Green, ethical, energy issues in the news

edited 12 July 2021 at 10:38AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
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  • PiddlesPiddles Forumite
    123 Posts
    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    Perhaps the Republican side of the US is starting to crack?

    Republican Politicians May Start Accepting Climate Change
    only 13% accepted the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans were the primary cause
    For goodness sake.....

    I wonder what the equivalent number is for Europe, India and China before I get too judgemental.
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    Hexane wrote: »
    Windscale, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 1, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 2, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 3, and Chernobyl all emitted combustion pollution. Three Mile Island very nearly did.

    All those accidents released what amount of combustion?
    Maybe the equivalent of Grenfell?
    Basically nowt and megnitudes less than burning coal gas or biomass
    Probably magnitudes less than cooking your dinner and burning your toast (scaled up to 67 million people)
    Fifty new nuclear reactors?!? Just for this country? Just for heating?!? :eek: I don't like those odds.

    The odds are pretty good

    Also heat reactors are different
    You want to lose heat from the reactor
    Low temp low pressure and a pool of water to absorb any decay heat

    Plus those 50 reactors would be replacing 40 million gas boilers, 40 million gas boilers cause a lot of pollution and also home fires etc that kill people. Plus gas is expensive nuclear heat might cost as little as 1/3rd of natural gas

    Also 50 reactors is just an empty statement. What I mean to say is we need about 100GW of heat.
    We could provide that with one massive (in power not size) 100GW reactor or 1,000 X 100MW reactors. And just for reference the dual reactor hoc is about 9GW thermal so we would need roughly 10 of those.
    As for the cost, you're just moving it around. A boiler or a heat pump is a moderately expensive piece of machinery that needs a qualified technician to install it, and yearly servicing. A nuclear reactor is an extremely expensive piece of machinery that requires god knows what to install it, and highly qualified personnel to monitor and maintain it around the clock. You then also need installation and maintenance of the many miles of pipes and pumps and controls between your reactor plant and each individual dwelling.

    HPC is what £20 billion for 9GW of thermal heat?
    But we don't need to generate electricity the plant would be about 1/3rd as big/complex so about 1/3rd the cost so you are looking at
    £6-7 billion for 9GW of heat. Half that price if build times reduce from 10 years to 3.5 years (remember about 2/3rds of the bits needed for electricity generation are not needed.
    9GW of heat is enough for about 4.5 million homes. Half that price again if government financed at 2% rather than EDF at 9%
    What does it cost to just buy and install 4.5 million boilers?
    Cost me £3k to buy and install a boiler that's £13.5 billion for 4.5 million boilers or £45 billion for 4.5 million heat pumps (assuming £10k a heat pump average)

    Overall it's very likely to be cheaper than natural gas fired boilers on a capital cost basis

    The cost and complexity of piping energy via hot water won't be difficult large scale distributed heating grids exist. Paris Iceland Norway Finland etc
    Funny how at Windscale, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 1, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 2, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 3, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, it was precisely that little 30-40% of bits and bobs that had the problem...

    Fukushima was high temp high pressure reactor
    A pool type heat reactor would be low temp low pressure. Possibly even atmospheric pressure and 90 centigrade. The same could not happen in that design

    The problem with electricity reactors is you need a high temp pressure vessel to generate high temp high pressure heat and steam. You don't need that if you are doing heat only. District heating would be 90 centigrade and a few bars pressure. More or less what the pope's on your home are



    But as I keep saying
    This is an actual solution that can fully decarb heat
    The alternative are heat pumps backed up by biomass for windless winter days
    Much more expensive and dirty and slow and requires huge numbers of power stations sottond mostly idle but still need to be constructed maintained and paid for

    You could decarb the whole UK low temp heating needs in less than 10 years. 2030 would be sufficient. There is no other way to do it that quickly that cleanly that fully that affordably


    BTW I don't think this is at all likely
    As you say a nuclear reactor is big and expensive £3 billion for 5GWt
    A heat pump is relatively cheap £10k a property
    It doesn't matter (but should) that you'd need 2.5 million heat pumps at £25 billion Vs the £3 billion for the reactor.
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    joefizz wrote: »
    I was in Oak Ridge a couple of weeks ago. It was a surprise to me that for the last 20 years or so american nuclear reactors have been powered by decommissioned soviet nuclear warheads.
    Apparently theres a global shortage of enriched uranium and has been for a while....
    Difficult to magic 50 nuclear reactors out of thin air.

