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Green groups have said they are ready to walk out on a public consultation on the future use of nuclear power, describing it as "seriously flawed", just ahead of public meetings arranged to air the debate. A coalition of six environmental organisations, including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, led calls for the …

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Tony Juniper said:

"This is not a genuine consultation about nuclear power. It is deeply flawed..."

Meaning, it's open, balanced, and honest.

Tony and his cronies know they can't win unless they can stack the deck.

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The Greens make no sense, ever

According to them, nuclear power is "dangerous". Yet, how many people have died because of nuclear power plants? In the US, even in the 3 Mile Island meltdown a grand total of 0 people died. Nuclear power is safe. The only downside is the waste.

It is no wonder the founder of Greenpeace is campaigning against them. Sometimes I wonder if I threw a stone at them would they notice.

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Plenty of other solutions?

So "There are lots of non-nuclear alternatives ... the Government should invest in these solutions"?

The last I heard Wind, Wave, Solar and other "non-carbon" energy sources were still poor seconds to nuclear when it came to the power they could produce consistently -- has something changed?

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As Things Are

Nuclear power has been given a thumbs up pretty much all around and is seen as one of the key elements to reducing our species' 'hot house gases' footprint. No less than James E Lovelock, author of the Gaia concept, has publicly stated nuclear power is a must. As a lay person my limited understanding of the science suggests nuclear power is much safer and easier to manage than it was last century. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had as much to do with the demonization of nuclear power as any well founded concerns. I'm sure deep in the minds of the well intended environmentalists Godzilla lurks.

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Silver badge

Consultation

Come on - have the environmentalists really taken this long to work out that government consultation is cleverly designed to ignore public opinion. After many years of New Labour big-tentery they've honed meaningless consultation into a fine art. It can be done in a number of ways:

1: The consultation is announced on Page 97 of the Dagenham Advertiser buried in the small ads somewhere between 'lovely puppies, very nearly normal, buy them or its a short trip to the canal with a sack' and 'intimate massage, will bring own rubber gloves, TCP and Swarfega'.

2: The consultation is widely announced, but the important public meeting at which the final decision is taken is held on Cup Final afternoon in a small village hall somewhere in Orkney. (Really devious departments slip a few backhanders to the Met Office to make sure the forecasts include suitable travel warnings because of waterspouts and sea serpents)

3: The consultation is widely announced and allows people to answer challenging questions such as:

'Do you support terrorism? YES/NO'

Those who answer NO find themselves waking up to all sorts of new, highly dubious, dreamt up on the back of a fag packet, Magna-Carta busting legislation. Those answering YES find themselves waking up at the sharp end of a police officer's size 14 to the snap of the rubber glove of freedom (this service is also available through the small ads section of the Dagenham Advertiser - just below the puppies).

So quite what FotE and Greenpeace were expecting from the exercise is quite beyond me. Even if it hadn't been held on Rockall, there would have been a bonding activity where members of the public would be greeted by a middle-aged woman who could benefit from Ritalin encouraging them to come up with green power source in 20 minutes without breaking any laws of physics. Anyone who failed would (sadly) be excluded from the consultation exercise. Anyone who managed it would be hustled away by MI6 and their grey alien handlers for a private tour of the local quicklime pit.

Just to warn off the terminally enthusiastic who ignored the talk of waterspouts and found their own way to Rockall; the government can always offer the enticing prospect of meeting the likes of Andy Burnham and Hazel Blears. That thought should have any sane person huddling under the duvet awaiting the rosy glow of New Labour fission.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Missing pun

Brown makes Greens see Red.

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Ah well, back to the good old hydrocarbons

Unless the Greens want to make a wind-powered powerstation the size of... um, Scotland - oh, and prey that global warming does not resituate the doldrums there, otherwise their nice green touchy-feely-Applecorply generating station will be an ugly white elephant...

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Anonymous Coward

My thoughts

1.This government doesn't know the meaning of consultation

2. I hear a lot about the spread of democracy but I've been voting in national elections for 20 years and have had zero representation so far.

3. Nuclear power is non-renewable, uranium supplies will not last much longer than oil, if that long and then we've handed our kids/grandkids a tricky little problem to solve just because we couldn't be a***d to save energy.....nice

Roly

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Free, open consultation

You mean the consultation at http://nuclearpower2007.direct.gov.uk? It wasn't very well hidden. ;-)

I read all the documents. They seem pretty comprehensive and accurate. Having thought it through, and considered the evidence, I think that the consultation was well-balanced and (more imprtantly) that nuclear power is necessary.

Perhaps the Greens would like a consultation which pretends that (a) we can massively reduce electricity consumption, or (b) solar panels and windmills &c will suddenly get far more efficient and can be installed over more of the country, or (c) all these renewable-energy sources can be conjured up without producing any waste or pollution (or big bills).

