Why Google gave up on renewables (hint, they don’t understand energy)

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It has now been proven beyond doubt that “renewables simply won’t work”. Why not? Well, because Google says so.

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Energy Post

googlewind-150x99The two scientists responsible for Google’s failed attempt to launch a renewable energy revolution have written an article explaining what, according to them, went wrong with their project. They have come to the conclusion that fighting climate change with today’s renewable energy technologies won’t work – but they present no evidence for it, writes Energy Post editor Karel Beckman.

Critics of renewable energy are having a field day in the blogosphere. It has now been proven beyond doubt, they cry, that “renewables simply won’t work”. Why not? Well, because Google says so.

Some years ago, in 2007, to be exact, Google embarked on an ambitious project to develop reneweable energy sources that would generate electricity more cheaply than coal-fired power. Google’s hope was that in this way the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere could be halted and reversed. However, in 2011, after four years of trying, the company gave up the project, known as RE<C.

The two engineers who were responsbile for Google’s venture into renewables, Ross Koningstein and David Fork, have now written an article in which they try to explain what went wrong – and what lessons can be drawn from it.

Looking back on their experience, they conclude that “even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significiant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions. Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work”, they write. “We need a fundamentally different approach.”

In other words, they argue that renewables “won’t work” to effectively tackle climate change. They don’t say renewables won’t work, period. But even this first claim appears doubtful on the basis of the evidence offered in the article.

Altruism

Koningstein and Fork write that they investigated “a wide range of innovative technologies, such as self-assembling wind turbine towers, drilling systems for geothermal energy and solar thermal power systems.” However, by 2011, they note, “it was clear that RE<C would not be able to deliver a technology that could compete economically with coal.”

Unfortunately, the reader has to take this assertion at face value. The authors do not cite any figures or published research. Nor do they make it clear whether these were all the “innovative technologies” they investigated or what they mean in the first place by “investigated”.

“Let’s face it, businesses won’t make sacrifices and pay more for clean energy based on altruism alone”

Instead, they then change their tack and switch to an entirely  different argument as to why their search for a renewables-based solution did not succeed. They note that even in a best-case scenario, in which the growth of clean energy would reduce CO2 emissions by 55% in 2050 (in the United States), CO2-concentration would still not be lowered to the extent needed. Literally they write: “Even if every renewable energy technology advanced as quickly as imagined and they were all applied globally, atmospheric CO2-levels … would continue to rise exponentially due to continued fossil fuel use”.

This may be true – although the authors again do not provide any figures to back up this claim or even explain properly how they came to this conclusion  – but it’s quite a different issue of course. It does not show that there are no clean energy technologies that can compete with coal.

Having reflected on the matter (for three years, no less), they have now come to the conclusion that “what’s needed … are reliable zero-carbon energy sources so cheap that the operators of power plants and industrial facilities alike have an economic rationale for switching over soon – say, within the next 40 years.”

What mean by this, as far as I can make out, is that it won’t suffice if renewable energy sources are merely competitive with established sources. They have to be a lot cheaper to prompt energy producers to switch over. The reason for this, apparently (again, they don’t explain very clearly), is the sunk costs represented in existing power plants. Sunk costs are a relevant factor of course in the short to medium term – but over a period of 40 years?

They add this notable remark: “Let’s face it, businesses won’t make sacrifices and pay more for clean energy based on altruism alone. Instead, we need solutions that appeal to their profit motives.” Well, yes – unless of course we introduce regulations or put a price on carbon, for example, but such possibilities appear to lie outside the authors’ frame of reference.

google-black-250x160No answers

The two Google-men have also come to the surprising – to them – discovery that in the electricity market “the value of generated electricity varies … depending on how easily it can be supplied to reliably meet local dmeand.” Thus, they write, dispatchable power can have added value to cover peak demand. Indeed. Distributed power, on the other hand, “can also be worth more as it avoids the costs and losses associated with transmission and distribution”.

These amazing insights into the nature of the electricity market have led them to a positive conclusion. Here, they write, “we see an apportunity for change. A distributed, dispatchable power source could prompt a switchover if it could undercut …end-user prices.” But, they add, “unfortunately, most of today’s clean generation sources can’t provide power that is both distributed and dispatchable. Solar panels, for example, can be put on every rooftop but can’t provide power if the sun isn’t shining.”

So what about solar PV-with-storage? Koningstein and Fork appear not to be aware that such a solution may be possible. Nor do they seem to have heard of microgrids or to have thought of a combination of solar and electric cars. They merely sigh that “if we invented a distributed, dispatchable power technology, it coud transform the energy marketplace and the roles by utilities and their customers”. They can’t think of any possible solution, though: we “don’t have the answers”. The technologies required to reverse climate change “haven’t been invented yet”, they write.

However, they do have a suggestion to make. They recommend that government and energy companies adopt the “Google approach” to innovation, summed up in the company’s “70-20-10” rule, which means that 70% of employee time be spent working on core busines tasks, 20% on side projects related to core business and “the final 10% on strange new ideas that have the potential to be truly disruptive”. If we do this, the two Google engineers are hopeful that some “truly disruptive technologies” will be invented. They call upon “society” to “fund scientists and engineers to propose and test new ideas … Today the energy innovation cycle is measured in decades, in large part because so little money is spent on critical types of R&D”.

So what do Koningstein and Fork think that researchers in the energy sector are doing right now? Did they try to find out how much is being spent on cleantech research worldwide? Or what technologies are actually being developed? If so, they show no signs of it. Indeed, they seem to know very little about what’s going on in the energy sector. Perhaps it is too much expect Google to solve the world’s energy problems – they could search the internet a bit better.

Source: Energy Post. Reproduced with permission.

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96 Comments
  1. Michael Huang 5 years ago

    It seems to me that the world does not have an energy problem. It is full of energy. Whether the earth has a CO2 problem or not is still subject to debate. We do have abnormal weather events. No question about that. But these kind of events have existed long before the first recorded history of human beings, and whether or not they are caused by CO2 increase in the atmosphere is still subject to debate. Solar or wind energy do not reduce much the amount of CO2 emitted each year if one takes into consideration the whole associated process, such as from manufacturing to installation of solar panels to generate power. From mining the raw materials, transporting, manufacturing, massive land size needed for solar power stations, it all creates CO2 into the atmosphere. While coal power plant is normally near to where the coal is, with the help of CO2 capturing and storaging technologies, adding back the forests which can grow on the land mass needed for solar power plants, coal is not that bad a demon at all as portrayed by the renewable advocates. Solar power at the current forms is more of a redistribution of wealth from those who can not afford solar energy consumption to those who can afford. For those who are conscious of CO2 pollution, good on them if they install solar panels on their roof tops without any government subsidies in whatever forms. But to have those who can not afford the luxury of solar power to subsidize solar power consumers, there is a social fairness issue here.

    • Petra Liverani 5 years ago

      What energy we use to mine, transport, manufacture and so on does not have to be from fossil fuels. It is for the moment but as we develop renewable energy, we can also build renewable energy with renewable energy. In fact, the new Tesla battery gigafactory will be powered by renewable energy.

      Wind and solar help to flatten peaks which reduces the cost of energy. Peak energy costs a fortune and as the temperature increases and airconditioning use increases, energy bills would be prohibitive if not for solar. Of course, global temperature rise is a social justice issue in itself so if you’re concerned about social justice you need to support getting off fossil fuels.

    • Pedro 5 years ago

      Jee whiz Michael. Most of your opinions seem to be ill informed. Atmospheric CO2 levels are the highest they have been for I think 15 million years and 10 of the hottest years on record are in past 20 years. this is not my opinion but verified facts from climate scientists, and those same scientists (1000’s of them) agree to a high degree of certainty that global climate change is caused by increase levels of greenhouse gasses put there by us. What do you actually need to convince you, a couple of 1000 year events occurring in the same place within 10 years? Statistically probable but highly unlikely.

      All mining of raw materials and manufacturing of any product will have a CO2 cost component. At least RE products pay back the energy of manufacture well within their useful life. It would be interesting to calculate all the area taken up by coal mines, rail infrastructure coal fired power stations and see how much power could be generated from RE sources with the same land area. Wind farms can at least have dual land use of agriculture. PV can go on roofs not directly taking up any land. I suspect you would be very surprised.

      Have to agree with you that PV is a redistribution of wealth but you got it the wrong way around. It is redistributing wealth from the fossil fuel sector to the people with solar. I agree with you, get rid of subsidies for RE and while your at it do away with the massive subsidies for the FF industry starting with diesel fuel excise exemptions for the mining industry.

      Most of people putting in solar domestically are in the mortgage belt and uptake by pensioners is huge. They are doing it to save money on their electricity bills 50% of which is to pay for gold plating the network. Solar is so cheap now and with many financing plans available that just about anybody can afford it.

      • Alan Baird 5 years ago

        Correct Pedro. All fossil advocates have to simply do is to assert it is so and lo! It is. CCS is already a done deal, full scale no worries. Coal is fine. Assert, assert. Tone does the same. Same old same old.

        • Pedro 5 years ago

          Thanks Alan. Feel strongly compelled to counter FF trolls as there are casual readers who take their spin nonsense on board.

          I suspect the LNP will announce a huge direct action plan to fund CCS as the great hope for “clean coal”.

          • Eclipse Now 5 years ago

            I sure hope not! CSS is way too expensive. LFTR’s could come in cheaper than ordinary coal, let alone chean, safe, nuclear-waste eating LFTR’s that can be mass produced and bring prices down to $2bn / GW

          • Pedro 5 years ago

            LFTR could be an alternative to baseload coal power plants. I would have concerns about the half life of nuclear waste, waste disposal and also large water usage for a particularly dry continent. If they were to go ahead it makes sense to site on decommissioned FF generation sites.

          • Eclipse Now 5 years ago

            Hi Pedro, these are my standard top 10 reasons… see 1 2 and 3 about waste!

            As Dr James Hansen said:
            “Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”
            http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/08/05/hansen-energy-kool-aid/
            In case people are terrified of nuclear power, or scoffing that we don’t have enough fuel or know what to do with the waste, then here are the top 10 reasons I went from hating nuclear power to accepting it as a necessary bad to prevent far worse global warming:-

            1. From the very *early* days of nuclear power they had a plan for the waste. Breeder reactors. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and BURN NUCLEAR WASTE!

            2. Indeed, nuclear ‘waste’ is fuel: it’s only had 0.6% of the energy extracted from it. Breeder reactors fission away 90% of this FUEL. Today’s nuclear ‘waste’ could run the UK for 500 years, and America has enough to run her for 1000 years without mining any new uranium!
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor
            http://bravenewclimate.com/integral-fast-reactor-ifr-nuclear-power/
            Trying to store today’s nuclear waste is like digging up and refining your best petroleum, and then worrying about burying it for 100,000 years!

            3. After breeding, the final *real* waste product is so ‘hot’ it burns itself out in 300 years. The Romans built structures that have lasted 2000 years. Also, it’s not a *lot* of waste: only about one golf-ball for a lifetime of energy per person.

            4. Cost? How much does it cost to build a car? It depends: are we talking about a one-of-a-kind hand crafted Bentley, or an off the production line Hyundai? The Chinese are planning to put GenIV, waste eating reactors up on the production for economies of scale so cheap they will compete with coal. They are planning to do this in just 8 years! Real, live, waste-eating GenIV reactors off the production line: cheaper than coal.
            http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/06/china-seriously-looking-at.html

            5. Climatologist Dr James Hansen supports the Science Council for Global Initiatives and backs the Integral Fast Reactor. Get the free book by his friend Tom Blees here.
            http://www.thesciencecouncil.com/index.php/prescription-for-the-planet

            6. France went from 8% nuclear power to 80% in 11 years. In other words, there’s nothing hypothetical here. History shows that we can shut down coal fired electricity in just over a decade.

