Germany: Nuclear power plants to close by 2022

jmsprovan

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Well you Privatise and you then make a decision that bins the companies' profits of course they'll sue.

EDIT/ Found this - Ukania:

"In 2005 the cost of decommissioning these sites was planned at ?55.8 billion, with Sellafield requiring ?31.5 billion. However in 2006 the NDA reported that the cost of cleaning up existing waste was higher than previously thought, and gave a new estimated decommissioning cost of about ?72 billion over a 100 year period.[2] In 2008 estimated decommissioning costs increased to ?73.6 billion, or after taking account of discount rates ?44.1 billion.[3] A 2006 estimate foresaw ?14bn of offsetting income from reprocessing fuel at Sellafield.[2] In 2009 the NDA sold land near three existing reactor sites for expected new nuclear power stations, for over ?200m.[4]"

Even with decommissioning costs added in, nuclear power still costs half of what the equivalent power generation would cost in renewables.

The most efficient and "green" method of moving forward with energy production would be having nuclear as the load bearer and renewables as the backup.
 
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MWF

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Even with decommissioning costs added in, nuclear power still costs half of what the equivalent power generation would cost in renewables.

The most efficient and "green" method of moving forward with energy production would be having nuclear as the load bearer and renewables as the backup.

This. The main problem with renewables is that they are sporadic and the energy they do generate cannot be stored. Our problem is just as much about the storage of energy as it is about it's production (or should I say transfer since energy is neither created or destroyed merely changed from one type to another).

Plus while I don't have the figures to hand (I'm sure someone does, Spectre probably) I would guess the number of deaths attributable to nuclear power, either directly or indirectly, is in total less than the number of people killed in the coal mining and oil drilling industries annually.

That is just a guess mind, but if you took all of the drilling/mining deaths since the first nuclear power station opened and added up the stats I bet they would make for shocking reading - Piper Alpha, Pike River and many more, without counting the collateral damage such as Aberfan amongst others.

The trouble is that when you mention nuclear power too many people's first thoughts involve Chernobyl and mushroom clouds. The fact is that it is the very (relative) isolation of Chernobyl/Three Mile Island/Fukushima and the aggressive use of nuclear weapons at Nagasaki and Hiroshima within history that makes them stand out.

It is high time the Greens woke up and started smelling the shit they are shovelling. If human activity really is causing the climate to change at such a rapid rate due to CO2 emissions then any option that reduces those significantly has to be a good thing. The keyword being significantly.

Fukushima is a stunning example of how even an out of date nuclear facility can stand up to the worst nature could throw at it. Instead of discarding this option and at the same time losing the expertise to make it work, which we will as those who know how get older and retire, we should be embracing the possibilities and expanding on a cheap, green and relatively clean source of energy that can only become cheaper, safer and more efficient with time and proper investment.
 

Cobol74

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No there is a way of storing the energy - not 100% effecient but it can work. You get a Hydro plant and use the water when a period of heavy demand is on (The famous "lets throw water at it") when the demand goes down you use the renewable power which is always generating, provided the conditions are suitable and in Ukania they usually are for wave and wind and can be schedule for tidal easily, to pump the water up the dam ready for the next high level of demand. This should work all night for instance as that is a period of low usage.
 

pepitko

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Good move Germany, my recent investment in shares of CEZ (Czech Republic's main electricity producer and energy exporter) will greatly benefit from this :p. That said, in the long run I think the government will wait until people calm down and forget about Japan and then they will come out and say something along the lines of "contrary to our previous belief, it's actually not at all possible to phase out nuclear energy for at least another 20 years", so the target date will be pushed out into the future or scrapped altogether.
 

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MWF

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No there is a way of storing the energy - not 100% effecient but it can work. You get a Hydro plant and use the water when a period of heavy demand is on (The famous "lets throw water at it") when the demand goes down you use the renewable power which is always generating, provided the conditions are suitable and in Ukania they usually are for wave and wind and can be schedule for tidal easily, to pump the water up the dam ready for the next high level of demand. This should work all night for instance as that is a period of low usage.

You mean like this? Cost ?425m at 1974 prices. What's that in today's money? And more to the point we would need a shit load of them to compensate for the loss of steady and reliable power from current coal/oil/gas/nuclear stations. With very big lakes. Plus of course it requires more energy to pump the water back up to the top reservoir than it generates on the way down.

The simple fact is that nuclear is, while in many cases now dated, proven technology. Sure there are proposals for tidal barrages and all sorts of other things including solar towers and helium filled turbine airships flying tethered in the jetstream but they are at minimum a generation away from reality, whereas in half a generation we will be losing a huge chunk of generating capacity as will Germany.

