Author Topic: Why not Nuclear Energy?  (Read 19064 times)

Jeremy E.

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Why not Nuclear Energy?
« on: July 09, 2015, 06:49:16 PM »
Nuclear Energy supplies 20% of the United States electricity and 60% of the clean emission free electricity produced by the United States. Why are people so afraid of it? It's the Energy of the Future. Electricity costs in Hawaii are ridiculous because they ship coal all the way to get a very expensive and high polution electricity. It is outrageous that there isn't a Nuclear Power Plant in Hawaii, and that there aren't 25 more plants on the East Coast.

vhalros

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2015, 07:04:23 PM »
People are afraid of it because when it goes wrong, it goes rather horribly wrong in a dramatic way. The environmental impact from fossil fuel energy is probably worse per megawatt, but it is slow and insidious. It is also somewhat more predictable; who knows when a nuclear accident will happen? Also we still can't get the political will together to properly dispose of the highly toxic waste products.

As to Hawaii, I'm not that familiar with power generation, but it seems like there's got to be some way to use geothermal there right? Have we not developed the appropriate technologies?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 07:11:34 PM by vhalros »

MDM

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2015, 07:10:04 PM »
Nuclear Energy supplies 20% of the United States electricity and 60% of the clean emission free electricity produced by the United States. Why are people so afraid of it?
See http://www.nirs.org/nukerelapse/background/toptenreasons.htm

Quote
It's the Energy of the Future. Electricity costs in Hawaii are ridiculous because they ship coal all the way to get a very expensive and high polution electricity. It is outrageous that there isn't a Nuclear Power Plant in Hawaii, and that there aren't 25 more plants on the East Coast.
Ok, for that case see http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/07/07/what-about-nuclear-power-isnt-good/


This one is a little more technical but discusses some current shortcomings with suggestions for improvments: http://www.controlglobal.com/articles/2012/liptak-nuclear-needs-process-automation/

Jeremy E.

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2015, 07:18:08 PM »

forummm

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2015, 07:29:36 PM »
I think nuclear is OK. I prefer it to coal. But solar is really getting cheap. And so are batteries. Nuclear takes a really long time to build out and is hugely expensive to get going. By the time we finished up a bunch of new nuclear plants, solar would already be cheaper. And there are a lot of ways to store solar power during the day for use later. Intermittent charging of electric vehicles, intermittent pumping of water, batteries (this is what Tesla's PowerWall is going to be very useful for at utility scale), etc. And solar thermal power plants (the ones that use a circle of mirrors to heat up a tower in the middle) can actually generate power for 20 hours per day using thermal storage. And there's wind power too. Hydro is another method that can be used intermittently as well to mix with solar and wind.

I think the future (20-30 years out) will look something like:
20% baseload nuclear (24/7)
20% baseload gas
10% peaking gas
30% solar/wind
20% hydro/geothermal

And then eventually the gas will be phased out for more solar/wind.

In Hawaii, it's already much cheaper to use solar power than coal. The utility has prevented people from putting more solar panels on their roofs. Something like 12.5% of houses have them now. Tesla's PowerWalls should be a big seller there. It would be cheaper to just go totally off grid. And to retain customers the utility will probably start to install a lot of those batteries to store up the excess power generated during the day. I think Hawaii will get to 50% or more solar in the next 20 years.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 07:32:49 PM by forummm »

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2015, 07:32:57 PM »
Re: Hawaii - aren't there some really strict regulations about building nuclear power plants in areas with high seismic activity? As I recall, only Japan was willing to risk putting a nuclear power plant in a high risk earthquake zone because they felt they had little choice (the whole country is an earthquake zone). But after Fukushima, I think popular support for nuclear in Japan is very low. Someone please correct me if my memory of this is wrong. But I can't imagine that nuclear on Hawaii would pass the seismic risk test.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2015, 07:33:25 PM »
Nuclear Energy supplies 20% of the United States electricity and 60% of the clean emission free electricity produced by the United States. Why are people so afraid of it?
See http://www.nirs.org/nukerelapse/background/toptenreasons.htm

Quote
It's the Energy of the Future. Electricity costs in Hawaii are ridiculous because they ship coal all the way to get a very expensive and high polution electricity. It is outrageous that there isn't a Nuclear Power Plant in Hawaii, and that there aren't 25 more plants on the East Coast.
Ok, for that case see http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/07/07/what-about-nuclear-power-isnt-good/


This one is a little more technical but discusses some current shortcomings with suggestions for improvments: http://www.controlglobal.com/articles/2012/liptak-nuclear-needs-process-automation/
It seems the forbes article argues that nuclear power is good, the controlglobal article is a guy explaining how prior nuclear events could of been prevented by automation device, however the 1st digital relay wasn't invented until 1982, after those events occured. Nowadays they put in RTACS (Real Time Automation Controllers) and other Protection and Automation Relays, which is part of the reason they are a lot safer now. The NERC Requirements are getting stricter and stricter, regardless of what the 1st article you linked says.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2015, 07:37:09 PM by Jeremy E. »

Jeremy E.

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2015, 07:36:03 PM »
Re: Hawaii - aren't there some really strict regulations about building nuclear power plants in areas with high seismic activity? As I recall, only Japan was willing to risk putting a nuclear power plant in a high risk earthquake zone because they felt they had little choice (the whole country is an earthquake zone). But after Fukushima, I think popular support for nuclear in Japan is very low. Someone please correct me if my memory of this is wrong. But I can't imagine that nuclear on Hawaii would pass the seismic risk test.
Japan is planning on phasing out nuclear I think over the next 40 years. I'm not sure about seismic activity in Hawaii but you're probably correct

forummm

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2015, 07:37:29 PM »
Fun fact. I calculated once that there's enough wind in North Dakota to power 1/3 of the entire US. It would be pretty cheap power too. The trouble would be getting it to where the demand is. Wind, and especially offshore wind, is very plentiful. Just not quite where people like to live.


Re: Hawaii - aren't there some really strict regulations about building nuclear power plants in areas with high seismic activity? As I recall, only Japan was willing to risk putting a nuclear power plant in a high risk earthquake zone because they felt they had little choice (the whole country is an earthquake zone). But after Fukushima, I think popular support for nuclear in Japan is very low. Someone please correct me if my memory of this is wrong. But I can't imagine that nuclear on Hawaii would pass the seismic risk test.

I can't see it flying there. Also hurricanes.

Re: Hawaii - aren't there some really strict regulations about building nuclear power plants in areas with high seismic activity? As I recall, only Japan was willing to risk putting a nuclear power plant in a high risk earthquake zone because they felt they had little choice (the whole country is an earthquake zone). But after Fukushima, I think popular support for nuclear in Japan is very low. Someone please correct me if my memory of this is wrong. But I can't imagine that nuclear on Hawaii would pass the seismic risk test.
Japan is planning on phasing out nuclear I think over the next 40 years. I'm not sure about seismic activity in Hawaii but you're probably correct

As a result of Fukushima, Germany and France are starting to freak about their nuclear plants too. Germany is going heavy into solar. I don't know what France will do.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2015, 07:38:01 PM »
I think nuclear is OK. I prefer it to coal. But solar is really getting cheap. And so are batteries. Nuclear takes a really long time to build out and is hugely expensive to get going. By the time we finished up a bunch of new nuclear plants, solar would already be cheaper. And there are a lot of ways to store solar power during the day for use later. Intermittent charging of electric vehicles, intermittent pumping of water, batteries (this is what Tesla's PowerWall is going to be very useful for at utility scale), etc. And solar thermal power plants (the ones that use a circle of mirrors to heat up a tower in the middle) can actually generate power for 20 hours per day using thermal storage. And there's wind power too. Hydro is another method that can be used intermittently as well to mix with solar and wind.

