nuclear-news

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

Nuclear power’s future is threatened by a mix of solar, wind and batteries

A mix of solar, wind and batteries threatens the future of nuclear power, Stars and Stripes By WILL WADE | Bloomberg  September 28, 2019

The natural gas boom is killing America’s nuclear industry. Wind and solar may finish the job…….

Battery prices have plunged 85% from 2010 through 2018, and huge storage plants are planned in California and Arizona. Meanwhile, science is advancing on new technology — including chemical alternatives to lithium-ion systems — with the potential to supply power for 100 hours straight, sun or no sun.

“All signs point to the acceleration of renewable energy that can out-compete nuclear and fossil fuels,” said Jodie Van Horn, director of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign, a group seeking a grid powered solely by renewables.

The drive for grids that are 100% emissions-free is being pushed by a growing number of U.S. states citing increasingly aggressive time frames. In July, New York mandated that 70% of the state’s power come from renewables by 2030, and 100% by 2040. Seven other states, including California, have similar mandates, and Virginia’s governor this month announced an executive order calling for 100% clean energy there by 2050. ….

By 2050, BNEF expects renewables to account for 48% of the U.S. power system, paired with multiple types of supplemental, peaking plants that can supply electricity when needed……  Meanwhile, over the same period, nuclear will wane, as high costs force most reactors to just shut down.

The U.S. isn’t the only place where the nuclear industry is struggling. Some nations that rely heavily on the technology, including France and Sweden, are reducing nuclear’s load as old reactors retire, and diversifying into cheaper solar and wind power. ……

The first modular nuclear reactors in the U.S. aren’t set to go into service until 2026, and the salt technologies are still largely in the research stage. At the same time, installed capacity of nuclear in the U.S. is forecast to fall to 6 gigawatts by 2050, down from 101 gigawatts now, according to BloombergNEF.  ……. https://www.stripes.com/news/us/a-mix-of-solar-wind-and-batteries-threatens-the-future-of-nuclear-power-1.600949

Advertisements

September 30, 2019 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Ever cheaper wind energy a big threat to UK’s nuclear white elephants

Times 21st Sept 2019, Alistair Osborne: Who wouldn’t prefer clean energy from Dogger than, say, Hinkley Point C: the £20 billion nuclear disaster in leafy Somerset?

The latest round of offshore wind contracts is quite a moment. For the first time, it looks like being subsidy-free. Companies have agreed to build 5.5 gigawatts of new capacity, enough to power almost seven million homes, for a guaranteed price of as little as £39.65 per megawatt hour – in 2012 prices. Compare that to the price for when the turbines start whirring in 2023-24, also in 2012 money: £48.13/MWh. In short, clean energy without any extra cost to the consumer.

In just five years, wind has blown the competition away. It was only in 2014 that Dong Energy, now Orsted, signed up to build the 1,200MW Hornsea 1 project at a strike price of £140/MWh.
By September 2017, the guaranteed price for the 1,386MW Hornsea 2 was down to £57.50. And now it’s 30 per cent cheaper again: a dizzying drop that drives home two things.

First, that Britain, blessed with a nice bit of breeze, leads the world in offshore wind: by next year it’ll have 10GW of installed capacity. Second, that the more you build, the cheaper it gets.

If only the same thing could be said for nuclear power. The strike price for Hinkley Point, in the same 2012 money, is a rapacious £92.50/MWh: a socking bribe to get France’s EDF and its Chinese partner to build the thing. It’s set to rip off consumers for 35 years. Naturally, it’s at least eight years late: now shooting for operations in 2025, not 2017. Its French prototype in Flamanville, where building costs have more than trebled to €10.9 billion, is at least ten years late. Oh, and its welding’s dodgy, too.

And nuclear’s not even green: it comes with a vast clean-up bill. True, it brings baseload energy that wind can’t yet match. But storage technology is advancing all the time.

