After nuclear phase-out, Germany debates scrapping coal

November 23, 2014 by Mathilde Richter
The power plant "Neurath" run by coal from the brown coal open cast mine Garzweiler is shown October 24, 2014 in Rommerskirchen, western Germany

After deciding to scrap nuclear power, Germany is pondering saying goodbye to coal, its biggest energy source but also its top polluter and main threat to ambitious climate goals.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is split on the issue, which pits a vocal environmental movement against energy giants and coal mining regions, with only weeks until her cabinet is set to present its next climate action plan.

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has said that if Europe's biggest economy doesn't reduce coal use, it has no chance of meeting its 2020 target of cutting Earth-warming by 40 percent from three decades earlier.

Hendricks' cabinet colleague in charge of the economy and energy, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, sees things differently and has argued that coal is here to stay, citing energy security, cost and many thousands of jobs.

"We can't simultaneously get out of nuclear and coal," Gabriel, the leader of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) who co-govern with Merkel's conservatives, has said.

Merkel decided after Japan's 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to shutter all atomic reactors by 2022. By mid-century Germany aims to meet 80 percent of its power needs with renewables such as wind, solar and biogas, which now generate around a quarter.

But an unintended consequence of the "Energiewende", or energy transition has been a rise in the use of coal, which now generates 46 percent of electricity.

The coal boom in Germany is in part an echo of US shale gas boom.

Cheap natural gas in the United States means coal is being exported to Europe where it undercuts expensive Russian gas, making cleaner and more flexible modern gas plants unprofitable, and several have shut down.

Another factor has been the collapse of the European emissions market, a system meant to factor in the environmental cost of burning fossil fuels. As the penalty for carbon emissions has dropped in price, coal plants have become more lucrative.

Two birds, one stone

After deciding to scrap nuclear power, Germany is pondering saying goodbye to coal, its biggest energy source but also its top polluter and main threat to ambitious climate goals

Environmental pressure groups have campaigned to shut down Germany's coal plants, and the opposition Greens party, deprived of its signature anti-nuclear crusade, has been at the forefront of the fight, backed by some research institutes.

One of them, the German Institute for Economic Research, last Wednesday presented several scenarios for a coal exit—which would shutter between 21 and 46 power units, depending on the model—that would allow Germany to meet its climate goals.

"We have excess capacity, it would be the right time," argued lead researcher Claudia Kemfert.

"The power sector should make a greater contribution toward reaching the short- and medium-term climate target by replacing CO2-intensive, inefficient coal plants with more efficient gas plants."

The paper argued that taking out coal capacity would boost power prices and bring back to the market dormant gas plants. Energy companies would enjoy a rise of now rock-bottom profits while cutting carbon and other air pollution.

"It would kill two birds with one stone," added Ralf Fuecks, director of the Heinrich Boell Foundation which is close to the Greens party and which commissioned the study.

But the question is a political hot potato. Germany's centuries-old coal industry employs some 50,000 people, and mining unions are a traditional voting block for the SPD.

Critics of coal sweep the jobs argument off the table.

"Overall, the effect on employment would be positive," said Fuecks. "It's about substitution, not bringing down production."

The power plant "Neurath" run by coal from the brown coal open cast mine Garzweiler, October 24, 2014 in Neurath, western Germany

Near the Polish border, in an area where Swedish energy giant Vattenfall runs lignite mines and three coal plants and is the largest employer, the idea of taking coal plants off the grid does not have many fans.

Aside from anxiety sparked by the wider debate, communities there also worry about Vattenfall's plans to sell off its regional assets.

Across the country, in the Ruhr and industrial region, resistance is also strong.

"There will still be in the coming decades in North Rhine-Westphalia," said the SPD state premier Hannelore Kraft.

Energy-intensive industries meanwhile worry that rising power bills will hurt their global competitiveness.

Electricity prices have been in fact going up for consumers as the government has ordered the grids to buy renewable power at a higher price to encourage its development.

This is being passed onto German consumers and businesses which pay some of the highest electricity rates in Europe.

Amid these conflicts, question marks hover over how the energy sector will have to adapt in the government's climate action plan, which Merkel's cabinet will consider on December 3.

By then "many things will be clarified", Gabriel promised last week.

Explore further: Germany must spread cost of energy shift fairly: IEA

Related Stories

Germany must spread cost of energy shift fairly: IEA

May 24, 2013

The International Energy Agency said Friday that Germany must shield its consumers from paying too much of the cost of its ambitious switch from nuclear power and fossil fuels toward renewable energy.

