Nuclear power is high on the agenda for the UK Government, with a spate of projects planned in the coming years. But just how beneficial will it be to the country? Industry experts offer their views. Dr Ian Fairlie, member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament’s National Council “The reality is that we don’t need new nuclear. As many studies indicate, renewables will do the job. “The economics of nuclear are dire, with the cost of renewables steadily falling whereas those of new nuclear are always rising. Hinkley C would cost over £21bn if it were ever finished, while new offshore wind turbines are already supplying electricity at less than half the estimated cost of electricity of the mooted Hinkley C station if it were ever built. “Some nuclear proponents think that nuclear is the answer to climate change. But nuclear lifecycle analyses prove the contrary, as uranium mining and milling are highly carbon-intensive. “Additionally, even after 50 years’ research, no government has found a sure-fire way of keeping nuclear’s dangerous waste safe for hundreds of thousands of years. Finally, there is the incontrovertible evidence in over 40 studies of raised levels of childhood leukemia near nuclear reactors worldwide. “We don’t need nuclear. It’s unsafe, uneconomic, and it creates dangerous waste. Much better alternatives are already here. Nuclear can hardly be said to be a benefit to the UK, more like a serious detriment to us and to future generations.”
Power technology 3rd Sept 2018 read more »
One secret to building affordable nuclear: stick with tried-and-true designs. Hardly anyone wants to build reactors these days. “The fundamental problem is cost,” says a new report from the MIT Energy Initiative assessing the future of nuclear power. While solar and other sources of power are getting cheaper, it notes, “new nuclear plants have only become costlier.” The average energy costs over the lifetime of nuclear plants can run more than double those of combined-cycle natural-gas facilities, or wind or solar farms. That plus high-profile fiascos like the Vogtle and V.C. Summer projects in the American South, where soaring costs and delays drove Toshiba’s nuclear business into bankruptcy, mean few companies and investors are eager to jump into the business of building nuclear plants these days (see “Meltdown of Toshiba’s nuclear business dooms new construction in the US”). The main problem is the massive up-front capital cost of plant construction, which can end up accounting for more than 80 percent of the cost of nuclear energy. The MIT authors explore a variety of ways costs could be cut but suggest that one simple strategy could achieve a lot: adopt proven project management practices, including completing designs before starting construction, putting a reliable supply chain in place, appointing a single contract manager, and building up a skilled labor force with experience in a particular reactor design.
MIT Technology Review 3rd Sept 2018 read more »
Nuclear energy can’t compete on cost with cheap natural gas or renewables and therefore needs the help of policy makers who are willing to promote its low-emission power generation as a way to fight climate change, according to a landmark new study. To stave off runaway global warming by mid-century, the world’s current crop of leaders need to institute policies that dial down greenhouse gases emitted by power producers more than 90 percent, according to scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The clearest way to get there may be by putting a price on carbon emissions and supporting clean technologies.
Bloomberg 3rd Sept 2018 read more »
The challenge of climate change will be more difficult and costly to solve unless nuclear energy is included in the energy mix, according to a newly released study from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative (MITEI).
World Nuclear News 3rd Sept 2018 read more »
What is the difference between an open pit and an in-situ leach uranium mine? How does a nuclear power plant produce electricity? What happens to reactor fuel once it’s no longer usable? What is the difference between high-level and low-level radioactive waste and where is it stored? Why isn’t reprocessing really “recycling”? We may know the answers to some or all of these questions. But can we deliver a succinct, clear, accessible answer to explain them to someone not already steeped in the issue? As any activist engaged in anti-nuclear advocacy knows, nuclear power is a complex topic and describing each phase of the nuclear fuel chain can quickly bog us down in long, technical explanations. And once we go there, eyes glaze and we lose our audience. Proponents of nuclear energy have taken full advantage of this, downplaying and minimizing the risks and using facile and superficially appealing sound bites, unsupported by facts, to convince people that nuclear power is benign and useful for climate change. Facts are what we believe will change people’s minds. But the idea that bombarding someone with a deluge of irrefutable facts about the dangers of nuclear power will automatically win them to our cause has proven to be an illusion. It doesn’t necessarily work. We do need facts, of course. And that is where our Handbook — The Case Against Nuclear Power: Facts and Arguments from A-Z — comes in. We must be able to accurately describe why nuclear power is dangerous, uneconomical and unjust. But we must do so in succinct, simple lay language. And then, once the basics are understood, we need to move people. And that is why the Beyond Nuclear International website came to be born, providing a natural home for the Handbook and expanding from facts to compelling narratives. We have already compiled three Handbook chapters which you can find on the Beyond Nuclear International website under Handbook. So far, we have published: An Overview that offers simple explanations for every phase of the nuclear fuel chain; Radiation and harm to human health, which lays out the detriments to health of every phase of nuclear power operations; and Climate change and why nuclear power can’t fix it. More chapters are in the works.
Beyond Nuclear 2nd Sept 2018 read more »