            7. Chernobyl and Fukushima? They had old Gen2 reactors. Today’s Gen3.5 and Gen4 reactors are so safe that they had been there, the world wouldn’t even know the words Chernobyl or Fukushima. Homer Simpson couldn’t break these modern reactors. Even if a tsunami breaks all cooling systems, when the reactor core starts to overheat it expands, leaks neutrons, and the nuclear reaction shuts down. Melt down is now impossible.

            8. Even if we didn’t have exponentially safer Gen4 reactors, I would still recommend Gen2 reactors because one hypothetical Fukushima every generation is serious but still *nothing* compared to the very real dangers of climate change.

            9. Nuclear weapons? Banning nuclear power because of nuclear weapons is like locking the gate after the horse has bolted. The majority of CO2 emitting nations already have nuclear weapons. The reality is more power means less weapons. For the last 20 years America has been buying old Soviet warheads, and burned material worth 16,000 bombs to get 10% of their electricity. That’s like powering the whole of Australia for 20 years on old Soviet bombs! Safe, clean nuclear power provides a market for burning warheads.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megatons_to_Megawatts_Program

            10. The UN, or some other international body, could run a nuclear-fuel bank. Membership and access to the fuel would depend on compliance with all the rules: 24 hour video monitoring, regular inspections, good behaviour, etc. Other international sanctions and disciplinary matters would be determined on a case by case basis if nations defied the rules.

    • JohnD 5 years ago

      Solar leasing has not really taken off in Australia for whatever reasons. It provides a mechanism for the less heeled members of society to participate in the energy transition and make savings on their energy costs.

  2. Pedro 5 years ago

    It appears the google engineers didn’t even use their own search engine to find out about RE solutions. And if all they can come up with is a 70 20 10 approach as a positive contribution perhaps they need to review as a 70-30 and let the 10% be done by people with expertise.

    • Billy Bangle 5 years ago

      I bet they did, but they didn’t find anything they hadn’t modeled, and wishful thinking doesn’t make it work.

      • Pedro 5 years ago

        When I started in the PV industry 15 years ago panels were selling for $10/watt. I and just about everybody else never thought they would get down to around $1/watt. Point is that in the next 10-20 years cost could easily halve and there will be ongoing RE technical solutions to FF baseload. No one thinks the transition can happen in 10 years, but is entirely possible in a 30-50 year time frame.

        • Billy Bangle 5 years ago

          Well Koningstein & Fork either DIDN’T know this and thereby got it wrong, or maybe their models DID take this into account and in spite of this, still didn’t show a path to 100% renewable. I actually would like more information (Are or will their simulations be publicly available?) but at this stage I think the latter is more likely. They should be asked.

  3. atwork 5 years ago

    Using renewable energy for electricity instead of coal. oil and gas won’t solve increasing CO2e globally so google who took on this challenge gives up? Really? Thanks for your contribution – I hope that the institutions like ARENA and its equivalents elsewhere learn what they can from this interesting and commendable effort. The global community can’t give up there is every incentive to persevere – I’d hope that others will try again where google has…

  4. michael 5 years ago

    is this a send up? normally reneweconomy is falling over itself to report Google renewable investments, now their the ‘dumb, bad guys’. Haven’t they dropped a billion into research and signed up for $100M+ PPA’s with wind farms and solar farms?
    maybe it’s just a “stick to core business” moment for them?

  5. sean 5 years ago

    I would suggest it has something to do with backing the wrong horses.

    PV has smashed CST, which google thought was their answer.

    • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago

      They also bought Makani instead of Kitegen or Skysails.

      But then this is not Google saying that but only two people (based on some work prior to 2010) that work at Google.
      They also report to other engineers that have different views.
      Like Ray Kurzweil and his view on solar energy.

      In the next decade we will see RE+batteries replace natgas peakers and destroy thermal energy.
      Economics will do the rest.

  6. Eclipse Now 5 years ago

    “So what about solar PV-with-storage? Koningstein and Fork appear not to be aware that such a solution may be possible.”
    What about it? Maybe they did investigate solar PV + storage, and that it was found to be too expensive off grid and therefore does not sit consistently with their requirement for “dispatchable energy *cheaper* than coal”. I’m sure they now solar + storage exists. The article doesn’t COST that! Dick Smith did (in “$10 bucks a litre”) and concluded that you need one set of solar PV to cover your daytime use, 3 sets to charge the batteries, and that the cost of the whole thing over 25 years would be more than 4 times the cost of grid electricity.

    But that’s not the ONLY problem with solar PV + storage. The real one? Solar ERoEI is already limited at about 7. But if you include the cost of manufacturing storage, solar PV EROEI drops of a cliff. A solar PV civilisation would NOT work if required to have just 10 days storage (in pumped hydro, which lasts over 100 years and therefore is the cheapest, most energy efficient storage we have today). Solar PV + storage only has an ERoEi of 1.6. That’s not enough to run the world. The problem is that hydro dams — one of the most efficient ways of storing vast volumes of energy — take so much energy to build. The renewable ERoEI’s drop off a cliff. This is where most life cycle analysis of renewable energy are fatally flawed. They only measure the ERoEI of the solar PV or wind farm itself. They ignore the energy cost of building the storage that is supposed to make the wind farm viable. As you can see, when ‘buffered’ to account for storage, solar and wind ERoEI roughly halves.
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/

  7. Billy Bangle 5 years ago

    Yeah, or maybe Koningstein and Fork are correct, and most of the opinions on reneweconomy.com.au are based on ideology and not physics.
    I suspect that after a billion $ and years of hard work, they still weren’t able to squeeze the facts into their opinion, and finally changed their opinion to accommodate the facts liked Stephen Tindale, George Monbiot and others.

  8. Mark Roest 5 years ago

    Time to support the author and correct the commenter:
    Just looking at what Tesla’s Gigaplex will do, batteries will be under $120US per kWh by 2017 to 2019. Solar will be under $1US per Watt installed by then (probably well before then). Grid electricity in Oz is about $0.23 Aust. per kWh now, and will go up from there; let’s just call it $0.20US at that time for ease of calculation. Figure conservatively 5 Watt hours per Watt nameplate capacity per day average (it’s likely higher in Oz). In 200 days (1000 / 5) that Watt of capacity will generate 1000 Watt hours (1 kWh), worth $0.20US. So $1US / $0.20US per Watt of capacity = 5 times 200 days, or 1000 days, or under 3 years to simple payback for the solar.
    Let’s look at the battery. We expect the best batteries to be able to deliver 10,000 cycles by that time. $120 / 10,000 = $0.012 per kWh levelized cost, not counting interest. 1.2 cents goes into 23 cents 19 times. Let’s just let it alone and call it trivial; as soon as any electricity goes through the battery it will pay for itself.
    With rigorous energy efficiency and conservation, including purchasing best-of-breed products and passive solar design of the home, a family of four can get by on a 1.5 kW solar array. Let’s assume double that: 3 kW. That will be $3,000US; 18 kWh of batteries (a 1 day supply at 6 hours full sun equivalent) will cost $2,160. That’s $5,160US, plus taxes. What’s your monthly electricity bill? Just divide it for your own situation. I’ll just multiply 18 kWh times 23 Aust. cents to get $4.14 per day as one guess. That’s 1246 days to simple payback before taxes or subsidies, or 3.4 years.
    Does that feel better now?
    You will also need to spend money on your energy efficiency and conservation upgrade, but that is also very cheap electricity savings. You can do that between now and when the solar and battery prices come down to your liking, and it will have paid for itself before that time, most likely.

    • Mark Roest 5 years ago

      PS: trying to claim that the whole society must have ten days of storage is a red herring; there is plenty of variation geographically, so when one location has clouds or a fire, most other locations have clear sun, and can share. The U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab said that 6 hours of storage for a solar power plant would make all the electricity that comes out of it be worth an extra 3.85 U.S. cents per kWh to the utility, even if it does not go through storage, due solely to load shifting and deferring equipment upgrades. They did not account for frequency regulation or other ancillary services.

      • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

        So I take it Mark that the RET is no longer necessary, nor the Enegiewende in Germany, we’ve reached the tipping point at which renewable energy will outcompete other sources.
        You could also join the Wikipedia editing team. The page
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source
        needs to be amended to take into account the new information you have.

        • Mark Roest 5 years ago

          I have the information and the basic math ability, but I either don’t have the certifications / established credibility or don’t want to jump through all the hoops to be an editor of wikipedia.

          I got the info on Tesla online from good sources, and got the solar info from both online and confidential sources.

          Regards,

          Mark

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            I have the basic math ability and I’ve calculated that Fukushima released radiation equivalent equivalent to 1/30000th of the natural radiation in the ocean. Even a bad nuclear accident adds only a tiny amount of radiation to the environment & I conclude nuclear is safe.

            As to whether renewables can solve the problem, I need more information. Darwin said “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”. So if you have the information, I’d like to see it. But I note the opinions of Koningstein and Fork, just as I note the opinions Stephen Tindale, James Hansen, Stewart Brand, Ben Heard & others.

            You might also want to comment on the maths here from George Monbiot.
            “Home solar PV systems are small. South Australia has easily the highest per capita installation of solar PV with around 15,000 systems, but this only adds up to 19.8 MW of (peak) capacity. It would take around 215 times this level of installation, or over 3.2 million systems just to match the yearly energy generated by the 760 MW of the Northern and Playford coal power stations.”

            Editing Wikipedia is a breeze, it takes about 1 minute to join and away you go. I was particularly offended by one claim in the “consequences of Chernobyl” & I had the source document to prove it wrong. I’ve just edited the page
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source
            and added your opinion.

          • WR 5 years ago

            lol. You need to update your sources. Rooftop PV in SA has peak values of over 400 MW and it supplies about 6-8% of total electricity demand in SA.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            May I have a link to the source document, I’ll compare your calculation with Georges. In particular, is George out because the 15,000 systems or the 19.8 MW is wrong? With 15000 1.5 kW systems, I get 22.5 mW, so if you’re right, one of his assumptions is wrong.

            A skeptic would assess this debate as what is the real issue, either: –
            1. Koningstein & Fork are wrong because they’re incompetent, didn’t even Google enough, or made some fundamentally wrong assumption.
            2. Koningstein & Fork are correct; the crowd at reneweconomy.com.au are political enthusiasts rather than objective.

            If George Monbiot is close to correct, the case is closed and the answer is 2. If you’re correct, the case is still open, that’s why I want the source of the claim.

            I was stirring Mark Roest up, what amuses me is the profound certainty he has that he must be right. This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. Bertrand Russell said “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision”
            I a filled with doubt and indecision, I like to know the facts, and check and then I can be 95% sure. So the 400 MW is a claim on what basis? If it came from AEMO, great, if it came from darkgreen.org, treat it sceptically and ask them where they got the figure from.

          • WR 5 years ago

            You might like to investigate the following website for information on residential PV installations in Australia.

            http://pv-map.apvi.org.au/live#2014-11-26

            By the way, the documented peak value I quoted above should have been 350 MW, although it may be higher and is constantly increasing as more people install PV systems.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            It’s very interesting website, and a bit confusing. It does give figures in the 300-400 MW range.
            Nonetheless at http://pvoutput.org/map.jsp?state=SA it gives SA as having 8.9 MW capacity, that being 2235 each at 3.99 KW average.
            Even if it were true that SA was producing 400MW now, it still may be that Koningstein & Fork used such figures in their models, but STILL couldn’t find a way to sustainability.

            If we accept Koningstein & Fork are correct, but in time, they are proven wrong, no real harm comes, because Mark Roest’s argument is that renewables are going to win anyway.

