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Sat Aug 6, 2016, 02:51 PM

British Heysham 2 nuclear reactor sets the world record for continuous operation.

As of 1 August, the Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) achieved 895 days of continuous operation, having operated non-stop since 18 February 2014. The reactor - also referred to as Heysham 2 unit 8 - is scheduled to continue operating until 16 September, when it will be taken offline for a planned maintenance and inspection outage. Assuming the unit carries on operating until that time, it would have run continuously for 941 days.

The reactor, operated by EDF Energy, has generated 13.495 TWh of electricity so far during this continuous operation, taking its lifetime generation to 115.46 TWh.

Source: British reactor takes record for longest continuous operation

13.495 TWh of electricity corresponds to 0.0485 exajoules of energy, this on a planet where humanity utilizes about 570 exajoules each year.

For a sense of scale, we may compare the output of the Heysham nuclear plant with the total amount of energy generated by utility scale solar energy in the entire United States in 2015.

The figure for utility scale solar generation for the entire United States in 2015 may be found at the EIA website's Electricity Data Page. Scroll down to Net Generation, and click on the "xls" button by the "All Energy Sources" to pull up an informative spreadsheet delineating the electrical output for various forms of energy.

All of the utility scale solar plants in the entire United States, built during a period of wild eyed cheering for them produced 26,473 thousand megawatt hours of electricity, which corresponds to 26.473 TWh.

Thus in a single small building, albeit over a period of roughly two and a half years, the British nuclear plant was able to produce 51% as much energy, albeit in a little under two and a half years, as an entire nation - a large industrial nation with huge enthusiasm for it - could produce using solar electricity in a single year.

The solar industry and the wind industry, neither of which are sustainable, have failed to address climate change at all, despite their inexplicable and increasingly dangerous popularity. After trillions of dollars in "investment" in these failed, expensive technologies, the rate of accumulation of carbon dioxide is at the highest rate ever observed, with 2015 having been the worst year ever observed, at 3.05 ppm over 2015, and with 2016 on a track to make 2015 small time. In 2016 the months of February, March, April, May, and June all represented the worst February, March, April, May, and June ever recorded at the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory at, respectively, 3.76 ppm, 3.31 ppm, 4.16 ppm, 3.76 ppm, and 4.01 ppm over their respective levels in 2015. The 4.16 ppm and 4.01 ppm figures for April and June are the worst figures ever recorded for any month since the Mauna Loa observatory began reporting this data. (The data for January 2016 and July 2016 were "only" respectively, the fourth worst January, and the third worst July ever observed.)

We should never underestimate the power of large groups of people to lie to themselves. We are lying to ourselves not merely in the United States, but on a grand international scale, when we claim that so called "renewable energy" is effective and useful. It is not. It has not worked, it is not working, and it will not work.

The data for the concentration of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere however is not a lie, however, it speaks for itself and is irrefutable.

Nuclear power is not perfect, but it need not be perfect to be vastly superior to everything else, which it is. Shoot the messenger if you will, but it was, I think, our last best hope to have left future generations with a safe planet.

We rejected it. History, should history survive, will not forgive us.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 03:06 PM

1. That's an impressive document.


Coal use since 2006 is WAY down. Nuclear is about the same. Utility scale solar is up by more than a 50 times increase...but hardly puts a dent in. What is making up the difference? Are we using LESS electricity?

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Response to Wilms (Reply #1)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 03:41 PM

2. Efficiency is, by far, the least expensive way to reduce emissions

One of the problems with nuclear is that its business model - which is built to accommodate the characteristics of large scale coal and nuclear both - is one predicated on growth in energy consumption. When the UK was aggressively pursuing a renewable rollout, they also had one of the best energy efficiency programs in the world.
Once the right wing started pushing to revamp their nuclear program one of the first things they did was to gut their energy efficiency effort and their renewable push.

From 2011:
'Green deal' will fail, government's climate advisers warn
Scheme to make 14m UK homes more energy efficient will only reach 2-3m households, Committee on Climate Change says

The government's flagship programme to transform the energy efficiency of 14m homes in the next decade will fail and only reach only 2-3m households, according to an unprecedented attack from the government's own climate advisers.

The warning comes from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which on Tuesday for the first time published an open letter criticising government policy. It follows soaring energy bills and the news that one in four homes are now in fuel poverty...

