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Most of the links given for that search on blingo.com can be traced back to NextEnergyNews.com. One however is of interest and I quote from a letter, suppose to be from Toshiba's Corporate Communicat

Think of it this way: Nuclear Power is the second-worst way in the world to generate electricity. The worst way: ANY fossil-fired plant. With the advent of computerized controls, all manner of ren

Let us not forget the very important future role of thorium---see below---from Wiki, so take with a grain of salt. Where you know facts are incorrect, then correct in Wiki..   == Thorium as a nuclear

So no one debunked the economic position Amory Lovin's has, that nuclear has "died of a critical attack of the marketplace" (paraphrase from memory).

 

How about Lester Brown?

 

October 28, 2008: The Flawed Economics of Nuclear Power

 

I'm all for nuclear in space as it just makes sense there, but here on earth we have other, better options.

 

The Flawed Economics of Nuclear Power

 

Lester R. Brown

 

Over the last few years the nuclear industry has used concerns about climate change to argue for a nuclear revival. Although industry representatives may have convinced some political leaders that this is a good idea, there is little evidence of private capital investing in nuclear plants in competitive electricity markets. The reason is simple: nuclear power is uneconomical.

 

In an excellent recent analysis, “The Nuclear Illusion,” Amory B. Lovins and Imran Sheikh put the cost of electricity from a new nuclear power plant at 14¢ per kilowatt hour and that from a wind farm at 7¢ per kilowatt hour. This comparison includes the costs of fuel, capital, operations and maintenance, and transmission and distribution. It does not include the additional costs for nuclear of disposing of waste, insuring plants against an accident, and decommissioning the plants when they wear out. Given this huge gap, the so-called nuclear revival can succeed only by unloading these costs onto taxpayers. If all the costs of generating nuclear electricity are included in the price to consumers, nuclear power is dead in the water.

 

To get a sense of the costs of nuclear waste disposal, we need not look beyond the United States, which leads the world with 101,000 megawatts of nuclear-generating capacity (compared with 63,000 megawatts in second-ranked France). The United States proposes to store the radioactive waste from its 104 nuclear power reactors in the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, roughly 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. The cost of this repository, originally estimated at $58 billion in 2001, climbed to $96 billion by 2008. This comes to a staggering $923 million per reactor—almost $1 billion each—assuming no further repository cost increases. (See data).

 

In addition to being over budget, the repository is 19 years behind schedule. Originally slated to start accepting waste in 1998, it is now set to do so in 2017, assuming it clears all remaining hurdles. This leaves nuclear waste in storage in 121 temporary facilities in 39 states—sites that are vulnerable both to leakage and to terrorist attacks.

 

One of the risks of nuclear power is a catastrophic accident like the one at Chernobyl in Russia. The Price-Anderson Act, first enacted by Congress in 1957, shelters U.S. utilities with nuclear power plants from the cost of such an accident. Under the act, utilities are required to maintain private accident insurance of $300 million per reactor—the maximum the insurance industry will provide. In the event of a catastrophic accident, every nuclear utility would be required to contribute up to $95.8 million for each licensed reactor to a pool to help cover the accident’s cost.

 

The collective cap on nuclear operator liability is $10.2 billion. This compares with an estimate by Sandia National Laboratory that a worst-case accident could cost $700 billion, a sum equal to the recent U.S. financial bailout. So anything above $10.2 billion would be covered by taxpayers.

 

Another huge cost of nuclear power involves decommissioning the plants when they wear out. A 2004 International Atomic Energy Agency report estimates the decommissioning cost per reactor at $250–500 million, excluding the cost of removing and disposing of the spent nuclear fuel. But recent estimates show that for some reactors, such as the U.K. Magnox reactors that have high decommissioning waste volumes, decommissioning costs can reach $1.8 billion per reactor.

 

In addition to the costs just cited, the industry must cope with rising construction and fuel expenses. Two years ago, building a 1,500-megawatt nuclear plant was estimated to cost $2–4 billion. As of late 2008, that figure had climbed past $7 billion, reflecting primarily the scarcity of essential engineering and construction skills in a fading industry.

