“In the end, Aspergers wins every time. Not me, Aspergers. I am giving you a very gentle warning. Take my warning or get into the train wreck. Your choice.”


Eclipse Now: Are you God? On what authority are you giving me a very gentle warning? Are you threatening me?
Police: Please note Eclipse Now’s post. I’m sure you know how to find him.

Aspergers Syndrome: Everybody needs a little.

NATURE still wins every time.


I’ve suspected for some time that I have a mild case of Asperger’s Syndrome. The symptoms fit very well. Probably it has much to do with my insistence on having all the facts, quantified if possible, before making decisions and my ability to change my positions when new information becomes available. Although Asperger’s is a blessing in some respects, it is a mixed blessing.

On energy issues, I simply do not understand why so many people insist on pursuing energy technologies and spending trillions of dollars on them in the absence of reasonable proof that they will work. We know that nuclear power works; that has been proven and, in addition, there is good and established reason to expect significant improvement in nuclear technology. On the other hand, there is plenty of reason to doubt that intermittent sources of power can be made reliable with any technology which presently exists. It also appears foolish to assume that technologies will become available which would make intermittent sources of power reliable. Such technologies may become available, in which case we can use them, but surely it is unwise to rely on that which does not exist.

Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

On Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 10:51 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

> Edward Greisch commented: “Eclipse Now: Are you God? On what authority are > you giving me a very gentle warning? Are you threatening me? Police: Please > note Eclipse Now’s post. I’m sure you know how to find him. Aspergers > Syndrome: Everybody needs a little. NATURE still wins” >


Frank, I find your observation interesting. I’ve heard it said that autism is just one more personality trait that we all more or less display. Here is a “autistic quotient” questionnaire, in case anyone’s interested in finding where they are on the autism spectrum.

I suspect that we commenters on BNC might score high (“might score well”, I could say!) because, much as you say, we are more interested in facts than passions. But by the rules I must refrain from getting more personal than that.


My autism score was 40 out of fifty. According to the survey, “Scores in the 33 – 50 range indicate significant Autistic traits (Autism). However, my sister, who is a retired clinical psychologist, strongly asserted that anyone raised in our home would appear to be somewhat autistic; probably she is right.

Anyway, I generally require a higher standard of proof than most people do; that seems to be true of most people on this site. That became apparent the last time I was on a jury (I’ve been on three juries) because I was reluctant to accept the unverified statements of a police officer.

Frank R. Eggers Albuquerque, NM U.S.A.

On Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 11:28 PM, Brave New Climate wrote:

> Roger Clifton commented: “Frank, I find your observation interesting. I’ve > heard it said that autism is just one more personality trait that we all > more or less display. Here is a “autistic quotient” questionnaire, in case > anyone’s interested in finding where they are on the aut” >


” … asking us to comment on the work of an absent author is like shooing a dog onto the postman … tell us what you think … Then we can respond to your opinion. Yours, not his.

Eclipse, I dont want to do homework, studying a document for you. But I would be happy to read your opinion of it.


Eclipse Now — Unfortunately my mobile device isn’t up to safely traversing the New Matilda site. The comments there are full of errors, especially regarding the lifetime greenhouse gas intensity of solar, wind and nuclear. The IPCC part 3 study of this is more detailed than the study found on the World Nuclear Association website. The conclusions are highly similar: solar PV is twice as much as both nuclear and wind, which are essentially the same.

Perhaps you can post this in the New Matilda comments for me.


Edward Greisch — Yes, your comments are proving to be unhelpful both here and on Real Climate. I strongly recommend a change of style.


37 here. And I thought that I was both highly emotional (ie, that I care about things) and highly rational (ie, that I am interested in understanding things and not always ready to accept advice from others without substantiation).

At least, that was what a potential employer’s HR person told me some years back. HR person said that the combination of the two traits is impossible and thus that I must have tried to cheat the test. I was culled on that basis.

HR person didn’t appreciate my querying the amateur analysis and was somewhat less interested in a comparison of my psych studies history (meagre, but still two F/T years at undergrad level) against theirs (zilch – had never seen the inside of a university).

I recommend healthy scepticism in all things. At least that minimises any tendency to blame others for my own decisions. The rationalists win.


combination of both traits is impossible

When doing a Myers-Briggs test as a mature adult, I protested that I was capable of all-of-the-above and was advised to hold in my mind’s eye an image of myself at 20 yo. Yep, much simpler.

This time, mindful of my respected fellow commenters on BNC, I perceived a paragon of sober thinking and thus scored highly at 39. Just as well, I might have felt lonely!


Eclipse Now: NO I could not have meant any perversion which you have changed my words to. Yes,I know humanities types can’t handle the truth, so they change it to absolutely anything, no matter how far out. You can’t avoid the train wreck that way, so I am not even going to your funeral.


Hi guys,
I wouldn’t have picked you all as Aspergers, just focussed. There’s a problem to be solved, and it’s a doosie. Maybe I’m also a little Aspergers, but I really cannot understand why everyone isn’t reading and talking about solutions to mankind’s greatest challenge. There is good news, after all. If we act. Soon. Instead, sadly, it seems the latest reality TV cooking show gets more views than climate documentaries, and cats still dominate BookFace. They don’t seem to understand what Rainman here compulsively screams at us every 30 seconds.

NATURE still wins every time.


