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Topic Title: New Nuclear at any cost now, anyone?
Topic Summary: What are the opportunity costs and long term consequences of going for new nuclear at any cost now?
Created On: 20 February 2013 02:47 PM
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 23 March 2013 11:28 PM
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AndyTaylor

Posts: 164
Joined: 24 November 2002

Originally posted by: jarathoon
1. Over the years pollution due to burning coal and other fuels has been reduced in th UK. Hopefully in the future pollution levels from cars will be reduced as well, particularly in large cities. I don't think there is an argument for releasing extra radioactivity, just because we have been seriously negligent in the past in controlling other forms of chemical pollution.

2. Comparing effects due to radioactivity release with other forms of pollution is difficult. Illness profiles and the nature of disablement during life must be taken into account; as well as premature work related and wider population death rates. Age profiles of those affected must also be taken into consideration.

3. One of the problems is that children especially unborn children suffer disproportionately to radioactivity induced illness compared with other age groups (especially in regards to thyroid problems).

4. If you are old enough not to want to procreate then living with mildly elevated levels of radioactivity isn't going to be much of a worry. For people with young children or about to have children it becomes a bigger concern.


1. I'm not arguing for an increase in the release of radiation, we're past that point because we have already designed to cover for that. My point is that had we never set such stringent requirements on nuclear power then the plants would be cheaper to build and run. Early deaths as a result would be higher if nuclear requirements were relaxed, but no worse than the situation we have right now with coal fired power stations (1,000,000 early deaths per year). Chemical pollution exists now, it is not something that only existed in the past, it is still killing people now.

Nuclear power is expensive because of a paranoia that has resulted in an unbalanced set of safety requirements.

2. I'm not sure there are any significant figures on the effects on people in later life due to the Chernobyl accident, but as the article points out linking a death to that incident as time goes on becomes more tenuous due to the many other factors.

I'm not convinced that illness profiles and the nature of disablement are really as relevant as you imply, are you suggesting that people who have been exposed to radiation from Chernobyl are suffering now in some way that is more terrible than illnesses caused by atmospheric pollution for example? Is death from cancer caused by radiation worse than death from cancer caused by pollution? What about the on-going affects from something like the Bhopal Disater, how does that compare?

3. From that article again;

"There have been 4000 cases of thyroid cancer, mainly in children, but that except for nine deaths, all of them have recovered. "Otherwise, the team of international experts found no evidence for any increases in the incidence of leukemia and cancer among affected residents."

4. Atmospheric and chemical pollution are very damaging in that regard, but we are not shutting down all the sources of such pollution, why not close down all coal fired power stations?

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Andy Taylor CEng MIET
 24 March 2013 01:18 PM
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poo

Posts: 230
Joined: 07 May 2008

It is going to be a long road to new nuclear build even if the gov. gives EDF the money they want. Hinkley Point C was given the go ahead in 1990 but was dropped as uneconomic in the early 1990s when the electric power industry was privatised and low discount rate government finance was no longer available.


By Barbara Lewis and Karolin Schaps

BRUSSELS/LONDON | Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:25pm GMT

(Reuters) - Britain's plans to reward nuclear plant operators through fixed prices for low-carbon energy are illegal under existing EU rules and efforts to adapt them are likely to draw opposition from other member states, EU and legal sources said.

Britain plans to reform its electricity market to fix a minimum price for nuclear, wind and solar-generated power, which is carbon free.

The proposals are being assessed by the British parliament but the subsidy instruments, named contracts-for-difference (CfDs), will also require approval from the European Commission, the EU executive, under state aid rules.

"Neither under the current (...) nor under possible future frameworks could the CfD scheme for nuclear generators be declared compatible with European state aid rules," said Doerte Fouquet, a lawyer specialised in EU law at Becker Buettner Held in Brussels.

The British government is already in talks with France's EDF about a CfD for the company's Hinkley point C nuclear project in south-west England, Britain's first nuclear plant since 1995, which is expected to start operating around the turn of the decade.

The European Commission said it had not yet received a formal notification from Britain, but added that, in general, state aid is only authorised when the benefits of aid outweigh the distortion of competition brought about.

