Unreliable Green Energy Has the World Running Back to Coal and Nuclear

By Vijay Jayaraj

Since an earthquake and tsunami severely damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima, Japan has struggled with powering its economy. While the country’s initial reaction to the 2011 disaster was to abandon a once robust nuclear program, a decade later Japan is not only returning to splitting atoms and but also seeking to burn more fossil fuels than once would have been imagined.

To an extent, Japan is an example of what is happening in developed economies across the globe. More countries are coming to appreciate the importance of nuclear energy, and an increasing number in the West are finding it hard to abandon fossil fuels despite publicly vowing to do so.

Japan: An Economy that runs on Nuclear, Oil, Coal and Gas

Tokyo’s move away from nuclear energy was entirely because of the unwarranted fears surrounding the technology. However, once it was understood that Fukushima was more of a natural disaster than a fundamental technological failure, the country began to reverse its nuclear retrenchment and is now fully on track with an ambitious plan to use power reactors.

Historically, much of Japan’s electricity needs have been met by fossil fuels, especially coal. Then, in the late 2000s, like most developed economies of Europe and North America, Japan was confronted by pressures to reduce coal use to address a purported climate emergency. However, Japan now realizes that it can continue to use coal using state-of-art technology, which reduces pollution significantly.

In its coverage of a new clean-coal plant backed by $384 million of public funds, Nikkei Asia reports that the country’s initiatives are bearing fruit and providing much needed electricity.

“Japan, which sources about one-third of its power from coal, sees the project as key to its policy of safely achieving energy security as well as economic and environmental efficiency,” said Nikkei Asia.

Quoting Japan’s latest energy plan, the publication said coal is “an important energy source with excellent stability of supply and economic efficiency at present, because it has the lowest geopolitical risk related to procurement, is cheap and is easy to store.”

It is likely that Japan will fall back on its coal power whenever it is needed.

The country’s choice to go against the global anti-coal movement may seem unique, but more and more countries find themselves in a position where they have no option but to continue depending on fossil fuels.

Nuclear and Fossil Fuels: An Emerging Global Pattern

U.S. and France depend heavily on nuclear for power. More than 50 percent of all electricity generated in Slovakia, Ukraine and Belgium come from nuclear plants.

Hell-bent in its opposition to nuclear, Germany is somewhat unique in shutting down nuclear plants in the midst of an energy crisis, Yet, Germany has consistently failed to keep its promise to reduce emissions from fossil fuel combustion and is now turning back to coal. In 2022, Germany imported 44.4 million tons of coal, an eight percent increase from 2021. This is no surprise.

Among the world’s foremost anti-fossil fuel advocates are leaders in the UK, U.S., EU, Canada and Australia. Nonetheless, many of them, especially in the EU, continue to rely significantly on fossil fuels for various reasons.

In the EU, a shortage of gas stemming from interruptions of Russian gas supplies and a disgracefully incompetent renewable-transition policy ensured a shortage of fuels to generate power.

Thomas Moller-Nielsen in The Brussels Times notes that “the EU’s increase in coal consumption is particularly ironic, given that the bloc has previously impressed on major polluters the need to take urgent steps to tackle climate change. Indeed, in an unprecedented reversal of roles, China recently urged European leaders to take ‘positive action’ to address human-induced global warming.”

So what we have is a situation where the reality of energy demand beckons these advanced economies to fall back on trustworthy fossil fuels and embrace highly efficient nuclear energy. Unreliable solar and wind cannot meet the needs, and attempts to have them do so will likely lead to national bankruptcies.

This commentary was first published at Daily Caller, May 5, 2023, and can be accessed here.

Vijay Jayaraj is a Research Associate at the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Virginia. He holds a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of East Anglia, UK and resides in India.

Tags: fossil fuelsnuclear energyVijay JayarajFukushimaJapanFukushima Japan

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Tom Halla
May 20, 2023 6:12 am

Green prayer wheels are not the answer.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 20, 2023 7:19 am

We know that. The Greens know that. The governments know that. The eco journalistas know that… but there is so much political and economic capital to be made, it would be a shame not to squeeze every last drop out of the taxpayer.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 7:57 am

every last trillion dollars! like taking candy from a baby!

Redge
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 21, 2023 2:57 am

Except a baby will likely cry blue murder, whereas the taxpayer just bends over further

NotBob43
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 9:35 am

What does wasteful spending accomplish? Nothing. Real discretionary spending of the US government could likely be reduced to zero with no ill effects.

William Howard
May 20, 2023 6:15 am

Fossil fuels and nuclear energy – the worst forms of energy production except for all the rest

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  William Howard
May 20, 2023 7:11 am

What’s wrong with fossil fuel and nuclear energy?

Leo Smith
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 20, 2023 7:20 am

Well fossil is in short supply, expensive, and running out and creates lots of pollution before its burnt.

Bill Toland
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 7:54 am

“The world has proven reserves equivalent to 133.1 times its annual consumption. This means it has about 133 years of coal left (at current consumption levels and excluding unproven reserves)”.

The world has a lot of coal left. There is almost certainly a lot more coal to be found, especially if demand grows. As the link below makes clear, proven coal reserves keep increasing every year.

https://www.worldometers.info/coal/#:~:text=The%20world%20has%20proven%20reserves%20equivalent%20to%20133.1,%28at%20current%20consumption%20levels%20and%20excluding%20unproven%20reserves%29.

