Public support for nuclear energy has reached an all-time high in the UK, less than a year after the Fukushima incident. There is an interesting gender gap, though. Pollsters Ipsos MORI, who buttonholed about 1,000 Brits last month for its survey, found that 40 per cent of the sample [PDF] now hold favourable views of nuclear …
"You either have too much fucking money or are completely deficient in sense."
A "Green" is the current abbreviation.
It *is* our only option
If this time around the public weren't duped by disguising a weapons program as a cheap power generation programme, thus allowing nuclear processes better suited to extracting ~100% of available energy from the fuel with short half life waste, to be employed then perhaps people would be less sceptical?
And yes, there's loads of it in our backyard already - France. > 78% of their power is provided by nuclear energy. Where are the Germans going to get their power from, now that they've dumped their nuclear programme? I hope the French put a tasty 'up yours' premium on the price.
If we do all we can to reduce our carbon footprint personally (insulation, minimising energy usage, electric cars etc) there comes a point where the only way to complete the process is to switch to a nationally available carbon free* power source - nuclear.
*OK it won't be 100% carbon free, but it will be a lot 'freer' than our existing power sources.
Unfortunately, the only way to institute that is to have a central (i.e. government) controlled generation process, but that's a bit too long term for any UK politician and also a bit too 'big-govermenty' for anyone right of centre.
Not sure where the attitudinal change will come from, but something's gonna have to happen soon!
Where are the Germans going to get their power from...
"Where are the Germans going to get their power from, now that they've dumped their nuclear programme?"
Well, despite claims from the nuclear industry the switch-off of several nuclear power plants in Germany has shown that Germany is still producing excess power.
"I hope the French put a tasty 'up yours' premium on the price."
Hardly, as they are way too busy a**-ra***g their own people.
They ship dirty lignite coal to Poland, burn it there and pipe the electricity back.
The Germans get cheap power and clean air, the mining unions get to keep their subsidised jobs, the greens vote for the ruling coalition who got rid of nukes - everybody's happy.
The Poles get the shitty end of the stick - but that's what they are there for.
"These extremely deep tunnels are perfect batteries for potential energy, in the same way that we use lakes for storing energy between times of peak demand."
For what - for storing the wind?
You can't get around the fact that solar is hopeless as it is variable output during the day and nothing at night (meaning you need conventional generation anyway). Wind is almost as hopeless as again it is very variable and needs massive subsidies.
I agree schemes like hydroelectric that store energy as water behind a dam and then use excess wind power to pump the water back up (making the dam one large battery) are a nice idea but in reality are not going to supply the power requirements for the whole country.
perhaps he was eluding to using the underground tunnels to house massive flywheels. there aren't so many ways of reliably and cost effectivly storing potential energy...
... I'd hazard a guess that Fukishima has dissappeard from the public conscience, replaced by the vapid C:BB or some other such ilk.
not wind, methane.
You could store methane in them if this process is economically viable.
Sorry, yes, hydroelectric storage. I didn't think I needed to make that clear.
It doesn't have to store enough for the whole country at any one moment either, it only has to store enough to smooth out the worst of the spikes.
Don't forget, Germany wanted to achieve something like 10% renewables by 2010 (if I remember correctly). The U.K. set similar targets. Commentators in the U.K. regarded that target as ridiculously optimistic back then and low and behold it is now only 4% in the U.K. but over TWENTY% in Germany. Will power has a lot to do with transforming promises into reality.
The first thing you have to realise about these figures is they talk about generating capacity. Now, for coal, gas, nuclear (especially) etc., the difference between actual production and theoretical capacity (which is what they're using) is not a lot. The different with virtually all 'green' methods is vast. Ask someone how much electricity their xMW windmill produces in a year and work out the actual production amount is. You'll find the figure is vastly different. So, the 20% quoted for Germany by hippies and greenies is utter rubbish. Theoretically, it is if it generated at theoretical capacity, but in reality, it's probably somewhere between 25 and 50% of that.