            But if we take the Mark Roest’s position that it is absolutely impossible for him to be wrong, and that his opinion is better balanced and more informed than Koningstein & Fork, George Monbiot, Stephen Tindale, and multiple others, AND HE IS PROVEN wrong, then there might conceivably be a runaway greenhouse crisis leading to a mass extinction like the one 250 MYA between the Permian and Triassic eras.

            My complaint with Mark Roest and others is not what he’s saying but the utter dogmatism with which he’s saying it. Dunning & Kruger essentially showed that people well-informed about an issue are not dogmatic, only the ignorant are dogmatic.

            It is my opinion that nuclear power is entirely safe, and that this is based on an assessment of the radiation released in 3 Mile island/Chernobyl/Fukushima, and its comparism with background. If there were good evidence that the figures upon which I based my calculation were wrong, I’d be happy to change my mind. It would also become more plausible if someone were to show somehow that Sr90 & Cs137 were many of orders of magnitude more toxic than K40 or U238. But no one has ever shown such a difference and there is no plausible mechanism by which such a difference could occur. (I have had one anti-nuclear person claiming we’re immunised against K40 & U238 and they don’t matter.)

            My challenge to everyone is to get as many facts as you can, if Koningstein & Fork say one day that they think X=Z, then don’t immediately become defensive and insist that they must be wrong. Rather ask “Why do they think that?”, ask for access to their models, run them yourself, see what all the information shows.

            The consequence of Koningstein & Fork being correct is simply that renewables won’t do it by itself. How can anyone be so closed-minded that they won’t even consider the possibility?

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            “It is my opinion that nuclear power is entirely safe”

            You hold that opinion even when people have been killed in nuclear reactor accidents?

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            Nothing is perfectly safe. But the real risk from nuclear power is less than the deaths from people falling off rooves from installing solar systems.

            http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/the-curious-wavefunction/2013/04/02/nuclear-power-may-have-saved-1-8-million-lives-otherwise-lost-to-fossil-fuels-may-save-up-to-7-million-more/

            As said, my opinion is based on the relatively small amount of radiation released by various nuclear events compared to background.

            Whether you like it or not, Koningstein & Fork may well be right. I think there’s some chance that an improvement on present renewable technology will lead to a solution of this problem without nuclear. My guess is that chance is about 5%. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1% or 99%, and I’m sure that it’s less than 80%, people need to have an open mind.

            I would certainly be happy to choose nuclear above Carbon & adaption, above Carbon & geo-engineering or Carbon & CCS.

            I’m also happy to choose both nuclear & renewables at present, and let the market decide. I began anti-nuclear, but changed my mind on checking the facts, I believe that this is the only reasonable conclusion that one can draw if you closely examine the amount of radiation released compared with background. Unfortunately most people form their opinion without checking any facts, and then try and twist and distort the facts to fit into their opinion.

            I quote Prof Gerry Thomas “we live in a radioactive world, we are superbly adapted to it. There are areas of the world that are exposed to natural background radiation 10+ times higher than the average (same maximal dose as radiation workers receive). These populations do not show an increase in cancer.”

          • WR 5 years ago

            Your posts on radiation and radioactivity are complete garbage. You keep talking about scepticism and ignorance, and yet your posts show a complete ignorance of radioacitivity and radiation health.
            You really should try to learn more about the topic from reputable sources (I suggest you head to a university and read the relevant textbooks) before you post anything more on this topic.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            Ha Ha Ha. When you lose an argument, commence abuse.

            I am a doctor in civilian life. I have a special interest in the psychology of belief and the microstructure of bone.

            And if I went back to university, maybe I could study with Gerry Thomas, Wade Allison, Barry Brook, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel, James Hansen or Tom Wigley

            I have calculated that Fukushima released 1/30000th of the natural radiation in the ocean. My conclusion is that there’s almost nowhere outside of the immediate vicinity of the accident, and that the radiation is increased more than 1% above background.

            I have been to university, I’ve read many textbooks, I’ve read the Chernobyl Forum report, TORCH and Yablokov, I’ve looked up some of the references.

            When the story came out about the radioactive tuna on the US west coast, I went to the source document from WHOI & read the whole story.

            But apart from the abuse, you haven’t actually said what you disagree with me about. Do you believe than the 1/30000th claim is incorrect? Or do you believe that Sr90, Cs137 or some other isotope from Fukushima is especially toxic? If so, I would very much like your references. In a political discussion, people can get angry very quickly and abuse their opponent. In a scientific discussion they laugh and say “How interesting, what data have you used? And how do you draw that conclusion?”
            It is also my belief that amongst university based physicists and earth scientists, the support for nuclear power exceeds 90% and the consensus is greater than that on global warming. Now I might be wrong about this, if you have any information to the contrary, I would be very happy to look at it.

          • WR 5 years ago

            Man, if you are a doctor I would hate to be your patient. You seem to have no understanding of dosage.
            Caesium-137 is more dangerous than K-40 because its activity is about 30,000,000 times greater than that of potassium for equal masses. Are you saying that the dose of a particular toxin makes no difference to its effect? Because that is what you are implying about radioactive substances. Perhaps you could explain that to all of the people who have died from radiation poisoning.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            So are you saying my calculation was wrong coz I mixed up weight with becquerels?
            The calculation is based on Becquerels.
            1gm of K40 is 30000000 more dangerous than 1gm of Cs137, but 1 Bq of K40 s of equal toxicity to 1 Bq of Cs137.
            Fukushima released ~500PBq, the oceans contain naturally ~16000000PBq. The 1/30000 is based on Bq, so the calculation is still the same

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Medical doctors are generally not scientists. They’re highly trained meat mechanics.

            You don’t show the objectivity of a properly trained scientist. You make a dishonest argument about the amount of radiation released by Fukushima and naturally occurring radiation. The Fukushima radiation was concentrated in a very small area as will happen in any nuclear disaster.

            You further demonstrate your non-objectivity by cherry picking your mentors and list only those who agree with your opinion.

            Don’t pull a James Hansen and try to use your professional standing in one field to push your opinion in another about which you know little.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            I stated that the radiation released by Fukushima ~500PBQ is 1/30000th of the natural radiation in the oceans 16000000 PBq. If this is dishonest, I can’t see why.

            The fish off of Fukushima is potentially dangerous for those few maybe ~10 background, for the vast majority, it’s not.

            As to credible scientists, physics or earth science professors, I could easily find 100 and I’m sure you couldn’t find 3.

            You could check out this

            http://www.adelaide.edu.au/environment/news/pub/EI_Annual_Report_2011.pdf

            Climate department, distinguished university, 11 professors, 11/11 support nuclear power. (University chosen as the one nearest where I live, check out the 1 nearest where you live and compare).
            But that’s not where the argument started. As someone, scientist or technician, I am intrigued by the Dunning-Kruger effect and the unwillingness of some people to check facts. I think a open-minded scientist would say of Koningstein & Fork, let’s look a how they arrived at that conclusion, what assumptions they made, and what models they used.
            Everyone should check the facts before they put mouth into gear.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            “Everyone should check the facts before they put mouth into gear.”

            Good idea. Why don’t you check the cost of nuclear and renewable energy?

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            From which source should I check the facts? There are many, I thought Id check the IEA. First document I found was http://www.iea.org/textbase/npsum/eleccostsum.pdf

            Coal is 25-50$ MWH , gas 37-60 $ MWH,, nuclear 21-31 $ MWH, wind 35-95$ MWH, solar was much higher at 150$ MWH

            Then I thought, what people say is one thing, how markets behave is another. Lets compare the electricity price in France, 15c KWH with Germany 29c KWH.

            Whilst posters on this website repeatedly cherry-pick prices for solar, elsewhere on reneweconomy.com.au we hear https://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/agl-energy-describes-solar-household-tariffs-as-a-scam-36097

            Now I don’t know which is correct for sure, but I do know the market is behaving as though solar is still far from viable without substantial subsidies.
            Anyway Bob, you haven’t given me the name of 3 academic physicists or earth scientists who oppose nuclear power yet.
            Nor have you acknowledged that the calculation of Fukushima = 1/30000th of natural radiation in the oceans is correct either.
            The conclusions of Koningstein & Fork didn’t come as a surprise to me, because I’m not emotionally attached to the idea that renewables will save the world. But there are unfortunately 1000s of people out there who have this religious like certainty about the matter. They flock to sites like reneweconomy.com.au to be reassured that K&F couldn’t possibly be onto something.
            As I have stated elsewhere, I have an interest in the psychology of belief, and the true believers rushing to a web page like this for spiritual reassurance seems a lot like going to church to me.
            Well I think it’s a false religion. If 1 or 2% of people that read my blurb start to actually check what I say and check the natural radiation in the ocean, confirm that academic physicists & earth scientists are have 95% consensus on BOTH climate change and the safety of nuclear power.
            There are two enemies to defeat, to save the planet. The Right-Wing anti-science anti-global warming crackpots, and the Left-Wing anti-science anti-nuclear wackos. There are striking parallels to both groups including the belief in a MASS CONSPIRACY.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Great job of research Guy! You really show us your ability to bring facts to the table. Facts from 2005. Nothing like numbers that are 10 years out of date when it comes to figuring stuff out.

            And then –

            “Lets compare the electricity price in France, 15c KWH with Germany 29c KWH.”

            Sure, let’s compare retail electricity cost for France and German. That would tell us a lot were German retail electricity costs not heavily burdened with taxes, the majority of which have nothing to do with the cost of electricity.

            I can’t give you the wholesale cost of electricity for the two countries but I can give you the industrial rate with taxes and fees removed, that’s should be a reasonable comparison.

            For the EU27 electricity costs are EUR 0.09/kWh, Germany 0.08 and France 0.7.

            I suppose one should not be surprised that France is an euro-penny lower as they are mainly using paid off reactors while Germany still has a fair amount of coal on their grid and has fuel costs.

            Solar, without subsidies, has hit grid parity in Hawaii, California, and some NE states which have high electricity rates. We are short years from solar reaching end-user parity in most states.

            I’m not going to play “Name Scientists” with you. That’s foolish. If you can’t grasp simple arithmetic then you’re lost, appealing to authority won’t sort out the facts for you.

            “As I have stated elsewhere, I have an interest in the psychology of belief, and the true believers rushing to a web page like this for spiritual reassurance seems a lot like going to church to me.”

            Look in the mirror. There I believe you will discover someone controlled by belief rather than facts.

            Perhaps it’s just that you have a head full of bad facts. If you like people here can show you where you can find current and reliable facts. (I’m afraid I have little hope that you have the ability to understand facts based on your last two paragraphs.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Now, let’s give you the benefit of the doubt. Here are some sources where you can find the current cost of wind and solar in the US. These are DOE agency reports.

            “2013 Wind Technologies Market Report”

            http://energy.gov/eere/wind/downloads/2013-wind-technologies-market-report

            “Utility-Scale Solar 2012: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States”

            http://emp.lbl.gov/publications/utility-scale-solar-2012-empirical-analysis-project-cost-performance-and-pricing-trends

            You can get a decent estimate for the cost of new nuclear here –

            An analysis of the Vogtle reactor costs by Citigroup in early 2014 found the LCOE for electricity from those reactors will cost 11 cents per kWh. That is assuming no further cost/timeline overruns.

            They also stated that reactors build after the Vogtle units would likely produce more expensive electricity as they would not be able to receive the low financing rates as Vogtle has obtained.

            http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/citigroup-says-the-age-of-renewables-has-begun

            And you can research current European energy prices here –

            http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home/

            (BTW, you shouldn’t be playing psychologist either. That is something else as your training obviously has not prepared you for.)