Ditching coal a massive step to climate goal: experts

September 22, 2014

Phasing out coal as an electricity source by 2050 would bring the world 0.5 degrees Celsius closer to the UN's targeted cap for climate warming, an analysis said on the eve of Tuesday's UN climate summit.

Coal-rich Poland ready to block EU climate deal

October 23, 2014

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels to set their new greenhouse gas emissions plan are facing staunch opposition from coal-reliant Poland and other East European countries who say their economies would suffer from ...

Australia PM defends coal after UN warning on climate

November 4, 2014

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday defended using coal to generate energy as "the foundation of our prosperity", after the United Nations warned that carbon emissions were leading to disaster.

Recommended for you

Inferring urban travel patterns from cellphone data

August 29, 2016

In making decisions about infrastructure development and resource allocation, city planners rely on models of how people move through their cities, on foot, in cars, and on public transportation. Those models are largely ...

How machine learning can help with voice disorders

August 29, 2016

There's no human instinct more basic than speech, and yet, for many people, talking can be taxing. 1 in 14 working-age Americans suffer from voice disorders that are often associated with abnormal vocal behaviors - some of ...

Apple issues update after cyber weapon captured

August 26, 2016

Apple iPhone owners on Friday were urged to install a quickly released security update after a sophisticated attack on an Emirati dissident exposed vulnerabilities targeted by cyber arms dealers.

69 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rgw
1.9 / 5 (9) Nov 23, 2014
Good news. Now if Deutschland can just go back to oxen as their sole power source, we will only have to worry about the Russki and ChinComs.
gkam
1.4 / 5 (24) Nov 23, 2014
OMGosh, . . now the Deniers will go completely nuts.

But we have to do it. Those who object simply do not understand all the issues, and refuse to listen. We have fouled our nest to the point it will kill us.

On the other hand, we see Germany is now the most efficient nation on Earth. Really.
gkam
1.6 / 5 (25) Nov 23, 2014
This will be tough to do. What are the options of Germany? I know them for the US, but am not aware of the natural topography or geology of Europe.

When they come out of this, they will have technology to sell to the rest of us, the opportunity we lost in 1981,when all of our conservation and alternative energy programs were ended by Reagan.
Eikka
4.5 / 5 (20) Nov 23, 2014
When they come out of this


IF is the word you're looking for.

Deliberately harming your own economy for some high idealistic goal can just as well lead them to the other direction, and most signs are pointing that they are. If it wasn't for the EU which provides them with an inflow of cash from the peripheries, they'd be beggars for energy and money already.
gkam
1.3 / 5 (22) Nov 23, 2014
You could be referring to nuclear power, the greatest subsidy-hog of all time.

I think the professionals in public health, in epidemiology, in economics, in power technologies can work this out better than we can on the sidelines.

Do you expect our arguments to change the course of our progress? If we are change the course, we must to it with better technologies we have now, not the old ones.
cantdrive85
1.2 / 5 (6) Nov 23, 2014
Well, I doubt it will be in favor of solar.

http://phys.org/n...ion.html

Then again there is a potential alternative that offers a real solution.

http://lawrencevi...ics.com/
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Nov 23, 2014
Yes, we can look into the development of these technologies ,. . but wouldn't it be better if we did not need some technical elite or technologies which need a Police State to guard its fuel and waste? Most Alternative Energy projects provide multiple sources, diversified and distributed, integrated into a grid of self-supporting cells.

We can forge forward in both directions, and see which one is most appropriate. Having been a utility engineer, I have my own opinions about that.

But, as I have repeatedly said, it will NOT be one source.
xstos
4 / 5 (4) Nov 23, 2014
So let's get this straight. Germany freaks out over Fukushima and instead of investing in nuclear tech that can't melt down in a similar fashion, they shutter it all and replace it with coal. Why not keep it running, address any safety concerns, and transition to molten salt or some similar reactor that is safer? Fukishima's failures were all either to do with known flaws in their decrepit reactors or ancillary failures, such as putting the backup generators where they can be flooded. Instead of learning from the Japanese idiocy, they concocted their own and barfed soot into the sky like it's 1920. Blows my mind. If you want schizophrenic decision making, just copy what the Germans are doing. The atmosphere will never be the same again.
gkam
1 / 5 (21) Nov 23, 2014
xstos do you really think you know more than the government scientists, economists, epidemiologists, engineers and managers?

Please understand these decisions affect us for the long term, and have to be justified to folk with your concerns but more in tune with the facts, while just as active in their expression.

