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Old 1st June 2019, 04:50 PM   #201
JeanTate
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Over 90 percent of today's nuclear power plants are on rivers that are navigable or close to the coast. Also, because of the higher temperatures of Molten Salt, they are not only ideal for electricity generation, but also desalination.
Hmm ... Iím not sure how much I wish for each of these .... maybe China could add them to their Belt and Road menu?
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Old 1st June 2019, 04:52 PM   #202
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Originally Posted by WhatRoughBeast View Post
While safety is an issue, it is arguable that the big issue is the permitting process. As it stands, anti-nuclear groups have an explicit policy of making objections serially, rather than all at once.This enormously increases the process time and expense.
But not in China, right?

Seems to me that if MSRs were so good, China would have built at least a prototype or two by now, right?
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Old 1st June 2019, 05:00 PM   #203
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
The Candu reactors are one if the best built reactors in the world today. But it still uses pressurized water and solid fuel which still has the inherent dangers and is inefficient. I'm. convinced that molten salt reactors are the future of nuclear. Safer, cheaper and more efficient.
I should do some research on these molten salt reactors ... I'm kind a biased on he Candu reactors as I worked in the field on them.

My first thought is, Molten Salt seems a LOT easier to get than heavy water ... as long as we agree boiling water, and graphite reactors are out ... I'm good
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Old 1st June 2019, 09:08 PM   #204
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Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
But not in China, right?

Seems to me that if MSRs were so good, China would have built at least a prototype or two by now, right?
China has reportedly more people working on molten salt reactor technology than any country in the world. They are supposed to building two MSR test reactors in 2020.

It should be remembered that the Oak Ridge Laboratories MSRE was rediscovered in around 2002. Almost lost forever.
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Old 2nd June 2019, 04:57 AM   #205
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
China has reportedly more people working on molten salt reactor technology than any country in the world. They are supposed to building two MSR test reactors in 2020.

It should be remembered that the Oak Ridge Laboratories MSRE was rediscovered in around 2002. Almost lost forever.
Well, China has more people than any other country, and the second largest economy. So not really surprising, eh?

Do you know how similar the ďtest reactorsĒ will be to prototype power reactors? Desalination reactors?

Nitpick: China is a country; perhaps you meant ďthan any other countryĒ?
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Old 2nd June 2019, 11:12 AM   #206
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
China has reportedly more people working on molten salt reactor technology than any country in the world. They are supposed to building two MSR test reactors in 2020.

It should be remembered that the Oak Ridge Laboratories MSRE was rediscovered in around 2002. Almost lost forever.
Originally Posted by JeanTate View Post
Nitpick: China is a country; perhaps you meant “than any other country”?
You're right it is a nitpick. Pretty much anyone would read what is implied.
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Old 3rd June 2019, 05:56 AM   #207
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IEA recently warn about a decline in nuclear will result in an increase in carbon emissions:
Quote:
With nuclear power facing an uncertain future in many countries, the world risks a steep decline in its use in advanced economies that could result in billions of tonnes of additional carbon emissions. Some countries have opted out of nuclear power in light of concerns about safety and other issues. Many others, however, still see a role for nuclear in their energy transitions but are not doing enough to meet their goals.
https://www.iea.org/publications/nuclear/
Full report in link.
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Old 3rd June 2019, 05:58 AM   #208
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
The advantage of TSR is that in the event of a worst case scenario "meltdown", the material turns into solid rock which is easily isolated and removed from the environment.
And if I understand correctly, in a normal situation the frozen slag sits at the bottom of the containment vessel. Just start the reactor up again, melt the slag back into useable fuel, and pump it back into the system. That's a vast improvement over current designs.
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Old 3rd June 2019, 07:58 AM   #209
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
And if I understand correctly, in a normal situation the frozen slag sits at the bottom of the containment vessel. Just start the reactor up again, melt the slag back into useable fuel, and pump it back into the system. That's a vast improvement over current designs.
One of the great and incredibly simple advantages of molten salt reactors is the use of freeze plugs at the bottom of the reactors. A cold gas is constantly being blown over a bit of salt.. So unlike Fukushima where the accident really was the result of a loss of power, a loss of power with a molten salt reactor has the opposite effect. The fan or pump that is circulating the cold air stops, the freeze plug heats up and melts and the reactor salts drain out of the reactor and into drain tanks that are designed not only to prevent fission but remove heat.

The principle is that a MSR is walk away safe.
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Old 11th June 2019, 10:42 PM   #210
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Stephen Novella, from the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast (they totally have a forum by the way - you should sign up there) has written a blog post addressing common objections to nuclear power.

Answering Questions About Nuclear Power
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Old 14th June 2019, 08:50 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Stephen Novella, from the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast (they totally have a forum by the way - you should sign up there) has written a blog post addressing common objections to nuclear power.