A spokesman for Britain's Department of Energy and Climate Change said Britain was talking to the EU executive.

"We are working with the European Commission to ensure mechanisms and institutional arrangements within Electricity Market Reform are consistent with EU state aid rules," he said.

To make changes to state aid rules, the Commission would have to go through a lengthy consultation process with member states and other parties that could take between one-and-a-half and two years, Fouquet of Becker Buettner Held said.

Others question whether Britain could drum up enough support for legal changes to be made to extend state aid rules to nuclear power.

"This raises the question if governments opposed to nuclear energy, and they are in the majority, will allow such a legal act to be drafted and decided by the EU Commission," said Claude Turmes, vice president of the Green party in the European Parliament.

The European Union has 27 member states.

Twelve of them issued a joint statement two weeks ago saying their countries were supportive of nuclear power playing a role in the future European energy mix.

Signatories included France, the Netherlands, Britain and Poland. In contrast, dominant EU member state Germany has said it will phase out nuclear power.
 24 March 2013 06:19 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: poo
It is going to be a long road to new nuclear build even if the gov. gives EDF the money they want.

You are correct on this.
Signatories included France, the Netherlands, Britain and Poland. In contrast, dominant EU member state Germany has said it will phase out nuclear power.

A week is a long time in politics and there are many weeks between now and 2022. If reliable cost effective alternatives are found then I am sure they will be taken up, if not then Nuclear is likely to remain part of the mix.

Regards.
 24 March 2013 06:41 PM
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jarathoon

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Some Costs of the Building a Nuclear Power Station (either paid for pivately or by government)
(For simplicity I haven't included subcontractors as separate entities)

1. Research and Development Costs
- The more complex and cutting edge the project the higher the costs here.
2. Staff Hiring and Training Costs
- The longer the project the greater the staff turnover the higher the staff hiring and training costs
- The bigger the project the more staff have to be hired and trained
- The more complex the project the higher staff will have to be paid and the harder it will be to find replacements if they leave.
3. Engineering Design Costs
- The more complex the project the higher the costs here
- Worst Case Failure Modes and Effects a Major Factor
4. Planning Application Costs
- Depends on size of project and associated resources needed and disruption caused
- Worst Case Failure Modes and Effects a Major Factor
5. Land Purchase Costs
- Depends on the power station footprint size
- Worst Case Failure Modes and Effects a Major Factor
6. Land Preparation and Transport Infrastucture Costs
- Depends on size of project
7. Materials and Labour Building Costs
- Depends on size and complexity of project
8. Commissioning and Handover Costs
- Depends on size and complexity of project
9. Regulatory Oversight Costs
- Depends on size and complexity of project
- Worst Case Failure Modes and Effects a Major Factor
10. Taxation (VAT etc)
- Depends on the total price which in turn depends on the size and complexity and worst case failure modes.

Build Costs are related to size, complexity, regulatory oversight and worst case failure modes and effects.

So in thinking about building a new molten salt reactor programme in the uk, the compulsory regulatory oversight is not my biggest concern.

What I am really worried about is the size and complexity of the project and the length of time it takes to build. The worst case failure modes and effects (or consequences) are really critical to all these costs and timescales.

The reglulator doesn't force me to design a system that maximises the cost of regulatory oversight. Even though third generation nuclear somehow seems to have turned out that way, there is no reason to assume that all nuclear technologies will be the same.

(By the way, I haven't included any costs for bribery and coruption and wine'ing and dining civil servants and politicians or adding such people to the executive board, as all this strikes me as either illegal or immoral.)

James Arathoon


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James Arathoon
 24 March 2013 07:08 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: jarathoon
(By the way, I haven't included any costs for bribery and coruption and wine'ing and dining civil servants and politicians or adding such people to the executive board, as all this strikes me as either illegal or immoral.)

You would need to loan the Cray computers to work out those costs.

Regards.
 20 April 2013 05:02 PM
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kengreen

Posts: 400
Joined: 15 April 2013

Oh dear,

Yet more words piled one atop the other without end, WITH repetition but utterly without conclusion ? A situation summed up by my old naval padre as "... like an Irish parliament in which everybody talks and nobody listens ...". There is considerable confusion between facts and opinions .

