The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Busting nuclear lobby lies about “intermittent” renewable energy

Another shotgun wedding for the UK nuclear lobby daryanenergyblog  November 3, 2012 “…..Incidentally, despite the Tories best efforts, its likely UK onshore wind energy output will hit at least 13,000 MW by 2020′s, or possibly higher (18,400 MW are in built or in planning and one assumes more will come along between now and then, so this 13 GW figure is a fairly conservative estimate). And of course this is just onshore wind, neglecting the much larger offshore wind potential (generally considered in terms of 100′s of GW’s) or indeed Tidal capacity (the Severn alone can support 9 to 17 GW’s worth of Tidal energy).

Further unless the government is proposing we sit in the dark for a decade or two waiting for these reactors to be delivered, inevitably something else will have to be built in the mean time. Given that the Tories are ideologically opposed to renewables, then one has to assume it will be Gas Fired IGCC stations that will plug the UK nuclear gap. Of course one has to question whether it would be sensible to build a IGCC plant with a 50 year operating life and then turn it off after 10-20 years to make way for nuclear. I’m therefore highly skeptical that all of these 6 reactors will be built. My guess is between 2 to 4 (best guess 3) reactors will be built, with the rest of the “nuclear energy gap” filled by Gas or coal fired stations.

In short, much as I’ve always feared, its not so much of a nuclear renaissance but a case of nuclear delivering too little power too late and at great cost to us the bill payers. And ultimately it is a policy tied to the idea of less renewables and more gas fired power stations, likely built in a hurry without any CCS capability, quite the opposite of what cheerleaders the industry would have us believe.

Intermittent decisions

And it gets worse. One of the arguments constantly put forward against renewables is wailing over “intermittency”. As I’ve previously discussed in detail, in reality the situation is a bit more complicated here as nuclear reactors have they’re own issues with “intermittency” and are thus often used for baseload power not “loading following” electricity and can’t be used to “back up” renewables (indeed they actually get in the way of renewables and other things such as CHP plants and limit the number of these can be installed on the grid).

Now while some LWR’s can be utilised for load following electricity, traditionally the ABWR’s have primarily used (like many nuclear plants in Japan) for baseload. While in theory they can undertake load following, there is a world of a difference between “theory” and practice and them doing so 24/7, especially when we’ve a large surplus of gas fired plants on the grid (which will have been built to close the nuclear energy gap) which are much more cost effective at supplying load following electricity. Noting that IGCC plants can also perform the crucial “peaking power” load as well. In short, these ABWR’s will need “backing up” by IGCC plants (those back up plants in Japan proving crucial when many reactors were forced to turn off post-Fukushima), the very reason the Tories often argue against renewables!

November 5, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: