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What Nuclear Power Needs to Remain on Track

Cruas Nuclear Power Station in France (photo Harvey Barrison)

Cruas Nuclear Power Station in France. (Photo: Harvey Barrison)

To ensure that nuclear power can make the necessary contribution to climate change mitigation, three things are needed, writes Tim Yeo, Chairman of the pro-nuclear group New Nuclear Watch Europe (NNWE): there must be international harmonisation of safety requirements, the industry needs to bring down costs by better exploiting economies of scale and policymaking and analysis should ensure a level playing field.

The prospects for 2017, both economic and political, are beset with extraordinary uncertainty. But whatever the consequences of President Trump and Brexit, of the German and French election results, of the turmoil in the Middle East or the future of the oil price and the dollar, one thing will not change.

In 2017 the global move to low carbon technology will continue. The near universal recognition by the business community of the need for this trend to accelerate means that the switch will make considerable further progress this year in most countries, with the possible exception of the U.S.

Nowhere is this a bigger or more urgent challenge than in the energy industry. Unless faster cuts are made in carbon emissions from electricity generation average global temperature will unavoidably rise by more than 2 degrees C. The opportunity for the nuclear industry therefore remains enormous, however unpredictable the events of 2017 turn out to be.

The industry needs to get better at exploiting the economies of scale which have transformed the competitiveness of some renewable technologies

At NNWE we welcome the growth of renewable energy. We support efforts to cut the cost of electricity storage. We accept the inevitability of continuing coal consumption in Asia and the consequent need for carbon capture utilisation and storage.

But however fast advances in all these areas occur we believe that substantial new investment in nuclear power is also essential if the world is to meet its climate change objectives. Nuclear remains the only technology which currently delivers secure low carbon baseload electricity at scale.

Visceral opposition

Regrettably in some quarters opposition to nuclear energy is so visceral that evidence based arguments are ignored. But around the world enough countries either actively support nuclear, or are sufficiently open minded to consider it on its merits, to offer an enormous global market. To fulfil its potential the nuclear industry needs to do three things.

Firstly greater efforts are needed to achieve international harmonisation of safety requirements. This will only happen with the active involvement of governments. The regulators themselves are, for the most part, ready to collaborate closely and rationally. Nevertheless at present the cost of developing new plant is higher than it needs to be, in part because of how safety requirements are implemented in different jurisdictions. Political will is needed to overcome this problem.

Secondly the industry needs to get better at exploiting the economies of scale which have transformed the competitiveness of some renewable technologies. Obviously this is more challenging for nuclear, when an individual plant costs a thousand times more than a solar farm or a wind turbine, than for many other parts of the energy industry. Only China has a domestic market large enough to capture these benefits by itself.

If the coal industry was required to meet the same safety standards which are universally rightly applied to nuclear the price of coal would be higher and thousands of lives would be saved

Fossil fuel prices are likely to remain at historically low levels following the election of President Trump. The cost of solar and wind power has fallen faster than expected. The onus is therefore on the nuclear sector to respond. The signs are that it is able to do so, though the recent news from Toshiba is a reminder of the financial challenges facing the industry.

Back-up provision

Thirdly more intellectual rigour must be applied to both policy making and financial analysis. The lack of consistency in the treatment of different energy technologies damages the nuclear industry. If, for example, the coal industry was required to meet the same safety standards which are universally rightly applied to nuclear the price of coal would be higher and thousands of lives would be saved.

Similarly the wider use of carbon pricing would enable the cost of the pollution caused by the consumption of fossil fuels to be reflected in their price. This is  essential to create a level playing field for nuclear and other low carbon technologies.

Comparisons between the cost of different types of energy must also be more consistent. Claims that nuclear is more expensive than other low carbon technologies often ignore the extra cost of the back-up provision which electricity from intermittent sources requires.

The good news is that concern about poor air quality and its effect on life expectancy is now rising very quickly, particularly in Asia. This will force governments around the world to speed up further cuts in fossil fuel use and thereby enhance the opportunity for nuclear.

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jan 13, 2017 5:39 pm GMT

Tim, much to agree with here. A couple of points:

1) For 56 years the IAEA has been the forerunner on international nuclear safety standards, but more needs to be done in securing commitments from members. Look for that to become more challenging with the isolationist, nationalist agendas of the Trump administration and other governments worldwide.

