« Ironic or Unlucky? | Main | Clever Old Dog »
Friday
Feb142014

A tri-partite Struggle

One of the most unpleasant arguments to understand in the ‘energy debate’ centres on nuclear power.

The easy argument between the ‘drill and burn’ fossil merchants, conservative, short term and driven by profit on one side, and the wishy-washy let’s take the power of the sun and all live in harmony brigade, rainbow flags and naff slogans on the other.

I’m generally with the wishy-washy and often annoying greenie Clarkson goaders.

But nuclear. Oh Lordy, that’s complicated.

The pro nuclear lobby is impossible to define in terms of crass political jibes.

They’re not redneck drill and burn idiots, they’re not middle class happy clappers with flowers pinned to their bicycle baskets.

They are generally slim white men with degrees in science who can do maths and understand complicated things like cesium, uranium, thorium, plutonium etc.

They no only know the names, they know all the specific numbers that follow the names and where and in what quantity these particles occur in the natural world and which ones are actually dangerous and which ones are incorrectly used by anti-nuclear numpties who do not understand science.

However, no one disagrees that a nuclear power station releases so little CO2 it’s not worth discussing, and so much electricity it’s barely worth measuring.


A pea sized lump of nuclear fuel is energy equivalent to a massive mountain of filthy coal. We know what happens when we burn coal like there’s no tomorrow, but what happens when we’ve ‘burnt’ the energy equivalent pea sized lump of nuclear fuel…. Um… we can ‘reprocess’ it and use it again…. Um, yeah. Okay….. we’ll get back to that.

T he nuclear lobby has no truck with the fossil lobby.

The nuclear lobby is the fossil lobbies greatest enemy, they have a perfectly realistic, plausible and proven ability to replace fossil burning on a massive, global scale.

Visit France for some verification.

Without question we could generate all the electricity we’d ever need using nuclear power.

There are hundreds of obstacles, variables and arguments around being able to generate all the power we need using renewables.

I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, far from it, but it’s a huge task.

The nuclear power industry’s safety record is exemplary, very few people have been killed either directly or indirectly as a result of nuclear power.

The number of people who have been killed by the fossil industry directly or indirectly is at the other end of the scale, it’s monstrous, brutal, ridiculous and overwhelming.

Nuclear power is safe, fossil power is anything but.

However, what nuclear power represents for me is the continuation of large, centralised, corporate owned, mining reliant power generation.

The continuation of the leverage that owning massive power plants gives to a very small minority of very wealthy people is not going to change the way we live.

Instead of being under the influence of King Faisal or Vladimir Putin, it will be a new and as yet unimagined pillock who will restrain our governments and exert undue political influence.

Nuclear power represents the continuation of the status quo, it will maintain the 1% in their impregnable position, controlling power, controlling prices and controlling governments.

Very rich people understand the status quo, they understand power politics which is exquisitely tied to power generation.

I have nothing against nuclear technology, I have plenty of reservations about nuclear politics,

In Europe we have 2 wonderful examples of the routes we can take.

France, who produce abundant near zero CO2 electricity from their 58 nuclear power plants. Electricity is cheaper in France than the UK by about 1p per kWh.

Germany has slightly higher electricity costs than us again by about a penny a kilowatt hour, they are also generating around 50% of their electricity from renewables and the wholesale cost of electricity in Germany has been static for many years. The generating capacity is largely locally owned and operated, it’s complicated and requires expensive infrastructure to run, but it is working.

These two examples from neighbouring countries with opposite approaches are worth watching.

Germany does not have to deal with nuclear waste, they have an avowed intention to become 100% renewable by 2050

France does have to deal with Nuclear waste, actually quite a lot of it.

At the moment about 44,000 cubic meters of fairly nasty stuff, 2,300 cubic meters of which is high-level waste.

This isn’t just fuel but components that have been contaminated, reactor linings, pipes, valves and support structures.

It’s a really expensive business, they are spending many billions dealing with it.