 

Nuclear fuel costs have risen even more rapidly. At the beginning of this decade uranium cost roughly $10 per pound. Today it costs more than $60 per pound. The higher uranium price reflects the need to move to ever deeper mines, which increases the energy needed to extract the ore, and the shift to lower-grade ore. In the United States in the late 1950s, for example, uranium ore contained roughly 0.28 percent uranium oxide. By the 1990s, it had dropped to 0.09 percent. This means, of course, that the cost of mining larger quantities of ore, and that of getting it from deeper mines, ensures even higher future costs of nuclear fuel.

 

Few nuclear power plants are being built in countries with competitive electricity markets. The reason is simple. Nuclear cannot compete with other electricity sources. This explains why nuclear plant construction is now concentrated in countries like Russia and China where nuclear development is state-controlled. The high cost of nuclear power also explains why so few plants are being built compared with a generation ago.

 

In an illuminating article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, nuclear consultant Mycle Schneider projects an imminent decline in world nuclear generating capacity. He notes there are currently 439 operating reactors worldwide. To date, 119 reactors have been closed, at an average age of 22 years. If we generously assume a much longer average lifespan of 40 years, then 93 reactors will close between 2008 and 2015. Another 192 will close between 2016 and 2025. And the remaining 154 will close after 2025.

 

But only 36 nuclear reactors are currently under construction worldwide—31 of them in Eastern Europe and Asia. Although there is much talk of building new nuclear plants in the United States, there are none under construction.

 

What these numbers indicate, Schneider points out, is that plant closings will soon exceed plant openings—and by a widening margin in the years ahead. The trend is clear. From 2000 to 2005, an average of 4,000 megawatts of nuclear generating capacity was added each year. Since 2005, this has dropped to only 1,000 megawatts of additional capacity per year.

Even if all reactors scheduled to come online by 2015 make it, the projected closing of 93 nuclear reactors by then will drop nuclear power generation roughly 10 percent below the current level. Unless governments start routinely granting operating permits for reactors more than 40 years old, a half-century of growth in world nuclear generating capacity is about to be replaced by a long-term decline.

 

Despite all the industry hype about a nuclear future, private investors are openly skeptical. In fact, while little private capital is going into nuclear power, investors are pouring tens of billions of dollars into wind farms each year. And while the world’s nuclear generating capacity is estimated to expand by only 1,000 megawatts this year, wind generating capacity will likely grow by 30,000 megawatts. In addition, solar cell installations and the construction of solar thermal and geothermal power plants are all growing by leaps and bounds.

 

The reason for this extraordinary gap between the construction of nuclear power plants and wind farms is simple: wind is much more attractive economically. Wind yields more energy, more jobs, and more carbon reduction per dollar invested than nuclear. Though nuclear power plants are still being built in some countries and governments are talking them up in others, the reality is that we are entering the age of wind, solar, and geothermal energy.

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So no one debunked the economic position Amory Lovin's has, that nuclear has "died of a critical attack of the marketplace" (paraphrase from memory).

 

How about Lester Brown?

 

October 28, 2008: The Flawed Economics of Nuclear Power

 

I'm all for nuclear in space as it just makes sense there, but here on earth we have other, better options.

 

The Flawed Economics of Nuclear Power

 

Lester R. Brown

 

Over the last few years the nuclear industry has used concerns about climate change to argue for a nuclear revival. Although industry representatives may have convinced some political leaders that this is a good idea, there is little evidence of private capital investing in nuclear plants in competitive electricity markets. The reason is simple: nuclear power is uneconomical.

 

So say the anti nuclear people....

 

 

In an excellent recent analysis, “The Nuclear Illusion,” Amory B. Lovins and Imran Sheikh put the cost of electricity from a new nuclear power plant at 14¢ per kilowatt hour and that from a wind farm at 7¢ per kilowatt hour. This comparison includes the costs of fuel, capital, operations and maintenance, and transmission and distribution. It does not include the additional costs for nuclear of disposing of waste, insuring plants against an accident, and decommissioning the plants when they wear out. Given this huge gap, the so-called nuclear revival can succeed only by unloading these costs onto taxpayers. If all the costs of generating nuclear electricity are included in the price to consumers, nuclear power is dead in the water.

