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Forced responses: Aug 2019

Filed under: — group @ 31 July 2019

Bi-monthly thread on climate solutions and responses.

243 Responses to “Forced responses: Aug 2019”

  1. 51

    Engineer-Poet said:

    “You remind me of the poem about the wind which believed it had blown the Moon out and then blown it back again.”

    According to that poem by George Mcdonald (1904) the wind thinks very highly of itself. Actually, this is an interesting point that can be turned into a climate science discussion.

    In terms of forced responses, there are those that believe that the wind causes the ocean to oscillate, i.e. as in ENSO. But, in that case, what then causes the wind to erratically oscillate at periods longer than an annual cycle? Another forced response or an unforced variation?

    So consider instead, as with ocean tides, it’s likely the lunar and solar gravitational forcing acting on the thermocline that causes the ocean oscillations, i.e. it’s the moon and not the wind that’s in charge. The mixed lunisolar response can easily create erratic multi-year cycles. Many old-timer climate scientists such as Munk, Wunsch, Keeling, etc have considered this idea, but little progress has been made with respect to that view.

  2. 52
    Nemesis says:

    Utter contentment is the highest form of anarchy and freedom.

    Having many wishes means being much dependent, means much suffering.

    Materialist Capitalism loves discontentment of the consumers just like Samsara loves bloody flesh and bones, the more the people are discontent, the more they buy, like fishes hangin painfully on the fishhook they strive and strive and strive and can never get free. This is the rat race, the bloody hamsterwheel of capitalism and materialism:

    https://i1.wp.com/youberelentless.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/RAT-RACE.jpg?w=470

    If one exclusively thinks of life in terms of material profit, then what is the ultimate material profit of life? This:

    https://i0.wp.com/abetterworld.tv/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/eco-destruction-garbage.jpg?fit=300%2C175

    And this:

    https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a011400/a011453/c-1024.jpg

    And finally and inescapably this:

    https://www.filmmedical.co.uk/slir/w800-h800/images/stock/img680.jpg

    If death, harsh reality takes away all your material shit including your material body within a flash, then what’s left? Emptiness? Nihil? An-nihil-ation? Think again carefully.

    Utter contentment is the highest form of anarchy and freedom.

  3. 53

    #39, EP–

    The idea that renewables were a “romantic movement…” to attack nuclear power immediately following “the late 1960s” must be an appealing little paranoid fantasy, but the chronology is impossible: the first solar farm of 1 MW or more wasn’t built until 1982:

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1984pvse.conf..314A

    And a megawatt is peanuts. It took until 2006 to hit the 10 MW milestone:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaic_power_station#Noteworthy_solar_parks

    Had the fossil fuel industry or anyone else proposed in 1968, or 1978, or 1988 that renewable energy could serve as a grid mainstay they’d have been laughed off the stage.

    From both my recollections at the time and subsequent bibliography review, this idea of renewables being viable as a significant portion of power generation really only began to gain acceptance in the mid-to-late “oughts”. Which was–entirely by coincidence, I’m sure–when I began to encounter nuclear power fans demonizing renewables. Many here, for instance, will recall the efforts of the late Ed Greisch in this regard. (I may be misremembering the spelling of his last name, for which I apologize.)

    In my opinion, it’s quite unfortunate and essentially irrational. The obstacles nuclear energy faces at this point can’t be wished away by slapping the label “radiophobia” on them, and the timeline for using nuclear power to address the immediate mitigation crisis is impossibly short. The capital and build capacity–I’m thinking primarily of skilled personnel, but it’s probably also true of “the machines to make the machines”–don’t, as far as I can tell, exist at the necessary scale. And we clearly lack the time to build up those resources.

    Nuclear power will, however, continue to exist, and will be useful as ‘firming’ capacity in the grid. (Intermittency is over-hyped as an issue, but not non-existent.) For that reason I regret Germany’s decision to phase out their nuclear capacity.

    But nuclear power is not going to be the mainstay over the next couple of decades, at the very least. Not even in China, which is building more nuclear capacity than anyone else–though not nearly as much as the solar that they are deploying.

    For example:

    As of March 2019, China has 46 nuclear reactors in operation with a capacity of 42.8 GW and 11 under construction with a capacity of 10.8 GW. Additional reactors are planned for an additional 36 GW.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_China

    By contrast, actual deployments of solar in 2017 came to a (record) 53 GW.

    https://mercomindia.com/china-2017-solar-report/

    True, that’s at a much lower capacity factor than nuclear, and true, that’s a record year unlikely to be matched any time soon, as China is ending subsidies on solar PV due to the ongoing cost reductions for the technology. Nevertheless, in 2018 a further 43 GW were added:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-solarpower-idUSKCN1PB09G

    But it’s still pretty illustrative that in 2 years, solar nameplate capacity was added that more than doubled the existing nuclear capacity.

    Turning to actual generation, wind has been outproducing nuclear in China since 2013; solar was still behind nuclear in 2017, producing about half, but the gap was rapidly shrinking.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_China#Renewable_electricity_overview

    In 2018, nuclear had a good growth year, adding ~46 GWh of generation, for an increase over 2017 of ~18%. Solar did better, adding ~70 GWh, for a ~50% increase. Wind managed ~62 GWh, or ~20%.

    https://chinaenergyportal.org/en/2018-electricity-other-energy-statistics/

    I hope this doesn’t sound triumphal, because although I’m very glad to see 108 GWh of additional non-FF generation, the reality is that “thermal power”–which means “fossil fueled power” here–added, if my mental arithmetic can be trusted, ~336 GWh of generation. Which is one reason why Chinese emissions rose again in 2018.

    I celebrate every reactor China brings online. But I note that a whole lot more wind and solar farms are coming online, and that that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

  4. 54

    [edit. This is OT and also ridiculous. Not interested in this forum going down that road.]

  5. 55

    Quoth nigelj:

    I was a bit horrified, because it seemed contrived to break what is an integrated system up into component parts. I gather this is the essence of your criticism of electricity markets?

    It never ceases to amaze me that some people canNOT get the point regardless of how many times it’s explained to them.  Well, except for some who I suspect are paid trolls/provocateurs.  There’s one on Green Car Congress whose behavior fits that profile.

    There is merit in certain market-based mechanisms.  Actual market competitors (not cartels, obviously) have incentives to discover economies and add them to their own profit margins, which eventually bids prices down.  But this only works well when they are held to the same standards.

