getting it right is expensive and needs much more rigorous independent risk management than we have
So yeah...I KNOW there is a damn safe way to run a nuclear power plant. But the businessmen who are motivated by low costs and high returns don't really give a shit about that.
parking an outdated reactor on the edge of the sea in an earthquake area with inadequate regulatory oversight is not doing it right. -- Devonian
Disappointing. They'll be switching from statistically proven less deadly sources of energy to more deadly ones.-- shii
1. We can have our ipad...and nuclear power
2. We can have our ipad...and we use fossil fuels.
3. We don't use nuclear power and we don't use fossil fuels...but we don't have our ipads. -- hal_c_on
It's frustrating that the nuclear energy approach is being framed as "70s nuclear technology OR renewables!" The mere idea that people are even considering ABANDONING nuclear power in ALL FORMS is infuriating. The Fukushima plant, like many reactors operating today, were built and are based of off technology from the 1970s. -- disillusioned
But simply saying "we can't figure this out, let's quit now" is just absurd. -- disillusioned
I don't believe that. If there is any nation in the world that has the tech, the industrial base, the regulatory framework, and the attention to detail to do it by the book, it is Germany. -- Meatbomb
Our civilisation is made of cowards and it deserves to fall. All of you, that condemn nuclear, but stop talking before suggesting an alternative that is realistic in both time and scale... All of you, hanging in front of the computers that science has provided you, and running away from science and reality at the first sign of trouble... All of you that are too weak to think clearly and worry more about posturing... All of you are the cancer that will in the end eat us all.
delmoi, the nukes are not being replaced by solar. They are being replaced by burning fossil fuels. Why don't you run the numbers of the deaths and desease caused by fossil fuels?
CONSERVATION. Why does it never seriously enter into these discussions?
While we're fantasizing about nuclear power, and forgetting about reality, we also can imagine safe ways of storing nuclear waste. The reality once again is that there is currently no way to safely dispose of spent fuel. Maybe Finland has a plan for that, but that's about it.
Assuming 5 hours of sunlight equivalent per day....Sans install costs
Yeah, it's that kind of handwaving that I find unrealistic.
In northern europe you don't even come close to that amount of average equivalent sunlight over the year.
Assuming 5 hours of sunlight equivalent per day....Sans install costs
I keep wondering if nuclear opponents just haven't heard about thorium or if they have bad memories. What's a catchy name for "nuclear reactor that can't melt down as long as you remember to turn off the neutron beam on the way out?" Or maybe "old scary nuclear waste burning reactor?"
TEPCO has reported that information obtained after calibration of the reactor water level gauges of Unit 1 shows that the actual water level in the Unit 1 reactor pressure vessel was lower than was indicated, showing that the fuel was completely uncovered. The results of provisional analysis show that fuel pellets melted and fell to the bottom of reactor pressure vessel at a relatively early stage in the accident.
Are you sure about that delmoi? I had not heard that mentioned before.
Uranium-233 is produced by the neutron irradiation of thorium-232. When thorium-232 absorbs a neutron, it becomes thorium-233, which has a half-life of only 22 minutes. Thorium-233 decays into protactinium-233 through beta decay. Protactinium-233 has a half-life of 27 days and beta decays into uranium-233; some proposed molten salt reactor designs attempt to physically isolate the protactinium from further neutron capture before beta decay can occur.
We need nuclear in the short term. It's the only low carbon source we gave capable of carrying the current base load. We have to dramatically reduce the amount of CO2 we emit.
I''m a huge proponent of wind power. But there's nothing we can do right now, without major technolgoy advances or infrastructure projects, that will cut into fossil fuel consumption as much as building new nuclear plants.
Ha yeah, you're probably right delmoi. I see no evidence that nuclear engineers can add numbers either.
As for the costs of nuclear? Well, france has some 80% of their generation through nuclear. I presume they did their sums. They're also already building some of the newer designs, such as the EPR, two of which are being built in france, a third in finland and two more in china. The EPR in finland was due to be 3.7 billion euro, with an overrun of 2.7 b euro, so 6.4 billion euro to build, for 1600 MW generated in normal use (note, that's not peak.)
So taking solar, at 1$ per watt for manufactured panels - a reasonably generous figure for current subsidised small scale production. We'll also say, 4 hours day equivalent over the whole year, which is really fucking generous in northern europe (see above). So for 1600 MW, you need 9600 MW of generation to tide you over the other 20 hours in a day. So at 9600 million dollars in euro, that's 6700 million, or 6.7 billion euro just for the panels at cost, and assuming 100% efficient storage for free.
In 2011: $7.5 billion, €5.0b, or 21% cheaper
In 2014: $5.0 billion, €3.5b, or 45% cheaper
1) The costs for solar panels are going to be much, much more predictable then the costs for nuke plants. You can have a lot more certainty about how much it's going to cost.
