The Long Shadow of Chernobyl

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  • The Long Shadow of Chernobyl
  • ahwiles
    Member

    In order for nuclear wind-power to have any significant impact there needs to be a massive expansion of nuclear power wind generation.

    There is not enough fuel neodymium available to fuel facilitate this massive expansion thus nuclear wind power cannot actually ever be a significant part of preventing global warming

    we’ll run out of neodymium long before we run out of uranium.

    therefore wind power cannot be part of the effort either.

    Junkyard
    Member

    the point still remains junkyard.

    Sort of all depends this paper argues we have thousands of years left for example
    http://www.oecd-nea.org/nea-news/2002/20-2-Nuclear_fuel_resources.pdf

    The nuclear apologists like zokes claim nuclear is the only answer to global warming.

    Why the need for the language like that? I dont think it is even true

    Perhaps, and I am aware that off-shore wind farms have the potential to generate huge amounts of electricity, but to replace a modern nuclear or coal-fired power station that puts out 2 GWe, you’d need a wind farm of about 1000 turbines all outputting their maximum power. The oft-discussed ‘perfect storm’ that makes such a shift problematic is the typical still, cold winter’s day, where there is no wind but it’s cold and dark, so everyone needs heat and light. But nonetheless, I would never advocate not building renewables, I simply state, as ever, that unless we cut our energy usage drastically, and by that I mean to a point that would seriously impact on our current lifestyles, we need more power than can be generated by renewables alone. And that’s before we start having to use electricity for a greater proportion of our transport and heating requirements as gas and oil become more scarce.

    I honestly think that solar power has a surprisingly large part to play in the UK, and may well generate more than most people imagine. I have a friend in Sheffield who has fitted solar panels to his house and has seen a huge reduction in his bills. But not many are far-sighted enough to wait 10-15 years for that reduction to become a profit.

    Wave power is the one that TJ and others throw about the most, along with tidal turbines. Both do look promising, and I agree that in 10 years time they may well have a big part to play. But they are not ready yet, and may not be ready by then.

    this seems pretty reasonable to me and not just pro nuke fanaticism

    In order for nuclear to have any significant impact there needs to be a massive expansion of nuclear power generation.

    There is not enough fuel available to fuel this massive expansion thus nuclear cannot actually ever be a significant part of preventing global warming

    depends what you mean by significant and massive expansion tbh
    he is offering a view that is not the same as your but you cannot just call him a nuclear apologist…he has view you should respect it and defeat it with the power of your argument, facts, figures, studies rather than just invective

    Personally I wish we did not need nukes but the reality is threefold
    More nukes in the short run – nothing lese will meet energy demands reliably currently.
    Huge investment in renewables for the long term
    Massive energy reduction by us all.

    Massive energy reduction by us all

    Good point, and everyone can make small, simple contributions towards energy conservation, can’t they… like insulating and double glazing their flats 😉

    Devils advocate

    So, assume that nice fluffy wind, wave and solar is our saviour, IF we install thousands upon thousands of these devices, and do it quickly.

    Couple of questions;
    1) are there enough raw materials to build these things?
    2) where does the power come from initially to build them?

    Also, I believe that the costs to the environment are quite high for some of these technologies, so how long does it take to offset the ‘damage’ caused by their manufacture?

    Finally, as these are not always converting energy to electricity, then surely any excess needs to be stored. I think that electrical storage equipment is very, very damaging to the planet as it involve some very nasty elements, not to mention the pollutants fom manufacture

    PJM1974
    Member

    I take a lot of your points TJ, but there are a few where you seem to struggle to draw a clear distinction between your own personal opinion and established fact – I quote your assertion that thorium fuelled power stations are a non-starter, when there is a lot of money being spent in research in this direction. Do you know something that the rest of us don’t?

    The other facts are clear – we need to reduce our energy consumption, which is going to be difficult in the face of rising populations and increased demand from newly industrialised countries. We need to reduce our dependence on oil, it’s a finite resource which may well have already peaked. We need to look at a range of options to generate power, nuclear energy is not a complete solution and even if it were, the resources of fuel available are also finite.