    The electric grid is a special kind of animal.  You are generating and consuming a good which has a literal shelf life measured in milliseconds.  Connecting large numbers of variable and even intermittent loads together makes the net behavior relatively smooth and predictable.  The system has one and only one real source of short-term stability, and that is the sheer physical inertia of its largest generators and motors.  AC grids also have “reactance”, which consumes “reactive power”; to compensate for this, reactive power must be generated to balance it all out.

    Paradoxically, system voltage is determined by reactive power while system frequency is determined by net real power surplus/deficit.  Why is way beyond the scope of this discussion, but the fact that this stuff is NOT remotely intuitive to anyone below the level of Tesla has to be remembered.  So’s the fact that the variation in power flow with frequency (phase) is why inertia is so important.

    Okay, you’ve got a relatively well-behaved system with a few glitches (like the underground and over-taxed power lines running into Auckland which failed and threw downtown into chaos only back in 1998).  But now you get concerned about “sustainability”, so you mandate that a whole bunch of “renewables” get added to your grid.  To make certain that they do “the most good possible”, other generators are mandated to curb their output to make room for everything they can generate.  In the bargain, these new generators don’t generate reactive power and have no grid-side inertia, and they are paid separately for each kWh generated in addition to what the consumers pay them.

    At small levels of penetration, things still work more or less as before.  But when you start getting into tens of percent of instantaneous penetration, things start to crop up.  Conventional generators pushed off-line by the grid dispatch order contribute no inertia, so the instantaneous imbalances in supply and demand speed and slow the remaining units by progressively greater degrees.  This matters because the system frequency has tolerance limits, and at something like 0.15 or 0.2 Hz off the specified frequency generators trip off-line.  This is compounded by the relatively long response time of standard AFC (automatic frequency control) systems, which are designed for a system based on steam turbines and can take up to 30 seconds to respond.  With insufficient inertia, frequency can go beyond the tolerance limits before the systems can catch up to events.  Even without outright failures, generators which have to chase the net load for “balancing” have to do an increasingly large job with ever-smaller capacity as the “renewable” share grows.  The mechanical and thermal cycling causes more-frequent breakdowns and more maintenance costs.

    On the market end, this also costs money.  Reactive power isn’t compensated as well as real power, so generators saddled with the job of supplying that reactive power at the expense of their revenue are hurt.  Most “renewable” tariffs don’t have any diversion to compensate those generators.  The refusal of one plant to supply VARs (volt-amps reactive) in lieu of watts was a factor in the 2003 northeast blackout here in the USA.  I remember that clearly because I was on the very edge of it; ten miles away, people’s power stayed on.

    Ultimately this comes to a whole lot of essential tasks being piled on a shrinking fraction of conventional generators which drives up their costs even as their revenues are slashed.  This is not, as the Greens like to say, the inevitable march of progress.  It is driven by mandates which are contrary to the very things the grid needs to stay operational, and at some point it will STOP being operational.  The 2016 South Australia blackout was not a one-off event; it is a harbinger of things to come.

    You are fortunate to be in New Zealand.  Per Wikipedia, you Kiwis generate some 50% of your electric power from hydro.  Conventional hydro (not run-of-the-river) includes considerable water impounded behind dams, which constitutes a stockpile of energy which can be dispatched at need.  Its large machines also provide ample physical inertia (when they are synced and connected); it is probably the most resilient form of electric generation ever built.  PV provides doodly squat, and most wind likewise.

    NZ generated 42,911 GWh in 2017, an average of 4.90 GW.  There’s no wonder that NZ doesn’t use nuclear power; there isn’t enough load to keep sufficient spinning reserve going to allow for a GW-class plant tripping off-line.  Maybe you Kiwis can use wind to keep enough water behind your dams to compensate for the Maui field being exhausted, but what are you going to do about e.g. transport?  What are you going to do as your geothermal steam fields cool off?

    If you want to electrify all or even most of your current fossil-driven energy demand, you’re going to need probably 2x as much electricity overall if not more.  You’re not going to get that from hydro or geothermal.  OTOH 5 GW of NuScale plants is only about 83 units, about 7 12-packs.  Plenty of redundancy there.  There’s one solid option for “getting to zero”.

  6. 56
    alan2102 says:

    https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl/
    Climate Change and Land
    An IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3HhAmjp-ME
    Land degradation accelerates global climate change
    Al Jazeera English
    Published on Aug 8, 2019

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZyRlpXLLq8
    New UN report highlights vicious cycle of climate change, land degradation
    CNA
    Published on Aug 8, 2019

    [lousy interview; interviewee is none too articulate]
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVaq9otmrDE
    New IPCC Report Warns of Vicious Cycle Between Soil Degradation and Climate Change
    The Real News Network
    Published on Aug 8, 2019

  7. 57
    alan2102 says:

    “THE DEBATE IS OVER. Renewables won”.

    https://www.worldnuclearreport.org/The-World-Nuclear-Industry-Status-Report-2017-HTML.html
    The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017 (HTML)
    Tuesday 12 September 2017
    Foreword by S. David Freeman
    “[T]his 2017 World Nuclear Industry Status Report is perhaps the most decisive document in the history of nuclear power. The report makes clear, in telling detail, that the debate is over. Nuclear power has been eclipsed by the sun and the wind. These renewable, free-fuel sources are no longer a dream or a projection — they are a reality that are replacing nuclear as the preferred choice for new power plants worldwide.
    […snip…]
    The value of this report is that this conclusion no longer relies on hope or opinion but is what is actually happening. In country after country the facts are the same. Nuclear power is far from dead but it is in decline and renewable energy is growing by leaps and bounds…. nowhere in the world, where there is a competitive market for electricity, has even one single nuclear power plant been initiated. Only where the government or the consumer takes the risks of cost overruns and delays is nuclear power even being considered…. since 1997, worldwide, renewable energy has produced four times as many new kilowatt-hours of electricity than nuclear power.
    Maybe the Revolution has not been televised, but it is well underway. Renewable energy is a lower cost and cleaner, safer alternative to fossil fuels and nuclear power.
    The world no longer needs to build nuclear power plants to avoid climate change and certainly not to save money. If you have any doubt about that fact please read the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017.”

    ………………………………..

    Even China, the Great White Hope of the nuclear proponents, is changing course:

    https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/10506-Is-China-losing-interest-in-nuclear-power-
    Is China losing interest in nuclear power?
    Feng Hao
    19.03.2018
    Slowing demand for electricity and competition from renewables
    have halted new reactor approvals

  8. 58
    John says:

    ep,

    “Facts are stubborn things; they don’t go away just because you refuse to admit them.”

    “I find it ironic that people who insist we must take climate change seriously based on the science refuse to believe consistent, repeatable results of standardized testing around the world.”