    Oh good luck with the non russian breeder reactors which dont really exist, moon dust etc etc etc.

    5 years ago I stayed in a really good really cheap hotel in Nebraska during a flood. I was really surprised even with the river nearby flooding that the hotel was so cheap and almost empty (couple of national guard humvees in the parking lot).
    I asked at reception why it was and they said they were within the minimum safe distance from the cooling pools containing the spent nuclear fuel, just in case the river went over the levees surrounding the plants. I really should pay more attention to local radio news whilst travelling...
    They were 10cm of flood water away from any one of the list up above.

    Its not an isolated case either.


    Theres a good documentary on windscale on youtube, the 70s/80s one not the later one. At some point someone in the British government thought an air cooled nuclear reactor was a good idea....
    ..to be fair to them at the time probably nobody knew it wasnt a good idea...
    ...everything is a good idea, right up until the time it isnt...



    There are lots of nukes that can and should go to power generation
    The idea that uranium mining is insufficient is wrong, people won't mine uranium to not sell it
    The Russian and American nukes displace the need to mine additional uranium they are not an indication of lack of available uranium resources

    Also a heat reactor would produce 3 x the energy per unit of uranium than an electricity reactor because electricity reactors are about 35% efficient while a heat reactor would be 99.9% efficient

    Also nuclear 'waste' could just be stored in the thermal mass of the pools and contribute to heating for decades so it goes from being 'waste' to being free additional fuel


    But more importantly
    What's the plan for decarbonisation of heating?
    Right now it seems to be heat pumps plus lots of wind power hope...a lot of hope
    Because what do you do in the winter when you have a windless week?
    How do you power the heat pumps? You fires up NG stations or dirty biomass??
    And how does the nation pay for the £400 billion needed to replace 40 million gas boilers with 40 million heat pumps? Heat pumps that last about 15 years before another £400 billion?
    The heat reactors would last a hundred years

    Oh also I'm in favour of the UK Germany and France closing all their remaining electricity reactors and building/converting them to heat reactors then build mass wind farms for electricity.
    That would free up uranium for 1,500 TWh of heating which is sufficient for the UK/France/Germany to decarb heating with nuclear (without actually using any more uranium than is used today and in safer reactors too (even though the existing ones are pretty dam safe)

    As you can see .not pro nuclear for the sake of it
    But nuclear for heating makes a lot of sense
    Less so for electricity generation when offshore wind (with CCGT backup) is able to do it at a comparable or lower cost
  • edited 27 July 2019 at 8:17PM
    GreatApeGreatApe
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    edited 27 July 2019 at 8:17PM
    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    Kinda how I feel about nuclear, it is incredibly safe (no sarcasm) right up till it isn't.

    When I discuss (argue unpleasantly) with those who are extremely pro-nuclear*, they often explain (having no escape route on costs now) that nuclear is only really expensive because of the amount of health and safety red tape that now exists ......... coz that's proved unnecessary?

    *Need to distinguish between the rational supporters (who I hope to belong to) who see nuclear as a low carbon technology, cleaner than coal (even including the problems), that should be included in thoughts, discussions and options.

    But, having considered it, I feel the rational supporters, now need to accept that the safety and cost issues now make it an unnecessary and unacceptable part of the solution, simply because RE and RE & storage is a better, cheaper, safer and cleaner option.

    I tend to refer to the remaining supporters as the NAACB (nuclear at any cost brigade), since the alternatives are cheaper (and safer).


    Just saw this article, and thought I'd tag it in, as it relates to recent comments.

    Perhaps the Republican side of the US is starting to crack?