The systems you bring up are not easily designed and built in the short term. And they are just promises, . . how many of those have we had in the nuclear industry?

We can diversify and integrate in a distributed system,allowing everuy customer to participate fully. Got wind? They have to buy it. Got Sun? Try solar, . . they have to buy it.

Got cows? Every seven cows can power a complete household. Changed your furnace and lighting and building envelope (insulation and leaks)?

US households used less electricity last year because of the improvements in technology and their market penetration.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (21) Nov 23, 2014
xstos, let me explain how and why it happens. In the late 1970's we had a need for power. Even potboilers were written about it (Overload). But in California we had strict air pollution laws, the ones which kept me busy as Plant Engineer for a large formerly-polluting foundry.
So we had the wind turbines put up at Altamont.

Specifically, the issue was sufficient power for the air conditioning load in the Summer. It turns out, the San Joaquin Valley "ventilates" in hot days, the heat rising, pulling in the cold air from the Pacific, cooling my house, and turning the wind turbines exactly when we need them for air conditioning. No fuel, no pollution, no line losses, no huge costs.

Wind power and cheap gas (for the short term), already have closed three nuclear power plants. When we integrate all the energy-saving and advanced sources, we will all be suppliers and customers, at our choice. We can and will wean ourselves of Filthy Fuels for the most part.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (1) Nov 23, 2014
but wouldn't it be better if we did not need some technical elite or technologies which need a Police State to guard its fuel and waste?


None of which would be needed for Mr. Lerner's design, it's a relatively inexpensive simple machine which produces low amounts of excess neutrons which are easily manageable, and uses cheap abundant fuel supplies. It doesn't matter if the sun don't shine or the wind don't blow. If he can achieve his results as planned, we should have cheap, abundant, zero emission, portable energy sources within a few years.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Nov 23, 2014
Wonderful. I hope you get it integrated into the grids. We need all the choices and opportunities to consider.

Meanwhile we need to employ ready-to-use non-polluting technologies now.
nukemann
5 / 5 (2) Nov 23, 2014
Germany made a rash decision to stop using nuclear energy based on irrational fear and popularity instead of science. Germany now burns more coal than ever and we all have to live with the consequences of their decision for a very long time.
xstos
5 / 5 (5) Nov 23, 2014
@gkam, i'm not sure what kind of crack you're smoking, but the brand new giant solar farm in the nevada desert has been producing half of what they originally planned

http://phys.org/n...ion.html

The same goes for wind. If the wind don't blow you have no power. What's left? coal? natgas? oil?They're fossil and pollute. I don't really care what kind of plant engineer you are and yes I know better than the economists, engineers and other bought government officials. Their decision was taken purely out of fear and politics, as it has always been with nuclear. It is our salvation, yet it is derided and feared. Look up in the sky. The earth is powered by a giant fusion reactor. You don't throw away GREEN clean energy capacity just because you're scared and then start pumping coal into the atmosphere. Even a little child would think that decision is idiotic. Short term thinking is exactly what's wrong with our greed-based ignorant society.
xstos
5 / 5 (3) Nov 23, 2014
Oh and another thing. There are 100 reactors in the USA. The USA would be nowhere without nuclear, so what promises are these you are speaking of? Costs are relative. Monetary cost is not equal to environmental cost in the future (that you don't care about because you're already dead) and have passed this mispricing down to future generations.
TechnoCreed
4 / 5 (6) Nov 23, 2014
Look up in the sky. The earth is powered by a giant fusion reactor.
Nobody is scared of fusion. But there is no fusion power station in production anywhere on earth. Are you trying to fool anybody here, or are you just fooling yourself?
WillieWard
3 / 5 (6) Nov 23, 2014
Nuclear seems the only viable, long-term option, since more people have died from solar and wind energy than nuclear energy, and that includes Chernobyl and Fukushima.
http://www.forbes...-humans/
http://motherboar...r-source
http://nextbigfut...ces.html
rbrtwjohnson
2.1 / 5 (9) Nov 23, 2014
Maybe nuclear energy is not so bad after all, since such "renewables" are nothing more than environmentally cynical hypocrite solutions that can produce much more impact per gigawatt generated in comparison to nuclear power.
greenonions
3.9 / 5 (7) Nov 23, 2014
WillieWard - Did you actually read the articles that you linked to? Here is a quote from one of the articles - "Millions of people die every year because we're hooked on oil and gas power particularly—even though we've got feasible alternatives at the ready." That article then goes on to reference research that says " 90% of the world could get its energy from solar and wind plants"

I fully support a "what ever works to wean us off fossil fuels." It would seem to me that the articles you referenced - support the inclusion of wind and solar.
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Nov 23, 2014
Gosh, folk we integrated alternative sources in our system decades ago in the West. You folk on the outside can denigrate this field all you want, you will be wallowing in it in ten years.

