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Thread: Solar and Nuclear: Why can't we all just get along?

  1. #1 Solar and Nuclear: Why can't we all just get along? 
    Time Lord
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    Ok, so the last thread entitled "Solar vs. Nuclear who will win?" was definitely a failure. I didn't think I'd actually have to explain what I was trying to do, because it would be clear to people, but apparently it wasn't. I made the title deliberately belligerent in the hopes of communicating a bit of sarcasm as to how ridiculous it is that two groups that basically agree about AGW would spend so much effort fighting each other instead of combining against their common enemy: coal/natural gas.

    I was also hoping to provide a place for the nuclear vs. solar debate that was beginning to derail the solar power thread, which really ought to be focused more on comparing solar vs. coal, and leaving nuclear out of the discussion (because it's a tangient, in all reality.)

    So let's try and get this one off to a more constructive start. Why do we assume that solar and nuclear are mutually exclusive directions to move the energy industry toward? Why does this disagreement have to be an obstacle to cooperation? Both groups would benefit equally from carbon pricing. To a degree there's nothing to stop both of them from getting equally subsidized also. I mean: no actual tax money changes hands anyway, until the subsidy is actually accepted by someone, right? Which means a power plant of some kind must actually be built, or actual research conducted. So, if equal subsidies are offered and nobody builds solar, then by default all those subsidies must end up on the hands of nuclear people, and vice versa. If equal subsidies are offered and nobody builds nuclear, then all the actual tax monies paid out would be paid out to solar. Essentially the government offers the bounty and then the people decide which one actually receives the money. No reason the two groups couldn't pool their lobbying resources.

    So, why the angst?


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    No angst as far as I am concerned. Simply good data. It is always aggravating, though, to post good data and have others ignore or deny the data. This is, after all, supposed to be a science forum.


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    Why do we assume that solar and nuclear are mutually exclusive directions to move the energy industry toward? Why does this disagreement have to be an obstacle to cooperation?
    I don't either of those conditions exist. Essentially, the argument is so filled with emotional and irrational fear that almost no one is willing to try to counter the argument or take up the mantle of nuclear power; as a result, at least in the US, there isn't any strong or organized groups advocates for development of nuclear energy to have disagreements with.
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    It's occurred to me that the real core irrational fear is birth defects. There's no way you're going to get past that. Parental instincts are about the most fully primal emotional force we humans experience. Also fear of being maimed exceeds fear of death for a lot of people. Double when you apply the question to the fate of a child.

    Anybody who's thinking of having children later in their life would cringe at the thought of living near a nuclear reactor, or waste storage facility. The government's deceptive behavior with regard to exposure levels during the nuclear bomb test phase of our history adds a lot to the paranoia as well. People no longer trust that, if there were a problem, the government would warn them so they could take precautions. If you want to blame someone, blame the moron who thought it would be a good idea to keep that stuff secret.
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    So let's try and get this one off to a more constructive start. Why do we assume that solar and nuclear are mutually exclusive directions to move the energy industry toward?
    Because we have limited resources. Nuclear is so expensive that if employed it would starve all other power generation of adequate investment and resources.
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    Iceaura

    You keep telling us how cheap solar is, but never supply data to back that up. I have given you the data, which shows nuclear at 12c per kwh, PV at 21c, and thermal solar at 31c. Instead of challenging my data with facts, you just keep saying it is wrong.

    You think nuclear has lots of hidden costs, but that is wrong. The actual running costs of nuclear power are about 2c per kwh. The total cost reaches 12c when we take into account the wider range of costs.

    Here is a more detailed analysis of the various costs that make up nuclear power generating costs.
    Nuclear Power Education - Cost of Nuclear Power.
    For example : construction costs of recent plants were $ 2,000 per kw. Assuming the plant runs for 40 years, and 24/365, that makes up 0.5 cents per kwh. Even if my assumptions are out by 100%, it raises the building cot to 1 cent per kwh only.

    If you want to know the cost of other factors, such as disposing of nuclear waste, read my reference.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    You keep telling us how cheap solar is, but never supply data to back that up.
    I posted a few links just a couple days ago, directly to you and you commented on them. That on top of the several in the past, and the debunking of your one bs link that combines all the kinds of thermal solar planetwide into one number, the Wiki link we both referred to a while ago, and so forth, is enough already.

    One of my links had a fairly long and wide-range list of thermal solar costs - they ran from $.04 to $.17 kwh IIRC, depending on the setup and so forth. Further discounts for larger scale build are anticipated.

    You can't remember any of that? Or just trotting out the Fox rhetorical repetition?
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I have given you the data, which shows nuclear at 12c per kwh, PV at 21c, and thermal solar at 31c. Instead of challenging my data with facts, you just keep saying it is wrong.
    Back to the original numbers I was mocking before, I see.