PS: Although it occurs to me that a smart person like Edward should know better than to say “NATURE still wins ever time”. Nature is dying: we’re committing planet-wide ecocide. Edward should have said “THE LAWS OF PHYSICS still win every time.”


This discussion is deteriorating into a slanging match. Please all cease with the personal attacks.
Prof Brook is away at the moment, at the ESA Conference in the USA. He returns at the end of this week and will be posting again and also putting up a new Open Thread

Liked by 1 person

Regarding phasing out nuclear power in California, I suggest that before doing that a bill be enacted banning California from building any more fossil fueled plants or increasing the amount of power that California imports from other states.


Re: forbidding fossil carbon plants to save nuke in California

According to WNN, the New York State Public Service Commission has formally recognised the zero-carbon contribution of nuclear power plants by taxing its fossil carbon generators. An apparently intended result is the rescue of the Fitzpatrick NPP.


More from this morning’s reading.

Australian discussion paper about the regulatory framework necessary for automated vehicles on Australian roads. It offers guidance as to the various levels of automation that are envisaged and the nature and extent of changes that will be necessary to manage the new forms of risk, which emerge when there is no human driver in control of a vehicle and whether this be for an instant or at all.

It provides a glimpse of a possible future. Given the current popularity of GoGet and similar car sharing schemes in our larger cities I envision a time when the majority of private vehicles, at least in the congested inner suburbs of cities, are no longer able to be parked for days at a time on the street or in private garages, but will either drive themselves to their next task or return to a designated (central? peripheral?) parking and charging station. What? No Residents’ Parking Permits? All electric, of course.

If and when this happens, my guess is that intermittent sources of electricity will not be up to the task of powering our private vehicle fleet… but that is another subject.

The linked discussion paper provides us with an overview and an introduction to the vocabulary that we will need for us to understand each others’ contributions to the discussion.


I’m keen on the idea of fleets of autonomous taxis charging up at the railway station park and taking up to several passengers each to and from their homes nearby in the 50 km/h suburbs. Charge rates would vary in sympathy as the railway power varied from trains braking and accelerating.

In low demand hours, the cabs could serve as sleepers, their humans using the railway station facilities. The implied need for remote monitoring would help protect the stations and their fleets with vigilant watchmen.

Liked by 1 person

Roger, my commuting days are behind me. My next goal might be to avoid the mobility scooter phase when I deteriorate. Registration, basic maintenance and insurance for my ute add up to a standing charge of about $2.5k per year before a wheel is turned. Cabs are $30 each way. Two to three trips per week are the basic need, with side trips to pharmacy and doctor.

At 9km from town, I doubt that a scooter has the necessary range or, on a 100km/h country road, the necessary visibility and safety.

The question is: When will shared Google cars summoned via smartphone be available?


Robot cars are one of my favourite things. They might enable more people to live without buying cars, but instead using more public transport in the knowledge that any missing bits or awkward changes in their journey can be covered by REV’s. (Robot Electric Vehicles).

In 14 years, human driving could be illegal.

“Smart cars are coming, but what about smart roads?

Telstra’s chief scientist, Dr Hugh Bradlow, thinks Australian roads should be driverless by 2030.

He tells RN Drive that Australia’s road infrastructure needs a rethink if we’re going to keep pace with driverless technologies.”


EN, There are seemingly endless numbers of electric motorcycles on the footpaths and kerbside lanes of the main roads in Beijing, some carrying exceedingly bulky loads.

On my first day working there I was warned to keep a sharp eye out for “silent death”, as they were called.

Be careful what you wish for.


Not everybody supports the hard line stance of Euan Mearns’s blog, but even the detractors have to agree that the two main contributors do a lot of seriously good work when it comes to costs, carbon emission reduction and nuclear power options.

The latest, linked above, demonstrates that the German efforts to eradicate nuclear power have resulted in only four significant outcomes:
1. More expensive electricity.
2. Unwanted cost and system instability impacts on other European neighbours’ systems.
3. Breaching of EU regulations regarding non-subsidy by individual nations of their industries (in this case, electricity) to the detriment of other members of the EU; and
4. No real decrease in national CO2 emissions, because the gains from solar, wind and biological fuels have been matched by increases in CO2e emissions from expanding lignite.

Germany has trapped itself so tightly that meeting its carbon emission goals for 2020, 2030 and beyond is now improbable.

The only demonstrable popular outcome appears to be reduction in nuclear power. Will this popularity last when their citizens realise the full extent of the negatives?

My personal view is that the Germans will be the last to admit their error. Here’s hoping that the rest of the world learn from the German experience.

South Australia, are you listening?


Apology: The Der Spiegel articles linked above, though informative, appear to be from 2013.

If there are more recent articles on the same subject I am yet to find them.


Nuscale now estimates their SMR will provide a net 47.5 MWe so a 12-pack nameplate rates as 570 MWe. The Idaho Falls area planners are using US $2.8 billion as the cost of the first Nuscale installation. That’s just US $4913/MW. Hope they are not being overly optimistic.


Peter Davies — As I understand the plan, Nuscale starts delivery in 2024 and completes the 12-pack in 2025. The dates are urgent as the purchasing utility is going to shut down an old coal burner then.

Presumably right after that Nuscale will deliver a 12-pack right next door to the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power plant.

I know of no further orders, but Nuscale clearly is attempting to sell in England.


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