Fossil fuels are not in endless supply. Continue to exploit those that remain is a policy the Japanese call hara kiri ( or some such?). So-called alternatives cannot match the relentlessly-increasing demand for electrical power which is fuelled by our reluctance to get off backsides and tend the fire - which is consuming fossil fuels; or our increasing addiction to the motorcar and other toys,. and by the steady growth of "third-world nations" impelled into reckless waste by our industrialised determination to increase the national paper wealth.

A radical change to spread the cake a little further is pie in the sky. So what is left but to go the nuclear path ? If 75% of the effort and cash were t be diverted from increasing the lethality of the motor car, and the wanton waste on "pleasures" such as television, it could be possible to make nuclear generation safe. It is already much safer than living with the internal-combustion engine.

I have spoken. :-)
Ken Green
 21 April 2013 12:33 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: kengreen
Fossil fuels are not in endless supply.

And you started off so well in your comments! It can also be said that there is ample supply available for the next few hundred years. OK, we may not want to use them due to concerns about 'global warming' but none the less they are available. Therefore we are making a choice and whilst I may not agree with everyone on their arguments for or against alternatives I do agree, and in fact champion, good debates in which we challenge each other because I conclude that no one person has all the answers.
So-called alternatives cannot match the relentlessly-increasing demand for electrical power which is fuelled by our reluctance to get off backsides and tend the fire - which is consuming fossil fuels; or our increasing addiction to the motorcar and other toys,. and by the steady growth of "third-world nations" impelled into reckless waste by our industrialised determination to increase the national paper wealth.

But maybe the alternatives could do a lot more for us if we were able to give them the same investment as we have to Nuclear. Maybe or maybe not, but it is important to have that discussion. I do not think we are addicted to the motor car, instead I think we are addicted to travel and the motor car has just provided a means to travel in some degree of comfort. Maybe in years to come travel will become more of a virtual thing which is aided by technology.
A radical change to spread the cake a little further is pie in the sky.
It's is also not a good idea to put all our eggs into one very expensive basket.
So what is left but to go the nuclear path?

Continue to also look for other paths and also continue to develop alternatives and improve energy efficiencies, i.e., think smarter, work smarter and come up with engineering solutions for today's challenges as our ancestors came up with such solutions for the challenges they faced and which allowed us to be here today.
If 75% of the effort and cash were t be diverted from increasing the lethality of the motor car, and the wanton waste on "pleasures" such as television, it could be possible to make nuclear generation safe. It is already much safer than living with the internal-combustion engine.

Being born is lethal, guaranteed to lead to death in all cases known thus far. Did that stop your parents having you or you having children? It is up to us humans to decide what pleasures we want and what risks we want to take. Maybe the motor car has had its day, maybe not, but overall it is not lethal.

Nuclear generation will be made safer by having the debate and will never be made 'safer' by cash alone, be that 75% or more. Even then there will be hazards and risks and so we have to decide if the benefit outweighs the risks involved and that is a discussion in which we should all have a say.

I think we should continue to develop Nuclear power, but not without it being challenged each and every step of the way.

Regards.
 22 April 2013 11:27 AM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1041
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Another Telegraph story on Nuclear Energy...

"The Government should not delay on its nuclear power plans"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/com...lear-power-plans.html

Various people including some academic engineers have broken cover and written to the government to ask for the roll out of 3rd generation nuclear at any cost.

I notice that Professor Andrew Sherry is not amongst them, although his colleague at the Dalton Institute in Manchester is (Professor Francis Livens)

This really is a lame letter for such a distinguished list of academics. I think they must be losing the will to argue this one out.

Academics from three universities I have studied at are on the list which is disappointing for me: Lancaster University, Manchester University and Imperial College.

They actually manage one Emeritus Professor of Economics, Professor David M G Newbery, which is noteworthy.

