Is nuclear energy the future? How to make it feasible?

Ombelibable

Rookie
Nuclear energy is by far the densest, most efficient and safest form of energy. The handful of disasters (Chernobyl, Fukushima) were due to human errors. The death count of Fukushima is as many as Coal kills globally, DAILY. However, Nuclear remains to be heavily overregulated at the moment. In America, the right is lobbied by coal, oil and gas whereas the left is lobbied by solar. Renewables like solar are much better than coal, but far inferior to nuclear.

What is the future of the feasibility of nuclear?
 

Chadwix

Professional
I saw something that showed the land vs output. Wind and solar were around 320miles for the same production nuc can do with 12.

While its good for people who live in open area's, its not feasable for denser populations.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
Coal versus nuclear is a false dichotomy promoted by the nuclear industry, no doubt, but even the notoriously unreliable environmentalist Monbiot pushes this line.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Nuclear energy is by far the densest, most efficient and safest form of energy. The handful of disasters (Chernobyl, Fukushima) were due to human errors. The death count of Fukushima is as many as Coal kills globally, DAILY. However, Nuclear remains to be heavily overregulated at the moment. In America, the right is lobbied by coal, oil and gas whereas the left is lobbied by solar. Renewables like solar are much better than coal, but far inferior to nuclear.

What is the future of the feasibility of nuclear?
No one will die when a solar farm melts down. No one will die from spent solar panels.

Nuclear kills for decades.

Its definitely not feasible. Solar is going to be way more viable than nuclear ever will once the battery tech gets better. Its advancing pretty quickly.

And really you dismiss a "handful of disasters" and then somehow claim its overregulated. Right. Tooo much regulation on nuclear. That is the kind of mentality that scares everyone about nuclear.
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
U.S hasn't built a nuclear reactor in over 30 years. Not cost efficient. Why would they start now?
 
No one will die when a solar farm melts down. No one will die from spent solar panels.

Nuclear kills for decades.

Its definitely not feasible. Solar is going to be way more viable than nuclear ever will once the battery tech gets better. Its advancing pretty quickly.

And really you dismiss a "handful of disasters" and then somehow claim its overregulated. Right. Tooo much regulation on nuclear. That is the kind of mentality that scares everyone about nuclear.
Actually spent solar panels are really toxic. If anything, they're more dangerous than nuclear waste. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/05/23/if-solar-panels-are-so-clean-why-do-they-produce-so-much-toxic-waste/#4d2c1789121c
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
We in Australia hold a very large percentage of Uranium and other nuclear fuels, so this question comes up frequently. I did my first science undergrad with a physics major almost 4 decades ago and was lucky enough to have as one of my lecturers a leader in the field with global experience. Despite being optimistic about nuclear power generation (more about that in a moment), he was also realistic about the drawbacks.

The first drawback back then, still has't been solved today. There's no way to deal with the waste. Think about that, despite the decades and billions spent on trying to come up with a way to deal with the most dangerous by-product on earth we still don't have one. When I first started learning about nuclear power there were claims that a place called Yucca Mountain would solve the problem. It was a monumental failure. Then there was a Swiss containment system, failure again. Then there were others, all failures.

So what we are left with is a headache that gets past down from one generation to the next, because of a lie that the solution is just around the corner. It's a very expensive problem with massive security concerns (that gets more expensive as time goes by, not less) and despite being told for decades that there is a solution coming, one simply does not exist.

It's simply not cost effective. If you look at the total life cycle of a nuclear power generation project, it's far more expensive than solar, wind or many other renewables. Sure, once you have an enrichment program up and running, constructed your plant, put in place security, set aside funds for decommissioning (yeah right, that'd be a first .. plants just go broke and walk away), set up a waste management program (remember, even if you only generate power for 10 years .. you have to do that for thousands of years), etc, etc, etc .. oh forget it, the costs and time frames are ridiculous. And that's at current prices as the availability of viable ore goes down and renewables get cheaper by the day.

The next one is often not talked about, but it's very, very important. If I set up a business, by law I have to insure against risk to the public, my staff and myself. I'm also an idiot if I don't insure my property. I have professional indemnity insurances to provide people protection from me farking something up. There is no insurer in the world that will insure a nuclear power generation project. Basically, the entire nuclear power generating industry across the world is operating without insurance. That risk is borne by the public and get this, they can't insure against it either! Even though we have no nuclear power generation in Australia, my home insurance policy covers me against fire (think about that), flood, storm, accidental damage .. but specifically excludes any loss caused by a nuclear incident.