    Thorium – its not that it is a non starter – its that is unproven and experimental and not ready to produce energy yet. Who knows if it ever will be be. They are not the answer now.

    Junkyard – I have shown by simple logic that the position that nuclear is the answer to global warming is nonsense.

    We do not have the fuel to fuel the amount of reactors that would be needed to make a significant difference to global warming.

    BikePawl
    Member

    TandemJeremy – Member
    Thorium – its not that it is a non starter – its that is unproven and experimental and not ready to produce energy yet. Who knows if it ever will be be. They are not the answer now.
    POSTED 37 SECONDS AGO #

    Much the same as tidal power then!
    Who knows how the equipment they are trialling will deal with environment.
    How will the infrastructure cope?
    Can they cope with slack water?

    Edukator
    Member

    Energy saving, windfarms, solar and pump storage. We have the solutions, are you prepared to pay for them? I’ve only invested what many spend on their SUV to eliminate my part of the 30% or so of energy demand that comes from domestic use.

    ahwiles
    Member

    and I have shown by simple logic that the position that nuclear wind power is the answer to global warming is nonsense.

    We do not have the fuel resources (land, time, neodymium, etc.) to fuel build the amount of reactors wind turbines that would be needed to make a significant difference to global warming.

    (they’re nice an all, but really, we’d need millions of the things)

    Junkyard
    Member

    Junkyard – I have shown by simple logic that the position that nuclear is the answer to global warming is nonsense.

    We do not have the fuel to fuel the amount of reactors that would be needed to make a significant difference to global warming.
    Nope seemed to have missed that though i did notice you ignoring [and everything else tricky] the study I cited which concluded

    In considering the question, “Are there enough
    resources to meet the needs of the current
    generation without compromising the ability of
    future generations to meet their own needs?”, that
    answer has to be yes. Sufficient nuclear fuel
    resources exist to meet the energy demands of
    this and future generations well into the future at
    current and increased demand levels. However, to
    use this potential, considerable effort and investment
    will be needed to develop new mining projects
    and to bring advanced technologies to bear
    in a timely manner.

    So looks like we have opinions to discuss. However I lack your sense of certainty in the rightness of my view.

    you state your opinion like it is fact and imply [and sometime do it explicitly] that anyone who disagrees is somehow deficient in their ability to comprehend or just missing your point rather than disagreeing.

    PS Tidal power is as unproven and experimental as thorium for example but I would imagine you dont conclude that is a non starter.I bet you conclude we need to invest in it , improve the technology, implement it , learn and develop better systems etc and you are certain this will work.
    nor will you explain how we harness the wind with limited resources [NOT ENOUGH} or how we harness/store its power to respond to demandetc

    Edukator
    Member

    We definitely have enough wood fibre, hemp, recycled polyester, straw, cellulose, hollow brick and wood to make a huge difference. Add even the most energy greedy insulating materials such as polythene, polystyrene, glassfibre and rockwool, double/triple glazing, heat recovery ventilation, solar water heaters, wood burners, PV … and we can provide enough renewable energy, no problem.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Subscriber

    *considers a weekly “Here’s why you shouldn’t argue online” thread*

    Tidal generators have been running for many years producing electricity.

    zokes
    Member

    Junkyard – I have shown by simple logic that the position that nuclear is the answer to global warming is nonsense.

    All you have shown is your ability to conflate personal opinion with scientific fact, and your inability to read said facts laid out for you.

    As others have pointed out, I’m far from a nuclear apologist. Rather, I can see that coal is actually far more damaging, and if we must feed our need for electricity, then we need to do it with the least damaging of these methods. The simple fact is that 2GW generated by nuclear power is a lot less damaging to the environment than 2GW generated by coal. If there is only enough fuel left for one more generation of existing technology uranium fission reactors, then that’s several fewer coal-fired stations that need to be built – a quantifiable reduction in pollution. What’s the problem with this???

    As others have said, current renewable electricity methods aren’t able to reduce GHG emissions by “appreciable” amounts, so by your own logic, we shouldn’t bother then? Obviously there may be improvements, but as we can’t see that technology now, presumably we shouldn’t consider it in the future c/f thorium or breeder reactors (or, heaven forbid, fusion).