It's not even a matter of the government building more nuclear power stations; it's about leaving the option on the table in case a power-generating business can put together a convincing safety case, is willing to pay for it, &c. I'm all in favour.

Nuclear waste? There's not much of it. We can put it at the bottom of a mineshaft, or reprocess it, or whatever. The only other way to supply the electricity we need is building fossil-fueled power stations, and their waste problem is much worse; they pump millions of tonnes of CO2 into the air.

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Silver badge

@"Uranium will run ooout"

And wen when it does run out, there's alternative fuels that will last for about a millenium, though they're less efficacious than uranium.

Besides, by the time the uranium runs out we'll have perfected fusion, and will never have to worry about our energy needs again. OF course it's impossible to perfect fusion when your lab is switching off every 30 minutes because of a dodgy power supply, which is what we'll have if we're relying on so-called renewables for all our generation. One thing the greens never mention is that our wind resources need an equivalent output coal-fired generator running on standby all the time in case the wind is coming from the wrong direction, or not blowing at all.

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New Labour + Nuclear safety = I am scared

I would agree that it would appear nuclear power is the most sensible solution. My problem is that I do not trust New Labour to make sure that whoever is subcontracted out to manage important safety matters in these proposed nuclear reactors does their job, well, safely instead of cheaply.

In fact I trust them no further than I could throw John Prescott, which I assume would not be far.

In fact, even though I want to accuse the greens of being a bunch of whiny gits who are throwing a strop even though they got what they wanted, I suspect we are doomed.

Did I read an article about the joys of moving to Australia recently, and if so can somebody remind me where it was?

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What's not safe?

There is nothing inherently unsafe about Nuclear Power. It is mainly a lot of whinging NIMBY's. Well, I for one will go for a Nuke plant down the road from me.

Waste can be reprocessed (unless you like in the US theocracy, where it's banned, and the waste just left) And there was even a project called the something like Accelerator Driven Transmutation Systems - except the funding was all abandoned around 2001.*

Others are saying 'but the Uranium will all be gone in xx number of years' - It'll be gone if we use it or not. It's radioactive because it decays. The only thing Fission does is speed up the decay through a chain reaction.

* more info at the Muon1 project forum - http://stephenbrooks.org/forum/?thread=964

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Greens never make sense

I have been stopped in the street by greenies spouting there speil many times, and asking me to donate to their cause. And when I ask them what have they; the greens spent on research and development to help find viable alternative power sources.

They keep going on how they stopped this and that from happening, and they get nasty because they cant answer my questions on if they do R&D and what they have spent on it, because they dont spent any on R&D. Only spend it on advertising their cause and rent a crowd.

The only place for the greens is to bury them and use them as fertillizer for plants. And make the place greener that way

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm, not all the dinosaurs died out 65Ma

It seems a lot of people seem to have difficulty getting their heads around new concepts. Centralized power supply in the UK has had its day. Nuclear is not going to be viable long term, not just because it's unethical to pass the problem of decommissioning onto generations that won't benefit from the energy but because there are only 50 years of assured supply (more will be found but it's still finite) and if the rest of the world takes the same approach we'll get scant pickings when China, India, Russia, the USA etc. have had their fill (have you noticed that global power is shifting east?). Small scale nuclear may be a possibility to get us to a renewable approach without cooking the planet but we'll still need to reduce energy use by an order of magnitude.

Truly renewable energy only scales badly when you're stuck in a centralised power supply mindset, fusion has been a dream for decades and if it remains so for another few decades as seems likely it will be too late anyway, nothing inherently unsafe about nuclear power.....I wish I had your faith (that's all you have) and 'greens never making sense because they don't have money to invest in R&D' well that's probably because you haven't given them any money.

We have to get creative to solve all the problems coming our way and the mindset of 'replace coal with oil with gas with uranium with....' just so we can carry on lighting up empty office blocks at night is going to get us nowhere.

Roly

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Mathematics...

While the idea of Nuclear seems a good one, I think

the more you build the more you play with Mathematics.

A big station going bang, could place Nuclear fall out over

most of the Northern Hemisphere.

I'd love to trust all the saftey they put in place (As cheap as possible

as it's a private operation). Humans however are not particularily

good at this. Aircraft still fall out of the sky. Trains fall off

the rails. Bridges fall down. Rockets blow up.

Even if the chance is really small, multiply it together

with enough desperate business men... and it looks a much lesser

brilliant plan. Sooner or later reactor goes boom.

You've only got to look to the Japaneese whom are building Nuclear Plants to withstand grade 3 earthquakes, in grade 5 areas.

The economics of Nuclear are also fairly flawed.

The governments own 'independant' research panel recommended

Nuclear was not a good economical soloution. Which instantly smells of backhanders.