    The ones that show PV solar at 2/3 the price of thermal solar. You believe that, for large power plants? You'd have to be moron.

    The Andasol plant in Spain, the most expensive operating thermal setup I know of, at about the latitude of Philadelphia, runs at about $.30 kwh according to one of your links and several of mine. There's a small plant in the SW US that is delivering to the grid for less than .17 - see my links previous. Obviously better sites and larger installations would run cheaper than Andasol or trial plant sizes, so your number is bullshit as an estimation for new build solar in the SW US - even just a copy of the Andasol plant and its twenty year old tech, in a better setting.

    See how that works? You don't just take a number and say "ooh, shiny!". You think a little bit.

    Let's try that with the joke you posted as "detailed analysis" of new build nuclear power costs:

    For starters, no accident or security risk premiums, no military costs, nothing that would account for TMI or Fukushima or any of the other. lesser mishaps. Let's ignore the fact that the construction cost estimates range by factors of 2 and 3 for the same exact plant design, and no opportunity or infrastructure costs are considered.

    Then we have this, as the detailed analysis of waste disposal and decommissioning, and I quote in full:
    Waste Disposal

    In the USA, Nuclear Power operators are charged 0.1 cents per KW-Hr for the disposal of Nuclear Waste. In Sweden this cost is 0.13 US cents per KW-Hr. These Countries have utilized these funds to pursue research into Geologic disposal of waste and both now have mature proposals for the task. In France the cost of waste disposal and decommissioning is estimated to be 10% of the construction cost. So far provisions of 71 billion Euros have been acquired for this from the sale of electricity.

    Decommissioning Costs

    The US industry average cost for decommissioning a power plant is USD $300 million. The funds for this activity are accumulated in the operating cost of the plant. The French and Swedish Nuclear Industries expect decommissioning costs to be 10 -15 % of the construction costs and budget this into the price charged for electricity. On the other hand the British decommissioning costs have been projected to be around 1 Billion pounds per reactor. Cleaning up the Hanford Nuclear Weapons reactor is budgeted at 5.6 Billion dollars but may cost 2 to 3 times this much.
    Reality check: no US power company waste has yet been disposed (the military has thrown some into the ocean) and no US plant has been fully decommissioned, not even the blown reactor at TMI. We haven't figured out what to do with the big hot pieces, or the little hot pieces. The only people considering this carefully have estimated minimum decommissioning costs at about double the construction costs.

    So we need to add quite a bit to that .12 absurdity, to make up for what has been left out - most obviously risk and security premiums, which if plant failure resembles transistor failure or light bulb failure is going to rise with something like the 4th power of the number of plants built.

    You can do this yourself, with the stuff found on the internet - squint at it. Does it make sense, or does it have PV solar cheaper in big power plants than thermal solar?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It's occurred to me that the real core irrational fear is birth defects. There's no way you're going to get past that. Parental instincts are about the most fully primal emotional force we humans experience. Also fear of being maimed exceeds fear of death for a lot of people. Double when you apply the question to the fate of a child.

    Anybody who's thinking of having children later in their life would cringe at the thought of living near a nuclear reactor, or waste storage facility. The government's deceptive behavior with regard to exposure levels during the nuclear bomb test phase of our history adds a lot to the paranoia as well. People no longer trust that, if there were a problem, the government would warn them so they could take precautions. If you want to blame someone, blame the moron who thought it would be a good idea to keep that stuff secret.
    Preposterous, United States Navy has been populated for decades with men who spend extended periods of time in proximity to nuclear reactors, if this affected families we would know by now surely. In addition many continue to live within 20 minutes of civil reactors and it is a damned good thing they do because they WORK there.

    Parenthetically, Prince was speaking with just such an individual last night, this person confided that they were more concerned about high pressure steam and high voltage electric current than about radiation per se. For what anecdote is worth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Iceaura

    You keep telling us how cheap solar is, but never supply data to back that up. I have given you the data, which shows nuclear at 12c per kwh, PV at 21c, and thermal solar at 31c. Instead of challenging my data with facts, you just keep saying it is wrong.

    You think nuclear has lots of hidden costs, but that is wrong. The actual running costs of nuclear power are about 2c per kwh. The total cost reaches 12c when we take into account the wider range of costs.

    Here is a more detailed analysis of the various costs that make up nuclear power generating costs.
    Nuclear Power Education - Cost of Nuclear Power.
    For example : construction costs of recent plants were $ 2,000 per kw. Assuming the plant runs for 40 years, and 24/365, that makes up 0.5 cents per kwh. Even if my assumptions are out by 100%, it raises the building cot to 1 cent per kwh only.

