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<<But I do not agree with the many half truths and mistakes in Pete's posts about renewables. And I do not agree with the many half truths and mistakes in Pete's posts about nuclear power.>>



Personally I prefer the half truths and mistakes in Pete's posts to the half truth and mistakes in jaagu's posts, but perhaps that's just me. I also prefer my own half truths and mistakes.


I do thank jaagu for reigning in his ambitious predictions in recent weeks.


Seattle Pioneer
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As I have stated, France has been successful with a big nuclear power fleet, relatively inexpensive electricity (for western Europe) and very clean CO2 emissions from its electricity sector.

This week, the government of France told the country's largest utility to prepare to build an additional six large nuclear reactors. These EPR plants are pressurized water reactors, and are an evolutionary development from France's other nuclear plants, which are themselves adaptations of the Westinghouse design. Two of these EPRs are running in China, with other plants in construction in France, Finland and the UK. It will still be some time before they commit to all six of these new projects, but it is good news.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-edf-nuclear-epr/france-as...

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government has asked power utility EDF to prepare plans to construct six EPR nuclear reactors over the next 15 years, Le Monde newspaper said on its website on Monday.

Quoting a letter sent by Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire to EDF’s chairman, Le Monde said the company would be required to build three pairs of EPR reactors on three sites.

---------------------------------

Here in the US, Duke Energy announced it will seek 20-year license extensions for its nuclear power fleet. These plants have already extended their operating lives once by 20 years, so the second extension will give the plants 80 year operating lives.

https://neutronbytes.com/2019/10/12/duke-to-seek-20-year-lic...

- Pete
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Here in the US, Duke Energy announced it will seek 20-year license extensions for its nuclear power fleet. These plants have already extended their operating lives once by 20 years, so the second extension will give the plants 80 year operating lives.

I have one less than 10 miles from my house. Nice bass fishing in the lake used for cooling water.

PSU
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I don't think its just oil/gas money that turned the tide against nuclear, though it certainly did help matters. Three Mile Island, then Chernobyl, then Fukushima all put some amount of fear in people. It makes it look like a safe energy source until something goes wrong, and then it goes wrong in a spectacular way. It's bi-polar in the worst way. Oil refineries can and do go up in flames, but those nuclear accidents were orders worse. And then you have the waste issue. From what I understand, the French reactors are a very different design with much different waste scenarios and worst-case scenarios than our designs.

Bill Gates was working on a fundamentally different type of reactor that he could not get clearance to do in the US but did in China. That fell apart with the Trade War however. Shame, as that design looked very promising.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveling_wave_reactor

It's a shame. Nuclear has a lot of positive benefits going for it.
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And then you have the waste issue.


The waste issue is about US politics. Finland recently started building their repository with a very similar design to the one we Canucks are in the process of narrowing down the site for.

Tim <a little irony, the site will probably be not all that far from my original home town in Northern Ontario>

http://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Work-starts-on-Finnis...


http://nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/waste/high-level-waste/index....
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... the reason it is too expensive in the US is that they stopped building nuclear for 25 years and lost the expertise and facilities needed.

Actually, the US has been building reactors all along, lots of them, for every new carrier and sub.

Steve
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And then you have the waste issue. From what I understand, the French reactors are a very different design with much different waste scenarios and worst-case scenarios than our designs.
-------------------------------

The French nuclear power plants are pretty much the same as the PWR plants in the US, China, and elsewhere. However, the French reprocess their spent fuel. The spent fuel that is removed from the reactors after a few years still contains usable fissile isotopes of uranium and plutonium. Reprocessing chemically removes the highly radioactive (and short lived) fission products and puts the uranium and plutonium back into fresh fuel.

http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2017/ph241/wang2/

-------------------------------------

Something to consider:
https://www.nature.com/articles/497539e

Former NASA scientist James Hansen, who left the agency in early April to devote his time to climate activism, and Pushker Kharecha at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York estimate that nuclear power has prevented some 1.84 million deaths that would have occurred had that power been generated by burning fossil fuels. This equates to 370 times more lives saved than have been lost to radiation poisoning or occupational accidents in nuclear power plants over the past 40 years or so. In addition, the power generated by the technology has prevented 64 gigatonnes of carbon-dioxide-equivalent greenhouse-gas emissions, which would have accompanied the burning of fossil fuels, from entering the atmosphere.
---------------------------------

- Pete
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However, the French reprocess their spent fuel.