Last edited 12 days ago by Bill Toland
Mike Maguire
Reply to  Bill Toland
May 20, 2023 12:10 pm

Bill,
That’s a wonderful link. I’m going to share it with many others, thanks!

MarkW
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 10:01 am

Wrong on every count.
It’s only in short supply because the governments are doing everything to stop drilling.
It’s only expensive when governments make it so.
It isn’t running out, we have hundreds of years of the stuff still in the ground.
What pollution? Strip mines are covered over when they are finished, wells are capped.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 20, 2023 7:41 am

I think you missed it.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
May 20, 2023 2:09 pm

Missed what? Churchill’s reference to ‘democracy’? Maybe Churchill was unaware of it, but democracy as a form of government has some serious drawbacks, the greatest of these being its tendency to devolve into mob rule wherein majorities override the natural rights of minorities. Our founders were certainly aware of this, which is why they opted for a republican (small “r”) form of government when drafting and adopting the Constitution.

cgh
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 20, 2023 2:26 pm

Quite so. The founders were quite disturbed by what was going on in France in the 1790s. That’s why the United States was structured as a republic and not an absolute democracy. The republic deliberately limited the powers of government to impose on individuals. No such restrictions existed in France.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  cgh
May 21, 2023 3:38 am

Yes, States have rights in the United States. And thank Goodness for that.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 20, 2023 7:59 am

nothing’s perfect- but it’s a good analogy with the wise saying of Churchill

John Oliver
May 20, 2023 6:46 am

It’s a cold cruel world out there without King coal. Most virtue signaling types don’t last a weekend in the wild before they want to head on home to their “ smell me” upper middle class homes.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John Oliver
May 20, 2023 8:01 am

the filthy rich on Martha’s Vineyard hate the idea of a big wind farm visible from their mansions and yachts

Rich Davis
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 20, 2023 11:31 am

How can they be against destroying the environment to save the environment?

strativarius
May 20, 2023 6:54 am

“Unreliable Green Energy Has the World Running Back to Coal and Nuclear”

Lol. Then you can count the UK out.

Last edited 12 days ago by strativarius
Leo Smith
Reply to  strativarius
May 20, 2023 7:20 am

I dunno. There is a limit to how long the Green charade can be made to last.

OweninGA
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 8:38 am

I don’t know, how much does the king make off wind subsidies on his estates? (partially sarcasm)

bobpjones
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 8:40 am

But is there a limit to the stupidity of our politicians?

kiwiBrian
Reply to  bobpjones
May 20, 2023 4:38 pm

Not that I have been able to detect.

Redge
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 21, 2023 2:59 am

There is a limit to how long the Green charade can be made to last.

I give it another 5 years

And if I’m wrong, I’ll just give it another 5 years 😉

John Hultquist
Reply to  strativarius
May 20, 2023 9:38 am

When the UK shuts Drax (The UK’s largest renewable power station) we will know the British elite have re-entered the real world.

Redge
Reply to  John Hultquist
May 21, 2023 3:02 am

We’ll know soon enough.

The £1.6m a day subsidy on Drax expires in 2027. Before then the bellends that run the UK, will have had to make a decision to extend the subsidy or close Drax.

My guess is the former

mikelowe2013
Reply to  strativarius
May 20, 2023 2:02 pm

Temporarily!

wilpost
Reply to  strativarius
May 20, 2023 4:02 pm

RUNNING?

More like hollering and screaming by enviros to slow the already-too-slow walk to coal and nuclear.

Those enviros literally get away with murder, such as people dying of cold

The Wagner forces should be brought in to help those enviros “see reality”, at the end of a gun, if needed.

Water cannons and teargas are useless, as shown in France.

wilpost
Reply to  wilpost
May 20, 2023 5:02 pm

HIGH COSTS OF WIND, SOLAR, AND BATTERY SYSTEMS IN NEW ENGLAND
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

All-in Wind System Owning and Operating Costs

A wind system has the following major costs

1) Wind turbine foundations, wind turbines, cabling to connect all wind turbines to an offshore substation, about 30 miles of copper-intensive cabling from substation to shore   

2) Additional grid expansion/augmentation to ensure voltage and frequency remains within required parameters for stability

3) A fleet of quick-reacting power plants, mostly CCGTs, to counteract the variable wind output, 24/7/365, year after year 

4) Capacity payments to ensure an adequate capacity, MW, of quick-reacting plants stay in business to provide counteracting services, because, the more wind on the grid, the counteracting plants will operate:
 
1) At a lesser annual efficiency (up/down output; increased start stops; increased hot idling at synchronous speed, increased cold standby, increased wear and tear), and 
2) At lesser capacity factor 
Capacity payments are made in the UK, Germany, etc.

5) Federal and state subsidies, grants, and other financial incentives, such as accelerated depreciation and deducting interest on borrowed funds. The total subsidies, plus selling electricity above wholesale market prices, amounts to about 50% of a project’s owning and operating costs, i.e., the Owner would have to sell electricity at about 2x the cost/kWh, if no financial incentives. 

6) Financing about 50% of the overall project cost at 6%/y for 20 years, with inflation at 5%/y

7) 
Owner return on his investment was 9%/y compounded, when finance rates were 3%/y and inflation at 2.5%/y 
Owner return on his investment needs to be about 12%/y, with financing at 6%/y, and inflation at 5%/y

8) Owner will need to sell electricity at increasing costs, c/kWh, year after year, to ensure proper cashflows and rates of return

9) All other operating and maintenance costs, which, for offshore wind are about 3x onshore wind

strativarius
May 20, 2023 7:01 am

Story Tip???

