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Forced variations: Apr 2020

Filed under: — group @ 1 April 2020

Open thread for climate solutions.

665 Responses to “Forced variations: Apr 2020”

  1. 51
    Joris van Dorp says:

    #41 “… nuclear supporters have never published a plan to provide all world power using nuclear power.”

    Providing all world power with nuclear ‘merely’ requires replacing every fossil-fueled power plant with a nuclear-fueled one. While that may not be an optimal solution to the climate/energy challenge, there is nothing standing in the way of doing it, except politics of course.

    Moreover, the cost of going 100% nuclear would actually be far lower than the cost of creating a zero carbon grid by using “green” energy alone.
    https://medium.com/generation-atomic/how-much-would-a-100-nuclear-energy-system-cost-3dd7703dd5d3

  2. 52

    Michael Sweet makes this reveal @40:

    I have a much easier plan to provide all power using waste heat. Set up a large heat exchanger using hydro power (only one dam will be needed to start the cycle). Use the heat exchanger to cool a city using 1000 MW of power. Heat exchangers generate three times as much waste heat as the input electrical energy.

    After immediately going “WTF, does this guy think heat exchangers violate the law of conservation of energy?” (they are passive devices, BTW) I realized that you actually meant heat pumps.†  You don’t know the meaning of basic terms.  You don’t understand big numbers either; you throw around “1000 MW” like it means something (average US electric load is about 460 times that much and it will go much higher in a fully-electrified economy; total nameplate generating capacity in the USA is over 1,000,000 MW).  Last, you don’t understand the first thing about thermodynamics; what you have described is a perpetual motion machine,

    I could write a rebuttal, but given your ignorance and misconceptions it wouldn’t be worth my time.  I can explain all this stuff to you, but I can’t understand it for you.  It’s obvious that you haven’t understood anything else I’ve written either.

    You have been banned many times from Skeptical Science

    Never posted there in my life IIRC.  It’s like you’re making a career out of making a fool of yourself.  If I properly remember the few times I’ve followed links there, that’s pretty much Skeptical Science’s career too.  If that’s where you got your “education”, it explains a lot.  It also explains why a disinformation site like SS would ban anyone trying to impart actual knowledge.

    As I say in the above post to EP, building out the minimum number of reactors, as nuclear supporters here support, would require massive storage to provide daily and seasonal peak power.

    Wrong.  Total US nameplate generation is somewhere around 1 TW.  If you built out 3.3 TW(th) of nuclear either as molten-salt reactors or LMFBRs (capable of being considerably more efficient than LWRs), at even 40% efficiency you’d have 1.3 TW of nameplate generation; this is the “chronic surplus” condition I have mentioned before which allows (almost requires) large amounts of energy to go to demand-manageable “dump loads” like electrofuels.  MSRs don’t even have to shut down to refuel.  My own calculations on a steam cycle with 2 reheats show that 40% can easily be beaten, and Vaclav Dostal found upwards of 45% potential efficiency using a supercritical CO2 cycle.  Given the advantage of much smaller machinery for sCO2 vs. steam or helium Brayton cycle, that’s probably the way to go.

    Heat pumps can go to 27.5 SEER, which is a coefficient of performance (CoP) of 27.5/3.414 or roughly 8.  This is NOT perpetual motion; they take higher-entropy heat from the source (outdoor air, water, earth loop, whatever) and use electricity to pump it “uphill” to a slightly higher temperature suitable for heating.  Net entropy still increases because the near-zero entropy electricity is also converted to high-entropy space heat; if you tried to run a power plant on this heat, you’d find that you cannot get out anything close to what you put in.  That’s the Second Law.  (No, I don’t expect Sweet to get anything out of this explanation; it’s addressed to him, but it’s for people who don’t have piles of disinformation to un-learn before they can grasp facts.)

  3. 53
    Al Bundy says:

    EP,

    It wasn’t up to you to sow breadcrumbs based on your belief that everyone here is too stupid to connect the dots. You should have replied to me privately. And to publically back me into a corner where I couldn’t productively respond was quite, uh, unfriendly.

    So, though our interpretations of this exchange surely differ, I suppose we are in agreement with regard to my future path:

    It is foolish for me to engage with you. Others have written to warn me of the danger involved.

    So I plan on interacting in as friendly a manner as I can manage publically.

    Unfortunate.

  4. 54
    zebra says:

    #48 David Benson,

    “omnipresent demand”

    Then what’s the baseload of a typical house?

    The only demand that is “omnipresent” in my house would be the refrigerator.

    How is that such a big deal?

  5. 55

    It wasn’t up to you to sow breadcrumbs based on your belief that everyone here is too stupid to connect the dots.

    If someone can derive your notion from a mere mention of a centuries-old technology, then it is blatantly obvious to anyone skilled in the art and fails the basic test of patentability.

    You should have replied to me privately.

    Yahoo puts the originating IP address in the mail headers.  I didn’t want you to have mine, and my reasons for this keep looking better all the time.

    And to publically back me into a corner where I couldn’t productively respond was quite, uh, unfriendly.

    My comment was a dismissal; response was neither necessary nor desired.

    Others have written to warn me of the danger involved.

    Yes, I’m such a dangerous guy here.  I have a deadly black assault keyboard with which I can wreak havoc anywhere the Internet reaches (Dell makes fine keyboards, BTW).  Don’t mess with me, I might even haul out a fully-automatic thesaurus or the Compact OED which I used to qualify as a verbal sniper.

