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Stephen

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Nuclear Power
« on: March 10, 2014, 11:27:00 PM »
http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2014/20140310_ChinaOpEd.pdf

And I agree with him.  The worst problems of nuclear power are tiny compared to the problems of carbon fuels.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 08:00:56 PM by Neven »
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domen_

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2014, 12:41:30 AM »
He is very dismissive of renewables. I think he is wrong about that. They have become cost efficient and people are much more in favor of renewables than nuclear. I don't think forcing nuclear will do any good.

Stephen

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2014, 03:53:40 AM »
The opportunity for peaceful use of nuclear power was lost amid the anti-nuclear hysteria of the 80s.  The nuclear industry was its own worst enemy with lax safety standards.  Then there was the sovereign risk - the suspicion that military dictatorships (like North Korea and Iran right now) would use a peaceful power generation program to hide weapons development.

But, in spite of all the above, it's still our Earth's best chance.
The ice was here, the ice was there,   
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It crack'd and growl'd, and roar'd and howl'd,   
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Neven

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2014, 08:00:27 AM »
In my opinion only Gen IV makes sense, but there's a lot of uncertainty regarding its practical implementation, I believe.
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Jim Hunt

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2014, 12:09:06 PM »
In my opinion only Gen IV makes sense.


Take your pick from the list at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gen-IV_reactor

The trouble is Gen I was designed more for producing nuclear weapons rather than just electricity. For a variety of reasons there has been a singular lack of R&D on producing just electricity since then.

Current UK plans include a shiny new Gen III EPR over here in Soggy South West England: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinkley_Point_C_nuclear_power_station

UK energy policy doesn't make much sense! (IMHO of course)
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2014, 05:26:46 PM »
I think Hansen is simply irrational on this subject. 

Not that we live in a world which has even a small tendency to evaluate decisions based upon a rigorous risk benefit analysis, but if there is even one technology that begs for such basic rational thought it is certainly expanding or even continuing operating nuclear power plants.

The risk far outweighs the possible gain. By orders of magnitude.  If we were really basing our decisions off of risk vs gain we would be well into the process of shutting down all nuclear plants in the world right now and we would certainly not be building any more.  Post collapse taking care of the all the non-depleted nuclear fuel rods and all of the nuclear waste is going to be onerous already.  Let's not add to that problem any further.  Not to mention our chances of nuclear accidents rises significantly as civilization continues it's slow crumble.  Review where we are at in regards to Fukishima for reference as it is expected to require another 30-40 years of effort to resolve that situation.     

Perhaps new generation or advanced designs could be developed and eventually deployed, but not for many years yet.  We simply do not have time left to consider that as an option and it would have to be an option which solved the AGW problem and it just does not even address it.  Time to avoid a severely disrupted climate is long past.  Carbon emissions are of such magnitude and human decision making such that it is virtually certain that the best we can hope for at this point in time is a CO2 level of 450ppm and quite possibly much higher.  This will result in AGW conditions well beyond the point where anything resembling current civilization can continue to function.   

We are already on the downward slope of rising energy costs (declining EROEI) and resource availability.   We will increasingly struggle to maintain the infrastructure we already have.  Resources and wealth are already in short enough supply that the idea of converting our entire power generation system to renewables is well beyond our capability, thus forcing us to continue fossil BAU power generation approaches for at least another generation and likely until we just collapse.  And do not forget that a world powered solely by industrial scale renewable power generation is not even close to being sustainable either. We are adding some 75 million people to the world population every year and doing our damnedest to raise the standards of living of everyone on Earth (thus adding to the vast emissions of carbon we are already emitting).  Everything we are doing is putting us even further beyond the earth's carrying capacity than we are now.  Food production is under constantly increasing stress and is virtually certain to reach population limiting points by 2050 and has a good chance of doing so much earlier.

We already lack the resources to properly manage the shutdown and mothballing of the current nuclear power plants and this shutdown requirement is virtually certain to happen and the resources to manage it 'must' be taken from all the other critical requirements which are constantly building.

BAU destroys civilization.  Green-BAU destroys civilization.  Industrial civilization is just not sustainable.  As much as Hansen deserves respect for his work warning us about AGW and is impacts he has failed to follow his own work to see what the rest of the story is going to be.  Like many of those fully into the technological world and having experienced over a long life the constant increase in complexity of civilization he opts for another level of complexity to address a problem.  This is the standard response that complex civilizations make (whether BAU or Green-BAU).  History and simple follow through to the end logic say it just will not work.  It is basing our rather slim chances of a future on a miracle and is just a form of magical thinking.  Going nuclear would make the crash worse (potentially catastrophically worse) and very likely make it come quicker.  It just makes no sense.     

There is no logical reason to assume we can avoid a dramatic reduction in civilizational complexity and, if we want to leave any kind of livable world to our descendants, we must do everything in our power to dramatically cut population (before the four horsemen step up and finish the job for us - which they are certainly going to do), resource consumption, our standards of living, carbon emissions, and 50 other things as soon as we can.  We need to head in the direction of the world's carrying capacity as fast as our little feet will carry us not the other direction. 

No new nuclear, shut down the current nuclear, shutdown the coal plants, do not build renewable unless there is a one to one shutdown of a coal plant for each new renewable plant.  No additions to power generation capacity at all.  Shut down globalization as fast as possible.  Cease any kind of exploration for new fossil fuel sources as we already have far more than we can afford to burn.

As is said, "Deal with reality or it will deal with you."         
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

SATire

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2014, 08:28:19 PM »
JimD - 100% agreement to all your points.

But - ;-)
one point I would like to view from an other point (I think clearly in agreement with your words above): Complexity - that is a natural thing, since evolution just moves towards more complex things. And it is not a bad thing, if it is not reduced to complex (=hardly ever sustainable) technology only.

E.g.: Biological-dynamical agriculture (which is called permaculture at some places today) is about complex environment instead of simple industrial agriculture (roots in water with some minerals and poison).

E.g. Education - the more the better to get rid of population peacefully. The more the better for a nice living.

You may find a lot more - complexity is challenging and is needed by our brain. Let go all simple solutions. We need to look for complicated ways of life - everything is connected to everything else and understanding should be prior to any action possibly changing that complex environment somehow.

