James Hansen's Generation IV nuclear fallacies and fantasies | RenewEconomy

James Hansen’s Generation IV nuclear fallacies and fantasies

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Climate scientist James Hansen’s claims about Generation IV nuclear concepts simply don’t stack up, argues Jim Green.

James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, speaks at the University of Iowa's Distinguished Lecture Series on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2004, in Iowa City, Iowa. Hansen said that the Bush administration is trying to stifle scientific evidence of the dangers of global warming in an effort to keep the public uninformed. (AP Photo/The Daily Iowan, Melanie Patterson)
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The two young co-founders of nuclear engineering start-up Transatomic Power were embarrassed earlier this year when their claims about their molten salt reactor design were debunked, forcing some major retractions.

The claims of MIT nuclear engineering graduates Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie were trumpeted in MIT’s Technology Review under the headline, ‘What if we could build a nuclear reactor that costs half as much, consumes nuclear waste, and will never melt down?’

MIT physics professor Kord Smith debunked a number of Transatomic’s key claims. Smith says he asked Transatomic to run a test which, he says, confirmed that “their claims were completely untrue.”

Kennedy Maize wrote about Transatomic’s troubles in Power Magazine: “[T]his was another case of technology hubris, an all-to-common malady in energy, where hyperbolic claims are frequent and technology journalists all too credulous.

” Pro-nuclear commentator Dan Yurman said that “other start-ups with audacious claims are likely to receive similar levels of scrutiny” and that it “may have the effect of putting other nuclear energy entrepreneurs on notice that they too may get the same enhanced levels of analysis of their claims.”

Well, yes, others making false claims about Generation IV reactor concepts might receive similar levels of scrutiny … or they might not. Arguably the greatest sin of the Transatomic founders was not that they inadvertently made false claims, but that they are young, and in Dewan’s case, female.

Ageing men seem to have a free pass to peddle as much misinformation as they like without the public shaming that the Transatomic founders have been subjected to. A case in point is climate scientist James Hansen ‒ you’d struggle to find any critical commentary of his nuclear misinformation outside the environmental and anti-nuclear literature.

Hansen states that 115 new reactor start-ups would be required each year to 2050 to replace fossil fuel electricity generation ‒ a total of about 4,000 reactors. Let’s assume that Generation IV reactors do the heavy lifting, and let’s generously assume that mass production of Generation IV reactors begins in 2030.

That would necessitate about 200 reactor start-ups per year from 2030 to 2050 ‒ or four every week. Good luck with that.

Moreover, the assumption that mass production of Generation IV reactors might begin in or around 2030 is unrealistic. A report by a French government authority, the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, states: “There is still much R&D to be done to develop the Generation IV nuclear reactors, as well as for the fuel cycle and the associated waste management which depends on the system chosen.”

Likewise, a US Government Accountability Office report on the status of small modular reactors (SMRs) and other ‘advanced’ reactor concepts in the US concluded:

“Both light water SMRs and advanced reactors face additional challenges related to the time, cost, and uncertainty associated with developing, certifying or licensing, and deploying new reactor technology, with advanced reactor designs generally facing greater challenges than light water SMR designs. It is a multi-decade process …”

An analysis recently published in the peer-reviewed literature found that the US government has wasted billions of dollars on Generation IV R&D with little to show for it.

Lead researcher Dr Ahmed Abdulla, from the University of California, said that “despite repeated commitments to non-light water reactors, and substantial investments … (more than $2 billion of public money), no such design is remotely ready for deployment today.”

Nuclear weapons

James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, speaks at the University of Iowa's Distinguished Lecture Series on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2004, in Iowa City, Iowa. Hansen said that the Bush administration is trying to stifle scientific evidence of the dangers of global warming in an effort to keep the public uninformed. (AP Photo/The Daily Iowan, Melanie Patterson)
James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, speaks at the University of Iowa’s Distinguished Lecture Series on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2004, in Iowa City, Iowa. Hansen said that the Bush administration is trying to stifle scientific evidence of the dangers of global warming in an effort to keep the public uninformed. (AP Photo/The Daily Iowan, Melanie Patterson)

In a nutshell, Hansen (among others) claims that some Generation IV reactors are a triple threat: they can convert weapons-usable (fissile) material and long-lived nuclear waste into low-carbon electricity. Let’s take the weapons and waste issues in turn.

Hansen says Generation IV reactors can be made “more resistant to weapons proliferation than today’s reactors” and he claims that “modern nuclear technology can reduce proliferation risks”. But are new reactors being made more resistant to weapons proliferation and are they reducing proliferation risks? In a word: No.

Fast neutron reactors have been used for weapons production in the past (e.g. by France) and will likely be used for weapons production in future (e.g. by India).

India plans to produce weapons-grade plutonium in fast breeder reactors for use as driver fuel in thorium reactors. Compared to conventional uranium reactors, India’s plan is far worse on both proliferation and security grounds. To make matters worse, India refuses to place its fast breeder / thorium program under IAEA safeguards.

Hansen claims that thorium-based fuel cycles are “inherently proliferation-resistant”. That’s garbage ‒ thorium has been used to produce fissile material (uranium-233) for nuclear weapons tests. Again, India’s plans provide a striking real-world refutation of Hansen’s dangerous misinformation.

Hansen claims that integral fast reactors (IFR) ‒ a non-existent variant of fast neutron reactors ‒ “could be inherently free from the risk of proliferation”.

That’s another dangerous falsehood. Dr George Stanford, who worked on an IFR R&D program in the US, notes that proliferators “could do [with IFRs] what they could do with any other reactor − operate it on a special cycle to produce good quality weapons material.”

Hansen acknowledges that “nuclear does pose unique safety and proliferation concerns that must be addressed with strong and binding international standards and safeguards.

” There’s no doubting that the safeguards systems needs strengthening. In articles and speeches during his tenure as Director General of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency from 1997‒2009, Dr Mohamed ElBaradei said that the Agency’s basic rights of inspection are “fairly limited”, that the safeguards system suffers from “vulnerabilities” and “clearly needs reinforcement”, that efforts to improve the system have been “half-hearted”, and that the safeguards system operates on a “shoestring budget … comparable to that of a local police department”.

Hansen says he was converted to the cause of Generation IV nuclear technology by Tom Blees, whose 2008 book Prescription for the Planet argues the case for IFRs.

But Hansen evidently missed those sections of the book where Blees argues for radically strengthened safeguards including the creation of an international strike-force on full standby to attend promptly to any detected attempts to misuse or to divert nuclear materials.

Blees also argues that “privatized nuclear power should be outlawed worldwide” and that nuclear power must either be internationalised or banned to address the “shadowy threat of nuclear proliferation”.

So what is James Hansen doing about the inadequate nuclear safeguards system?

This is one of the great ironies of his nuclear advocacy ‒ he does absolutely nothing other than making demonstrably false claims about the potential of Generation IV concepts to solve the problems, and repeatedly slagging off at organisations with a strong track record of campaigning for strengthened safeguards.


Hansen claims that “modern nuclear technology can … solve the waste disposal problem by burning current waste and using fuel more efficiently” and he states that nuclear waste “is not waste, it is fuel for 4th generation reactors!”

But even if IFRs ‒ Hansen’s favoured Generation IV concept ‒ worked as hoped, they would still leave residual actinides, and long-lived fission products, and long-lived intermediate-level waste in the form of reactor and reprocessing components … all of it requiring deep geological disposal. UC Berkeley nuclear engineer Prof. Per Peterson states:

“Even integral fast reactors (IFRs), which recycle most of their waste, leave behind materials that have been contaminated by transuranic elements and so cannot avoid the need to develop deep geologic disposal.”

So if IFRs don’t obviate the need for deep geological repositories, what problem do they solve? They don’t solve the WMD proliferation problem associated with nuclear power. They would make more efficient use of uranium … but uranium is plentiful.

In theory, IFRs would gobble up nuclear waste and convert it into low-carbon electricity. In practice, the EBR-II reactor in Idaho ‒ an IFR prototype, shut down in 1994 ‒ has left a legacy of troublesome waste.

This saga is detailed in a recent article and a longer report by the Union of Concerned Scientists’ senior scientist Dr Ed Lyman. Lyman states that attempts to treat IFR spent fuel with pyroprocessing have not made management and disposal of the spent fuel simpler and safer, they have “created an even bigger mess”.

Lyman concludes:

“Everyone with an interest in pyroprocessing should reassess their views given the real-world problems experienced in implementing the technology over the last 20 years at [Idaho National Laboratory]. They should also note that the variant of the process being used to treat the EBR-II spent fuel is less complex than the process that would be needed to extract plutonium and other actinides to produce fresh fuel for fast reactors. In other words, the technology is a long way from being demonstrated as a practical approach for electricity production.”

Japan is about to get first-hand experience of the waste legacy associated with Generation IV reactors in light of the decision to decommission the Monju fast neutron reactor. Decommissioning Monju has a hefty price-tag ‒ far more than for conventional light-water reactors.

According to a 2012 estimate by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, decommissioning Monju will cost an estimated ¥300 billion (A$3.5bn). That estimate includes ¥20 billion to remove spent fuel from the reactor ‒ but no allowance is made for the cost of disposing of the spent fuel, and in any case Japan has no deep geological repository to dispose of the waste.

Generation IV economics

Hansen claimed in 2012 that IFRs could generate electricity “at a cost per kW less than coal.” A complex, novel reactor coupled to a complex, novel reprocessing system will be cheaper than shovelling coal into a burner?


He was closer to the mark in 2008 when he said: “I do not have the expertise or insight to evaluate the cost and technology readiness estimates” of IFR advocate Tom Blees and the “overwhelming impression that I get … is that Blees is a great optimist.”

The US Government Accountability Office’s 2015 report noted that technical challenges facing SMRs and advanced reactors may result in higher-cost reactors than anticipated, making them less competitive with large light-water reactors or power plants using other fuels.

A 2015 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) arrived at the circular, disingenuous conclusion that nuclear power is “an attractive low-carbon technology in the absence of cost overruns and with low financing costs”.

But the IEA/NEA report made no effort to spin the economics of Generation IV nuclear concepts, stating that “generation IV technologies aim to be at least as competitive as generation III technologies … though the additional complexity of these designs, the need to develop a specific supply chain for these reactors and the development of the associated fuel cycles will make this a challenging task.”

The late Michael Mariotte commented on the IEA/NEA report: “So, at best the Generation IV reactors are aiming to be as competitive as the current − and economically failing − Generation III reactors. And even realizing that inadequate goal will be “challenging.” The report might as well have recommended to Generation IV developers not to bother.”

Of course, Hansen isn’t the only person accounting creatively. A recent report states that the “cost estimates from some advanced reactor companies ‒ if accurate ‒ suggest that these technologies could revolutionize the way we think about the cost, availability, and environmental consequences of energy generation.” To estimate the costs of Generation IV nuclear concepts, the researchers simply asked companies involved in R&D projects to supply the information!

The researchers did at least have the decency to qualify their findings:

“There is inherent and significant uncertainty in projecting NOAK [nth-of-a-kind] costs from a group of companies that have not yet built a single commercial-scale demonstration reactor, let alone a first commercial plant. Without a commercial-scale plant as a reference, it is difficult to reliably estimate the costs of building out the manufacturing capacity needed to achieve the NOAK costs being reported; many questions still remain unanswered what scale of investments will be needed to launch the supply chain; what type of capacity building will be needed for the supply chain, and so forth.”

Hansen has doubled down on his nuclear advocacy, undeterred by the Fukushima disaster; undeterred by the economic disasters of nuclear power in the US, the UK, France, Finland and elsewhere; and undeterred by the spectacular growth of renewables and the spectacular cost reductions (he claims that renewables account for 1‒2 percent of global power generation ‒ the true figure is 23.5 percent).

Hansen needs to take his own advice. Peter Bradford, adjunct professor at Vermont Law School and a former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission member, wrote in response to a letter co-authored by Hansen:

“The Hansen letter contains these remarkably unself-aware sentences:

‘To solve the climate problem, policy must be based on facts and not on prejudice.’

‘The climate issue is too important for us to delude ourselves with wishful thinking.’

‘The future of our planet and our descendants depends on basing decisions on facts, and letting go of long held biases when it comes to nuclear power.’

Amen, brother.”

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter, where this article was originally published.

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  1. Joe 2 years ago

    ….the future is not CLEEEEEEEN Coal it is …..NU CLEAR energy

    • Barri Mundee 2 years ago

      Not according to all the evidence.

      • Joe 2 years ago

        DJ and Barri, I was being sarcastic with my comment. I am 100% for RE and NU CLEAR is not RE in my book. It is an abomination that we just keep passing off to the next generation to worry about.

        • Barri Mundee 2 years ago

          The subtlety went over my head Joe. We get the odd troll on this site.

    • DJR96 2 years ago

      Given that there is no break-through developments in nuclear, nevermind breakthrough cost reductions, nuclear is not in the foresee-able future at all.
      Quite frankly I think it should be given up altogether. All that funding could do a lot more in storage technologies.

  2. john 2 years ago

    The inherent problems with using material in generation iv reactors seem to be that there is not a solution to the resultant cost of clean up.
    While the aim is to take material that has been used to make weapons perhaps this is commendable.
    The problem is that some of the material can be utilized to make weapons.
    IMO it is only a matter of time before there is use of material obtained and used in another country, then we have a problem.
    To say that international safeguards will be put in place is impossible to implement due to the paranoid attitude to {a world government authority}.
    Aim to shut down the present reactors and render the waste products as safely as possible.
    Frankly I do not think this will happen any time soon.
    A dismal future frankly for those who may be in harms way.