    If you want to know the cost of other factors, such as disposing of nuclear waste, read my reference.
    Yucca Mountain was to be built with funds provided by electric ratepayers collected by utilities, and is going to waste because no waste is going to it. Why? Politics. Same reason we do not reprocess fuel, deriving more benefit. Criminal politics.
    Last edited by The Finger Prince; November 30th, 2011 at 05:49 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    So let's try and get this one off to a more constructive start. Why do we assume that solar and nuclear are mutually exclusive directions to move the energy industry toward?
    Because we have limited resources. Nuclear is so expensive that if employed it would starve all other power generation of adequate investment and resources.
    Nuclear is expensive because of hysteria and ignorance. Otherwise we could do a lot with $24 billion, produced by "expensive" nuclear utilities and their customers.

    $24 Billion In Nuclear Waste Fund Remains Untouched In U.S.
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    You keep telling us how cheap solar is, but never supply data to back that up.
    I posted a few links just a couple days ago, directly to you and you commented on them. That on top of the several in the past, and the debunking of your one bs link that combines all the kinds of thermal solar planetwide into one number, the Wiki link we both referred to a while ago, and so forth, is enough already.

    One of my links had a fairly long and wide-range list of thermal solar costs - they ran from $.04 to $.17 kwh IIRC, depending on the setup and so forth. Further discounts for larger scale build are anticipated.

    You can't remember any of that? Or just trotting out the Fox rhetorical repetition?
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    I have given you the data, which shows nuclear at 12c per kwh, PV at 21c, and thermal solar at 31c. Instead of challenging my data with facts, you just keep saying it is wrong.
    Back to the original numbers I was mocking before, I see.

    The ones that show PV solar at 2/3 the price of thermal solar. You believe that, for large power plants? You'd have to be moron.

    The Andasol plant in Spain, the most expensive operating thermal setup I know of, at about the latitude of Philadelphia, runs at about $.30 kwh according to one of your links and several of mine. There's a small plant in the SW US that is delivering to the grid for less than .17 - see my links previous. Obviously better sites and larger installations would run cheaper than Andasol or trial plant sizes, so your number is bullshit as an estimation for new build solar in the SW US - even just a copy of the Andasol plant and its twenty year old tech, in a better setting.

    See how that works? You don't just take a number and say "ooh, shiny!". You think a little bit.

    Let's try that with the joke you posted as "detailed analysis" of new build nuclear power costs:

    For starters, no accident or security risk premiums, no military costs, nothing that would account for TMI or Fukushima or any of the other. lesser mishaps. Let's ignore the fact that the construction cost estimates range by factors of 2 and 3 for the same exact plant design, and no opportunity or infrastructure costs are considered.

    Then we have this, as the detailed analysis of waste disposal and decommissioning, and I quote in full:
    Waste Disposal

    In the USA, Nuclear Power operators are charged 0.1 cents per KW-Hr for the disposal of Nuclear Waste. In Sweden this cost is 0.13 US cents per KW-Hr. These Countries have utilized these funds to pursue research into Geologic disposal of waste and both now have mature proposals for the task. In France the cost of waste disposal and decommissioning is estimated to be 10% of the construction cost. So far provisions of 71 billion Euros have been acquired for this from the sale of electricity.

    Decommissioning Costs

    The US industry average cost for decommissioning a power plant is USD $300 million. The funds for this activity are accumulated in the operating cost of the plant. The French and Swedish Nuclear Industries expect decommissioning costs to be 10 -15 % of the construction costs and budget this into the price charged for electricity. On the other hand the British decommissioning costs have been projected to be around 1 Billion pounds per reactor. Cleaning up the Hanford Nuclear Weapons reactor is budgeted at 5.6 Billion dollars but may cost 2 to 3 times this much.
    Reality check: no US power company waste has yet been disposed (the military has thrown some into the ocean) and no US plant has been fully decommissioned, not even the blown reactor at TMI. We haven't figured out what to do with the big hot pieces, or the little hot pieces. The only people considering this carefully have estimated minimum decommissioning costs at about double the construction costs.

    So we need to add quite a bit to that .12 absurdity, to make up for what has been left out - most obviously risk and security premiums, which if plant failure resembles transistor failure or light bulb failure is going to rise with something like the 4th power of the number of plants built.

    You can do this yourself, with the stuff found on the internet - squint at it. Does it make sense, or does it have PV solar cheaper in big power plants than thermal solar?
    Fifty miles north of Atlanta Georgia is a 10,000 acre park, the Dawson Forest Wildlife Area. When you go there you see woods, not a decommissioned nuclear reactor. Somebody evidently knew what to do with the big hot pieces, and the little ones too.