Jim Hunt

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2014, 08:38:17 PM »
With my devil's advocate hat on, Stewart Brand loves nuclear power too:



PS. The timed start doesn't seem to work on here. Skip to 9 minutes for the "pro nuclear" bit.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2014, 09:22:39 PM »
SATire

One of the lessons of history is that when complex civilizations collapse the surviving society drops back to a less complex structure.  It also shows that there has (to my knowledge anyway) never been a complex society which consciously, in the face of stress which eventually caused collapse, that chose to reduce complexity in the attempt to stave off collapse.  They have always tried to fix their problems by adding layers of complexity.  Doing that takes more resources and wealth when those very things are becoming more scarce.  A recipe for disaster.  We need to advocate for abandoning non-productive levels of complexity as that buys us more time (not that there is any real time left).

When extinction events have taken place in the past the level of diversity (a proxy for complexity) have also been reduced.  In a natural extinction event one could claim that one sees a reversal of evolutionary complexity down to a point of stability which the new natural world can support.  Once conditions improve then complexity starts growing again.  We need to consciously mimic what natures does with our civilizational structures. 

While I fully agree with your comment on there is no such thing as too much education I would point out that there is little global commitment to the permaculture (or any other sustainable agriculture concept).  I am sure that well above 90% of "organic" agriculture in the developed and developing worlds is more properly described as Industrial Organic and is in no way sustainable.  Row cropping, using all the typical agricultural machinery, irrigating with pumps and piping/tubing, and fleets of vehicles is by definition industrial whether artificial chemicals are used or not.  And certainly not sustainable.

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Bruce Steele

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2014, 12:48:12 AM »
JimD, A man after my own heart.
I told a friend of mine about how we should stockpile rat traps and gopher traps at the springs (perennial  weeps)that the natives used to elude the mission system, a church run form of slavery. Reductionist nonpareil.
 He was visiting his mother and shared my survival minimalist ideas. She liked them . My wife
however doesn't, go figure.
 Try memorizing the stars for an education. Try memorizing very long poems( the bard). The mind is restless. An education is relative. And yes organic agriculture is mostly a sales pitch. Better for native wildlife no doubt but hardly sustainable.
  I am writing this in good humor but a good education shouldn't erase too much of the past. What is progress running backwards? 

Jim Hunt

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2014, 01:54:48 AM »
Russia loves nuclear power in the UK. The latest news on the UK's nonsensical energy policy:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/237059/mou_decc_rosatom.pdf

The Department of Energy and Climate Change of the United Kingdom and State Atomic Energy Corporation “Rosatom” (hereinafter – Rosatom), recognising the significant ongoing cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector, and building on the long-standing agreement between the two countries on Co-operation in the Peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy, wish to work together more closely to develop a mutually beneficial relationship in the commercial civil nuclear sphere.

« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 12:37:16 PM by Jim Hunt »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Laurent

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2014, 09:48:15 AM »
That mean they wish to dump their nuclear wastes (A part of it)  in Russia, just like EDF (french company) does...

icefest

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2014, 11:55:07 AM »
That mean they wish to dump their nuclear wastes (A part of it)  in Russia, just like EDF (french company) does...

To be honest, nuclear waste and meltdowns are only a local issue. GHG and ACC are global and more short term. I will support almost any nuclear plant over a FF plant.

(PV, Wind, & geothermal are preferred though.)
Open other end.

Jim Hunt

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2014, 12:41:52 PM »
Jonathon Porritt is an elder statesman of the Green movement here in the UK. Jonathon hates nuclear power:

http://www.jonathonporritt.com/Campaigns/nuclear

One year on from Fukushima, it staggers me how many people still think there's a role for nuclear power in the UK's future energy mix. Together with three other former Directors of Friends of the Earth (Tom Burke, Tony Juniper, Charles Secrett), we've been assessing the case against nuclear - exclusively from an economic perspective.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2014, 03:27:37 PM »
To be honest, nuclear waste and meltdowns are only a local issue. GHG and ACC are global and more short term. I will support almost any nuclear plant over a FF plant.

(PV, Wind, & geothermal are preferred though.)

icefest

Surely you know that the bolded is completely untrue?  Chernobyl and Fukashima prove otherwise and we need to keep in mind that only extreme efforts kept them from being much worse accidents and we are not out of the woods with Fukashima yet either).  As we move forward in time such efforts will become increasingly hard to execute and accidents (of which there will always be some) will get progressively worse and more global.  Think of the situation we would be in if Fukashima had gone worst case.  Tokyo would be evacuated right now and large areas of Japan would be uninhabitable.  Do you have space at your place to put them up for a couple of decades?

As dangerous as nuclear is now that danger is only going to grow over time.  I say no nuclear or fossil plants makes a lot more sense. 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

SATire

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2014, 03:36:09 PM »
To be honest, nuclear waste and meltdowns are only a local issue. GHG and ACC are global and more short term. I will support almost any nuclear plant over a FF plant.
Nuclear waste is locally only in space (hopefully) but not in time. The nuclear waste will exist much longer than GHG (>100,000 years). If you want to remove the waste (e.g. transmutation by laser) you will need more energy than was produced during lifetime of the power plant (EROI<1). So you have to take care for that stuff >100,000 years regardless of the plenty of collapses usually happening in geological timeframes. Even economically it makes no sense if you think about any interest rate slightly larger than zero - after 100,000 years the costs are only slighly smaller than infinity. And we are still not talking about risks of accidents rising with increased number of plants and direct impacts...

So - please do not compare nuclear versus fossil generally. It comes down to personal feelings and rating space vs. time. Reasonably booth are similar bad: Very bad (on the long run and/or globaly).

Furthermore - take JimD's argument seriously that dangerous complex technical systems exhibit an enormous risk in times of collapse. It took quite some effort during the small collapse of Sowjet Union to prevent an accident. We will not be able to handle that in times of global problems - so within the next 15-50 years all nuclear power plants must be off and cool allready. There is no time left for new systems today.

Jim Hunt

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2014, 03:52:58 PM »
As dangerous as nuclear is now that danger is only going to grow over time.  I say no nuclear or fossil plants makes a lot more sense.


Did you follow my Wikipedia link earlier Jim? Here's one of the places it leads to:

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

By way of example, LFTRs are reputed to "fail safe".

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2014, 04:54:16 PM »
Jim

As I tried to say earlier.  New designs may have promise but that promise has to be considered in light of where civilization is headed.  It is far too late to execute gradual changeovers in technology which take a couple of generations.  We simply do not have time to execute before we are overtaken by the collapse of the environment and the rolling impacts that will have on society.  Nuclear is a solution to a problem, but not to the problem of AGW.

