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Thread: Phoronix 2011 Chernobyl Nuclear Tour

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberax View Post
    Situation is probably not under the total control, but so far it seems to be contained. Of course, all non-essential personnel has been evacuated. That's a common sense thing!
    I hope you are right. Future will tell and I wish I shared your optimism.

    So far the score is 1 serious event every 25 years (Windscale fire, Chernobyl disaster, Fukushima accident). Looks OK for me from cost/benefit point of view.
    Seems we have different moral standards. Looks like you have lost all moral perspective. How on earth can you call that a good cost/benefit ratio? Who are you?

    I have better idea, let's try to dig the second Panama Canal using only teaspoons! That'll give jobs to millions of people, I dare say even hundreds of millions!
    Right now, wind power is not competitive and can't live without government subsidies. Ditto for solar power: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7053
    Get over it, wind and solar power are price competitive. You might want to get yourself informed properly, for instance check NREL http://www.nrel.gov/publications/ and SANDIA http://windpower.sandia.gov/topical.htm reports, they cover the renewable scene quite well using objective and scientific methods. Note that your reference says only something about the PV feed in tariffs in Germany and illustrates the effects of the latter on the German PV marked.

    Really? Can you cite your sources? Of course, only research of nuclear power generation is relevant.
    Ok, fair enough, I can't give you exact numbers. That will require some research to back these statements (which I did not invent myself) up to a certain extent. But the point I am trying the make here is that it is not all that simple if you try to calculate the price of nuclear power. Nuclear power plant related research has been subsidised before and still is today (so are many other areas in science and engineering as well). You could at least suspect that the shear volume of that funding is an other order of magnitude compared to what renewables get.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberax View Post
    This is wrong. First, nobody uses oil for power generation, so comparing concentrated solar power with oil is biased. Natural gas or coal are used instead, and so far concentrated solar power is nowhere near them. And nuclear power is actually competitive with coal and natgas.
    You are right, I mean gas and not oil in this context. But concentrated solar power is cost effective on the right locations. Are you willing to bed your 30 year lifetime multi megawatt gas power plant that gas prices will stay as low as they are today? Price of wind and solar will keep dropping as technology advances. Can't see technological advances outrun market shortage on the long run for gas.

    Actually, no alternative can do this right now. No green power source can compete without massive government assistance.
    Strange, when I talk to project developers and look at cost assessments they indicate otherwise. I work in this field (wind energy), I see the growth figures, I see the profits these companies make, work with the millions they employ (figuratively speaking), and they do not need any feed in tariffs to be profitable. That was true maybe 5 or 10 years ago, but not any more. Sure, some technologies like off shore wind energy are not competitive as of today, but that is a matter of time considering current research efforts (which is not only done by governments).

    Solar is not even on the table, it's more than 3 times more expensive than coal in the best case. And it also can't be used for baseload capacity. The only thing that even comes close to being a real alternative is offshore wind power, but so far there were no large deployments to gauge its real-life efficiency.
    No large deployments of off shore wind energy? Do you have any idea how many projects are in the pipeline in Europe? I can tell you that it is a significant number!
    Solar is on the table. Do you now there are competitive concentrated solar power plants for instance in California? http://www.sandia.gov/csp/cspoverview.html And they can provide base load to the grid when combined with some kind of heat storage.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davidovitch View Post
    Seems we have different moral standards. Looks like you have lost all moral perspective. How on earth can you call that a good cost/benefit ratio? Who are you?
    Quite easily, in fact. The simple truth is that we have NO ideal technologies, every decision comes at a price. And our target should be to reduce the price as much as possible.

    Right now, the only competition for nuclear power is coal (and no, this is not a false dichotomy). And coal quite reliably kills many thousands of people each year due to direct coal mining casualties and cancers associated with pollution from coal power plants.

    Yeah, in 25 years we might get smart grids that can live with intermittent power supply and cheap solar power (and maybe even fusion). Then and only then we can start replacing nuclear power.

    Killing nuclear power now is similar to banning the use of seatbelts. It will eliminate few deaths caused by seatbelts, so let's do it!

    Oh, and don't forget vaccines. After all, inflicting measles on millions of people should be preferable to killing several unfortunate people who suffer adverse reactions. Right?

    Get over it, wind and solar power are price competitive.
    Nope.

    Note that your reference says only something about the PV feed in tariffs in Germany and illustrates the effects of the latter on the German PV marked.
    Ok, fair enough, I can't give you exact numbers. That will require some research to back these statements (which I did not invent myself) up to a certain extent. But the point I am trying the make here is that it is not all that simple if you try to calculate the price of nuclear power.
    Ditto for ALL our power sources.

