Nuclear power stations

Does this sound familiar?
I’m not anti our one plant in SA but I maintain they aren’t the way to go in future.
This is just one of the issues that supports this argument.

Please explain what the issue is you see with Nuclear power? The article mentions that many of France’s stations are down because of maintenance, that because of lockdowns were deferred, and now have to take place simultaneously. Would the same not have happened to Coal stations? Do Nuclear plants require more shut-downs for maintenance?

Personally I think that we(humanity) should focus on reducing the energy requirements first, then the problem of clean energy will become a much smaller one to solve. But for the brute force solution, nuclear is a(n evil) necessity.

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Nuclear power hasn’t delivered the goods. It has a lot of promise but never delivers. New builds are always late and the costs rise relentlessly…
They also have the safety issue which the failures of plants around the world have demonstrated.
Then when their lifespan has expired the costs of decommissioning them is also astronomical.

I’m not sure what you are reading. Nuclear is the cheapest and cleanest form of baseload energy. Plants are very reliable, just in SA Koeberg has the highest EAF even while being run poorly.


And lowest cost by far!

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It is a green technology, as carbon neutral as we can hope for. Never mind the carbon is good/bad/scary global catastrophe stuff. Yet the greens hate the big bad scary Nuclear… I fail to understand. They should love the technology…


Looks like we don’t have any on this forum?? :frowning:

Nuclear is not the problem. Nuclear subs, nuclear flight deck ships, Koeberg, lots and lots of nuclear reactors out there today.

Decades of discipline in and around them, that is the challenge.

Fukushima, an earthquake-prone country, next level of discipline is required.

According to ongoing research by environmental radiologist Thomas Johnson at Colorado State University, many areas that experienced unsafe levels of radiocesium (cesium-137) after the meltdown have lower levels of radioactivity than parts of the world like Colorado that experience naturally high background levels. In fact, students that Johnson works with in Fukushima experience the biggest radiation exposures of their trip on their flights home when they cross near the North Pole.

…and …

Radiation may have negative health outcomes for individual animals that live in contaminated zones. But as other research in both Fukushima and Chernobyl have shown, the overall benefit to wildlife from not having humans around is great for healthy populations of many species. Johnson saw a lot of monkeys and other wildlife in the Fukushima Prefecture.

This technology has advanced a great deal in the last 40 years. I know some of the engineers that were involved with the PBMR.

I was also, during my consulting to Eskom time, helping on the New Build Nuclear project. It is as much as I can say. No I am not a physisist or had anything at all to do with the Nuclear side per se. My services were use on that project tho, let’s leave it there. I was involved in some of the control systems at Koeberg prior to the New Builds, Nuclear was abandoned at some point due to funding and a myriad political issues.


Fukushima had one death due to radiation exposure.

Eskom coal plants: “Hold my beer”

On this, I was helping with the monitoring and management systems at Pelindaba when decommissioning their stuff. Yes it is somewhat expensive as everything is high specialised when dealing with contaminated materials. But it is not orders of magnitude higher than say decommissioning a gold mine or a copper mine.



Sweden To Build New Nuclear Reactors: Incoming Govt

By AFP - Agence France Presse

October 14, 2022

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The Barron’s Daily

A morning briefing on what you need to know in the day ahead, including exclusive commentary from Barron’s and MarketWatch writers.

Sweden’s incoming right-wing government said Friday it plans to build new nuclear reactors to help meet the country’s rising electricity needs, shortly after three parties agreed to form a coalition.

“New nuclear reactors will be built”, the leader of the Christian Democrats Ebba Busch told reporters.

Risk = likelihood x severity.

The likelihood of something going wrong at a nuclear station is very very low.

The severity of what happens if things go wrong is usually on the higher side.

The overall risk of nuclear is still below coal, way below it. People tend to look at the severity, and mostly because Chernobyl happened within (some of?) our lifetime, and then they react based on that.

I’m always at pains to explain to people that Chernobyl was an example of how NOT to do it. Nobody does it like that anymore. Koeberg will never have a Chernobyl moment (as close to never as you can get anyway). It may however have a three-mile-island moment. That’s the proper comparison people should make…

On every level:

  • Inherently unstable design
  • Discover design fault, keep it top secret
  • Do not retrofit solution, nor build updated design for fear of discovery
  • Try interesting experiment, but outside of experiment and plant operation rules
  • Use the after-hours team, without briefing them
  • Boom
  • Ignore boom
  • Don’t tell anyone, including firefighters, world, etc.

An no, the ANC, while certainly not great, isn’t just as bad.

OK so for me its a little more complicated:

  1. A short term vs long tern risk (Nuclear waste is a LT risk)
  2. Yes its currently the best base load. By far!

BUT the LT risks outweigh the ST gain.

We have solutions for the ST and just need to implement them (“efficient” power stations we have already, for example).

A NP station still takes years to build so we can solve a lot in those 10 years instead of adding to the LT risks.

Once you have any high level nuclear waste (eg Koeberg), the actual volume of waste makes very little difference to your long term risk. So that is not really an issue.

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Agree - but we plan to build them all over the place so then you have “all over the place” risks…

The ‘all over the place’ risks are short term risks. Long term storage is inevitably centralized.

Indeed. I believe what you do is seal it in drums and bury really deep underground. Away from and deeper than ground water. You only have to do this every few years, since the volume is such that you can store the waste on site for a long time before you need to move it.

But if I have to argue against myself, as a moderately nuclear-positive person, I would say a good reason to be wary of it is what we see in Ukraine right now. A nuclear power station in a war zone. To me that sounds like a risky scenario.

So I’ve always been of the opinion that we need a certain amount of nuclear for baseline, and then throw some solar, battery, hydro and wind on top for the rest. Manage it by moving the price up and down.

Koeberg was built at a different time.

These days the level of competence of operators is such that they can make a Hydrogen bomb of Medupi.
I also believe that design shortcuts to line the pockets of the ANC are a foregone conclusion judging by the Lethuli house contract award carry-ons.

I am a hard-core Nimby.

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