To go to renewables, any storage mechanism has to be capable of storing enough electricity to make up for the total loss of the renewables for a period of days, even weeks. Solar PV has to last all night, so maybe up to 14 hours ish. For wind, it has to potentially last for weeks. This became abundantly clear in Britiain during the last couple of cold snaps. At the point of peak demand (e.g. when cold and people using additional electric heating etc.), windmills produced damned close to nothing. Cold snaps like that are associated with calms. I don't have the figures to hand, but the figures of aound 1-5% of theoretical capacity have been shown. Unfortunately, this has to be maintained for days and potentially weeks. So, the storage has to be absolutely huge.
That's why wind power has to be subsidised and why wind power in this country has conventional generation backing it!!
"solar is hopeless as it is variable output during the day and nothing at night"
And they say that no-one in Britain has any vision or ambition any more.
> yes, hydroelectric storage
Underground? In an old mine?
How do you work that, then?
re: How do you work that, then?
Dropping water down a shaft imparts lots of energy that can be captured by a turbine, when you have excess grid capacity you pump the water back up from the lower to the higher levels. Also possible to store energy pneumatically in the same system, by pressurising the water supply.
So all you need is a really deep mine shaft, with a very large cavern at the bottom, in watertight rock, where it's geologically stable enough that dropping a billion tons of water into it won't have any effect.
I suppose there might be bits of Scottish granite mountains where you could dig one, but it's going to be quite an impressive feat of engineering.
water and mineshafts
Clever. I like it.
A couple of things that I'd like to think about - where do we store all that filthy, polluted, stinking water when we pump it back to the surface?
How efficient is it to do this? I know we do some already, and it has to be more efficient that just letting the excess power dissipate, but what's the return?
Even more disturbing - what if you've flooded a pitchblende mine? The radioactive horror of it all.
> Dropping water down a shaft imparts lots of energy
Yes, that's how you generate electricity. How do you *store* it by putting it in a mine?
> Also possible to store energy pneumatically in the same system, by pressurising the water supply.
No it isn't. Water is essentially incompressible.
re: Water is essentially incompressible.
You store it in the higher levels, release it to the lower levels as required. Pneumatic refers to air, trapped above the water reservoir and compressed, thus chucking it faster down the shaft than gravity alone.
> You store it in the higher levels, release it to the lower levels as required
So the mine is essentially irrelevant to the plan; you're building a tank above the lowest point and pumping to it.
Now do the maths on how big a tank you need to be useful...
> Pneumatic refers to air, trapped above the water reservoir and compressed
So you're not pressurising the water system, you're pressurising the airgap around it.
The water significantly reduces the amount of energy you can store because it is incompressible. So if you try pressurising a tank that is full, you get no benefit whatsoever.
> So the mine is essentially irrelevant
No, the mine is a structure that already exists that can be used to move water around and store it at different levels.
> So you're not pressurising the water system, you're pressurising the airgap around it.
Air is part of the system, water is pressurised by it - stop digging.
> the mine is a structure that already exists
*How big* is that structure, compared to the size of a hydroelectric reservoir?
If you'd done the sums, you'd see how insignificant a project this would be. And that's before we go near any of the other practical problems.
> Air is part of the system, water is pressurised by it
Air is not part of a full tank. You could only pressurise something once you had already started releasing energy from the store - which you would only do when you were trying not to put any more energy into it.
> stop digging.
Why on earth do you think it is I who is digging a hole?
You've come up with an extraordinary claim. I've demonstrated a number of critical problems with it. You've yet to address any of them, nor demonstrate why no-one uses this system anywhere on the planet. Are you the smartest person who has ever lived? Or do you think, just maybe, that such ideas have been considered and rejected? Perhaps because of the fundamental problems I've highlighted in this thread?
Sooner it starts the sooner it gets done.
