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Energy White Paper is hazy on future vision for nuclear

The Energy White Paper 2012 (EWP2012), released by the Australian Government last week, seeks to map out a strategic policy framework for future energy supply. One of the major goals of EWP2012 is to provide…

Excluding nuclear from Australia’s future energy scenarios doesn’t give the full picture. Gold Auraque

The Energy White Paper 2012 (EWP2012), released by the Australian Government last week, seeks to map out a strategic policy framework for future energy supply. One of the major goals of EWP2012 is to provide a “clear vision” of how Australia should set about the long-term task of decarbonising our stationary electricity, liquid fuels and industrial sectors.

So how well does it succeed?

As an overview of the current status quo on domestic supply, distribution and exports of energy, it is a fine document. However, as a forward-looking, agenda-setting stimulus paper, it has weaknesses.

The focus is strongly on how natural gas and unconventional fossil fuel markets might develop in the coming decades under various uncertainties, and the impact of these on national economic growth and trade.

In terms of its projections of the expansion of currently poorly developed “alternative” (non-fossil) electricity – the biggest issue to address – let’s consider the medium-demand scenario (Fig. 6.1, pg 88):

This shows a gradual phase out of traditional coal (to be replaced by carbon-capture and storage [CCS] variants after about 2035) and a ramp-up of combined cycle gas (both CCS and non-CCS). Up to half of electricity is coming from wind, solar thermal, solar PV and engineered geothermal by 2050. The estimated cost is “more than $200 billion in new generation investment”.

These projected finances are based on the levelised cost of electricity estimates provided in the recent AETA report, but do not adequately consider “value” of the electricity, as I explained here. Putting that to one side, the basic technology options, with current and projected 2030 prices, are shown in Fig. 6.2:

Nuclear power – generated by both large (“monolithic”) and small (“modular”) reactors – are an obvious low-cost, low-carbon (and baseload) standout here in Fig. 6.2. Yet nuclear power is invisible in the Fig. 6.1 projections.

Why? This is explained in Box 6.3 on pg 98 of EWP2012. The argument made is that there is no “social consensus” on the technology (is there one for coal-seam gas?), nor an economic case (but that is relative to its direct competitor, black and brown coal, with no carbon price).

So, in fact, nuclear doesn’t appear in the future modelling race because it’s not allowed up to the starting gate. This is not the case for any other energy source. Note that Box 6.3 does leave the door ajar for “future governments” to consider nuclear if other low-carbon technologies fail to achieve desired emissions cuts, and also notes that a decision to fission should be made by around 2020 if the first significant nuclear generators are to be plugged into the grid by 2030.

Other than a fleeting reference here or there regarding international forecasts of electricity use and uranium mining, that’s the only real reference to nuclear fission across the 234-page EWP2012 report.

The trade-offs implicit in ignoring a viable low-carbon energy option can be underscored by undertaking a short tour of the excellent new CSIRO efuture tool that was released to accompany EWP2012.

This is a web-browser-based scenario builder, which is simple and intuitive to use, allows any interested person to “Explore scenarios around technology cost, electricity demand and fuel prices, and see how your choices impact Australia’s electricity costs, technology mix and carbon emissions through to 2050.”

There are a large number of possible combinations to try, but I’ll focus on one that combines:

  • an enhanced emphasis on energy efficiency and conservation (low demand)

  • projections of future rising prices of fossil fuels due to potential shortages or supply bottlenecks (high fuel price)

  • inclusion of all technologies with a high-cost scenario to allow for a potentially diverse mix of supply

  • storage backup

  • crucially, a “yes” answer to “nuclear permitted”.

The electricity time series looks like this:

… and the resulting greenhouse-gas emissions profile is as follows:

In this nuclear-powered crystal ball, fission energy starts to grow seriously after about 2030, and by mid-century it constitutes a little under half of Australia’s electricity supply. Gas is held steady at a relatively low level, coal and wind are largely displaced, and grid-scale and distributed solar generation continues to grow.

Greenhouse-gas emissions are slashed by 90%, with most of emissions coming from gas plants used to meet peak demand.

In addition, I should point out that if nuclear is permitted, the general balance of electricity generation technologies that results is insensitive to selections on fuel prices, demand levels, storage choices, and so on. Try it. In modeller’s jargon, we’d say the conclusion that nuclear ought (by the numbers) to play a big role in decarbonising Australia’s future economy is robust to parameter uncertainty … if it is allowed.

Finally, for a point of comparison, here are the greenhouse-gas emission reductions achieved with the efuture tool, for the same scenario as above. The only difference is in this case, nuclear remains forbidden:

In this case the 2050 emissions are acceptably low, although still almost double that under the nuclear-allowed scenario. To achieve this outcome, there will need to be a far greater reliance on carbon capture and storage to do the job (around a third of total supply). This is unlikely to appeal to most environmentalists.

The estimated cost for this scenario is about $150 per megawatt hour (wholesale), compared to $110 per megawatt hour when nuclear is permitted for otherwise the same modelling selections.

We can each draw our own conclusions from this scenario building. That is a great thing about modelling of alternatives, where the user is given flexibility – trade-offs can be made explicit and transparent.

For me, the overriding message is this: nuclear plus renewables equals cost-effective decarbonisation. Excluding nuclear means higher greenhouse-gas emissions, higher cost, and more fossil fuels with CCS.

Join the conversation

169 Comments sorted by

  1. Grendelus Malleolus

    Senior Nerd

    There was a lot that was wrong with the white paper. Ignoring nuclear within the scenario analysis is a decision of ignorance. Including it does not mean that the government is committing to it, but in true scenario analysis the idea is to map the uncertainty boundaries - leaving nuclear out of consideration results in potentially flawed decision making.

    For the record, I am not convinced that nuclear would cost as little as you suggest - I think that social and political factors, as well as NIMBY factors will drive costs higher.

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    1. Sean Manning

      Physicist

      In reply to Grendelus Malleolus

      Exactly.
      I thought white papers were supposed to be unbiased, why then would this one be politically safe buy not even trying to make the case for nuclear power?

      What a waste of time and money.

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    2. Barry W. Brook

      Professor of Climate Science, ARC Future Fellow at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Grendelus Malleolus

      Regarding costs, these are the estimates from BREE 2012, rather than anything hand picked by me or the CSIRO. So the scenario I presented (only one of many, as noted), is model-generated based on cost etc. assumptions that underpin the whole EWP2012, so it's simply an outcome of the inputs.

      The nuclear costs in BREE also tally with Nicholson et al 2010 meta-review, see TCASE 14: Assessment of electricity generation costs: http://bravenewclimate.com/tcase14

      However incomplete, the Inclusion…

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  2. Sean Manning

    Physicist

    Any proposal for the national low carbon energey production future that does not include nuclear is built on shortsighted, ignorant, dogmatic thinking. Despite what the uninformed will protest, nuclear is clean, safe, reliable and, as it stands, is the only realistic baseload capable technology for delivering low carbon emmisions.

    I am a patriotic Australian, but I am ashamed of our stance when it comes to all things nuclear.

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    1. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to Sean Manning

      @Tim Scanlon:

      Nuclear power does not have to be Gen 4 to be incredibly valuable, important, reliable, scalable and safe.

      Most of the nuclear power operating in the world today is not Gen 4, but it (Gen. 2 / Gen. 3 / Gen. 3+ fission power engineering) still economically and safely generates an enormous amount of energy, scalably and extremely reliably, with capacity factors higher than anything else.

      Most nuclear power systems that are commercially available off the shelf today are Gen3/Gen3…

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    2. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Sean Manning

      @ Luke Weston

      All your renewable "can nots" are the typical "argument" of a baseloader and are juvenile false equivalence.

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  3. John Newlands

    tree changer

    It's worth remembering that while electricity costs have skyrocketed it's not yet clear if there has been any significant emissions reduction. From memory 2010 emissions were 540 Mt CO2e, 2011 was 546 Mt and for 2012? Climate scientists tell us we need to ultimately reduce the CO2 rate by 80% or more. We're obviously not going to achieve that the way we've been going. Therefore everything must be on the table.

    So far only small decrepit coal stations have been retired. Big CO2 cuts must mean large units like Hazelwood are mothballed long before they are due to retire. I don't believe any affordable combination of new renewables can achieve that reliability of output. The Germans seem to be proving this by building their own new brown coal fired stations. Therefore nuclear has to be considered.

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to John Newlands

      The German trope is a bit tired. They have a huge renewable energy sector that is only getting bigger. The new power plants are to replace their nuclear plants, which the locals have demanded be shut.

      Renewables are reliable and proven, please stop with the obfuscation.

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  4. Zvyozdochka

    logged in via Twitter

    Are we all able to agree that CCS is fantasy? Barry?

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    1. Barry W. Brook

      Professor of Climate Science, ARC Future Fellow at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Zvyozdochka

      I think it is unlikely IF nuclear is allowed as a competitor, not because of technological failure, but because it MUST include a carbon price to be viable compared to non-CCS, and given such a price (on the order of $30-50/tCO2e), nuclear beats it (both in terms of cost and low emissions intensity).

