Renewable energy is rubbish, nuclear is brilliant!

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  • Renewable energy is rubbish, nuclear is brilliant!
  • camo16
    Member

    Okay, might give it a shot if I get some time.

    I have to warn you, though, that I’m all about the hydrocarbons. 😉

    z1ppy
    Member

    shame TJ can’t join in

    why so he can be intractable and not answer valid questions or take opposing points of view on board? Lots of other forum users can do that for you

    Kit
    Member

    Suits me! I’m a Carbon Capture and Storage researcher, with an eye on shale gas. But would love to see renewable energy dominate eventually.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I’m a Carbon Capture and Storage researcher

    Like. Although, aren’t you just punting the problem down the road a century or two?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    molgrips wrote:

    I’m a Carbon Capture and Storage researcher
    Like. Although, aren’t you just punting the problem down the road a century or two?

    Only if it works, will take a read later, do you get paid for ad clickery in your blog?

    Kit
    Member

    Although, aren’t you just punting the problem down the road a century or two?

    You mean the re-release of CO2, or delaying investment in renewables? Emphatic no the first one, and would possibly agree on the second. I’d argue though that the world ain’t going to stop burning fossil fuels for energy (much as we might want it to stop), so we should do our best to mitigate the emissions. IMO. Other views available, etc.

    EDIT: I use adblocker so wasn’t aware there were ads on my blog! So no, I don’t!

    wrecker
    Member

    Well written and informative. Thanks!
    Interested by the nuclear energy costs/subsidies; £31-44/MWh to £95-100/MWh. Did they give comparable figures for wind? i.e how much do we consumers get charged per MWh by the energy companies to cover the “feed ins” (for want of a better term) paid to investors?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    You mean the re-release of CO2, or delaying investment in renewables?

    No, I mean by enabling the fossil fuel economy to continue, it’ll get used up all the quicker, and won’t be available for things other than simply burning it. And yes, delaying investment in renewables, but possibly more importantly encouraging the viewpoint that we can do whatever we like and technology will sort it out in the end anyway. It removes one big incentive to be responsible, doesn’t it?

    A cynic would argue that no-one’s going to change their behaviour so you might as well mitigate it. But on the other hand, without AGW as a risk, even the little investment we do have in renewable could easily disappear.

    One could argue that ‘giving a shit about the environemnt in general’ could be as important as anything else.

    Kit
    Member

    Now I’ve got your attention… 😉

    A few weeks ago now I attended a conference on energy – I stuck a post up about it here: http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/interested-in-energy-generationsupply-issues

    Since then, I’ve managed to write up the three days of the conference in a series of blog posts, and in the interests of generating some blog hits passing on some good info on fossil fuels, nuclear, renewables etc. I thought you lot might like a) a read of my blog and b) a look through the videos and presentations from the conference.

    Blog: http://vitaminccs.wordpress.com/

    Conference vids: http://globalenergysystemsconference.com/videos/

    I know you all like a good debate on this kind of stuff, shame TJ can’t join in 🙂

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    molgrips – Member

    …by enabling the fossil fuel economy to continue, it’ll get used up all the quicker,

    we won’t run out of ‘fossil fuels’ – there’s simply too much of the stuff.

    we’re already looking for using alternative fuels, polymers, etc. and we’re no-where near running out yet.

    the alternatives will get better, oil/gas will get more expensive. eventually we’ll stop using them altogether, not because we’ve run out, but because it’s just too much faff.

    as for AGW, it’s increasingly obvious that we just don’t care… enough to actually DO something about it.

    has anyone ever not taken the £5 flight to holiday land, simply because they care about the ice-caps?

    natrix
    Member

    Fusion is the way to go, sod the high speed trains lets show the world how to make limitless energy, see:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2013/jul/02/hs2-fusion-power

    wobbliscott
    Member

    The biggest risk to the environment is not fossil fuels – it is overpopulation – mass famine, war and desiese will kill far more people and be our ultimate demise rather than fossil fuel emissions. Fossil fuels will last for many generations yet, but will get more expensive, renewables don’t produce electricity when its needed so you need some network of energy storage – i.e big batteries which ultimately means lots of precious metals dug out of the Earths crust which isn’t great for the environment or the economics of renewables! Nulcear has to be a big part of the answer. Its about time we started to address the general publics largely ignorant view of nuclear power.