 

Old style power plants, why do they alwasy insist on using 1950 tecnology to show what nuclear power plants are capable of?

 

To get a sense of the costs of nuclear waste disposal, we need not look beyond the United States, which leads the world with 101,000 megawatts of nuclear-generating capacity (compared with 63,000 megawatts in second-ranked France). The United States proposes to store the radioactive waste from its 104 nuclear power reactors in the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, roughly 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. The cost of this repository, originally estimated at $58 billion in 2001, climbed to $96 billion by 2008. This comes to a staggering $923 million per reactor—almost $1 billion each—assuming no further repository cost increases. (See data).

 

New technology that "burns" waste as fuel and results in a 100 fold decrease in the volume of waste as well as much shorter half lives seems to be beyond his keen?

 

In addition to being over budget, the repository is 19 years behind schedule. Originally slated to start accepting waste in 1998, it is now set to do so in 2017, assuming it clears all remaining hurdles. This leaves nuclear waste in storage in 121 temporary facilities in 39 states—sites that are vulnerable both to leakage and to terrorist attacks.

 

again new tecnology would use much of that waste as fuel, and decrese both it's volume and half life.

 

One of the risks of nuclear power is a catastrophic accident like the one at Chernobyl in Russia. The Price-Anderson Act, first enacted by Congress in 1957, shelters U.S. utilities with nuclear power plants from the cost of such an accident. Under the act, utilities are required to maintain private accident insurance of $300 million per reactor—the maximum the insurance industry will provide. In the event of a catastrophic accident, every nuclear utility would be required to contribute up to $95.8 million for each licensed reactor to a pool to help cover the accident’s cost.

 

 

Please, if a WW2 vintage airplane crashes do you use it as a ammo against air travel?

 

 

The collective cap on nuclear operator liability is $10.2 billion. This compares with an estimate by Sandia National Laboratory that a worst-case accident could cost $700 billion, a sum equal to the recent U.S. financial bailout. So anything above $10.2 billion would be covered by taxpayers.

 

More fear mongering, modern we maintained and operated plants have no potential to cause the Chernobyl syndrome.

 

Another huge cost of nuclear power involves decommissioning the plants when they wear out. A 2004 International Atomic Energy Agency report estimates the decommissioning cost per reactor at $250–500 million, excluding the cost of removing and disposing of the spent nuclear fuel. But recent estimates show that for some reactors, such as the U.K. Magnox reactors that have high decommissioning waste volumes, decommissioning costs can reach $1.8 billion per reactor.

 

After many decades of gerating many times that is energy I see this as less than a deal breaker.

 

In addition to the costs just cited, the industry must cope with rising construction and fuel expenses. Two years ago, building a 1,500-megawatt nuclear plant was estimated to cost $2–4 billion. As of late 2008, that figure had climbed past $7 billion, reflecting primarily the scarcity of essential engineering and construction skills in a fading industry.

 

Samller modern designs will not be as expensive and associated cost will go down due less waste and be offset by more energy recovered from the fuel.

 

Nuclear fuel costs have risen even more rapidly. At the beginning of this decade uranium cost roughly $10 per pound. Today it costs more than $60 per pound. The higher uranium price reflects the need to move to ever deeper mines, which increases the energy needed to extract the ore, and the shift to lower-grade ore. In the United States in the late 1950s, for example, uranium ore contained roughly 0.28 percent uranium oxide. By the 1990s, it had dropped to 0.09 percent. This means, of course, that the cost of mining larger quantities of ore, and that of getting it from deeper mines, ensures even higher future costs of nuclear fuel.

 

burning waste as fuel competly negates thess costs

 

Few nuclear power plants are being built in countries with competitive electricity markets. The reason is simple. Nuclear cannot compete with other electricity sources. This explains why nuclear plant construction is now concentrated in countries like Russia and China where nuclear development is state-controlled. The high cost of nuclear power also explains why so few plants are being built compared with a generation ago.

 

This is mostly because of the antinuclear crazies convincing every one they will grow twe heads if a power plant is built. competition is not the reason, and cola fired pants are far more dangerous but most people do now know this.

