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dougal

New Nukes

Government decision publicised 2 days ago.

Formal announcement this morning.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7179579.stm

Still no comment on Downsizer.

Does this mean that we all think its inevitable, necessary but not nice, and...

Discuss.
vegplot

I think it is inevitable, unfortunately. I've just written an essay on hydro which took in the energy mix and targets for CO2 emmissions along with increasing energy demands (joe public doesn't really want to reduce consumption and neither does industry). Nuclear is the only current technology that ticks all the boxes. I dare not think of the environmental damage extraction and disposal causes. Personally, I think renewables have a major role to play and should be the primary focus.

I'm not in favour of nuclear per se. I think it's better than coal, or gas for that matter. My only fear is that it will divert funding away from renewables regardless of way they say now. Big plant build such as nuclear have a reputation of running massively over budget.
Chez

Isn't the general feeling now that nuclear is the only way to go to bridge the short-term deficit, with all the downsides that vegplot lists? :/.

People generally aren't altruistic enough to cut back and do without.
boisdevie1

1. If we had an energy policy that tried to cut down on our overall energy useage that would be good.

2. What about tidal power? There are incredibly strong tidal flows twice a day around the uk. Imagine all tha power.
Green Man

Still find it strangely alarming that the waste dump goes as far away from Londonshire as possible. Scotland won't let it go to Caithness this time so it is going to Englands furthest N.W. region. I'm sure with the North Atlantic Drift, Scotland will have a bright future. Mad
boisdevie1

Cho-ku-ri wrote:
Still find it strangely alarming that the waste dump goes as far away from Londonshire as possible. Scotland won't let it go to Caithness this time so it is going to Englands furthest N.W. region. I'm sure with the North Atlantic Drift, Scotland will have a bright future. Mad



Back in the 80s when I was living a radiation cloud's distance from Sellafield they wanted to bury the stuff just next to Sellafield. Funny how the geology was just perfect. And funny how just about everyone worked there and had sod all choice. They still have no viable means of 'storing' (aka dumping in v deep hole) yet they want more nuclear power stations.
Lesson = don't let politicians decide something that will come home to roose in 10k years = they cannot be trusted. They're only bothered about the next election.
vegplot

boisdevie1 wrote:
2. What about tidal power? There are incredibly strong tidal flows twice a day around the uk. Imagine all tha power.


Environmental concerns, build costs, public opinion, mirgratory/feeding species. You're right about the power, Tera watts of the stuff and it's reliable as you say. Energy always has a cost, even the free stuff will run out in 400 billion years.
Andy B

so what happens about renewables now? Was the government ever serious about them?
vegplot

Yes I think they are but can they make intelligent collective decisions when under pressure on a limited budget with a vanity complex?
AnnaD

I don't like the idea at all Sad The disposal of the waste is bad enough, but there is still the slight possibility of something going wrong and the station nuking a few small towns. It's all very scary, and they are obviously not thinking about the future, we don't need any more waste, least of all nuclear waste. I don't know why they are so determined to avoid natural energy sources.
PeteS

Cho-ku-ri wrote:
Still find it strangely alarming that the waste dump goes as far away from Londonshire as possible. Scotland won't let it go to Caithness this time so it is going to Englands furthest N.W. region. I'm sure with the North Atlantic Drift, Scotland will have a bright future. Mad


Don't know why they bother taking the waste far away from Londonshire as there is at least one waste dump not far away. It is in La Hague, Normandy. I wonder why the French put it there?
vegplot

AnnaD wrote:
I don't like the idea at all Sad The disposal of the waste is bad enough, but there is still the slight possibility of something going wrong and the station nuking a few small towns. It's all very scary, and they are obviously not thinking about the future, we don't need any more waste, least of all nuclear waste. I don't know why they are so determined to avoid natural energy sources.


I think the waste problem has been sorted, selling it to Iran. Surprised
Vanessa

vegplot wrote:
boisdevie1 wrote:
2. What about tidal power? There are incredibly strong tidal flows twice a day around the uk. Imagine all tha power.


Environmental concerns, build costs, public opinion, mirgratory/feeding species. You're right about the power, Tera watts of the stuff and it's reliable as you say. Energy always has a cost, even the free stuff will run out in 400 billion years.