I think the future (20-30 years out) will look something like:
20% baseload nuclear (24/7)
20% baseload gas
10% peaking gas
30% solar/wind
20% hydro/geothermal

And then eventually the gas will be phased out for more solar/wind.

In Hawaii, it's already much cheaper to use solar power than coal. The utility has prevented people from putting more solar panels on their roofs. Something like 12.5% of houses have them now. Tesla's PowerWalls should be a big seller there. It would be cheaper to just go totally off grid. And to retain customers the utility will probably start to install a lot of those batteries to store up the excess power generated during the day. I think Hawaii will get to 50% or more solar in the next 20 years.
I think wind is a crappier solution than Nuclear

forummm

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2015, 07:39:51 PM »
I think nuclear is OK. I prefer it to coal. But solar is really getting cheap. And so are batteries. Nuclear takes a really long time to build out and is hugely expensive to get going. By the time we finished up a bunch of new nuclear plants, solar would already be cheaper. And there are a lot of ways to store solar power during the day for use later. Intermittent charging of electric vehicles, intermittent pumping of water, batteries (this is what Tesla's PowerWall is going to be very useful for at utility scale), etc. And solar thermal power plants (the ones that use a circle of mirrors to heat up a tower in the middle) can actually generate power for 20 hours per day using thermal storage. And there's wind power too. Hydro is another method that can be used intermittently as well to mix with solar and wind.

I think the future (20-30 years out) will look something like:
20% baseload nuclear (24/7)
20% baseload gas
10% peaking gas
30% solar/wind
20% hydro/geothermal

And then eventually the gas will be phased out for more solar/wind.

In Hawaii, it's already much cheaper to use solar power than coal. The utility has prevented people from putting more solar panels on their roofs. Something like 12.5% of houses have them now. Tesla's PowerWalls should be a big seller there. It would be cheaper to just go totally off grid. And to retain customers the utility will probably start to install a lot of those batteries to store up the excess power generated during the day. I think Hawaii will get to 50% or more solar in the next 20 years.
I think wind is a crappier solution than Nuclear

Because...?

MDM

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2015, 07:40:45 PM »
It seems the forbes article argues that nuclear power is good, the controlglobal article is a guy explaining how prior nuclear events could of been prevented by automation device, however the 1st digital relay wasn't invented until 1982, after those events occured. Nowadays they put in RTACS (Real Time Automation Controllers) and other Protection and Automation controllers, which is part of the reason they are a lot safer now. The NERC Requirements are getting stricter and stricter, regardless of what the 1st article you linked says.
Exactly.

The first link says nuclear is bad.

The second says it is good.

The third says it could be better.

Pick the one you believe. 

Personally, I think implementing more modern controllers is a great idea and could indeed improve things.  It is unfortunate that
1) Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island happened
2) the outdated technology used in all the above is cited as a reason not to build better plants today.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2015, 07:43:31 PM »
I think nuclear is OK. I prefer it to coal. But solar is really getting cheap. And so are batteries. Nuclear takes a really long time to build out and is hugely expensive to get going. By the time we finished up a bunch of new nuclear plants, solar would already be cheaper. And there are a lot of ways to store solar power during the day for use later. Intermittent charging of electric vehicles, intermittent pumping of water, batteries (this is what Tesla's PowerWall is going to be very useful for at utility scale), etc. And solar thermal power plants (the ones that use a circle of mirrors to heat up a tower in the middle) can actually generate power for 20 hours per day using thermal storage. And there's wind power too. Hydro is another method that can be used intermittently as well to mix with solar and wind.

I think the future (20-30 years out) will look something like:
20% baseload nuclear (24/7)
20% baseload gas
10% peaking gas
30% solar/wind
20% hydro/geothermal

And then eventually the gas will be phased out for more solar/wind.

In Hawaii, it's already much cheaper to use solar power than coal. The utility has prevented people from putting more solar panels on their roofs. Something like 12.5% of houses have them now. Tesla's PowerWalls should be a big seller there. It would be cheaper to just go totally off grid. And to retain customers the utility will probably start to install a lot of those batteries to store up the excess power generated during the day. I think Hawaii will get to 50% or more solar in the next 20 years.
I think wind is a crappier solution than Nuclear

Because...?
http://energyrealityproject.com/lets-run-the-numbers-nuclear-energy-vs-wind-and-solar/

johnny847

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2015, 07:55:08 PM »
Because...NIMBY (not in my backyard).

People tend to latch onto the horror stories such as Chernobyl or Japan.

forummm

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2015, 07:58:30 PM »
http://energyrealityproject.com/lets-run-the-numbers-nuclear-energy-vs-wind-and-solar/

I haven't read the very long page. But the topline numbers are either wrong or something weird is going on. Wind and solar are already very close to the cost of legacy technologies--not 29 times more expensive. That number is just not credible. Solar is getting so cheap that the solar industry is saying they won't even need the tax credit to be extended at the end of next year--it's already cost competitive. And no one is saying we should go 100% solar and wind. Have a nuclear baseload (like we do now) and layer renewables, including the existing hydro and geothermal, on top of that.

And the total amount of land you would need for solar panels to generate enough kWh to meet the entire US demand is 100 square miles. And you'd probably put most of it on roofs and parking lots. Much smaller than Indiana. And using space already occupied. So that number is wrong or misleading. Maybe they are talking about wind turbines scattered over a large area. But you can still have buildings or crops or whatever in the huge open spaces between them.

tonysemail

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2015, 08:16:24 PM »
I stumbled onto this post a while back and it gives a pretty convincing argument in favor of nuclear.
https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-policies-that-would-improve-millions-of-lives-but-people-still-oppose

So nuclear is great, but NIMBY man!

Jeremy E.

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2015, 08:20:49 PM »
http://energyrealityproject.com/lets-run-the-numbers-nuclear-energy-vs-wind-and-solar/

I haven't read the very long page. But the topline numbers are either wrong or something weird is going on. Wind and solar are already very close to the cost of legacy technologies--not 29 times more expensive. That number is just not credible. Solar is getting so cheap that the solar industry is saying they won't even need the tax credit to be extended at the end of next year--it's already cost competitive. And no one is saying we should go 100% solar and wind. Have a nuclear baseload (like we do now) and layer renewables, including the existing hydro and geothermal, on top of that.

And the total amount of land you would need for solar panels to generate enough kWh to meet the entire US demand is 100 square miles. And you'd probably put most of it on roofs and parking lots. Much smaller than Indiana. And using space already occupied. So that number is wrong or misleading. Maybe they are talking about wind turbines scattered over a large area. But you can still have buildings or crops or whatever in the huge open spaces between them.
So your saying solar power has gotten a lot cheaper, but you don't think nuclear power has gotten HUGELY more efficient and cheaper?

MDM

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2015, 08:26:10 PM »
We have two very different claims: to generate America’s baseload electric power ... with Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) ... would [require] ... parcels of land totaling
1)  the area of West Virginia [=24,230 mi²], or
2) 100 square miles.

Anyone care to provide supporting evidence for either claim or show why the other is unreasonable?

less4success

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2015, 09:15:11 PM »
Got this link from elsewhere on the forums and really enjoyed the book (note that it is written from a perspective about Great Britain and not the United States--although it does discuss the United States in an appendix):

http://www.withouthotair.com/c24/page_161.shtml

Cranberries

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2015, 10:00:27 PM »
The half life of nuclear fuel and waste is way to long relative to the human lifespan for me to be ok with it.  We might be able to prevent disasters in the short term, but we are playing with such a tremendous timescale that our species will be long gone before the byproducts are not an issue. 
Also, it is inherent to any high energy complex system that they will fail some of the time, and the results will be catestrophic. It may not be common, but you cannot prevent every Chernobyl.

