2389 posts • joined 1 Jun 2012
Re: Well that will be worth anticipating
"Punch trees, fall in lava, kill stuff. How is that not a traditional holy wood plot?"
You're missing the true plot: Minecraft founders, back in the mists of time awakened a great evil by opening the Pandora's box of Java. Evil plague of Java related malware threatens to overwhelm both cyber realm and real world. Hero defeats Java, world gets new Java free version of Minecraft on the back of the movie, world + dog celebrate the opportunity to finally eradicate the dark curse of Java.
What's not to like? And the sequels are already in planning: Evil plague (Flash) threatens to overwhelm world etc. When Flash has been defeated by HTML5, they can do another movie featuring Adobe Acrobat Reader. Hollywood could really save the world if each time they release new software free from the insecure garbageware.
By the time we get to Minecraft 4 then the plague will be Windows itself.
"How can a US court compel a (now-defunct) Japanese firm to do anything...?"
He's not necessarily expecting to get anything from MtGOX, he's hoping that a judgement in his favour will allow him to collect from some other party - maybe MtGOX auditors (if there were any), the banks who indirectly facilitated his cash being transferred to MtGOX before being converted to bitcoins, Japanese regulators, in fact anybody at all.
Hopefully the coursts will point out that anybody who puts money into an unregulated, overseas institution (in the hope of either hiding their money, or of earning huge speculative returns) should expect the risks to be matched to returns.
I have enjoyed a good laugh at the expense of fools like him. I hope those who lost money never see it again, and that way they may learn a valuable lesson about investment.
Re: But was the ransom payment 'succesful' ?
"Did they actually get access to their data again ?"
According to web reports, as a general rule yes. This might be criminal damage from your point of view, from the point of view of those behind Cryptolocker, this is a business looking to recoup its investment, maximise those returns, and to find new routes to market and growth opportunities. Consider: if they encrypted your data, you paid, and they didn't cough the key for you, you'd spread the word, and people would know not to pay. Suddenly the business hasn't got any revenues despite the spread of the malware - that's no good for the people behind this, is it?
"A "better" investment might be pursuing R&D in tandem (and perhaps ole Musky is already doing so)."
I don't think "better" comes into it. You need a production plant to sell something soon, otherwise investors can't see the point in continuing to bankroll R&D. Looking at the Teslamobiles, there's a lot of sense in churning them out with relatively inferior batteries now, because the vehicle will outlast the first fit battery and there's the chance to put in whatever is state of the art in five to seven years time at the midlife battery change. The alternative is to wait for however long before you think that battery tech has achieved some arbitrary level of suitability, which is always a few months away.
Re: Symantec and McAfee (among others) have not responded
I wouldn't worry about particular companies, as they need to sell their products in all markets, so they aren't going to flag up (say) US malware, because they'd find themselves squeezed out of the US market. They won't piss the Russkies off, because the penalty is a bullet in the head. They won't piss GCHQ off, because in addition to being the NSA's poodle GCHQ probably already have their home browsing habits, banks details and choice in ladies undergarments....and so forth.
It's notable that the Flame malware was reckoned to be in the wild for two years before being spotted, so in addition to the question of whether commercial AV vendors dare identify obviously state sponsored malware, there's a question of whether their product can routinely spot "state grade" malware.
Even professional criminal malware writers have a tight budget, a limited attention span, and a need to look over their shoulder - but they don't need to be too stealthy, because they are playing a numbers game of hit X million machines, infect Y thousand, release payload and chalk up benefits. State sponsored hackers have all the time, money and resource they want, access to inside info on the OS and applications, and an obvious need to evade much more professional levels of protection.
Re: Typically ignorant management response
"Well you say that, but not that long ago none of this was connected to the internet at all; the internet didn't exist! Yet we were able to generate quite a lot of electricity back then no problems at all."
Re-read the article. Air gapping is used, but as has been comprehensively demonstrated in Iran, that's no defence. We're not talking about script kiddies bringing down power plants, or Romanian thieves after your on-line banking details, we're in the realm of state sponsored expert hackers, who possibly have access to stolen (or simply bought) SCADA source code, and if they don't have that they probably have the resources to reverse engineer it if the so wished. If they've got the will, then circumventing an air gap is going to be easy.