    You seem to be mistaking ‘technology fetishist’ for environmental scientist. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting what level of care a patient needs, so I’m constantly puzzled why you seem to think you know a lot more about my own profession than I do.

    As others have said, I have quite comprehensively answered your questions twice now, whilst you still can’t provide a source for your inaccurate and subjective statements. I suggest you do this before continuing this ‘debate’ further.

    Edukator
    Member

    We can all do something and save ourselves money.

    Now we’re near to the equinox the sun provides more than enough energy for our hot water and electricity needs. We lit the wood burner for the first time in a week because after three days away with the shutters closed the house had cooled down.

    Zokes – what is the answer to “where are you going to get the fuel from to fuel the massive expansion of nuclear generators that is required if they are going to have any effect on global warming?”

    where are you going to get the fuel

    Where’s your evidence that there’s a shortage?

    Premier Icon AlasdairMc
    Subscriber

    TJ – the answer is every other study that says uranium reserves are vastly greater than 40 years. Here’s one:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-long-will-global-uranium-deposits-last

    Junkyard
    Member

    No zokes this one is one me [again]

    In considering the question, “Are there enough
    resources to meet the needs of the current
    generation without compromising the ability of
    future generations to meet their own needs?”, that
    answer has to be yes. Sufficient nuclear fuel
    resources exist to meet the energy demands of
    this and future generations well into the future at
    current and increased demand levels.
    However, to
    use this potential, considerable effort and investment
    will be needed to develop new mining projects
    and to bring advanced technologies to bear
    in a timely manner.

    the link again – it has a nice chart showing you how many thousands of years it will last and everything and in no way shape or form supports your 40 year argument about fuel

    It has chart at the end that refutes all you say but I cant copy it in

    http://www.oecd-nea.org/nea-news/2002/20-2-Nuclear_fuel_resources.pdf

    ZokesTJ – what is the answer to “where are you going to get the fuel from to fuel the massive expansion of nuclearwnd generators that is required if they are going to have any effect on global warming?”

    How many times do you need to be asked a question to answer – it seems it takes three answer for you to see that it has been answered and multiple contributors pointing this out – now 2 of us have asked you twice about windmills, have we reached the point where you answer?

    BikePawl
    Member

    TandemJeremy – Member
    Tidal generators have been running for many years producing electricity.
    POSTED 56 MINUTES AGO #

    How many years have they been testing?
    How many producers have been lost to storms?
    If we scale these up, how much infrastructure can we predict will be lost to storm damage?

    From the scientific american piece

    According to the NEA, identified uranium resources total 5.5 million metric tons, and an additional 10.5 million metric tons remain undiscovered—a roughly 230-year

    so actually only 5.5 million tonnes known about so only a 80 year supply at current consumption rates.

    So by the time we have the massive increase in nuclear reactor numbers needed to have any significant effect on global warming there is only enough fuel for a few years.

    This is why nuclear reactors cannot be a part of the solution to global warming – we do not have enough fuel to run the number of reactors needed to make any significant difference.

    Edukator
    Member

    How much is the current energy consumption in your houses? If you have central heating on guestimate the proportion of time it’s running and multiply by the rating then add to what your electricity meter is reading.

    2A here, or about 500W. TV, AMP, PC and a light.

    BikePawl
    Member

    Shock horror, TJ admitting that his previous facts were wrong.
    But then he carries on if nothing else has changed.

    Junkyard
    Member

    TJ i included the next two paragraphs after as they dont support your 80 year view… an oversight on your part no doubt

    Using more enrichment work could reduce the uranium needs of LWRs by as much as 30 percent per metric ton of LEU. And separating plutonium and uranium from spent LEU and using them to make fresh fuel could reduce requirements by another 30 percent. Taking both steps would cut the uranium requirements of an LWR in half.