MDM

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2015, 10:11:53 PM »
We have two very different claims: to generate America’s baseload electric power ... with Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) ... would [require] ... parcels of land totaling
1)  the area of West Virginia [=24,230 mi²], or
2) 100 square miles.

Anyone care to provide supporting evidence for either claim or show why the other is unreasonable?

Inputs
U.S. Energy production4,092,935million KW-hr/yrhttp://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec7_5.pdf
Photovoltaic power20W/m^2http://www.theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/257481/why-power-density-matters
Conversions
8760hr/yr
2590000m^2/mi^2
1.00E+09W/(million KW)
Calculation
Area required9020mi^2

If the above is correct - and assuming there needs to be some space around the cells to allow for maintenance, distribution, etc. - gotta go with the "West Virginia" estimate between those two.

maizeman

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2015, 10:39:08 PM »
9
We have two very different claims: to generate America’s baseload electric power ... with Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) ... would [require] ... parcels of land totaling
1)  the area of West Virginia [=24,230 mi²], or
2) 100 square miles.

Anyone care to provide supporting evidence for either claim or show why the other is unreasonable?

Inputs
U.S. Energy production4,092,935million KW-hr/yrhttp://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec7_5.pdf
Photovoltaic power20W/m^2http://www.theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/257481/why-power-density-matters
Conversions
8760hr/yr
2590000m^2/mi^2
1.00E+09W/(million KW)
Calculation
Area required9020mi^2

If the above is correct - and assuming there needs to be some space around the cells to allow for maintenance, distribution, etc. - gotta go with the "West Virginia" estimate between those two.


9020 mi^2 looks a lot like 10,000 mi^2 which I could very easily imagine being described "a 100 mile square" in some report or newspaper article and easily be misunderstood by someone as 100 square miles who would then incorporate it into further articles and reports so that we'd have two numbers floating around that were off by a factor of 100.

Also, this is a great graphic to look at when thinking about solar power strategies: http://www.htxt.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/AreaRequired1000.jpg

MDM

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2015, 10:59:48 PM »
9020 mi^2 looks a lot like 10,000 mi^2 which I could very easily imagine being described "a 100 mile square" in some report or newspaper article and easily be misunderstood by someone as 100 square miles who would then incorporate it into further articles and reports so that we'd have two numbers floating around that were off by a factor of 100.
Very plausible - thanks.

Quote
Also, this is a great graphic to look at when thinking about solar power strategies: http://www.htxt.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/AreaRequired1000.jpg
That graphic ("20% operating efficiency...[times]...1000 W/m^2 striking the surface" = 200 W/m^2) has a factor of 10 (not 100, but still...) difference in the power generation from the 20 W/m^2 given in http://www.theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/257481/why-power-density-matters.

No idea which is correct.  Maybe there's a photovoltaic engineer in the audience...?

The graphic here also makes a good point: the sun doesn't illuminate the ground 8760 hr/yr, so the area required has to account for that also....

maizeman

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2015, 12:06:38 AM »
That graphic ("20% operating efficiency...[times]...1000 W/m^2 striking the surface" = 200 W/m^2) has a factor of 10 (not 100, but still...) difference in the power generation from the 20 W/m^2 given in http://www.theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/257481/why-power-density-matters.

No idea which is correct.  Maybe there's a photovoltaic engineer in the audience...?

The graphic here also makes a good point: the sun doesn't illuminate the ground 8760 hr/yr, so the area required has to account for that also....

The graphic claims 1000 W/m^2 for 2000 hours/year and the energy collective link quotes an average of ~200 W/m^2 without a reference to hours per year so let's assume that's averaged over all 8,760 hours of the year. 1000*(2000/8760) = 228 W/m^2 so we're still in the right ballpark there.

The other difference between the two is assumed solar efficiency: 20% vs 10-15%. Based on some quick googling 10% was average a few years ago, today 15% is average, and 20% efficiency panels are starting to become widely available.

So between the two sources we have:
  • 200-228 W/m^s of solar radiation (averaged over the whole year, including nights)
  • 10-20% solar cell efficiency

So, again averaged over the whole year, including nights, pessimistically solar panels can produce 20 watts/square meter and optimistically about 45 watts/square meter.

Using the 45 W/m^s number, this means the energy needs of the average american household (10,908 Kilowatt hours/year) would require a five meter by five meter square of 20% efficiency solar panels (plus adequate energy storage).

brainfart

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2015, 12:12:01 AM »
*Facepalm*

Chernoby, Fukushima...

So you guys finally figured out a way to safely store all the waste for the next 50,000 years?
Wind energy is already cheaper than nuclear, that's why many European nations are already producing large parts of their consumption with renewables and phasing out nuclear.

> (10,908 Kilowatt hours/year)

That's roughly three times what other industrialized countries use.
If you USians would reduce your electricity consumption to more sensible (not even mustachian) levels you could easily do without nuclear, too.

johnny847

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2015, 12:16:38 AM »
*Facepalm*

Chernoby, Fukushima...

So you guys finally figured out a way to safely store all the waste for the next 50,000 years?
Wind energy is already cheaper than nuclear, that's why many European nations are already producing large parts of their consumption with renewables and phasing out nuclear.

> (10,908 Kilowatt hours/year)

That's roughly three times what other industrialized countries use.
If you USians would reduce your electricity consumption to more sensible (not even mustachian) levels you could easily do without nuclear, too.

Hey like I said, NIMBY!
Because...NIMBY (not in my backyard).

People tend to latch onto the horror stories such as Chernobyl or Japan.

Thank you tonysemail for this link.
I stumbled onto this post a while back and it gives a pretty convincing argument in favor of nuclear.
https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-policies-that-would-improve-millions-of-lives-but-people-still-oppose

So nuclear is great, but NIMBY man!

forummm

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2015, 08:34:20 AM »
http://energyrealityproject.com/lets-run-the-numbers-nuclear-energy-vs-wind-and-solar/

I haven't read the very long page. But the topline numbers are either wrong or something weird is going on. Wind and solar are already very close to the cost of legacy technologies--not 29 times more expensive. That number is just not credible. Solar is getting so cheap that the solar industry is saying they won't even need the tax credit to be extended at the end of next year--it's already cost competitive. And no one is saying we should go 100% solar and wind. Have a nuclear baseload (like we do now) and layer renewables, including the existing hydro and geothermal, on top of that.

And the total amount of land you would need for solar panels to generate enough kWh to meet the entire US demand is 100 square miles. And you'd probably put most of it on roofs and parking lots. Much smaller than Indiana. And using space already occupied. So that number is wrong or misleading. Maybe they are talking about wind turbines scattered over a large area. But you can still have buildings or crops or whatever in the huge open spaces between them.
So your saying solar power has gotten a lot cheaper, but you don't think nuclear power has gotten HUGELY more efficient and cheaper?