    Hmm, I can’t tell if your a nuclear industry troll or a Russian disinformation agent sent to sow more discord in American culture. But that sound paranoid doesn’t it?

    In any event, I find it supremely ironic, and not a little hypocritical, that for a guy who supposedly loves facts so much, you certainly have no issue disregarding what the majority of the scientific establishment has been saying about LNT for decades. Facts are facts, and the fact is that radiation damages DNA whether it’s from the sun, radon, coal or nuclear plants. The more exposure, the more the damage. Period. It’s physics. You might be successful in stimulating the immune system, but again, that’s a sign that something’s wrong, not right. No something that should be maintained.

    But feel free to howl at the moon.

  9. 59
    David B. Benson says:

    Kevin McKinney @53 — Raw power generation figures are misleading. For starters, multiply by the availability factor, say 0.9 for nuclear power plants and 0.18 for solar panels. So it takes 5 MW of solar installed capacity for each MW of nuclear installed capacity.
    The recent LCOE for solar PV is as low as US $25/MWh. But multiplied by 5 gives just more than the LCOE for the VVERs that Rosatom is building in Turkey. Which, by the way, will last for at least twice as long.

  10. 60
    David B. Benson says:

    Engineer-Poet @55 is error ridden regarding grid stability. The worst regards motors. While true that synchronous motors enhance stability, there are but a few. Most are induction motors. These are grid destabilizing. The largest are isolated from the grid via power electronics these days.

    The advent of power electronics provides multiple methods for ancillary services, i.e., maintaining grid stability. One is to equip solar and wind farms with batteries. A nominal one hour duration battery suffices.

    Chapter 9 of the lecture notes that I linked earlier briefly describes paying for ancillary services; this is no longer a significant issue.

  11. 61
    David B. Benson says:

    John @58 — Elementary physics, but neither biology nor health physics. Study the long paper by health physicists Caradelli & Ulsh, Dose-Response, 2018, to see just how wrong LNT is.

    I have posted about this and closely related matters earlier on the thread but also the trees thread. I recommend that you pay attention instead of just repeating the same, over and over again.

  12. 62
    alan2102 says:

    #54 Engineer-Poet 8 Aug 2019 at 4:53 PM
    [edit – OT]

  13. 63
    nigelj says:

    Engineer Poet @54 & 55
    [edit -OT]

    Anyway I understand your point about applying facts even handedly to all areas of life and letting go of sacred cows (which applies to both right and left) but getting into arguments of the sort that our race is smarter than your race isnt terribly helpful to anyone; you dont have to be an egalitarian obsessed person to see this!

    Thank’s for the information on electricty grids and reactive loads. I thought the problem in Australia was that faulty software that took the wind farm offline by mistake, and this has been rectified. I’m busy, I might come back to the generation issue later.

  14. 64
    zebra says:

    @50 BPL,

    “we knew that”

    Well, engineer-poet apparently didn’t.

    Anyway, if you fix it it is no longer an externality, so I don’t know what you are trying to say. If you tax pollution you have restored the market mechanism for those directly involved in the transaction. The energy derived from burning FF will cost more, so it will be used less.

    But I would agree that there might still be an issue… you can clean up some pollution with the money, but you could argue that you can’t exactly compensate someone who gets sick from it. Meh, raise the tax or regulate; that’s a case-by-case question.

    I believe EP is confusing the idea of externalities with market power, but there’s so much confused thinking there that it’s hard to tell.

  15. 65

    E-P 54: this is due to salient and heritable differences between groups.

    BPL: Bullshit.

    In Kenya, IQ scores of children rose 26 points on average between 1984 and 1998. This was not because Kenyans suddenly evolved to become smarter, but because the standard of living in Kenya improved, better nutrition was available, and more Kenyan parents became literate (Daley et al. 2003).

    Daley, T.C.; Whaley, S.E.; Sigman, M.D.; Espinosa, M.P.; Neumann, C. 2003. IQ on the rise–the Flynn effect in rural Kenyan children. Psychological Science 14, 215-219.

    Heritable does not mean inevitable. If people in a country are short due to poor nutrition, and nutrition is suddenly improved, tall parents will still have tall children and short parents will still have short children, but the mean height in the country can still rise considerably. That’s what happened to Japan pre- and post-war. The short “Jap” was a stereotype; now the Japanese are some of the tallest people in Asia.

    Your racism is not appreciated. And don’t tell me you don’t like being called a racist, or that I’m being PC. You constantly push racism on these forums, that makes you a racist. Deal with it.

    [edit – I’m leaving this rejoinder up. But all others are OT and have been removed.]

  16. 66
    zebra says:

    #62 alan2102,

    “long streams of probable facts”

    Yes, I observed earlier that EP is a memorizer/reciter, rather than a thinker. And this fits with the Authoritarian psychology that responds to those right-wing tropes you describe. Belonging to a group that is supposedly superior to some other group makes up for feelings of inadequacy.

    I assume that you are aware, although you didn’t mention it specifically, environmental factors affect test performance for disadvantaged groups in the US as well; lead exposure, poor pre-natal care and nutrition and exposure to toxins and so on.

    I haven’t read up on the IQ thing for a while now so I will leave it to you to provide any further input.

  17. 67

    #54, [edit – OT]

  18. 68

    #60, DB–

    Yes, and I’ll add that grid regulation is currently a very important market for energy storage projects, in part because they–LI battery tech in particular–are very, very fast. For instance:

    https://electrek.co/2018/01/23/tesla-giant-battery-australia-1-million/

    Also, the ability of both wind and solar PV to be rapidly curtailed can be an asset in this regard:

    A recent report by NREL describes that ‘‘curtailment [of wind] can provide more time for other plants on the system to ramp down if there is a sudden imbalance of high supply and low demand. Curtailment can also be used to require a renewable energy generator to generate at reduced levels so that it can rampup quickly to balance a system.’’ Low levels of curtailment (less than ~3 percent) may be a cost-effective source of flexibility.

    http://www.powermarkets.org/uploads/4/7/9/3/47931529/calif_curtailment_as_published.pdf

    According to them, it’s a matter of hitting the economic “sweet spot.” There’s a good deal more worth consideration in that paper as well, even if 2015 is rather dated in this very fast-moving context.

    #59, DB–

    You’ll have to elaborate, I’m afraid, as your post as written does not make sense to me. (And that may well be because of ignorance on my part, not a shortcoming on yours.)

    1) I can’t find a clear definition of “availability factor” online, except for the one here:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876610218301917

    The abstract doesn’t give it, and the article is paywalled as all Elsevier stuff is, but the search result said that availability factor was the ratio of inverter run time versus potential generation time. That ratio was in the mid-90% range, and so is not consistent with the number you gave. Hence, I suppose you aren’t using the definition in the paper. So, what is it?

