"Nuclear power is a potential safety threat, *if* something goes wrong. Coal-fired power is *guaranteed* destruction, filling the atmosphere with planet-heating carbon when it operates the way it's supposed to". (Bill McKibben)

Same for fossil gas, by the way.

@kravietz Nuclear power is guaranteed destruction as well… Creating nuclear waste lasting for centuries and other than CO2, we don't even have a remote idea on how to get rid of it.

And no, hiding it in the ground is not a great answer as all temporary depots have shown.

I think we have to come up with better solutions there.

@sheogorath @kravietz What nonsense. Long-living nuclear waste is only created in the countries that don't have the full cycle nuclear energy. Spent fuel can be reprocessed and the remainder is a bunch of short-lived isotopes. This cycle also uses fuel many times more efficiently. It's only a choice made by the governments.

@pro @kravietz Do you have an example for a country which runs a "full cycle" for nuclear power?

@sheogorath @kravietz France does full cycle. USSR had the technology and utilized it, but they were notoriously environmentally irresponsible in general, so they still produced long-lived waste.

@pro @kravietz So, I just spend some time reading about full cycle nuclear power strategy and the first thing that sticks out is: Even for the "little" amount of nuclear waste that France produces, it has no final destination.

And another point I came across, due to the "statistics being an asshole the risk of an incident increases drastically with every new power plant, The incidents of Fukushima and Chernobyl were no exceptions, they were statically "expectable".

tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.108

@sheogorath @kravietz Oh puleeeeze. Coal, wind, and solar kill way more people than nuclear. It's laughable.

@pro @kravietz I don't know of any coal, wind or solar energy incident, that made it impossible for humans to live in an area as big as Chernobyl.

I mean if you want to live with the risk, fine, go ahead. But please somewhere not even remotely close to me? like further away than Chernobyl, because we still had their nuclear cloud over here and are still recommended to not collect mushrooms in the forest, due to this nonsense.

@sheogorath @pro Here are some case studies of fatal accidents in solar industry cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DE

And obviously, we should not panic around that because *every* human activity can potentially result in harm and death. Keeping them safe is a task for healt & safety. The problem is that accidents in nuclear industry are singled out and presented as something immensely dangerous and deadly, when they are not.

@kravietz @pro I think the major difference is 1st party impact vs 3rd party impact.

The number of people that are at least subject of a nuclear incident is by a magnitude of hundred thousands when not millions higher than the number of even hundreds of solar or wind industry incidents.

who.int/ionizing_radiation/che
who.int/ionizing_radiation/a_e

And we can safely expect another incident within the next 15-20 years.

@sheogorath @pro

> than the number of even hundreds of solar or wind industry incidents

But not hydro incidents, right?

In a few recent years there were further dam failures in Brazil and in Russia.

They killed ~200 people.

Have you ever heard about them?

@kravietz @pro True, those can happen, and they do happen, but considering the environmental impact and the regulations that those project have regarding cleanness of water in Europe mean even the worst incident won't cause a wasteland. Like with a Tsunami people will die, people will flee but as soon as it's over they will come back and start living there. That not so much the case directly around Chernobyl or Fukushima even after decontamination.

@sheogorath @pro

This is precisely engineers do comparisons such as this one to objectively compare mortality of various energy sources against a normalised units.

@kravietz @pro What they don't calculate: Area destroyed by incidents, which is the major problem I'm pointing out.

The problem with nuclear power are not direct death numbers, but the long term environmental impact. From deformities, to reduced life expectations to no longer usable land areas. I'm not sure which study you are quoting, but I don't expect them to calculate those impacts in there.

@sheogorath @pro

This is all covered by medical research after nuclear accidents. In case of Fukushima there was 1 fatality, in case of Chernobyl - 200 (over 20 years). All that included cancer, early death, birth defects etc.

In many cases suspicious diseases are blamed on nuclear without conclusive evidence, as it was with a spike of leukemia near Sellafield nuclear processing plant in UK back in 80's. Media were quick to jump to conclusion that the plant is KILLING OUR CHILDREN!!! etc

@kravietz @pro The WHO talks about slightly different number around a few thousand that are impacted in form of cancer but with no clear diagnose whenever this is caused directly due to radiation of due to bad lifestyle. (That's the ugly thing about radiation)

And a lot of cancer cases were solvable by surgery but people have to take meds for their entire life. The mortality itself is not really the full picture of the problem with nuclear power, as I mentioned before.

who.int/ionizing_radiation/che

@sheogorath

And is it a full picture with coal? This is why it's important to compare objectively rather than single out one industry.

@pro

@kravietz @pro Keep in mind, I'm not advocating for more coal. I'm talking about reducing coal as well. Renewable energy is what I'm advocating for.

When it comes to coal, we also have the whole mining process, which has a huge and negative impact on the environment. But even there I consider the impact of those things lower than the impact of a nuclear power plant incident in Germany. Be it due to natural disaster or human error.

What we need to do is getting this Bureaucracy sorted out.