Yes. Nuclear's still about 4.5-5 nominal (underestimates the real delivered cost) cents/kWh to be generated. But then it also needs to be transmitted--a very long distance (while solar is easy to generate locally). People are putting up lots of new solar and wind installations, which is driving the cost down as it scales. But very little nuclear has been even proposed. There are new nuclear designs that people are floating around, but no one is building any of them. Here are some real numbers from the only nuclear plant under construction that I'm aware of. The Vogtle facility in GA has been adding 2 new reactors. They started the approval process for the project in 2006, construction began some years ago, and still have at least several more years before the facility is operational. The 2 new reactors are costing to date an estimated $14 billion (although I have heard that overruns to the tune of $1.5 billion have occurred already--not sure if that's included in the $14 billion number). The 2 reactors should be able to generate about 18,000 GWh annually when completed. And have ongoing fuel and operational expenses, generally about 2.5 cents per kWh. And safety externalities (both from risk of reactor failure and from the waste generated) that are not priced into those numbers. So for a 40 year operation, we're talking about $14+ billion upfront, $18 million/year in fuel and operations, for about 720 billion kWh over the lifespan. Or about 4.5 cents/kWh and unpriced externalities on top of that. This is about what an inflation adjusted nuke plant cost 30 years ago. And the cost per kWh is ignoring the time value of money and inflation. You have to put out a lot of that $14+ billion years before you generate a single kWh, and decades before you generate most of the kWh. I'm too lazy to do that calculation, but the 4.5 cents/kWh is a significant underestimate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogtle_Electric_Generating_Plant
http://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/Costs-Fuel,-Operation,-Waste-Disposal-Life-Cycle

That electricity, once transmitted and delivered and taxed, would cost the consumer about 8-10 cents/kWh usually. But you can put solar panels on your roof right now and it would cost less than that in sunnier regions, and without any of those unpriced externalities.

For solar, the price installed has dropped from around $6.5/W just a few years ago, to under $2/W today (for larger installs), and is heading to below $1/W quickly.

I was looking at spending about $10k (without subsidies) including installation for a 5kW system on my own roof that would generate about 6500 kWh/year after inversion losses here (according to NREL's PVWatts). Assuming a 40 year operational period at full capacity (the panels degrade about 1% per year but should work for 50 years), that's about 4 cents/kWh delivered to my outlets. I'm also too lazy to include the time value of money here, but since we're looking at nuclear without that same adjustment, it's pretty close to apples-to-apples.

http://www.gogreensolar.com/collections/solar-panel-kits

Nuclear is better in the sense that it provides consistent power 24/7. Solar is better in the sense that it provides power during the daytime when demand is the highest. Wind also provides power night and day, but tends to be stronger when the sun isn't shining as much/at all, so it's a nice complement to solar. A blend of all three, along with gas, and existing hydro/geothermal, is the likely next phase as I mentioned above.

forummm

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2015, 08:47:05 AM »
9
We have two very different claims: to generate America’s baseload electric power ... with Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) ... would [require] ... parcels of land totaling
1)  the area of West Virginia [=24,230 mi²], or
2) 100 square miles.

Anyone care to provide supporting evidence for either claim or show why the other is unreasonable?

Inputs
U.S. Energy production4,092,935million KW-hr/yrhttp://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec7_5.pdf
Photovoltaic power20W/m^2http://www.theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/257481/why-power-density-matters
Conversions
8760hr/yr
2590000m^2/mi^2
1.00E+09W/(million KW)
Calculation
Area required9020mi^2

If the above is correct - and assuming there needs to be some space around the cells to allow for maintenance, distribution, etc. - gotta go with the "West Virginia" estimate between those two.


9020 mi^2 looks a lot like 10,000 mi^2 which I could very easily imagine being described "a 100 mile square" in some report or newspaper article and easily be misunderstood by someone as 100 square miles who would then incorporate it into further articles and reports so that we'd have two numbers floating around that were off by a factor of 100.

Also, this is a great graphic to look at when thinking about solar power strategies: http://www.htxt.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/AreaRequired1000.jpg

Sorry. I could have misheard the stat or it was mistranslated. NREL says it would take about 0.4% of the US in PVs, or around 15,000 sq miles. Still smaller than Indiana (36,000) but much closer. I would bet that we have that much area used by roofs and parking lots already.

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy04osti/35097.pdf

Elon Musk talking about batteries and solar energy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKORsrlN-2k
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 08:50:48 AM by forummm »

forummm

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #28 on: July 10, 2015, 08:56:02 AM »
http://energyrealityproject.com/lets-run-the-numbers-nuclear-energy-vs-wind-and-solar/

I haven't read the very long page. But the topline numbers are either wrong or something weird is going on. Wind and solar are already very close to the cost of legacy technologies--not 29 times more expensive. That number is just not credible. Solar is getting so cheap that the solar industry is saying they won't even need the tax credit to be extended at the end of next year--it's already cost competitive. And no one is saying we should go 100% solar and wind. Have a nuclear baseload (like we do now) and layer renewables, including the existing hydro and geothermal, on top of that.

And the total amount of land you would need for solar panels to generate enough kWh to meet the entire US demand is 100 square miles. And you'd probably put most of it on roofs and parking lots. Much smaller than Indiana. And using space already occupied. So that number is wrong or misleading. Maybe they are talking about wind turbines scattered over a large area. But you can still have buildings or crops or whatever in the huge open spaces between them.
So your saying solar power has gotten a lot cheaper, but you don't think nuclear power has gotten HUGELY more efficient and cheaper?

Yes. Nuclear's still about 4.5-5 nominal (underestimates the real delivered cost) cents/kWh to be generated. But then it also needs to be transmitted--a very long distance (while solar is easy to generate locally). People are putting up lots of new solar and wind installations, which is driving the cost down as it scales. But very little nuclear has been even proposed. There are new nuclear designs that people are floating around, but no one is building any of them. Here are some real numbers from the only nuclear plant under construction that I'm aware of. The Vogtle facility in GA has been adding 2 new reactors. They started the approval process for the project in 2006, construction began some years ago, and still have at least several more years before the facility is operational. The 2 new reactors are costing to date an estimated $14 billion (although I have heard that overruns to the tune of $1.5 billion have occurred already--not sure if that's included in the $14 billion number). The 2 reactors should be able to generate about 18,000 GWh annually when completed. And have ongoing fuel and operational expenses, generally about 2.5 cents per kWh. And safety externalities (both from risk of reactor failure and from the waste generated) that are not priced into those numbers. So for a 40 year operation, we're talking about $14+ billion upfront, $18 million/year in fuel and operations, for about 720 billion kWh over the lifespan. Or about 4.5 cents/kWh and unpriced externalities on top of that. This is about what an inflation adjusted nuke plant cost 30 years ago. And the cost per kWh is ignoring the time value of money and inflation. You have to put out a lot of that $14+ billion years before you generate a single kWh, and decades before you generate most of the kWh. I'm too lazy to do that calculation, but the 4.5 cents/kWh is a significant underestimate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogtle_Electric_Generating_Plant
http://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/Costs-Fuel,-Operation,-Waste-Disposal-Life-Cycle

That electricity, once transmitted and delivered and taxed, would cost the consumer about 8-10 cents/kWh usually. But you can put solar panels on your roof right now and it would cost less than that in sunnier regions, and without any of those unpriced externalities.

For solar, the price installed has dropped from around $6.5/W just a few years ago, to under $2/W today (for larger installs), and is heading to below $1/W quickly.

I was looking at spending about $10k (without subsidies) including installation for a 5kW system on my own roof that would generate about 6500 kWh/year after inversion losses here (according to NREL's PVWatts). Assuming a 40 year operational period at full capacity (the panels degrade about 1% per year but should work for 50 years), that's about 4 cents/kWh delivered to my outlets. I'm also too lazy to include the time value of money here, but since we're looking at nuclear without that same adjustment, it's pretty close to apples-to-apples.

http://www.gogreensolar.com/collections/solar-panel-kits

Nuclear is better in the sense that it provides consistent power 24/7. Solar is better in the sense that it provides power during the daytime when demand is the highest. Wind also provides power night and day, but tends to be stronger when the sun isn't shining as much/at all, so it's a nice complement to solar. A blend of all three, along with gas, and existing hydro/geothermal, is the likely next phase as I mentioned above.