Very good article here:

Energy efficiency measures have a serious negative effect on merchant (market based) nuclear plant's economic viability.

Citigroup 2008 evaluation of investment potential for merchant nuclear in Europe says:
"...There are currently 10GW of nuclear capacity under construction/development, including the UK proposed plants that should be on operation by 2020. If we assume that energy efficiency will not contribute, that would imply a load factor for the plants of 18%*. Looking at the entire available nuclear fleet that would imply a load factor of just 76%. We do believe though that steps towards energy efficiency will also be taken, thus the impact on load factors could be larger.

Under a scenario of the renewables target being fully delivered then the load factor for nuclear would fall to 56%.

Such a reduction is actually already underway, with load factors for nuclear plants in Europe falling from 85% on average during the beginning of the decade to below 80% as renewables increase their share in the fuel mix. In our opinion a slow down or fall in demand could have an even bigger effect, substantially affecting the economics of new plants.

*refers to new plants.

Less effective efficiency programs equal more money for nuclear plants.

Other notes from Citi docs analyzing UK nuclear:
associated grid upgrades for the new plants expected to be about $2.2 billion plus
an *additional* 260MW of new spinning reserve would be needed for EACH new reactor.

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Response to Wilms (Reply #1)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 03:54 PM

3. Refer to the EIA table provided in the link in the OP.

The fastest growing source of electricity generation, by far, is dangerous natural gas.

I covered this point previously in this space:

The fastest growing source of US electricity has lead to large CO2 reductions for US electricity.

It is another very big lie one tells oneself when one claims that so called "renewable energy" will prevent fracking. Without dangerous natural gas, the so called "renewable energy" industry would collapse in a New York minute.

As I pointed out in the post linked here, referring to the useless wind industry:

The reality is that the total electrical energy output of the wind industry in the United States, 0.62 exajoules - for those who can do math and thus are open to questioning this cockamamie useless Don Quixote redux – is just 33% of the increase in the use of dangerous natural gas in the last ten years, and just 14% of the total, rapidly growing, dangerous natural gas powered electrical generation industry overall. This means that the wind industry is not gaining on natural gas, it is in fact losing ground on natural gas.

Near where I live in New Jersey, there is huge opposition to the Penn East Pipeline which will bring fracked gas to New Jersey if built. I of course oppose this pipeline; I oppose all dangerous fossil fuels in all circumstances. However if you talk to the other opponents of the pipeline, they will tell you that the pipeline is unnecessary because so called "renewable energy" is so great. I don't know whether to break out laughing or break down crying.

They, like the rest of the people in the world, are lying to themselves. The reason is obvious; the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine and many times neither are available. Thus one needs a redundant system to back it up. All their useless horseshit about batteries and hydrogen are delusional, not only because these things are expensive and toxic and unsustainable, but because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The only back up for so called "renewable energy" is dangerous natural gas, and it follows that reliance the so called "renewable energy" will increase, and not decrease, dependence on gas.

About 50% of the electricity generated in New Jersey comes from nuclear power, but this will change when the Oyster Creek reactor, a gift from my parent's generation to mine, shuts down. It is the oldest operating reactor in the United States, having come on line in 1968. The reactor will not be replaced by another reactor, a liability that my generation is dumping, with contempt, on all future generations. The plant's power will thus be replaced by gas, probably applying the usual ineffective fig leaf of so called "renewable energy." This outcome is a crime against all future generations.

Nature: "Current models of climate economics assume that lives in the future are less important...than lives today, a value judgement that is rarely scrutinized and difficult to defend..."

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #3)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 04:10 PM

4. Solar Photovoltaic production has grown tremendously.


Is that unsustainable?

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Response to Wilms (Reply #4)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 04:29 PM

5. “How much more miracle-y do you need your miracles to be"?

"...here are all the latest charts and facts"

You’ll Never Believe How Cheap New Solar Power Is
BY JOE ROMM JUL 18, 2016 9:29 AM

Solar energy has grown 100-fold in this country in the past decade. Globally, solar has doubled seven times since 2000, and Dubai received a bid recently for 800 megawatts of solar at a stunning “US 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour” —unsubsidized! For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Solar energy has been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected just a few years ago thanks to aggressive market-based deployment efforts around the globe. Since it’s hard to keep up with the speed-of-light changes, and this is the fuel that will power more and more of the global economy in the near future, here are all the latest charts and facts to understand it.