2) Obviously, solar installs are going to be much, much easier to sell politically then nuclear plants.
Sigh. Read more carefully. You're forgetting about capacity factor (why does everyone forgets capacity factor). For the same amount of installed capacity, Nuclear generates 3-10x more power in a year. So take that 6.7 billion (or take your power bill) and multiply it by 3 to 10.
Do they get a lot of magnitude 7.0 earthquakes in Germany?
On 18 February 1756, at about 8 am, one of the strongest earthquakes in Central Europe, the strongest reported in Germany to date, struck Düren. The hypocentre is judged to have been at 14–16 km. It followed the 1755 Lisbon earthquake by several months and was the culmination of a series of quakes in Germany that had lasted several years. ... the quake was assessed at VIII on the Mercalli intensity scale, and is today thought to have been approximately 6.1 or 6.4 on the Richter scale.
Or will you be totally shocked when it comes to light that solar cell manufacturers have been bankrolling civil wars in Africa to make sure their access to rare earth metals remains available and cheap?
Yes, you're missing the entire last part of my comment. I estimated 9600 MW of solar needed because with an average of 4 hours per day, you actually need to generate 6 times as much power in thouse 4 hours to supply the same power for the remaining 20 hours of the day; 24/4 = 6. So that does not take account of capacity factor.
But I cheated, you say! solar power in summer will generate more than that! OK, let's treat that as capacity factor. In summer, the solar plant will generate 8 times as much available power, as it's generating for 4 hours a day, not 0.5 hours.
So it has a capacity factor of 8, in june, and 0 in december.
Nuke has 3-10 capacity factor all year round depending upon how hard you push it.
That's $2000-4000 per KW, so we'll take $2000 per kilowatt. We need to store 76800 MW minus the 1600W that's given straight to the grid when it's sunny, and accounting for 75% efficiency, that's just over 100 000 MW, so I make that at 2 million dollars a MW for storage, $200 billon, or 140 billion euro. But wait. That only handles a single day's load. Let's say we want to store 3 days worth of power to cover a bad week, that's 420 billion euro.
18 square miles. Which, well, is rather less than the amount of terrain left uninhabitable by the Fukushima disaster.
I'm not the one screwing up the figures. You don't need to store 1.6GW. You need to store 88GW (-1.6GW for half an hour) - remember all that power we're generating from those 76GW of panels that goes away once the sun goes away? You have to put it somewhere, if you want to use it the rest of the day when you're no longer generating. And since pumped storage is only 75% efficient, to get 88GW back for the rest of day when your plant is no longer generating in the winter, you need to have 114 GW of actual storage of which you'll only get 88 GW back. And you need that 88GW, spread through the rest of the day, to provide that 1.6GW average for 24 hours a day. And 100GW of storage*2 million a MW, well, that's $200 billion. And that's the storage for one day.
Or are you actually arguing that a solar plant that generates 1.6GW for 4 hours a day in summer, and 0.5 hours in winter is the functional equivalent of a nuke plant that generates 1.6GW 24/7/365? Because that's what *I* consider shoddy maths.
So over a 24 hour period, a 1.6GW nuke plant will deliver 1.6GJ per second for the whole period. So 3600x24x1.6GJ makes 138240 GJ delivered in that day.
A 1.6GW solar plant, operating at full capacity for 0.5 hours a day, gives you 3600x0.5x1.6GJ which is 2880 GJ.
Now the cost of the pumped storage. That's $2000-4000 per KW, so we'll take $2000 per kilowatt. We need to store 76800 MW minus the 1600W that's given straight to the grid when it's sunny, and accounting for 75% efficiency, that's just over 100 000 MW, so I make that at 2 million dollars a MW for storage, $200 billon, or 140 billion euro. But wait. That only handles a single day's load. Let's say we want to store 3 days worth of power to cover a bad week, that's 420 billion euro
You need to store 88GW (-1.6GW for half an hour) - remember all that power we're generating from those 76GW of panels that goes away once the sun goes away? You have to put it somewhere, if you want to use it the rest of the day when you're no longer generating. And since pumped storage is only 75% efficient, to get 88GW back for the rest of day when your plant is no longer generating in the winter, you need to have 114 GW of actual storage of which you'll only get 88 GW back. And you need that 88GW, spread through the rest of the day, to provide that 1.6GW average for 24 hours a day. And 100GW of storage*2 million a MW, well, that's $200 billion. And that's the storage for one day.
You challenged someone to run the numbers of how much a solar plant would cost to build over a nuke plant. At 76 GW needed in winter in london, it's 38 billion dollars of panels that don't even exist yet, with a plant that needs no construction, concrete, steel, land or copper wire for it's 150 sq kilometer size. It needs no storage, it's 100% efficient to convert low voltage DC to HVAC for the grid, free to build, and it still costs 10 times that of a nuke plant that doesn't have cost over-run.