Answering Questions About Nuclear Power
Meh. Just a rehash of 20 year old arguments that were not great at the time. To touch on a couple points

Safety
- Itís true that there has been no large death toll from nuclear power, but safety isnít just about the death tolls. While relatively few people were killed by the Fukushima the economic cost was extraordinary. For what it will cost to mitigate the damage from the accident Japan could have replaced all itís fossil fuel powered electrical generation and had money to spare to implement a storage system, and itís all but impossible to determine the final cost of Chernobyl.
- It assumes Chernobyl and Fukushima are events that occurred in the past. In fact they are both ongoing problems that have been temporarily contained. Chernobyl in particular will be deadly for far longer than containment is practical. The site itself will be dangerous for upwards of 10000 years unless some way can be found to removed the melted core. A second lager containment building has already had to be constructed around the first one but constructing a long series of ever larger buildings for the next 10000 years just isnít practical.
- Chernobyl and Fukushima were the result of human error and design flaws, but so what? All airline accidents are the result of a sequence of human errors and design flaws, yet they still occur. You will never get rid of this. "Make it idiot-proof and someone will make a better idiot." If Nuclear is the primary replacement for fossil fuels countries far less competent than Japan or even the former Soviet Union will be running reactors, and even if you limit construction to ďstableĒ countries, some of these will destabilize over time. Itís only a matter of time before some corner cutting upper-middle manager of some overstressed power utility makes a worse decision than anyone thought possible. It WILL happen, and this doesnít even include tin pot dictators looking for weapons.

Cost
- Projected costs mean almost nothing when it comes to Nuclear. Ever project in recent memory has gone FAR over budget and even on the basis of projected cost Nuclear is the most expensive option.
- Itís not in this article, but all to often I see the same people who tout safety also saying that costs could be brought down if only safety standards were relaxed. You canít have it both ways.

ďItís Base Load!Ē
- The concept of base load arose out of an environment where you depended on cheap but inflexible coal generated power. Because power generation canít be increased/decreed to match demand it needed to be supplemented with either more expensive oil generators. The goal was the minimize overall cost by using your cheapest generating capacity full bore then adding in more expensive power as needed. Nuclear doesnít fit in this model any more than renewables do because itís neither cheap nor flexible.
- Because power generation canít easily be ramped up/down you canít have an all nuclear power grid. You would still need storage or more flexible technologies to cover off peaks and valleys in demand just like you would with renewable.
- When discussing systems with mixture of nuclear + renewables like to call nuclear ďbase loadĒ so they can pretend the cost of storage and/or oversupply all belong to renewables when in fact this isnít the case. In fact, future power need to look fairly similar regardless. They will should have some form of HVDC backbone to exchange power over long distances, they should have some storage to cover variation in demand and they should have some smart technology so things like charging electric cars can occur when there is an excess of power rather then a shortage

Next generation reactor technology
- Simply put current Gen-2 and Gen-3 reactors cannot replace any significant fraction of fossil fuel generate power. Iím not suggesting they have no role, but they are too expensive, take too long to build and use too much fuel to scale up sufficiently to replace more then a fraction of fossil fuel energy.
- Next generation reactors may be more suitable, but we wonít be at a point where we can even begin evaluating that until at least 2030. Even assuming everything works as we hope, ramping up the construction of these reactors will come too late to avoid a climate catastrophe. If we put all our eggs in this basket and it doesnít pan out we are in mass extinction territory and large animals like ourselves typically donít survive such mass extinctions.
- Renewables, electric grid improvements, reducing energy usage, etc, etc, etc are all things we need to do anyway and unlike potential new reactor designs we have a good handle on the technology right now.
- Iím not suggesting we donít continue to develop new reactor technology, just the opposite I strong think we need to keep working on it but Itís entirely conceivable that do enough with these we wonít even need next gen reactor designs if we do enough with renewables.
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Old 14th June 2019, 08:58 AM   #212
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yep.
The standard argument for current nuclear technology is that is is not comparable to any other form of energy, hence the best in its class.
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Old 14th June 2019, 09:07 AM   #213
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Then we're all screwed.
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Old 14th June 2019, 09:40 AM   #214
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Meh. Just a rehash of 20 year old arguments that were not great at the time. To touch on a couple points

Safety
- Itís true that there has been no large death toll from nuclear power, but safety isnít just about the death tolls. While relatively few people were killed by the Fukushima the economic cost was extraordinary. For what it will cost to mitigate the damage from the accident Japan could have replaced all itís fossil fuel powered electrical generation and had money to spare to implement a storage system, and itís all but impossible to determine the final cost of Chernobyl.
- It assumes Chernobyl and Fukushima are events that occurred in the past. In fact they are both ongoing problems that have been temporarily contained. Chernobyl in particular will be deadly for far longer than containment is practical. The site itself will be dangerous for upwards of 10000 years unless some way can be found to removed the melted core. A second lager containment building has already had to be constructed around the first one but constructing a long series of ever larger buildings for the next 10000 years just isnít practical.
- Chernobyl and Fukushima were the result of human error and design flaws, but so what? All airline accidents are the result of a sequence of human errors and design flaws, yet they still occur. You will never get rid of this. "Make it idiot-proof and someone will make a better idiot." If Nuclear is the primary replacement for fossil fuels countries far less competent than Japan or even the former Soviet Union will be running reactors, and even if you limit construction to ďstableĒ countries, some of these will destabilize over time. Itís only a matter of time before some corner cutting upper-middle manager of some overstressed power utility makes a worse decision than anyone thought possible. It WILL happen, and this doesnít even include tin pot dictators looking for weapons.