Advocates of nuclear and renewables as solutions for AGW do not seem to be considering our problems in a systemic fashion.  They look at energy production in a laboratory sense in that they mentally isolate it from all other factors and then examine it in a sterile fashion.  This is where the constant analysis keeping coming from which indicate that in mathematical terms we could switch from fossil electrical production to all alternatives and maintain BAU.  But when looked at in a real world perspective (i.e. the difference between a laboratory model and a full up functioning industrial process) one can easily see that it will not work.  There are two primary and many secondary reasons for the why of not working.  First is time.  We ran out of time to execute a long time ago.  Industrial global energy system changeovers require vast amounts of resources and time.  We have neither in sufficient supply.  Second is that even if we managed to execute we do not achieve a solution to the AGW problem.  Why?  We are collapsing because we are far past the carrying capacity of the Earth and we are not living sustainably.  An all nuclear or all renewable energy production system does not move us towards the carrying capacity nor towards sustainability.  BAU and Green-BAU are not sustainable so they do not fix AGW.  The goal of  those who advocate for those types of responses to AGW is to maintain a close approximation to the lifestyle we have now.  Which is not sustainable and is no solution.  It is worth keeping in mind that if we all (and that all is going to be 9 billion eventually) lived like the average African we would still be adding significantly to rising CO2 levels and on a  path to catastrophe and collapse.   We are also in an declining EROEI situation and past the production peak of dozens of critical minerals. Going forward it will become harder each year to  maintain our current infrastructure, spare the resources to create new infrastructure, provide food and housing for the 75 million new citizens borne ach year, repair damage from AGW generated storms and conditions.  Industrial civilization is not sustainable in any sense.  Solutions designed to maintain BAU make things worse not better.  We can live a pretty nice (non-sustainable) lifestyle on this earth only if we have a small population. 

We badly need to accept our circumstances and to quit wasting energy on silver bullet fixes.  There is no easy solution.

To point out what I was trying to say earlier about needing to shut down existing nuclear facilities while we still have time and can mange to devote enough resources to do it (I think we might still be able to manage this - but maybe not).  And accepting that spending those resources to shut down means they will not be available for a host of other purposes which need them also is stuff like the below.

Three years after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami nearly triggered a nuclear cataclysm in central Japan, conditions at the shattered Dai-Ichi power plant in Fukushima don't inspire confidence. Radiation levels in the surrounding area will keep more than 150,000 residents from returning to their homes for years, if ever. Groundwater flowing under the rubbled reactors, where it is contaminated by radioactivity, is accumulating at the rate of 400 tons a day in more than 1,100 tanks, some of which are leaking the water into the nearby ocean. Dismantling the plant will call for an unprecedented removal of molten fuel from the three reactors that melted down; all told, the decommissioning process could take four decades and cost as much as 11 trillion yen ($106 billion). And that’s if things go well and, God forbid, another huge earthquake doesn’t hit.

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-03-11/on-fukushima-anniversary-remember-pearl-harbor


We quite possibly do not have the time left to execute the fix for Fukashima.  That should scare the shit out of people. We are still trying to clean up after Chernobyl and it will take some billions of dollars and at least another 5 years.  And Chernobyl occurred in 1986.

It is certain that there will be other nuclear accidents at other fission reactors over the next 40 years.  The next one will almost certainly be beyond our ability to manage it.  Post collapse how are the survivors going to deal with nuclear reactors which we did not shut down in time?  How are they going to deal with vast quantities of nuclear fuel rods (both used and not-depleted) that need to be stored, maintained and secured for generations?  They will not be able to do this.  This means more accidents and whole areas of the world irradiated and unusable.  We dare not take such chances.  It is a risk vs gain calculation that is totally one sided.
 
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Jim Hunt

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2014, 01:57:32 PM »
New designs may have promise but that promise has to be considered in light of where civilization is headed.  It is far too late to execute gradual changeovers in technology which take a couple of generations.  We simply do not have time to execute before we are overtaken by the collapse of the environment and the rolling impacts that will have on society.  Nuclear is a solution to a problem, but not to the problem of AGW.


I hear where you're coming from Jim, but please bear with me as I try to cover all angles of a very contentious debate, and that's just within the "Green movement"!

The UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority state that they are seriously considering building a Gen IV PRISM reactor within one generation for the primary purpose of reprocessing our large pile of nuclear waste:

 http://www.nda.gov.uk/strategy/nuclearmaterials/plutonium/index.cfm

From Appendix 2 of the 2014 position paper:

The study highlighted a number of potential benefits of utilising the PRISM reactor solution to manage separated plutonium, notably a reduced time to disposition the UK stockpile, given the higher incorporation of plutonium in fuel, a simplified fuel manufacturing process and reactor construction, and the ability to utilise the full inventory of plutonium which should consequently reduce the overall costs of implementation of plutonium reuse.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Shared Humanity

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2014, 04:33:50 PM »
I  really don't care for nuclear power. I worry about stored waste that will remain highly  radioactive for thousands of years. Given the devastating impact of AGW is rapidly approaching, we might not be around to warn the next, hopefully more intelligent, species to inhabit the planet. Having said this, if we are going to avoid the worst effects of AGW, nuclear is the only effective transition technology because of its ability to generate large amounts of electricity.

I reluctantly put myself in the camp of building more nuclear power plants.

JimD

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2014, 04:57:42 PM »
Jim

Are you involved in trying to execute the UK strategy you link too?  I am sorry if I am making it difficult for you, but if little ole me can make it hard then what does that say about the subject?

I read some of the info you linked to and come away even 'more' concerned than I was before.  I don't hate technology (well not too much) and am a retired electrical engineer by education (though that is not what I did professionally), but I have not been able to find a logical path to continue to support nuclear power (yes I used too).  My reasons are just the basic risk vs gain calculations.

Working from the premise's I am taking as a given - which you may or may not accept - doing anything but figuring out how to shut it down as fast as possible does not make sense.  Even if one is not convinced that collapse is certain it is very difficult to come up with reasoning that arrives at any thing but the chance of collapse is very high.  The global resource base is severely degraded and getting worse, population is rising fast, AGW is getting worse fast, and so on.  All of the relevant factors which are pertinent to maintaining, building, developing, storing waste from nuclear technology are very likely to follow the trajectory of what is happening to the rest of the global civilization.  If we play the nuclear card and we are wrong about it saving civilization then we have materially made the prospects for the post collapse world much worse.  Is it a rational choice to make in light of the risk vs gain calculation?