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    2. Wil B

      B.Sc, GDipAppSci, MEnvSc, Environmental Planner

      In reply to Zvyozdochka

      If people doubt that nuclear power risks can be overcome or that it can be affordable, these doubts need to be doubled or more for CCS. It'll never work, it'll never get beyond demonstration status. I place far more expectation on Gen IV nuclear power than CCS.

      All that aside, it's not completely unreasonable for the White paper to treat nuclear in the fashion it has, since after all, nuclear power is clearly illegal in Australia, and there would be massive, massive costs for the first reactor, not for technical reasons but to get over the socio-legal hump.

      That, of course, is something that Barry Brook is working to address through this article and at his blog.

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  5. Tim Scanlon

    Debunker

    Figure 6.1 just pisses me off.

    Is this the grand plan? The scenario voters are meant to approve? I'll be an old man and my newborn son will be middle aged, and yet this plan would see virtually nothing change in that time that will prevent climate change worsening.

    This white paper is a joke.

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  6. Zvyozdochka

    logged in via Twitter

    Barry, would you agree that if there were a build-out of NPPs, peaking gas continues to be required unless of course there is a significant overbuild of NPPs resulting in some with low CFs?

    Similar to our own work, eFuture seems to show gas use similar for baseloads with peaking or renewables with top/back-up.

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    1. Barry W. Brook

      Professor of Climate Science, ARC Future Fellow at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Zvyozdochka

      Depends on relative economics of overbuild and large-scale energy storage. Currently excess coal power is used to run pumped hydro - no reason nuclear couldn't do this instead. More pumped hydro, fewer gas peakers required.

      I can't comment on "our own work" unless you provide a link.

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    2. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Zvyozdochka

      "I can't comment on "our own work" unless you provide a link."

      What I'm suggesting is that gas use in NPP baseload model requires peakers which appears similar to gas use in renewables plus backup/top-up in eFuture.

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    3. Dave Smith

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Zvyozdochka

      Zvyozdochka,

      I expect that for nuclear to fit into a generation portfolio dominated by intermittents (PV & wind) it would need to have a large amount of thermal storage attached to it, and perhaps also some excess generating capacity. That would allow the reactor to run baseload, with electricity output varying to complement the intermittents. It would add to the cost, but is probably not technologically difficult (eg with molten salt storage, as used by solar thermal).

      I don't think there is enough pumped hydro storage (actually or potentially) to do the job.

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    4. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Zvyozdochka

      @ Dave Smith

      ... but if you go on Brave New Climate you'll see commentary that molten salt thermal storage somehow isn't fit for commercial deployment.

      I once wrote on BNC that NPPs need storage technology as much as renewables but was howled down for it (because it is fundamentally a technology that renewables need, so as a nuclear booster you can't give that a leg-up).

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  7. Zvyozdochka

    logged in via Twitter

    Last one from me Barry, what would be the % locally sourced content from an Australian NPP build-out program?

    Apart from the advanced steam turbine, in India we're working with utilities aiming for 100% local content on solar thermal w/storage.

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    1. Barry W. Brook

      Professor of Climate Science, ARC Future Fellow at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Zvyozdochka

      First builds would be international consortia like KEPCO in the UAE, but I would hope for Oz we would go for a small modular design like mPower, or even better the IFR-based PRISM that has been proposed by GEH for the UK to dispose of their separated plutonium. Once it was up and running in Australia, I don't see why we wouldn't build them ourselves. But that's decades out.

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  8. David Jones

    Engineer

    Barry, I know you are not responsible for this actual projection but you need to be a bit more critical.
    The scenario shows complete replacement of all of our coal and lignite generation with nuclear within a 6 year period! This is just a fantasy.
    The scenario also shows that on-shore wind generator installation stops in 2020 and (as I read it) not a single generator is then installed for the next 25 years, until they have all been retired. This despite the BREE costings showing on-shore wind to be the cheapest, low carbon generation source apart from nuclear.

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  9. Luke Weston

    Physicist / electronic engineer

    Tim Scanlon, you say that "Germany have a huge renewable energy sector that is only getting bigger."

    However, in 2011, Germany's total wind electrical energy generation was 46.5 TWh. The fact is, the same amount of energy can be generated with a few nuclear power plants with a much smaller land-use footprint and a lower cost. Most notably, though, the energy supplied from nuclear power is supplied with a very high (about 90-95%) capacity factor, making it far more useful and valuable than low-capacity-factor available from wind generation, even if the quantity of energy generated is the same.

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    1. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Luke Weston

      Not only that. Chancellor Merkel just OK'd the building of about 20 coal fired electricity plants that use cheap European carbon credits to meet emissions targets and cheap Polish coal to keep electricity prices down.

      I suggest in future, that those poor lost souls who subscribe to the climate change belief stop using Germany as a poster nation for renewable energy. Germany is an economic and industrial superpower that will not let a little thing like commitments to renewable energy harm their economy.

      When push comes to shove, the Germans will choose industrial output over cuddly green niceness every time.

      Gerard Dean

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    2. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Luke Weston

      @ Luke Weston

      Only fossil-nuke boosters such as yourself attempt to compare wind and nuclear thinking you have a clever argument that no-one has thought of. It's all a bit tedious.

      @ Gerard Dean

      Germany is not building 20 coal plants.

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    3. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Luke Weston

      Luke, normally we're pretty much in full agreeance, so I think I must have not been clear enough. When I say huge and getting bigger, we're obviously talking in relative terms, as Germany is only 6th in renewable capacity, but still much better than Australia's piss poor efforts. Germany has gone from 10% renewables in 2005 to 20% in 2011 (121 TWh) and is now ~25%. Nuclear in Germany has dropped back from 22% to 17%, with the closure of 7 of its 17 plants.

      Now wind power is a 40% chunk of the…

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  10. Mark Harrigan

    PhD Physicist

    Good to see rational discussion of the nuclear option without the discussion being hijacked by anti nuclear zealots.

    We all know nuclear is not without its issues - but then again virtually all options have concerns. The data suggests on available data that sfatey concerns about nuclear are legitimate but overblown/magnified out of proportion to their actual impact.

    What is telling in the above analysis, for which we have Prof Brook and the excellent CSIRO tool to thank, is that the proposed…

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  11. Zvyozdochka

    logged in via Twitter

    I've emailed CSIRO to ask why eFutures does not allow me to do this;

    Combine Wind, PV, Solar Thermal w/storage, hydro and geothermal.

    Maybe the carbon reduction graph looks even better.

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  12. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    I wonder how these graphs look regarding the economic costs of NPP if one factors in a Fukushima or two and the effects on a national economy.

    Oh I know that this "incident" - like Chernobyl before it - was all down to human error, obsolete and poorly designed gear, failures of the regulatory regime and all that... it'll never ever happen again... not here.

    I'd like to see what an actuarial analysis of the NPP option might suggest... let's factor in risk rather than cross our fingers…

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    1. Sam Yates

      Research Fellow

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I'll happily defer to experts, but my understanding is that when weighing up the costs and risks of nuclear power, major disasters such as Chernobyl and of course most recently Fukushima are included — nuclear power still comes out as less damaging of human health and as requiring less land per MW than competing technologies. Part of the problem is that for traditional sources, such as coal, these same costs are often counted as externalities, making for a one-sided comparison.

      If Iran, or most clearly North Korea, had pursued nuclear power in a fashion that did not involve a path towards a nuclear weapons program, there wouldn't be an issue. Nuclear power and nuclear weapons are not the same, and one can adopt the former without facilitating the latter.

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    2. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks for the response Sam.

      I don't KNOW either but I'd appreciate anyone who does know how insurers deal with risk when we plan to build these things getting back in here.

      Owing to the new regime I can't respond to you directly - but strangely I can reply to myself ...so I'll just chat away to myself virtually. Otherwise the response ends up becoming a comment on the article back up top and derails everything.

      While I might not KNOW I can speculate a bit.

      I think it is most unlikely…

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    3. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter Ormonde: "... it'll never ever happen again... not here." Of course it won't. Generation 4 technology is completely safe. Nothing can possibly go wrong; you see, this time they've got it right.

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    4. Marion Brook

      BA, Grad Dip Ed (student)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Peter Ormonde,
      You say:
      "I'd like to see what an actuarial analysis of the NPP option might suggest... let's factor in risk rather than cross our fingers.... let the insurers cast an eye over it."

      And...

      "I don't KNOW either but I'd appreciate anyone who does know how insurers deal with risk when we plan to build these things getting back in here."

      Below is an actuarial report into comparative energy-related risks (in particular read from page 235). It was completed pre-Fukushima but it certainly includes Chernobyl. Nuclear power barely rates compared to the risk of severe accident for gas, coal and oil. Hydro is next safest - at least in terms of accident frequency.

