ELECTRICITY FUTURE : Coal, Nuclear or Chaos

A nuclear power plant under construction in China's Shandong province. Picture AAP

A nuclear power plant under construction in China’s Shandong province. Picture AAP


“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the
industrialized civilizations collapse?
Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
Maurice Strong, founder of UNEP

Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the
equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun
.”
– Prof Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University / Royal Society fellow

***

IN the collective age of ClimateChange™️ eco-insanity that we currently inhabit, common sense, reason and logic have become an increasingly rare commodity, perhaps even a thing of the past, as those who dare speak truth-to-the-virtuous are heckled and jeered as “deniers”, in a calculated effort to muzzle.

THANKFULLY, a few cool and sane heads still prevail within the majority-Leftist mainstream media establishment.

WE ought listen to and evaluate their arguments, no matter how far they divert from the preferred ‘wisdom’ of the day. A preferred wisdom that emanates from a cancer of groupthink collectivism, nourished by an individuals fear of being isolated, intimidated and persecuted by the mob of feel-good intentions. But, as Henry G. Bohn first published in 1855, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

A legend of Australian media, and someone who is not willing to take us down the “road to hell”, is columnist Terry McCrann.

READ his excellent summary on critical energy-security solutions hopelessly mired in politics and weak leadership.

*

via The Australian :

Go nuclear, and we must start building now

TERRY McCRANN

Australia has three electricity futures — coal, nuclear or chaos. It’s time to bring Australia into the 21st century by aggressively embracing the nuclear one.

The prime minister’s thought bubble — fathered by political ineptitude out of policy stupidity — that a future could be crafted out of some hybrid mix of gas generation and so-called renewables is an embarrassingly inefficient and unworkable dead-end.

The idea that we could go all renewables — with assorted batteries from the Tesla version in South Australia to the Turnbull one in the Snowy included — is a fantasy; it would be the embracing of the third future: chaos.

In very simple terms, unless and until the laws of physics are repealed, if we want a power grid to deliver the cheap, reliable and plentiful electricity that has been the basis of our economy, our society and indeed our very civilisation, the base-load has to be carried by coal or nuclear.

I would have no problem continuing to have it based on coal, with the next generation of coal-fired generation far more efficient and much cleaner, in the real sense, of not pumping out particulates, than our existing ageing and indeed dying pre-1980s fleet.

But you have to recognise reality. Before the bushfires that was an unlikely prospect. After the bushfires — however irrational the demonisation of our carbon dioxide emissions and our coal-fired stations — even a single coal-fired station has become impossible.

Indeed the PM who carried a lump of coal into parliament symbolically returned it to the ground in his speech midweek. Yes, to digging coal up to power the thousands of coal-fired stations in China and all the other countries; no, to powering another one in Australia.

What’s wrong with the gas-renewables mix? Isn’t it — actually, more a gas-gas mix — working in the US, to both cut CO2 emissions and deliver cheap electricity?

Well, yes, but that’s also the answer to why it wouldn’t work in Australia. That’s the US, this is Australia. Another way of putting it, they have President Trump, we have PM Morrison.

We also have a near-uniform consensus across the truncated spectrum of state political leaders against the finding — far less the development — of gas. Did anyone mention fracking?

A mainstream spectrum that runs, not exactly unimportantly, borrowing from Dorothy Parker, all the way from A to B; or borrowing from Mark Steyn, from our Labor parties which are left-of left-of centre to Liberal parties which are right-of left-of centre.

Simply, there are three things wrong with the idea that gas could replace coal in the energy mix.

Inefficient gas

We don’t have enough, absent redirecting all exports to domestic use. We are not going to find enough anytime soon, if indeed we are even allowed to look for it.

Using gas to generate electricity is a hugely inefficient use of what should be a premium fuel; only slightly less inefficient than using petrol.

And that points to the third, in the context of the (hysterical) reason we want to kill coal: it’s still a CO2 emitting, if less than coal, fossil fuel.

Now, there are three arguments presented against nuclear, which is the only means of delivering non CO2-emitting reliable base-load power.

The first is the safety aspect — both the operation and disposal of waste. The first simply does not stand up, if you look through the hysteria at each of the three major accidents over the past half-century: Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukashima.

It is the hysteria which has also created the other two objections: it takes too long to build a nuclear station and the capital cost — both over-engineering and time-value of money — makes the power too expensive.

According to the Asia Times last year, the average build-time for a nuclear reactor in China was five years. OK, this is Australia; if everything went right we could probably do it in 10. I doubt we could build a hospital in even two months, far less two weeks.

That is why we need to start now — we need at least three major stations to anchor the grid across the three eastern states, for starters, by 2030, as the coal stations continue to close with accelerating rapidity.

This can only happen with absolute bipartisan commitment from the two major parties. We also need it from the lunatic Green left.

The best, if faint, hope of “winning that”, is via bipartisan Labor-Coalition commitment not simply to nuclear, but that it is either three nuclear stations or three new coal stations.

If the left is serious about reducing our power-generated CO2 emissions, it can only happen by embracing nuclear.

And embracing it in a China-like way that allows the stations to be built in 10 years (I’d hang out for seven in my dreams), and not red-taped and green-taped or Nimby-ied away past 20 years and so into our third future of chaos.

