Essay by Eric Worrall
The International Atomic Energy Agency has called for papers ahead of the Atoms4NetZero Conference in October 2023. The papers must be submitted by 28th April.
Call for Papers: The Role of Nuclear Power in Mitigating Climate Change — Atoms4NetZero
Bianca Carpinelli, IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy
Interested contributors have until 28 April 2023 to submit abstracts for the IAEA’s second International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power: Atoms4NetZero, to be held in Vienna, Austria, from 9 to 13 October 2023.
The conference will provide an opportunity for policy makers, academics and other experts to discuss the role of nuclear power in mitigating climate change and in contributing to the transition to net zero emissions, as well as challenges facing the nuclear sector and tapping its full potential through innovation, improved economics and stakeholder engagement. The event will also serve as a platform for the nuclear community to actively engage in a dialogue with all relevant stakeholders at the policy and technical levels.
“In these unprecedented times, as countries seek to address the climate crisis along with the need for greater energy security, this conference is timely,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. “For half a century, nuclear power has been a major source of clean and reliable electricity and together with renewables such as hydro, solar and wind power, nuclear power can be the backbone of clean energy systems, helping to mitigate climate change and achieve the sustainable development goals.”
…Read more: https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/call-for-papers-the-role-of-nuclear-power-in-mitigating-climate-change-atoms4netzero
I can’t help thinking the nuclear lobby has made a terrible strategic blunder going all in for net zero.
On the surface nuclear power for Net Zero seems a no brainer – if you want to reduce emissions quickly, nuclear is the only proven option.
But by tying themselves to a goal which is at best technically illiterate, the nuclear lobby risks undermining their credibility.
The one thing someone who wants to build a nuclear power plant has to establish is trust. People have to believe they can trust the operators of any proposed or operational nuclear power plant not to cut corners, or do anything which might endanger the lives of their neighbours.
In my opinion, watching the nuclear lobby shamelessly court the Net Zero movement does not help me feel more trust. If the nuclear lobby are that desperate for attention, how can we trust them to be totally honest in their communications on other matters of importance?
By cosying up to Net Zero advocates, the nuclear lobby might win a few greens, but they risk losing ground with conservatives who despise the Net Zero watermelons.
And winning greens to nuclear seems a long shot. Most Net Zero supporters I’ve met long since decided there is no place for nuclear power in their renewable energy filled vision of the future.
Most Greens are Luddites, and despise technology as much as they do not understand it.
No, the intergovernmental CCP associated industrial analysts have decided there is no place for nuclear power in the global social-economic reconfiguration.
If the goal is to return us to the Stone Age, then Nuclear is not the answer as it will work when other technologies fail or are intermittent.
ICCP documents and agents exist to create export markets for rare metals and value-added manufactured goods.
Such connections between investors, mineral industries, and IPPC (an intergovernmental body) are attractive for explaining parts of recent history. However, I never saw anything like it developing in my time in the industry, say 1970 to 2010.
To the contrary, nearly every mineral industry person I met was critical of IPCC and considered both it and their government’s bureaucracies as “the enemy” with little to offer of positive value.
One cannot deny such connections existed. Those involved would, I think, try hard to conceal what they were up to. Geoff S
Sorry, IPCC of course.
The Morlocks will need to keep some of the lights on in order to raise and harvest their Eloi prey.
Ubiquitous and infinite liquid, gas, and long lasting solid high density fuel sources do not create global dependence and reliance on monopolized state producers for frequent asset replacement.
There’s the rub. Any policies aimed at reducing CO2 emissions are patently wrong, as CO2 is wonderful, is plant food, and is greening the planet.
What we need is reliable, cheap energy which is what nuclear can deliver, while also having a small foot print, much more efficient burning of nuclear fuel—LFTR, liquid fluoride thorium reactor— can also build burn our nuclear waste from earlier nuclear power stations.
Actually, there are two molten salt fuel schemes. The uranium-plutonium cycle can burn spent conventional fuel for sure. The thorium-uranium cycle (according to MIT) maybe cannot, so MIT proposed starting with the uranium cycle and going thorium as conventional spent fuel is used up.
It is common to find various writers here and in general promoting certain types of preferred nuclear reactors for the future. This might be a happy hobby, but the best selection will be made by those paid to consider the pros and cons and to proceed on the basis of study.
