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Old 05-17-2019, 07:51 AM
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Latest anti-nuclear activist: former chair of Nuclear Regulatory Commission


An interesting op-ed in the Washington Post:
Quote:
Nuclear power was supposed to save the planet. The plants that used this technology could produce enormous amounts of electricity without the pollution caused by burning coal, oil or natural gas, which would help slow the catastrophic changes humans have forced on the Earth’s climate. As a physicist who studied esoteric properties of subatomic particles, I admired the science and the technological innovation behind the industry. And by the time I started working on nuclear issues on Capitol Hill in 1999 as an aide to Democratic lawmakers, the risks from human-caused global warming seemed to outweigh the dangers of nuclear power, which hadn’t had an accident since Chernobyl, 13 years earlier.

By 2005, my views had begun to shift.
...
Yet after the disaster [at Fukushima], my fellow commissioners, as well as many in Congress and the nuclear industry, fretted that the proposed new U.S. reactors might never be built, because Fukushima would focus too much attention on the potential downsides. Westinghouse and the new plant owners worried that acknowledging the need for reforms would raise even more concern about the safety of reactors. The industry wanted the NRC to say that everything was fine and nothing needed to change. So my colleagues on the commission and supporters of the industry pushed to license the first of these projects without delay and stonewalled implementation of the safety reforms. My colleagues objected to making the staff report public. I ultimately prevailed, but then the lobbying intensified: The industry almost immediately started pushing back on the staff report. They lobbied the commission and enlisted allies in Congress to disapprove, water-down or defer many of the recommendations.

Within a year of the accident at Fukushima — and over my objections — the NRC implemented just a few of the modest safety reforms that the agency’s employees had proposed, and then approved the first four new reactor licenses in decades, in Georgia and in South Carolina.
I don't think I can quote more, but it's worth reading the full op-ed.

I tend to be reluctantly and tentatively pro-nuclear. Reluctantly because I acknowledge the risks; tentatively because I'm not especially knowledgeable about atomic physics or power plant engineering; pro-nuclear because it seems like a powerful tool to fight climate change.

But this article is making me question my position. On the one hand, yeah, this guy has a vested interest in reducing nuclear plants, since he now runs a wind-power business. On the other hand, when the former chair of the NRC suggests that politicking and economic forces are powerful enough to undermine key safety proposals, that gives me pause.

What are y'all thinking about this?
  #2  
Old 05-17-2019, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
What are y'all thinking about this?
i'm thinking that we aren't going to do anything effective about global warming.

The author of your op-ed wants to sell wind power because Fukushima showed that nuclear power is too dangerous.
Quote:
As of September 2012, there were no deaths or serious injuries due to direct radiation exposures. Cancer deaths due to accumulated radiation exposures cannot be ruled out, and according to one expert, might be in the order of 100 cases.[11] A May 2012 United Nations committee report stated that none of the six Fukushima workers who had died since the tsunami had died from radiation exposure.
Cite. And it would be too expensive to reduce that number.
Quote:
In England, there were 163 wind turbine accidents that killed 14 people in 2011. Wind produced about 15 billion kWhrs that year, so using a capacity factor of 25%, that translates to about 1,000 deaths per trillion kWhrs produced (the world produces 15 trillion kWhrs per year from all sources).

These are pretty low numbers. By contrast, in 2011 coal produced about 180 billion kWhrs in England with about 3,000 related deaths. Nuclear energy produced over 90 billion kWhrs in England with no deaths. In that same year, America produced about 800 billion kWhrs from nuclear with no deaths.
So the author thinks that, maybe, eventually, nuclear power might kill anywhere from zero to 100 people. And that is worse than 14 already.

Good thing this person is no longer head of the NRC. His cost-benefit analysis skills are not all they could be.

So, I guess, full speed ahead with wind and solar, which will kill more people than nuclear and won't work and so lots more people will die from climate change.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:23 AM
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I am going to need a cite for all of that, Shodan. Of all the things to minimize and whitewash, Fukushima? Really? What could possibly motivate that?
https://www.courthousenews.com/us-sa...shima-mission/

Quote:
To serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, you must meet certain health and fitness requirements: you must be fit to serve. But a healthy group of young service men and women – many in their 20s – have come down with serious health problems since serving on a humanitarian mission to Fukushima, Japan, following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to a nuclear meltdown of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TepCo) nuclear power plant.

Service members have faced cancer, brain tumors, birth defects, and other rare health problems since being exposed to radiation from the Fukushima plant. Some have even died.
How can you say wind and solar don't work? Trillions of kWh aren't proof enough?
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:57 AM
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I've already provided cites.
Quote:
Of all the things to minimize and whitewash, Fukushima? Really? What could possibly motivate that?
Followed by a cite of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit. What could possibly be their motives?
Quote:
How can you say wind and solar don't work? Trillions of kWh aren't proof enough?
Wind and solar cannot be scaled up to replace fossil fuels, because of things like night, clouds, snow, and the wind not blowing consistently. That's why for wind, the cite mentioned a capacity factor of 25%, meaning wind turbines are realistically expected (where they are built) to produce energy about a quarter of the time. Contrast that to nuclear power plants, which produce power much more of the time.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
I've already provided cites.
Last time we found that the cites were old or actually furnished evidence that right wing sourses were lying to you about the numbers and then about the real reasons why nuclear plants in the USA are shutting down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Followed by a cite of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit. What could possibly be their motives?
Wind and solar cannot be scaled up to replace fossil fuels, because of things like night, clouds, snow, and the wind not blowing consistently. That's why for wind, the cite mentioned a capacity factor of 25%, meaning wind turbines are realistically expected (where they are built) to produce energy about a quarter of the time. Contrast that to nuclear power plants, which produce power much more of the time.

Regards,
Shodan
Well, as it was done more than 2 times in a previous thread, we will have to disregard your point because it once again ignores that your own cites reported on the advances made in wind power, and they pointed 7 years ago that battery advances that were needed to change the equation and that is getting there nowadays. It has gotten to the level where the point of the article stands: economically speaking, nuclear has a lot to do now before it becomes attractive to investors.

Notice though, that then another item that should be considered here is not: that is of government intervention to standardize new nuclear and applied to, lets say military bases in locations in the west, should be employed, but as usual, that smells of socialism so it is not likely to fly with the current weakest link that we have in power, the denier of climate change president and the senate that does the same.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 05-17-2019 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
Last time we found that the cites were old or actually furnished evidence that right wing sourses were lying to you about the numbers and then about the real reasons why nuclear plants in the USA are shutting down.
If you think the UN report of the number of deaths from radiation in Fukushima is a right-wing source, or is lying, there is no hope.
Quote:
Well, as it was done more than 2 times in a previous thread, we will have to disregard your point because it once again ignores that your own cites reported on the advances made in wind power, and they pointed 7 years ago that battery advances that were needed to change the equation and that is getting there nowadays.
Shodan's Law is: If they didn't read it the first time, they won't read it the second time.