Maybe these costs for nuclear are actually much higher. This is saying that the Vogtle plants may cost closer to $18 billion (GA Power's 45% stake will cost $8.3 billion to be completed by state energy commission estimates).

http://www.law360.com/articles/621844/ga-nuclear-plant-could-cost-8b-to-finish-commission-says

The point is that nuclear takes a lot to come online. And is somewhat dangerous. Yet it's relatively easy to mass produce solar panels and put them on roofs or parking lots.

I'm OK with nuclear, but it's not a panacea. I prefer it to coal for sure.

abiteveryday

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #29 on: July 10, 2015, 09:20:14 AM »
Without getting into the specifics of energy policy, I do want to pipe in that Hawaiian resistance to nuclear power is particularly ridiculous.    They literally burn oil (not coal) like it's Saudi Arabia, and pay $.38 per kWh as a result.      And like it or not, there are already a dozen (give or take) active nuclear reactors in Pearl, each and every day of the year.    The risk is ALREADY there.    Might as well reap the benefits as well.

On the mainland, fracking has made natural gas SO CHEAP, that there isn't really a case to be made for nuclear these days.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 09:27:57 AM by abiteveryday »

sirdoug007

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2015, 09:22:05 AM »
I've worked in the electric power business as an engineering consultant my entire career.  I've worked on many nuclear plants around the US as well as natural gas plants, coal plants, and some wind farms.

This used to be a more interesting debate when wind and solar were $0.20/kWh compared to nuke and fossil at $0.05/kWh+risk/externalities.  Then you could argue about the cost of the risk/externalities of nuclear vs. risk/externaliteis of coal vs. paying the $0.15/kWh for renewables.

I used to be very pro-nuke as an emissions free, reliable power generation technology.  Now it is becoming uncompetitive economically because of high regulatory costs (which are justified by the safety risks) and lower alternative power prices from natural gas and renewables.

Lots of my coworkers are busy doing design work for novel, extra-safe (compared to current running plants) small modular nuclear plants and doing ridiculously complicated engineering analysis required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the existing plants.  One of the things you don't hear about nuclear plants is how tough the regulator is and how many people have to be employed to operate them.  The average 1000 MW nuclear plant employs between 500 and 1000 people full time at six figure salaries.  A 1000 MW natural gas plant usually employs about 50 people.  A 1000 MW wind or solar farm would employ about 10 people.  In payroll alone there is an enormous cost difference.  New nuclear has the same onerous regulator safety requirements which drive up the price to beyond what is economically feasible in today's power market.

Many of the nuke plants in the midwest are really struggling financially due to lower power prices caused by lack of electric demand growth since 2009, high wind generation, and low natural gas prices.  Nukes need power prices in the 4-5c/kWh wholesale range to be viable.  In the midwest prices have been in the 2-3c/kWh range recently. You need to add about 4-5c/kWh for transmission and distribution charges before it gets to the meter on your house.  Kewanee nuclear in Wisconsin shut down a few years ago for purely economic reasons.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with the plant which is amazing!  Expect more of the same in the coming years.  http://www.power-eng.com/articles/npi/print/volume-7/issue-3/nucleus/lessons-learned-from-kewaunee-s-closing.html

As Forummm mentioned, this argument is now becoming pointless because renewables have achieved price parity (and are headed to lower prices) compared to nuke/fossil.  Austin Energy (the municipal electric provider for Austin, TX which is extremely pro-renewables) just signed a power purchase agreement for 600 MW of solar at $0.04/kWh!  http://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2015/06/solar-prices-keep-dropping-says-austin-energy/

Many of the existing nukes will be around for a long time as baseload power, but the future for new nuclear is literally being outshined by solar and is very unlikely to be a factor in the near future of US electric power.

dantownehall

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2015, 09:31:59 AM »
If you USians would reduce your electricity consumption to more sensible (not even mustachian) levels you could easily do without nuclear, too.

Yep, pretty much.  I see so much electricity waste everywhere here; it's one of those things where once you start paying attention to it you can't see anything else.

I did see something cool recently however - at the local Goodwills/other thrift stores (which I of course frequent) the power company/city has put in racks where they're selling LED light bulbs at a subsidized price ($4 each) to encourage poorer members of our community both reduce their electric consumption and save money.  Looks like a win-win to me!

Retire-Canada

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2015, 09:43:19 AM »
I think nuclear is OK. I prefer it to coal. But solar is really getting cheap. And so are batteries.

This ^^^^

Putting people in touch with their energy production and eliminating transmission costs is going to revolutionize energy production for a significant segment of the energy users in North America.

Solar isn't going to work for everyone or all applications, but it doesn't have to. It just needs to be a part of the puzzle.

waffle

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2015, 09:54:15 AM »
I am a fan of nuclear and solar. Not so much wind. If we keep going the nuclear route I would like to see more Breeder reactors built since they are about 100 times more efficient and less wasteful than traditional nuclear reactors. Unfortunately they are also about 25% more expensive to build and uranium is too cheap to justify that.

I'm not a fan of wind because I have seen the big wind farms come into my area. They are an eyesore (especially at night with all their lights flashing in a quiet rural area) they aren't cost effective at all when you take out the govt. subsidies, and there isn't much room for efficiency improvements to make them better in the future (at least not like the potential solar has).

I love solar though because it has a lot of potential as the panels become more efficient you can produce more and more using less and less space. All costing less and less. I think solar will follow a path similar to Moores law (although a longer timeframe). There is still a finite amount of energy that falls onto a given amount of square footage, but since we are only about 20% efficient at capturing that energy now we have a lot to improve on.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2015, 10:27:22 AM »
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323716304578482663491426312
I'm not saying solar is bad, I just think Nuclear is a lot better currently and we should start replacing coal oil and gas with nuclear. I think a bunch of damns should be upgraded with better turbines to more efficiently produce hydroelectric as well. I'm not a fan of wind energy and think what we have should be maintained as much as it makes sense, but no more should be built.

sirdoug007

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2015, 10:41:28 AM »
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323716304578482663491426312
I'm not saying solar is bad, I just think Nuclear is a lot better currently and we should start replacing coal oil and gas with nuclear. I think a bunch of damns should be upgraded with better turbines to more efficiently produce hydroelectric as well. I'm not a fan of wind energy and think what we have should be maintained as much as it makes sense, but no more should be built.

That article from 2013 basically makes the argument that solar is too expensive to be ready for prime time. 

"The cost of building and operating the Finnish nuclear plant over the next 20 years will be $15 billion. Over that time period, the plant will generate 225 terawatt-hours (twh) of electricity at a cost of 7 cents per kilowatt hour.

Since 2000, Germany has heavily subsidized electricity production from solar panels—offering long-term contracts to producers to purchase electricity at prices substantially above wholesale rates. The resulting solar installations are expected to generate 400 twh electricity over the 20 years that the panels will receive the subsidy, at a total cost to German ratepayers of $130 billion, or 32 cents per kwh."

This thinking has been overcome by events.  Go read that article from the Austin Monitor (Note a Megawatt-hour is 1000 killowatt-hours so $40/MWh = $0.04/kWh, here it is again: http://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2015/06/solar-prices-keep-dropping-says-austin-energy/).  Solar is now available at 4 cents per kwh.  Prices have changed in a hurry which fundamentally changes the balance on these cost arguments.   

There is no point in saying we "should" replace coal, oil, and natural gas with nuclear because it will not happen without significantly higher power prices.  The Vogtle and Summer units will be the only nuclear plants built until the power market changes signficantly.  Rapid efficiency gains, low natural gas prices, and cheap solar/wind is pushing hard against any increase in power prices in the near future.