A mix of base-load nuclear and peak-demand gas would be both efficiently viable and able to accommodate — in a fairly rational way — the vanity virtue-signalling generation by wind and solar.

Breaking the hoodoo against nuclear power might also help terminate what stands as the single most stupid decision ever by an Australian government — the purchase of the French nuclear submarines on the basis they are re-engineered back to an old (fossil fuel) technology.

Why didn’t we buy the US F-35 fighters on the same basis? That they be re-engineered to go back to propjets? And for delivery in 2050?

Yes, prime minister, go for it. You could find it liberating. Dare to be free of your predecessor and his utter, numbing across-the-board ineptitude. Try uttering the word nuclear.

And when you have uttered it a few times in connection with power generation; why, you will find it effortless to have it followed by the word submarines.

Go nuclear, and we must start building now | The Australian

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NUCLEAR SAFETY : Reactors that Can’t Melt Down – Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR)

Nuclear Safety- Reactors that Can’t Melt Down | PA Pundits - International
Nuclear Safety: Reactors that Can’t Melt Down | PA Pundits – International

NUCLEAR power is the world’s future. Nuclear has a few inherent disadvantages. It is without doubt the cleanest, greenest and safest form of power production. Contrary to what you may have heard about the Fukushima nuclear plant that was hit by the 2011 tsunami, not one single person was killed or injured by nuclear radiation. Not one. Also, no private property was harmed by radiation.

via PA Pundits – International :

By Kelvin Kemm Ph.D.

OVER recent years, engineers have developed an innovative alternative nuclear reactor design, known as High Temperature Gas Reactors. Instead of water, they employ helium gas as a coolant. In South Africa, a similar reactor design was developed: the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR). Its fuel is small tennis-ball-sized graphite balls containing granules of uranium, rather than large metal fuel elements. The balls cannot melt.

Another major advantage of nuclear power is that it uses so little fuel. The total annual fuel usage of even a large nuclear plant can be carried in a couple of trucks. It can be airlifted-in, if need be. There is no need for long supply lines, which can be prone to weather or political disruptions. Nuclear reactors are refuelled only every 18 months.

Critics say nuclear is expensive. It’s not if you look at the total life cycle. A modern reactor is designed to last for 60 years and will probably last for 80 – versus 15-20 for wind turbines and solar panels. While money must be spent upfront in construction, benefits are reaped over many decades. What is required is an innovative approach to the project-cycle funding. Right now in South Africa, nuclear-generated electricity is the cheapest by far. The current nuclear plant, Koeberg, is over 30 years old and is now running very profitably, since the construction costs have been paid off.

Another plus is that the price of uranium is almost irrelevant. Such a little amount of uranium is used in a nuclear plant that even if the international uranium price were to double, it would make extremely little difference to the annual fuel bill. It is nothing like a variation in coal or oil prices.

Large-scale nuclear needs water cooling, which means plants must be built on a coastline or on a large inland water source. But big nuclear is probably too large for many nations to start with. There is a second solution: SMR-class Small Modular Reactors that are currently being developed. South Africa’s SMR is the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor – and a small PBMR can be only 10% the size of a large traditional reactor. A PBMR does not need large water cooling, so you can place it anywhere.

In fact, close to the point of consumption is no problem. “Modular” means that you can add extra reactors to the initial system, as you wish or need, when you wish or need. It’s something like adding extra locomotives to a large train, all controlled by one driver.

PBMRs are also considerably cheaper than large reactors. So, a very viable answer for any African country is to plan for PBMR nuclear systems. One PBMR reactor will produce 100 to 200 Megawatts, depending on its design. As the country requires more power, it simply installs more PMBRs.

An important consideration with nuclear power in Africa is for countries to work together. Africa needs a nuclear network for operations, training and general nuclear development. In the spirit of Fourth Industrial Revolution thinking, now is the time to plan an African nuclear network. Thankfully a number of African countries have already launched that process.

Dr Kelvin Kemm is a nuclear physicist and CEO of Nuclear Africa (Pty) Ltd, a project management company based in Pretoria, South Africa. He is the recipient of the prestigious Lifetime Achievers Award of the National Science and Technology Forum of South Africa. He does international consultancy work in strategic development.

Electricity In The Realm Of The Lion King | PA Pundits – International

***

MORE:

  • The PBMR design was developed to be “walk away safe,” which means that the nuclear reactor and its cooling system can be stopped dead in their tracks. The reactor cannot overheat, but will just cool down by itself.
  • Nuclear power will one day power Africa, and the world – helping to lift billions out of poverty and ensuring that billions more continue to enjoy living standards that poor nations also deserve to have.

Nuclear Safety: Reactors that Can’t Melt Down | PA Pundits – International

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One Comment on “ELECTRICITY FUTURE : Coal, Nuclear or Chaos”

  1. antoniahowarthwass says:

    Sense at last. These facts spelled out by Terry McCrann we have understood for some time. But getting them presented cogently is another hurdle he has crossed. The battle for common sense is on and it’s against the heavily invested RE pundits like Turnbull who have been determined to destroy Australia and its place in the world.There is a companion to this argument for sensible power generation. And that is water availability. Until the New Bradfield Scheme is built to bring sufficient water to outback QLD and NSW which makes for healthy rivers and dam storage, this country remains third world. These two projects will however make Australia one of the most profitable and self sustaining places on earth. And it’s time the population realised that time is of the essence. Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

    Like


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