DeepResource

Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “nuclear”

What About Thorium?

The advantage of Thorium over Uranium: more abundant fuel available, less waste, reactors are safer. Most promising design: molten salt reactor.

So why don’t we see thorium reactors in practice?

First, because of the link between the uranium cycle and nuclear weapons.

Second, because of engineering challenges to contain corrosive molten salt.

Interest for thorium technology does exist, though, notably in India and China, but also in the US.

[wikipedia.org] – Thorium
[wikipedia.org] – Thorium fuel cycle
[wikipedia.org] – Molten salt reactor

Dutch Right-wing Parties Want Nuclear Energy

[rtl nieuws]

Last night, the final debate of the party leaders in the run-up to the national parliamentary elections in the Netherlands, March 17, 2021.

For the viewers from left to right: Wopke Hoekstra (“CDA”, Christian-Democrats), PM Mark Rutte (“VVD”, Liberal-Right), Geert Wilders (“PVV”, Populist-Right), Lilian Marijnissen (“SP”, Socialist Party), Jesse Klaver (“Groen-Links”, Green-Left), Sigrid Kaag (“D66”, Liberal-Left).

Opinion-spectrum:

Pro-EU: all, minus PVV (Nexit)
Pro-renewable energy: all, minus PVV
Pro-nuclear: CDA, VVD, PVV, against: SP, GL, D66
Pro-immigration: VVD, SP, GL, D66; CDA some reservation, PVV against
They are all US-groupies, unsurprisingly as the Netherlands is historically Anglo-1.0 country. Only the PVV has positive opinions about Putin-Russia

Read more…

Nuclear Power Dead as a Brick

After the Japanese had withdrawn from building nuclear infrastructure in the UK, EDF of France is willing to do the job of building Sizewell C, price tag £25bn for 3.2 GW. Except, the financier L&G Capital got wet feet and refuses to fund the project. Reason:

Responding to enquiries by The Independent, an L&G spokesperson said: “As we transition to a net zero carbon world, Legal & General Capital is playing an important role in investing in renewable infrastructure and clean technology across low-carbon heat, transport, and power generation.

Translation: oil, gas and nuclear simply lost to renewable energy, because of price and because renewables won the PR-battle.

#ParisAccords

[independent.co.uk] – Investors ‘shun’ Sizewell C nuclear power station project
[wikipedia.org] – Sizewell C nuclear power station
[deepresource] – UK Probably Opts for New Nuclear Power Station
[deepresource] – Lazard – Renewable Energy Cheapest by Far

Cost Comparison Nuclear – Offshore Wind

[source] Worldwide Nuclear Power Capacity Factors

Let’s do a cost comparison offshore wind-nuclear, based on the latest available data.

[deepresource] – UK Probably Opts for New Nuclear Power Station

Cost: €22.2 billion for 3.2 GW power. Factor in a capacity factor of 80% (see graph above) to arrive at 2.6 GW average power.

[deepresource] – The Cost of an Offshore Wind Turbine

The all-in cost of a 14 MW offshore wind turbine, including foundation and installation is €16.6 million. Assume that for these huge turbines a capacity factor of 0.60 applies. So you get on average 8.4 MW for €16.6 million.

You need 2600/8.4 = 310 of these turbines to match the nuclear power station above or €5.15 billion in total, which is 4 times cheaper (excl. cabling). Note that the cost of nuclear fuel is not included in this calculation, let alone the cost of getting rid of the spent fuel, let alone the staggering cost of a reprocessing plant (many billions).

That price advantage of a factor of 4 needs to be reduced to factor in intermittency and the partial need for storage. Not everything needs to be converted into hydrogen or pumped hydro. Excess supply can be used to charge seasonal storage of heat in large water volumes via heat pumps or to charge car batteries or “power walls” at home, via the price mechanism (electricity cheap if there is excess supply).

This back-of-an-envelope calculation is confirmed by a recent study by Lazard:

[deepresource] – Lazard – Renewable Energy Cheapest by Far

Offshore wind: 26-54 (39)
Nuclear: 129-198 (165)

Pushing nuclear energy in 2020 is like flogging a dead horse.

UK Probably Opts for New Nuclear Power Station

It’s official, the French state-owned company EDF is going to build a new nuclear power station in Sizewell, Suffolk, UK. Price tag £20bn (€22.2bn) and it will take about 10 years to build. Capacity: 3.2 GW. 25,000 new jobs.

Earlier Hitachi withdrew from a nuclear project in Wylfa on Anglesey.

