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  • Premier Icon ferrals
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    Tidal power has a real potential; but there are issues that need further work.

    1) O&M is currently expensive, after financing costs its the bigest cost for the sector – as above its underwater. Floating tidal mitigates this but it is still offshore. THis should reduce with time as further R&D gets fones
    2) site phasing. – a lot of the best sites currently being considered are in phase which means that peak generation co-incides between sites. As technology is developed and lower flow sites exploited this can be mitigated. A combination of tidal range and tidal stream could probably provide baseload. However these sites are spatially seperated about the UK, which I think means the baseload isnt as useful as if generated in one place – I think becuase smaller sites are plugged into distribution network not directly to transmission.
    3) Distance of sites from population cnetres has implcations for energy transfer and costs of bolstering grid infrastructure
    4) Environmental impacts still need better understanding.

    Lots of people researching hydrogen as an energy vector, which could have real potential for opening up renewable generation at remote sites, sites with high intermittency.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    I made the 20% claim based on previous estimates fro tidal power. that showed the pentland firth at 10gw plus. During this debate the 1.9 – 1 gw number came to the fore and wbhile the lowest estimate i have seen is sufficiently robust that it seems prudent to use it as a base. so yes – that reduces my 20% number.

    sound Of islay is again a site whith huge potential

    BTW – a tidal generator has been running in norway since 2003 – and those are the proven turbines that are being installed in a plant in the sound of islay ( dunno if its started yet)

    here are some peer reviewed numbers and analysis of other sites
    Note they believe the 1.9 gw for the pentland firth is too low

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148117302082

    Premier Icon stumpyjon
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    Bottom line is we don’t have solution today, as we phase out fossil fuels we will need electrical generation to increase significantly to offset the direct use of gas in homes and businesses and ICE vehicles being phased out. Nuclear is an option, short term expensive but safe and reliable, medium term the fuel will run out and long term what do we do with the waste.

    Tidal is years away from making a dent, nice to see today around 23% of electrical demand is solar and wind. We need to ramp this up fast, loads of roof space out there we could cover in panels, just need to sort out more mass energy storage. Wind also has a lot more to offer, loads of onshore possibilities if the NIMBYs can be made to shut up. I can see 5 major turbines from my window, space on the hillside for another 50 easily, it’s all ex industrial moorland anyway, ironically used to be coal mines, when they put the first turbines in they actually cleared up some of the land.

    However it will only really change when gas starts to run out, we’re still at 50% electricity generation today from gas and a huge amount more used for heating and industrial processes.

    We’re going to need every energy source and a renewed drive to reduce usage, still massive amounts wasted through unnecessary use and refusal to upgrade to more efficient technology, how many homes still have incandescent bulbs.

    Premier Icon richmtb
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    Does anyone know much about hydrogen production, storage and transmission.

    When I read the report this morning about Scottish windfarms being used to produce hydrogen I thought it was quite interesting as I understand that on windy days the installed capacity in Scotland produces more power than is actually needed and a lot of generation capacity is wasted?

    The first test site is apparently going to go ahead at Whitelee.

    Premier Icon db
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    Only way to settle this is to play a game; http://siemens.zincmediadev.com/energy/island/index.html

    (Note – game is aimed at school children but I think it will work for STW people as well)

    Premier Icon Mikkel
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    I was lucky enough to play with one of the reactors at Risø in Denmark before ignorant people forced them to close them all down.
    They had tons of nuclear waste stored there, but most of it was from hospitals.

    I assume you are dead against the use of all the radioactive isotopes in Hospitals as well due to the problem with the waste from that?

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    Its a very interesting idea richmtb but with issues. well proven on small scale ( Unst / PURE) but scaling it up has its own issues. Storing hydrogen at large scale is tricky. It can go thru ordinary steel and plastics so clever solutions needed materials wise and its low density so you need a lot of storage – even in liquid form and I believe making it liquid is not easy either.

    its also very dangerous and making it back into electricity is not without issues – either burnt in engine which is inefficient or use a fuel cell which needs needs expensive catalysts

    its something with huge potential and the main issue with renewables is energy storage but its a long way from proven tech. I am hopeful for it and whitelees is a good sounding project.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    Mikkel – hospital waste is nothing like as dangerous as generator waste and has huge benefits.

    Premier Icon Daffy
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    Mikkel
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    They had tons of nuclear waste stored there, but most of it was from hospitals.

