No safety concerns....
Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) will deliberately send a nuclear fuel rod into meltdown after April this year in a bid to learn more about the events leading up to the Fukushima disaster of March 2011. The experiment will take place at the Nuclear Safety Research Reactor in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, in order to give …
Nah, 30cm rod will only corrupt enough DNA for a godzuki stylee dinosaur....
Godzuki.....God, no...Utter panty liner of a dinosaur....
The only thing worse than a Godzuki is a Scrappy Doo!
The horror... The horror... The horror...
Funny, that's exactly what Sledge Hammer said at the end of season one. The next thing I remember seems to be oddly mushroom-shaped...
because we already have a stack of excuses ready to go.
This won't be the PR mess it was last time, we can blag our way out of anything now.
At least this didn't come directly from RocketNews this time.
Living in Tsukuba for a couple months now, Tokai's about 80km from here.
I'm actually relieved to hear this, seems Japan might stay in the nuclear business after all, despite the fear mongering. I'd hate to see all those nuclear plants replaced by fossil fuel plants – or about just as bad, unreliables (A.K.A. "renewables").
The wind that drivers an expensive unreliable windmill is NOT renewable, it came as a result of the solar atomic furnace. It is a use it or lose it situation. The same with light power 'solar power' it was produced a few minutes ago, capture it in you expensive, fairly short life panel or hope that there is more fresh light coming.
Of course the windmills wear out as do the solar panels, then like EVERYTHING else they need to be renewed, is that what makes the damned thing 'renewable'?
"Of course the windmills wear out as do the solar panels, then like EVERYTHING else they need to be renewed, is that what makes the damned thing 'renewable'?"
No, it is the subsidies that are the "renewable" bit.
So the old Non Fossil Fuel Obligation was an early effort by government to funnel customers money into unproductive and unreliable technologies. They renewed NFFO in five annual tranches. Then that was a worn out old pile of badly drafted rules (like all of government's energy policy) and renewal occurrred with the Renewables Obligation, and they had five annual rounds renewing that. Then they brought in Feed in Tarrifs as a new way of throwing good money after bad. You've got negative subsidies like the European ETS charged on proper generating assets, and poorly qualified and inept Westminster politicians made that worse by introducing the Carbon Floor Price. Then we've got other sh1te like the Renewable Heat Incentive to throw yet more money at schemes to cut down half of Canda's trees and ship them over here. And of course the rules require wind farm operators to be paid even when there's no need for their output - yet another subsidy in the guise of "Constrain Payments" - only £30m in 2013, and what's that when you're saving the planet? Not to forget the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme, the Climate Change Levy, Levy Exemption Certificates, and in future Contracts for Differences (such as the one guaranteeing Electricte de France twice the current market rate for electricity if they'll build a new reactor at Hinkley Point)......
Meanwhile, latest DECC data issued yesterday shows that the circa 11 GW of wind capacity that these subsidies have been splurged on had a less than 22.8% load factor for offshore units in Q3, and onshore units a miserable 16.4%.
The total cost of this grand, unproven experiment is around £18bn, that has been and will continue to be funded by electricity bill payers. About two thirds of the cost are not visible in the government (or even industry views) of "subsidy", but the capacity factor tells you all you need to know. By pressing ahead pell mell with the hippy idea of renewables, DECC have created a huge rab-bag portfolio of poor quality assets - onshore wind turbines always have poor load factors, so should never have been built (and never would without the fat subsidies). By going early the existing asset base comprises huge numbers of crappy, low durability and undersized turbines, instead of letting the technology develop and installing huge offshore turbines. The chaotic thinking at DECC has made a complete pigs ear of the connection arrangments for offshore wind farms that pushes costs up even further. And at the end of all that, without energy storage wind power is not suitable for grid energy use - even if we re-engineer all our CCGT as fast response OCGT, the costs of the conversion and the greatly reduced efficiency outweigh the "benefits" of wind. Unless you're DECC or a politician, and fully paid up to the Climate Change agenda with its need for Urgent Action to Save the Planet (tm).