2) Your understanding of economies of scale is backwards: though a nuclear plant may cost a thousand times more than a solar plant, it may generate a million times more energy. Thus, building a single, large-scale nuclear plant creates energy more economically than building thousands of independent solar installations with duplicative, inefficient electronics and corresponding maintenance requirements.

Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on Jan 13, 2017 6:23 pm GMT

Nuclear needs to do something about the incessant overruns. Contrast the news about nuclear projects with this I just saw on yahoo:

“The newly completed solar plants – the FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, the FPL Citrus Solar Energy Center and the FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center – were all built on time, under budget and cost-effectively, meaning there will be no net cost to customers after savings from fuel and other generation-related expenses.”

Thorkil Soee's picture
Thorkil Soee on Jan 13, 2017 6:33 pm GMT

Dear Tim Yeo
Thank you for coming forward to what may be the real problem facing nuclear and pollution.
In the following I will try to add a little:

We, in the western world, have tricked ourselves into a corner of unnecessary costs.
I have tried to summarize on http://wp.me/p1RKWc-11D

It is necessary to ask “why?”
On the following link I have proved (100 %) that at least Greenpeace has waged a falsified campaign against nuclear. http://wp.me/p1RKWc-mu
Without any proof I dare to claim that this propaganda has been initiated and maintained with help from the “fossil industry” and the old Soviet.
May be it is worth looking at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_measures

In China we see that most politicians have a technical background.
They are able to differentiate between facts and propaganda.
It is easy to say, but I still dare to say that we must do whatever possible in order to dismantle the many falsified horror-stories presented by those who cannot or will not accept nuclear.
I have tried a little, and hope we can get forward.
About nuclear in general: http://wp.me/p1RKWc-cM
About Chernobyl: http://wp.me/p1RKWc-Dg
About Fukushima: http://wp.me/p1RKWc-yI
Nobody will bother.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Jan 13, 2017 7:59 pm GMT

People need to understand that the way to get costs down and under control is to scale. You can’t expect large first-of-a-kind projects with inexperienced staff trying to navigate a quixotic regulatory regime to be on time and budget. People understand and even celebrate that Germany’s solar subsidies reduced costs, but somehow there’s still outrage when nuclear construction is subsidised after a thirty-year stop.

Seems South Korea, that have their supply chains decently warmed up, can build four reactors on time and on budget abroad (in UAE). The US would do well to build 300 reactors or so. It can plausibly shoot for very low average costs, but the first dozen will cost them.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jan 13, 2017 11:56 pm GMT

Compare like to like. One big 2200 MW nuclear project produces as much energy over time as some 150 ‘Babcock Solar Ranch’ 75 MW projects, and at least 300 such solar plants over the likely life of the nuclear plant. How many such solar projects are planned and later postponed or cancelled? And of course there is never a direct comparison between intermittent power and nuclear; the alternative to nuclear is not solar, but solar plus gas or coal, plus transmission.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 14, 2017 12:09 pm GMT

The market tells that your nucear pipe dreams are not correct.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 14, 2017 12:14 pm GMT

Well, there are seberal hundred nuclear plants being built, and als several EPR and AP 1000 construction in the world, so there is no “first of a kind” any more. We’re not in the 1940’s or 1950’s when that argument would be valid. And in the UAE Solar is also much cheaper than nuclear, and built faster as it seems. So far the final costs of the nuclear reactors there are unknown since they are not yet finished.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 14, 2017 12:15 pm GMT

It is either tranmission or Gas/coal. Since transmission does it’s job at any region where it passes by, it’s the much cheaper option.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Jan 14, 2017 1:27 pm GMT

No EPR or AP1000 has been completed as of yet, and there’s some different requirements in different countries, unfortunately. Also, industrial learning effects can be unraveled, since it’s a lot about supply chains being warmed up and experienced personel being on hand. Such unravelings has obviously happened in the US, UK and so on.

That UAE solar is cheaper cannot be substantiated, nor that it is built faster. But feel free to try. The UAE nuclear project is coming along according to plan, so that’s an indication that costs will be according to plan too. South Korea also has low costs domestically.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Jan 14, 2017 1:38 pm GMT

Yes, the exaggerations by nuclear indeed harm the nuclear sake a lot.
They give nuclear (folks) an unreliable, untrustworthy fame.

