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Published on April 26th, 2014 | by Giles Parkinson

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Wind & Solar Can Generate Electricity For Half The Cost Of Nuclear

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April 26th, 2014 by
 

Originally published on Renew Economy.

New-build wind and solar energy systems can generate electricity for up to 50 per cent cheaper than new nuclear power plants, a German study has found.

The research, commissioned by German think tank Agora Energiewende, compares feed-in tariffs for new nuclear in the UK with FiTs for renewables in Germany, and finds that nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CSS) – a technology not yet available in Europe – are both more expensive than wind and solar as energy strategies for preventing climate change.

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Released this week, the study also investigates the costs of “complete power systems” using natural gas power as flexible peak load back-up – something nuclear power plants need to achieve a generation capacity that makes them economically viable, and solar and wind farms need to make up for weather-affected intermittency.

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The study concludes that, “even today and under conservative assumptions,” a reliable power system based on solar PV, onshore wind and gas would be around 20 per cent cheaper than a system based on nuclear power and gas – a cost gap that was likely to widen as renewables became even more competitive.

Interestingly, the study does not even bother comparing a power generation system with high shares of coal or gas CCS – the energy mix Australia’s federal environment minister has put his weight behind – due to cost comparisons “clearly showing” it is “even less competitive (than nuclear) in comparison to PV and onshore wind.” (See chart below.)

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As an analysis of the report points out on the Agora Energiewende website, the “drastic declines” in the costs of power from wind and solar PV can be attributed to two decades of technological advancement, with feed-in tariffs for PV falling by 80 per cent in Germany in the past five years alone.

As the chart below illustrates, the value of payments for nuclear power in the UK during the reference time frame remain constant, assuming a fixed exchange rate of £0.85/euros. By contrast, says the report, “the value of payments for PV and onshore wind in Germany diminishes continuously.”

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Says the report: “New nuclear power is remunerated with a constant payment of €112/MWh (2013 prices) for 35 years. In contrast, large PV in Germany receives €96/MWh at the beginning, which declines to €57/MWh in the last year of operation. Similarly, onshore wind in Germany starts at €73/MWh and decreases to €44/MWh.

“Overall, Figure 1 shows that PV and onshore wind remuneration in Germany is considerably lower than the remuneration paid for new nuclear power in the UK, even without taking into account further cost reductions for PV and wind that are likely to occur due to future technological learning effects.”

The new findings come at a time when nuclear, coal and gas come under increasing economic pressure in Germany and other parts of the world. As we reported last month, German energy giant Eon reportedly wants to bring forward the shutdown of its Grafenrheinfeld nuclear plant to spring 2015.

Nuclear and fossil fuel plants are being squeezed out of Germany by renewables, wrote Craig Morris on RenewEconomy, with RWE recently announcing plans to close one of its gas turbines near Emsland because of all the solar power being generated in the region.

“Clearly, wind and solar power are dramatically cutting into demand for conventional power, making such plants increasingly unprofitable,” Morris said.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the government looks to be eyeing nuclear power as a clean energy option for the country’s future, alongside its dreams of abundant “clean coal.”

Last year, an issues paper released ahead of the Abbott government’s energy white paper noted that slow development in carbon capture and storage, and difficulties with hydro, meant nuclear technologies continued “to present an option for future reliable energy that can be readily dispatched into the market.”

And Dick Warburton, Abbott’s hand-picked head of the federal government’s RET review panel, has revealed himself as a big fan of nuclear energy, describing it once as the only alternative to fossil fuel generation.

In an article published in Australia’s Quadrant magazine in 2011, Warburton and his c0-author wrote that “except for nuclear power, there are no straightforward strategies for reducing dependence on fossil fuels without large economic costs.”

And last month, Dennis Jensen – the Liberal MP who wanted to be Tony Abbott’s science minister –suggested Australia establish a nuclear power industry to employ entrenched car industry workers.

It’s a slightly different view from that of the executive director of Agora Energiewende, Patrick Graichen, who argues that the winner in the battle over the cheapest means of CO2-free power generation has been decided.

“In the future wind and solar will play an ever greater role in countries across the world as a source of power,” he said.

“Together with other countries and regions taking the lead on preventing climate change, Germany has an opportunity to showcase how stable and cheap power production can be based on wind and solar.”

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About the Author

is the founding editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.



  • Gus

    if the australian government is looking at new power plants, they should only consider plants that use renewable sources of energy. They are cheaper, and don’t have the potential to cause excess pollution.

  • mont80501

    Would someone please show me how long it takes for a solar panel to produce the amount of energy it took to build it? I’m convinced it never even gets there. Also what is the cost of renewable energy, solar or wind, when calculating the cost to store enough to get by when the sun and wind are absent? The solar and wind are an extra cost above what it would cost because the power plant must be present and operational when renewables are dormant. It is the biggest flim flam, shell game, fraud ever perpetrated on so many by so few in the history of mankind. Everybody pushing renewables is making money on it somehow. I wonder if anybody is simple enough to not see what a scam this all is if they really know the facts

    • Bob_Wallace

      There was a time when it took many years to recover the energy it took to manufacture a solar panel. Solar panels have become much more efficient, as have the factories.

      Now, we’re talking about lifetime energy inputs, OK? The energy it takes to mine the materials used, to turn raw materials into aluminum and glass and the other stuff used. The energy it takes to manufacture the panel from the glass and aluminum. The energy it takes to deliver and install the panel. And the energy it will take to remove the panel at the end of its life and recycle it.

      All the energy inputs.

      The time to recover all that energy depends on what kind of panel we’re talking about and how sunny it is where the panel is installed.

      The time for 14% efficient silicon panel in an average sunshine area will be about 1.7 years.

      The time for a CdTe thin film panel in the sunny Southwest is about 0.5 years. About six months.

      http://www.clca.columbia.edu/236_PE_Magazine_Fthenakis_2_10_12.pdf

    • Bob_Wallace

      ” Also what is the cost of renewable energy, solar or wind, when calculating the cost to store enough to get by when the sun and wind are absent?”

      That’s a bit harder to give. Cost depends on how often the storage is cycled. Let’s assume we’re talking pump-up hydro storage and it’s getting cycled twice most days. It’s storing wind energy at night and turning it into electricity for morning demand and then storing solar energy during the day for use after the Sun goes down.

      That seems to be about $0.05/kWh.

      “The solar and wind are an extra cost above what it would cost because the power plant must be present and operational when renewables are dormant.”

      That’s true of all energy sources. In fact, it’s easier/cheaper to back up wind and solar than large thermal (coal and nuclear) plants because wind and solar are very predictable a few hours in advance. Large thermal plants, when they go off unexpectedly, cause a huge drop in supply. We need a lot of backup that can come on line and replace them very quickly.

      “It is the biggest flim flam, shell game, fraud ever perpetrated on so many by so few in the history of mankind.”

      Unfortunately you’ve gone from asking reasonable questions to making a foolish claim.

      Clearly you don’t know even the basics. A wise person would realize that and spend a little time learning what is really going on rather than making crazy-assed statements like your last three sentences.

      Stick around. Read a lot. Get a good grasp on renewables and make up your own mind. Don’t let people feed you talking points.

  • CaptD

    And N☢ RISK of meltdowns/accidents or other nuclear related issues like heat pollution from renewables either!