At least, it would be so in an ideal world. In our actual world, we face being locked into some major choices by political decisions. I have lost track of where China is going after I stopped going there to study in 1995. Their future choice and India’s will be a significant factor fow newbies to the home markets.
The course of nuclear has never really been allowed to be independent. Maybe the early days at places like ORNL were relatively free of lead in the saddle, but the green rot set in quickly to express powerful and largely unseen influences. I have tried since 1968 to clarify who was involved with the disaster for Australia of laws banning or impeding the nuclear power sector.
We got by after we discovered Ranger One in the Northern Territory in 1969, but even then our permission to mine and export uranium was made in a quiet meeting between some of our Directors and top Ministers at The Lodge. But, I have never able to unravel the Aussie nuclear generator ban, laws that are still on the books today. Can anyone help?
I am suggesting here that people who have favourite forms of future reactors are not being helpful publicising them. Leave that to the involved experience. To satisfy your urges for a bright nuclear future it might be preferable merely to write about how much better it is than wind and solar.
The whole topic has been harmed too much already by too many citizens airing conflicting opinions. Geoff S
With the molten salt reactor allowing for removal of neutron poisons such as Xenon and Samarium, one get pretty close to breeding Plutonium. By keeping the Plutonium and other transuranics in the reactor, the Plutonium inventory would have an even higher proportion of the heavy Pu nuclides than a once through LWR fuel cycle along with converting the longer half-life transuranics to shorter half-life transusranics.
Having said that, I would like to see at least a decades of operational MSR experience with pilot scale plant (50 to 100MWe) before committing to producng MSR’s in quantity.
If that’s the case, it’s likely to be from a position of total ignorance.
Most “greens” seem to only think of nuclear power in terms of Chernobyl, Fukushima and Three Mile Island. They see it as a big scary monster that’s uncontrollable and has long-term issue with waste.
Yet, if you asked them how many deaths had been as a direct result of those three disasters, they would probably claim it was millions, rather than it actually being a relatively small number. They have no idea, either, why those events occurred (in particular that the failures at Chernobyl could easily be contributed to the closed, communist, regime in charge at the time, and Fukushima’s issue being that it was built in a stupid place).
They also don’t have a clue what the actual amount of waste involved is, especially for the newer reactor designs that are being implemented and developed now.
They probably don’t even understand how nuclear submarines go about their business; they probably just think that “nuclear” in its title means it carries nuclear warheads, not that they’re actually powered by nuclear reactors and that there’s no evidence of any submariners (outside Russia!) having been harmed as a result of living in such close proximity to the reactor.
There is so much publicity about the “Net Zero” nonsense that the only, real way that nuclear can be seen as a solution is by putting effort into educating and persuading the greenies that there really is nothing to fear about modern nuclear reactors in most cases, and that France has been mostly powered by them for 50 years.
Fukushima Daiichi wasn’t built in the wrong place. The problem was that the Tohoku Earthquake (most powerful ever experienced by Japan) caused a 15m high tsunami (which killed over 100,000 people, usually forgotten). The Tsunami overtopped the bund around the conventional electrical plant that provided cooling water for the emergency shut down, which but for that, worked perfectly as designed.
One person died (allegedly from radiation). Another two got mild radiation burns (like sunburn), when their wellington boots weren’t tall enough.
I can think of two serious infrastructure failures just in Yorkshire (there will have been many more), where water got into electrical apparatus. Both were, in my opinion, caused by Town & Country “Planners” insisting that electrical apparatus was sited ‘low’ to look ‘nicer’ and by Engineers going along with it, instead of telling Planners to take a hike.
Both resulted in extensive flooding and power outages. The enormously overhyped Fukashima “disaster” was actually proof that even a quite old but (appart from this one vital detail) well designed plant, was very safe.
But a nuclear plant obviously must get EVERY detail right.
Wasn’t Three Mile Island “operator error”? Running tests without safety locks enabled?
Wasn’t Chernobyl also human error, again safety interlocks disabled?
Like AGW, nuclear power is political. The only thing that will convince NetZero zealots is failure and by then the damage will have been done.
