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19 comments

Nuclear Power in the U.K.

Posted August 23, 2010 12:02 AM by Glanblakethomas

It seems to me that if we in the U.K. become totally reliant on gas from Russia and oil from the Middle East, we shall be permanently at risk of supply failure or cost increase. In the short term, however, there are no other forms of energy capable of meeting the nation's needs.

In the longer term, when the world comes to its senses and stops burning the valuable resource of fossil fuels in heating appliances, we shall need to turn to electricity or log fires for warmth. The "not in my back yard" syndrome when it comes to nuclear fuel is really rather nonsense when one studies the location of several French nuclear reactors placed all along the north coast of France less than 100 miles to the south.

If they blow, we blow with them. I know nuclear is not sustainable, but in the short term we are going to need to use this source of energy. Yes, there are risks and problems. But in life, don't you find that when you start fiddling with a problem, you most often find an answer?

If we banish unsafe nuclear, will we ever find safe nuclear? What do you think?

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#1

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/23/2010 4:12 AM

The UK has IMO no short term problem.

The nuclear plant(s) are still very safe and like in Belgium and France they started a second life. I also see the oil platforms are still producing. And there is still a lot to explore.

The gas line from Russia is also an economic alternative.

Russia can supply whole Europe with ease. Don't forget also the oil supplies.

It's just some more pipelines. UK has also hydro - possibilities.

Of course, moving to Russia is also a possibility.

(Many companies have already)

Moses went also to the mountain.

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#2

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/23/2010 4:15 AM

Yup I'm with you.
I'd rather the UK be at the front developing stuff and solving problems, engineering is what we do best.
I'm resigned to living in a land full of charity shops, building societies and shoe shops run by accountants administrators and bankers who couldn't engineer their way out of a wet paper bag.
Nevermind, let's gawp at the braindead 'celebrities' on TV
...pass the tranquilizers.
As a nation we've forgotten how to take initiative...
oh errr. Is there a 'initiative proposal' form and risk assesment I need to fill in first? We allow ourselves to be bullied and bamboozled by self appointed govering bodies and quangos.
Jeez even in football we kowtow to bloody Sepp Blatter, we should be putting UK designed technology into the game, and then selling it to the rest of the world, not waiting for some bloated Swiss git to lamely oppologize for being a twat.
Now where's my Longbow?
Del

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#16
In reply to #2

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/25/2010 12:49 PM

Nuclear is still safe even if the Greenies want an issue to lay a protest. This is about good technology and engineering but always is driven politically.

  • Sepp Blatter is really a case in point. I would love to see reviews of "soccer" similar to other sports reviewing controversial plays. It is time to cut the bull of getting calls right. It would also serve to review plays where cards are handed out as the result of a dive. Hand balls in the box, offsides, etc should all be reviewed if the call is questionable. There are rules in American "football" that could easily be adapted. Anyway I am a soccer fan and love the sport.
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#3

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/23/2010 6:25 AM

The problem of reliance on Russia is a geopolitical one. Although Russia has a vast resource that they can sell, they have proven time and time again that they are willing to use it as a political tool to expand their realm of power and influence.

I think the current situation in the Caucasus is evidence enough that Russia's ambitions are on the move.

With the fueling of the reactor in Iran, the stage is set for a significant power shift in the Mid East. Iran has long had ambitions of being the dominant power in the Middle East and Iraq has always been the throttle to prevent that from becoming a reality.

Iran now has enough control in Iraq to keep Iraq from forming a functioning government, thus neutralizing Iraq. Actually, it is worse. Iraq is becoming a puppet country of Iran. Iran will become the dominant power in the Mid East and the West will now have to deal with the Mid East on Iran's terms.

With a strike against Iran's nuclear ambition all but off the table, it appears that Iran has the green light to enter the nuclear club and assurance of dominance in the region is pretty much assured.

Further reliance on Russia and the Mid East as sources of energy only empowers these nations and makes the West beholden to their ambitions.

I would hope that the UK and Europe would take steps to insure more energy independence. This would help keep these ambitions in check.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/23/2010 6:32 PM

AH,

With taking a risk now to start politics again. The Russian IMO have demonstrated that they are a worthy partner, even for NATO. They also are the cap drivers for the space program with the US. It is hard to find that Cuba and Venezuela and Russia were in Haiti after the disaster earlier than us. They cleaned and cleared up the missile - and nuclear mess with the former republics.