Wind and solar are no longer the expensive, hippy power option.  They are now the lowest cost generation that can be built.  In a few years they will be the lowest cost generation even without subsidies.  The electric power industry is changing in a fundamental way.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 10:45:16 AM by sirdoug007 »

forummm

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2015, 11:26:22 AM »
Solar is now available at 4 cents per kwh.  Prices have changed in a hurry which fundamentally changes the balance on these cost arguments.   

There is no point in saying we "should" replace coal, oil, and natural gas with nuclear because it will not happen without significantly higher power prices.  The Vogtle and Summer units will be the only nuclear plants built until the power market changes signficantly.  Rapid efficiency gains, low natural gas prices, and cheap solar/wind is pushing hard against any increase in power prices in the near future.

Wind and solar are no longer the expensive, hippy power option.  They are now the lowest cost generation that can be built.  In a few years they will be the lowest cost generation even without subsidies.  The electric power industry is changing in a fundamental way.

I've been paying for the Vogtle power plant construction ever since I moved to GA 6 years ago. It's a line item on my power bill each month--10% of my base bill rate! It'll be years before I get any kWh from it. I may even leave the state before it's done.

SolarCity alone has had single days where their generation exceeded 5GWh, and nearly all that capacity was installed in the last couple years. The growth is enormous.
http://cleantechnica.com/2015/04/02/solarcity-reaches-5-gwh-in-one-day-two-weeks-after-smashing-past-4-gwh/

sirdoug007

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #37 on: July 10, 2015, 12:09:55 PM »
Solar is now available at 4 cents per kwh.  Prices have changed in a hurry which fundamentally changes the balance on these cost arguments.   

There is no point in saying we "should" replace coal, oil, and natural gas with nuclear because it will not happen without significantly higher power prices.  The Vogtle and Summer units will be the only nuclear plants built until the power market changes signficantly.  Rapid efficiency gains, low natural gas prices, and cheap solar/wind is pushing hard against any increase in power prices in the near future.

Wind and solar are no longer the expensive, hippy power option.  They are now the lowest cost generation that can be built.  In a few years they will be the lowest cost generation even without subsidies.  The electric power industry is changing in a fundamental way.

I've been paying for the Vogtle power plant construction ever since I moved to GA 6 years ago. It's a line item on my power bill each month--10% of my base bill rate! It'll be years before I get any kWh from it. I may even leave the state before it's done.

SolarCity alone has had single days where their generation exceeded 5GWh, and nearly all that capacity was installed in the last couple years. The growth is enormous.
http://cleantechnica.com/2015/04/02/solarcity-reaches-5-gwh-in-one-day-two-weeks-after-smashing-past-4-gwh/

It could be worse.  You could live in Mississippi where one of the worlds most expensive power plants is being built on the backs of the people of Mississippi. 

The plant is a 582 MW Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle plant that essentially turns coal into synthetic natural gas for use in a conventional natural gas plant.  The cost is now at $6.229 billion or over $10,000/kW of capacity.  A natural gas plant with the same output would cost about 10 times less or right around $700 million!

The rates for the good people of Mississippi will go up somewhere between 20 and 40% due to one misguided project!

http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-business/2014/10/kemper_county_power_plant_pric.html
http://www.wlox.com/story/29079791/some-customers-think-any-power-rate-increase-is-unacceptable

forummm

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #38 on: July 10, 2015, 12:30:31 PM »
It could be worse.  You could live in Mississippi where one of the worlds most expensive power plants is being built on the backs of the people of Mississippi. 

The plant is a 582 MW Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle plant that essentially turns coal into synthetic natural gas for use in a conventional natural gas plant.  The cost is now at $6.229 billion or over $10,000/kW of capacity.  A natural gas plant with the same output would cost about 10 times less or right around $700 million!

The rates for the good people of Mississippi will go up somewhere between 20 and 40% due to one misguided project!

http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-business/2014/10/kemper_county_power_plant_pric.html
http://www.wlox.com/story/29079791/some-customers-think-any-power-rate-increase-is-unacceptable

Wow. Or ballpark 5,000 MW of solar PV systems.

tonysemail

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #39 on: July 10, 2015, 12:50:50 PM »
Agreed that the market dynamics have changed in a hurry and that solar makes more and more sense each year.
I used to favor nuclear and I find myself shifting allegiance to solar.
The best thing I can say about solar is that it's a very mustachian thing to do!
It's well matched to the self sufficient way of life.
It doesn't have the huge costs deployment AND decommissioning.
It's somewhat less vulnerable to bad government management.

It may have already been stated before, but there are two countries which are polar opposites.
Germany decommissioned all of its nuclear plants and replaced them with solar + wind.
France is the world's leader in nuclear energy and is a net exporter of energy to the rest of europe.
Both are successful in their own way.

here is another interesting post on the topic.
https://www.quora.com/Should-other-nations-follow-Germanys-lead-on-promoting-solar-power-1

My opinion is that the first post by Carlyle has become outdated, but he does a great job of explaining the unintended consequences.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #40 on: July 10, 2015, 01:03:22 PM »
As long as we keep trying to apply new technologies to solving the old problem, without realizing that the old problem has become entirely irrelevant......

Look, if someone handed you a brand new planet, and said you could set it up anyway you wanted.  You wouldn't have a single power plant anywhere on that planet.  Maybe a geothermal thing, just for fun.  Because geothermal is neat.

Back when electricity was new, it was way to inefficient for everyone to have their own generator.  Every new house in the world could be equipped with solar power to meet a reasonable electric demand given next-gen appliances for less than what it costs to hook those houses up to the grid and build capacity for them.

I think the biggest hurdle is how to make that many solar panels.  This is a huge issue folks.

The next is how to change how people use power.  It's most efficient with solar to use electricity while the panel is lit, vs. just trying to use as little as possible all the time.

The pricing of electricity has gotten so wonky that many larger facilities are installing not just generators, but their own plants.  We're installing a natural gas turbine to cover our day to day power, but also to sell power back to the utility during peak times.  The project will pay for itself within 6 months, making it the fastest payback on any project in the history of the company.

I think not building new nuclear is a mistake, and the result of it isn't that we'll have more solar/wind/renewables, it'll be that we have more coal/natural gas.

Renewable energy cannot be constructed fast enough to meet existing demand.  While it is ramping up, the old supply is wearing out, and we ought to look at meeting the existing and expected demand as efficiently as possible.

Chuck

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #41 on: July 10, 2015, 01:35:27 PM »
Why not nuclear? Because Democrats don't like it. The US has some of the best imaginable places to build plants and store their waste, but it's political now so it will never happen.

Eventually power will be almost completely locally generated, via solar. Eventually. When that doesn't cost $20k, and isn't exclusive to the upper middle class. In the meantime, climate change will be heavily exasserbated by a certain political party's affinity for coal votes, and another's allergy to the word "nuke".
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 01:37:13 PM by Chuck »

forummm

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #42 on: July 10, 2015, 01:52:39 PM »
I think the biggest hurdle is how to make that many solar panels.  This is a huge issue folks.

<snip>

Renewable energy cannot be constructed fast enough to meet existing demand.  While it is ramping up, the old supply is wearing out, and we ought to look at meeting the existing and expected demand as efficiently as possible.


It seems like the price declines are causing a huge ramp up in installation. And the bulk of the installation is utility-scale.



It's the market forces at work. Solar was already 32% of new US installation last year--only passed by gas (pun intended). Growth is forecast at 31% for 2015. With the exponential growth of installation, factories must be ramping up production. And it's not like a nuclear plant where there's a 15-20 year lead time before it comes online. At this rate of growth, new solar could be 100% of current new install capacity this decade, which includes replacement of stuff going offline. If any kind of a carbon tax or cap and trade gets passed, the market will go crazy for solar.