      Energy-Related Severe Accident Database
      http://manhaz.cyf.gov.pl/manhaz/szkola/materials/S3/psi_materials/ENSAD98.pdf

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    5. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @Marion

      Accident risk - how about accident cost?

      If it is so safe it can provide it's own insurance right? No need for the govt to pick up the tab?

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  13. Paul Cm

    logged in via email @gmail.com

    Thanks for the article Barry. And kudos to BREE for ATEA2012 and to CSIRO for the energy future tool - I can see it already cleaning up a lot of myths about renewable and nuclear energy in public debates. It also let's us all demonstrate how fossil fuels won't be needed, contrary to EWP2012's (albeit predictable) energy scenarios rely. I just wish governments/activists/business had access to this info years ago - better late than never!

    On another note, it seems like each day that passes we find even more reason to repeal EPBC 140a. In the meantime, it looks like governments of all persuasions think we should strap ourselves in for another fossil-fueled century.

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  14. MItchell Lennard

    Researcher - Distributed Energy Systems

    While I agree with Prof. Brook that the Energy White Paper could have looked at Nuclear in more detail it is important to remember that the White Paper is not so much a technical assessment but the expression of an misplaced ideological obsession with the primacy of 'the market' and 'the market' will not be looking at Nuclear options, as it is presently focussed on short term rent seeking.

    I would however caution against reference to the ATEA report which does not stand up to even casual scrutiny…

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    1. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Not often you see "everyone else is a lemming" argument for national energy policy.

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    2. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Zvyozdochka, Alex is a well-known and tireless lobbyist for the nuclear industry. He's been known to imply that he'd rather sleep with a naked reactor core than a human being (http://theconversation.edu.au/growing-the-grunt-developing-green-biofuels-for-australia-6954#comment_39125)*; why he'd want to, I'll leave to your imagination.

      Stand by while he tries to convince you that renewables will destroy the planet, but reactors are made from stuff that isn't mined, refined or transported. He'll then tell you that nobody's ever been harmed in any way in the course of nuclear power generation.

      * By the way, how do we link to a comment these days?

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    3. Sam Yates

      Research Fellow

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      David, I know you are employing hyperbole for effect, but by doing so you are misrepresenting Alex's opinion (judging by the comment you linked to.)

      Everyone acknowledges that power generation, no matter the technology, entails risks. The argument is that nuclear power, when compared with other technology, is safer per unit of generation capacity.

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    4. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Sam Yates: "... nuclear power, when compared with other technology, is safer per unit of generation capacity." Taking into account the entire life cycle, no.

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      @ D Boxhall - evidence free unsubstantiated assertions about relative safety do not a valid argument make. The data proves you completely wrong.

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-human-cost-of-energy

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power

      "Despite these accidents, the safety record of nuclear power, in terms of lives lost per unit of electricity delivered, is better than every other major source of power in the world"

      The European Commission has identified nuclear…

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  15. Ben Heard

    Director, ThinkClimate Consulting

    The final emission tally in 2050 is not the only thing that counts. Greenhouse gas is long lived, the impact is therefore cumulative. Emission levels from every year in between all combine to determine the level of additional climate forcing we will put in the atmosphere by 2050. The trajectory is therefore every bit as important as the end result.

    We don't just need to decarbonise, we need to decarbonise quickly. Having just played around with the charts, it looks like the non-nuclear pathway…

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    1. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Ben Heard

      Good points Ben. Everyone seems to forget or neglect these points in the discussion about reducing emissions. Your points were exactly the reason Figure 6.1 annoyed me so much.

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  16. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Marion Brook,

    Thanks for that ... a hefty evening read. More a month!!! I hope I find it re-assuring.

    There's an interesting explanation of the problems associated with estimating risk using a Probablistic Safety Assessment - particularly with nuclear risk ... starting around page 305 that's worth a look as well. Special case - needs more work - too many to count apparently. Dodgy.

    Gets even more specific and critical in Chapter 8.... essentially a whole chapter devoted to why PSA is…

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    1. Marion Brook

      BA, Grad Dip Ed (student)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "I shall read the first chapters using more detailed and informed eyes.
      I shall get back to you if that's OK."

      Sure, whenever, I'll do the same. But just remember, there will always be uncertainties associated with any model, that is to be expected. Show me modelling that doesn't claim uncertainties and I'll show you pseudo-science. Please don't get tangled up in the kind of FUD tactics that are reminiscent of the CC denier camp.

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    2. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - whilst I appreciate your light hearted language and willingness to be at somewhat openminded I would make the following comments.

      1) Any assessment of risk of a power generation option - to be meaningful - has to be conducted in comparison to aall the alternatives - not in isolation. In other the words the framing matters. As Daniel Kahneman tells us (Nobel prize winner and expert on decision theory) people reach very different conclusions when making evaluative judgements about risk…

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  17. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Ms B,

    Me ... finding a square patch of common flat earth with climate change deniers - Perish the thought!

    No but given the costs per incident data shown on Chapter 7 nuclear is miles away the biggest ticking liability. Not many go wrong. Fewer and Fewer. But gee when they do.

    In April or May the Japanese Government effectively nationalised Tepco - together with its debts, assuming majority control with a payment of $12.5 Billion to keep the company operating while insolvent.

    The…

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  18. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Oh not just light-hearted language Dr Mark...I'm actually feeling rather optimistic about changes here and elsewhere.

    There is outstanding R&D happening. Costs are dropping. The stuff is popping up like mushrooms. The bills are in - changes are happening at least here - with us. And this is despite the bureaucratic sabotage of an entire technology - try getting to grips with current solar policies and assistance in NSW - designed to be totally obscure.

    Be interesting to see a list…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - now you are just being disingenously stupid. Name a house or its contents that has suffered "radiation damage". While you are at it - see if you can get insurance cover for injuries caused by the damaging effects of breathing the pollution associated with fossil fuel use?

      It would appear you are totally oblivious or deliberately ignoring my points about considering all optoins relative to one another. Thats amusing banter but neither rational nor helpful.

      I appreciate the developmens…

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    2. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mark Harrigan: " Name a house or its contents that has suffered "radiation damage"." Umm... Fukushima comes to mind.

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ David - not a single house was damaged by radiation. The houses were damaged by the earth quake and tsunami - your post is ridiculously ill informed.

      @ Peter - likewise - your policy doesn;t cover almost every single conceivable type of damage caused by climate change either (eg storm surge - remind you of anywhere recently? - but you choose not to draw attention to that? And under the radiation section (though radiation can damage a building I do not know) it is excluded in the context of civil disturbance.

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    4. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mark Harrigan: "... not a single house was damaged by radiation." But a great many were made uninhabitable by it.

      You evince that your mind is closed to the probability that the nuclear option is not viable. Denial, it seems, is not just dat river in Egypt.

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Boxhall - dishonesty now David? Given tha you cant justify the "samage" claim you now shifty your ground?

      Once again the actual science proces you wrong

      "Jacobson and Ten Hoeve actually quantify the deadliness of the “dead-zone”—and it turns out to be a reasonably healthy place. They calculate that the evacuation from the 20-km zone probably prevented all of 28 cancer deaths, with a lower bound of 3 and an upper bound of 245. Let me spell out what that means: if the roughly 100,000 people…

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    6. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mark Harrigan: "Given tha you cant justify the "samage" claim you now shifty your ground?" I haven't shifted anything. It seems we define "damage" (or "samage") differently.

      To me, making a house uninhabitable constitutes damage. I think you'll find the law agrees.

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    7. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ David - now you have't even the honesty to admit your misrepresentation. First you claimed houses were damaged by fukushima - I showed that to be false. Then you claimed they were rendered uninhabitable - I provided links to a published piece of science (which undoubteedly you failed to read) that showed this to be false. Now you conflate the two and pretent you emant the same thing.

      On both counts you are wrong. It must take quite an effort to maintain such an intellectually dishonest position - but then I understand that you are pseduo-skepic when it comes to nuclear - incabable of adjusting your beliefs regardless of evidence

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    8. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Charles Brown: "Depends how you define damage. I'd say the homes in the Chernobyl exclusion zone have been damaged." So would most of us. I'm surprised that none of the nuclear faithful has called you a liar or accused you of moving the goal posts.

      Homes in the exclusion zone were rendered uninhabitable by radioactive fallout. Legally, contamination is classified as damage; for example, environmental damage by pollution.

      According to nuclear enthusiasts:
      - radioactive fallout does not involve radiation and
      - contamination by radioactive fallout is not damage.

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    9. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Zvyozdochka
      Sorry but a number of errors in logic you have made I think - though good points regardless

      1) Why single out NSW? - the East cost is (reasonably) well interconnected. That would be a better example. Also - while the demand ranged by about 50% in NSW who said anything about building nuclear to supply 100% of demand?? Certainly not me. I have been abundantly clear that nuclear plus renewables is my preferred option. I don't have the simulation tools to work out details but I…

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  19. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    @ Dr Harrigan,

    Let me assure you there is nothing whatsover disingenuous about my stupidity.