So why’s the government persisting with last century tech that comes at a radioactive price? Yes, offshorewind might endanger a seabird that’s forgotten its specs. But, luckily, it’s a bigger threat to another species: nuclear white elephants.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/597b8770-dbdf-11e9-9cfd-b79996a387b0

September 22, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Wind farm to take over former nuclear site in New Jersey

Former nuclear site in N.J. set to become key part of new offshore wind farm, NJ.com, By Michael Sol Warren | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

When the Danish wind developer Orsted won its bid to build a massive wind farm in the ocean off of Atlantic City earlier this year, it immediately faced a new challenge: how to bring that future electricity to land.

Orsted found its solution in a shuttered nuclear power plant.


Last week
, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved Orsted’s purchase of interconnection rights at the former Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey Township from the plant’s owner, Exelon Generation. The purchase means that Oyster Creek could be used as a landing point for the electricity generated by the company’s Ocean Wind project. ……

The Oyster Creek site is appealing because it already has the infrastructure needed to feed power into the regional electric grid.

According to NJBPU documents, Orsted estimated that it would save $25 million by using an existing interconnection point with the grid, like Oyster Creek, instead of building a totally new one…….

Ocean Wind will be capable of producing 1,100 megawatts of electricity once it goes online; that’s enough to power about 500,000 homes. Orsted expects the project to be completed in 2024. The NJBPU gave its blessing to the Ocean Wind project in June. …..https://www.nj.com/news/2019/09/former-nuclear-site-in-nj-set-to-become-key-part-of-new-offshore-wind-farm.html

September 19, 2019 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Study: Germany needs clean energy surge to replace coal, nuclear

September 17, 2019 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

China dominates worldwide solar and wind energy generation

Nikkei Asian Review 17th Aug 2019 China has come to dominate worldwide solar and wind energy generation, in
terms of both its own capacity and its companies’ share of global markets,
leaving previous powerhouses — particularly the U.S. and Japan — to play
catch-up.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Energy/China-storms-past-US-and-Japan-to-take-lead-in-wind-and-solar-power

August 20, 2019 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewables – onshore wind from Europe- enough to power the world

August 20, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

Solar power is now cheaper than grid electricity in cities across China

Independent 13th Aug 2019 Solar power is now cheaper than grid electricity in cities across China
which could drive a surge in uptake, according to new research. Some
experts thought China would have to wait decades until solar generation
cost the same as electricity from the grid.
However, thanks to a
combination of technological advances and support from the government,
“grid parity” has already been reached. Scientists found that all of the
344 cities they looked at could have cheaper electricity powered by solar
energy, according to the study published in the journal Nature Energy.
Twenty-two per cent of cities could also have solar systems that would
generate lower cost electricity than coal, according to the researchers,
led by Jinyue Yan from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/china-solar-power-grid-electricity-uptake-nature-energy-study-a9055996.html

August 15, 2019 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable energy providing more electricity than coal and nuclear power combined in Germany

Renewable energy providing more electricity than coal and nuclear power combined in Germany Independent  Solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric power generates nearly half of country’s output.   Emma Snaith, 25 Jul 19, 

Renewable sources of energy produced more electricity than coal and nuclear power combined for the first time in Germany, according to new figures.

Solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric power generation accounted for 47.3 per cent of the country’s electricity production in the first six months of 2019, while 43.4 per cent came from coal-fired and nuclearpower plants.

Around 15 per cent less carbon dioxide was produced than in the same period last year, according to figures published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in July.

However, some scientists have attributed the high renewable power output to favourable weather patterns and “market-driven events”.

Fabian Hein, from the think tank Agora Energiewende, told Deutsche Welle the 20 per cent increase in wind production was the result of particularly windy conditions in 2019……..

Renewables accounted for 40 per cent of Germany’s electricity consumption in 2018, according to government figures.

While in the UK, 29 per cent of electricity was sourced from renewables last year.

Germany is aiming to phase out its nuclear power plants by 2022. Its renewable energy has been rising steadily over the last two decades thanks in part to the Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which was reformed last year to cut costs for consumers.

But Germany still relies heavily on coal, gas and lignite for its energy needs.

