Thursday, January 10, 2008

Nuclear Power, Yes Please

I am pleased to see Alan Duncan robustly supporting the overdue decision by the government to go ahead with a new programme of nuclear power stations. This is not an issue which people should equivocate on. And those that are against it should be pushed for an alternative. Greenpeace's position, which is to oppose any sort of new power station is both self-indulgent and untenable. Gordon Brown often says that he is in government to take the difficult decisions, even if they are unpopular. On this issue, he has delivered. When environmentalists argue against coal fired power stations (as they do on the Medway) and also against Gas fired power stations, and then say they are against nuclear ones too, it makes one wonder where they think we are going to get our energy from. And please let's not take seriously anyone who thinks wind and solar power can provide our energy needs. They can contribute to them but in a minor way.

I listened to Tom Burke, one of Britain's leading environmentalists, who was on 5 Live Breakfast this morning. I was heartened to see that he accepted that nuclear is a safe form of power. What I couldn't understand was that he couldn't accept that it was also cleaner than coal or gas. For one thing it has no carbon footprint and therefore, if you think that carbon emissions are causing climate change, surely you would think nuclear power is a good thing? The trouble is, some of our green friends are continuing to fight the battle of the 1970s and 1980s.
And the LibDems? They are opposing this decision, but as usual without saying hwo they could meet our power needs in the future. Naturally enough they are in favour of more wind. As well as hot air.
UPDATE: I have been upbraided by Tim Worstall among others for saying that nuclear has no carbon emissions. Of course, there are carbon emissions in the building of a nuclear power station.

101 comments:

graybo said...

yes, but...

I think there is a reluctance about new nuclear stations because governments (not just the current one) have failed to deliver effective clean up of the mess created by earlier nuclear projects. Intermediate level waste is sitting around in drums, not buried, not reprocessed. This presents a hazard - not only an environmental hazard but a security hazard too.

Until government and opposition come up with effective proposals for dealing with the existing waste and for dealing with future waste, it will be hard to convince many people.

The cost of waste disposal should be included when costing out nuclear versus other energy sources. At least, with rising oil and gas prices, nuclear is beginning to look financially viable.

gadgie said...

The FT and Tories have not made it clear that it is for England only and not uk wide. When will they stop this nonsense?

Toque said...

Iain,

Are you pleased to see the UK Government going ahead with them if they are *only* in England?

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

It's not true that nuclear does not produce a carbon footprint.

On the point of your disagreeing with Tom Burke on nuclear not being cleaner than fossil fuel generation, how can nuclear be cleaner?

I would argue that they are all at least as polluting as each other- they all produce waste with various risks attached to them.

Fossil fuel waste can at least be managed with a relatively neutral threat to our future.

I do not necessarily disagree with nuclear power as an option, but I would be far more agreeable to it if we were to consider decentralising production. This discussion is not taking place when it should be.

Tim said...

Iain, here is a map of the United Kingdom. Could you do me a favour and point out the location of the uranium mines? Ta.

aardvark said...

Interesting that the French generate nearly 80% of their electricity from nuclear power stations and that the French population is overwhelmingly in favour of nuclear power.

With all those nuclear power stations on our doorstep (including a string of them along the channel coast) it makes our environmentalists' arguments a bit academic.

freedom to prosper said...

To show how safe it is build a few in London and Birmingham. It always makes people suspicious that they are built in the middle of nowhere. I don't believe in man made Global Warming but we shouldn't put all our eggs in one basket.

Ralph said...

You are in a strange mood today. Nuclear power has no carbon footprint? Concrete has no carbon footprint? Think again. Even the nuclear lobby rephrase it to refer to as being low carbon during operation only and not construction. Where will we put the waste?
Scotland survives without nuclear power and is increasing its renewables considerably. It is a net exporter of electricity and even when its nuclear power stations cease it will still be a net exporter of electricity.

Man in a Shed said...

Iain, I can remember Alan Duncan being less than supportive of Nuclear power on the politics show a few years back.

Its good to see everyone coming to their senses - at last. ( Its too much to expect that of the Lib Dems as they inhabit a fantasy land anyway). It is probably already too late to prevent power cuts in the future.

The real damage may come from the requirement to run old Nuclear power stations well past their designed lives to keep the lights on and politicians in power, when we could have had more efficient and safe reactors built already.

Much as I hate giving Gordon Brown any credit - if he gets the rebuilding of Britain's nuclear industry under way then he is doing the nation a great service.

Remember what happened to the last Conservative government to let the lights go out ! Also look at how popular environmentalists were in California once the brown outs started due to their creating paralysis in the power industry.

We have been badly served by all the parties over the last ten years. Most of all by Labour, but the other parties have allowed short term political benefit to out weigh long term responsibility also.

PS It always amuses me that the 70s/80s anti Nuclear lobby chose the sign of the largest nuclear reactor in the solar system as their symbol.

bj said...

There are also desperately poor parts of the UK (the far north of Scotland, for example) whose local economies pretty much depend on it.

I think the anti-nuclearists are worried there's going to be another Windscale fire. For crying out loud, that was the 1950s. Things are just built better and safer these days.

BrianSJ said...

I'm sorry to say that this is the sort of sloganized non-joined-up thinking by which politicians are ruining the country. Our building stock is awful as regards energy use, as is the rest of the economy; the responses from the EU - light bulbs and HIPS - aren't going to help. The need for reducing consumption without hairshirts is pressing. Local solutions CHP etc. are way overdue. Big nuclear to keep GB's brother happy will be obsolete by the time it is working - see the Toshiba 200 MW ones. This was part of the answer 10 yrs ago. We will just be in a different wasteful mess.

Anonymous said...

I agree we need new nuclear power stations, but I would disagree with your contention that they have zero carbon emissions.

There is a significant carbon emission footprint in the building of such power stations which, whilst of course not outweighing coal/oil/gas powered stations, shouldn't be ignored when making these decisions.

Anonymous said...

Funny how Zac Goldsmith was on sky arguing against....

Josh said...

Government going ahead with them if they are *only* in England?

I'm sure Wales will get some too. There are communities there that are built around their local reactors, like Transfynydd. The Conservatives took the blame for destroying mining communities. Reckon the Lib Dems and Greenpeace will take the blame for destroying nuclear communities if they stop the renewal?

It's not true that nuclear does not produce a carbon footprint.

True enough, but that is simply part of requiring an input of energy to derive the greater output.

http://www.freedomforfission.org.uk/saf/pollution.html#c02

Could you do me a favour and point out the location of the uranium mines?

I'm pointing to Cumbria. Plenty of uranium and plutonium there that can be used. Besides, I somehow doubt that Canada is going to threaten our energy supplies like Russia or Saudi Arabia.

http://www.freedomforfission.org.uk/cyc/fuel.html#security

To show how safe it is build a few in London and Birmingham.

Yeah, why not? That's what I would say, but power stations of any sort tend to be the kind of NIMBY items that are difficult to get placed. NIMBY items would also include water works, hydrocarbon depots, airports, among others.

I don't believe in man made Global Warming but we shouldn't put all our eggs in one basket.

Why is it that when anyone suggests we should build some new fission reactors, all the naysayers start accusing us of trying to go totally nuclear? Nuclear is not an all or nothing proposition, although I personally would be perfectly content with the 'all' option.

Scotland survives without nuclear power and is increasing its renewables considerably.

