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rboyd

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #450 on: July 04, 2017, 10:41:00 PM »
New cost escalation for EDF's Hinkley Point C project (UK)

Cost escalation and delay in delivery, it just gets worse with this project.

"The costs of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project in Somerset (United Kingdom) have jumped by £2.2bn (€2.5bn) and reach now a total of £20.3bn (€23.1bn), while the risk of a deferral in the delivery (COD) of the project is estimated at 15 months for Unit 1 and 9 months for Unit 2. The first reactor would then be commissioned in 2027 instead of late 2025. As a result, the project rate of return is expected to drop from 9% to 8.2%.

EDF has reported that £1.5bn (€1.7bn) of the cost escalation is due to a “better understanding” of the construction operations needed and of the British regulatory requirements, while the estimated delay on the reactors is expected to increase the costs by a further £0.7bn (€0.8bn). However, EDF is still targeting the end of 2025 as the initial commissioning date."

https://www.enerdata.net/publications/daily-energy-news/new-cost-escalation-edfs-hinkley-point-c-project-uk.html

Bob Wallace

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #451 on: July 04, 2017, 11:58:56 PM »
Supposedly the extra cost will not be charged to UK electricity purchasers.  That means that the extra cost is going to be mostly eaten by the French government (and China?).  IIRC the French government owns about 85% of the French nuclear industry stock.

I wonder if they overpriced their bid anticipating something like this would happen or if they're going to be subsidizing nuclear in the UK.

tombond

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #452 on: July 14, 2017, 03:47:34 AM »
An open letter to French president Emmanuel Macron from environmentalists led by Jim Hansen warned that closing nuclear power plants would be a step backward for France.

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/V-Environmentalists-appeal-to-Macron-for-nuclear-0406171.html

Key points from the letter include.

Nobody has done more for advancing clean energy on the grid than France. In light of this knowledge, we are writing to express our alarm at your decision to move France away from clean nuclear power.

Any reduction in France's nuclear generation will increase fossil fuel generation and pollution given the low capacity factors and intermittency of solar and wind.

Whereas France has some of the cheapest and cleanest electricity in Europe, Germany has some of the most expensive and dirtiest.

The French nuclear program has historically been the envy of the world.  It demonstrated in the 1970s and 80s that the decarbonization of an industrialized country's electricity sector is in fact possible.

For France, the next necessary step to help combat climate change and improve air quality is to increase clean electricity from all non-fossil sources and massively reduce fossil fuels used in heating and the transportation sector.  Nuclear power must play a central role in this.

etienne

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #453 on: July 14, 2017, 07:08:32 AM »
I heard yesterday on the radio that Germany is able to close the nuclear reactors and to reduce coal use for electricity production.  I personnaly believe that nuclear brings more problems than solutions. Fossil fuels are also used when building the reactors, when storing the trash, when dismantling the reactor and when managing accidents, so it is not as clean as it looks like. Some of the people who signed work directly for the nuclear industry, the other ones, I don't know.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #454 on: July 14, 2017, 08:02:01 AM »
Hansen needs to learn more and pontificate less.

France is replacing the 17 reactors they plan on closing with wind and solar.  France is already installing the RE in order to be ready for reactor closing.

France has higher wholesale electricity prices than Germany.



Aside from  that France did not build nuclear in order to lower their carbon footprint.  France built nuclear because they were using a lot of oil to generate electricity and OPEC started jerking the world around.  Now France's reactor fleet is wearing out and it doesn't make sense to replace them with more nuclear since the cost would be so very high. 


numerobis

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #455 on: July 14, 2017, 04:39:48 PM »
...Fossil fuels are also used when building the reactors, when storing the trash, when dismantling the reactor and when managing accidents, so it is not as clean as it looks like...

Last figures I saw in the IPCC were that wind and solar have the lowest carbon intensity per kWh; hydro and nuclear were around twice as bad. Then natural gas about 5x or 10x (I forget) compared to hydro or nuclear. That's looking at the whole supply chain, amortizing appropriately for the construction. There's huge variability in these figures: a dam made of concrete is a lot more carbon-intensive than one made of clay and rock, for instance; a solar panel made using coal-powered electricity is far worse than one made from cleaner sources; a solar panel installed in a rainy place does worse than one installed in a sunny spot, etc.