    I assume you are dead against the use of all the radioactive isotopes in Hospitals as well due to the problem with the waste from that?

    That’s utter bollocks.

    Hospital radioactive waste is tiny and relatively harmless compared to spent fuel rods.

    90% of hospital waste has a decay rate which renders it inert inside of 30-40 days and the remaining 10% is inert inside of 30 years. nuclear power on the scale we’re talking about generates 200-400 metric tonnes of extremely radioactive waste which will not fully decay for thousands of years. Not only that, but the spent fuel must be guarded as it can be used for weapons and cannot be stored together as there’s a risk of explosion. Thus you need several sites.

    Premier Icon gonefishin
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    Note they believe the 1.9 gw for the pentland firth is too low

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148117302082

    That’s not how I read that although I haven’t read it in depth. It is an interesting paper though and one I intend to read properly. What is does indicate however is where the disparity of 19 MW (ish) quoted by Alex Salmond might have come from. This is an estimate of the the peak power that is available from the pentland firth however as we are talking about tidal currents this will only be available for a very short period of time and my guess, although I do not know, is that Mr Salmond being the canny politician that he is has quoted the peak figure without context to grab a headline. The 1GW is to average over an entire tidal cycle which is a much better estimate to the real available power. I suspect, although again I do not know, that this figure will also account for times when the equipment is out of service for repair/maintenance/damage that sort of thing. If this is the case then the 1GW is likely to be a much much more realistic number of what can actually be achieved.

    Premier Icon willard
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    That game is tough by the way… Just saying.

    Premier Icon monkeysfeet
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    That’s shit news. I worked at Wylfa until it shut down. The area was struggling and Wylfa provided a massive amount of jobs, not only from the site but also the local economy. B and B for contractors, local shops and bus and taxi firms.
    The locals were all for a new reactor. That is really crap news.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    If this is the case then the 1GW is likely to be a much much more realistic number of what can actually be achieved.

    I am going to have to agree with you on that. I had been listening too much to the politicians I guess. an example of learning thru debate.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    When I read the report this morning about Scottish windfarms being used to produce hydrogen I thought it was quite interesting as I understand that on windy days the installed capacity in Scotland produces more power than is actually needed and a lot of generation capacity is wasted?

    Yep – we pay operators a subsidy when production is too high. If we could efficiently store electricity instead, that would help balance it out.

    Also – more pumped storage. There’s another scheme planned above Loch Ness (Red John).

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    Pumped storage – we really do not have enough space to build enough to make a big difference from what I know IIRC current pumped storage is around 4 hours worth of usage and we need storage more like 2 weeks of usage.. Cracking the storage issue is the holy grail of renewables. Hydrogen looks the best bet IMO – but a long way of practical yet.

    Premier Icon jezzep
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    Hiya,

    Read this with interest. If I may add something my background was electrical engineering at Uni and I remember with interest that peak power and top up is OK from renewals. The key issue is us all switching to EV cars and with that the increase in the need for increased production of electricity in non-peak times. Nuclear really is the only one that can support this demand currently and increases.
    Finally as an Engineer it is the same old story we led the world in Nuclear power and we had up to about 10 years ago an industry. The government as per usual screwed it up and split up BNFL and sold the parts to EDF, America. So now with Hitachi pulling out we lack the skills and expertise to do it ourselves. Same old crap British political short sightedness prevails. In fairness to the current government at least they were trying to do something about it and the need for capacity. It was the Labour government that made the mistakes from what I can see and I’m a Labour voter ;-(

    JeZ

    Premier Icon gonefishin
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    we pay operators a subsidy when production is too high

    The guaranteed prices being paid to wind farms are falling dramatically for new developments but the issue of energy storage, as opposed to generation, is one that will need to be addressed.

    As for Hydrogen storage, whilst it is difficult, I can’t see it being any more dangerous than storing LNG/LPG or petrol for that matter and we do that as a matter of course.

    Premier Icon gobuchul
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    I was speaking to an engineer from ABB Cables a couple of years ago.

    They were working on some ultra low loss cable system that would allow efficient power transmission over thousands of miles.

    The idea being, is that you connect power stations that are on different time zones from your grid and as power requirements drop in their area, you take power from them and vice versa. Interesting idea.