Germany’s reluctance to end its dependence on coal saw hundreds of climate activists storm one of the country’s biggest open-pit coal mines in June to protest against fossil fuel use.

..electricity production from solar panels rose by six per cent, natural gas by 10 per cent, while the share of nuclear power in the country’s electricity production has remained virtually unchanged.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/renewable-energy-germany-electricity-coal-nuclear-power-a9017821.html

 

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

In 2019, in Germany, renewables are providing more electricity than are coal and nuclear

German renewables deliver more electricity than coal and nuclear power for the first time, DW,17July19

In Germany, sun, wind, water and biomass have so far produced more electricity in 2019 than coal and nuclear power combined. But it’s a snapshot of a special market situation and might not be a long-term trend.

In Lippendorf, Saxony, the energy supplier EnBW is temporarily taking part of a coal-fired power plant offline. Not because someone ordered it — it simply wasn’t paying off. Gas prices are low, CO2 prices are high, and with many hours of sunshine and wind, renewable methods are producing a great deal of electricity. And in the first half of the year there was plenty of sun and wind.

The result was a six-month period in which renewable energy sources produced more electricity than coal and nuclear power plants together. For the first time 47.3% of the electricity consumers used came from renewable sources, while 43.4% came from coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

In addition to solar and wind power, renewable sources also include hydropower and biomass. Gas supplied 9.3% while the remaining 0.4% came from other sources, such as oil, according to figures published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in July.

A vision of the future

Fabian Hein from the think tank Agora Energiewende stresses that the situation is only a snapshot in time. For example, the first half of 2019 was particularly windy and wind power production rose by around 20% compared to the first half of 2018.

Electricity production from solar panels rose by 6%, natural gas by 10%, while the share of nuclear power in German electricity consumption has remained virtually unchanged.

Coal, on the other hand, declined. Black coal energy production fell by 30% compared to the first half of 2018, lignite fell by 20%. Some coal-fired power plants were even taken off the grid. It is difficult to say whether this was an effect of the current market situation or whether this is simply part of long-term planning, says Hein………

The increase in wind and solar power and the decline in nuclear power have also reduced CO2 emissions. In the first half of 2019, electricity generation emitted around 15% less CO2 than in the same period last year, reported BDEW. However, the association demands that the further expansion of renewable energies should not be hampered. The target of 65% renewable energy can only be achieved if the further expansion of renewable energy sources is accelerated. https://www.dw.com/en/german-renewables-deliver-more-electricity-than-coal-and-nuclear-power-for-the-first-time/a-49606644-0

July 18, 2019 Posted by | Germany, renewable | 1 Comment

A Fukushima Ghost Town Seeks Rebirth Through Renewable Energy

A Fukushima Ghost Town Seeks Rebirth Through Renewable Energy

Devastated by Japanese nuclear plant’s meltdown in 2011, Namie hopes a new hydrogen-fuel facility can generate a turnaround. WSJ, By River Davis, July 12, 2019

NAMIE, Japan—Fukushima prefecture, a place synonymous in many minds with nuclear meltdown, is trying to reinvent itself as a hub for renewable energy.

One symbol is just outside Namie, less than five miles from the nuclear-power plant devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. At the end of a winding road through miles of barren land, construction is nearing completion on one of the world’s largest hydrogen plants.

The government hopes to show that hydrogen, a hard-to-handle fuel that hasn’t been used for large-scale power generation, can supplement intermittent solar and wind power.

……….. By 2040, Fukushima aims to cover 100% of its energy demand with non-nuclear renewable energy. Since 2011, the prefecture’s generating capacity from renewable energy, excluding large-scale hydropower, has more than quadrupled. More than a gigawatt of solar-energy capacity has been added—the equivalent of more than three million solar panels—while other projects are under way in offshore wind power and geothermal energy……… https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-fukushima-ghost-town-seeks-rebirth-through-renewable-energy-11562923802

July 13, 2019 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable energy racing ahead, close to beating nuclear power

When you see an article like this, from a basically pro-nuclear writer, in a journal that is the propaganda voice of the nuclear industry – well, isn’t this a cause for some shadenfreude?