    I just used a bit of ingenuity and checked. A random goole up pops AAMI. There buried on page 25 under "Riot, civil commotion or public disturbance" comes: "What we do not cover " and right down the bottom comes: "Loss or damage caused by nuclear or biological devices".

    Now I'd have a stab at this - stupidly if you like - and guess that AAMI is not alone in this.

    If you want the links for…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      By the way Peter - which part of my post did you not understand demonstrating that the economic cost to Japan of turning off nuclear and moving to gas (their only viable alternative) will cost more than 10 x the amount to maintain their nuclear fleet?

      Amd that's without counting the emissions cost on the climate.

      How can you seriously argue this is a better outcome or anything remotely resembling logic if you invoke just one side of the economics and not the other?

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    2. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mark Harrigan: :... the economic cost to Japan of turning off nuclear and moving to gas (their only viable alternative) ...". Assertion does not evidence make.

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      David - indeed assertion does not evidence make - through you seem to be high on assertion and zero on evidence.

      Perhaps you have just been too lazy to read the links I provided?

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/07/29/japans-future-fossil-or-nuclear/

      "So over the next two decades, the cost of replacing nuclear with fossil fuel generation will be about $1.2 trillion, most of it in the cost of natural gas. This cost does not include financing, insurance or other non-operating or…

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    4. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Mark Harrigan

      Your favoured Forbes 'analyst' appears to start by assuming the nuclear capacity must be replaced plant for plant.

      Japan has not built an additional fossil plant yet to my knowledge while nuclear was providing ~27% of national capacity in 2010.

      So the WORST we can say is that they're running existing fossil plant at higher CFs which certainly means higher short-term imports of fossil fuel, not build-outs.

      The new energy policy called for demand to be controlled and additional fossil fuel reduction capacity via new renewables to be phased in as quickly as possible. Also in line was ~23GW of conventional geothermal which neatly replaces their nuclear capacity (without the Fukushima reactors) fuel free.

      So I think those numbers pretty quickly fall apart.

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @Zvyozdochka

      Alas, no, I'm afraid

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-09/japan-utilities-emit-record-co2-after-fukushima-disaster.html

      By the way - calling me a "nuclear booster" does nothing to further the discussion. I could just as easily call you a nuclear denier and it would hardly help would it?

      If anyone is prepared to rationally debate and discuss the matter with evidence and not assertion I will be pleased to do so

      My main concern is avoiding significant warming of the…

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    6. Luke Weston

      Physicist / electronic engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It's pretty obvious that by "nuclear or biological devices" they mean nuclear and biological weapons.

      By the way, how many examples in history have there been, where somebody's home or property has been damaged or destroyed by nuclear power? None that I'm aware of.

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    7. Charles Brown

      Retired

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      " how many examples in history have there been, where somebody's home or property has been damaged or destroyed by nuclear power?" Depends how you define damage. I'd say the homes in the Chernobyl exclusion zone have been damaged. Nuclear advocates adopt a conveniently narrower view.

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  20. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Now Doc,

    What I am interested in doing here is find out how actuaries estimate risk when it comes to large scale - UNLIKELY - but very very expensive incidents. At least as far as AAMI is concerned, they don't - or at least try not to.

    So let us look at damage to Property, incomes, the long-term shutdown of agriculture and fishing,,, serious economic loss. All up for compensation. Folks unable to return home. Jobs one can't return to. Have a look at what life is like around Fukushima on you tube Mark. Seriously.

    In the rare event that something goes seriously wrong - the costs and ramifications can be immense. That's why TEPCO went belly up and has been "nationalised". Costs so far = 2% GDP.

    AAMI just hides under the bed. So does everyone else I suspect. How much cover would TEPCO be carrying - for what?

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    1. Marion Brook

      BA, Grad Dip Ed (student)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter you are trying to imply that nuclear power plants cannot be insured, but that is demonstrably not true. See link below for the website of the American Nuclear Insurers (ANI)

      http://www.nuclearinsurance.com/
      "American Nuclear Insurers (ANI) is a joint underwriting association created by some of the largest insurance companies in the United States...

      ANI’s members include many of the largest insurance companies in the United States."

      You say: "What I am interested in doing here is find out how actuaries estimate risk when it comes to large scale - UNLIKELY - but very very expensive incidents"

      Perhaps this much shorter (6 page) 'overview' of the Severe Accident Database I pointed you towards previously will help.

      http://gabe.web.psi.ch/research/ra/pdfs/ENSAD_Overview.pdf

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  21. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Mark,

    I do not disagree with the material you posted. I do not know enough about what I am looking at to agree or disagree. Nor am I seeking to undertake some sort of cost benefit analysis

    All I know Mark is that the taxpayers of Japan are now saddled with a bill for $125 Billion US Dollars - and growing fast. That is a heck of a subsidy. I just wonder how they factor in these unlikely but terribly expensive risks. I suspect they don't.

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - do you still not get i?. The $125Billion bill has come about because of a 1 in a century tsunami damaged a nuclear plant that was poorly sighted and badly managed. It clearly DOES indicate nuclear is not risk free - and if it is to be considered it needs better monitoring and oversight.

      But it appears you still fail to understand.

      The choice Japan now faces is to either switch off nuclear (and go gas) or rebuild nuclear (one would hope with better management). The difference in cost economically and environmentally between those two choices is stark. If you frame it only in terms of nuclear or no nuclear it leads to a bad outcome and is irrational - so why do you persist?

      If Japan chooses to switch off its nuclear the cost is ten times the cost of retaining nuclear - and that is not considering the emissions/climate impact. For you to just look at one side of the situation is a fallacy of poor framing and is, quite frankly, plain dumb

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  22. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Mark Harrigan

    I know you are trying to "frame the discussion" onto something you feel more comfy about - the impeccable and getting better safety record of nuclear power. Keelhaul might be the appropriate word.

    Straw men abound. First up I'm not advocating Japan shuts off its nuclear plants or that these decisions are simple and obvious. What I am suggesting - what the facts testify - is that thanks the everything that went wrong, Japanese taxpayers - not the investors or the insurers…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - it has nothing to do with what I am comfy about (how could this be comfortable for anyone?)- despite your long winded rhetoric you are still avoiding the issue. Regardless of "who pays" (ultimate it is always the consumer - whether through purchase or tax) the facts are that there would ,on the numbers we both agree on, have to be 9 more Fukushimas in the next 10 years in Japan before it would be economically equal for Japan to go gas versus maintain nuclear - and again - that's without…

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    2. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mark Harrigan: "... you choose to be irrational and cherry pick and obfuscate ...". Mark, can't the same charges be laid against you?

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Again further unsubstnatiated slurs from you Mr Boxhall - but it seems you will do that when you lack an argument and evidence.

      I've provided links to credible economic sources that point out the genione cost dilema that japan faces. That it will cost them ten times as much to switch off nuclear than to maintain it - and that it will involve a huge increase in emissions.

      You seem to wish to remain in denial about it.

      But if you can point to evidence that shows this is wrong I, and no doubt the Japansese decision makers, will be pleased to see it

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  23. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Mark I know this is annoying - but I am not in fact abandoning nuclear power in favour of gas, wind-power, geothermal or anything else - but a critical factor in examining the values implicit in an investment decision is risk, it's estimation and possible consequences.

    See the chance that my solar panels massacre the town is remote. The chance that your new Omega model under bunk fast breeder might take out industries all over the place? Or do we just ignore it... this real-world consequence of scale.

    Seems unfair somehow.

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Sigh - Peter you still don't get it.

      a critical factor you are missing in an investment decision is the evaluation against alternatives - it's a classic mistake - make an evaluation as if the cost of doing nothing, or the alternatives was zero.

      It isn't.

      A proper approach weighs the cost in conext of all the alternatives. I've set those out for Japan and the no nuke scenario alternative is a dog

      By the way - the chance that your solar panels can supply ALL of the "town's needs", especisally its industry is not just remote, it's zero.

      believe me - if there was a credible scenario that involved 100% solar/wind etc without either nuclear or fossil fuels I'd embrace it. I bet the japanese would too. No one has ever been able to credibly put one forward. And in Japan there certainly isn't one.

      You need to confront the uncomfortable truth that your advocacy means you are in favour of more climate change. I'm not.

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    2. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mark Harrigan: :... a critical factor ... in an investment decision is the evaluation against alternatives ...". The alternatives you repeatedly present are nuclear or AGW, which is misleading. The dichotomy is false.

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      David - in order to claim my dichotomy is false you have to present a credible scenario that involves use of 100% renewables - I've challenged you numerous times to this and you've failed.

      But then unsubstnatiated evidence claims are your forte

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    4. Charles Brown

      Retired

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      " in order to claim my dichotomy is false you have to present a credible scenario ". No Mark, you have to validate your dichotomy.

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    5. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Charles. I have validated the dichotomy. I have established that the costs and risks of AGW are significant and that there is no credible scenario to avoid them involving 100% renewables.