Shodan's Corollary is: Cites, either.

Like I said, we aren't going to do anything effective about global warming. My cite? See above.

Regards,
Shodan

Last edited by Shodan; 05-17-2019 at 12:40 PM. Reason: fixed the tags
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:22 PM
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Your own cite lists 1368 Fukushima related deaths besides the ones you note. It seems likely that radiation-related deaths on the USS Ronald Reagan alone will be more than you project for the entire nuclear industry.

You mock the cost-benefit analysis of others while your own is dreadfully poor. Death toll and then... end of discussion?
https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile..../idUSKBN13Y047
Costs of Fukushima cleanup double to $188 billion.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/04/16...lear-disaster/
Total cleanup costs could exceed $1T and take 30-40 years.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/20.../#.XN75lkRME0M
Seven years after the disaster, the plant is releasing 2 billion becquerels per day.

But hey, no choice because renewables "don't work" and "can't replace fossil fuels." Those are great as bare assertions, but let me ask you: the trillions of kWh of renewables already generated, are they replacing fossil fuels? Do they not count if it is not a 100% replacement? Have you not heard of batteries? Examples from Germany of hitting 100% renewable generation? Instead of spending $1 trillion on cleanup, what if that were spent on renewables and storage solutions instead? Just can't because there are voices who repeat the bare assertion, "you can't"?

Look, it still could be judged that the risks of nuclear are worth the benefits. I just want to make that judgement based on a sober, factual, >>>complete<<< review of all the relevant information, instead of whatever it is you are doing.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
If you think the UN report of the number of deaths from radiation in Fukushima is a right-wing source, or is lying, there is no hope.
Well, there should be hope that someday you will realize that I was talking about previous posts from you. Not that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Shodan's Law is: If they didn't read it the first time, they won't read it the second time.
A moot point since I was not talking about that one. Again, I'm not against nuclear power because I was already aware years ago about that cite because there was once a very anti-nuclear poster in the past that was also a climate change denier. Back then I also pointed at evidence of how in actuality very few people did die in recent nuclear disasters compared to the number of people that die from coal emissions each year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Shodan's Corollary is: Cites, either.
Well, the evidence so far is that you left a previous discussion by not even reading the cites and looking at how they misled you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Like I said, we aren't going to do anything effective about global warming. My cite? See above.

Regards,
Shodan
And thank you for showing all that you are the one not reading posts. Many times before (like in the post above, I proposed that we do need to stop pussyfooting around and use the skills the military has with nuclear power, so the costs of nuclear should be subsidized and a government effort so as to deploy more nuclear power to be used as a supplement for solar and wind power to deal with global warming.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 05-17-2019 at 01:29 PM.
  #9  
Old 05-17-2019, 01:30 PM
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Perhaps someday you will respond in a thread by actually discussing what is said in the thread, but I am not sanguine.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:31 PM
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dupe

Last edited by Shodan; 05-17-2019 at 01:34 PM.
  #11  
Old 05-17-2019, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
Perhaps someday you will respond in a thread by actually discussing what is said in the thread, but I am not sanguine.

Regards,
Shodan
Again, everyone can see that you did omit what I said about how nuclear power should be deployed as, economically speaking, the invisible hand is busy telling power companies to shut down nuclear plants because of the costs.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 05-17-2019 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Try2B Comprehensive
Your own cite lists 1368 Fukushima related deaths besides the ones you note. It seems likely that radiation-related deaths on the USS Ronald Reagan alone will be more than you project for the entire nuclear industry.
Related to the evacuation, not 'radiation-related', which they go into later on. I wonder how many related deaths there were from the other evacuation? What do you think?

So, your argument in this post seems to be that very few people died from radiation (despite what I assume is you either not reading the Wiki closely or trying to spin it that way), but the cleanup costing a lot of money. For a one time event. The event of which cost MANY hundreds of billions more to clean up. Yeah, that's the thing...the event that actually triggered Fukushima seems to often get overlooked in these discussions.

I wasn't going to reply to this thread, as it seems like the same old same old to me. In fact, it IS the same old same old. The guy in the OP is basically an anti-nuke, and has been one for a long time. Reading the article, he has all sorts of reasons for this stance, but a lot of them are the same old bullshit. Basically, nuclear is bad. It's expensive and lots of plants that were started never got finished (which is pretty ironic, considering his own role in some of that) so it wasted all that money of the good people who just wanted power! Fukushima! Chernobyl!!! Clearly, nuclear is bad for the planet because of these two events. Plus, wind and solar will save us!

The thing is, this level of horseshit would normally get batted down on this site as ridiculous, but because it's nuclear it's actually taken seriously. If this was about vaccines, say, and we were talking about the cost to benefit of them in terms of the few percentage of folks who will have bad reactions and might even die verse the millions who WILL be saved, people would be ripping into this. Instead, what we have is stuff like pointing out that 1368 died (ignoring the part that says 'many of these deaths may have been caused by the evacuation period being too long, and that residents could have been allowed to return to their homes earlier in order to reduce the total related death toll' as well as ignoring the fact that this happened pretty much all along the east coast of Japan because of that whole tsunami thingy that coincidentally also happened around the same time) as if this proves...something? Even if 10 times that number died directly from the nuclear power plant the cost to benefit would still be there...even if it cost 10 times the amount to clean up. Especially since we are talking about something that has happened exactly once in Japan since 1966. Know how many people die each year due to fossil fuel use? And, can you guess what the continued use of the stuff is going to cost us all in terms of environmental damage, storms and the like?

As for wind and solar, yeah, they can't scale up to meet our needs for constant and steady power. And they won't be able to for the foreseeable future. I'm unsure why this is still being brought up. Until and unless we have a way to store that energy, this will always be the case and they will remain niche energy sources. That's important and necessary, but it leaves a large gap. And if we don't have nuclear, then we will have something fossil fuel related to fill that gap. Sure, we are making great strides putting in wind and solar, and we'll continue to do so. But that just means that fossil fuels use goes from 70% (the estimated global fossil fuel production currently) to...what, maybe 60%? If we are lucky? Oh, in some small countries with dense populations that might change, but not in countries like the US...or China. China, of course, IS building more nuclear reactors (how stupid they must be...they should read this thread to find out how stupid that is!), but they are still over 50% fossil fuel for production. The US is a lot less of course...35-40% is what I'm getting from mainly coal and natural gas. Without nukes (which will be diminishing from around 20% to 0 in the next few decades) we could drop that to...30%? Maybe 25%? If we are lucky.
That's good and all, and hopefully that will be enough, but unless there is some major tech breakthrough that's about as good as it's going to get.