    I hate the way we’re so focussed on CO2 emissions as the only environmental issue to be concerned about – especially as the jury is still out on the impact. I think this is largely a red herring and while we focus so hard on this, we’ll miss something that is more of a problem and will cause greater issues for us. A classic point is the massive increase in Diesel cars due to our obsession in reducing CO2 at all costs. Diesel cars are so much worse for the environment than petrol engines in every way except CO2 emissions, with Astma rates shooting up, air pollution and air quality dropping like a stone, smog returning to our cities, its a disaster of our modern times.

    If we reduce the birth rate and manage the planets population all the environmental issues we’re currenltly concerned about will fade away. Our view of having as many kids as we like and to hell with the consequences as a basic human right cannot continue. But that’s never going to happen, so we’re doomed. We may as well buy thirsty cars and party till the end of the world, and go out with a smile on our faces. Sorry to sound so pessamistic, but the root cause of all of this is not being discussed. It seems to be a huge taboo.

    STATO
    Member

    No, I mean by enabling the fossil fuel economy to continue, it’ll get used up all the quicker, and won’t be available for things other than simply burning it. And yes, delaying investment in renewables, but possibly more importantly encouraging the viewpoint that we can do whatever we like and technology will sort it out in the end anyway. It removes one big incentive to be responsible, doesn’t it?

    Thankfully, CCS isnt free, it has a cost, so if your building something to generate power you would (at least in long term) go renewables, CCS allows existing stuff to keep going without being quite as bad.

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Subscriber

    couldn’t see anything on nuclear decommission. Maybe I misspelt it

    The person I know who knows about this stuff suggests that this is the big nuclear problem. As yet we still haven’t even sorted out what we will do with the waste we have. The costs look like being just too much to be justifiable

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    No, I mean by enabling the fossil fuel economy to continue, it’ll get used up all the quicker, and won’t be available for things other than simply burning it.

    Unfortunately – unless all the scientists are wrong – burning all the known reserves will completely stuff the climate.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    ampthill wrote:

    couldn’t see anything on nuclear decommission. Maybe I misspelt it
    The person I know who knows about this stuff suggests that this is the big nuclear problem. As yet we still haven’t even sorted out what we will do with the waste we have. The costs look like being just too much to be justifiable

    The waste we have is not proportional to the future waste, the majority of the waste is from the start of the industry and the hunt for weapons. Looking forward high burn fuel and no reprocessing would make long term prospects a lot different. Taking some reliance from coal & gas is a good thing, building windmills everywhere might help but might not get us across the line.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    the alternatives will get better

    Will they?

    the root cause of all of this is not being discussed

    It is, and has been for decades. See China’s one child policy. Also, UK birth rate is below 2 now which I think is where we need to be, unless someone can improve my maths.

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Subscriber

    The waste we have is not proportional to the future waste, the majority of the waste is from the start of the industry and the hunt for weapons. Looking forward high burn fuel and no reprocessing would make long term prospects a lot different.

    I’m in no way pro windmill anti nuclear. Infact until a conversation last summer I was pro nuclear. But mate assures me that waste storage and decommissioning are just not economic. Obviously once we have storage then extending its not that expensive. But decommissioning current designs is hugely expensive and my original point was that I couldn’t see any mention of these costs in the blog

    Kit
    Member

    Did they give comparable figures for wind? i.e how much do we consumers get charged per MWh by the energy companies to cover the “feed ins” (for want of a better term) paid to investors?

    This report from DECC gives levelised costs of electricity generation, and puts nuclear lower than most other tech. I can’t comment on the economic calcs (discounting and so on), but I’m dubious about how little is assumed to represent decommissioning costs!

    couldn’t see anything on nuclear decommission. Maybe I misspelt it

    There was nothing specifically about this at the conference, however Gen 4 reactors were talked about in this presentation. Not the same, granted, but you might like it anyway. The problem of waste is not included in the economics or environmental impact of building nuclear – this is one of my bugbears and combined with the high cost of building and generating leccy, I don’t see why we should be supporting it as a replacement for fossil fuels.

    renewables don’t produce electricity when its needed so you need some network of energy storage – i.e big batteries which ultimately means lots of precious metals dug out of the Earths crust which isn’t great for the environment or the economics of renewables