Russia is very clear (while close) and stabilizes the Middle East more than anyone else. When you check the nuclear program towards Iran, Russia has become a key player, and while a lot of bla bla is announced by the rest of the alliences, it is the first to stop it if necessary.

Lookup nuclear reactors.

Russia refused to finish the contract and pays a lot of money for the breach.

I also thought, when the US worked on the collapse that the (then) Secretary of State proposed to split Russia, because too much wealth was there.

Go to Saint Petersburg, Moscow and other places and you will find that there is no big gap in cultural heritage: sometimes you think is this Italy or France.

In fact the most populated parts of Russia are all in Europe. Russia is working hard to clear up things inside the country.

People have free and good education, and affordable health care and housing. If you go to RT Russia today, your eyesight will clear up.

An multicolor update is well in place here.

After 2000 year of civilization it is about time for a detente and world order, where trade and cooperation will ridicule military forces. Each post, movie, news story proves to me how little you are allowed to know about Russia and the rest of the world.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/23/2010 7:32 PM

Must be a different Russia.

The Russia that used to be the Soviet Union is in flux right now. The idea that Russia has the West's interest or the rest of the world's interest at heart is very wrong. Russia is perfectly happy to see the US and NATO tied up in Afghanistan and Iraq. Refusing to honor or work with the UN to enforce the sanctions against Iran is quite simply a sharp stick in the eye of the West, not a worthy partner of NATO.

This, as I have previously pointed out, is not a means of stabilizing the Mid East. It has the direct opposite effect, reshaping the political and power landscape in the Mid East.

It is also clear that state politics in Russia are solidifying their grasp on the country along with granting far sweeping powers to the FSB for that aim. This "clean up" is simply a power grab over the population and further curbs the so called freedom you think the population enjoys.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/24/2010 2:48 AM

I'm not goint to join the argument, but just felt I had to comment on this gem.

Russia is perfectly happy to see the US and NATO tied up in Afghanistan and Iraq...

Maybe it's because they just aren't stupid and having been beaten by the Mudjahudin (who were backed by UK/US) realise it's an unwinnable war.
I think us Brits have been beaten out there before too, we don't seem to learn from history.
I agree our aims are ok, but the method is unworkable.

I read a piece once that pointed out that if the West bought the Opium crop for medical purposes, The Afghanis would have a good income, the drug trade would be starved of supply and the West wouldn't need to synthasize the drug at huge cost and proffit to the drug companies.
Dunno if it's true, but it sounds more like likely than thinking you can win a war against an enemy who can just melt into the local population or the mountains only to re-appear when he wants.

If flogging a dead horse doesn't work, try sending in more troops and flogging it harder.
Del

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/24/2010 7:47 AM

"Maybe it's because they just aren't stupid and having been beaten by the Mudjahudin (who were backed by UK/US) realise it's an unwinnable war."

You have to think that fact does have some people in Moscow smiling out of the corner of their mouths.

Russia's primary interest right now is keeping the US and the rest of the world's attention away from the Caucasus and Afghanistan and in particular Iraq/Iran are just the tools they need.

I wonder how this Winter will unfold for Europe. Since Russia has stopped it's export of grain, which is 20% of their GDP, it will be interesting to see if Russia tries to offset some of that loss with price hikes on oil and natural gas exports.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/23/2010 8:26 PM

I should add, that my statements are not meant as derogatory comments against Russia or any other country.

These are my understanding of the way things are geopolitically around the world. I get my information from professional intelligence sources that I pay for as part of my business. While no intelligence agency is always right; after all, countries go through great lengths to hide their desires and capabilities from the rest of the world, the information that I base my comments on are not CNN, BBC, FOX News, Drudge Report, or the Huffington Report. While these sources have their place, they generally broadcast a mix of information that is a combination of what they believe the audience wants to hear and what these organizations want you to hear. In some cases it is disinformation and often a combination of the two to lend credibility to misinformation.

In combination with that, countries often release statements and intelligence (sometimes by unusual channels) that are designed to create perceptions that are not necessarily true. Such is the world and the way it works. None of this is new and has been going on since the dawn of civilization. There is reality and there is perception. Unwinding the two is not always easy, but I personally find it fascinating.

Lastly, none of my points are designed to critique any political ideology, but an attempt to reveal some of the reasons and motives that drive the way things are geopolitically.

Right now there is not much public attention to geopolitics in the Caucasus, but I think that things will be getting more interesting in the coming months and next year.