    (honestly, you have no idea how funny that is… just not in any way you’d want it to be.)

  6. 56

    Joris van Dorp posted:

    https://medium.com/generation-atomic/how-much-would-a-100-nuclear-energy-system-cost-3dd7703dd5d3

    HIGHLY recommend this article.  Not only is is solid and cites all its sources, it’s full of links for further reading too.

    Joris, if you care to do a follow-on, may I suggest that you try to roll in the costs and benefits of dump loads, scheduled PEV charging and such?  One of the benefits is that the capacity factor of the nuclear fleet stays close to 100% out to a higher total output, which will delay the upward bend in the cost curve.

    The one thing I would add is that the job does not end with decarbonizing electric power.  AAMOF, that’s less than half the job.  Industry, space heating, and transport account for considerably more total CO2 than the grid.

  7. 57
    Al Bundy says:

    Michael S,
    Come on. Now you’re resorting to calling EP out for supposedly not dotting obvious dots. He wasn’t writing a definitive textbook; he’s commenting on a blog.

    I get it. You have an emotional aversion to nukes. I don’t share your aversion, but I do honor it to a point since it is shared by many.

    But it is obvious that nukes could power the world while using excess capacity to draw down CO2, create synfuels, and provide a buffer for when an individual nuke goes down unexpectedly.

    But to do so would require either allowing Them to have nukes too or engaging in genocide.

  8. 58
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: My comment was a dismissal; response was neither necessary nor desired.

    AB: If you were God the rest of us might care.

  9. 59
    Michael Sweet says:

    Joris Van Dorp:

    I said “nuclear supporters have never published a plan to provide all world power using nuclear power. ” You provide a link to a wild scheme to generate all electricity only in the USA. You are so ignorant in the energy debate that you do not even know what “All Power” means. I note that your “plan” is just an unreviewed blog post and not peer reviewed.

    All Power means you have to generate all the power used in the economy. That means electricity (the only power in your plan), transportation, all heat, all industry, heavy shipping and airplanes. As I said, nuclear supporters have not produced such a plan because it is impossible to generate all power using nuclear power. Your costs for nuclear power are far below actual costs in the USA. I can make anything look cheap by using an unrealistic price.

    Why don’t you try to read the background information on energy supply so you do not make yourself look so uninformed. There are hundreds of peer reviewed articles that show it is possible to build out a renewable system that is similar in cost or cheaper than the existing energy system. These plans supply All Power. Start with Jacobson et al 2018.

    There is only enough uranium to generate all world power for five years. You will have to build out a new 1000 MW reactor every day forever to build enough reactors. The nuclear industry struggles to build out 5 reactors per year.

    Comments like yours prove that nuclear supporters are not serious in their posts on line. If you were serious you would read the background information so that you at least know the vocabulary. Blog posts from someone who does not know the basic vocabulary are not very convincing.

  10. 60
    Michael Sweet says:

    Nigelj,

    France has announced that they are moving out of nuclear reactors and building much more renewable energy. As their reactors go off line due to old age they will not be replaced. You should find a new example of a country that is succeeding with nuclear.

    In any case, after 60 years of installing nuclear they produce about 70% of electricity in France with nuclear. Since electricity is only about 20% of All Power only 14% of power in France comes from nuclear. World wide nuclear provides less than 3% of All Power. World wide wind and solar generates more power than nuclear, and renewables have only been the cheapest option for a few years.

  11. 61
    Michael Sweet says:

    EP:

    You said previously that you would run two thirds of the world economy on waste heat from your reactors. You appear to have forgotten to include your description how you are going to do this. I am especially interested in using waste heat to fly airplanes. You cannot use electrofuels because you have not generated enough electricity.

    My plan to use heat pumps to run the world is as good as your plan to use waste heat to run the world.

    Nigelj and others: My proposed heat pump idea was sarcasm intended to show that EP’s proposal to run the world on waste heat was impossible. EP is proposing a perpetual motion machine that generates energy.

  12. 62
    Ken Fabian says:

    Nuclear’s biggest political problem is not anti-nuclear environmentalism, it is climate science denial and as long as the largest bloc of political support is aligned conservative-right that support will remain locked away behind a wall of denial; it cannot be mobilised to any good effect and nuclear becomes no more than a rhetorical blunt instrument to be used against the loudest voices urging strong climate action, precisely because they keep urging strong climate action.

    This makes a huge credibility issue; why would I think voting for pro coal and gas and oil climate science deniers because they make noises of support for nuclear would possibly lead to better climate policies?

    Climate science denial does what green activism cannot. It offers the most influential, well connected people of all – captains of commerce and industry – the least cost climate option of all, one more attractive to those seeking to avoid climate responsibility and accountability than renewables and nuclear; deny there is a problem in order to not have to fix it at all.

    If mainstream, especially conservative-right politicians and parties – those who claim to trust and like and want nuclear – cannot bring themselves to commit to strong climate action then nuclear is going to keep treading water. But conservatives who take the climate problem seriously may still choose to push ahead with renewables as far as they can take us – and I think that will be a lot further yet before it hits hard limits. Distribution, efficiency, load shifting will all get used, as well as storage. The scales at which these will be done will, I think necessarily and inevitably, be much larger than anything that has gone before.

  13. 63
    Killian says:

    Re #23 Kevin McKinney said #9, zebra–

    You also said you had been chasing moving goalposts in circles or something. How about we stop doing that?