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            Well, Bob, you still haven’t taken my challenge about 3 academics or my 30000x calculation.

            The greentechmedia article is referenced to a reneweconomy.com.au article which has no reference. I googled citigroup and nuclear, citigroup & renewables. no 1 was the unreferenced reneweconomy.com.au article. As far as I can see there’s no source document.
            If nuclear power was cheaper than coal or gas in 2005, why would it not be so now? I’ll try and find a more recent document.
            What markets do is more important than what people say. Frogs pay 15c, what nuclear power costs, krauts pay 15c which is what coal/gas/nuclear cost and another 14c levy which subsidises wind and solar, or do they throw the money into the Rhein?

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            No, and I’m not going to play you “name some people” game. That would tell us as much about facts as determining who can piss higher on a wall.

            The RenewEconomy article clearly cites a Citi report, including posting tables and graphs from the report. You probably haven’t read this sort of article enough and don’t understand that these large research articles are behind a paywall. Giles or another author can quote from the article but they can’t link to it.

            Check your 2005 costs. I think you’ll see that your source is using cost of power from paid off plants. Nuclear has very low fuel costs compared to coal and gas plants. Of course the electricity produced would have been cheaper.

            When comparing cost make sure you are doing an ‘apples:apples’. Make your comparisons ‘new plant:new plant’ or ‘paid off plant:paid off plant’.

            I’ll give you a ranking of cheapest to most expensive for new generation. Installed costs (capex plus finex) largely determines the ranking.

            Wind
            Solar
            Coal and CCNG
            Nuclear

            And a ranking of cheapest to most expensive for ‘paid off’ generation. Fuel cost (or the lack of fuel needs) largely determines the ranking.

            Solar
            Wind
            Nuclear
            Coal and CCNG (CCNG might be higher, I’d have to check current prices. The bottom has been dropping out for coal.)

            Frogs and krauts? You slip low. But I’ll risk getting some of your slime on me and continue….

            The French government has recently admitted that the power coming from their nuclear plants has become expensive.

            “Production costs from the existing fleet are heading higher over the medium-term,” France’s Cour des Comptes said in a report to parliament published today.

            The report, which updates findings in a January 2012 report, said that in 2012 the Court calculated the cost of production of the current fleet for 2010, which amounted to EUR 49.5 per megawatt-hour.

            Using the same method for the year 2013 the cost was EUR 59.8/MWh, an increase of 20.6 percent over three years.

            http://www.nucnet.org/all-the-news/2014/05/27/france-s-state-auditor-says-edf-s-nuclear-costs-are-increasing

            59.8/MWh = 6 euro cents/kWh = 7.4 US cents/kWh

            That is more than new unsubsidized wind generation in the US and about the same as unsubsidized solar generation in the US SW.

            Keep that EUR 59.8/MWh in your head and look at the wholesale price of electricity in Germany in the graph below. Find 60/MWh on the vertical axis and then look where Germany’s wholesale prices are now.

            The world is different from what you think, Guy. Best you quit preaching and spend some time and energy learning.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            Well, Bob. You still haven’t stated whether you accept my calculation that the entire Fukushima release was 1/30000th of the natural radiation in the ocean.
            You have esssentially acknowledged that it’s impossible to name 3 physics or earth science academics who are opposed to nuclear power.
            There are zillions of sites which will give you their 2c worth about the costs of nuclear power, as I see it a substantial majority of independent sources accept that nuclear is a competitive to other forms of power. The nuclear is too expensive is part of the anti-nuclear religion though.
            In any event, it’s not actually relevant to the argument. The argument is to let the market decide.
            You are all in all a very interesting case in my psychology of belief analysis. Owners and operators of power plants ( & other production facilities) get the best price they can in the market. I don’t believe that they say “Oh!, we’ve paid this off, we can charge a cheaper price”, Rather they say “How do I maximise returns for shareholders?” Getting the best price they can is what they do, and the level of debt doesn’t alter this.
            As I said, you are a very interesting case in the psychology of belief; you’re utterly tenaceous and will try and twist things to fit your case. You can fool yourself about this, but don’t fool me Perhaps, you should go to university and study economics. Perhaps with Jeffrey Sachs

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            No, I haven’t addressed the radiation topic. That’s not something that I know much about. If I thought reactors were likely to be built in numbers going forward then I’d probably dig into radiation hazards. But since it’s pretty clear that nuclear is dying out simply due to the economics I’m spending my time elsewhere.

            But since you’ve spent time on the radiation issue let me ask you a question. Why has it never been necessary to avoid seawater due to radiation but workers are allowed to enter the ruins of the Fukushima plants for only a few minutes in their lifetimes? And while wearing protective gear? Why do we not set up our beaches as exclusion zones but establish them around Chernobyl and Fukushima?

            Again, I’m not interested in your name a few game. That you continue to harp on that simply indicates that you have no real concept of how science is done.

            Please list the sites which report the cost of new nuclear as cheaper than the cost of new onshore wind. I’d love to see those numbers and sites.

            Please don’t come back from fossil-fuel and nuclear industry sponsored dis-information sites.

            You do that and I’ll give you a list of easily confirmed prices over the last five or so years.

          • Billy Bangle 5 years ago

            He won’t name 3 because there are precisely zero. I’ve just googled it for one hour.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Here are some sources for you Billy.

            http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2011/10/20/smart-energy/cheaper-path-100-renewables

            http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2010/11/23/smart-energy/baseload-power-necessary

            A four year real-time study showing a major US grid could run on almost 100% renewables at an affordable cost.

            Budischak, Sewell, Thomson, Mach, Veron, and Kempton

            https://docs.google.com/file/d/1NrBZJejkUTRYJv5YE__kBFuecdDL2pDTvKLyBjfCPr_8yR7eCTDhLGm8oEPo/edit

            Powering New York State with only wind, solar and water.

            Jacobson, et al.

            http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NewYorkWWSEnPolicy.pdf

            and

            http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-to-power-the-world&page=2

            An all renewable Australian grid…

            Elliston, MacGill, and Diesendort

            https://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/baseload-power-is-a-myth-even-intermittent-renewables-will-work-92421

            and

            http://www.ies.unsw.edu.au/sites/all/files/profile_file_attachments/LeastCostElectricityScenariosInPress2013.pdf

            And from the Elliston, et al. paper –

            “Numerous scenario studies have been published that model the potential for countries, regions, and the entire world, to meet 80{100% of end-use energy demand from renewable energy by some future date, typically mid-century. National scenarios exist for Australia (Wright and Hearps, 2010; Elliston et al., 2012b), Ireland (Connolly et al., 2011), New Zealand (Mason et al., 2010), Portugal (Krajacic et al., 2011), the Republic of Macedonia (Cosic et al., 2012), Japan (Lehmann, 2003), the United Kingdom (Kemp and Wexler, 2010), the United States (Hand et al., 2012), Germany (German Advisory Council on the Environment, 2011) and Denmark (Lund and Mathiesen, 2009). More broadly, regional studies have been produced for Europe (European Climate Foundation, 2010; Rasmussen et al., 2012), northern Europe (Srensen, 2008), and several studies of the global situation have been produced including by Srensen and Meibom (2000), Jacobson and Delucchi (2011), Delucchi and Jacobson (2011), Teske et al. (2012) and WWF (2011).””

            Do something worthwhile, read a few, and quit playing games.

          • Billy Bangle 5 years ago

            The first business spectator link is written by Mark Diesendorf alone.

            The second business spectator “Is baseload power necessary?” says David Mills “has dreamed of creating a new model for an energy system that does away with the conventional design of massive baseload infrastructure.” Mark Diesendorf also believes that baseload is a myth, http://www.sustainabilitycentre.com.au/BaseloadFallacy.pdf

            Nonetheless the IPCC believes in baseload power

            http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/SYR_AR5_LONGERREPORT.pdf

            https://ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/srren/drafts/SRREN_SOD_Chapter_6_comments.pdf

            The IPCC also says “Increasing the use of nuclear power. Nuclear energy could replace baseload fossil fuel electricity generation in many parts of the world”

            http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg3/124.htm

            The Budischak report says “Based on the present rate of technical advancement and cost-reductions, and general principles of industrialization, scale-up, and learning curves, we consider the cited 2030 costs to be reasonable estimates”

            Maybe Budiscak et al are correct or maybe Koningstein & Fork are correct, options need to be kept open.

            The reneweconomy.com.au article was written by Mark Diesendorf alone.
            We have shown that it would have been technically possible to supply hourly electricity demand in the National Electricity Market throughout 2010 with 100% renewable energy from commercially available technologies.” Technically possible?, No comment about economically possible. 100% money back guarantee. No.

            Iain MacGill has a page here with copies of his papers. There is nothing to suggest he is anti-nuclear
            http://www.ceem.unsw.edu.au/staff/iain-macgill

            Nor can I find evidence PH.D student Ben Elliston is anti-nuclear.

            Barry Brooks says “The paper outlines a supply pattern whereby it is claimed that 100% of present Australian electricity demand could be provided by renewable energy.

            The following notes indicate why I think that although technically this could be done, we could not afford the capital cost.”

            Maybe Mark, Iain & Ben are correct or maybe Barry, Koningstein & Fork are. I’ll keep my options open.

            This was the original criticism. One cannot reasonably say on the present evidence, that there is a 100% certainty that Brook, Koningstein & Fork are wrong.

            There is a rather large difference between possibility and certainty, NONE of the simulations claim anything like certainty.

            I have not written on this website in attempt to change your mind. It is an extraordinarily closed minded person who says “I’m not even willing to contemplate the possibility that I might be wrong” It is written with an attempt to remind people to keep an open mind.

            You believe that the pre-eminence of renewable technology is 100% certain. At this point in time, I consider it more likely than not that renewables will fail, and that Uranium will displace Carbon.

            For everyone else reading this I just implore them to keep an open mind and consider your opinion, my opinion, Mark Diesendorf’s opinion, Barry Brook’s opinion, WR’s opinion & Guy Gadois’ opinion.

            I then ask them to do THEIR OWN fact check and be very, very skeptical about websites that have been founded to push one specific ideology.

            Please check Guy’s calculation about Fukushima vs the ocean, it’s easy to check and verify, read the Chernobyl Forum report, read the TORCH report, then LOOK at the history of the authors, their history of supporting one side, and their associations with prestigious universities.
            One of these reports must be wrong (they have reached a diametrically opposite conclusion) After checking the bona fides of the authors, please draw your own conclusions.

            Richard Feyman said “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” So mother nature is going to win this argument.

            Bob Wallace has now grudgingly given us ONE name of an academic who opposes nuclear power, Mark Diesendorf, and he’s not a physics or Earth Sciences professor which was the original challenge. Bob is still avoiding the challenge, please everyone, check the facts for yourself, draw your own conclusion. it is certainly my conclusion that Bob is unable to name 3.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            You miss the important point, Billy.

            Objective people rarely oppose nuclear. They look at nuclear – it’s advantages, costs, and disadvantages – and compare those to other solutions.

            Anyone who knows anything about the cost of new generation knows that nuclear is more expensive than renewables.

            Everyone knows that nuclear brings a level of risk that is unlike any other generation technology. And that we have an unsolved radioactive waste problem.

            An objective person looking at 1) cost and 2) risk is led to ask whether we could meet our energy needs in a way that involves neither nuclear energy or fossil fuels. I gave you a pile of papers where people have studied grids and nations and found that powering ourselves with ~100% renewable is 1) less expensive, 2) safe, and 3) feasible.