Nuclear power remains ahead of renewables, but just barely. Further, it is losing ground. In 2017, the world produced 22% more power from nuclear than it did from modern renewables. In 2018, the nuclear lead was less than 9%. Based on current trends, modern renewables will surpass nuclear power production either this year or next year.

Renewables Catching Nuclear Power In Global Energy Race Forbes, Robert Rapier 7 Jul 19, This article is the fifth in a series on BP’s recently-released Statistical Review of World Energy 2019
Today, I want to cover global trends in renewable energy.

The Review separates renewables into two categories called Hydroelectric and Renewables. The former consists of hydropower, which has been around for a long time. Hydropower still produces more electricity globally than the Renewables category, which consists primarily of rapidly-growing wind and solar power, as well as more mature renewable technologies like geothermal power and power produced from biomass

Coal is still the dominant source of electricity around the world, although natural gas has taken over the top spot in the U.S. But, renewables have grown rapidly over the past decade, and are on the cusp of overtaking nuclear globally.

In 2018, nuclear power was responsible for 2,701 Terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity generation, compared to 4,193 TWh for hydropower and 2,480 for renewables. In comparison, coal produced more power than all three categories combined.

However, the growth rates of the different categories of electricity generation tell a different story. Over the past decade, from 2007 to 2017, global electricity generated by coal grew at an annual average of 1.7%. Nuclear generation over that time actually declined annually by 0.4%, a consequence of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. Hydropower generation grew at an average annual rate of 2.8%. These growth rates are indicative of mature power sources.

But contrast those growth rates with those of modern renewables.

From 2007 to 2017, the Renewables category grew at an average annual rate of 16.4%. But within that category, power from geothermal and biomass grew at an annual average of 7.1%. Wind and solar power, by contrast, grew at an annual average of 20.8% and 50.2%, respectively, over the past decade.

What does a 50% average annual growth rate over the past decade look like? Here are the global trends in solar power since 2000:  (in graph at top

I will note that in 2007 I wrote an article called The Future is Solar, a few years before solar took off).

The world’s leading producer of solar power in 2018 was once again China, with a 30.4% share globally. China maintained a blistering growth rate in 2018, with solar generation increasing by 50.7% over 2017. From 2007 to 2017, China increased solar generation at an average annual rate of just over 100%.

The U.S. remains in second place globally with a 16.6% share. U.S. solar power generation increased by 24.4% over 2017, and over the decade the U.S. has increased solar power at an average annual rate of 53.2%. Rounding out the Top 5 countries in solar power generation are Japan (12.3% share), Germany (7.9% share), and India (5.3% share).

Wind power is still ahead of solar in global electricity generation. In 2018, wind power was used to generate 1,270 TWh of power, versus 585 TWh for solar power. But solar power is on a trajectory to surpass wind power during the next decade.

Globally, China was also the top producer of wind power with a 28.8% global share. Again, the U.S. was second with a 21.9% share, followed by Germany (8.8% share), India (4.7% share), and the UK (4.5% share).

Nuclear power remains ahead of renewables, but just barely. Further, it is losing ground. In 2017, the world produced 22% more power from nuclear than it did from modern renewables. In 2018, the nuclear lead was less than 9%. Based on current trends, modern renewables will surpass nuclear power production either this year or next year. (I will add that nuclear is firm power, and renewables are intermittent, and that is an important distinction).

The rapid growth rate for renewables is a positive development in a world trying to rein in carbon dioxide emissions. However, renewables have not yet reached a level at which they are actually causing fossil fuel demand to contract.