    Republican Politicians May Start Accepting Climate Change



    Nuclear offers the possibility of 100% decarb of the grid and can be done very rapidly (despite the long build times) while wind/solar so far does not offer a 100% solution and is very slow (Germany will have spent 27 years (2003-2030) and will still end up with a grid that is 35% fossil by 2030 so as you can see very slow....27 years and still a major FF user in its grid (oh I picked 2003 as a 'start' date as in 2003 German had installed a combined >10GW of solar/wind capacity)

    Anyway despite what I say I am anti new nuclear electricity because I'm fine with 80% clean 20% NG grid which a wind heavy plus lots of interconntors can achieve and I see and understand that wind has support so we can actually get towards 80/20 with wind/NG while I do not think we could get to 80/20 with nuclear/NG not because it isn't possible but simply because there is no will for that

    However nuclear power is a good idea for decarbing heating
    Like I said close all of the nukes in France/UK/Germany and use the uranium for heating instead.
    550TWh of nuclear electricity lost but 1,500 TWh of clean non FF heat gained.
    Uranium solves heating and possibly for a lot cheaper and better than mass heat pump deployment

    Uranium solves heating
    Wind farms, interconnectors, hydropower, PV, backup CCGT/biomass, solves electricity
    BEV solve transport

    There you go a full solution to a very deep decarb



    Peak UK winter electricity demand
    Nuclear heating....peak electricity demand something like 45GW with about 300TWh annual demand
    Heat pumps & resistance heaters....peak electricity demand something like ...145GW?? And 600TWh annual demand
  • zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    Hexane wrote: »
    Windscale, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 1, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 2, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 3, and Chernobyl all emitted combustion pollution. Three Mile Island very nearly did.

    Fifty new nuclear reactors?!? Just for this country? Just for heating?!? :eek: I don't like those odds.

    As for the cost, you're just moving it around. A boiler or a heat pump is a moderately expensive piece of machinery that needs a qualified technician to install it, and yearly servicing. A nuclear reactor is an extremely expensive piece of machinery that requires god knows what to install it, and highly qualified personnel to monitor and maintain it around the clock. You then also need installation and maintenance of the many miles of pipes and pumps and controls between your reactor plant and each individual dwelling.

    Funny how at Windscale, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 1, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 2, Fukushima Daiichi reactor 3, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, it was precisely that little 30-40% of bits and bobs that had the problem...
    Hi


    I hope it's becoming crystal clear why the majority totally ignore the posts made by that profile - they're simply designed to create argument on the thread .. pro nuclear, anti nuclear, pro coal, anti coal, pro gas, anti wind, pro wind, anti tidal, anti microgeneration, very anti-microgeneration and even more very microgeneration!! .. of course, there's always the argument that France, Germany, Sweden, USA, Norway etc all have better strategies than the UK and the ad nauseam argument that we could close down UK nuclear & FF capacity, build interconnectors to absolutely everywhere (but mainly France!) and have a guaranteed one way flow of energy whenever the UK demands it .... great idea, isn't it? - wonder where the flaw may be in that one? ... :wall:

    Not been following the latest thought processes, but can't miss quoted inclusions & replies, so it looks like someone's read-up on co-generation & district heating and mistakenly applied the theory to establishing a national scheme using modular nuclear reactors on a population centre distributed basis .... great idea if you're looking to create the largest security headache ever devised and are willing to guaranty funding levels through political mandate, but herein lies the problem .. political will and public support wouldn't be there, so it wouldn't happen, legions of NIMBYs on a scale likely never seen before would certainly see this as being a threat to sink their teeth into ...

    The idea behind SMRs isn't to allow distributed nuclear generation to facilitate a nationwide CHP solution, it's simply to provide the ability to build modular units on a semi-production line basis (approx 18 months to build) which can be shipped to various demand scaleable sites designed to operate multiple SMRs (according to demand requirements) and therefore be able to build & commission those sites in a fraction of the time of large-scale reactor builds ... effectively this results in plant locations which would (for safety reasons) be as remote from centres of population as is current practice, leaving the question of CHP heat distribution to revolve around distance, cost & engineering practicality of what would effectively be a national pumped heat-main/hot water grid comprising both feed & return to every connected household ... all in all, a pretty expensive endeavour with considerable risk ...