  3. Alastair Leith 2 years ago

    In a twitter exchange I had with Ben Herd (Director of the Bright New World, a shiny new PR heavy promotional vehicle for nuclear industry) over the weekend, much of which he deleted after blocking me he said “why should cost be the issue?” when we have CC to worry about.

    Priceless, cost isn’t the issue they’re now telling us after decades of the nuclear industry claims ranging from of “too cheap to meter” to “unreliable renewables” we’re now being told cost is not the issue here, it’s more low carbon (even when it’s not low carbon) baseload power we need desperately, just as baseload power is being disrupted by PV and the midday zero demand duck-curve we’ll be seeing in all sunny places in a decade or less.



    • solarguy 2 years ago

      These Nuke weak heads are about the control and hence the money……….well said.

      • AuldLochinvar 2 years ago

        You are an unobservant ignoramus if you have not noticed that the control exercised by Big Carbon is enough to have fooled people into imagining that wind turbines are a good idea. That’s what Energiewende was really about, and if you and Jim Green have not noticed that it’s a dismal failure for CO2 reduction, you are stupid as well.

        • solarguy 2 years ago

          Now your getting nasty! Ghandi said it best…… at first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

          You don’t know when to give up on the piss weak nuclear fantasy, do you……you dumb, two headed son of a bitch!

    • Zvyozdochka 2 years ago

      Heard is a lost cause.

      • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

        He jumped in a conversation with another PR outfit I was having on Twitter called @moms4nuclear (yeah you read that right, straight from the astroturf-101 playbook). Moms4nuclear played the “bully” card because I questioned their claim to skepticism and independence when they both work for nuclear plant that is under threat of closure. Herd assumed I was because they said so… etc etc and so it went on.

        He called SEN “anti-nuclear” because we used the BREE LCOE and WACC figures in our modelling for NPPs, thus precluding it from any of the carbon abatement models we have for the SWIS grid. (We used Finkel’s WACC for coal, gas and renewables in latest modelling but Finkell didn’t even bother listing a WACC for nuclear, presumably because it’s so far north on LCOE time line wasn’t an issue for Finkel given their ridiculous coal and gas use out to 2070).

        He also has produced his PhD critiquing all the 100% RE studies he could find (by way of indirectly taking them to task for not emphasising “clean baseload nucelar power”). I asked him for the full paper and the link he provided was a page with dead links on it. So then he said write to me. Here’s the abstract and anybody can write to him [email protected] and get the full text and see what you think.

        His claims seem to be making mountains of molehills to me, claiming we need to model the FCAS when we have had one of the most experienced power engineers in WA (Craig Carter for one of a few) audit it for FCAS capacity (there’s a huge over-capacity of existing gas turbines that can be converted to synchronous condensers just for a start, then there’s FFR and synthetic inertia that can be fitted to modern type 4 wind turbines and PV arrays too, chemical batteries for fast response at a modest price compared with balance of 85% to 100% RE system, PHES).

        • Ben Heard 2 years ago

          Dear Alastair,

          Yes, you can have the full paper if you write to me, or just give me your address and I will send it to you. You have done neither. You are speaking to this paper on the basis of reading and abstract, and misrepresenting it. You could have had it, in full, free, days ago. But you didn’t bother.

          As I stated previously to you, it is not my PhD. It is one chapter thereof and you are misrepresenting me. Two other chapters are also published in peer-reviewed journals, a fourth (the crickets you refer to) was submitted to a journal today, a fifth (more crickets) will likely be submitted in coming weeks. Meanwhile your organisation is producing work which you lean on, but does not submit it for proper scrutiny to journals.

          I tried to get the summary findings of your modelling and got this dead link instead http://www.sen.asn.au/modelling_findings , and I might add, no offer to send me the document when I pointed it out to you.

          I referred to your organisation as anti-nuclear because it has quite evidently sought grounds for exclusion of this technology from modelling, instead of interrogating the evidence and assumptions. And yes, the 10% WACC assumed in BREE is out-of-step with pretty much all the literature on energy analysis I could find. There is no way anyone can claim to be taking climate change seriously by discounting the future at 10% per year.

          When we discussed FCAS, you told me your organisation had assumed it away and not actually done the work, which I seem to recall you described as ‘expert level shit’ having confessed you are not an engineer. This is the point of that criteria: yes, it is complicated and no it cannot be assumed away and left uncosted. Or, it can be, but the accompanying claim needs to be moderated accordingly.

          Meanwhile, I heaped ample praised on SEN and the work from what I could see of it and made several suggested improvements. You responded like I was attacking you (I wasn’t. Criticism is normal process). I’ll repeat it again here: I think it looks like good work. I’m really impressed that the transmission has been taken into account. I think it is good enough that some more effort should be put in to bring it to publication so that people can be more confident in it and it can have a higher profile. I would love to be the reviewer and I would not be seeking to sh!tcan it, I would be seeking to improve it. Who knows? SWIS along with NZ could be a possible exception to the core finding in that paper you refuse to read. I think that would be really interesting.


          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            I never said that I had written to you, just that you had offered it. You seem to be in the business of manufacturing glass jaws, Ben. Given your accusations of my bully and refusal to provide the example of such behavior I let it go, why assist you any further. Your accusation was little more than a knee jerk response to a meme posted by @moms4nuclear (a paid for PR vehicle for the nuclear industry) saying “No Bullies” because I questioned their claim to independence and skepticism in their video. Seemed a bit rich to me.

            As I noted above, im told the Finkel Review didn’t even list a WACC nuclear in its WACC listings for other technologies like coal and gas. I also offered to forward your critique and info to the modelers (volunteers remember) which I’ve already done formally through our committee process so it’s up to them to revise as they think is necessary. We always want to be able to defend the modelling as realistic and employing conservative estimates.

            I drafted a few hundred word email to you after that exchange but given your behavior I decided to sleep on it and then thought why bother if everybody who does accept your take on things is the enemy. I accept that your environmental concerns are genuine (unlike many in the nuclear industry I’d have to point out) and that you very much believe in you proposed solutions to climate change. I just don’t like they way you go about it, and wont be going out of my way to seek any further contact with you.

            We considered FCAS, transmission (less than $1b added HVAC transmission to retire all coal in WA), weather patterns done to 60 minute intervals at all locations and reasonably conservative demand increases again from BREE (even though EE and rooftopPV has seen a general decline on the SWIS and the NEM since 2012). Basically your four criteria. Yet you claim no 100% RE study has ever done this, hence my initial push back on this claim.

            I know the BZE SEP, while outdated being the first 100% RE study in Australia, also considered these aspects and was audited by a large energy engineering consultancy who should know. At 40% (or was it 60%) CST with Thermal Storage FACS and the rest wind (with potential for FFR and synthetic inertia) FACS is not a deal breaker.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Here’s a link to the latest modelling spreadsheets (not the SIREN component). I can’t help you interpret them though, still learning how to use PowerBalance myself.


          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            To clarify, as you have a habit of misrepresenting me, I said that there are numerous publicly available papers modelling wind FCAS. I said they are doing power engineering moelling not desktop demand and supply modeling. I said they use tools like Mathlab which is beyond or remit or need. It’s like asking did you model each of the 300 MW coal plants for thermal loads and pipe stresses, it’s completely unnecessary to the objectives of our modelling.

            To extend on that, one of these papers demonstrates that on one of the largest grids in USA adding what they call a high penetration of wind generation to the largely fossil grid would actually IMPROVE FACS on the grid, not reduce it.

            And there are many such papers on fourth generation wind turbines and I have read a good few of them, but as you rightly point out, I make no claim to be expert in this field.

            Here’s one by Nick Miller et al, I have another I obtained from a conference organiser but it’s behind a paywall I think.

            From the conclusions, after first noting that on US grids FFR capacity is declining even where wind hasn’t been added and

            “The present reality that many thermal plants have controls that withdraw their primary response quickly contributes to degraded frequency performance. Modeling of primary
            frequency response, including capturing key elements such as which generators are actually contributing, and which generators have controls that withdraw primary response and contribution of load behavior, requires careful attention.”


            As wind penetration increases, the potential for wind plants to participate in frequency control becomes more important. These investigations show that frequency sensitive controls on wind plants can have a substantial beneficial impact on system performance. Inertial controls from wind
            generation provide fast transient support, via controlled inertial response from wind turbines, which can significantly improve the system frequency nadir. This is particularly the case if the frequency nadir is significantly lower than the settling frequency, which tends to be the case if the system has generators with adequate, but slower control action. Under normal conditions, these controls will add margin in avoiding under-frequency load shedding. Participation of wind plants in providing primary frequency response, i.e., plants with governor-like controls, will have significant beneficial impact on both frequency nadir and settling frequency. This should prove valuable under conditions when the system is short of other resources. To provide this function, wind plants must be dispatched below
            available wind power, causing an opportunity cost equal to the lost production (like spilling water over a hydro dam). Since the controls can be quite fast relative to conventional thermal and hydro generation, the benefit is greater. Other types of generation, active load controls, and energy storage
            devices may all be able to provide comparable benefits

          • Ben Heard 2 years ago

            If you actually read the paper, and the supplementary material, you will see how we have handled this. But, again, this is just hand-waving: either do it right, or be transparent that it had not been done yet. There is nothing wrong with that latter course of action. The problem is claims that lack the requisite evidence.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            We did it right, Ben. Your comments are laughable.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            I didn’t say we “assumed it away” (more verballing by Heard this is an MO) I said we had very experienced power engineers in this state (actually with a career working on the SWIS grid in the relevant bodies) examine the models for Frequency Response capacity and any other power engineering issues.

            I also listed all the ways, like converting gas generators (some of which we still have operational in the 85% RE model most favored by the modellers for promoting because it’s same or less cost than BAU) to synchronous condensers by spinning them at idle (no gas burning). And the wind and solar technology that can contribute and is required by default on some grids in USA and Europe.

            When repeated presented with a false dichotomy of modelled or assumed I said we didn’t model it we made an assumption based on our models and there are infact a great deal of assumptions in any model, the question is are they reasonable or unreasonable. Defensible or indefensible? I’m told our assumptions on FCAS are defensible and reasonable for the purposes of the modeling, to make the argument that the WA government needs to lift it’s game on renewables and climate action after two terms of inaction and climate denial.

    • juxx0r 2 years ago

      You and I dont often exactly agree.

      In this case i totally agree that we should overbuild wind and solar, especially solar, and some storage. (how do i underline overbuild??)

      And that that would be the case even if nuclear was a silver bullet. Because the development time screws the pooch, the cost means we can have more wind and more solar for the same price and there’s not a waste issue with wind and solar. Nuclear: Three strikes and you’re out.

      Bottom line is that that even if nuclear was any good, it’s still rubbish.

      • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

        There’s a few html tags you can use in disqus like anchor, image (doesn’t always work for me), underscore , strikethrough , emphasis, strong,


        , maybe some others. Google the syntax to get it right.

        • juxx0r 2 years ago


      • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

        Have you ever tried to point this out to a zealot though?

      • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

        And how will nuclear pay itself off over a 35-70 year timeframe if and when PV is being sprayed onto every build cladding product for zero marginal cost and PV modules are approaching <1c/W which Ray Kurzweil suggests should be as soon as ~2036 with 9, 10 or 11 more doublings of global deployed capacity?

        • juxx0r 2 years ago

          exactly, i dont know where you’re going to find someone who would want to build one of these things with their own money.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            there’s a few companies working on small modular reactors made in the factory and installed. Lets see where they get to on the economics… you’d think the window is closing with solar and battery prices heading where they seem to be heading.

          • Wallace 2 years ago

            They are assuming economies of scale. But to achieve economies of scale you have to first manufacture a lot of units in order to work through your learning curve, build efficient supply streams, that sort of thing.

            And that means that you need a sufficient number of early adopters who are willing to pay “$1,500 for a TV that will later sell for $500”

            Where are those utilities that will pay 5x, 8x the cost of wind and solar just for the bragging rights of owning one of the first SMRs?

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Yep, i imagine that they’ll be leaning on the US military complex to help on that account.

            But the military have been on a solar, wind and biogas push so will be interesting times. Also the navy has some concpetual project where they take CO2 out of the ocean and make bunk fuel for their ships, I imagine they figure they’ll power it with SMRs, won’t be solarPV out on the ocean that’s for sure.

          • SteveBloom 2 years ago

            They won’t be doing that out at sea.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            That was part of the appeal I gathered, not having to transport it so far and having more points to refuel from, apart from it being “carbon neutral” (or closer to it than bunk fuel).

    • jimgreen 2 years ago

      Hi Alastair, what is the source/reference for the table on US Govt Subsidies over last century?

    • Ben Heard 2 years ago

      I didn’t delete anything Alastair. That’s how blocking works. You can’t see my tweets anymore.

      You misspelled my name.

      • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

        I checked your Twitter page logged into another account that you haven’t blocked (I’m on a few groups like SEN so have access to several twitter accounts).

        Apologies if you didn’t delete but I found these tweet were visible after you blocked me the first time I checked immediately after you blocked me but not on the following Monday.

        • Ben Heard 2 years ago

          It’s not ‘if’. I just didn’t. So fine, apology accepted.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Not sure why i can’t see them though. Perhaps if they were all begun with @usefuldesign that made them invisible to other accounts. Twitter has made that a bit opaque now by removing the “with” handles from the front of comments.

