Monday, June 20, 2016

Nuclear Power - Why NDP direction is wrong!

The public at large are misinformed, ignorant and kept that way because it serves the NDP purpose (whatever that is)  The newly built wind farm in southern Alberta is being rebuilt at who's expense?

The world is going Nuclear!

A nuclear plant would outlive a wind farm by 90 years!  The point I'm trying to make with this article is that if the NDP does not change direction somewhat, we will not be competitive in the world for marketing anything.  

The 3-mile island misadventure was one of many of its day.  The reason being the US Government turned over to private industry the design of the US Submarine power plants and the go-ahead to build the same nuclear reactors that were installed in US submarines.

The US Navy complied but never told the industry that design had inherent heating problems which remained unfixed!  Once built and put into production these plants overheated. In most cases, the companies reduced output by 50%  to accommodate inadequate heating.   Many of these companies went broke; had no money left to trim trees etc.

Since those early days, there have been many innovations allowing plants a near 100-year lifespan

The "rods" are hollow tubes filled with ceramic beads that have a minuscule amount of radioactive material embedded within. Militarily of no value.

These tubes are changed out about every 3 years in operation.  One design on some new plants is to have storage on site for 40 years of spent tubes.  Speaking of which, the tubes start at 4% and are pulled out at 1%.  A years operation of such a nuclear facility would produce enough spent rods to fill a family refrigerator at 2000 MW production for a full year.  Rods preform for 3 years!

Canada's Candu Reactor design recharges its own tubes so there is no waste to the process.

When the cooling water circulates around the reactor it picks up free radical oxygen molecules.  This is what corrodes the cooling pipes.   3M  have recently come up with a diaphragm that fits in the cooling system and pulls out these same oxygen molecules.  This gives a reasonable view of a 100-year operating life and 1/4 or less of the present maintenance schedules.

NDP bloggers say all this is good but where will you find a company to build and pay for one?  Notley makes it a point to hire people of "like thinking" which seriously limits any ability for innovation.  Public pressure is needed!

Uranium is abundant and natural in sea water.  Now it is being extracted for use as atomic fuel.  The supply is endless and as renewable as sunshine!
It's not here yet; but soon.

Financing new nuclear power plants   
There is a range of possibilities for financing, from direct government funding with ongoing ownership, vendor financing (often with government assistance), utility financing and the Finnish Mankala model for cooperative equity. Some of the cost is usually debt financed. The models used will depend on whether the electricity market is regulated or liberalized.
Apart from centrally-planned economies, many projects have some combination of government financial incentives, private equity and long-term power purchase arrangements. The increasing involvement of reactor vendors is a recent development.

Some options are described in the WNA 2012 report:

How much is the Alberta Government paying towards its new wind farms?  Does the Taxpayer own them?  What kind of financing is in place?  The industry is sure as hell not giving away freebie deals.

Drawing again on Finland's experience which is expensive.  I will be using cents per kWh rather than the EUR/cent/KWh
Cost of Wind Generation  5.01 cents per 1000W/Hour
Cost of Coal                       4.43 cents per 1000W/H
Natural Gas                        3.92 cents per 1000W/H
Nuclear                               2.37 cents per 1000W/H
And, going to US Nordpool (Oil)                    4.24 cents per 1000W/H
Source:R. Tarjanne& K Luostarien, Lappeenante University of tech 03.07.2003

World Nuclear News editorial in February 2015 addressed this issue helpfully.
Deregulated electricity markets with preferential grid access for renewables have left some utilities with stranded assets, which can no longer be used sufficiently fully to be profitable. As a result, many are being decommissioned, eg about 9 GWe by E.On and RWE in Germany in 2013, and a further 7.3 GWe expected there (apart from nuclear capacity).
The economic rationale for electricity from any plants with high capital cost and long life does not translate into an incentive for investment unless some long-term electricity price is assured. This has been tackled differently in various countries.

South Korea is now building 4 nuclear reactors.  China has 32 Nuclear Reactors with 22 more being built now!  

  • The cost of attempting to replace nuclear power with renewable is estimated by the government to amount to some €1000 billion without any assurance of a reliable outcome, and with increasing reliance on coal, especially lignite.

  • Mexico has two nuclear reactors generating almost 4% of its electricity.
  • India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power programme and expects to have 14.6 GWe nuclear capacity on line by 2024 and 63 GWe by 2032. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.

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