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In the long run...

we are all dead anyway - Maynard Keynes

1) To walk out of a discussion just because you do not like the context is silly. One can challenge the context and take part in the discussion.

2) To be honest I suspect whatever we do about global warming it will be too little too late, this will be self limiting if only because the behaviour and structures that cause the problem are unlikely to survive the changes introduced by the problem. There are a few historical examples of civilisations collapsing because of self introduced environment changes... ours will be just a somewhat larger example.

What is a little bothering is that everyone one is trying to stop the heavy roller by standing in the way, when probably the more sensible thing is get out of the way and pick up the pieces afterwards.

3) To say that there have been no casualties produced by the of Nuclear power is to ignore both Cheronobyl and some of the observations of the UKs H&S Executive.

Nuclear power has two major problems...

a) Actual costs.

The decommissioning of the old British reactors is proving to be a lot more expensive than originally envisaged. Many estimates of costs factor this out, if this factor is included things do not look so attractive to bean counters. (BNF receive a rather lot of Government cash to cover these costs otherwise their financial position would be untenable) A further factor is liability, most failures have been due human factors, the cost of covering the possibility of large number of large claims in the event of failure is rather difficult to estimate. When Nuclear Plants do go pear shaped they do it big time. Most people build Electrical plants to make money, the Nuclear Industry has not been healthy for some time because for some reason people are a bit wary of the big bill at the end (if they can get someone else to pick up the tab e.g. tax payer they are very happly to build)..

b) Security risk

Terrorist threat is probably not really an issue, to breach the containment requires access to much more powerful weapons that those available to most terrorist groups.

Of more concern is the impact of a conventional military strike, a study in Scientific American (or possibly New Scientist) 20 years ago indicated that in the right conditions a single conventional strike on a Nuclear Plant could render large chunks of Northern Europe untenable for a very long time. A nuclear plant is potentially dirtier than a conventional Nuclear Weapon.

As fusion Power research currently uses very powerful magnetic bottles to contain matter, the possible impact of the failure of the bottle is not difficult to imagine. When they go wrong Fusion is likely to go bang, and fission just goes fizz .... lethally...

The environment polution issue is tricky, some petroleum products have to be disposed with the Nuclear Waste in Nuclear Plants because the natural radioactivity exceeds that of the guidelines. There are some parts of the UK which have a fairly high background radiation (something to do with Granite and beta radiation I believe) .

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Anonymous Coward

Steve Moore said

> "This is not a genuine consultation about nuclear power. It is deeply flawed..."

"Meaning, it's open, balanced, and honest."

Ahh so you aren't really interested in the facts behind what he said you already have your conclusion ? Ok.

I personally would rather listen to facts from both sides rather than judge things based on sound bites and your opinion. Doesn't mean I'd agree with Tony Juniper totally when I do hear what his arguments actually are.

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More nukes, less Greens, please!

I've yet to meet a Green (and I have been forced to talk to some of the most professionally deluded before) who can actually produce an even slightly plausible alternative to nuclear energy. The closest was a rather challenged young lady that said the UN should cover the Sahara with solar panels and cable the energy provided to the rest of the world!

I'm happy with more nuke power stations, and at least we can sell the used fuel to the Yanks. Oh yes we can - it looks like a British company will soon own the firm that makes all that lovely high-tech armour for US Army vehicles, and that armour includes depleted uranium. And we can then sell them even more depleted uranium for the shells to fire from the guns on those armoured vehicles! A plan that doubly annoys Greens (they seem to be equally naive in their anti-war approach). Future power and world security in one plan!

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Anonymous Coward

"Brown makes Greens see Red"

Brilliant!

8.5/10

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@Wade Burchette

You asked "How many people have died because of nuclear power plants?" and then answered the question incorrectly. Have you never heard of a place called Chernobyl? Why are there higher rates of cancer on the west coast of the UK and east coast of Ireland? Would it have anything to do with Sellafield turning the Irish sea into the worlds most radioactive body of water? See http://www.american.edu/ted/SELLA.HTM for more info.

Could you answer now answer the equivalent question, How many people have died because of wind power plants? Or tidal power plants? I'll bet it's a lot lower than nuclear!

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@Wade Burchette

"In the US, even in the 3 Mile Island meltdown a grand total of 0 people died. Nuclear power is safe."

Yeah, right. The US Govt's figures for domestic deaths due to flooding a a pack of lies; what makes you think they'll be honest about something which would affect the shares of big lobby groups? We have no way of knowing how many people died as a result of 3 Mile Island.

And, of course, it's hard to pin down deaths from radiation except in huge doses because it only decreases life-expectancy which is not a known figure. It's very similar to all those tobacco companies standing by and saying "prove it" for decades. We know it kills, but it's very hard to point at WHO it HAS killed.