I was with the utility when we diversified our power system. Today, small co-ops are taking the lead in the diversification and modernization of their power systems.

This is not a matter of our debate. Those decisions are made elsewhere, and they do not hear your protestations. Many of you do not understand distributed power and the multiplicity of sources. Most imagine some grid with centralized massive power plants pumping huge amounts of MWh and heat. That is yesterday, and we will see fewer of them, and more alternative sources. PV produces most of its power exactly when we have the greatest load. That load used to be satisfied by peaking plants, the most costly and dirty to operate. The clean PV gives us power with none of that, . . just clean quiet power.
gkam
1 / 5 (18) Nov 23, 2014
I want to hear what xstos would have done at Altamont. (post above)

Tell us.
JoeBlue
5 / 5 (1) Nov 23, 2014
I want to hear what xstos would have done at Altamont. (post above)

Tell us.


Who do you think you are demanding answers from people? Do you think you're a little tyrant or something?
gkam
1 / 5 (18) Nov 23, 2014
This is for xstos.

http://www.forbes...ut-down/

This is economics. It is not some leftist scream that nuclear power is a Faustian Bargain. In 1979, while a Research Engineer for Scientific Service, I helped test the BWR SRV operation and mitigation of suppression pool hydraulic shock for Mark and Mark II systems. We worked long and hard in active simulations. It was just as we needed to take a break that TMI II melted down. We knew in the first few hours what had happened, but it took years of lies and nonsense before it was quietly admitted.

No other technology threatens life as nuclear power. Why do we try to use 3,000,000 degree Neutrons to boil water? And why would we use something as deadly as this, with no place to put the waste, the most deadly stuff we know, for essentially all of Humanity?
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.8 / 5 (17) Nov 23, 2014
This is for xstos.

http://www.forbes...ut-down/

This is economics. It is not some leftist scream that nuclear power is a Faustian Bargain. In 1979, while a Research Engineer for Scientific Service, I helped test the BWR SRV operation and mitigation of suppression pool hydraulic shock for Mark and Mark II systems. We worked long and hard in active simulations. It was just as we needed to take a break that TMI II melted down. We knew in the first few hours what had happened, but it took years of lies and nonsense before it was quietly admitted
-Except that by your own admission you're NOT an engineer. You were at most a validation tech with insufficient training and experience to be evaluating engineering design or theory.

So we can assume the rest of your testimony is lies and nonsense as well.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.8 / 5 (17) Nov 23, 2014
xstos do you really think you know more than the government scientists, economists, epidemiologists, engineers and managers?
Well you do, and have claimed to have served a few of these functions.

We know you didn't. So cease the bullshit.
gkam
1 / 5 (18) Nov 23, 2014
Those of you who like nuclear power can tell the rest of us where you plan on storing those thousands of tons if high-level waste. You have had 50 years, . . where ya gonna put it?

Look up WIPP, and let us all know how it is working. Then look into the babies born with partial brains at Hanford. We have created a mess with which we cannot deal.
gkam
1 / 5 (20) Nov 23, 2014
We can survive without an economy, as we did for about a million years,but not without a healthy and compatible environment to make our oxygen, clean our water, and provide us with food.
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Nov 24, 2014
I do not wish it, nor do I think it necessary. But we have to stop the changing climate if we are to endure in comfort and security.

Survival is the only priority. Profits are way down the list.
Job001
5 / 5 (2) Nov 24, 2014
Renewables(excluding hydro) are growing 22% per year globally, i.e. doubling every 3.5 years. That is shocking. Renewables, storage, efficient use, will keep growing because they are a good investment.

Let's see, 2.5% globally now x 1.22^3.5 = 2.00x 2.5% = 5% globally by 2017. 
Then say 1.19^4 = 2.00x 5.0% = 10% globally by 2021.
Then say 1.15^5 = 2.0 x 10% = 20% globally by 2026.
Then say 1.10^7 = 2.0 x 20% = 40% globally by 2033.
They say 1.07^11 = 2 x 40% = 80% globally by 2044, Anything over 50% means we need to wait and see and refine the numbers as we go. BTW Germany is about 40% RE now but somewhat early as cheaper technology steadily comes on line for everyone else.