            A nice way to accept my apology might be to dig up my bullying of those lovely @moms4nuclear so I learnt to speak with greater restraint in public. Or retract that public accusation. It’s not a trivial accusation as I noted just before you blocked me. And having been genuinely harangued by packs of nuclear “enthusiasts” sharing originating IP locations in the past (lots of name calling and baiting and not much else) and seen others get same treatment I do take it as a bit of rich accusation to make.

            Not that you’re responsible for every pro-nuclear troll on the internet but it’s kind of well known on RE websites that they operate in both well organised and intentional ways to abuse people who they disagree with.

      • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

        You’ll be glad to know I reported your accusation of SEN being “anti-nuclear” on the basis of using conservative BREE LCoE and WACC numbers.

        Note, we used Finkel numbers for WACC for those technologies that the Finkel Report did list, they didn’t even consider nuclear WACC worth mentioning! And Finkel himself has been on the record for a long time as supporting nuclear power in Australia. More recently he’s qualified saying, if it can be economic.

        • Ben Heard 2 years ago

          Fine, but, in the only document on this process I have been able to find, you quote the BREE number with the 10% WACC as grounds for not using nuclear. Rather than thinking this through, SEN used a high WACC to exclude a technology then used a lower WACC to make the preferred technology cheaper.

          A recent paper by MV Ramana, who is no fan of nuclear, did the analysis with 5% WACC. Most of the literature suggests 5, some 7, but note the Stern Review for the UK, lauded for progressive climate change economics, used 1.4% to value to future as he thought appropriate. So, this is what I mean about SEN updating the work and submitting for proper review; it can’t pretend to have made some passive decision, it has made an active decision not to look any closer than convenient.

          And yes, Finkel Review completely excluded it. I seem to remember you writing that off as being not concerned enough about climate change. Again, which is t? I would also have liked to see nuclear included in the table that showed energy options and their lifetime carbon emissions. It wasn’t.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            It’s not that we “didn’t use” nuclear, it’s that at that LCOE price it doesn’t lift the Carbon abatement models by including it. And to include nuclear it would be a fairly big whack of generation on a smallish grid using say a 1GW plant. We do list it for comparison purposes. Also there’s a bunch of other reasons that preclude nuclear in the mix for Australia but we don’t even consider those at SEN.

          • Ben Heard 2 years ago

            But the price depends on the assumptions Alastair. Does SEN or does it not want to use 10% WACC when literature suggests 5-7%? Does it want to assume 30 year amortisation as per BREE when standard for nuclear is 40 years and they are designed for 60? Does it plan to run nuclear in the model at 83% capacity factor as in BREE, when that number is a global average from 2006, compared to 91% for the top quartile, which matches the last 10 years of the 100,000 MWe US sector?

            Or does is not understand how that LCOE price was derived?

            Or does it not care, since it provided a handy reason not to think about including nuclear power?

            Those three assumptions change the LCOE dramatically based on identical capital costs. If SEN is actually about climate change and decarbonisation first, it would look into this properly and, I would suggest, should be arguing as loudly as possible for low WACC (across the board) in energy analyses to value the future appropriately.

            If your crew has an LCOE calculator set up, tell them to work through the process with those assumptions. You will be very surprised at the outcome.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            SEN is actually about Sustainable Energy Now. From that constitutional perspective, nuclear isn’t sustainable. But there was no intent to dismiss it on that basis, because we’re making comparisons to BAU and the alternatives. I’m happy to advance any critique you like to our modellers.

          • Maltster 2 years ago

            Anyone relying on that particular Conversation article for the “low carbon” nature of nuclear power should also be aware of the follow-up/response article by Lenzen (one of the authors cited by anti-nuclear Diesendorf) in which Lenzen cites the US NREL emissions intensity figures (referenced by the IPCC and the South Australian nuclear royal commission, but notably ignored by Diesendorf)…


            …and also points out just some of the many crippling issues with the notorious Storm/Smith website.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Thanks for the link, Malster.

            It’s interesting (to me anyhow) how as if by training all nuclear power supporters put the adjective “anti-nuclear” before the name of any person or organisation that they consider to not be in alignment with their own views. There’s a whiff of persecution complex about it, a la fake news cries.

            I critique the LNC and ALP all the time on climate policy, fossil fuel lobbyists and mouthpieces, in the press and politics but I’m not constantly jumping for the “anti-renewables” moniker. To me it’s kind of self evident where stridently propagandist orgs and their mouthpieces are coming from and doesn’t need me to bash people over the head with a label for them.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Are you suggesting that Nuclear will attract cheaper finance than wind and solar? that the risk is actually lower than wind and solar? This would be news to me.

      • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

        fixed spelling

  4. Arthur Burnside 2 years ago

    This article has a LOT of problems. In its confused attempt to attack nuclear power
    it bounces around, mostly griping about fast neutron reactors (a favorite of Russian
    nuclear designers) and claims “billions” of govt money spent to develop. I’ll
    pass on that claim, but point out that molten salt nuclear reactors have
    received a pittance of govt (or investment) capital. A couple million, at most.
    The criticism cited MIT’s Kord Smith as one who has “debunked numerous claims”
    made by Dewan’s Transatomic Power a designer of molten salt reactors. Those
    “numerous claims” aren’t very numerous – they consist of exactly two claims, both of
    which refer to essentially the same thing (spent fuel, so-called nuclear wastes) :
    namely, how much is produced and what percentage consumed, essentially the same question. Dewan had incorrectly calculated a figure that had been published on her design for many months – more than a year, without any of the nuclear power professors at MIT (including the clueless Smith) noticing anything wrong. THAT proves that her calculation error was not easy to spot and was easy to make. The only error was that her calculation indicated exaggerated percentages. She never claimed her reactor could consume all nuclear wastes (spent fuel). Her calm reaction was appropriate – the value of a molten salt reactor in no way rests upon nuclear waste considerations. So much for the “debunking” claim.
    Besides, one might say, nuclear wastes are not wastes at all, and NOT because they can (or cannot ) be used to power a fast reactor, as falsely claimed in this silly article. Nuclear wastes contain enormous amounts of residual thermal energy, which, for some stupid, bizarre reason, govts have been frightened into believing must be buried underground, apparently in order to heat up the subterranium soil. This essentially free thermal energy (350 degrees) is capable of performing
    gigantic tasks, such as desalinating enormous amounts of sea water. More laughable is the article’s clueless claim that Thorium is a danger because of its proliferation risks (incorrectly implying that MSRs typically use Thorium – they DON’T). If the article’s author had even the slightest familiarity with Dewan’s published info, he would have seen that Transatomic Power recommends fueling their reactor with Uranim, NOT Thorium (their reactor CAN be configured
    to burn Thorium). It should be obvious that reactors located in civilzed nations (which already possess Plutonium ) can burn Thorium without the slightest danger. The idea that terrorists could break in and grab Plutonium is beyond stupid.
    Perhaps the biggest lie in all this is the article’s strange focus on fast neutron reactors, which are not even competitive with MSRs. Scare talk of Fukushima is irrelevant whe discussing MSR technology, which has no safety issues. Wind turbines and solar panels have safety issues,MSR power plants do not. In case anyone gets the impression that the claims made in this article of high nuclear costs have have any relevance to MSR’s , they will be very unpleasantly surprised
    if they quote these figures around anyone even only slightly familiar with MSR plant designs. MSR is NOT a “new nuclear technology” – it has been around for many decades, but was never practical because of the issues of large moderators and corrosive effects of molten salt. There are no “unknowns” here,except, to a small extent, by some MSR designs. In the case of TAP, it is about determining the exact amount of corrosion resistance of their core alloys. This will only have an effect on the total cost estimate – it can not invalidate the design, because the uncertainty
    is simply not that great. Other designs, such as Moltex Energy , solve the corrosion issue another way – they use sacrifical materials, replaceable every 5 years or so. And their moderating actions differ as well. As for costs, these designs are very specific in all details with respect to the plant. Any experienced manufacturing cost estimator can provide an accurate estimate, especially considering the fact that the plants themselves can be built in a factory and site preparation is so
    minimal and sites are so plentiful (no cooling water sources – lakes, are required). These plants can be located within cities and towns, basically anywhere. As for costs, Transatomic hired an independent company to provide a cost estimate (so much for the article’s fictional claim that the companies themselves estimate costs). The estimate was $4 billion for a 450MW plant. An MSR plant’s lifespan will exceed 60 years. That is, depending upon which LWR plant manufacturer is invoved, anywhere from 35% to 65% that of a LWR plants. The cheapest estimate comes from Moltex Energy, whose innovative design takes advantage of many components already used by, and in production for, LWRs. In an interview with Nuclear
    Energy Insider Moltex reveals its overnight capital cost of under $2 per Watt, based on an independent cost estimate by a leading UK engineering firm. Further reductions to this overnight cost are expected for modularised construction. This is over three times cheaper than a typical LWR and even cheaper than a coal-fired plant. Levelized cost of power would make this the cheapest power of any technology, including combined cycle natural gas. These MSRs also can
    be operated as load following plants. Thus these plants do NOT depend as much on fossil fuel fired peak power as either wind or solar and , of course, their on demand dispatchable power is many times more valuable than the unreliable power produced by wind/solar. It is totally inconceivable that any sane grid operator would choose wind/solar over MSR generated power. It is obvious to everyone (especially the Chinese, who recently banned any more wind power capacity because of its “disruptive” effects on their grid) that MSRs are the future of power
    generation – it is superior to all other technologies in every conceivable way. China and India are well along in their MSR development, although India is especially concerned about Uranium supply (for no apparent reason) and therefore are choosing Thorium as a fuel.
    But, in my opinion, it would be hard to vote against Moltex Energy, since they are virtually on the threshold of commercialization, due to their ingenius use of existing fuel rod technology, etc.
    Molten Salt Reactors are just around the corner. It will be interesting to see which MSR designs prevail, but there is no suspence about which power technology will win out – nothing can compete with MSR power. Nothing.

  5. Bill Fortune 2 years ago

    I take issue with the lumping of the Transatomic Power design with breeder reactors.
    And how is it the Rickover and crew designed the first commercial reactor, put in a sub and got the sub in the water within 6 years ? As a former Civil Service engineer I contend that the bureaucrats will not approve anything as long as the money flows to them.

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      That’s fast even for a conventionally powered submarine if it was operational also. (Collins Class had some teething issues)

      • Bill Fortune 2 years ago

        your statement shows that u have not read you history about Admiral Hyman Rickover and the Nautllus. Rickover was more of a dictator and got support from Congress to the President. The bureaucrats had to step aside.
        Today the bureaucrats are in control so the new technology is going to China, Indonesia , South Korea and others. The bureaucrats will study everything until the money runs out. “If you don’t make any decisions you can never be blamed for making a mistake.” U, my friend, and all u young people are being suckered !
        Bill F. former Chief Steward, International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers, Local 4, Dept. of Defense, Navy, Waterfront Facilities for the overhaul of nuclear submarines.

  6. HarryDutch 2 years ago

    A dear, the anti-nuke guys are at it again. China has completed the construction of their advanced Gen-IV HTR-PM (210 MWe) high-temperature gas-cooled reactor. They finished the TRISCO nuclear fuel facility in 2015. For this type of reactor they are building a mass production factory, with the intention by 2022 to start fabricating the components for some 400 600MWe reactors to be shipped to site for fast construction. This reactor is ideal for District Heating, Hydrogen and Desalination Projects. TRISO fuel particles are designed not to crack due to the stresses from processes (such as differential thermal expansion or fission gas pressure) at temperatures up to and beyond 1600 °C, and therefore can contain the fuel in the worst of accident scenarios in a properly designed reactor. One of China’s stated goals for developing the HTR-PM is that they have the potential to substitute for the combustion unit in its fleet of modern supercritical coal plants, as they produce similar steam turbine inlet conditions. As many of China’s coal plants are located close to cities, this is seen as a potential route for quickly improving air quality. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBQQtA3tWy4

  7. HarryDutch 2 years ago

    The Russian ‘closed’ nuclear fuel cycle’. Gen-III + BN-800 a sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor that began commercial operation in 01/11/2016 and a proposed follow on for the Gen IV BN-1200 (cost $2.56m per mw) reactor. The BN-800 runs on mixed uranium-plutonium fuel, helping to reduce the weapon-grade plutonium stockpile and provide information about the functioning of the closed uranium-plutonium fuel cycle. Furthermore the BN-800 supplies 880MWe electricity to the grid. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5q7gP1q9zM

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      $2.5/W and solar is already at $1/W and will be at 0.23c/W in 2029 by which time we could maybe get a NPP online in Australia if there was no democratic representation in the decision and it was taken in the national interest by a Government prepared to lose office over it. And then would need 35-70 years of good energy prices all day and night long (baseload) to get a ROI. Interesting value proposition.

      • HarryDutch 2 years ago

        @Alstair Lieth – solar is already at $1/W, you overlooked to mention that it only works when there is sunshine. Now use the capacity factor and see what will you end up with. lol

        • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

          That’s true, but what kind of cost curve has nuclear been on for the last four decades (hint north)? News of price breakthroughs to be treated with healthy skepticism.

          On shore wind is already significantly cheaper than nuclear and so is solar in sunny locations of Australia tends to peak output when the sun isn’t shining.