Meanwhile, the US banned reprocessing in the late 70s, due to some supposed proliferation risk (sounds like an excuse covering the real reason to me), so the spent fuel piles up.

Steve
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Actually, the US has been building reactors all along, lots of them, for every new carrier and sub.
Steve

------------------------------------

That's the advantage of assembly line manufacturing. The same power plant is built over and over and the process becomes more efficient. Unfortunately, the big utility-scale power plants need to be constructed at the power plant site, for the most part. Most of the work goes into pouring concrete, building structural steel, welding the pipe together, running the electric cables, etc. on site.

There are other options being developed, however. Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) might end up being more cost competitive than the big 1000+ megawatt plants.

https://www.nuscalepower.com/benefits

- Pete
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Saw a clip earlier on BNN with discussion about this group. The guy had a pretty good story to tell. Much of the complaining about nuclear are people claiming it is too expensive. He pointed out that the reason it is too expensive in the US is that they stopped building nuclear for 25 years and lost the expertise and facilities needed. Of course the Oil, gas and coal industry funded the anti-nuclear movement to ensure it's death.

==============================================

This guy on BNN is rather brain washed or brain dead. New build nuclear plants around the world (not just US) are expensive, and the cause is not due to having stopped building them. New nuclear power plants are much more complex with many new safety requirements.

And imaginary conspiracy theories about oil, gas and coal add to the childishness of the whole article.

jaagu
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Here in the US, Duke Energy announced it will seek 20-year license extensions for its nuclear power fleet. These plants have already extended their operating lives once by 20 years, so the second extension will give the plants 80 year operating lives.


===========================================================

US has never had a nuclear plant reach 50 years of operation. They all have permanent shutdown before 49 years of operation. Duke's nuclear plants wold be the first to even reach 50 years of operation. I doubt that they can even reach 60 years of operation - the repair and replacement of major components makes operations past 60 years uneconomical.

BRUNSWICK-1 - 1977 (42 years of operation)
BRUNSWICK-2 - 1975

CATAWBA-1 - 1985
Catawba-2 - 1986

HARRIS-1 - 1987

MCGUIRE-1 - 1981
MCGUIRE-2 - 1984

OCONEE-1 - 1973 (46 years of operation)
OCONEE-2 - 1974
OCONEE-3 - 1974

ROBINSON-2 - 1971 (48 years of operation)

jaagu
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I have one less than 10 miles from my house. Nice bass fishing in the lake used for cooling water.

PSU

=============================================

How do you like being in the emergency evacuation zone? Do you have any earthquake or flooding worries for the nuclear plant?

jaagu
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The French nuclear power plants are pretty much the same as the PWR plants in the US, China, and elsewhere.

=====================================================

Not true. The current French nuclear reactor design is the EPR. It is much larger in size, more complex and higher power rating than any other PWR in the world.

For example, the EPR in Finland is 1720 MW while the AP1000 in USA is 1250 MW.

jaagu
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Thinking about a couple of things on why nuclear power has been more successful in some countries than others.

Noticeable is that the US started out to build nuclear weapons and only in the early 1950s "In 1953 President Eisenhower proposed his "Atoms for Peace" program, which reoriented significant research effort towards electricity generation and set the course for civil nuclear energy development in the USA".

Canada started in 1944 working on nuclear power and had signed an agreement to forego building weapons.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Canada#Histor...