You seem to assume that Olde Worlde SCADA was not connected. What the f** is the point of systems control and data acquisition if you still need all your experts on each site to pull the levers and twiddle the knobs? In fact, SCADA systems were running over PSTN before the semiconductor era, and the main defence was security through obscurity (plus an even stronger firewall of ignorance to the idea that somebody might want to maliciously interfere). We know better than that now.
Re: Typically ignorant management response
"My take is that the energy company IT dept finally gets the question of security up to board level whereupon it is immediatly thrown back with the instruction to just get some insurance cover."
I doubt it. We look to manage all risks to the business, and that means taking precautions and insuring against worst case scenarios.
However, there's an important reason why operational systems may be out of date - because of the policy disaster that afflicts energy (courtesy of politicians), most thermal plant is now out of the money, and that situation is getting worse. In Europe, relatively recent CCGT plant is achieving load factors of 25%, with a drop to 20% expected next year. The UK's not quite that bad, but it's getting worse.
Why would you bother to spend money on system updates when the plant stands a good chance of being decommissioned and sold to China in the next few years, assuming it isn't already facing a finite short term life under the EU Industrial Emissions directive?
Having decided that you're not going to spend money, seeing if you can insure is a logical next step, and if you can't do that then you factor that into your plans for managing the plant down, and try and hedge your imbalance risks through the trading arm.
So you see, another unintended consequence of the Greenpeace energy policy that has been foisted on the happy bill payers of Europe. Who would have thought that some fool mistaking correlation for causation on a chart would eventually lead to a chance of you and I being plunged into darkness by state sponsored hackers from the other side of the world?
Re: They all laughed at me for wearing an ascot.
"Well, who's laughing now?"
Well, out of the turtle's neck there must poke a turtle's head. At a guess the same applies to Ascot wearers. Look at Freddie out of Scooby Doo - definitely a turtle's head.
Re: More security is a good thing
" it isn't perfect "
No, it isn't. At this stage of the security game to be offering add on tools like this rather than having an OS that is suitably hardened against attacks seems extremely poor to me. And to be releasing such a tool and declaring it unready for enterprise-wide deployment compounds the crime.
MS have two decades of form here. They have NEVER taken security seriously in the past, they are NOT doing so now, and I'll wager that the WILL CONTINUE to regard security as somebody else's problem in future.
Was that enough rabid spittle for you? I'm afraid I don't do beards.
Re: They advantage of an autocratic country
"The moment Chinese put real enviromental controls in place all of that manufacturing is coming to a town near you, like it or not."
Chinese regulations require all existing power plants in the major industrial belts to comply with standards comparable to EU or US by the middle of this year. Of course that is separate from the more likely causes of urban smog (transport and non-energy industries).
But that manufacturing isn't coming back to the US or Europe any time soon. China still has cheaper and more compliant labour, a state willingness to build what industry needs, lower taxes, and less capricous and meddlesome government. Even as China puts in FGD, NOx, particulate and mercury controls, the EU continues to push its climate change agenda that will keep local energy prices rising until 2030 based on markets broken by regulatory intervention, daft subsidies and taxes, all being thrown at immature technologies like wind power and solar.
Re: dum di-di dum dum
" Do you know how hard it is to hide the loss of 750,000 of anything in a budget report in such a way that nobody notices?"
Just get it marked by the accountants as an "exceptional item", and everybody in the world pretends it is invisible. Which probably explains that "exceptional expenditures/losses" probably outnumber "exceptional gains" by about 900 to 1.
Re: Never seen that airlock before
" If you check the article you will realize the correct search is for "SHAX BUBBLER" not "shax airlock"."
You'll also read that it's a homebrew airlock. Being that Lord Shax is the originator of the recipe, it seems pretty obvious we're talking about a homemade airlock, and no amount of googling is going to help you.