@kravietz @pro Anyway, it was definitely an interesting discussion we had. I really enjoyed it. Even when it just made me even less certain about the world wide usage of nuclear power. The MIT even suggests that there are 4 major incidents in the timespan from 2004 to 2053 (and at least 1 with Fukushima was there).

It's a weird piece of technology. As someone who hates gambling, not really my world. Still hope we can all figure this energy/environment problem out together quite soon :)

@sheogorath @kravietz The real issue is that solar is junk from EROEI standpoint, while wind is a plain hoax (no matter what lies the German media posts about it). Wind cannot even produce enough energy to re-create itself twice, and solar can do 5 at the most. So neither of them can support a civilization that has computers and dentistry. In short, there is no alternative to nuclear, even if we had to store nuclear waste -- which you now know only needs to happen for a small fraction of the used fuel. Even if we had a Chernobyl every 10 years, there's NO ALTERNATIVE. What's so damned hard to understand about it?

People are too used to magical thinking about the forces of market and science and they expect improvements in solar to narrow the gap to oil's EROEI of 30 (as I mentioned, wind is a hoax and we don't even need to consider it). I'm just going to tell you right here that it cannot happen.

Remember that making solar practical for supplying the grid by buffering it with energy storage actually tanks its EROEI.

@pro

Can you provide references for wind & solar power consumption at - I guess - manufacturing phase and EROEI? Obviously, in discussions about German energy policy these are rarely raised...

@sheogorath

@kravietz @pro at least this study doesn't seem to support the indicated statement: festkoerper-kernphysik.de/Weis

And similar studies I got through a quick scan using google scholar, don't suggest anything else either. There is a positive EOREI in wind energy, it's just not as big as other renewable energy sources and way below fossil fuels. But that's no surprise.

@sheogorath @pro

Looking at real world examples: Rampion off-shore wind farm in UK has 116 towers that occupy 70 km2 (!) and has nominal output of 700MW. In case of off-shore wind, that can be utilised up to 40% due to intermittency.

Nearby Dungeness nuclear power plant has just one block of 600MW that can be utilised up to 95% and occupies maybe 1 km2.

This, in my opinion, is a huge difference...

@kravietz @pro well, the Exclusion Zone around Chernobyl is 2,600 km2. So given that an accident happens, which due to statistics as already mentioned we have to expect, that's quite some space for wind power.
en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherno

I mean, I have an IT background and look a lot into backups. And looking at that tells me: By default calculate the worst case scenario. And as mentioned, it's not unrealistic that an incidents appears.

@sheogorath

You're comparing apples and oranges.

Germany is *already* hitting its limits of land available for wind farms, and to move further with renewables it would need to occupy further thousands of km2.

And if you are indeed considering "the worst scenario" indeed, then you need to also look into possibility of mass gas explosion at power-to-gas and hydrogen processing installations that can destroy whole cities, hydro dam collapses and house fires caused by roof solars.

@pro

@kravietz @pro And yes, expect of the "mass gas explosions", I was already considering them. But again, the actual case numbers are quite limited and number of killed and permanently insured people is quite low (in Europe) or in countries with comparable safety regulations in those areas.

And again, especially for roof solar power, those cases a lot better to control than big incident caused by nuclear power plants. As well as being a lot easier to send help in.

Follow

@sheogorath

Number of people killed and permanently injured as result of nuclear power in Europe and "in countries with comparable safety regulations" is zero.

Sorry, but your argument only demonstrated the absurdity of "worst case scenario" *and* bias towards nuclear.

@pro

Β· Β· 2 Β· 0 Β· 0

@kravietz @pro The organisation for international safety regulations is the IAEA therefore, there is a comparable baseline for all nuclear power plants world wide (some countries in the west asia excluded). And during the stress test in the EU, there was also pointed out, that there was room for improvement to compensate the short comings that lead to the Fukushima disaster. (Luckily no geological ones, but still), we can definitely compare the Japanese regulations with the EU ones from 2011.

@sheogorath @pro No, we cannot. There's no single nuclear plant in the EU built in an active seismic zone with risk of tsunami.

@kravietz @pro Please keep in mind that standards are written more broadly: They talk about risk expectations and the nuclear power plant that has to be constructed that it sustains the certain penalty over the expected risk. For example for seismic they have to be designed to sustain a level of 8 on the Richter magnitude scale when the seismic activity for the area was estimated as 6.

And the same thing happened in Japan, for the local cases. That makes it definitely comparable.

@sheogorath @pro

What happened in Fukushima was 14 meter tsunami that went over walls that were designed for 10 meter tsunami maximum.

@kravietz
Β»Number of people killed and permanently injured as result of nuclear power in Europe and "in countries with comparable safety regulations" is zero.Β«
So the USA, Russia and Japan don't have comparable safety regulation, I assume. Or your "zero" is different from the common one.
@sheogorath @pro

@kirschwipfel

Number of fatalities in nuclear plants in USA - zero.

In Japan - one.

In Russia - zero.

Russia is not USSR and since 1986 there was no single accident in any of their ~200 nuclear power plants.