    2) I note that the “availability factor” you give for solar PV–0.18–*is* consistent with the discussion of solar *capacity factor* here (for instance):

    https://sunmetrix.com/what-is-capacity-factor-and-how-does-solar-energy-compare/

    So, do you really mean “capacity factor?”

    3) I don’t see how, as you say, “Raw power generation figures are misleading.” These are the actual GWh delivered to the grid. As such, they are “downstream” from the effects of capacity factor, which are already ‘baked in.’ That’s why I included them in my discussion. Of course, since I don’t understand what you mean by “availability factor,” I could well be missing your point. So please elaborate, as requested in reference to point #1 above.

    4) Further to 3, as I understand it, capacity factors are basically derived by working backward from generation: the latter is divided by the nominal capacity, usually over an annual period. That’s why CF isn’t uniquely determined by technological aspects, but also by economic factors. For instance, US coal-fired CF has been falling in recent years, not because the plants are aging or the technology has changed, but because utilization rates have fallen as the resource has lost economic advantage in the market.

    I’m really at a loss to see how or why “availability factor”–whatever that is–should reduce *actual generation*, unless it’s something radically different than capacity factor. Generation is generation; power is power.

    I do see, however, why *capacity factor* must reduce the *nominal capacity* of a particular resource. So, for example, if Whoeverstan brings online a 1 GW nuclear reactor at 0.9 CF, and 2 GW of solar farms at 0.18 CF, then sure, they’ve effectively added 900 MW of nuclear capacity and just 360 MW of solar. This makes such clear sense that I can’t help but wonder if somehow this is the scenario you were thinking about.

    But all this is taking me, circular fashion, back to point #2 above. Anyway, looking forward to your clarification.

  19. 69
    Ric Merritt says:

    Details not my area of expertise, but I think E-P just proved that bumblebees can’t fly and Denmark can’t exceed 10 or 20% of renewable electric power.

  20. 70
    zebra says:

    #69 Kevin McKinney,

    You’ve got the units wrong in that last bit about capacity factor… GW and GWH are not the same thing. Go back and read that sunmetrix link you gave.

    But really, CF is a red herring.

    Say I sell you an integrated unit that uses solar panels to run a compressor for AC. It sits on the roof, and connects with thermal storage (chilled water tank) in the basement. You start the thing as soon as the sun comes up; it stores cold in the basement, and continues to operate as long as the sun is up, cooling your building and storing cold for after it goes down.

    The capacity of the solar panels is obviously matched to the load of the compressor, and “capacity factor” is irrelevant. The unit is specified for operation in a particular environment to meet the needs of that specific building.

    Likewise, you could spec a system to integrate with commuter EV, charging everyone’s battery at work every day. Same thing. What difference does the nameplate capacity make; the unit is purpose-built to meet a specific need, according to number of employees and so on.

    Nuclear people, as you can see from the endless dodging by EP, seem to have a real problem with real-world, free-market-driven applications.

  21. 71
    Al Bundy says:

    [edit – OT]

  22. 72
    alan2102 says:

    [edit – OT]

  23. 73
    alan2102 says:

    [edit – OT]

  24. 74
    John says:

    David B. Benson, you continue to cite individual and compromised critics as if theirs is the word of God. Fine. This is also the tactics of the CC denier industry, creationists, Roswell UFOlogists (which I’m not claiming are wrong, I don’t know). But again those supporting LNT hold definite sway. Example,

    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6498/aad348/meta

    I generally consider the source before I blindly believe something said source is saying.

    For example you’ve sited Calabrese lots of times. Are you not at all concerned about his history? With the politics behind his positions? With his associations with extremist right wing think tanks?

    https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-secret-science-20190219-story.html

    Ulsh showed his bias when he stated that “unnecessary burdens of costly clean-ups” is hampering the n-industry.

    Anyway. this the nuclear debate just seems to go round and round and round endlessly. My advice to nuclear diehards is, jump ship. Stop beating a dead horse. Get behind clean alternatives while you can. It’s the wave of the future (ex: alan2102, #57 above).

    Or they go back to the cold cream business…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBoD_zRfz_4

  25. 75
    gavin says:

    This is not a forum for discussing racist tropes about IQ. The original post and responses have been deleted even though some of the latter made excellent points. Any further posts will just be trashed. – gavin

  26. 76
    nigelj says:

    John @76, thank’s for the useful link from iopscience. I notice it stated “and there is evidence from some datasets that the slope of the dose response at low levels of exposure may be less than that at higher levels. ” This is was what I speculated might be the case earlier in the discussion on all this. So it might not be a case of LNT versus a zero effect or therapeutic effect but something more complex.

  27. 77
    O. says:

    @alan2102, #57:
    Thank you for the links! :-)

  28. 78
    David B. Benson says:

    Kevin McKinney @68 — The availability factor takes account of correcting the gross, nameplate capacity for the proportion of the time the generator is unable to generate. For nuclear power plants there are replenishment and refurbishment intervals. For solar power, sunlight is obviously required.

    The capacity factor obviously cannot exceed the availability factor, but may be much less. Nuclear power plants are ordinarily run whenever available but hydropower generators typically have a capacity factor less than 0.4.

  29. 79
    David B. Benson says:

    John @74 — Professor Calabrese is a respected member of the faculty of UMasa Amherst. He was awarded the Marie Curie Prize by the World Council of Nuclear Workers for his research on hormesis, low-dose radiation and health.

    I know nothing about his politics, which is irrelevant. Just as William Shockley’s views are irrelevant.

    I encouraged you to study Carareli & Ulsh. The authors are both PhD health physicists, which should be enough for you to know that you won’t waste your time. But I fear you remind me of those unwilling to look through Galileo’s telescope; too set in their ways.

  30. 80

    Quoth Kevin McKinney:

    The idea that renewables were a “romantic movement…” to attack nuclear power immediately following “the late 1960s” must be an appealing little paranoid fantasy, but the chronology is impossible: the first solar farm of 1 MW or more wasn’t built until 1982

    Do you really believe that that 1 MW PV farm sprang fully-formed into existence, like Athena from the brow of Zeus?  Given the high cost at the time, where do you think the money came from?  It was built by Arco.  Do you think Arco was trying to put itself out of business?  No, it was a pioneer in “greenwashing.”  (1982 was only 37 years ago, and the 1 MW Lugo plant is long gone already.  Lots of nuclear plants have been re-licensed for 60 years of operation and one is already aiming for 80 years.)