 

In an illuminating article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, nuclear consultant Mycle Schneider projects an imminent decline in world nuclear generating capacity. He notes there are currently 439 operating reactors worldwide. To date, 119 reactors have been closed, at an average age of 22 years. If we generously assume a much longer average lifespan of 40 years, then 93 reactors will close between 2008 and 2015. Another 192 will close between 2016 and 2025. And the remaining 154 will close after 2025.

 

New technology must replace the old, new tech is safer, more economical but antinuclear lies and exaggerations convince people not to replace them.

 

 

But only 36 nuclear reactors are currently under construction worldwide—31 of them in Eastern Europe and Asia. Although there is much talk of building new nuclear plants in the United States, there are none under construction.

 

Again mostly due to antinuclear nuts convincing people they will grow two heads if they allow these pants to be built.

 

 

What these numbers indicate, Schneider points out, is that plant closings will soon exceed plant openings—and by a widening margin in the years ahead. The trend is clear. From 2000 to 2005, an average of 4,000 megawatts of nuclear generating capacity was added each year. Since 2005, this has dropped to only 1,000 megawatts of additional capacity per year.

Even if all reactors scheduled to come online by 2015 make it, the projected closing of 93 nuclear reactors by then will drop nuclear power generation roughly 10 percent below the current level. Unless governments start routinely granting operating permits for reactors more than 40 years old, a half-century of growth in world nuclear generating capacity is about to be replaced by a long-term decline.

 

The antinuclear people are effective, the truth is never as sexy as lies and exaggerations.

 

Despite all the industry hype about a nuclear future, private investors are openly skeptical. In fact, while little private capital is going into nuclear power, investors are pouring tens of billions of dollars into wind farms each year. And while the world’s nuclear generating capacity is estimated to expand by only 1,000 megawatts this year, wind generating capacity will likely grow by 30,000 megawatts. In addition, solar cell installations and the construction of solar thermal and geothermal power plants are all growing by leaps and bounds.

 

yes mostly due to anti nuclear propaganda. these power plants are not suitable for everywhere and have their own problems.

 

 

The reason for this extraordinary gap between the construction of nuclear power plants and wind farms is simple: wind is much more attractive economically. Wind yields more energy, more jobs, and more carbon reduction per dollar invested than nuclear. Though nuclear power plants are still being built in some countries and governments are talking them up in others, the reality is that we are entering the age of wind, solar, and geothermal energy.

 

this is really not true, these power sources have problems of their own to suggest they are inherently superior is disingenuous to say the least.

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Has any of this "new technology" been rolled out and tested economically by independent energy economists?

 

Another huge cost of nuclear power involves decommissioning the plants when they wear out. A 2004 International Atomic Energy Agency report estimates the decommissioning cost per reactor at $250–500 million, excluding the cost of removing and disposing of the spent nuclear fuel. But recent estimates show that for some reactors, such as the U.K. Magnox reactors that have high decommissioning waste volumes, decommissioning costs can reach $1.8 billion per reactor.

After many decades of gerating many times that is energy I see this as less than a deal breaker.

It IS a deal breaker when one considers the size of solar-thermal baseload plants that can now be built for $1.8 billion dollars and how economies of scale REALLY kick in for solar plants, and with maintenance these should be able to work far longer than nuclear plants!

 

Solar thermal plants DON'T cost $1.8 billion to "decommission". Unless we discover fusion, will probably just keep having component parts replaced indefinitely... (unless it's a solar thermal tower and the tower itself needs replacing. But this would probably only take a few million! Just a rough guess to illustrate the point).

 

Basically I'm seeing a fanboi with emotive terms like "antinuclear lies", "antinuclear nuts", etc and lots of assertions for nuclear, but not one link to peer reviewed energy economists disproving Lovins or Brown? Try again.

 

I love nuclear as an essential part of the space race, but I DON'T want to be charged double or triple for my electricity if it is not necessary, potentially contributing to dirty bombs, untested, unpopular, and generally going to slow down preparing to scale up the UNBELIEVABLE potential of renewable energy to provide us with energy security without the risks.