    Dawson Forest Wildlife management Area « NORTH GEORGIA MOUNTAIN RAMBLINGS
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It's occurred to me that the real core irrational fear is birth defects. There's no way you're going to get past that. Parental instincts are about the most fully primal emotional force we humans experience. Also fear of being maimed exceeds fear of death for a lot of people. Double when you apply the question to the fate of a child.

    Anybody who's thinking of having children later in their life would cringe at the thought of living near a nuclear reactor, or waste storage facility. The government's deceptive behavior with regard to exposure levels during the nuclear bomb test phase of our history adds a lot to the paranoia as well. People no longer trust that, if there were a problem, the government would warn them so they could take precautions. If you want to blame someone, blame the moron who thought it would be a good idea to keep that stuff secret.
    Preposterous, United States Navy has been populated for decades with men who spend extended periods of time in proximity to nuclear reactors, if this affected families we would know by now surely. In addition many continue to live within 20 minutes of civil reactors and it is a damned good thing they do because they WORK there.

    Parenthetically, Prince was speaking with just such an individual last night, this person confided that they were more concerned about high pressure steam and high voltage electric current than about radiation per se. For what anecdote is worth.
    They not be correct in their fears. Also I'm not sure that birth defects even increased even in the areas of New Mexico which were used for the early bomb tests (certainly worse radiation there than a nuclear plant would cause.)

    The trouble is the fear itself is real, and difficult to dispel.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post

    Fifty miles north of Atlanta Georgia is a 10,000 acre park, the Dawson Forest Wildlife Area. When you go there you see woods, not a decommissioned nuclear reactor. Somebody evidently knew what to do with the big hot pieces, and the little ones too.

    Dawson Forest Wildlife management Area « NORTH GEORGIA MOUNTAIN RAMBLINGS
    The area around Chernobyl is also a successful wild life refuge. Nuclear waste/fallout/etc doesn't make it difficult for plants to grow, or even animals. What it does is cause health problems that we as a human population would find unacceptable. Animals experience the same health problems, but nobody cares because they don't have the same rights, and nobody is having to shell out the health care costs to give them treatment.

    Nuclear opponents may manipulate the data to make those health outcomes appear more probable than they really are, and of course the majority of casual voters aren't going to do a whole lot of following up to make sure the literature they read is accurate. So, what does it matter if they're wrong? Can you change the fact that people believe them?
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    Hi everyone. I'm reluctant to risk further moderation by my participation after recent events. I don't think I can keep from mention of politics and climate science denial.

    Kojax if you succeed in building this particular bridge, it certainly would deserve mention as an engineering marvel. The sappers at both ends will undoubtedly be busy though. But I'll walk it if you will.

    I would like to post a link here, to an amusing little song called 'It's On' by an Australian songwriter named Don Henderson. It's about "...two young fellows who couldn't agree..." and might get a few chuckles irrespective of the positions held. I hope the Moderators will allow it.

    494. It's On (Don Henderson) - YouTube
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    Hi Ken

    You are not the only one who is nervous about saying too much on this topic. I have tried to be very factual and scientific in this, and spent time digging up the best data I could to quote. Sadly, my numbers are denied, without alternative data being supplied. I think this is a topic in which the irrational and emotional prejudgements are just too powerful to permit agreement on the basis of good science.
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    Kojax @1 - I may be the only one who thinks the thread was not a failure. On the contrary I found it stimulated my thinking and some connections that should have been made a long time ago became clear. Obvious in hindsight but hindsight is like that.

    It looks like a bit of civil discussion, me included, is developing in the Politics section. I'd prefer it had not gone there as those who think energy choices are primarily an environmental issue may not notice it.

    I do read what you write and find much I agree with, but it looks like the issues I want to discuss won't get discussed here.
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    Skeptic, if the arguments are falling on deaf ears then maybe those aren't the right arguments to change people's minds. Or maybe the people you are addressing them to aren't the right people. I still see excess use of fossil fuels and those backing it as the 'great enemy' and believe solutions will begin to fall into place once that becomes widely recognised. Note that it's use to excess, not use of fossil fuels that I believe is the heart of the climate problem. But the discussion I want to have, irrespective of my misgivings about it, has moved to Politics. Let's see how that goes.
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    Solar vs. Nuclear who will win? I think this is not discussing topic, because they both have their own importance of generating electricity. But when you compare the which one is more produce more electricity then the ans is nuclear energy. For more information on nuclear energy. you can visit at http://www.nuclearfriendsfoundation.com/i
    Role of Nuclear Energy for Society Let's Find How?
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