    Premier Icon Daffy
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    If we really want sustainable power, we really need to look at again at hydro electric and start developing the already identified sites in the Northwest and Scotland.

    £40-60bn saved from the two nuclear sites, kill off HS2 saving another £30+bn and we’re well on our way to a £100bn infrastructure project.

    Norway generates 95% of it’s power from Hydro.

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
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    That game is tough by the way… Just saying.

    Apparently, I did a really good job by building a biomass generator and some windmills. Only managed to get 41% though!

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    Daffy – sorry – large scale hydro is not going to happen and the small scale hydro is a help but thats all. Upgrading existing hydro may make a differnce but even in Scotland we do not have the space to have a 5 fold increase in hydro.

    Premier Icon nickc
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    Only managed to get 41% though!

    I bought 5 solar units and got 45% still managed OK…worst was tidal, just sayin’

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Norway is huge, has loads of great hydroelectric sites and a very small population.

    As for Hydrogen storage, whilst it is difficult, I can’t see it being any more dangerous than storing LNG/LPG or petrol for that matter and we do that as a matter of course.

    You can’t see, but maybe scientists and engineers who’ve looked into it can?

    I am of the opinion that large scale liquid batteries could prove useful for storage, if they can be produced effectively. More work is required there still.

    Premier Icon Daffy
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    I’m not saying it’s a single solution, but used as a means of energy storage in conjunction with solar and wind. When ts raining, we can store/generate, when it’s sunny we can store/generate and when its typically British (windy and rainy), we can generate, store and export.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    Daffy – its a question of land available. There simply is not enough to make a significant difference. Small scale flow hydro is being rolled out and will help but hydro cannot be extended on the scale needed in the UK

    Pumped storage – from memory we have about 4 hours worth of storage. We need a couple of weeks worth of electricity consumption stored to cope with winter high pressure events. there simply is not the room in the UK to do this from pumped storage.

    the plan i do like is to have an interconnect to Norway from scotland -Scotland becomes the generator and Norway the storage battery. the two countries share the electricity and sell excess to Germany

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    THing is… Nuclear is a great idea, when done right. We haven’t done it right. And I don’t mean disasters, although, those are certainly disastrous. I mean finance and project planning. Hinkley is a nuclear disaster of a whole new breed, frinstance, the sort that causes massive damage before it’s ever turned on. IF it’s ever turned on. And any project involving EDF is dubious on account of they’re essentially bankrupt, because the entire French nuclear industry was financed by just making up decommissioning costs.

    But the trouble is, it’s now incredibly hard for nuclear to stand, or to fall, on its merits. For any power source in fact, since the economics of most power generation is so fictional.

    Premier Icon Daffy
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    tjagain
    Full Member
    Daffy – its a question of land available. There simply is not enough to make a significant difference. Small scale flow hydro is being rolled out and will help but hydro cannot be extended on the scale needed in the UK

    But there’s practically no one in Cumbria and Scotland (speaking as a Scotsman and a Cumbrian) and there’s plenty of peaks and troughs – surely there’s somewhere with adequate rainfall and catchment at which a dam could be built? Or could the Spey and Lochabler Hydro system be expanded as a start?

    Premier Icon squirrelking
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    @daffy not all waste is weaponisable, it is perfectly possible to convert all our existing stocks (and those of other countries that we hold) to non proliferable isotopes.

    Fuel is a finite resource and yes,the can has to be kicked to a degree. Fuel routes play a major part though and reactors can burn anything from low enriched fuel to mixed oxides. As pointed out breeders have far less hazardous daughter products and if the big bugger in Cadarache proves viable the can will need kicked no longer.

    @monkeysfeet my sympathies, I’m at Hunterston B myself and when we shut down and the site eventually gets mothballed (as A station will next year) the area is going to be screwed. People think things are bad now, it’s going to be a whole lot worse.

    I hope all of you gloating take time to remember that. This isn’t just ideology, this is peoples livelihoods and the life and death of towns. There is nothing else for folk round here. Think on that.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    But there’s practically no one in Cumbria and Scotland (speaking as a Scotsman and a Cumbrian) and there’s plenty of peaks and troughs – surely there’s somewhere with adequate rainfall and catchment at which a dam could be built?

    basically no – there isn’t.