His interests are:

http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/facu...ewbery&group=emeritus

"The study of electricity markets and network regulation, climate change mitigation policy, environmental policy. Privatisation, regulation and restructuring of network industries. Energy policy and energy pricing and taxation. Transport economics and road pricing. Economic Theory. Risk. Futures Markets, Social cost-benefit analysis"

He seems to have studied Nuclear Power privatization (the opposite of what is happening now) and co-authored a paper in 2006 on using "Nuclear Power as a hedge against uncertain Gas and Carbon Prices?"

[Roques, F. A., W. J. Nuttall, D. M. Newbery, R. de Neufville, S. Connors (2006) "Nuclear Power: a Hedge against Uncertain Gas and Carbon Prices?" The Energy Journal, 27, (4) 1-24]

Obviously Nuclear Power can't be a hedge against low gas and Carbon prices, so by "uncertain" they must mean a hedge against high gas and carbon prices. But the very high cost of 3rd gen Nuclear make it very unsuitable for this purpose either. I need to get a copy of the paper to see how they argue this one out.

Anyway a few more people who normally operate in the shadows are having to break cover and begin to argue their case in public now, which is a positive development for free and open democracy. Whether decent arguments in favour of 3rd Gen nuclear will emerge form this I have no idea.

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 22 April 2013 03:34 PM
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kengreen

Posts: 400
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Well said westonpa and thanks too to James. But you are both too light on your feet and are dodging the issue.

To go Nuclear, or not to go, IS NOT THE ISSUE. Whether or not we can afford it is not an issue either nor is it a matter of.cash How long the natural resources will last is irrelevent. The fact is that the demand for electrical power is rising and will only stop doing so when either our use-once-and-throw-away society self-annihilates or we give up believing ourselves to be clever and invincible.and able to survive when all the lights go out.

It is very comforting to STATE that the motorcar is not lethal but get an opinion from an Actuary in the Insurance business. It is all of academic interest to me at age nigh on 87 but I don't care for people who bury their heads in sand. .


Homo Sapiens is doomed unless he stops patting himself on the back and recognises the inevitable.

Ken Green
 22 April 2013 09:53 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: kengreen
Well said westonpa and thanks too to James. But you are both too light on your feet and are dodging the issue.

We will be on Strictly Come Dancing soon and you can take the part of dear Brucie.
How long the natural resources will last is irrelevent.

Well it is not irrelevant because it buys us time and who knows what will be invented in time or what else may happen but anyway I take your point.
The fact is that the demand for electrical power is rising and will only stop doing so when either our use-once-and-throw-away society self-annihilates or we give up believing ourselves to be clever and invincible.and able to survive when all the lights go out.
Maybe some people think they are as you suggest but I tend to think the majority are not doing that much thinking and are instead just getting on with their lives. I agree we need to change the throw away society but alas that is going to be difficult when we have governments who's only solutions are growth growth growth which is basically unsustainable forever. At some stage this growth thing is going to come to a grinding halt and the more people there are around at that time the bigger the problem will be. However, the current batch of politicians are a pretty dull and dim lot and with about as much charisma as the old BBC test card. I tend to think that at some stage either people are going to have to find a day when they can say I have a reasonable life and I really do not need to go on aquiring more and more and more, but alas I cannot see this day coming until after some significantly negative event. I think nature will have to step in. Alternatively we could all actually think and work smarter.
It is very comforting to STATE that the motorcar is not lethal but get an opinion from an Actuary in the Insurance business.

It's the driver who is lethal Ken because the card would be going nowhere at all if no one was driving it.
It is all of academic interest to me at age nigh on 87 but I don't care for people who bury their heads in sand. .

Maybe someone needs to care for people regardless because to help everyone we also need to be able to help those with their heads buried in the sand.
Homo Sapiens is doomed unless he stops patting himself on the back and recognises the inevitable.

Well if we play it forward then one day the Earth will stop spinning and then the sun will run out of fuel and our galaxy will collide with Andromeda, so all said and done we seemed to be doomed anyway. Oh well I am going to get the car out and add some CO2 to the atmosphere.

Regards.
 25 April 2013 04:10 PM
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jarathoon

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Charles Hendry, the ex-energy minister has been speaking to the guardian.

