Nuclear Power: Climate Activists Disagree

Whether it be the Generation III+ Pressurised Water Reactors (conventional) or the new Generation IV Molten Salt Reactors (currently a scheme got CAD$5m to do get started on one in Canada) that use Thorium fuel rather than uranium the point is this:

If we are serious about lessening needs on oil, coal and gas and where hydro is not available for baseload power production then nuclear becomes your next best option especially for the big 10 nations.

I saw a picture of a 250 hectare Solar Farm producting some 350MW of power. A Nuclear Plant that side with 4 times 2GW reactors can produce 8GW of power in the same amount of space with heat and steam byproducts that heavy industry could use if built near by.

That said technology has allowed conventional reactors and the MSRs to get right down to modular level and produce 225MW of power without a problem. As a comparison a Huntly Coal/gas boiler was 250MW while Otahuhu B now shut down produced 385MW.

The applications are there and nuclear where viable deserves a shot again if we are serious in dealing with emissions with power production.

PLUGGED IN

NUCLEAR POWER:
CLIMATE ACTIVISTS DISAGREE

For my first post of the New Year I settled on nuclear as it’s the optimal resource for energy systems in society—energy dense, dispatchable, zero-emissions, and technologically advanced and the resource itself is cheap. It’s my sincere hope that the debate on the growth and development of nuclear power in the U.S. will be broached this year with rationale, logic, sobriety, and common sense given the challenges we’re facing. There is too much at stake and we have too many environmental constraints and economic goals in play to allow this resource to fade away or simply disappear from our industrial DNA while other countries throughout the world wisely invest in it and leverage its benefits in growing and developing their own economies.

DISCLOSURE:

  1. I have substantial research activities in utility-scale solar PV;
  2. I fully support nuclear power based on economic and environmental rationale.

CLIMATE EXPERTS…

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2 thoughts on “Nuclear Power: Climate Activists Disagree

  1. Nuclear is probably far from ever being cost-effective in New Zealand. There’s no supporting nuclear industry anywhere nearby – China is the closest country with any capacity, and no experienced staff. New Zealand will hardly be immune from the usual political problems and cost overruns. We’re also blessed with fairly good renewable energy options.

    That said, South Australia is currently investigating nuclear, as part of an entire-fuel-cycle industry plan: they’d do uranium mining, power, and reprocessing all in the same state.

    It is baseload power, so we still need some form of replacement when the reactor is offline: either fossil-fuel based, hardly a good option, or renewables, which have a big capital cost, not operating cost, thus defeating the purpose. Other nuclear countries have large, continent-scale grids

    New Zealand’s policy still has an impact though, however minor, on nuclear technology, and that’s rather irksome. We see fit to tell other countries not to use nuclear energy when it’s none of our business – for example, by prohibiting the use of nuclear-power-related carbon credits in our cap-and-trade system. We also still prohibit nuclear-powered ships (not that it makes a practical difference: there aren’t any nuclear-powered but not-nuclear-armed ships capable of getting to New Zealand AFAIK).

    1. Meant to say: other nuclear countries have large, continent-scale grids, so they can balance out nuclear power stations with each other, or import and export power, giving them more flexibility.

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