Alternative Energy Sources discussion

Terry Oxandale

Skinny Man
I think this is more an "end game" solution than what we are capable of doing in a large-scale, small participant industry we have today. I think the transitional state to this solution will be distributed batteries and solar, added to the current wind capability. I think at some point that will play out into the fission solution (if that ever happens in my lifetime).
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
I'm pro nuke.

Nukes AREN'T the answer because of cost. On shore wind, coal, LNG, hdyro, all much cheaper and WAY cheaper if you include shutdown costs.

Removing some of the reguatory barriers on nuke construction and decommisioning would help with costs, but not enough to make them work.

There is a reason almost all Western countries are moving away from nukes, and it isn't Fukushima. It is good old market forces.
 
Removing some of the regulatory barriers on nuke construction and decommissioning would help with costs, but not enough to make them work.
Jeff, I realize the answer to this question is probably more complex than a simple answer via an internet forum can facilitate but can you elaborate?

If I take the decommissioning costs out (which I realize are massive) and the waste problem out (which is huge) what are the key drivers of cost? I have seen a few articles on new Nuke plants which we have not been able to build due to regulatory roadblocks they appear, albeit via an article, something that is better to run. Is it heavy labor cost to operate? Fuel costs? All of the above?

Genuinely interested, thank you
 
Would be interesting to know more about the process Dr James Tour mentions in his video here

 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
Jeff, I realize the answer to this question is probably more complex than a simple answer via an internet forum can facilitate but can you elaborate?

If I take the decommissioning costs out (which I realize are massive) and the waste problem out (which is huge) what are the key drivers of cost? I have seen a few articles on new Nuke plants which we have not been able to build due to regulatory roadblocks they appear, albeit via an article, something that is better to run. Is it heavy labor cost to operate? Fuel costs? All of the above?

Genuinely interested, thank you
No worries. A nuke plant even putting aside regulatory costs is just big and complicated and very very expensive. Plus, off shore wind, on shore wind and solar cost per kW hour is dropping.

I can't say I know for sure the specifics other than what I state above -- renewables cost going down, nuke staying the same. China is probably the best answer/example. Link below. There AREN'T regulatory issues with nuke plants in China and yet the Chinese have slowed their nuke builds and increased renewables. That suggests strongly to me that even without the regulatory costs the cost of nuke is too high versus other sources.

I fully agree you need a mixed grid. You need some base from coal, LNG or nuke. And I'm fully behind clean coal and clean LNG. But I'm not anti-renewable and hydro/wind/solar will only increase as generation gets cheaper, interconnects get better, and storage capacity gets better.
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
Just to expound, solar and wind are relatively easy to install. Hydro a bit more complex (check out the Muskrat Falls disaster in Labrador!). Wind is really split into two types for cost purposes - -off shore is expensive, on shore much less so.

Wind and hydro have permitting and regulatory issues as well. The problem with wind and hydro is that you typically have to build a long transmission line usually HVDC, to connect the generation to where the people are. In the US those lines are very hard to permit. Read "Superpower" about MIke Skelly and the "Clean Line" or the NOrthern Pass saga where a fully permitted ready to go project from Hydro Quebec to Eversource in New Hampshire to bring cheap clean hydro power to Boston was killed by a small siting commission in NH.

It is complex as you state but I maintain it is market forces based on cost that are driving the "death" of nuclear and not really anything else.
 

Howard Jones

Supporter
The wind doesn't stop blowing for nukes and the sun shines 24 hours a day for nukes. Take out the 50% of the time production cost for solar and what do you have? What are the costs of the system you have to run 12 hours a day as an off-production hours replacement? When it comes to wind, what are the costs of the system you will need to build to replace production when the wind doesn't blow?

Then there are footprint questions. Per megawatt how big does your wind farm need to be? Think about that one. You have to double the square miles of the wind farm to double production. How big does a 100 MW farm need to be? 100 SQUARE MILES !!!! Have you factored in land costs and alternate land use? More than 2250 square MILES to replace Diablo Canyon


A typical modest size nuke, 100-500MW, can be placed on a few acres and can be doubled or even multiplied by many times in output with additional reactors built on nearly the same plot of land. Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California generates 2250 MW on 12 acres!


Solar farm size?

The Gemini Solar Farm is a $1 billion project currently under construction in the Moapa desert, outside Las Vegas.

The project will take advantage of the plentiful Nevada sunshine to generate 690 MW of electricity, which is enough to power 260,000 homes. It will cover an area of 7,100 acres, or as much as 5,370 football fields

It also includes large solar batteries that can store 1,400 MWh of energy to help provide power after dark, when the power is needed most.

Once completed, it will become the largest solar farm in the US - but still way smaller than the biggest solar farm. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to see just yet - construction is scheduled to commence in 2021.

To equal Diablo Canyons 12 acres it would need to be just a bit less than 25,000 acres AND IT DOESNT MAKE ANY POWER 1/2 of the time!

You kinda forgot to factor in those costs....................so I'd figured I'll help you with em.

Don't forget the other system you need to make power at night and when the wind doesn't blow.....................Factor that!
 

Howard Jones

Supporter
Sorry I missed the bit about the batteries and night production. SO........don't forget the batteries and what to do with the waste generated from their production as well as the solar panels.
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
Wrong. Swedes? Shutting down nukes. Germany? Same. Brits and Germans? Off shore wind.