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Enow, where would you propose a geothermal power plant be built that could provide me with the same cheap power I currently receive because I live with in a reasonable distance to at least two nuclear power plants? Our grid sells to others and they pay through the nose because they do not want a nuclear plant in their area. Transmitting that power from us to them makes it even more expensive for them, wind power, where hurricanes routinely strike? Solar, where hurricanes will almost certainly blow it all away every few years? Nuclear is cheap, safe, and reliable. Now tell me why you hate nuclear so much? why do you insist it is uneconomical when it obviously is very economical where I live. Why do you hate it so? Seen a few too many 1950s horror movies with mutant people with two heads? bashing nuclear is easy because it's not cool to disagree with anyone who knocks it and yet I do not have brown outs, I do not pay out the nose for power, i do not worry from one day to the next if i can afford to run my ac. Nuclear works, the more modern it is the better it works. Most of the data used by these antinuclear people is out dated and is only applicable to old out dated power plants that probably should never have been built. often the places the plants are built; impose so much regulatory rules and laws they cannot even open and this is due to antinuclear crazies suing them into oblivion at ever turn. I like nuclear power, it's good for all of us, it's reliable economical, and safe!

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Nuclear is most probably NOT "economical where you live" because the nuclear industry is very good at "externalising" all those other costs. I'd rather the money go into Australia's health system or use it to educate my kids than provide a subsidy to a form of energy I don't like very much (except for space use).

 

Again you've resorted to emotive language and assertions, without peer-reviewed research that accounts for ALL the "externalities" (such as tax payers picking up the tab for decommissioning costs).

 

Please don't put me into the category of an unthinking greenie that just hates nuclear because it "might go off or something!" Yes I'm concerned about the potential for disasters, but that's not the main reason. Yes I'm concerned about what rogue states might get up to, but that's not the main reason. The main reason is that I'd rather see the money go into wind and solar power (where appropriate) RIGHT NOW because they're faster to deploy and scale economically. Build em small, and they're expensive! Build them big and they could be very competitive, and there's NO risk if a 747 flies into them. Zilch. A few thousand mirrors have to be replaced, big deal.

 

So, if we can see a paper that analyses ALL the costs please? I keep on asking, and am sharing links to authorities that have shaped my view on this. Why can't you? Just saying "But I've got some down the road!" doesn't prove a damn thing at all.

You also haven't answered my questions about any recent papers analysing the cost benefits of breeder reactors.

 

Here's an example where the "externalities" caught up with the government. When one gets too excited about "breeder reactors" it seems one ends up with a Nuclear Wonderland!

 

SNR-300 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

The fast breeder nuclear reactor SNR-300 was built near the town of Kalkar, Germany (located in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It was completed but never taken online. It is known as one of the biggest government spending boondoggles in Germany. SNR-300 was to output 327 megawatt. The project ended up costing about 7 billion Deutsche Mark (about. 3,5 Billion Euro or over 4 billion USD). Klaus Traube, then director of the executing company Interatom, is today one of the most prominent German opponents of the usage of nuclear power.

 

1995: The site is bought by a Dutch developer and transformed into an amusement park named Kernwasser Wunderland ("Nuclearwater wonderland"). It includes a hotel with 400 beds. In 2005 it was renamed into Wunderland Kalkar ("Wonderland Kalkar")."

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I suggest you read this entire thread, we have dealt with most if not all the problems you keep shouting about. Your idea of a pear reviewed article is my idea of antinuclear crazies who will say and do anything to kill nuclear anything. I'm betting you didn't even bother to read my link to nuclear light bulb rockets. Where i live nuclear pays for it's self, it is not unduly subsidized. It is economical, it's safe and it works. You keep harping on a few billion dollars when we just bailed out dishonest bankers to the tune of 100 times that amount. I think we can afford cheap reliable power .

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I read through this entire thread and you DIDN'T "deal with" Lovins or Brown substantively, but just replied with assertions and emotionalism. What links? I'll publicly apologise if there are the kind of substantive peer reviewed links I'm after on this thread.

 

And if you want to put public money into energy, fine, we have peak oil, gas, and coal bearing down on us, that might not be a bad idea at all. But if you REALLY want more bang for your buck, it is important to count ALL the costs and build the right thing hey?