They melt down the really toxic stuff, mix it with glass, shove it in steel barrels and bury it in rock 1,600 feet down near the town of Buré to the East of Paris.

They will leave it there, forever. That’s it. Buried and forgotten.

Until they have another load and they need to find somewhere else to shove it.

Again, I don’t want to give the impression that doing this is unsafe, I’m sure it’s a perfectly reasonable course of action, but is it a sane course of action? That’s questionable.

I would argue it is mildly more sane than the American approach which is to leave all 60,000 tons of their nuclear waste above ground in 121 temporary facilities in 39 states and argue about it indefinitely.

It could also be more sane than our approach of taking nuclear waste from other countries and storing it in the Lake District.

So now when I hear of a slim, white male scientist who is working on grid level batteries, often using toxic chemicals and metals that require mining and energy intensive transportation and refining, I am slightly more hopeful.

Big batteries will change the renewables picture, wind, solar and geo thermal do work, they do produce electricity in abundance with no need to buy or bury unpleasant fuel.


But far more importantly the means of production, the generating capacity can be locally owned, widely distributed and understood by the general population.

That’s us, the numpties, then people who’s opinions are constantly bombarded by ‘facts’ and ‘science’ from a very small minority who I take great pride in not entirely trusting.

 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (220)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: contempt of court
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: brightness
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: GoPro Accessories
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: skin Care Product
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: ambi skin care
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: The Desire System
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: fresh skin care
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: vichy skin care
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: garcinia cola
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: deadweight loss
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: ecigarettes
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: dieter Pfaff
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: shemales tube
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Seo Company
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: colitis ---diet
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: PSN Code Gratuit
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: roc skin care
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: garcinia cambodia
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: order no2 maximus
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: muscle Girls
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: G M diet
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: ll.gzd-online.de
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: vivaloan.net
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: geodeta Piastów
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Sleep Aid Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: newest bags
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: giochi di moda
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: family courts
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: aloe ferox cleanse
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Sereno Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Garcinia Direct
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Procellix Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Rejuvius Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: swarming termites
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: baby gender test
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Digest It Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: pure yacon syrup
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: complete cleanse
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: uggs outlet
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: carbuloss Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: carbuloss Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Clean trim Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Clean trim Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: prolexin Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: depilator
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Lean Fast Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Lean Fast Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: live cam nude
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: dota2
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Alpha Max Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Vapor Smarts
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Garcinia Wonder
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Slim Patch
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Quibids Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Quibids Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Detox Slim
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Detox Slim
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Goji Xtreme Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: nitro force Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: nitro force Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Dermology
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: procellis Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Detox Slim Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Total Cleanse Plus
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: nitro x Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: nitro x Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Flawless Youth
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Flawless Youth
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: garcina slim
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Maxburn cambogia
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Ultra Size Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: No2 Blast
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: hgh xl Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: hugegenic Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Premium Cleanse
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: CLeanse Detox
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: CLeanse Detox
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Group Deal Tools
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Maxx no Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Acai Plus
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Goji Max Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Goji Max Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Velour Skin Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: blogspot.nl
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Darian Braun
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Luxoderm
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Nitro Shred
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Nitro Shred
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Vivexin Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Up Skin
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Ayur Review
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Alluria Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: Alluria Reviews
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    The LlewBlog - Bloggage - A tri-partite Struggle
  • Response
    Response: recepti za kolace

Reader Comments (12)

As one of the pro-nuclear lobby my first thought was that I wish I was slim. Otherwise, a fair description of me, and your reading of nuclear energy is pretty good too.

A couple of other points though. Firstly, Germany doesn't get half its electricity from renewables. In 2012 coal provided 286 TWh (46%, more than half being lignite), nuclear 100 TWh (16%), gas 70 TWh, biofuels & waste 48 TWh (7.77%), wind 46 TWh (7.44%), hydro 28 TWh (4.5%), solar 28 TWh (4.5%). So that's about a quarter from renewables combined.