There is, currently, one technology that could scale up to meet our needs for constant and steady production. Nuclear. It could easily be brought up in the US to take that 35-40% load, making us a hell of a lot greener, and by extension along with the new wave of battery powered cars make us greener across the board. But we won't do it because it's too risky and costs too much. But this is the same sort of risk analysis and cost to benefit that anti-vaxxers use, with exactly the same flaws.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by XT View Post
There is, currently, one technology that could scale up to meet our needs for constant and steady production. Nuclear. It could easily be brought up in the US to take that 35-40% load, making us a hell of a lot greener, and by extension along with the new wave of battery powered cars make us greener across the board. But we won't do it because it's too risky and costs too much. But this is the same sort of risk analysis and cost to benefit that anti-vaxxers use, with exactly the same flaws.
Actually this shows that you missed what took place recently.

https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...5&postcount=82

In essence, what you press on is a view based on what was going on years ago; when in more recent times, with virtually no intervention from environmentalists out there, nuclear plants are being closed not only because natural gas is cheaper, but because advances in battery power are the writing on the wall for private industry regarding nuclear power.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyi.../#81fb67b31f31
Quote:
Coal and nuclear plants struggle to remain economic

While declining wind and solar prices have caused renewable energy capacity to surge, they are also dimming the prospects for struggling coal and nuclear plants. The U.S. is on pace for a record 15.4 GW of coal closures in 2018, could close an additional 24.1 GW of coal capacity by 2024, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects a 65 GW decline through 2030. Carbon Tracker forecasts that by that time, 100% of U.S. coal capacity will have higher long-run operating costs than renewables.

In light of these changing economics, the Trump administration proposed a bailout for certain coal and nuclear plants. The plan was dropped after intense scrutiny from multiple fronts due to billions in estimated new annual costs, but it represents a backward-looking approach to keep dirty and expensive energy sources online instead of embracing clean and cheap energy sources.

Several states are also grappling with uneconomic nuclear plants. Two federal appeals courts have upheld state nuclear subsidies in New York and Illinois, while New Jersey and Connecticut are currently considering how to keep unprofitable nuclear plants open. While the court decisions help prop up uneconomic nuclear, they also set an important precedent for states looking to put a value on carbon emission reductions through subsidies.
Hence the option that it is ignored because it also ruffles a lot of conservative feathers; seeing that nuclear will not be as economical, but still IMHO a good weapon to have against global warming, it is then the turn of the government to organize and fund the development and deployment of new and standardized nuclear power plants.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:16 PM
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I've addressed this in past threads. Again, same old same old. Sure, there is less overt resistance today to nuclear. As the OP clearly shows, however, this isn't exactly across the board, and basically the guy in the OP had a lot of individual impact on this. He was the one dissenting vote to stop new plants from being built, and has worked to that end...and he's not just some powerless environmentalist (not that I think those guys, in the aggregate, ever were powerless). He was one of the movers and the shakers.

But the reason why what you are saying is wrong (and it is), is because they don't NEED to overtly stop nuclear anymore. The war is over in the US. There isn't any battle. Nuclear always was more expensive and the upfront nature of the costs along with the long ROI using the longevity of the plant to offset that has meant it would always be hard to do. Couple that with the fact that in the past new plants were fought tooth and nail, and many of them were stopped after spending billions (the guy in the OP says this himself...it's one of the freaking arguments he uses) and all of the issues with just clawing one into being today means, they don't need to do a damned thing now. It would take extraordinary effort to GET a nuke in. And, in fact, we are seeing now on the back end the degradation happening...nuke plants that could go on for several more decades are being shut down. What that means is that their ROI projection, especially any sort of profit is sunk. In terms of risk of exposure, that means no sane corporation is going to risk building a new plant without a hell of a lot of assurances and funding from the government, which isn't happening. It's why when Obama greenlighted new building basically nothing changed. Oh, a few plants were proposed, and I think 1 or 2 were started, but none have actually been built, or almost certainly will ever be completed.

YOU seem to think that my stance on this is informed by conservatives or something loopy like that, but this is the reality. The anti-nukes, just like the one in the OP have won. Wars over. So long and thanks for all the fish. The parrot has shuffled off. It's a dead parrot. So, what's the reality of that? Well, good news...natural gas seems to be winning the market fight in the US, despite our idiotic president, so I guess we at least have a clean(er) option than coal. That's about the extent of the good news. Because nuclear is going away, and I think it will go away at least as fast as wind and solar can replace (some) of it. Which means, we are going to have natural gas for decades with nothing viable to replace it wrt our core requirements. Wind and solar can't. Hydro is off the table in the US. Geothermal is not going to be able to scale up. We aren't suddenly going to stop using energy, so...natural gas is what we gots.

You can say that it's a conservative meme that the reason for this has nothing to do with the anti-nuke crowd, or that they aren't as active today yet no new nukes proves it wasn't them all along, but it's not a conservative meme...it's reality. It's what we all lived through and we all remember. Personally, I don't think conservatives have been all that much use pushing for nuclear either, so I don't give them a pass. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have done shit about this, and this has been allowed to become set in stone. Which means we'll be doing natural gas and hoping it's enough.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:33 PM
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You can say that it's a conservative meme that the reason for this has nothing to do with the anti-nuke crowd, or that they aren't as active today yet no new nukes proves it wasn't them all along, but it's not a conservative meme...it's reality. It's what we all lived through and we all remember. Personally, I don't think conservatives have been all that much use pushing for nuclear either, so I don't give them a pass. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have done shit about this, and this has been allowed to become set in stone. Which means we'll be doing natural gas and hoping it's enough.
Actually the same old is to ignore what I said about what is needed to deploy new nuclear power plants.

And nowhere I did say that I dismiss the reality that you are talking about, it is that there are more economical reasons now why free enterprise is dumping nuclear.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 05-17-2019 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
An interesting op-ed in the Washington Post:

I don't think I can quote more, but it's worth reading the full op-ed.

I tend to be reluctantly and tentatively pro-nuclear. Reluctantly because I acknowledge the risks; tentatively because I'm not especially knowledgeable about atomic physics or power plant engineering; pro-nuclear because it seems like a powerful tool to fight climate change.

But this article is making me question my position. On the one hand, yeah, this guy has a vested interest in reducing nuclear plants, since he now runs a wind-power business. On the other hand, when the former chair of the NRC suggests that politicking and economic forces are powerful enough to undermine key safety proposals, that gives me pause.

What are y'all thinking about this?
Jaczko pretty much pissed off everyone he worked with at the NRC. The other four commissioners hated him. Note, of those four, two are Republicans and 2 are Democrats. The following is congressional testimony:

Quote:
In his testimony, commissioner William D. Magwood, a Democratic appointee, said Jaczko regularly grew impatient and unhappy at meetings with staffers.