I note in support of my position that even if you could avoid collapse before 2100 by deploying vast new quantities of nuclear and renewables that would not change in any way that we would be running a system that bears no resemblance to the word 'sustainable'.  So what is the point in taking the risk as we would still be pumping out vast quantities of carbon and we would somewhere post 2100 trigger the large methane emissions often mentioned.

Besides dealing with the existing nuclear problems, which will be very difficult going forward, and future accidents - there are always accidents, the time to develop, test, verify, and build large numbers of new technology nuclear power systems just does not appear to be there.  As this quote from your link seems to support..

The option of utilising fourth generation reactor types (GEN IV), such as fast reactors, has been screened out as not credible at this time. There are no GEN IV reactor systems commercially available and it is not considered that they will be commercially available for several decades. Even though the technology for fast reactors is well developed at the research reactor scale, the supply chain has yet to give indication of any substantive commercial development of these systems in the short to medium term. 


If we can barely pay for shutting the existing coal (and hopefully nuclear) down and we try and put vast resources into building out some 2000 GW of renewables where are the resources to then build out the new generation of nuclear going to come from?  All to get to just another unsustainable system?  How does that make sense?

One last thing and I will leave you alone. 

Troubled waters: Nuclear radiation found in B.C. may pose health concerns

Discovery of Fukushima radioactivity raises concerns for local marine life, and the effect it may have on humans
Cesium 134 has a half-life of two years, meaning its radioactivity is reduced by half during that time. Its presence in the environment is an indication of continuing contamination from Fukushima.

A more persistent danger to people and marine life is radioactive Cesium 137, which has a half-life of 30 years, and bioaccumulates in the food chain.

Researchers developed a model based on the diet of fish-eating killer whales along with the levels of Cesium 137 detected and predicted (less than 0.5 becquerels per cubic metre, a measurement of radioactivity) by other researchers in the Pacific waters offshore of Vancouver Island.

The models suggests that in 30 years, Cesium 137 levels in the whales will exceed the Canadian guideline of 1,000 becquerels per kilogram for consumption of seafood by humans — 10 times the Japanese guideline.


http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Toxic+waters+Nuclear+radiation+found+pose+health+concerns/9606269/story.html
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2014, 06:09:50 PM »
JimD above wrote" It also shows that there has (to my knowledge anyway) never been a complex society which consciously, in the face of stress which eventually caused collapse, that chose to reduce complexity in the attempt to stave off collapse."

In one lecture by Tainter, in response to just this kind of question, he pointed to the late Byzantine Empire as one such counter example--they devolved some power back to provinces and tribes in order to stave off the threat from Islam. I believe Tokugawa era Japan is sometimes held up as another.

But such are far and away the minor exceptions to the overall rule you point out which generally holds, as far as I know.
"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."

Jim Hunt

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2014, 10:21:37 PM »
Jim

Are you involved in trying to execute the UK strategy you link too?


No Jim. My degree (many moons ago) was in Electronic Engineering. My business card says that I'm a "Smart Grid Consultant". In that capacity I sit on an international smart grid standards committee and I write firmware that helps keep peoples lights on in the 1st and 3rd worlds. I'm also a member of an organization called RegenSW, which says that it is:

A leading centre of sustainable energy expertise and pioneering project delivery.  We enable business, local authorities, community groups and other organisations to deliver renewable energy and energy efficiency and build a prosperous low-carbon economy in the south west of England.


Green business as usual?
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

wili

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2014, 10:49:38 PM »
I have to agree with JimD on the threat that all nuclear plants pose to present and future communities--in fact, I see now way to avoid essentially every nuclear plant eventually going Fukushima or worse, given even the normal vagaries of history, not to mention the certain climate and political chaos we are definitely heading into in short order at this point. Building more of the same would be the epitome of folly, or more like intentional genocide.

"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."

mati

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2014, 12:03:31 AM »
wili
you are being silly.
there is no rational way to accept your comments, other than phobia.
we need nuclear desperately to manage the main electrical demand until we figure out how to use solar for this.  otherwise the CO2 burden will kill us all including you.
and so it goes

Bruce Steele

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2014, 02:28:10 AM »
Mati, Some of us believe it might be wise to consider managing the descent as opposed to maintaining
the growth paradigm. I too up until recently supported Nuclear ,and JimD has said the same ,but in a world where the head of the IPCC says we have until next year to stop and reverse the addition of Co2 into the atmosphere lest we pass the 2 degree C rise in worldwide temperatures maybe Nuclear is just another fantasy. A silver bullet that just didn't work. Until you can explain how to deactivate the existing nuclear infrastructure in declining economic conditions and store all that spent fuel for hundreds of years maybe you should think twice about doubling down. So I'll sign up in the silly department with Wili. No I don't really believe every plant will end like Fukushima or even a majority but with Solar EROEI at 2 to 3 I don't think that's such a sweet option either. There really isn't any option other than a fast contraction of our expectations, small is beautiful. That will buy some time.     
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 09:21:03 PM by Bruce Steele »

Neven

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2014, 01:30:46 PM »
we need nuclear desperately


We need to desperately use a lot less energy, and use what we use much more efficiently. This can only be done in a different, more realistic economic system.

Further we need to find ways to not expand global population, and then shrink it. This will take generations.

I also tried to remain neutral on nuclear, until I translated a TV report concerning the decommissioning of one of the oldest nuclear plants in France, costing ten times more than anticipated, and still not done (they haven't figured out how to disassemble the reactor chamber yet). Then I watched a documentary called Into Eternity about the Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository in Finland. In between I translated a TV report on the consequences of Tchernobyl, mainly about children having lost their thyroid glands.

That's when I knew I couldn't remain neutral any longer. Nuclear (except perhaps for Gen IV) simply isn't an option. You can keep the cancer in check for a while longer, but you're not taking away the cause.
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Laurent

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2014, 01:56:59 PM »
I guess it was about Brennilis nuclear power station ? ...a very small one though...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brennilis_Nuclear_Power_Plant

wili

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2014, 06:03:55 PM »
"We need to desperately use a lot less energy, and use what we use much more efficiently. This can only be done in a different, more realistic economic system..."

Nicely put, as usual.

So you worked/work as a translator?