          Even at a C.F. of 29% PV is cheaper than nuclear with a 90% C.F. in Australia. How nuclear could maintain high C.F.s when midday demand (after PV behind the meter exports) minimum starts hitting zero in every state of Australia I’m not sure? AEMO suggests that will be happening within ten years in SA and WA. Elsewhere like QLD and NSW to follow soon after I’d think.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alstair Lieth – the cost curve for nuclear has been for the last four decades (hint north)? Where do you get your information from. Yes in the USA and France with their advanced Gen III + reactors the cost is out of control. This is not the case with the advanced Gen III + Reactors from Russia and China. Russia had its first advanced Gen III + Reactor the VVER1200/491 in commercial operation on 27 February 2017. The one off a kind overnight construction cost was €3.8 billion. China is to start up five of its Gen III + Reactors late in 2017. The Sanmen 1 and Haiyang 1 AP1000 units, the Taishan 1 EPR and the Fuqing 4 and Yangjiang 4 CPR-1000 units. Now who needs junk electricity from wind, solar, tides, waves, biomass, geothermal etc… No more crazy pricing systems (Bluescope CEO warns on a doubling of the electricity price in 2018). Just go with clean and safe 24/7 firm power generation as offered by advanced nuclear technologies.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            “Bluescope CEO warns on a doubling of the electricity price in 2018” ok.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            If the world went 100% nuclear power (in spite of the fact that France needed 25% hydro to load follow and imports German coal power to do same) we would be very much into low-grade ore. That is not a low carbon resource given that mining is still done using fossil fuels, as is transport. Sure, let’s debate nuclear power – just don’t call it “low-emission”

            First Nations people the world over oppose the extraction of uranium ore and yellowcake processing no matter how much cash is waved in their faces. That hasn’t been resolved anywhere uranium is mined.

            You haven’t costed waste disposal and storage for 100,000 years, even at a cent a kilo that’s going to add up over time.

            And you still haven’t addressed the duck-curve problem for baseload generators. People will be putting PV on their roofs even if generation from coal or nuclear becomes free because PV is cheaper than the distribution costs alone.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alstair Lieth – All current Gen-II Nuclear Reactors can load follow. They don’t need the support of hydro or coal. If hydro in the mix is available that is fine and the reactors can balance the grid accordingly. Generation III + and IV are even better at it. However balancing the grid with reactors running at a CF of 90+ is the way to go. I don’t know why you guys keep using the term baseload, like I said get rid of the junk electricity and run on firm-load. Emissions of advanced nuclear reactors at 0.3g(CO2e)/kWh are much lower that that of renewables as the fuel does not need to be mined, but is produced from the reprocessing of spent fuel and the breeding of fuel in the breeder reactors. Rooftop PV Solar represents only a small amount and is already recognised as a death spiral for the grid. It does not power an industrial nation. You guys are not serious about climate change, but just like to argue about your clean energy wind & solar convictions without doing any serious math. We don’t need just electricity, we need a power source like advanced nuclear that can produce also hydrogen, water through desalination and district heating. I have better things to do so have a nice day.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            But they don’t load follow, it kills the economics and, in the USA at least, they seek PPAs for high C.F.s. Nowhere in the world do NPPs act as mid merit generators. PLease give me on example with the output profile over a year. Yet to see it.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            NPP’s in France and Germany load follow. Places like Ontario Canada set a good example of clean electricity generation. The Canadian CANDU NPP can run on non enriched uranium and CANDU’s NPP’s with China’s backing, is putting the world closer to what proponents call the thorium dream. http://live.gridwatch.ca/home-page.html

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Show me the yearly output graph for a single NPP that is actively used to load follow Harry, I have never seen one in spite of asking. Can do fast ramping is one thing, regularly does fast ramping is quite another.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – Like said, all NPP’s in Germany and France load follow. You state “can do fast ramping is one thing, regularly fast ramping is quite another. So you now tell me with all your pseudo nuclear power generation knowledge what your statement is based on.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            I think we both know why you are avoiding answering the question and showing me the output of a single NPP that is used for load following, mid-merit or peaking generation. I’ve already provided the reasons why they don’t a number of times on this page.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            “firm-load” is that a fiction you just created? have you seen the duck-curve projects, nothing can stop that except legislation impacting 80% of the adult population. Not a chance.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            See your problem is that you are not an engineer. The duck curve is a graph of power production over the course of a day that shows the timing imbalance between peak demand and renewable energy production. Energy is not just electricity. When the demand for electricity is down we can produce from the same reactor hydrogen supplying the fuel for a hydrogen economy. That’s what I call looking after the environment. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5d16868a87b78ef2484a20cc6aea7ba3cc43fff8e10b99744452f7c10f100f4a.jpg

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Cites expertise, then hypothesizes about the Hydrogen economy, LOL!

            Why hydrogen? Why not PHES combined with chemical batteries?

            You do realise adding storage in to flatten your demand curve adds costs on top of the most expensive generation there is, right?

            Why the hydrogen economy dosent make sense: https://phys.org/news/2006-12-hydrogen-economy-doesnt.html

            I’m sure power2gas storage to will eventuate (and hydrogen will only be a step of it, it makes little sense to store nd transport hydrogen, as my father, a nuclear/radiation physicist explained to me when I was still at school. But as with all storage, why not pair it with cheap, clean, socially responsible wind and solar not expensive nuclear?

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            Quoting something on hydrogen from 2006, wake up and do some serious research. On expensive nuclear do the same.. don’t look at France or the USA. LOL

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Laws of physics haven’t changed since 2006. H2 is an extremely small molecule and as a solid fuel, an explosively reactive molecule, as I’m sure you are aware. Makes no sense to pipe it around long distances and store it. Conversion to more stable liquid fuels at room temp. does make sense. Even fuel cells very iffy. Japanese car makers backed a loser there, if they weren’t just trying to prolong ICE vehicles by pretending hydrogen is the future.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith, You must have missed my earlier comment. LOL for me making mention of a hydrogen economy. Don’t forget that the outside world laughs about the power industries failures in Australia. Hydrogen can be generated from energy supplied in the form of heat and electricity through high-temperature electrolysis (HTE). Because some of the energy in HTE is supplied in the form of heat, less of the energy must be converted twice (from heat to electricity, and then to chemical form), and so potentially far less energy is required per kilogram of hydrogen produced. The new generation of special purpose HT Nuclear Reactors provide for this efficiencies. FCEV’s Royal Dutch Shell sees a future in this and so do others, so go and tell them and the FCEV car manufacturers that there is no future in it.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            “and so potentially far less energy is required per kilogram ”

            ok if heat recovery is good, presumably you could do same with any thermal generation appliance if this technology works.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – do you ever obtain some solid knowledge or do you just float on the surface. What thermal renewable generation appliance can reach the temperature of the the Very-High-Temperature Gas-Cooled HTGR reactor. Temperatures above 900°C and potentially approaching 1200°C may be achieved, efficient for the production of hydrogen. This reactor uses a fluidized bed of TRISCO-coated fuel particles that have been safety tested to handle temperatures of up to 1800{degree}C offering the benefits for reactor safety. The picture shows the manual handling of the TRISCO (tristructural-isotropic) fuel particles. They are triple-coated spherical particles of uranium fuel, less than one millimetre in diameter. A uranium centre is coated by a layer of carbon, which is then coated by silicon carbide, with an outer shell of carbon. In effect, this gives each tiny particle its own primary containment system. The particles are then fabricated into fuel pellets.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Shell, that same corporation that drowned Nigeria in oil spills for over a decade (yet protected by the UK courts) and more than likely have been funding climate change denial for decades?


          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – We can all dig up rubbish. It does not change the fact on the current status of FCEV. Are we headed for a solar waste crisis?

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith, yes LOL for me making mention of a hydrogen economy. Don’t forget that the outside world laughs about the power industries failures in Australia. Hydrogen can be generated from energy supplied in the form of heat and electricity through high-temperature electrolysis (HTE). Because some of the energy in HTE is supplied in the form of heat, less of the energy must be converted twice (from heat to electricity, and then to chemical form), and so potentially far less energy is required per kilogram of hydrogen produced. The new generation of special purpose HT Nuclear Reactors provide for this efficiencies. FCEV’s Royal Dutch Shell sees a future in this and so do others. http://www.shell.com/energy-and-innovation/the-energy-future/future-transport/hydrogen.html

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            District heating, okay, so nuclear power plants in the middle of Australian Capital Cities to do district heating (most cities don’t need it, this isn’t Europe), that’s going to happen some time soon I expect, in time for the critical decade of decarbonisation?

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            So is this discussion limited to Austalia.?

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Almost all my comments about the economic viability have been about Australia, yes. We have excellent RE resources and in WA can go to 85% RE as a no brainer, it’s cheaper than BAU with coal and gas replacing old plants with new over the next 12 years.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            The duck curve is a graph of power production over the course of a day that shows the timing imbalance between peak demand and renewable energy production.

            No, wrong on two counts. Firstly peak demand used to be, before PV was introduced on rooftops, in the middle of the day, so it coincides perfectly well with grid peak demand. That has pushed the grid peak out to the evening shoulder, a time when most household demand is peaking particularly in summer.

            Secondly, renewable energy production on the grid is in most states well less than half total supply, so it has nothing to do with renewable energy production falling short. Overbuild wind, and CST+TS and PHES, chemical batteries, DSM and any other relevant technologies and job done.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – Pumped Heat Electrical Storage, Concentrated Solar Thermal, Molten Salt Storage, Redox Flow Batteries. P2G, All desperate measures. On the Duck Curve, as a seasoned professional power engineer (now 70 years of age) I created a few years ago the startup http://www.wbamnet.org to provide a top to bottom solution based on energy efficiency, and demand-side management (DSM). Furthermore it addresses the issues on the GRID introduced by the effects from climate change and the behaviour of wind, commercial PV solar and hydro in such situations. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d036b30b3aa09312618d5bb7ada95e95527707679bfce3e6ff38014c0ac36394.jpg

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            If you’re going to keep tagging me maybe spell my name correctly 🙂 There’s no need for name tagging though, Disqus says who the reply is to and provides notifications.

  8. HarryDutch 2 years ago

    I have been looking at the weather patterns in Europe and Australia over the last 2 weeks. There has been very little wind in both area’s. Wind and Solar does strike me as all lies and promises, wind and sun worshippers keep telling us that rocketing power prices and unstable grids are just minor ‘teething problems’ on our way to an inevitable ‘transition’ to a wonderful world run entirely on sunshine and breezes. Germany has hardly had any wind for a week now. Being the dirtiest country in Europe with 505(gCO2eq/kWh) running on 61% fossil fuel. Germany, the so-called ‘transition’ has just smacked into reality: the only thing inevitable about it, is more chaos, triggering a run of new promises and even bigger lies. Furthermore, Germany home to the much-hailed ‘Energiewende’ green revolution, suffered more premature deaths (3,500 annually) linked to coal plant pollution than any other European member state, research by health and environment campaigners has found. Currently South Australia is obtaining 4% (69.5MW) of its electricity from wind. This is obtained from an installed capacity of 1560MW. Denmark 2% (114MW( from its installed capacity of 4850MW, and Germany for the last 2 weeks has been below 13% (6200MW) from its installed capacity of 49600MW. Check on reality and discover the failure of Wind and Solar. https://www.electricitymap.org/

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      There’s no evidence renewables lead to rocketing power prices. Quite the opposite in Australia, they disrupt the gas cabal who fix fix peak demand numbers so a coal generator like Hazelwood can make a third of it’s income in peak price events even though it’s a baseload generator. Renewables drop the wholesale price because wind and solar are price takers not price setters in the market.

      I provided a list for your friend in misinformation caffined here:

      • HarryDutch 2 years ago

        @Alstair Lieth – its all simple, everywhere where I see a high penetration of renewables, the consumer electricity price goes through the roof.

        • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

          Those would include energy economists like Dylan McConnell and the Australian German Climate Change Research Institute then. You will not all three states, VIC, NSW and QLD rose at the same time, despite the fact that there we no big closures in NSW and QLD in 2016/17, and that SA already had high wholesale prices before coal closed there.

          I’ll give you a hint, gas cabal gentailers. Here’s a detailed report explaining it:

          Suggest you check the list on that link in my previous comment also. Renewables reduce wholesale energy prices because they are price takers not setters, they bid negative into the grid. Is that too hard for you to comprehend the implications of?

          • thebeastie 2 years ago

            This is 101 stuff, Its called the interstate grid, all states are connected to each other so they can sell power interstate so when you shut down a coal power-station anywhere in the whole right side of Australia the spot price goes up as there is less power available.

            Because there is a electricity futures market and the fact SA has no coal power-stations any more as soon as Hazelwood was announced to be shut down the markets like SA instantly started bidding up futures electricity prices to secure access to whats left.
            Again Hazelwood would still be open if the royalty tax on the coal for it wasn’t abruptly tripped by the clueless Victorian government, who just assumed like in the past they would just eat it.
            Its well a well known fact that South Australia’s interstate grid connect to Victoria is ALWAYS maxed out at around 750MW. As proven in the past if SA lose that interstate connection they go into statewide blackout.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Thanks for introducing me to the NEM. Well I nevah.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Abruptly doubled the coal royalty to be in line with coal heavy NSW, dream on, Engie, an enlightened energy corporation you might say, has a policy of getting out of coal and gas and are doing so with all their assets. They tried to sell Hazelwood for over a year and couldn’t find a buyer, so shuttered it, even though they estimate remediation at $750m (probably north of $1B some independent analysts suggest).

            If their operations were so sensitive to a royalty increase that puts it in line with Hunter Valley coal then it was marginal at best anyhow. But your assertion that was why it was closed isn’t consistent with published Annual Reports and memos by Engie.