On the subject of airlocks blocking, I've yet to see this, despite many years of messy "froth overs". I have since realised that froth overs are invariably caused by an excess of yeast, and simply using qood hygiene and a quarter of the recommended amount of yeast give you a slower start and the same outcome, but without the excess foam and mess in the first forty eight hours.
Re: Fine then.
"But I believe that deliberate circumvention of the intent to keep the data anonymised should get you jailtime "
Not enough. Look at Murdoch and his vermin all bleating that they didn't know or they didn't do it deliberately. Proving otherwise is difficult, and could be enough to get the despicable liars (or incompetents) off the hook.
Far better to make people cupable for circumvention of privacy controls, without having to prove knowledge or intent. It then becomes the organisation's responsibility to have controls to ensure that they do not circumvent privacy requirements. Ignorance of the law is no defence - why should ignorance of the organisation breaching the law be a defence for those rewarded for responsible for running it?
Re: BEST SMARTPHONE
Yes. But there's no shame in that. All industry events see the prizes awarded to the organisers themselves, or to whoever bought the expensive tables at the front of the award ceremony, or a year's worth of advertising with the organiser and the like.
I have yet to see any "award" in commerce,media, tech or elsewhere that is awarded on actual merit or objective analysis.
Re: What does X mean?
" It starts at A1, which is 10^-8 W/m^2, and increases linearly up to A9 (9x10^-8)."
Given that sound pressure is measured in W/m^2, we can presumably use a similar method for measuring human belches (audible volume, obviously not quality), and the X scale looks remarkably well placed for this, as 10^-4 W/m^2 is about the same as a noisy radio or raised voices.
Mrs Ledswinger (who is naturally blessed in the belching department) can let rip with noise levels akin to shouting, so I'm guessing that she's achieving X5, possibly pushing to an X6 when suitably fuelled. Can other commentards (or their spouses) better that?
Re: xenophobia maybe?
"Right now they're using the FUD of these parts being inferior "
From a defence point of view I'd suggest that there's rather more to it than simply inferior quality, although as others have pointed out that is in fact an issue. We're mindful of the idea of backdoors in hardware, so taking this concept and applying it to commodity IC's is nothing remarkable. All the effort that goes into secure software or encryption, for example, could be negated if a foreign power can get rogue IC's in to the hardware, and those ICs do more than it says on the tin. Indeed, beyond pure espionage, it is possible to posit "hardware hacks" that could on command eliminate the stealth of a stealth fighter, interfere with GPS on a cruise missile, disrupt secure communications, or even compromise flight control systems (or similar for ship/sub).
Given the return of big bloc geopolitics, there's the obvious Chinese interest as they manufacture so much, but there's nothing to say that other powers might not try to interfere in parts manufactured anywhere - as with state sponsored hacking, the physical origin and target of an attack says nothing about who is behind it.
Re: Free, free, free...
"Look at this great guy who brings us FOOD for FREE, no rooting and digging required"
Never mind FB, there's The Company That Must Not Be Named busy owning search and mobile through the same strategy.
Curiously, that most successful of pig swill providers has no worthwhile offering in the VOIP space (no, I don't count Google Voice), which means that Facebook have made a $19bn bet on making money from VOIP, even after Microsoft wasted $8.5bn on Skype, for a product that simply makes no money, and has no real appeal to their corporate users.
VOIP: An event horizon for investor's cash.
Re: hollow legs
"Why didn't they route that cable bundle through the (presumably) hollow leg? It could be damaged by stones kicking up"
I can't see there being much shrapnel with Curiosity moving at a rather leisurely 100 metres a day.
Re: Good idea for low-value items
"but for sub-£100 dry goods it's a neat idea."
Translation: This is a solution casting hopefully around for a matching problem.
I can't see this sort of capability coming cheap, but for those who don't want to shop but do want to have their goods in their car when they get home, what's wrong with (eg) Tesco's click and collect service?
We've narrowed the suitable goods down to exclude valuables, style items and compact (stealable) technology, clothing (unless you buy off the peg without trying it on), booze (stealable), frozen and refridgerated. As you say, pet food fits the bill. Volvo driving zoo owners will find this innovation a boon.