"The only downside is the waste."

And, of course, that's just a minor issue, isn't it? LOL!

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RE: Greens never make sense

Nope they really don't, they are all mad. In there heads they see everythink from an idealist world point of view where if we build a small wind farm and get rid of all other power stations that, that will be enough to power the country and CO2 emissions will go away. How wrong they are, they don't get the concept that currenty in this country it is not in any way shape or form possible to produce enough renewable energy to power the country or to not have to use nuclear.

Yes nuclear is not good, but its the best of a bad bunch and it solves the prob short term whilst we find a better way to solve it. As long as all the right precautions are taken and it is done properly it will be safe and then once we have secured power for the next 40 years or so (life cycle of a nuclear station) they we can look more into renewable ways and decreasing peoples usage,

but if we don't act soon we won't be able to produce any power, and i really don't have enough AA batteries to run my torch for 10 years, :-)

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Fuels running out, IMBYs, and greenie bastards

I don't have any figures on nuclear fuels to hand, but I understand there's more to it than just uranium, I also understand that depleted uranium, can, to an extent, be recycled in breeder reactors.

In addition, it would be nice not to have pseudo-democratic middle eastern states holding the OPEC knife to our neck.

As to NIMBYs, we need an organisation of people who actually want nuclear power so much, they're willing to give up their back yard... IMBYs if you will. I understand the yanks are working on such a scalable reactor. Will the government subsidise me to fit one of those between the koi pond and the herbacious border? They did pay for half of my roof-top solar panels...

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Anonymous Coward

Scary ignorance here

1) There are varying estimates of how much nuclear fuel is left. At current consumption rates, it is from 50 to 250 years. But demand is increasing. Either way, it's almost certain that if we were to start building a new nuclear power station today, it would be economically useless well before its expected end of life.

2) Fact - Nuclear power is totally safe. But only on paper. In the real world, humans design, build and run the power stations, and we make mistakes.

3) Nuclear power is "green". This is a flat out lie. It is a shed-load greener than fossil fuel, but you still have to build reactors (watt for watt, a lot less green that building windfarms), and then mine, refine, and transport the fuel (which creates a lot of greenhouse gases).

4) Ignoring all the environmental stuff, please look at the cost. The nuclear lobby claims 3p per unit for the end-user. The actual real-life cost is around 8p per unit. And that ignores the additional costs that we all pay for via general taxation - the nuclear industry can conveniently ignore the cost of security and waste storage...

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generic title.

The government may or may not be open to changing their mind, but that goes for the greens/environmentalists who are clearly going to cry foul if there is any answer other than: No nuclear power.

The big question is: What is going to supply the base load if there is no nuclear? Or do we just watch our TVs by candle light? Coal/Gas/Oil produces far too much CO2. Wave/solar/wind/tidal all have periods of non-generation, which aren't always predictable. Hydro-electric is terrible from an environmental point of view because of valley flooding and the amount of CO2 produced in the making of the dams. The only sensible option is as much renewable as possible augmented with nuclear for the base load. The main proviso is that the nuclear needs to be run by government, certainly not the dodgy private sector (therefore profit driven) outfits that the government are looking to employ, they have three mile chernobyl written all over them.

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Jim

It's just another green tax

I'm quite amused that those commenters who are pro-nuclear appear to be the same as those who claim every pro-environment move by the government is just another unnecessary "green tax".

So, why does no-one every question why the government is so pro-nuclear? An industry that has received trillions in tax payers money over the last 50-60 years and has managed to produce a generating technology with an efficiency of 1.67% (2% if PUREX is used*) compared to coal (40-45%) and CCGT (50+%) - efficiency being a measure of actual electrical output from fuel potential?

Any new build will be subsidised (to 100%?) by the government (tax payer) as will decommisioning and spent fuel handling. No doubt the revenue from generation will go to a private operator. Also, the price per kwhr fro the consumer will be maintained artificially high so that said private operator can actually make a profit - nuclear is the most expensive method of electricity generation.

There is estimated that there is 85 years worth of usable uranium deposits remain - assuming that demand does not increase...

The other potential source of fuel is thorium 233, which is abundent. The only problem is that Th233 isn't that great a fuel on its own. The real potential is that Th233 can be bred into U235, in much the same way that U238 can be bred into P239. Now, I don't wasnt to appear too negative here but where are all these breeder reactors? The very 1st reactor to provide electrical power was a fast breeder (EBR-II) and that was 50+ years ago. After many failed attempts to bring FBR to the masses (biggest failure being SuperPhenix) we are left with two test FBRs - Phenix in France and Monju (when it's not on fire) in Japan.