A 2008 study based on historical outcomes in the U.S. said costs for nuclear power can be expected to run $0.25-.30 per kW·h.[37]
# ^ Severance, C. (2009) "Business Risks and Costs of New Nuclear Power"; for critiques and replies from the study's author, see Climate Progress Blog Archive Exclusive analysis, Part 1: The staggering cost of new nuclear power

 

(Edit to add:) That's about 3 times the price of current US energy prices, so I'll have to spend a bit more time reading the fine print on the assumptions of this study and the external costs and where they come up (and which other studies DON'T include them, because there are other studies at the nuclear wiki that give much cheaper results).

 

My thing is I have a hard time believing the stuff coming out of the world nuclear association etc because they are so darn good at externalising, and having us taxpayers pick up the bill! But here again is the issue: IF these studies are correct and the nuclear industry has been subsidised heavily, then you're simply going to get more power per $ if the government subsidises less expensive forms of clean energy. Or another way of looking at it: your state might have better schools and rail if it stopped using nuclear power.

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Then we are dead locked, you believe people I see as antinuclear activists who would do and say anything to stop nuclear power and you view any sources that disagree as pro nuclear people who would do and say anything to press forward with nuclear power. Very sad for both of us......

 

BTW, my state has excellent schools..... and my taxes are much lower than the states who abhor nuclear power and promote tax subsidized "green" power....

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Then we are dead locked, you believe people I see as antinuclear activists who would do and say anything to stop nuclear power and you view any sources that disagree as pro nuclear people who would do and say anything to press forward with nuclear power. Very sad for both of us......

 

BTW, my state has excellent schools..... and my taxes are much lower than the states who abhor nuclear power and promote tax subsidized "green" power....

 

So many assertions, such little evidence.

 

I said I'll look into it, one day... some things have come up right now. I mean, look at the variety of studies in this wiki. I have to go and check all the "optimistic" studies and see if they actually counted the externalities which the nuclear industry has fobbed off onto the tax payer. That's going to be a lot of work. Too busy just now. But I will say this, a few years ago I was PM'd by a bloke claiming to work in the nuclear industry that said we was an industry analyst for the nuclear industry, and said this was all spot-on. I have no way of verifying who he was or what he said, as I've lost his contact details now. (Another science forum, and I cleaned out my in-tray. :lol: )

 

But he quoted similar arguments and stated that the whole industry seemed uneconomical except for help from the government. Do we really want to subsidise such an energy industry IF there are cheaper alternatives that also don't have the security, waste, and political issues?

 

Economics of new nuclear power plants - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Cost per kW·h

 

Factoring in all these issues, various groups have attempted to calculate a true economic cost for electricity generated by the most modern designs proposed. Because if an actual cost per kW·h can be calculated, then it is possible to compare it to other power sources to determine if such an investment is economically sound.

 

In 2003, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) issued a report entitled, "The Future of Nuclear Power". They estimated that new nuclear power in the US would cost 6.7 cents per kW·h.[1] However, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 includes a tax credit that should reduce that cost slightly.

 

The lifetime cost of new generating capacity in the United States was estimated in 2006 by the U.S. government (the 2007 report did not estimate costs). Nuclear power was estimated at 5.93 cents per kW·h. However, the "total overnight cost" for new nuclear was assumed to be $1,984 per kWe[36] — as seen above in Capital Costs, this figure is subject to debate.

 

A 2008 study based on historical outcomes in the U.S. said costs for nuclear power can be expected to run $0.25-.30 per kW·h.[37]

 

A 2008 study concluded that if carbon capture and storage was required then nuclear power would be the cheapest source of electricity even at $4,038/kW in overnight capital cost.[14]

 

In 2009, MIT updated its 2003 study, concluding that inflation and rising construction costs had increased the overnight cost of nuclear power plants to about $4,000/kWe, and thus increased the power cost to 8.4¢/kW·h.[38][39]

 

I was just pushing you to see if your very strong support of nuclear power was backed by very strong studies into its cost-effectiveness. From my perspective I have linked to studies that cover the "externalities" that so many other studies just plain ignore.

