AndyH
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Re: Advanced nuclear reactors as part of a low carbon future

Sat Feb 28, 2015 7:30 pm

Coal's already on its way out. Nuclear generation was losing ground well before Fukushima. Wind and solar are growing faster than any other form of generation and they don't need fuel in order to keep working.



Maybe there will be a use for a future tech nuke plant, but someone's got to design, build, test, and certify them first. What portion of our energy production needs can they meet by 2050?
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Nubo
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Re: Advanced nuclear reactors as part of a low carbon future

Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:59 pm

GRA wrote:
Nubo wrote:I would consider that the reaction to Fukushima isn't just in regard to its effects, but that it easily could have been much, MUCH worse.
Sure, it COULD have been, but what's the likelihood?


Aye, there's the rub. What IS the likelihood? What IS the risk?

Apparently, the nuclear and insurance industries consider the risk too high to bear. That is why Congress passed the Price-Anderson act.

Epidemiological results from past mishaps are not informative as to the actual risk. That would be like conducting an epidemiological study of a pistol that has had the trigger pulled 4 times in a game of Russian Roulette. "No injuries noted…"
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

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Re: Advanced nuclear reactors as part of a low carbon future

Sun Mar 01, 2015 4:51 pm

Nubo wrote:
GRA wrote:
Nubo wrote:I would consider that the reaction to Fukushima isn't just in regard to its effects, but that it easily could have been much, MUCH worse.
Sure, it COULD have been, but what's the likelihood?


Aye, there's the rub. What IS the likelihood? What IS the risk?

Apparently, the nuclear and insurance industries consider the risk too high to bear. That is why Congress passed the Price-Anderson act.

Epidemiological results from past mishaps are not informative as to the actual risk. That would be like conducting an epidemiological study of a pistol that has had the trigger pulled 4 times in a game of Russian Roulette. "No injuries noted…"
Which is why I said that until it's repealed, it won't be possible to convince the U.S. public that reactors are acceptably safe, regardless of how safe they are. Nor should it be attempted prior to repeal - the U.S. nuke lobby needs to put their money where their mouth is, while developing reactors that are truly fail-safe. There's a fair amount of research being done in various places to do that.

However, to dismiss epidemiological results from past mishaps on one hand, while the anti-nuke groups are attributing all sorts of ridiculous levels of injuries/illnesses/deaths (not backed up by the epidemiology) as well as future supposed risks based on those very same past accidents is just a teensy bit dishonest, don't you think? What we know is that even with all the bungling and comparatively unsafe reactor designs that were involved in past accidents, the epidemiology not only from those accidents but also A and H-bomb testing as well as actual use, the risks are still orders of magnitude less to people over the long term than extracting and burning coal. Not infinitesimal risk, which some of the pro-nuke groups have claimed at various times, with equally little basis as the inflated risk claims of the anti-nuke groups. The risks are quantifiable, and while hardly perfect are enough to have a rational discussion of the comparative risk from various technologies.
Last edited by GRA on Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Advanced nuclear reactors as part of a low carbon future

Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:03 pm

LeftieBiker wrote:So you guys see little real difference between contaminating an area with, say, plutonium, and putting soot into the air...? Ok.
On the contrary, I do. The plutonium will harm fewer people. Actually, it's not plutonium that we really need to worry about as far as accidents go, it's all the other by-products, like Cesium, Strontium, Iodine etc. See e.g http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_ ... r_disaster

We need to worry about plutonium primarily in terms of proliferation, which is what concerns people about the widespread introduction of fast breeder reactors.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

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Re: Advanced nuclear reactors as part of a low carbon future

Sun Mar 01, 2015 5:23 pm

AndyH wrote:Coal's already on its way out. Nuclear generation was losing ground well before Fukushima. Wind and solar are growing faster than any other form of generation and they don't need fuel in order to keep working.



Maybe there will be a use for a future tech nuke plant, but someone's got to design, build, test, and certify them first. What portion of our energy production needs can they meet by 2050?
Coal is a long way from disappearing in China, Andy, nor are nukes. To be sure, the newer Chinese coal plants are larger, more efficient and less dirty than many of the older ones they replace, but their numbers and % of power remain huge, and will be at least up to 2050.

As to Nukes,they've got 26 building at the moment to add to the 23 in operation to give them 58GWe by 2020, increasing to 150 GWe by 2030 and more construction planned out until 2050 at least, with 4th gen plants planned to start replacing Gen III/III+ from 2030 or 2040 (can't find the date at the moment). Note that the wiki article on China's plans says that they intend to get 1500GW from Nukes by the end of the century, but I'm not sure where that number comes from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricit ... r_in_China.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

AndyH
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Re: Advanced nuclear reactors as part of a low carbon future

Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:26 pm

GRA wrote:Coal is a long way from disappearing in China, Andy, nor are nukes.

I didn't say coal was 100% absolutely totally dead, Guy, but it's pretty clearly on its way out. Same for current-tech nukes. It appears that China's economy is starting to turn the corner as well (they're outsourcing some of their production) - when the China bubble pops I expect it'll take much of the old-tech with it.