      Therefor nuclear as part of the tool box is required and using it would lower the cost and damage risk/impact profile

      See my Post to Peter Ormonde on the figures all of which is based on referenced data

      Which part of it did you not understand?

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  24. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Sigh ..... Gee Mark - if I was remotely interested in evaluating a investment - of any sort - that carried with it some risk - albeit remote - of massive public costs and economic disruption, then I think these should be considered. Don't you?

    Strangely enough there is a cost bit in the cost/benefit approach and this is truly a cost. It is a subsidy. A huge one.

    I am not suggesting that Japan should not build as many nuclear power plants as it likes .... It can have the place bristling with them for all I care. All I'm saying is we should remember who picks up the can when you fellas get it wrong again.

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      So, one minute you are talking about an investment evaluation and now you are not? Does it occur to you you might be shifting ground because the edifice of illogic you have constructed to make your world view comfortable might be being eroded by the evidence?

      Of course I think the points you raise should be considered. The data I have presented does. It's not pleasant - and clearly there needs to be more work down to avoid the socilaisation of such losses when they do occur.

      But why is it…

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  25. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Mark,

    Obviously nuclear power - the prospect of it - it's role - the grand mission - saving the world - well those bits we'd trust with them - even "peaceful atoms". I know it gets you rather excited and aroused.

    But your enthusiasm should not blind you to the fact that when the impossible happens - as it does and probably will again - it's the public that carries the bill.

    All I want to understand is how that risk - remote though it is - is carried. TEPCO by all appearances was not insured for anything like the consequences of it's disaster. Both to itself as a business and in the incident itself and its aftermath. First thing TEPCO went belly up.

    Do nuclear power suppliers and generators carry insurance? If so for what? It's obviously not enough.

    It would be lovely if you can answer any of these genuine - if stupid - questions Mark.

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - that's a regulatory question. It would be possible to construct a framework that required them to do so - but as you know such insurance would be capped. Marion has provided good information as to what the actuarial calculatios would be. But again you still commit the fallacy of considering only side of the issue - you are framing in isolation and so see only the cost of nuclear - not the cost of no nuclear.

      Are you aware that climate change poses the risk of making some aeras uninhabitable…

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  26. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Ms Brooks.

    You must get over this habit of skipping the fine print.

    Specifically - examine those parts of the ANI "insurance" that are excluded and capped. I'm actually interested in what these generators and suppliers are insured for - $300 million by the look of it max. But the exclusions? It's a significant list Marion.

    It's here: http://www.nuclearinsurance.com/Insurance.html

    "Liability Policy Features".

    Interesting to see which speicific stakeholder is also excluded from any sort of cover or indemnity - the US Government. That's called underwriting. That's a subsidy.

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    1. Marion Brook

      BA, Grad Dip Ed (student)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "You must get over this habit of skipping the fine print."

      Ha! You've got to be kidding! You are effectively sticking your fingers in your ears and singing LaLaLa whenever you are presented with information that does not confirm your anti-nuclear bias. If anyone is ignoring information here Peter, it's you.

      Peter, think about it. Insurance is your major gripe? Really? Even after you've seen the analysis and know that NP is our safest on demand generator - this is your reason for not pursuing…

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    2. Marion Brook

      BA, Grad Dip Ed (student)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      And you are wrong. If there is anything Chernobyl and Fukushima have taught us it is that the consequences of a nuclear power accident is no worse than any of our other large-scale, on-demand alternatives. Compare:

      Hydro: The Banqiao Dam disaster: An eventual total of approximately 175,000 fatalities. The huge dam wall failed sending a massive wall of water down the valley. An unimaginable 25,000 people were killed in the immediate disaster. Over the next few years a further150,000 people died…

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  27. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Coy flattery will get you nowhere I tell you darling!

    Yes - it is regulatory. And at least according to that ANI link Marion just slipped me - and the 1998 report earlier on, the actual consequences of a severe level 7 incident - of the significance of Chernobyl or Fukushima are beyond the scope of insuring.

    $300 million wouldn't fix the breached container wall, or the cooling system - not that it could be used for because that's excluded quite specifically from coverage as are clean-up costs and site repairs.. The company is up for all that. Oooops, they're bankrupt - well one would be wouldn't one?

    That by my book is not insurable - not insurable - at all. Not to any relationship with what is at stake. We do that. We taxpayers.

    Most curious.

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  28. David Boxall

    logged in via Facebook

    I've lived through most of the history of nuclear power. Heard the early promises; seen the costs; heard more promises. There comes a time when sanity and decency demand we acknowledge that the horse is dead.

    What's happening makes bad jokes about harnessing more dead horses together to improve performance look like models of clear thinking. We don't have time for that.

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    1. Charles Brown

      Retired

      In reply to David Boxall

      Elsewhere, I read a comment that nuclear is no more than a continuation of the "extract and exploit" mentality that got us into this mess. I think it might be time to come up with some new mistakes. We'll still go down the gurgler, but it won't be as boring.

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  29. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Marion.

    You cited ANI as evidence that insurance was available for nuclear plants. I looked up what that insurance actually covered - and excluded. It's insurance, but not for anything remotely like the potential costs.

    See you misunderstand if you think I am stirred by some anti-nuclear "denialism". I am looking at this - or attempting to - economically. So while you (and most others) are interested in deaths and cancer rates, I am interested in things like economic loss.... the stuff that…

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    1. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I also looked at this ANI site and found this:

      "ANI's liability coverages are designed to satisfy the requirements of the federal Price-Anderson Act which established a framework for handling potential liability claims that could arise in the event of a nuclear incident."

      The Price-Anderson Act only provides for about $12 Billion in liability coverage. All extra is covered by the government.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price-anderson_act

      "Offsite environmental cleanup costs arising…

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    2. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Garry - terrific - can you point to this credible renewables scenario that doesn't involve a fair amount of gas - as does the Diesendorf plan http://www.ies.unsw.edu.au/docs/diesendorf-simulations.pdf (by the way - by far the best I've seen). Or isn;t the scenario above which has significant fossil fuels and the fantasy land of CCS?

      If you mean BZE then we have very different definitions of what "credible" means - since that plan assumes we will be using less than half the energy by 2020 than we do today without any damage to the economy.

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    3. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Mark Harrigan

      "can you point to (a) credible renewables scenario that doesn't involve a fair amount of gas"

      As a nuclear booster you probably don't want to go down that rabbit hole, as Barry's chosen graph shows and as per his reply above, unless you want a huge over-build of low CF NPPs, there's a LOT of gas used in baseload (peaking).

      Of course in a baseload scenario you can't get rid of it unless you're building storage as well, but nuclear booster can't have that because poof! goes one of the common anti-renewable arguments as well. In a renewable scenario you can keep learning/tuning your technology mix to get rid of the backup/top-up gas.

      Baseload and peaking gas go together - nuclear boosters won't admit it - ever.

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    4. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @Mark

      The Diesendorf scenario uses 28TWh of gas/biofuels. Is that about 15%?

      And as Zvyozdochka points out - nuclear needs peaking gas too.

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    5. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @Mark

      "... using less than half the energy by 2020 than we do today..." - If you measure local PV generation as a reduction in demand then that may well happen. PV is already cheaper than retail prices.

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    6. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Gary - yes, 28TWh and 15% - although some many have critqued that as optimistic and a figure of up to 30% as more plausible given the high reliance on wind and rapid devlopements in CST the plan assumes - which is also an issue in relation to roll out times. But still, as I said, I really admire the work of Diesendorf. Although I've yet to see his plans costed and early costings for CST are pretty high - which is a concern - and unlike PV - which benefits from signifccant learnign curve cist reductions due to volume - I'm not so optimistic about these costs reaching the required levels.

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    7. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Gary again - sorry Garry, you say "If you measure local PV generation as a reduction in demand then that may well happen. PV is already cheaper than retail prices. " in response to my questioning the credibility of energu usgae dropping by half by 2020.

      I'm only half with you there and suggest the evidence is against this optimism on your part.

      PV is indeed already cheaper (as I think I've noted elsewhere - which is very encouraging). But residential is about 28% of total consumption. So even if it went 100% rooftop PV (which I think we can agree is unlikely) it cannot possibly have the impact you hope for.

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    8. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Zvyozdochka
      "Of course in a baseload scenario you can't get rid of it unless you're building storage as well"

      I think you may be in error about this - or at least mis representing the situation

      French PWRs use "grey" control rods, in order to replace chemical shim, without introducing a large perturbation of the power distribution. These plants have the capability to make power changes between 30% and 100% of rated power, with a slope of 5% of rated power per minute. Their licensing permits…

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    9. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @Mark
      re: PV usage

      How about light industrial and lower density commercial? Is there any reason they can't use rooftop PV?

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    10. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Gary - Re PV.

      An excellent question. The short answer would be yes, many reasons why they couldn't use it 100% but no reason why a few could not use it in part?