Experimental reactors

ZEEP (left), NRX (right) and NRU (back) reactors at Chalk River, 1954.
In 1944, approval was given to proceed with the construction of the smaller ZEEP (Zero Energy Experimental Pile) test reactor at Chalk River, Ontario and on September 5, 1945 at 3:45 p.m., the 10-watt ZEEP achieved the first self-sustained nuclear reaction outside the United States.[2]

In 1946, the Montreal Laboratory was closed, and the work continued at the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories. Building partly on the experimental data obtained from ZEEP, the National Research Experimental (NRX)—a natural uranium, heavy water moderated research reactor—started up on July 22, 1947.


France seems to have have started both programs in parallel in the mid-1950s though "The CEA was created by Charles de Gaulle on 18 October 1945. Its mandate is to conduct fundamental and applied research into many areas, including the design of nuclear reactors,". Political instability made that impossible.

Interesting thought that perhaps the US public associated "Nuclear" with bombs rather than large production of clean base load power? Of course having kids practice diving under their desk probably didn't help?

Tim <time for my second coffee>
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tim, some interesting speculations.

I think the giant problem was the stunningly bad management due to conflicting goals and stupidity.

The NRC was absurdly eager to "make nuclear a success" and so practiced too much of toothless inspections.

The nuclear reactor building corporations were in a poorly conceived and vetted competition to achieve profits, competitive edge, and safety. One of those had to give, and only one guess as to which.

And then, before three mile island, some good reporters uncovered dangerous shenanigans (bad welds "passing" tests, crucial but expensive specs not followed during construction) and some sensationalist fiction writers extrapolated brilliantly as to how dangerous mis-conceived nuclear could be.

And then the book The China Syndrome came out followed by Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and Michael Douglas starring in the movie of the same name followed, in just over a week, by the Three Mile Island accident.

"Oh oops" did not cut it at that moment, and never has ever since. A large part of the public felt they had been sold a bad bill of goods, and, unfortunately, they were largely correct.

david fb
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Thank you for recommending this post to our Best of feature.

tim, some interesting speculations.

I think the giant problem was the stunningly bad management due to conflicting goals and stupidity.



Thanks david, some of that was suspected and perhaps even inherent but good to hear from someone who knows far more than me on the subject.

My experience was limited to practicing surviving tactical nuclear weapons attacks (including our own) in Germany in the mid-1960's and watching a Candu being built in New Brunswick every time we took off from Greenwood Nova Scotia (it was just across the Bay of Fundy where we did a lot of our Radar training).

I know that our program is mostly accepted and even popular by the general public at least in Ontario. Quebec, Manitoba and BC with their massive cheap hydro had no need for nuclear and most other potential markets in Canada are too thin to make a go of it.


Tim
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flyerboys has some interesting opinions. I don't feel like getting into an argument today, so I'll just say that my experience working in the nuclear power industry was far different than what he describes. But I do have a few questions.

flyberboys wrote: The NRC was absurdly eager to "make nuclear a success" and so practiced too much of toothless inspections.

Who in the NRC said this? Since you put "make nuclear a success" in quotes, I assume it must be a direct statement? I'm not referring to anyone in the old Atomic Energy Commission. You wrote NRC.
---------------------------

flyerboys also wrote: And then the book The China Syndrome came out followed by Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and Michael Douglas starring in the movie of the same name...

Who wrote the book? I would like to know because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science (the Academy Awards) nominated the movie for an award in the category of Best Original Screenplay. Also, the Writers Guild of America gave the movie an award for Best Original Screenplay. I can't seem to find the book on Amazon.
-------------------------

One final question. If the US nuclear power industry is the disaster that flyerboys describes, why is nuclear power statistically the safest way to produce electricity?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-d...

Nuclear power is also the largest zero-carbon electricity source in the US, as measured by megawatt-hours produced each year. In fact, nuclear is about the same size as all other zero-carbon electricity sources put together. This includes hydro, wind, solar, biomass, etc.

- Pete
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How do you like being in the emergency evacuation zone? Do you have any earthquake or flooding worries for the nuclear plant?

I've been living in the evacuation zone for 20 years. I don't give it any thoughts. We don't get many earthquakes here and no concerns of flooding at the nuclear plant. I'm sometimes amazed just how close you can get to the plant with a boat or a gun (surrounded by game lands).