    There was a long history of solar energy use to inspire the romantics.  “Direct Use of the Sun’s Energy”, Farrington Daniels, 1964, goes into it.  In an 1878 exposition in Paris, a solar-heated boiler ran a steam engine to power a printing press.  But solar furnaces go back much further; Lavoisier used one in the 1770’s.  (There’s an easter egg on page 4 of the introduction.  I’ll let all of you discover it on your own.)

    But you’re trying to deflect by ignoring the established “renewable”, wind power.  Go read “Don Quixote” and remember that it was published in 1605.  The first utility-scale wind turbine was installed at Grandpa’s Knob and first fed power to the grid in 1941.  It had a rated power of 1.25 MW.  Wind power was all over popular publications by the late 1960’s, and wind turbines topped 1 MW again in 1979.  Popular Science even promoted a kit wind turbine with fiberglass blades laid up over sculpted expanded-paper cores.

    tl;dr Don’t try to gaslight this forum by claiming that there was no “renewables” push in the 1970’s and 60’s, and that anti-nuclearism was not a huge part of it.  It provably was.

    Had the fossil fuel industry or anyone else proposed in 1968, or 1978, or 1988 that renewable energy could serve as a grid mainstay they’d have been laughed off the stage.

    Your 1 MW Lugo plant was built by Arco.  Somebody was selling the idea.

    this idea of renewables being viable as a significant portion of power generation really only began to gain acceptance in the mid-to-late “oughts”. Which was–entirely by coincidence, I’m sure–when I began to encounter nuclear power fans demonizing renewables.

    By that time, both France and Sweden had proven that nuclear power can almost completely decarbonize electric generation.  Along comes a movement pushing inherently unreliable energy sources producing a good with a shelf-life of milliseconds as “the solution”… and oh yeah, using fossil fuels as “backup”.  Who are the demons:  the people with a track record, or those pushing something that is grossly flawed if it’s even possible at all?  The second group looked like fraudsters, and still does.

    the timeline for using nuclear power to address the immediate mitigation crisis is impossibly short.

    Uh, no.  Look at this graph from this page.  Denmark is the biggest “renewable” success story in the world.  Neighboring Sweden’s pace of decarbonization of electric power was not only 3 times as fast, it happened 30 years earlier.

    2019 marks 30 years that Vestas has been exclusively a wind-power company.  After 30 years of effort, Denmark’s grid still emits 10x as much CO2 per kWh as Sweden’s.  We don’t have time for “renewables” to play catch-up.

    The capital and build capacity

    Both NuScale and Thorcon are taking aim at this.  NuScale’s steam supply module will be factory-built and shipped to the site intact.  ThorCon’s entire plant is to be built in a shipyard.  Those are just the two I know the most about.

    The obstacles nuclear energy faces at this point can’t be wished away by slapping the label “radiophobia” on them

    Radiophobia is part of it, but it’s just one bit of the propaganda which is in turn only part of the whole assault.  Radiophobia keeps the “environmental” rubes from joining Environmental Progress wholesale.  Propaganda about “too expensive” and “too slow” forestalls a rebellion over high “environmental fees” to subsidize “renewable” electric power.  And those things ignore the war of Fossil Capital against nuclear, which is why Quebec’s Gaz Metro was able to buy Vermont’s Green Mountain Power and then refuse to sign a contract with Vermont Yankee with nobody filing an anti-trust suit to stop it.

    nuclear power is not going to be the mainstay over the next couple of decades, at the very least. Not even in China, which is building more nuclear capacity than anyone else

    China is going to nuclearize so fast it’ll make you dizzy.  The Yanlong swimming-pool reactor will soon come into service for district heating.  The projected build time is 2 years.

    In 2018, nuclear had a good growth year, adding ~46 GWh of generation

    I make that a little under 35 TWh, but look at the proportions.  The unreliables came to just 420 TWh.  Hydro gave 1193 TWh, which is a huge buffer.  The unreliables together came to less than 7% of total generation and produced just over 10% of what came from coal.  That is still in the region where they are not a significant burden on the rest, especially given all that hydro.

    I note that a whole lot more wind and solar farms are coming online, and that that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

    The problems come when you try to expand well beyond 7% and force the rest of the system to “balance” an increasingly heavy load even as its own strength is sapped.

    MIT researchers studied the issue of storage for a practical renewable grid and found that cost would have to fall by a factor of TEN to make it feasible.  This is part of what makes the problem so intractable.

    The advantage of nuclear is that its fuel IS its storage, just like coal, oil and gas.  There are nuclear technologies which could do the job of decarbonizing our energy (all of it, not just electricity), and do it in 2 decades.  Thorium molten-salt breeders can scale fast enough to do it.  Our problem is that we would need at least 10 years from a standing start to prove a plant design before we could start building it in quantity.  Maybe Thorcon is far enough along to manage that; otherwise, NuScale appears to be it for now, and as NuScale is a LWR we’d need a heck of a lot of uranium mining and enrichment to get NuScale going at the level we need to fully decarbonize.

    This screams that we need another resource.  And we have it, only we call it “high-level nuclear waste” and “ex-weapons plutonium” and are treating it as a disposal problem.  It’s a fuel supply for fast-spectrum reactors and reclaiming it gets rid of all the stockpiled used fuel lying around; it’s win/win.  And we have the technology; radiophobia really IS the only thing stopping us from using it.

  31. 81
    dhogaza says:

    Thank you, Gavin.

  32. 82
    David B. Benson says:

    John @74 — Having some extra time, I read the IOP paper that you linked. My, what a bad example of ignoring and dismissing the evidence brought forward!

    And Ulsh,

  33. 83
    David B. Benson says:

    And Ulsh. Strictly, Cardarelli & Ulsh editorialize about the excess cost of nuclear cleanup. Yes, the Fukushima Dai-ichi remediation is an exercise in excess, the worst being the evacuation but removing the soil was wrong as well.

    Now all this seems far from the point of the Forced Variations thread. If you wish to persist, consider
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/312/wade-allisons-radiation-critique
    as a suitable venue.

  34. 84
    nigelj says:

    The huge power blackout in Southern Australia in 2016 was not due to inherently unreliable wind power. It was caused by a huge storm taking down the supply line network, and a bad computer programme at one of the wind farms that caused it to go offline, which has now been fixed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_South_Australian_blackout

  35. 85

    E-P 80: inherently unreliable energy sources [renewables] producing a good with a shelf-life of milliseconds

    BPL: The primary useful lifetime of wind turbines or solar power plants in measured in decades, and energy storage is measured in hours or days.