They have the aim of switching to more renewables, but compared to those 2012 figures this source http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/30/facts-on-germanys-nuclear-fossil-fuel-renewable-electricity-generation-changes/ says that coal generation was up, and gas, wind and solar down. So despite their aims, what's winning so far in Germany is coal, which is something both happy clappers and slightly tubby pro-nukers can agree is a bad thing.

The other thing to notice is they are still using a lot of nuclear energy, more than in the UK for example, and will continue to do so for most of this decade. So Germany has to deal with its nuclear waste too, like France.

Had Germany not decided to start closing their nuclear plants they would be getting about a quarter of their electricity from nuclear, a quarter from renewables, and be using a lot less coal - in their market that works on the local level.

February 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Nuclear power has really been messed up by politics (on both sides). Much of the early UK nuclear power industry was designed such that it produced handy by-products that could be used to make atomic bombs. This meant that various technology choices were just not viable (for example Thorium which seems to have many advantages over Uranium, but can't make bombs). Also, much of the public thinks nuclear power and atom bombs are basically the same thing, but at a different speed - so "nuclear power must be dangerous... imagine the explosions!". All of the tinkering over the years means that we have a very distorted nuclear industry that can't do much in the near-term to help the UK.

I am not 100% anti-nuclear power, but I don't like the situation we now have. I would prefer nuclear to coal-fired power, and possibly to oil or gas, but if so I would rather it be either thorium or fusion. Yes I'm sure people will give me loads of reasons why thorium is no good, and fusion is "centuries away" but we put less than pocket change into investigating those options at the moment.
[/ramble]

February 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Beard

The Bill for the cost of Nuclear Power only only comes 30 to 50 years
after the power is produced.
Decommissioning of Nuclear Power stations is so expensive they don't even know how much it will cost or how to do it.

The Germans are making the right decision to get out of Nuclear power.
The French will start paying the price in 20 or 30 years. Until then i suppose that can pretend that Nuclear power is cheap.

The answer to future power I think should come from a mix of micro generation renewables and clean coal burning.
If the Chinese are going to burn Coal we should try and work out a clean way to do it.

Very soon the cost of Solar power will be the same as Oil and Gas so the first step should be Solar power on a huge scale.

The Uk is not an Island in terms of power we sell and buy power to other countries.
If we can over produce renewables we can sell the power to other countries and buy it back when we need it.
Say no to Nuclear power its a ticking time bomb of Decommissioning costs.

February 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Hicks

The problem with current uranium based nuclear power, apart from the waste problem, is that it is rediculously inefficient. Less than 1% of the available energy is converted into electricity, the rest goes to waste. The other problem I have is that uranium is neither abundant nor renuwable. I read once that if all energy used today would come from nuclear, we would run out in 11 years. Not sustainable. I do agree that research ino thorium reactors should be pusued.

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSurya

Germany does not generate 50% of its electricity from renewables. Last year it reached 23% according to the Economist, but at a considerable cost. There is a target to reach 50% by 2030. Whilst the peak contribution is, of course, much higher than that, it points up one of the issues. That is the supply of some renewables (wind, and especially solar) are intermittent and need backup.

Another point to note is that Germany's CO2 emissions has actually increased in the last 2 years, partly as a result of burning more coal. Germany's CO2 emissions per head of population are also about 50% higher than those of France (and about 20% above the UK's), albeit the Germany has a colder climate and is more industrialised.

The major challenge with the intermittent renewables (mainly solar and wind) is that there is, as yet, no viable mass energy storage system, and nor is there anything remotely like a solution on the horizon. Existing solutions, such as pumped storage, are not very efficient and have limited capacity in most countries. Batteries have got fundamental theoretical limitations which mean they can only provide a limited solution.Only some technology becomes available to turn these into a chemical storage form is this going to be resolved. These could then be used to feed fuel cells. (Using electrolysis and hydrogen with fuel cells might look attractive in some ways, but the thermodynamic efficiency of the cycle isn't great.