Not only the higher costs and delays which show up in reality. also the denial of health and genetic damage that nuclear radiation causes.
As well as the unrealistic minimizing of the risks & costs of nuclear accidents and waste for us and next generations.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Jan 14, 2017 2:04 pm GMT

UAE solar is ~$25/MWh. Roughly 4 times less than their nuclear plants under construction.

All indications show that solar will continue its long term cost decreases. So when those NPP’s just operate in ~2025, new solar will cost ~$15/MWh.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Jan 14, 2017 2:35 pm GMT

Due to non-disclosure agreements, it is unclear how much subsidies and losses that goes into that winning bid, but what is known is that the bid is not accepted yet, that installation is in Q1 2019 so it gambles on continued declining costs. Free land, islamic no-interest financing and free grid connection is probably part of the project, which still may post a loss to developers.

Also, the nuclear plants will of course not produce for 4 times $25. That you pulled straight out of your ass. If I input the Barakah $20 billion bid in my excel sheet for levelized costs and assume no-interest loans, the LEC is actually the same, $25/MWh. 5% interest rate would give $46/MWh.

You also pulled start date out of your ass, as the first is expected to start operation this year and then one every year until 2020 where all of the should be in operation. Whereas your solar bid is due to operate in 2019 which on average is slightly later.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 14, 2017 3:08 pm GMT

So you think it will take more years in UAE tou build a solar power plant then a nuclear plant ? Nice try.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Jan 14, 2017 3:28 pm GMT

Jesper,
Winner of the bid offered to expand solar plant to >1GW for a price of $23/MWh!

Just as you, your link also speculates not knowing… They even state a faulty (to low) price.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jan 14, 2017 4:24 pm GMT

As you know, there is no solar-only replacement for a nuclear plant.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jan 14, 2017 4:38 pm GMT

Why not engage the observed results? Germany has the same coal capacity today as 2002 and more gas capacity. Clearly, Germany did not find that building out transportation was the better option.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Jan 14, 2017 5:23 pm GMT

Dear Helmut Coal, your English reading comprehension is as bad as usual. I simply stated when these plants are planned to come online.

But of course, nuclear is far faster to deploy than solar, in CF-adjusted watts/year. UAE, Germany and others show this very clearly.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Jan 14, 2017 5:46 pm GMT

True, we know little of these future solar projects, so we can’t compare them to anything. However, we do know that nuclear in UAE is very, very cheap. As the build is progressing, it’ll emerging as a role model for the rest of the Gulf and will be great for Korean nuclear exports.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 14, 2017 10:41 pm GMT

What a strange conclusion. Germany is not a economy with 5 years plans, and especially in electricity a significant more open market than in many parts of the US. Gouvern ment decision is clearly a expansion of the grid, which you can see from the according laws, and no expansion or keeping of coal o gas. Nevertheless power producing companies are allowed to make useless investments. You can buy a lot of coal and gas power statuions for 1€ at the moment, like swiss nuclear plants.
So a significant number of coal power plants is sheduled to close down in the comming months and years.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 14, 2017 11:03 pm GMT

By the way other sourses set the price for these 4 nuclear plants at 30 billion $. https://nuclear-news.net/2011/11/25/united-arab-emirates-30-billion-nucl...

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Jan 14, 2017 11:47 pm GMT

So, an antinuclear site quotes a figure “according to two people with knowledge of the project.”. Fantastic. Then it has to be true.

But I actually think that is a bit lame and that you should try harder. I’m sure Mycle Schneider or someone like that has “knowledge of the project” and can put the cost at $100 billion.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jan 15, 2017 12:54 am GMT

or keeping of coal o gas.

Not true.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 15, 2017 7:49 am GMT
Jarmo Mikkonen's picture
Jarmo Mikkonen on Jan 15, 2017 8:03 am GMT

Helmut, a slight correction:

The market distorted by subsidies tells……

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 15, 2017 8:16 am GMT

Show me the law which requires keeping the existing coal and gas fleet online.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Jan 15, 2017 11:08 am GMT

Que? That document didn’t say anything about the UAE NPP costs!