    Two technologies could greatly extend the uranium supply itself. Neither is economical now, but both could be in the future if the price of uranium increases substantially. First, the extraction of uranium from seawater would make available 4.5 billion metric tons of uranium—a 60,000-year supply at present rates. Second, fuel-recycling fast-breeder reactors, which generate more fuel than they consume, would use less than 1 percent of the uranium needed for current LWRs. Breeder reactors could match today’s nuclear output for 30,000 years using only the NEA-estimated supplies.
    ps the preceeding paragraphs gave

    About 10 metric tons of natural uranium go into producing a metric ton of LEU, which can then be used to generate about 400 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, so present-day reactors require about 70,000 metric tons of natural uranium a year.

    According to the NEA, identified uranium resources total 5.5 million metric tons, and an additional 10.5 million metric tons remain undiscovered—a roughly 230-year supply at today’s consumption rate in total. Further exploration and improvements in extraction technology are likely to at least double this estimate over time.

    if you do the maths that gives 785 years
    can i see your maths to get

    only enough fuel for a few years

    .

    Edukator not ignoring you what you say is correct we all need to look at what we use where we can control it the most and that is the home.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I’m always skeptical when we get quantitative reports of undiscovered reserves. Known unknowns.

    Junkyard
    Member

    yes but some unknowns we know we know and this is one of them 😉

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    How does that work though? We know for a fact there’s 10.5 million tons still to be discovered even though we don’t know where it is?

    I’m pretty sure there’s cat **** in my garden but I wouldn’t want to say how much til I’d dug it all up and weighed it.

    We know for a fact there’s 10.5 million tons still to be discovered even though we don’t know where it is?

    Junkyard
    Member

    yes ernie that is just how science works – why are you not asking the same question to TJ about the neodymium needed for his windmills ?we clearly need a few more people to ask him before he answers. Perhaps he is off googling to look for something he can post up?

    Anyway as you cannot be bother following links here is the explanation

    Resources believed to exist and to be exploitable
    using conventional mining techniques, but not yet
    physically confirmed, are classed as “undiscovered
    conventional resources”. These resources include
    estimated additional resources category II (EAR II),
    uranium resources that are expected to be located
    in well-defined geological trends of known ore
    deposits, or mineralised areas with known deposits;
    and speculative resources (SR), uranium resources
    that are thought to exist in geologically favourable,
    yet still unexplored areas

    call it an educated guess or an ESTIMATE if you prefer.

    an estimate is not a fact, then again they have not weighed or extracted all the know stuff either so that is not a fact either. They are both estimates though we would all put more weight [ weight..get it ] to the “known” ones than the “unknown ones”

    What do you think they do to find it [ or oil or gas or gold etc]just pick a spot and drill with their fingers crossed?

    Have a gold star each, you bores. Back on topic, OP, those photos were interesting.

    zokes
    Member

    Zokes – what is the answer to “where are you going to get the fuel from to fuel the massive expansion of nuclear generators that is required if they are going to have any effect on global warming?”

    Junkyard – Member

    No zokes this one is one me [again]

    See, answered. (Cheers, JY!) As before, perhaps not the answer you were looking for, but it is answered.

    Now then, you made a wildly inaccurate and emotional statement on the first page of this thread about 10s of thousands dead thanks to Chernobyl. Lets see the peer reviewed data to demonstrate that this statement of yours is neither wild nor inaccurate.

    Anyway, in a nutshell, it appears that your main objections to nuclear are:

    1) that they are apparently dangerous and massively polluting

    2) that new versions are unproven tech and cannot be relied upon to work

    3) that apparently they will only-be a bit-part player so we shouldn’t bother

    4) that we’ll soon run out of fuel for them anyway.

    Totally disregarding the fact that it’s now been demonstrated that all these reasons behind your objections are wrong, lets see how coal, gas, and renewables stack up against them:

    1) Release of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution is predicted to kill or displace >1bn people through land loss, changes to weather patterns, extreme weather events etc. Additionally, many many more people are killed in the resourcing of these fossil fuels per TWh than are by nuclear power. So in the grand scheme of things, nuclear is at best relatively benign, and at worst, certainly a ‘least worst’ option.