            In general knowledgeable people do not run around crying “Nuclear is evil!!”. They just point out that there a better alternative.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Now let me get to some of your points…

            “The IPCC also says “Increasing the use of nuclear power. Nuclear energy could replace baseload fossil fuel electricity generation in many parts of the world””

            True. But there is no need for “baseload” generation. Only a need to provide power when it is desired. We tend to think baseload generation is important largely because that’s what we built last century’s grid around. If you think about it, it doen’t matter to your TV or a steel mill whether the electricity comes from a baseload plant or from a variable source such as wind/solar with fill-in from storage and dispatchable generation.

            I live without baseload generation. Most of my electricity comes from solar panels. I store in batteries. When I don’t have enough stored I use a dispatchable source, a generator. I run shop tools off my system in addition to normal household things. My planer or jointer don’t care that there’s no coal or nuclear baseload in their feed.

            I’m glad that you took a look at the Budischak paper. Please note that we’ve pretty much reached their 2030 estimated prices for renewables already. Their 2030 cost of electricity numbers are almost certain to be high.

            ” I think that although technically this could be done, we could not afford the capital cost.”

            Installed costs:
            Onshore wind is $1.63 per watt.
            PV solar is $1.81 per watt.
            CCNG is $1.09 per watt.

            That’s a watt of wind and a watt of solar and a watt of NG to fill in when the wind isn’t blowing or Sun shining for $4.53.

            Nuclear is at least $6.94 a watt.

            We can afford the capital cost of a renewable grid before we can afford the capital cost of a nuclear grid.

            “You believe that the pre-eminence of renewable technology is 100% certain.”

            Oh, no. That is totally incorrect. What I hold is that based on today’s options, today’s costs and what we can see coming in the near future we are headed toward a renewable energy grid.

            I try to always leave open the possibility of new facts, new technologies emerging. At one time I thought we were headed toward a largely nuclear grid because wind and solar were too expensive and we needed to get off fossil fuels. But wind and solar costs plummeted and my opinion adapted to the change.

            If, for example, it was announced that fusion had been conquered and the cost would be cheaper than renewables I expect I’d undergo another shift of opinion.

          • Billy Bangle 5 years ago

            Then we wait and see why Koningstein & Fork drew the conclusions they did. Maybe they’re correct. i want to wait and see.

            Maybe Guy Gadois and Prof Gerry Thomas are right about background radiation “we live in a radioactive world, we are superbly adapted to it. There are areas of the world that are exposed to natural background radiation 10+ times higher than the average (same maximal dose as radiation workers receive). These populations do not show an increase in cancer.”

            Nuclear fusion was 20 years away when I was growing up in the 60s, it’s still 20 years away. I won’t hold my breath. Some people are anti-fusion. I gather Ian Fairlie who wrote the TORCH report is, there’s a lot of angst about Tritium on his website.

            Why are you so convinced that you’re right about nuclear costs and Barry Brook isn’t?

            http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/11/28/nuclear-is-the-least-cost-low-carbon-baseload-power-source/

            I don’t believe in conspiracies.

            http://www.salon.com/2013/04/24/why_people_believe_in_conspiracy_theories/

            “What are the psychological forces at play in conspiracy thinking?

            Basically what’s happening in any conspiracy theory is that people have a need or a motivation to believe in this theory, and it’s psychologically different from evidence-based thinking. A conspiracy theory is immune to evidence, and that can pretty well serve as the definition of one. If you reject evidence, or reinterpret the evidence to be confirmation of your theory, or you ignore mountains of evidence to focus on just one thing, you’re probably a conspiracy theorist. We call that a self-sealing nature of reasoning.”

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/charleskadlec/2011/07/25/the-goal-is-power-the-global-warming-conspiracy/

            James Delingpole says”Man-made global warming is a fraud, one that has already cost billions of dollars and is a clear and present danger to our liberty and democratic traditions — and, ironically, to the environment itself.”

            https://www.facebook.com/theflatearthconspiracy?hc_location=timeline

            “We have been taught, contrary to all common sense and experience, that the seemingly motionless, flat Earth beneath our feet is actually a massive moving ball spinning through space at over 1,000 miles per hour, wobbling and tilted 23.5 degrees on its vertical axis, while orbiting the sun at a blinding 67,000 miles per hour”

            http://www.monbiot.com/2011/04/04/interrogation-of-helen-caldicotts-responses/

            Helen Cadicott says “the World Health Organization is now part of the conspiracy and the cover-up, the greatest conspiritorial coverup in the history of medicine.”

            Three conspiracy theories, all of equal (zero) merit

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            “Why are you so convinced that you’re right about nuclear costs and Barry Brook isn’t?”

            Why? Because I’ve been carefully following real world prices for a few years. I don’t know who Barry Brook is or why he believes what he believes. I’m kind of turned off to that site as there are a lot of crackpot comments there.

            Koningstein & Fork – from above.

            “Koningstein and Fork write that they investigated “a wide range of innovative technologies, such as self-assembling wind turbine towers, drilling systems for geothermal energy and solar thermal power systems.” However, by 2011, they note, “it was clear that RE<C would not be able to deliver a technology that could compete economically with coal.”"

            Well, if they were comparing new generation to paid off coal then they might be a little right. But if that is what they did then they committed a simple error. Coal plants do not last forever and must be replaced sooner or later with new plants which then have to be paid off.

            And they obviously made one terrible mistake. They failed to add in the external costs of coal. In the US we pay $140 billion to $242 billion in taxpayer dollars for the external costs of burning coal. If we fold those dollars back into the cost of coal-electricity then the cost of coal-electricity would be 19 to 41 cents/kWh. More expensive than even offshore wind. Many multiples the cost of onshore and solar.

            If they were trying to say that businesses would purchase wind and solar due to their costs then all they had to do was to look around to find out they were wrong. Very politically conservative Walmart is the largest owner of solar in the US.

            I'm sorry, K&F committed great mistakes in their analysis. The quicker we forget their names, the better.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Wow! That’s a massive FU.

            Short. K&F made three analytical errors.

            1) They apparently failed to realize that old coal plants wear out and new coal plant electricity would be more expensive than wind and solar.

            2) They apparently failed to do full accounting for coal. Coal, with external costs folded in, is our most expensive electricity cost.

            3) They decided that businesses would not pay for renewable energy. Had they only looked around they would have seen that businesses are paying for renewables. Very politically conservative Walmart owns massive amounts of solar.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if K&F spent a lot of time searching for black swans, became discouraged, and shot off their mouths without doing due diligence.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            Well, you’re convinced 100% that K&F are wrong. I don’t believe that they “failed to realize that old coal plants wear out” I am extremely doubtful that they “failed to realize that old coal plants wear out”

            If K&F decided that businesses would not pay for renewable energy, I want to see what assumptions they made. It’s plausible to me. There is nowhere in the world I’m aware of that wind or solar has been built without subsidies. AGL describes the subsidies inherent in the present electricity prices for solar as a scam. Again plausible, I seek further evidence. I’m sure if they wanted to see black swans they simply would have gone to Perth.

            http://www.swanrivertrust.wa.gov.au/docs/fact-sheets/black-swan-fact-sheet.pdf

            It’s obvious that K&F became discouraged, “”For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”

            Your opinion is that they lacked due diligence. Others might say that they are correct when they say ” Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work”

            I await further evidence but if I apply Occam’s Razor, I conclude that the latter is rather more likely. Wade Allison agrees too.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            “There is nowhere in the world I’m aware of that wind or solar has been built without subsidies”

            And please tell us what generation is build without subsidies?

            ” Others might say that they are correct when they say ” Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work”
            I await further evidence”

            Why don’t you start here –

            http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/sad1109Jaco5p.indd.pdf

            ” if I apply Occam’s Razor”

            Best you not try to use Occam’s Razor. You seem to have missed reading the instructions.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            All of our energy from wind, water & solar by 2030. A possibility. The report is 5 years old. I admit it’s a possibility but I doubt that it’s much more.

            I have applied Occam’s Razor to the following alternate hypotheses.

            1. Bob Wallace is correct and there is 100% certainty. Anyone who supports nuclear power is a crackpot. Barry Brooks, Gus Nathan, Corey Bradshaw are all wrong. James Hansen is wrong. Dr. Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution, Dr. Kerry Emanuel, Atmospheric Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. James Hansen, Climate Scientist, Columbia University Earth Institute, Dr. Tom Wigley, Climate Scientist, University of Adelaide and the National Center for Atmospheric Research are all wrong. Stephen Tindale is wrong. AGL is part of a conspiracy to mislead over the real price of electricity. The radiation from Fukushima on the Pacific coast of the US at 1/12 of a banana is highly toxic. Helen Caldicott is so brilliant that everything she says is accurate even without any other evidence. She is correct in saying that 1 gm of 244Pu is extremely toxic even though, at 600,000 becquerels it’s about as radioactive as a 10 cubic metre cube of soil. Koningstein & Fork didn’t seriously consider the question. http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/sad1109Jaco5p.indd.pdf is unimpeachable with a 100% certainty of being 100% correct. The New York Academy of science is happy that the Yablokov report was published in its name. The fact that neither of these were peer reviewed is irrelevant.

            There is a conspiracy between

            the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)

            the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization)

            the OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

            the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)

            the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme)

            the UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation)

            the WHO (World Health Organization)

            the World Bank.

            Ukraine government

            Russian government

            Belarussian government

            100 or so distinguished international research scientists

            or

            2. It’s Bob Wallace and Helen Caldicott that are crackpots. There is something between 1% & 99% probability that Carbon usage can be stopped with only renewables. (I think the 1% is nearer the mark, but we’ll wait & see) There are a handful, less than 3, real scientists who oppose nuclear power.

            AGL’s opinion in regard to solar power reflects market realities.

            K&F seriously considered the issue at hand.

            There is a NO conspiracy between

            the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)

            the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization)

            the OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

            the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)

            the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme)

            the UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation)

            the WHO (World Health Organization)

            the World Bank.

            Ukraine government

            Russian government

            Belarussian government

            100 or so distinguished international research scientists

            or

            The Fukushima radiation on the US West Coast, a 1/12 of a banana has no measurable toxicity.

            The radio-toxicity of 1 gm of 244Pu is about the same as a 10 metre cube of garden soil.

            There is no conspiracy. Bob Wallace simply never contemplated the possibility that the entire Fukushima release might only be 1/30000th of the natural radiation in the ocean. The New York Academy of sciences thought the Yablokov report was bullshit, described it as misleading and said it was more science-fiction than science. Peer reviewing is an important process

            Occam’s Razor requires you to choose number 2.

          • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago

            There is a small possibility that Austrian, German and Danish scientists are wrong. There is also a small possibility that the French court of audit is wrong though I rather suspect that the German and French authorities know more about the cost of nuclear than some Australian scientists.
            You can include a bunch of banks into the counter conspiracy.
            Also grid operators seem to favor wind over centralised thermal plants.

            France is reducing nuclear instead of trying to switch the remaining 80% of fossil energy to nuclear.

            A slow phase out is strong evidence that something is not working.
            Read the world nuclear status report for another view of the subject.

            I don’t see your problem with Germany. They try to meet their self set targets. They will close some more coal plants soon which will in turn lower renewable surcharge.
            They got enough storage (2-3 month electricity) which isn’t even relevant till higher penetration.

            Danemark is just setting new higher targets.

            We should even try to convince Iran to go 100% renewable. That would end the whole nuclear issue for good.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            Germany is building 26 new coal mines according to Wikipedia. Fact (unless Wikipedia is wrong)

            France has made an unfunded promise to increase renewables, which is irrelevant if Koningtein & Fork are correct, it’ll never happen. And France is doing something right. It has easily the lowest Carbon emission of any advanced nation.

            I’ve always said it’s a possibility that renewables may work to 100% replacement of Carbon. But Koningstein and Fork have made me reduce my personal guess from 5% to 1%.