Cost
- Projected costs mean almost nothing when it comes to Nuclear. Ever project in recent memory has gone FAR over budget and even on the basis of projected cost Nuclear is the most expensive option.
- Itís not in this article, but all to often I see the same people who tout safety also saying that costs could be brought down if only safety standards were relaxed. You canít have it both ways.

ďItís Base Load!Ē
- The concept of base load arose out of an environment where you depended on cheap but inflexible coal generated power. Because power generation canít be increased/decreed to match demand it needed to be supplemented with either more expensive oil generators. The goal was the minimize overall cost by using your cheapest generating capacity full bore then adding in more expensive power as needed. Nuclear doesnít fit in this model any more than renewables do because itís neither cheap nor flexible.
- Because power generation canít easily be ramped up/down you canít have an all nuclear power grid. You would still need storage or more flexible technologies to cover off peaks and valleys in demand just like you would with renewable.
- When discussing systems with mixture of nuclear + renewables like to call nuclear ďbase loadĒ so they can pretend the cost of storage and/or oversupply all belong to renewables when in fact this isnít the case. In fact, future power need to look fairly similar regardless. They will should have some form of HVDC backbone to exchange power over long distances, they should have some storage to cover variation in demand and they should have some smart technology so things like charging electric cars can occur when there is an excess of power rather then a shortage

Next generation reactor technology
- Simply put current Gen-2 and Gen-3 reactors cannot replace any significant fraction of fossil fuel generate power. Iím not suggesting they have no role, but they are too expensive, take too long to build and use too much fuel to scale up sufficiently to replace more then a fraction of fossil fuel energy.
- Next generation reactors may be more suitable, but we wonít be at a point where we can even begin evaluating that until at least 2030. Even assuming everything works as we hope, ramping up the construction of these reactors will come too late to avoid a climate catastrophe. If we put all our eggs in this basket and it doesnít pan out we are in mass extinction territory and large animals like ourselves typically donít survive such mass extinctions.
- Renewables, electric grid improvements, reducing energy usage, etc, etc, etc are all things we need to do anyway and unlike potential new reactor designs we have a good handle on the technology right now.
- Iím not suggesting we donít continue to develop new reactor technology, just the opposite I strong think we need to keep working on it but Itís entirely conceivable that do enough with these we wonít even need next gen reactor designs if we do enough with renewables.
^ Absolutely a great summary of this issues!

As someone who loves technology and who has used radioactivity in my own work (biological research) I am very sympathetic to the value of nuclear power-plants in concept and I am very disturbed by the irrational and emotional arguments that oppose them. I would like them to be part of the solution to the energy needs we face.

However for the reasons you note, it just is not going to happen... Not all of the opposition is irrational: there are very real safety, engineering, and financial concerns that cannot be hand-waved away. Further the emotional responses to nuclear power, rational or not, are "very real" and will dominate any political decisions.

I've spent the past month or so refreshing my knowledge of the many (yes many) past accidents that have occurred involving nuclear reactors and/or in the handling of nuclear materials. One would somehow have to dramatically overcome the public's memory of these past events to generate support for new reactors in the future. And I don't think even I could be convinced: human error (at the engineering and operations level) is inevitable.
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Old 14th June 2019, 11:28 AM   #215
Segnosaur
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Meh. Just a rehash of 20 year old arguments that were not great at the time. To touch on a couple points

Safety
- It’s true that there has been no large death toll from nuclear power, but safety isn’t just about the death tolls. While relatively few people were killed by the Fukushima the economic cost was extraordinary.
So, what you are saying is that money is more important than human lives. Got it.

More people die from Wind and solar (per watt generated). So, just much 'economic cost' is a human life worth?

Oh, and by the way, renewables can have unexpected costs associated with them too. For example, solar panels can contain cadmium, which can leach out if a panel is damaged (which will require an environmental cleanup). Right now, discarded panels often end up in landfills because the cost of recycling is greater than the cost of discarding them, but eventually they make recycling mandatory (which will increase the cost of solar).

Quote:
- It assumes Chernobyl and Fukushima are events that occurred in the past. In fact they are both ongoing problems that have been temporarily contained. Chernobyl in particular will be deadly for far longer than containment is practical.
Yup... the site of a nuclear accident can be dangerous for decades/generations. But then, the environmental impact caused by solar or wind (materials needed to be mined in the manufacture) can also last for decades.

Quote:
- Chernobyl and Fukushima were the result of human error and design flaws, but so what? All airline accidents are the result of a sequence of human errors and design flaws, yet they still occur. You will never get rid of this. "Make it idiot-proof and someone will make a better idiot."
I think there's a difference between a design flaw in "Here's a minor little glitch that is easily overlooked" and "Lets build a reactor without a containment dome".