Until then I want to be able to make my coffee, fire up my laptop and turn on my TV to watch Top Gear knowing that wonderful witchcraft the comes out of the wall will be there when I want it and not have to wonder whether the wind is blowing hard enough as there isn't an "r" in the month.
 

Cobol74

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Yes I saw Fridays - I had to sympathise with the protestors, they sincerely hold their views, but they are of course wrong - they should be compensated for the loss of ameniety and value of their properties - problem solved.

You mean like this? Cost ?425m at 1974 prices. What's that in today's money? And more to the point we would need a shit load of them to compensate for the loss of steady and reliable power from current coal/oil/gas/nuclear stations. With very big lakes. Plus of course it requires more energy to pump the water back up to the top reservoir than it generates on the way down.

The simple fact is that nuclear is, while in many cases now dated, proven technology. Sure there are proposals for tidal barrages and all sorts of other things including solar towers and helium filled turbine airships flying tethered in the jetstream but they are at minimum a generation away from reality, whereas in half a generation we will be losing a huge chunk of generating capacity as will Germany.

Until then I want to be able to make my coffee, fire up my laptop and turn on my TV to watch Top Gear knowing that wonderful witchcraft the comes out of the wall will be there when I want it and not have to wonder whether the wind is blowing hard enough as there isn't an "r" in the month.

No I do not go for any non proven technology myself.
- Tidal - the French have had one for 30 years plus.
- Wind - loads both on-shore and off shore have been built.
- The small is beautiful approach with a small windmill or solar panel selling power back to the grid are all proven and could be done, mostly without huge investments of capital and hugely delayed benefits - exactly how late is the Finnish Power station then?

Still I mostly posted to show that there is another way rather than investing vast amounts of money (Have we actually got it?) being invested and the benefits not accruing for 10 years. Anyone know how quickly from proposal to full power commissioned does it take in Ukania - any powerstation up and full power less than 10 years?

Sizewell B for instance:
"The Pre-Construction Safety Case was submitted to the NII in August 1981. The public inquiry was held between 1982 and 1985, and took over 16 million words of evidence, a record at the time. The chairman of the inquiry, Sir Frank Layfield, reported in early 1987 that, subject to a satisfactory safety case, there were no substantive reasons why the project should not proceed"

"Sizewell B is the UK's only commercial pressurised water reactor (PWR) power station: it was built and commissioned between 1987 and 1995, first synchronised with the national grid on 14 Feb 1995."
~~~~~~~~~~~
So that is 1981 - 1995 = 13 and a bit years, how much did it cost before getting power out of it?
 
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MWF

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Oh, and wind farming is far more cost effective than the nuclear option? Are you sure?

Over the coming years we will be giving the wind farm's Swedish owners a total of ?1.2 billion in subsidies. That same sum, invested now in a single nuclear power station, could yield a staggering 13 times more electricity, with much greater reliability.

Oops! So that's our taxes being given to a foreign consortium to generate power in a way that pleases a minority and that doesn't actually work properly?

Meanwhile exactly how much of the cost of a litre of fuel goes to the Treasury in taxation? Give me a break.

Wind farms are unsightly, unreliable, inefficient and expensive. You're always going to upset some people building any form of power station, particularly a nuclear one because of people's perceptions as I mentioned earlier, but if we really want wind generated power for the whole country then the whole country will need to be covered in them.

I suppose at least if that were to happen we could run them in reverse each time the clocks go back and all fly South for the winter.... :p
 
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narf

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Yes bigger problem for Germany, Ukania is surrounded by the oceans, with loads for wind, more wind than we know what what to do with.

Access to wind is not a problem, getting it to the Ruhr area is. Tons of NIMBYs are trying to stop long-distance powerlines going North -> South, and nobody really wants to pay for those lines.
 

Cobol74

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Oh, and wind farming is far more cost effective than the nuclear option? Are you sure?



Oops! So that's our taxes being given to a foreign consortium to generate power in a way that pleases a minority and that doesn't actually work properly?

Meanwhile exactly how much of the cost of a litre of fuel goes to the Treasury in taxation? Give me a break.
One never knows really, the government lies about the costs - why I posted the stuff about Lord Marshall, he was hiding the real costs but when they came to privitise Electricity the investers had to be given access to better information.

It was at that point that they realised that the decommission costs alone were greater than the whole of the rest of value of the CEGB. He was sacked - he thought he was doing what the government wanted but no one had told Mrs Thatcher's government that is what was going on.

Since Mrs Thatcher had come in you may have noticed two volte force's in her Policies (A Lady not for turning) and they were EU she became anti following being almost as pro as Ted Heath. See what I mean. ...

thatcherMS0311_468x777.jpg


(Oh look she has an Irish Flag on her too).

And pushing Nuclear - why she only ever built one, without her support none would have been built.

Then she found out about the real costs. ...
 
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MacGuffin

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First of all: Is it a political decision with glancing at the next elections?

Yes, definitely. More than three quarters of the German population are against nuclear power. But despite the effort, the ruling CDU/FDP coalition cannot take any profit from it. The move is percieved as opportunism, the clear winner so far has been the Green Party, which was actually founded by the anti-nuclear movement of the 1970's and early 80's. I'm not sure, though, if it's a good idea. Politics shouldn't be dominated by ideologies.

I admit we Germans have a bit of a radiation phobia. Not only were we the last to introduce microwaves in households, because people didn't trust in it, we also are afraid of "Elektro-Smog" from mobile phones and everything else that is electrical.

Other countries have other phobias instead. Japan has a germ phobia, America has a nudity phobia ;)

The decision to abandon nuclear power isn't a completely irrational one, though. Chancellor Angela Merkel's original profession is physicist and as a scientist she has to know what she is doing. And correct me if I'm wrong but I think no other current political leader of the First World has a scientific background.

I tend to think that it somehow made "click" in her mind after Fukushima and that not all of what happened since then, is just political calculation.

What are the facts?

The main fact that everybody in the world agrees on, is that nuclear energy was never meant to be a final solution but only a bridge technology, until something better has been invented.

Fact is also, that in the 1970's it was said, that statistically a serious nuclear accident would happen only every 100,000 years. Boy, how time flies...

Problem is: Most of the world has become so content with this convenient "bridge technology", that they have simply given up thinking about serious alternatives. The consensus is something like "Yes, we have to get rid of it but it's too early now".

So when is the right time, hm?

Maybe the next accident happens in the middle of Europe, who knows? Or in the USA. Or in China. Or Russia (again). Maybe then is the right time to start considering the alternatives?

If it seems to be too early to abandon nuclear power, then only because we should have started seriously developing the alternatives 30 years ago but couldn't move our lazy asses.

The problem here is accommodativeness or rather slackness. Someone has to act as a motivator, starting an incentive. Without that, nothing will ever happen.

I also think that the deadline 2022 is ambitious. Maybe too ambitious. So what? At least now we have a deadline.

Everybody now has a goal. There is pressure now. There wasn't pressure before. I don't know, if we will succeed but this is a wakeup call for all creative minds. And say what you want but technically creative minds are Germany's major resource, so it makes sense to let them loose.

I believe it is possible to get rid of nuclear power until 2022 without buying electricity from outside and without deteriorating the CO2 balance and yet keeping our standard of living and our industry alive.

But it's not going to be easy. It has to be a concentrated effort with widely spread measures and with involving all possibilities. Producing energy has to be diversified, regionalized, decentralized, maybe even privatised and a huge part must go into the effort of saving energy in the first place. It's estimated that one third of the energy we produce, is wasted!!!

The more this is going its way, the more companies will realize, that there is a lot of money to earn with future energy production and all that is directly or indirectly connected with that.

I'm quite sure that loads of money have to be invested at first and that energy might become considerably more expensive at first but on the long run, I think, energy cost will drop again.

I expressed my deep mistrust in nuclear energy several times here and probably many have rolled their eyes about my writings. But don't get me wrong: I'm not against nuclear energy, because I hate the technology. I am against nuclear energy, because I seriously doubt the capability of the human race to control and use it safely and responsibly.

The accident at Fukushima didn't happen, because of the forces of nature. How can nature be guilty of destroying something humans built? That's where I roll my eyes. No, the failure at Fukushima was human failure, beginning with constructing those power plants there in the first place, then neglecting the possibililty, that a 6 m high protection wall couldn't be enough (despite millenia of experience with earthquakes and tsunamis) and finally the whole management of the disaster.