Re: Funny that..
Follow the money.
In the case of Virgin, it's in their interests to spam people, hoping a proportion will sign up. As a volume game, it doesn't matter that you haven't signed up yet.
In the case of health data, the money is to be made by selling the data (or more likely handing it over for free to a company run by a minister's friend), and that money is therefore maximised by NOT delivering opt out leaflets.
Anybody still not in the tinfoil-hatter camp on this matter may wish to look at this article on today's Telegraph website:
"So, where's the GCHQ version?"
Not really very amusing, and based on the now very tired KC&CO graphics, not the current "the state is embracing all your data" GCHQ logo:
Of course, you could breach crown copyright and lift the logo from the GCHQ web page (and the MI5 and SIS logos on links at the bottom) and make your own image and have a unique mug printed? Maybe the logos and your own legend - some starters for you:
"If you're reading this you're a subversive, and we're watching you".
"Imagine a boot tripping over itself forever"
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen"
War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength
Re: So, Doktor Frankenspud, we meet again!
And if it gives you silent-but-deadly wind it will be a frankenspod.
In fact, there's a growth market. GM the spuds to be wind-giving, with specific strengths and aromas you can choose. A-E for strength, 1-10 from parfum through to devil's breath.
Mine's an E10 please, and that's you getting your coat.
Re: As big as three football fields??
" Please ensure future Earth menacing asteroid sizes are given in El-Reg units"
And compatible units. The blighters are quoting me an area when I'd foolishly assumed the object might have a volume.
Maths boffins! Assuming a finite area and infintiely thin object, the minimum volume is presumably nil. Is there a maximum volume you could associate with a given surface area?
Re: If they were serious about punishment
"BTW, I did give you an up-vote because even though I completely disagree with your conclusion, your observations are interesting and add to the debate"
Well said, sir, amongst the peurile humour (guilty, yer honour), the dogmatic moralising grandstanding, the factually wrong, and the purely opinionated, that is the best contribution in this thread.
And for all those complaining about supposed trolls, do you not think the whole article has really, really weak tech angle, and is PURELY and simply posted to generate some interest?
"Climate change enthusiasts? People who are working for climate change? Curry, Linden, Mcintyre, Watts,"
On the correct side of the Atlantic those names ring no bells, I'm afraid, so no witty or facetious response is possible. But you could pretend I did manage it?
Re: Chris T Almighty If they were serious about punishment
" Nah, for real misery inducement, it would have to be IBM's OS2 Warp, on an IBM PS/2 (see what I did there?)."
Now that would be both cruel and unusual. But personally I see nothing wrong in either.
"much cheaper to let him starve to death and use his body to fuel a furnace."
If you let him starve to death the energy content of the corpse will be fairly low. Better to fatten him up, leave a few nooses around as a hint, and then burn him. Possibly restrict his liquid intake so he's a bit dehyrdrated - the higher the water content the less energy you get out.
I'm all in favour of dead people as a renewable fuel. In fact I'd round up hippies, convicted murderers, and climate change enthusiasts and throw them in the hopper alive - why waste bullets, or make a bolt gun dirty?
Re: The picture ..
" I think your sample size might be somewhat lacking."
Well, I can raise you a Panasonic bagged cleaner, so we're two vacuum's apeice. But you'd still be right about sample size.
Re: hearing loss isnt funny!
"downvoted for the troll against those people of the world with hearing issues/problems"
Bugger off. I'm not trolling against anybody here.
"Its not funny & it has a huge effect on social ability & confidence"
Tell me about it. I have close relatives with near profound deafness. But chip on the shoulder gits jumping to conclusions about what I think won't be getting my sympathy vote. So when I say that you're an anonymous knob, you'll understand now that I'm most certainly not disparaging or discriminating - I'd same the same to any other knob.
Now, go back to my post, consider what I was actually saying (a) that I have an issue with the extreme noise of one of Samsung's vacuum models (the ear defenders are for real, it's not a joke). And the bit about the Samsung engineers is what many people would call a "joke", and is a ridiculous attempt to explain the otherwise inexplicable "whisper quiet" legend on the box.