Recent claims about reducing the cost of energy bills are mere pantomime - the politicians are still committed to their mad, glassy eyed dream of "renewable" energy at any cost (in fact, your cost), and the only bit they've played with is a modest reduction in the insulating of houses of people who by and large are ultimately having their energy bills paid out of the welfare budget anyway.
Almost every technology in existence has been shit at the start. It takes time and effort to make them cheap and reliable.
You can argue all you like about how much "renewables" is costing, but the pure and simple fact is that fossil fuels have a finite volume remaining on earth and we need to develop alternatives (i.e. something that we use to generate power without using it up - that's what makes it renewable). It might not affect your lifetime, but it will affect your children. And don't for one minute think nuclear is cheap - the TCO is about five times wind once you secure it against terrorists and clean it up once its used (and guess what, it isn't renewable either).
And before you start, I'm not some long haired tree hugging environmentalist - I love my V8 Merc and exotic jet holidays! But I am honest enough to admit we can't carry on the cheap way forever.
Are you serious? What's renewable is that the giant solar atomic furnace keeps on making wind and light for free. The prime mover is continuously being renewed instead of consumed.
"...and the only bit they've played with is a modest reduction in the insulating of houses of people who by and large are ultimately having their energy bills paid out of the welfare budget anyway."
I have to pick fault with this, ANYONE who would benefit from more insulation in their house (IE it will help to reduce bills/fuel consumption) can (or could don't know if the scheme is still going) have cavity wall insulation and loft insulation installed free of charge.
AFAIK the only one that was means tested was the new combi boiler, to get that you had to have a household income of <£16k
How do I know this? Because I had my cavity wall done a few months ago as part of this scheme - how do I know its not means tested/only open to people on benefits - because I own my house and have a relatively well paid job.
PS. I know that it wasnt free, I know that some where down the line some tax money went into it... In this context I mean free as in I did not hand over any funds directly for this purpose.
It's the wrong word though. The sun has a finite fuel supply. Yes it will last a really long time, but no actual renewal is involved. In fact it would be more technically accurate to say fossil fuel is renewable since more are forming right now, just really slowly.
"I have to pick fault with this, ANYONE who would benefit from more insulation in their house (IE it will help to reduce bills/fuel consumption) can (or could don't know if the scheme is still going) have cavity wall insulation and loft insulation installed free of charge."
I'll take your experience at face value, but the actual scheme rules are specifically written to exclude regular bill payers from benefiting from ECO obligations. I work day in day out on matters of "energy company obligations", I spend a fair chunk of my working life looking at the various ways that government force ordinary bill payers to cough up for the "vulnerable", be those the now defunct CERT and CESP schemes, the continung WHD scheme, and the various strands of ECO (HHCRO, CSO, and CSCO) not to mention the various RHI and FIT subsidies and the forthcoming capacity mechanism to throw subsidies (this time) at fossil fuel generators because DECC have wrecked the wholesale market through their previous interventions.
There's four ways you might have got it done free:
First this may have been a mop up action by one of the companies that failed to meet their CERT and CESP targets the previous year.
Second under the current ECO rules you may live in an area designated by government as a "super low output area" which broadly speaking means well below average incomes, even if you are well off. Often this is postcode lottery stuff, so if you've got a nice house with a dodgy postcode then that would explain it.
Third would be that the installers are third parties rather than the energy companies who are obliged by law to pay for this, and they (shall we say) have been economical with the truth on the eligibility criteria. Not that I'm suggesting the bureaucratic mess that DECC's obligation programme has become is a flawed mess with plenty of dodgy installers looking to cash in, oh no, not me, wouldn't suggest that in a million years.
Fourth is simply that an energy company who are struggling to meet their obligation targets are giving it away in a pell mell panic in the hope of avoiding penalties, and their programme is out of control. That was certainly the case for about half of all companies at the end of the CESP programme.