Yes. The debate we should have had at one time, but did not is this; “Does net zero make any sense at all?” Only once the answer is proven to be “yes”, does step two about how to get there make sense.
What we have done in the past five decades is shift quietly from the “energy crisis” to the “climate crisis” with the same presumed answers — wind and solar.
Nuclear isn’t the best answer, it’s the only answer and we have decades to perfect and widely deploy it because CO2 is not the climate control knob There isn’t a PhD climate scientist alive that doesn’t fully understand that, but only a few have the luxury of being able to admit it in today’s liberal/progressive government climate study funding environment.
The call for Papers is timely, and desperately needed. Wasting $trillions on sunshine and breezes is destroying the world economy IMHO.
Perhaps, but a shrewd politician would play the long game
I remember a few of them.
Now, just an oxymoron.
I have serious doubts in the timeframe of a few decades. Voglte 3&4 have shown that current Gen 3 (Voglte is Westinghouse AP1000) is frightfully expensive—and several years past scheduled delivery. Ditto the new French EPR design’s horrendous problems building unit 1 in Finland.
IMO the best path forward is easy, quick to install, high efficiency (61%) CCGT replacing old coal as it gets retired. Seriously research for several years the various gen 4 proposals, only one of which is SMR. There are various molten salt schemes, there is TerraPower, and so on. Select the best few for ‘full scale’ demonstration plants to work out the engineering details and get a handle on costs and operations. Pick the best of those demos and go cookie cutter in 4 decades, when the current CCGT start reaching end of life. This also saves the remaining natgas for long term petrochemicals, fertilizer, industrial and residential heating and cooking.
I think the HTMR-100 is the way to go.
Nuclear power is different from other energy technologies in that there is very little room for making mistakes along the arduous pathway from initial system design all the way through to plant operational startup.
Doing new-build nuclear power is the most demanding of all high complexity, high risk industrial construction projects. Not just of energy projects, but of all industrial construction projects.
If it is nuclear, a thoroughly professional job must be done in every facet of design engineering, site construction, component manufacture & fabrication, component installation, and system testing and startup. Without exception. Any weaknesses in any of those areas will delay a project’s completion and increase its costs.
By the end of the 1980’s, the nuclear power industry here in the US had learned the hard lessons of the earlier two decades concerning how to deliver nuclear projects on cost and on schedule. The industrial base for nuclear in the late 1980’s was well tuned up and well positioned to take on new projects, had there been more orders for plants.
But it was not to be. Starting in the early 1990’s, a utility could build a gas-fired power plant for less money and with less project and financial risk. Over the last thirty years, the nuclear industrial base withered to the point where we are at today. Getting us back to the industrial base capabilities we had in the late 1980’s will be a twenty year process.
Going with wind, solar, and nuclear are strictly public policy decisions. Here in the year 2023, we are doing new-build nuclear in the US only in response to the low-carbon / zero carbon energy mandates being legislated by politicians. In the absence of those mandates, the power market in the US would move decisively towards gas-fired generation.
Any power plant, where corners were cut in either design or construction will be dangerous once turned on.
There is nothing unique regarding nuclear in that aspect.
High pressure, high temperature steam is dangerous, regardless of the technology used to create it.
MarkW: “Any power plant, where corners were cut in either design or construction will be dangerous once turned on. There is nothing unique regarding nuclear in that aspect. High pressure, high temperature steam is dangerous, regardless of the technology used to create it.”
Not …. If a coal-fired power plant or a gas-fired power plant self destructs at some point because of short-cuts in its design, or in its construction, or in its maintenance, then ninety-five times out of a hundred, nobody cares.
Nobody who matters cares, anyway.
People whose opinions do really matter do really care if radioactive material spreads beyond the power plant fence. This is the fundamental reason why those who build and operate nuclear power plants are expected to do a thoroughly professional job in all phases of design, construction, and operation.
One of the major mistakes some power utilities made in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in building their nuclear power plants was to assume that just because they had been successful previously in building coal-fired and gas-fired power plants, their existing management systems, and the people who staffed those systems, were up to the task of constructing a nuclear power plant.
It was assumed by the NRC in the mid-1970’s that one utility was much like another in its ability to successfully manage a nuclear construction project. It turned out that there were very substantial differences between one utility and another in their respective abilities to manage nuclear construction.
