Go Nuke or Go Home

Discussion in 'Techforge' started by Bickendan, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    Coal needs to go the way of the dinos :bergman:
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  2. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 high speed, low drag

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    I agree nuclear is the best way, but and it gets safer by the day. Too bad it's so controversial.
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  3. Shirogayne

    Shirogayne 1/06 Was An Inside Job Formerly Important

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    Unfortunately, you gets one chance to make a first impression. Nuclear has made a first impression at best is mixed. I've no doubt we could build safer plants than Chernobyl or Fukushima but can anything be 100 percent foolproof? I would think Japan would be the closest to achieve that but not even they could factor in for a 9.0 earthquake happening. :(
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  4. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    That was an old design. GE was the prime contractor.

    It has to be cost effective while considering externalities. Nuclear isn't cost effective. That's why we don't have more new plants.
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  5. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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  6. Uncle Albert

    Uncle Albert Dare to be Stupid

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    If you want to bitch about carbon pollution, you must support nuclear power.
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  7. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    It has never been competitive with fossil fuels.

    It's not competitive with renewables now. Nuclear power has jumped the shark.
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  8. Nova

    Nova livin on the edge of the ledge Writer

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    How stupid is Ohio's Republican legislature?
    They got caught in a massive scandal over improper payoffs and so forth in their omnibus energy bill so...

    they stripped out the support for Nuclear and left in the big bucks for coal.


    In an unrelated story, the big storm in Iowa last year damaged an older nuke plant that was set to be decommissioned soon so they never brought it back online. Instead, they are going to use the site for a huge solar far that will produce more electricity than the nuke plant did.
  9. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Don't get me wrong... I love me some nukes.

    But they've proven themselves uneconomical in any civilian use over the past 60 years. The Vogtle plant fiasco in GA (linked above) is a current textbook case.

    Solar, wind, and tidal energy are cheaper even without externalities. And they make use of free nuclear fusion energy.
  10. Uncle Albert

    Uncle Albert Dare to be Stupid

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    But will they steadily satisfy all forseeable power generation needs, without compromise or rationing?
  11. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Sure.
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  12. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    It takes 10 years to build a nuke. The last licenses were applied for 10 years ago.

    The SC plants were cancelled after costing utility payers 6 billion.

    GA's 2 new plants will be online after 10 years. They have tripled in cost and bankrupted Westinghouse in spite of copious govt subsidies.

    No nuke is going to save the world.
  13. The Ghost of Crazy Horse

    The Ghost of Crazy Horse Soul Rebel

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    Good luck getting the hippies on board.
  14. Bailey

    Bailey It's always Christmas Eve Super Moderator

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    Ehhhh, sometimes. But the insistence of nuclear proponents that your statement is always true sometimes does more harm than good in the public debate.

    For example in Australia there are plenty of people who will say that we need nuclear to phase out fossil fuel power generation when that is absolutely not the case. As an example my state is on track (under a conservative state government!) to be ~85% renewable by 2025, and net 100% renewable by 2030. The ultimate goal is to be at 300% renewable by 2050. At times when we have excess renewable generation it will be utilized to store energy through pumped hydro or electrolyzing water to generate hydrogen.

    Now that isn't possible everywhere, we're blessed with a relatively small population in a state 50% bigger than Texas, with all the sun and wind we could ever need. We also have one of the worlds largest uranium mines, but nuclear simply can't stack up economically. Even so, we still get nuclear proponents insisting we need to look at nuclear locally to transition from fossil fuels. All that does is mean that most people assume that the larger argument is bunk.

    TL;DR - There are places where nuclear does stack up economically, however broad pushing of it as a solution seems to actually turn people against it.
  15. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Not all hippies are investors. Without capital investment, no nukes. The return is after 15 years on the investment: who is going to risk that besides government?

    Now if you want the government to nationalize power generation I'm on board with that.
  16. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    A large part of why nuclear plants are so expensive is the massive regulatory burden and the lack of a standardized design. And that's only considering classical nuke plants. Start building thorium-based nuclear power plants and the safety factor goes way up and the cost way down.

    Personally, I love the look of a wind farm. But they do take up enormous areas of land. Same for solar, at least on the scale needed for commercial viability. Nuclear plants, especially thorium-based ones, have a much smaller footprint.
  17. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    And that will take an act of congress. Still doesn't address investment. And if congress acts, the first results won't be seen for 15 or 20 years. And this doesn't address spent fuel storage.

    Nukular is dead.
  18. Uncle Albert

    Uncle Albert Dare to be Stupid

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    Then you need a third option. Advocating for wind and solar alone is arguing for punitive rationing.
  19. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    tidal.

    Look until fusion comes online there's always going to be some natural gas fired steam plants that can come online in periods of high consumption or if the sun goes out. Most states (not texas) pay for excess capacity to allow for this, as well as connecting to other states' grids (not texas) to buy and sell power.