“Unreliable Green Energy…”
“Plans for a renewable energy tidal barrier linking Norfolk and Lincolnshire have sparked fierce debate between scientists, wildlife charities and a port company CEO who is leading the project.

The proposed project would include a port, powered by tidal energy, which Sutcliffe says would create electricity for 600,000 homes and businesses in the region. He claims it would also create the potential for cruise-ship tourism and a new road that links Lincolnshire to Norfolk in 20 minutes.

Sutcliffe says the calm waters created by the tidal barrier would provide opportunities for “marinas and construction of desirable waterside developments” as well as “safe sailing”, and that the construction would protect the local environment from flooding.

However, the plans for the stunning and ecologically important stretch of coastline, which is home to a globally important colony of seals and many rare wading birds, are hugely controversial in the local area.

Tammy Smalley, from Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Having grown up and lived around the Wash all my life, I know just what a special place it is and the vital service it provides to communities.

“As a natural flood defence, a source of food and a wild place to visit, it should be protected at all costs – not destroyed to generate obscenely expensive energy and increase the risk of flooding.”

Dominic Buscall, who runs the Wild Ken Hill nature reserve in north Norfolk, said: “His wildlife claims are supported by no evidence, and that’s a recurring theme. He has made countless baseless claims about the benefits of this proposal, and I think his so-called concern for nature is totally insincere.”
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/may/19/tidal-barrier-proposal-for-lincolnshire-and-norfolk-sets-off-wave-of-opposition

Safe sailing. A very working class pursuit.

But one thing is clear; de-development means exactly what it says on the tin.

John Oliver
Reply to  strativarius
May 20, 2023 8:53 am

I am a little skeptical about the “power for 600,000 homes” part. I wonder what they are basing that figure on? Sounds kinda off.

Rich Davis
Reply to  John Oliver
May 20, 2023 11:38 am

Each one gets an LED lightbulb to be switched on up to ten minutes per week.

A new development in this story—now it will power 1.2 million homes since responsible LED use should be limited to five minutes per week.

mikelowe2013
Reply to  strativarius
May 20, 2023 2:06 pm

Good to see a Wildlife Trust joining the battle along with the realsist rather than the technically-illiterate politicians!

commieBob
May 20, 2023 7:02 am

As far as I can tell, Small Modular Reactors (SMR) are the way forward. Much of the cost of the price of a conventional reactor is due to design costs (every plant is essentially designed from scratch) and regulatory costs. Because SMRs are mass produced, those costs are spread over many units. That takes nuclear power from being expensive to being affordable.

Ontario (Canada) has applied for a construction permit for a plant which will come on line in 2029. link That’s only six years away, which, in nuclear time, is pretty fast. 🙂

Leo Smith
Reply to  commieBob
May 20, 2023 7:24 am

The race is on to chrun out as many passively cooled under SCRAM (inherently safe) type approved small reactors as possible. The reality is it doesn’t matter a [rude phrase deleted] what technology is use, or whether its thorium or uranium.
Right now provided its safe the only metric that matters is time to market and time to generation.

The terrifying thing is that they wont be coming into generation much before 2029. Which is still time to put up more [unprintable] windmills.

commieBob
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 8:09 am

When investor realise their windmills won’t be able to compete against SMRs, funds will dry up. (as far as I can tell … my crystal ball is in the shop for repairs)

As far as I can tell, there isn’t a huge electricity shortage looming (in North America at least) between now and 2029. In that light, there doesn’t seem to be a desperate need for more windmills and I’m guessing that savvy investors already see the writing on the wall.

Last edited 12 days ago by commieBob
sherro01
Reply to  commieBob
May 20, 2023 6:24 pm

Bob,
Sure, you can be complacent about the US generation future if you take a simple approach like continuing the smoothed past electrical consumption graph into the future. Business as usual.
OTOH, you might say that overall economic activity is presently being limited by the high cost and unreliability of electricity. Why not plan for increased generation to invigorate heavy industry like ship building, smelting, refining, truck building, road & bridge renewal.
Electricity future planning can be used in exciting ways to make America great again.
Same with my Australia.
Geoff S

kwinterkorn
May 20, 2023 7:10 am

It seems that China is getting concerned that, having lifted the chalice of green poison to their lips, the European and Anglophone countries are hesitating to drink it down.

“Drink…..swallow…..Save the Earth!…..All will be fine!” Xi’s minions are whispering, eyes gleaming with hopes of world dominance.

mleskovarsocalrrcom
May 20, 2023 7:13 am

No surprises here. Despite all the hoopla the world continues to use more, not less, fossil fuel every year.

Leo Smith
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
May 20, 2023 7:25 am

The problem is that that cannot go on indefinitely.
No ‘easy, conventional’ oil has been discovered in decades.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 8:06 am

I dunno- but I bet much of the planet hasn’t even been explored for oil. If any experts on oil exploration read this- I’d like to see your comments.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 20, 2023 9:31 am

I would expect Middleton to chime in, but he hasn’t posted anything, to my knowledge, it quite a while.

Bill Toland
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 20, 2023 9:48 am

Global proven oil reserves have been increasing steadily for decades.