            Here’s a list of what the hardly done by coal industry fails to pay for when you consider the relative pittance of extra royalties:
            1) air quality premature deaths (51,999 per year in USA at a std valuation of a life at $1m that’s trillions a year, we don’t bother to study air quality deaths from coal in Australia very much so hard to get numbers),
            2) hospitalisations (more billions/trillions a year in the USA, again not sure for Australia) and loss of work due to illness putting people on insurance and govt. benefits
            3) the climate change damage, virtually incalculable, what monetary value do we place on civilisation as we know it and all present day ecosystems? How bad will SL rise be by the end of this century and how much waterfront property and infrastructure will be under 10+ m of water (Western Ice Sheet of Antartica completely melting is ~10m on its own, it’s in terminal decline, some say unstoppable already short of some unknown geoengineering process that saves the day)

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            It’s exactly the limitations of interstate interconnectors that makes a nonsense of your comments that it’s all one big open market. If that were so regional pricing wouldn’t even be a thing, and yet it is by your own admission, SA having the highest prices.

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      Cherry picking does you no credit, HarryDutch. Look at the annual contribution of wind, not the moment it is not running to make a flimsy argument that will have you laughed at.

      Wind droughts are an energy security issue, nobody serious denies that, but there are ways of addressing it. And like I said SEN modelled 85% RE on the SWIS grid which has no interconnectors to the rest of Australia to fall back on. 85% RE can be done for same cost or less than BAU replacing coal and gas with like for like. A moderate amount of new transmission needed <$1B worth. That's modelled using historical weather data for ten years at hourly intervals. Increased demand in line with (conservative) BREE forecasts. Nuclear can't compete on cost with that and there's no room for it in the remaining 15% because it's baseload not dispatchable generation. You need a miraculous technological breakthrough for nuclear to stay in the race at this point. Certainly for sunny and windy nations.

      • HarryDutch 2 years ago

        @Alstair Lieth – Cherry picking you are really funny. An argument that will have me laughed at. You don’t even know who I am. Historical weather data, you got any idea on the future weather data from climate change. Anyhow, I realise that this is a discussion only supported by wind & solar lovers, so I leave it with you. BTW – Russia does not believe in wind & solar, they got about zero of it. Wind it will never work, have a nice day. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/62b63043513c871431cd7819dec6a43d63048f08e47cd4b9c633813142e2c113.png

        • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

          So Russia with all their oil and gas is the benchmark on climate action. Thanks Harry, leave you to it.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            They (Russia) are constructing one VVER1200 Reactor every year for the next 30 years and are working on their BN-1200 Fast Breeder Reactor and implementing an ultra modern HVDC transmission system. They are doing more on climate change than Australia with its coal and gas.

        • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

          Yeah cherry picking, most new wind in Australia is pushing 40% and above in C.F. becalmed networks do not change that.

      • thebeastie 2 years ago

        You’re Wind and Solar guys are purely about “Cherry picking”.
        It takes 5 seconds to use REAL WORLD GENERATION DATA to see wind and solar are rubbish.

        Look at the latest South Australia Aurora Solar Thermal Power Project

        Its an exact copy of this project Crescent Dunes project in the USA which the EIA.gov have shared its generation numbers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crescent_Dunes_Solar_Energy_Project

        As with all Wind and Solar projects if you don’t “cherry pick” data and just use average MW output like how conventional energy measurement was meant you find every single one of these projects is so bad it has to be seen to be believed.
        Crescent annual generation numbers (130,842 MWh_in_a_year / 8760_hours_in_a_year) = 15MW average power!

        1960’s coal Hazelwood 12,000,000 MWh / 8760_hours_in_a_year = 1369MW average power output.
        (15MW / 1369MW) x 100 = 1.09%
        This means almost exactly 1% of the average power from 1960’s Hazelwood. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazelwood_Power_Station

        Hazelwood is a rather small crusty old 1960s coal power-station but it still blows Wind and Solar away.
        Extreme misleading “Cherry Picking” is all Wind and Solar has got going for it and now it sounds like you want to play a different game like real world average power generation? It only gets worse from there.
        I haven’t been able to do the numbers on a single wind and solar farm where the numbers in average power generation were unbelievably bad.

      • thebeastie 2 years ago

        Re-posting because it dubiously got deleted. Everytime I make posts like this they seem to disappear! Interestingly its always when I have EIA.Gov/Wikipedia links to back up my claims!
        You’re Wind and Solar guys are purely about “Cherry picking”.
        It takes 5 seconds to use REAL WORLD GENERATION DATA to see wind and solar are rubbish.
        Look at the latest South Australia Aurora Solar Thermal Power Project
        Its an exact copy of this project Crescent Dunes project in the USA which the EIA.gov have shared its generation numbers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crescent_Dunes_Solar_Energy_Project
        As with all Wind and Solar projects if you don’t “cherry pick” data and just use average MW output like how conventional energy measurement was meant you find every single one of these projects is so bad it has to be seen to be believed.
        Crescent annual generation numbers (130,842 MWh_in_a_year / 8760_hours_in_a_year) = 15MW average power!
        1960’s coal Hazelwood 12,000,000 MWh / 8760_hours_in_a_year = 1369MW average power output.
        (15MW / 1369MW) x 100 = 1.09%
        This means almost exactly 1% of the average power from 1960’s Hazelwood. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazelwood_Power_Station
        Hazelwood is a rather small crusty old 1960s coal power-station but it still blows Wind and Solar away.
        Extreme misleading “Cherry Picking” is all Wind and Solar has got going for it and now it sounds like you want to play a different game like real world average power generation? It only gets worse from there.
        I haven’t been able to do the numbers on a single wind and solar farm where the real-world numbers in average power generation were unbelievably bad.
        Sooner or later states like South Australia are going to be forced out of looking at their Facebook renewable meme pictures and spend a few seconds doing the numbers themselves because they can’t afford to go down this path for ever.
        There are so many variations on gen 4 nuclear designs that its hard to bother looking at them all and I am sure someone can find some issues with some as there not even built yet. Bill Gates never misses and I am sure his Terrapower Nuclear reactor will crush renewables on a Terawatt level.
        Google it for his speeches and information on it.

        • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

          I suggest Solar Reserves investors use a better due diligence process than yours, i.e relying on wikipedia numbers of the start up year to arrive at 15MW which would be a C.F. of ~12%.

          You know they went off-line to fix a leak in the storage containment that was a contractors mistake and fix under warranty? I’m guessing they wont make that mistake again. This is the early years, unlike nuclear which is a somewhat mature industry by comparison.

          Are you aware two states in northern Germany (the industrial half) are >100% RE already. German grids enjoy some of the highest security and resilience stats in Europe.

        • Giles 2 years ago

          I’m the only moderator here, so i just went into the backend and saw that your post was deleted by …. you. so no more conspiracy theories please.

          • thebeastie 2 years ago

            Well I did some digging and it was actually dubiously marked as spam, so it went invisible and I only found it by going back to the exact same URL via Google Chrome history.
            Says right there “Detected as spam”.
            Obviously someone is deliberately flagging my posts as spam which is totally ridiculous because its Wikipedia links. Either Disqus has the worlds most stupid spam detection system or someone is deliberately rigging it and appropriately marking posts as spam which is incredibly immature. Considering you claimed you have looked and said “I” deleted it maybe I should wondering it’s you that’s marking them as spam and making them invisible? This has happened on this particular website so many times now and it never happens other websites that use Disqus.


          • Giles 2 years ago

            Trust me, i’ve got better things to do than go through hundreds of messages and pick our some as spam. did i delete this, did i edit the other. No. But i’m tired of your pathetic accusations, so your banned.

  9. Ben Heard 2 years ago

    Does anyone else remember the time Jim Green worked so hard to attack James Hansen he completely and utterly fabricated numbers, including multiplying instead of dividing? https://decarbonisesa.com/2013/05/16/green-nuclear-junk/

    This author is a career anti-nuclear activist. He is not, at all, in any way, interested in informing his readership on nuclear matters. If any readers at this site are actually interested in advanced nuclear technology, they need to look elsewhere.

    He is quite skilled in selecting sources and quotes to back his predetermined position or, as in the above posting, simply making up numbers if he can’t quite get there.

    • jimgreen 2 years ago

      Ben Heard is a fake environmentalist – Australia’s version of Patrick Moore.
      Heard’s last gig was for the COAL MINING funded Minerals Council of
      Australia!!! Before that, he took money from General Atomics – which is up to
      its neck in drone warfare. And he’s possibly the first and hopefully the last
      person to ask for speaking fees from small, unfunded community groups.

      Corporations can donate to Heard’s fake environment group and he “will
      respect the company’s right to privacy if desired”. Since he openly takes
      money from coal miners and murderous military corporations, I shudder to think
      who he’ll accept secret donations from. #followthemoney

      This is what the stridently pro-nuclear South Australian Royal Commission said
      about Heard’s Gen 4 nuclear plans: “[A]dvanced fast reactors and other
      innovative reactor designs are unlikely to be feasible or viable in the
      foreseeable future. The development of such a first-of-a-kind project in South
      Australia would have high commercial and technical risk. Although prototype and
      demonstration reactors are operating, there is no licensed, commercially proven
      design. Development to that point would require substantial capital

      Heard got a $55,000 government grant to come up with that lunatic proposal and,
      needless to say, he refused to repay a cent of the money. #followthemoney


    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      I’m glad we have people like Jim Green prepared to work for nothing to counter industry financed spin, Ben.

      You cite France in that article, they’ve already announced they’ll be transitioning down from 75% nuclear to 50% and filling the gap with renewables. A study commissioned by the French government found that transitioning to 95% can be cheaper than maintaining their high (75%) nuclear penetration. That’s in spite of a huge amount of taxpayer money invested in a rolls royce state owned nuclear enterprise, since semi-privatised and in partial bankruptcy. 100% RE for similar costs.


    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      From the article:
      [BWB] … About half of agricultural emissions can also be solved if you have a zero-carbon energy source. Then you just need to worry about the ruminant methane and carbon from deforestation.”

      Oh boy, not even close, the land clearing, reclearing, savanna burning and enteric fermentation are ~90% of the ag sector emissions!

      The BZE land Use report pegs those ag sector emissions at 54% of national GHG emissions using 20GWP and including unaccounted for NTCPs like CO (black carbon is another but LUR doesn’t include it) or 44% using GWP100 accounting which discounts near term warming, it’s no longer a sensible decision to ignore near term warming — given we’re in a climate emergency.

  10. Ben Heard 2 years ago

    Green quotes George Stanford, selectively.

    Years ago, Standford went to great links to clear up the misleading use of his words peddled by Jim Green, in this direct response.


    But Green keep cherry-picking Standford to attack Hansen.

    Again, if readers of this site actually want to know about this technology, this is not the article for you. This is just an attack on the world’s best known climate scientist, a man this author finds personally threatening because he supports the use of nuclear technology.

    • jimgreen 2 years ago

      Stop lying, Ben. In the ‘rebuttal’ you cite, Stanford REPEATS his initial statement! He writes: “If not safeguarded, they could do what they could do with any other
      reactor — operate it on a special cycle to produce good quality weapons

    • Maltster 2 years ago

      Oh my. As quoted in this BNW article, Jim Green apparently stated:

      “…one or another largely undeveloped form of reprocessing/partitioning to separate transuranics (including plutonium) and actinides (long-lived waste)”

      OK this was back in 2009 but by that time how long had Jim Green been professionally campaigning against nuclear energy since having graduated from the research group of Brian Martin (for context, https://newmatilda.com/2016/02/07/anti-vaccination-cranks-versus-academic-freedom/)?

      Without understanding that “transuranics” are in fact types of “actinides” – actinides being the group on the periodic table to which uranium belongs, and transuranic quite clearly meaning “past uranium” – he still saw fit to offer public commentary on this technology.

      The learning opportunities for folks who are interested enough in nuclear to want to commentate publicly have only increased since 2009. Yet we get this.

  11. Enigma 2 years ago

    Hansen states that 115 new reactor start-ups would be required each year to 2050 to replace fossil fuel electricity generation ‒ a total of about 4,000 reactors. Let’s assume that Generation IV reactors do the heavy lifting, and let’s generously assume that mass production of Generation IV reactors begins in 2030.

    That would necessitate about 200 reactor start-ups per year from 2030 to 2050 ‒ or four every week. Good luck with that.

    The implication being that it’s unfeasible to replace fossil with nuclear? So what amount/mix of intermittent renewables would be required to replace fossil. Here’s what Hansen suggests would be needed … just for the United States! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5110db5ce95696419146ac5ac80b1f650fbab9571002f7ace9dac1ff73b59945.png

  12. Enigma 2 years ago

    Moreover, the assumption that mass production of Generation IV reactors might begin in or around 2030 is unrealistic. A report by a French government authority, the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, states: “There is still much R&D to be done to develop the Generation IV nuclear reactors, as well as for the fuel cycle and the associated waste management which depends on the system chosen.”

    Check out what’s happening in Canada then. Designs are undergoing design certification with first-of-a-kind plants being planned now. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6827986524eb9aba4325b4c08946f0c4b0ac240b3c6aa322b8d1a26ac9f0658a.jpg Expect Generation IV technologies to be ready for deployment within a decade.

    • jimgreen 2 years ago

      North Korea uses its ‘experimental power reactor’ to produce plutonium for bombs!

