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Topic Title: Radio 5 Live's "Energy Day" today (5th September)
Topic Summary: energy debate with a studio powered by renewable energy
Created On: 05 September 2013 12:30 PM
Status: Read Only
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 05 September 2013 12:30 PM
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"A day of output dedicated to the energy debate with a studio powered by renewable energy."

James Arathoon
 07 September 2013 11:28 AM
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And throughout the day the UK's 10GW of installed wind capacity averaged less than 0.5GW output (5%) Gridwatch

Maybe the BBC should put some of their grossly overpaid executives to work on bicycle generators to makeup the shortfall. Then perhaps they might get round to reporting this huge scam and fraud on bill payers instead of constantly promoting it.
 07 September 2013 03:50 PM
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It won't be a problem bringing in reserve generating capacity in the summer to replace wind.

UK demand is oscillating between 20GW and 40GW at the moment.

The problem is when there is no wind in the winter when demand is much higher. We have plenty of spare generating plant in the UK, as long as we don't prematurely dismantle our old coal stations, so this need not be the most urgent problem unless politicians manufacture it that way.

The government claims to want to build 16 GW of nuclear. With summer night demand around 20 GW at the moment that would mean nuclear supplying 80% of the summer night time electricity, with cheaper forms of energy generation kept off the grid.

Assuming nuclear at 16 GW - wind energy today is at roughly 3GW according to Gridwatch.

If the wind energy generation increased to 5GW, then either 1 GW of it would have kept off the grid by feathering the blades during the night time or a nuclear power station would have to shut down instead (requiring several days to start up again, by which time the wind may have stopped).

Even if night time summer energy usage is higher in 20 years time we are going to have peak wind energy generation much higher than 5GW.

Building lots of wind generators and then trying to pair up this highly fluctuating source of energy with very very inflexible third generation nuclear (at any cost) is not going to work very well at all. We all know this.

This is one of the reasons I think the UK needs to start developing flexible fourth generation modular molten salt reactors now, to start replacing gas stations from 2035 onwards. We don't have the luxury of lots of sun like many other nations and our gas reserves are running out. Even if we start fracking the gas won't flow for more that a few decades.

I think that the government have already decided to build lots of off-shore wind turbines (especially as the price comes down) plus other renewables and international grid inter-connectors. For the next 40 years this will be paired up with natural/shale gas electricity generation, with the remainder of energy coming from existing coal stations and old nuclear (for 20 years or so).

This decision effectively means that third generation nuclear at any cost is dead in the water both in terms of engineering and economics.
Unfortunately our politicians have been very slow to realise this.

The worst possible world for us is if the lobbyists get to the politicians from all directions, with their offers of money and jobs and we end up with a handful of third generation nuclear stations, each with a different design and manufacturer and all requiring specialist foreign operation and maintenance staff to keep them going.

All will have been constructed using large numbers of imported foreign workers. Extremely generous public subsidies are on offer leading to hugely bloated profits being sent abroad, at the same time consumers pay vast amounts for off-shore wind generators not to generate to keep the nuclear money making machines operating.

In addition Insurance, waste and decommissioning costs will be strictly capped.

This sort of investment will not grow our economy it will act like a leech and bleed our economy dry. We all know this.

In one of the radio five live videos, Paul Williams said "Area will shrivel and die" without new nuclear plant [Hinkley Point C].

I say the UK economy will shrivel and die if we build these third generation nuclear stations at any cost. Whilst these third generation stations bleed the economy dry, we will still need to develop molten salt reactors to replace gas by 2050.

Given that molten salt reactors will/can

1. be much smaller with higher power densities and lower materials costs
2. designed to be intrinsically safe
3. be modular and factory made
4. have much smaller quantities of high level waste
5. have radioactive waste lasting for a few hundred years instead of thousands and thousands of years.
6. burn thorium, which in many instances is itself a waste product form rare earth metal mining
7. burn existing uranium and plutonium waste

How will it be possible for engineers to make molten salt reactors more expensive to build than existing third generation nuclear reactors, especially with China and India etc wanting to build them as well? Do we really think engineers are that bad nowadays!!!

Renewable won't work in the UK without backup from flexible generation plant and that can't consist of men or women on bicycles.

Do we train our nuclear apprentices now to build an old inflexible and costly nuclear technology which everyone knows won't work with renewables or do we train them up to build molten salt reactors instead?

This is the question the BBC and the rest of us should be asking.

James Arathoon

James Arathoon

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