Consider yourself lucky, because the rules were drafted by DECC specifically to stop the "able to pay" from having energy improvements installed through ECO!
"You can argue all you like about how much "renewables" is costing, but the pure and simple fact is that fossil fuels have a finite volume remaining on earth and we need to develop alternatives"
You miss my point, sir! I'm more than happy for renewables to be developed and installed when they work, and I agree that fossil fuels are finite (although not anywhere near as finite as the tree huggers make out).
My beef is that DECC and the EU have built out early stage renewables that have poor operational efficiency, dubious durability, poor economic performance, cost a fortune, AND STILL DON'T DELIVER POWER IN THE WAY PEOPLE NEED, nor will they in the forseeable future.
So instead of carpeting Wales with toy wind turbines over the past and next decade, and forcing the broken economies of Europe to pony up for Greenpeace's distopian vision of post industrial poverty, the billions of quid should have been not spent, or partly spent in other ways to improve power generating efficiency and security of supply, as well as grid scale energy storage research. And instead of thousands of crappy 0.2-1 MW turbines that are a waste of money, when we had cracked the energy storage problem THEN we could have built the (by then) properly developed 6MW+ offshore wind turbines with 200m+ hub heights. Incidentally, I don't buy the terrorism argument on nuclear power, but I would agree it's no answer at the moment because (due to insufficient development work largely) it cannot yet be built economically. I'd wager a guess that the fancy, over-expensive and unproven Gen4 reactors like the Areva EPR will never be economic.
Ledswinger....you are CORRECT SIR !
There is NO Carbon climate forcing, only FORCED Carbon commodity markets, taxes, controls and subsidized mitigation . There is NO 'sustainable' energy, as all these green meanie schemes require more energy to create than they produce . There is NO 'peak' oil as Hydrocarbons are a natural byproduct of Earth's variable, climate changing fission . Be skeptical of over paid, under trained, bobble head professors with peer/pal reviews of their false echo chamber hypothesis.
 "Becoming A TOTAL Earth Science Skeptic" at FauxScienceSlayer site
 "Green Prince of Darkness" at FSS
 "Fracturing the Fossil Fuel Fable" at FSS
We've been LIED to about everything with faux science, fake history, filtered news and financed by fiat currency, all for the benefit of the ruling monarch-monopolists, aka the Demonic Warlords. Demand a Modern Magna Carta.
Yeah, yeah,yeah, the same old blather justifying nuclear power. The worst downside to solar and wind power is sunburn and chapped lips.....Now, about that third eye in your forehead from a little nuclear "mishap".....
... that this experiment hasn't been performed before. Knowing the failure modes of such a crucial element in nuclear power generation should have been a prerequisite carried out BEFORE building any commercial nuclear power plants.
Makes one wonder what other components of nuclear tech have been insufficiently tested before their use in commercial plants, doesn't it?
So it wasn't an earthquake and subsequent tsunami to blame?
Okay, perhaps there was an emergency shutdown failure, but you do question the logic of building the plant in the first place.
"Makes one wonder what other components of nuclear tech have been insufficiently tested before their use in commercial plants, doesn't it?"
We could ask the people who ran Chernobyl that question. Certainly in terms of UK regulation, which I suspect is fairly consistent with other developed economies, there's sh1tloads of safety and regulatory approvals needed for almost everything short of the toilet roll holders when you want to build and operate a new reactor. The problem I suspect is that this is all down to paper trails and civil service desk analysis, and you get your chit if you jump through the hoops in the right order, and that rarely includes full scale testing (and in this case, lets be clear they are only testing a very small scale model of a single rod). Other sectors often have similar problems - I'd suggest the example of the Boeing Dreamliner is one, having got certification for its dodgy batteries and perhaps over-ambitious electrics.
"So it wasn't an earthquake and subsequent tsunami to blame?"