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-us-installed-6.2-gw-of-solar-in-2014-up-30-over-2013


Why not nuclear? Because Democrats don't like it. The US has some of the best imaginable places to build plants and store their waste, but it's political now so it will never happen.

Eventually power will be almost completely locally generated, via solar. Eventually. When that doesn't cost $20k, and isn't exclusive to the upper middle class. In the meantime, climate change will be heavily exasserbated by a certain political party's affinity for coal votes, and another's allergy to the word "nuke".

I suggest reading this thread. And familiarizing yourself with leased PV. Homeowners don't have to put up any cash--just sign a 20 year lease and watch their power bill go down. SolarCity is a leading provider of this type of financing.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #43 on: July 10, 2015, 01:55:21 PM »
http://energyrealityproject.com/lets-run-the-numbers-nuclear-energy-vs-wind-and-solar/
From this Article,
Quote
Powering the U.S. with 1,000 CSP farms, producing 500 MWavg apiece.
 •Steel ……………….   787 Million t (1.6 times annual U.S. production)
 •Concrete ………….  2.52 Billion t (5.14 times annual U.S. production)
 •CO2 …………………  3.02 Billion t (all U.S. passenger cars for 2.3 years)
 •Land ………………..  63,000 km2 (251 km / side)
 
24,234 sq. miles (105.8 mi / side)
 
(the size of West Virginia)
 •60-year cost …….  $18.45 Trillion

That’s to 18 times the 2014 federal budget.


Powering the U.S. with 500 AP-1000 reactors.
 
Rated at 1,117 MWp, and with a reactor’s typical uptime of 90%, an AP-1000 will deliver 1,005 MWav. Five hundred APs will produce 502.5 GWav, replacing all existing U.S. electrical power plants, including our aging fleet of reactors.
 
The AP-1000 uses 5,800 tonnes of steel, 90,000 tonnes of concrete, with a combined carbon karma of 115,000 t of CO2 that can be paid down in less than 5 days. The entire plant requires 0.04km2, a patch of land just 200 meters on a side, next to an ample body of water for cooling. (Remember, it’s a Gen-3+ reactor. Most Gen-4 reactors won’t need external cooling.) Here’s the digits:
 •Steel ……….  2.9 Million t (0.5% of W  &  CSP / 0.36% of CSP)
 •Concrete …  46.5 Million t (3.3% of W  & CSP / 1.8% of CSP)
 •CO2 ………..  59.8 Million tonnes (2% of W & CSP / 1.5% of CSP)
 •Land ……….  20.8 km2 (4.56 km / side) (0.028% W & CSP / 0.07% of CSP)
 
1.95 sq. miles (1.39 miles / side)
 
(1.5 times the size of Central Park)
 •60-year cost ………  $2.94 Trillion

That’s 2.9 times the 2014 federal budget.

Both Nuclear and Solar energy are improving technologies and becoming safer and more efficient. I think Solar is a great option and I hope we can improve it enough to be a great contributor, but I don't think wind is worth a damn, and we won't be able to sustain ourselves on 100% Solar anytime soon

Jeremy E.

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #44 on: July 10, 2015, 02:05:10 PM »

forummm

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #45 on: July 10, 2015, 02:07:03 PM »
http://energyrealityproject.com/lets-run-the-numbers-nuclear-energy-vs-wind-and-solar/
From this Article,
Quote
Powering the U.S. with 1,000 CSP farms, producing 500 MWavg apiece.
 •Steel ……………….   787 Million t (1.6 times annual U.S. production)
 •Concrete ………….  2.52 Billion t (5.14 times annual U.S. production)
 •CO2 …………………  3.02 Billion t (all U.S. passenger cars for 2.3 years)
 •Land ………………..  63,000 km2 (251 km / side)
 
24,234 sq. miles (105.8 mi / side)
 
(the size of West Virginia)
 •60-year cost …….  $18.45 Trillion

That’s to 18 times the 2014 federal budget.


Powering the U.S. with 500 AP-1000 reactors.
 
Rated at 1,117 MWp, and with a reactor’s typical uptime of 90%, an AP-1000 will deliver 1,005 MWav. Five hundred APs will produce 502.5 GWav, replacing all existing U.S. electrical power plants, including our aging fleet of reactors.
 
The AP-1000 uses 5,800 tonnes of steel, 90,000 tonnes of concrete, with a combined carbon karma of 115,000 t of CO2 that can be paid down in less than 5 days. The entire plant requires 0.04km2, a patch of land just 200 meters on a side, next to an ample body of water for cooling. (Remember, it’s a Gen-3+ reactor. Most Gen-4 reactors won’t need external cooling.) Here’s the digits:
 •Steel ……….  2.9 Million t (0.5% of W  &  CSP / 0.36% of CSP)
 •Concrete …  46.5 Million t (3.3% of W  & CSP / 1.8% of CSP)
 •CO2 ………..  59.8 Million tonnes (2% of W & CSP / 1.5% of CSP)
 •Land ……….  20.8 km2 (4.56 km / side) (0.028% W & CSP / 0.07% of CSP)
 
1.95 sq. miles (1.39 miles / side)
 
(1.5 times the size of Central Park)
 •60-year cost ………  $2.94 Trillion

That’s 2.9 times the 2014 federal budget.

Both Nuclear and Solar energy are improving technologies and becoming safer and more efficient. I think Solar is a great option and I hope we can improve it enough to be a great contributor, but I don't think wind is worth a damn, and we won't be able to sustain ourselves on 100% Solar anytime soon

Given the 20 year lead time and multi-billion dollar up-front investment for even getting a single kWh out of a nuclear plant, we won't be sustaining ourselves on 100% nuclear anytime soon either.

I've already questioned the cost numbers in that article, and provided real world costs of real nuke plants. They are very high.

You don't need any concrete to put solar panels on people's roofs.

And even if we did need 5 times the annual US production of concrete to create enough new CSP fields to replace all US demand, you presumably wouldn't be installing all that capacity year one. You'd ramp up capacity over 20 years. Or something like a 9% increase in concrete production per year. And you could get that increase from Mexico or wherever else too--not just US.

It's doable. The hurdle has been economics. And the economics are changing. Money motivates action.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #46 on: July 10, 2015, 02:34:53 PM »
http://energyrealityproject.com/lets-run-the-numbers-nuclear-energy-vs-wind-and-solar/
From this Article,
Quote
Powering the U.S. with 1,000 CSP farms, producing 500 MWavg apiece.
 •Steel ……………….   787 Million t (1.6 times annual U.S. production)
 •Concrete ………….  2.52 Billion t (5.14 times annual U.S. production)
 •CO2 …………………  3.02 Billion t (all U.S. passenger cars for 2.3 years)
 •Land ………………..  63,000 km2 (251 km / side)
 
24,234 sq. miles (105.8 mi / side)
 
(the size of West Virginia)
 •60-year cost …….  $18.45 Trillion

That’s to 18 times the 2014 federal budget.


Powering the U.S. with 500 AP-1000 reactors.
 
Rated at 1,117 MWp, and with a reactor’s typical uptime of 90%, an AP-1000 will deliver 1,005 MWav. Five hundred APs will produce 502.5 GWav, replacing all existing U.S. electrical power plants, including our aging fleet of reactors.
 