The overall picture: nuclear is more carbon-intensive than wind and solar. But it's a *lot* cleaner than any fossil fuel. A nuclear refurbish could well be about on par with new wind or solar, because you don't have to build new cooling towers and a reactor containment building and so on (but you do need to refine uranium etc).

However, it'd be far, far more expensive in dollar terms, and slow to build.

TerryM

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #456 on: July 14, 2017, 07:33:18 PM »
I know nothing of the subject, but wonder what the carbon costs of closing down & cleaning up a nuclear plant are, in comparison to the carbon cost of refurbishing one?


Terry

rboyd

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #457 on: July 14, 2017, 08:42:32 PM »
You have to close them down at some point and therefore take the carbon cost

Bob Wallace

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #458 on: July 15, 2017, 12:10:24 AM »
The carbon load of closing is (I imagine) fairly fixed.  If you can extend the life of a reactor that would mean more GWh of electricity produced and lower the per GWh average.

The problem for nuclear is that many of the paid off plants are financially struggling.  The wholesale price of electricity barely covers the cost of operating the plant.  If the plant spends a lot of money refurbishing then they may not be able to pay the bill.

This is a something that I think few, very few, people saw coming.  The unaffordability of new nuclear has been obvious for a few years as we watched the cost of NG and wind falling.  But it didn't occur to anyone that I've encountered that paid off reactors in good repair might be priced out of the market.


ghoti

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #459 on: July 15, 2017, 06:26:22 AM »
The cost of refurbishment is astronomical! It is extremely complicated and can be risky. Ontario is spending half a billion to build a mock up of the plant they are refurbishing to make sure the workers are trained well enough to handle the actual refurbishment.

I suspect that extending the life of nuclear plants is far less fraught and expensive than decommissioning - especially when no safe permanent nuclear disposal site exists in the country.

etienne

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #460 on: July 15, 2017, 07:50:52 AM »
Furthermore, if you look at the costs of a nuclear accident, you can say that nuclear industry makes business without insurance regarding the risks. If this cost would be calculated as subsidies, I guess this would change the picture.

TerryM

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #461 on: July 15, 2017, 07:08:06 PM »
I was thinking specifically of the costs to the environment. Monetary costs I believe can be adjusted when carbon taxes are applied. A coal, or even gas plant might be viable with no carbon tax, but extremely expensive to operate otherwise, nuclear might be expensive with no carbon tax. but very reasonable should carbon taxes be applied.


Building the facility released a lot of GHG, a certain amount will be released when decommissioning it, if refurbishing can be done while releasing less than a new build would, and this eliminates one of the decommissioning cycles, wouldn't this be the ecologically correct path?
I'm not advocating new nuclear, just exploring the possibility of keeping those already built on line.


Terry

longwalks1

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #462 on: July 16, 2017, 12:54:51 AM »
in re life extension - Neutron embrittlement.  Also concrete does have a life span aside from radiation.  . 

Bob Wallace

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #463 on: July 16, 2017, 06:32:02 PM »
nuclear might be expensive with no carbon tax. but very reasonable should carbon taxes be applied.

If coal was required to pay its full cost paid off nuclear would be much cheaper than paid off coal.  New nuclear would probably be a little cheaper than new coal.

But, if you put a price on carbon, nuclear still has to compete with wind and solar, and nuclear can't.  Some paid off nuclear plants are cheap to operate but they won't last forever.  At refurbishing or replacement time it's over for those plants. 


zizek

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #464 on: July 16, 2017, 06:43:29 PM »
Google keeps on pulling life cycle GHG numbers that put nuclear on par with wind and solar, of course, most of these numbers are from industry so who knows.

Windmill and solar have two big issues that shouldn't be set aside, and I don't think are taken into account when discussing life cycle costs.  First, and the most obvious, what will emissions look like when we move completely from fossil fuels and rely on energy storage?  Second, and an issue that should be taken more seriously, how will volatile and unpredictable weather from a warming world affect wind and solar.