Even if the earthquake, the tsunami and the meltdown had never happened, my point stands; i.e. that it's downright stupid to install a nuclear power plant without having some kind of idea about what would happen in case of failure. A test like this should be made mandatory for every kind of fuel rod used in a nuclear plant. The data collected in the tests should be used as a base for further experiments and simulations before any new design is deployed. And I'd bet good money there is plenty of other elements that haven't been thoroughly tested.
Okay, perhaps there was an emergency shutdown failure, but you do question the logic of building the plant in the first place.
Of course I question it!. An emergency shutdown failure is a major disaster. The damage to the people in the area and the cost of cleaning the mess will probably be many, many times the value of the energy produced over the plant's life. A cavalier attitude towards nuclear security is something we really can't afford. This article shows -once again- that whenever huge amounts of money are involved, safety gets the boot.
" safety and regulatory approvals needed for almost everything short of the toilet roll holders when you want to build and operate a new reactor. The problem I suspect is that this is all down to paper trails and civil service desk analysis, and you get your chit if you jump through the hoops in the right order,"
The chitty papertrail back to a the beancounter's desk was precisely the result of fitting an unapproved and untested toilet roll holder in the stalls.
It was well known as soon as the first nuclear physicists got their hands on nuclear fule sized quantities of the metals required to build a bomb that uranium expands like lead.
That is, it won't put itself back in the bottle on cooling. Which makes what happened at that disaster plant at focujimy all the more pathetic. Once uranium reaches 700 C it becomes a different phase state metal. Not sure of the physics so no suitable icon.
What caused the accident was building a nuclear plant near the coast of a country that suffers tsunamis.
If you're going to extrapolate that far, you may as well say what caused the accident is making the plant at all, let alone where it was. They certainly took the earthquake region into account when designing it.
I'm pretty sure it's been proven there has been a tsunami on the severn in the past. No country with a coast line is exempt, just more likely in some regions.
Here you go:-
"While the risk of similar future events is considered to be low, it is estimated that the potential cost caused by comparable flooding to residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural property could range from £7 to £13 billion at 2007 insured values. Concern has also been expressed that the nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point and Oldbury could be endangered"
There was another plant closer to epicentre of the earthquake survived the Tsunami because the engineer ignored officials and built a much bigger flood barrier.
In all fairness, their only real mistake was keeping their diesel generators somewhere a tsunami could wash them away. The reactors and the buildings survived a quake a magnitude greater than they were built to withstand as well as being hit by a wall of water. If those generators hadn't been lost they could have carried on cooling the reactors and there wouldn't have been even the partial meltdown that occurred.
The moral of the story is to always keep your diesel generators away from tsunamis!
The Tsunami was much bigger/higher than any -repeat- any- barrier in the whole country.
But had the plant been closed down as was originally planned the destruction of the plant would not have had melt down etc.
We would all have lived happily everafter.
As a smug Brit living on the east coast of the UK can I just say....
Please stop, I plan to visit California this year, and I don't want to be all glowy or dead because of it.
But think of the super-powers you might end up with...
I hadn't thought of that - I should really withdraw my comment
mind you - you might just end up with orange fur and very long arms....
"As a smug Brit living on the east coast of the UK can I just say...."
...that you're a bit worried that we've got a few current and decomissioned nukes on the east cost (Bradwell and Sizewell, and Dungeness further south), given that there is credible evidence of major tsunamis hitting the coast of the UK?
Admittedly the frequency of tsunamis in this country appears to be in the order of a few every thousands of years, but I wonder what the impact on our nuclear stations would have been if one had hit any UK coast now?
This is nothing new. Just buy a brand new car, especially the first release of a new model. You pay the privilege of being the long term test driving guinea pig to report all the issues which are then ironed out in the "facelift" model.
Um, WTF isn't this sort of testing carried out as part of the design process for the fuel rods ?
Why wait until *after* a meltdown has occurred, to start wondering what it takes to make one happen?