    ‘We,’ kimo sabe? You weren’t in on that conversation, and what you’re quoting was the start of my attempt to Stop The Madness.

    I really don’t want to insert myself into the conversation about whether a free market concept such as you propose can keep the grid running. But I will certainly read with interest germane exchanges on the topic.

    A germane response to nonsense is still nonsense, is it not? There’s a reason I told Steve Keen in 2010 that his model of a steady-state economy could not be modeled with profit, and there’s a reason hos model is now running as energy flows, i.e. thermodynamics.

  14. 64

    JvD 51: the cost of going 100% nuclear would actually be far lower than the cost of creating a zero carbon grid by using “green” energy alone.

    BPL: Hard to believe considering nukes cost an order of magnitude more than solar or wind where capital investment is concerned.

  15. 65

    E-P 52: a disinformation site like SS

    BPL: Skeptical Science is one of the best climate science sites on the web. And why would you of all people dislike an organization with the abbreviation “SS?”

  16. 66
    Al Bundy says:

    zebra: The only demand that is “omnipresent” in my house would be the refrigerator.

    AB: You must have an unusual refrigerator. Most of them cycle on and off. But the flavor of your post is correct. The only omnipresent loads in most houses are pretty small, perhaps a couple clocks, some power cubes, TVs on standby, and the like.

    However, baseload is generally not something measured at the individual residence level. Thousands of residences, businesses, traffic lights, etc all average out, resulting in a baseload that is far higher than the sum of their minimums. You’ve mentioned “baseload of a house” before. What use do you see for that metric?
    _______

    BPL: Skeptical Science is one of the best climate science sites on the web. And why would you of all people dislike an organization with the abbreviation “SS?”

    AB: LOLOL! Thank you, BPL.
    _______

    Michael S,

    Nukers assume thorium, breeders, and/or seawater extraction. Dunno if this site’s claims are valid, but..

    “At ten times the current price*, seawater, for example, might become a potential source of vast amounts of uranium. ”

    https://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/uranium-resources/supply-of-uranium.aspx

  17. 67
    David B. Benson says:

    The comment policy here on Real Climate discourages repetition. So instead I encourage reading my prior comments.

    As for poster zebra, I advise learning about standard household heat pumps. Also attempting to learn Kirkoff’s laws.

  18. 68
    nigelj says:

    Michael Sweet @60

    “France has announced that they are moving out of nuclear reactors and building much more renewable energy. ”

    Perhaps France is making a big mistake. It’s like Germany rushing to close its nuclear plant after the Fukushima tragedy which looks like a mistake and an emotionally driven over reaction.Japan made a mistake building a reactor so close to sea level, and in fact they originally planned it higher up, but shortcuts were taken to save costs. Unfortunately government and business is very incestuous in Japan. But Germany does not have these same problems as far as I’m aware.

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2011/07/13/national/fukushima-plant-site-originally-was-a-hill-safe-from-tsunami/#.Xo0B0MgzbIU

    “In any case, after 60 years of installing nuclear they produce about 70% of electricity in France with nuclear….” Since electricity is only about 20% of All Power only 14% of power in France comes from nuclear. World wide nuclear provides less than 3% of All Power. World wide wind and solar generates more power than nuclear, and renewables have only been the cheapest option for a few years.”

    Oh come on that’s a bit weak. Nuclear power supplied electricity in France while fossil fuels supplied power for transport because at that time it worked out well economically and logistically. In other words, its not a valid criticism of nuclear power. Nuclear power could obviously form the basis for heating and electric vehicles if France now wanted.

    However I agree its hard to see how nuclear power could provide “all power” at global scale.

    I just think the lack of nuclear power worldwide is mostly fear about the safety and politics. However its this deep seated somewhat intractable fear which means I see a big place for renewables as well as nuclear power.

    The challenge for renewables is this. Yes you are right they are cheap per kwhr as individual items, but due to the intermittency problem to make the system work at scale you need either a huge overbuild, or a lot of storage or a long distance direct current grid for sharing power regionally. This is serious money, although costs have been falling.

    Nuclear needs spinning reserves for down time, plus some level of either overbuild or additional storage although not as much as renewables. It intuitively looks to me like costs of renewables v nuclear might not be much different long term, ( and I have looked at the numbers) so neither system is magical, and wise decisions on the right option look like they would have to consider local factors.

  19. 69
    nigelj says:

    Don’t give the world a choice between renewables and fossil fuels. Give them a choice between renewables and nuclear power or a mixture of both. Can’t any of you people see the sales pitch and psychology in this?

  20. 70
    David B. Benson says:

    So-called renewables incur costs beyond that of the raw power provided. Other than transmission, etc., there is also M&C:
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/697/power-world?page=6#post-6502

  21. 71

    Michael Sweet writes @59:

    I said “nuclear supporters have never published a plan to provide all world power using nuclear power. ” You provide a link to a wild scheme to generate all electricity only in the USA.

    So multiply by the factor you’d have to grow it in order to provide for the world.

    You are so ignorant in the energy debate that you do not even know what “All Power” means.

    This from the guy who can’t tell the difference between a heat exchanger and a heat pump, then backpedals by claiming to have been joking.

    There are hundreds of peer reviewed articles that show it is possible to build out a renewable system that is similar in cost or cheaper than the existing energy system. These plans supply All Power. Start with Jacobson et al 2018.

    Start with Clack’s (2017) analysis of Jacobson’s (2015) errors.  Jacobson does things like assuming that transmission is free and lossless, storage is unnecessary and hydro can generate 10x its nameplate capacity… and sues when he gets called out on it.  Jacobson is a propagandist, sponsored by the Precourt Institute funded by oil baron Jay Precourt.