Modern renewable energy consumption (mainly wind and solar power) grew by 71 million metric tons of oil equivalent in 2018. But global energy consumption grew much faster than that, with fossil fuels carrying most of the load. Global consumption of coal, oil, and natural gas grew by 276 million metric tons in 2018, nearly four times the growth in renewables. As a result, global carbon dioxide emissions set a new all-time high in 2018…….https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2019/07/07/wind-and-solar-power-nearly-matched-nuclear-power-in-2018/#5494d17039ee

July 9, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | 1 Comment

Nuclear power – unsustainable – half Scotland’s reactors offline – but renewables supplying the load

The simple reason why nuclear power is finished – Dr Richard Dixon https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/the-simple-reason-why-nuclear-power-is-finished-dr-richard-dixon-1-4957211

Half of Scotland’s nuclear reactors are off-line over safety concerns, but the lights still stayed on, writes Dr Richard Dixon. July 3  2019

Nuclear power is the ultimate unsustainable form of energy. For some electricity today, we are leaving a thousand generations of future humans dangerous radioactive waste.

During the 1990s public inquiry into the Hinkley Point C nuclear station, I saw a poster showing a Roman legionary standing outside a nuclear plant and carrying the message “If the Romans had had nuclear power, we would still be guarding the waste”.

I thought it was terribly clever but it took me quite a while to realise that Roman Britain was far too close at hand. To cover the generally accepted 25,000 years, it would need to have referred to Cro-Magnon humans.

The politics of Scotland mean that new reactors here are almost unthinkable and the price of the renewable energy alternatives has fallen so far below the cost of nuclear that you would have to be crazy to go for new nuclear.

Labour’s Jack McConnell was the First Minister who said he would block new nuclear plants until there was a solution to the waste problem (14 years later, there is none). And while it is in the SNP’s DNA to oppose nuclear power. EDF and some unions do still try to lobby Scottish Ministers and officials, but to no avail. Meanwhile the industry is doing a great job of showing how terrible a bet nuclear is.

The nuclear industry is almost unique in that every new reactor costs more than the last, while everything else gets cheaper, including offshore wind power which is now coming in at just over half the price of nuclear for a unit of energy.

Hinkley Point C, the only nuclear station under construction in the UK, was supposed to be cooking the Christmas turkey in 2017. It is now expected to be producing electricity at the end of 2025 at the earliest. The only way it could be built was for the UK Government to agree that electricity consumers would pay bills well over the odds for the next 35 years.

The same sort of reactor is being built in Finland. It may start producing electricity next year – 11 years late. The other one of the same design is in France and is currently running 12 years late, at twice the original budget.

The latest wheeze the industry has come up with is to ask the UK Government to agree to pay any costs more than 30 per cent above the original budget for any more reactors. Not a good bet given their history.

Of course we already have four reactors in Scotland. The two at Torness are the second newest in the UK, having been opened by Margaret Thatcher in 1989. The two at Hunterston in Ayrshire are already well past their sell-by date, having started up in 1976. They were supposed to have closed in 2006 but have had three extensions with planned closure now in 2023. Because of a large number of cracks in their cores one reactor stopped generating in March last year and the other in October. Owners EDF are arguing with regulators about whether they can safely restart.

Did you notice the lights going out across Scotland with Hunterston not producing a single electron for eight months? No, thanks largely to renewables having a record first quarter of 2019 and supplying nine out of ten households in Scotland.

We certainly don’t need new nuclear and, with renewables rapidly on the rise, we should not take the unnecessary risk of starting up the Hunterston reactors ever again.

Dr Richard Dixon is director of Friends of the Earth Scotland.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear power, fossil fuels finished? Los Angeles launches world’s cheapest solar + battery-storage project

New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear, Forbes, Jeff McMahon ,2 July 19. Los Angeles Power and Water officials have struck a deal on the largest and cheapest solar + battery-storage project in the world, at prices that leave fossil fuels in the dust and may relegate nuclear power to the dustbin.Later this month the LA Board of Water and Power Commissioners is expected to approve a 25-year contract that will serve 7 percent of the city’s electricity demand at 1.997¢/kwh for solar energy and 1.3¢ for power from batteries.

“This is the lowest solar-photovoltaic price in the United States,” said James Barner, the agency’s manager for strategic initiatives, “and it is the largest and lowest-cost solar and high-capacity battery-storage project in the U.S. and we believe in the world today. So this is, I believe, truly revolutionary in the industry.”

