Nuclear Energy in 2019

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Is Nuclear Energy Screwed?

Yes
2
22%
No
2
22%
Maybe
2
22%
I don't know
3
33%
 
Total votes: 9

Jamie in Chile
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Re: Nuclear Energy in 2019

Post by Jamie in Chile » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:39 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:41 am
Jamie in Chile wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 8:01 pm
Just thinking about the post, one good argument about nuclear is that you could build in an area of low employment and poverty to create social justice.
Yes, but unfortunately people's stupidity gets in the way, and instead it's seen as you building this poisonous power plant near the poor who you see as subhuman and you're exploiting them.
You have to consider how the anti-nuclear people will spin it.
The argument you make quite possibly is a good one if the plant were sited near to people who are both poor and black, where there is extra sensitivity, or near an area with native Indians. Perhaps not such a big deal if it's in a white, poor area. I mean from a public relations perspective.

I think you'd need to demonstrate a majority of locals are in favour and perhaps demonstrate a majority of certain ethnic minorities are in favour also, by polling or something?

I think then you could get past these objections. I think a lot of places would be in favour of a ton more jobs, if not go somewhere else.

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Post by Jamie in Chile » Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:49 pm

A downside of nuclear might be that it creates less jobs locally than renewables though. Logically I would assume that was the case and a very quick google tends to be support that. Does anyone have a more concrete answer or has ever studied this question?

Another advantage of renewables is that you are not dependent on foreign mines. Could you buy in enough uranium and whatever else you need at the start and keep it safe? Or are you increasing your dependency on foreign powers? Or is there just so much uranium out there that it isn't an issue?
http://www.u3o8.biz/s/MarketCommentary. ... -Countries lists the countries. I note that they are a fairly random bunch - it's not like the oil situation where many of them are nearby and more ideologically similar. The US also has it's own uranium as does Canada. It doesn't look like a major issue at first glance especially in the North American context.

Water use is a downside for nuclear as well.

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Post by miniboes » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:42 pm

Creating less jobs locally is not a downside.

It means we can get more GHG emission reductions with less organizational capacity and less money. That's good.

But I don't think it's necessarily the case; if the number of people employed per unit of energy capacity is lower, that could mean that fewer people are employed. But I think it's just as likely that the same number of people will be employed, and we'll get more units of energy capacity installed for that same number.

I don't think dependency on foreign mines is a very interesting or salient concern. Global warming is a problem we'll need to tackle globally.

Nuclear plants can use saltwater, and are often placed near coasts to take that to their advantage. It doesn't compete with our drinking water supply. Furthermore, nuclear is probably the best way to provide energy for water desalination, since there are large synergies between nuclear energy generation and desalination. When you don't need all of a plant's power to meet peak energy demand, you can divert it to desalination when demand is low.

But I think it is of vital importance to realize that nuclear and renewables are not competing, or shouldn't be. It's not like if we use nuclear, we can't use renewables, or vice versa. It's both of them against climate change, and we can achieve the largest reductions if we use both and expand both rapidly. It's and, not or.
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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:55 am

Jamie in Chile wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:49 pm
A downside of nuclear might be that it creates less jobs locally than renewables though. Logically I would assume that was the case and a very quick google tends to be support that. Does anyone have a more concrete answer or has ever studied this question?
It would not be the power generation making the jobs, but what that power was used for.
E.g. making aluminum, solar panels, etc. Those high energy demanding manufacturing jobs.
Jamie in Chile wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:49 pm
Or is there just so much uranium out there that it isn't an issue?
There's just so much uranium that it's not an issue. It's everywhere. The reason we get it from certain places is just that there are richer sources that are cheaper to extract.

Jamie in Chile wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 6:49 pm
Water use is a downside for nuclear as well.
@miniboes covered that well. Hey, welcome back!

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Post by Jamie in Chile » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:34 pm

Thanks for your answers. I do think more jobs is better, especially as a political argument but also as a logical or practical one - not if costs are higher, though. If all other factors are the same, say. Nuclear in the UK was widely reported to be more expensive than renewables a few years ago, and specific prices and contracts were cited in the media that seemed to firmly back up this claim (at least for the case of the UK). I'm not sure why nuclear would be more expensive and using less labour (if that is even true).

Another explanation is perhaps the number of jobs in nuclear is lower but the average salary could be higher, so not necessarily the total cost of labour. I'm guessing the average person in the nuclear industry is more highly trained - then again, total guess.

Thanks for helping me learn. I've become slightly more pro nuclear and a little more knowledge in recent weeks due to this thread and other research.

I agree that nuclear and renewables can work together.

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Post by Jamie in Chile » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:10 pm

So, does anyone have a preference on going to thorium vs conventional nuclear? Why?

Are there any hidden downsides to thorium that would still be the case even after it was established as a mature technology?

Would it be cheaper, or more expensive (once established)?

If anyone knows nothing about thorium but wants to get up to speed, you could search it on youtube. There are a few Ok videos including 1-2 ted talks.

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Post by Red » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:52 pm

I don't think there are any real problems with Thorium, so a plant can go ahead and use it if they want, although it isn't necessary when Uranium is perfectly fine.

To be fair, Thorium has a few benefits over Uranium. One great benefit that Thorium has over Uranium is how abundant it is; There is about three times the amount of Thorium on Earth than there is Uranium. It can replace Uranium once we run out of that stuff (even though Thorium can be bred into Uranium), though that might not be necessary, as we'll almost definitely have figured out Fusion energy by then.

Another benefit that Thorium has is that it can help convince people to get on board with Nuclear, since 'Uranium' has a negative connotation. If they're told it's safer, then it's probably worth it.

As for pricing, I'm not sure if it would be more expensive, since it's very abundant, but it's a little less efficient than Uranium. I'm sure brimstone knows enough about economics to tell you.
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miniboes
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Post by miniboes » Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:27 pm

I don't know of any particularly salient issues with thorium, and it would compensate for much of what plagues conventional nuclear. The issue is just that it isn't here yet, and we can't afford to wait for it.
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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:48 am

Jamie in Chile wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:34 pm
I'm not sure why nuclear would be more expensive and using less labour (if that is even true).
A mix of insurance costs and other factors... like higher pay for certain key employees as you mentioned. Possibly a failure to fully account for the healthcare and loss of life costs due to other power sources. And, I think, failing to account for storage due to intermittency.

@Red covered the main advantages to thorium well: most notably that it has better PR, but as @miniboes mentioned, we may not be able to afford to wait. I'm not sure how long it would take to develop the technology, maybe we need another Manhattan-project kind of endeavor (on power rather than building the bomb) to bring in the resources and urgency to make it happen.
Of course the funding for that only came together because the Nazis were building a bomb and it was an arms race.

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Post by Jamie in Chile » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:19 pm

Thanks for your answers. That's similar to what I read in some articles and TED talks.

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