    There is only enough uranium to generate all world power for five years.

    Filling all world energy requirements requires fission of less than 10,000 tons of actinides per year, in a world producing roughly 60-70 thousand tons of uranium per year and oceans containing 2-4 billion tons U with 30-odd thousand tons added each year by rivers.  Thorium is 3-4 times as abundant as uranium and is widely associated with rare earths, to the point that many rare earth deposits can’t be refined here due to the insistence that thorium be treated as radwaste.

    You tried to pull a head fake here:  it’s impossible to meet world energy demand with thermal-spectrum uranium reactors running on surface-mined uranium.  That’s because they use only about 0.5% (LWR) to 1% (CANDU) of the energy in the total uranium.  We have built reactors which can use effectively 100% of uranium and thorium.  We’re not exactly building them at a blistering pace, but we have working examples.  Russia is shaking the bugs out of its BN1200 reactor and fuel design with lessons learned from the BN800, and the BN600 was just re-licensed.

    The USA could be wholly powered by fission of roughly 1000 tons of actinides per year.  The USA is currently sitting on about 90,000 tons of used LWR fuel which is about 95% uranium and 0.8% plutonium, and well over half a MILLION tons of “depleted uranium” tailings from enrichment.  The USA could power itself on this for centuries without mining another gram.

    You will have to build out a new 1000 MW reactor every day forever to build enough reactors.

    The NEA confirmed that China could manufacture eight full sets of reactor equipment per year, and in 2014 it announced that China was aiming for world leadership in nuclear technology.”  S. Korea is good for 1-2 more per year.

    There are game-changers afoot.  Sheffield Forgemasters is aiming to reduce construction time for a NuScale unit from 150 days to 10 days and slash cost 85%.  At 1 per 10 days, 36 NuScales a year would be 2.16 GW gross, the equivalent of roughly 2 large conventional PWRs… from ONE construction plant.  NuScale is still a LWR, but it shows what’s possible if we get serious about volume production.

    What gets me is that you think it’s impossible to build out nuclear, but you think that wind and solar (which require 10x the steel and concrete per average watt) are just hunky dory.  Oh, and we can tolerate that much land-use change.  Looked at with even slight skepticism, the idea of a “renewable economy” is obviously impossible.  The only people who believe it are those who can’t (stand to) apply math to the claims.

  22. 72

    Sweet gets personal @61:

    You said previously that you would run two thirds of the world economy on waste heat from your reactors.

    I deny saying that in so many words, and I will bet $1000 that you can’t link any comment of mine stating that outright.  You might be clueless enough to have taken other words to mean that, but that’s just proof that you’re clueless.  I was certain of that already.

    You appear to have forgotten to include your description how you are going to do this.

    I’ve been over the EIA energy consumption numbers.  Total US residential+commercial NG consumption peaks in winter at roughly 1.6 quads/month; essentially all of this goes to space heat and DHW.  Something like 70% of the population is relatively urbanized, so taking as a first approximation that 0.7*1.6 quads/mo (1.12 quad/mo or about 456 GW of heat) would serve peak district heating demand in the USA, the waste heat from a full nuclear fleet would meet it with a terawatt-plus to spare.  Yes, it looks like you can literally meet the heating needs of the majority of the US population as an afterthought with zero GHG emissions.

    THAT is what waste heat is good for.  Some other needs, like low-pressure steam for process heat, can be met by nuclear CHP with some impact on electric generation.  Mashing of grain and distillation for fuel ethanol falls in this category; you lose some efficiency of electric generation because heat must be tapped off closer to 100 C rather than 10-20 C condenser temperature, but you still capture the majority of it.

    There is roughly 700 GW of average industrial fuel consumption in the USA.  The exact temperature requirements of most of this are unknown to me.  At least some of this can be served by low-pressure, low-temperature steam or water.  Some may be met by direct heat from LMFBRs @ up to 550 C, or MSRs @ up to 650 C (peak temperature of the MSRE).  We’ve run reactors at such temperatures before, we can do it again.  We can fully decarbonize all of that energy demand with either CHP or direct nuclear heat.  In a nuclear economy, the rest would have to be served by electricity.  Well, guess what?  If there’s 3.3 TW of primary energy generation with 45% converted to juice, there’s almost 1.5 TW of power being generated.  We can pull 350 GW out of this and still serve every other load out there.  I suspect that we’d run out of loads before hitting 3.3 TW of thermal output, but I don’t yet have the numbers to demonstrate this.  Oh, yeah… no storage required.

    EP is proposing a perpetual motion machine that generates energy.

    You haven’t one single clue.  Not. One.

  23. 73
    Phil Scadden says:

    As the author of what I believe to be the only article on nuclear power at Skeptical Science, (not counting articles reprinted from other sites which Sks thought might be of interest to readers), I am surprized at being described as “disinformation site”. That post was created simply to give people who wanted to discuss nuclear power a place to do so rather than clogging other threads with offtopic discussion. It did however confine discussion to work with peer-reviewed sources, which commentators struggled to do so. E-P would be welcome to refute disinformtion at Sks, on any article there, provided E-P has supporting data and references to refute it. Based on E-P comments here, I suspect the comments policy at Sks might be somewhat onerous.