If you are looking for one chart to sum up the whole solar energy miracle, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Chairman Michael Liebreich has one from his keynote address at BNEF’s annual conference in April titled “In Search of the Miraculous”:

Solar’s exponentially declining costs and exponentially rising installations (the y-axis is a logarithmic scale).

Thanks to sustained long-term deployment programs, Liebreich explained, “We’ve seen the costs come down by a factor of 150 since 1975. We’ve seen volume up by 115,000.”

“How much more miracle-y do you need your miracles to be,” Liebreich added.

What that chart doesn’t reveal is that the price drop and the sales volume increase are directly linked....

Six more charts at: http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=post&forum=1127&pid=103504

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Response to kristopher (Reply #5)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 04:36 PM

6. That's what I was wondering.


Thanks for the post.

And I do thank NNadir. I do not agree that nuclear power is a good answer, but I surely appreciate his concern about global warming.

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Response to Wilms (Reply #4)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 07:15 PM

7. Grown tremendously? Really?

How do you define the word tremendously?

No I fully confess that the liars in the so called "renewable energy" have been very successful at misrepresenting peak power as being equivalent to average continuous power, which it is not.

But still...

I cited data showing that after 50 years of mindless cheering for solar energy, a single nuclear plant - not even a great nuclear plant for that matter - can produce 50% of American output of solar energy not power.

The EIA figures are very clear on how much energy solar produces, this after sucking nearly a trillion dollars out of the world economy.

Advocates of the failed, expensive and useless (in an environmental sense) also abuse math by citing growth in percentage terms. The "percent" growth only seems large because of its 50 years of failure. If I work 50 years, and have saved $1,000 dollars, and then I announce that my savings have grown by 100% in a single year, no one (rational) will be impressed. It's a different story if I have a billion dollars and grow my assets by 100% that's very different.

The EIA figures, provided by the government, not me, give the total output of all the utility scale electrical energy produced by utility scale solar plants, the figure I provided in the OP text, 26.473 TWh. To convert this to joules, one multiplies 26.473 x 10[sup]12[/sup] by 3600 seconds per hour to arrive at 9.53 X 10[sup]16[/sup] J and divides this number by the number of seconds in a calendar year, 365.25 days X 86,400 seconds per day (= 31,557,600 seconds per year) to learn that the average continuous power of all the utility scale solar facilities in the United States in 2015 was 3,019 MW. This is the equivalent of three average sized gas plants.

Tremendous? After 50 years of mindless cheering? Three power plants equivalent in the entire United States?

Solar energy in the United States, at a point where the atmosphere is degrading at an extreme rate probably unparalleled in the last two or three hundred million years, is not "tremendous." It's trivial.

And yet people have foolishly bet the planetary atmosphere on this cheap carny marketing scam.

Solar power has an extremely low energy/mass density, but that has nothing to do with why it's not sustainable.

It's not sustainable because of it's material requirements; it relies heavily on the use of increasingly rare and often toxic metals, nightmare chemical processing, and as pointed out previously, access to dangerous natural gas.

Thousands of papers in the scientific literature on this topic picked more or less at random using Google Scholar: Addressing the terawatt challenge: scalability in the supply of chemical elements for renewable energy

I covered this point in some detail elsewhere, producing a fair number of other scientific references:

Sustaining the Wind Part II, Indium and beyond...

I don't care how popular so called "renewable energy" is, to my mind, substituting a requirement for cadmium, or indium, or tellurium or selenium, for oil and gas is not sustainable, particularly since these elements are rarer, and are in fact, in many cases, more toxic even than petroleum, at least gram for gram, as incredible as that may seem.

Distributing these elements as items of consumer commerce, where many will be under the control of no educated person, all because of a silly and frankly dangerous "distributed energy is wonderful" fad is nothing short of insane. It will cost future generations dearly.

In any case, solar energy cannot substitute for oil and gas; on the contrary, they depend entirely on access to these dangerous fossil fuels. It's why after a two trillion dollar investment in so called "renewable energy" in just the last ten years, oil, coal and gas are all being burned at the highest rate ever observed.

Before using the word "tremendously" one actually needs a sense of scale.

I suggest before announcing that solar energy has grown "tremendously" you look at the numbers.