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/oil-proved-reserves?tab=chart

MarkW
Reply to  Bill Toland
May 20, 2023 10:08 am

Which explains why oil companies aren’t spending a lot of money searching for more of the stuff.
Of course those with an agenda try to distort that fact, in order to support their favored form of energy.

MarkW
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 10:06 am

True, but exceedingly trite. While it can’t go on forever, it can go on for hundreds of years. Which for all practical purposes is close enough to forever that the difference won’t matter for at least 3 or 4 generations.
With the amount of proven and unproven reserves already found, there is no need to spend money looking for more.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 1:01 pm

Maybe not ‘easy’ by your definition, but recoverable, certainly..

https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/namibia-makes-third-oil-discovery-orange-basin-2023-03-06/

Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 7:17 am

If a fool would persist in his folly, he will become wise.

Or to paraphrase Churchill,

“Governments can always be relied upon to do the right thing. After they have exhausted every other alternative”.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 8:11 am

Of course he didn’t say governments- he said Americans. Most governments can’t be relied upon to do the right thing- even after exhausting alternatives. I suspect some nations will stay with climate emergency fundamentalism right to total bankruptcy.

bobpjones
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 20, 2023 8:45 am

Like the UK as a prime example

MarkW
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 20, 2023 10:11 am

Look at the Soviet Union. It took a full blown revolution, and even then the reforms didn’t stick.

MarkW
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 20, 2023 10:10 am

I have never seen a government stop doing the wrong thing, even after most people had realized it was the wrong thing.
The institutional forces backing the wrong things are too great for mere voting to reverse.

BurlHenry
May 20, 2023 7:23 am

“China recently urged European leaders to take ‘positive action’ to address human-induced global warming'”

That is a sinister effort to complete the destruction of the European nations by having them take further action on Net-Zero.

Human-induced global warming is real, but it is NOT caused by CO2 or other greenhouse gasses. It is, unfortunately, caused by global Clean Air and Net-Zero efforts to remove SO2 aerosol pollution from the atmosphere. The cleaner the air becomes, the more intense is the solar radiation striking the Earth’s surface, and the greater the warming.

See: “Net-Zero Catastrophe Beginning?”

https://doi.org/10.30574/wjarr.2022.16.1.1035

antigtiff
May 20, 2023 7:51 am

China and India and much of the world was never in…..but thorium liquid salts cooled reactors can provide cheap abundant electric power.

sherro01
Reply to  antigtiff
May 20, 2023 6:52 pm

Unless you are a specialist in nuclear energy generation, you should not be blogging about thorium as if it is the proven best radioisotope chain to adopt. Even if you are an expert, you need a track record of being right more often than wrong.
I used to be heavily involved as a scientist at the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle. My colleagues and I got our major global project almost 100% right, starting about 1970. I do not class myself as a current expert on small modular Th reactors, but I do have hands-on experience with many of the essentials of the nuclear fuel cycle, including the intense garbage flow of anti-uranium groups who struggle with truth.
There are over 300 small reactors in use today powering ships. Started in 1958-9 with icebreaker Lenin and submarine Nautilus. Any one of these marine plants is capable, in an engineering sense, of being used tomorrow in the electricity grids of many nations. Engineering is not the issue. It is solved, near optimised and already in safe use.
The pace of adoption of more nuclear is almost entirely dictated by ignorant non-specialist malcontents arguing with society.
I would really love to have a small modular reactor in my back yard to play with. I once owned privately with a few friends, a fast neutron generator that advanced our scientific knowledge – in favour of the excellence of nuclear electricity.
Have any commenters here actually worked with nuclear electricity?
Geoff S

SteveG
Reply to  sherro01
May 20, 2023 8:57 pm

Have any commenters here actually worked with nuclear electricity?

Got me thinking. Is all electricity the same? I mean is there anything different from electricity generated by solar,wind,coal,hydro,gas, or nuke? Its all just the same electrons right?

Its the fuel type, method or process of generation that is the discussion..yes..

Iain Reid
Reply to  SteveG
May 20, 2023 11:53 pm

Steve,

there is great difference in the types of generation when supplying a grid.
Apart from being intermittent, renewables lack a few critical characteristics that conventional generators have and which keep the grid stable.
Essentially you could not run a grid with just renewables. You can with all the conventional sources. They are not equivalent nor are they a replacement for conventional generators.
It’s well past time that politicians understood this.

Last edited 11 days ago by Iain Reid
AndyHce
May 20, 2023 8:21 am

There is still a lot of privileged money to be milked from the holy war. Wind and solar are not going away anytime soon and destruction of reliable power sources will continue apace.

John Oliver
Reply to  AndyHce
May 20, 2023 9:03 am

I think you are correct. The same personality traits that create a CAGW acolyte also make it practically impossible for them to admit they made an error in judgment.

Rich Davis
Reply to  John Oliver
May 20, 2023 11:48 am

If they are getting rich, how can it be construed as an error in judgment? Should they concern themselves with starving, freezing elderly?

bobpjones
May 20, 2023 8:50 am

And just this morning, the BBC weatherman was crowing that ruinables had provided 100% of electricity in place of gas. But they don’t mention anything when it fails miserably

Iain Reid
Reply to  bobpjones
May 21, 2023 12:01 am

Bob,

that is not possible.
Was it a Scottish weatherman by any chance? The Scots often boast that ‘their’ wind generates 100% of Scotland’s needs. What they don’t realise is that if the grid connection between Scotland and the rest of the U.K. was opened their grid would collapse.
Gas, in the U.K., is the backbone of the grid and without it we wopuld be in trouble. It provides load and supply balance, inertia, reactive power and back up.