Mati, I do like how 'silly' rhymes with 'wili'! ;D

But really, have you read any history lately? The period since WWII has been surprisingly low in terms of major wars, with some obvious exceptions. But over any stretch of history, wrenching, violent political change is the norm, along with gross incompetence. You could do worse for introducing yourself to such history than reading, for example, Tuchman's The March of Folly.

Human nature includes many wonderful attributes. But among the less wonderful ones--that have expressed themselves over and over through history, and any one of which are likely to bring about a Fukushima-or-worse situation--are:

Incompetence
Malfeasance
War
General Societal Collapse
Financial Collapse
Failure to Educate Engineers capable of handling these plants and their decomissioning
Rebellion
Revolution
Riots
Greed
Group Think
Corruption
Distraction
Inability to weigh risk (especially underestimation of risk)
Hopium
Unwillingness to go against the crowd (apparently a major factor in the Fuku case)
Hubris
Willingness to put others at risk
Hate
Terrorism
Vengeance
Stupidity...

You can add your own to this already long list, I'm sure.

And that's just human propensities through history. Add to that the likely hood of such geological events to happen--individually or, as in the Fuku case, in tandem--just in the normal course of things:

Flooding
Earthquake
Tsunami
Drought
Famine
Hurricane/Typhoon
Tornado...

And many more, most of which are likely to exacerbate the above human propensity for folly on small and grand scales.

And now consider that all of the latter list, except perhaps earthquakes and tornadoes, are going to be intensified and/or made more frequent by AGW--which we know we are stuck with at increasing rates no matter what we do now, and all of which in turn will exacerbate and make more likely most of the above human propensities for violence, malfeasance, and general stupidity--and it becomes immediately clear to anyone not blinded by ideology that indeed:

Every single nuke plant that is not immediately and totally decommissioned and deconstructed will go FUKU or worse at some probably-not-too-distant point, making vast swaths of the earth uninhabitable by humans for decades to centuries or longer.

The whole project was a vast techno-fantasy naively and insanely assuming an eternally perfect world to assuage the consciences of the scientists who brought us nuclear weapons (which could still be the cause of the end of civilization at pretty much any moment), to assure the availability of fissionable material for those weapons, and to enrich a very few at the expense of the very many.

« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 06:47:06 PM by wili »
"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."

tombond

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2014, 07:11:26 AM »
Whether it is climate change, abrupt sea level rise or nuclear power Jim Hansen will always be proved right as his conclusions are supported by scientific data and evidence.

Currently fossil carbon fuels produce 82% of global energy.  see

www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/.../KeyWorld2013.pdf

82% is generated by burning 14 billions tonnes of fossils fuels annually.  The waste, mainly CO2 is dumped into the atmosphere and is subsequently partly absorbed by the oceans.  This has raised CO2 levels from 280ppm in pre-industrial times to almost 400ppm today.

Urban outdoor air pollution is responsible for 1.3 million deaths annually.

 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/

Paleoclimate history from the Pliocene 5 million years ago teaches us that 400ppm will ultimately result in a mean global temperature about 2 degrees higher than today and a sea level rise of at least 15 metres.  Human civilisation will find it difficult to adapt to a climate change of this magnitude.

Business as usual fossil fuel use will see CO2 levels of 900ppm by 2100.  Paleoclimate history from the Eocene 50 million years ago teaches us that 900ppm will ultimately result in a mean global temperature about 12 degrees higher than today and a sea level rise of 80 metres. The human species will find it difficult to survive a climate change of this magnitude.

Non fossil Carbon Fuels produce 18% of global energy.

Biofuels produce 10% of the world’s energy and provides household cooking energy for low income countries resulting in about 2 million deaths annually.  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en/

Expansion of the biofuel production is unlikely given the competition with food crops and the destruction of forests.

Nuclear produces 5% of the world’s energy and during the past 50 years has been directly responsible for about 50 deaths.  See UNSEAR Chernobyl and Fukushima reports. 
http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/index.html
The Chernobyl UNSEAR report goes on to say the biggest health risk has been the psychological fear of radiation due to misinformation.

See also Jim Hansen’s analysis.  http://climate.nasa.gov/news/903

Expansion of nuclear is our most viable option given its energy intensity.
Conventional reactors require just 1 tonne of uranium fuel to replace 20,000 tonnes of coal.  Fast breeder reactors are 100 times more efficient with 1 tonne of nuclear fuel replacing 2 million tonnes of coal.  Just 7000 tonnes of uranium or nuclear waste could replace 14 billion tonnes of fossil fuel use saving 35 billion tonnes of annual CO2 emissions.

The integral fast reactor (IFR) was developed by the US government at the Argonne National Laboratory.  Its proto type the EBR 11 ran for 30 years proving to be both passively safe and highly efficient but was dumped by the Clinton administration on ideological grounds.
The GE Hitachi S-PRISM is a commercial IFR developed from this program and has been offered to the UK Government to dispose of its plutonium stockpile and generate electricity.  The S-PRISM 311 MWe can be mass produced in a factory and bought to site in modular form.  24,000 S-PRISM reactors could potentially replace all fossil fuel generation world wide providing energy for 100 years just using the current global stockpile of nuclear waste.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_fast_reactor

Integral Fast Reactor Introduction


http://bravenewclimate.com/integral-fast-reactor-ifr-nuclear-power/

Hydro electricity generates 2% of the world’s energy and responsible for about 200,000 deaths mainly due to the Banqaio Dam failure in China.  Expansion is limited due to the scarcity of suitable dam sites.

Renewable energy mainly wind and solar collects 1% of the world’s energy but only provides energy when the resource is available and thus has very low capacity factors requiring backup energy generation most of the time.  This is usually provided by fossil fuels.

David McKay shows how the laws of physics and mathematics, limits the expansion potential of renewable energy.

A reality check on renewables - David MacKay

http://www.withouthotair.com/Contents.html

All energy generation poises risk to human life.  However when assessing risk, climate change caused by fossil fuels, is by far the greatest risk to the human species.   To mitigate this risk every non fossil carbon fuel technology that is available, including nuclear power must be used.  Failure to reduce carbon emissions to nil by 2100 will mean a climate change event so severe, it will likely threaten the survival of the human species.

icefest

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2014, 10:15:21 AM »
Firstly, I mentioned that "I will support almost any nuclear plant over a FF plant"

JimD, you said that nuclear might make whole countries uninhabitable.
I agree.
My reply: Continuing to use FF will make much larger parts of the planet uninhabitable.