The coal stone age won't end because we run out of coal stones but because we use cheaper cleaner gas.

Growth rate of 22% and 2.5% RE global numbers comes from;
http://en.wikiped...e_energy
JoeBlue
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 24, 2014
Those of you who like nuclear power can tell the rest of us where you plan on storing those thousands of tons if high-level waste. You have had 50 years, . . where ya gonna put it?

Look up WIPP, and let us all know how it is working. Then look into the babies born with partial brains at Hanford. We have created a mess with which we cannot deal.


It's called using Thorium.
JoeBlue
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 24, 2014
We can survive without an economy, as we did for about a million years,but not without a healthy and compatible environment to make our oxygen, clean our water, and provide us with food.


Not a human alive today can survive without the the economy. The humans that would be alive are not something I would call alive, or human. Your push to kill off anyone that would be able to save anyone is rather disgusting and infantile.
gkam
1 / 5 (18) Nov 24, 2014
Good stuff, job001.

Many of these folks simply do not want to look at it in a positive way. But they cannot stop it.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (19) Nov 24, 2014
We still have the nuclear Devil's Bunion on the coast, but I wonder how much longer. They were trying to build it while I got hired by PG&E to show folk how to save energy in their factories and campuses. I was quite blunt about my feelings, and got hired anyway. My job was alternative energy and efficiency.

We are still inefficient, and can save at least another 20% of our power with intelligent and common sense actions.
WillieWard
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 24, 2014
"Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers"
http://www.whaleo...nt-work/
http://spectrum.i...e-change
http://www.greent...e-energy
gkam
1.2 / 5 (21) Nov 24, 2014
Oh, no!

I guess we will have to tear down the wind turbines at Altamont, destroy the geothermal units at the Geysers, unhook the square miles of PV, shut down the solar thermal, end using landfill gas, end hydro, and suck on coal fumes!

We've been using these technologies for decades. We had no idea they did not work.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Nov 24, 2014
Willie, those folk make the same mistakes all of those not in the business make. They do not see the whole picture.

Shall we discuss it?
gkam
1.2 / 5 (19) Nov 24, 2014
Willie, about ten years ago, I did a study for EDF through Institute for the Future to find and discuss the 20-30 new technologies most likely to affect building energy use. Not one of them was discussed or addressed in that article in IEEE.

They also do not address the most significant factor, the effects on our health and the environment, which is our Life-Support System on Earth. When those are included, there is NO question.

And did you notice there was no question of AGW in the article?
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.8 / 5 (16) Nov 24, 2014
Willie, about ten years ago, I did a study for EDF through Institute for the Future to find and discuss
What was this - job #29?
Not one of them was discussed or addressed in that article in IEEE
... because the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is only "the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity", while youre a fake engineer who apparently couldnt hold on to a job for any length of time.

I am sensing you resent real engineers, which is why you make up these bullshit stories about being better than them. Is this true?
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.7 / 5 (15) Nov 24, 2014
In 1979, while a Research Engineer for Scientific Service, I helped test the BWR SRV operation and mitigation of suppression pool hydraulic shock for Mark and Mark II systems. We worked long and hard in active simulations. It was just as we needed to take a break that TMI II melted down. We knew in the first few hours what had happened, but it took years of lies and nonsense before it was quietly admitted
Ahaahaaaaa this is just like that story pussycat_eyes_tard told about being in the NASA control room when the curiosity rover landed.

The similarities are uncanny. BTW she was a fake engineer as well... ? (cue Outer Limits music)
gkam
1 / 5 (17) Nov 24, 2014
Technology is changing so fast, few of those predicted technologies have much market penetration yet. Superinsulations and thermochromic films are not widely used, nor are multi-phase motors. The advanced refrigeration cycles are yet to be commercialized.

Too much was unpredictable, such as additive manufacturing.

There is one effect I may try to play with. Thanks to Townsend Brown.
greenonions
5 / 5 (2) Nov 25, 2014
cantdrive - "Well, I doubt it will be in favor of solar."

Perhaps you have not been watching the price curve on solar - it is really pretty interesting.

http://www.nytime...amp;_r=1
greenonions
5 / 5 (2) Nov 25, 2014
cantdrive "Well, I doubt it will be in favor of solar."