I think there is a difference in human errors between "Pretty much everything was done right" and "Here, hold my beer while I play with the reactor controls".

Quote:
If Nuclear is the primary replacement for fossil fuels countries far less competent than Japan or even the former Soviet Union will be running reactors, and even if you limit construction to “stable” countries, some of these will destabilize over time. It’s only a matter of time before some corner cutting upper-middle manager of some overstressed power utility makes a worse decision than anyone thought possible. It WILL happen, and this doesn’t even include tin pot dictators looking for weapons.
Some reactor designs (such as the CANDU) can't really be used in nuclear weapons production.
Quote:
Cost
- Projected costs mean almost nothing when it comes to Nuclear. Ever project in recent memory has gone FAR over budget
From: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/E-...-11111401.html
...in the 1990s China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) signed up for a pair of Canadian reactors of quite different design – pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR)....these CANDU-6 units were built on a turnkey basis, on schedule and under budget

So it is possible to build a nuclear power plant within a budget. Now granted, this was in China (where they probably have more direct control over things) but Atomic Energy Canada was involved, so I doubt that corners were cut.

ETA: It should be noted that solar and wind are not immune from the issues of cost overruns and/or delays. For example. I rather suspect that at least some of the "Nuclear ends up late and over budget" as more to do with the fact that building a single large plant is a huge undertaking and problems end up being highly publicized, whereas the smaller scale of various wind/solar projects mean that problems with budgets or delays can get overlooked.

https://renewablesnow.com/news/rcr-h...ojects-624767/
Australian engineering firm RCR Tomlinson Ltd (ASX:RCR) today posted a loss for the financial year through June due to cost overruns on a solar contract.

Quote:
and even on the basis of projected cost Nuclear is the most expensive option.
To be honest, I think its rather hard to determine how exactly the costs compare.

Many estimates for solar/wind only include the cost of the solar panel/wind turbine itself. If you point to the cost to generate a watt of power from a solar panel/wind vs. nuclear, it may look cheaper. But there are often secondary costs... you may need to install backup generators when solar/wind isn't available. Do you consider those backup generators as part of the cost? What about extra transmission lines?

And what of potential costs savings for nuclear (such as recycling of fuel) which are not done not because of technology concerns but politics?

I have seen convincing arguments from both the "nuclear is cheaper" and the "solar/wind is cheaper" side.
Quote:
- It’s not in this article, but all to often I see the same people who tout safety also saying that costs could be brought down if only safety standards were relaxed. You can’t have it both ways.
Yes it is contradictory to a degree.

I'm assuming that there is a difference between regulations that are in place that actually contribute to safety (like "Hey, make sure your reactor has a containment dome), and those regulations that have been put into place for more political reasons (along the lines of a politician saying "Nuclear is unpopular so I'll set up regulations to make it as hard as possible to get a nuclear plant built"). I will leave it to any experts in the field to say whether there are actually such regulations.

Quote:
- Because power generation can’t easily be ramped up/down you can’t have an all nuclear power grid. You would still need storage or more flexible technologies to cover off peaks and valleys in demand just like you would with renewable.
Yes you would.

The difference between nuclear and solar in this situation is that we have an idea of exactly how nuclear functions, so you can design your storage systems appropriately. Power is relatively constant so you can design around that. Wind and solar are more variable... Not only do you have to deal with a lack of sun at night, but you could have a month of cloud, or a month of sun. This makes it harder to design any sort of storage system.

Note that I am not completely opposed to renewables. I do think they have a part to play in the world's energy plans. Just that some of the problems with renewaibles have been overlooked, while some of the problems with nuclear have been overhyped.
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Old 14th June 2019, 11:33 AM   #216
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Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
I think there is a difference in human errors between "Pretty much everything was done right" and "Here, hold my beer while I play with the reactor controls".
Vodka, not beer.

Quote:
Some reactor designs (such as the CANDU) can't really be used in nuclear weapons production.
Plus it's a ridiculous objection, as if anything's preventing them from building those reactors right now.
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Old 14th June 2019, 12:36 PM   #217
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Meh. Just a rehash of 20 year old arguments that were not great at the time. To touch on a couple points

Safety
- Itís true that there has been no large death toll from nuclear power, but safety isnít just about the death tolls. While relatively few people were killed by the Fukushima the economic cost was extraordinary. For what it will cost to mitigate the damage from the accident Japan could have replaced all itís fossil fuel powered electrical generation and had money to spare to implement a storage system, and itís all but impossible to determine the final cost of Chernobyl.
- It assumes Chernobyl and Fukushima are events that occurred in the past. In fact they are both ongoing problems that have been temporarily contained. Chernobyl in particular will be deadly for far longer than containment is practical. The site itself will be dangerous for upwards of 10000 years unless some way can be found to removed the melted core. A second lager containment building has already had to be constructed around the first one but constructing a long series of ever larger buildings for the next 10000 years just isnít practical.
- Chernobyl and Fukushima were the result of human error and design flaws, but so what? All airline accidents are the result of a sequence of human errors and design flaws, yet they still occur. You will never get rid of this. "Make it idiot-proof and someone will make a better idiot." If Nuclear is the primary replacement for fossil fuels countries far less competent than Japan or even the former Soviet Union will be running reactors, and even if you limit construction to ďstableĒ countries, some of these will destabilize over time. Itís only a matter of time before some corner cutting upper-middle manager of some overstressed power utility makes a worse decision than anyone thought possible. It WILL happen, and this doesnít even include tin pot dictators looking for weapons.