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 15, 2017 11:37 am GMT

“U.A.E.’s Nuclear Power Program said to cost $ 30 Billion (Bloomberg Business week, 28 November, 2011 )”

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 15, 2017 11:41 am GMT

Also referenced by UAE themselves. http://www.uae-mission.ae/mission/iaea/Content/1227 Just Bloomberg does not offer the full text any more.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Jan 15, 2017 12:24 pm GMT

Did you read in your wikipedia link that “A later Bloomberg report indicates the price as $25 billion.”? I don’t know why Bloomberg rumors would be more authoritative than anything else, but I guess later figures should be assumed to be better?

(However, I know you and Bas rather go with the highest rumors you can find for nuclear and the lowest rumors for RE. Veracity simply isn’t a thing for you guys.)

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Jan 15, 2017 4:27 pm GMT

Those three are good points; I would add “the government needs to stop impeding improvements in nuclear technology“. We know that several new nuclear designs are highly resistant or even immune to the “station blackout” failures that led to fuel damage at the Fukushima plant.

NuScale, for example, has just submitted its design application to the NRC. NuScale is developing a 50 MW modular reactor which will be built 12 at a time to form 600 MW power plants which safely cool themselves following station blackout with no human intervention. The NRC, is planning to take a ludicrous 40 months to process the paperwork. This is in addition to the years of paperwork which will be required for each plant site, which will require their own combined operating license.

This is not how we regulate cars or fossil fuel power plants, each of which kill orders of magnitude more people every year (including years with serious accidents) than the nuclear industry. For too long, politicians have padding their own resumes by pretending to protect us from a hazard which is completely imagined.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Jan 15, 2017 4:31 pm GMT

Yes, without subsidies no nuclear at all.

Even old nuclear gets major subsidies:

– liability limitation subsidy which limit liability for nuclear accidents to unrealistic low amount (10-100 times too low).
Calculating with the historic risks the subsidized insurance premium is ~$50/MWh. Varying dependent on safety of the reactor and the consequences in case of disaster. So for e.g. Indian Point the premium should be higher as a disaster can change New York into a ghost town.

– liability limitation subsidy regarding nuclear waste. So the health risks and costs to guard are shifted to many next generations (>1000years).
A value of $10/MWh?

– Now even Zero Emission Credits (value ~$20/MWh), while the nuclear cycle emit far more CO2eq per MWh than wind & solar (2 to 10times more)!

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Jan 15, 2017 4:32 pm GMT

Those three are good points; I would add “the government needs to stop impeding improvements in nuclear technology“. We know that several new nuclear designs are highly resistant or even immune to the “station blackout” failures that led to fuel damage at the Fukushima plant.

NuScale, for example, has just submitted its design application to the NRC. NuScale is developing a 50 MW modular reactor which will be built 12 at a time to form 600 MW power plants which safely cool themselves following station blackout, with no human intervention. The NRC, is planning to take a ludicrous 40 months to process the paperwork. This is in addition to the years of paperwork which will be required for each plant site, which will require their own combined operating license.

This is not how we regulate cars or fossil fuel power plants, each of which kill orders of magnitude more people every year (including years with serious accidents) than the nuclear industry. For too long, politicians have padded their own resumes by pretending to protect us from a hazard which is completely imagined. Instead of complaining, environmental groups have joined fossil fuel companies in promoting their own interests by spreading fear and distrust of the nuclear industry.

We must demand sensible, science based, industry led, nuclear safety and inovation, not more government bureaucracy.

[with links removed to appease the robo-moderator]

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Jan 15, 2017 4:58 pm GMT

We agree regarding your last sentence: “We must demand sensible, science based, industry led, nuclear safety…”
The NRC would close all nuclear if it would base itself on real science.
Just consider e.g. the genetic (health) damage Nuclear Power Plants cause to innocent next generations.

Why do we continue to use nuclear, while it’s clear that we don’t need it as renewable offer a cheaper and much faster to implement solution which also emit 2 – 10 times less CO2 per KWh?
Why not follow major economy Germany with it’s many scientists?

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jan 15, 2017 6:05 pm GMT

Well said Nathan.