It'll cost an arm and a *both* legs (delays, cost overruns, test failures etc) and HMG (or rather their taxpayers) will foot the clean up bill (no change there then).
Trouble is so will *any* alternative to give that much capacity. Something around 12-15Gw.
And *all* UK generators are *addicted* to the big lump of capacity in one humungous hit.
There *are* smaller reactor designs (<250MW) but I doubt *anyone* will be looking at one of them and I suppose the generators will think a small(ish) one will take as long as a full size one so why bother. Although a smaller one *should* take less construction -> faster capacity.
Britards the clock is ticking. IIRC within 5 yrs some (all?) of the nukes that make up 20-25% of UK generation will hit their sell by date. *Maybe* some of them will have their license extended (like a pub?). Otherwise the rolling blackouts start c2017. Despite what you might think the heat output of burning an MP won't really make up the shortfall, despite the sense of satisfaction some might feel doing it.
That said, what is the *average* construction time for one of those "mass" produced French nukes?
A short missive to your elected representative expressing your support might be in order.
@John Smith 19
"A short missive to your elected representative expressing your support might be in order."
Nice idea, but there isn't a working pair of balls in the whole of the House of Commons. The only thing our current crop of MPs is good at is procrastination and blaming each other for everything.
Fo a nuclear station will be somewhere between 3-5 yrs, mostly likely the latter
However over here it will be
1 yr initial planning application
1 yr revised planning application
1 yr pause before the public inquirey
2 yrs for the public inquiry to hear the evidence
1 yr to write the report
5 mins for the government to accept the report
1 yr while green groups get a judicial review
1 yr for an appeal to the house of lords
2 yrs to get anything on site because extremists have welded themselves to various bits of the site
6 yrs to build it
3 yrs to rebuild it because you really should'nt use the cheapest contractor for the cement
Which gives a grand total of.... who cares I've just frozen to death
Clean up bill
Actually, the clean up bill is factored into the cost of producing the electricity from these plants.
It's a requirement from the Office for Nuclear Regulation that the plants are designed with decommissioning in mind using the technology available TODAY and costings for the decommissioning activities are factored into the overall running costs of the plant (and hence the electricity price).
> And *all* UK generators are *addicted* to the big lump of capacity in one humungous hit.
That's hardly surprising.
Look at the amount of aggro you'd have to go through to get *any* power station built - any size, any technology. There will be protests, legal challenges, you name it...
So you can either do that once for a large power station, or many times for a number of smaller ones to get to the same capacity.
No surprises most women are against it
The majority of women are clueless when it comes to science and can't even spell nuclear never mind tell you anything about the risks. All they think of is poor green glowing ickle wickle baa lambs or some similar knee jerk juvenile emotional response whenever its mentioned.
And anyone who is worried about radiation should check out whats in the coal that gets used in a lot of coal fired power stations. It might be an eye opener. Funnily enough you never see spurious cancer reports about people living near the ash piles.
You took the sad fact of gender inequality in science education and turned it into a tirade against women. I hope you're proud of yourself for discarding half of the human race in one paragraph, and of your ironic use of the word juvenile.
Let's hope it was an ill-judged troll.
Somewhat ironically, boltar offered nothing scientific (like, er, evidence) in support of these claims. Perhaps she is a woman and therefore too clueless to understand.
Re: No surprises most women are against it
For your blinkered idiocy you are today's recipient of the Daily Taliban award.
"You took the sad fact of gender inequality in science education and turned it into a tirade against women. I hope you're proud of yourself for discarding half of the human race in one paragraph, and of your ironic use of the word juvenile."
10/10 for keeping your right-on PC credentials intact. I'm sure all the wimmin will love you at the next feminists workshop against <insert some lame cause here>. But lets not let reality get in the way of your opinions eh?
As a woman with a degree in Physics I wish I could think of something more considered to say than "Fuck off", but I'm afraid that I can't, sorry. I must be too fluffy-minded.