Wind mills and solar panels are at the mercy of the climate change. Which, I feel, isn't the best thing to rely on considering our current state.  Extreme weathers can damage turbines and solar panels, either completely destroying them or increasing maintenance costs. Additionally, changing weather patterns could negatively (and positively) impact the efficiency of units.

It doesn't really matter at this point. Capital has pretty much completely shifted from nuclear into wind and solar. Hopefully we're making the right bet...

Bob Wallace

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #465 on: July 16, 2017, 07:24:42 PM »
First, and the most obvious, what will emissions look like when we move completely from fossil fuels and rely on energy storage?

The lifetime carbon footprint for solar and wind will be much smaller than it is today.  And it's really small already.  Most of the carbon emissions from the wind and solar industry come from the grid use of fossil fuels and transportation's almost total use of FF.  As we move to electricity powered transportation and a 100% RE grid all that  carbon stays in the ground.

Second, and an issue that should be taken more seriously, how will volatile and unpredictable weather from a warming world affect wind and solar.

Studies have suggested that we should see little change in wind resources on a global level.  In some places winds may become weaker or stronger but that can be largely dealt with by changing turbine blade length/design. 

Solar panels will produce a little less electricity in hotter weather.  The amount of area needed for solar panels will likely be more than offset by increases in panel efficiency.

Something I'm observing here at the southern end of the PNW is that there seems to be less coastal fog in the summer.  I don't know if that is extending further north, but if so then solar is going to be more productive in this limited area. 

I stuck that in as an indication that things will vary, improve in some places, be degraded in others.  Overall things may not be heavily impacted.

BTW, offshore wind turbines are designed to withstand a Category 3 hurricane.  These things are not fragile.

Since this is the nuclear thread, we might want to think about impact to nuclear energy.  There's the obvious problem of raising sea levels and more frequent flooding.  That means we should expect increased outages from poorly sited reactors. 

And as temperatures rise cooling will become less efficient, lowering output.  Plus temperature required shutdowns will increase.

zizek

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #466 on: July 16, 2017, 08:31:42 PM »
First, and the most obvious, what will emissions look like when we move completely from fossil fuels and rely on energy storage?

The lifetime carbon footprint for solar and wind will be much smaller than it is today.  And it's really small already.  Most of the carbon emissions from the wind and solar industry come from the grid use of fossil fuels and transportation's almost total use of FF.  As we move to electricity powered transportation and a 100% RE grid all that  carbon stays in the ground.

Second, and an issue that should be taken more seriously, how will volatile and unpredictable weather from a warming world affect wind and solar.

Studies have suggested that we should see little change in wind resources on a global level.  In some places winds may become weaker or stronger but that can be largely dealt with by changing turbine blade length/design. 

Solar panels will produce a little less electricity in hotter weather.  The amount of area needed for solar panels will likely be more than offset by increases in panel efficiency.

Something I'm observing here at the southern end of the PNW is that there seems to be less coastal fog in the summer.  I don't know if that is extending further north, but if so then solar is going to be more productive in this limited area. 

I stuck that in as an indication that things will vary, improve in some places, be degraded in others.  Overall things may not be heavily impacted.

BTW, offshore wind turbines are designed to withstand a Category 3 hurricane.  These things are not fragile.

Since this is the nuclear thread, we might want to think about impact to nuclear energy.  There's the obvious problem of raising sea levels and more frequent flooding.  That means we should expect increased outages from poorly sited reactors. 

And as temperatures rise cooling will become less efficient, lowering output.  Plus temperature required shutdowns will increase.

Here is the IPCC report that discuss GHG emissions:
https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg3/ipcc_wg3_ar5_annex-iii.pdf#page=5
nuclear mean: 12
wind onshore: 11
wind offshore: 12
concentrated solar panel: 27
coal: 820

Really, I'm not sure if there's any worth comparing GHG emissions between nuclear and other green energy sources. The emissions are so similar for all of them that it becomes trivial. It's probably more important to deliberate the practical components of renewable (and nuclear) energy sources.