SATire, you said that nuclear's issues are confined in space but not time.
I agree.
My reply: If we have no space then time is worthless. The global effects of uninhibited FF use preclude any future solutions.
Assuming we can survive ACC, we can build breeder reactors to dispose waste.

Lastly, regarding the prediction of another Malthusian Catastrophe. There have been so many wrong predictions about this over the past 200 years that it's hard to believe it will happen this time.
The issue is that I doubt that humanity will lower their expectations and use less resources. In any case if they do there will be no need for any new power plants.


I will support almost any nuclear plant over a FF plant.
(PV, Wind, & geothermal are preferred though.)
Open other end.

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2014, 04:36:41 PM »
James Lovelock loves nuclear power too:

http://www.jameslovelock.org/page11.html

What makes global warming so serious and so urgent is that the great Earth system, Gaia, is trapped in a vicious circle of positive feedback. Extra heat from any source, whether from greenhouse gases, the disappearance of Arctic ice or the Amazon forest, is amplified, and its effects are more than additive. It is almost as if we had lit a fire to keep warm, and failed to notice, as we piled on fuel, that the fire was out of control and the furniture had ignited. When that happens, little time is left to put out the fire before it consumes the house. Global warming, like a fire, is accelerating and almost no time is left to act.

Opposition to nuclear energy is based on irrational fear fed by Hollywood-style fiction, the Green lobbies and the media. These fears are unjustified, and nuclear energy from its start in 1952 has proved to be the safest of all energy sources. We must stop fretting over the minute statistical risks of cancer from chemicals or radiation. Nearly one third of us will die of cancer anyway, mainly because we breathe air laden with that all pervasive carcinogen, oxygen. If we fail to concentrate our minds on the real danger, which is global warming, we may die even sooner, as did more than 20,000 unfortunates from overheating in Europe last summer.


That was written in 2004.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2014, 04:52:12 PM »
tombond

Whether it is climate change, abrupt sea level rise or nuclear power Jim Hansen will always be proved right as his conclusions are supported by scientific data and evidence.

Jim Hansen is not Jesus Christ.  He makes mistakes just like everyone else and his nuclear stance IMHO is one and his stance on carbon pricing is another.  When he talks climate physics and what he says is based upon his knowledge as a PhD physicist and data I give it great weight.  When he drifts into policy and human nature he is no more of an expert than I am and on some things I know a lot more than he does.  Personality cults get us in trouble all the time.

icefest

As is common when the nuclear fanatics get to going is that they want to ignore a lot of relevant facts.  The existing nuclear facilities are a clear and present danger to all of us.  History has proven that beyond a doubt.  The potential for catastrophe from those facilities going forward rises significantly.  This makes the risk benefit analysis of them fall on the side of getting rid of them as soon as possible. 

Anyone who advocates continuing the current nuclear power mix and advocates developing and deploying new technologies is making a full commitment to the increasingly unlikely possibility that we can maintain our current complex technology/civilizational structure.  You are assuming that it is virtually certain that there will be no collapse or even a very significant loss of  complexity due to AGW, overpopulation, overexploitation of resources, etc .  That is an assumption that is clearly and obviously unsound.  It is like you are making a  bet at the casino that Kurzewill and the singularity is something other than insanity.

Collapse is a very high percentage possibility, if it happens or partially happens the resources to deal with nuclear accidents, shutting down and mothballing existing plants and dealing with stored used and new nuclear fuel will be largely beyond what is available.  Thus dramatically raising the further possibility of serious damage to future human prospects.  In such circumstances continuing on our current path is foolish.

As to developing and deploying new generations of nuclear plants the unfortunate situation is that there is just not time nor wealth to spare to follow that technological path.  The decision to follow that path must also satisfy a risk benefit analysis and it just flat fails.  Once again it is a bet on a miracle and not a reasoned choice.  Even if, and it is an if, your new technologies proved viable (which they have not yet), and proved safe (which is not certain), and we had the resources/wealth to build and deploy (which we do not) you would still have to have enough time to do this (which we do not have).  On top of that the entire nuclear argument fully and completely "ignores" the fact that it in no way what-so-ever gets us to zero carbon emissions and a sustainable system.  Solutions which result in continuing carbon emissions are not solutions. 

That last point is the real kicker that those who are grasping at straws and praying for miracles cannot seem to understand.  They are like the man who can't understand the facts because his job depends on him not understanding them.  Those who cannot conceive of a future which is materially different from out current rich complex lifestyles here in the west will do anything and dream anything to try and maintain that lifestyle.  That is the trap that Hansen, for all of his intellect, has fallen into.  A lack of imagination or inability to face reality, at times, catches up with all of us. 

Jim Hunt

I was just getting ready to post and saw your post.  A few comments.  Lovelocks claim that nuclear has proven safe is patently false and Chernobyl and Fukashima are proof of that.  And the potential to get worse results going forward is very high.  And here is where Lovelock really misses the point as advocates often do

If we fail to concentrate our minds on the real danger, which is global warming,

Concentrating on nuclear is NOT focusing on global warming.  It is focusing on desperately figuring out a way to continue BAU.  Nothing more nothing less.  A largely nuclear power system does not result in zero carbon emissions so AGW will continue to get worse, it does not result in sustainability so conditions would worsen.  It is a solution to a different problem than the primary problem which is AGW.  And it can easily makes things worse.  It is not a reasoned choice.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2014, 06:52:54 PM »
Something is going on in USA. They can't control their waste when everything is fine (nearly)...what will happened after a collapse...
http://www.currentargus.com/ci_25149321/possible

icefest

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2014, 06:01:56 AM »
It seems to me that there is nothing I can say to convince you that collapse is not imminent, and if I say that this is not the case, then I will be lumped in with the ones who are "grasping at straws and praying for miracles".

As this entire argument seems to rest on that fact I don't think we will get anywhere.

Maybe I should take Benjamin Disraeli's advice - "I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best."
Open other end.

Laurent

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2014, 09:18:01 AM »
We don't need a collapse for the worst to happen, it does happen and it is now...

JimD

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2014, 07:09:14 PM »
Forests Around Chernobyl Aren’t Decaying Properly

It wasn't just people, animals and trees that were affected by radiation exposure at Chernobyl, but also the decomposers: insects, microbes, and fungi

Nearly 30 years have passed since the Chernobyl plant exploded and caused an unprecedented nuclear disaster. The effects of that catastrophe, however, are still felt today. Although no people live in the extensive exclusion zones around the epicenter, animals and plants still show signs of radiation poisoning.