  24. 74

    Ken Fabian writes @62:

    Nuclear’s biggest political problem is not anti-nuclear environmentalism, it is climate science denial

    You are wrong.  Nuclear’s biggest political problem is hysterical “progressive” radiophobia.  These people are frightened half to death by trivial amounts of artificial radiation, when they get far greater amounts from natural sources.  All are harmless at worst, and are likely healthful in moderate doses.  Despite this, the left demands that it all be eliminated.

    as long as the largest bloc of political support is aligned conservative-right that support will remain locked away behind a wall of denial

    Your typical “progressives” are fanatically opposed to the one scalable non-fossil energy source, and you think this is a problem for CONSERVATIVES?!  No, this is YOUR problem.  Your side is too stupid to distinguish nuclear power from nuclear bombs, and has been for 6 decades now.  Own the problem so you can solve it.  Addressing the problem requires that you Stop. Being. Stupid.

    why would I think voting for pro coal and gas and oil climate science deniers because they make noises of support for nuclear

    Why isn’t YOUR OWN SIDE solidly BEHIND support for nuclear?  Look at YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITIES.

    Climate science denial does what green activism cannot.

    “Green” activism is almost universally (Finland perhaps excepted) anti-nuclear.  TAKE. RESPONSIBILITY. ALREADY.

  25. 75
    Killian says:

    I roughly calculate 6,800 industrial wind turbins vs. the same cost as a nuclear power plant.

    Somebody do the math and which covers more households/energy production. I can’t stand to dip my toe that far into the stupid of this issue.

  26. 76

    BPL gets (well, always was) clueless @64:

    Hard to believe considering nukes cost an order of magnitude more than solar or wind where capital investment is concerned.

    So tell everyone, how could solar and wind require an order of magnitude more concrete and steel than nuclear (table 10.4) and be an order of magnitude cheaper?  It has everything to do with preferences and subsidies for “renewables”, vs. hyper-regulation, litigation and discriminatory taxation for nuclear.  Wind and solar can’t even eliminate fossil fuels (they can only help in conjunction with something like hydro), so they are unfit for purpose.

    Skeptical Science is one of the best climate science sites on the web.

    I wouldn’t know; I don’t read it.

    And why would you of all people dislike an organization with the abbreviation “SS?”

    GM once built a car called the Monte Carlo SS, but I didn’t like it either.  Ugly.

  27. 77
    MA Rodger says:

    On the cost of Nuclear & Off-Shore wind, the Hinkley C project has a capital spend of £22.5bn for a generation capacity of 3260MW, so £6.9m/MW. The Navitus Wind Farm (cancelled by the swivel-eyed denialists local to me) would have had a capital spend given as £3bn for 970MW, so £3.1m/MW. The O&M costs will be a lower portion of the total project costs for Nuclear, perhaps 33% for Nuclear & 50% for Off-Shore Wind. So Total Costs are perhaps £9.2m/MW nuclear, £6.2m/MW off-shore wind, not greatly dissimilar.
    My own ten pen’orth on the subject:- the cost of nuclear could be much reduced if they started building more of them but the fatal flaw in the ‘nuclear-power’ solution to AGW is the limited availability of the fuel.

  28. 78

    I see E-P is still clogging the threads with the same-old, same-old, most of which has been refuted quite adequately already. And as DBB say, repetition is not to be encouraged.

    However, this novel bit of rhetorical overkill has some amusement value:

    So tell everyone, how could solar and wind require an order of magnitude more concrete and steel than nuclear (table 10.4) and be an order of magnitude cheaper?

    I answer in Rabbinical fashion:

    So tell everyone, what proportion of the costs of building a nuclear reactor goes into the concrete and steel?

  29. 79
    zebra says:

    #66 Al Bundy,

    The duty cycle is not that important for this purpose, although a truly smart local grid system might synchronize/split on-times to have an effect (perhaps minor) on capacity requirements.

    But the point is, if neither David Benson nor anyone else is willing to explain what “baseload” means…how it is actually “measured” as you put it… that pretty much makes my case that it is BS industry jargon.

    It matters to me because of the example I gave above, where I pay for the service I choose to receive. Traffic lights would be under a different contract, with the government, and a business, e.g. a supermarket that had lots of refrigeration to maintain overnight, would pay appropriately for their “baseload” requirement if their system is compressor-based.

    My refrigerator could run off a battery overnight…not even a really big battery.

  30. 80
    David B. Benson says:

    zebra @79 — I gave the definition of baseload twice, once in a comment specifically addressing you. As for measurement, the grid ISO knows how much power every generator adds to the grid.

    It would certainly help if you would bother to learn some of the basics.

  31. 81

    Phil Scadden writes @73:

    As the author of what I believe to be the only article on nuclear power at Skeptical Science, (not counting articles reprinted from other sites which Sks thought might be of interest to readers), I am surprized at being described as “disinformation site”.

    I apologize for my previous characterization of Skeptical Science as “disinformation”.  I had it confused with similar-sounding “skeptic” sites which, if not deliberately spreading disinformation, are written by people with little scientific literacy and a heavy bias toward ideological dogmatism (a certain site with “watts” in its name being exemplary).

    That post was created simply to give people who wanted to discuss nuclear power a place to do so rather than clogging other threads with offtopic discussion. It did however confine discussion to work with peer-reviewed sources, which commentators struggled to do so. E-P would be welcome to refute disinformtion at Sks, on any article there, provided E-P has supporting data and references to refute it.