      • Enigma 2 years ago

        Did South Korea emulate their brethren to the north? No. They chose to forgo the nuclear weapons option. Did North Korea decide to advance their society by developing nuclear power and forgo the nuclear weapons option? Again no. The point is that the peaceful use of nuclear does not correlate to the use of nuclear for weapons. Simply put, the cat was let out of the bag a while ago. Any nation could decide to develop nuclear weapons irrespective of their use of nuclear for power, medicine etc. It is a fallacy to equate the use of nuclear power with nuclear weaponry.

      • Enigma 2 years ago

        “Power reactor” Jim. Conflating power generation with weapons production explains your mindset. Yes a reactor is needed to produce weapons-grade plutonium but what does that have to do with power production reactors? The answer is “nothing!”.

    • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

      Yeah that waved away all my concerns about former USSR territories now outside Russian whose fissile materials are being tracked by secret services agents and traded by black market operators to potential terrorists. And Pakistan and India’s security and accountability. Great meme!

  13. Djef Brak 2 years ago

    23.5 % of ELECTRICITY production is not the same as 23.5 % of power generation (think fuels and heat). Surely diminishes the credibility of this article.
    Nuclear will become a part of our carbon free energy-mix no matter what.. It can provide both electricty and heat (at T’s higher than CSP can create -think industry-) on demand. We can argue on the time-line but it’s coming… just a reminder that the energy density of nuclear fuels is about a factor 10^6 larger than of that of fossil fuels and don’t forget the land footprint!! PEACE

    • wideEyedPupil 2 years ago

      Renewable process heat is available at any temperature, what kinds of temperatures are you wanting for process heat that CST cannot achieve? Beyond CST temperatures 800º C + I suppose, there’s electrical arc furnaces for smelting.

      Someone posted a paper on renewable process heat, Blakers I think recently.

      Here’s two links:

      • Djef Brak 2 years ago

        CST is not very efficient at temperatures above 350 C, meaning you would need an enormous amount of space to get the flow needed for industrial processes.. “At a site with a reasonable solar resource, solar thermal is likely to be economically viable for temperatures up
        to 150°C and possibly viable up to around 250°C. Higher temperature systems are not currently economically
        viable although may become so in future.” maybe check your sources before you cite them… I love CSP(/T) but it is more a supplement to gas ftm. Geothermal is location dependent and the output is also physically limited to a certain power. Biomass is then also a possiblity, but if you look at the shear amout of energy needed it is not a sustainable option.
        To summarize, renewable heat cannot achieve the power required in industry. At least not in a sustainable manner. To give you an idea of the land required for CST, let us assume we can capture the full 1000W/m² of the sun. For large industry with several 10’s of MW of heat required, you would need an installation of several 10 000 m² (= 100 km²) of area/land… This should give you an idea of why CST is not a stand-alone solution for industrial heat

        • wideEyedPupil 2 years ago

          Well the next BZE publication, as part of the Industrial Processes plan, will be devoted to process heat technologies so then we’ll have a well researched and credentialled report to go by.

          “To summarize, renewable heat cannot achieve the power required in industry. ”

          That’s just false, it’s possible, it all comes down to costs. Electricity can generate extremely high temperatures and electricity can have a renewable generation source. Andrew Blakers, very respected ANU scientist has said process heat for industry temperature can be provided for using RE. Again it’s costs.

          In the case of smelting steal, it can be done using low emissions technologies which are presently more expensive (so uninteresting to resource companies who care not for the Earth or the future of civilisation) but it’s suggested that if the world priced carbon and the world switched to green steal processes (there are a few) the resulting costs could actually be lower than current technologies, given a learning curve.

          Crescent Moons CST plant collector area according to wikipedia is 1,200,000 m² == 1.2 km² (your conversion was out by a factor 10^3 — you have to sq the distance conversion for area conversion, 10,000 m² == 0.1 km²) and generates 110 nameplate capacity and 500,000 MWh per year. The high temperature of the molten salt conduit , including storage is 566⁰ C (unheated molten temperature is 288º C). Beyond that electricity can generate higher embodied heat energies.

          • Djef Brak 2 years ago

            Ow snap, I had a feeling I should have checked my math.^^ Even 1.2 km² is still too large… Yes it theoretically can provide the necessary heat. Although the shear amount of space required would be ridiculous. Besides that, the ultra high temperatures still could not be reached, or at least not efficiently. I reiterate, I am all for using solar. But it does not make sense to think that we should go completely solar. It makes much more sense to use a sort of district heating network with a very high temperature heat source.
            If you consider that 2/3 of industrial primary energy use is attributed to heat requirements, IMHO we wont be able to generate enough RE to do so. Especially for countries like mine (BE) where land is scarce. Another main concern of mine is the use of other natural resources (precious metals -solar-, steel -wind-) that would be required for the world to be powered electrically through RER. And that is the main reason why I am a nuclear proponent, not 100% of course but putting all our eggs in one (intermittent) basket is not a good idea.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            It doesn’t have to be solar, it just has to be zero emissions and renewable. Large SolarPV, rooftopPV, Solar CST+TS, Wind, with PHES (storage only) and chemical batteries for storage to smooth out supply. If Belgium wishes to go nuclear that’s for the people of Belgium to decide, hopefully they wont be railroading over the wishes of Traditional Owners to leave U in the ground in Australia to get at their fuel. Maybe BE will be part of a EU supergrid linked to offshore wind in the North and solar in northern Africa one day. Even with the wind resource in northern Germany and France you could power all of Europe and Norway has potential for massive PHES capacity with all those fjords that ocean liners steam up.

            There’s solutions to all industrial process heat problems. Are you aware of the temperatures that scientist generate for fusion power experimentation? China has created plasma three times hotter than the interior of the sun and held it for 102 seconds using electromagnetic fields to create the plasma, i.e. using electricity. Electricity can be from renewable sources. If we can power millions of homes from solar with most roofs still not covered in PV then we can power industry too.

            China has created plasma at a temperature of 50 million Kelvins (49.999 million degrees Celsius or 90 million Fahrenheit) for 102 seconds

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            Being funny, fusion power experimentation its a technology that may or may not work. We may know on this by about 2030. To actually have it produce electricity may or may not happen by about 2050.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Typically boneheaded interpretation of what I said, HarryDutch. I’m the last person you’ll find advocating to wait for for fusion electricity. It’s been 25 years off for the last 40 years.

            I was making that point that any temperature is possible from electricity for process heat, you don’t need to burn FF to do it. Try for less knee-jerk reactions, please.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – Who is making knee-jerk reactions.? Its your own words “Are you aware of the temperatures that scientist generate for fusion power experimentation”. See my comments are factual not fictional. Now with all that new renewable energy available for powering the industry. Where do I see this, you got a lot of catching up to do. http://data.reneweconomy.com/LiveGen

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            You are missing the point still. The point for the third and final time is not that we need fusion power for our economy but that enormously high temperatures can be created without fossil fuels using electricity as the sole energy source.

            As I understand it, they need to generate enormous concentrated energy before fusion reactions are possible, that comes from large banks of electrical supercapacitors and/or batteries I imagine in the case of fusion experiments, but the point is you can create any industrial process temperature from electricity, certainly higher than the process heat that you were describing that would be exported from NPPs for district heating or process heat.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – I have done a good number of very large electric arc smelter (furnaces projects) and aluminium smelters. Yes that is smelting using enormous amounts of electricity. You are just not going to have the renewable electricity to power a good number of those smelters, desalination plants, produce hydrogen and district heating where applicable. I am closing off on the last few comments, so lets leave it at this, there is not much participation on this discussion thread. Good luck with your renewables and yes I will focus on nuclear.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            OK good luck. I’m told the main reason Australian aluminium smelters are not competitive with overseas ones is that the overseas ones are magnitudes bigger in scale and they run on cheap RE, like hydro (?and possibly geothermal?)

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago
          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – Large SolarPV, rooftopPV, Solar CST+TS, Pumped Heat Electrical Storage, Molten Salt Storage, Massive Redox Flow Batteries. P2G, all desperate measures. Wow bringing in the Australian traditional land owners on mining U. If needed as already done, new nuclear fuel can be made from the spent fuel rods discharged from the Generation II Nuclear Reactors as they still contain 97% of the fuel. With the help of Fast Breeder Reactors, there is enough spent fuel and weapons grade plutonium available to run NPP’s for thousands of years.

            Maybe this and a maybe that, will the hydro from Norway be secure under the conditions of climate change. And Europe linking to solar in northern Africa one day. I think Africa is in need of power for itself.

            See the well educated population of Finland see energy very different. They are the first one to construct a deep geological nuclear waste depository, they also have modern HVDC transmission connections with Russia, Estonia and Sweden. Finland with a population of about 5.5 million (the same as Sydney) operate 4 NPP’s with 2 more under construction. The French Gen-III + EPR after a costly and lengthy delay may go into operation in 2018 and the Russian Gen-III + VVER1200 is projected to become operational by 2024.

            German Utility EWE Plans a Redox Flow Battery Big Enough to Power Berlin for an Hour. Something I call desperation.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Wow bringing in the Australian traditional land owners on mining U.

            Why would I not? TO elders and community walking now across hundreds of km of country to protest U mining in WA. In Canada like Australia all T.O. and First Nations peoples are deeply opposed to U mining on their country and sacred places. You don’t have any respect for people who lived on this continent for 40-100 thousand years and preserved and enhanced as far as we know the entirety of it’s natural wonders?


          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – who are you to say that I don’t have any respect for people who lived on the Australian continent. I possible can count on having more friends amongst the Australian and other First Nations peoples than you have. Like I said before, stick to facts. There is even a good number of traditional owners who wanted a nuclear waste facility on their land are are suing the Northern Land Council for more than $17 million, claiming that the federal statutory authority neglected its duty to support their bid to use the land to ­alleviate crippling poverty. Are you looking after those people.?

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            If you notice I did say, i asked. more bad reading skills harry. ok name your friends.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            Alastair Leith – You wrote “You don’t have any respect for people who lived on this continent”. Yes it can be read either way. BTW – English is not native to me and is my 3rd language. My friends are sacred and certainly not to be contaminated by a rude individual like you.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Good effort with the English then, Harry. I’m embarrassed to admit apart from a few words of schoolboy French I’m monolingual.

            This is the question I asked:

            You don’t have any respect for people who lived on this continent for 40-100 thousand years and preserved and enhanced as far as we know the entirety of it’s natural wonders?

            It’s a serious question. If they’re opposed, and almost universally they are opposed, then maybe they have some wisdom behind their attitude to U mining and the sick country it will bring? Why do you mock me for raising that issue? You seemed to be very dismissive then claim more indigenous people as friends than me. Maybe you do have, but your attitude towards T.O. opposition to U mining as expressed here is pretty poor.

            Do you use question marks in your native language? (admittedly it was a long question). If you have any indigenous friends at all you’ll know that indigenous politics is riven with claims and counter-claims about authority to represent and who are the rightful elders or what land when it comes to negotiations around native title. I wouldn’t go making any assumptions based on a few headlines you read.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – I wouldn’t go making any assumptions based on a few headlines I read. The traditional land owners who wanted a nuclear waste facility on their land are suing the Northern Land Council for more than $17 million. According to the court documents, the NLC failed to protect the interests of Ngapa traditional owners and other Aboriginal groups. Now if you were to check on my background you will see that I have had an involvement with just about all the large uranium mining companies in Australia. Traditionally those mining companies have made genuine attempts to employ local Aborigines, with little success. Most of the aborigines lack the skills to gain anything but unskilled positions with the mining companies and they do not often seek such employment. Aboriginal difficulty in entering employment is related to an inadequate educational system and consequent low numeracy and literacy skills. This is also related to social and cultural factors. Is this lack of education and not wanting to seek employment, a mining industry problem. Having said so, there has been a change, Rio now employs about 1600 Aborigines, making it the single largest such employer in the country. BHP is believed to be offering a broadly similar 0.5 per cent deal in its native title negotiations, though it has a floor as well as a ceiling, with comparable economic benefits. Following the FMG deal, the Eastern Guruma people’s fortunes have flourished. They have used what little money they got from their agreement to start businesses. One of those businesses recently picked up a contract with Rio worth $160 million a year. Now have you done anything personally for helping Aborigines.?

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Maybe stop using the word Aborigines for a start, Harry. It’s aboriginal people these days. You’ve turned the conversation to something else yet again.

            A patriarchal explainer of the failings of the aboriginal people thanks, in the main, to the invasion of their country 200 years ago and decimation of their culture is not relevant. Good for you for sharing your superior views though. The question was, why don’t you respect that fact that almost all aboriginal people and communities are opposed to U mining? You’ve completely ignored that question through all this, pretending one court claim for wrong process suggests widespread support by aboriginal people

            A group suing because the feel that they were left out of considerations does not change any of that. I’m not familiar with the details of that court case or the background of the claim.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – you never reply to questions, what have you ever done personally for the Aboriginal people of Australia,? Your dogmatic personality prevails, Aborigines or Aboriginal. Has there ever been an attempt to educate the Australian and Aboriginal people on the use of Nuclear Electricity Generation.? As a matter of fact, the Australian people should be ashamed of the sorry state most of the Aboriginal people endure. It has been good to see that some of them have been able to elevate themselves as leader in Australian politics.


          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            >> you never reply to questions, what have you ever done personally for the Aboriginal people of Australia,?
            How is that relevant? Presumably you wish to commend yourself as a developer or mining projects.

            >>”Many Australian Aboriginal people dislike the term “Aborigines” because it has been imposed on them during the course of colonisation.”