            And you can’t name three university physicists or earth scientists that are anti-nuclear. FACT.

            China is where the matter will be decided, almost certainly. There are 204 new nuclear power stations in various stages of planning in China, 59 in Russia and 63 in India.

            http://www.kpmg.com/Global/en/IssuesAndInsights/ArticlesPublications/Documents/nuclear-power-role-in-shaping-energy-policies-v3.pdf

            I originally started posting becoz I thought Bob Wallace, WR and others on this website were laughable in the speed which they rushed to denounce Koningstein & Fork as heretics. There was something very religious about it. It’s an interesting case in the psychology of belief. The possibility that there might be a kernel of truth in what they said was to denounced utterly, vigorously and completely as heresy.

            And I can easily name a dozen internationally recognised experts that have said the same. They may be wrong, but they’re in good company. So maybe they’re right, or at least an open mind could be kept until more information is in. The poverty-increasing high price of electricity in Denmark and Germany supports THEIR case, not yours.

            Things don’t come true just because you wish very hard. I know you wish very hard that renewables will do it, but as Richard Feyman said “”For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” You’re fooling yourself if you think that Denmark and Germany and France provide evidence for anything other than the massive superiority of nuclear amongst the low-carbon choices.

          • Billy Bangle 5 years ago

            Ha ha ha.
            Galeilieo/Koningstein & Fork* need to be excommunicated for the unforgivable sin of challenging the accepted wisdom & doctrine of the ONE TRUE CATHOLIC/GREEN* CHURCH
            *Strike out as applicable

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            “All of our energy from wind, water & solar by 2030. A possibility. The report is 5 years old. I admit it’s a possibility but I doubt that it’s much more.”

            If you read you would know that Mark and Mark stated very clearly that we could do the job with a large amount of effort applied. And it would take political will to make it happen.

            They made zero predictions about switching to renewables in 20 years.

            Now, see, I warned you to stay away with from that razor. You don’t know how to use it at all.

            Occam’s Razor, the principal of parsimony, is that if you have two theoretical explanations the one with the fewest variables is more likely to be correct. Even applied in the correct circumstance Occam’s Razor does not tell you which is correct. Only which is more likely to be correct.

            As I’ve said a couple of times recently in some discussion or the other, scientists in general don’t oppose nuclear. They, and other rational, objective people, look at the costs, advantages and disadvantages and weight the evidence.

            Now, just because someone is a scientist does not mean that they are adequately informed outside their special area of knowledge. James Hansen, a wonderful climate scientist, demonstrated that when he claimed something to the effect that nuclear was required/renewables would not do the job.

            You just read a published scientific paper from a top level researcher in the field of energy who which demonstrates Hansen was incorrect.

            That paper had been published and was widely known before Hansen made his statement. Jim fired from the hip and plugged the ground.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            Professor Barry Brook is a senior researcher in the Ecology & Environmental Biology group at the University of Adelaide. He runs his own website bravenewclimate.com

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            I still waiting for Bob or anyone else to find even one university based physicist or earth scientist who is anti-nuclear

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            Ha ha ha, you are a closed minded ideologue. The quantity of radioactivity released is irrelevant to the argument? Doesn’t make sense.

            Why wear protective gear, coz there may be an odd place where the levels are high, and it’s the cautious thing to do. Same thing as you would if it were carbon monoxide or arsenic.

            A lot of beaches are quite radioactive, like Ramsar in Iran, people have never been prevented from going there, and there’s no definite harm.

            http://data2.xjlas.ac.cn:81/UploadFiles/sdz/cnki/%E5%A4%96%E6%96%87/ELSEVIER/sand%20hazard/3.pdf

            Nuclear is competitive

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source

            https://www.iea.org/media/workshops/2014/solarelectricity/bnef2lcoeofpv.pdf

            https://www.physics.umn.edu/classes/2014/fall/Phys%201905.005/downloads/279441-Portney_Nuclear_Question.pdf

            http://web.mit.edu/jparsons/www/publications/2009-004.pdf

            http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/ayabdull/Abdulla_LCOE.pdf

            Nuclear power is going nowhere IAEA says “there were 68 civil nuclear powerreactors under construction in 15 countries”

            I remain convinced that you can’t name three academics because there are none. You haven’t answered and neither has anyone else on the site.

            I hope the people that are open minded on the issue actually check this, check the level of radiation in the oceans

            Ha ha ha, you are a closed minded ideologue. The quantity of radioactivity released is irrelevant to the argument? Doesn’t make sense.

            Why wear protective gear, coz there may be an odd place where the levels are high, and it’s the cautious thing to do. Same thing as you would if it were carbon monoxide or arsenic.

            A lot of beaches are quite radioactive, like Ramsar in Iran, people have never been prevented from going there, and there’s no definite harm.

            http://data2.xjlas.ac.cn:81/UploadFiles/sdz/cnki/%E5%A4%96%E6%96%87/ELSEVIER/sand%20hazard/3.pdf

            Nuclear is competitive

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source

            https://www.iea.org/media/workshops/2014/solarelectricity/bnef2lcoeofpv.pdf

            https://www.physics.umn.edu/classes/2014/fall/Phys%201905.005/downloads/279441-Portney_Nuclear_Question.pdf

            http://web.mit.edu/jparsons/www/publications/2009-004.pdf

            http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/ayabdull/Abdulla_LCOE.pdf

            Nuclear power is going nowhere IAEA says “there were 68 civil nuclear powerreactors under construction in 15 countries”

            I remain convinced that you can’t name three academics because there are none. You haven’t answered and neither has anyone else on the site.

            I hope the people who are open-minded are checking all these facts
            http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/natural.htm

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Guy, some of those 68 have been “under construction” for years without a shovelful of dirt being turned and it’s unlikely anyone will show up with a shovel.

            But even if the 68 were built they wouldn’t keep up with known upcoming closures.

            Japan has just closed 54. Some may come back on line but public resistance is pretty high.
            Germany has just closed/is closing 17.
            The US has closed/announced 5 closures.
            Exelon is likely closing up to 6.
            Belgium will close 3 reactors by 2015 and 4 more by 2025.
            The Philippines is converting 1 reactor to natural gas.
            Switzerland will close 1 reactor in 2019 and their other 4 by 2035.

            That’s 97 reactors closing. Even if Japan brings a few back on line and you discount closures past 2025 the number of reactors worldwide looks to be sagging.

            Nuclear growth was largely over in 1989. For the following 20+ years nuclear bounced around on its plateau. And now nuclear is on the downturn.

            Nuclear has not only not been growing in number of reactors, it has been falling behind in terms of percentage of world electricity generation.

            The numbers are publicly available and they are clear. Nuclear has been priced out of the market and is fading away. It really doesn’t matter how much you and a handful of fans try to talk it up, nuclear is failing for simple economic reasons.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Oh, your cost Wiki page.

            Those EIA numbers are badly flawed. The EIA has produced some very strange forecasts and no one can figure out what is wrong in that particular office.

            Here’s what the EIA predicts will happen with solar going forward. A decade during which the US will install no additional solar.

            Take a close look at their wind and solar numbers. They are predicting significant price increases in industries which are continuing to drop in price and expected to fall much further over the next few years.

            eta: I’ll look through some of your other cost links. First ones a toss-out.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Your 2005 Porney paper…

            “the 100 or so nuclear units in the country are quite profitable”

            No, about 75 of them are profitable. The other 25 or so are not making money and will likely be closed. Exelon is sitting on six reactors which have been losing money for over five years, for example.

            Furthermore, those are paid off reactors. They have nothing at all to tell us about the cost of bringing new nuclear energy on line.

            “a new 1,000-megawatt (MW) nuclear power plant would cost on the order of $2 billion and take five years to build”

            The Vogtle reactor are costing $6,950 per 1,000 MW so far. That number is likely to increase with further budget/timeline overruns. Five years is a very optimistic time line. Neither Vogtle nor the Summer reactors are likely to be completed that quickly.

            Your Bloomberg source finds nuclear higher priced – about 12 cents/kWh in the US. About the same as Citigroup calculated for the Vogtle reactors.

            That is much higher than what wind and solar have been selling for. Without subsidies.

            I’m very familiar with the 2009 MIT paper. It’s widely recognized in the energy industry as being outdated. They’re way under what Vogtle is costing.

            Your last paper is about the hypothetical cost of SMRs.

            Getting the cost of SMRs down to even the point at which they match the MWh price of full sized reactors is not a sure thing. Other people have run the numbers and found it is highly unlikely.

            Nuclear, like wind, greatly benefits by being made larger not smaller. If you think about it there is a great deal of redundancy in making 10 plants rather than one. There are a lot of things you need 10 of rather than one of.

            Furthermore it would take large scale manufacturing to produce the sort of economy of scale that would minimize the prices. That’s not building a few dozen. That’s producing hundreds.

            GE recently stated that they couldn’t identify a market that would support significant numbers of SMR and they closed their SMR development activities.

            I don’t think there are any companies left working on the with the exception of perhaps a couple that are sitting at desks playing with numbers. No one with any clout or capital is still in the game.

            Sorry, Guy, you have found nothing that supports affordable nuclear. Only out of date papers which are badly out of step with the current prices we see coming out of Vogtle, Hinkley Point, Olkiluoto 3 and Flamanville. Not to mention the bids received by Ontario and San Antonio.

          • Billy Bangle 5 years ago

            Why don’t you answer Guy’s question about the three academics, Bob, Prof Ian Lowe might be one?

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Because it would prove nothing. It would just be silly.

          • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago

            I’ll nominate former Chinese state nuclear physicist He Zuoxiu.

            His opinion on Chinese nuclear might out-weight 10 Australien/US climate scientists 😉

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            Ok you got one, can you find 2 more?

            Pro-nuclear

            10 Aussies/Yanks
            Physics/Environment/Earth Science

            Corey Bradshaw –
            University of Adelaide

            Barry Brook –
            University of Adelaide

            Gus Nathan –
            University of Adelaide

            Colin Keays –
            Newcastle

            Erle Ellis –
            Cornell

            Sanghyun Hong –
            Adelaide

            Thomas Blees –
            Science Council for Global Initiatives, California

            Andrew Moore –
            CSIRO

            Damien Fordham –
            Adelaide

            Ken Caldeira, Senior Scientist, Department of Global
            Ecology, Carnegie Institution

            Kerry Emanuel, Atmospheric Scientist, Massachusetts
            Institute of Technology

            James Hansen, Climate Scientist, Columbia University Earth
            Institute

            Tom Wigley, Climate Scientist, University of Adelaide and
            the National Center for Atmospheric Research

            10 Aussie/Yanks
            other disciplines

            Mike Perring – UWA

            Bruce Wachholz – National
            Cancer Institute, NIH, United States of America

            Royce Lee –
            University of Chicago, United States of America

            Elaine Ron –
            National Cancer Institute, NIH United States of America

            Kenneth Kopecky –
            Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, United States of America

            Maureen Hatch –
            National Cancer Institute, United States of America

            Brett P Murphy –
            Melbourne

            Geoffrey Howe –
            Columbia University, United States of America

            Roy Shore –
            Department of Environmental Medicine, United States of America

            Fred Mettler –
            Federal Regional Medical Center, United States of America

            Jared Diamond,
            UCLA

            10 Poms

            Anson Mackay –
            University College London

            Wade Allison –
            Oxford

            Gerry Thomas – South
            West Wales Cancer Institute, United Kingdom

            Hugh Montefiore –
            Anglican Bishop

            Stephen Tindale –
            Former director of Greenpeace

            Patrick Moore –
            Co-founder of Greenpeace

            James Lovelock

            David Mackay –
            Physicist

            10 Others

            David Meneley – University of Ontario
            Institute of Technology

            Yasuaki Shibata –
            Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Japan

            Gennadi
            Souchkewitch – Moscow Clinical and Research Institute of Emergency Children Surgery
            and Trauma, Russian Federation

            Aldo Pinchera –
            University of Pisa, Italy

            Kazuo Neriishi –
            Radiation Effects Research Foundation, Japan

            Viktor Kryuchkov –
            Institute of Biophysics, Russian Federation

            Yuri Demidchik –
            Belarusian Medical University, Belarus

            Jakov Kenigsberg –
            National Committee for Radioactivity Protection, Belarus

            Ausrele Kesminiene
            – International Agency for Research on Cancer, France

            Patrick Moore –
            Environmentalist, Canada

          • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago

            It’s a little boring and pointless to list them all.
            Try Google if it is so important to you.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            The point is that there are thousands, and it was a real struggle for you to find one. The 97.5% consensus on global warming is far exceeded by the 99% consensus on the safety of nuclear power

          • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago

            http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/about/history/Patrick-Moore-background-information/

            It was no struggle at all. You can use Google to find many more.

          • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago

            Patrick M. is not a cofounder of Greenpeace.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            I apologise than, he was an early member, president and a board member of Greenpeace international

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Guy, do you not understand that you’re on a fools errand?

            There are hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, who could be counted in the very broad category of “people in some way related to science, the environment, the nuclear industry, etc.” you’ve created.

            Finding a thousand names would be meaningless – for either side of the argument.

            And even if you could show that there were more who “believed in nuclear” than the number “who didn’t believe in nuclear” that would also be meaningless.

            Give up this distraction and study the facts.

          • Steven 4 years ago

            You are not a doctor. You are merely one of Bill Schutt’s alter egos. The Schutt/Scutt/Schuut/Gadois alias claims he’s a doctor in Adelaide – he’ a liar – a zealous nuclear propagandist, a cowboy out of Adelaide’s posse of hillbillies.

            “Schutt/Gadois” alias has been banned from posting on The Conversation for waving the finger at opponents and wilfully and persistently breaching community rules.

            Coward, Gadois/Schutt alias drops the names of nuclear’s pinup boys and girl, who’ve all been busted around the web.

            The nuclear industry is a criminal entity; the current convictions are many and varied. Nuclear’s corporate criminals never lose their licence to kill – humans, wildlife, livestock, the biosphere.

            Guy Gadois’ bestest buddy, Wade Allison:

            Fukushima – according to an old drunk – nuclear’s global pin up boy – cringe:

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Apparently there have been three construction related deaths at Olkiluoto 3 so far. People are also killed during reactor operation. That said, let’s point out you switched the topic from radiation deaths to non-radiation deaths rather than admitting your statement incorrect.

            Amount of radiation released vs. background radiation. It wasn’t background radiation that made eating seafood near Fukushima unsafe. It isn’t background radiation that is still showing up in wild pigs in eastern Germany.

            I began somewhat pro-nuclear. I figured that we were better off dealing with a nuclear disaster every few years and spending more for our electricity than suffering centuries of climate change.

            But something happened. Wind and storage started dropping in price. My first change was to realize that we could avoid both the dangers of climate change and nuclear disaster by paying a bit more for our electricity by switching to renewables.

            And then something else happened. Wind and solar got a little cheaper than nuclear. And then they got a lot cheaper than nuclear. And now something else is happening, storage prices are dropping.

            Now I’ve evolved. I’ve gone from hesitantly pro-nuclear to strongly pro-renewables.

            It makes zero sense to me to pay more for our electricity and, at the same time, accept more risk.

          • WR 5 years ago

            The pvoutput website contains information only from people who have registered their system at that website. Registration is on a voluntary basis by those who actually know that the website is there. For SA, only about 2% of installed capacity is registered on that website.

            Total installed capacity for SA is over 500 MW. Maximum output on the best day of the year is about 70%. So maximum power output from PV is in the range of 350-400 MW.

            You really need to learn something about radioactivity before you start saying the types of things you have written about in your posts. The type of radioactive particle (alpha, beta, or gamma) and the energy of the particle makes a big difference in their potential for damage.

            Generally speaking, beta and gamma sources are much more dangerous than alpha sources (unless you happen to be holding or have ingested the alpha emitters). Isotopes with short half-lives emit much more energetic (and therefore more dangerous) radiation than isotopes with long half-lives. both caesium-137 and strontium-90 are beta emitters with relatively short half-lives.

            But that’s only part of why they are dangerous. Strontium is also in the same chemical family as calcium. So when its ingested, it can take the place of calcium in your bones. This means that it can be lodged in your body for considerable time, increasing your chance of being damaged by radiation.

            Caesium is water soluble and so is more likely to end up in water supplies and from there into the food chain than lower solubility isotopes.

            Both Uranium-238 and Potassium-40 have extremely long half-lives (billion+ years). So you would need an extraordinarily high concentration of them for their radioactivities to be dangerous, or spend a long time with lower concentrations of them. This never occurs for either of them. (Although for U-238, the daughter products of their alpha-decay can provide harmful levels of radiation under special circumstances that can sometimes occur.)

            There is a lot of information on these topics on the internet and in radiation health texts in university libraries. If you are genuinely interested in this topic, it should be easy to find plenty to read.

          • Guy Gadois 5 years ago

            Put brain into gear before engaging mouth (or fingers). Of course you need a higher concentration of K40 or U238 to generate similar radiation, but my calculation is based on Bq. The oceans contain approx. ~ 800000 tonnes of K per cubic kilometre, 80 tons of which is K40, and 3.3 tonnes of U238 & U235. Add this together with Rb87, C14, H3, Th232, Ca48, Se82 and all the others and the total is 16000000 PBq, approx. 30000 the total release from Fukushima. Dice it any way you like, the number is still 30000. The different modes of decay, alpha, beta, gamma, EC, double beta don’t much alter the calculation, except to make it larger than 30000, coz more of the seawater is alpha decays.
            There is plenty to read, but I’ve little doubt I could thrash you in a basic nuclear physics test.
            I’m quite happy to accept a challenge from you if you suggest anything specific, I will read it and post my conclusions. Peer reviewed papers are the gold standard.
            I have two challenges which I might suggest.
            1. Strontium-90. The possibility that Sr90 might deposit in bones has been out there a long time. As far as I’m aware, no person has ever been found with 1% or more of background (measured in becquerels)
            A science based analysis would surely include:
            a. An understanding of the amount of Strontium in bone normally,
            b. Whether it changes when the amount of Strontium in the environment changes,
            c. Whether you think Sr 84 86 87 88 deposit in bone with Sr90
            d. The position of Strontium isotopes in bone, compared with K, and in a particular whether the average Strontium nucleus is nearer of further from the DNA than Potassium.
            You can get all this information from books and papers to.
            2. The Chernobyl Forum report, & the TORCH report which arrive at diametrically opposed conclusions. Identify the authors of the said reports , and assess whether it is conceivable that they were chosen on the basis that those who commissioned the report wanted a specific outcome.

        • Mark Roest 5 years ago

          PS, note that I said this will happen between 2017 and 2019, for Tesla. Others may be sooner or later. We still need both RET and the Enegiewende in Germany to galvanize finance, and to make up for (and steamroll over) all the opposition to an energy revolution in a very short number of years, to save life from fossil fuel executive rapacity.

      • Eclipse Now 5 years ago

        //PS: trying to claim that the whole society must have ten days of storage is a red herring; there is plenty of variation geographically, so when one location has clouds or a fire, most other locations have clear sun, and can share. //
        Don’t those ‘other locations’ have their own consumers? As I say on my blog:
        // Back to our overcast, cloudy week in NSW. If it’s not sunny, some would argue NSW will just run on the wind. But what about peak demand in the afternoon and evening? A vast cloud bank over NSW means that all our solar has been knocked out of action and we are forced to rely on wind power. That is, if we had previously assumed the grid was 50% solar and 50% wind, what happened to all the wind customers in this scenario? Are they just not going to use power so the solar guys can cook and watch TV and use air-conditioning?

        Renewables advocates often fudge these details in presentations to the public. What they are really assuming is a vast overbuild of both wind and solar, more like 80% or 90% capacity. Do we really want to build out basically our entire power requirements in both wind and solar? 100% supply in solar and 100% supply in wind, so that when the solar dies off we can run on the wind?

        But it’s worse than that, because solar thermal is not as efficient in winter, wind is variable and rarely at it’s peak output, so the overbuild required is actually vastly greater.

        The same applies to asking Queensland to rescue us. Doesn’t Queensland have their own power demand already? Are we asking Queensland to build an extra NSW worth of renewables supply ‘just in case’ there’s a week (or month or entire season!) where we really need it?
        https://eclipsenow.wordpress.com/renewables/

        • Mark Roest 5 years ago

          Now I see where this is coming from — a nuclear energy advocate trying to trash-talk the competition in the battle of ideas. That also explains all the name-dropping and faulty numbers. Yesterday I read about the delays in British efforts at restarting the nuclear industry; I calculated from the numbers they showed that it was going to cost about $10 per Watt to build two 1.6MW plants! And that doesn’t count the cost of correctly (leaving no chance of error over time) sealing off the nuclear waste for 400,000 years.

          Now to the task of addressing the new red herrings you have thrown into the arena.
          Earlier I wrote that 3 kW will be $3,000U.S., installed, by 2017 to 2019, and that 18 kWh of
          batteries (a 1 day supply at 6 hours full sun equivalent with a 3 kW system) will cost about
          $2,160, or about 1.2 U.S. cents per kWh. It may interest you to know that people were buying $12,000 to $18,000U.S. solar PV systems with a 30% tax credit several years ago — that was for 2 to 5 kW. Way more than today even after the tax credit. So suppose we purchase a 4 kW system in Oz instead of 3 kW, and get 24 kWh of batteries instead of 18, but we use the same level of efficiency and conservation, so we only need 3 kW and 18 kWh for our own use. That means we all have an extra third of a day supply, for how much money? In 2017 to 2019, only $4,000U.S. for 4 kW of solar and $2,880U.S. for 24 kWh of batteries. Now, when we get a peak load and there are clouds overhead (sort of a contradiction in terms, isn’t it, when peak loads are associated with air conditioning?), we either use our own extra stash in our own battery pack, or buy it from someone else who has wind or sun working and has at least a third of a day of surplus. Hey folks, they even did a study and found that this would work 98% of the time in New England! You have far more sun than they do, and really good wind as well. What Eclipse Now is up to is nothing more than fear-mongering — trying to achieve the objective of weakening the knowledge of the vast majority that solar and wind are the obvious ways to go, in order for back-room deals (like the coal industry also does) to get the government officials to abandon their fiduciary and moral responsibility to the people as a whole, and pour even more public money into the fossil and nuclear rat-holes. I think it has a lot to do with the culture of centralized control of large systems, leaving no real level of control to the citizens.
          The U.S. Dept. of Energy, and its National Renewable Energy Labs, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have all done many studies comparing life cycle costs and more, and the accusations that Eclipse Now is throwing around are way overstated; in short, they are bogus. The last point I’ll make is to refer you all to the reports of investment banking study groups saying that renewable energy sources such as solar PV, wind, tidal, wave, and run-of-stream hydro, with zero financial and environmental cost for fuel, are already lower in cost than any new coal or gas plant, and way lower than nuclear fuel plants. It’s over, folks! As soon as Abbott is termed out and you (and we) get sanity at the top, there is no more market for fossil or nuclear plants, and the ‘reserves’ bubbles will burst, along with their stock valuation and ability to get financing from anyone with an ounce of brains in their heads.