I'm with you 100%. In fact, I'm pretty sure they haven't tested what happens with the fuel rods are brought into contact with hedgehog DNA, either. How DARE they build a power plant without inserting some fuel rods into a test hedgehog first?! They should be testing every possible eventuality, no matter how unlikely!
Reductio ad absurdum, bitches!
That poor hedgehog.
Reductio ad absurdum, bitches!
Only it's fully retarded. You should learn to handle your rhetorical devices.
Because hedgehog DNA is not very interesting to the device at hand (unless we are into witchcraft and other causal models with scant empirical support).
But core meltdown sure is.
I can't understand why everyone is so keen to jump on the 'renewables are expensive, nuclear is cheap' bandwagon.
Nuclear is FAR from cheap, it costs a fortune to build, costs a lot to run(*) and costs a fortune to decommission once a site has reached EOL. The laughable part of this is that you and I are paying for all of this on the quiet via agreements between the government and the energy companies - and will continue paying long after the energy companies have trousered their profits and shut down old stations.
... why do you think that the only energy companies who were prepared to bid for building the UK's next generation of stations required the government to commit to a future guaranteed minimum price per unit generated before they would put in a bid?
Unfortunately, the nuclear industry has a very powerful lobby, which has done a very good job of influencing government policy away from doing anything other than pretending to promote commercial alternatives (micro generation has never been any serious threat, and this has been the only successful government scheme in renewables)
As someone commented above, renewables are currently expensive because the government refuses to properly invest in fledgling technologies. New fields of engineering usually ARE prohibitively expensive until the technonogy begins to mature, processes made more efficient, economies of scale come into play, etc. Solar panels have been coming down in price in recent years as manufactured volumes increase, and new materials are currently being tested which make for much more efficient light-leccy conversion.
As for the unreliable part, I know for a fact that there are engineering companies working at this very moment on workable technologies which can provide a constant delivery from fluctuating inputs such as wind and solar. The main blocker to taking full advantage of clean but fluctuating energy sources is the need for a 'smart' grid.
Many workable tidal solutions have been developed and tested - one particularly successful candidate was sidelined in order for the government to focus on plutonium-producing nuclear.
Its all just engineering. Keep the damned politics out of it - including green politics, which are often less than helpful even when well intentioned.
(* Environmentally, as well we economically - Uranium mining involves huge open strip mines, but you don't tend to notice these because they're in other countries)
"Nuclear is FAR from cheap, it costs a fortune to build, costs a lot to run(*) and costs a fortune to decommission once a site has reached EOL. The laughable part of this is that you and I are paying for all of this on the quiet via agreements between the government and the energy companies - and will continue paying long after the energy companies have trousered their profits and shut down old stations."
Well, let's break that down:
The "Fortune to build: yeah, they're not exactly cheap, heavy infrastructure, shielding, a bit more(say 5x) than your standard coal fired plant, but it produces 10x the power. However, the NIMBYs and "Greens" that sue nuke plants to delay them being built (so that it takes 40 years and counting of court time to simply respond to the never-ending onslaught, never mind actually any progress on building the damned thing) Make the plants rediculusly expensive.
Oh, and clean-up costs are paid, in advance during construction, into an escrow, managed by the Gov't. So yes, the Gov't is paying for the clean-up, much the way I paid for the coffee with the fiver my friend gave me for coffee.
Must be different in the UK. Here in Canada, the assorted governments seem more than happy to piss away loads of money to subsidise wind farms, based on questionable predictions of return on investment which never seem to pan out.
Unfortunately I doubt many people are going to put up with shivering the cold every winter evening waiting for permission to cook their roast potatoes.
I agree, it's all just engineering, this is how the grid works, energy in equals energy out. Any intelligent load balancing has to work within that equation.
Solar is a total fantasy for the UK, there's no peak summer A/C load for it to make any dent into needed generating capacity, our peaks are in winter when its dark.
I'm incredibly frustrated that impoverished people who can't afford to heat their modest flats are having to subsidise someone with a ton of liquid capital that realised he could get a nice 8% earner by sticking some god ugly panels on his house. This is the reality of subsidies.