Cost
- Projected costs mean almost nothing when it comes to Nuclear. Ever project in recent memory has gone FAR over budget and even on the basis of projected cost Nuclear is the most expensive option.
- Itís not in this article, but all to often I see the same people who tout safety also saying that costs could be brought down if only safety standards were relaxed. You canít have it both ways.

ďItís Base Load!Ē
- The concept of base load arose out of an environment where you depended on cheap but inflexible coal generated power. Because power generation canít be increased/decreed to match demand it needed to be supplemented with either more expensive oil generators. The goal was the minimize overall cost by using your cheapest generating capacity full bore then adding in more expensive power as needed. Nuclear doesnít fit in this model any more than renewables do because itís neither cheap nor flexible.
- Because power generation canít easily be ramped up/down you canít have an all nuclear power grid. You would still need storage or more flexible technologies to cover off peaks and valleys in demand just like you would with renewable.
- When discussing systems with mixture of nuclear + renewables like to call nuclear ďbase loadĒ so they can pretend the cost of storage and/or oversupply all belong to renewables when in fact this isnít the case. In fact, future power need to look fairly similar regardless. They will should have some form of HVDC backbone to exchange power over long distances, they should have some storage to cover variation in demand and they should have some smart technology so things like charging electric cars can occur when there is an excess of power rather then a shortage

Next generation reactor technology
- Simply put current Gen-2 and Gen-3 reactors cannot replace any significant fraction of fossil fuel generate power. Iím not suggesting they have no role, but they are too expensive, take too long to build and use too much fuel to scale up sufficiently to replace more then a fraction of fossil fuel energy.
- Next generation reactors may be more suitable, but we wonít be at a point where we can even begin evaluating that until at least 2030. Even assuming everything works as we hope, ramping up the construction of these reactors will come too late to avoid a climate catastrophe. If we put all our eggs in this basket and it doesnít pan out we are in mass extinction territory and large animals like ourselves typically donít survive such mass extinctions.
- Renewables, electric grid improvements, reducing energy usage, etc, etc, etc are all things we need to do anyway and unlike potential new reactor designs we have a good handle on the technology right now.
- Iím not suggesting we donít continue to develop new reactor technology, just the opposite I strong think we need to keep working on it but Itís entirely conceivable that do enough with these we wonít even need next gen reactor designs if we do enough with renewables.
True of traditional reactors, Mostly not true of molten salt reactors.
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Old 14th June 2019, 12:53 PM   #218
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Re: Nuclear reactors helping dictators produce weapons...

Plus it's a ridiculous objection, as if anything's preventing them from building those reactors right now.
Well, I wouldn't say its a completely ridiculous objection. After all, some types of reactors can be used to produce material for bombs, and some countries do have to import uranium, and having reactors could (in theory) provide cover for a clandestine reactor program.

It is ridiculous when discussing nuclear power use in the U.S., or Canada, or other long-established democracies (who also tend to be the biggest consumers of power.)
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Old 16th June 2019, 06:15 PM   #219
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Stephen Novella, from the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast (they totally have a forum by the way - you should sign up there) has written a blog post addressing common objections to nuclear power.

Answering Questions About Nuclear Power
They did a deep dive on the latest episode of the podcast, in a lengthy segment which included a discussion of the Chernobyl show. I recommend taking a listen, because they cover a lot of ground.
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Old 17th June 2019, 07:16 AM   #220
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Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
So, what you are saying is that money is more important than human lives. Got it.
Weak. All the technologies under consideration are within the norms of modern industrial production for deaths over the past 50 years. What stands out are the exceptionally high property/economic damage nuclear power has caused, and the very long period the sites will be dangerous.
Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
Yup... the site of a nuclear accident can be dangerous for decades/generations.
Not just decades or even centuries. The Chernobyl core is still functioning, albite in a highly degraded way. Itís still producing large amounts of heat and a steady stream of short lived highly radioactive particles. In itís current state, if the containment faculty were to collapse 2000 years from now it would be as big a crisis as the original accident and there would be fewer options for containing it. It will continue to be incredibly dangerous for thousands of years unless some way is found to safely remove and dismantle the melted remnants of the core.
Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
I think there's a difference between a design flaw in "Here's a minor little glitch that is easily overlooked" and "Lets build a reactor without a containment dome".
Now it has 2. Regardless, having a containment faculty would prevent the initial release of radioactive steam particles, but that isnít the issue I raised. No containment facility can possibly last anywhere near as long as the core will be dangerous.
Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
Some reactor designs (such as the CANDU) can't really be used in nuclear weapons production.
Shut it down, take material from the core and dump the material from the core on populated areas.
Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
I'm assuming that there is a difference between regulations that are in place that actually contribute to safety
Right after the banking crisis in 2008 I read an interview with a Chicago School economist arguing for further banking de-regulation. When questioned on the current crisis his comment was to the effect ďof course that would have been regulated against, Iím not saying zero regulationĒ. Itís the same flawed assumption that nothing bad could happen from removing existing regulations and we can travel back in time to impose only the regulations that turned out to be needed. It makes about as much sense as anti-vaxers thinking we donít need vaccines because hardly anyone gets the diseases.