It seems that FBR is in the same boat as Fusion, it may work but no-one knows when. I am not of the opinion that we should expect future technology to save us. We must work with what is available now (or definitly commercially viable within 5 years). Strangely I'm not a religious man either - go figure.

Nuclear, while a necessary stop gap is not the future. Any commital to new build must be accompanied by a real commitment to alternate, renewable, sources of energy. Ironically, if governments for the last 50 years had not been actively discouraging alternatives we may have been in a different situation now. Maybe that had something to do with early reactors being primarily used for the production of plutonium for weapons...

*Current light water reactors utilise 5% of the potential fission energy in its fuel over the 9 years said fuel is in the reactor. PUREX reprocessing allows a further 1% to be utilised. A typical reactor has a thermal efficiency of 33% - 3MWth = 1MWe.

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Yes they can be dangerous

Wade Burchette thinks that nobody has ever died from nuclear power plants.

I suggest he tells that to the Ukranians. Has he never hear of Chernobyl? So it was badly managed by a bankrupt and morally bankrupt regime but that is not so far from our experiences nowadays.

I am pro nuclear and want these things - I see no alternative but I also want a clear debate. As was said elsewhere, the alternative to Nuclear is not renewables. It is to hugely scale down demand. I don't want my grandchildren to have to live in mud huts, unless they want to!

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Anonymous Coward

There's a green in our midst! Run away, run away

Roly seems to have bought the Green tale hook line and sinker.

Fundamentally, all that the Greens have to say simply does not add up. It is more religion than science, and fatally flawed religion at that. Lets not get too into Global Warming but Greens get very hot under the collar when asked to explain how it is that the CO2 levels follow temperature rise by many decades. They simply cannot or refuse to grasp the concept of cause and effect.

The Greens campaign that Nuclear Fission is dangerous has no bearing in truth, or history - but why let that spoil a good yarn. Ask any Green and they tell you how a Nuclear Power Station could well blow up like Hiroshima or Nagasaki. They simply do not know how difficult it is to create such destructive power and that a Electricity Generating station could not achieve the necessary dynamics to detonate like that.

Then they proffer these so-called renewable sources without actually being able to show us any viable means. Wind farms? There is not enough of Gods green Earth to build sufficient to power this nation. Wave? What are we expected to do? Pave over the oceans? And then, have the Greens considered the localised environmental impact of these suggestions? How weather systems could be altered by such massive building on presently open spaces? How that building on land and sea will impact not only the environment itself but species that depend upon it? In this restpect the Greens are even more dangerous than the Normals.

As to the Greens not having any money - oh don't make me laugh! They plunder the purses of the gullible at every opportunity. Their indoctrination makes the Scientologists look like your local friendly Baptist! The wild proclamations of doom are designed to frighten people into subscribing to, at best, specious "science". Hell, they've even got our Government and Ministries believing the claptrap "Green Science". To question is to be a Heretic in this brave new world that they are trying to create for us. Soon we should probably anticipate the latter-day equivalent of the Inquistion. Green Inquisitors condemning any and all who would dare speak out to eternal damnation - they orchestrated this already with the scientists who offered opposing and much more credible argument against the Greens Global Warming histrionics.

For my money, the Greens and their ideological friends are nothing but a bunch of first degree charlatans who are an entirely self-interested group. The science does not fit and so they invent what does not and cannot exist!

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Nuclear IS viable

To those who keep saying that there is "only 50 years" of uranium:

have none of you ever heard of BREEDING?

You can breed U-233 from Thorium.

And there is hundreds of years worth of Thorium.

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Anonymous Coward

Expected better

For some reason, god knows why I expected a different response from tech people,

not support for an industry that produces the most dangerous, long lasting toxin on the planet.

Nuclear power is plain stupid on many levels. Nuclear needs fossil fuels at evey stage of mining, and transport, any claim of it being a net reducer of greenhouse gasses is plain bull. Its amazing tech folk fall for the nuclear is good mantra.

NIMBY you bet!

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Silver badge

"Lots of alternative energy sources"

Yeah sure, and they are mainly contained in the words : "return of the Stone Age".

In today's world, there are essentially five billion people who toil in miserable conditions so that one billion can live it large and worry about football results. All the nuclear plants we have now cater to the needs of the one billion. Meanwhile, China and India are taking up their spot as new consumers, adding two billion more energy-users in one fell stroke. If anyone thinks that solar panels will handle all their needs, they are welcome to send some.

In my opinion, the only real solution is fusion power, and I place great hopes in the experimental station that is being set up in France. In thirty to fifty years, we will hopefully have it working, and then we can imagine something like one generator per country. No more spent rod storage hassle, and plenty of power for all at (hopefully) rock-bottom prices.

THAT is the future, not solar, not wind. Fusion.

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We need to do something

There is a place and a requirement for all types of power.