Birds around Chernobyl have significantly smaller brains that those living in non-radiation poisoned areas; trees there grow slower; and fewer spiders and insects—including bees, butterflies and grasshoppers—live there. Additionally, game animals such as wild boar caught outside of the exclusion zone—including some bagged as far away as Germany—continue to show abnormal and dangerous levels of radiation.

However, there are even more fundamental issues going on in the environment. According to a new study published in Oecologia, decomposers—organisms such as microbes, fungi and some types of insects that drive the process of decay—have also suffered from the contamination. These creatures are responsible for an essential component of any ecosystem: recycling organic matter back into the soil. Issues with such a basic-level process, the authors of the study think, could have compounding effects for the entire ecosystem.




http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/forests-around-chernobyl-arent-decaying-properly-180950075/?no-ist
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Laurent

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2014, 08:21:25 PM »
This quote is interesting also :

Fires can potentially redistribute radioactive contaminants to places outside of the exclusion zone, Mousseau says. “There is growing concern that there could be a catastrophic fire in the coming years,” he says./quote]

ghoti

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2014, 09:07:36 PM »
Yet another indication of why nuclear isn't the future whether you are pro or not.

http://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/23/1-graph-says-lot

Never mind that the cost of running them is much higher than most will admit. They aren't getting built because of the capital costs.

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #39 on: March 25, 2014, 04:32:41 AM »
EROEI of nuclear is somewhere between 20 and 40

EROEI of Solar is between 6 and 8 and will be much higher in a few years time.

If one considers a carbon-weighted EROEI (say, carbon-free Energy Return on Energy Invested) then the value of the energy returned vs that expended in the emission goes up to 40-80 and 12-16 (normalizing to appropriate Social cost of Carbon values).

Therefore utilizing this technology is a no-brainer.  But, only if it is utilized in the proper fashion.  We have more than enough technology and resources if, under a scenario where a true social cost of carbon is implemented, that solar and wind resources are significantly cheaper than all fossil fuel resources. 

In this scenario then, we could provide all of our society's (even global, in time) energy needs using this resource.  However, to reduce the emissions at a rate that will prevent catastrophic warming, it is likely that nuclear will have to be utilized.

The reason that Hansen thinks that this is the only possible solution is because he is trapped within a free-market paradigm.  He recognizes that the invisible hand will not implement solar and wind on the scale necessary to reduce emissions.  But, what he doesn't realize is that there will be, cannot be, a free market response to the global transformation required to secure future generations from total societal collapse.
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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #40 on: March 25, 2014, 09:53:50 AM »
Even George Monbiot loves nuclear, or PRISM at least:

http://www.monbiot.com/2011/12/05/a-waste-of-waste/

Last week [this was in 2011!] GE Hitachi (GEH) told the British government that it could build a fast reactor within five years to use up the waste plutonium at Sellafield, and if it doesn’t work, the UK won’t have to pay.


Post collapse taking care of the all the non-depleted nuclear fuel rods and all of the nuclear waste is going to be onerous already.  Let's not add to that problem any further.


Why not reduce that problem whilst generating electricity at the same time? As Mr. Monbiot puts it:

So we environmentalists have a choice. We can’t wish the waste away. Either it is stored and then buried. Or it is turned into mox fuels. Or it is used to power IFRs. The decision is being made at the moment, and we should determine where we stand.

I suggest we take the radical step of using science, not superstition, as our guide.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

SATire

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #41 on: March 25, 2014, 03:46:55 PM »

I suggest we take the radical step of using science, not superstition, as our guide.
Hi Jim. That is deniers language as we all love it. Please trust on science and buy my technology which is the solution of your problem. If you fear any consequences (like nuclear waste / AGW by CO2 in atmosphere / chemical poisons in the soil / crossing genes replicating themselfs / put in here the next effect of the latest solution) that is due to superstition and you should not be taken seriously...

I think it is quite safe just to ignore comments like this.

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #42 on: March 25, 2014, 05:04:12 PM »
Hi SATire

I think it is quite safe just to ignore comments like this.


My point is that is a quote from George Monbiot, who is at least moderately famous in green circles here in the UK:

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

If even "the Greens" are divided amongst themselves then the way forward is murky indeed.

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

SATire

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #43 on: March 25, 2014, 05:44:16 PM »
If even "the Greens" are divided amongst themselves then the way forward is murky indeed.
Jim, I knew it was not your opinion but a quote. And that some person belongs to "the Greens" does not guarantee fair communication nor that that person is right.

Instead I would be sure that the way forward is murky, if all greens would have the same brainwashed opinion. My main point is, that the language from "the enemy" is now used by poeple like us against other poeple like us. That may happen but it should be recogniced as what it is - some kind of propaganda.

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #44 on: March 25, 2014, 05:44:49 PM »
EROEI of nuclear and solar

Above we see a claim

EROEI of nuclear is somewhere between 20 and 40

EROEI of Solar is between 6 and 8 and will be much higher in a few years time.

If one considers a carbon-weighted EROEI (say, carbon-free Energy Return on Energy Invested) then the value of the energy returned vs that expended in the emission goes up to 40-80 and 12-16 (normalizing to appropriate Social cost of Carbon values).


If you wander over to the Renewables thread you can find the only large scale real world analysis ever performed for solar power plants (in Spain) done be Charles Hall one of the world's preeminent experts on calculating EROEI.  His numbers for actual performance are 2.45 yes 2.45.  In an ideal location.  He estimates that the German average is less than 2.00

What does he say about nuclear?

We have found the information about the EROI of nuclear power to be mostly as disparate, widespread, idiosyncratic, prejudiced and poorly documented as information about the nuclear power industry itself. Much, perhaps most, of the information that is available seems to have been prepared by someone who has made up his or her mind one-way or another (i.e. a large or trivial supplier of net energy) before the analysis is given. As is usually the case, the largest issue is often what the appropriate boundaries of analysis should be.


The seemingly most reliable information on EROI is quite old and is summarized in chapter 12 of Hall et al. (1986). Newer information tends to fall into the wildly optimistic camp (high EROI, e.g. 10:1 or more, sometimes wildly more) or the extremely pessimistic (low or even negative EROI) camp (Tyner et al. 1998, Tyner 2002, Fleay 2006 and Caldicamp 2006). One recent PhD analysis from Sweden undertook an emergy analysis (a kind of comprehensive energy analysis including all environmental inputs and quality corrections as per Howard Odum) and found an emergy return on emergy invested of 11:1 (with a high quality factor for electricity) but it was not possible to undertake an energy analysis from the data presented (Kindburg, 2007). Nevertheless that final number is similar to many of the older analyses when a quality correction is included.