    Challenge accepted, Phil.  I’m going to do a good fisking of Abbott first (DPiepgrass noted Abbott’s deceptive use of “entropy” in the very first comment, so it’s obvious that your commentariat is more on-the-ball than most places, including this thread) and then try to make the case for nuclear (albeit not the light-water reactors we’re building today).  I’m going to have to finish reading that full comment thread before I start, though, so I don’t merely repeat what others have already said (I’ll quote and cite them instead, ’cause I’m lazy and I don’t care who gets the credit as long as the job gets done).

    I noticed something strange in your post.  The second Abbott cite links to a paper with a 2012 copyright but oddly the journal publication date is 2016.  It’s as if the authors had to shop it around a lot before they found anyone willing to print it.  This suggests it is really low-quality stuff.  Based on the glaring flaws in Abbott 2011 spotted right off by DPiepgrass, they had good reason to think so.

    Would you accept a guest article if it came up to SkS standards?

  32. 82
    Phil Scadden says:

    E-P ” Skeptical Science is one of the best climate science sites on the web.

    I wouldn’t know; I don’t read it.”

    Then why did you describe it as a “disinformation site”? Hardly a way to gain credulity with people who you are trying to convince.

  33. 83

    Killian tries to play smart boy @75:

    I roughly calculate 6,800 industrial wind turbins vs. the same cost as a nuclear power plant.

    You don’t say what size turbines, the specific cost per or the capacity factor (both of which will change quite a bit between sites, especially land vs. water).  Since it’s impossible to tell what you are talking about, your claim has no value.

    Somebody do the math

    After failing to so much as define your terms, you want someone ELSE to run a calculation for you.  Smart boys should be able to do their own.  That begins with being specific about what you are talking about.  You really can’t without more effort than you’re willing to put into it, which is why all these things are so opaque to you.

  34. 84
    nigelj says:

    Zebra says “But the point is, if neither David Benson nor anyone else is willing to explain what “baseload” means…how it is actually “measured” as you put it… that pretty much makes my case that it is BS industry jargon.”

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

    “The baseload[1] (also base load) on a grid is the minimum level of demand on an electrical grid over a span of time, for example, one week. This demand can be met by unvarying power plants,[2] dispatchable generation,[3] or by a collection of smaller intermittent energy sources,[4] depending on which approach has the best mix of low cost, availability and high reliability in any particular market. The remainder of demand, varying throughout a day, is met by dispatchable generation which can be turned up or down quickly, such as load following power plants, peaking power plants, or energy storage.Power plants that do not change their power output quickly, such as large coal or nuclear plants, are generally called baseload power plants.[2][5]”

    What the hell is wrong with this definition? From memory its consistent with what DBP said. Although its really just what I would call a descriptive term of convenience.

    It appears Zebra is talking about his house having a few solar roof panels and some storage, but he plugs into the traditional grid to buy additional power and sell his power. Thus base load will apply to his house being the minimum requirement of his system during the day with spikes in demand met from storage.

    If hes not getting enough storage form his own system, he gets additional power from the main grid. The main grid has baseload as previously defined.

    Zebras system appears feasible to me, and don’t people already do this?

    Zebra seems to think you dont need “ancillary services” but im not clear if he means his house or the main grid. His own house would need few of these just some storage and an inverter if you want to call these “ancillary services”.

    However he is linked into the main grid which has multiple consumers, so you will get load variance and voltage and frequency issues that require “ancillary services” and so you need management of the main grid, (but with most of the grid operating as a market if wanted).

    A micro solar grid would still need ancillary services because it has multiple users of power, and it needs someone managing these services (although much could be automated). And it could all work as a market.

    I don’t understand why Zebra can’t see this. I don’t understand what his problem really is other than he doesn’t seem to like the fact that conventional grids are managed and sometimes monopolistic. You can have a market and reduce monoplies and its been done in some places like NZ, but its hard to get away from some level of grid management.

    Im just intrigued by the issue. Happy to be told where and if I’m wrong by the experts

  35. 85

    Kevin McKinney acts all haughty @78:

    I see E-P is still clogging the threads with the same-old, same-old

    See the argument pyramid here?  You’re down at ad-hominem.

    most of which has been refuted quite adequately already.

    Some of those people have gotten all the way up to “Contradiction: states the opposing view with little or no evidence.”  Nobody’s ever gotten so far as refutation, let alone refuting the central point.

    I answer in Rabbinical fashion

    In other words, no answer at all.  You attempt to deflect from the impact of e.g. the GHGs emitted in the process of making all that extra steel and concrete.  How about dealing honestly and directly for once?  You’re barely one step above Killian.

    And now off to Skeptical Science for a thorough reading of this comment thread.

  36. 86
    David B. Benson says:

    Geoelectric hazard for large-scale grids:
    https://m.phys.org/news/2020-04-geoelectric-hazard-potential-vulnerability-high-voltage.html

    So operators have to have a plan approved by the utility commission and, except in ERCOT Texas, FERC.

  37. 87
    Michael Sweet says:

    Engineer Poet,

    I just noticed that you offered to give me $1000. As I previously referenced from post 463 in the last forced variations thread:

    “He’s apparently referring to this piece in the October 2011 Proceedings of the IEEE. Right off the bat any on-the-ball layman finds gross errors of fact (and it’s shameful that the peer-reviewers let them pass). The first page states that human energy consumption runs about 15 TW. That is primary energy consumption. But then Abbott claims that serving so much energy would require 15,000 (presumably GW-scale) reactors. This is blatant deception, because he’s rating them by electric output, not thermal output (roughly 3x as much). So, cut that to 5000 reactors.”