Re: What did vacuum cleaners look like before Dyson ?
"What did vacuum cleaners look like before Dyson ? Answer is they looked nothing like a Dyson"
Depends how closely you look. Stop at the bright colours and Fisher Price shapes, and Dyson's did look different. But step back, and compare an original Dyson to a comparable Hoover upright, and you've still got a beater brush bar stuck on a suction head that rolls along the floor, attached to an upright handle with a dust canister attached.
I doubt many people looked at a Dyson and wondered what it was. And the colours and shapes were simply dsign choices, mostly with limited relevance to the bagless operation. Arguably Dyson cleaners would have been every bit as successful if they'd been bagged models but with the same emphasis on colours and design.
Re: Something else I won't be buying from Samsung
"I'l get a Vax, if only for old time's sake."
Choose carefully. If you have a look at the cheapest bagless cleaners carrying the Samsung, Hoover and Vax names, you'll see several machines that look near identical. Who actually designed them we'll never know, and my guess is that they all come out of the same factory in China. And they're all Which? "Don't buys".
Re: The picture ..
" although one has to admit that they do look decidedly similar:"
I can confirm that form does not follow function, if my cheapo Samsung bagless vacuum cleaner is anything to go by. Dirt pick up is poor, dust retention appalling, the suction starts off strong but drops off alarmingly quickly. It seems to be similar to Dyson (by reputation) as the turbo brush was pathetic and short lived, and various bits have broken or dropped off.
And Samsung have a USP of world's noisiest vaccum cleaner. I keep a pair of ear defenders over the handle, so unpleasant and exterme is the noise. Amusingly, the box proudly announced "Whisper quiet", and I have a mental image of two profoundly deaf Samsung engneers
standing by the device, itself screaming away into an aero engine test bed, even their vision going opaque due to the intensity of the noise energy, congratulating each other in blurred Korean Sign Language on their silent vacuum cleaner.
Re: Opened up the casual gaming market
" but opened the whole new "casual" market... "
and promptly shut it. Just because the customers didn't know about frames per second, GPU pipelines, or any other anorak stuff, they do know rubbish when they see it. And the graphics were rubbish, the games were few, and the appeal short term.
Arguably Nintendo did a dis-service to the whole gaming industry by persuading casual gamers that gaming was uninvolving, graphically unconvincing, repetitive, and accompanied by soundtracks so bad that they can reduce your IQ simply through exposure.
Re: All downhill from Wolfenstein
"But Nintendo's games didn't. They wanted to target the younger generation, but their rose-tinted version of that generation may never exist again"
I'm not sure. I wonder if it's a Japanese thing, what with all that anime art stuff, and in Japan adults actually enjoy that graphic style?
Having said that, I got a Wii for the kids, and was gobsmacked by the awfulness of the graphics, the poor gameplay, the mind numbing sound tracks, the limited range of games, and the lack of breadth of those games. Then there's minor irritations like the lack of good control or input options, the poor menu and setup logic, the lack of easy on-line gameplay. The Wii may have sold well, but it was so deficient in so many important ways that I'm still staggered. Having paid good money for a device so mediocre, I can't see many former customers forming a queue to buy another Ninendo product. If the ghost of Christmas future visits the board of Nintendo, then he will show them the company formerly known as RIM, unfortunately it's clearly too late, and Nintendo will be following RIM down the technology sewer.
"Or to put it another way if these guys think the guy why changes disks is paid $120K a year then I won't trust any of their other numbers either."
I think you will find that the original salary figure was deliberately over the top to illustrate that the labour costs of replacing failed disks were negligible even if you hypthetically used an over-paid, over-qualified senior support technician in a high labour cost location. And I can't speak for the author, but where I sit around 40% of an employee's costs to the business are not their direct salary, but annual leave, sick leave, overheads, payroll taxes, support & administration costs.
Re: Nicely timed
"Scotland is a net contributor".