To put ArkhanJG's numbers in perspective: for a solar PV power plant in the UK being capable of generating on average the same amount of energy in the winter as a single 1.6 GW nuclear power plant, its installed capacity would need to be larger than the top 5 power stations in the world combined.
you demand a comparison between a solar plant and a nuclear plant be based on the energy produced winter solstice only, rather then the whole year
Beyond that, running the actual numbers on wind and solar shows it's more then capable of dealing with our power needs. It's only random people who insist on saying it's not possible who never bother to back up their claims.
2) Here's the bigger problem though you are using totally incoherent math to calculate the cost of pumped storage. There seems to be no understanding of the difference between energy and power in these numbers, and they make no sense at all. The cost for 1.6GW of pumped storage is $3.2 billion. You may even be able to fill up the lake in the summer in preparation for the winter if you want too, the cost is measured in power capacity, not storage cost.
3) All this talk about transmission costs is irrelevant, because they apply to nuclear power plants as well as solar plants. Building a nuke plant won't make power lines more efficient.
4) You completely discount the ability to move power from somewhere with a more favorable solar climate, like France or Spain for no reason. Whether it's a high capacity line or through the grid, it should be fine.
"Dealing with our power needs" means providing power where it's needed, all year round. That's why ArkhanJG used England in January as a measure. If you can't cover that case with Solar, what would you use instead? (hint: most grids use natural gas backup plants, the cost of which we're ignoring.)
Nuclear and coal plants are built as close to the load as possible
but the minimum monthly average (in December / January) is 2-3 hours/day (in the South. It's less than 2 in the North). So lets say the average daily insolation is a straight line from 2.5 hours a day (a capacity factor of 0.1) at the winter solstice to 7.5 hours a day at the summer solstice (a capacity factor of 0.3) and back again.
I harp on this because I can't stand people who say *the man* is keeping us attached to nuclear and fossil power. There's no *man*, there's just dollars.
Except we're not charging it at 1.6GW for 24 hours, and then getting 1.6GW back for the following 24. You're charging it at 76GW for half an hour.
I'm glad you agree with the 76.8GW of solar DC needed to be equivalent over 24 hours, if the plant and conversion to HVAC is 100% efficient. Now we're getting somewhere! Given that's the figure I came up with for 0.5 hours isolation originally, I'm glad you accept that part of my maths isn't actually completely fucked up, but is in fact, entirely correct.
1) you assume a 76GW plant is needed to compete with nuclear. This ignores the fact that power use is actually less at night. It ignores the possibility of simply putting it up and using transmission.
I did go through some of the math about a hypothetical 76GW, but I should probably have just pointed out that it was a silly comparison for comparing solar and nukes world wide.
2)You screwed up the math on pumped storage by a huge amount in earlier comments mainly by confusing power and energy. Throwing out a bunch of nonsense math in the middle of an argument makes it difficult to keep going.
3) And special in your last comment: you assumed that the equivalent of peak capacity for a half an hour actually meant running for only a half an hour, rather then a half an hours worth of sunlight spread out over the entire day.
However, storing energy for 6 months, by pumping it in in summer and drawing it out in winter... Well, you'd need smaller pumps, yes, because you can charge it for 4 hours a day. But you're going to need a really big fucking lake to store enough energy to delivery 1.6GW for 6 months. 138240 GJ per day, for 182 days... that's over 25 million GJ. That's quite a lot of water.
Which is why you use powerlines to get it where it needs to go. You don't HAVE to put a solar plant in London in order to get electricity to London
So the bottom line is that if you use a tracking panels, you can get a good 4 hours of equivalent peak insolation or more in the U.S. Not a half hour (and in fact I would be that a tracking panel could get at least 1.6h in the UK as well).
So if you were going to use a nuke plant alone, it would need to have peak capacity close to it's average capacity (or you would need pumped water storage at night). On the other hand with solar you have your peak output when you have your peak consumption. and then NO capacity at night. But, if you only need night time capacity from coal and oil, that's still a huge improvement over the current situation. We don't need CO2 to go zero right away, just be reduced by a lot.
Anyway, you gave some figures but you didn't reach any conclusion about how much a solar plant would actually cost compared to a nuclear plant. So how can you say nuclear costs less then solar?
Absolutely right. But the infrastructure needed to carry such a huge amount of power over such long distances with little loss adds to the capital cost of the solar plant.
Also true. But that tracking panel will cost you more than the stationary one again.
Earlier, someone mentioned that supporting Solar Power is akin to supporting coal. This is what they mean right here.
You can not shut down a coal fired plant for a few hours every night.
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