Beta Blocker
May 20, 2023 9:18 am

I have a question for Leo Smith: In your opinion, which reactor design will be the first to reach commercial operation in the UK — the French EPR design used at Hinckley and at Sizemore, or the oncoming Rolls Royce 300 Mw SMR design sited somewhere else?

Given the near endless problems the EPR projects have been experiencing, I would not be at all surprised if the Rolls Royce SMR design got there first.

Kit P
Reply to  Beta Blocker
May 20, 2023 4:50 pm

Two EPRs are commercial in China. That is 3200 MWe of capacity.

So let me know when there is that much SMR capacity commercial.

SMR are like wind and solar. They are another bad idea promoted by idiot who do not make electricity.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Kit P
May 20, 2023 6:52 pm

Suppose we suddenly decide to build six EPR’s on three separate sites in the US, locating two reactor units at each site.

Each project is to run concurrently on the same calendar schedule, with each project starting on the same day, let’s say January 1st, 2025.

Who would supply those six reactor vessels? How soon would we get delivery of those six vessels to the three construction sites?

Kit P
Reply to  Beta Blocker
May 21, 2023 8:59 am

There was 36 reactors on the NRC docket in 2008 before fracking drove the cost of making power with natural gas down in the US. I worked on licensing more than 6 EPR at more than 3 US locations with existing with multiple operating reactors. The paper work is still sitting there when the power is needed.

The reactor vessels forged in Japan for two of the US reactors ended up in the two EPR in China.

The EPR has a large reactor building and a larger shield building. It has a large equipment hatch allowing the reactor vessel other components to be installed after the civil work is done and replaced during the life of the plant. There is a large pool on water in the Rx building. There are 4 safety trains rather than 2.

Ok the cost and time to build is longer but the 60 year operating cost is lower. What I like compared to all the older plants is the much larger safety margin.

In other worlds, we did it before and now have figured out how to do it better.

Iain Reid
Reply to  Kit P
May 21, 2023 12:04 am

Kit,

why do you say they are a bad idea?
The U.K. has several de commissioned nuclear sites at which they could be located with grid connection existing. Technically and practically they are far superior to renewables.
I would like to clarify I’m talking of 300 to 500 Mwatt units. (Trawsfynydd, nuclear station when it was running was a 500 Mwatt staion, Wylfa Head in Anglesy was 1,200 Mwatt.)

Last edited 11 days ago by Iain Reid
Beta Blocker
Reply to  Iain Reid
May 21, 2023 8:04 am

I’ll chime in with my own personal perspective. One buys nuclear power mostly for purposes of energy independence and energy security, not because it is the cheapest available means for generating electricity. It is not.

The big Gen III+ nuclear reactors, 1100 Mw and larger, make sense in markets where there is steady and strong growth for electric power and where an industrial base is readily available from somewhere to support the time and cost of their construction.

China is the best example of a nation which has both a strong industrial base and strong and steady growth in demand for electricity.

The big nuclear plants are also best for nations which expect strong growth in demand for electric power — nations which, if they don’t have their own strong industrial base, have lots of cash available which allows them to compete for access to some other nation’s nuclear industrial base.

The United Arab Emirates, for example, is using its ready cash to gain access to South Korea’s robust nuclear industrial base in order to build four large reactors in a relatively short period of time.

China, Russia, France, and South Korea can build only so many large nuclear reactors for export to other nations.

One of the goals of the oncoming SMR’s is to reduce pressure on the world’s existing nuclear industrial base as a whole by building more but smaller reactors which can be manufactured and delivered more or less in assembly line fashion.

Advocates of the 1,100 Mw and larger Gen III+ reactors claim that the economics of scale still apply to their reactor designs.

My response to this claim is that the world marketplace for nuclear is different than it was thirty or forty years ago, and that the theoretical economies of scale for the large Gen III+ reactors is no longer operative in many if not most of the places where nuclear is now under serious consideration.

Last edited 11 days ago by Beta Blocker
Kit P
Reply to  Iain Reid
May 21, 2023 9:31 am

Suggesting that SMR is a better idea than the very bad idea of wind and solar is very low bar.

The basic problem for nuclear power is marketing. Based on my navy experience a reactor is easier to operate than an oil boiler.

There is a huge market for smr in commercial shipping. I have a zero cost passive safety that protects the public. I can describe it in one sentence but when I was in the navy it was classified. If fact I did not know about until I was one of four who had the need to know.

SMR that are idiot proof is certainly doable but the idiots want solar.

n.n
May 20, 2023 1:00 pm

The solution is growing in a Green blight.

Mike Maguire
May 20, 2023 2:02 pm

It’s clear that the fake green energy fairy tales are massively failing to meet expectations. We know that it’s impossible for them to defy the laws of physics/energy, economics and biology/science.

Unfortunately too many people are generating too much money with crony capitalism, junk science and political agenda/government money and they have become the gatekeepers of information to convince others that there schemes will work.
No authentic proof of concept evidence that any other realm would require before proceeding……just trust their non science based promises.
This is the biggest part of the corruption cog. Greedy people exploiting the dynamics to make massive amounts of money………….until it falls apart.