I could challenge that claim, but let's take is as fact. So enlighten me, why do the Scottish then wish to continue subsidising those of us south of the border?
"most Scots see themselves as British first, Scottish second and you think that's a bad thing?"
For you perhaps, but most of the Scots I know see themselves as Scottish first, British a very long way second. Some even see themselves as Scots first, European second, and British somewhere after the African ancestry they'd claim from the origins of the species. But however they think of themselves, I don't think there's a bad or good aspect. How people see themselves is simply cultural identification which is a combination of belief and emotion as much as location and ancestry, and if they culturally identify as Scottish, British, or Hebridean then I'm completely happy with that.
As I interpret your tone, I think you misinterpreted my comments as anti-Scottish. My only view on the matter is a guess that the Scots will vote to stay in the union, but that will be a missed opportunity, binding them to a government system that does more harm than good for Scotland. The singularly negative, obstructive and antangonistic approach of Tories, Labour and Liberals (not to mention the eurocrats) shows they do not want to do whatever is the right thing for the people of Scotland. I take my hat off to Salmond's response of "No currency union? Then no debt", but I think the people of Scotland will ultimately be cowed by the largely mythical threats being put up as "arguments" against independence.
Re: Nicely timed
"After the Scots have decided to go their own way"
Don't get your hopes up. The Scots know that the Barnett formula throws billions over the border from England to Scotland, and you've got the nonentities of Westminster and Europe wilfully and falsely spreading FUD like a high performance muckspreader. The Scots will not vote for independence, and the polls show that. WHich is a pity, because the more I think about it, the more Salmond is right: He hasn't admitted that in the first instance independence would be very painful for Scotland (particularly in ways that the left wing SNP would not like), but in the longer term it has to be a better thing, with the Scots economy having to stand on its own two feet, instead of being subjugated to the London centric policies of Westminster.
Having said that, the idea of a .london domain does further cement the status of London as a separate country and separate economy from the rest of the UK. My guess is that the Londoners would be more enthusiastic about the M25 wall than the provinces. Cameron likes infrastructure projects, perhaps he can get the brickies to start work this year?
Re: Awful document
"It would be nice to see Google defeated, as punishment for that awful document."
They aren't the only ones. A bit poor of the Reg to post an article that amounts to no more than a few sentences around a link? Should Kelly Fiveash be defeated and punished?
Re: GPS in smartphones
"If you have just the GPS receiver active on a phone with mapping data stored locally, no SIM card, WiFi off etc. I would take an educated* guess that you'd get a good 6-12 hours of use from it."
I read your post just before a one hour drive, and with a one month old, fully charged SGS3, set all networks off, including voice, mobile data, wifi and bluetooth. Only app running was Navmii, using local maps, with positioning on.
After one hour's driving I'm left with 75% charge. So I might expect at best four hours. I don't believe the SD card takes any worthwhile power, and the phone got reasonably warm (although less so than with all networks enabled and on-line mapping).
My guess is that the positioning and voice synthesis is computationally intensive, and a dedicated GPS has better hardware for this that uses less power.
I suspect you're right that there's benefit to turning off the networks - I reckon that the implied four hours is significantly better than the perhaps two to two and half hours I'd get using Google Maps and online modes, but you're over optimistic about the benefits.
Re: Does this mean@Randolf McK
"Err, it's nothing to do with bouncing signals off the Sun"
You're new round here, aren't you?
Re: My head hurts@ Charles Manning
"Who's the worse scum: Online gambling operations that prey on the addicted......"
If they prey on the addicted, then let's ban it. It'll certainly not pop up as a worse, more dangerous, unregulated underground gambling industry eh? In fact we could do the same for booze, and fags. Ooh, and online gaming, that can be addictive. And fast food,
Or of course, it might be that not withstanding the unlucky addicts, the majority of punters actually enjoy gambling? I don't know why, it doesn't float my boat, but blaming an industry because of the minority of users with mental health issues seems rather odd.