    Premier Icon Daffy
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    @squirrelking – that’s only true if we were to build breeder reactors like LMFBRs, which we’re not as they’re deemed to be too expensive. I’d certainly be more behind building breeder reactors as I believe they’re part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

    Building conventional reactors is a sticking plaster until full renewables or fusion takes over. But due to the costs, contracts and decommissioning it’s a cost that we’d be paying for for decades even if renewables could take over in 5-15 years.

    I’m not gloating here and hope others aren’t also, and as someone who worked at both Sellafield and Barrow (Nuclear Subs) and lived 20 years in Cumbria, I feel for the people, but we can’t base a future energy policy for the nation on the financial impact to a few thousand.

    This is big picture stuff and like it or not, nuclear fission isn’t looking too promising and hasn’t done for the past 20 years in the UK – had Fukashima happened earlier, I very much doubt we’d have built Hinkley Point, we’d have gone another way.

    The only glimmer of hope (for fission) is the Rolls Royce Civil Nuclear program.

    Premier Icon squirrelking
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    Isn’t that just a sub reactor by any other definition? I’m not knocking it, SMRs are the next logical step but they’re not proven yet and, critally, we need new build yesterday. That’s the massive issue, all the coal has been shut down, gas is unsafe from an energy security perspective and we are years too late on a new build program that came at the worst time possible. The EPR is (finally) proven and the AP1000 and ABWR were proven from the outset.

    But you’re right in do much as the cleanup costs are high. As are costs for fusion. Everything comes with its own toxic legacy, there is no silver bullet.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    squirrelking
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    Isn’t that just a sub reactor by any other definition? I’m not knocking it, SMRs are the next logical step but they’re not proven yet and, critally, we need new build yesterday.

    SMRs do have the advantage of also taking less time to build. I made a 20p bet on here years ago that the first production ASMR enters service before Hinkley C does, that’s maybe not the good bet I thought it was now with the (political and financial, not scientific) setbacks SMRs have taken over the last few years but still not terrible. (even if I don’t include NuScale, on account of it’s bloody enormous)

    Premier Icon Mikkel
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    Sorry for trolling earlier.
    Anyone know what happened to the nuclear power design that Bill Gates was involved with that had to be stopped due to the sanctions against China or whatever it was?

    Premier Icon project
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    Both Trawsfynydd and Wylfa closed quite a while ago,and power is still provided uk wide without them and locally to me, Fiddlers ferry Coal powered and polluting power station also closed,and there is also the deeside power station,north wales gas fired also closed down.

    Whats needed is wholescale reduction in power use, free low energy bulbs, cut all non essential building floodlighting, reduce manufacturing companies energy demand,turn off stuff, have a national campaign to reduce usage.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    this is interesting
    ” the National Infrastructure Commission – are not banging the drum for new fleets of giant nuclear power stations.

    The NIC reiterated its two-year-old advice only last month: “The government should take a one-by-one approach to nuclear and not agree to more than one new nuclear plant, in addition to Hinkley Point C, before 2025.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/nils-pratley-on-finance/2020/sep/16/hitachis-disappointing-exit-from-wylfa-nuclear-deal-is-no-great-loss

    Premier Icon squirrelking
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    Whats needed is wholescale reduction in power use

    Lmao

    And how do you propose doing that whilst doing away with fossil fuels?

    TJ, that may be but we NEED the energy security. Right now we are beholden to foreign powers (as of this new year) to provide for shortfalls in generation and our fuel supplies. You can argue the rights and wrongs of it but that’s the way it is. Its another **** ridiculous situation we’ve found ourselves in.

    Premier Icon Daffy
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    @squirrelking – essentially, yes. It’s a PWR3, but has the advantage that RR have built 5 in the last 7 years and will be building 6-7 more over the next 5 years, so with the SMR, the economies of scale really start to show. Also, they’re very fuel efficient and your entire grid is VERY scaleable.

    Large plants are, despite their fuel use, MUCH more productive than little ones, but as a stopgap, SMRs (I think) have the advantage.

    RR have been trying to do civil nuclear for ages. I was involved in the business case aspect back in 2006/7.

    Premier Icon tjagain
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    I agree squirrel king that its ridiculous. where we disagree is on the solutions. Nuclear can never make up the shortfall in time. Plants simply take too long to build. Hinkley is how late now?