    Un like renewables, the true cost of nuclear cannot be quantified until complete decommissioning has been finalized since anything can happen, due to man and/or Nature, which can drastically affect the total “cost” of using nuclear!

    Fukushima is a perfect example since before it’s triple meltdown its projected costs were one thing but now it is far more likely to be a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster before it is over…

    • Frozen

      Most of the Fukushima evacuation zone has less radiation exposure than the radon-rich hot springs elsewhere in Japan, or the beaches at Guarapari in Brazil or southern Orissa in India. People pay to vacation in those places.

      You can say “but it’s natural“, but such an attitude is deeply schizophrenic.

      • CaptD

        Frozen – RE: “but such an attitude is deeply schizophrenic.”

        Please tell us how you are qualified to make that statement, because if you are not medically qualified, then you are just trying to employ name calling, which is the lowest form of argumentation…

        Further, I’m interested if you are of a mindset that the Japanese should spread all their radioactive ash and other ☢ waste all over Japan so that everyone can enjoy “heighten” levels of radiate, which some think is actually good for you.

        BTW: The topic of my reply was the cost of using nuclear which had ZERO to do with your comment…

        • Uzza

          BTW: The topic of my reply was the cost of using nuclear which had ZERO to do with your comment…

          Now this is interesting. When you replied to a comment I made and I gave this response to you, you ignored it and continued on your own track.

          Btw, his comment has everything to do with your comment.

  • No way

    Why make studies where you assume a reliance on fossil fuels? Can we see some studies for a 100% fossil free country instead?

  • Thinktank

    I read that solar power will stop work after a short time, so half the energy levels gone over time. dose any one know?

    • Ronald Brakels

      Yes, we really know. A 25 year performance warranty on solar panels is common and their are solar panels that are over 40 years old that are still in use.

      • Thinktank

        show me the 40 year old panel.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Here’s a 60 year old one. Still working.

          Was stored away out of the Sun. Had it been in the sunshine it would probably be generating about 88% of original output.
          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1264487/Worlds-solar-panel-uncovered-60-years–works.html

          • Thinktank

            yes working, but in a box right ?

            So delete my posting then, I see membership only?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Your post was accidentally deleted along with the daily troll slaying. You share an ISP with a problem person.

        • Ronald Brakels

          Try making your request again, Thinktank, but this time in a polite way. If you still have difficulty I’ll show you how to make a polite request in English.

          • Thinktank

            I will try Sir, So there is no 40 year panel.

          • UKGary

            There is a Schott 3.5 kW solar array which has been operating since 1976 at the University of Oldenburg.

            http://www.presse.uni-oldenburg.de/einblicke/54/files/assets/downloads/page0009.pdf

            This is possibly the oldest continuously operating array in the world

          • A Real Libertarian

            Cue Thinktank’s “I said 40 years, not 38 years!!!11!1″ victory dance any minute now.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Well you made an effort there, Thinktank, so that’s good. This time try something like, “Could you please direct me to some information about these 40 year old solar panels?” Fortunately for you, UKGary is less pedantic than I and has kindly given a link to information about some 38 year old panels below.

          • Thinktank

            1000’s pardons, I have offended you most considerate one. Indeed I seek the mysterious encapsulated, hidden energy world knowledge .

          • Ronald Brakels

            Actually it’s above. And up there Bob has also given a link to information about a 60 year old solar cell. And just in case you’re interested I’ll mention that the oldest operating satellite is solar powered and has been in service for 36 years now:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GOES_3

          • Thinktank

            I find the mysterious encapsulated is this the one?

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJPd7oVG9N4

          • Ronald Brakels

            Good work digging up that youtube video, Thinktank.

          • Thinktank
          • Wayne Williamson

            Cool article for solar thru time. I can remember how much I really really wanted that watch.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes, that one is 40 years old. But it’s not clear that it has been in use as opposed to stored away.

          • Bob_Wallace

            35 year old, continuously operating panels.

            3.88% loss over 35 years. 0.1% per year loss.

            (Thanks, UKGary)

  • Matt

    Ok which is cheaper paid off coal, paid off nuke, paid off wind, paid off solar? Now don’t forget you have to cleanup after you close the plant.

    • Bob_Wallace

      How would one ever calculate the cleanup cost for coal and nuclear?

      Coal is leaving significant areas of our planet damaged beyond recovery. We’ll never get the beauty of those Appalacian mountains back. What do we face with the huge piles of coal ash? How do we cost out the damage to our ancient buildings and statues caused by acid rain?

      Nuclear. What price are future generations going to pay to keep storing the waste we leave them? Will that radioactive waste stay stored or escape?

      Wind. Apparently enough value in the recyclable steel and copper to pay for the cleanup and restoration of the sites to original condition.

      Solar. Aluminum from the frames and steel from the racks have value. Copper and silver can also be recycled. Glass can be remelted or crushed for fill. The wafer slices are so thin that there’s hardly anything there.

      • CaptD

        I’ve added some info about the cost of French aging reactors.

    • Kaya

      There are two costs.

      the marginal cost of production and the cost of a new build.

      antrhing that is built, even if it just came online today, is ‘paid off’

      Now we know the marginal (or paid off as you call ot) cost of nuclear is lower than coal os lower than gas.

      now it gets a little harder. Solar and wind fans will claim that the marginal cost of solar or wind is zero since the fuel is free but that is just poor math.

      solar and PV degrade with time whereas a 1GW nuke will produce 1GW in 40 years also.

      even a modest decay of 1% a year means you need to add 1% to your solar park to keep output cinstant.

      so for example if you had a 5GW solar farm you would need to bolt on another 100MW every year (assuming the panel outputs drop by 2% a year). To add this 100MW is a real cost which will mean $200 million dollars at $2 a watt. So sunshine might well be freee but upkeep and the need to grow the solar park will be very expensive

      what this means is that the marginal cost of output for solar and for wind is certainly not zero

      • Bob_Wallace

        Post payoff operating costs.

        Wind runs about 1c/kWh. Solar less. Nuclear, best case, runs more than 1c. Some paid off nuclear plants have operating costs over 5c which is causing them to go out of business.

        Solar, we know lasts at least 35 years. At 40 years panels should be producing from 60% to 92% of their original output. (Lower for installations with high UV insolation and high wind buffeting.)

        Wind turbines at one of our first wind farms (Altamont Pass) are now being replaced after 30 years of operation. Newer turbines with advanced materials and sensors should last considerably longer.

        And do note, older thermal plants break down more often than do new ones (once past the first few years of shakedown).

        Of course to get to those years of paid off operating costs one has to make it through the first twenty years of debt service. Wind and solar are half or less the cost of nuclear during those years.

        • Kaya

          You either didn’t ubderstand or chose to ignore what I noted.

          if you want to generate a figure of x, just for arguments sake, 1000TWH a year from nuclear or from solar you have a choice

          1. Build the reactors that will generate 1000TWH year in year out for 100 years

          or

          2. Build the solar panels that will generate the same amount in year one. However in year two they will generate 980TWH as theor output has fallen 2%….oh no you now need to build in year two a bolt on pv plant to male up this shortfall…..now the orgigional pv plant plus the bolt on produce 1000 TWh in year two….along comes year 3 and oh no you need to bolt on another pv plant as the original plant plus the year on bolt on are now 2% down…

          in effect every uear you need to add to your pv plant to keep up ots output. This is a very real cost and a cost tjat will be very high

          • Bob_Wallace

            How dumb were you before you fell on your head?