            ☝︎ Your source, I’ve been told not to use it, so I don’t, almost never hear it either. If i’m in Melbourne I’d say Korri people , in Perth might say Noogar. But for whole of Australia, or globally Traditional Owners, First Nations or aboriginal people is what I think is widely acceptable. Emphasis on *people* not the classification aspect of it, because in Australia, first nations people were only granted citizenship rights in 1967 through a referendum.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            >> Maybe this and a maybe that, will the hydro from Norway be secure under the conditions of climate change

            yes. it’s ocean water so evaporation not an issue. build the generators 20m+ above current peak SL.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – Stick to facts – Norway utilise lakes, rivers and waterfalls to produce electricity. They don’t use seawater. Tasmania’s hydro and wind power was also in trouble during 2016, empty dams and extended wind lulls.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            I’m talking about PHES not fall of river Hydro. Water will not be an issue in future climate scenarios for Norwegen PHES. The undersea cables are going in ask we speak to Europe and UK.

            Tassie, oh maybe you missed it, the Abbott Govt ended the Carbon Tax. Tassie Hydro made a decision to take a windfall profit in the last month of the CT by draining their dams, hoping for summer rains to fill them up again. The rain didn’t come. It was a commercial decision, imprudent for the state as it turned out but profitable for the corporation, so they’d probably do it again given the same circumstances. Not much wind generation in Tassie anyhow, almost all Hydro. Almost zero PHES in Tassie.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – draining their dams.? where is your data or factual information on the situation that Tasmania was in last year. Furthermore, what has been your scientific or engineering tangible contribution to clean electricity production in Australia.

            On Norway’s pumped hydro. Why Norway Can’t Become Europe’s Battery Pack. Research shows there isn’t enough pumped hydro capacity to go around. Tell me where those PHES pumping seawater in Norway are located.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            This article on Norway is a bit misleading in some respects.

            The author is quoting someone comparing existing hydro in Norway with the role played by PHES. He then comes to the conclusion that because the hydro storage is required by Norway for seasonal energy shifting, it can therefore not be used for dispatching energy to Europe. Fair enough but that is not what is being suggested by me or by others who know the situation much better than me, and those who are investing in increasing the capacity of undersea cables to the UK and Germany right now.

            What is being suggested is to use Norway’s big head potential over small distances to apply the law of gravity and store energy moving water up and down a steep incline. To make PHES pay it’s way it needs to be cycled very regularly, not once a year from summer to winter, it would never be economic that way without incredibly opportunistic geography. So either they convert existing Hydro to PHES, in which case any energy removed from the system will be replaced within say 12 hours up to 7 days later, not depriving Norway of generation in Winter or whenever they drain the current hydro system the most.

            And consider this, if energy can flow through sea link cables to store energy in Norway for selling back into the more lucrative mid-merit and peak short term markets of UK and Germany, it can also travel to Norway when it is near zero priced or negatively priced for norway itself is in need of additional storage top up or generation due to a) demand growth and b) seasonal effects on their storage and c) no investment in their own wind and solar capacity if that is not economic.

            Furthermore there’s potential to make new pumped hydro using sea water and even very large dams can be and are lined if necessary with durable pond liners to stop salination, though I imagine there are other ways too, but i’m not familiar with the geology and predominate soil types.

            More attacks on the man not the ball, Harry, I’d have thought you were learning to be more logical than that?

            Bottom line Harry, is nuclear is unaffordable in Australia and has a raft of not inconsequential social licence problems that it would take decades to overcome, if ever. Any govt railroading a NPP or even a waste dump on the public will face almost certain loss of govt at the next election. We have zero years left to decarbonise and must do so ASAP. Kevin Anderson says at 10% p.a. in developed nations to be zero emissions across our entire economy by 2035 for the world to have a 1 in 3 chance of not exceeding 2.0º C. Nuclear promises of commercialisation of SMR etc etc in 5-15 years just don’t cut it for an energy policy planner today. Not with RE now cheaper than new coal and gas and constantly sailing down their leanring curves.

            I grew up learning nuclear power was clean and superior to coal and in many respects I accept that it still is with regards to coal — even with a few meltdowns since I learn my lessons at the feet of Australia nuclear physicists and radiation physicists and chemists at its peak radiation public health authority the ARL where my father work his entire life. But the comparison is not with coal anymore it’s with wind and solar, which you seem to have a mental block with for some reason. If nuclear ever overcomes its major economic, operational, fuel chain, waste, social licence and technological advancement issues in time before PV is ubiquitous and on everything for free then, great, at least we can power countries that down get much sun or wind and clean up some of that waste/fuel stockpile.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            I take it that Australia has no role to play in the zero years left to decarbonise and must do so ASAP. Australia has just become the worlds biggest exporter of fossil fuels and its government has decided for the world to not have any chance in obtaining its emission targets. Any yes, I am an entrepreneur but foremost an engineer with many disciplines. Done the math on wind and solar, on which I don’t have a mental block. So lets leave it at this, there is not much participation on this discussion thread. Good luck with your renewables and yes I will focus on nuclear.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Ok, maths, I like maths and the last time I took a maths exam scored a perfect or near perfect mark :-).

            @0:13 Energy demand has actually been dropping in Australia since 2012. Partly that’s loss of manufacturing after GFC but I’m told much of it is those gains in EE that the good folks at BREE and AEMO never thought would never work. This trend must continue, BZE has modelled all this, the economy wide switch to electricity and how that affects overall demand. We will need to electrify every energy use away from FFs, so demand from new sources will come, even if they reduce overall energy consumption (like for e.g. a RCAC can be 13x as EE as a ten year old ducted heating fossil gas system), it’s still more electrical demand, but distributed rooftopPV is helping with that a lot.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            Alastair Leith – Some more math from my country man the the Nuclear Humanist to consider. Like I just mentioned, lets leave it at this, there is not much participation on this discussion thread. Good luck with your renewables and yes I will continue to focus on nuclear. It’s been nice getting your views and opinions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FARZBZAGon4

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            Ok I wanted to ask about the NPP output graphs in France, but I’ll leave it for another day, I’m completely exhausted!

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            wish he would learnt to label his graph axes including units, let him know for me. His detestation of models is anti-science. also 3D graphs look rank in his hands, stick to flat column graphs and gain style and credibility marks.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            draining their dams.? where is your data or factual information on the situation that Tasmania was in last year.

            I hope this analysis by the Mike Sandiford, then Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute at University of Melbourne is data and facts enough for you, Harry. ☟ ☟ ☟

            Glimpsing a Tasmanian export opportunity

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            The bulk of Tasmania’s internal energy capacity comes from its extensive hydroelectric network but, with 2015 delivering the driest spring on record water levels in the state’s dams were catastrophically low. The analysis by the Mike Sandiford refers to the 2000’s Australian drought and the Australian carbon tax repealed on 17 July 2014. It says, “draw down of hydro reservoir capacity during the carbon tax years meant hydro output needed to be curtailed independently of repeal”.This drought had a material impact on Australia’s National Electricity Market, particularly during autumn and winter 2007. It reduced output from major hydro-electric generators Snowy Hydro and Hydro Tasmania.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            It was drawn down heavily in the final months. look at the graphs. VIC Coal Tassie Hydro. Hydro displaced the coal for a time. Dylan McConnell who worked under Sandiford is my primary source on this.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            >>See the well educated population of Finland see energy very different.

            So HVDC is ok, but only when used in conjunction with nuclear power. You see how biased you come across as?

            Finland nuclear story, over time and over budget by over twice. But yeah, they like it, so what’s your point? Does that make it economic in Australia? No.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – its not biased, its a conclusion, Over many years I have been involved with many forms of power generation. I have also been involved with storage, especially P2G in Germany. Even providing solutions at my old age of 70 http://www.wbamnet.org for energy efficiency and demand control. Having seen it all, I decided that Advanced Nuclear is the way to go, and that is my prerogative.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            >>German Utility EWE Plans a Redox Flow Battery Big Enough to Power Berlin for an Hour. Something I call desperation.

            If batteries can provide FCAS and demand spike smoothing for less cost than coal running as spinning reserve then who could possibly object to that? (A nuclear power zealot or coal lover perhaps?) It’s reported that batteries are already doing this in several places in the world cheaper than spinning reserve and have no doubt it will be way cheaper within 5 years given battery learning curve and R&D expenditure and the numbers of chemistry uni research programs.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            >> If needed as already done, new nuclear fuel can be made from the spent fuel rods discharged from the Generation II Nuclear Reactors as they still contain 97% of the fuel. With the help of Fast Breeder Reactors, there is enough spent fuel and weapons grade plutonium available to run NPP’s for thousands of years.

            What was that you said about ifs, buts and maybes? Using waste fuel rods and mining remaining “97%” is unproven at utility scale plants and economically sensible costs. If it comes about, then it will be a good way to remove waste if it proves safe and reliable and a non-proliferation risk for countries already with a nuclear program. Note Germany, France, Japan, Sth Korea, Sweden and arguably USA have all been moving away from Nuclear not towards it.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – I realise that your knowledge on Nuclear is limited. Spent fuel not waste its a valuable asset. Reprocessing of commercial nuclear fuel to make MOX is done in the United Kingdom and France, and to a lesser extent in Russia, India and Japan. Russia is developing further its already operational fast breeder reactors and reprocessing facilities for supplying fuel for their Gen-III + VVER1200 Nuclear Reactors. India is in the process of commissioning their fast breeder reactors. Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and the storage of nuclear waste is unjustifiably and irresponsibly sabotaged by the GREENS in the USA.

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            On the one hand you commend Finland for mining a deep bedrock underground repository for NPP waste, then you say it’s not waste at all is valuable fuel. Consistency isn’t your strong suit is it? Why would Finland go to the trouble burying 5,000 tonnes of nuclear waste away for 100,000 years if it’s nothing worse than a valuable fuel?

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            @Alastair Leith – you know dam well what I meant. Spent Nuclear Fuel Rods are an Asset as it still contains 97% of the nuclear fuel that can be reprocessed into new fuel rods.. Current approaches to managing radioactive waste have been segregation and storage for short-lived waste, near-surface disposal for low and some intermediate level waste, and deep burial or partitioning / transmutation for the high-level waste. Reprocessing or recycling spent nuclear fuel options already available or under active development still generate waste and so are not a total solution, but can reduce the sheer quantity of waste, and there are many such active programs worldwide. Deep geological burial remains the only responsible way to deal with high-level nuclear waste. Not all nations with NPP’s have the geology available for underground repositories. But will sell the waste to countries that can provide for such storage.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Harry from your icon it looks like you have maybe 25 years? of control left over nuclear waste until you drop off the perch/ fall off the tree? As we all do eventually (see you there)

            So, who is going to supervise the nuclear waste for the next 100,000 years, until it is safe, back here on Earth?

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            Yes Ren Stimpy I am 70 years of age and at least show my face. Just let it sit there for the 100,000 years or maybe in a 100 years we have a solution. Moving on; your entire lifetime supply of energy can be provided by a thorium chunk the size of a golf ball. We have enough thorium to power the world for many thousands of years. Thorium energy is clean and carbon free. Per consumer (urban lifestyle), it produces about 1 gram of waste per year. Of this gram, 83% needs storage for ten years, the remaining 17% for 300 years, after which it’s safe. So how is that for a change. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/eaeaf655b5c5d07f40922e3b97f85c8c54568129c5147b80f17aa7881afaf618.png

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            I’m sorry but that’s not good enough. You don’t have a sufficient grasp of the time variable.

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            “maybe in 100 years” means we’re treating it as an externality – just another cost pushed onto a future generation, in this case 100 years after all the benefit was extracted. Kind of like CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

            Re Thorium golf balls (I prefer Titleist) is it cheaper than gas fired power? If no, will it ever be? If yes, when will it be?

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            Its a cost already paid for. Future generations, yes my kids and grandchildren have been educated for this, and will carry on with making a better world. Nuclear power for electricity generation is the only large-scale energy-producing technology that takes full responsibility for all its waste and fully costs this into the product. Used nuclear fuel (spent fuel rods) are treated as a resource. The amount of nuclear waste is not that much compared to other industrial toxic wastes. Commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing plants currently operate in France, the UK, and Russia. Another is being commissioned in Japan, and China plans to construct one too. France undertakes reprocessing for utilities in other countries, and a lot of Japan’s fuel has been reprocessed there. The main historical and current process is Purex, a hydrometallurgical process. The main prospective ones are electrometallurgical, often called pyroprocessing since it happens to be hot. With it, all actinide anions (notably uranium and plutonium) are recovered together. Whilst not yet operational, these technologies will result in waste that only needs 300 years to reach the same level of radioactivity as the originally mined ore. Thorium offers an alternative nuclear technology without requiring production of nuclear waste. The Canadian CANDU reactors are already capable of using thorium. China recently finalised an agreement with SNC-Lavalin a Canadian nuclear technology company to develop improved CANDU reactors using thorium and uranium as a fuel.
            Picture CANDU Reactos already installed at Qinshan, China…

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Great! However, in the free market it costs money to build a power plant and that money is recouped by selling the electricity which the plant generates at a price. The cost is expressed in plain old units of currency, for example dollars ($), and the price is expressed in units of currency per unit of power generation per unit of generation time, for example $ per megawatt hour.