During one encounter, Jaczko “became increasingly irrational, and everyone in the meeting became very uncomfortable,” said Magwood, adding that staffers told him that Jaczko “sort of snapped.”

It was like ‘The Exorcist,’ ” Magwood said staffers told him. He did not elaborate and wasn’t asked during the hearing to be more specific.
Jaczko reported to Congress that spent fuel pool at Fukushima was dry. It wasn't and Jaczkos statement fueled panic in Japan and caused all sorts of problem. Charles Castro, who was in charge of the U.S. response to Fukushima said:

Quote:
I was stunned when I heard his statement," writes Casto. “I hadn’t even had a conversation about the condition of the spent-fuel pool with him.
Casto was in charge of the U.S. response. Casto also states that Jaczko refused to provide resources to help deal with the situation. Link. Note, Jaczko *praises* Casto in his book.

Jaczko also berated female NRC staffers in public until they cried.

Other board members accused Jaczko of purposefully hiding reports/data from them.

You can read more here.

I know a couple folks who knew Jaczko through their work, they are nuclear safety researchers. They all thought he was a nutjob who was in wayyyyy over his head. The consensus opinion was that Reid put Jaczko on the board to kill Yucca Mountain. And that is what Jaczko did.

So, no, I wouldn't put a lot of faith in Jaczko.

Slee
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:33 PM
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Actually the same old is to ignore what I said about what is needed to deploy new nuclear power plants.

And nowhere I did say that I dismiss the reality that you are talking about, it is that there are more economical reasons now why free enterprise is dumping nuclear.
Here, try this. When you think I'm wrong, say that..I'm wrong. Don't try and associate what I'm saying with 'conservatives'. When I think YOU are wrong, I say you are wrong...I don't say that you are wrong blah blah blah liberal (or progressive or whatever you are).

Now, I wasn't talking about you wrt whether we need or should deploy nuclear power plants. I freely acknowledge that you, Gigo, aren't opposed to nuclear. I haven't ignored it. I've done so in many other threads, and do so here. But your opinion (or mine) isn't what's being debated here and is, really, irrelevant. We are talking about a former NRC chair in this thread, and about his arguments in the piece in the OP. It's not about you...and it's not about me.

I think you DO dismiss what I'm talking about, or at least you try to paint me into some 'conservative' position, and you generally rebut in these threads with that sort of broad brush. Instead of actually addressing the specifics I'm bringing up. You did so in the thread you linked to in fact...multiple times, IIRC. I basically gave up in that thread, as I'll almost certainly do so in this one, because this is all so futile and stupid. The reality, as I said, is there isn't any war, there isn't any fight...it's over. The dude in the OP's side won. That he feels the need to keep hammering away in new OP ED pieces is just gratuitous IMHO at this stage. The US isn't going to build new nuclear power plants. We will simply be counting down on the ones we have until there aren't any more left. Perhaps, maybe, if we are lucky, wind and solar will take up the slack from that. I'm not sanguine they will get the whole 20%, but we shall see. But they will, essentially, trading off a new green 20% for an existing green 20% that we have already sunk the carbon into. And, of course, there will still be that 35-40% that is fossil fuel based.

So, YAH! team anti-nuke! Saved us all there! They have done a masterful job. At least we have China building the things as one of the real, actual green things they are really doing (as opposed to all the green things they SAY they are or will do and folks lap up). And I'm sure, based on their engineering mastery, these nuke plants will be safe and well built...

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  #18  
Old 05-17-2019, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by XT View Post
Here, try this. When you think I'm wrong, say that..I'm wrong. Don't try and associate what I'm saying with 'conservatives'.
Well, that was a lot to say to also ignore that I did not say that you are with the conservatives on this one.
  #19  
Old 05-17-2019, 05:57 PM
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Forgot to add:

The point I made is that: sure, power companies see nuclear now as a losing proposition, but the dude in the OP is ignoring what governments can do. Dealing with global warming is the kind of thing that the powers of the government can be put to good use by adding a price to carbon emissions and deploying new nuclear energy, because the need is real.
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Old 05-17-2019, 06:15 PM
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Nobody has any room to criticize nuclear power while there are still coal plants in operation. Nuclear power is better by every metric than coal power. It's safer, it's cleaner, if compared fairly it's cheaper, they have similar load characteristics, heck, even if you stack the deck by just comparing radiation effects, it's still better. But Fukushima, you say? Fukushima proved conclusively just how safe nuclear is. It came very near to not failing at all, even in the face of the worst tsunami in recorded history, and even in the failure it did have, it caused less damage than the fossil fuel facilities in the same area.

And let's also push for more wind and solar. There's nothing that says that we can't have both. And maybe, someday, those technologies (as well as energy-storage technology) will be good enough that we won't need big, heavy, slow-responding baseload generation, but until that day comes, that big, heavy, slow-responding baseload generation should be nuclear, not fossil-fuel.
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Old 05-17-2019, 06:43 PM
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Nuclear power can be done safely as long as the extremely robust safety regulations, along the lines of the very strict oversight Naval Reactors performs, are maintained. Due to the extreme risks, IMO it pretty much requires massive government involvement. But with such oversight, IMO it's the most powerful weapon against climate change in terms of energy.

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  #22  
Old 05-17-2019, 07:02 PM
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The piece doesn't mention things like thorium based reactors which would be much, much safer than current uranium based systems.
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Old Yesterday, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by XT View Post
Related to the evacuation, not 'radiation-related', which they go into later on. I wonder how many related deaths there were from the other evacuation? What do you think?
Sometimes, what I or anybody else "think" doesn't matter because there is data to refer to. Factual matters are separate from matters of faith- believe what you must, but the numbers won't change, and so the numbers are what ultimately matter. We can acknowledge weaknesses in data collection and the margin of error in things and apply human judgement to form a picture of a situation, but still it is best to keep things impersonal and rooted in the data we all share. So let's take a look at Shodan's cite, mmmkay?
Quote:
For long-term displacement, many people (mostly sick and elderly) died at an increased rate[15] while in temporary housing and shelters. Degraded living conditions and separation from support networks[17] are likely contributing factors. As of February 27, 2017, the Fukushima prefecture government has tallied 2,129 “disaster-related deaths” in the prefecture.[18][16][19][20] This value exceeds the number that have died in Fukushima prefecture directly from the earthquake and tsunami.[21] "Disaster-related deaths" are deaths attributed to disasters and are not caused by direct physical trauma, but does not distinguish between people displaced by the nuclear disaster compared to the earthquake / tsunami. As of year 2016, among those deaths, 1368 have been listed as "related to the nuclear power plant" according to media analysis.[22] Reports have pointed out that many of these deaths may have been caused by the evacuation period being too long, and that residents could have been allowed to return to their homes earlier in order to reduce the total related death toll.
So, 2129-1368=761. 761 deaths in the area in question were from "that other evacuation". Not really what I "think", but what the (human-collected) data tells us.
Quote:
So, your argument in this post seems to be that very few people died from radiation (despite what I assume is you either not reading the Wiki closely or trying to spin it that way), but the cleanup costing a lot of money. For a one time event. The event of which cost MANY hundreds of billions more to clean up. Yeah, that's the thing...the event that actually triggered Fukushima seems to often get overlooked in these discussions.
Dude, you can stop with the strawmanning right now. I am aware that there was a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan. That is, yanno, why there was a nuclear disaster in Fukushima in the first place. I think just about everybody knows this.