PSU
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Pete

Thanks for your response and I will do my best.

First, I have basically agreed with and appreciated every post I've seen you make. I have always supported Nuclear Energy, having long detested the non-CO2 "filth" belched into the air by coal and oil fired generators, poisoning both people and ecosystems.

The much greater threat from "clean" CO2 and methane belching has now made imperative what before had been merely extremely advisable: quitting fossil fuel derived energy as rapidly and completely as "humanly possible" [an interestingly apt phrase is it not?].

Although I would love to believe we can [a good solid chance] cure GCC by


0) cutting energy wastage radically via both technical improvements and cultural change in
-transport,
-motors and condensers (both industrial and HVAC),
-lighting,
-high quality energy saving building --design (especially regarding
---insulation,
---air seal, and
---efficient clean air recirc);

1) practically ending or fully offsetting GCC gas emissions from all sources;
2) crash building of renewable energy source facilities (including hydro, tidal, wind, solar, geothermal);
3) energy transmission and storage facilities to match production and demand imbalances


I can neither believe such a plan is politically [money for infrastructure and training and public acceptance of local construction] feasible, nor endorse as technically doable, even up to merely having a "good probability of success". That is not good enough, because failure on GCC would too likely be CATASTROPHIC to a "Biblical level"]

Nuclear, for the sake of prudence, ought to be in the mix at least as an alternative to electrical storage in providing base power. Newer designs, both far more idiot-proof and often smaller, mass produced, offer a huge leg up.

Since I feel this way I also feel extremely angry with the record of nuclear energy utilities and regulators making far too many egregious errors. Even when including Chernobyl and Fukushima the historic record of destruction, illness, and death from Nuclear Power remains far below that for carbon based power.

But the accidents do raise serious questions that need serious answers.

from Pete:
Who in the NRC said this? Since you put "make nuclear a success" in quotes, I assume it must be a direct statement? I'm not referring to anyone in the old Atomic Energy Commission. You wrote NRC.
---------------------------

I often use "quotes" to indicate not not quotes of particular persons, but rather when using a word or phrase to indicate a concept or category as a thing. As with the word "quote" in the preceding sentence.

I was sloppy in referring to the NRC rather than to both it and the previous AEC. I meant both.

I was particularly familiar with the political money flows at the time the NRC was created absorbing much of the AEC (the Ford to Carter era) as I was politically extremely active and often in DC working with lobbyists and Congressional staffers.

I saw the use of political clout, including corporate allying with defense nuclear interests, to create a business environment and regulation of nuclear power that has now long lost public trust. That has to be fixed, and it will be very tough to fix, and that was what I was referring to as disastrous.

Who wrote the book?

I was wrong -- the script was not based on a novel or story but was original. There are multiple fictional tellings of such tales from Godzilla forward spread from comic books through plays. I was already familiar with the phrase "China Syndrome" when the movie came out, and so wrongly assumed it had been mentioned in some story I had read somewhere, but maybe I caught it in a tech journal.

Oh lookie: In 1971, ...Thoughts on Nuclear Plumbing, ...Ralph Lapp used the term "China syndrome" to describe....hypothesis derived from a 1967 report...headed by W. K. Ergen.


One final question. If the US nuclear power industry is the disaster that flyerboys describes, why is nuclear power statistically the safest way to produce electricity?

Let's start with (as you know all too well) a horrifically bad but extremely low probability possible event has a "probable cost" equal to the product of the horrific big bad cost and the extremely low probability. Under that simple but crude mathematical model of risk costs the "never happened" can obviously be a very significant risk.

But my main answer is that you are misstating my position. I don't say that the USA nuc industry is such a disaster. I say its management and its regulatory structure and its operational ethics have disastrously and reasonably not earned the public's trust, whereas, e.g., the Canadian and French (mostly) have (with some bad recent hiccoughs).

Also, and more fundamentally, I cut my STEM teeth working on models of failure modes within complex systems. The older through most of the currently building nuclear reactors epitomize hazardous complex systems. I can't help feeling, especially after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, that we have been lucky so far.