It’s half the estimated cost of power from a new natural gas plant.

Mark Z. Jacobson, the Stanford professor who developed roadmaps for transitioning 139 countries to 100 percent renewables, hailed the development on Twitter Friday, saying, “Goodnight #naturalgas, goodnight #coal, goodnight #nuclear.”

The anti-nuclear activist Arnie Gunderson, who predicted storage prices under 2¢/kwh four years ago on the night Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Powerpack, noted Saturday that his 2015 prediction was too high. He too said, “Goodbye coal, nukes, gas!”……….. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2019/07/01/new-solar–battery-price-crushes-fossil-fuels-buries-nuclear/#59a3e2355971

July 2, 2019 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

India’s nuclear power programme unlikely to progress. Ocean energy is a better way.

The problem is apparently nervousness about handling liquid Sodium, used as a coolant. If Sodium comes in contact with water it will explode; and the PFBR is being built on the humid coast of Tamil Nadu. The PFBR has always been a project that would go on stream “next year”. The PFBR has to come online, then more FBRs would need to be built, they should then operate for 30-40 years, and only then would begin the coveted ‘Thorium cycle’!

Why nuclear when India has an ‘ocean’ of energy,  https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/why-nuclear-when-india-has-an-ocean-of-energy/article28230036.ece

M. Ramesh – 30 June 19 Though the ‘highly harmful’ source is regarded as saviour on certain counts, the country has a better option under the seas

If it is right that nothing can stop an idea whose time has come, it must be true the other way too — nothing can hold back an idea whose time has passed.

Just blow the dust off, you’ll see the writing on the wall: nuclear energy is fast running out of sand, at least in India. And there is something that is waiting to take its place.

India’s 6,780 MW of nuclear power plants contributed to less than 3% of the country’s electricity generation, which will come down as other sources will generate more.

Perhaps India lost its nuclear game in 1970, when it refused to sign – even if with the best of reasons – the Non Proliferation Treaty, which left the country to bootstrap itself into nuclear energy. Only there never was enough strap in the boot to do so.

In the 1950s, the legendary physicist Dr. Homi Bhabha gave the country a roadmap for the development of nuclear energy.

Three-stage programme

In the now-famous ‘three-stage nuclear programme’, the roadmap laid out what needs to be done to eventually use the country’s almost inexhaustible Thorium resources. The first stage would see the creation of a fleet of ‘pressurised heavy water reactors’, which use scarce Uranium to produce some Plutonium. The second stage would see the setting up of several ‘fast breeder reactors’ (FBRs). These FBRs would use a mixture of Plutonium and the reprocessed ‘spent Uranium from the first stage, to produce energy and more Plutonium (hence ‘breeder’), because the Uranium would transmute into Plutonium. Alongside, the reactors would convert some of the Thorium into Uranium-233, which can also be used to produce energy. After 3-4 decades of operation, the FBRs would have produced enough Plutonium for use in the ‘third stage’. In this stage, Uranium-233 would be used in specially-designed reactors to produce energy and convert more Thorium into Uranium-233 —you can keep adding Thorium endlessly.

Seventy years down the line, India is still stuck in the first stage. For the second stage, you need the fast breeder reactors. A Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) of 500 MW capacity, construction of which began way back in 2004, is yet to come on stream.

The problem is apparently nervousness about handling liquid Sodium, used as a coolant. If Sodium comes in contact with water it will explode; and the PFBR is being built on the humid coast of Tamil Nadu. The PFBR has always been a project that would go on stream “next year”. The PFBR has to come online, then more FBRs would need to be built, they should then operate for 30-40 years, and only then would begin the coveted ‘Thorium cycle’! Nor is much capacity coming under the current, ‘first stage’. The 6,700 MW of plants under construction would, some day, add to the existing nuclear capacity of 6,780 MW. The government has sanctioned another 9,000 MW and there is no knowing when work on them will begin. These are the home-grown plants. Of course, thanks to the famous 2005 ‘Indo-U.S. nuclear deal’, there are plans for more projects with imported reactors, but a 2010 Indian ‘nuclear liability’ legislation has scared the foreigners away. With all this, it is difficult to see India’s nuclear capacity going beyond 20,000 MW over the next two decades.