Scotland gets over 40% of its electricity from nuclear power stations. When that's gone, you'll either burn what left of North Sea hydrocarbons or be in hoc to England for your electricity. The belief that the lot can be done with renewables is naive.

Nick Drew said...

This is hot air at best, acceptance of a French game-plan at worst, and socialist centralism in any case.

One can be broadly content with the safety of nukes (I am); and reject the Greenpeace position (I do); and still be highly sceptical:

(a) what exactly has Brown 'delivered on this issue' ? New nukes will not be in time to plug the generation gap (opens in 2015)

(b) how can anyone (other than a vested interest) line up for nukes when WE DO NOT KNOW THE COST ?

(c) there are alternatives that come with certainty and timely delivery (and no, I do not mean fantasy wind-farms)

The rational position for a Tory is to refuse to subsidise, and THEN let the market decide.

(and yes, as ralph says, nukes do have a carbon footprint)

scott redding said...

The government's own research says that ten new reactors would only cut the UK’s carbon emissions by 4% after 2025. We will have an energy gap before then. If we focus on energy efficiency, a massive expansion of renewables, and decentralised power as in Denmark, it will be a) quicker, b) cheaper, and c) won't generate hundreds of thousands more tonnes of waste that we will need to store for 10 000 years in yet-to-be-built huge underground concrete bunkers which will already cost £75 billion.

Tim Worstall said...

"Upbraided" is a little strong. Gently corrected perhaps....

tory boys never grow up said...

I agree with the analysis about the need for nuclear power. Now where should all the new safe nuclear power stations be sited - given all the nimbyism there is likley to be about this perhaps we should use the polluter pays principle. Average number of cars per household might be one available measure that could be used - so the first new nuclear power station goes to Sevenoaks - right in your backyard Iain!

Anonymous said...

Iain, what has not been mentioned above (nor in your update) is the huge carbon cost of building the inherently unreliable wind turbines. A reputable engineer (formerly involved in wind-energy project appraisals) recently stated that they will take between 50 and 85 years in operation merely to become carbon-neutral!

Alfie said...

The stations are only going to be built in England (the 4th most crowded country in the world). And now Copeland Council (in the Lake District in England) have been bribed with the princely sum of 75 million quid to take all of Britain's existing and no doubt future nuclear waste).

Both Scotland and Wales national representatives have said they will not allow any more nuclear power stations to be built on their soil. But both national administrations have been assured that their countries will be able to take power generated from the new stations via the national grid.... so that's OK then.

Don't you just love this 'Union of equals'?.....

Josh said...

Fossil fuel waste can at least be managed with a relatively neutral threat to our future.

Neutral? You call the toxic heavy metal slag from coal burning neutral? Slag and ash is produced thousands of times faster from coal burning than spent fuel is from atom smashing and so cannot be stored in properly contained conditions. It is dumped into landfills where, though there is some protection, the mercury and the arsenic can leech into the water table.

And you know what's scarier? In 10,000 years time, long after spent fuel has decayed into insignificance, that slag and ash will be just as dangerous as it is today.

Okay, I hyperbolise slightly. I'm not running that scared of coal waste. I just wanted to put things in perspective. Nuclear waste is a classic case of paralysis by panic attack.

http://www.freedomforfission.org.uk/cyc/waste.html

Rickytshirt said...

anon 11.59,

Really that's being pedantic.

If we take that stance then there's no carbon neutral anything. Wind-power, solar-power, tidal, bottled water, walking down the street, sleeping, nothing we do is carbon neutral if we dig deep enough. That's the way the green lobby like it. Life should be one big perpetual guilt-trip.

We should have some perspective here. In essence it's a carbon-neutral process.

Ed said...

Global Warming is a myth and even if it wasn't the UK makes virtually no difference to global outputs. The UK has enough coal to last for centuries, the technology is proven, safe, cheap and leave no smouldering pile of glowing waste behind for centuries.

Mining also keeps the Labour voters employed so they can't become government ministers.

Coal please.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the arguments for and against nuclear power, aren't the Conservatives in a bit of a stew over this issue.

On the one hand you have Alan Duncan broadly supporting the Government's announcement in the House of Commons.

And on the other you have Zac Goldsmith appearing on Sky News arguing with Johnny Ball over the expense, threat and implications of nuclear power.

Of course Zac Goldsmith's green credentials are well known but how can the Tories hold both views.

As Cameron's favourite 'green', can Goldsmith be kept on board or while he be left to vent spleen in the Ecologist?

Joel

Ed said...

Shouldn't the Opposition be questioning the details rather than just giving the government the big thumbs up (yet again)?

Who is representing those who disagree with the Clunking Fist?

Chris Hillcoat said...

The government has finally done the right thing in this case by coming out in favour of new nuclear plants. Let's hope that they follow through the commitment to a more concrete outcome!

graemehs said...

Ralph, when the two nuclear stations in Scotland shut down we will become an net importer of electricity. With renewables we will need signicant capacity to balance the big swings in renewables generation. As this is not (for the moment) going to be nukes then it's either gas fired stations or imports from England. So we better upgrade the link.

Alfie, re "Union of Equals". The fast breeder reactor was built in the far North of Scotland as they weren't sure if it wouldn't blow up. So they stuck it as far away from London as possible where there is some infrastructure to build it.

Also, the UK's only test of a biological weapon was on a Scottish Island (Gruinard). Finally decontaminated in 1990.

Rosyth, you can't have the contract to refurbish the nuclear sub fleet but you can store the radioactive hulks of the old ones.

Now that a Goverment has finally made a decison on building new ones we need
1. No subsidies for theses ones.
2. The companies building them have to post a bond to decommission them.
3. A decision on the disposal of the present and future materials. Should include evaluating photonuclear transmutation (making nuclear waste non radioactive).

Tim said...

Um, Josh, you're offering me leftovers. Could you tell me a little more about the quality of these goods and how that relates to usability and safety?

(PS - When push comes to shove, we either own it or we don't. We don't. It's not the only argument against, it's just a gaping hole that is often neglected.)

Josh said...

The rational position for a Tory is to refuse to subsidise, and THEN let the market decide.

You are of course correct that nuclear should not be the recipient of any subsidy, but there still a couple of things for the government to do first.

1) The government still needs to put in place a fair and sensible regulatory framework and shoot Greenpeacers (whether or not nuclear power stations are built, we'll still be better off).

2) They need to provide clarity on back end processes. What kind of arrangement is going to be made for waste disposal? Is the government going to do it? How much and how will the operators then pay the government for the service (and pay they should of course)?

The government's own research says that ten new reactors would only cut the UK’s carbon emissions by 4% after 2025.

That's because we're only talking about replacing diminishing capacity. We haven't even begun to expand our capacity.

Average number of cars per household might be one available measure that could be used - so the first new nuclear power station goes to Sevenoaks - right in your backyard Iain!

Close. BE is looking to build new reactors at Dungeness. Bradwell also.

Both Scotland and Wales national representatives have said they will not allow any more nuclear power stations to be built on their soil.

I challenge those representatives to go down to the local pub at Trawsfynydd and say that.

As Cameron's favourite 'green', can Goldsmith be kept on board or while he be left to vent spleen in the Ecologist?

I'm hoping he can't.

Brian said...

remember anything called Chernobyl?

Or do you think uranium is unlimited?

With no links to nuclear weapons?

And the waste can be safely stored for the million years needed ?

Oh right...

Iain Dale said...

Chernobyl is a complete red herring in this debate. France hasn't had a single nuclear incident so far as I am aware. The safety issue doesn't concern me any more than a coal fired power station would.

Tim said...

"The safety issue doesn't concern me any more than a coal fired power station would."

Iain, I find your refusal to consider full/potential consequences to be downright alarming... and not for the first time.

Atlas shrugged said...

Can someone ask the obvious question?

When we have our shiny new nuclear power stations.

Will the draconian green taxes and other restrictions we will have by then, be removed or radically reduced?

I know the answer. Its a very big NO. But it is still worth asking the question.

Thanks Greenpeace for doing the bastards dirty work for them, so relatively cheaply.

Josh said...

Could you tell me a little more about the quality of these goods and how that relates to usability and safety?

Don't snear at leftovers. But I'm getting slightly facetious as we're not in a position to use that material just yet, though if we don't in the future we suck.

The important issue, as I described in the link I gave, is that nuclear fuel cannot be so easily analogised to hydrocarbon fuel. With the latter, you need a constant stream of the stuff to keep you going. With the former, a little bit will keep you going for ages.

Russia was able to turn off the gas taps and nearly starve parts of Europe of its electricity. This couldn't happen if the dependency was on uranium, because Putin would have to holdout for many months or years before they actually needed to get some more.

And also to the point, our main source of uranium is Canada. Not exactly hostile territory.

remember anything called Chernobyl?

Brian, have you been listening to anything we've been saying?

Anyone who invokes Chernobyl to discredit the Generation III+ technology coming out of France, Canada and America proves nothing except display their ignorance.

http://www.freedomforfission.org.uk/acc/chernobyl.html

Or do you think uranium is unlimited?

The Sun is limited. What of it? There is enough uranium, to keep us going for a couple of hundred years open cycle and many thousands closed cycle. Thorium will keep us going for tens of thousands of years. I don't think it is within the government's remit or capability to develop an energy policy today that can be used in the year 3000.

http://www.freedomforfission.org.uk/cyc/fuel.html#sustainability

With no links to nuclear weapons?

Oh please! Irrelevant and irrational CND smear. First off, we're renewing Trident in any case, so how exactly building new nuclear reactors is going to change anything is only in your own imagination. Second off, everything else that's wrong with what you just said.

http://www.freedomforfission.org.uk/cyc/prolif.html

And the waste can be safely stored for the million years needed ?

Greenpeace random number generator strikes again. If we are doing final deep disposal of anything that requires more than 600 years to decay to below the activity of the original uranium ore, then we suck. We should burn the long lived stuff for electricity, or at least incinerate in accelerator driven reactors.

http://www.freedomforfission.org.uk/waste.html

The safety issue doesn't concern me any more than a coal fired power station would.

I would hope you'd be more concerned about the coal power station, Iain. In addition to what I said before about slag, a coal power station throws out more radiation to the environment than a nuclear one does, because, while in a nuclear power station, all the radioactive material is small and contained, in a coal power station, uranium and thorium contaminants are just discharged into the atmosphere.

Neil craig said...

Iain I wish the Tories had said this some years ago instead of cameron wittering on about nuclear bieng the "last option".

They can catch up however. GE say that a reactor can be built in 4 years. Currently the UKAEA intend to first spend at least 5 licensing reactor designs & potential sites. Since the designs in question are all ones which have been running for decades in France & the US & the best sites are produced by moving back the fence of current stations by 150 yds & building them there, where the infrastructure & workers are, this would be a waste of 5 years.

We are currently running on borrowed time with current reactors kept going beyond their design life (by the same politicians who have caleed nuclear "dangerous") & with 24,000 pensioners dying each year of hyperthermia because of the high cost of electricity.

To let people die because of paperwork wopuld be unconscionable.

Brian said...

Chernobyl happened because of poor build/staffing. Do you really think this will never happen again anywhere? (considering UK building will set a precedent)

Uranium and plutonium are both finite, plutonium in particular linked with nuclear weapons, and radiate at dangerous levels for thousands of years. Considering changing geology, storage/waste should be your main concern.
Who knows what can happen in the future? The fact that France's hasn't gone wrong yet is no proof at all in the long term scale we are considering.

I worry you are either insufficiently informed on this issue or being far too blase/complacent

Josh said...

Alfie, re "Union of Equals".

The main candidate sites at the moment are Sizewell, Dungeness, Hinkley and Bradwell, all are in the South of England. Makes sense though since that's where most of the population are.

The point is valid about it being England's turn from the nationalist perspective. From the unionist perspective, England/Scotland/Wales is all irrelevant. It's about where is best for Britain as a whole. If you want to stick something out of the way, might as well put in Caithness where no-one lives.

The companies building them have to post a bond to decommission them.

I can see where you're coming from, but I'm not sure there really is a pressing need for them to pay up front for decomissioning that is to be done in 60 years time. That makes it a hell of a lot more expensive given the whole time value of money thing. I know a lot is made about the current decommissioning bill, but that is mostly due to legacy wastes (ie not commercial power reactors). British Energy has paid its way when it comes to decommissioning. The problem is that because BE paid the government and now the government is forking back the money, it just looks like the money is coming out of the general coffers and is hence a bung to the nuclear industry. It isn't.

Tim said...

Iain also said in an update: "Of course, there are carbon emissions in the building of a nuclear power station."

And in the mining and transport of uranium. And the production of long term storage facilities for the waste.

Anonymous said...

"To show how safe it is build a few in London"

Too expensive.

By the way, I'm still waiting for VAT to be reduced to 15% - Ken Clarke promised it was raised to 17.5% in order to pay for the transision from "Community Charge" to "Council Tax".

Anonymous said...

Josh said:-

"If you want to stick something out of the way, might as well put in Caithness where no-one lives."

Sorry to take the wind out of your sails Josh, but, don't you know, our SNP govt have decreed no new power stations north of the border.

When you comment, please remain within your own jurisdiction, as it is clear you obviously know nothing of what goes on outside your own little back yard.

Please go and lie down now-think of england!

Josh said...

Since the designs in question are all ones which have been running for decades in France & the US & the best sites are produced by moving back the fence of current stations by 150 yds & building them there, where the infrastructure & workers are, this would be a waste of 5 years.

Not quite. Although Generation III+ is an evolutionary generation and these reactors are evolutions of earlier designs, the particular models are new and so need to have their own certification.

It's the same with aircraft. It took Boeing a year of test flights to get the 777-200LR certified by the FAA even though it was just a heavier version of the already successful 777-200ER which had been flying for years, itself a heavier version of the 777-200 which led the 777 family into service.

Chernobyl happened because of poor build/staffing. Do you really think this will never happen again anywhere? (considering UK building will set a precedent)

Read the link I provided. It explains all about why Chernobyl happened and how it cannot be compared, even through mindless fearmongering, to what we will be building in the UK.

It wasn't just staff and build quality. It was a fundamental flaw in the design, flaws which had been known since the 1950s. Uranium-graphite-water was never an option for commercial power stations in Europe or America.

Uranium and plutonium are both finite, plutonium in particular linked with nuclear weapons,

Emotional argument. What you choose to link in your mind is irrelevant.

and radiate at dangerous levels for thousands of years.

Well at least you've improved your numbers slightly from the random millions you were tossing out earlier. What is dangerous is a matter of debate. But more importantly, all actinides should be burnt eventually. That's fuel efficient way to handle things. Only fission products should ultimately be left for deep disposal and they decay to below the activity of the original ore within a few hundred years. That is far more preferable than the heavy metal wastes from coal power, which are toxic permanently.

Considering changing geology, storage/waste should be your main concern.

The Oklo reactor in Gabon shows it can be done. The byproducts of that uncontrolled fission reactor were rendered immobile for two billion years. It is Oklo which has been instrumental in the development of Synroc and other technologies. Technology imitating nature.

I worry you are either insufficiently informed on this issue or being far too blase/complacent

I'm a physicist and an engineer. I considered myself informed. It is you yourself who have yet to demonstrate any credibility so far spouting nothing but decades old, long debunked, anti-nuclear cliches.

And in the mining and transport of uranium. And the production of long term storage facilities for the waste.

And it still comes out on top. Either comparable or slightly lower than wind and far, far lower than solar PV.

Besides, as I described in the link I provided when I addressed this earlier, carbon footprint based on lifecycle emissions can be difficult because you have to make assumptions on the energy source of the inputs. For example, why must fuel enrichment and fabrication be coal powered? That is generally the assumption that goes into these calculations. If, like France, we used nuclear electricity to power enrichment facilities, we could save a lot of carbon.

Brian said...

Josh, do you really think all nuclear built in the world will follow as strict regulations and use the expertise of the UK. How can we prevent other countries from going nuclear themselves, with inevitably lower standards. What about countries with earthquakes? (for one, easy example)

The 'links' I pointed out were not 'in my mind' but have been pointed out by amongst others, George W Bush. It is something I agree with him about-the technologies for weapons and 'civilian purposes' (hello Iran) are similar.

The finite nature of materials needed is also of no small concern unless this is also a fact that only exists 'in my mind.' Other renewable sources should be being invested far more heavily with the fossil fuels we have left.

For the record, I have a degree in physics with philosophy. I'm not as qualified as you but I have some idea what I'm talking about which I doubt many of the other politicos do (including Iain whose views and opinions I value and often share)

Brian said...

sorry I forgot to add to my last comment the difficulty of protecting nuclear facilities from terror attacks (whether internally or 9/11 style)

Even a 0.05% of this happening with say, a thousand years is far far too high

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Sorry to take the wind out of your sails Josh, but, don't you know, our SNP govt have decreed no new power stations north of the border.

When you comment, please remain within your own jurisdiction,


Don't you know that the SNP administration is a MINORITY government (and probably only a short-term one).

Josh said...

Sorry to take the wind out of your sails Josh, but, don't you know, our SNP govt have decreed no new power stations north of the border.

I'm aware of the Exalted One's proclamation. You understood my point. Reading it again, I should have written it better. I was not suggesting that the new reactors should be sited in Caithness. I said they're better being put in South of England. I was thinking (but evidently didn't articulate so) of Dounraey, which was put in Caithness out of the way of most people.

When you comment, please remain within your own jurisdiction, as it is clear you obviously know nothing of what goes on outside your own little back yard.

My jurisdiction is Scotland. Grampian specifically.

Anonymous said...

So you will be heading off to Richmond, Iain, to speak against young master Goldsmith? He fair pasted old Nukie-luvva Bernard Ingham the other night on Newsnight. But wait a minute, they are both Tories! So what IS the official Tory view? Well remember, the Nuclear industry have lied consistently about just about every important matter under the sun since they came out. So we will know which way the Tories will go eventually, won't we friends?

Unsworth said...

"Of course, there are carbon emissions in the building of a nuclear power station."

Indeed so. But maybe your critics might care to quantify that and compare with the carbon costs of other methods - including construction of the equivalent generating power from so called 'green sources'.

Tim said...

Josh: Silly me. I forgot *security* aspect of transport (coal does not need to be guarded/shielded the way uranium does) and the *maintenance* and *security* of long term storage facilities for the waste. Does it still come out on top? And this time, would you care to provide your figures proving this?

(Hm. For someone so certain of his ground, Iain certainly is quiet.)

BTW I - How do the figures stack up on wind if we're not dealing with a highly centralised model? (i.e. if the average homeowner is actually capable of contributing to the grid.)

Anonymous said...

Josh said:-
My jurisdiction is Scotland. Grampian specifically.

Hello Josh-how come a learned individual from Grampian, and a professed expert in nuclear matters fails to spell Dounreay correctly?

You do not even have the excuse of being a sassenach!

Josh said...

I wish Blogger would give us a bigger edit window. And possibly an automatic quote feature like on airliners.net.

Josh, do you really think all nuclear built in the world will follow as strict regulations and use the expertise of the UK.

What's that got to do with us building nuclear power stations? We can do it safely. Of that there is no doubt because we have done it for 50 years despite all the commercials problems of our gas cooled reactor designs.

What about countries with earthquakes? (for one, easy example)

You mean like Japan? They had a huge one last summer, which damaged the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station. The result was some spilt orange juice. The power station is still shut down while the damage is repaired, but no-one was hurt and there was no issue to public safety. The distinctly non-nuclear buildings in the nearby town of Kariwa is another matter though. The effects of the earthquake on the town killed 8 people. Come an earthquake, I'd rather be in a nuclear station.

The 'links' I pointed out were not 'in my mind' but have been pointed out by amongst others, George W Bush. It is something I agree with him about-the technologies for weapons and 'civilian purposes' (hello Iran) are similar.

I don't consider George Bush and expert on nuclear technology so argumentum ad vericundiam doesn't work.

There is nothing wrong with Iran having nuclear power reactors. If all they had was some LWRs, we wouldn't care (except maybe Washington hawks but you know how they are). The concern is over them not allowing proper scrutiny of their fuel cycle facilities, including their enrichment facilities. With proper IAEA inspections as all our facilities must undergo, will determine readily if an enrichment plant is capable of enriching to weapons grade level or is like all the others and can only enrich to reactor grade levels.

Once again...
http://www.freedomforfission.org.uk/cyc/prolif.html

The finite nature of materials needed is also of no small concern unless this is also a fact that only exists 'in my mind.'

I've already addressed this issue. Simply responding by saying it's a concern is not an effective rebuttle.

It is not for the government of the day to make energy policy for the year 3000. About 50 years is all their remit covers. As far as the next 50 years is concerned, we're fine. We can return in 2058 and discuss whether nuclear fission remains a sustainable option.

Other renewable sources should be being invested far more heavily with the fossil fuels we have left.

We actually have plenty of fossil fuels, it's just that the effects of them are being seen as increasingly undesirable.

sorry I forgot to add to my last comment the difficulty of protecting nuclear facilities from terror attacks (whether internally or 9/11 style)

Ah we haven't had that one yet on this thread. The problem there comes with what an awkward target a nuclear power station really is. It is not a sky scraper, it is a hardened steel-reinforced concerete sphere. Penetrating the containment structure is difficult enough, let alone dispersing any significant quantity of radioactive material.

http://www.freedomforfission.org.uk/saf/terrorism.html#nine11

Josh: Silly me. I forgot *security* aspect of transport (coal does not need to be guarded/shielded the way uranium does) and the *maintenance* and *security* of long term storage facilities for the waste. Does it still come out on top?

Yes, it does. Coal should be shielded the way uranium is, or at least its solid waste should. Dump a bit of that into the water supply and we're SOL. It can't be though because it is too large in quantity such that it would be prohibitive to treat it with the same caution as nuclear material.

Proper security of nuclear materials on both ends of the fuel cycle has been done for decades. It is not a major expense.

The deep geological repository does not need to be guarded after it is filled and sealed. That's what sealing it means. Neither would it need maintenance. It's a essential a giant pile of betonite clay by the end. The rock under Gabon contained the products of the Oklo reactor for 2 billion years without anyone guarding or maintaining it.

And this time, would you care to provide your figures proving this?

The figures were in the link I provided. But if you insist. A study from Japan's Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry gave the 22g/kWh for nuclear against 29g/kWh. The Vattenfall study in Sweden gave 6g/kWh for nuclear and 5.5g/kWh for wind. Kivisto in Finland gave 10g/kWh for nuclear using centrifuge enrichment (26 for diffusion enrichment but we're looking forward not back) and 24 for wind.

So as I said, overall the two are about the same with the balance going very slightly to nuclear.

(Hm. For someone so certain of his ground, Iain certainly is quiet.)

I'm doing his dirty work for him.

BTW I - How do the figures stack up on wind if we're not dealing with a highly centralised model? (i.e. if the average homeowner is actually capable of contributing to the grid.)

Poorly. As DC found out to his embarassment, windmills on top of homes are notoriously inefficient. The big offshore turbines are relatively good being out in the thick of the free sea air. On top of homes, with the skyline surrounding it dragging down the airspeed, there is far less of a prize to capture.

Anonymous said...

A few people mention the carbon footprint of nuclear but what about the energy of building renewables. I remember talking to an engineer about solar panels 20 years ago. The energy out of them (in England) during their life wouldn't meet the energy spent producing them. I presume things have moved on but this is just a smear.

Tom Burke said...

Ian,

The Government's own consultation document does not expect a new nuclear power station to be generating electricity before 2021. It has not explained how this helps you to fill a generation gap it expects to appear from 2012 onwards. The primary problme with climate change is the massive expansion of coal use that is going to occur everywhere in the world in the next 20 years. If we do not make that coal use carbon neutral there is no hope of maintaining climate security. If we do make that coal burn carbon neutral then we don't need nuclear anyway.

Tom Burke

Tim said...

Josh:

Thank you for the summary. I must admit to seeing the URL amongst others earlier in the conversation but skipping over it. AFAIK there is no policy against hyperlinks here... except to certain sites that may have differing views about one thing or another, so feel free to include hyperlinks in future for lazy people like me.

Re: "Proper security of nuclear materials on both ends of the fuel cycle has been done for decades."

Tch. Not nearly enough terror fear in you. Report to your nearest police station and turn yourself in as a possible sympathiser.

Re: "far less of a prize to capture"

IIRC, recently a quite detailed map of the UK has been produced showing elevation down to individual postcode level. It got the insurance people quite excited, but has anyone used this and/or other data to at least do an estimate of what can be captured with, say, 20% take-up by homeowners? Based on current technology, if you like.

I ask because, if it would do any good in the end, I'd invent a windmill that doubles as a satellite dish.

:o)

And, just so I can get my sums right one this, what is the worst-case scenario for a catastrophic event involving a) a single modern nuclear power station and b) a series of modern wind farms. Comparatively speaking. Because things usually go wrong worst with us humans when "nothing can go wrong."

PS - Pity about Iain. I was looking forward to finding out how much thought he'd put into it.

troymolloy said...

'Iain also said in an update: "Of course, there are carbon emissions in the building of a nuclear power station."

And in the mining and transport of uranium. And the production of long term storage facilities for the waste.'

Red Herring Alert! Anyone who genuinely thinks carbon emissions are the biggest environmental threat we (modern man) face, or even in the top 10, is in desperate need of a reality check.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Graybo. 3G nuclear stations are state of the art, and are appropriate, and a promising option.

However the public are concerned with the legacy waste and decommissioning costs at the back end of this nuclear diection. Who will pay the long term waste disposal and decomissioning costs in 2050-2060?? Where will the disposal facility, at Sellifield, under the Irish Sea, how deep, how safe, how secure, what cost??

A mechanism (a up from bond, or indemity by EDP/Eon/British Energy needs to be in place to cover these costs, and indemify the UK tax payer. 10 x £3bn is £30bn for new plants, but current stockpile will cost £70bn, and what will be the future 40-50 year waste disposal costs of this new generation?

Also uranium dependency will Canada and Australia, and the future price and indirect CO2 mining/ refining costs of this. Does this climate change holistic nuclear equation really stack up?

Abdul-Rahim said...

You definitely make a good point about the detractors of the nuclear option being forced to provide alternatives. That was one thing missing from most of the debate and commentary. Then again, as they say, it's easy to critiscise.

Josh said...

Tch. Not nearly enough terror fear in you.

You live in fear. I'll live in reason. Highly dangerous chemicals that could kill on a large scale are far less well secured. Some are even available in supermarkets.

And, just so I can get my sums right one this, what is the worst-case scenario for a catastrophic event involving a) a single modern nuclear power station and b) a series of modern wind farms.

Worst case scenario in a modern nuclear power station: total core meltdown. Reactor building flooding with molten fuel and decaying fission product. Loss of fuel structure causes a loss of criticality meaning the nuclear reaction halts. Failure of active systems releases active restraints on passive safety systems. Emergency cooling water floods the reactor building. The reactor building becomes a steam bath. (I did mention the reactor building is sealed, didn't I?)

People are advised to take their iodine pills as a precaution and they look upon the power station with curiousity as they see it sitting there normally with the exception of the emergency reponse teams.

We never hear the end of it from the Beeb. Some money gubbing locals blame their swollen ankle on dikironium before they are killed by the news van sent to do a story on them. The insurance company refuses to pay out for the lost unit. The operator gets bought out by the Chinese.

Worse case scenario in a wind farm: electrical storm causes fire and wind damage. Turbine blades are ripped from their generators and go ploughing into nearby houses. Lightning strikes cause fire in the generators, which then spread to the fields beneath as the wind pushes over the masts and the blazing motors fall to the ground. Wild fire spreads.

Okay, possibly a bit exaggerated.

Anyway, I know what you were fishing for. You wanted me to offer up some kind of post-apocalyptic scenario where we're all cancerous mutants. Well we've already seen the worst nuclear power has to offer. It was called Chernobyl. And as industrial accidents go, it was relatively unexceptional except in the mind of nuclear opponents. To be fair to them, a lot of people thought the same way at the time, but 20 years on, we see that the predictions were grossly exaggerated, possibly doing more harm through over reaction than the radiation itself.

I don't mean to imply that there weren't terrible effects. There were. Just that in the context of industrial accidents, it didn't exactly push the bounds. Bhopal, Piper Alpha and countless coal accidents have all done much worse.

BTW, I may be visiting Chernobyl in the Summer. Could be very exciting.

Now add to that, the fact that a Chernobyl type accident in a modern nuclear power station, or even one of our current ones is not a credible scenario, if for nothing else than the fact that our reactors have proper containment structures, and the risked consequences is low enough for me to be more concerned about my chair collapsing on me causing my neck to be broken than what Torness is up to.

More reading

For the record, yes a big apocalyptic disaster is more likely from a nuclear power station than a wind farm, but the likelihood of it happening at all is so incredibly small. There is a much higher likelihood of a wind turbine killing someone by throwing a blade or its generator catching fire and it spreading to the surrounding area.

But risk is not just about consequences. It is the product of the consequences and the probability of those consequences being visited upon us. In both cases, the risk comes out as small. I fear neither nuclear power stations nor wind farms.

Perspective, people, perspective.

Who will pay the long term waste disposal and decomissioning costs in 2050-2060??

It'll be included in the price of the electricity as everyone has been saying. Can we also get away from the myth that the current operators haven't been paying their way? They have. They have paid to the government for the service of waste disposal and decomissioning. The government just hasn't made the hypothecation very clear.

what will be the future 40-50 year waste disposal costs of this new generation?

Most of the current waste is legacy waste which came from early government research programmes. 60 years of Generation III+ operation will only add 10% to what we've already got.

future price and indirect CO2 mining/ refining costs of this.

We've been over this. And the cost of front end processes are coming down at any rate with new mining techniques such as in situ leaching being developed in Kazakhstan as well as the move to centrifuge enrichment and eventually laser enrichment.

ukipwebmaster said...

In case you hadn't noticed UKIP have just launched their Energy and Environment Policy

Anonymous said...

That is genuinely interesting Josh, I admit that I'm not fully up on the technology (and nor I suspect are most politicians)

I'm not against all nuclear, I just think we need far better funding for alternatives (Check Tatchell in the Grauniad today for some good ideas) particularly as the problems of climate change, peak oil etc are global in nature, demanding global solutions.

What in your clearly expert opinion is an acceptable risk of another Chernobyl, over say the next 200 years? 1% 5%?

Josh said...

What in your clearly expert opinion is an acceptable risk of another Chernobyl, over say the next 200 years? 1% 5%?

Well, the current death toll from Chernobyl is 56. Let's round up to 100 as the nearest order of magnitude. If the probability of a Chernobyl over 200 years if 5%, then we get a risked expectation of 5 deaths every 200 years, or essentially 1 death for every 40 years.

Now comparing that to our record in the North Sea. In between FY03/04 and FY05/06, there were 5 casualties. That's almost 1 death every half year. In order to match the safety record there, the risk of another Chernobyl occuring would have to be... err... well actually, it would take multiple Chernobyls to match it.

Let's use a more relevant metric. Generation III+ reactors have a lifespan of 60 years. Following this North Sea trend, we'd expect 100 people killed over this period. This means the probability of a Chernobyl occuring to match this hazard would have to be 100%. Anything less than a guaranteed Chernobyl during the life of Generation III+ and nuclear power becomes safer than the North Sea.

As I've said before, the peculiarities of the RBMK and what happened in 1986 leave me confident than a Chernobyl type disaster is not a credible accident in a Generation III+ reactor.

Okay, this is fairly spurious use of statistics, but it illustrates the point.

Of course, there are many RBMKs still in service (though they have been improved a bit). However, I agree they should be shut down as soon as possible. The best way to accomplish that would be to build a shiny new, safe Generation III+ replacement. The paradox of the nuclear opposition becomes clear.

I'm not going to give absolute assurance that there will be no radiation release over the next 200 years that could claim lives (and a radiation release does not automatically equal casualties or even injuries), but it's important we put things in perspective.

This pic illustrates it all I think.

In Aberdeen, we'll be commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster this year. Consider what happened there and understand why I minimised the significance of Chernobyl a little earlier.

Tim said...

Josh: Darling. Stop. You had me at "total core meltdown"!

The role of the BBC in this imagined scenario of yours is well noted.

I wish you luck with future hyperlinks that do not fit into Iain's current gameplan.

Anonymous said...

My concern, no fear is that the nuclear industry will wriggle out of footing the bill for new plant decomissioning and deep storage disposal; and that the government and tax payer will indeed have to "subsidize" the nuclear industry clean up on this one, like Sellified, Sizewell A etc. Already Hutton and civil servants are avoiding talking about decomissioning and disposal costs, and the mechanism whereby companies like EDP Eon, British Energy foot this bill, and subsidies are not paid that seems to be the Tory current position via Alan Duncan.

Anonymous said...

Josh Said Who will pay the long term waste disposal and decomissioning costs in 2050-2060??

It'll be included in the price of the electricity as everyone has been saying. Can we also get away from the myth that the current operators haven't been paying their way? They have. They have paid to the government for the service of waste disposal and decomissioning. The government just hasn't made the hypothecation very clear.

Not to my knowledge, and if the industry has paid for deep waste storage, why is 1300 tonne of high radioactive material still siting around at sellified, no deep holes dug or paid for, no waste stored as yet. Decommissioning costs or storage costs haven't been quantified as yet, so how can Josh say with any certainty the cleanup and legacy cost will definately be in the electricity . Thats clearly not so, or hasn't been wrtten in stone by the Brown government. Its worried about nuclear plant construction starting ASAP, not inconvenient bills in 2050-60.

Who picks up the bill if Eon go bust like the very large energy company ENRON in the states

Anonymous said...

"As DC found out to his embarassment, windmills on top of homes are notoriously inefficient."

Of course, locating them on top of the servants quarters does eliminate the terrible all-night noise problem.

Anonymous said...

Tim said...

"Josh: Darling. Stop. You had me at "total core meltdown"!

The role of the BBC in this imagined scenario of yours is well noted.

I wish you luck with future hyperlinks that do not fit into Iain's current gameplan"

Pleased you've noticed your hysteria has been smashed to pieces by Josh.

Well done, Josh.

Josh said...

You had me at "total core meltdown"!

Well if you don't want to listen to the arguments then fine, kindly move onto a dicsussion where you will listen.

My concern, no fear is that the nuclear industry will wriggle out of footing the bill for new plant decomissioning and deep storage disposal

If you're a terminal cynic, there's really not much I can say. But as has been repeatedly said, the utilities have already paid for their share of the back end processes through levies on the electricity they sold. A variation on the theme of this arrangement will be made in the future.

Not to my knowledge, and if the industry has paid for deep waste storage, why is 1300 tonne of high radioactive material still siting around at sellified, no deep holes dug or paid for, no waste stored as yet.

Because most wastes are legacy wastes from early government research programmes, not waste from commercial reactors.

Decommissioning costs or storage costs haven't been quantified as yet, so how can Josh say with any certainty the cleanup and legacy cost will definately be in the electricity .

Yes they have. Decomissioning costs upfront adds around 10% of the initial CAPEX and the back end contributes 10% to the OPEX. Of course you're mileage may vary depending on how much the government procrastinates and obfuscates and surrenders to the childish behaviour of the Usual Suspects.

Who picks up the bill if Eon go bust like the very large energy company ENRON in the states

Apply that to anything and you've got the same problem. Is someone going to deal with the coal slag landfills? What about the chemicals industry? At least the regime the government is planning to use will start accruing payment from first kWh.

neil criag said...

Windmills require up to 1,000 tons of poured concrete as foundation. This is much of the reason why they are, per kwh, cosiderably less "carbon neutral" than nuclear, though inexplicablyb renewabilists never mention it. Since current reactors produce about a cubic meter of reactor waste a year this means that windmills also produce about 100,000 times as much waste.