    Not so in terms of ‘battery’ storage – you can store compressed air and water, or produce methane, at times when electricity is cheap or surplus, and then use your stored energy at a later date. Intermittency can also be solved with large (contintental sized) grids – apparently not an insurmountable challenge, and I think things are moving this way anyway.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    But mate assures me that waste storage and decommissioning are just not economic. Obviously once we have storage then extending its not that expensive. But decommissioning current designs is hugely expensive and my original point was that I couldn’t see any mention of these costs in the blog

    Very true, but in the end of it we have to build the long term storage, as we have to deal with the waste. I would like to see projected costs for new build decommissioning. Knowing what we know now we can plan a lot more of it at the design stage, it’s still technology that did not exist 60 years ago. There are some good documentaries on the early builds and the current ones. They were mostly designed to work with not that much thought about the after. Current best ideas are to defuel and encase the reactor until the high energy short lived stuff has reduced significantly to get better access.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
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    ampthill – Member

    …decommissioning current designs is hugely expensive…

    true, but ‘current’ designs are 50 years old, we don’t do it like that anymore.

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    renewables don’t produce electricity when its needed

    nor do they power furnaces for smelting iron, making concrete, glass etc. (although theoretically could be used for the electrolysis phase of turning ore into metal)
    won’t get carbon fibre either without oil.

    wrecker
    Member

    It seems that wind turbines cost consumers (bill payers) £42/MWh through the ROC. That doesn’t take grants etc into account though.

    zokes
    Member

    Very interesting indeed – thanks Kit!

    klumpy
    Member

    The green movement has long been dominated by people who think that society would be better if we all grew our own food and wore grass shoes. The green movement hate nuclear, not because it isn’t the answer but because it IS. For society to revert to their imagined pre-industrial utopia, there must be no way to continue as a modern economy.

    This is why ever increasing numbers of environmentally minded people are becoming pro-nuclear, because they are scientifically minded people with the habit of critical thinking who care about energy future rather than engineering an agrarian society.

    Read The Geek Manifesto, it’s all in there.

    wobbliscott
    Member

    Molgrips – the worldwide population is exploding and due to smash through the 10 billion mark and is accelerating. I don’t think we’re getting to grips with it at all and population control is not on any countries political agenda as far as I know. It’s a difficult problem technically and philosophically, and we need something better than China one baby solution which pushed abortions underground and has left the country with a crisis that will take decades to sort out. maybe we can’t fix it.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    The green movement hate nuclear, not because it isn’t the answer but because it IS.

    The answer to which question?

    zokes
    Member

    The answer to which question?

    Low carbon, sustainable energy.

    It’s not the answer in any case, but it is part of the answer, possibly more than I’d thought if Dr Stainsby’s pitch up there is to be believed. (Which, I hasten to add, I have no reason not to).

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    The answer to which question?

    &

    It’s not the answer in any case, but it is part of the answer

    Exactly the main thing here is there is no single thing that will solve everything short of alien intervention or the vogons demolishing earth.

    There are lots of parts that need to be brought together into a cohesive energy policy.
    Usage reductions
    Increased efficiency
    Increased renewables
    Increased stable base load
    Reduced Carbon use
    Better balancing of supply & demand
    ad the rest

    Junkyard
    Member

    especially as the jury is still out on the impact.

    The Jury is not out at all on what the impact is of increasing the content of a green house gas on the planet. It is disingenuous to suggest that it is…unless of course by jury you dont mean the collective body of world scientists who study and understand the issue and you mean right wing leaning journalist /politicians such as Lawson or other types.

    If we reduce the birth rate and manage the planets population all the environmental issues we’re currenltly concerned about will fade away

    Those associated with population growth may go away bit the one about increasing energy consumption per person, decreasing amounts of fossil fuels and the increasing levels of C02 will not stop if we reduce birth rate

    I am not saying population control or numbers will not be an issue but “curing” it will not cure us of all environmental issues

    FWIW latest studies suggest the rate is flattening out and we will peak at circa 10 billion though of course there is debate on this.

    As for nukes in the short run they are part of the solution though decommissioning and storage are serious issues with no solution as yet

    The green movement has long been dominated by people who think that society would be better if we all grew our own food and wore grass shoes.

    Straw man and just denigrating thos eyou opose whilst mirepresenting what they stand for

    The green movement hate nuclear, not because it isn’t the answer but because it IS.

    WTF that is just gibberish not least because your next paragraph argues about the greens now getting on board with nukes

    For society to revert to their imagined pre-industrial utopia, there must be no way to continue as a modern economy.