            Take that 100 year trash out of here. No one in the nuclear industry is talking about reactors running for 100 years.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Don’t forget that a 2% annual rate of decline is way too high.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Got to be a low skilled troll.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Or just a moron.

            Remember Hanlon’s Razor.

  • Rockne O’Bannon

    I wonder if anybody is simple enough not to know the difference between “new nuclear” (which has been known to be too expensive for quite some time now) and “nuclear” (which is actually pretty cheap considering that all the hardware is pretty well depreciated by now).

    For those people, this is big news.

    • Chris

      Now we just need to find a way to build more plants 10 years ago…

      • Rockne O’Bannon

        Which is really a clever quip, until you realize that the issue has not really been one of cost, since…. ever. You can always increase the cost of nuclear simply by fanning hysteria and asking for more safety features and more layers of regulation. You can always make solar and wind cheaper by providing more subsidies.

        And.

        I am sure that this study was done by an entirely unbiased “clean energy research group.” Coal can’t compete? Nuclear is too expensive? Oh do tell.

        And they do. But to keep people one click away from the source material, we have the news reported by a “journalist” who himself is the editor of RenewEconomy.

        As a green technology supporter, I am finding it very hard not to get unbiased information nowadays. Any help out there?

        • Bob_Wallace

          “You can always increase the cost of nuclear simply by fanning hysteria and asking for more safety features and more layers of regulation. You can always make solar and wind cheaper by providing more subsidies.”

          Interesting, isn’t it? As hard as the anti-renewables crowd works pumping out misinformation about renewables their costs keep going down.

          And no matter how many hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies we give nuclear its price keeps going up.

          I guess there are stronger forces at work here, eh?

          • eveee

            Pssst. Don’t tell them. Fanning anti renewables misinformation causes their price to go down. :()

    • Bob_Wallace

      You might be surprised at the number of people who think we should build a lot of nuclear so we could have cheap electricity like France.

      And the number of people who think wind and solar cost 2x, 3x what they now cost.

      And the number of people who don’t know that some paid off nuclear plants are so expensive to run that they are being shut down.

      • Rockne O’Bannon

        No, I would not be surprised Bob. And here you show your classic: “Someone says something remotely connected with something I want to write about, so I will just jump in there and blow my horn.”

        The headline is the usual click bait. This is the kind of stuff you will cite in one of your arguments with whomever.

        As a green technology supporter, I am finding it very hard not to get unbiased information nowadays. Any help out there?

        • Bob_Wallace

          Yeah, Rocky. But you wouldn’t know if if it bit you in your ass.

      • Frozen

        Said expenses include government-mandated fences and guards around welded steel-and-concrete casks of spent fuel, which wouldn’t be a threat to anyone except someone foolish enough to try to steal it.

        It’s ironic that some people tout this as some fault of nuclear energy, then get all up in arms when utilities try to make net-metering customers pay for the upkeep of the grid they’re still connected to and whose services they consume.

        • Bob_Wallace

          ” except someone foolish enough to try to steal it.”

          And the innocent people who they also expose.

          You meant your post as a joke, didn’t you?

          • Frozen

            I’m as serious as a heart attack.

            And the innocent people who they also expose.

            Innocents would have to be awfully close to be affected.  The Goiania incident (a medical Cs-137 source was abandoned and opened by scrap mongers) had a number of people who received substantial exposures.  Nobody who didn’t develop acute radiation sickness at the time has showed any sign of radiation-related illness.  There was another incident in Taiwan where Co-60 wound up in building steel; again, no measurable harm.

            But for that to happen, the hypothetical terrorists would have to (1) get material out and (2) stay alive.

            First they would have to cut through the steel and concrete casks.  You don’t need armed guards to stop this, fences and alarms and cameras are cheap and would get police to the site long before anyone could do very much.

            Second they would have to extract fuel elements.  They are not small and they are not light.  Unless the perps had some sort of robot manipulators, they’d be getting heavy gamma exposure all the while.

            Third they would have to get away.  The same gamma rays which make the material dangerous would make their escape vehicle shine like a beacon in the gamma spectrum.  There are radiation detectors on major roads these days and they couldn’t pass one without signalling to all and sundry just what they were carrying.  Unless their vehicle carried heavy shielding, they’d be dosing themselves all the while.

            Fourth, they can’t send anyone to the ER or dump any bodies of fatally-exposed compatriots.  It sort of ruins the secrecy of their operation.

            If they can manage all that, they get a “weapon” which is very easy to detect and takes considerable time to do measurable harm to people.  If any of them are going to give up on explosives to steal fuel out of cooling pools or dry casks, I think we should encourage them.  Nothing is better than stupid terrorists wasting lots of time and effort to kill themselves with no effect on the public.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Four people died in the Goiania “incident”.

            249 were found to have significant levels of radioactive material in or on their bodies.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goi%C3%A2nia_accident

            “But for that to happen, the hypothetical terrorists would have to (1) get material out and (2) stay alive.”

            The 19 highjackers who crashed planes on 9/11 understood going in that they were not going to stay alive. The same holds for the thousands of suicide bombers.

            Relay teams. Lead sheets.

            All you have to do is to get from the storage site to the nearest urban area where you’ve got your bomb waiting for its “payload”.

            It ain’t rocket science.

          • Frozen

            Four people died in the Goiania “incident”.

            And they all played with the neat, glowing, purified stuff with their bare hands, having no idea what it was.  This is nothing like your theoretical “dirty bomb” scenario, where spent LWR fuel (which is less than 1% Cs-137, the agent in the Goiania incident) is blown into the air with a very obvious explosion.

            The 19 highjackers who crashed planes on 9/11 understood going in that they were not going to stay alive.

            Only the pilots knew it was a suicide mission.  The 11 “muscle” terrorists had no idea what the plan was.  What they didn’t know they couldn’t blab and couldn’t get cold feet about.

            Relay teams. Lead sheets.

            Complications which delay the extraction and make success less likely, in no small part by lessening the odds that the scheme wouldn’t be exposed and stopped before it gets to the goods.  The bigger the crew, the more likely someone talks or does something that gets noticed.  And you keep begging the question:  how would said terrorists remain unobserved and unmolested long enough to saw through a stainless-and-concrete canister?  Hidden microphones and geophones would give plenty of notice of their activities.

            You omit one essential step:  the terrorists would have to ball-mill or otherwise pulverize the material to spread it finely.  Spent LWR fuel is a ceramic consisting mostly of metal oxides, and just doesn’t spread very well without assistance.  Blowing up fuel elements with dynamite would spread whole fuel pellets, which are easily detected with counters or gamma cameras and retrieved intact.

            Converting spent fuel rods to dust slashes the exposure per piece.  People could walk past “hot” particles and sustain no harm; the main danger would be inadvertent ingestion.  Meanwhile, radiation counters could find the particles and enable cleanup.  As a health hazard, it would be a yawner.  The only way it could be a successful terror attack is if people reacted far out of proportion to the actual threat… which appears to be what you want them to do!  Whose side are you on?