    Likelihood of nuclear CHP in the UK?
    - for local provision within a few miles of a plant ... plausible, but highly limited in scope ..
    - for a national heat main grid ... pretty much zero considering what would be involved!


    In summary, don't get too excited ... ;)

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    France throws away some 750 TWh of heat annually into the sea and rivers from her nuclear power stations

    If she diverted that to distributed heating grids it would be enough to decarb all of France's space and water heating needs with just the waste heat

    Heating demand is probably around 500TWh in France so you don't even need to convert all the nukes to CHP nukes just a portion of them. Also doing this conversion would reduce domestic electricity demand significantly so France could export more electricity

    A 35% efficient nuclear reactor becomes a 95% efficient CHP nuclear plant


    For nations without nuclear electricity they can do heat only reactors that are 95-99% efficient
    Much smaller cheaper faster than an electricity nuclear power station
  • Reed_RichardsReed_Richards Forumite
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    ... The report talks about the 'heat index', which is actually a combination of heat and humidity (explained in the pages prior to the pics I mentioned). As humidity rises, we are less able to cool ourselves.
    In Canada the weather forecasters like to make things worse. So in winter they report the actual temperature but also a lower temperature when the "wind chill factor" is taken into account. In summer they report the actual temperature but also a higher temperature when the "humidex" is taken into account. So the idea of a heat/humidity index is a very familiar concept in some countries.
    Reed
  • silverwhistlesilverwhistle Forumite
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    zeupater wrote: »
    I hope it's becoming crystal clear why the majority totally ignore the posts made by that profile -
    Z


    Yep, and even your extrapolated summary made me feel a weary sense of resignation that he posts such rubbish.


    Mind you, I suspect more and more posters are beginning to realise it's probably best not to quote him..
  • GreatApeGreatApe
    4.5K Posts
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    zeupater wrote: »
    Hi


    I hope it's becoming crystal clear why the majority totally ignore the posts made by that profile - they're simply designed to create argument on the thread .. pro nuclear, anti nuclear, pro coal, anti coal, pro gas, anti wind, pro wind, anti tidal, anti microgeneration, very anti-microgeneration and even more very microgeneration!! .. of course, there's always the argument that France, Germany, Sweden, USA, Norway etc all have better strategies than the UK and the ad nauseam argument that we could close down UK nuclear & FF capacity, build interconnectors to absolutely everywhere (but mainly France!) and have a guaranteed one way flow of energy whenever the UK demands it .... great idea, isn't it? - wonder where the flaw may be in that one? ... :wall:

    Not been following the latest thought processes, but can't miss quoted inclusions & replies, so it looks like someone's read-up on co-generation & district heating and mistakenly applied the theory to establishing a national scheme using modular nuclear reactors on a population centre distributed basis .... great idea if you're looking to create the largest security headache ever devised and are willing to guaranty funding levels through political mandate, but herein lies the problem .. political will and public support wouldn't be there, so it wouldn't happen, legions of NIMBYs on a scale likely never seen before would certainly see this as being a threat to sink their teeth into ...

    The idea behind SMRs isn't to allow distributed nuclear generation to facilitate a nationwide CHP solution, it's simply to provide the ability to build modular units on a semi-production line basis (approx 18 months to build) which can be shipped to various demand scaleable sites designed to operate multiple SMRs (according to demand requirements) and therefore be able to build & commission those sites in a fraction of the time of large-scale reactor builds ... effectively this results in plant locations which would (for safety reasons) be as remote from centres of population as is current practice, leaving the question of CHP heat distribution to revolve around distance, cost & engineering practicality of what would effectively be a national pumped heat-main/hot water grid comprising both feed & return to every connected household ... all in all, a pretty expensive endeavour with considerable risk ...

    Likelihood of nuclear CHP in the UK?
    - for local provision within a few miles of a plant ... plausible, but highly limited in scope ..
    - for a national heat main grid ... pretty much zero considering what would be involved!