Now, the question is, is nuclear energy worth it all?

There have been three arguments in favour of nuclear enFor Fergy: clean, cheap and can provide electricity 24×7 (base load). Clean it is, assuming that you could take care of the ticklish issue of putting away the highly harmful spent fuel.

But cheap, it no longer is. The average cost of electricity produced by the existing 22 reactors in the country is around ₹2.80 a kWhr, but the new plants, which cost ₹15-20 crore per MW to set up, will produce energy that cannot be sold commercially below at least ₹7 a unit. Nuclear power is pricing itself out of the market. A nuclear power plant takes a decade to come up, who knows where the cost will end up when it begins generation of electricity?

Nuclear plants can provide the ‘base load’ — they give a steady stream of electricity day and night, just like coal or gas plants. Wind and solar power plants produce energy much cheaper, but their power supply is irregular. With gas not available and coal on its way out due to reasons of cost and global warming concerns, nuclear is sometimes regarded as the saviour. But we don’t need that saviour any more; there is a now a better option.

Ocean energy

The seas are literally throbbing with energy. There are at least several sources of energy in the seas. One is the bobbing motion of the waters, or ocean swells — you can place a flat surface on the waters, with a mechanical arm attached to it, and it becomes a pump that can be used to drive water or compressed air through a turbine to produce electricity. Another is by tapping into tides, which flow during one part of the day and ebb in another. You can generate electricity by channelling the tide and place a series of turbines in its path. One more way is to keep turbines on the sea bed at places where there is a current — a river within the sea. Yet another way is to get the waves dash against pistons in, say, a pipe, so as to compress air at the other end. Sea water is dense and heavy, when it moves it can punch hard — and, it never stops moving.

All these methods have been tried in pilot plants in several parts of the world—Brazil, Denmark, U.K., Korea. There are only two commercial plants in the world—in France and Korea—but then ocean energy has engaged the world’s attention.

For sure, ocean energy is costly today.

India’s Gujarat State Power Corporation had a tie-up with U.K.’s Atlantic Resources for a 50 MW tidal project in the Gulf of Kutch, but the project was given up after they discovered they could sell the electricity only at ₹13 a kWhr. But then, even solar cost ₹18 a unit in 2009! When technology improves and scale-effect kicks-in, ocean energy will look real friendly.

Initially, ocean energy would need to be incentivised, as solar was. Where do you find the money for the incentives? By paring allocations to the Department of Atomic Energy, which got ₹13,971 crore for 2019-20.

Also, wind and solar now stand on their own legs and those subsidies could now be given to ocean energy.

July 1, 2019 Posted by | India, Reference, renewable, technology, thorium | Leave a comment

The world moves to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency – theme for July 2019

renewable_energyIt seems impossible for petrol heads coal and gas heads, and especially nuke-heads to get their heads around this – BUT – renewable energy and energy efficiency ARE HAPPENING  – world -wide, in both big ways, and small ways.

It must be tough, when you’re addicted to such a complex , complicated, and expensive technology as nuclear power – as well as addicted to the money you get from being involved in this business –  it must be tough to consider the reality that the fuels for solar and wind energy are FREE, and so is the energy conservation from good design in energy efficiency.

As Dr Helen Caldicott pointed out, long ago, if they could put a blanket around the sun and sell holes, they would.

The out-dated energy systems of the past – nuclear,coal, gas, are looking more
and more like unwieldy and costly dinosaurs, as the world wakes up to the diversity and flexibility of 21st Century clean energy systems.

The nuclear lobby now tries its last ditch promotional pipe-dream – Small Nuclear Reactors – that in fact would rely on the continuation of the old big ones.

 

June 29, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes, renewable | 9 Comments