            All you have to do is to get from the storage site to the nearest urban area where you’ve got your bomb waiting for its “payload”.

            Ask the residents of London which is the real threat:  radioactive stuff, or the bomb itself.  Now ask yourself if terrorists with a bomb would improve their odds by adding all sorts of complications to their plan.  It looks like they’d mostly increase their chances of getting caught.  This should be encouraged.  Let’s put LOTS of dry casks out there as bait, and see what walks into the trap.  Putting all fuel that’s cool enough for dry cask storage into casks also empties the spent fuel pools, getting rid of one more thing used to worry the public.

            It ain’t rocket science.

            Occam’s razor came way before rocket science, but it still shaves very well.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, you’ve jumped the shark.

          • Frozen

            Really?  Where have I gotten my facts wrong?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sonny, if you don’t know then you are really dense.

          • Frozen

            If the best you can do by way of rebuttal is “if you don’t know”, it looks very much like YOU don’t know.  You would certainly not enlighten anyone reading this.

            Say that the terrorists steal one whole fuel assembly, enough stuff to generate around 20 Sieverts per hour field at one meter if it was fresh (and survive, somehow).  They pulverize the 200 kg of fuel pellets into sub-milligram pieces and blow it into a huge cloud.

            A one-milligram chunk of fuel would give you about 1/200,000 of the radiation dose of the whole fuel assembly, or about 100 microsieverts per hour at one meter.  If you sat one meter from it for a whole year, you’d get a dose of less than 1 Sievert (it takes 4-5 Sv all at once to produce radiation sickness).  People just strolling by would get next to nothing, and such particles would be easy to find and clean up.  Based on the facts, I see no reason for the public to be scared.

            That’s my appraisal based on facts known to me.  Tell me, what have I got wrong?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let’s start here where you hand-wave away the danger….

            “Said expenses include government-mandated fences and guards around welded steel-and-concrete casks of spent fuel, which wouldn’t be a threat to anyone except someone foolish enough to try to steal it.”

            And then claiming that the danger to anyone stealing the material would be adequate to deter…

            “Unless their vehicle carried heavy shielding, they’d be dosing themselves all the while.”

            Then when it’s pointed out to you that 19 terrorists died on 9/11 and thousands have died as suicide bombers you jump the shark by speculating that only 8 of the hijackers knew they were going to die and then ignoring the thousands of suicide bombers.

            Now, in your latest post, you demonstrate you lack of understanding “terror”.

            It doesn’t necessitate killing large numbers of people. What is desired is to significantly scare large numbers of people. To terrorize.

            Steal some highly radioactive material. Don’t blow it up in an open area and hope to harm an entire city. Disperse part of it on a smaller scale, say, in a shopping mall.

            Announce that you’ve still got x% and you’re going to strike again.

          • Frozen

            then claiming that the danger to anyone stealing the material would be adequate to deter…

            Straw man.  I didn’t say they’d be deterred.  It’s better if they are NOT deterred, because they would be almost certain to fail and expose their plot.  If they prepare to handle the dangers, their plot becomes much more complicated and difficult; if they fail to prepare, they likely die before they can get anything to a target.  It’s a trap for terrorists, a nuclear Tar Baby.

            you jump the shark by speculating that only 8 of the hijackers knew they were going to die and then ignoring the thousands of suicide bombers.

            A suicide bomber knows that anyone nearby will die when they set off their bomb.  Your hypothetical “dirty duster” can only hope, and those hopes are pretty slim.

            Now, in your latest post, you demonstrate you lack of understanding “terror”.

            Terror that YOU create, by misleading the public about actual dangers or the lack thereof.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Terror that YOU create, by misleading the public about actual dangers or the lack thereof.

            So the people who leave radioactive materials lying around unguarded aren’t the terrorist enablers.

            The terrorist enablers are the people who advocate keeping that stuff under lock and key?

          • Frozen

            Fenced, monitored and welded into hundred-ton containers of concrete and stainless steel is hardly “unguarded”.  Deceptively guarded, perhaps.  The misleading appearance works in our favor.

            A welded container is far more secure than any lock.  With a stolen key, you can open a lock in seconds.  Not so with something welded shut.

            And yes, you want terrorists to focus on such plans, because they are easy to thwart.  Rolling up a terrorist team big enough to attempt such a plan would get a lot more dangers out of circulation than individual lone wolves making acetone peroxide.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Fenced, monitored and welded into hundred-ton containers “of concrete and stainless steel is hardly “unguarded”.

            Wait! You want to get rid of fences and guards in an attempt to bring down the high cost of nuclear. Here’s you initial statement.

            “Said expenses include government-mandated fences and guards around welded steel-and-concrete casks of spent fuel, which wouldn’t be a threat to anyone except someone foolish enough to try to steal it.”

          • Frozen

            Let’s look at the “dirty duster” attacking a mall.  The duster is going to strike silently, so cannot bring anything that looks too out of place.  A backpack with a few kg of pulverized material is about the biggest thing they could bring in.  There is no room or weight budget for an adequate amount of shielding, so the attacker would be exposed to the full strength of the concentrated material (before it is distributed).

            Say the “duster” carries 5 kg of dust.  This is about as much material as is in a 10-cm section of a PWR fuel assembly (which runs about 50 kg per meter).  A reasonably fresh fuel assembly (20 years cooled) delivers around 20 Sv per hour at 1 meter.  Carrying 5 kg against one’s back would deliver around 100 Sv per hour.  That is radiation sickness in half a minute, a fatal dose in 6 minutes, and incapacitation within half an hour.  The duster would have to work very fast and would not get a second chance.

            First problem:  if doors have geiger counters, they’d go off as soon as the duster walked in.  That blows the cover on the operation too soon.  Radiation detectors on roadways would catch any vehicle with the dust in it.

            Second problem:  the duster has to stay alive and well long enough to dump the dust… and can’t be too obvious about doing it, or everyone just flees the scene.  If the duster falls down in muscle tremors before making good their escape, and first responders see signs of radiation burns, the jig is up.

            The general public is at minimal risk from such an attack.  Once the dust is spread out, the intensity of radiation is slashed.  Most people don’t spend all day in the public areas of a mall, and as soon as a duster was discovered the mall would be evacuated as a precaution.  The time window for exposure would be very small.

            What about the mall itself?  I call your attention to the anthrax attacks which contaminated a couple of buildings.  Those buildings were made safe by fumigating them with chlorine dioxide gas.  This was to eliminate a biological threat which is deadly in very small doses and cannot be detected at a distance, and it worked.  The radiological threat requires extended exposure or large doses and is detectable at a considerable distance.  Cleanup would require a first pass with shielded shop vacuums and HEPA filters to get the bulk, with sensitive gear to find and remove most of the remainder.  A milligram particle here and there would not be a real health threat, and could only terrify people who are ignorant or deliberately misinformed.

            Why would you deliberately misinform people?

          • A Real Libertarian

            How about this?

            Step 1: One kilo and shielding.

            Step 2. Go to the air conditioner.

            Step 3: Feed waste into air conditioner.

            Step 4: Leave.

            Step 5: Watch the panic on the news.

          • Frozen

            1: You need on the order of a foot of concrete to shield gamma rays adequately. I’d have to check details, but look here:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzU8M0nU1xc

            Any sort of geiger counter would still catch the package as soon as it got within range.