I could go on, but the simple truth is that nuclear power system takes 20 years to set up, is less viable than it was 40 years ago and has astronomical costs afterwards in decomissioning and waste management .. all as the price of alternatives is coming down. Every decade we are promised that the next generation of reactors and waste management solves the problems of the previous and every time it has turned out not to be the case. I feel for countries not as rich in renewable options as we are here in Australia and understand why they have gone down the nuclear path, but despite (or perhaps because of) having spent years doing this stuff at uni, I cannot see that it is a wise choice.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
Nuclear energy is by far the densest, most efficient and safest form of energy. The handful of disasters (Chernobyl, Fukushima) were due to human errors. The death count of Fukushima is as many as Coal kills globally, DAILY. However, Nuclear remains to be heavily overregulated at the moment. In America, the right is lobbied by coal, oil and gas whereas the left is lobbied by solar. Renewables like solar are much better than coal, but far inferior to nuclear.

What is the future of the feasibility of nuclear?
The future is fusion
That is heating H atoms to millions of degrees to bond and release almost unlimited energy
 

onehandbh

Legend
Nuclear energy is by far the densest, most efficient and safest form of energy. The handful of disasters (Chernobyl, Fukushima) were due to human errors.
Which human made the tsunami that destroyed Fukushima?

Are you counting G*d or Hay Soos as human?
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
They are building a prototype in France next decade
Large scale may need only 50 yrs
It is theoretically possible and I applaud the efforts to further the research, but even in 50 years it will almost certainly not be economically viable.
 

Fedinkum

Legend
Someone who is very knowledgeable with nuclear energy, please update me on how nuclear wastes are dealt with by current technologies. I think the waste issue is a bigger deal breaker than the odd nuclear accidents.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
The prototypes are only 15 years away
Don’t need to worry about coal or wind
I'm aware of both the French and US experiments and have been aware of the potential of fusion for almost 40 years.

I still think it's a long way off.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
Doesn't sound like it's gonna happen in the US. The last plant to go online was constructed decades ago. There may be only 1 or 2 new plants currently under construction in the US. However, dozens have been shut down in the past few decades. 5 aging reactors were permanently closed in 2013 & 2014 before their licenses expired because of high maintenance and repair costs at a time when natural gas prices have fallen.

About a decade ago, Al Gore had this to say about the historical record and reliability of nuclear power in the US:

Of the 253 nuclear power reactors originally ordered in the United States from 1953 to 2008, 48 percent were canceled, 11 percent were prematurely shut down, 14 percent experienced at least a one-year-or-more outage, and 27 percent are operating without having a year-plus outage. Thus, only about one fourth of those ordered, or about half of those completed, are still operating and have proved relatively reliable.

Amory Lovins has this to say:

Of all 132 U.S. nuclear plants built (52% of the 253 originally ordered), 21% were permanently and prematurely closed due to reliability or cost problems, while another 27% have completely failed for a year or more at least once. The surviving U.S. nuclear plants produce ~90% of their full-time full-load potential, but even they are not fully dependable. Even reliably operating nuclear plants must shut down, on average, for 39 days every 17 months for refueling and maintenance, and unexpected failures do occur too.
 
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SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
On the prospect of a nclear renaissance:

Recently, the US Energy Information Administration projects that US nuclear generating capacity will decline 23 percent from its 2016 level of 99.1 GW, to 76.5 GW in 2050, and the nuclear share of electrical generation to go from 20% in 2016 down to 11% in 2050. Driving the decline will be retirements of existing units, to be partially offset by additional units currently under construction and expected capacity expansions of existing reactors.

 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Someone who is very knowledgeable with nuclear energy, please update me on how nuclear wastes are dealt with by current technologies. I think the waste issue is a bigger deal breaker than the odd nuclear accidents.
As I said above, there is currently no method (other than launching it into space) of getting rid of the millions of tonnes of this stuff.

Note that there's high level waste that has a half life of thousands of years and must be refrigerated under very tight military security .. and low level waste which used to just be dumped at sea and is now stockpiled by dropping it in really big holes. That has proved not much better than dropping it in the ocean as there are reports of soil and ground water contamination. Various forms of synthetic rock have been developed, but none have delivered the solution. Basically you put it in a container for a while, then transfer it and store both the waste and the old contaminated container. Do you own search on Yucca Mountain, which I mentioned above.

When I was first at uni, the promise was that we'd only be using Gen2 reactors until the 90s, when Gen3 breeder reactors would result in no waste being produced. Breeders sort of worked, but even more waste was produced. Now we are promised Gen4 reactors will consume all the waste from Gen2 and 3 reactors, solving the problem .. lasers that would render it "relatively" harmless and other "solutions" that were all supposed to be here now, but the commercial delivery dates get pushed back by decades. It all sounds a little too familiar. These are very complex problems.