What happened to the floating "duck" style power generators? I remember them being demonstrated on TV YEARS ago! They were efficient but didn't cause problems for birds, marine life etc.

I don't like the focus on nuclear either, BTW, but fear it's pretty-much inevitable
Green Man

vanessa wrote:


What happened to the floating "duck" style power generators? I remember them being demonstrated on TV YEARS ago! They were efficient but didn't cause problems for birds, marine life etc.


A trial one sunk off the coast of Scotland. Surprised
vegplot

vanessa wrote:

What happened to the floating "duck" style power generators? I remember them being demonstrated on TV YEARS ago! They were efficient but didn't cause problems for birds, marine life etc.

I don't like the focus on nuclear either, BTW, but fear it's pretty-much inevitable


The Thatcher government killed that off in the dash for gas. I'm told that the official report deliberately under estimated the power output of these remarkable devices contrary to the data gathered in trials. I was told this recently and have never seen any data to support these claims.
vegplot

That makes me sound like an academic. I'm not, far from it. I just dabble a bit. Very Happy
Vanessa

So sad Crying or Very sad

Edit ... the killing off of the idea, that is, not vegplot's knowledge on the subject Embarassed Laughing
dpack

nuke bad
these ##### just declared war on your planet
Behemoth

vegplot wrote:

The Thatcher government killed that off in the dash for gas. I'm told that the official report deliberately under estimated the power output of these remarkable devices contrary to the data gathered in trials. I was told this recently and have never seen any data to support these claims.


I remember a big expose in the Observer about this. Worse case scenario was used for renewables and best for nuclear with a few bits and pieces not included. About 15 years ago now. Embarassed
boisdevie1

Tidal power has tremendous potential. Look at the tidal races around the UK. Imagine putting some turbines in the water to take advantage of that power? And we know that the tides move at x speed twice a day. Why oh why have we not taken advantage of this? Makes me want to scream.
dougal

vanessa wrote:
... What happened to the floating "duck" style power generators? I remember them being demonstrated on TV YEARS ago! They were efficient but didn't cause problems for birds, marine life etc.

The duck has evolved into a snake, and the first system sold (to Portugal...)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6410839.stm
http://www.pelamiswave.com/

The thing about wind, wave and solar is that they aren't full-time - they are 'opportunity' sources which could allow gas and oil-fired stations to shut down - when the opportunity occurs.

The nice thing about tide power though is that you can count on it.
But you still need a geographical diversity of plants, so that you get the tides at different times...
I think that there is more public will to 'sacrifice' some environmental and amenity value in a few suitable tidal inlets than there is to store nuclear waste for a time rather long in comparison to recorded human history.
But big tidal schemes would be massively expensive to build, and their operation would be a bit experimental. For now, increasing (or actually just restoring) the nuclear element of the energy mix probably looks like the uncontroversial choice...




As is probably well known already, I'm a proponent of insulation to reduce domestic heat consumption, urban domestic CHP, solar water heating, vehicle efficiency, offshore wind, micro-hydro, etc. ... but, even though I find the waste problem the scariest aspect (and probably the least widely understood) I'm resigned to another round of nukes, likely with one of them a dozen miles away.
Nick

vegplot wrote:
Energy always has a cost, even the free stuff will run out in 400 billion years.


I know this sounds selfish, but, you know, sod the people who are around in 400 billion years.
vegplot

Behemoth wrote:
vegplot wrote:

The Thatcher government killed that off in the dash for gas. I'm told that the official report deliberately under estimated the power output of these remarkable devices contrary to the data gathered in trials. I was told this recently and have never seen any data to support these claims.


I remember a big expose in the Observer about this. Worse case scenario was used for renewables and best for nuclear with a few bits and pieces not included. About 15 years ago now. Embarassed


That's the one. Thank you for reminding me.
vegplot

dpack wrote:
nuke bad
these ##### just declared war on your planet


No, that is not the case! Nukes are bad, I agree but not as bad as pumping 300 years worth of CO2 into the atmosphere. Nuclear fusion is a short term answer and a very dirty one at that. Either we develop fussion technology or we live with limited energy that renewables can provide. The mid ground is where the danger lies.