            2: The air handlers are typically on the building roof.  Alarms and cameras would be very likely to catch an attacker before they finished.  You’d need such measures anyway, because chemical and bio-weapons are far more dangerous than radiological ones and are easier to distribute that way.

            3: Unless the matter is pulverized very finely, it would just settle to the bottom of the duct. Stuff sitting 20 feet over people’s heads isn’t much of a threat unless there’s an awful lot of it.  The response is to vacuum out the duct to get most of it, then replace the affected ductwork.

            5: Who’s going to panic if nothing detectable happens? But if you phone in a threat, everyone leaves and exposures get cut short.

            I’ve had enough for one day, time for bed!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Jump, jump, jump.

          • Frozen

            Announce that you’ve still got x% and you’re going to strike again.

            Meanwhile the police have an ID on the (dead or dying) attacker and are tracing back their movements, their associates, the ownership and movements of vehicle that brought them, the cell-location and call records of their phone…

            Terrorists do not have much “human capital” to work with.  The original London bombers (7/7/2005) succeeded because nobody paid them much attention.  A second crew attempted an attack on 7/21/2005, and failed miserably.  Once you’ve busted a plot, the chances of a successful repeat are negligible.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let’s go back to where you started. It’s the sort of stuff one hears from nuclear fans who blame the high costs of nuclear on too many regulations. In this case you want to reduce costs by eliminating guards and fences at radioactive waste storage sites.

            “Said expenses include government-mandated fences and guards around welded steel-and-concrete casks of spent fuel, which wouldn’t be a threat to anyone except someone foolish enough to try to steal it.”

            If you can’t get your head around the terror value of highly radioactive materials and the willingness of some people to die in order to advance their goals then there is something terribly wrong with you.

            To believe so strongly in a technology that one is unable to understand its problems makes one irrational.

          • Frozen

            In this case you want to reduce costs by eliminating guards and fences at radioactive waste storage sites.

            Not the fences, the guards.  Any police force with a response time under an hour will do.  You substitute cameras, microphones, geophones and sensors in the canisters and “overpacks” to detect intrusion or tampering.  Remote monitoring is sufficient, eliminating a needless expense.

            We can only afford so many armed guards.  Why not use them where they’ll do actual good?

            If you can’t get your head around the terror value of highly radioactive materials

            I note that you don’t say “public health threat”.  That threat is grossly overstated.  That should be obvious because even people who handle nearly-pure Cs-137 salt briefly are unlikely suffer lasting harm (most of those in the Goiana incident didn’t), but some people (looking at you) have an interest in keeping the public far more fearful than reality merits.

            and the willingness of some people to die in order to advance their goals

            Obviously you did not learn to read very well, or you would know that I have suggested that we let them.  Die, that is, or get caught in acts that would kill them if they succeeded.  We should let them waste their efforts harmlessly (to the public).

            there is something terribly wrong with you.

            There is something very, very wrong with you.  You use arguments you implicitly admit are false, in order to suppress a source of energy which is essential to achieving a stabilization of GHGs and the climate (and has verifiably and reliably done so even when that was not an explicit goal!) while promoting “solutions” that do not and in the time available cannot solve the problem for which they are touted (in other words, fraud).

            To believe so strongly in a technology that one is unable to understand its problems makes one irrational.

            I understand it very well, TYVM.  It’s you who can’t understand that making fuel theft look easier than it is protects the public, nor can you crunch numbers to see who is actually at risk from a successful diversion.  Actual understanding would get in the way of your dogma, and you’d be unable to repeat the shibboleths of your little social group.  They’d ostracize you.  That’s why you do what you do:  you value your in-group identity more than the planet.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Bullpoop.

            I can’t believe the lengths nuclear fanboys will go to in order to argue that nuclear has a future.

          • Frozen

            I prefer to call it “the weight of evidence”.

            Perhaps you’d like to debate the future of nuclear with James Hansen (link).  Or are you going to argue that climate scientists only have worthwhile opinions if they agree with your politics?

          • A Real Libertarian

            Climate scientists only have expert opinions on climate science.

            Do you even acknowledge climate change is real?

            Because this much Argument From Authority is usually found amongst their kind.

          • Frozen

            Climate scientists only have expert opinions on climate science.

            So because Michael Mann does not have a PhD in the counting of carbon emissions, you say he’s unqualified to rate the relative carbon emissions of the electricity supplies of Germany, Denmark, France and Sweden?  Please explain this, and tell me just who IS qualified to have an opinion on this matter, and why.

            What’s YOUR qualification for having an opinion on any of this?  What’s your PdD in?  Do Amory Lovins or Arnie Gundersen have PhDs in nuclear engineering or health physics?  (Trick question; Gundersen only has a master’s.  Lovins’ bio on Wikipedia doesn’t show that he ever completed a degree in anything.)

            Do you even acknowledge climate change is real?

            I’m watching it happen (and CO2 fertilization and acidification too).  What’s that got to do with dispassionate evaluation of evidence?

            this much Argument From Authority is usually found amongst denierkind.

            I’m citing the guy who’s arguably the pre-eminent climate scientist of this century, and you’re asking if I’m a denialist?  LOL!  Why?  Because I quote him when he dares to talk about actual solutions to the problem?

            Maybe you should see what the Green Party of Canada is pondering, now that we’re down to the wire and the jury is in on solutions.  Click on this, it’s a link.

          • Frozen

            Sorry, Hansen, not Mann.

          • A Real Libertarian

            So because Michael Mann does not have a PhD in the counting of carbon emissions, you say he’s unqualified to rate the relative carbon emissions of the electricity supplies of Germany, Denmark, France and Sweden? Please explain this, and tell me just who IS qualified to have an opinion on this matter, and why.

            James Hansen has no expertise in designing electrical grids, he has no clue what various sources of generation cost, he has no clue how much storage is needed for various sources of generation and much storage costs, he has no clue what transmission can be built and for what cost.

            The ones who do are the ones out there measuring the costs and running simulations.

            They are experts on the electrical grid, not James Hansen.

            Do Amory Lovins or Arnie Gundersen have PhDs in nuclear engineering or health physics? (Trick question; Gundersen only has a master’s. Lovins’ bio on Wikipedia doesn’t show that he ever completed a degree in anything.)

            Let’s see…

            Arnold Gundersen:

            Masters of Nuclear Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

            U.S. Atomic Energy Commission Fellowship.

            4 years experience as a nuclear engineer, 3 years as an engineering supervisor, 11 as a consultant (reaching senior vice president status).

            Co-authored the First Edition DOE Decommissioning Handbook…

            Apparently not as much an expert on nuclear power as James Hansen.

            Amory Lovins:

            2 years at Harvard, 4 years at Oxford.

            Left without a Doctorate because energy wasn’t considered an Academic topic at the time and thus no Doctorates were offered in it.

            Has worked for the UN, the OECD and at least 13 State Governments on energy issues…

            Apparently not as much an expert on nuclear power as James Hansen.

            I’m citing the guy who’s arguably the pre-eminent climate scientist of this century, and you’re asking if I’m a denialist? LOL! Why? Because I quote him when he dares to talk about actual solutions to the problem?

            Because, given that you think climatology is the same thing as electrical grid engineering. I’m surprised you don’t think the Oregon Petition is evidence.