What has actually happened is as companies go out of business, it has invariably fallen upon taxpayers to fund stop gap solutions as the world produces more waste, reliant on future technology to work out how to deal with it as more and more is created.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
Nuclear fission energy produces terrible byproducts that are toxic Isotopes
Nuclear fusion is clean and yields more energy than the Human race will need for many centuries and its not far off
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Nuclear fission energy produces terrible byproducts that are toxic Isotopes
Nuclear fusion is clean and yields more energy than the Human race will need for many centuries and its not far off
Actually, fusion reactors produce waste that is more dangerous than fission reactors. There's just less of it and it has a shorter half life. There's no spent fuel problem, but the neutrons inside the reactor result in radioisotopes that would have to be contained for a few hundred years (which is much better than hundreds of thousands of years!).
 

chrischris

Hall of Fame
There’re building a mini prototype in France
Then a bigger one the following 10-15 yrs
Then by mid century the real thing
Great , who is building it and who is paying for it?
The thing is we need clean energy earlier than that .. society and the economy cant wait we dont want to live in caves right?
 

chrischris

Hall of Fame
Generally about a decade. Double that if you don't already have a nuclear industry. The Chinese used to knock them out in no time, but have stopped building them and now generate twice from renewables that they do from nuclear.
Any data to prove that?
 

chrischris

Hall of Fame

Hydro is the big one, but new solar and wind investment is off the charts.

Looks like they've started building reactors again though.
Ok my guess is that as capital increasingly moves into clean nonfossil energy the prices Will increasingly attract investment. Prices Will decrease per kWh as learning curves improve LCOE and we Will have a new outlook
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Ok my guess is that as capital increasingly moves into clean nonfossil energy the prices Will increasingly attract investment. Prices Will decrease per kWh as learning curves improve LCOE and we Will have a new outlook
I don't understand what you're trying to say.

And Will only needs a capital W to start a sentence or if it's a list of instructions for after your death.
 

chrischris

Hall of Fame
I don't understand what you're trying to say.

And Will only needs a capital W to start a sentence or if it's a list of instructions for after your death.
Ok will try to explain. Prices for renewable energy are coming down fast. That attracts investors. The levelised cost of energy shows good numbers for renewables and beat fossil fuels in many places of the world . The ball is rolling in favor of clean renewable energy. Nuclear energy isnt cheap enough so its part in the change isnt substantial as far as i understand. Too slow to put in place and too expensive generally speaking. Finland has had an awful experience with its latest adventure with a power plant thats proven very costly..
 

Ombelibable

Rookie
Which human made the tsunami that destroyed Fukushima?

Are you counting G*d or Hay Soos as human?
You're right. It was the tsunami that caused it, not primarily human error. Which furthers my point on how safe nuclear is. (But I'm learning on this forum that that might not be the case)
 
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chrischris

Hall of Fame
You're right. It was the tsunami that caused it, not primarily human error. Which further my point on how safe nuclear is. (But I'm learning on this forum that that might not be the case)
But isnt the trend negative toward nuclear investments and plants generally ?
Im thinking that Japan and Germany etc are closing and or have stoppet investing in it .. thats what i have heard. You are welcome ti prove me right or wrong.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
You're right. It was the tsunami that caused it, not primarily human error. Which furthers my point on how safe nuclear is. (But I'm learning on this forum that that might not be the case)
Not too sure that really shows how safe they are. Mother Nature has a number of ways of compromising the nuke plants that we build. Volcanic eruptions, catastrophic earthquakes (land and ocean), increased violent weather events (due to climate change).

The tsunami that destroyed Fukushima might have qualified as a megatsunami. But evidence indicates that it was hardly the largest megatsunami that our planet has produced.

More are expected in the future -- in this century. Krakatoa produced one in the late 19th century. I believe that at least four were recorded in the 20th century. And it looks like we've had two already in this century -- 2004 and 2011.

And what if jihadists, North Korea or some other rogue state decides to target a nuke plant. It could be truly catastrophic if they succeed.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@Ombelibable

Note that even if a major weather or geological event does not result in an acute (immediate) meltdown, it could still result in stresses to a nuke plant that might weaken it or shorten its life. Such events might drive up the costs of maintenance and operation as we've seen numerous times in the past. It could compromise a plant to a point that a subsequent event might result in a nuclear catastrophe.

And then there the issue of storing nuclear waste that will remain dangerous for millions of years. Large scale seismic events and other major natural catastrophes will continue to be a threat to the planet and the nasty byproducts that we produce and store.
 
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