Nuclear is tried tested and true. That's what makes it appealing. Renewable have a long way to go before they can effectively meet the our current demands. And trust me when I say this, I would much rather have wind and solar over nuclear. But I feel like we're running out of time. Projections that incorporate wind and solar as our main source of power forecast technologies and efficiencies that don't yet exist. That is fine and all, and the model should contain that. But what these models don't consider is what happens if climate change disrupts the highly fragile globalized economic system our current society exists in.

I dunno, I may be wrong. But I just feel that an energy source that depends so much on weather, geography, and R&D might not be the best path for us.  It seems to rely so much on stability, and I fear the near future will be anything but. 

wili

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #467 on: July 16, 2017, 09:18:54 PM »
"Nuclear is tried tested and true"

Except some of those 'tests' went horribly wrong...

..and more are sure to follow  :-\
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #468 on: July 16, 2017, 09:23:23 PM »
Compared to fossil fuels nuclear, wind and solar are all great when it comes to carbon footprint.  Wind and solar numbers decline as turbines and panels become more efficient.  And as the grid uses less FF. 

Nuclear is tried and tested.  But it's proven to be too expensive.  Were we to repower our grids with nuclear the additional cost of electricity would cripple economies.  Wind and solar make the cost of electricity cheaper.

"Projections that incorporate wind and solar as our main source of power forecast technologies and efficiencies that don't yet exist. "

No, I've read several 80% wind/solar to 100% wind/solar studies and none use "don't yet exist" technologies.  Most of the studies are out of date as soon as they are published because wind and solar efficiencies have already improved since the paper was written and costs have fallen.

I've never see a "mostly RE grid" study that uses technologies or efficiencies not already demonstrated.

" I just feel that an energy source that depends so much on weather, geography, and R&D might not be the best path for us."

Local weather patterns may change.  That could mean that in a few places we might have to change the blades on wind turbines or add more solar panels to the system.  In a few extreme conditions we might need to relocate the turbines or panels. 

Most likely we would never move turbines due to changes in wind speeds.  Those changes are not likely to be abrupt.  Worst case, we'd continue to use the current turbines but not replace them at that site when they reached the end of their useful life.  We'd install the replacements is a windier spot.

zizek

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #469 on: July 17, 2017, 12:56:25 AM »
I have a feeling that solar and wind, along with energy storage, are not economically feasible in many parts of the world. But maybe I'm wrong, and I hope I am.

wili

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #470 on: July 17, 2017, 01:05:54 AM »
"I have a feeling..."

Based on???

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-oHYYaw9jA
 :)
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bob Wallace

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #471 on: July 17, 2017, 01:29:18 AM »
I have a feeling that solar and wind, along with energy storage, are not economically feasible in many parts of the world. But maybe I'm wrong, and I hope I am.


Go to this page -

http://thesolutionsproject.org/why-clean-energy/

and explore the US and International maps.  That will show you the best (most economical) mix of renewables in each area at this point in time.  The mix will probably change as prices for technologies will drop at different rates.  But the maps show what could be done now.

numerobis

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #472 on: July 17, 2017, 01:45:40 AM »
zizek: I agree that the CO2 impact of nuclear versus wind/solar is hard to distinguish.

Nuclear is tried and tested, I agree.

The CANDU reactor is mostly safe but extremely expensive (filling up with D2O is about a third of the lifetime cost, a cost no other reactor faces).

The PWR reactors are prone to catastrophic failure. They take 5-10 years to build once permitted.

Third-generation plants are under construction and hitting giant cost overruns at the moment. An industry insider tells me it's in large part for dumb reasons of ego wars between nuclear and civil engineers. Regardless of fault, it's a fact that they're late and going over their already expensive bids. We don't currently know how long they take to build, since none has successfully been built yet.

Fourth-generation plants are on paper perfect and wonderful but in reality they don't exist any more now than they did 10-15 years ago when I was adjacent to that industry (I was working on scientific computing; they needed better simulations of pebble-bed reactors).

A grid that's nearly 100% nuclear (aka France, or for a while New Brunswick) has serious problems with load-following. You have to rely on a neighbour to take the excess load at night, or on storage, or else you have to shut down one of these fantastically expensive plants for a little while, reducing its capacity factor and making it even more expensive per kWh it generates over its life.