[dailymail.co.uk] – New nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk is set to be given the green light after government talks with energy giant EDF
[wikipedia.org] – Sizewell nuclear power stations

Solar Farm Material Input per Unit of Energy

Australian nuclear lobby club “Bright New World” came with figures to diss solar power plants. The real numbers from the Kentucky Solar Farm (KSF) were offset against BNW figures.

[twitter.com] – Material Input per Unit of Energy
[brightnewworld.org] – Bright New World site

Nuclear Power – Slow and Expensive

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

Power: 3.2 GW, 2 reactors
Contractor: EDF de France
Site proposal: 2010
License: 2012
EDF approval: 2016
Start building date: 2017
Date of completion: 2025-2026
Cost: £21.5bn – £22.5bn
Life-time: 60 years
Location: [Google Maps]
Expected electricity cost: £92.50/MWh
Latest offshore wind cost: £40.00/MWh (intermittent)
Construction time Borssele I-V 1.5 GW: 16 months (first electricity after 4 months)

And as always, the world will be saddled with nuclear waste for a long time to come. And with the prevailing SW-winds, a nuclear disaster a la Fukushima would expose a densely populated Midlands and millions of people.

[bbc.com] – Hinkley Point C nuclear plant to run £2.9bn over budget
[wikipedia.org] – Hinkley Point C nuclear power station

Best Illustration of a Chain Reaction Ever

[spiegel.de] – Mirror

Czech Republic Intends to Build 1.2 GW Nuclear Power Plant

[Existing Dukovany nuclear plant]

The Czech government intends to build a nuclear reactor, that should replace old reactors, as well as existing power stations that run on lignite. The reactor is to be completed by 2036. The government estimates the cost at € 5–6 billion, critics fear it will be much more.

Another issue is who is to build the new reactor. The president Zeman favors the Russian Rosatom, but the security establishment has reserves against Russian or Chinese suppliers. Alternatives would be South Korea’s KHNP, France’s EDF and US group Westinghouse.

[euractiv.com] – Czech gov. intends building new nuclear block
[wattisduurzaam.nl] – Tsjechische overheid zet plannen voor nieuwe kernreactor door
[Google Maps] – Dukovany

Kutten met Lubach – “Kernenergie Moet!”

Groningse grapjurk heeft een mening over kernenergie: doen! Argument: broeikasgassen zijn echt heel erg, maar met zon en wind gaat het allemaal niet snel genoeg, dus kernenergie. En verder zijn volgens de VPRO-clown de kernrampen uit het verleden natuurlijk geen kattepis, maar achteraf was het allemaal niet zo erg. To zo ver Arjen Lubach.

Heeft Lubach een punt? Eingelijk zegt hij niet zo veel dingen die pertinent onwaar zijn. Waar om het gaat is zijn de essentieele dingen die hij weglaat.

[volkskrant.nl] – Fukushima zes jaar later: de ramp is nog lang niet voorbij

Na de kernramp bleek een oppervlakte bijna zo groot als België radioactief besmet en al zes jaar lang zijn honderdduizenden mannen bezig met deze uitzinnige schoonmaakactie. Totale geschatte kosten van de ramp: 188 miljard dollar.

188 miljard dollar, dat zijn 188 GW aan offshore windturbines, terwijl Nederland gemiddeld 13 GW verbruikt. Deze verhoudingen zijn buiten alle proporties.

Arjen Lubach praat het aantal dodelijke slachtoffer klein en dat mag waar zijn. Er is echter nog een geheel ander aspect. Fukushima: 170.000 mensen geevacueerd en een gebied met straal van 20 km, decennia lang ontoegankelijk verklaard. Voor NL met een bevolkingsdichtheit van 412/km2 praat je dan al gauw over een half miljoen mensen die je decennia-lang ergens anders moet parkeren. Denk aan de complete provincie Groningen die ontruimt moet worden als het mis gaat met die armageddon-technologie.

Dan dat haast-argument; het is absoluut flauwe kul te veronderstellen dat een 1000 MW nucleaire centrale sneller gebouwd kan worden dan een 2000 MW offshore wind park (je hebt dubbele capaciteit nodig vanwege de variabiliteit van de wind). In 2018 werd een tender uitgeschreven voor het offshore windpark Hollandse Kust I+II (1500 MW). In 2023 zal het klaar zijn. Dat is in vijf jaar tijd. Een kerncentrale heeft officieel minstens 10 jaar nodig, in de praktijk veel langer.