Note the above quoted numbers obviously fall into the wildly optimistic camp.

Tyner was the author (or co-author) on the 1988 and 1997 reports which are examples of the lower EROI numbers -- less than 5:1. Tyner’s 1997 paper reported an “optimistic value” of 3.84 and a “less-optimistic” value of 1.86 and may be based on “pessimistic” cost estimates. For example capital monetary costs were 2.5 times higher than those reported for Generation III and III+ plants (Bruce Power 2007, see below). Fleay’s 2006 on line paper at least gives very detailed numerical analyses of costs and gains and hence probably can be checked explicitly. Different boundaries are used for these “low EROI” studies than most other recent studies that effect the results. For example Tyner takes interest (with a 4-5x larger energy cost magnitude than capital energy costs) into account in EROI (Tyner 1997). The two large EROI values reported here were for nuclear lifecycles which used centrifuge fuel enrichment as opposed to diffusion-based enrichment. Centrifuge enrichment uses much less electricity than other methods (Global Security 2007). We do not know how to interpret these analyses because centrifugal separation is an old technology. Newer rotor materials allow more rapid rotor spin which might influence results. At present much of the enriched uranium used for nuclear power is coming from dismantled nuclear warheads from the US-Russian agreement to decrease nuclear warheads but, apparently, that program will soon come to an end and we will have to contemplate again generating nuclear power from mined uranium. Much of the arguments about the great or small potential of future nuclear power comes from those who argue about the importance of technology vs. those who focus on depletion. As usual, however, technology is in a race with depletion and the winner can be determined only from empirical analysis, of which there seems to be far too little.


The most knowledgeable people looking at the  cradle to grave EROEI of existing nuclear put the EROEI numbers around 5.  Not 20 and certainly not 40-80. 

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3877

The above link contains about 20 additional links to back up the numbers.  It also leads to very extensive EROEI discussions which can be used to learn about this subject.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #45 on: March 25, 2014, 05:51:41 PM »

I suggest we take the radical step of using science, not superstition, as our guide.
Hi Jim. That is deniers language as we all love it. Please trust on science and buy my technology which is the solution of your problem. If you fear any consequences (like nuclear waste / AGW by CO2 in atmosphere / chemical poisons in the soil / crossing genes replicating themselfs / put in here the next effect of the latest solution) that is due to superstition and you should not be taken seriously...

Surely the good points about science are:
- you have a scientific method for reaching conclusions
- the science must be repeatable
- it can always be challenged (scientifically)

And you don't, er, just need to blindly trust it? Science is merely a tool - it is the people who try to misuse (or misrepresent it) who are at fault, rather than the tool. We need science and I would go so far to say a significant portion of our problems are due to the failure of the general population to even slightly understand 1. science 2. mathematics

JimD

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #46 on: March 25, 2014, 05:55:49 PM »
Hi SATire

I think it is quite safe just to ignore comments like this.


My point is that is a quote from George Monbiot, who is at least moderately famous in green circles here in the UK:

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

If even "the Greens" are divided amongst themselves then the way forward is murky indeed.


But Jim.  Monbiot is a journalist.  His number one job is to sell papers.  I have been reading his stuff for many years.  He has been demonstrably wrong on a number of issues over that time.  His analysis is often shallow and based upon assumptions which need to be examined and challenged.  He has to fit within the guidance of his employers and cannot operate as an objective independent actor.  If you have also followed him for years I am sure you can think of a number of times you thought he was just full of it too.

I fall back to the basics.

What is the problem?
What are the constraints to possible solutions?
What are the possible solutions?
Can we execute any of those possible solutions?
Of the ones we can execute which one(s) will accomplish the most?
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #47 on: March 25, 2014, 05:56:40 PM »
As much as I dislike nuclear, I think it is a serious mistake to rule any option out given the seriousness of the problem. We need to approach this issue in a methodical manner. A useful approach would be to construct a decision tree to explore various choices and likely outcomes. One useful result of such an approach is you get rid of this all or nothing notion. A decision  to use some form of electricity generation is then split into a variety of approaches and associated options.

Let's consider nuclear and our possible decisions.

1. Get rid of nuclear.

This choice is then split into various methods of doing this.

1A. Shut down all nuclear tomorrow
1B. Use existing nuclear as bridging strategy to renewables. Decommission as renewables come on line.
1C. Use existing nuclear to end of life.
1D. Shut down nuclear in all but the most technologically advanced nations to minimize risk.

You would then attach the most probable outcomes for each branch.

Other choices would have similar branches on the tree.

My basic point is we need to consider every option and their potential outcomes before ruling out any.

SATire

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #48 on: March 25, 2014, 05:59:43 PM »
ccg - you got the concept. Since nobody reasonable would argue against science (at least I would never do that) the cited words say, if you are against nuclear you are with superstition and against science. That is very bad propaganda and it should be named like that.

Now it even seems because I point at that wrong language you think I would be against science. That proves the efficiency of such language. Misunderstandings and endless discussions are guaranteed. So - the wrong words are what I blame.

jai mitchell

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Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #49 on: March 26, 2014, 04:43:07 AM »
JimD

ah, yes, the Oil Drum. . .the quote and link from that forum of geologic and industrial engineers/scientists from the oil industry is very telling.   

WRT your quote, Dr. Hall says that the Tyner data is "extremely pessimistic" and, based on the simple economic return of 1960's era nuclear power industry performances, I would have to agree.

The simple dollar cost of the 1970's era boiling water reactors produced enough energy to provide a very high Return on Investment.  having an EROEI of less than 10 would have precluded that possibility. 

The studies you are citing are on old pressurized water reactors with very complex control and safety systems, using 3000lb water coolant and containment domes.  The type IV reactors use molten salts or (a new version) helium  as a coolant and do not need such expensive safety equipment.  So, yes, EROEI from the oil drum aside, using industry analysis documents, the older pressurized water versions, using high energy enrichment processes (diffusion) had an EROEI of 15-20, and modern versions using centrifugal enrichment could reach EROEI as high as 75.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Energy-and-Environment/Energy-Analysis-of-Power-Systems/

the simple fact is that these plants produce a hell of a lot of energy, refuel every 3 or 4 years and run 24/7 between cycles.



« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 07:40:51 AM by jai mitchell »
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