    Straw man

    This is why ever increasing numbers of environmentally minded people are becoming pro-nuclear,

    Its an interesting debate without any unanimity within the green community and certainly pro nukes is gaining ground

    because they are scientifically minded people with the habit of critical thinking who care about energy future rather than engineering an agrarian society.

    Straw man and personal attack again

    Any chance you could use crtical thinking rathe than gross misrepresentation of peoples positions whilst contradicting that point

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Molgrips – the worldwide population is exploding and due to smash through the 10 billion mark and is accelerating

    I’ve read more times than I can remember that forecasts have it levelling off eventually as birth rate in developing countries dips to 2 or below. So it won’t keep going forever.

    I don’t think we’re getting to grips with it at all and population control is not on any countries political agenda as far as I know.

    EXCEPT CHINA.

    Ok so their policy was poorly implemented, but they did think about it. I seem to remember seeing small families pushed by governments in Africa too come to mention it. I suspect Western developed countries’ governemnts aren’t pushing because it’s political suicide and it also seems to be happening on its own, so there’s no need.

    klumpy
    Member

    While we’re here – Environmental heresies, an educational quarter hour for ya.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUxwiVFgghE

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    The biggest risk to the environment is not fossil fuels – it is overpopulation – mass famine

    We already are reducing our birthrates. IIASA’s middle ground estimate has us back down to about 7-8 billion in 2100, peaking in 2070. Their worst prediction has human population crashing so greatly we’re extinct within a few centuries. More than half the worlds population are already reproducing below the replacement rate.

    Population isn’t the problem, consumption is. People who think otherwise are often malthusian racists that would rather keep their cushy lifestyles at the expense of basic needs of the worlds developing nations.

    Ok so their policy was poorly implemented, but they did think about it. I seem to remember seeing small families pushed by governments in Africa too come to mention it. I suspect Western developed countries’ governemnts aren’t pushing because it’s political suicide and it also seems to be happening on its own, so there’s no need.

    The only things that are needed for declining birth rates are:

    * Female education and emancipation

    * Good healthcare and a government that supports the old (so families don’t feel the need to have dozens of children to guarantee their future)

    You don’t need governments enforcing things like the one child rule.

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    Molgrips – the worldwide population is exploding and due to smash through the 10 billion mark and is accelerating. I don’t think we’re getting to grips with it at all and population control is not on any countries political agenda as far as I know. It’s a difficult problem technically and philosophically, and we need something better than China one baby solution which pushed abortions underground and has left the country with a crisis that will take decades to sort out. maybe we can’t fix it.

    All signs point to you being wrong.

    http://webarchive.iiasa.ac.at/Admin/PUB/Documents/IR-08-022.pdf

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    All signs point to you being wrong.

    I’m not writing these reports, just reading them and recounting what I read.

    Plus one report isn’t ‘all signs’ is it? Or is it?

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    By reports do you mean media reports or actual statistical projections?

    Off the top of my head most of the reports I’ve seen have world population peaking at about 8-9 billion somewhere between 2050 and 2080. Followed by considerable decline towards 2200.

    Also Molgrips, why did you respond? I didn’t quote you! :mrgreen:

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    Low carbon, sustainable energy.

    It’s not the answer in any case, but it is part of the answer, possibly more than I’d thought if Dr Stainsby’s pitch up there is to be believed

    I don’t necessarily disagree, I just don’t think that it’s as big a part of the answer as many think. Unless we can find better ways of storing energy, nuclear’s usefulness outside of baseload is limited, especially so as we become more interconnected. For example, France is heavily reliant on hydro and imports and exports from other countries to balance supply and demand. What happens if those other countries go for nuclear in a big way?

    The other big factor is we simply aren’t going to be able to bring enough new plant on line in time. I’m leaving aside questions over raw material supply and managing waste.

    Turning to population for a moment, I seem to remember it’s been calculated that one Western child consumes as many resources as six African children. So it’s a bit more complicated than raw numbers.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
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    ransos – Member

    …For example, France is heavily reliant on hydro…

    to help smooth out demand on it’s many, many, nuclear power stations.

    they get over 70% of their leccy from Nuclear power.

    fr0sty125
    Member

    I think fusion is the only solution that will allow us to continue our energy binge. If that fails then I guess long term we will have to get a bit more frugal so that renewables are viable.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    to help smooth out demand on it’s many, many, nuclear power stations.

    Precisely. And seeing as we don’t have the Alps, what do we do?

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