In the real world you need to consider every possibility, mitigate against all of them and you are always going to miss things anyway. This drives up costs for anything and everything and the relationship is always the same, the more safety you want the more time, effort and money you need to put into it.
Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
...in the 1990s China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) signed up for a pair of Canadian reactors of quite different design Ė pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR)....these CANDU-6 units were built on a turnkey basis, on schedule and under budget
So itís been 25 years since a nuclear reactor came in on budget, and itís in China where the risk of corner cutting and reduced standards is far greater than Japan with Fukushima?

Also note that for all itís advantages CANDU has almost no design wins in the last 3 decades because itís more expensive to begin with. AFAIK the Gen-3 CANDU design didnít get a single design win and they have gone back to trying to sell older Gen-2 designs.
Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
It should be noted that solar and wind are not immune from the issues of cost overruns and/or delays.
Land based wind and Solar can be installed and running in under the typical 90 days you have to pay for the equipment. Delays in the overall project donít even hurt much because the real price of the equipment is dropping. You could get overruns with related infrastructure, but youíd have to work to come in over budget.


Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
To be honest, I think its rather hard to determine how exactly the costs compare.
ďitís impossible to know how much things will costĒ isnít a compelling argument. There are plenty of reports out there that show similar results.

Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
The difference between nuclear and solar in this situation is that we have an idea of exactly how nuclear functions, so you can design your storage systems appropriately.

We know how wind/solar work while nuclear is hanging itís hat on technologies that havenít even reached the proof of concept stage yet.
Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
Power is relatively constant so you can design around that.

But demand isnít. Nuclear isnít easy to turn on/off it still has issues matching supply to demand.
Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
Wind and solar are more variable... Not only do you have to deal with a lack of sun at night, but you could have a month of cloud, or a month of sun.
Many sites have little or no such rick and for ones that do itís is mostly local variation. On a continental scale the variability is fairly small. Efficient long distance power transmission infrastructure is important for nuclear as well because peak loads are time of day dependant.
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Old 17th June 2019, 07:32 AM   #221
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Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
Well, I wouldn't say its a completely ridiculous objection. After all, some types of reactors can be used to produce material for bombs, and some countries do have to import uranium, and having reactors could (in theory) provide cover for a clandestine reactor program.
Yeah, but we're not going to stop humanity from meeting its energy needs and curbing climate change on the back of the age-old "but someone might use the technology for evil!"
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Old 17th June 2019, 07:35 AM   #222
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Land based wind and Solar can be installed and running in under the typical 90 days you have to pay for the equipment.
And how much of that would we need to meet the energy needs? How much would that cost? How much rare earth would we have to dig out?

Quote:
Nuclear isn’t easy to turn on/off
I think you meant "quick".
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Old 17th June 2019, 08:17 AM   #223
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
And how much of that would we need to meet the energy needs? How much would that cost? How much rare earth would we have to dig out?
Renewables are frequently coming in as the cheapest available option.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
How much rare earth would we have to dig out?
ďrare earthsĒ are not actually rare and are would be needed for electric vehicles and possibly storage, regardless of how the power is generated. Wind just uses good old steel with a little copper and concrete. Solar may present more challenges but nothing wildly different than what we already have with consumer electronics.
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Old 17th June 2019, 09:03 AM   #224
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
Renewables are frequently coming in as the cheapest available option.
All costs taken into consideration? Including space taken up by the installations?

Quote:
ďrare earthsĒ are not actually rare and are would be needed for electric vehicles and possibly storage, regardless of how the power is generated.
You're missing the point. I'm not necessarily talking about reserves, but about the environmental impact of digging all that toxic stuff out.
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Old 17th June 2019, 11:32 AM   #225
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
All costs taken into consideration?
I see no evidence to the contrary, and it would need to be a pretty big conspiracy for so many academics and agencies from different governments around to world all deliberately producing the same flawed numbers.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Including space taken up by the installations?
Why would this be an issue? Some people recite things like “1000MW wind farms can cover 100 square miles!!!!!!” but this ignores the fact that land retains it’s original use. If it was ranch-land it can still be used for ranches, if it was unused scrubland too steep to farm it still has all it’s original wildlife.