Currently Nuclear accounts for just south of 20% of the UK's energy and this figure is falling due to the stations coming to the end of their natural life and being decommissioned.

The other big source of power are coal fired plants, none of which have been built recently in the UK, the majority of which are coming to the end of their lifespan.

Bottom line is that there is significant shortfall coming to the UK energy market and by the mid 2020's we had better have a solution in place or the lights may very well go out.

Your typical nuclear power station can consistantly generate approx 2GW of power, do the sums, how many solar panels would be required to come anywhere near to that figure???

Don't get me wrong, I'm not proposing that we go off and build Nuclear power stations with no consideration to the effects, but we have a shortfall in power coming over the next twenty years based upon current levels of usage, never mind any increase because we all can't be bothered to power off our computers.

It can take up to five years just to build new power stations, what with all the public consultations and planning procedures, so something needs to start happening soon.

My own opinion is to reduce energy usage or maintain it at current levels through green initiatives, promote use of renewables such as solar, wind or tidal but accept that they cannot provide the base level of electricity we need and build a new generation of power stations having a (necessarily quick but proper) debate as to them being Gas, Coal or Nuclear.

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Anonymous Coward

@ There's a green in our midst! Run away, run away....

....absolutely spot-on, give the man a cigar!

I am surprised at the naivety of the 'greens' (ironic?) - we should ask them a simple question;

"Do you want CO2 as a pollutant or radioactive waste as a pollutant?" Cos unless you know something the rest of the world don't then you're gonna have to pick one to 'emit' for our power generation for the next half-century or so!

Anyhow - since we all talk about China or India these days what sort of consultation do you think you would get over there?

If they want to build nuclear they will build nuclear - so they will have heat & light in 2050 whereas here in the UK we will be sitting in the dark & cold cursing those of us who listened to the 'greens' in the early 21st century (as MMCC/AGW will have been disproven by then & global temperatures will still be similar to what we have now).

In short - go away 'greens'....

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Anonymous Coward

Going fission

Interesting info here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor

And, as 1 poster already says, there's plenty of Thorium available.

And, as far as the UK goes, the obvious place to build new reactors is where they already are ! The local populace appreciates the employment opportunies, is accustomed to the presence of reactors, and do not actually glow in the dark or fail to make it into adulthood through radiation-induced disease.

Modern fission, and vitrification of the waste, are the ways forward

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Anonymous Coward

nuke industry

is incompetent (Thorp) and corrupt (faking paperwork for the japs). No doubt there are more examples.

If someone wants to get planning permission etc etc for a nuke, they can do so and then build one. But that isn't the problem; the real problem is that they want an eternally expanding handout, for ever, so they can play with their toys.

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@"Most dangerous, long lasting toxin on the planet"

Many "Greens" fail to realise that Chernobyl and 3 Mile Island where very old reactor designs. To dismiss Nuclear power because of these two incidents is the same as saying that Flying is inherently unsafe - "Just look what happened with the Hindenburg!!!1!!!1!!1!!!!"

If you want to see what some of the most up to date technologies do, then do a bit of research. Like look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_Fast_Reactor or something. They use 99.5% of the fuel used, so over the entire life of the reactor, you will be left with a few hundred kilograms of waste, which will decay to the same level of radioactivity of the original material in less than 200 years. That's a long time, but not unreasonable to manage. And it's less than half the time it takes a disposable nappy to rot away in landfill (since we're talking of toxic waste..!)

The Greens want to put away their delusions of a rural idyll and actively work with scientists to look for real answers. Rather than stubbornly refusing that nuclear has any place in the modern world. perhaps they would be better placed to make sure that environmental concerns are built into the plans for the worlds future energy plans.

With abundant "clean" energy, we'll have the energy to effectively recycle much of the waste that we still landfill. Many plastics, for instance, are not recycled simply because the energy costs are too high.

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Some replies...

1. "Nuclear power is "green". This is a flat out lie. It is a shed-load greener than fossil fuel, but you still have to build reactors (watt for watt, a lot less green that building windfarms)"

That's difficult to believe; how many resources would you have to consume to build a couple of GW worth of windfarms?

2. "Nuclear power is totally safe. But only on paper. In the real world, humans design, build and run the power stations, and we make mistakes."

Which is why modern reactor designs offer much more passive safety. Basic laws of physics are a lot more reliable than a complex engineered system, which is in turn a lot more reliable than a human twiddling dials.

3. "nuclear needs to be run by government, certainly not the dodgy private sector (therefore profit driven) outfits that the government are looking to employ, they have three mile chernobyl written all over them."

Why? Like all the scariest nuclear sites, Chernobyl was government-controlled. The government also tried to keep the accident secret. The outside world only found out when radiation alarms went off at a privately-run (and much safer) European nuclear site...