You didn't even read that article:

Nuclear plant construction is currently underway in only three EU member states – Finland, France and Slovakia. These construction projects have all experienced cost overruns and delays. Further new units likely to come online before 2030 are outlined in the table below. The long-term future of nuclear power in the EU is likely to depend on the outcome of these projects, which are relatively few in number – in total less than planned in Russia.
 

Jeff Young

GT40s Supporter
What is it with the American "Conservative" fascination with shitting on renewables? I'm pro nuke, pro clean coal, realize a balanced grid is the solution. I don't spew nonsense anti-renewable talking points.

Yes, of course, te size of a windfarm or a solar farm contributes to its cost. Duh. Guess what the US has a lot of? EMPTY SPACES.

And 90% of what you posted is simply irrelevant. Land costs are considered in the per kW hour comparison -- and it is that comparison that is all that matters. Solar and wind keep getting cheaper. Nuke doesn't.

Market forces are driving this. It's that simple. Like I said above, if nukes were truly competitive from a cost perspective, the Chinese would be building tons of them. They are going the opposite direction.
 
One thing I havnt heard on the nuke side.Sure you can build it on 12 acres but I believe you need quite a water source to cool it.Something like a major river ocean or gulf. That kind of limits nuke sites.Please correct me if Im wrong but all the plants I remember have been on a major water(cooling) source.IE Vermont Yankee on Conneticut river.I beleive theres one in Fl on the gulf. The manatees go there to get warm in the winter.
Roger on the market.
 
What is it with the..... fascination with shitting on renewables?
My adjustment above

I don't really understand the fascination with thinking anything "new" or different is terrible; it continues to seem odd to me that people who enjoy engineering and building cars think that new types of technology is bad. Hydro has been around forever, is a "renewable" and has worked pretty well...

Nobody said wind or solar was perfect, everything has a trade off; it should be about balancing trade-offs. I remember a few decades ago when we focused on getting off our dependence on foreign oil, doesn't having some contribution via renewable help us? Fracking was another contributor to getting off foreign oil which I thought was positive (had a bit of environmental impact).

I agree that a balanced energy grid is a good thing. It continues to be clear that multiple different types of energy generation is a good thing similar to why buying a basket of stocks is better than going all in one one for an investment strategy.

There are some new technologies I am excited to see like Molten Salt energy storage that can support further exploitation of multiple energy generation capabilities like solar and wind. I also would be thrilled to see the US build some of the new and smaller nuclear plants and exploit the new types of fuel that has been developed.
 
One thing I havnt heard on the nuke side.Sure you can build it on 12 acres but I believe you need quite a water source to cool it.Something like a major river ocean or gulf. That kind of limits nuke sites.Please correct me if Im wrong but all the plants I remember have been on a major water(cooling) source.IE Vermont Yankee on Conneticut river.I beleive theres one in Fl on the gulf. The manatees go there to get warm in the winter.
Roger on the market.
I remember reading about these new types of plants but I don't remember if the cooling requirements change although I would assume they would.
 

Howard Jones

Supporter
The current thinking on nuke cooling is to position the plant below (in elevation) to a constant water source such as a river flowing from mountain sources or reservoirs. Then include cooling schemes that ensure water flow cooling availability using non electrically actuated failsafe mechanical systems to provide emergency coolant flow. This would provide adequate time to manually shut down a reactor even if the plant has lost electrical power.

Positioning plants below current damns and using hydro production outflows is one idea of a dual-use power production facility.

The previous methods used either grid-supplied or plant-produced electrical power to control coolant systems and when electrical power was lost "in house" emergency cooling was interrupted. Such failsafe mechanical systems would look something like a counterweighted normally open (held closed by the presence of normal electrical power supplies) safety valve that opens and supply water flow to coolant systems if emergency conditions, such as power loss, occur.

In many ways, I agree with most of the others in that a varied, wide range of sources is necessary for a reliable continuously available supply of low-cost electrical power.

In Europe, there is a lot of putting all your eggs in one basket thinking brought on by a complete rejection of current power sources such as coal, gas, and other forms of fossil fuels. This thinking is beginning to result in a realization that conservation efforts are going to fall short and each country will begin to be forced to resort to adding more electrical energy production capacity than previously believed to be economically competitive.

New nukes are being planned and constructed, as well as other systems such as wind farms and solar. My point is as the problems of all systems become more understood by the public, land use, cost, availability, Nukes will become more attractive. Especially modern newly designed plants that are many multiples safer than 40-year-old designs or even worse completely unsafe soviet style plants.

"What is it with the American "Conservative" fascination with shitting on renewables?"

Well, that's a shitty thing to say!

I don't believe that I have shit on anything. I have simply added my opinion that nuclear power production can easily be safe, utilize a small footprint, afford a cost-effective source of continuous electrical power that is unaffected by weather events such as those, that happened in Texas this last winter.

My question is why does the left hate nuclear power so much, especially when it ticks all their boxes. Low (nearly zero) carbon emissions, unobtrusive sites, competitive electrical rates, far better land-use policy, and with modern designs, very high levels of safety. Even the waste question is a good comparison for nuclear power. Nearly all the waste can be stored in very small, isolated locations in comparison to the large footprint needed for disposal and reclamation sites associated with battery and other waste produced from the electrical systems used to produce wind turbines. Not to mention the mining requirements in both cases. The enormous size of the mining impact required for battery production alone dwarfs the needs of nuclear fuels mining.

In my view, it's all about energy density, comparative land use, end-user cost, and the waste volume created by the various forms of energy production. A hard fair look at the question really supports an even-handed comparison that in the end favors nuclear power.
 
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