            Plus, Devil citing scripture and all that jazz.

            Maybe you should see what the Green Party of Canada is pondering, now that we’re down to the wire and the jury is in on solutions.

            Let’s see “David MacKay”, “World Nuclear Association”, “Forbes”, “Thorium”, “inherently safe nuclear”…

            Yeah, that’s enough woo to fill half of whale.to.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You mean in his letter in which he claims that wind and solar can’t scale up fast enough to prevent severe climate change but nuclear can?

            James has his head up his butt. Great climate scientist, but just not up to speed when it comes to renewable energy.

            Take a look at how wind is scaling up in China compared to nuclear. Those are graphs of production, not nameplate capacity.

            Think it through. It takes nuclear engineers and nuclear plant construction specialists to build a nuclear plant. It would take us a decade to educate enough new specialists to build nuclear on a large scale.

            Wind and solar farms require only common construction skills and experience.

            If you don’t realize how rapidly wind and solar are scaling up right now then you need to catch up. The world is passing you by.

          • Frozen

            You mean in his letter

            You’re doing exactly what the denialists did:  making one guy the face for the issue, and attacking him for heresy.  For years all the denialists were Al Gore this, Al Gore that.  Now you’re doing it!  How does it feel to have become what you’ve been fighting?

            in which he claims that wind and solar can’t scale up fast enough to prevent severe climate change but nuclear can?

            James has his head up his butt.

            First, the letter wasn’t just signed by Hansen.  It was also signed by Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel and Tom Wigley.  Supporters and converts include Stuart Brand, Gwyneth Cravens, George Monbiot and Mr. Gaia himself, James Lovelock.  Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore never was really anti-nuclear.  Doesn’t that list of names at least make you think that the issue merits consideration?

            Second, go back to the list of CO2/kWh emission rates by country (clicky).  Note that Sweden’s grid emitted 23 grams CO2 per kWh, while wind-heavy Denmark’s emitted 385 (almost 17 times as much).  A scientist is supposed to look at the data, not their prejudices.  Since CO2 is the #1 issue for the climate, how can you say that Hansen (and by implication all the rest of the names above) aren’t far more clear-thinking than you are?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I brought neither Gore’s nor Hansen’s name into the discussion.

            You are trying to claim that a small number of well know people from fields other than energy know more about energy than do the leaders in the energy field.

            Don’t you know how very successful people can wander too far out of their discipline and fall on their fact? If not, look up Linus Pauling.

            Anyone who claims that global climate change can be avoided only if nuclear is included in the mix is so obviously mistaken that a junior high school student should be able to explain why.

          • Frozen

            Take a look at how wind is scaling up in China compared to nuclear. Those are graphs of production, not nameplate capacity.

            I have seen them.  Even together they haven’t stopped China from adding roughly 1 coal-fired plant per week.  Wikipedia reports China generated 103 TWh from wind in 2012.  Compared to about 700 TWh from hydro and nearly 5000 TWh overall, that’s a rounding error.

            The graph is about to reverse.  China is bringing several nuclear plants on line every year, and expects to go from today’s 15.8 GW to 88 GW in 2020.  China’s crash program to develop molten-salt reactors is probably intended to make a home-grown replacement for coal boilers.  If those start getting installed in 2024, nuclear will rise faster while replacing coal directly.

            A nuclear replacement for a coal boiler is a product that can be sold world-wide.  China knows exports.  I’m sure they have plans.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m sorry, but let’s not tap dance to a new topic.

            The point was that Hansen claimed that renewables can’t scale.

            I showed you that China has scaled up wind faster than they have scaled up nuclear. They caught up and passed nuclear in less than 10 years when nuclear had a 20 year head start.

          • Frozen

            It takes nuclear engineers and nuclear plant construction specialists to build a nuclear plant. It would take us a decade to educate enough new specialists to build nuclear on a large scale.

            France managed the whole effort in about 16 years, building 59 reactors to replace its oil-fired generators in the wake of the oil price shocks.  Nuclear is the only technology proven to be able to cut fossil-fuel consumption in its sector to near zero.  Certainly neither Denmark nor Germany have anything to crow about. 

            Wind and solar farms require only common construction skills and experience.

            They also require either a bunch of expensive storage or a bunch of polluting backup.  Speaking of storage again, SEPCO recommends storage sufficient for 5 days of autonomy (clicky).  The cost for that is over and above the cost of the generation.

            If you don’t realize how rapidly wind and solar are scaling up right now then you need to catch up.

            I own about 2.4 kW of PV and 4.4 kW of wind.  All I have to do is look at the emissions figures for the Danish grid (385 gCO2/kWh) and know that the best renewable tech in the world, the home of Vestas, is nowhere near good enough.  France is good enough, Sweden is spectacular.  Neither of them used “renewables” to get there.  There’s a lesson in that, if you’re able to learn it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Nuclear is the only technology proven to be able to cut fossil-fuel consumption in its sector to near zero.”

            Come on. Renewables replace fossil fuels.

            We only recently began installing renewables at a meaningful rate. Nuclear has had a 50+ year head start.

            The lesson that needs to be learned is that 50+ years ago we thought nuclear would be the route to cheap electricity. It has not turned out to be that route. On the other hand wind and solar have developed to the point where they are providing us with very affordable, even cheap electricity.

            Very simply, the economics of electricity generation have shifted, very recently and very abruptly. I know that is very disappointing to nuclear fans, but it’s reality. And, as you must know, the decisions on what to install will be made based foremost on cost.

          • Frozen

            Just a question:  are you the same Bob Wallace who had all the back-and-forths with Kit P on Green Car Congress a while ago?  I’d hate to confuse you with someone else of the same name.

            Come on. Renewables replace fossil fuels.

            If that’s true, why is http://energinet.dk/Flash/Forside/UK/index.html reporting that Denmark is emitting 444 gCO2/kWh right now?  That’s barely better than the UK at 470 grams.

            I’ll wait on your answers before addressing the rest.

          • Bob_Wallace

            In order to answer that question I’ll need more data.

            Perhaps you can show me where I can find electricity sources over the last few years for UK and Denmark. A quick look at Wiki doesn’t get me past 2009 with numbers. I can find graphs that get to 2011 but not to 2014.

            From consumption graphs through 2011 it looks like Denmark is doing a better job than the UK in cutting fossil fuel use. But that’s not enough to go on to answer your question.

            I assume you have an answer your looking for? Perhaps you could share it and the data on which you base your answer.

            Of course one data point picked out of thousands over a year is not very meaningful. Perhaps the wind is down right now in Denmark. Perhaps the wind is blowing stronger in the UK.

            What are the gCO2/kWh per year average for the two countries over the last few years?

          • Frozen

            There are a bunch of aggregate 2012 figures here:

            http://energinet.dk/EN/KLIMA-OG-MILJOE/Sider/Environmental-key-figures-for-electricity.aspx

            You didn’t answer the other question:  are you the same Bob Wallace I found on Green Car Congress?

          • Bob_Wallace

            There’s not enough data on the page you linked to answer your question.

            What’s the story you are trying to tell and what data do you have to support your story?

          • A Real Libertarian

            SEPCO recommends storage sufficient for 5 days of autonomy

            For. Off. Grid.