What the NRC discovered was that it had given construction licenses to utilities which were not capable of doing the things they said they were capable of doing.
The anti-nuclear activists of the 1970’s also realized that the power utilities’ inability to manage their nuclear construction projects to strict QA standards was the golden opportunity these activists needed to challenge the projects they were trying to kill. The activists then exploited this golden opportunity to the maximum extent possible in killing the most poorly managed projects.
What was the problem? The written plans these utilities submitted to the NRC were OK. The NRC wouldn’t have given those utilities a construction license had the written plans not been OK.
The problem was that the utilities didn’t follow their written plans. Mostly because those utilities and their EPC contractors didn’t have either the staff, the management systems, and most of all, the management commitment — needed to implement their written plans.
What was seen at VC Summer, at Vogtle 3 & 4, and at MOX between 2009 and 2015 was a near exact repetition of the problems seen in the 1970’s and early 1980’s at the nuclear construction projects which failed to deliver on their cost & schedule commitments.
VC Summer and MOX were cancelled as a consequence. Those two were in a state which made them completely unrecoverable. And, like happened in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Vogtle 3 & 4 was rescued only after its original project management team was completely replaced and after the project financiers bit the bullet and accepted the additional costs in time and money of moving forward.
Just because people are scared of things that either can’t happen, or aren’t dangerous is not a reason to condemn nuclear power.
MarkW: “Just because people are scared of things that either can’t happen, or aren’t dangerous is not a reason to condemn nuclear power.”
The public expects that a thoroughly professional job be done in the end-to-end process of designing, constructing, and operating a nuclear power plant.
The NRC is the public’s chartered representative on their side of that end-to-end process.
When a power utility applies for a construction and operating license from the NRC, that utility is making what can be viewed as a legal contract between itself and the public’s representative, the NRC.
When the managers of a nuclear construction project fail to deliver on the bargain they willingly struck with the NRC, it’s only right they take the blame for their own failures.
Is this to say that the way the NRC itself currently does business is the best way to represent the public interest?
I think not.
The NRC is currently geared to support light water reactor technology. Many of the oncoming reactor designs don’t use light water technology, and these are at a regulatory disadvantage because they don’t.
The NRC is under a legislative mandate from Congress to revise its approach to license review and approval in order to streamline the process and to better serve the needs of advanced non-LWR designs.
The NRC technical staff is using bureaucratic stalling tactics to thwart the legislative mandate that’s been imposed upon them. Pro-nuclear public interest organizations such as The Breakthrough Institute are now putting pressure on the NRC to revise its rules and procedures in accordance with the legislative mandate.
Time will tell which side of this argument wins — the NRC staff, or the Congress and the pro-nuclear public interest groups.
I doubt there is anyone on here less enthusiastic about the CCP than I am.
But the evidence I have seen suggests that the Chinese Ultra Super Critical Coal power stations are pretty impressive.
Apart from some really arcane situations, solar and wind are a very bad joke. El Hierro is a pretty arcane spot for energy generation but the results of the hundreds of millions spent there on wind plus pumped storage, are hilarious.
Good series of four articles on coal power and Advanced Super Critical (A-USC) and Steam H coal fired plants by Anton Long at
Links to parts 2-4 in the above.
Good series of four articles by Anton Long about coal fired power plants and Advanced Ultra Super Critical and Steam H plants at
Links to other parts in the above
As I have posted in other threads, China and South Korea are quoting $5 billion for 1 GW plants. Why don’t we just get them to build nuclear power plants in the U.S.
You must be joking. the entire world for all practical purposes is on board with that goal, whether it is technically feasible or not, so It’s hard to imagine how endorsing that could hurt their credibility.
The entire world is not on board with the goal of Net Zero. Or even close. The two nations which matter the most concerning the world’s carbon emissions, China and India, are relying on fossil fuels to power their energy future.
For those two nations — as for most other nations which are seriously considering an expanded use of nuclear power at this point in history — their pursuit of nuclear is a matter of gaining some measure of enhanced energy security, much more than it is a matter of either energy economics or of climate change.
Here in the US, we are doing new-build nuclear only in response to the low-carbon and zero-carbon mandates legislated by politicians. In the absence of these mandates, the power marketplace in the US would move decisively towards gas-fired generation.