    2) Current, large scale proven renewable energy is based upon hydro or wind turbines. There are precious few extra places to build hydro reservoirs, and there isn’t the space for all the wind turbines we need. Pretty much every other renewable technology is still very much in development for the purposes of being able to generate a meaningful amount of energy. So in that case, using your own argument against thorium cycle or breeder reactors, we can’t rely on any sort of renewable other than what we already have, and I’ve just demonstrated by relying on them alone won’t work.

    3) As aracer put it a page or so back, certain renewables will only ever be a bit-part player in global energy production. Again, using your logic (which you imply is superior to my own and that of other contributors), they aren’t worth bothering with.

    4) I think we’ve now established that there is at the very minimum enough fuel to power replacements for the existing reactor fleet for 80+ years. In reality, there’s actually much more, as demonstrated above. However, this isn’t the case for gas (or oil for that matter), so we’d better stop developing anything using those fuel sources. Much more pertinent to this discussion is the shortage of rare earth elements (REEs – the clue’s in the name here) such as neodymium for windmills, tellurium for PV etc. So, again using your logic here, we can’t use the tech for more than 40-80 years we should just stop trying.

    Frankly, I don’t know why I even bothered to do this last post. Your opinions (often conflated with fact in your mind) have been comprehensively demonstrated to be false.

    I suppose it would be good if you could furnish us with the details of all those deaths from Chernobyl (and Fukushima too – surely a few thousand must have been killed there as there were three meltdowns and some big explosions). Perhaps that peer-reviewed evidence (that only you are aware of at present) might persuade a few more of us that we need more care when considering nuclear power?

    Edukator
    Member

    Having cycled around the German coast and across most of its lânder I can assure you that a tiny fraction of the potential wind sites have been occupied to produce 8% of the electricity produced. I can say the same for Spain where they produce 12%.

    The Germans are building pump storage reservoirs on the tops of hills with no river input. There are more than enough hillls to build enough storage.

    PV is up to 3% in just a few years. Again there are more than enough sites to produce the other 97% if necessary. Pump storage or hydrogen fuels cells to store the excess on sunny summer days.

    There is only one reason coal and nuclear dominate, they’re cheap in the short term.

    zokes
    Member

    The Germans are building pump storage reservoirs on the tops of hills with no river input. There are more than enough hillls to build enough storage.

    Absolute tripe. Stations such as Dinorwig are extremely profitable, and will only become more-so as more renewable energy is produced. I can assure you as someone who did his degree 8 miles from Dinorwig (hence pumped storage featured pretty heavily in these sorts of discussions) that if other suitable locations were available, they would be utilised. There are a few sites in the UK suitable, and most already have these sorts of storage facilities set up, or are in National Parks and can’t be developed. There are probably also a few sites in other hilly countries, but you need a decent hanging valley to make these things work, and there aren’t many of them about.

    So I guess in TJ-land it’s another technology that can’t possibly contribute much on a global scale and hence shouldn’t be considered further 😉

    There is only one reason coal and nuclear dominate, they’re cheap in the short term.

    This bit we can both agree on, but in the interim between achieving the ultimate goal of 100% renewable, or as near as we can, nuclear is much less polluting than coal.

    Lets do some back-of-the-envelope calculations:

    From your German figures up there, that’s 269 TWh that the Germans would need to produce by renewables to wean themselves off black and the even worse brown coal. Put it another way, on average, that’s fifteen 2 GW nuclear power stations operating at 100% for 365 days of a year. Taking into account maintenance, the number required is probably nearer 20.

    In terms of wind however, assuming 100 % output 356 days per year, it’s 15,359 2 MW wind turbines that are required. I know Germany is quite a big country, but that’s a heck of a lot of turbines, and that assumes that they are running at 100 %. So if we take an average load factor of a turbine as 30 %, that becomes 51,197 turbines you need to replace the 44% of Germany’s electricity needs currently provided for by coal.

    To scrap nuclear as well, the Germans would need 72,142 2 MW wind turbines.

    I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from that, but in essence, we’re stuffed!

    Edukator
    Member

    “tripe” you say. Thing is that they are building pump storage reservoirs now using lowland hills.

    This graph would have continued its rise – had not the price per kWh paid to renewable energy providers been reduced. I suspect the curve will now flatten for a while.