They get rich/powerful, while the energy delivery system serving consumers/citizens gets damaged. Their intelligence is stolen with junk science about a fake climate crisis to convince of the need to save the planet.
Ironically, by wrecking the planet with things like wind turbines and batteries. Diffuse, intermittent, expensive energy that kills birds/bats/whales. Destroys landscapes and ecosystems. Tearing up the earth for raw materials. Then after 20-25 years go into landfills and need to be replaced.

This is supposed to be a good idea to save a planet from the fuel that’s emitting a beneficial gas, CO2. The building block for life that’s the only fuel which is REALLY greening up the planet based on the REAL law of photosynthesis. The optimal level of CO2 for life it double the current level. The current climate(weather) and CO2 level for most life is an authentic scientific OPTIMUM by every objective standard. The climate crisis was during the Little Ice Age and the dangerously low CO2 levels until the Industrial age boosted them, resulting in the current booming biosphere.

This has been a veritable hijacking of the the science, energy and political sectors with governments, media and crony capitalists colluding for their self serving benefits.

They have a tremendous amount of power and the only thing that was ever going to separate them from it was always going to be when the scam runs out of steam.
This can only happen when the markets experience enough pain from the sure to come negative impacts of the schemes being imposed.
It’s only then that enough people will appreciate the reality of being lied to.

That’s because there are still too many people that still believe there’s a climate crisis. They aren’t atmospheric scientists(I actually am). They just believe the convincing climate crisis false narratives and propaganda.
Climate realists are far too outnumbered and out powered and have been labeled as deniers to keep us from making a positive impact which would interfere with the objectives of those being enriched.

The only way this was ever going to end was with the application of the fake green schemes in the REAL world replacing the promises. We fight tenaciously to stop them from going forward and it hurts when we see damage to our world from these schemes.

The truth is, the only way for this hijacking to be interupted is going to come from it failing catastrophically in the real world. Bad stuff has to happen. Sorry, it must be that way. People are NOT going to stop believing there’s a climate crisis any time soon. More believe in it today than 2 decades ago. Since then, the biggest impact has been the planet greening up/biosphere booming. But the convincing propaganda is what counts. The authentic science is not turning that around…….yet.
That’s because propaganda is what people believe. It defines THEIR truth. If a lie is their truth, you are wasting your time showing them the authentic truth because their minds define the authentic truth as the lie.

The only thing that can change that is something powerful in the real world which impacts them with a personal experience which contradicts what they thought they knew in a way that forces a reconciliation. Their eyes/brains are opened and they suddenly appreciate the authentic truth and discard the propaganda/DISinformation.

Easier said then done though because people go to places that tell them what they want to hear/read. Almost everyone comes here for that reason. The clear failure of green energy schemes is in the early stages but only people that knew they were destined to fail are seeing it. The rest, are still being sold on them by climate/energy charlatans. The charlatans will NEVER come out and suddenly tell people things they were not being completely honest about. They will continue to defend their turf………..forever. People that continue to go to those sources will get constant reinforcement to maintain the brainwash……forever. The brainwash will continue to be more powerful than the real world………to a certain point.

Modest failures or even major failures in some places are probably not close to that point. Propaganda can totally justify these as outliers which don’t truly represent the overall schemes.
It will likely take catastrophic, widespread failures before the authentic reality ship that consists of what the composite of peoples belief in these realms represents, reaches a significant shift in the other direction.
The ONLY way that can happen is for people to experience enough real world, direct pain from fake green energy schemes.

We know that WILL happen………but wait, there’s one thing coming to the rescue before that.

What if there was a very cheap reliable method for carbon capture that was not carbon sequestering but instead, broke the bonds of CO2 and SO2 and other gases in emissions and precipited their solid elements out(C and S) while releasing gases, like O2 in the process?

News of this is right around the corner and it will save the coal industry. With this new invention/technology, new coal plants will likely be built in the US before 2030, especially if the next president is a Republican.

Stay tuned!

Geoffrey Williams
May 20, 2023 3:47 pm

Here in Australia we have a Labour/Greens government hell bent on net zero emissions by 2035. What this will achieve I don’t know. But most of the population and it’s academics are behind this policy despite the obvious damage to the economy. I put it down to the small, isolated country syndrome, whereby people want the world to take notice of them and in doing so make fools of themselves.

Reply to  Geoffrey Williams
May 20, 2023 7:32 pm

Geoff Williams,
It gets worse. Just this morning Simon Birmingham (Lib/Nat, the Opposition to the present leftist Government) was reported on radio 3AW as saying that renewable energy was the way of the future. Some Opposition! He is a Senator for South Australia, whose mine at Olympic Dam is probably the world’s biggest uranium mine.
It gets worse. Radio 3AW is Melbourne’s big one, morning host Neil Mitchell. Some Fridays Neil invites a nuclear and space industry expert scientist Dr Gail Iles to field questions from Neil and callers. Last Friday, someone asked about the start date for Australia’s reactor at Lucas Heights, a Sydney suburb. Expert Dr Iles replied that it was at the time of the Twin Towers (which was 2001). Wrong. It opened in 1958. Wrong by 43 years. Then Dr Iles was asked how many nuclear power stations were needed to power Australia, she answered “One”. How far away from a nuclear reactor accident to be safe? “One hundred kilometres”, a number I have never met in the relevant literature.
There have been a small number of reactors at Lucas Heights – I did some work with MOATA in the 1970s, but today the Net says only one reactor in Australia, OPAL at Lucas heights. It is a research reactor, makes medical isotopes but not electricity.
Only this lonely, single, secure reactor is available for the average Aussie to see, smell, touch, experience at all. It is possible to experience it, with some planning. Yet Australian people are being told what they should and should not do about a nuclear future. They are reliant on experts to guide their thoughts.
Some experts are better than others. Most Australians, including expert Dr Iles, seem have a near-zero base of information on which to decide our nuclear future. The ground is way open for propagandists and they are having a field day.
What a sorry situation.
I have a hard time coping with the stupidity that all of our main Federal Government parties and most State ones seem to imagine that intermittent windmills and solar panels are better than nuclear for electricity generation.
We pay them for this kindergarten level of comprehension. What a farce.
Geoff S