"Harnessing volcanoes: Charles Hendry talks nuclear, fracking and more"

What he says in regards to nuclear is ridiculous...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/envi...rgy-nuclear-shale-gas

"Hendry thinks a deal will be done [on Hinkley Point C]: "Both sides have too much to lose." One possibility in sealing a deal, he says, is that the government could take on EDF's future political risk. That would mean minister signing a legal contract that binds the government - meaning taxpayes - to compensate EDF for any future policy changes that leave the company out of pocket. "We do it all the time in the North Sea," he says."

I sort of knew where the arguments in favour of 3rd gen. nuclear at any cost were heading, and Charles Hendry's comments confirm this; His idea is basically to rush through a covenanted promise to underwrite EDF's profits for the next 55 years using some kind of poison pill clause, so future parliaments can't modify it or scrap it. The problem is all the negociations are being conducted in secret with the public and competing energy generation and supply businesses locked out of the debate.

I think the public (and the engineering profession in terms of new pressures to innovate) has everything to gain from a collapsed deal.

When the deal collapses, which will probably be a few weeks after the local elections; to deflect blame the government has to have at the ready an alternative strategy direction on new fourth generation nuclear and cost effective renewables.

I don't think people will blame EDF, they have tried their best on this, but the simple reality is that post-fukushima the economics of third generation nuclear no longer work or make sense.

Doing the sort of deal advocated by Charles Hendry would mean the treasury losing all control of future public spending in regards to energy policy, in the same way as they have (for the time being) lost all control of the budget to manage our existing nuclear waste.

Charles Hendry seems to have some sensible things to say in regards to other energy technologies, he just seems to lose the plot when it comes to 3rd gen. nuclear at any cost.

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 26 April 2013 11:44 AM
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rogerbryant

Posts: 866
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With the current anti-nuclear political climate driving by a group of people who will use any form of lies or misinformation to further their cause I think that EDF is sensible in asking for a guarantee that their very expensive investment will be paid for if it is shut down due to a change in legislation. They have seen what the greens have done in Germany and Switzerland and wish to be protected against the same happening in the UK. This is a 60 year investment!

The next generation of nuclear power plants will have exactly the same problems. Mention radiation or radioactive and this same group of people will use the same lies and misinformation to cause the maximum delays and cost increases to achieve their own agenda.

Here is an example from a recent post on a radiation protection forum:

"Censorship is heavy on this forum.
Nevertheless I try to explain what will happen next:
(once the LNT is toppled)

The nuclear industry will be happy to raise the pollution levels
to the maximum allowed extent, always bragging about the latest
scientific discoveries. They will joyously pick up the argument
how increased radiation levels benefit your health.
Once the barrier is broken, there will be no rationale left
preventing inflationary raising of allowed contamination levels.

LNT was adopted not for scientific reasons, but for political reasons.
When the nuclear industry can no longer follow LNT methods
because they already poisoned half of planet EARTH,
then there is only one logical step left:
CLOSE ALL NUCLEAR PLANTS."

http://health.phys.iit.edu/arc...013-April/038138.html

Unless governments come off the fence and admit that LNT is not valid (which their advisors are telling them) all forms of nuclear power including fusion will have the same problem. The risks need to be put into correct perspective. Even the poster above says that LNT was adopted for political not scientific reasons.

The worlds press is still full of stories about Fukushima. If you read them you would assume that 16 000 people didn't die in this disaster and that a large swathe of the Japanese coastline has been completely restored and all the chemical pollution has been cleaned up.
Although it is difficult to find information in English there are a few documents giving an idea of the scale of the problems still facing the affected areas.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222972/

http://www.unep.org/pdf/UNEP_J...st-tsunami_debris.pdf

This Forbes article although somewhat focused on Fukushima does give some figures that suggest that much less than half of the agricultural land has been cleaned up and returned to agriculture.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/st...inue-to-exact-a-toll/

There is a powerful political misinformation group who will do whatever they can to stop nuclear power and are currently being very successful in Western Europe.

Best regards

Roger
IET » Energy » New Nuclear at any cost now, anyone?

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