            All I have to do is look at the emissions figures for the Danish grid (385 gCO2/kWh) and know that the best renewable tech in the world, the home of Vestas, is nowhere near good enough. France is good enough, Sweden is spectacular. Neither of them used “renewables” to get there.

            That is the past.

            The only thing that matters now is who’s cutting emissions the fastest.

            Nuclear power is too expensive to build.

            It costs over $0.12/KWh and just gets more expensive.

            The costs of old nuclear is irrelevant.

            They have paid off their capital and financial costs and only have to pay O&M costs.

            New nuclear has to pay all three.

            Renewables are cheaper and getting even cheaper.

            There’s a lesson in that, if you’re able to learn it.

            The lesson is that nuclear power can not be compromised with or reasoned with, because its advocates are Literally Psychotic.

            You are so drunk on Kool-Aid that you are incapable of understanding the flaws in your beliefs.

            You would rather burn the world then admit that you can’t save it.

          • Frozen

            For. Off. Grid.

            For the unreliability of the source.  Hooking up with your neighbors doesn’t make night go away.  You can have whole multi-state regions sunless or windless for days at a time, sometimes weeks.

            You have this delusion that there is a grid-mojo that makes variability go away.  The grid deals with variability by storing up energy to tap as needed.  A coal-fired plant might have a month’s worth on hand; a nuke runs a year and a half on a fuel cycle.  Hydro generators get much of a year’s worth during the spring thaw.

            If you don’t have a pile of coal or a big lake of water, you need batteries.  5 days is just a start if you’re not going to kick on a generator all the time.  SEPCO recommends more than 5 days where the weather is unfavorable… like where I live.

            During the polar vortex cold snap New England found that natural gas, which they deliver just-in-time by pipelines, was not in inadequate supply.  They had no reservoir of gas to tap, and when the pipelines were maxed out a lot of generators had to shut down so gas could go for heating.  Other generators fell back to burning diesel fuel so the lights could stay on.  Not exactly renewable, is it?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “You can have whole multi-state regions sunless or windless for days at a time, sometimes weeks”

            Show me that data. I want to see weeks without wind or sunshine.

            For the second time in two weeks, wind power once again kept consumers’ energy costs down as extreme cold drove energy prices to record highs across much of the eastern U.S.

            Electricity and natural gas prices skyrocketed to 10 to 50 times normal across parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes states as extreme cold drove demand for electric and gas heating to near-record levels late last week. Fortunately, regional wind energy output was strong throughout these periods of peak demand, producing around 3,000 megawatts (MW) on the evening of Jan. 22 when supply was particularly tight, and roughly 3,000 to 4,000 MW for nearly all of Jan. 23 as electricity prices remained very high.
            The savings that wind energy provided for consumers last week likely tally in the millions if not tens of millions of dollars, as wind energy reduced consumers’ energy costs in several major ways. Wind energy always provides these savings for consumers, which is why more than a dozen state government, grid operator, and other studies have confirmed that wind energy reduces consumers’ electricity prices.

            http://ecowatch.com/2014/01/28/wind-power-millions-polar-vortex/

          • Frozen

            Data for the Bonneville Power Administration is here:

            http://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/WindGenTotalLoadYTD_2014.xls

            From the afternoon of January 15 to the morning of January 29, wind generation never broke 300 MW (less than 7% of capacity).  Most of the time it was zero.

            I know your next line:  “Ah, show me that wind AND solar were zero!”  There’s no entry for solar in that database, but you’ve got 2 weeks where solar, plus whatever storage you had, would have had to carry 99% of the load for two whole weeks for your all-RE grid.  In the PNW, in January.  I looked for numbers for Californian wind and solar generation, I didn’t find any.

            The default in such cases is falling back to fossil, but that is not something the climate can withstand.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s your claim -

            “You can have whole multi-state regions sunless or windless for days at a time, sometimes weeks”

            Show us the data for whole multi-state regions sunless or windless for days at a time, sometimes weeks.

            Not one wind farm. Whole multi-state regions.

          • Bob_Wallace

            BTW, do you not know that the PNW has a capacity oversupply during the winter and spring when river flows are high?

            That wind is forced to curtail because hydro has the favored position?

            If you check coal production during that period I’m pretty sure you’ll find it to be zero.

            From the BPA site -

            Oversupply

            When river flows are high, extra water can be spilled from the dams so that it does not contribute to oversupply, but too much spill exceeds water quality standards and can harm fish and other aquatic species. If water cannot be spilled, it must be passed through the hydropower turbines, thus generating electricity.

            Oversupply is most likely to occur at night, when power demand is low, and in the springtime, when river flows and wind generation are high.

            In these conditions, BPA may need to implement the Oversupply Management Protocol, under which non-hydro generation is displaced to protect aquatic life and maintain system reliability. Under the protocol, BPA compensates generators for their displacement-related costs.

            http://www.bpa.gov/Projects/Initiatives/Oversupply/Pages/default.aspx

            You haven’t even brought wind data for one site.

          • Frozen

            That is the past.

            The only thing that matters now is who’s cutting emissions the fastest.

            Ah, moving the goalposts!  But you omit a key factor:  you need not only to cut emissions quickly, you need to cut them enough.  French levels are close, but to be certain we’ve done the job, our standard should be Sweden.

            http://energinet.dk/Flash/Forside/UK/index.html is reporting 432 gCO2/kWh right now, almost 6 times the French figure and 19 times the Swedish.  Denmark has been at the renewables thing since the beginning.  It’s nowhere near good enough, and it’s likely their current approach can’t get there.  Ever.

            Nuclear power is too expensive to build.

            Cheap, compared to losing a planet.

            It costs over $0.12/KWh and just gets more expensive.

            Germany’s FIT for solar PV ranges from €0.135/kWh to €0.195/kWh (upwards of ¢24/kWh), and you don’t get any power at night.  If you have to fall back to burning things, you’ve failed.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “But you omit a key factor: you need not only to cut emissions quickly, you need to cut them *enough”*

            *How better to cut emissions but with the fastest to install, cheapest and safest options?*

            *That would be renewables.*

            *Nuclear is more expensive, takes longer to install, and bring dangers unlike any other energy source.*

          • Frozen

            The lesson is that nuclear power can not be compromised with or reasoned with, because its advocates are Literally Psychotic.

            “Stop hitting me with the facts!  You reject my dogma!  You’re crazy!

            You would rather burn the world then admit that you can’t save it.

            Projection is both sad and funny.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Irrational prattle.

        • eveee

          Really? Ever heard of terrorism?

    • CaptD

      Rockne – France knows all about the true COST aging nuclear power plants!

      France has had to add a new energy tax to all ratepayers since they have not collected enough decommissioning money to decommission all their aging reactors and now their industries are worried that countries like Germany who is phasing out their nuclear reactor ASAP will have an “unfair” advantage over them as French Energy become too expensive!

      http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/15/greenest-source-power-french-response-low-carbon-strategy/#

      Now France is getting stuck with the BIG bills to decommission all those aging reactors and guess what, they don’t have enough money to do it, so they have started adding a new decommissioning fee onto their current energy rates!

      Even with the new fees, French industry will not be competitive, since Germany is far ahead of France in converting to Solar of all flavors!

      Left unsaid is what happens if one or more of those aging reactors goes BAD, France cannot afford a trillion dollar Fukushima type disaster, not can all those living downwind from France!