    There is a vast effort on the internet to talk about how impossible it is to power the world with renewables. Meanwhile, renewable energy keeps growing, and faster than any other power source. Certainly faster than nuclear, which is a dead end technology no one will invest in any more.

  36. 86

    The issue with nuclear energy is that it requires political bipartisanship to get moving. The two points about nuclear that can’t be denied are (1) it’s a safety-critical technology and (2) it will take government support to develop, monitor, maintain, protect, and clean up (at the end of its life-cycle).

    The existential dilemma then is that the Republicans don’t know how to govern, other than to take a hands-off approach to everything. They do know how to work the military, but applying that to the nuclear industry would be at odds with the free-market approach that they are cheerleaders for.

  37. 87
    John says:

    David B. Benson,

    Yes. I know, there are “good people on both sides”.

    Sarcasm, sorry.

    I’ve actually experimented with a version of hormesis. Not radiation, but hemlock. Poison hemlock. The plant that killed Socrates. Not that I see myself as anything akin to him. But it grows wild in my area. Misidentified it once. Ate enough to just about cause respiratory arrest. Not pleasant. Since then I snip off a bit, just a little bit, every now and then, and down it. It’s had no noticeable affect one way or the other. So I’m not completely contrary to the concept.

    With hormesis based on power plant releases, though, there would be no person-by-person accuracy or precision, no ultimate limit on what could be accepted by each individual, animal or plant. It would instead be a blanket, one-size-fits-all fallout, simply to benefit one dirty industry. And it would be cumulative. Slowly irradiating the land. For a long, long time. Contaminating it for the rest of human history. Similar to how the “Great Acceleration” is proposed to have begun the Anthropocene.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-20970-5

    Doing the Ruskies work for them, I guess you could say.

    Besides all this is still the fact that the majority of mainstream science has been saying for a long time that there is no absolutely safe limit. Risk is proportional to exposure.

    “But I fear you remind me of those unwilling to look through Galileo’s telescope; too set in their ways.”

    I always hope that’s not the case. Having been exposed to blatant dishonesty all of my growing life, I’ve had a philosophy for decades to follow the truth wherever it leads. To try not be reflexively dogmatic. But, based on experience, I’ve also developed a robust, and I believe correct, skepticism of right wing “science”. It seems always to be contaminated with right wing politics, a foul, toxic brew. I distrust extreme left wing politics too, especially as applies to certain social issues and ultimate values (no absolutes). Don’t get me wrong, I believe the left is correct on most of the big topics. But sometimes, in an effort to compromise with the loudest PC voices in their ranks, they go to far, sometimes ridiculously so.

    But for the most part, it seems to me that accuracy and fairness is the left’s goal, not dogma, which is the right’s. Evolution, plate tectonics, climate science, catastrophism vs uniformitarianism, environmentalism, toxics (ewg version), Seti etc. etc., all examples of where independent thought led away from dogma.

  38. 88
    Al Bundy says:

    E-P:China is going to nuclearize so fast it’ll make you dizzy. The Yanlong swimming-pool reactor will soon come into service for district heating. The projected build time is 2 years.

    AB: Sounds a lot like what I’m advocating (including for tar sands extraction, if one is unwise enough to extract tar sands). Nuclear is safe (other than freedom-fighter activities) as long as one doesn’t enhance the heat by going critical. That means that nuclear electrical generation has to be either way inefficient and bulky or a high-wire act. But low-grade heat is what nuclear does best. High-level waste, thorium, uranium; most anything will work because you’re not looking for criticality, just a little low-grade heat.

    Hmm, pair that with a CO2 extraction machine (IIRC they generally need some sort of low-grade heater) during the summer…

    E-P, some advice: focus on the above and blare loudly about how it is NOT a “reactor” since it doesn’t go critical. Even if technically true never accept a toxic word as the definition of the system you’re promoting. You do NOT want to use an action word when speaking about nuclear. Something absolutely inert would be best. How about “Nuclear heating pad”? See? You’ve framed it as something entirely new and comforting. And seriously, isn’t nuclear heating pad a more accurate phrase for Yanlong?

  39. 89
    nigel says:

    John @87, I see left / right politics the same way. My understanding is our immune systems protect us from low doses of many toxins, including radiation, but many people have compromised immune systems, so low doses below a certain threshold are still harmful for populations taken as a whole. So the LNT model would hold true but the slope below a certain threshold could be shallow. Is this too simplistic a view people?

  40. 90

    Hmm, I can’t tell if your a nuclear industry troll or a Russian disinformation agent sent to sow more discord in American culture.

    If those are the only possibilities you can think of, it says more about your poverty of experience and imagination than anything else.  You literally cannot imagine an American-born American of European descent (because anything else is a hyphenated-American, and thus a non-American per Teddy Roosevelt) daring to (a) distinguish between Americans and others, and (b) advocate for what’s in the interest of those Americans.  Including what’s necessary to preserve the ecological legacy of historical America.

    But that sound paranoid doesn’t it?

    Because it is.

    In any event, I find it supremely ironic, and not a little hypocritical, that for a guy who supposedly loves facts so much, you certainly have no issue disregarding what the majority of the scientific establishment has been saying about LNT for decades.

    That’s because what said majority has been saying is contradicted by evidence going back six-plus decades.  We know how the “no safe dose” myth was created.  Rod Adams dug up a video made by a biologist who explains why LNT is wrong.  For a point-by-point overview of just HOW and WHY LNT was pushed against the evidence in the first place, Rod Adams wrote up a solid summary noting that the Rockefeller Foundation had all the elements of the crime:  method, motive and opportunity.

    If you want to understand why the public increasingly distrusts what’s labelled as “science”, look at the politicization of everything under that label.  Look at the persecution of James Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix of DNA, for daring to say what everyone knows is true.  What is only allowed to be called “science” because it complies with dogma, is not science.

    Facts are facts, and the fact is that radiation damages DNA whether it’s from the sun, radon, coal or nuclear plants.

    One of those facts is that the normal product of your aerobic metabolism is copious free radicals, which cause a great deal of DNA damage even in the total absence of radiation.  Here is a paper which outlines the phenomenon of radiation hormesis:

    The balance between damage and protection favors protection at low cell doses and damage at high cell doses.

    Point made.

  41. 91

    Quoth nigelj:

    getting into arguments of the sort that our race is smarter than your race isnt terribly helpful to anyone

    Unfortunately, we have a very large and highly militant segment of Western society which points fingers and claims “YOU ARE TO BLAME FOR [x people’s] PROBLEMS!”  Almost all of this is quite literally blood libel.  Natural phenomena are nobody’s fault; our only job is to understand them and deal with them.