Needless to say, any future nuclear power station in the UK will have to meet vastly higher safety standards than chernobyl.

4. "Any new build will be subsidised (to 100%?) by the government (tax payer) as will decommisioning and spent fuel handling. No doubt the revenue from generation will go to a private operator. Also, the price per kwhr fro the consumer will be maintained artificially high so that said private operator can actually make a profit - nuclear is the most expensive method of electricity generation."

To put it charitably, you seem not to have read the consultation documents.

5. "There is estimated that there is 85 years worth of usable uranium deposits remain - assuming that demand does not increase..."

There may be 85 years easily-extracted supply of uranium at the current price. Once that runs out, there's lot's more that can be mined at a higher price (there were even mines in the UK which shut down because they were uneconomical). If the price went up a bit, no big deal; fuel is relatively small proportion of a nuclear generation's total costs. If fossil fuel prices went up, though, fossil-fuel-burning systems would be in worse trouble.

Oh, and there are alternative fuel cycles...

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Yet when it comes to ‘climate change’......

Yet when it comes to ‘climate change’ the greens are all over it, disregarding the non-existent, flawed and biased evidence!

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dpg

Chernobyl

I always bugs me when pro nuclear peeps come up with the "newer reactors will be much safer than Chernobyl" line and then dismiss any safety concerns. There wasn't a safety systems failure at Chernobyl, because the safety systems had been disabled for maintenance!

As soon as theres a human interaction with any system, it can NEVER be 100% safe. All you can do is mitigate the risk as best you can and figure out a way to deal with the fallout when an accident happens.

NIMBY? not in my bloody county mate.

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Oh for goodness sake

<Basil>It's very simple. We need to start building for the future now. Our choices are,

(a) Further fossil fuel plants. Cheap and efficient but produce Gigatonnes of pollutants. Politically unacceptable.

(b) Renewables. Expensive, unreliable and low energy density. Politically acceptable however.

(c) Fission reactors. Expensive, reliable and efficient. Politically less acceptable.

(d) Other. Includes Fusion reactors, microwave solar sateillites et al.. Not a solution in the near future.

So what we to do ? Obviously, buy time with efficency, encourage micro-power generation by property holders and build fission plants. Renewables have a place, but it's never going to be huge with such low output. Plough savings into R&D on renewables and fusion. My money is fusion becoming cost effective long before a wind farm does.

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Anonymous Coward

eat your greens

I just like to make an observation. France uses nuclear power for 75% of its electrical generation and has well developed waste processing. You don't hear much about it because it just works. It's amusing to think that the nuclear generated electrical power that France exports to the UK goes some way to account for the UK's non-emission targets.

Since the 80's Nuclear technology and research has not had much of a chance to mature in the UK. The greens have to take some of the responsibility for that.

It's all very well harping on about the dangers of some form of technology but it was not reasonable to hound and vilify the research which could have provide better and safer nuclear technology. Technology, which if it had been allowed to be developed outside the lab could have be used in a power generating industry and could have been available to us now we really need it.

There was so much potential, some links of what was being researched at the time have already been provided above by other comments.

Waste issues could have been resolved or mitigated by now.

Even if waste can not be transmuted or processed, I've seen arguments that nuclear waste storage is not a big of a problem as the greens like to say. Check out the facts from the natural nuclear reactor in Oklo and the spread of radioactive waste from that site.

http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/factsheets/doeymp0010.shtml

Losing that 20-30 years of useful research time, was just short sighted. I'm all for an open debate, however having the same propaganda as 20-30 years ago will not help.

I personal believe the green lobby have left us in a bad situation, now we are running out of options about future energy needs. It's about time their comments are taken with some scepticism. Having said that, they should at least be able to make those comments. It's just so maddening that when they get the go ahead to do so, they get angry because they can not spout the same crap and have us lap it up (as happened in the past).

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Anonymous Coward

Its nuts to support nuclear

Firstly nuclear does kill people:

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Despite the British government claiming that Sellafield is save the instances of childhood luekemia are higher than anywhere else in the UK.

There appears to be wide spread support for the case that living close to a nuclear processing plant causes an increase in the occurrences of leukemia.

Secondly the British Government wants private industry to run the power plants:

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Private industry is going to require huge grants from tax payers money in order to pay for these power plants. Private industry will then take the profits and will leave the British government (us) to pay for the clean up operation.

There is not a profit to be made from nuclear power so it should be a government operation not a private operation - the current setup is about robbing the British.

The nuclear lobby is huge and has spent a fortune trying to convince us all that nuclear is save (or nuclear means jobs as Ewan McCall put it). The nuclear lobby seems to have successfully won the argument with the government and newspaper owners without consulting the small people.