Solar, likewise can be heavily dual use by placing it on rooftops, etc so the land it actually consumed to power the US may be smaller than then the Chernobyl exclusion zone. (Then again letting that land go wild has had value as well so maybe that isn't quite fair)


Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
You're missing the point. I'm not necessarily talking about reserves, but about the environmental impact of digging all that toxic stuff out.
Why would it change using nuclear?
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Old 21st June 2019, 05:07 PM   #226
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I'm sorry. But lomililler is exaggerating the issues with nuclear power. Especially when we almost nonchalantly go forward with burning fossil fuels for power. Almost a million people die every year because of the burning of coal for electricity and the fact that we are destroying the planet at the same time.

How does the long term property issues with Chernobyl compare to millions of people that are likely to have their homes under water? The answer is it doesn't.

I agree with lomiller on one thing though. The biggest problem with nuclear power is its costs. Skyrocketing costs with nuclear power is why it is not a competitive option. For nuclear power to be viable it HAS to be competitive in price to other forms of energy.

But here's the truth about nuclear energy. The fuel is cheap. Super cheap. Thousands of times cheaper than coal, oil and even natural gas. And unlike solar and wind, it provides power 24/7, night or day, sun shining, wind blowing or not. It NEVER needs to be supplemented with fossil fuels.

I want to eliminate the use of fossil fuels entirely or close to. And that cannot occur with solar and wind.

Still, lomiller is right. Nuclear is too expensive. But it doesn't have to remain as costly as it has been. He seems to forget that solar in the mid 70s was more than $100 a watt. Why is it solar is allowed to improve but nuclear is not? And lest we forget, electricity cannot be stored cheap enough. We are still using mostly 1960 era nuclear technology. Sadly, we almost brought to halt its development in the 1970s. I can't help but wonder where we would be today if we had continued to develop molten salt reactors and the thorium fuel cycle.

Most of nuclear costs are almost entirely associated with two things. How reactors are constructed and the safety issues both real and imagined.

There are real safety issues and they should not be compromised. But much of today's safety costs are not needed and can be eliminated entirely if we can migrate to molten salt as a coolant and a fuel.

Advanced reactors are coming and we should be encouraging their development. More nuclear reactor developments have been happening over the last five years than they did in the previous thirty. And in the last two we have seen significant developments in alternative designs.


Quote:
Beyond light-water small modular reactors (SMRs), five companies developing non-LWRs have begun prelicensing activities with the NRC, including three molten salt designs, one gas-cooled, and one sodium-cooled fast reactor. Canadaís nuclear regulator also just received its first SMR license application, and surprisingly it wasnít an LWR but a tiny high-temperature gas-cooled reactor.

The utility Southern Company has agreements with several advanced nuclear developers for possible demonstrations at its site in Georgia. In 2016, the DOE invited Terrestrial Energy to apply for a $1.2 billion loan guarantee to construct its first plant in the U.S.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/amp/a...n-many-imagine
I'm not against solar power. It just has it's limitations. Nuclear power has the potential to resolve those limitations. If we are serious about dealing with global warming, nuclear power can be an important part of the solution.
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Old 23rd June 2019, 08:20 PM   #227
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As one who worked for years as a generation scheduler, I can say that nuclear was always seen as reliable -- once on the bars, you would generally expect it to stay on, and was not plagued by the boiler tube leaks you'd see with coal. It was, I note, always known as base load: this is emphatically not a term which arose with the rise in renewables.
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Old 24th June 2019, 10:50 AM   #228
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Originally Posted by BillC View Post
As one who worked for years as a generation scheduler, I can say that nuclear was always seen as reliable -- once on the bars, you would generally expect it to stay on, and was not plagued by the boiler tube leaks you'd see with coal. It was, I note, always known as base load: this is emphatically not a term which arose with the rise in renewables.
What is a generation scheduler?
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Old 24th June 2019, 01:46 PM   #229
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
What is a generation scheduler?
In the good days it would have been someone who read the television guide and saw the Morecombe and Wise Christmas special would finish at 8pm so he'd make sure big Bertha was spinning and ready to drop her load into the grid as the kettles were put on.

Bill will probably try to explain it's way more intricate than that, that he'd need to know the plans of a major electric furnace steel foundry, which power stations had to be shutdown for maintenance, repairs on the national grid and all that nonsense!
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Old 24th June 2019, 05:33 PM   #230
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
In the good days it would have been someone who read the television guide and saw the Morecombe and Wise Christmas special would finish at 8pm so he'd make sure big Bertha was spinning and ready to drop her load into the grid as the kettles were put on.

Bill will probably try to explain it's way more intricate than that, that he'd need to know the plans of a major electric furnace steel foundry, which power stations had to be shutdown for maintenance, repairs on the national grid and all that nonsense!
I know the idea is to provide exactly as much power is required and no more. This always seemed to be an impossibility That a small surplus is always produced. I'm guessing that small surplus leaks out of the grid somehow. I just never heard of a generation scheduler before.
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Old 24th June 2019, 11:05 PM   #231
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
What is a generation scheduler?
Generation scheduling is the process of matching generation (with knowledge of its price, availability, flexibility, ramp rates, etc.) to a demand profile. Dispatch orders are then made to the generators, and the plan issued to the generators and the control room. Typically this is a day ahead process. In the control room, the plan is subject to revision (rescheduling) and then dispatch.