Sorry, am on high horse, will dismount and walk away humbley .
vegplot

vanessa wrote:
So sad Crying or Very sad

Edit ... the killing off of the idea, that is, not vegplot's knowledge on the subject Embarassed Laughing


I knew what you meant. Thanks Smile
dougal

vegplot wrote:
vanessa wrote:
So sad Crying or Very sad

Edit ... the killing off of the idea, that is, not vegplot's knowledge on the subject Embarassed Laughing


I knew what you meant. Thanks Smile

BUT it wasn't killed off !

See http://www.mech.ed.ac.uk/research/wavepower/
and also the Pelamis links I posted above...
vegplot

dougal wrote:
vegplot wrote:
vanessa wrote:
So sad Crying or Very sad

Edit ... the killing off of the idea, that is, not vegplot's knowledge on the subject Embarassed Laughing


I knew what you meant. Thanks Smile

BUT it wasn't killed off !

See http://www.mech.ed.ac.uk/research/wavepower/
and also the Pelamis links I posted above...


It's still a contender "The concept is theorectically one of the most efficient of all wave energy schemes" (Boyle, 2004). Wave energy while not as regular as tidal can be predicted well in advance using meteorlogical forecasts.

'Renewable Energy' Godfrey Boyle (about 30) if you are interested. Local library should be able to help.
Vanessa

At the time it was, effectively, by the UK government. I'm glad the technology is being used somewhere in the world at least!

I still feel that a combination of different "natural" energy sources (so, wind, wave, tide, solar, hydro (on dammed rivers) ) could go a very long way to producing the UK's electricity demands.

Mind you, if supplies were as restricted and expensive as they are in France, maybe folk would think twice about how much they use!! Supplies to domestic properties are typically 3 or 6 kilowatts ... some splash out a bit and go for 9, and the maximum "normal" supply is 18!! Each time you go up a band, your standing charge doubles, and electricity is not cheap. Compare this to the UK, where a normal domestic supply is 60 kilowatts, and you'll start to get my drift here.
Treacodactyl

I wonder if you took the full cost of building and decommissioning a new nuclear station and then spent that money on improving the efficiency of homes/offices etc and education if that would balance out the need for the new station?
Shane

vanessa wrote:
At the time it was, effectively, by the UK government. I'm glad the technology is being used somewhere in the world at least!

I still feel that a combination of different "natural" energy sources (so, wind, wave, tide, solar, hydro (on dammed rivers) ) could go a very long way to producing the UK's electricity demands.

Mind you, if supplies were as restricted and expensive as they are in France, maybe folk would think twice about how much they use!! Supplies to domestic properties are typically 3 or 6 kilowatts ... some splash out a bit and go for 9, and the maximum "normal" supply is 18!! Each time you go up a band, your standing charge doubles, and electricity is not cheap. Compare this to the UK, where a normal domestic supply is 60 kilowatts, and you'll start to get my drift here.

So how come everyone I know in France keeps their house heated to about 25C all the blimmin' time?
Andy B

Nick wrote:
vegplot wrote:
Energy always has a cost, even the free stuff will run out in 400 billion years.


I know this sounds selfish, but, you know, sod the people who are around in 400 billion years.


Blimey, talk about short sighted!
Shane

The Americans are currently looking into a rather novel idea for "power" storage that could make renewables more feasible. During periods of excess power generation, they draw power from the grid to drive large compressors that compress air and pump it into underground reservoirs. When generation output drops below power demand, the air is released and used to drive turbines to generate power.

It's currently envisaged to be used in parallel with solar farms, allowing them to overproduce during the day and release stored energy overnight.

Interesting, and potentially very useful concept, I thought.

But, back on topic, I'm in agreement with the government (for once) that nuclear is the only feasible short term solution.
Vanessa

Shane wrote:
So how come everyone I know in France keeps their house heated to about 25C all the blimmin' time?


I don't know!! No-one I know heats their houses to that sort of temperature. Correction, only ONE person, but she is wheelchair bound, so needs it to be warmer so she doesn't get chilled.