Do you find it interesting that you highlight the concentrated solar technology - that is the one that currently proving problematic - and will probably fall by the way side due to market forces - rather than looking at the latest success story utilizing pv panels?

http://www.greent...be-exact

550 MW, built in about 2 years - on time.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (17) Nov 25, 2014
The nay-sayers keep on telling us it cannot be done, . . . as we do it.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 25, 2014
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is split on the issue

Duh. She was solidly pro nuclear prior to Fukushima. Holding fast to that would have been political suicide. As usual she's waiting which way the wind blows before making the political most opportune decision.
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, sees things differently and has argued that coal is here to stay

To explain this: Gabriel is from the SPD (ssecond strongest party in germany) - which has traditionally been the workers (and especially coal miners) party. He can't argue against coal. That would be political suicide for him and his party.
where it undercuts expensive Russian gas

In light of recent political events Russian gas has become a dicey thing to bank on.
Energy-intensive industries meanwhile worry that rising power bills will hurt their global competitiveness

They're already exempt from all extra taxes. They should stop whingeing.
kochevnik
not rated yet Nov 25, 2014
@xstos i'm not sure what kind of crack you're smoking, but the brand new giant solar farm in the nevada desert has been producing half of what they originally planned
So what? It's still plenty of power Nevada needs for AC and like any prototype is useful for learning. Large projects carry correspondingly larger risk. What exactly do you expect from "world's largest solar plant?" If you want perfection on the first try you're simply an unrealistic perfectionist. BTW people with your [deficit of] style tend to be the drug addicts
xstos
5 / 5 (2) Nov 25, 2014
@kochevnik So what!? What if there is a volcanic eruption and ash blankets the vicinity of the plant. What if it's cloudy for a month? No power. You can't base a power grid off of unreliable renewables without severe supercaps or other such energy storage. You always need baseload that is reliable. I'm not talking about perfection, i'm talking about the stupidity of shutting down perfectly good nuclear capacity to pump soot into the atmosphere because they're scared of it. Make some molten salt or thorium reactors into modular pods that can't melt down and tada you have zero emissions. Take the waste fuel and feed it into breeders for reprocessing.

And as for the style comment, yes I have no style. I am a software engineer that deals with rampant incompetence on a daily basis, and when I watch entire countries behave like children I get angry. We all share this world and yet the folks pulling the puppet strings are leading us by the nose to the dumbest conclusions imaginable.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (19) Nov 26, 2014
Make some molten salt or thorium reactors into modular pods that can't melt down and tada you have zero emissions. Take the waste fuel and feed it into breeders for reprocessing.
-----------------------------------------

That is SO last century.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. But it is. There is no cure for radioactivity. You do not get rid of it, you concentrate it and take it down to nasty by-products, which we still cannot store.

Cold fusion and hot fusion and breeders and thorium are not answers, they are Faustian Bargains, the foolishness of boiling water with 3,000,000 degree Neutrons. It is inappropriate. And it leaves nasty stuff, no matter what you read.
JoeBlue
1 / 5 (1) Nov 26, 2014
That is SO last century.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. But it is. There is no cure for radioactivity. You do not get rid of it, you concentrate it and take it down to nasty by-products, which we still cannot store.

Cold fusion and hot fusion and breeders and thorium are not answers, they are Faustian Bargains, the foolishness of boiling water with 3,000,000 degree Neutrons. It is inappropriate. And it leaves nasty stuff, no matter what you read.


Displaying once again why we all know you're not a qualified to speak on the matter.
gkam
1.4 / 5 (20) Nov 26, 2014
Here is a test. google Hanford, where our 50,000 gallons of nuclear waste are leaking, and the word babies, and see what comes up.
JoeBlue
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 26, 2014
Here is a test. google Hanford, where our 50,000 gallons of nuclear waste are leaking, and the word babies, and see what comes up.


You apparently do not understand the differences between the thorium and uranium cycles. Thorium is far less dangerous. It also has no pathway to nuclear weapons, it's why the establishment wants to keep uranium around.

You're not a physicist, everyone knows that, quit to trying to pretend to be an authority on the subject.
Eikka
4.8 / 5 (16) Nov 26, 2014
Here is a test. google Hanford, where our 50,000 gallons of nuclear waste are leaking, and the word babies, and see what comes up.


I see you're still pretending that a weapons plutonium production plant is the same and makes the same waste as commercial nuclear power reactor.

I've told you before, but you just keep up the propaganda and deceit.

There is no cure for radioactivity. You do not get rid of it, you concentrate it and take it down to nasty by-products, which we still cannot store.


Yes we can. You just keep pretending we can't, because it does not fit your political agenda.