      I'm not aware of any studies on this but having run a modest sized commercial services business and a small manufacturing business I would say there are significant reasons why even modest commercial businesses would find it difficult and manufacturers almost impossible - though not all are insurmountable

      1) Commercial and Light…

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    11. Marion Brook

      BA, Grad Dip Ed (student)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You say you are not "stirred by denialism" but you keep moving the goal posts (a typical denialist fall-back). First you claim we can't insure nuclear power because it is too dangerous. Then, when you discover it is our least dangerous bet, you shift the posts a little, now we can't insure NP because, although it is the least likely option to suffer a severe accident, it's accidents are the biggest, most destructive, uninsurable accidents imaginable. Now that you have discovered that actually NP…

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    12. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @Mark

      You give me too little credit. I have considered these things.

      Re leasing - PV systems could / can? be leased. And commercial leases are usually quite long-term. Or owners could instal them and then their use would be part of the lease agreement.

      You are correct about demand / generation matching. I was surprised you didn't bring it up earlier. To make a significant impact on total grid demand the PV would have to be matched with some storage. Heat/cold or battery.

      And there are obviously other methods of demand reduction. Pink batts anyone?

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    13. Charles Brown

      Retired

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      A mate in the insurance industry once told me that, if I want to find the cover that I really need, it will be listed in my insurance contract under the heading "Exceptions and exclusions".

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    14. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      A Garry - fair enough I'll take your word for it that you have considered it. But with due respect none of your posts (including the latest) have shown this

      1) I'm not sure you understand commcercial leasing. You state "And commercial leases are usually quite long-term. Or owners could instal them and then their use would be part of the lease agreement." Office and building leases are typically for 3 years with a 3 year extension -sometimes, but rarely, longer - but almost never 20 years…

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    15. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Mark

      Re leasing:

      If PV panels can produce electricity for less than the grid can provide it - the companies involved will sort out the details. They already have a payback period of around 10 years.

      Re pink batts:
      I was just providing an example of energy efficiency. I was not suggesting they alone would reduce demand by 50%.

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    16. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Gary - I agree some enlightened building owners may do it and I have already set out the basis on which it might work in some instances. I hope some do and I expect some will and this will all help.

      But the point is you attempted to claim that BZE might be realistic scenario because its claim of a 50% reduction in power might be acheived, first by residential, then by commerical.

      I have comprehensively demolished that claim based on evidence and arguments you have been unable to even remotely…

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    17. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Mark

      You have sidetracked the debate into whether or not the 50% reduction in grid demand is possible. Maybe it is - maybe it isn't. That doesn't decide the question of whether or not a renewables system is credible.

      The Deisendorf simulation shows that it is possible. Although a little on the expensive side. But I am fairly sure the costs could be reduced quite significantly by using more wind and siting it closer to the demand centres and by reducing demand via rooftop PV (maybe not 50% though).

      I don't see how you can accuse me of fantasising and frankly I am a little offended. I am making realistic extrapolations based on current technologies and prices.

      Nuclear power also requires peaking gas and/or storage and/or overbuild. The only advantage nuclear has over distributed renewables is that it requires less capacity of gas backup (for those difficult weeks).

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    18. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Gary. With due respect this article is about the role of nuclear in the future energy vision of Australia with respect to addressing the problems of climate change. All my posts have addressed this (although I confess to have taken a global perspective as well). You can hardly accusing me of sidetracking the debate if I address points you raised.

      You made the unfounded assertion (criticising my posts) that there were credible renewables scenarios that addressed the problem.

      I have shown…

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    19. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Gary - I have reviewed my posts to you. I did suggest one of your arguments was fanciful and later suggsted that people generally fantasizing was a problem.

      No offence was intended to you personally (I think others are guilty of ridiculous fantasizing) but I can understand why you might have taken it so I apologize.

      My point, which I am sure you understand, is that realism and being evidence based is required. It is no point wishing that renewables can address the problem on their own when the evidence to support this claim says otherise

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    20. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Mark Harrigan

      "I have also shown that nuclear does not need the overbuild etc you assert."

      Actually, what you have shown is that you very seriously misunderstand the concept of plant capacity factor and its relationship to the delivered price of energy.

      Roughly speaking a low fuel cost plant like an NPP with a 90% CF LCoE ~10c/kWh will have a ~20c/kWh delivered COST if you run it at 50% CF.

      You can't build a fleet of NPPs able to meant the infrequent although regular "peak" demand and…

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    21. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      That's nice Zvyozdochka.

      But nowhere in my post did I make a cost argument of any sort (except in relation to mitgastion of climate damage versus cost of a power plant accident - very different from what you are talking about. I was simply challenging your assertion that ""Of course in a baseload scenario you can't get rid of it unless you're building storage as well"

      I understand capacity factors quite well. Perhaps, in relation to nuclear, much better than you apparently.

      What you assert…

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    22. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Mark Harrigan

      Why are you talking about massively interconnected France with 25GW of hydro?

      "your argument seems to be because nuclear needs gas too you can't argue use of gas is a weakness in renewables scenarios"

      Yes, well spotted. Another argument the nuclear-boosters use crushed handily.

      I also suggest, if you had a suite of renewables with gas backup/top-up, that you can continue to work on the mix of renewables with the goal of eliminating gas use, where-as the alternative with NPPs is to build many more of them with low CFs. The economics of NPPs would blow out further than they already are.

      Nuclear has no future in Australia, neither socially, as a rapid response to decarbonising electricity generation or even economically (the REALLY awkward bit).

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    23. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Zvyozdochka - sorry, hit post but the system went haywire and I lost my reply - apologies if it appears twice
      I'll try and adress your points one by one.
      1) I introduced France because their use of the fuel rod cycle insertion in the reactor across their fleet allows them to follow demand - thus refuting your claim that this could not be done (you were focusing on a single plant). I think it fallacious to focus on what a single plant can do in comparison to what a fleet of renewables can do…

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    24. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Mark Harrigan

      1) I'm not making a TECHNICAL argument about the load following capabilities (questionable as they are for NPPs) but the effect on the COST of delivered energy. Running a very high capital cost but low-fuel cost plant at a lower CF increases the cost of the delivered energy. It's not difficult, but somehow ruining the economics of such plants "makes your argument".

      2) Hydro's ~30% share in France largely explains why they don't use much gas. We do not have the same resource…

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    25. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Zvyozdochka
      Replying point by point (and thanks for the rational evidence based engagement by the way)
      1) I know you are not making a technical argument. Perhaps I have not made myself clear. You keep talking about a single reactor - in which case your economic concerns are spot on. As I have tried to make clear in France they do this across a fleet of plants. The use of "grey" rods and control of insertion allows the interconnected fleet of plants to load follow without lowering the overall…

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    26. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Mark Harrigan

      1) We're not getting anywhere here.

      2) I was referring to installed capacity (hence GW) and you're talking about energy (TWh). The figure I gave was incorrect as it should be ~25% hydro installed capacity (ie GW) depending on source.

      3) "There is no credible renewables scenario that doesn't use emissions producing gas. The question is how much over the period ..." The question of gas use in a largley renewable scenario doesn't stand there absolute on it's own because it is…

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    27. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Zvyozdochka
      1) We're not getting anywhere here because you refuse to acknowledge that you are talking about a single plant and I am talking about a fleet of reactors
      2) Fair point - we are both accurate. Intalled capacity is then a measure of the degree to which the french can respond to short terms fluctuations but delivered power is a measure of the maxium degree they had to - so I would suggest my figure is a better guid to the practical situation
      3) I agree it is a relative use question…

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    28. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @ Mark Harrigan

      1) I'm happy to take this step by step. Take one regional example here;

      http://www.nemweb.com.au/mms.GRAPHS/data/DATA201202_NSW1.csv

      NSW demand ranged to ~11500MW Feb 2012.

      How many 1000MW nuclear power plants do I need without using gas? I need twelve (well, twelve plus one actually, but different argument).

      What capacity factor do you calculate from the data?

      5) Perhaps you should read more widely.

      http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_and_global_warming/nuclear-power-cost.html

      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/4eafbd0a-d298-11e1-8700-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2Celhwcdd

      6) Germany believes they'll get to 40% electricity from renewables by 2020.

      If we started TODAY building NPPs we wouldn't see their % reduction in emissions until 2040!!!!

      Remind me again who is the one "wishing" on a magical technology?

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  30. Marion Brook

    BA, Grad Dip Ed (student)

    @ Peter Ormond.

    Governments underwrite projects, infrastructure, organisations and industries of all kinds, from a "billion-dollar gas pipeline". http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/feds-asked-to-help-territory-underwrite-rios-gas-pipeline/story-fn59niix-1226511071540 to domestic building insurance.

    For example, this is what Victoria underwrites: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=economics_ctte/state_gov_insurance_2011/report/c02.htm

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Marion Brook

      Hey - excellent - I get the last word... and in a proper reply!