    Some things you can only deal with by separation.  Keeping toxic heavy metals away from people is the only way to deal with them; it’s why we now use titanium oxide instead of lead oxide in paint.  Incompatible peoples need to live apart from each other.  Those who insist otherwise are the ones I wish would put their ideas into practice by trying to tame grizzly bears by feeding them; that way they would be placing no one but themselves at risk.

  42. 92

    @Ric Merritt:  It’s not what Denmark alone can do.  Denmark’s grid is only a small part of a heavily-interconnected system.  It’s what the system can do… and Denmark, despite its connections to hydro-heavy Norway and Sweden, has far higher emissions than either Sweden or France.

    That should tell you something.

  43. 93

    Quoth zebra:

    CF is a red herring.

    Say I sell you an integrated unit that uses solar panels to run a compressor for AC. It sits on the roof, and connects with thermal storage (chilled water tank) in the basement. You start the thing as soon as the sun comes up; it stores cold in the basement, and continues to operate as long as the sun is up, cooling your building and storing cold for after it goes down.

    You just described the Ice Bear.

    The capacity of the solar panels is obviously matched to the load of the compressor, and “capacity factor” is irrelevant.

    You’re hitting on one of my personal points of study, taking intermittent/unreliable electricity and converting surpluses into storable forms for later consumption IN that form, not reconversion to electric power.  But there are a bunch of things you missed:

    1.  If your PV system has a cooling-season capacity factor of 0.3, but your A/C has to operate at a CF of 0.6, you need to double the size of your chiller to consume and store your PV output as it is generated.  Obviously, this costs more.

    2.  If you have issues of cloudy days reducing PV output while also trapping heat, you need to up-size the PV system further.  This also costs more.  The alternative is to buy extra electric power on those low-generation days… but if everyone’s “renewables” are doing poorly, your options narrow to pretty much two things:  fossil, or nuclear.

    3.  You have the general seasonal imbalance of the generating peak at the summer solstice in late June, while the thermal peak is generally in August when you’re well on the way to the autumnal equinox.  Meeting this with PV requires up-sizing your PV array again, and paying for it.

    The unit is specified for operation in a particular environment to meet the needs of that specific building.

    That only works if your energy supply is reliable.  Natural stochastic systems will fail to meet your design assumptions some percent of the time.  How do you deal with that?  How much does over-sizing various system parts to allow for natural variation drive up your cost?

    Likewise, you could spec a system to integrate with commuter EV, charging everyone’s battery at work every day. Same thing. What difference does the nameplate capacity make; the unit is purpose-built to meet a specific need, according to number of employees and so on.

    When you are talking about EVs dependent on ruinables, you start getting into cascading failures.  When (not if) you have a cloudy day, do you NOT charge all the EVs and only some fraction of employees are able to go home for the night?  When you have a series of cloudy days, do people get off work?

    The USA has on the order of 250 million LDVs.  If every one of them had a Tesla-class 100 kWh battery, the total energy storage would come to 25 TWh.  This comes to a little over 2 days of total electric demand for the US before trying to electrify all transport.  By my 2004 estimate, full electrification of ground transport would increase net electric demand by about 40%; that would cut the storage margin to less than a day and a half.  Do you seriously think that season- and weather-dependent generation would not have FREQUENT deficits of 1.5 days and more?

    Do you think our economy could stand weather-driven shutdowns as frequently as those deficits would drive?

    Nuclear people, as you can see from the endless dodging by EP, seem to have a real problem with real-world, free-market-driven applications.

    I’m not the one dodging the inevitable vagaries of weather, “zebra”.  I’m the one who intends to eliminate them, insofar as is possible.

  44. 94

    Quoth Barton Paul Levinson:

    inherently unreliable energy sources [renewables] producing a good with a shelf-life of milliseconds

    The primary useful lifetime of wind turbines or solar power plants in measured in decades

    What part of “producing a good” do you not understand?  The good is electric power provided where desired on demand.  Electric power produced anywhere else at any other time is not that good.

    energy storage is measured in hours or days.

    The South Australia battery from Tesla is reportedly 100 MW/129 MWh, so it can produce at rated capacity for just under 1 hour and 18 minutes.  That’s not even “hours” plural.  Days?  Don’t make me laugh.

    One day of electric storage for the USA would come to ~11,000 GWh before demand for BEVs.  One Tesla Gigafactory is specced to produce 30 GWh of cells per year; it would take over 3600 Gigafactories to produce a day’s worth of storage for the USA in a year.  It’s doubtful that the world can produce the lithium or cobalt for that at the required rate.

    I push nuclear because (1) lanthanides are available in more-than-adequate quantity, (2) those same lanthanides form the long-term storage, and (3) short-term storage in the form of molten-nitrate salt heat storage (3a)is proven from solar-thermal projects, (3b) relies on NO scarce materials, and (3c) is much cheaper than batteries.

    There is a vast effort on the internet to talk about how impossible it is to power the world with renewables. Meanwhile, renewable energy keeps growing, and faster than any other power source.

    There’s a vast effort in the propaganda industry to promote “renewables”, without ONE SINGLE EXAMPLE of a “renewable” grid providing sufficient reliable power to produce more “renewable” generation.  The “renewable” generation coming out of China is manufactured with COAL!

    I’m from Missouri.  If this is the future, SHOW ME WHERE IT IS WORKING!  You CANNOT do it.

  45. 95
    James Charles says:

    “Despite claims to the contrary, the first task of the agencies involved in the UK power outage yesterday will have been to cover their backs and, if necessary, lay blame somewhere else. So it is that a story emerged that it was a freak accident coincidentally affecting two separate generators . . .
    The safety protection systems referred to here, include a national scheme to disconnect large industrial power consumers during periods when demand outstrips supply. The aim of the scheme is to prevent power outages from spilling over to ordinary households. Clearly on this was insufficient, since several million households across England and Wales were left without electricity in the busy rush hour/tea time period.
    As neat official stories go, it is good. Extreme circumstances that nobody could reasonably be expected to anticipate temporarily halted normal operations; but the safety systems worked; albeit at the cost of inconveniencing people… something from which lessons will be learned.
    The problem with the official story, though, is that the timings simply do not match what actually happened. . . . ”
    http://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2019/08/10/the-shape-of-things-to-come-3/?fbclid=IwAR36Wg7zqfq_6zsPAzyICn8FuRDcn7-IeZMsZpufR-4JvgBvbUrw8Chp01E

  46. 96
    mike says:

    https://climatenewsnetwork.net/nuclear-power-somehow-always-makes-a-loss/

    “Two new studies together make an eloquent case against nuclear power: that its civilian uses are inseparable from nuclear warmaking, and that it is always uneconomic and has to be subsidised by taxpayers.