Practically every nation endorses the goal of net zero even if they are only giving lip service to it or looking for a handout. You didn’t mention Russia though, which is probably the one significant true hold out.
Thanks for showing that STUPIDITY RULES.
There is absolutely no need to reduce CO2 emissions.. period !
So the whole Net Zero idiocy is just one big CON that the whole of the western political world seems to have fallen for…
STUPIDITY RULES. !
Technically illiterate. Only the technically illiterate give a hoot for “that goal”. Endorsing “that goal” tells me you are ignorant, or yet another charlatan shoving his thieving hands into the public purse under the guise of subsidies, rebates, incentives, grants etc.
You technically illiterates are threatening to destroy human society by trying to engineer society while being technically illiterate.
So technically illiterate, you don’t understand that plants breathe. CO2, dumbass, plants breathe carbon dioxide!
What the hell am I doing, arguing with a chatbot, and losing my cool…
I never said I endorse it, only that, practically speaking, nearly all nations so. Don’t lose your cool.
‘I can’t help thinking the nuclear lobby has made a terrible strategic blunder going all in for net zero.’
Very much so. I think the original thought was to ride ‘carbon pollution’ to hobble coal, which was the main competitor to nuclear for base load generation. What the nuke operators didn’t foresee was that the intermittency of heavily subsidized and preferentially dispatched wind and solar generation would require fast ramping back-up from natural gas-fired turbines. This, and the fact that cheap and abundant natural gas also made gas-fired turbines economic for base load generation, put a big hole in nuclear generation economics, to the extent that some plants would have closed without subsequent arrangements for capacity payments.
At this point, any abstract submitted without Nuclear Power must include “Insert miracle here” in their timeline.
“”For half a century, nuclear power has been a major source of….””
fanatical green protests against… nuclear power.
It is so simpleTo be Net zero in 2050 we need 200 GW of Base load power. A single reactor is about 2 GW so we need to commission about 100 of them over the next 30 years so we only need to commission one every 4 months
You must be leaving out vehicles. Converting transport to all EV massively increases demand for electricity.
SMR, NuScale for example, factory built and fueled and dropped into the prepared site structure and just plugged into the steam piping, about 70 to 80 KW, placed at existing or recently closed coal sites that already have all needed infrastructure, can do the trick.
NuScale does have two problems:
They were designed to ramp up and down to allow unreliable “energy” generation to continue to be used. So a probable loss of maximum efficiency.
They do not use highly enriched uranium which would allow the reactors to go a decade or more without refueling.
Numbers, 3000 units with 12 to a plant, but multiple plants can be grouped at one site so very doable once the efficiencies of mass production kick in.
As an aside, whether nuclear, coal or gas, it might be wise to nip in the bud the latest fashionable idea from our GangGreen chums.
The idea that mathematics and needing a correct answer is somehow White Supremacist.
Interesting, even if you are one of the moral degenerates working for BigWind.
Archimedes is turning in his grave!
And then there’s reality, as mentioned in the CO2 post. In less than a decade and a half, coal use has nearly doubled (4.7 Billion tons to over 8 Billion tons).
Even if Nut Zero fantasies could be achieved in ‘western’ nations, their ’emission’ reductions have already been “canceled.” And they continue to build more coal fired power.
Western Eco-Nazis might as well be passing against a Cat 5 hurricane force wind.
According to BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2021 Coal remained the dominant fuel for power generation and increased its share to 36%. Wind and solar were at 10.2%.
Fossil fuels accounted for 82% of primary energy use.
The fact that nuclear, the only affordable, reliable, weather independent low carbon technology is being ignored, coupled with the Greens ignoring China and India burning 5.6 billion tons of coal each year, is proof that increasing CO2 emissions is not a problem
“Wants Papers Describing the Nuclear Path to Net Zero”
Should be “wants papers describing the nuclear and fossil fuel path to common sense”
We have several issues here. Number one, do we want and need more nuclear energy? Yes! Number two, is net zero a reasonable or desirable goal? No! Number three, is increasing CO2 going to cause over heating and push us past a tipping point? No! Now since number three is false number two is a non issue and should be scrapped out of hand. Number four, how should we deal with people we don’t always agree with but are working for one of the same things we are working for? Simple we do all we can to help them build more nuclear plants, a lot more. Working with undesirables is nothing new and it will always be with us. The gold star example is Churchill and Stalin working together to defeat Hitler. Churchill knew without a doubt what a low down scoundrel Stalin was but if Hitler was to be defeated he must work with Stalin.