Returning to the thread, I'd agree that the outcome of having the punters credit cards compromised is much the same as actually going to the casino - they get cleaned out, for very little obvious upside. But maybe the risks of insecure systems will add to the frisson of the whole thing for gamblers, and this could make it more appealing?
Re: An OZ blogger...
"He advised that it was likely the folding solar panels that didn't retract before the 14-day deep-freeze."
Moon frost is a right blighter. Should have sent a bloke to scrape it off.
"Make it a remote controlled droid on 6 wheels, an armored casing for storing motor/fuel/ammo, one or two guns on a turret, and a few cameras"
Wheels aren't so good for the sort of sandy and rocky terrain we seem to fight hobby wars over. I agree the human is unnecessary in the suit, but then why go with either wheeled or humanoid format? Nature's answer to this sort of terrain is the mountain goat. The form factor looks as though it could be enlarged, carry sensors, obviously missile pods where the horns ought to be, and a gun firing out of the arse.
Low price, available tech, and more amusing (unless you're an insurgent being chewed up by the arse mounted gatling).
Re: My usual comment...
' which puts your numbers into a different light, I'd say.....Course I live in France, but never mind that. (And no, I'm not French.)"
Actually it doesn't.
Not only did EDF build sufficient reactors to entirely cover peak load, they built a fleet a third larger still. There's a small proportion actually needed to cover plant outage, a third provide baseload, and the remainder either provide discount power to the UK, Low Countries & Germany, or they are off line for non-planned outages (availability of the French nuke fleet is appalling), or operating a very low load factors. That did cost money, you just don't see it on your 'leccy bill. The bill for construction was covered by the French government so it never really appeared in power prices, but given the age of most plant and the intervening rates of inflation the original cash construction cost would now look pitifully small anyway.
France shows that you can technically do this (which I think we all agree). But it doesn't alter the underlying economics. The only two smart things the French did (in the original programme, it's gone to pot since) were to build lots of reactors to similar designs, reducing the unit costs, and using a proven basic reactor design (Westinghouse? Can't actually recall) which meant they had less of the unknowns and R&D problems currently bedevilling Areva's EPR builds at Oykiluoto and Flamanville.
This is now becoming a problem for France, as the partially privatised EDF has to issue public accounts (as do Areva), and the nuclear reactor fleet is ageing. If the costs of Flammanville are indicative, France can't afford to replace its nuclear reactors like for like.
Re: My usual comment...@John Robson
"Is it because you only think in terms of first generation BWR?"
Not at all, sir. The reason that nukes are only suitable for baseload is because they have vast capital cost and largely fixed operating costs. As soon as you try and operate them as mid merit plant, the load factor collapses very quickly to around 50-65 per cent, and at that point you're going to be almost doubling the unit cost of delivered power. As Hinkley Point is only going ahead if EdF get £93/MWh (plus CPI inflation for thirty five years, regardless of wholesale cost movements), this would suggest that mid merit nukes will need around £175/MWh (cf £50/MWh for the current UK market).
I like nuclear power, but at those prices it isn't viable. If new designs can reduce the capital costs by something like a factor of five or more, then they could be used for mid merit generation, but I've seen nothing to show that a safe, properly regulated, well engineered nuclear plant can be built for that sort of money. In indicative terms it would mean that Hinkley Point would need to be completed for around £6bn, not the £16bn being bandied about by DECC and EDF.
Re: @ Heisenberg
"Now, keeping a traditional power station on standby does not come cheap (it can no longer pay for itself through making profit for the owner) meaning that someone has to pick up the tab. Hmm, who do you think that will be?"
We all know who. Us.
Those more involved with the process will also know that the mechanism to throw subsidies at fossil fuel plant is being worked up by DECC at the moment. It's call the "capacity mechanism" and is included in the "Electricity Market Reform" programme. In reality, the electricity market only needs reform because DECC's and the EU's stupid energy policy broke it.