    You claim 5,000 1,000MW reactors can supply 15 terawatts of power to the economy by counting their waste heat. In the same post you claim the waste heat is only 55% of output and not 66%. How should I send you my address so you can send me the $1,000?

    As I demonstrated with my example of heat pumps, if you could use all the waste heat you could build a perpetual motion device.

    Now give me your description of how you are going to power airplanes and ships using waste heat.

    In this thread at 72 you describe a plan to generate only the existing electricity supply in the US. You say you will use the reactor high heat for industry which would lower electrical output. You do not provide all power to the economy. You claim that a fraction of your waste heat will provide all heating. When you generate the additional 2 TW of electricity needed you will have no more use for the waste heat.

    The USA uses almost 4 TW of total energy. Your plan covers existing electricity and district heat (which does not exist in most of the USA. It is expensive to build and you have not costed it into your plan). Your plan does not cover electric cars and other transportation, about 1 TW, or the manufacture of electrofuels which is about 1 TW of power more than what you call excess.

    You run your reactors 24/7/365 with no maintenance or repairs or long term upgrades. You use reactor designs that do not exist and are not expected to exist before 2050. The materials for the reactor container and the valves are not known to exist. Many of the other rare metals are used in reactor construction do not exist in sufficient amounts to build out the reactors you propose. The costs you propose per reactor are unrealistically low. You plan to build reactors in the center of cities which is unsafe and insufficient sources of cooling water do not exist.

    Your entire argument is a Gish Gallop. You hope to fool people like Nigelj who do not read the peer reviewed literature. You would not last three posts in a moderated forum because none of your claims can be supported by references.

    As I said before: No plan to power the world using nuclear has ever been proposed because nuclear supporters know it is not possible. You make electricity only proposals and then compare them to ALL POWER renewable energy proposals hoping no-one will notice.

  38. 88
    Killian says:

    Re #83 Engineer-Poet said My ideas are crap, so I’m an argumentative racist putz.I roughly calculate 6,800 industrial wind turbins vs. the same cost as a nuclear power plant.

    You don’t say what size turbines, the specific cost per or the capacity factor (both of which will change quite a bit between sites, especially land vs. water). Since it’s impossible to tell what you are talking about, your claim has no value.

    Roughly. Get it? Roughly. Like… average costs, outputs, etc. Is it really that hard to grok? No. But you’re the biggest waste of time and effort on these pages.

    Thank you. Next!

    And shame on any and all that waste time on you and/or allow your posts to stand.

  39. 89

    E-P 71: “Start with Jacobson et al 2018.”
    Start with Clack’s (2017) analysis of Jacobson’s (2015) errors.

    BPL: Apparently E-P believes in time travel.

  40. 90

    E-P 74: Nuclear’s biggest political problem is hysterical “progressive” radiophobia.

    BPL: Radiation is good for you, you fools!

  41. 91
    zebra says:

    #80 David Benson,

    And using your definition of baseload,

    ” Baseload is that portion of the total demand which is omnipresent, 24/7.”,

    I pointed out that the only significant “omnipresent demand” in my house is my refrigerator. This would be true for typical residences.

    So, for the residential sector, baseload would be much less than you and the industry claim. As I said to AB, I could easily run my refrigerator from a battery overnight.

    Do the math.

  42. 92
    Ray Ladbury says:

    It appears that we can add “ignorant of basic logic” to what we know of EP.

    Kevin McKinney’s statement comes nowhere close to an ad hominem. It is an assertion or a characterization, not an argument. There is no A, therefore B character to it.

    My attitude toward you is much closer to ad hominem. I don’t bother reading what you write because you are racist, sexist, ableist and bigoted. It has been my experience that folks like you tend to be lazy in their reasoning, rendering their conclusions in all fields suspect. That, however, is not a logical necessity. It might well be that you are correct in some opinions. It’s just not worth my while wading through all the bigoted ignorance to find any gems of truth that might lurk there.

    Your inability to actually learn what constitute the different logical fallacies, does support my conclusion about you–too lazy to go beyond the easy interpretation/explanation.

  43. 93

    #85, E-P–

    E-P thinks–or claims to think–that my dismissal of his FUD was an ad hom. Nope. The dismissal of the FUD was based on his repetitive assertion of debunked claims, not on some aspect of E-P’s personal character.

    In the irony department, he accuses me thus:

    In other words, no answer at all. You attempt to deflect from the impact of e.g. the GHGs emitted in the process of making all that extra steel and concrete. How about dealing honestly and directly for once? You’re barely one step above Killian.

    Background, if you missed it, was this exchange:

    E-P (to BPL @ #64): So tell everyone, how could solar and wind require an order of magnitude more concrete and steel than nuclear (table 10.4) and be an order of magnitude cheaper?

    KM: So tell everyone, what proportion of the costs of building a nuclear reactor goes into the concrete and steel?

    Let’s note his “deflections”:

    1) He’s switched from financial cost to emissions (change of subject);
    2) He criticizes me for answering a question with a question–the exact same thing he did WRT BPL (hypocrisy);
    3) Unlike mine, his answer fails to respond implicitly to the previous question. When I asked him about the proportion of cost accounted for by concrete and steel used, that addressed the issue BPL had raised, namely “capital investment.” (BPL’s words.)

    Now, if he wants to start a discussion of the embodied emissions of various forms of energy generation and storage, fine. But I think he should do it, in his own words, “honestly and directly for once.”