    • Frozen

      The study assumes that all new nuclear plants are going to cost as much as the first-of-a-kind EPR or whatever it is being proposed for the UK.

      Meanwhile, China is building new PWRs for under $3000/kW on a schedule of 5 years.

      • CaptD

        Frozen – Only time will tell how successful/safe China’s NPP will be.

        Wait until they have been around for 4 to 7 decades, then we will have a better understanding of their true cost, which must include all decommissioning and environmental cleanup, something which the Chinese have not much success in.

        • Frozen

          China plans to have 88 GW of nuclear running by 2020.  They have multiple Gen IV efforts going, including LMFBRs purchased from Russia and a lot of technology originally developed in the USA.  They have a massive problem with coal pollution and they are on a 10-year crash program to fix it.

          One thing they do not have is the Western/Japanese radiation phobia.

          • Bob_Wallace

            China has an enormous corruption problem. It goes all the way to the highest levels of government.

            I’m not willing to certify that someone didn’t cut some corners here or there in order to put a bit more dosh in their designer jeans.

            Let one of their reactors go Chern/Fuku and watch a popular movement to quit nuclear spring up.

            China gets less than 2% of its electricity from its current reactors. Going from 21 to 88 is expected to raise that to around 6%. We’re not talking a nuclear powered country.

            And look what has happened with wind. Wind has zoomed past nuclear in the last couple of years. That’s production, not nameplate that’s graphed.

            And China is on a solar tear. China installed more solar in 2013 than the US has installed since the Baby Jesus rode his pet dinosaur.

          • Uzza

            Reading that graph, wind increased by roughly 30 TWh a year between 2010 and 2013. If growth continues, China would have 345 TWh of wind by 2020.

            Following Fukushima, the build targets for nuclear in China was reduced to 58 GW. But many plans that were halted following Fukushima have resumed, and they’re once again looking at 70-80 GW by 2020.

            If we take 70 GW of nuclear by 2020, at a capacity factor of 90%, we get annual generation of ~552 TWh. That’s quite a bit more than the numbers for wind. To be able to match that wind installations will have to double, adding 60 TWh per year to 2020, totaling 555 TWh annually at 2020.

            Looking at official plans from China though we can see that it’s not looking likely. The plan they have for 2015 is to have 190 TWh of wind generation, matching current build rate, and far too low to match the rate of nuclear construction.

            So in the next few years that chart will probably reverse, with nuclear overtaking wind again.

          • Kaya

            The top 50 reactors in the world achieve 98% CF or better.

            the average USA fleet is 92% which means half get better than that. And those are reactors 40 years old.

            new builds should achieve 98%

            therefore is china has 80GW built it would produce 680TWh annually withthose 80GW.

            Realistically china may build 200GW of nuclear by 2030 (one reactor a month on average) which would give her about 1650 TWH a year in nuclear energy production. That would make her the world’s biggest nuclear producer but still only represent about 15% of her electricity needs come 2030

            The real story for nuclear will begin ppst 2030. Will china push towards 50% plus nuclear or will she go for wind solar and storage or will she jist deploy cleaner coal? No one knows for sure

          • Bob_Wallace

            The best wind farm in the US has a 64% CF.

            See – cherry picking – anyone can play.

            As for the US nuclear fleet averaging 92%. That was true in 2007 if you round up.

            BTW, the graph is furnished by the Nuclear Energy Institute.

            The real story for nuclear.

            Will China continue spending more for electricity than it needs to? Or will a couple more years of building renewables convince the last few nuclear advocates in a fairly rational government that there is a better way to spend money?

            That’s the story we will have to wait to see told.

          • Uzza

            The best wind farm in the US has a 64% CF.

            You will have to provide a source for that, as the numbers I can find show that the record holder for on-shore wind farms is Burradale with 57.9%, with Horns Rev 2 holding the record for off-shore wind farms at ~49%

          • Bob_Wallace
          • Uzza

            I stand corrected. Not that surprising though seeing as it’s in Hawaii.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Why is it not surprising?

          • Uzza

            I’d imagine that Hawaii, being in the pacific ocean, would have some fairly consistent wind patterns.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yeah. It sits right on a cliff. Perhaps the best sited wind farm in the world. And it certainly is an outlier.

          • Kaya

            You basically said that I am correct new nukes will achieve capacity factors in excess of 95% but dressed it up to sound negative. Anywat glad we both agree new nukes will likely hiy abive 95% and they could be as high as 99%.

            Lets consider another factor. Nukes built 40 years ago still operating and with licences for another 20 years. New nukes will again best that 60 years and may achieve 80-100 year lives.

            As for your notion of ‘will china continue to spend more for nuclear…’ you are making the assertion that chinese nukes cost a lot more than some alternative.

            Reality of inflation means any nukes built today and expected to last 100 years will lool dam cheap in hindsightand they lool very affordable as it is

          • Bob_Wallace

            Excuse me. I said nothing of the sort. What I said is that the nuclear industry doesn’t even make claims like that.

            99%? You have zero credibility.

            Nukes built 40 years ago were engineered for 40 years. In order to have their lives extended to 60 years they must undergo very expensive testing and refurbishing.

            It will be worth spending that money on some 40 year old nukes.

            It will not on others. In fact, we are already closing some reactors due to the cost of keeping them going.

            This 80 and 100 year stuff. I’m sorry, but along with the 99% CF, you’re just talking trash.

            BTW, China is now installing solar for $1/W. Do you know how to do a LCOE calculation?

          • Hans

            I remember reading somewhere that the way the CF was defined for nuclear is a bit misleading, for example outage for maintenance was excluded from the calculation. I will try to find the source.

          • Bob_Wallace

            That may be what Kaya is doing.

            I’m not sure that’s an intentional mistake or whether he/she doesn’t know what they are posting. Doesn’t seem to have much information about either nuclear or renewables on board. Might be just another person who has been sold the nuclear fantasy.

            Saw the video, joined the fan club.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It is likely that nuclear will pull ahead in a few years.

            But let me repeat the part that nuclear enthusiasts do not want to hear -

            “Let one of their reactors go Chern/Fuku and watch a popular movement to quit nuclear spring up.”

            Add to that the fact that renewables are cheaper than nuclear. Then ask yourself why the Chinese government would continue to pay more for electricity than it needs to?

          • Uzza

            But let me repeat the part that nuclear enthusiasts do not want to hear -

            “Let one of their reactors go Chern/Fuku and watch a popular movement to quit nuclear spring up.”

            Why would that happen to one of their reactors? Modern reactors are much safer than older generation reactors, and the risk of any of that happening in them are very, very low.

            In any case, that argument is a slippery slope fallacy.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Because stuff happens.

            And stuff is more likely to happen in a country with significant corruption problems.

            Do you not recall nuclear power plants using forged quality control certificates in South Korea?

            China has reactors built in the 1980s and 1990s.

            There is nothing slippery or “slopey” in my comment. It is a statement of fact. Let Homer melt one down in China and people will be demanding all reactors close down.

            Let it happen in France. Same outcome.

            Let it happen in the US. Same outcome.

            That is the big bad wolf that can blow down nuclear’s house overnight. If you don’t understand that….

          • eveee

            And renewables are deployed faster than nuclear. Is that caused by radiation phobia?

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