The AP-1000 uses 5,800 tonnes of steel, 90,000 tonnes of concrete, with a combined carbon karma of 115,000 t of CO2 that can be paid down in less than 5 days. The entire plant requires 0.04km2, a patch of land just 200 meters on a side, next to an ample body of water for cooling. (Remember, it’s a Gen-3+ reactor. Most Gen-4 reactors won’t need external cooling.) Here’s the digits:
 •Steel ……….  2.9 Million t (0.5% of W  &  CSP / 0.36% of CSP)
 •Concrete …  46.5 Million t (3.3% of W  & CSP / 1.8% of CSP)
 •CO2 ………..  59.8 Million tonnes (2% of W & CSP / 1.5% of CSP)
 •Land ……….  20.8 km2 (4.56 km / side) (0.028% W & CSP / 0.07% of CSP)
 
1.95 sq. miles (1.39 miles / side)
 
(1.5 times the size of Central Park)
 •60-year cost ………  $2.94 Trillion

That’s 2.9 times the 2014 federal budget.

Both Nuclear and Solar energy are improving technologies and becoming safer and more efficient. I think Solar is a great option and I hope we can improve it enough to be a great contributor, but I don't think wind is worth a damn, and we won't be able to sustain ourselves on 100% Solar anytime soon

Given the 20 year lead time and multi-billion dollar up-front investment for even getting a single kWh out of a nuclear plant, we won't be sustaining ourselves on 100% nuclear anytime soon either.

I've already questioned the cost numbers in that article, and provided real world costs of real nuke plants. They are very high.

You don't need any concrete to put solar panels on people's roofs.

And even if we did need 5 times the annual US production of concrete to create enough new CSP fields to replace all US demand, you presumably wouldn't be installing all that capacity year one. You'd ramp up capacity over 20 years. Or something like a 9% increase in concrete production per year. And you could get that increase from Mexico or wherever else too--not just US.

It's doable. The hurdle has been economics. And the economics are changing. Money motivates action.
That article assumes 4 billion per AP-1000 Reactor, Vogtle will have 2 reactors at a cost that is believed will be $14 Billion, which would assume 7 billion each, However, China is building some as well and spending significantly less (an estimated 3.2 billion each). China is also planning on using CAP1400s which are more efficient, and potentially even a 1,700 MW Design that will be even more efficient. China wants to have 100 units under construction and operating by 2020.

MoonShadow

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #47 on: July 10, 2015, 02:42:09 PM »
Nuclear Energy supplies 20% of the United States electricity and 60% of the clean emission free electricity produced by the United States. Why are people so afraid of it?

I believe it's primarily because human animals are conditioned to fear that which they don't understand, and the 'invisible threat' of radiation tickles that instinct very well.  Movies have made that worse.  The sad fact is that more radioactive material is released into our atmosphere & environment every year by the combustion of coal than all of the nuclear power accidents, plus all of the nuclear bombs dropped & tested, in all of human history.  The average person is, during the history of nuclear industry so far, likely to get more radiation dosage from concrete walls and/or a lifetime of dental & medical X-rays than from living anywhere near a nuke plant.  I've actually worked in the electrical power industry in the past, and would much rather live within a mile of a nuke plant than within a mile of a coal plant.  And I live in Kentucky, where coal is king.  If you have actually ever seen what happens to plantlife downwind of a coal plant, you would understand.

That said, the Fukishima plant is the second worst nuclear power incident in history, right after that one in Russia.  We can point to stupid engineering and/or political decisions that contributed to both events; non-existent containment building nor proper training in Russia, sighting of diesel backup generators below the known high wave line on a coast known to be hit with tsunamis periodicly in the case of Japan.  There was also bad luck involved (which all engineers know happens eventually) in Japan, as the worst of the event was due to the fact that one of the reactors was actually in the progress of removing fuel rods when the tsunami warning came in.  A lot of people believe that the event in Japan was due to the earthquake damage to the building, which was damaged, but would not have released any radioactive materials, nor melted down a core, without the addition of the tsunami taking out the backup power and control systems.  Also, almost all of these power plants were designed during the 1960's, and are a far cry from the state-of-the-art with regard to inherently self-limiting reactor designs.  The Canadian designed SlowPoke reactor never even needed backup power, because a loss of active cooling simply caused the core to go sub-critical naturally, and small testing & training versions of that reactor are (to this very day) licensed to run unmonitored for up to 30 hour intervals.  It's also an unpressurized core design, and overheating of the core (assuming it was physically possible, which it likely is not) would simply boil it's water jacket into the atmosphere without breaking anything.  There are more modern designs that are even better, that are designed to run unattended for 10 or more years, but that can't even get a test license to prove it in practice.

MoonShadow

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #48 on: July 10, 2015, 02:45:28 PM »

Given the 20 year lead time and multi-billion dollar up-front investment for even getting a single kWh out of a nuclear plant, we won't be sustaining ourselves on 100% nuclear anytime soon either.

There is not a 20 year lead time in building a nuclear power plant.  They can be built in 4 years or so, if the political environment would permit it.  More modern, modular designs can be built and running much faster, but none of them can get a permit.

sirdoug007

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Re: Why not Nuclear Energy?
« Reply #49 on: July 10, 2015, 02:57:40 PM »
http://energyrealityproject.com/lets-run-the-numbers-nuclear-energy-vs-wind-and-solar/
From this Article,
Quote
Powering the U.S. with 1,000 CSP farms, producing 500 MWavg apiece.
 •Steel ……………….   787 Million t (1.6 times annual U.S. production)
 •Concrete ………….  2.52 Billion t (5.14 times annual U.S. production)
 •CO2 …………………  3.02 Billion t (all U.S. passenger cars for 2.3 years)
 •Land ………………..  63,000 km2 (251 km / side)
 
24,234 sq. miles (105.8 mi / side)
 
(the size of West Virginia)
 •60-year cost …….  $18.45 Trillion

That’s to 18 times the 2014 federal budget.


Powering the U.S. with 500 AP-1000 reactors.
 
Rated at 1,117 MWp, and with a reactor’s typical uptime of 90%, an AP-1000 will deliver 1,005 MWav. Five hundred APs will produce 502.5 GWav, replacing all existing U.S. electrical power plants, including our aging fleet of reactors.
 
The AP-1000 uses 5,800 tonnes of steel, 90,000 tonnes of concrete, with a combined carbon karma of 115,000 t of CO2 that can be paid down in less than 5 days. The entire plant requires 0.04km2, a patch of land just 200 meters on a side, next to an ample body of water for cooling. (Remember, it’s a Gen-3+ reactor. Most Gen-4 reactors won’t need external cooling.) Here’s the digits:
 •Steel ……….  2.9 Million t (0.5% of W  &  CSP / 0.36% of CSP)
 •Concrete …  46.5 Million t (3.3% of W  & CSP / 1.8% of CSP)
 •CO2 ………..  59.8 Million tonnes (2% of W & CSP / 1.5% of CSP)
 •Land ……….  20.8 km2 (4.56 km / side) (0.028% W & CSP / 0.07% of CSP)
 
1.95 sq. miles (1.39 miles / side)
 
(1.5 times the size of Central Park)
 •60-year cost ………  $2.94 Trillion

That’s 2.9 times the 2014 federal budget.

Both Nuclear and Solar energy are improving technologies and becoming safer and more efficient. I think Solar is a great option and I hope we can improve it enough to be a great contributor, but I don't think wind is worth a damn, and we won't be able to sustain ourselves on 100% Solar anytime soon

This guys numbers don't make any sense.  I have no idea who he is but he is not an authority in renewable costs given he is grossly out of date.  He is basing his solar plant on one of the most expensive solar technologies available built in 2009.  The installed cost was $7,600/kw which is not that far from the Mississippi plant I mentioned.  Nobody is installing parabolic trough solar with molten salt storage anymore because it is insanely expensive compared to PV. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andasol_Solar_Power_Station

As we've mentioned a bunch of times now, a lot has changed in the past few years.  Utility scale PV is now in the $1500/kw range and falling which is less than 20% of the Andasol plant. 

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/solar-pv-system-prices-continue-to-fall-during-a-record-breaking-2014