@Admiral Grace Hopper
For someone who claims to be so smart you seem to have a serious problem understanding a simple a phrase as "the majority off".
Not smart enough to dissociate myself from your sweeping generalisation, no. Being misinterpreted must be a problem common to all people who make sweeping generalisations.
@Admiral Grace Hopper
"Not smart enough to dissociate myself from your sweeping generalisation, no"
I rest my case.
Most people who are against it cannot actually offer any other solution - perhaps we should move back into caves?
Ben 50 (see above) has lots of deep tunnels full of nice energy. Perhaps we can live there.
"....perhaps we should move back into caves?"
I quietly suspect that a lot of these green nut-jobs would like nothing better.
LFTR, or some other modern nuclear reactor design. Especially ones whose output streams aren't lots of waste + bombs.
Thorium reactors aren't magic. They work by breeding U233 in situ, they don't (generally) produce as many long lived waste isotopes but these aren't the big problem to store anyway (long lived = low activity) the real pain is dealing with massive amounts of lower level, but still paperwork-involving waste, especially when you need to shut one down.
The plant itself still has the same safety issues as any modern reactor design - the big advantage of Thorium really only comes if your country happens to be sitting on piles of the stuff but you don't have any Uranium. Since the UK doesn't have either it's no big deal.
re: Thorium reactors aren't magic
You are wrong sir/madam. They are so!
...The plant itself still has the same safety issues as any modern reactor design...
Erm, no, that's wrong. Designs exist for which a reactor can be switched off and it will then enter a safe state even unattended.
...the big advantage of Thorium...
Is that there are so fewer atomic weapon proliferation risks. Hence, cheap energy for the whole planet. Hence a reduced need to go and steal oil from brown people.
...if your country happens to be sitting on piles of the stuff...
Ah, another advantage, almost everyone's country happens to be sitting on piles of the stuff.
Go and watch the Thoruim Remix videos if you can't bother to read. Then you'll be a nuclear expert too.
You can turn off a pebble bed reactor and will just sit there, you can pretty much turn off any negative temperature coeff design. There are still safety risks of having a big lump of glowing stuff sitting there even if it can't melt down.
I don't think the UK is going to be mining Thorium locally. If you can't economically mine coal from an existing coalfield, when you already have the mines built and the miners sitting on the dole - I don't think deep hard rock mining of Thorium is going to happen.
Proliferation isn't a big risk for the UK, we already have nukes - they MIGHT even work.
Not a mention of wave power and I don't know too much about it myself so I can't be specific. Unlike biomass and wind power though, it seems from this layman's perspective that it's pretty reliable and doesn't apparently cost an arm, a leg and your firstborn. You know, the tide comes in and then lo and behold it goes out again only to return later.
Surely that's a good thing and could be harnessed quite successfully.
There are also rivers for small water turbine power that's more or less free. The water flows one way mostly unless physics is completely messed up so that seems like a local alternative to take some of the strain. I do know that the greenies stated that we couldn't possibly have small local water based power because that would be a blight on the landscape.
I could be talking through my nether regions about the above so I'm quite happy to be educated in the finer aspects by those in the know.
Problems with tidal power
Whilst it sounds good on paper, tidal power suffers from a number of issues:
- Power can only be generated when the flow is high enough. When the tide is fully in, or fully out, no power can be generated.
- There are not many places where the water flows fast enough when the tide is going in or out to harness the tidal current efficiently. Some designs of tidal generators in development are supposed to tackle this by funnelling the current, etc. but these have yet to come to fruition.
- Generators have to be designed to withstand storm conditions, or to be easy and economical to fix/replace when damaged in storms.
- The sea has a nast habit of having things in it, from bits of detritus floating about, to living things such as barnacles and sharks, all of which can damage your generator.
No, its not reliable
And neither is it particularly high in power density.
It is in fact like any other intermittent renewable source, variable in output and massive in its use of land or sea area requiring vast environment affecting constructions to extract very little, and needing to be 'backed up' ..