Yeah, you could say (part of) my argument is that "very few people died from radiation", depending on your sense of "very few" lives. The thrust of my comments was that Shodan was minimizing the damage, both in terms of lives lost and economic/cleanup/environmental damage. Thing about radiation pollution though is that it can take decades for it to kill people. So, if someone gets zapped in their twenties, and dies of an ultra-rare cancer in their forties, and this happens at a highly statistically unlikely rate, wouldn't you say, another decade from now, that those people also died from radiation? Or would you prefer to narrow the discussion to the number of people killed by the concrete blown off the roof in the explosion, since that much is obvious and it helps the discussion lead to your desired result? Because I just want to be real about things.

Now, estimates for the full cost of the Fukushima cleanup run to a trillion dollars. In the end maybe it will "only" be $500 billion? Who knows? Did the entire tsunami disaster cost that much? I really don't know. All I am saying is that Fukushima presents us with a real-world example of the downside risks presented by nuclear power. Why would we want to exclude such a thing from the discussion? Me, I am all for including the risks of coal, oil, gas, wind, solar, geothermal, wave power and so on, the advantages and drawbacks of them all, so that we can make an informed decision on how to proceed. I mean, look at my handle. If we aren't making an informed decision, what kind of decision are we making?
Quote:
I wasn't going to reply to this thread, as it seems like the same old same old to me. In fact, it IS the same old same old. The guy in the OP is basically an anti-nuke, and has been one for a long time. Reading the article, he has all sorts of reasons for this stance, but a lot of them are the same old bullshit. Basically, nuclear is bad. It's expensive and lots of plants that were started never got finished (which is pretty ironic, considering his own role in some of that) so it wasted all that money of the good people who just wanted power! Fukushima! Chernobyl!!! Clearly, nuclear is bad for the planet because of these two events. Plus, wind and solar will save us!
Maybe a veteran of these discussions like you becomes weary of seeing the same points raised again and again, and they start to seem like bs. If p then q. So, if the same old same old, then bs. Got it. Argument from pathos- your "feelings" are that you are "tired" because of the repetition, and this sort of dyspeptic reaction colors your judgement such that the conclusions reached are "bs". I found the article in the OP to be far more persuasive than your ham-handed, dismissive summary FWIW.
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The thing is, this level of horseshit would normally get batted down on this site as ridiculous, but because it's nuclear it's actually taken seriously. If this was about vaccines, say, and we were talking about the cost to benefit of them in terms of the few percentage of folks who will have bad reactions and might even die verse the millions who WILL be saved, people would be ripping into this. Instead, what we have is stuff like pointing out that 1368 died (ignoring the part that says 'many of these deaths may have been caused by the evacuation period being too long, and that residents could have been allowed to return to their homes earlier in order to reduce the total related death toll' as well as ignoring the fact that this happened pretty much all along the east coast of Japan because of that whole tsunami thingy that coincidentally also happened around the same time) as if this proves...something?
What level of horseshit are you talking about? You're mostly ranting and angry at the discussion. Sorry you're having a bad day?

So the evacuation period might have been too long. So what? It was a freaking nuclear accident. Know why they evacuated 100,000 people in the first place? Because they were going to get hurt or killed, because of the nuclear accident. Can't we let this be part of the discussion, neither minimizing nor exaggerating it?

Quote:
Even if 10 times that number died directly from the nuclear power plant the cost to benefit would still be there...even if it cost 10 times the amount to clean up. Especially since we are talking about something that has happened exactly once in Japan since 1966. Know how many people die each year due to fossil fuel use? And, can you guess what the continued use of the stuff is going to cost us all in terms of environmental damage, storms and the like?
It happened exactly one time since 1966? A trillion dollar, 30-year disaster? Should every nation in the world accept one of these in that kind of timeframe? Maybe three or four for the US and China since they are so much bigger? Trillions in downside for everybody, and potentially orders of magnitude more deaths due to radiation if the kind of cloud that flew out to sea and poisoned the poor kids on the Ronald Reagan were to fly over, say, Beijing or Los Angeles? One Fukushima in every European country, every African country, Australia, maybe the Philippines and Venezuela, and so on, all over the world, just one teensy little nuclear accident per country per 75 years or so is what you are willing to accept?

Dude, I get it that the discussion takes place against the backdrop of climate change, and in the context of competing forms of power generation. Instead of just throwing all these things on the table in a sort of a fit, could you maybe pull it together into a coherent argument please?
Quote:
As for wind and solar, yeah, they can't scale up to meet our needs for constant and steady power. And they won't be able to for the foreseeable future. I'm unsure why this is still being brought up. Until and unless we have a way to store that energy, this will always be the case and they will remain niche energy sources. That's important and necessary, but it leaves a large gap. And if we don't have nuclear, then we will have something fossil fuel related to fill that gap. Sure, we are making great strides putting in wind and solar, and we'll continue to do so. But that just means that fossil fuels use goes from 70% (the estimated global fossil fuel production currently) to...what, maybe 60%? If we are lucky? Oh, in some small countries with dense populations that might change, but not in countries like the US...or China. China, of course, IS building more nuclear reactors (how stupid they must be...they should read this thread to find out how stupid that is!), but they are still over 50% fossil fuel for production. The US is a lot less of course...35-40% is what I'm getting from mainly coal and natural gas. Without nukes (which will be diminishing from around 20% to 0 in the next few decades) we could drop that to...30%? Maybe 25%? If we are lucky.
That's good and all, and hopefully that will be enough, but unless there is some major tech breakthrough that's about as good as it's going to get.
Cite? I'm not saying you're wrong, but this all looks like bar napkin calculation to me. Look at what the nuclear expert in the OP's article says about Japan:
Quote:
For years, my concerns about nuclear energy’s cost and safety were always tempered by a growing fear of climate catastrophe. But Fukushima provided a good test of just how important nuclear power was to slowing climate change: In the months after the accident, all nuclear reactors in Japan were shuttered indefinitely, eliminating production of almost all of the country’s carbon-free electricity and about 30 percent of its total electricity production. Naturally, carbon emissions rose, and future emissions-reduction targets were slashed.