    In summary, don't get too excited ... ;)

    HTH
    Z




    Actually I wasn't thinking or imagining small modular reactors I was thinking and imagining large reactors like multiple EPRs so about 5GW thermal each. With 1 reactor for a smaller UK region and 5 reactor heat station for the south east& London region

    Water is a great heat carrier so we can pipe it long distance at affordable costs.
    A 50cm pipe at 10 bar &1 mile long can carry 150MW of heat and you can put a pump at the one mile mark to boost the pressure and have it do another mile and you can keep doing this for more or less any distance you want although in the UK you would probably only need to cover 30 miles average from a heat station

    A 10GW heat station can provide the heating needs for about 7 million people homes offices shops.... And you'd only need about 70 of these 50cm pipes going to different towns/boroughs/cities on that region


    Also you could do nuclear heating while using no more uranium than today
    Currently UK France Germany produce about 1,500TWh of nuclear heat but dump about 1,000 TWh of that into oceans and rivers (and get about 540TWh of nuclear electricity). Stop producing nuclear electricity and instead use 95% of that 1,500TWh nuclear heat to solve the heating needs of the UK/Germany/France combined. The same quantity of nuclear energy just used at 95% efficiency rather than 30-35%

    And yes I do realize this is a mega project and very unlikely but it actually solves heating the most difficult of them all. And although it's a costly megaproject the alternative of installing 150 million heat pumps in UK/France/Germany and the associated grid and power stations is actually a bigger megaproject.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    zeupater wrote: »
    Hi


    I hope it's becoming crystal clear why the majority totally ignore the posts made by that profile - they're simply designed to create argument on the thread .. pro nuclear, anti nuclear, pro coal, anti coal, pro gas, anti wind, pro wind, anti tidal, anti microgeneration, very anti-microgeneration and even more very microgeneration!! .. of course, there's always the argument that France, Germany, Sweden, USA, Norway etc all have better strategies than the UK and the ad nauseam argument that we could close down UK nuclear & FF capacity, build interconnectors to absolutely everywhere (but mainly France!) and have a guaranteed one way flow of energy whenever the UK demands it .... great idea, isn't it? - wonder where the flaw may be in that one? ... :wall:

    HTH
    Z

    Thanks. I'm glad it's not just me that spotted that any praise comes with a corresponding attack on another part of the RE 'package'.

    RE works, of course it does, but to get into higher and higher percentages (70%, 80%+) of UK generation it requires a wide mix of inputs and locations, and storage.

    Even the word storage has multiple sub divisions, be it batts (stationary, BEV's, different capacities etc etc), perhaps over capacity is 'storage' (having reserve capacity), bio-mass/bio-gas thermal generation on-site storage and so on, etc, etc..

    But what we mustn't miss, is that each form of RE generation, and each form of storage falls down on its own, but as a broad mix becomes far greater than the sum of its parts.

    Many countries will be able to rely on PV as their backbone, due to low cost (overcapacity), and daily reliability, but obviously in the UK, the price won't be low enough for that, especially given the greater seasonal variation, and less reliable daily generation.

    We, in the UK, need a reliable balance of generation, and sadly (for us) PV is not the backbone, so the package needs to include everything economically possible*, and that simply excludes nuclear now due to cost changes in RE (and storage) this decade. Those that can't, or won't revise their opinion on this simply aren't open to the fact that things have changed dramatically, and continue to shift in favour of RE and storage.

    *Start off including pretty much everything in the package, at the review stage, then exclude the most expensive parts that are not essential to the mix. Effectively the package should pit options against each other to find the right mix of technologies and their individual scales. At this stage I struggle to see what nuclear brings to the table, since alternatives to the nuclear part will be cheaper, faster and safer.

    Weirdly, I don't think such a discussion/argument is negative. I find the route forward now, to be a really fun and promising thing to talk about, as the news is all good, I believe, now ........ having rationally, economically (and peace of mind) excluded nuclear from the picture/package.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
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