Of course somebody might yet crack the problem using some form of artificial photosynthesis to produce artificial hydrocarbons, However, don't hold your breath. Evolution has had billions of years to optimise this, and it's still hideously inefficient.
I find the centralisation of ownership issue somewhat ridiculous. Firsly, in many countries generating plant is effectively publicly owned and that's always an option. Also, characterising assets owned by large PLCs as somehow the concentration of power into a few rich people is somewhat wide of the mark in liberal democracies where much of the value of these companies represent indirect investments by millions of people, often through pension schemes and the like. Fixed power generation equipment is also rather easy to regulate, as it isn't exactly going anywhere. It's also not commonly appreciated that renewables aren't immune from this, To make these work, you need some very expensive investment in transmission infrastructure in order to deliver power over long distances as generation is often a long distance from consumption, To even out the peaky nature of wind and solar generation, these need to span areas on a near continental scale, and to cope with peak generation rates, Such infrastructures will inherently be under some form of concentrated ownership and management. Also, any efficient renewable industry is going to be based on very high technology, itself requiring lots of investment (think of silicon foundries for solar panels for instance). The major investments for these are going to be made by large corporations, not village workshops.

Of course, the more hippy-dippy sandal wearers, might try and sell some bucolic idea of little communities generating all their power using some form of village scale system, and that might work for the truly dedicated with plenty of land to spare. However, it isn't going to work in a world of 7 billion humans, in modern societies, increasingly concentrated in large urban areas.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-28/merkel-s-green-shift-backfires-as-german-pollution-jumps.html

http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21594336-germanys-new-super-minister-energy-and-economy-has-his-work-cut-out-sunny-windy-costly

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

Just to clarify one thing, the "flow batteries" that Robert links to are essentially a type of fuel cell in that they use chemical feeds to generate electricity, However, they include the ability to generate their own fuels feedstock using electricity. Whilst we are used to thinking of rechargeable batteries as a single closed system, then I see no reason why this has to be the case, Indeed, if you were to use such a fuel cell in a vehicle (which would overcome range issues), then the generating system would be remote from the fuel cell, but it would essentially amount to the distributed equivalent of a "flow battery".

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

> "Without question we could generate all the electricity we’d ever need using nuclear power."

In fantasy land, perhaps. In reality:

* Nuclear Power Is Being Abandoned Worldwide. As a proportion of all electricity generated, nuclear peaked in 1993 at 17% and has now fallen to 10%. The number of reactors peaked in 2002 at 444, compared with 427 today. The share of electricity they produce is down 12% from its 2006 peak. http://www.globalresearch.ca/nuclear-power-is-being-abandoned-worldwide/5344082

Old nukes are going offline faster than any realistic new build might happen. It's a dying industry.

The basic reason that nukes are in long term decline is that they are not economically viable. They only get built when the state underwrites them and hands out massive subsidies. And, unlike renewables, nuke costs keep on rising.

> "There are hundreds of obstacles, variables and arguments around being able to generate all the power we need using renewables."

As you don't list any we will have to guess at what these "hundreds of obstacles" might be. However, the simple fact is that renewables are growing exponentially and every kWh of clean energy displaces a kWh of dirty energy.

> "Electricity is cheaper in France than the UK by about 1p per kWh."

Because their nationalised nuke grid was paid for by taxes and the cost per kWh that the French public pay is not representative of the cost of generation.

Although I suspect you might be playing Devil's Advocate with some of your assertions, the simple fact is that nukes cannot make any appreciable difference to climate change mitigation because they cannot be built quickly enough. Take a look at this sobering stat:

* Insurmountable Risks: The Dangers of Using Nuclear Power to Combat Global Climate Change. "In combination with renewables supplying up to 40% of supply in 2050, it would require more than a doubling of nuclear reactors to stabilise CO2 at 2000 levels. That would mean a new nuke coming online every 15 days on average between 2010 and 2050." http://ieer.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2006/05/InsurmountableRisksSummary.pdf

Throwing more money at nukes would simply maintain the fossil-nuke status quo, and control of our energy by the 1%. Renewables are the future, no matter how much spin and outright lies the nuke lobby throw at it.