Granted windmill waste is concrete & nuclear is relatively short life rafioactive actinides but since opponents are united in their insistance that any disposal must levae the waste accessible to futire generations because such isotopes are likely to be very valuable it seems, even they think nuclear waste is more an oportunity than a problem. It would be cynical to suggest that they want to keep the waste accessible so that they can complain it is accessible.

Tim said...

Jos: "Well if you don't want to listen to the arguments then fine"

I'm perfectly happy to listen to sensible arguments, but have a scan over your previous comment and try to guess where you lost me.

Tim said...

Actually, to save time, let me spell it out for you; in your 'worst case' scenario involving a modern nuclear power station, you envisage the only fatality resulting from the actions of the liberal media and some benefit scroungers. I detect a joke there (hard to tell... you yourself seem unable to detect simple sarcasm) but the stereotypes you use are very telling. Try to stay away from Littlejohn's neighbourhood and we should be able to proceed sensibly.

(Psst! Anonymous cowards: you're not helping. Seasoned bloggers will only assume your contribution came from Iain, who is conspicuously asbent.)

Josh said...

I'm perfectly happy to listen to sensible arguments, but have a scan over your previous comment and try to guess where you lost me.

You seem to be implying that I lost you after mentioning a total core meltdown.

Why should it be so difficult to follow after that point?

Tim said...

Josh: You probably missed my follow-up comment due to mod-lag... but the passage reading "the role of the BBC in this imagined scenario of yours is well noted" should have been enough for you regardless.

Such material is tangential and biased, and undermines anything sensible you might have to say.

Oh, and to speed things along, do tell me more about your belief in seals that cannot be broken, even in a worst-case scenario. Even if it's some form of magical seal as you might encounter in a myth, fairy-tale or Bible* passage, this is not a worst-case scenario.

(*Did you see what I did there?)

neil craig said...

Tim Iain rarely comments on comments here except where an opinion or action is imputed to him which he does not hold/has not done.

I don't think he has to fake comments from anonymice.

Josh said...

you envisage the only fatality resulting from the actions of the liberal media and some benefit scroungers.

Now you're adding your own prejudiced interpretation on what I said. I never said anything about benefit scroungers. That's no doubt just you try to pigeon hole me so you don't have to listen to what I say. BTW, the Daily Mail types are as hysterical you.

I said that some neighbours, no doubt mainly hard working, would still combine their hypochondria with the whiff of cash by attempting to blame some trivial ailment on the effect on non-existant radiation. My basis for saying this is from the experience of Three Mile Island.

The reference to the road traffic fatality was an attempt to instill perspective in a more poetic way. Traffic accidents will kill more people in this scenario. It doesn't have to be a news van. It could be anything. But using a news van linked to the previous point I thought would add a certain fluidity to my prose. Don't read too much into it.

(Psst! Anonymous cowards: you're not helping. Seasoned bloggers will only assume your contribution came from Iain, who is conspicuously asbent.)

Yeah, naturally the only one who could possibly agree with me would be Iain. (That was sarcasm btw)

Oh, and to speed things along, do tell me more about your belief in seals that cannot be broken, even in a worst-case scenario.

We're not talking the seals on a fridge here. The reactor housing is built within the concrete containment structure for the express purpose of containing radioactive material. They were planning for a China Syndrome for crying out loud.

Even if it's some form of magical seal as you might encounter in a myth, fairy-tale or Bible* passage, this is not a worst-case scenario.

Just because it doesn't fit your preconception of apocalypse, doesn't mean it's not a worst case scenario. There cannot be a dangerous release of radioactive material because a massive slab of concrete is standing in the way.

Tim said...

Josh, I have made it quite clear that I'm willing to listen to you if you avoid that sort of nonsense. Please stop trying to turn it into something else (not a first for you in this conversation).

Re: hysteria, apocalypse, etc.

Tut. You're projecting. Do me a favour and point to one passage where I'm being hysterical or touting apocalyptic visions.

Re: worst-case scenario

So, in your worst-case scenario, concrete is impervious to all forms of stress.

In your worst-case scenario of a flood, the dam would always hold. Dangerous thinking, in my view.

Tim said...

neil: I asked Iain a simple, specific and direct question. He usually responds to those, even if it's just to tell someone to 'piss off' before calling for a modicum of decorum.

(But, because Iain has a track record of hiding behind the sock-puppets of others, your statement that he doesn't have to fake comments himself could be defined as a true one.)

Iain Dale said...

Josh, you have obviously never encountered Tim Ireland before. The best of luck in your debate with him. I could go on, but life's too short. Suffice it to say that it's not an argument you will win because he will change the terms of the debate. Oh, sorry, I see he's already done that.

Neil, Tim labours under then impression that my life is to sad that I have nothing better to do than fake comments on my own blog in support of my positions. The fact that I have repeatedly stated that I have never done this either on this blog or any other blog cuts no ice with him, mainly because he knows that I can't prove it one way or the other.

I'll leave you to judge which one of us is most likely to indulge in such activities.

Tim will now rant that I have accused him of sock puppeting.

Bovvered.

Tim said...

1. Iain, I do apologise for deviating from my original question (that you still haven't answered). In your absence, Josh has made a few claims. I'm challenging a primary one (concrete is impervious to stress, apparently), and making every effort to keep to the subject and keep things sensible. If there's any variation on my part, it is due to these efforts and/or the need to deal with a claim raised by another party that is questionable or false.

2. Regarding your claims, you have also insisted that Grants Shapps' password was '1234'. What's your word on sock-puppetry worth?

3. It is you with the track record of reliance on and tolerance of sock-puppets (used by those on your side), not me. I'd link to a perfect example, but I'm not allowed. That in itself does little to support your case.

Josh said...

So, in your worst-case scenario, concrete is impervious to all forms of stress.

Steel reinforced concrete has its limits like anything else. However, nothing that could possibly go wrong in the reactor could cause the kind of stress that would result in failure.

It's can also take aircraft strikes too.

If a large portion of the reactor contents was emptied into the environment somehow, someway, well we've already seen that happen. The results were underwhelming as far as major ecological catastrophes go. (In fact some will argue it was an ecological u-catastrophe since the creation and evacuation of the exclusion zone has resulted in a thriving wilderness. I hope to visit it in the Summer.)

I am satisfied that when those consequences and the probability are multiplied, it produces a risk so low that rationality demands I start worrying about other things... like choking on my chicken... or trip hazards... of drunken Aberdonians looking for trouble on the back streets of Cults.

But when you asked for a worst case scenario and since an aircraft strike would only damage surrounding non-nuclear components, I opted to select a scenario where the reactor destroys itself. In that case, we have emperical evidence from Three Mile Island that it's easily containable.

Josh, you have obviously never encountered Tim Ireland before.

Oh is that the infamous Tim Ireland? Weren't you and he somehow connected to some lawsuit or something?

Tim said...

"Weren't you and he somehow connected to some lawsuit or something?"

Fleetingly. While I was effectively silenced by an Uzbek billionaire *and* banned from making comments on this website (for reasons that Iain still hasn't explained), Iain took the opportunity to call me a liar.

Tim said...

Re: unbreakable seals, not-quite-worst-case scenarios and unique methods of creating wilderness parks.

Josh, I find it most ironic that yours is a faith that could move mountains.

(Oh, and you must have missed this bit; Do me a favour and point to one passage where I'm being hysterical or touting apocalyptic visions.)

Iain Dale said...

Oh here we go again.