We have perfectly adequate methods of disposing nuclear waste. The only thing stopping it is political opposition from the likes of you.
greenonions
5 / 5 (2) Nov 26, 2014
xstos "You can't base a power grid off of unreliable renewables without severe supercaps or other such energy storage."

Of course you have to have some way of matching supply with demand. With renewables - this becomes a bigger challenge than with power that you have total control of. However - we still have the problem of matching supply with demand - even with good baseload - as demand is not flat. So we currently use peekers. If peekers are OK for a system using dirty base load such as coal. Why is it not better to use clean production (renewables - and for me nukes - especially if we can develop cheaper modular nukes) - and keep the peekers for the matching? Some day storage will be as cheap as power from peekers - and presto - a carbon fee power system.
Modernmystic
not rated yet Nov 26, 2014
We can survive without an economy, as we did for about a million years,but not without a healthy and compatible environment to make our oxygen, clean our water, and provide us with food.


To paraphrase Mandy Patinkin "I'm not sure that word means what you think it means"...

100,000 years ago no one had a MODERN economy...they still had economies. They were just hellishly inefficient, unproductive, and fairly isotropic (ie not much specialization). There was trade, but it was like comparing a pond to the ocean in terms of volume differences between them and the modern world. No, no humans really don't survive without economy.
Modernmystic
5 / 5 (1) Nov 26, 2014
Still on about nuclear waste? If we were allowed (by ignorant hysterics) to build modern reactors we'd burn virtually all of it.

If it's on this list it can now be burned and is BY DEFINITION not waste but fuel...

http://en.wikiped...Actinide

So you can relax on the "waste issue"...

This is EXACTLY like some ignorant person howling that electric cars are not good for the environment because they emit CO2 in their operation and not safe because of their fuel injection systems....if that doesn't make sense there's a GOOD REASON...

You can not honestly compare a LWR with a molten salt reactor because they are FUNDAMENTALLY different technologies.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (19) Nov 26, 2014
Mystic, we know abut the different technologies, and there are good reasons we do not go that way. If you want to do it, go ahead and find sponsors.

And it does not get rid of nuclear waste!
Modernmystic
5 / 5 (1) Nov 26, 2014
And it does not get rid of nuclear waste!


You're right, it does not get rid of "waste", it burns the perfectly good fuel we currently bureaucratically classify as waste which still contains 99% of its energy.

Mystic, we know abut the different technologies, and there are good reasons we do not go that way.


List them...
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Nov 26, 2014
I have been. We do not need new magic boxes to produce energy. We need to learn how to live within our means. That requires us to NOT leave nuclear waste, the residue of our folly, for the others to clean up, because you wanted 3.000,000 degree Neutrons to boil water.
xstos
5 / 5 (1) Nov 27, 2014
I want to state for the record, I am not against renewables. They are obviously positive. The germans shut down green capacity and swapped it out for coal. This is idiotic. If I was the USA I would've taken the 2008 bailout and funded a research program into putting solar collectors in space and beaming it down via microwaves. They were working on something similar in hawaii if I recall. Renewable tech is the way to go, but nuclear is a carbon free stopgap. The only reason people hate it is because they're pussies and scared to death of it. Yes I know if shit goes bad it goes really bad, but there are already hundreds of reactors all over the globe and if there is a calamity all those suckers will melt down and contaminate a swath of our planet. Global concerted meltdowns, vs runaway non-linear tail events in the earth's climate cycle versus getting hit by a world-ending asteroid. Pick your poison.
xstos
5 / 5 (1) Nov 27, 2014
The point is however that all these risks can be mitigated. So what if we can't get rid of nuclear waste. It's tiny. It sits in a godamn bunker. Maybe in 50 yrs we'll have tech to fully remidiate it I don't really care, as I want to live that long without super hurricanes and droughts and other climate change bullshit. gkam is scared of nukes, it shakes him to his core, but he's right about consumption. We're living beyond our means and rolling the dice of extinction. People just need to be clinical and take the least bad approach, which is to blanket everything with solar, wind and nuclear until the carbon stops. It's not hard. People are just incapable of making the hard decisions, taking the pain and fixing shit. When you're in a war you don't argue about options you just get it done. I respect german ingenuity, but in this decision I really believe they screwed the pooch.
xstos
not rated yet Nov 27, 2014
And i'm not glossing over reducing consumption here. You can plainly see how much humanity loves its creature comforts. The only way they will wake up and stop consuming is if there is an exigent event that makes them stop. This is usually when it's too late, but pigs could fly i guess. We have brains, but we don't use those brains to make connections. Capitalism encourages the individual, which means consensus is very hard, especially when the large corps pull the strings and encourage you to consume. I am not religious, but it's very amusing to me that our entire society is based on greed (profit), apathy (slave made in china), sloth (going to the supermarket), gluttony (eating mcdonalds because you're too lazy to go to the supermarket), narcissism (let me take a selfie), murder (cops shooting black kids on a daily basis), etc. It's effing hilarious. Alright i'm done ranting, i'm sorry for the flame war. Peace.
gkam
1.4 / 5 (19) Nov 27, 2014
"The only reason people hate it is because they're pussies and scared to death of it. "
--------------------------------