 

A few years ago I tried to get my head around this very complex matter of energy economics, and Lovins just seemed more thorough. I searched the pro-nuclear studies in vain for references to fuel storage costs for thousands of years, or decommissioning costs, or if they DID reference these things ridiculous assumptions were made about their price that even I, a non-scientist, could spank.

 

So in one way I hope you're right, I hope that there is this vast, safe, clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels that you're promoting. I hope there IS a way to deal with the waste. I hope we CAN guarantee that no currently democratic civilisations we deal with now will suddenly turn into rogue states and misuse their plutonium, even though the waste lasts longer than the history of human civilisation! We've certainly had one stable democratic peaceful government for the past 200 thousand years or so haven't we? :)

 

Because ultimately I want to be an optimist and think we'll quickly adapt to peak oil, gas, and coal over the next few decades. I mean, WORLD peak coal could hit by 2025, and America seems to have peaked out in their best grade coal over the last few years. Coal consumption in tons is going up but the energy delivered through coal seems to remain flat. That means they're working harder to produce roughly the same amount of energy... they've burnt all the best stuff.

 

Watch this 15 minutes or so.... a very challenging "crash course" this one. You can download it and burn the share-ware DVD and watch in your loungeroom if you wish, the complete course is over 2 hours!

 

But this one is about 15 minutes or so.

 

Crash Course Chapter 18: Environmental Data - coal | Crash Course Videos at Chris Martenson - coal, ecosystem, nuclear power, ore extraction, peak energy, petroleum, planet earth, population growth, resource management

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What do you guys make of this idea of just vitrifying the reprocessed Fission Products and dumping them in the ocean? Won't the vitrified glass break under deep enough water?

 

Appendix

 

Out of interest, I’d also like to share some discussions I had last year on this topic, with George Stanford, Tom Blees, Steve Kirsch and Yoon Chang (all members of SCGI — bios here). The figures/units may differ a little from the above, but the bottom line remains the same.

 

George:

 

The ping-pong ball (or half-ball) is the volume of uranium that was fissioned to release the lifetime’s worth of energy. It weighs a kilogram or less. The resulting fission products necessarily weigh the same (minus the 0.09% of the original mass that was converted to energy in accordance with E=mc^2). The fission-product elements all have a density much less than that of uranium, so their volume (if frozen into a solid ball and not radioactive) would necessarily be bigger than a ping-pong ball, before any vitrification. But that knowledge really has no practical utility. In an underground repository (e.g. Yucca Mtn), the distance between the tunnels (called “drifts”) and between the waste canisters (whether spent fuel or fission products) has to be such that the temperature in the soil between the drifts does not get too high over the years.

 

The activity of the fission products is dominated for the first few hundred years by just two isotopes — Cs-137 and Sr-90 (each with a half life of about 30 years). Just how the fission products will be disposed of is to be determined. But their heat will have to be managed somehow, which could mean storage for a while in surface facilities with forced-air cooling (although the sensible thing to do with them is to vitrify them and drop them into the silt at the bottom of the ocean). That’s why a calculation of the fission products’ “volume” has no useful meaning, and reveals nothing about the ease or difficulty of disposal.

 

IFR FaD 4 – a lifetime of energy in the palm of your hand « BraveNewClimate

 

Note, it's an interesting blog but I seem to keep getting into too much trouble there if I ask questions, as they think I'm being an anti-nuclear activist troll of some sort. :thumbs_up So I'll ask a few here instead. :lightning

 

(I think I've hassled poor Barry enough as I'm not very technical, and mainly have an arts background and miss some of his more techno-babble explanations. So if you could please break it down into English for me here as well that would be great).

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What do you guys make of this idea of just vitrifying the reprocessed Fission Products and dumping them in the ocean? Won't the vitrified glass break under deep enough water?

 

Unless the vitrified glass has a hollow interior it wouldn't break under the pressure of deep water.

 

My main problem with the dumping of nuclear waste is that eventually this waste will be fuel in reactors that will use it up and leave behind waste that will be safe in much less time than the waste we currently have. This fuel will be very valuable, it contains much more energy than the original fuel had.

 

Eventually nuclear power will be realized as much safer than conventional power plants, it's environmental impact is much lower and we will need intense energy sources in the future.