Have a nice Sunday.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #7)

Sat Aug 6, 2016, 08:43 PM

8. Still waiting to hear what happened with your move out of the US...

IIRC you were going overseas so that you could market a reactor you'd developed in your basement? Whatever happened to that plan?

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Tue Aug 9, 2016, 12:09 AM

9. I decided to read the Wikipedia entry for Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors after seeing this article.

I never realized that Britain used a graphite moderator in their nuclear reactors. I always assumed graphite was a Soviet-only thing and that Western countries used water (or heavy water in the case of Canada) in their commercial reactors.

I learned something new tonight.

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Response to Massacure (Reply #9)

Tue Aug 9, 2016, 07:53 PM

10. Britain had a Chernobyl like event at Windscale in the 1950's, 1957 to be exact.

In fact one of the first confirmations in the West that Chernobyl was actually happened was when the Soviet embassy reached out to the British for technical advice.

The reactor was graphite moderated, similar in many ways to the Chernobyl reactor.

If you listen to some of the assholes around here, you would believe that everyone in Britain died from radiation poisoning as a result.

This is certainly their position on Chernobyl, Chernobyl that in a rational world would be considered a minor event given that seventy million people die every decade from air pollution while stupid anti-nukes carry on mindlessly about the grand solar and wind nirvana that never came, isn't here, and never will come.

The United States had a number of graphite reactors, including the first one...built by Enrico Fermi.

Most graphite moderated reactors in the US were designed for the production of weapons grade plutonium, but one, the N reactor at Hanford, produced both weapons grade plutonium and electricity.

Any reactor that can be continuously fueled, including CANDU's, AGR and RBMK's is suitable for making weapons grade plutonium, although it must be said that such use is wasteful and in terms of isolating the plutonium, very expensive. The reason is that a nuclear weapon relies on a very low Pu[sup]240[/sup]/Pu[sup]239[/sup] ratio which relies on short irradiation times and thus low plutonium concentrations. I am a supporter of the uranium/plutonium cycle, of course, but I'd like the world's inventory of plutonium to utilize the "Kessler solution" which is to adjust the isotopic vector to be rich in Pu[sup]238[/sup]. I've actually dreamt of some very cool reactors that might do that, but, it's nothing.

After Chernobyl, the N reactor at Hanford was shut. The power was undoubtedly replaced by dangerous fossil fuels, which are killing people all around the planet 100% of the time, every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every month, every decade even as we speak.

However nobody cares about that. They worried that the N-reactor was dangerous, without asking the question "compared to what?"

I attended an interesting lecture recently at the Princeton Plasma Physics lab on why the Russians built graphite reactors. I always assumed that the purpose was to be dual use, weapons grade plutonium and electricity, but another reason, according to the speaker, was that the reactor was cheap to build.

It wasn't, unfortunately, idiot proof.

There are lots of idiots in the world, of course, including the reactionary idiots who sought to bet the planetary atmosphere on so called "renewable energy," without pausing to consider that the world abandoned "renewable energy" in the early 19th century on the grounds that most people led short miserable lives of dire poverty and um, because so called "renewable energy" wasn't actually renewable. There was something less than 6 billion fewer people when it was abandoned, and of course, none of them had gaudy junk like the stupid Tesla car to support with oodles of energy.

The lecture on why the Soviets built RBMK's is on line, and afterwards, I ask a question; it is easy to identify me by the nature of the question. The speaker is a "social scientist" and it, um, shows, but she's a rather nice and thoughtful woman nonetheless.

COLLOQUIUM: Inherently Risky Designs? The History of Soviet Nuclear Reactors and the Notion of Safety

Overall however, I'd have to confess that RBMK reactors, as much as we have learned how bad an idea they are, still saved lives that would have been lost were all the RBMK's not built.

The worst nuclear reactors are superior to the best dangerous fossil fuel plants.

I have a very different notion of "safety" than your average poorly educated and mindless anti-nuke, including the ones here I used to encounter until I wised up and put most of their ignorant asses on "ignore." It's bad enough that I've lived long enough to see my planet die for ignorance; there's no reason I should listen to bourgeois morons cheer for it.

It's not like anything I say or do is going to change anything. Fear and ignorance have won the day and the result is written in the atmosphere in clear and undeniable terms. At the end of July this year, as I noted in another thread, we were running more than 5 ppm higher in the concentration of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide than we were last year.

Thanks for your comment.

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