ALL renewable arguments start from the basic premise that we can't use fossil and there is no other alternative.
(That is why they are all so vehemently anti nuclear, because not only is it a very viable alternative, it beats renewables on every single point you care to mention).
Once you say 'what about nuclear?', the whole case for renewables - flimsy at best - collapses entirely.
Once you decide on 'some nuclear' you open the door to comparison, and there then can be seen and be proved to be absolutely no case for a single picowatt of renewable to ever be built again.
Germany has pre-empted that discussion by saying 'no nuclear at all, ever' . It is the only way they can justify the wholesale destruction of their nation at the feet of the great God of Windpower and Solar PV. (and brown coal of course, which they are building in quantity)
We can prove that intermittent renewables cannot do the job. ANY intermittent renewables. They must be co-installed with conventional generation, or hydro storage that we haven't got the space for.
The real choices are fossil with a bit of renewables on the side at very little fuel saving and massive environmental damage and cost.
Or nuclear with a bit of fossil on the side to cover short term contingencies that its not worth spending money on a low capacity factor dispatchable nuclear plant to cover - although we could. If zero emissions is deemed worth the extra expense.
(actually there are some interesting cost equations to be had by using off-peak nuclear power to synthesize hydrocarbon fuels. Its not efficient, and its not currently cost effective, but faced with ever rising prices, it might be one day).
The renewables industry reckons that development in tidal power techniques is about 11 years behind that of wind. i.e .. at the moment the effort is in developing the most efficient way to generate energy from tidal power. (my favourite is the wave buoy .. a vertical shaft with a floating ring generator pumped up and down by wave motion... impossible to describe using hand movements without the audience giggling).
The main problem is generator size... the things have to have to be small and have a very good power density (at the moment the technology can provide about 5Mw generators , aiming at 10-20Mw generators). Consider that the UK's Drax power station can produce 4000 Mw (about 7% of UK needs) and you are talking a lot of tidal/wind turbines. (Phase 1 of the London Array will generate 650Mw from 175 turbines)
It's not all doom and gloom though. One area of development is in flow batteries .. basically high capacity batteries that can store excess produced energy and restore it when demand requires. Any tidal/wind farm of the future is going to need something like this to make the farm efficient.
"- The sea has a nast habit of having things in it, from bits of detritus floating about, to living things such as barnacles and sharks, all of which can damage your generator."
Especially the ones with fricking lasers!
Bugger, I knew there had to be some sort of issue for the development to be so stilted. Oh well, back to the atom it is although having lived and also having family in Cumbria I can definitely say they need to be a lot more cautious about leaks here and there.
"what is the *average* construction time for one of those "mass" produced French nukes?"
I suspect you know as well as I do that there aren't enough results in to give a meaningful average, but based on Olkiluoto and Flamanville, it doesn't look good.
Sadly there's no realistic way of increasing the rate of delivery either because some of the critical components and skills are in short supply. E.g. Sheffield Forgemasters who do some of the critical heavy engineering. In 2010 the Millionaires Cabinet refused them an £80M *loan* to pay for new manufacturing equipment and capacity - that £80M *loan* is barely more than the Millionaire's Cabinet is proposing be *donated* for a flipping Royal Yacht.
"Energy security? The markets will sort it out", said the politicians when the industry was privatised.
"The markets won't sort it out", said the engineers before the industry was privatised.
So, who was right?
Re: Energy security - the markets will sort it out
Heh! You know as well as I do who was right, and why.
What engineers call a backup, the market calls inefficiency.
Once again, politicians who have spent their entire careers singing the praises of free market economics demonstrate that they haven't the first idea of what it actually means.
Icon: The house of commons in 2017 when the lights start to go out.
Actually, the loan was pulled because forgemasters had no business plan to actually produce anything using that loan. I wouldn't use the French EPR as the benchmark, look at what the Chinese are doing with the CAP1000, they are starting to pull ahead of schedule.
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