Just for the record Josh, click on this link http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2007/09/in-support-of-tim-ireland-and-craig.html

I actually supported him, something he has never even acknowledged.

I must have been mad.

Josh said...

Josh, I find it most ironic that yours is a faith that could move mountains.

What scenario would not result in your accusing me of holding blind faith?

Tim said...

No, you simply claimed to support free speech. Effectively calling someone an obsessive liar is not supporting them, but I do apologise for not thanking you for this:

Iain Dale: "Despite the fact that a large part of his front page is taken up with wholly unjustified smears against me, I defend his right to say what he wants about me. It's called freedom of speech."

(PS - Please don't lie. You got acknowledged just like everyone else did.)

Tim said...

"What scenario would not result in your accusing me of holding blind faith?"

Something that doesn't involve magical unbreakable seals or radioactive clouds that are good for the environment, I would imagine.

Now, if it's not too much trouble, could you please point to the passage where I'm being hysterical or touting apocalyptic visions?

Josh said...

Something that doesn't involve magical unbreakable seals or radioactive clouds that are good for the environment, I would imagine.

You talk about seals like the seals on a wellhead. Do you actually understand how a nuclear power station is built?

Now, if it's not too much trouble, could you please point to the passage where I'm being hysterical or touting apocalyptic visions?

See the quotation above.

Goldsmiths Politics Society said...

Interesting debate being had here. If anyone wishes to speak in favour of nuclear power as a solution to climate change at a debate being hosted at Goldsmiths, University of London, tomorrow (Tuesday 15th) at 5pm, in Lewisham, please e-mail me at orlockAThotmail.com. The Politics Society, which has organised the debate, has also invited speakers from the green movement to argue against nuclear power, so the debate will be a chance to definitively settle the issue once and for all.

Tim said...

Sorry Josh, but that just doesn't cut the mustard. You appear to have a firm belief that once something is sealed, it cannot be broken. Yet in the same breath you're trying to portray me as some sort of fantasist... and not for the first time in this conversation.

Added to that, Iain has ignored my quite straightforward question and instead has opted to play the man and not the ball (while in the same breath claiming it is me trying to change the terms of the debate).

Please excuse me for not taking either of you seriously.

(PS: Iain, I just caught you - again - telling an outright lie. Have you no response?)

Josh said...

You appear to have a firm belief that once something is sealed, it cannot be broken.

The containment structure cannot be breached by any credible reactor malfunction. Three Mile Island proved that.

Just because you choose to disbelieve it doesn't make it false.

Tim said...

There you go again. Who said that a reactor malfunction would be the cause of any breach?

Tim said...

PS - Using your logic (i.e. what Three Mile island 'proved') Kim Phuk is living proof that napalm isn't fatal.

Josh said...

Who said that a reactor malfunction would be the cause of any breach?

Ah, so we're agreed that a Chernobyl type disaster is not a credible scenario in a Generation III+ reactor.

Using your logic (i.e. what Three Mile island 'proved') Kim Phuk is living proof that napalm isn't fatal.

Rubbish! Napalm is designed to kill and it has had a very high success rate. The 0.01% of failures only proves that it is not 100% reliable.

But with TMI, containment are designed for, you guessed it, containment. When crunch time came, it did its job. Now where as a containment structure ever had a catastrophic failure showing TMI to be the exception rather than the rule?

Your napalm example is stupid because it would require ignoring all the thousands of other cases where napalm was fatal, whereas with TMI there are no other cases of containment not working when a reactor destructs itself.

Tim said...

1. Bring forth one mention of Chernobyl from me in this thread.

2. "With TMI there are no other cases of containment not working when a reactor destructs itself"

So what you're telling me is that these indestructible containment structures of yours have been tested in the field using genuine reactors thousands of times?

3. The 0.01% of failures only proves that it is not 100% reliable.

Tell me, is concrete 100% reliable?
Oh, and are human beings and their grand designs infallible? Or are we instead so impossibly arrogant that we like to think so? (e.g. When we're burying truckloads of nuclear waste for future generations to worry about.)

Anonymous said...

You're wasting your time Josh.

The man's a fool and you've already more than proved your case to the satisfaction of any rational person.

Tim said...

An interesting opinion. Care to put your name to it?

Josh said...

So what you're telling me is that these indestructible containment structures of yours have been tested in the field using genuine reactors thousands of times?

Yes. We're engineers, you see. We test things.

Tell me, is concrete 100% reliable?

Your FUD is becoming tiresome. There is no credible scenario that will cause a catastrophic failure of containment, at least none where we care (eg asteroid collision, but in that case we're already SOL). Yet you cling to the one in a billion chance that some chain of events, which you cannot even specify, will lead to such a scenario.

You evidently won't be satisfied until I prove that the risk is a deterministic 0. I don't know how it works in the marketing industry, but in mine, we cannot think your way. We don't play mind games. We don't obsess over billionths.

If you want deterministically zero risk, then go home and be satisfied that you will never be satisfied (and remember to look both ways when crossing those dangerous roads). In the mean time, the rest of us with think rationally and recognise that the risk from nuclear power is negligible and be satisfied that there are far more important things to worry about, eg trip hazards or rotten shellfish (never buy Asda prawns btw).

(e.g. When we're burying truckloads of nuclear waste for future generations to worry about.)

ROTFLMAO! Truckloads exactly. Do you have any idea how small a truckload is on the industrial scale? You need to get out of tertiary industry more often.

Tim said...

These indestructible containment structures of yours have been tested in the field using genuine reactors thousands of times? Really? Documentation, please.

Also, you tried to give the impression that you had won a point over Chernobyl when in fact I had no mentioned it at all.

Your dishonest approach to debate undermines anything of substance you have to offer. It's a waste of your expertise.

Josh said...

These indestructible containment structures of yours have been tested in the field using genuine reactors thousands of times? Really? Documentation, please.

I'm still trying to find that damn video of the aircraft strike test. I'm sure it's buried in LANL somewhere, but I can't find it.

Of course though they didn't use actual working reactors in the impact testing. Those things are expensive. They tested them with more calibrated tools that produce more meaningful results.

Also, you tried to give the impression that you had won a point over Chernobyl when in fact I had no mentioned it at all.


So you didn't. It's hard to keep track of who said what. It's also hard to interpret what you say since on the surface it's just innuendo and FUD rather than substantive argument about why you think nuclear reactors are unsafe.

Tim said...

Surely you mean 'damn videoS', as if they've done thousands of tests, there must be more than one involving aircraft.

Josh said...

There's a particular one I'm thinking of that is quite well known that got released by LANL(remember a lot of this stuff is classified). It's always a good one to show.

Tim said...

So just the one, then.

Josh said...

Tim, don't be so immature. You should be aware, if you profess to be in this debate as anything other than a troll, that engineering data is long winded and very dull. Most of it is numbers that even others engineers wouldn't understand until it was explained what they represent. Videos suitable and useful for general public consumption are few are far between.

This is very reminiscent of a common Apollohoax conspiracist tactic. They always want us to provide the full body of engineering expertise on the Saturn V or the LM in the form of a neat and tidy webpage, and when we can't provide that, because the detailed engineering paperwork took up warehouses and cannot be transposed so readily into hypertext, they say that our machine are therefore make believe.

There expectation is of course based on their ignorance of engineering. When the reality fails to match their expectation, they blame the reality (ie conclude Apollo was a fake) rather than their own ignorant expectations.