Who'd have thought that a "market" would involve subsidies for industrial scale wind plant, subsidies for household scale micro-generation, subsidies for heat pumps, subsidies for new nuclear plant, subsidies for biomass power generation, and soon, subsidies for fossil fuel plant? Oh, not forgetting subsidies for energy efficiency measures including those that aren't economic, and extensive subsidies for selected groups deemed unable to afford the resultant energy prices, and assorted other subsidies on offer for things like wave and tidal power, geothermal and carbon capture and storage. Meanwhile, very little money is spent on R&D for things that might alleviate the problems, such as electricity storage. There is money being thrown at "demand side management", which is likely to lead to optional time of use tariffs - in practice another incoming cross subsidy from the majority to the minority able to shift their consumption (or pretend to).
Some round these parts believe the energy industry should be renationalised. If they weren't so thick they'd realise that almost every aspect of the energy industry is under government control. Over and above the vast flows of subsidy, DECC control national infrastructure projects, so you can't build anything without their approval. OFGEM monitor and oversee the behaviour of the energy suppliers in retail markets. Costs of generation are dictated by government's foolhardy policies on carbon floor prices and the European emission trading system, and by the impact of the Large Combustion Plant Directive and the subsequent Industrial Emissions Directive, plus other taxes like the "Climate Change Levy", and the various renewables obligations.
Marketeers: It's called a market, what's not to like?
Lefties: It's all micro-managed by the state, what's not to like?
Hippies: It's a Gaia-friendly low carbon policy, what's not to like?
Consumers: Sorry, you're f***ed.
So you see, something for everyone.
Re: Re Woo - F***ing -Hoo!!!
"The wind is free - it takes politicians and british management to make it expensive."
You really do know nothing, don't you?
Wind power is expensive because it is sub scale (biggest individual plant is 6MW for a deep water 200m tall turbine, average size is about 1.2MW) compared to the 1.5 GW you'd get from a proper power station. So that's over 1,200 wind turbines to replace a single power station. That's a lot of concrete and steel, a lot of assembly, a lot of control gear, a lot of maintenance. Not to mention vast amounts of copper and aluminium for the connections because wind turbines generally have to be built away from urban areas, and have very long lengths of connections between the individual turbines. So the cost of the plant is high for the capacity. Then you have the dismal load factor, which means that the output from the wind turbine is not only unreliable, but small. You'd want a CCGT achieving 75-80% load factor, wind achieves about 25%.
DECC are doing a poor and misguided job, but it isn't their work that makes wind power expensive, it is the policy, driven purely by the physics and economics.
"As I write, according to gridwatch.templar.co.uk metred wind is contributing 11.38% of UK grid electric demand "
A pity then that we've spent about £18bn on these things to generate (at the moment) around 5GW). The same money spent on state of the art CCGT would have enabled us to renew virtually the entire UK fossil fuel fleet of c40GW (including replacing the remaining coal plant), as well as securing peak demand. If spent even on three nuclear reactors, then you'd get about the same output as wind is given at the moment (5GW), but of course you get that all day every day with a nuclear plant, so over the year you'd get four times as much power from investing the same money in nuclear.
Wind power is an economic disaster, and will continue to be one until we can efficiently store electricity. I'll wager that we won't be able to do that in the lifetime of the crappy wind turbines currently being built left right and centre.
"The same would go for wind - if people invested in mass production rather than creaming off the subsidies then we would be generating most domestic power on site and that's not what big business wants."
What a charmingly naieve thought.
Given that your renewables will be useless on cold still winter nights (peak demand scenario), who will pay for the transmission and distribution networks, and the 72 GW of power plant to keep you ticking over when your ridiculous subsidy-funded toys are delivering no output? The capital costs, maintenance & operations still need paying for.
Re: Oh boo
"Stopping you from breaking the law is NOT doing your company "irreparable harm"."
Maybe Apple were being honest and truthful? Their business model seemed to involve breaking the law in order to continue raking in the vast profits that they are so well known for. Arguably having to comply with the law will indeed do them irreparable harm.
Lucky Fanbois are so biased that this sort of thing doesn't sully Apple's reputation and harm sales. Then again, when your iPhone's been assembled by child labour, or adults in near slavery conditions, you probably don't mind that the company don't comply with US competition laws, or pay much in tax.
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