    (Oh, and by the way, that last personal slur he used runs kinda close to the line of becoming an ad hom. Just another E-P irony, I guess.)

  44. 94
    Ric Merritt says:

    I admittedly scroll past this stuff pretty fast, so sorry if I’ve missed something, but I gather it’s mostly about whether renewable electric power can work in real life and/or whether vast new quantities of nukes would be better. (Mostly about that, with a small admixture of 85-95% personal abuse :-))

    Wasn’t it just a few years back when 20% of electric energy from renewables was sworn up and down to be the most optimistic fraction to hope for? USA is passing that now, and of course various sizable regions within or elsewhere are well past. What’s the new allegedly impossible benchmark? Where could we have been today, absent foot-dragging, bad will, blindness, and denialism?

    As for newly constructed nukes, I’m probably not interested in your details. To get my attention (should that be anything that might matter to you) you must address the gargantuan quantities of FF currently required to build them. Skip that, and I skip your thoughts. Get something interesting into the first few words, or I skim onward.

    Not to mention the waste highly dangerous for millennia, something we can’t even handle today, without further expansion.

  45. 95
    Al Bundy says:

    EP: Yes, I’m such a dangerous guy here.

    AB: Come on, use your noggin. They were warning me that they didn’t think you were trustworthy, that you might publish my IP, thus nuking it. Personally, I think you are trustworthy. And frankly, I’m impressed in a weird sort of way about how you own your bigotry. And I’ll go further: Bigotry is not by definition supported by incorrect beliefs, but to support it one must explain why Palestinians score badly while Jews score at the top of the heap. Give it a shot, EP?

    Of course, your essentially calling me likely to be dishonorable and not using your noggin to protect yourself from the incredibly dangerous me (according to you) via an appropriate means, well, given our relative reputations, I’ll let others fill in the blanks.
    ______

    EP: This from the guy who can’t tell the difference between a heat exchanger and a heat pump, then backpedals by claiming to have been joking.

    AB: Only a moron or a liar would say that his joke wasn’t obviously a joke. You ain’t a moron.
    _______________

    Killian: I roughly calculate 6,800 industrial wind turbins vs. the same cost as a nuclear power plant.

    Somebody do the math and which covers more households/energy production. I can’t stand to dip my toe that far into the stupid of this issue.

    AB: Brilliant, dude! I salute you. (And NigelJ for saying the same, though without your humor)
    ______

    EP: So tell everyone, how could solar and wind require an order of magnitude more concrete and steel than nuclear (table 10.4) and be an order of magnitude cheaper?

    AB: If a wind turbine burns, nobody (or onsie-twosie) dies. If a reactor burns, all Hell breaks loose. S-A-F-E-T-Y, DUH! Go ahead, price the insurance for a 100% covered reactor policy with zero government backstop. We’ll ALL wait. (That said, your position has not been shown wrong mathematically, but it is tenuous humanly.)
    ______

    NigelJ: Can’t any of you people see the sales pitch and psychology in this?

    AB: I’ve been laughing at “this” on this site for years.
    _____

    EP: After failing to so much as define your terms,

    AB: He did. HE CALLED IT TOO STUPID TO CARE ABOUT. That’s pretty solid terms. Please use your noggin for more than math.
    ______

    EP: GM once built a car called the Monte Carlo SS, but I didn’t like it either. Ugly.

    AB: Note that EP did NOT disavow the Nazi SS.
    ____

    zebra: The duty cycle is not that important for this purpose,

    AB: That was my friggin point. The fridge’s cycle is IRRELEVANT, your house’s variations are IRRELEVANT. YOU are the one who said that slivers are important enough to ask “what is the baseload of my house”. Now you agree with me? Good. Glad we have TOTALLY DESTROYED THE IDEA THAT SLIVERS OF DEMAND MATTER A WHIT, that only the aggregate of demand matters. So you won’t bring slivers up ever again, right? (or, more nicely, what NigelJ said)

  46. 96

    Meanwhile in the real world, Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant solar-plus-storage project in South Australia gets its first ‘grades’ from the system operator, even though the project is just 2% complete:

    https://cleantechnica.com/2020/04/08/tesla-virtual-power-plant-in-australia-outperforms-expectations/

    This is the ‘ancillary services’ thing we’ve been talking about–i.e., solar-plus providing the functional equivalent of ‘spinning reserve’.

  47. 97
    Adam Lea says:

    64: “Nuclear’s biggest political problem is hysterical “progressive” radiophobia.”

    No, Nuclear’s biggest problems are the destruction potential when it goes badly wrong, and the cost.

  48. 98
    nigelj says:

    The realities of climate change, conservation agriculture and soil carbon sequestration, James R. Hunt Corinne Celestina John A. Kirkegaard. First published:13 March 2020.

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gcb.15082?af=R

  49. 99
    nigelj says:

    MS Sweet

    “Your entire argument is a Gish Gallop. You hope to fool people like Nigelj who do not read the peer reviewed literature”

    Rubbish, pretty much lies. I’ve read some of the peer reviewed literature on this nuclear issue. I doubt anyone has read it all you included. And I dont have to read a scientific paper to see the obvious nonsense you talk at times.

  50. 100
    nigelj says:

    Rick Merrit @94 responds to The Dangerous Engineer Poet “To get my attention (should that be anything that might matter to you) you must address the gargantuan quantities of FF currently required to build them. ” But seriously Rick doesnt the exact same problem apply to renewables?

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