We need to push the IAEA to get going with more nuclear plants. Whether they know it or not they have asked us for our help. IAEA needs to be bombarded with proposals from us. In our proposals we stress that it is not only necessary but critical that all new power generators be clean, safe, affordable, reliable, friendly to plants and animals and most important dispatchable. Wind and solar are none of these so let’s move on. This needs to be hammered home relentlessly.
Do we want to help the IAEA? You damn right we do.
The Soviets, Russians, Chinese communists have been funding all the greens for decades, no surprise that their main goal is to suppress nuclear.
Does anyone doubt that the world, in less than 300 years, will be net zero and fully nuclear powered? Surely not. Two hundred years? Most likely…One hundred years? Doubtful. Fifty years? Not one chance in God’s Green Earth. The main driver to begin the inevitable nuclear renaissance sooner instead of later is to provide an alternative for those millions of voters who are afraid of plant food (CO2).
Just because there isn’t any technical or scientific need to dramatically reduce hydrocarbon combustion doesn’t mean there isn’t a critical political necessity. Those low information voters will insist the politicians “do something to save the planet”. Continuing to pour limited capital and mineral resources down the wind and solar rathole has the potential to destroy our economy. During the current decade we need to add as much CCGT as possible.
Nuclear Energy Commission approved NuScale small scale modular reactors are factory assembled, cookie cutter identical, semi-trailer delivered, constructed in less than 2 years and walk away safe. These NEC design approved reactors will be commercially available in 2030 and can ramp up and down to work with the wind and solar we’re going to be stuck with on the grid until at least 2050; Biden’s Inflation Inflaming Act guarantees it. In 2050 we can start adding fast neutron breeder reactors to the mix.
They will see papers. They won’t see many nuclear power plants outside of China and India.
I don’t have any problem with the industry lobbying for no emissions nuclear power, but the cost and timing make their wants impossible in the US.
I assume most readers here believe Nut Zero electricity will not happen, much less Nut Zero everything. Leftist engineers know that too.
Nut Zero is mainly for increasing government control of the private sector. That has been a leftist goal for over a century. Nut Zero continues for the same reason climate scaremongering continues. Both are propaganda used to increase government power and control of the private sector.
It does not matter if Nut Zero is a failed project. In fact, that could be an advantage for the leftists promoting it. The failed Nut Zero project will be spun as a NEW climate crisis. And we all know the leftist solution to a crisis, whether real or imaginary, is always more government power and control.
In a few years there will be TWO fake crises: (1) The coming climate crisis, and (2) The failing Nut Zero project to prevent the coming climate crisis
Leftists gain power by creating fear in response to imaginary crises. It takes decades of brainwashing in schools to create the desired fear. People in fear demand that their government “do something” Hearing “do something” is the goal of leftist scaremongering.
The coming climate crisis and Nut Zero are propaganda tools used to gain political power. They are not based on science or engineering. They are a political strategy that, unfortunately, is working.
If people can be convinced their planet needs to be saved for their children, then we are on the path to totalitarian governments. Which will include censorship of comments like this one.
If Nut Zero was really about saving the planet, then we would have been building lots of nuclear power plants in the past decade, and the climate “leaders” would be lowering their huge carbon footprints to set a good example for their useful idiot followers. Both are not happening.
Private jet use is rising, not falling.
A new nuclear reactor in the US is rare.
Building bird and bat shredders and solar panels are not how people who are true believers would react to a real climate crisis.
Honest Climate Science and Energy
10,000 ICBMs should do it
The people who hate fossil fuel usually also hate nukes. And their fear is not completely unwarranted. The exclusion zones around Chernobyl and Fukushima are quite large
Exclusion zone around Chernobyl is 1600 sq miles
Exclusion zone around Fukushima is 230 square miles
Where would we like to have that area carved out of the USA?
It’s like trying to reinforce understanding of physics by issuing Tarot cards to preschoolers.