Ours is generally around the 12 degree mark by day, and a steamy 15 to 18 in the evenings. We just wear more clothes, or if it's really chilly, we hug the wood-fired cooker in the kitchen!! Wink
shadiya

Nuclear power stations have a huge environmental footprint, all that concrete, so quite a lot of CO2 involved just in the construction. Storage of the waste is dangerous, accidents happen at the best of times and while I don't buy into the idea of the world being full of terrorists, its obvious to me that as climate change and peak oil bite ever harder, we're going to have even more desperate and angry people with nothing to lose, to whom a nuclear power station might make a great target. Neither are they all that efficient, think its something like 1% energy production to 99% waste and without public subsidies, our existing ones wouldn't be in business. Plus, as everybody tries vainly to carry on as usual, we'll all be after uranium. Paul Mobbs has calculated that with a global shift to nuclear we'd have enough for approx thirteen years, on current energy usage that is. As we all know, energy consumption is going up daily, building nuclear power stations hardly send stop consuming signals to us here, let alone to India and China. Then of course there's the twenty years or so time to build the things, the fact the govt couldn't run the proverbial brewery gathering and as for going over budget...... this is not something (IMHO) that is a short term sensible solution, this is burying our heads in the sand big time. The money invested in these schemes should be invested in projects that help us reduce our reliance on fossil fuels before its too late, assuming it isn't already too late that is..... Sorry to bang on but this is SO important and I'm not much good at succinct at the best of times, this issue really pushes my buttons Embarassed ps. I am using mains electric to rant this Smile but there is also a huge solar array attached to the garage, this house generates more energy than its owners use. Since they installed it,with the aid of a govt grant, funding has been slashed.....
Silas

Nuclear power is the only realistic way forward.
vegplot

Silas wrote:
Nuclear power is the only realistic way forward.


Please define realistic.
cab

I agree that in the short term, nuclear power is the only way forward, largely because we've been anything but creative in funding other ways to generate electricity.

But even nuclear can only be a small part of the answer. Whats the proportion of energy use represented by distributed electricity, as opposed to that which is used in transport?
vegplot

"Decommissioning Britain's 19 former power stations is likely to cost 73bn, rather than the estimated 63bn, a new National Audit Office report has found. "

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7222185.stm
Blue Peter

cab wrote:
I agree that in the short term, nuclear power is the only way forward, largely because we've been anything but creative in funding other ways to generate electricity.



But nuclear isn't very quick, is it. If a decision were made today, I think that you'd be looking at first electricity around 2020 (perhaps some in 2017 onwards). Our decomissioning of coal, existing nuclear and problems with gas supplies are all beginning long before then,


Peter.

P.S. As an answer to Treac's question, I believe, but don't have figures that conservation is far less costly than new power stations (at least nuclear), and it would start "providing energy" as soon as it was done (not 2020+),.
shadiya

If you want to be realistic, may I suggest you think in terms of cutting energy consumption by 80%? There is no avoiding the fact that we're all going to have to consume less and the longer we avoid facing up to it, the more its going to hurt when the issues have to be faced. I must say I'm a little surprised this isn't more of an issue here....
vegplot

shadiya wrote:
If you want to be realistic, may I suggest you think in terms of cutting energy consumption by 80%? There is no avoiding the fact that we're all going to have to consume less and the longer we avoid facing up to it, the more its going to hurt when the issues have to be faced. I must say I'm a little surprised this isn't more of an issue here....


I think people are more than aware of the issues here.
cab

Blue Peter wrote:

But nuclear isn't very quick, is it. If a decision were made today, I think that you'd be looking at first electricity around 2020 (perhaps some in 2017 onwards). Our decomissioning of coal, existing nuclear and problems with gas supplies are all beginning long before then,


Indeed, theres still a gap, but its a gap that closes as tried and tested nuclear technology comes online. I agree that renewables and big reductions in energy utilisation are the real way forward, but we're starting from too small a knowledge base to be up and running with them in time. Personally, I'd invest in more renewables while also building nuclear.
Treacodactyl

vegplot wrote:
shadiya wrote:
If you want to be realistic, may I suggest you think in terms of cutting energy consumption by 80%? There is no avoiding the fact that we're all going to have to consume less and the longer we avoid facing up to it, the more its going to hurt when the issues have to be faced. I must say I'm a little surprised this isn't more of an issue here....