In Japan the trigger was an earthquake but the cause was human failure. Somewhere else something completely different can be the trigger. God knows what but I guarantee you, that there will still be the same human failure in handling it. Maybe in 10 years, maybe in 20 years, maybe in 30 or maybe in one year, who knows? Nuclear power plants are man-made machines. Machines get older. First they develop peculiarities, then there are incidents and finally accidents happen. And all the while people are unable or unwilling to see the danger, because "until now everything was running save and fine".

Also consider this: At some point a nuclear power plant has to go out of operation. But it will take decades and will cost billions to dismantle existing nuclear power plants, because you cannot simply call a wrecking ball and tear it down. So why is it a good idea to build new ones, when it costs even more time and money to dismantle them some day?

And then there is the unsolved problem of nuclear waste disposal. It has to be safe for tenth of thousands of generations. Nobody can guarantee that. Today we need archeologists to discover how people lived 2000 years ago. Who can say we will be able to warn people in 2000 years about the danger of our nuclear waste and tell them not to dig a hole there?

The ancient Egyptians made everything from stone. We make everything from plastic. I don't think it's going to last as long.

So the sooner we put an end to this, the better. And if Germany has to be the one to provide the wake-up call, the motivator, the kick in the ass, fine with me. Even if the schedule is too ambitious, it will defenitely create new technologies, new solutions and -- maybe most important of all -- new thinking.

Some of the argumentation I read here, reminds me of the reactions hundreds of years ago, when someone suggested to use metal instead of wood to make ships. And to show him, how crazy his idea was, they took an anvil and threw it into the harbor, laughing. Old thinking always looks very ridiculous in hindsight...

What we need, is a better alternative. The faster, the better. I don't want to believe, that we actually have to wait until the uranium runs out. Instead I want to believe there are better alternatives.

As one very clever man once said: The stone age didn't end because of a lack of stones.

So let's move. Even the longest journey must begin with one single step.
 
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MWF

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I disagree. Nuclear energy was supposed to be the future for a very long time. And we have had several major oil crises since the 70s with no serious investment in alternatives.It is only thanks to a ll this climate change nonsense that we have started to plough serious money into so-called renewables which are costly, unreliable and inefficient.

Sure errors were made but that wasn't the fault of nuclear energy but how we managed it. It didn't fail, we did. But as long as we learn from our mistakes, remember the maxim that if we don't look at our history then we are doomed to repeat it, and retain and develop the expertise.

Sure, when you guys have to put up with rolling blackout of increasing frequency doubtless it will be dealt with by typical Teutonic stoicism and a belief that you can engineer yourself out of any situation (I call it the Stuttgart Mantra in honour of the 911) and in all seriousness I hope you are right and that this does stimulate serious research and investment into alternatives and not half-arsed hippiedom such as wind farms. I don't, however see the rest of the world, developed or otherwise, taking such a sanguine view.
 

MacGuffin

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Sure errors were made but that wasn't the fault of nuclear energy but how we managed it. It didn't fail, we did. But as long as we learn from our mistakes, remember the maxim that if we don't look at our history then we are doomed to repeat it, and retain and develop the expertise.

Here lies, I think, the error in your thinking. I think nuclear power is not controllable. Not on the long run. Not only because humans make mistakes but also because there is no such thing as failsafe technology, no matter what you do. But we construct our stuff like there is no tomorrow, like we have a warranty on everything going on the way it is now.

But who can really say, what's in 50, 100 or 150 years? No one can. All we can do is take care, that our future generations will not curse us some day for the misjudgements we made.
 

MWF

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Not only because humans make mistakes but also because there is no such thing as failsafe technology, no matter what you do.

But then, as an active member of a car forum, your argument falls down. While I agree with what James May said in one of his documentaries that if the car didn't exist and someone were to propose it now it would never be allowed, at the same time deaths and injuries annually worldwide run into their millions, yet we still drive daily.

The problem with the nuclear option is as I stated earlier. People remember the few isolated incidents far more clearly because they are just that, isolated. I'm not saying death or serious injury on the road are something if which we should be making light, far from it, but I think the reaction and opinion towards nuclear energy should be put in proportion.

If we as a species are truly serious about our own survival then we need, as Bill Hicks so eloquently put it, to "figure out this food/air deal". There are too fucking many of us on this planet and the numbers are only growing, taking an ever smaller slice each of rapidly dwindling resources.

I'm not suggesting a government mandated "one child per family" policy, but if we don't stop heaving out babies at the rate we do then it doesn't matter what technology we come up with, we're fucked before the end of this millenium regardless.
 

GRtak

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Even with decommissioning costs added in, nuclear power still costs half of what the equivalent power generation would cost in renewables.

The most efficient and "green" method of moving forward with energy production would be having nuclear as the load bearer and renewables as the backup.


You are still forgetting the huge cost over tens of thousands of years to store the waste. Nuclear energy is not cheap, it mearly puts the cost to the future.
 

jmsprovan

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You are still forgetting the huge cost over tens of thousands of years to store the waste. Nuclear energy is not cheap, it mearly puts the cost to the future.

"storing" the waste constitutes varying degrees of burial, it isn't hugely expensive when compared to the other costs of a reactor.

And it takes 10 years to come on stream - a windmill is up and running in a year or so - Nimbys not counted.

over those 10 years to build a nuclear power station a Wind turbine will have been dormant for roughly 7 years when the wind isn't blowing in the right direction or strongly enough, and that is if it hadn't broken down already.
 
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GRtak

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when the wind isn't blowing in the right direction

What????????????


This helps show some of your ignorance on the subject. The windmill will turn itself into the wind. It would be pretty fucking stupid not do so when the wind changes direction on a regular basis.
 
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