Would shutting down plants all over the world lead to similar results? Eight years after Fukushima, that question has been answered. Fewer than 10 of Japan’s 50 reactors have resumed operations, yet the country’s carbon emissions have dropped below their levels before the accident. How? Japan has made significant gains in energy efficiency and solar power. It turns out that relying on nuclear energy is actually a bad strategy for combating climate change: One accident wiped out Japan’s carbon gains. Only a turn to renewables and conservation brought the country back on target.
Why should I trust your raving over the verifiable statements of the OP's nuclear expert?

Quote:
There is, currently, one technology that could scale up to meet our needs for constant and steady production. Nuclear. It could easily be brought up in the US to take that 35-40% load, making us a hell of a lot greener, and by extension along with the new wave of battery powered cars make us greener across the board. But we won't do it because it's too risky and costs too much. But this is the same sort of risk analysis and cost to benefit that anti-vaxxers use, with exactly the same flaws.
Propping up your conclusion like this makes you seem childish. Anti-vaxxers are completely unrelated to the discussion, and I am not just like them. You certainly haven't shown that, or much else about your views on nuclear. Would you please make your point in a more convincing way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ike Witt View Post
The piece doesn't mention things like thorium based reactors which would be much, much safer than current uranium based systems.
I have heard of those, and some other, newer designs as well, but don't know much about them. What makes the thorium reactors so much safer? How are they on cost?
  #24  
Old Yesterday, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Try2B Comprehensive
So let's take a look at Shodan's cite, mmmkay?
Um...no. I don't think we shall. For one, his cite wasn't anything special or definitive, so I'm unsure why we'd simply use that and not, oh, say google it ourselves. A quick Google search turns up...well, a lot of nothing. I did find this Time article interesting (it's dated 2018):

Quote:
The Japanese government has recognized for the first time that a worker at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has died as a result of radiation exposure. The power plant suffered a severe meltdown during the devastating Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011.


The man, who was in his 50s, died of lung cancer as a result of being exposed to radiation, Japanese national broadcaster NHK reports. He had been measuring radiation levels at the plant in the immediate aftermath of the meltdown. It is not known when he died.
On Friday, Japan’s health ministry said the man, who continued working at the plant until 2015, would be eligible for workers’ compensation, according to NHK.
The ministry said he had been exposed to about 195 millisieverts (mSv) of radiation. The International Commission on Radiological Protection recommends avoiding more than 1-20 mSv per year, and according to Reuters, exposure to 100 mSv a year is “the lowest level at which any increase in cancer risk is clearly evident.”
Quote:
Japan’s government has previously given compensation to four other workers who had developed leukemia and thyroid cancers as a result of radiation, but this is the first time a death has been acknowledged. According the BBC, the worker’s lung cancer was diagnosed in 2016.
Now, true, the Japanese government could be hiding the additional 760 (761-1, using your figures ) deaths, or perhaps they are denying them compensation, or maybe they have taken them all out and secretly shot them or something, but this seems to indicate that your math is just a bit off. We are talking about direct radiation deaths here, and, frankly, there weren't very many (or any). Now, you might be talking about potential future deaths, of which there will certainly be a few due to increased chances of cancer. This could, indeed, be 700 or so down the road, though it's all probability as they haven't died as yet. But, perhaps we should do another Google search (instead of relying on the one Shodan provided) to see if, maybe, there are any similar deaths due to coal in Japan? That seems reasonable. Here is an article discussing it:

Quote:
According to an estimate based on a 2017 study by Daniel Jacob, an atmospheric chemistry professor at Harvard University, pollutants emitted from coal-fired power plants currently operating in Japan lead to the premature death of 1,117 people every year. And that number is expected to increase to 1,572 if new power plants come into service.
This is, of course, an ANNUAL (estimated) death toll. So, let's do the math here, shall we? If we assume you are right, and the Japanese government has, indeed, covered up over 700 deaths, and if we assume that this has happened every year since Fukushima (the Japanese government is notorious for such large scale coverups), then it looks to me as if nuclear energy has, at a minimum, killed over 400 less people per year. Of course, this is ridiculous...because, the fact is, it hasn't killed those 700 even one time, let alone each year, while coal in Japan has. And this is the NORMAL operating condition for coal...not a fluke once in a millennium situation such as Fukushima, which was a golden BB wrt an improbable chain of events.


As a poster up thread stated, no one should be criticizing nuclear as long as one coal power plant continues. And, the thing is, Japan has few actual options EXCEPT coal as an alternative to nuclear. If they could have switched to wind and solar (which they have tried) they would have, since they get a lot of shit about them moving back towards coal...and rightfully so. I've actually heard, though I can't be bothered to look it up, that they are starting to rethink their move away from nuclear...quietly, of course. Maybe that's true, and maybe it's something I heard but isn't backed up by facts. But since we are talking about facts, your extrapolation of deaths from a Wiki article is...well, wrong. And, seriously man, it's trivially easy to have looked this up for yourself. You can, of course, find articles that support some huge death toll from nuclear radiation for Fukushima...in the same way you could find articles supporting an anti-vaxx stance, or some other CT on the internet.

Quote:
Cite? I'm not saying you're wrong, but this all looks like bar napkin calculation to me. Look at what the nuclear expert in the OP's article says about Japan:
Perhaps if you read it closer it wouldnt' have been raving? I wasn't talking about Japan, but the US. In the US, we have 20% of our power production done by nuclear. So, replacing that means...well, 20% more power from somewhere needed. I can sort of do this calculation in my head, but if you want me to go through it I can. I'm positing there that in the next few decades, with the current trajectory, we won't have any nuclear plants left. Again, this seems fairly simple...we aren't making new ones, ones currently being used are aging and will eventually go to end of life and be shut down...something has to replace them. I'm saying I HOPE that this would be wind and solar, but it can't possibly replace all of it because, again, wind and solar don't produce energy consistently as we need it too. Perhaps in that time frame large scale batteries or some other magic tech will come along, but today it can't. Now, if you need cites for this...well, no, I don't think I'm going to do the prove water is wet thingy here. What you cited from the expert doesn't do anything at all to address what my actual point was, and if you don't want to trust a ranter on the internet, that's fine.

No, I wasn't having a bad day, and yeah, I'm kind of tired of this. It gets old seeing the same things brought up over and over. There are real, solid arguments against nuclear. Cost is the best one. But using the cost of cleanup for a one-off disaster? Or trying to conflate the deaths to some ridiculous level that STILL doesn't come close to the regular operating costs in terms of death to the alternative that is actually in use and will be for the foreseeable future? Basically, not even sure why you bother with those silly arguments...or really any. Your side won! Rejoice in your victory! Your side has saved us all from the evils and massive danger of nuclear energy! Go team!
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  #25  
Old Yesterday, 11:13 PM
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I've made this argument a few times. It's usually been ignored as "futuristic thinking" even though the reality on the ground is it's happening.