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#15
In reply to #6

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/24/2010 10:43 PM

I honor and appreciate your replies. While no place is perfect. let's make the best out of it. Maybe I watch Peter Lavelle too frequent. Regards. D

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#9

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/24/2010 10:31 AM

Heat and burning based energy solutions will always lead to uncertainties.

We keep trying same old solutions and land back to square one all the time.

The fate is not only for U.K but also for all of us on the globe.

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#10

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/24/2010 11:17 AM

1. Nuclear waste needs to be stored for a long time, so any storage site is prone to earthquakes, floods etc

2. The UK does not have a civil nuclear program, this has been sold to the French and US; its military program is dependent upon the US for launch and guidance even after it has built them

3. Nuclear energy has had much more investment than other forms of energy, with a level playing field, nuclear would not and will not be a good or affordable option

4. All nuclear stations are prone to flooding and other effects of global warming

5. Many of the metals used in the electronics industry are in short supply, so you have to wonder if the control circuits etc will be working in 50 years and less

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/24/2010 11:21 AM

4. All nuclear stations are prone to flooding and other effects of global warming.
D'uh?
Statements like that devalue any credibility your post might have had...
They are susceptible to Zombie invasion too, everyone knows that.
Del

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#12

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/24/2010 1:23 PM

The entries I read seem to not hit the engineering aspects at all. I have read that there is a nuclear reactor design utilizing fast neutrons that can eliminate many of the objections to the present slow (thermal) neutron reactors. That is, it produces much less waste that doesn't have to be isolated nearly as long. Also, it can utilize as fuel the waste from the present reactors. Apparently the used fuel could be reprocessed on-site--eliminating the need for transportation of radioactively hot used fuel. It also does not have the proliferation problems that the present reactors have. I know it as the IFR--Integral Fast Reactor. It can also use thorium as fuel as I understand. This sounds like a vast improvement over the present thermal neutron reactors--can anyone verify these things since I have not heard independent verification.

Apparently a complete new generating facility does NOT have to be built, as the nuclear reactor can replace only the fuel burning part of the facility (the Integral part of the name.) The generating portion can still be used.

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/24/2010 5:19 PM

Dear Lehman57

I believe you are showing that by playing with unsafe Nuclear man has started to find less dangerous solutions.

Excellent.

Few contributions have thrown up alternative solutions that will meet the needs of the Human Race. I still believe Nuclear Power will become much more widely addressed and utilised as blackouts and shortages of power start to impact on everyday life.

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

08/24/2010 6:50 PM

Despite nuclear's shortcomings, it seems to be the best way to generate power and it keeps you from being so beholden to foreign powers.

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#17
In reply to #14

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

10/21/2010 3:37 AM

Nuclear power is only a short term energy solution. The decommissioning of these facilities will bring challenges to our future generations. That isn't my problem.

However, the long term sustainable solution (HRS/EGS) can be found from Iceland who generates electricity at zero carbon emissions. If the UK is situated in a very geological location, it should invest in developing deep drilling technologies and binary generation facilities to herald this carbon free planet life time sustainable technology. The Eden project in Cornwall is the one to keep an eye on. No CO2, no toxic wastes, no storage facilities, no decommissioning of radioactive facilities - what more do you want!

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

10/21/2010 4:35 AM

Have you been to a nuclear decommissioned site? The site has restricted access even miles before reaching it. There are security check points and lots of patrol personnels at the designated perimeter/zones. Nothing (even bags of soil) is allowed to be brought out from the area without thorough checking.

I remembered that sometime ago there was an incident in India (or Pakistan) that some radioactive metals was lost and the local villagers found them. They were fascinated by the metal will glow in the dark and kept them as ornament. Only to find that they contracted cancer after.

In the electricity industry, there are thieves who steal cables for the precious copper and aluminum metals, even with the supply is at EHV and HV level, they stop at nothing even if death stares right at them! Ask any utility supply companies in the world, they all have these high cost unsolved theft problems. These thieves would not care if they melt radioactive metal for sale to make their financial gains.

The cost of controlling these thefts and making the public safe is something quickly run past in the nuclear solution debates.

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#19

Re: Nuclear Power in the U.K.

10/21/2010 1:26 PM

I still haven't read anything to confirm or refute the use of fast neutrons in a nuclear reactor. Supposedly this will produce many times less radioactive waste to store, what waste it does produce has a drastically shorter half-life, it can use the "used fuel" (waste) from the present slow-neutron reactors as fuel and thus reduce our long-term storage problems. Plus other benefits such as non-proliferation.

Presumably this fast-neutron reactor is viable; why haven't I heard much about it?

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