I applaud the development of a blackout safe reactor design and am dissapointed in the regulatory delays which inevitably translate into high cost, and am also dissapointed in the message sent by the delays to all innovative nuclear companies. When examining the reasons the NRC can not, or will not, respond in a reasonable time, I also ask what is the impact of new, blackout safe reactor designs on existing, highly profitable nuclear plants with decades left on their license. How might the bizarre ALARA policy in the NRC be apllied to existing plants when blackout safety suddenly becomes “Reasonable”? Internally, resolving application ALARA must now be schizophrenic exercise. What would the nuclear skeptical public think of existing plants versus blackout safe options?

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jan 15, 2017 6:14 pm GMT

The reality is that fossile plants *are* kept in Germany. Why not ask yourself why this so? In the US, utilities are required by law to provide reliable power to consumers.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 15, 2017 10:19 pm GMT

Well as you see there are several numers to the same topic, I did not see where you disclosed your source. You take the lowest numbers for nuclear – and call this outliner the standard and claim that every other number is a high outliner. Find a proof that your number – and _only_ your number is correct. It could well be that more than one number is correct, and just include different costs of the same project.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 15, 2017 10:29 pm GMT

At the moment they start to shut them down. Take a look at reality,
And the las sentence was a joke? You are aware how much more reliable german grid is compared to the US grid?
As it seems germans take a lot more care about this point then the US. Which allows germany to rescue france now and then, when french demand by far exceeds production capacity.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Jan 15, 2017 10:52 pm GMT

Dear Helmut Coal, there’s no “n” in “outlier”.

This fact sheet put the contract value at $20 billion:
http://www.uae-mission.ae/Editor/FactSheets_NPPproject_2013.pdf

That’s the most official figure I have found, and that was what was originally widely reported.

In late 2015, Bloomberg quoted anonymous sources that put it at $25 billion, as you can see in the wikipedia link. There’s also an anonymous quote of $30 billion from 2011. So yes, a lot of figures going around.

I prefer going with the official figure of $20 billion, but since a number of years have passed, I’m not surprised if it is now expected to end up at $25 billion in current dollars, even though the projects seems fully on-track timewise. But I have no idea why I would assume that the 6-years old anonymous figure of $30 billion would be correct. Can you explain why you’d like to believe that figure over the others?

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 15, 2017 10:59 pm GMT

you are aware that it is “only” the prime contract, while the numbers of bloomberg (30 billion) include the complete neccesary finance volume? (Difference in all longer running projects: financing costs – payment of KEPCO will not be a single payment at the end of the contract, which produces financing costs on the clients side. Also clients costs for supervison etc are not included, and there might be other contracts neccesary to have a running project.
Project costs primary contract costs.
So taking a closer look at your number reveals that it is not the complete costs.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Jan 15, 2017 11:07 pm GMT

Where are those “existing, highly profitable nuclear plants“?
Operational costs of NPP’s are so high that many close prematurely. Not only 1.3GW Gragen-Rheinfeld in Germany, but also 2.2GW SONGS, VY, Kewaunee, etc.
Dutch NPP “Borssele” suffers major (30%) losses as its operational costs are >€40/MWh and whole sale prices are ~€30/MWh, etc.

blackout safe reactor design
What if major leakages occur? Will the ground(water) be undrinkable for the next million years?
What if a plane decides to dive into it? Or drops an armor piercing device?.
Etc.

Nuclear accidents have serious consequences that affect many peoples life many generations after us. Which is not the situation with cheaper renewable (wind, sun, etc.) which also emit far less CO2!
So it’s logical that far more care is needed.

Especially when one considers the many smaller and bigger accidents with present NPP’s. Statistics show that >0,5% of nuclear power reactors end in full scale disaster, and >5% with a smaller accident! Worse than e.g. Boeing 747s.

Jesper Antonsson's picture
Jesper Antonsson on Jan 15, 2017 11:15 pm GMT

You’re simply guessing. Again, why would you accept the anonymous 2011 Bloomberg figure over the 2015 Bloomberg figure? I know why: Because the 2011 figure is higher and you just KNOW nuclear is expensive.