I think people are more than aware of the issues here.


I agree with Shadiya here, it is surprising not more discussed and done about energy reduction. Not just here but also in the media and I'm being critical of myself just as much as anyone.
Vanessa

I do try to "do my bit"; small changes make a big difference. We have all low-energy lights now, many are even LED (a light which I love, being closer to natural light than most artificial light, but which MOH finds "too dim") - and when a room is not in use for any length of time, the lights get turned off. I use "local cooling" on my PC. The TV is never left on Standby. I cook on wood most of the year, and will soon be heating my whole home by wood, with solar for the summer. I have the thermostat on the central heating WAY lower than I ever would have "in the bad old days", and wear more clothes to keep warm. We have lots of loft insulation in.

In addition, we try to buy locally-produced food to reduce food miles ... and are gradually building towards near-self-sufficiency in food.

I think most folk on here do all this sort of stuff ... but we don't all shout about it all the time.
vegplot

Treacodactyl wrote:
vegplot wrote:
shadiya wrote:
If you want to be realistic, may I suggest you think in terms of cutting energy consumption by 80%? There is no avoiding the fact that we're all going to have to consume less and the longer we avoid facing up to it, the more its going to hurt when the issues have to be faced. I must say I'm a little surprised this isn't more of an issue here....


I think people are more than aware of the issues here.


I agree with Shadiya here, it is surprising not more discussed and done about energy reduction. Not just here but also in the media and I'm being critical of myself just as much as anyone.


There is a lot said about engery reduction it's just that no-one really wants to commit to it. That's a generalisation as there are many individuals who do make the effort. Shadiya is right, we do need to cut energy consumption dramtically. I fear the only way to get people to realise that energy is limited will be when it starts to run out.
Blue Peter

cab wrote:


Indeed, theres still a gap, but its a gap that closes as tried and tested nuclear technology comes online. I agree that renewables and big reductions in energy utilisation are the real way forward, but we're starting from too small a knowledge base to be up and running with them in time. Personally, I'd invest in more renewables while also building nuclear.


My fundamental problem with nuclear is that I think that it's a rich person's technology. It would be all right if I thought that we would get richer over the coming years, but I think that we'll get poorer, and therefore we are saddling future, poorer generations, with our waste. As well as distracting ourselves from things which we could do to make future, poorer, lives better.

It's one more drink when we're already rolling drunk, when we should be stopping drinking,


Peter.
Treacodactyl

vanessa wrote:
I do try to "do my bit"


Actually you seem to be doing more than most. I'm not trying to criticise people individually but if people on a site such as this still have plenty to do then I expect there's an awful lot more that could be done through the UK and most other places to save energy. For example, seeing the insulation poll shows that the majority of people still here (me included) have less than the recommended amount of loft insulation. Certainly seems worth discussing.

Now, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, if the cost of one new nuclear power station was used to fund and encourage energy saving measures I wouldn't be surprised if it would save more than the amount of power one would produce.
Vanessa

Treacodactyl wrote:
Now, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, if the cost of one new nuclear power station was used to fund and encourage energy saving measures I wouldn't be surprised if it would save more than the amount of power one would produce.


I'm 100% with you on that!! Just think how much insulation could be piled into UK homes with that "little" bit of cash Razz
vegplot

vanessa wrote:
Treacodactyl wrote:
Now, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, if the cost of one new nuclear power station was used to fund and encourage energy saving measures I wouldn't be surprised if it would save more than the amount of power one would produce.


I'm 100% with you on that!! Just think how much insulation could be piled into UK homes with that "little" bit of cash Razz


Agreed. Sadly even new homes are still badly built in the UK Sad
Vanessa

Aren't they just? It's scandalous Twisted Evil Mad Twisted Evil
cab

Treacodactyl wrote:

Now, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, if the cost of one new nuclear power station was used to fund and encourage energy saving measures I wouldn't be surprised if it would save more than the amount of power one would produce.


Thats a lovely idea, but I'm unconvinced.
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