    Nuclear power plant related research has been subsidised before and still is today (so are many other areas in science and engineering as well). You could at least suspect that the shear volume of that funding is an other order of magnitude compared to what renewables get.
    Ha.

    Nuclear power research is mostly a zombie field. We still use basic designs from 60-s, the same PWRs and BWRs. Of course, they are upgraded with better control systems to allow for better fuel utilization and better power efficiency. But the whole situation is like fine tuning steam railway engines - with modern engineering a steam locomotive can be quite nice but it'll still be a steam locomotive.

    Newer designs are not tested and/or used due to issues with regulatory approval and/or lack of funding. Pebble bed reactors (which doesn't require external cooling in case of shutdown) were scrapped in Europe after an experimental reactor had several mishaps (duh) with trivial consequences. Thorium reactors (which can not suffer a meltdown since the fuel is molten in the first place) are only now being picked up by India. Continuous burning wave reactors exist only on paper, and so on.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberax View Post
    Yeah, in 25 years we might get smart grids that can live with intermittent power supply and cheap solar power (and maybe even fusion). Then and only then we can start replacing nuclear power.
    Dude, nuclear power is a drop in the ocean in terms of energy we actually use. It accounts for about 4% of the world's power production.

    You could shut most of it off tomorrow and it would be a minor inconvenience.

    It is one of the most expensive and most subsidised power generation methods. It is a byproduct of the cold war weapons race, and we are still feeling the consequences of it today. Focus on modern technologies: wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, hydro, that's the future. It is already competitive in terms of price, and will only get moreso.

  5. #25
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    Solar and wind may work in some very limited areas but in a lot of areas it is not even close be being cost effective or nearly as efficient. The province of Ontario in Canada for example has been spending big bucks on wind farm and solar arrays to phase out coal fired plants. The net result is that they force consumers to pay 16x as much for solar power, and 3x more for wind, as the current average electricity rate.

    So what do they get out of it? Electricity rates that are going to rise 46% percent to help subsidize 23 billion for the switch over. To make matters worse all of this is going to be able to power when running at full capacity it will only be able to supply 25% of the current needs relying on hydro and nuclear to provide the rest and can only do it 30% of the time.

    Finding ways of generating electricity is not a problem. The problem always has been not being able to efficiently store that efficiently for future use and that is where more R&D is required before many of these alternative power sources are able to keep up with the "on demand" power needs.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davidovitch View Post
    You are right, I mean gas and not oil in this context. But concentrated solar power is cost effective on the right locations. Are you willing to bed your 30 year lifetime multi megawatt gas power plant that gas prices will stay as low as they are today?
    Personally, I'd build a pebble bed nuclear reactor.

    Price of wind and solar will keep dropping as technology advances. Can't see technological advances outrun market shortage on the long run for gas.
    Not as fast as necessary. Also, wind and solar can't work as baseload capacity.

    Strange, when I talk to project developers and look at cost assessments they indicate otherwise. I work in this field (wind energy), I see the growth figures, I see the profits these companies make, work with the millions they employ (figuratively speaking), and they do not need any feed in tariffs to be profitable.
    Not really. Right now, alternative energy companies either live on subsidies or not very profitable. Only wind power is more or less close to competition.

    That was true maybe 5 or 10 years ago, but not any more. Sure, some technologies like off shore wind energy are not competitive as of today, but that is a matter of time considering current research efforts (which is not only done by governments).
    Governments are not doing a lot of nuclear research either. It's mostly done by private companies.

    No large deployments of off shore wind energy? Do you have any idea how many projects are in the pipeline in Europe? I can tell you that it is a significant number!
    I know. But I'd believe in their cost estimates when I see rotating blades of wind power generators.

    Solar is on the table. Do you now there are competitive concentrated solar power plants for instance in California?
    Sandia is a research facility, and so far I still haven't seen a cost-competitive solar thermal power plant.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
    Dude, nuclear power is a drop in the ocean in terms of energy we actually use. It accounts for about 4% of the world's power production.
    You could shut most of it off tomorrow and it would be a minor inconvenience.
    I just _love_ misguided statistics in the morning!

    First, nuclear has 6% share of total power production (your 'modern' hydro is 3%).

    Second, total electrical energy production is something about 40% of total power production (we use a lot of oil for transportation and a lot of gas heating). So nuclear provides 15% of total world's electricity generating capacity. Then there's a question of electric versus thermal power production (one 'electric' gigawatt from nuclear power plants equals about 3 thermal gigawatts from coal burning).

    Third, 30% of electrical energy in Japan comes from the nuclear power. Almost 100% of electrical energy in France comes from the nuclear power. Good luck replacing it.