I am whining that we need nuclear power in the mix and "lucky so far" is not good enough.

david fb
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One final question. If the US nuclear power industry is the disaster that flyerboys describes, why is nuclear power statistically the safest way to produce electricity?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-d......

- Pete

============================================================

This 2012 unscientific study has been debunked many times. It does not measure safety - it only measures deaths per trillion kWhrs generated. It does not measure injuries. It does not measure from cradle to grave of fossil and nuclear fuels. It does not measure long term deaths. It does not measure evacuation of people and their loss of homes, farms, businesses, and jobs. It does not measure the economics of land contamination. It does not measure the economics of cleanup and disposal of fossil and nuclear fuels.

This is the lopsided propaganda of pro-nuclear people who do not want to look at all the aspects of power generation accidents, catastrophes, social disruption and economics.

jaagu
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First, I have basically agreed with and appreciated every post I've seen you make. I have always supported Nuclear Energy, having long detested the non-CO2 "filth" belched into the air by coal and oil fired generators, poisoning both people and ecosystems.

=======================================

david fb,

I agree that nuclear power is better than coal and oil fired generators. But I do not agree with the many half truths and mistakes in Pete's posts about renewables. And I do not agree with the many half truths and mistakes in Pete's posts about nuclear power.

I have noted many of his half truths and mistakes on this board over the years. Also anyone can go to the Energy & Utilities, Nuclear Power, and Climate Change boards and see these much more of his half truths and mistakes.

jaagu
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<<But I do not agree with the many half truths and mistakes in Pete's posts about renewables. And I do not agree with the many half truths and mistakes in Pete's posts about nuclear power.>>



Personally I prefer the half truths and mistakes in Pete's posts to the half truth and mistakes in jaagu's posts, but perhaps that's just me. I also prefer my own half truths and mistakes.


I do thank jaagu for reigning in his ambitious predictions in recent weeks.


Seattle Pioneer
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Thank you for recommending this post to our Best of feature.

...

Nuclear, for the sake of prudence, ought to be in the mix at least as an alternative to electrical storage in providing base power. Newer designs, both far more idiot-proof and often smaller, mass produced, offer a huge leg up.



Thanks david and pete.


Methinks all 'clean' sources must be put to work to replace 'dirty' wherever economically and safety allow. I was horrified when people started claiming a switch to Nat gas as 'clean', it's not other than compared to coal. The ultimate insult was the Germans claiming the high ground while continuing to build and burn lignite and adding Nat gas while shutting down operating clean nuclear power. Clearly Green politics run amok? I lived a bit over 15 years of my life in Germany and it is neither particularly windy nor could it be called sunny most of the time.

Some of California's machinations don't draw all that much applause either. Pretending large hydro is evil needs work as does what the intent of this thread suggests. I'm not sure what the plan for the cloudy Jan/Feb season is? Battery back up is intended mostly for hours ... perhaps a few days, certainly not months?

Tim

https://qz.com/1515608/electricity-from-renewables-topped-co...

Electricity from renewables topped coal in Germany for first time in 2018
By Michael J. CorenJanuary 5, 2019

...

Fraunhofer says clean power’s share of Germany’s energy mix is likely to stay above 40% in 2019, reports Reuters. Despite critics’ claims that unusually favorable weather boosted solar output in 2018, more renewable power sources are coming online and weather patterns are expected to remain relatively stable.



They use a baseline of 1990 and for the first time (2018) renewable sources surpassed coal. This was accomplished at great cost to taxpayers and average rate payers. Ontario eliminated coal in 2014 largely because of clean nuclear. Ontario is not Canada but several other provinces are blessed with large amounts of hydro and even my own Nova Scotia will soon (we hope***) receive sufficient hydro power by undersea cable to shut down the majority of our remaining (all but one for standby) coal plants.

*** - must check on how that is going, we were held up for a couple of years by protest groups insisting on certain requirements that have since been proven to be unnecessary. Turns out that trees submerged in dam reservoirs become co2 benign within 2-3 years.

Tim
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