      Marion:

      Ormonde - not Ormond.... to us, the e is actually quite important - we don't talk about the folks who dropped the e and why. You are obviously confusing me for one of them. :)

      Moving goalposts - no. I'm not saying nuclear plants are "too dangerous" - I am saying - the insurance industry is saying - Fukushima is saying - that even while such risks are small enough to be literally unthinkable - or beyond imagining…

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    2. Charles Brown

      Retired

      In reply to Marion Brook

      "spiteful conspiracies of tides, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and a blocked pump ....". I think the term is "Black Swan": that which all our knowledge and experience tells us can't happen ... until it does.

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  31. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Marion Brook.

    Marion. Stop shooting at me I'm only the messenger here.

    All I am doing is pointing to the fact - something scientists should run to with open arms - that when it comes to estimating the potential compensable liabilities - the damages - from a nuclear incident the insurance companies and their risk analysis advisers cannot do it.

    Now that is not a contention on my part Marion. It is a FACT.

    It is not that nuclear power is "so dangerous" - or even that it kills so many (or so few of us) - the road toll is far far worse. It is that when the most rare and unlikely - the unthinkable even - happens - the financial consequences - the costs to the economy and the taxpayer - is immense. Beyond estimating. Literally.

    Now you might not like that fact. But then tell me why it is Japan's taxpayers picking up the tab and not the TEPCO insurers.

    Marion, the risk can be miniscule - but the consequences are incalculable.

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    1. Charles Brown

      Retired

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "the risk can be miniscule - but the consequences are incalculable" In risk management terms: low probability, high seberity.

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    2. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Charles Brown: "In risk management terms: low probability, high seberity." Today, I had an interesting exchange with a mate who works in the insurance industry. The point he made is that, no matter how low the probability, the event is inevitable. The question is not whether, but when.

      In that light, a low probability, high severity risk is a high risk.

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  32. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    @ Luke Weston.

    Geez Luke - you're a physicist. You reckon you can spot the "obvious" meaning in an insurance policy? Insurers obviously mean weapons. Like they obviously mean "flood" Luke.

    I'm not talking about deaths, injuries, direct physical damage at all... at least not to us. I'm talking about economic loss - compensable liabilities ... the tab.

    That when you shut down the economy of a large slice of your country - create national and regional uncertainty, clip 2% off your GDP…

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  33. Mark Harrigan

    PhD Physicist

    @ Peter Ormonde. Really?? For an apparently intelligent person your series of posts on costs/risk of nuclear accidents are irrationally silly. You claim to be attempting to look at the situation economically and rationally. But you are comprehensively failing to do so by selective cherry picking only one aspect of the reality. Your comments make you appear to be a climate change denier in drag. Superficially concerned but not prepared to do the difficult and hard thinking to address the evidence…

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    1. Charles Brown

      Retired

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark, you and a few others believe that nuclear is a solution. Most of us see it as a problem.

      We've seen the consequences of things going wrong. There's no reason to believe that the same won't happen with the latest and greatest implementations.

      You can select all the studies in the world to support your belief, but history is against you. You haven't a snowflake's chance in Hell of turning around public opinion in time to prevent catastrophic global warming. As has been said elsewhere, you're flogging a dead horse. Continuing on that path is irresponsible, at best.

      Let's call nuclear your "Plan A". Let's accept that it isn't going to happen - not in time to prevent disaster. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with a "Plan B" - one that doesn't incorporate even a whiff of nuclear.

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    2. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      @ Charles. I am not interested in what you or anyone else believes. Only the evidence.

      If you are genuinely concerned you should be too.

      You say "there's no reason to believe the same won't happen with the latest and greatest implementations" - actually there is - and it's considerable. But my above post does NOT even assume that.

      If you wish to incur the higher damages and costs of warmer world, which is what we will have without adopting nuclear as part fo the answer - then at leasat do it with your eyes open - inestead you appear to be blindly dumb about it.

      On the other hand - if you can point to credible evidence that we can keep warming lower with 100% renewables please do so. I agree it would be preferable.

      I've challeneged people on numerous threads to do so - it all comes up with hand waving obfuscation.

      Difficult choices have to be made. Deal with it.

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    3. Charles Brown

      Retired

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      "I am not interested in what you or anyone else believes." All those other people, cluttering up your universe. It's a shame, isn't it?

      Unfortunately for you, what other people believe governs what you can get done. Until you realise that and come to terms with it, all you advocacy is delusion.

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    4. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      @ Charles. I completely agree that what other people believe determiens what gets done.

      So you now you enter the denailist universe too?

      It would appear you have no rational argument or evidence left other than to say - because the majority of people suffer irrational fear uncertainty and doubt about nuclear - which means we face a warmer wolrd - we should continue to let them and us delude ourselevs that we can the problem with 100% renewables and just pretend nothing is happening?

      Very…

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  34. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    And yet. And yet ... for all my apparent stupidity and "denialism" and obtuse rejectionism of this excellent and totally safe alternative, the Japanese taxpayers find themselves saddled with a bull for hundreds of millions of dollars.

    TEPCO aren't saddled with it. The insurers aren't saddled with it.

    Why because TEPCO isn't insured for these tiny weensy risks - too safe to ever be considered these risks apparently. Too safe by half.

    I repeat both for your sake and Marion's, I am not…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter - now you really are acting like a denialist. I never suggested it was totally safe. You are deliberately twisting the picture. I have acknowledged the risks AND the costs AND who picks them up. You have totally failed to acknowledge the issues I have raised.

      That, quite frankly, is now the drag queen stripped bare.

      You are saying you prefer the damages of climate change to nuclear. Sp be it - but at least be honest bout it.

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  35. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Mark - one last time....

    I am not a denialist running about moving goalposts mid-stream.

    I am not asserting that the deaths and casualty figures from nuclear plants are unacceptable. They are - even at the worst of scales like Fukushima - far less than a day's road toll in Mumbai for example. I am NOT talking about deaths or illness Mark.

    I am talking about dollars. About the costs of compensation for economic loss - borne by taxpayers and borne by the economy as a whole.

    A tiny…

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  36. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    No Doctor Mark ... I am not NOT saying that nuclear should not be considered as an option - it is there it must be considered.

    But when we consider it, we must also consider that buried in the fine print is an unlimited guarantee to cover all costs associated with the unthinkable.... the tiny risk that something big might happen.

    Now that is real. A fact. I am not making that up Mark. That is what is happening at Fukushima. It is the way the industry is designed to operate. It cannot…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      The costs of nculear are real - so are the risks. Clearly any adoption of nuclear as part of the global tool box to combat climate change will have to address these, I agree. I'm not aware anyone is suggesting otherwise?

      I also agree completely with the transparency figure and the accountability for costs - both ways. The nuclear industry can legitimately claim it is reducing global cost and risk to the public through reduction in global warming but must also acknowledge the risk/cost associated with things going wrong. There might be some wort of private/public partnership on that front.

      It's not a one sided issue Peter - as you seem to refuse to acknowledge continually

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  37. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Yes Mark you are absolutely correct - there is a public/private partnership at work.

    This is it: as part and parcel of every nuclear installation, the taxpayer agrees to fully indemnify the proprietors of the plant for the consequences of any incident incurring economic loss. Open-ended. An uninsurable risk. Literally.

    That is the Fukushima "partnership". That was the Harrisburg "partnership". Chernobyl? But in our market economy Fukushima is the partnership that is dictated by the insurance industry and the extremely wide range of economic impacts envisaged by actuaries. Too big to count. Our agricultural industry, say. So far.

    It's expensive when things go wrong. Fortunately they don't go wrong often. But never? Ever? I wouldn't bet on it myself. And neither will the world's insurers.

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  38. Mark Harrigan

    PhD Physicist

    Barry,

    Thanks for the article.

    But I believe as the many posts on this thread show a signifiacnt number of people weigh the visible risks and downsides of nuclear as higher than the fuzzy, more distant risks and impacts fo climate change.

    Although the data is clear that this is irrational (climate change damage is highly likely and orders of magnitude larger in temrs of human and economic cost than the unlikely, but still possible, risk and damage of nuclear accident). This is despite the…

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    1. David Boxall

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Mark Harrigan: "But people are irrational." OK Mark, anyone who disagrees with you is irrational; if that's what you want to believe then it's your funeral. The cogent point is that enough disagree to make nuclear highly improbable within a time frame that will do any good.

      You've convinced yourself that renewables aren't an option. Seems you'd better figure out how to make them one.

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    2. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      David Boxhall. Thank you for that evidence free valueless contribution to the discussion that completely distorted what I said.

      All humans are irrational.. You, me, everyone else. Whether they agree with me or not.

      I have used to evidence to make my case that the current prevailing view about nuclear is a problem. You apparently prefer it to remain that way

      However, I do take your point about people disgareeing with nuclear - but are you denying my right to advocate a rethink?

      I also take your point about trying to make renewables work as much as possible, I am 100% in favour. What do you propose we do if we find that is not enough?

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    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      Nice try Mark... but too glib by half.

      According to your view, anyone who rejects nukes is an anti-warming denialist. Simple that. You either agree with Mark or you are condemned to ignorance and global destruction.