    I’ll add intelligent metering to the mix to calm your worries about production and demand peaks. Signals sent remotely by energy providers to cut demand peaks and fill troughs. Your hot water tank will switch off during the advertising break and switch on when demand is low. Your washing machine and dish washer will require (an expensive) manual override to make them work during peak demand periods.

    Zokes – yo still have not explained or answered that point.

    Frankly, I don’t know why I even bothered to do this last post. Your opinions (often conflated with fact in your mind) have been comprehensively demonstrated to be false.

    Really – where? You have still not given an answers to those three questions.

    the basic point is that nuclear can never make any significant contribution to stopping global warming as we do not have the fuel to fuel the massive expansion in nuclear energy that is needed to do so.

    zokes
    Member

    Really – where?

    The vast majority of what you type on this topic, starting with:

    TandemJeremy – Member

    plenty of proof of many ten of thousands of deaths from Chernobyl at a bare minimum

    No need at all for nuclear from any rational analysis. It can never be anything other than a very small part of energy usage worldwide
    Posted 2 days ago # Report-Post

    You have still not given an answers to those three questions.

    I think you’re now just trolling to try to get a response. I’ve answered them twice, others have answered them several times. The fact you disagree with the answers is what a rational person capable of intelligent debate would be discussing right now. Instead, you seem to just want to ignore the fact that the majority of this thread consists of answers to your questions, and none of it contains the evidence to substantiate your wildly inaccurate claims.

    the basic point is that nuclear can never make any significant contribution to stopping global warming as we do not have the fuel to fuel the massive expansion in nuclear energy that is needed to do so.

    So we shouldn’t use what fuel we do have to negate the much more damaging emissions from an equivalent number of coal-fired stations for the next 80+ (using your figures up there) years??? This is a puzzling position for any rational person to take.

    zokes
    Member

    “tripe” you say. Thing is that they are building pump storage reservoirs now using lowland hills.

    Presumably with a fraction of the power output of somewhere like Dinorwig. Even that behemoth can only manage 2 GW for 8 hours before all the water’s at the bottom and you have to wait 16 hours (and 6 GW of electricity) to get it back to the top and start again. This is simple physics.

    Zokes – can you please then quote the answers as they are not visible to me.

    Are you now accepting that nuclear will make no significant difference to global warming as there is not the fuel for the massive expansion of numbers of nuclear plants?

    Plenty of proof of the Chernobyl deaths – reports from such bodies as unesco and WHO

    No need at all for nuclear from any rational analysis. It can never be anything other than a very small part of energy usage worldwide

    Are you refuting this? if so where are you going to get the fuel from?.

    As nuclear can never be more than a bit part player in global energy generation and usage then its stupid to spend all that money and effort on it – that money and effort would be better placed being put into other measures that will actually have some significant effect.

    zokes
    Member

    Zokes – can you please then quote the answers as they are not visible to me.

    I have made several long posts over the past three pages answering these questions, I suggest you read them.

    Are you now accepting that nuclear will make no significant difference to global warming as there is not the fuel for the massive expansion of numbers of nuclear plants?

    A lot of things will make no significant difference to AGW on their own, wave, tidal and wind included. What we need is a mixture, not one or the other. Please try to keep up.

    Plenty of proof of the Chernobyl deaths – reports from such bodies as unesco and WHO

    Let’s see it then. The accepted figures currently are 64 confirmed, with an estimation of about 4000 in the long term, which from both sides of this argument will be difficult to quantify. Neither of those figures are “tens of thousands”. Then compare whatever predicted figure you are prepared to regard as FACT with deaths predicted as a result of the multitude of effects of AGW, and treat those projections as FACTS too.

    As nuclear can never be more than a bit part player in global energy generation and usage then its stupid to spend all that money and effort on it – that money and effort would be better placed being put into other measures that will actually have some significant effect.

    Such as??? I refer you to the case study of Germany that Edukator kindly provided me to do some sums on up there.

    As you are being particularly hard of reading on this thread, I’ll say it again:

    A lot of things will make no significant difference to AGW on their own, wave, tidal and wind included. What we need is a mixture, not one or the other. Please try to keep up.

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