Look beyond the past just a little bit. Stop arguing over exactly how many people were killed, or what the risks of nuclear power actually are or might be.

It's actually not relevant.

As an engineering optimization problem, renewables are outright winners.

Why is this? The reason is that without the risk of a catastrophic release of fission products, you need a fraction of the safety inspections or paperwork or component by component analysis and justification. Solar panels and their associated electrical systems do need some level of engineering to them, but they can be mass manufactured by automated systems and built as self-contained modular units that require minimal skill or labor to install. It's possible to optimize every single penny out of the production and installation pipeline because if you save a penny and later something goes wrong, the primary risk is just early failure of the device. No release of fission products, no huge fire, just the solar panel or inverter or battery bricks itself. Or, at worst, catches fire, but you enclose the fireprone components in metal boxes (this is why Tesla battery installations are separate metal cabinets - it limits fires to one box destroyed) and greatly limit the damage.

There's also other tricks - wind turbines don't seem to be cost optimized to shave every penny, instead, modern turbines are just much, much bigger, so that all the expensive equipment they use generates more energy for the capital cost.

As a side note, this also applies to comparing renewables to fossil fuels. With renewables, once a site is selected and bought and prepared, costs remain very consistent forever. Components need to be replaced as they fail, and there are warranties, but that's it. No difficult effort involving geologists and special equipment for fracking the next well site as you slowly burn all the easy to access fossil fuels and have to keep drilling in ever more difficult and technically complex areas. Also, with renewables the primary hazard is just electrical fires and falls, things that are far easier to prevent than the dangers involved with storage/handling of massive amounts of flammable liquids and gasses.

A wind farm or solar park will continue to produce as long as the failed modules are periodically replaced. Also, the maintenance tasks are very much automatable.

Last edited by SamuelA; Yesterday at 11:17 PM.
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Old Yesterday, 11:20 PM
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So, renewables are going to keep getting cheaper over time. There are additional levels of automation that haven't been done yet - fully automated delivery, installation, manufacturing, and mining isn't here yet but it will be. I think there is at least another 10x worth of cost reduction in renewables that is feasible with the latest advances in machine learning/robotics. (once these advances are pushed to production software systems and mass deployed, automating most of the global mining/manufacturing/transport/warehousing/installation/maintenence). Oil and gas and nuclear do not benefit as much from these advances in automation because each well site is unique and because robotic systems won't be perfectly reliable and thus trustworthy enough to maintain and run a nuclear reactor.
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Old Today, 11:58 AM
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Except you haven't solved the key issue, that being that both wind and solar are variable while our requirements are for steady power 24/7/365. So, you are still going to need something to do that and to fill in the gaps and maintain the load. Which, if you are discounting nuclear, means fossil fuels. As long as you and everyone accepts that this is the reality, then sure...we should be building wind and solar. I think you are handwaving away some of the costs, as there is maintenance on both systems that will be ongoing, and with solar there is degradation of the panels over time and with wind there is degradation of the turbines, both systems will need constant maintenance and down cycles, and solar is pretty land intensive whether we are talking a distributive system or a central one. But none of that is insurmountable....it's just more than you are portraying it to be in your apples to orangutans comparison between wind/solar and nuclear. There really is no comparison at this time because of what I said in the first sentence...so, that's where you need to put your mad engineering skills, not to the back end. Until and unless that changes, nuclear can only be compared to the fossil fuel power generation systems, because only they can meet the requirement. Maybe down the line Tesla or someone else will be able to provide city scale battery systems that can keep an entire city running 24/7/365 with stored energy from wind and solar, but that doesn't exist today and isn't likely to do so for decades if not longer wrt scaling it to every city and town and community even in the US, let alone world wide. When you see LA, say, or New York or London with such a system then you can say we might be 10 years or so away from such a system.


Hopefully we'll have that sort of time to give into this irrational fear of nuclear and play along hoping for technical solutions to make wind and solar meet our critical needs. We shall see. And with that, I think I'm out of here unless something new or interesting pops up. Ado.
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Old Today, 12:23 PM
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Except you haven't solved the key issue, that being that both wind and solar are variable while our requirements are for steady power 24/7/365. So, you are still going to need something to do that and to fill in the gaps and maintain the load. Which, if you are discounting nuclear, means fossil fuels. As long as you and everyone accepts that this is the reality, then sure...we should be building wind and solar.
Nuclear...also has this problem. When you say "base load" what you don't realize is that with enough wind, geographically spread out, the probability that all wind everywhere is 0 is also 0. There will be some base supply of power. The flaw with renewables and nuclear is that neither is dispatch-able.

The reason is that with nuclear, the economics require that each operating reactor be running at as close to 100% power as possible all of the time. In fact, there are some technical limitations that prevent the turbines from running below 50% power or so - this is the reason why most nuclear plants can't generate their own backup power with reactor heated steam.

So, practical nuclear installations will have no dispatch-able power to offer. Whenever the power grid has a large increase in demand, something else has to make up the difference.

Obviously, as you note, batteries are so expensive that they can really only be sized to meet "short tail" requirements - battery pack facilities need to be sized to where they are discharging a significant amount of their capacity to the grid at a premium price basically every day.

What is the long term solution? Well, fossil fuels are a great way to store very large quantities of energy in high density, liquid forms. One option would be to use excess solar + wind energy to convert atmospheric C02 back to methane or methanol. The trouble with this is the first part, concentrating the CO2, is very energy intensive.

Another is demand shaping. The so-called "smart grid".

Every time there is a sudden demand for electricity, in reality the cost to most users is low if they don't get all the energy they demand at that instant. Most residential and commercial demand is for air conditioning, which can be slowed or paused. Factories that are robotic can pause many operations until more power is available. Aluminum electrolysis plants can in principle reduce power (they need to keep the metal molten but they don't have to electrolyze at full speed). Electric cars can pause recharging.

These days, large farms of computer chips being used for machine learning runs can also be paused or downclocked, they are presumably going to be an increasing part of the energy grid.

Anyways, with a smart grid where pricing is variable and users have equipment able to reduce energy consumption when the pricing is high, it would be possible to use mostly renewables. Obviously, data centers handling economically valuable real time transactions (real time stores, stock trading) and hospitals would all need backup generators.
  #29  
Old Today, 01:43 PM
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Except you haven't solved the key issue, that being that both wind and solar are variable while our requirements are for steady power 24/7/365. So, you are still going to need something to do that and to fill in the gaps and maintain the load. Which, if you are discounting nuclear, means fossil fuels.
So much for giving the victory to others..