Het Technisch Weekblad, geschreven door mensen die hun studie WEL hebben afgemaakt, beste Arjen, zeggen dat centrales in het Westen domweg te duur zijn. Let wel, dat zijn ze al als ze nog niet ontploft zijn:

[technischweekblad.nl] – Westerse kerncentrales te duur om te bouwen

Nieuwe Europese en Amerikaanse kerncentrales zijn te duur, ver achter op het bouwschema, of de bouw wordt simpelweg geschrapt. Ze kunnen daarom niet op een betaalbare wijze bijdragen aan het terugdringen van CO2-emisies. Het IEA luidt ook de noodklok over de uitstervende kerncentrales in het westen. Waarom lukt het in China wel om dezelfde reactoren voor de helft van de kosten online te brengen?

Hier de werkelijkheid over de echte bouwtijd:

Nieuwe kerncentrales in Amerika en Europa produceren geen elektriciteit, maar migrainedossiers. De Virgil C. Summer-centrale in South Carolina werd in 2018 geschrapt nadat de bouwkosten waren opgelopen van € 7,5 miljard naar € 11,5 miljard. Het is nu een nutteloos object dat € 5 miljard heeft gekost. De Vogtle-centrale in de staat Georgia ligt zes jaar achter op schema terwijl de kosten zijn uitgedijd van € 10 miljard naar € 20,5 miljard. Frankrijk bouwt al sinds 2007 aan de Flamanville-centrale die € 3,3 miljard zou kosten, maar nu begroot wordt op € 10,5 miljard. Olkiluoto-3 in Finland, ook begroot op € 3,3 miljard, zou in 2009 klaar zijn. Men hoopt nu de centrale begin 2020 op te starten. De meest recente schatting van de kosten (uit 2012!) is € 8,5 miljard.

De Nederlandse club Urgenda heeft becijfert dat als puntje bij paaltje komt, Nederland in staat is om de gehele transitie uit te voeren in 10 jaar tijd:

[deepresource] – Netherlands Sustainable by 2030

Als de eerste nederlandse kerncentrale zou worden opgeleverd is de klus al geklaard.

Maar dan is er nog een geheel ander argument: de eindigheid van Uranium voorraden. Als in een gedachtenexperiment de hele wereld morgen zou overstappen op Uranium, dan zouden alle voorraden binnen 14 jaar op zijn. Er zijn wel work-arounds, maar dan praat je over snelle kweek-reaktoren en een plutonium-economie. Zeggen begrippen als “Kalkar”, “Sellafield” en “Cap La-Hague” je nog iets, Arjen, grote denker?

Jammer, Arjen, leuk geprobeerd, maar zeg maar tegen je vriendjes bij de VVD dat dit een gepasseerd station is. Gaat gewoon niet gebeuren.

[wikipedia.org] – Peak Uranium
[rtlnieuws.nl] – VVD: snel kerncentrales bouwen om klimaatdoel te halen
[wikipedia.org] – Fukushima disaster cleanup
[deepresource] – Netherlands Sustainable by 2030
[nl.wikipedia.org] – Arjen Lubach

Read more…

24 Arguments Against Nuclear Power

[cleantechnica.com] – 24 Questions That Show Nukes Are NOT The Answer

HBO Chernobyl

UK Nuclear Future in Doubt After Japanese Withdrawl

Two Japanese investor groups, Toshiba and Hitachi, are said to be on the verge of withdrawing from earlier plans to develop two new nuclear projects in Cumbria and Wales resp.

[insert rubbing hands-sound from Danish, German and Dutch offshore wind developers in the background here]

[dailymail.co.uk] – Britain’s nuclear future is thrown into chaos as Japanese firm gets set to pull out of £16b illion deal

Bill Gates with DOE into Mini Molten Salt Reactors

[source]

The Energy Department is participating in major push with electric utility Southern and a company founded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates to develop small nuclear power reactors that are less expensive and more efficient than their much larger cousins.

“Molten salt reactors are getting a reboot,” the Energy Department tweeted late Wednesday, offering a schematic of a battery-like power plant module that “could power America’s energy.”

Investment volume: 20 + 28 million $.
Prototype expected by 2030.

[washingtonexaminer.com] – Energy Department teams up with Bill Gates to move mini-nuclear plants to market
[whatisnuclear.com] – Molten Salt Reactors

Leif Holmnid & Ultra Dense Fusion

Fusion energy may soon be used in small-scale power stations. This means producing environmentally friendly heating and electricity at a low cost from fuel found in water. Both heating generators and generators for electricity could be developed within a few years, according to research that has primarily been conducted at the University of Gothenburg… A collaboration between researchers at the University of Gothenburg and the University of Iceland has been to study a new type of nuclear fusion process. This produces almost no neutrons but instead fast, heavy electrons (muons), since it is based on nuclear reactions in ultra-dense heavy hydrogen (deuterium)… The new fusion process can take place in relatively small laser-fired fusion reactors fuelled by heavy hydrogen (deuterium). It has already been shown to produce more energy than that needed to start it… Research shows that far smaller and simpler fusion reactors can be built. The next step is to create a generator that produces instant electrical energy.