      OK Fukushima shows that it could get expensive, and it needs better regulation and a few "issues" but hey it's better than the damages caused by global warming. So obviously going nuclear is the only alternative. That about it?

      Seems you have already identified your answer…

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    4. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Mark Harrigan

      No Peter Ormonde - you have completely misunderstood what I am saying - repeatedly

      You say "Seems you have already identified your answer to the challenge of global warming Mark - there is only one. And regardless of costs and who wears them, regardless of risk, regardless of the fact that these potential costs are too big and too wide ranging to be insurable, that according to the risk analysts nuclear power is off the scale, that's your one and only answer"

      NO, no, again No. I do not claim…

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  39. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    See Mark I have this problem with the inevitable obvious one and only answer ... and it is a big one.

    When we are told it is safe - kills so few per gigawatt - this is not the complete picture. Far from it.

    So here's a challenge. Track down how the costs of Fukushima or Chernobyl - to the taxpayer and the economy - have been factored into the pricing and cost structures of the nuclear industry.

    When we are told - we disingenuous irrational denialists - that there were no deaths at…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      And if global warming spins out of control because renewables fail to displace sufficient fossil fuels, which is the concern I have, and the damages from this dwarf by orders of magnitude any conceivable damage from nuclear failure - what will you say then?

      The evidence says that increased temperatures are far more likely than a nuclear accident and the damages far greater - but you choose to continue to ignore this. Why?

      I know many renewables advocates claim that we don't need nuclear and…

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  40. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    Mark,

    " the evidence that renewables can displace sufficient fossil fuels to avoid dangerous warming is far from certain...."

    It is certain enough for you to be announcing that the ONLY way to handle warming is to embrace nuclear as part of the solution. That seems pretty certain to me Mark.

    You continue:
    " What is certain is that use of nuclear WILL reduce emissions and hence lower warming."

    Yes it will. But is it necessary - inevitable - the ONLY choice?

    Seems a leap of…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter Ormonde - there is no logic to your post at all - just contined misrepresentation of my arguments and ignoring the evidence.

      You claim to be "somone who thinks we should make informed and rational decisions" then proceed to be completely irrational by examining only one side of the scales (damage from nuclear and who pays) and totally ignore the other side of the scale (damage from climate change and who pays. I maintain it is foolishly irrational to 0lok at only side of the scale but…

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  41. Zvyozdochka

    logged in via Twitter

    @ Mark Harrigan

    "who said anything about building nuclear to supply 100% of demand?"

    (head hits desk!!)

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Zvyozdochka

      @ Zvyozdochka - look at figure 3 in Barry's article above - it shows nuclear meeting 50% of demand in 2050 - deginning to displace fossil fuels around 2030 and vitually eliminating them by 2035. That is what I have been using as rough reference all along - that this should surpise you is why?

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  42. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    No Mark ... now you might believe you are tackling all these AGW denialists and fighting the good fight for Truth and Progress. But that's not how it's coming across mate.

    See you are trying to have an argument - and win it - about whether or not nuclear power is necessary, safe and a vital part of the answer to global warming. Now the trouble is that to have a really successful argument you need two people at least.

    Now I don't care how safe nuclear power is. How inevitable. How logical…

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Did you know that

      http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1017189

      "Because nuclear power affirms rather than threatens the identity of persons who hold individualist values, for example, proposing it as a solution to global warming makes persons who hold such values more willing to consider evidence that climate change is a serious risk"

      I suspect not.

      For the last time - I have acknowledged the costs of Nuclear that you keep banging on about but idiotically refuse to even…

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I normally agree with you on many things, but this fction is a bit much...

      "how come nuclear power is so cheap when the taxpayer is carrying a massive - economically crippling - liability for damages. Yet neither Chernobyl, not Fukushima have seen any readjustment in the figures for their cost structures."

      Ignorance is what climate deniers want to instill. The above is ignorant of the facts.

      1) chernobyl was even in cluded in the Swiss energy safertty report in 1998 and had no ultimate…

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    3. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Oh Gosh - Peter, mine eyes have been opened. You are right. Look at this quote

      "Furthermore, recent experience has shown the liabilities will land on the Federal Government’s doorstep as the insurer of last resort (if not legally, certainly politically)."

      except - oops, what are they talking about?

      https://theconversation.edu.au/world-bank-calls-for-greater-climate-preparedness-in-australia-planning-unravels-10807

      Damage of climate change. How do you suggest we deal with that?

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  43. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    G'day Alex....

    See this is what I'm having trouble with:

    "1) chernobyl was even in cluded in the Swiss energy safertty report in 1998 and had no ultimate effect" ....

    no ultimate effect? So who's doing the counting? What are they adding up Alex, that something that has cost the governments of three countries a decent slab of their GDP for the last 30 years (approaching $500 billion for Ukrain and Byelorussia. .... and it had "no ultimate effect"....

    See it's usually enough to just…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Problem is, Peter, the same as "deniers" -- fact avoidance.

      Chernobyl inclusion in the PSI report "had no ultimate effect" on the safety stats for worldwide nuclear power. Why? How many people die each year from coal emissions alone? Forget miners, etc. How much of China's GDP goes to coal-induced disease? Again, forget miners.

      And, since RBMK reactors have always been illegal outside the USSR, why would we count Chernobyl as a "nuclear power" fault? Do you recall how many died each…

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  44. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    On the new comment stuff -- the browser cursor does not sit at the msg being replied to anymore.

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  45. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    PeterO, since this site no longer allows replys beyond the 1st level, here's mine!

    You say: " Chernobyl didn't cost the industry a dollar. Neither will Fukushima. Just us."

    So, again, are you wanting to outlaw wheels? They kill many thousands at very great cost.

    Combustion power plants also kill thousands of US citizens each year. How do any of those costs compare with the 0 deaths from Fukushima, the few hundred deaths from Chernobyl? And, how does the fact that both Fukushima and…

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Morning Alex,

      Now now play nice.

      I'm not a denialist fact fabricator Alex.

      What I am sayiong is that when we are comparing and evaluating the costs of a power option we have to compare the full costs.

      In no less a way than we look at the 150,000 folks who die every year under the wheels of India's economic miracle. Or we can just deny it - pretend it's not important or significant.

      Now the fact is that Fukushima has cost the people of Japan $125 billion and counting. Chernobyl…

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  46. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Peter, if you insist that nothing is insurable that has the word "nuclear" in it, then how can the 500+ safe nuclear plants around the world continue to work and counter the vast costs of emissions from combustion plants?

    Your use of Fukushima & Chernobyl simply shows the folly of that logic.

    If govt. guarantees for nuclear are as necessary as subsidies for windmills, then nuclear's lower carbon footprint makes the wise choice clear. After all, windmills have killed 2 Californians in the last…

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex,

      It is not me who is insisting that the word "nuclear" is not insurable. It is the insurance industry. It is the actuaries - experts in risk and consequence - who insist on it.

      Read the ANI insurance offered to nuclear installations. Read your own insurance policies.

      There is nothing in there excluding accidents or damage arising from solar panels Alex.

      The fact - the one that everyone seems to be wanting to run away from - is that if the tiny weensy unthinkable accident happens…

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    2. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex - you will never get Peter to see the irrationality and stupidity of his view.

      He is only capable of focusing on the costs of a nuclear accident and who pays. He simply cannot see that it is irrational to do so without also looking at damages produced by climate change (which I have shown are much larger and more certain - even using Peter's overblown estimates of the downsides). He is also incapable of acknowledging that increased nuclear might well avoid some climate change damage - well in excess of potential damage from nuclear - despite the fact I have shown him some simple actuarial style calculations demonstrating this he just ignores it.

      I agree this is his own form of idiot denialism - a combination of fact fabrication with deliberate ignoring of inconvenient facts.

      That this is exactly the approach climate science deniers take with their ability to view the pig picture of climate change is an irony that is totally lost on the man.

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  47. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    PeterO, yet again you miss the fact that govts. can decide to insure anything to promote a valid solution toa problem. That;'s what China, Saudi Arabia, S. Korea, Abu Dhabi choose to do with nuclear power because they see it deriving more long-term benefits and $ than risks.

    You may as well include our bombs dropped on Japan with "nuclear power", given how you twist facts. But even if you did, the safety record would remain superior -- how many years of coal emissions killing >12,000 Americans…

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  48. Alex Cannara

    logged in via LinkedIn

    Thanks MarkH, but as I said, I just care about the info others get, so Peter can maintain his denier stance re nuclear power.

    Many of my fellow Sierra Club members and other enviros are equally obtuse.
    ;]

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    1. Mark Harrigan

      PhD Physicist

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Yes Alex - for the record, I don't have a problem with people opposing nuclear but I regard it as irrational if they do so on the basis of failing to look at the big picture and proper consideration of the evidence.

      I personally have misgivings about the ability of people to manage the nuclear option - not when it goes well which is 99.999% of the time (or better) - but when it goes wrong. However this can be improved by (a) better designs and (b) better accountability and management systems…

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