I am sure cabinet members will all get lucrative directorships from the industries involved when they retire from the house of commons.

The nuclear lobby has done a very good job suggesting that nuclear is the only alternative to fossils and renewables. What about energy savings (ideas like banning traditional light bulbs and making sure that standby no longer exists on products are both currently being implemented). There is also local generation - all houses have solar panels and wind mills (why isn't this already law for large constructions?).

A lot of people in this thread seem to have been bought hook line and sinker by the nuclear lobbies propaganda.

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Anonymous Coward

Nuclear is not and should not be the main focus

I think one of the concerns that the green movement has is that we are currently facing the issue of 'Peak Oil' owing to our heavy dependence on petroleum related products and the fact that they are running out and we need to address this. The next issue we will face is 'Peak Uranium'. If we all switch to nuclear power generation and do not address the alternatives in a sensible, unbiased way (i.e. Without the heavy pressure put on by influential Nuclear-indutry lobbyists) then we will hit 'Peak Uranium' in about 50 years and be back in exactly the same situation. Nuclear energy probably is required, but we need to balance that with the implemenation and investment in renewable sources, which are not as expensive as portrayed in the press. The lib-dems have come some way to addressing this, taking on some of the excellent recommendations put across by 'ZeroCarbonBritain - An alternative energy strategy for the UK' put forward by the Centre for Alternative Technologies, based in Wales, but their plan is not far-reaching and effective enough. The reality is we DO need to look at alternatives to nuclear and soon. Britain could lead the field in this globally and ensure that we have sufficient power and resource to not be held to ransom by the current energy power-brokers, i.e. Russia, Saudi Arabia et al.

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Silver badge

Reprocessing

People are quite right that spent fuel can be recycled into new nuclear fuel, spinning out our uranium reserves almost indefinitely, but they're ignoring a couple of facts:

1: reprocessing has proved to be commercially disastrous - if we're going to reprocess fuel we're going to have to accept higher energy costs which eats away at nuclear's competitiveness against renewables. But the biggest problem is:

2: reprocessing produces plutonium. Iran is currently developing reprocessing technology within its IAEA remit, but this is making people nervous. Can we allow a world where any government can produce plutonium on an industrial scale? Or should we only allow certain countries to reprocess? There is no way that the big 5 nuclear powers would allow an international body to control plutonium stocks, so the question looks almost unanswerable.

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Re: Reprocessing

Reprocessing doesn't "produce" Plutonium.

Plutonium is the result of the decay of an isotope of Neptunium, which is formed in the reactor core.

However, in the case of current PWR and BWR technology, the Plutonium is Pu-241, not Pu-239.

Pu-241 decays through spontaneous fission, making it less-than-desirable as weapons material.

But,

Plutonium can be burned in a mixed-fuel reactor, thus eliminating it from weapons production.

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So many idiots out there...

Why are those idiotic greenies moaning about the consultation. It was not biased at all. It asked the simple question:

"In the context of tackling climate change and ensuring energy security, do you agree or disagree that it would be in the public interest to give energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations?"

Although that could not be more even-handed, I still propose this slight re-wording:

"In the context of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and organised Jihadists: Do you think that the responsibility of processing, transporting and disposing of the most dangerous substance known to humanity should be given to organisations whose primary motivation is to increase their share values?"

A similar survey was carried out to see if people were in favour of a project to celebrate the new millenium (ie The Dome). The question essentially asked:

"Should we celebrate this event that only happens once every thousand years with a monument to collaboration and the future, OR: Should all first born children be kicked to death by paedophiles in Mr Blobby suits."

Guess what - the question got the answer they wanted!

PS - To those people who say greenies ignore science (and then quote some research paid for by Esso):

You're lying, self-delusional tossers - You really are! You hide your ignorance by ignoring unanimous scientific opinion. Read the science, then come back and play.

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Anonymous Coward

re: So many idiots out there...

Quote: "ignoring unanimous scientific"

Hardly unanimous. But then I guess the only research that counts is the stuff you agree with, the rest doesn't matter. How about you reference some research yourself, instead of making sweeping assumptions, then we can see how unbiased your references are.

By the way, your right about the loaded question.

Just don't be a dick about it.

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Unanimous!

I use the word 'unanimous' advisedly.

Quoting an Inconvenient Truth: A meta-study of studies into climate change was carried out. Of the 600-ish *peer-reviewed* papers into climate change, guess how many dissented from the view climate change was happening and caused by man. Zero. They all agreed that climate change was happening, and that it was our fault. Not unanimous enough for you?

How about the IPCC - a panel of 1,000 climate scientists - guess what they concluded:

# Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.

# Most of (>50% of) the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely (confidence level >90%) due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (human) greenhouse gas concentrations.

If that's not unanimous enough for you, you're either stupid or trolling.

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