[phys.org] – Small-scale nuclear fusion may be a new energy source
[arxiv.org] – Leif Holmnid on ultra dense deuterium
[wikipedia.org] – Rydberg matter
[chem.gu.se] – Leif Holmlid Professor emeritus
[asme.org] – Small Reactor with Big Potential
[atom-ecology.russgeorge.net] – Magnificent magnum opus on ultra dense fusion
[sciencedaily.com] – Ultra-dense Deuterium May Be Nuclear Fuel Of The Future
[journals.plos.org] – Mesons from Laser-Induced Processes in Ultra-Dense Hydrogen

Cold Fusion – Not Entirely Dead

Cold fusion or LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions or “roomtemperature nuclear fusion”) is still attracting some interest from scientists. The story of cold fusion began spectacularly with the Fleischmann and Pons episode in 1989, but was discredited soon after.

[wikipedia.org] – Cold fusion

Read more…

Thorium Future Promotion

Nuclear energy has a terrible image problem world-wide, certainly after Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, with perhaps more to come. Scientists have always pointed out that there is an alternative nuclear possibility, parallel to uranium and plutonium: thorium, with less or absent negative consequences.

[futurism.com] – Tech Developed During the Cold War Could Give Us Clean Power for Millions of Years

Belgium’s Nuclear Power Plants Falling Apart

doel-nuclear[source] The Belgians conveniently located one of their two nuclear power stations in Doel at the border with the Netherlands. If something goes wrong, large parts of the Netherlands will become uninhabitable, but not Belgium.

The German government is preparing “critical questions” to the Belgian authorities on operational safety at the nation’s two active nuclear power plants, following a number of recent successive incidents at nuclear facilities.
After incidents at both Belgian nuclear power plants, German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has again put her concerns point-blank, demanding whether security is guaranteed at the Belgian NPPs, proposing Brussels to get rid of the nuclear energy altogether. The minister said, though, that the final decision remains with the Belgian people…

As long as these reactors that are falling to bits remain online nuclear incidents cannot be ruled out,” North Rhine-Westphalia’s regional minister Johannes Remmel was quoted as saying by the Belgium news outlet Flanders News on Tuesday. After “all these incidents,” it is strange that Belgium’s nuclear authorities are not considering taking all the country’s nuclear reactors offline, Remmel also said.

This should be the Dutch government saying this, before the Germans.

Reaction of the Dutch government: next year we’ll take in 250,000 refugees.

dimonaChernobyl Exclusion Zone (red) projected over Israel, north of their nuclear facility Dimona. That’s more than 150 km. If Doel goes down, cities like The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht would become uninhabitable. And since Rotterdam is the gateway to Europe, the consequences would exceed a much larger area than the Netherlands alone. That maybe the reason why the Germans sound the alarm bell.

And since with prevailing winds in the Netherlands from the South-West, this is news directly involving yours faithfully.

[rt.com] – Belgium’s nuclear power plants ‘falling to bits’ – German officials

Cold Fusion 2.0

In 1989 two of the world’s leading electrochemists, the Brit Fleischmann and American Frenchman Pons, shocked the world with their announcement that they had found a way to initiate a exogenous nuclear fusion reaction at room temperature. After initial world wide excitement, things calmed down. Cold fusion research however never really stopped and now an Italian inventor and entrepreneur Andrea Rossi claims to have developed a cold fusion or Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) thermal power source. 1-megawatt cold fusion power plant now available, that is on pre-order – yours for just $1.5 million.

[extremetech.com] – 1-megawatt cold fusion power plant now available – yours for just $1.5 million
[forbes.com] Finally! Independent Testing Of Rossi’s E-Cat Cold Fusion Device: Maybe The World Will Change After All
[forbes.com] – Psstt! Want An E-Cat LENR Generator? For Free?
[wikipedia.org] – Cold fusion

Read more…

Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough?

Youtube text: Breakthrough technology: Charles Chase and his team at Lockheed have developed a high beta configuration, which allows a compact reactor design and speedier development timeline (5 years instead of 30).

Lockhead Martin’s Skunk Works is famous for developing advanced technologies. Now Skunk Works Program Manager Charles Chase has outlined their plan for creating a 100 MW Fusion prototype by 2017.

[engineering.com]

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