          • Eclipse Now 5 years ago

            Mass produced LFTR’s could come in at $2bn / GW, and have passive safety systems Homer Simpson couldn’t break.
            Want some faulty numbers? Try your own: storing “nuclear waste for 400,000 years”. That’s utterly absurd! You need to get with the program! You sound about as ignorant as I was 4 years ago. Read points 1 to 3 below to realise how ridiculous the ‘storing waste for 1 million years’ myth is!

            But first, sadly, renewables have a very poor ERoEI (Energy Return on Energy Invested: or the amount of energy you get back for the trouble of building the thing in the first place!) On their own, their ERoEI is fine. But experts that count the ERoEI of renewables never seem to include measuring the energy required to build all the storage. Because solar and wind are famously unreliable, they require vast storage systems like pumped hydro dams or industrial sized batteries. Once you count the energy invested in constructing all the storage, the energy return of renewables drops of so quickly that some are not even worth trying to make baseload! Solar PV is not even an energy source, wind only returns 3 times the energy it took to make it, and solar thermal is the highest at 9. Our civilisation requires an ERoEI of at least 12, and nuclear has an ERoEI of 75 to several hundred (or even thousand!) when we start talking about breeder reactors that burn nuclear waste.
            http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/
            Nuclear has an ERoEI* of about 75 to 100, and far far more if we’re talking about the next generation of reactors that burn waste, and don’t have to include the energy it takes to mine and refine uranium.

            As Dr James Hansen said:
            “Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future? It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”
            http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/08/05/hansen-energy-kool-aid/
            In case people are terrified of nuclear power, or scoffing that we don’t have enough fuel or know what to do with the waste, then here are the top 10 reasons I went from hating nuclear power to accepting it as a necessary bad to prevent far worse global warming:-

            1. From the very *early* days of nuclear power they had a plan for the waste. Breeder reactors. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and BURN NUCLEAR WASTE!

            2. Indeed, nuclear ‘waste’ is fuel: it’s only had 0.6% of the energy extracted from it. Breeder reactors fission away 90% of this FUEL. Today’s nuclear ‘waste’ could run the UK for 500 years, and America has enough to run her for 1000 years without mining any new uranium!
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor
            http://bravenewclimate.com/integral-fast-reactor-ifr-nuclear-power/
            Trying to store today’s nuclear waste is like digging up and refining your best petroleum, and then worrying about burying it for 100,000 years!

            3. After breeding, the final *real* waste product is so ‘hot’ it burns itself out in 300 years. The Romans built structures that have lasted 2000 years. Also, it’s not a *lot* of waste: only about one golf-ball for a lifetime of energy per person.

            4. Cost? How much does it cost to build a car? It depends: are we talking about a one-of-a-kind hand crafted Bentley, or an off the production line Hyundai? The Chinese are planning to put GenIV, waste eating reactors up on the production for economies of scale so cheap they will compete with coal. They are planning to do this in just 8 years! Real, live, waste-eating GenIV reactors off the production line: cheaper than coal.
            http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/06/china-seriously-looking-at.html

            5. Climatologist Dr James Hansen supports the Science Council for Global Initiatives and backs the Integral Fast Reactor. Get the free book by his friend Tom Blees here.
            http://www.thesciencecouncil.com/index.php/prescription-for-the-planet

            6. France went from 8% nuclear power to 80% in 11 years. In other words, there’s nothing hypothetical here. History shows that we can shut down coal fired electricity in just over a decade.

            7. Chernobyl and Fukushima? They had old Gen2 reactors. Today’s Gen3.5 and Gen4 reactors are so safe that they had been there, the world wouldn’t even know the words Chernobyl or Fukushima. Homer Simpson couldn’t break these modern reactors. Even if a tsunami breaks all cooling systems, when the reactor core starts to overheat it expands, leaks neutrons, and the nuclear reaction shuts down. Melt down is now impossible.

            8. Even if we didn’t have exponentially safer Gen4 reactors, I would still recommend Gen2 reactors because one hypothetical Fukushima every generation is serious but still *nothing* compared to the very real dangers of climate change.

            9. Nuclear weapons? Banning nuclear power because of nuclear weapons is like locking the gate after the horse has bolted. The majority of CO2 emitting nations already have nuclear weapons. The reality is more power means less weapons. For the last 20 years America has been buying old Soviet warheads, and burned material worth 16,000 bombs to get 10% of their electricity. That’s like powering the whole of Australia for 20 years on old Soviet bombs! Safe, clean nuclear power provides a market for burning warheads.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megatons_to_Megawatts_Program

            10. The UN, or some other international body, could run a nuclear-fuel bank. Membership and access to the fuel would depend on compliance with all the rules: 24 hour video monitoring, regular inspections, good behaviour, etc. Other international sanctions and disciplinary matters would be determined on a case by case basis if nations defied the rules.

          • Mark Roest 5 years ago

            I think that your argument really depends on your out-dated assumptions about the financial and energy cost of battery storage. I’ll grant that today’s battery storage leaves a lot to be desired, and the energy cost of the materials may be part of it. But remember, this argument is framed in 2017 to 2019. I have positive knowledge of another way to make batteries, and a reasonable expectation we will see it in the market by that time-frame. It uses energy, but does so very efficiently. The materials can be used pretty much (not entirely) as is. It will last a long time. This means that the total life cycle energy cost is very low. The financial cost will also be low. You imply in your argument that “Because solar and wind are famously unreliable, they require vast
            storage systems like pumped hydro dams or industrial sized batteries,” that this will make them less energy efficient and more expensive than nuclear power. Nuclear power requires enormous energy expenditures for the initial plant. And, nuclear power plants do have lots of downtime for maintenance and
            repairs; others have challenged the reliability of these future
            generation technologies. Solar and wind are famously, statistically, reliable — check the studies done by those in the U.S. gov’t who want it to replace fossil fuels, where they look at simultaneous complementarity of sources across regions (that’s one of the benefits of large grids), and they did not include a large amount of storage. Now let’s assume a smaller region, with less complementarity, and a need for storage to make up the difference. Rather than ‘vast’ amounts of storage (your worst rhetorical flourish), NREL publicized a paper that called for six hours of storage for solar, and said that it both solved load shifting and deferred equipment upgrades to the tune of 3.85 U.S. cents per kWh of additional value to the utility, even for the power that does not go through storage. That means it increased the value by a third to half of the retail price of electricity in California! And it did not count ancillary services such as frequency regulation. Only a fraction of the production needs to be stored for later, but all of it is worth almost 4 cents more per kWh. The portion that does go through storage costs about 1.2 cents per kWh. I would take such a deal any day of the week, wouldn’t you?
            We don’t need to build any more nuclear plants when we can use wind and solar power with the new structural and thin film technologies that will be available by 2017 to 2019, and with batteries whose storage will cost only a fraction of that of generating the electricity they store, instead of what you imply — some mysterious, much larger amount.
            In a way I don’t blame you, because large utility batteries have been costing $1000 per kWh and more, but ‘that was yesterday’ and yesterday will soon be ancient history.

          • Eclipse Now 5 years ago

            1. It’s not my argument but a peer-reviewed paper by Weissbach
            2. Batteries only last a number of years. If you want to look at *the* most energy efficient, cost efficient means of storing energy it is pumped hydro by far. They last at least a *century*.
            3. Even pumped hydro takes too much energy to construct for just 10 days or 2% of a year.
            4. Renewables requires the overbuild of capacity, overbuild of a super-sized grid, overbuild of a smart grid, and all sorts of storage costs not associated with baseload reliable clean green abundant steady non-polluting power we can have from LFTR’s.
            5. Lots of downtime? What, are you serious? At 90 to 94% capacity rate is somehow worse than 30%? 😉 Are you saying that a mostly predictable service downtime is worse than a mostly unpredictable 60% downtime? Seriously? Wow. Just wow.

          • Mark Roest 5 years ago

            #2: Again, your key assumption is based on current battery technology. There are Edison Electrics whose batteries are still working after a century. But by 2017 to 2019, there will be batteries on the market which last 10,000, or even 15,000 cycles. 10,000 divided by 365 (assuming a complete charging cycle daily, which is probably overstating the requirement) = 27.4 years. By 2030, some batteries may reach 25,000 cycles, or at least 68.5 years. And not everyone agrees that the LFTRs will meet your specs; they are probably no more certain than the ones I foresee.

            #5: Not relevant, when Solar plus batteries will cost less than a seventh of the cost of nuclear power plants (~$10U.S. per Watt rated capacity) by 2017 to 2019. The solar duty cycle is deliberately accommodated by the system size. What you consider and taunt as over-sized is simply the sizing required to do the job, given the nature and timing of the sun’s contribution to our lives. It is also the sizing that is quoted, and that price is the basis our side uses in ordinary sales, and in comparisons with nuclear technologies, which typically balloon in price each year until they are completed — if they ever are (referring to the U.K. again).

          • Dominik 5 years ago

            i’ve read their analysis – they showed in it that creating so large capacity is not an option as it produces high levels of CO2 on itself…. and energy where i’m cost about 0,04$ per kWh – it’s 25 times cheaper than any renewable source… rest of your post is asumptiont that something wil happen. it may or might not

          • WR 5 years ago

            You had better tell the British government that you can build nuclear plants for $2 billion per GW. It looks like they are going to have to pay around $45 billion for their new 3.2 GW reactor.

          • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago

            Don’t waste your time. He is a funny troll. We tried to show him in various ways but he doesn’t get it.
            He keeps coming back with the same boring website and data from 10 years back and will move on to post a copy paste on the next website.
            http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/11/coal-is-still-dominant-and-no-solution.html#comment-1688512281

          • Mark Roest 5 years ago

            Thank you for encouragement and context!
            Regards,
            Mark

    • Miles Harding 5 years ago

      Grid interactive battery inverters are less than 50 cents per peak watt today, so the solution is effectively already here.

      • Eclipse Now 5 years ago

        Cost is not the issue: energy cost is!

        The problem is that hydro dams — one of the most efficient ways of storing vast volumes of energy — take so much energy to build. The renewable ERoEI’s drop off a cliff. This is where most life cycle analysis of renewable energy are fatally flawed. They only measure the ERoEI of the solar PV or wind farm itself. They ignore the energy cost of building the storage that is supposed to make the wind farm viable. As you can see, when ‘buffered’ to account for storage, solar and wind ERoEI roughly halves.
        http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/

  9. coomadoug 5 years ago

    I was so pleased when I noted back in 2007 that they were involved. I could see back then the google computer innovation in the car and home load management. That is their role. We can make enough clean energy and the electric car will replace the residential poles and wires. The hard bit is micro management of dispersed loads across the day.

    The role of google and others like them is to control the loading and storage. This will render fossil fuels obsolete and eliminate the neew for trillions of dollars in base load infrastructure.

  10. George Harvey 5 years ago

    I don’t get it. The project ended in 2011. Google has invested many millions in renewable energy projects since then, which would seem to indicate that the project was basically ignored.
    Furthermore, the main point about why the project failed – that it was necessary for the price of renewable power to go down, makes the whole of it rather comically out of date. The price of renewable power has gone down to the point that in the US solar power can out-compete anything except wind power in many places.
    The intermittent nature of solar and wind is addressed partly by the fact that they are complimentary sources, but also partly by new storage technologies that are now starting to beat traditional peaking plants in the marketplace. This means that it has become less expensive to provide backup for a solar-wind combination than it is to provide backup for traditional baseload power plants.
    What I am saying is that this might have been news three or four years ago, but today, it only fits as a footnote in a book on the history of the energy market.

  11. onesecond 5 years ago

    Somehow I got the impression, that these two people were laying on the beach for a couple of years and then they said “my dog ate my homework”.

  12. Susan Kraemer 5 years ago

    Very apt critique.

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