I am a former Utility engineer who tested nuclear power plant safety systems, the same ones they had in Fukushima.

Perhaps you would like to re-phrase that.

Perhaps xstos would care to read John Goffman. Look up his qualifications first.
Osiris1
3 / 5 (2) Nov 28, 2014
I can see a new international welfare basket case in Europe....Germany...on the near horizon. First off, they should not have shot themselves in the foot by dumping a functioning and economical and non polluting energy source, already built---clean cheap nuclear!! That deprived them of many percents of energy that will have to be more than made up from less economical sources. Germany is not blessed with abundant sunlight, and its wind is near its short shorelines. So it is left with solar electric, but then whose land is gonna be taken or shaded. Gremans know well how to sue for literally anything. That leaves coal, oil, and gas, all of it imported. Well, maybe I could use some cheap if stupid teutonic house servants or 'comfort women' someday, knowing that in some ways to some cultures such would be just payback. Have to retrain them to unlearn Russian from their former bosses and energy providers.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (18) Nov 29, 2014
They need Osiris to stop the high-level waste from continuing to pollute the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima Dai-ichi.

Then, he can help them clean up WIPP, and Hanford. We have NO such facility for waste from power stations. None. And the ones we tried for weapons wastes do not work.

Where ya gonna put it? No, reprocessing does NOT get rid of it, You cannot get rid of radiation. We have heard the promises of clean nukes forever now, and have many spots on Earth you cannot go without dying.

One of the stacks at Fukushima is one of them, with radiation readings showing a lethal dose in 20 minutes. And why would they need stacks, 600-foot stacks, for a place with "no emissions"???
JoeBlue
not rated yet Nov 29, 2014
They need Osiris to stop the high-level waste from continuing to pollute the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima Dai-ichi.

Then, he can help them clean up WIPP, and Hanford. We have NO such facility for waste from power stations. None. And the ones we tried for weapons wastes do not work.

Where ya gonna put it? No, reprocessing does NOT get rid of it, You cannot get rid of radiation. We have heard the promises of clean nukes forever now, and have many spots on Earth you cannot go without dying.

One of the stacks at Fukushima is one of them, with radiation readings showing a lethal dose in 20 minutes. And why would they need stacks, 600-foot stacks, for a place with "no emissions"???


You make it sound like radiation is lethal at any dose. The simple quantity of your ignorance is amazing.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (17) Nov 29, 2014
And perhaps the Deniers can explain how Cobalt 60, an activation product of high Neutron flux got to Fukushima Dai-ini, several kilometers away.

If any of these folk understood the GE Mark I BWR, they would have a different opinion.

Folk who never had to work with the systems simply do not understand. Send them to Fukushima.
gkam
1 / 5 (16) Nov 29, 2014
Folk who do not know a quencher from a krytron should not be telling us what to do.
JoeBlue
not rated yet Nov 29, 2014
And perhaps the Deniers can explain how Cobalt 60, an activation product of high Neutron flux got to Fukushima Dai-ini, several kilometers away.

If any of these folk understood the GE Mark I BWR, they would have a different opinion.

Folk who never had to work with the systems simply do not understand. Send them to Fukushima.


I bet it got there because there was a TSUNAMI that no reactor could have likely stood against.

So again, you strawman your way out of answering any real questions.
gkam
1.3 / 5 (16) Nov 29, 2014
It is time many of you got educated. Look up "MOX" and "Unit 3" together, and see what you get. I have not tried it, so you can tell me. Just a guess.

And since I cannot read Joe's posts, I assume he lectured all of you on the differences between quenchers used in BWRs and krytrons used in resource evaluation and nuclear weapons.
gkam
1.3 / 5 (16) Nov 29, 2014
This is how it starts:
http://www.japant...11-30_AM

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.