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Hart

The thing about France leccy being cheaper is a bit deceptive.

One subtle problem with nuclear is that it's expensive to build, so you have to run it flat out to make it economic. But the demand varies quite a bit over the day, week and year. Nuclear costs the same to make energy 80% of the time, as it does to make it 60% of the time.

But that's the same problem for everyone, right?

Actually, no. The sovereign cure for that is hydroelectric power. By turning the hydro up and down, you can even out the peaks and troughs. And it's very, very efficient. That means you can run the nuclear flat out, and it brings the costs down.

For geographic reasons, France has quite a lot of hydro. Britain hasn't.

So France can use nuclear for a huge amount of its power and do it cheaply, but Britain can't do it nearly so cheaply. It's cheapest in Britain to use the nuclear as some baseload power, and then fill in with gas and coal, and vary that as the demand changes.

So that's why there's the difference in price between the UK and France, it's not just the UK being dumb.

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIan Woollard

Sorry to disagree, but nuclear power is anything but safe, and while it is true that it is hard to find any fatalities connected to nuclear power in the UK, I'd recommend paying a visit to Chernobyl or Fukushima. I also agree with previous comments about the financial viability. And while there''s no CO2 emissions from nuclear power plants, there is this niggly little problem with nuclear waste. The benefits of nuclear energy, if it were somewhat profitable, are huge, but the risks are even bigger.

So is it better to burn coal or to take the immense risks and unpredictable waste disposal problems of nuclear energy?
Until renewables can actually take over, we're really between a rock and a hard place.

February 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKlaus Meier

Robert,

The clock is ticking on climate change. And yet going nuclear is just about the slowest, lowest bang-for-a-buck way of kicking the carbon habit there is.

If I may quote the hugely experienced US energy expert and environmentalist Amory Lovins.....

"Nuclear plants are so slow and costly to build that they reduce and retard climate protection....Each dollar spent on a new reactor buys about 2-10 times less carbon savings, 20-40 times slower, than spending that dollar on the cheaper, faster, safer solutions that make nuclear power unnecessary and uneconomic....Since 2007, nuclear growth has added less annual output than just the costliest renewable–solar power –and will probably never catch up."

February 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Ferguson

It amazes me how quickly environmental arguments can expand to the philosophical, I'll try an avoid it .....but. Do people really think nuclear power is safe? Do they believe what they are sold, not only in the popular press, but by professionally(!) lobbied and motivated government officials? 'But what else can we do?' I hear you ask. Put your paper down, switch off the tv, go and have a walk on a beach near a nuclear power station. Go and have a chat with a Swede living near the leaky repository. Half lives are huge and as yet there is no efficient way of using or disposing of the waste. Small incidents happen all the time, we just don't hear about it.
Now go and have a chat with people living near a huge windmill. I live in the shadow of one. It was built before I moved here so I didn't suffer the 'fear'. It powers the town in which I live with a surplus, most of the time. Yes it makes a little noise and when the sun is behind it there is ' flickering light' but even if the blades fall off there is no risk of them getting into the food chain and changing the shape of my future children!

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRichard

The other problem I have is that uranium is neither abundant nor renuwable. I read once that if all energy used today would come from nuclear, we would run out in 11 years. Not sustainable.

Breeder reactors anyone? And yeah, they also produce plutonium but mix that with the uranium and create mixed-oxide fuel ...

I'd recommend paying a visit to Chernobyl or Fukushima

Chernobyl was caused by having idiots running a nuclear reactor who thought it would be a fun game to turn the automatic safety systems off and then have a play. Worse yet, they where doing this on that abortion of a reactor design known as an RBMK. Fukushima wouldn't have been a problem if it had been ESBWR rather a much older BWR design, or if they'd just put the emergency generator in the roof-space rather than the basement. And to be fair Fukushima survived not only a larger earthquake than it was design to, but also a larger tsunami ...

Half lives are huge and as yet there is no efficient way of using or disposing of the waste

Integral Fast Reactor anyone?

March 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>