"Must be different in the UK. "
Not at all. The problem is that having carpeted the land and a lot of the shallow coastal seas with crappy wind trurbines, the fuckwits have finally woken up the fact that wind power is intermittent and unpredictable. As a result the only thing keeping the lights on is the decline in industrial power demand because of the economic depression we're enjoying. So, following the same "carbon is the breath of satan" logic, they looked round for a supposedly carbon free power source, and thought "nuclear, that's the answer". And so we're offering comparable subsidies to companies to build expensive and unproven nuclear plant designs as those pissed up the wall on wind.
Don't worry - if your government are fannying around with wind farms, they'll be on the new nuclear bandwagon next.
"Unfortunately, the nuclear industry has a very powerful lobby, which has done a very good job of influencing government policy"
No. EdF had to be bribed to build Hinkley Point because they don't want to. RWE and E.ON both bailed out of their Horizon nuclear JV, like the rear gunner exiting a doomed Stuka. SSE and Iberdrola have likewise left their nuclear JV by the back door, like Elvis leaving the building. The driver for new nuclear is not industry, who simply don't have the money for this (after the politicians have fucked up the market and driven returns so low that investors don't want to know). No, the driver for new nuclear is politicians and civil servants, hooked on the opium of low carbon power, paid for by YOU.
"away from doing anything other than pretending to promote commercial alternatives (micro generation has never been any serious threat, and this has been the only successful government scheme in renewables)"
Micro gen successful? Nooooo! Nooooo! You really think that letting well off pensioners have a big discount off their power bill by carpeting the roofs of their bungalows with PV panels, and paid for by the largely less well off average consumer is a good thing? Or bunging money at middle class country folk to install a "biomass" boiler, at the expense of the masses? Or worse still, for those with a country mansion, a subsidy for laying a ground source heat circuit under Jemima's paddock? Micro-gen is a toxic non-solution, in which subsidies are thrown at weak ideas because they appeal to the beards and sandals at DECC. If these ideas gained traction in the mass market, then the costs of the grid would get recovered on ever smaller volumes, making it uneconomic (despite centrally generated and despatched power being the potentially cleanest, safest, cheapest, most reliable solution we have for electricity.
People who believe in "micro-gen" should be forced to live completely off grid. A few would cope, most would freeze or starve (and that would be a bloody good thing).
Despite centrally generated and despatched power being the potentially cleanest, safest, cheapest, most reliable solution we have for electricity.
EXCEPT that central power distribution has been proven to introduce single points of failure that result in failure cascades. Ask anyone who has lived in the Northeastern United States in the last half-century. They've had TWO failure cascades in that timeframe, NEITHER of which were precipitated by anything one would call catastrophic; they simply cascaded into that condition.
"Ask anyone who has lived in the Northeastern United States in the last half-century. They've had TWO failure cascades in that timeframe,"
Two *system* failures in fifty years. I'm calling that very good (noting that smaller events may be inconvenient aren't systemic). We have had similar frequency of system events in the UK and Europe.
Of course, if anybody really believes that microgen or self generation is more reliable, safer, cleaner and cheaper than the grid they are (generally) at liberty to do so. Other than doomsters who have moved to remote log cabins with a hundred year supply of tinned baked beans and a rifle it isn't very common.
Perhaps something in LA-13638 will look like data to you?
A Review of Criticality Accidents
Los Alamos National Laboratory
I've seen the 2000 Revision, perhaps there is a newer version available? This is a publically availabel document.
"Perhaps something in LA-13638 will look like data to you?"
It could look like data to me, but obviously it didn't look like (enough) data to the Japanese nuclear boffins. Could have something to do with the fact that there are many different designs and compositions for the fuel rods and related elements, and that such design elements and rod's compositions weren't too thoroughly tested before building this power plant.
Or it could be part of the 'greenie conspiracy'.