Fingers crossed.
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AndyH
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Re: Advanced nuclear reactors as part of a low carbon future

Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:38 pm

GRA wrote:<much snippage> However, to dismiss epidemiological results from past mishaps on one hand, while the anti-nuke groups are attributing all sorts of ridiculous levels of injuries/illnesses/deaths (not backed up by the epidemiology) as well as future supposed risks based on those very same past accidents is just a teensy bit dishonest, don't you think? What we know is that even with all the bungling and comparatively unsafe reactor designs that were involved in past accidents, the epidemiology not only from those accidents but also A and H-bomb testing as well as actual use, the risks are still orders of magnitude less to people over the long term than extracting and burning coal. Not infinitesimal risk, which some of the pro-nuke groups have claimed at various times, with equally little basis as the inflated risk claims of the anti-nuke groups. The risks are quantifiable, and while hardly perfect are enough to have a rational discussion of the comparative risk from various technologies.

You pointed out some of the purveyors of inaccurate information, but you missed at least one. One of the very significant problems with a reliance on 'epidemiological results' and other bits of data is that the nuclear industry (both weapons and energy) have been keeping two sets of books from the beginning. We can parse the numbers from the 'public' books but it'll lead us in a very different direction and to a very different cost/benefit point.

Just one example: A neighbor of mine for a time was an MD/PhD biomedical researcher (still a doc; no longer a neighbor). She brought her family to the 'States from Moldova to escape the criminal medical cover-up that continues to plague the countries in E Europe after Chernobyl and because her daughter was showing signs of thyroid issues. It's unfortunately quite correct that the stats show few deaths from the disaster. That's only because kids dying of strange cancers have 'cancer' listed as the cause of death, not 'nuclear power.'

According to various whistle blowers, the US nuclear industry's been doing this since the beginning of the nuclear age. Japan's restricting the press and doctors since shortly after Fukushima as well.

Until we can gain access to the full data sets, we cannot judge which form of generation is 'better' or 'worse.'
"The stupid become extinct."-Bill Mollison
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DanCar
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Re: Advanced nuclear reactors as part of a low carbon future

Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:35 am

I have a coworker who works in Japan. He and his extended family are from Fukishima about 100 km from the nuclear plant. He sees people slowly forgetting about the disaster and expects the country to be mostly pro nuclear in 10 years.

GRA
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Re: Advanced nuclear reactors as part of a low carbon future

Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:16 pm

AndyH wrote:
GRA wrote:Coal is a long way from disappearing in China, Andy, nor are nukes.

I didn't say coal was 100% absolutely totally dead, Guy, but it's pretty clearly on its way out. Same for current-tech nukes. It appears that China's economy is starting to turn the corner as well (they're outsourcing some of their production) - when the China bubble pops I expect it'll take much of the old-tech with it.

Fingers crossed.
China decided not to start any more CPR-1000 (Gen II+) reactors in the aftermath of Fukushima, modifying them to CPR-1000+ and ACPR1000 to bring them up close to Gen III safety, and instead concentrate on Gen III like the (Westinghouse-derived) AP1000 and later developments (CAP1000/1400/1700), looking to shift from building PWRs around 2040, with fast reactors increasingly built from 2020 on. The current plan is to start construction on a 1GWe Fast Neutron Reactor in 2017 for operation in 2023, based on the 65MWe demo reactor they've had operating since 2010.

OTOH, 59% of the generating capacity they added in 2012 was mostly if not entirely in new Supercritical and Ultra Super Critical coal plants (and they're working on IGCC), replacing the older, inefficient ones. Aside from the pollution and energy efficiency reasons for doing this, their rail system is maxed out transporting coal from where it's mined to the power plants where it's needed.

They've got similar issues with the need to build transmission lines from the west and north where the wind resources are to where it is needed along the east coast, and interconnects are also lacking so they're still wasting a lot of wind power, which are two of the reasons the U.S. still generated more wind electricity last year despite having less installed wind capacity. I haven't found new coal power plant data for 2013 or 2014 yet, but in 2013 China overtook the U.S. to become #1 in total electrical generating capacity, although not (I think) in production yet:
Total installed capacity in 2013 was 1247 GW.[3]

Coal 801 GW[4]

Other thermal, natural gas, bio-mass 61 GW[5]

Hydropower capacity 280 GW[6]

Wind power capacity was 91.4 GW[7]

Solar power capacity was 18 GW[8]