    The first report, by the Berlin-based German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), says that private economic interests have never played a role in nuclear power; instead the military have always been the driving force behind their construction. The report’s title sums up its contents: High-Priced and Dangerous: Nuclear Power is not an option for the Climate-Friendly Energy Mix.”

    The second study, specifically into SMRs, is by the Nuclear Consulting Group (NCG), an international team of academics and other experts [the writer of this news report is a member]. It reaches the same conclusion: that they will be expensive for the taxpayer and never live up to expectations.

    The NCG, which works with Nuclear Free Local Authorities in the UK, says its opposition is based on close scrutiny of the industry. After examining all the designs of SMRs currently being developed globally, the NCG says: “It remains likely that no substantive deployment of the technology will be realised, with just a very few reactors built, at most.

    “This will be despite large amounts of public money being invested in these projects and, worse, the neglect of other more viable non-nuclear options. It provides another example of the industry talking a good game but delivering little.” There are recurrent reports that SMRs are managing to break into the market, but so far without any sign of widespread success.

    Well, shucks. Who saw that coming?

    Cheers

    Mike

  47. 97
    zebra says:

    #93 engineer-poet,

    “blah blah…list of memorized talking points…blah blah”

    Excellent. Now, why don’t you demonstrate that you are not just a memorizer-grade engineer, and answer my question instead of running away:

    -The grid operator is mandated to treat all consumers and generators equally, and is compensated for implementing the transactions physically and financially.

    -Externalities like CO2 production are internalized by taxes or regulation or whatever.

    So, I’m the business owner:

    1. I can choose to put solar panels on my roof and do what I described at #70.

    2. I can choose to buy from a wind/solar generator farm.

    3. I can buy from a fossil fuel generator, at the price which includes the CO2 disincentive.

    4. I can buy from EP’s Almost-Too-Cheap-To-Meter-Nuclear-Wonderland generating station.

    My question, which you keep evading, is… what’s the problem??

    According to you, options 1 and 2 are going to be expensive and unreliable, because blah blah blah… list of memorised talking points…blah blah. We’ve all heard this stuff many times.

    Fine. Then, obviously, all the smart business owners are going to choose #4, right? So, what’s the problem? Why would the grid be “unbalanced”, or whatever other memorized talking points you want to recite? Why wouldn’t investors be lining up to build more nuclear plants?

    This seems the obvious way to create the “nuclear transition” you are seeking, but you all seem terribly afraid of it. Got an answer?

    [For anyone who is still reading this silliness: I’ve asked this question of nuclear proponents for decades now. Still no answer, which is why I suspect at least 90% of them are FF trolls playing gotcha, because “all libruls are anti-nuke”.]

  48. 98

    Quoth Paul Pukite:

    The issue with nuclear energy is that it requires political bipartisanship to get moving.

    Not necessarily.  One huge part of this problem is anti-scientific radiation “safety” standards (which apply to industrial imaging and medical treatment as well as the nuclear industry).  IIUC the bulk of the responsibility falls to one very small office inside the EPA, effectively just one person.  Radiation professionals are already pushing for a “tolerance dose” to replace ALARA* (which is based on LNT).  All it takes is one executive-branch change and it’s a whole new ball game.

    Replace ALARA with a tolerance dose and a huge number of things immediately get easier and cheaper.  For instance, you don’t need ridiculous amounts of shielding around your gamma treatment machine any more.  Work in nuclear plants involving low doses and dose rates no longer requires extensive planning and shielding to minimize doses; under the daily limit and you’re good.

    This extends to other things.  Dry-cask storage of used fuel is expensive because the NRC treats those stationary, un-pressurized casks about as seriously as a reactor containment.  This is ridiculous; those things cost more than critical structural parts of airliners because of all the paperwork involved.  There’s no need for that, and it can be swept away by switching to standards required of e.g. reinforced concrete bridges, which ARE safety critical but cost way less.

    No bipartisanship required, just an executive determined to get the job done and knowing what needs fixing.

    * ALARA = as low as reasonably achieveable (and “reasonable” keeps getting defined downward).  Radiation professionals are quite familiar with radiation and are directly subject to the exposures they are saying are safe.  They do things like “fractionating” doses for radiation treatment in order to allow healthy tissues outside the target to recover.  They know LNT is bunk; they see the proof every day.

  49. 99

    Quoth John:

    With hormesis based on power plant releases, though, there would be no person-by-person accuracy or precision, no ultimate limit on what could be accepted by each individual, animal or plant. It would instead be a blanket, one-size-fits-all fallout, simply to benefit one dirty industry.

    The tramp uranium and thorium from coal fly ash exposes the public to more radiation than nuclear plants do.  It also exposes them to toxic mercury and other heavy metals that are deadly forever.  Gas plants spew radon.  Gas stoves spew radon INSIDE HOMES.

    There’s no person-by-person accuracy or precision for radiation exposure by cosmic rays or gamma “groundshine” from granite.  Would you issue an evacuation order for the ski resorts of Vail?

    And it would be cumulative. Slowly irradiating the land. For a long, long time.

    Most of Fukushima is effectively clear of contamination after only 8 years, and that’s after the worst NPP accident in history.

    Even assuming that we can’t improve on 1970’s designs and practices, would you trade a Fukushima per decade to maintain a habitable Earth?  I would, in a heartbeat.  I may be crazy but I’m sure not stupid.

  50. 100

    Quoth Al Bundy:

    Nuclear is safe (other than freedom-fighter activities) as long as one doesn’t enhance the heat by going critical. That means that nuclear electrical generation has to be either way inefficient and bulky or a high-wire act.

    “It is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

    You just flaunted your complete ignorance of all things nuclear to the entire world.  To borrow a phrase I’ve come to like, you are too short for this ride.

    You’ve got this fear of the word “critical”, but no knowledge whatsoever of things like delayed neutrons and negative temperature coefficients.  Keeping a powdered-coal-fired boiler going is a high-wire act; one glitch in a feeder or crusher and your carefully-tended flame goes out.  Nuclear reactors are designed to be stable; if they get too warm the chain reaction slows down all by itself.

    E-P, some advice: focus on the above and blare loudly about how it is NOT a “reactor” since it doesn’t go critical. Even if technically true never accept a toxic word as the definition of the system you’re promoting.

    It is very much a reactor, and it will indeed be critical when it is in operation.  You’re saying I should lie to cater to propaganda-induced paranoia?  I told you, I chose honesty over dogma and I’m not about to change.

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