SteveG
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 20, 2023 9:18 pm

Geoff – I read somewhere that the original reactor at Lucas Heights – 1958-was originally built to test the possibility of developing a nuclear power industry in Australia. That of course never eventuated, and it only saw service as a research reactor. That original reactor was HIFAR. High Flux Australia Reactor, this was back in the day when the original Australian Atomic Energy Commission was in place – commenced early 1950’s. The AAEC subsequently replaced by ANSTO. Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation.

The reactor in the 3AW radio discussion was commissioned in 2001 and is
known as OPAL. Australian Open Pool Lightwater Reactor.

Australia could well have seen a nuclear power industry if the cards had fallen a different way back in the late 50’s – early 60’s..

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 21, 2023 8:14 am

The main reason for building nuclear is to gain a good measure of energy independence and security. For which one pays a premium over what coal-fired and gas-fired generation costs.

With plentiful coal available within its own borders, Australia had no reason to build commercial nuclear reactors. In the absence of a strong push for the decarbonization of the power sector, building nuclear in Australia wouldn’t make any sense today.

Kit P
May 20, 2023 5:26 pm

The world never ran away from coal and nuclear so it can not run back.

Wind and solar are Mickey Mouse. It has some entertainment valve.

Japan has not abandoned nuclear power. It seem s prudent to incorporate lessons learned as we did in the US.

Since retiring, I spend time in an evacuation tsunami zone. If one lesson learned is to have a helo bring a portable generator in to prevent fuel damage would that actually work?

Contrary to popular belief, no one was even hurt because of fuel damage in a LWR. However, in natural disasters there is always a shortage of helos to save lives.

Plan for the worst and how for the best. As far as I see, the best is the most likely outcome which is only bad for the media.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Kit P
May 20, 2023 7:29 pm

Kit P, since you are retired and have lots of time on your hands, and since you’ve been around the block in working nuclear projects, I’d like a favor from you.

Please take a look at what Last Energy is doing with its simplified approach to building SMR’s using technology normally employed in the oil & gas industry.

Their 20 Mw SMR design is targeted at industrial customers in Europe for supplying a ‘behind the meter’ reliable supply of electricity. Last Energy itself will own and operate their small reactors. Up to five of these might be ganged together for a total of 100 Mw for a particular industrial need.

This interview with Bret Kugelmass, CEO of Last Energy, is an excellent starting point.

Rod Adams, Atomic Show #303 – Interview with Bret Kugelmass, CEO Last Energy

You will find this article from Bloomberg quite interesting as well:

Last Energy Signs Deals Worth $19 Billion for Nuclear Plants

These deals have been signed with industrial customers in Europe. The deals are contingent upon Last Energy gaining approval of their design from European nuclear regulators.

Here is the current situation: Everyone and their dog is now trying to sell nuclear technology of one kind or another to a growing market for nuclear energy.

Will Last Energy — not NuScale, not X Energy, not TerraPower, not Rolls Royce — be the first company outside of China to put an SMR into commercial operation?

Kit P
Reply to  Beta Blocker
May 21, 2023 10:55 am

It is a scam, do not invest.

The problem with any power source is not how long it takes to build but how long it produces power.

Fission products are proportional to power. Stand next to 20 MWe of spent fuel and you will die. But 7′ of water provides shielding.

Commercial LWR flood the reactor cavity and move the spent fuel under water to a storage pool. After about 5 years, it can be stored on site in a dry cask.

Scams do not discuss handling spent fuel and what industrial customer would take the risk of having it on their site.

Company is building its first 20-megawatt reactor in Texas

Big lie! Bill Gates tell lies too.

Show me the NRC license to handle radioactive material or producing dangerous levels of radiation, then maybe you might being doing something.

It is like solar PV. I have yet to find a system that is not a scam. The difference is the solar panels on your roof that do not work, do not produce dangerous radiation.

There is a huge leap from scamming the goverment or investors, to actually making power.

When SMR actually get to that point, we will see if these clowns can sell any more SMR.

Here is a hint. Commercial reactors are small in size and large in output. They last 60 year. They are not model T cars.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Kit P
May 21, 2023 1:20 pm

Kit P, it’s clear you haven’t taken time to look at Last Energy’s market strategy, which is now focused exclusively on Europe, not on the United States. In addition, their market focus is on serving industrial customers, not on serving the European power grid generally.

Last Energy will own and operate the 20 Mw reactors. When the reactors need refueling after six years or so, Last Energy will replace the existing module with a fully fueled one.