Nuclear power capacity was 15.69 GW

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricit ... r_in_China


India is another country with lots of coal (ca. 60% of their electricity), in old, inefficient plants. They've also got two fast breeder reactors operating, in addition to their more conventional ones. We'll have to see how the politics of all that play out, as India's got about 300 million people with no access to electricity, and coal powered electricity would be a health improvement for them compared to all the biomass burned in unhealthy conditions. From the wiki:
Some 800 million Indians use traditional fuels – fuelwood, agricultural waste and biomass cakes – for cooking and general heating needs. These traditional fuels are burnt in cook stoves, known as chulah or chulha in some parts of India.[17][18] Traditional fuel is inefficient source of energy, its burning releases high levels of smoke, PM10 particulate matter, NOX, SOX, PAHs, polyaromatics, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and other air pollutants.[19][20][21] Some reports, including one by the World Health Organisation, claim 300,000 to 400,000 people in India die of indoor air pollution and carbon monoxide poisoning every year because of biomass burning and use of chullahs.[22] Traditional fuel burning in conventional cook stoves releases unnecessarily large amounts of pollutants, between 5 to 15 times higher than industrial combustion of coal, thereby affecting outdoor air quality, haze and smog, chronic health problems, damage to forests, ecosystems and global climate. Burning of biomass and firewood will not stop, these reports claim, unless electricity or clean burning fuel and combustion technologies become reliably available and widely adopted in rural and urban India.
Last edited by GRA on Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

GRA
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Re: Advanced nuclear reactors as part of a low carbon future

Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:51 pm

AndyH wrote:
GRA wrote:<much snippage> However, to dismiss epidemiological results from past mishaps on one hand, while the anti-nuke groups are attributing all sorts of ridiculous levels of injuries/illnesses/deaths (not backed up by the epidemiology) as well as future supposed risks based on those very same past accidents is just a teensy bit dishonest, don't you think? What we know is that even with all the bungling and comparatively unsafe reactor designs that were involved in past accidents, the epidemiology not only from those accidents but also A and H-bomb testing as well as actual use, the risks are still orders of magnitude less to people over the long term than extracting and burning coal. Not infinitesimal risk, which some of the pro-nuke groups have claimed at various times, with equally little basis as the inflated risk claims of the anti-nuke groups. The risks are quantifiable, and while hardly perfect are enough to have a rational discussion of the comparative risk from various technologies.

You pointed out some of the purveyors of inaccurate information, but you missed at least one. One of the very significant problems with a reliance on 'epidemiological results' and other bits of data is that the nuclear industry (both weapons and energy) have been keeping two sets of books from the beginning. We can parse the numbers from the 'public' books but it'll lead us in a very different direction and to a very different cost/benefit point.

Just one example: A neighbor of mine for a time was an MD/PhD biomedical researcher (still a doc; no longer a neighbor). She brought her family to the 'States from Moldova to escape the criminal medical cover-up that continues to plague the countries in E Europe after Chernobyl and because her daughter was showing signs of thyroid issues. It's unfortunately quite correct that the stats show few deaths from the disaster. That's only because kids dying of strange cancers have 'cancer' listed as the cause of death, not 'nuclear power.'

According to various whistle blowers, the US nuclear industry's been doing this since the beginning of the nuclear age. Japan's restricting the press and doctors since shortly after Fukushima as well.

Until we can gain access to the full data sets, we cannot judge which form of generation is 'better' or 'worse.'
The organization doing the epidemiological work post Chernobyl was the WHO through UNSCEAR. As it happens, the Ukrainians and Russians agreed to have an American scientist head the project, as they both trusted him but not each other to be objective. The scientists involved were from many countries. Here:
http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html

Feel free to provide peer-reviewed evidence of such a coverup, Andy.

As to other causes of death, yeah, there are a lot of them in the FSU, where what limited environmental and occupational health laws existed were ignored whenever it was expedient (which is to say, routinely), and that's before you even consider that Russian males, in particular, are attempting to drink and smoke themselves to death in large numbers.

A couple of decades ago, I had to take an English class and, looking for some easy credits, chose one because the instructor had been a dual English/Environmental Studies major, and I'd already read most of the books on the reading list, e.g. Walden, Silent Spring, etc. For a final we had to write a paper on some environmental disaster, and rather than doing one on the usual suspects (Chernobyl, TMI, Bhopal, Exxon Valdez etc.) I wanted to go further afield. Fortunately, the college library had a subscription to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and this was the early '90s when a lot of Soviet scientists involved in their weapons program were starting to talk about their work, which often appeared in the BAS. One incident in particular, which became known as the Kyshtym disaster (and which mirrored concerns about the possibility of a similar accident at Hanford: Chelyabinsk-40 was the Soviet equivalent, plutonium-production reactors for weapons) interested me, so I decided to do the paper describing that accident as well as the general (lack of) safety and environmental practices in the area. If you're not familiar with the accident, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyshtym_disaster

That article mentions that contaminated water was discharged directly into Lake Kyzyltash; what it doesn't mention (but the BAS articles did) is that at one point, anyone standing on the shore of the lake would receive a lethal dose of radiation in about an hour, and that the lake regularly dried up and the winds would blow silt over a wide area. Chernobyl was bad but it was hardly an aberration, nor was it the sole source of environmental hazard in the FSU, the lands of which were and remain a toxic sewer from numerous sources.
Last edited by GRA on Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

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