Darat's comment is not a million miles out; there is someone who does this, but it is a system balancing role, performed by the National Balancing Engineer. And, yes, he/she needs to look at the TV.
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Old 24th June 2019, 11:12 PM   #232
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I know the idea is to provide exactly as much power is required and no more. This always seemed to be an impossibility That a small surplus is always produced. I'm guessing that small surplus leaks out of the grid somehow. I just never heard of a generation scheduler before.
There's no small surplus (or shortfall) in a steady state operation. The electricity that is demanded is just that -- asked for. You might be supplied slightly more or slightly less.

Imagine the entire electricity system consists of your 100W light bulb and a generator capable of supplying that. If everything's good, when you switch on your light bulb, you get 100W and everyone's happy. But if someone at the generator decides to turn the supply up a bit and the generator ramps to 110W, the extra 10W doesn't leak anywhere; your light bulb instead burns a bit brighter at 110W. You're getting more than you asked for.

All this is a steady state consideration. In reality, oversupplying a system is going to result in a rise in system frequency until everything balances.

There are strong feedback control systems that do their best to ensure that the system tries to stay at its nominal frequency (50 or 60 Hz).
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Old Yesterday, 02:02 AM   #233
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Originally Posted by BillC View Post
Generation scheduling is the process of matching generation (with knowledge of its price, availability, flexibility, ramp rates, etc.) to a demand profile. Dispatch orders are then made to the generators, and the plan issued to the generators and the control room. Typically this is a day ahead process. In the control room, the plan is subject to revision (rescheduling) and then dispatch.

Darat's comment is not a million miles out; there is someone who does this, but it is a system balancing role, performed by the National Balancing Engineer. And, yes, he/she needs to look at the TV.
The impressive thing is that in Europe the power generation is coordinated across the continent as the power grids are connected and needs to run at the same frequency.
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Old Yesterday, 07:33 AM   #234
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Originally Posted by BillC View Post
There's no small surplus (or shortfall) in a steady state operation. The electricity that is demanded is just that -- asked for. You might be supplied slightly more or slightly less.

Imagine the entire electricity system consists of your 100W light bulb and a generator capable of supplying that. If everything's good, when you switch on your light bulb, you get 100W and everyone's happy. But if someone at the generator decides to turn the supply up a bit and the generator ramps to 110W, the extra 10W doesn't leak anywhere; your light bulb instead burns a bit brighter at 110W. You're getting more than you asked for.

All this is a steady state consideration. In reality, oversupplying a system is going to result in a rise in system frequency until everything balances.

There are strong feedback control systems that do their best to ensure that the system tries to stay at its nominal frequency (50 or 60 Hz).
This makes sense. Thanks. So the electricity supplied is not precisely what is demanded but a range or window of what is expected to be required. A slightly lower or higher amount of power is ok. Issues result when the amounts produced fall above or below what is needed. I know shortages can cause brownouts. But what happens when there is too much power above that window?
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Old Yesterday, 07:38 AM   #235
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Originally Posted by erlando View Post
The impressive thing is that in Europe the power generation is coordinated across the continent as the power grids are connected and needs to run at the same frequency.
Why is that any more impressive than in the US? Isn't the frequency standard throughout Europe was 50Hz?
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Old Yesterday, 04:30 PM   #236
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
This makes sense. Thanks. So the electricity supplied is not precisely what is demanded but a range or window of what is expected to be required. A slightly lower or higher amount of power is ok. Issues result when the amounts produced fall above or below what is needed. I know shortages can cause brownouts. But what happens when there is too much power above that window?
When there is too much power, the system frequency rises. Automatic control systems and human controllers will attempt to reduce generation, but if they can't in time, generators will trip due to their overspeed protection.

This is very bad, as typically too much generation will trip and then the system is starved of power, sending the frequency plummeting. This is the precursor to complete system loss.

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Old Today, 12:07 AM   #237
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Why is that any more impressive than in the US? Isn't the frequency standard throughout Europe was 50Hz?
You're on the money here: there are many similarities with the operation of the North American grid and the European grid. (Forget the different 50 Hz & 60 Hz nominal frequencies, that's not relevant to this discussion.)

Neither grid has a central control room with overall responsibility for the entire system. Instead they have regional control centres. In Europe, these are generally at the national or subnational level (e.g. Germany has four, Belgium one). The North American grid is divided into regions that generally cover multiple states.

In both cases, the control rooms agree the scheduled transfer of power (via transmission lines known as corridors) between themselves in advance, with modifications made to this as conditions determine. In essence, they are all trying to keep their part of the system in balance, which keeps the overall frequency at nominal.


ETA: some stuff about it here, but it's quite dry reading.

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Old Today, 03:32 AM   #238
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Why is that any more impressive than in the US? Isn't the frequency standard throughout Europe was 50Hz?
I was just being specific vis-a-vis my own knowledge. I'm sure the US does something similar.

My point is that it takes a continously coordinated effort, something most people doesn't know or think about when they flick the switch.
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