    Battery and mechanical storage (pumping water into reservoirs for release later) with renewables will make gas fired plants uncompetitive for normal loads. Only those local governments with enough foresight to pay for excess capacity will have natural gas/steam plants.

    In 20-50 years fusion may be competitive making fission and fossil-fuel plants obsolete.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2021
  20. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    "Spent" fuel can be reprocessed into usable fuel. IIRC, the reason we don't do that now is fear of nuclear proliferation. The main point is that nuclear is an existing, scalable, capable, and proven technology that fell out of favor largely due to irrational and ill-informed fear mongering. Develop a "standard" plant design and move forward with thorium-based reactors and nuclear fixes a lot of problems.
  21. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    I'm all for it. The only way to accomplish it though is if the government nationalizes the power grid and pays for plant construction. The French did it. In the process they will bankrupt private utilities.
  22. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    This just in:
    Biden administration launches major push to expand offshore wind power

    The White House announced on Monday an ambitious plan to expand wind farms along the East Coast and jump-start the country’s nascent offshore wind industry, saying it hoped to trigger a massive clean-energy effort in the fight against climate change.

    The plan would generate 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by the end of the decade — enough to power more than 10 million American homes and cut 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. To accomplish that, the Biden administration said, it would speed permitting for projects off the East Coast, invest in research and development, provide low-interest loans to industry and fund changes to U.S. ports.

    “We are ready to rock-and-roll,” national climate adviser Gina McCarthy told reporters in a phone call Monday. She framed the effort as being as much about jobs as about clean energy. Offshore wind power will generate “thousands of good-paying union jobs. This is all about creating great jobs in the ocean and in our port cities and in our heartland,” she said.

    The initiative represents a major stretch for the United States. The country has only one offshore wind project online at this time, generating 30 megawatts, off Rhode Island.

    Administration officials said they would speed up offshore wind development by setting concrete deadlines for reviewing and approving permit applications; establish a new wind energy area in the waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast; invest $230 million to upgrade U.S. ports; and provide $3 billion in potential loans for the offshore wind industry through the Energy Department.
    source

    By the way, 30 gigawatts is equivalent to 30 reactors. Or 28.4 Deloreans equipped with a Mr. Fusion. Of course they won't get the same up time but conservatively this should provide steady power equivalent to 15 reactors.
  23. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    and this (from a few years ago):
    Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the latest iteration of its annual Wind Technologies Market Report, which pulls together a wealth of data to track trends in the cost, performance, and growth of wind energy.

    The report found that U.S. wind energy will continue to be one of the lowest cost electricity generation technologies available, with the long-term wind electricity price available through a power purchase agreement coming in at about half the expected cost of just running a natural gas power plant.
  24. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    I can already hear the howls of the greenies over the "ecological disruption" and the NIMBYs about having to look at a wind farm offshore from their beloved beach homes.
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  25. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    We should just kill ourselves. Too bad covid-19 isn't more lethal.

    Pray for a mutation.
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  26. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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    Also, let's not pretend that wind power doesn't come with its own set of issues. Now, before I start, let me just state explicitly that I am in favor of wind power. I think the "farms" of wind turbines are amazing to see. BUT . . .

    The turbine blades have a limited service life, and being made of graphite composite materials they're kind of tough to recycle and IIRC aren't terribly "green" in their production methods. Wind farms take up massive amounts of space (which is why offshore farms are such a good idea) and they are not consistently productive. Wind power requires storage and "filtering" solutions to maintain capacity. Which generally means battery banks, with all the attendant environmental issues of battery production and disposal.

    But, as has been noted, the cost of wind power has come down drastically since the tech first started gaining traction and the efficiency has gone up. It ain't perfect, but it ain't bad.
  27. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Wouldn't you rather pay someone's wages to fix them rather than line the saudis' (or Canadian's) pockets?

    Wait, @Azure would still benefit.
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  28. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Hippies for nukes!
    More at the link.
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  29. Bailey

    Bailey It's always Christmas Eve Super Moderator

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    The problem with a "standard" plant design is the questions of who pays for it initially, how you mandate that design is stuck with, and forcing the building of an outdated design when more efficient and safer solutions are possible.

    Thorium certainly seems to have a lot of potential, but until there are any commercial thorium power plants running it seems premature to say that it is a safe and cheap option.
  30. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    good god that's a poorly written piece of crap.

    In texas their problems were the state not paying for excess capacity that would be non-productive most of the time, and refusing to connect to other states' grids so they could buy power when they had to. The latter would have required they adhere to federal regulations.

    The weather vulnerabilities that shut down their natural-gas fired power-plants affected electricity production much more than the turbines that couldn't operate because they weren't winterized.

    Texans built what they thought would be profitable and are actively sabotaging federal efforts to promote renewables.

    If you're trolling me, do better. This is techforge.