    It is one of the most expensive and most subsidised power generation methods. It is a byproduct of the cold war weapons race, and we are still feeling the consequences of it today. Focus on modern technologies: wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, hydro, that's the future. It is already competitive in terms of price, and will only get moreso.
    Which (except for hydro) provide about 10 times less power than nuclear energy alone.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberax View Post
    First, nuclear has 6% share of total power production (your 'modern' hydro is 3%).
    Total power production is still very relevant, since different power sources can be exchanged in many cases -- for example using natural gas for heating and cooking instead of electricity. A good old electric heater gobbles more electricity than all your computers put together, and going all nuclear is not the solution. Better insulation and other heating methods are.

    Second, total electrical energy production is something about 40% of total power production (we use a lot of oil for transportation and a lot of gas heating). So nuclear provides 15% of total world's electricity generating capacity.
    Then how does hydro alone generate more electicity than nuclear? http://www.pewclimate.org/technology...ew/electricity

    Third, 30% of electrical energy in Japan comes from the nuclear power. Almost 100% of electrical energy in France comes from the nuclear power. Good luck replacing it.
    Almost 78%, actually. Talking about statistics... It's nice to pull France out of your hat, as the outlier, and ignore developed countries like Australia, Denmark, New Zealand or Norway, which use no nuclear power.

    The problem with NEW technologies is that they have to make ground. Denmark is already generating 20% of its energy using wind, and are planning to reach 50% in the medium term. Given the choice of building wind turbines and nuclear reactors -- at essentially the same cost, it is very clear what a non-lobbyist would choose.

    Germany is generating about a quarter of its electricity from nuclear, and they are all getting shut off soon. That's the way to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Davidovitch View Post
    I am sorry, but have to react on this. What do you mean by the media is over reacting on this? Together with Chernobyl this incident clearly shows that nuclear power is NOT a sustainable option.
    Lol, just lol...

    You're on a big fscking overpopulated 'island' and you need power. You have two options:
    -Oil (you're fscking stupid), or;
    -Nuclear power.

    Go!

    -

    Given that we don't want our atmosphere to become like Venus we need nuclear power. What else is going to save us from being whiped out? Living in caves? Lol.. But let's imagine it. Where's Japan going to get its food from? The sea? All the fish are gone withing a year or so and a lot of people will die.

    -

    I am curious to see what kind of sick energy source you've found that can replace nulear power plants. The rest of the world will also be eager to hear it...

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyberax View Post
    Quite easily, in fact. The simple truth is that we have NO ideal technologies, every decision comes at a price. And our target should be to reduce the price as much as possible.

    Right now, the only competition for nuclear power is coal (and no, this is not a false dichotomy). And coal quite reliably kills many thousands of people each year due to direct coal mining casualties and cancers associated with pollution from coal power plants.
    I find the way you are combining financial cost and human lives into a single "cost factor" highly cynical, but that apart, you are not fair with this statement either: uranium is not lying exactly around on the street either; it is mined, and unlike coal, it is highly toxic not only due to its radioactive isotopes (and their decay products like radon) but also chemically.

    Also, if you want to assess the risks associated with nuclear power, you must not only take into account the risk coming from the reactors themselves, but also the disposal of the radioactive waste. If you search for it, you will find that, while nuclear power is being steadily ramped up, there is still no permanent storage anywhere in the countries actually using it! And when you eventually store it, it remains a constant danger as shown in the german experimental storage facility Asse: water entered the salt mine used for storing the waste, and now the storage rooms are filling with highly corrosive brine eating its way through the barrels. Already now, the brine is contaminated, and cleaning up the mess will be superexpensive and dangerous for workers and residents --- and I don't want to even think of the possibility of that stuff entering ground water through another rift somewhere which would most likely render a whole section of ground water plus anything which grows on it unusable!

    As the usage of renewable energies for large-scale power production is a comparatively young field, their small contribution to the worldwide energy consumption is a trivial fact on which no arguments about their potential to replace nuclear (and also fossil fuel on the long run) can be made. Also, efficiency is a useless criterion for renewable power: the only thing which counts is the net output, there's no reason to care about the conversion factor as long as it can be obtained with a reasonable amount of installations. I am very confident that investing enough money into R&D, the construction of new facilities and into the necessary changes to the power grid (decentralization, power storage, etc.) would make the replacement feasible over the next few decades. Plus, there is also nuclear fusion which, with enough research funding, might also evolve into a powerful alternative to fission. And don't tell me there is no money for that, there is money for all kind of crap, and satisfying our power needs (and that of the developing countries) will arguable be one of the prime challenges of the future.

    Of course instantly switching off all nuclear power plants is simply impossible, but that is not the point: major efforts should be directed at replacing it gradually starting _now_, and this is not what has been happening over the last years.

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