            Can you give us those two numbers – the $ of cost, and the $ per megawatt hour price – for each of these wonderful new nuclear technologies – so that we can compare them on that basis with other forms of electricity generation. In the cost number, don’t forget to include the $ required to fully process all of the nuclear waste back to safe levels. Alternatively you could work out the cost to store the nuclear waste for one year, then multiply that number by 100,000.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            For a 1000MWe Reactor running at a 90% CF, for 60 years.
            Overnight cost $1200/kW – $0.03 kWh

          • Ren Stimpy 2 years ago

            Fantastic! When will this news reach the UK? Because even as we speak they are busy building a nuclear power plant (Hinkley) that will sell its electricity for a price set in 2012 of £92.50 per megawatt hour, but guaranteed by the government to rise with inflation. In US dollars at today’s exchange rate, $120/MWh, but the plant won’t be ready to start generating electricity until 2027 (a 15 year build). If we assume an inflation rate of 2% p.a. and today’s exchange rate, the first electrons down the wire from Hinkley will be sold for the equivalent of US$161/MWh or $0.16 kWh, more than 5 times the price of power from your unspecified nuclear power plant. Assuming it is still generating 60 years after the 2012 price was set, with inflation Hinkley electricity will be sold for $386/MWh or $0.38 kWh, nearly 13 times higher than the price of electricity from your unspecified nuclear power plant. Harry you really should get on the line to Hinkley, ASAP, and advise them to halt construction of their nuclear power plant immediately, because the unspecified one that you have priced above is many many times cheaper than their real one.

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            Cherry picking is this not that what you guys call it. Funny to use the French Areva EPR for UK’s Hinkley point C. The US with it’s Westinghouse AP1000 and France with it’s Areva EPR are not representative of broad cost global trends. Finland is finishing a French Areva EPR that has massive cost over-runs and construction delays. Finland is now constructing the already proven Russian VVER-1200 with its design cleared by the European Union. The advanced Russian Gen-III VVER-1200 has an overnight construction cost (1200MWe) at $1565/kW with an electricity cost of $0.05 kWh including all production costs, depreciation, finance costs and waste management. They now take only 6 years to build. The costs as the data shows for modern Russian and Chinese Gen-III + Nuclear Reactors would be of particular interest, given their dominance in the nuclear construction market today. China this year and next year is bringing online two Areva EPR 1750MWe Reactors. Furthermore, China in 2018 is bringing online two Russian VVER-1000/428M Reactors and four of the Westinghouse AP1000 Reactors, well ahead of what is happening in France and the USA.

            Now lets look at California’s Ivanpah solar plant. Billed at the time as the world’s largest solar power facility, the plant uses concentrated solar technology, also known as solar thermal technology, to harness the sun’s energy. The Ivanpah facility was no small feat. The plant covers five square miles, uses three 450-foot towers to trap sunlight focused from an array of mirrors, and cost $2.2 billion to build, including a federal loan guarantee of $1.6 billion. A state-of-the-art plant that was supposed to produce 392MWe enough power to supply 140,000 homes. That what’s was supposed to happen. Groups that deny that truth, ones like the Sierra Club that turn a blind eye to the developments at Ivanpah, clearly have an agenda other than the advancement of sound energy policy that works for all customers. So look at the full story – http://energyfairness.org/trouble-at-ivanpah-silence-from-sierra/

          • HarryDutch 2 years ago

            I gave a long reply with data on the overnight construction cost for advanced nuclear reactors and cost for electricity. The reply conveniently disappeared. As I have better things to do, I will make a short reply at the top of this discussion thread.

          • Djef Brak 2 years ago

            I hope you realize that PV is not zero-emissions.. check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life-cycle_greenhouse-gas_emissions_of_energy_sources
            Even with a super-grid, if all heating and mobility turns electric, there will not be a practical manner to ensure generation capacity and transportation capacity for 100% renewable.
            “If we can power millions of homes from solar with most roofs still not covered in PV then we can power industry too.” –> just plain no, or atleast not until we get some crazy new storage or generation technology. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DIbAcGMUEAAwWo-.png:large
            figure shows you how large the German CO2 intensity of electricity is and they have 26000 windmills… so adding transport and heat (industrial and homes) would crush any attempt to go 100% renewable IMHO

          • Alastair Leith 2 years ago

            re: PV CO2-e, I do realise but it’s constantly improving, (unlike the wikipedia stats I bet!)

            Yeah the timeline is too tight, part of the reason why nuclear isn’t a solution in a big way. That’s why EE is so vital. German homes are incredibly EE compared with the fancy-pants tents Australians live in. There’s so much EE low hanging fruit in buildings and commerce and industry. Sometimes during a power crisis industry will be forced into rationing gas use and they discover all these things they can do to save energy and continue to do them after the crisis has past. I’m talking heavy industries like smelting and refining metal ores in WA.

            Storage costs and bill of materials is the big unknown, where will we be in ten to fifteen years time? Will nanotech & graphene substantially revolutionise battery storage, will organic chemistry (sugars like in nature) batteries emerge from laboratory R&D across the valley of death to commercial products? Will any of a dozen other chemistries get up and be commercial? Who knows? Worth noting that wind tends to naturally complement PV output quite well. That’s why we model, it tells us the answers to all the “what ifs”? PHES is good for hours of storage at daily cycling or even a couple of days where it’s available.

          • Djef Brak 2 years ago

            Yes that is all good, but denying nuclear power the chance to better the world is just plain stupid. The science is out there and it basically tells us that nuclear is the most benign power source per kWh produced (look it up).
            EE can only go so far. Think of hot countries where AC is needed. To solve the problems we will be facing due to climate change we will need as much energy as we can get. With nuclear, and especially with LFTR/MSR models, we will be able to do things like desalinate water, make H2, make ammonia, make ammonia, do the Sabatier process, and more at almost no environmental cost!
            Environmentalist who think we have to revert to primitive tech and behaviors to avert climate change are the worst and have no idea what they’re talking about. (not directed to you, just needed to get that out)

  14. Sparafucile 2 years ago

    Pick any paragraph in the above diatribe, and you’ll find a lie, or a demonstration of rampant ignorance.

    If you can’t tell the two apart, though, feel free to ask the author.

    • wideEyedPupil 2 years ago

      Oh here we go, the word’s got out on the NPP-defenders list and the usual suspects who name call behind avatars are turning up.

      • Sparafucile 2 years ago

        So, acolyte-of-liars, please tell us, then, how U-233 is used for atomic weapons. Or, rather, did the author LIE, and try to link U-233 to bombmaking because nuclear scientists studied its properties along the way to creating U-235 and PU-239-based bombs?

        I can’t wait to read how you try to change the subject, mischaracterize the question, or spin your lying way out of this one…

        • wideEyedPupil 2 years ago

          You seem to have big limitations in the way you express yourself. I’d rather not converse with you.

          • Sparafucile 2 years ago

            You’ve offered two comments, with nothing of substance in either. No rebuttal, no insight, nothing — except for personal attacks.

            That tells us both a lot about you, and about the strength of any case you might purport to have.

          • wideEyedPupil 2 years ago

            I’m just making an observation about your conduct (and history). Change your ways and the comment will be unnecessary.

          • Sparafucile 2 years ago


        • jimgreen 2 years ago

          U-233 produced from thorium-232 irradiation can be and has been used in weapons tests

          • Sparafucile 2 years ago

            “weapons tests” is not “weapons”. Thanks for admitting yourself to be the liar your earlier “contributions” suggested you are.

  15. ardvarc 2 years ago

    The IFR and MSR are not “concepts”, but were built in prototype, and tested and worked for 20 years and 4 years, and in the 60s, and the 80s, respectively They work as advertised: They consume nearly all their own fuel, with near zero waste; they cannot meltdown; they work at atmospheric pressure, at least 1/2 the cost of today’s Gen II fleet; and it is extremely difficult to make a bomb from them. They are all designed to be mass produced like refrigerators, modularized and standardized; like the much more complicated French nuclear program, which produced a grid which is 92% emissions free…in just 20 years.

    Look, I can understand that there are many who are not informed on the Gen IVs. But there are many companies working on them here, and outside the USA. Perhaps we call all agree that global warming is a serious threat to our planet, and it’s only common sense and wise to seriously examine all our options. Gen IV, nuclear power which produces fully 20% of all US electricity, and 60% of all emissions free electricity, needs to be put in the “full toolbox” of options to address the looming menace. Heads up for commercialization is slated to begin in the next 5 to 15 years.

    The US had better be ready, for there is no way that humanity can reach zero emissions, and decarbonize the global economy without Gen IV nuclear power. We cannot get there using only wind, and solar, and hydro, and efficiencies on a fast growing planet with millions entering the middle class for the first time. Nuclear is the highly dense, extremely safe, massively plentiful, reliable and steady, and soon to be 100% renewable, energy we must have. Atoms for Peace, everyone. 🙂

  16. John Hartshorn 2 years ago

    It’s hard to find much objectivity in this account. Clearly, the author decided a long time ago that any power options with the word “nuclear” in them were off limits. If you want objective information about the role Gen IV nuclear can play in decarbonizing the grid look elsewhere. If you are already biased against any role for safe, reliable and affordable future nuclear designs and think that climate change and nuclear problems are somehow equivalent risks, then this is for you.

  17. Adam_Antatheist 2 years ago

    Not 1 in 10,000 people have any appreciation of the staggering amount of 24/7 electricity a nuclear power plant delivers, compared to the pathetic, intermittent product dribbled out by renewables.

    It takes the output from 1, 411 MW of wind turbine to sputter out the dysfunctional crap equivalent to the output from a single 220 MW
    Small Modular Reactor (SMR).

    And the cost would be just 17.6% of the cost of offshore wind farms to do that. Search for: “smart and fabb”.

    Wind power used 19.2X more metals and 9.6X more concrete than nuclear.

    Anyone with genuine environmental concerns should seriously consider the waste of precious resources, ecosystem destruction and species wipe-out the widespread deployment of renewables entails.

  18. Robert 2 years ago

    Nuclear fantasies? Really? By Jim Hansen is about ten times more intelligent than you want a be scientists… Right?
    Now, I differ only in the fact that we have to back up RE with the safest nuclear, you know, the meltdown proof molten salt reactor (we can even use molten salt “fuel rods”, as in Moltex Energy).
    Do you blog writers… know that molten salt reactors don’t have to confine it’s fuel in solid form, causing undue stress to the fuel rods, thereby allowing far more fissionable fuel to be burned, before deemed “spent” by the physics of harsh temps, corrosion and radiation in the “pot”?
    Ok, enough with expensive nuclear, you say (and I kinda agree!). However, we need a back up plan. Seriously! We need to keep ALL options open. What of global warming become REAL!? That means that the desert skies over many thousands of square miles of solar panels becomes… Yep, you guessed it, cloudy, putting a dampener on assumed and needed future energy requirements.
    If it’s not too late, I’d say “screw nuclear (even though safe, because it’s such a mess) just install global powerlines to best distribute solar! Yes, just do that (less storage needed and more energy.
    Remember, _less_ energy can only achieve _less_ …

  19. Maltster 2 years ago

    Brian Martin alumnus Jim Green claims “Fast neutron reactors have been used for weapons production in the past (e.g. by France)”

    His reference briefly discusses how France’s fast reactors could have potentially supplied weapons material and implies that material from Phenix was reprocessed for such. However, there’s no indication that weapons were produced this way, as discussed in this article from the last time Jim Green made this claim:


  20. AuldLochinvar 2 years ago

    The case for nuclear is simple, unless you own an interest in fossil fuels.
    In the first place, the energy available from a kilogram of fissile atomic nuclei, of which one kind occurs naturally and two can easily be synthesised, is as much as can be obtained from thousands of tonnes of chemically reactive material.

    As for solar origin energy of the “renewable” sort, it was inadequate for the global population of the 18th century, or the Industrial Revolution would not have been so popular. Note that by far our major use of it, like theirs, is fresh water and food.
    The privileged classes made considerable use of the biomass energy of horses, peasants, serfs, and even outright slaves.
    The world’s population has increased by a factor of about eight, and the sun’s power is no greater than it was, nor any less intermittent in its various manifestations as sunshine, wind, rain, or vegetation.
    Jim Green and Friends of the Earth in pouring out their ignorance of and opposition to the improvements of Transatomic, Terrestrial, TerraPower, NuScale, Thorcon Power, FLiBe, ElysiumIndustries and others ….
    Are doing the work of the Enemies of the Earth, those that continue to worsen the quantities of carbon dioxide emitted from burning the hydrocarbon and coal of buried and long-dead organisms. And let us not forget the concomitant consumption of the oxygen we breathe.
    The carbon dioxide so vital to photosynthesizing organisms is already accounted for, by the metabolic products of the currently living ones.

  21. AuldLochinvar 2 years ago

    As for the weapons issue, it isutterly stupid to oevrelook the fact that Russia already has a fast neutron plutonium-breeding reactor in civilian use, and is I believe funding nuclear reactor building in other countries. China has launched a similar program for molten salt reactors, which likely will include the thorium to fissile uranium breeding reaction.
    For Europe and the USA to stay out of building the reactor designs that the USA pioneered, with the vain notion that we are still the leaders in this field, is as stupid as Ed Teller thinking that his invention of the H-Bomb would put us decades ahead of the Soviets. It took them three years to catch up, and as of now (and I hope forever) the largest test explosion ever made was the 50 megaton Tsar Bomba, a design that could have been 100 megaton, but they derated it using lead instead of depleted uranium, eliminating the third stage, so that the crew of the aircraft dropping it would not be overtaken by the explosion.

  22. HarryDutch 2 years ago

    Jim Green, this video is a special for you made In defence of James Hansen… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypnmey9TlXA&feature=youtu.be

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