The spent fuel will be handled using existing European systems, methods, and protocols. The industrial customer isn’t responsible for any of this. All the industrial customer needs to do is to keep buying electricity from Last Energy, according to the contracts which have been signed.

What happens if a particular industrial customer goes out of business? Last Energy’s business model has to include a contingency for this kind of event.

At any rate, we will find out in a few years if Last Energy is a going concern, or if it isn’t. Just as we will find out if NuScale, X-Energy, TerraPower, and Rolls Royce are going business concerns, rather than scams.

MaroonedMaroon
May 20, 2023 5:59 pm

Take ships from the U.S. Navy’s mothballed collection and retrofit them with nuclear power plants like those on aircraft carriers or “boomer” submarines. Sprinkle said ships near cities around U.S. coasts and navigable waterways. Connect them to the grid. When the fuel rods become uncontrollable, send them to The Great Salt Lake to dangle until future generations reprocess them.

Last edited 12 days ago by MaroonedMaroon
observa
May 20, 2023 6:48 pm

gas investments “can be appropriate to help address potential market shortfalls” 
G7 brings gas investments back in ‘temporary’ solution, to dismay of climate activists (msn.com)
Some are dismayed.

Neo
May 20, 2023 6:58 pm

Exxon Mobil, did this week when it became the first corporation to denounce the insidious and laughable claims that “net zero” is even a remote possibility by 2050.

The US supermajor pushed back against investors pressing the company to report on the risks to its business from restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions and potential environmental disasters when in a reply to proxy advisor Glass Lewis, Exxon said the prospect of the world achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 is remote and should not be further evaluated in its financial statements.

“It is clear that the IEA NZE does not, by the scenario authors’ own assessment, meet the level of likelihood required to be considered in our financial statements,” Exxon said in a response filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

“It is highly unlikely that society would accept the degradation in global standard of living required to permanently achieve a scenario like the IEA NZE,” Exxon said in dismissing the proposal.

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/exxon-crushes-progressive-dreams-net-zero-has-chance-2050-alternative-collapse-global

story tip

Last edited 12 days ago by Neo
otropogo
May 20, 2023 8:16 pm

“However, once it was understood that Fukushima was more of a natural disaster than a fundamental technological failure…”

more a natural than a technological failure you say?

The automatic venting system failed, and then the manual backup procedure for the automatic venting also failed ON MULTIPLE REACTORS, causing the explosions that ruined the lives and properties of thousands of people. What’s natural about that?

The breakwater walls were predictably too low for the tsunami that followed the earthquake, but the meltdowns started before the tsunami struck.

AND there was no plan B, which is why they’re now dumping radioactive cooling water into the sea, having run out of space for more silos to store it on site.

Finally they’ve built the 15 meter walls that saved the one sensibly governed town in the region from catastrophy, but the faulty equipment and the negligent maintenance have yet to be explained. Do you think the Chinese or the Russians, with their even more rigidly bureaucratic societies could do better than the Japanese? What’s the chance of a whistleblower being heard in the Middle East?

Kit P
Reply to  otropogo
May 21, 2023 11:21 am

BWR do not have automatic venting systems because that would defeat the purpose of the containment building.

The was one hydrogen explosion that blew out the blow out panels outside the containment building because ventilation was lost. This was before there was fuel damage.

In the period between the earth quake and tsunami, all operating reactors shut down safely and safety systems were working.

Then diverse systems that do not depend on diesel kept cooling the fuel.

When the plant manager was informed that evacuation were complete, he ordered that rigging temporary power be stopped because he did want worked to get killed.

No one was hurt by radiation. The property damage to the nuke plant was minor compared to other damage.

otropogo
Reply to  Kit P
May 21, 2023 9:44 pm

Not what I read. Got any references for your statements? I can dig up the disk saves I made at the time, but it will take some time and effort, and I suspect you’re just blowing smoke…

https://world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-daiichi-accident.aspx

  • 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident beginning on 11 March 2011. All three cores largely melted in the first three days.
  • he accidTent was rated level 7 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, due to high radioactive releases over days 4 to 6, eventually a total of some 940 PBq (I-131 eq).
  • All four Fukushima Daiichi reactors were written off due to damage in the accident”

The mass media cover-up didn’t start right away. But I see that now all the news has been sanitized. The fact that the first meltdown started before the tsunami hit was only publicized briefly many weeks after the event. The press reports said the PM of Japan was furious because the utility’s management had kept this information from him as well as the public.

And the three or four hits I reviewed online just now refer to explosions causing the escape of radiocative gas, but offer no explanation for this happening in all three of the containment buildings.

They were equipped to vent gas buildup. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said “automatically”, but certainly mechanically by command from the control panel. But in all three cases, the procedure failed. And then the manual backup activation procedure failed as well…

Had the equipment worked as designed, there wouldn’t have been any need to evacuate 100,000 people and leave the contaminated land useless.

observa
May 20, 2023 10:19 pm
Tom Abbott
May 21, 2023 3:46 am

From the article: “Indeed, in an unprecedented reversal of roles, China recently urged European leaders to take ‘positive action’ to address human-induced global warming.”

Of course they do!

The Chicoms encourage all the Western Democracies to continue buying windmills and solar panels from them, and to continue destroying their economies trying to rein in CO2.

If I was an enemy of the Western Democracies, that’s what I would be encouraging them to do, too.

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