There can be no other reason, actually. The 2015 figure is as detailed or more detailed regarding financing and it is of a later date. An unbiased person would rather choose that. You don’t, and we’re not surprised.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jan 15, 2017 11:29 pm GMT

No it’s just you who cant find a proof for the project costs, and now wants the numbers for the lions share, but not for the whole project to be taken as number for the whole project to make it look cheaper. I stil wait for your number for the whole project, as it must be budgeted. I have enogh project experience to know what the diference between primary contract and project costs is.
I guess you know it too, but you would never confess where you are wrong. We all know this.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jan 16, 2017 1:06 am GMT

“At the moment they start to shut them down.”

Don’t tell, show, Herr Coal. German coal fleet then, same as German coal fleet now.

The reliability you mistakenly refer to are failures attributable to US above ground transmission. Neither country has regular, developing world style brown/black outs from from insufficient plant capacity. Though, as the graphic in the article shows, this past December German coal kept the lights on.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jan 16, 2017 1:36 am GMT

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jan 16, 2017 1:49 am GMT

Where are those “existing, highly profitable nuclear plants“?

North Anna and Surry’s operations and maintenance costs totaled $14.76 and $20.21 per megawatt-hour, respectively

.
http://dom.mediaroom.com/2015-02-18-North-Anna-Surry-Rated-Lowest-Cost-N...

Wholesale market seems to average $50/MWh, i.e. $1.4 million per day profit for N. Anna.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jan 16, 2017 1:51 am GMT

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Jan 16, 2017 2:35 am GMT

“Why do we continue to use nuclear…”

Great question! First off, the continued use of existing nuclear plants and the continued construction of billions of dollars worth of new reactors every year shows that many nations and many companies have come to opposite conclusion as you!

We know that your claims of genetic damage from civilian nuclear plants is easily determined to be false. Nearly all human-related radioactivity in the environment comes from coal fired plants and cold war weapons testing (plus a little radon from poorly sealed home basements). Additionally, all of the most respected studies find no statistical clinical evidence for such radiation damage near US nuclear plants (and our government decided no further studies were warranted).

We also know that the cost of renewables, in actual use, is closely related to the economic case for the fossil fuel backup. Places like Texas, which have plentiful fossil gas and access to 50% government subsidies are embracing windpower happily (at least until they reach 30% penetration). Places like India, where coal is king and little money is available for government subsidies, find that windpower is not so great, and best suited for window dressing and public relations (while their nuclear program continues with both domestic and imported technology, in spite of the protests of their coal industry).

While individual wind and solar farms are fast to build, there is no example of countries decarbonizing faster than has been done by those countries which have done so using nuclear and big hydro (e.g. France, Switzerland, Sweden); actually, those are the only major countries which have successfully decarbonized.

Paul O's picture
Paul O on Jan 16, 2017 7:06 am GMT

I have a different take on why we should pursue Nuclear Power.

1) As a science, we should encourage Nuclear Power and bring it to its full potential, rather than letting fear and false narratives/anti nuclear propaganda cause us to forfeit a branch of knowledge that has such benefitial potential to humanity.

2) We should never allow ourselves to become dependent on one or two sources of energy exclusively.

3) We should never ever allow ourselves to be at the mercy of mother nature. If we become reliant on the weather, the weather will fail us sooner or later. Take wind power, this depends on reliability of wind pasterns which in turn depends on the climate. The problem is that climate changes, if this were not so we would not be worrying about Climate Change.

4) There are and invariably will be places where wind and or solar are currently unreliable or inadequate.

The thing that really bothers me the most about renewables is the proponents of it, and their tactics (not solar and wind themselves). The proponents are doing everything in their power to blackball and cast aspersions on nuclear power much like how political hacks do to their opponents. They wage an unrelenting emotional and untrue war on nuclear power like how cave men might have been fearful of lightning, or how primitive uneducated societies might have feared electricity.

I think that an enlightened society should be interested in exploring any area of science and technology and pursue it to the zenith of wherever they are able to take it. We should not be contented to let nuclear power stagnate at the relatively primitive state that it currently is. Renewables advocates simply hate nuclear power and want to abolish it. This very fact annoys my sense of wisdom and enlightenment.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on Jan 16, 2017 10:25 am GMT

Thanks,
So there are still some NPP’s which generate a good positive margin.

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