@sheogorath @pro

@kravietz

According to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_ There were at least some more deads in Japan, in nuclear power plants. But besides that, the study I linked earlier stated that one of the main problems is that for example the IAEA doesn't or can't publish all data about incidents and similar because of NDA agreements with the member states. As you may read, that was one of the major reasons why they considered it quite hard to reduce the range of probablities.

@kirschwipfel @pro

@sheogorath

IAEA has no "NDA with member states" and surely not for accidents. Quite the opposite, all countries must not only report even slightest accidents to IAEA but also allow periodic inspections.

And yes, there were two more workers killed in an accident in Japan in 1999. At the same time thousands of workers died in accidents in coal mines, power plants and while installing solar panels and wind turbines. So why are you singling out nuclear industry specifically?

@kirschwipfel @pro

@kravietz

Yes, the IAEA gets the data, but doesn't publish it to the public in all detail.

> Unfortunately, the most important ingredient for a reliable analysis of this kind would be comprehensive time-series data, which are filed at the IAEA but not available for the public.

And the reason I pointed out the mistake was not to improve how coal and renewable energy looks, but to point out, that your intentional extremely low numbers, are simply wrong.

@kirschwipfel @pro

@sheogorath

But what is it? A quote? From where? What does it talk about? It's not in the article you linked.

@kirschwipfel @pro

@sheogorath

Ok, I missed that one and this article makes perfect sense. So page 113:

"the best estimate is 1 in 3704 reactor years"

But this is based on data from 1962 to 2010 so 1st and 2nd generation reactors. Nobody is building these anymore, quite the contrary.

Then if you look at page 114 there's a number of important points there.

@kirschwipfel
@pro

@sheogorath

Page 114:

"from 1962 to 2010 the probability of aminor or severe accident at a reactor decreased by afactor of 2.5"

With 3rd and 4th gen reactors you can expect even further reduction.

Also:

"Three calculations resulted in 1 accident in more than 200,000 reactor years, and a further three resulted in 1 accidentin 11,000–25,000 reactor year"

@kirschwipfel @pro

@kravietz

The first quote already is just further explanation about the initial statement of "Within the next 10 years, the probability of a core-melt accident in a world with 443 reactors is 69.8%."

And the latter, as you may notice, is exactly what they point out is wrong, as it's a note to explain something in the first section which explains the motivation of the study, not a statement that they figured out.

@kirschwipfel @pro

@sheogorath

So with 3rd gen reactors like EPR - that are currently built in UK, France, China, Finland etc - which have been built specifically with safety in mind, you can expect 1 on 10-100'000 reactor years failures.

And this is more than necessary, because we don't want fission-based nuclear energy forever - we need it perhaps for the next 30-50 years to kick-off renewables, fusion and other low-carbon energy sources.

@kirschwipfel @pro

@kravietz

Just keep in mind that renewable energies don't get along great with nuclear energy due to slow on and off cycles for nuclear power. That why I mentioned gas previously. You need to be able to control the electricity output of your plant in minutes, not hours or day, as it is the case with current nuclear power plants or coal power plants. For base load it's preferred to use energy storage instead (or gas in worst case).

@kirschwipfel @pro

@sheogorath @kravietz @kirschwipfel You've got it completely backwards. It is the renewables that operator cannot control. Nuclear power is perfectly controllable for the purposes of the grid. That is why every time you see a wind turbine turning, there's a coal plant somewhere, idling and burning coal, ready to pick up the load.

@pro

I think what @sheogorath means is that coal or gas plant can respond pretty quickly (minutes) to a falling or rising output from wind or solar, while nuclear can change its output much slower (hours).

This is obviously a "problem" created by the very intermittent nature of wind and solar, but needs to be dealt with on the grid level.

In any case, CO2 emissions are much larger and long-term danger than benefits from fast power switching.

@kirschwipfel

@kravietz @sheogorath @kirschwipfel I think we all understand at this point how the grid actually functions wrt the power balance and why the resistive loss is the only thing that makes it possible at all. Strictly speaking, the power produced and power consumed must be balanced by millisecond -- way faster than one can bring up even the peaker plants online. The awful 30% transmission loss is what actually balances it as consumers turn on every light -- not the start-up of new generators.

So, the required speed for bringing extra generation capacity is related to how much of voltage drop one is willing to accept. In most countries the acceptable parameters are actually regulated by law.

If all you have is coal, you have to idle more "headroom" capacity than if you use gas. But obviously nothing prevents you from idling a nuclear plant as well, to provide that headroom.

@kravietz

Also yes, we may have those newer tech stacks with lower failure rate, but the majority of nuclear power plants are not on that level. So your idea is to rebuild all of them for 30-50 years instead of phasing them out soon and doing things once and properly with renewable energies?

@kirschwipfel @pro

@sheogorath

But I think I've provided enough evidence so far that you can't just "do things properly with renewables" due to 1) intermittency, 2) physical constraints?

If and only if we can increase rare earth supplies by 3000% (how?) and occupy all available space, then we can maybe go 80% renewable and we would still need to add TWh of storage per year.

You seem to accept gas for base load, I don't. It's CO2.

@kirschwipfel @pro

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