    If all the money wasted on Hinkley had been put into renewables we would have less of an issue and we should have been pushing hard for a total reduction in energy usage

    Premier Icon mattvanders
    Free Member

    So a couple of things to add to any of this, first off I actually work at a gas (3 Gas Turbine Generators, 3 Waste Heat Boiler, 1 steam turbine setup) power station but the company also own and operate biomas / coal power station, other gas power stations, pumping hydro stations and in the process of setting up carbon capturing plant.

    With any energy production it’s not a simple subject with one answer. I am fully for the use of wind and solar generation but they do have a number of problems that means they can not be the only option to use. Obviously if it’s night time or not windy they will not be producing electricity so you will still need to produce the required amount using other means (so would still need a system that could product over 100% required without renewable).

    Secondly you will never get 100% solar or windy due to the requirement of modulating the frequency of the electricity which you can’t do with renewable. We sometimes have to run when it is too windy or sunny due to the larger inertia (a big heavy turbine and generator) to control the frequency and make sure it stays at 50 hz. The pumping stations will pump water to the storage lake to use up some of the excessive electricity produced. There are even some power stations that will turn there generator into a motor to use up the electricity to help with the control of the grid.

    Yes the pumping stations can supply a constant 4 hour connection to the grid (National grid set a minimum 4 hours running contact with energy supplies). They are mostly used to deal with sudden demand of electricity (10 minutes and they can be full operational V a boiler would take over a day if stone cold) when everyone suddenly decides to make a cup of tea in an add break.

    My site will only operate when asked to by NG, this means we get a better price but also less Co2 released. Normally we only operate 2-4 times a week in the evenings.

    One other form of electricity production that hasn’t be discussed is waste incinerators (burning anything that can’t be recycled). Since landfills are not allowed anymore majority of household waste will go to incinerators. Because the cancels pay them to take the rubbish away they undercut the price of gas power stations so run 24/7. The Uk even send of of their waste over to Holland to be burnt in their incinerators (which adds to the fun of Co2 production) and then sell the electricity back to the Uk using undersea cables (should the Co2 produced by these Dutch incinerators be counted as Uk carbon released?).

    This afternoon energy production consisted of:
    Solar – 14.3%
    Wind – 14.9%
    Hydro – 1.0%
    Gas – 45.6%
    Coal – 1.9%
    Biomass – 5.0%
    Nuclear- 12.3%
    Pump stations- 0%
    Import – 5.0%

    The biggest way of reducing Co2 release is not just by changing the way that energy is produced but by how much is used, through out the beginning of lockdown energy usage was down by 30% (every day was a Sunday in the eyes of energy sector).

    Premier Icon maxtorque
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    Lets face it, us humans have grown fat on a glut of extremely cheap and addictive hydro-carbon derived energy. Today, we are increasingly coming to the realisation that we have been paying another price beyond pure cost for that energy, namely the potentially unstabilizing effects of massive relases of Carbon Dioxide into our atmosphere. Whilst groups like Greenpeace were worring about a few hundred of thousand tonnes of nuclear waste that might (<< note might, not did, or will) get realsed into the environment, we went ahead and ACTUALLY release tens of billions of tonnes of pollutants into our atmosphere unchecked. Anti-nuke peeps say “ooh but nuclear waste is soo dangerous” and then drive to work in their car without a single thought for the fact that every time they run the engine, pollution pours out the back. Pollution that kills people daily, and potentially could result in a significant issue for the human race as a whole.

    So far, any new generation tech is simply based on “commercial worth” ie how much it costs, vs what you can sell it for, ie to make a profit for share holders. This is what has stiffled things like tidal or wave energy, not the (relatively) minor engineering problems involved in developing generation assets. The fact is, wave or tidal energy costs more per unit of electricty that wind or solar. And modern nuclear generation is even worse, because rather than saving money to pay for the decommisioning, you’re giving the profit to your share holders.

    I can see a sea change (sic) comming tbh. At some point, if and when we do run short of ‘lecy, suddenly, the vast majority of people are going to stop worrying about saving 2 pence per kWH, and worring about keeping the lights on, the water and sewage pumping, their employers buisnesses running! Suddenly, “oh nuclear power is too expensive” will be replaced with “i need to keep my fridge running”.

    Unfortunately, without a non politicised, non commercial plan and methodlolgy for providing the Uk with a long term viable generation mix, by the time this happens it will, imo,be too late…….

    (and if you are poor, live in a deprived location, are non skilled with a low paid job, then you are totally F’d when the lights go out, because at that point, money talks)

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