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If i understand what they mean by vitrifaction the pressure of deep water would have no effect. Some people have asserted that the waste products should be encased in concrete and dumped in areas where the geological processes will drag it down into the earth. This would result in this stuff being returned to the surface via volcanoes but this should be many millions of years later. If the assertion of the stuff being dragged into the earth by geological processes is realistic then this should be a good way of getting rid of fission products that are no longer able to be used to generate power. Current waste is made of mostly of uranium or plutonium which is far too valuable to be dumped into the ocean this way.

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What do you guys make of this idea of just vitrifying the reprocessed Fission Products and dumping them in the ocean?

I think that the scheme George Stanford describes (“the sensible thing to do with them is to vitrify them and drop them into the silt at the bottom of the ocean”) – generally know as seabed disposal – is, as he asserts, sensible, and as he asserts, better than many other schemes.

 

Unfortunately, I don’t think such schemes will be politically popular enough to be approved, largely because they are so often described in words such as EN’s (“this idea of just vitrifying the reprocessed Fission Products and dumping them in the ocean”)

 

Legitimate seabed disposal schemes actually fall into a few main categories, none of which propose to indiscriminately dump vitrified (encased in solid glass) capsules of nuclear waste into the ocean.

 

One (to which Stanford appears to be referring) is to bury encased wastes into stable undersea clay formations. As the clay accretes constantly from sediment, and is itself a good containing medium, this is attractive because, when the manufactured containers eventually fail, the constantly deepening clay will take over its role

 

Another is to place the containers in undersea subduction zones, where, at a rate of about 1 m/10 years, they would be forced beneath the Earth’s seafloor crust, eventually into the mantle, which is more radioactive than any waste would be by the time it reached it. As radioactive elements come from within the Earth, this is like a recycling scheme.

 

A third is to liquefy the waste and dump, via ships, fine stream of it into large volumes of ocean water. As ocean water is slightly radioactive, this could be done in such a way as to not significantly increase its radioactivity. Variations on this scheme suggest extracting useful radioactive elements – primarily uranium – from seawater at the same or rate that useless ones are being dumped, so that oceans radiation level is not increased at all. A serious problem with this scheme, is … well, ships full of liquefied radioactive waste, storms, rocks, human error, pirates(!) and humankinds history or maritime accidents – I believe the problem is obvious.

 

A fourth is isn’t really a seabed solution, but is often include with them: build a land-based disposal facility on an island in the middle of the ocean. Though this is attractive because there is avoids “not in my back yard” political problems and existing national and international laws about ocean dumping, I don’t think it’s a very good one, as most candidate islands sites are less suitable than “are in someone’s back yard” sites, such as the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, and, as with the previous scheme

 

I paraphrased the above directly from this April 2009 private science website article.

My main problem with the dumping of nuclear waste is that eventually this waste will be fuel in reactors that will use it up and leave behind waste that will be safe in much less time than the waste we currently have. This fuel will be very valuable, it contains much more energy than the original fuel had.

Excellent point, Moontan :eek2:

 

However, even the most optimistic credible predictions I’ve read don’t suggest that it will be possible to reprocess all nuclear waste, or that a radioactive isotope that can be process able in a give gross form can be processed in others (for example, when in a liquid suspension with many other isotopes, as a fuel or weapon manufacturing by-product, or that these new technologies will be developed on a large scale before current temporary holding facilities become critically (pun intended) full. The more pessimistic predictions caution that, for either technical or political reasons, such technologies may never become available on a large scale.

 

In short, I don’t think it’s prudent to not pursue known practical solutions while waiting for better ones, or be certain that all of today’s waste will someday be valuable commodities.

 

Although how to best dispose of nuclear waste remains – and, I suspect, will always be – a subject of technical uncertainty and political debate – I believe that doing nothing – that is, continuing to store waste on site indefinitely in facilities intended only for short-term storage, expanding such facilities if necessary – is a very bad solution. Even if an unexpected “miracle technology” were to suddenly appear, rendering nuclear power entirely obsolete and resulting in the prompt shutdown of all non-research reactors in the world, the problem posed by the nuclear waste currently in temporary holding facilities would not.

 

Ignoring the nuclear waste disposal problem is not an option.

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