In any case, I'm not discounting nuclear, but there are very good reasons and evidence to report that even with current technology we can use both solar and wind to deal with the issue.

https://www.theguardian.com/environm...-united-states
Quote:
With this information, the researchers considered two scenarios. In scenario 1, they imagined wind and solar installations that would be sufficient to supply 100% of the US electrical needs. In the second scenario, the installations would be over-designed; capable of providing 150% of the total U.S. electrical need. But the authors recognize that just because a solar panel or a wind turbine can provide all our energy, it doesn’t mean that will happen in reality. It goes back to the prior discussion that sometimes the wind just doesn’t blow, and sometimes the sun isn’t shining.
Important to notice here is that I have seen many times criticism that claims that researchers are not seeing the limitations (sun does not shine all the time, wind does not blow all the time, etc) when in reality they do.

Quote:
With these two scenarios, the authors then considered different mixes of power, from all solar to all wind. They also included the effect of aggregation area, that is, what sized regions are used to generate power. Is your power coming from wind and solar in your neighborhood, your city, your state or your region?

The authors found that with 100% power capacity and no mechanism to store energy, a wind-heavy portfolio is best (about 75% wind, 25% solar) and using large aggregate regions is optimal. It is possible to supply about 75-80% of US electrical needs. If the system were designed with excess capacity (the 150% case), the US could meet about 90% of its needs with wind and solar power.

The authors recognized that sometimes these systems generate too much power to be used. Under this situation, you could store the energy for later use. Imagine a solar panel generating excess energy during the day and able to store that power for night use. Power can be stored in several ways, for example in batteries or by pumping water into elevated tanks and then letting the water fall at night and turn a turbine.

The authors modified their study to allow up to 12 hours of US energy storage. They then found that the 100% capacity system fared even better (about 90% of the country’s energy) and the optimal balance was now more solar (approximately 70% solar and 30% wind). For the over-capacity system, the authors found that virtually all the country’s power needs could be met with wind, solar, and storage.

This study considered only wind and solar. If other sources, such as hydroelectricity, biofuels, or even nuclear power were added, it would be relatively straightforward to reach 100% clean energy. Furthermore, people are learning to use energy more wisely, either by using more efficient products or purchasing electricity during off-peak hours. These behavioral changes can also help us reach a 100% clean energy target.

The point is, the use of clean energy to power an entire country (or a group of countries) is achievable. It’s no longer viable to say “we can’t.”
So, the point I made many times before stands, we can do it easily with nuclear on the mix* but doing so with other sources is less easy but not impossible at all.



*(Hence why I do support standardization and government deployment of nuclear as free enterprise is dropping the ball, just like vaccines** are seen now many times as a loss by the pharmaceutical industry now.)






** And really, pharmaceutical companies are doing such dick moves because of economics, but it would be an even bigger dick move if they claimed that they are dropping vaccines because of what antivaxxeers are doing. And as an aside, it has been very insulting from you to equate anti-vaxxers with the ones opposing nuclear power, they are loopy of course; but they have very plausible reasons for their opposition and not completely and absolutely insane ones like the anti-vaxxers do.
  #30  
Old Today, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by GIGObuster View Post
So, the point I made many times before stands, we can do it easily with nuclear on the mix* but doing so with other sources is less easy but not impossible at all.
Gigo, how many years do you think we are from mass deployment of robotic systems able to do any repetitive task with a reliably measurable short-term goal*?

With such systems, mass deployment to 100% capacity would just be a matter of time.

*I can define this pretty exactly if you need
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Old Today, 02:44 PM
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Remember, robotic workers do not make nuclear cheap or easy - they don't remove the need for government inspections or vast piles of paperwork or planning. Or very complex engineering work to design reactors.

While solar installations and battery installations in particular can be made very cost effective with robotics. The very linear rows of panels or battery packs make it easy for a robotic system to roll up and down the rows. The modular nature of each panel, inverter pack, or battery box means that modular maintenance is possible. Government inspections are much cheaper - for a given site, if the government approves N panels using a particular solution, N+1 is just a rubber stamp. (the automated system doesn't diagnose like a human technician does - each node is self-diagnosing and also able to diagnose faults in neighboring nodes. For example, a breaker box node can tell a connected inverter node is faulty because no current is flowing from it. Once a fault is identified, a robot just goes and yanks the entire faulty module for recycling/refurbishment by other robots in a facility elsewhere)
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Old Today, 03:04 PM
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One other point on grid responsiveness is that hydroelectric is very responsive, very cheap, and green. There's a maximum amount of energy you can get out of any given facility over the course of a year or so, but that amount of energy can be distributed during the year in many different ways. If smart metering can get the variation in demand below the total averaged output of hydro plants, then the hydro plants can take it the rest of the way.

The biggest catch is that, due to global warming, there are a lot of places where we don't really know what that maximum yearly amount of energy is. We used to know, based on past history, but now rainfall patterns are different from what they used to be.
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Old Today, 03:41 PM
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One other point on grid responsiveness is that hydroelectric is very responsive, very cheap, and green. There's a maximum amount of energy you can get out of any given facility over the course of a year or so, but that amount of energy can be distributed during the year in many different ways. If smart metering can get the variation in demand below the total averaged output of hydro plants, then the hydro plants can take it the rest of the way.

The biggest catch is that, due to global warming, there are a lot of places where we don't really know what that maximum yearly amount of energy is. We used to know, based on past history, but now rainfall patterns are different from what they used to be.
Hydro also doesn't scale with population or industrial growth. The closest tech equivalent is I think flow batteries, where tanks of somewhat toxic chemicals are serving the same purpose, just using a different mechanism and with higher density. Obviously, flow batteries can be built anywhere in any quantity, so long as the materials used to make the liquid reagents are available at a economical prices.

While leaks of toxic chemicals aren't great, in principle, flow batteries can be recycled forever, especially since they are kept in central locations.
  #34  
Old Today, 04:29 PM
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Hydro also doesn't scale with population or industrial growth.
Pumped hydro can be built in places where normal hydro would not. There are still limits, but the water needs are lower than most dams.

Personally, I think the argument is over: renewables have won already. We aren't getting more coal plants, and we aren't getting more nuclear plants. Natural gas will survive for a while but it'll lose the cost war against renewables.

For my money, the reason isn't just cost, but capital cost. And specifically, the vast cost overruns that we see in $B+ projects.

When a nuclear project fails, you get nothing. You get less than nothing, actually--you get an abandoned structure that now has to be dismantled. A solar or wind farm project (already less likely to have an overrun) doesn't have the same problem. You might get fewer panels or turbines out of it, but it still works.

Instead of nuclear, we should be building out the grid, with massive transcontinental DC links. As you note elsewhere, it's always blowing somewhere. And while the sun does sometimes set on the US empire, having the entire latitude of the US available broadens the times of day in which solar is producing, as well as compensating for cloud cover.
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