• Hi Guest: Welcome to TRIBE, the online home of TRIBE MAGAZINE. If you'd like to post here, or reply to existing posts on TRIBE, you first have to register. Join us!

Nuclear Power is our Best Option

dig this

TRIBE Member
From the Star

Nuclear our best option, premier says
'No major nuclear accidents in Ontario in more than two decades, McGuinty notes
Apr. 19, 2006. 03:31 PM
FROM CANADIAN PRESS


Nuclear power may be the best option to fulfil Ontario’s future electricity needs, despite its obvious downsides including Chornobyl-type accidents and radioactive waste, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday.
Natural gas is too expensive, wind power is unreliable, coal plants pollute the air and Ontario’s hydroelectric potential has largely been maxed out — leaving nuclear power expansions “on the table” for the province, McGuinty said.

“There is nothing that is neat and tidy by way of a solution to our energy challenges,” McGuinty said when asked about the risks associated with nuclear power, including the devastating Chornobyl accident in 1986 that led to thousands of deaths.

“But I think we should look at our particular history in this country,” McGuinty added, noting that there have been no major nuclear accidents in Ontario.

McGuinty later said it’s “irresponsible” to compare Chornobyl with Canada’s Candu nuclear technology anyway.

“We’ve had (nuclear) technology in place here for some 30 years. There has been nothing like, nothing even approaching like, what happened unfortunately in Chornobyl,” he said inside the Ontario legislature.

Next week marks the 20th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear meltdown. The catastrophe killed thousands of people, mostly in Russia, but also in Ukraine and Belarus.

Energy Minister Donna Cansfield is about to issue a formal response to recommendations in December that called for $40 billion to construct or replace up to 12,400 megawatts of nuclear power in Ontario — requiring 12 or more new nuclear reactor units in the province.

The premier denied New Democrat accusations that the Liberals are waiting until after the Chornobyl anniversary to respond.

Critics say there have been close calls at Ontario’s nuclear stations, including two incidents at the Pickering station — a coolant leak in 1983, and brief problems with computers that operate a reactor in 1991. In both cases, safety systems kicked in as they should to prevent potentially devastating accidents.

But industry expert Tom Adams called those occurrences “near misses” that should have deterred governments from ever considering nuclear again.

“To use an air traffic control analogy. . . when a Cessna sweeps in front of a 747 and they miss each other by a few hundred metres, the air traffic controllers don’t say, `Oh well, that was nothing.’ They say, `We’re never going to let that happen again.’ ”

China and India have embarked on nuclear energy programs in recent years. But Adams noted that the western world is largely shying away from nuclear plants with the notable exception of Finland, which is constructing a nuclear station to reduce that country’s reliance on Russian gas.

This week, a Greenpeace report predicted that 270,000 cancers will have been caused by Chornobyl fallout, 93,000 of them fatal.

“Nuclear power is just as dangerous for Canada in 2006 as it was for Ukraine in 1986,” said Greenpeace Canada’s Dave Martin. “A catastrophic accident has a low probability, but devastating consequences.”

Martin said safety risks are rising as Ontario’s existing nuclear plants age.

McGuinty acknowledged nuclear energy isn’t without its problems.

“The downside is, of course, that it does produce nuclear waste. The upside is, we can contain it. The downside, again, is, we’ve got to contain it for a thousand years.”

But McGuinty has long argued that nuclear has the ability to generate clean, affordable and reliable baseload electricity compared to its alternatives.

The Conservatives say the Liberals are ignoring coal, an abundant commodity that produces cheap electricity. The government has promised to close Ontario’s four remaining coal plants by the end of 2009 due to air pollution concerns.

Nuclear stations can take a decade or more to build and past projects have gone billions of dollars over budget. The original cost to construct Ontario’s Darlington nuclear station, located 70 kilometres east of Toronto, tripled to some $14 billion during the 1980s.

Sources have said the Liberals are discussing the potential of a major expansion at Darlington.
I am a firm believer that the money that would be invested nuclear power can be diverted to 'renewable energy sources', more efficient energy consumption, and a reduction of energy use. How B.S. is it for anyone to say that nuclear is our best option?? We're in the midst of an energy crisis, and the public is becoming more and more aware everyday that the relationship that existed between the average Ontario resident and power is gonna change. Now's the time for government to be progressive and initiate programs that the public are more willing to embrace, rather than regressing back to methods that holds so much uncertanty, especially today when nuclear energy is so controversial and vulnerable.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Do you have any idea how many wind turbines would need to be constructed to supply 12,400 MW of power to Ontario? Expansion of renewable energy is a noble goal, but for the time being, it cannot replace traditional sources of generation. Not by a long shot.

Even countries like Germany and Denmark that are considered exemplary in their use of wind power require substantial fossil fuelled generating stations (specifically coal and natural gas) as backup when the wind does not blow.

Besides, the "recommendations" referred to in the article include more than just building new nuclear reactors. Here's a link to the full report:

http://www.powerauthority.on.ca/Page.asp?PageID=924&SiteNodeID=157

The key conclusions provide a balanced approach to meeting Ontario's supply needs.

1. Maximize conservation and build on its potential in the future.

2. Pursue an aggressive course for renewables within current constraints, while looking at ways to reduce these constraints.

3. Adopt a “smart gas” strategy that takes advantage of the benefits of natural gas-fired generation but limits exposure to its price and supply risks.

4. Benefit from supply options that need long lead times, such as nuclear, large-scale wind generation, hydro imports and gasification.
 
Last edited:

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
I've been on the pro-nuclear power side for a long ass time. As a source country of the fuel and technology I think its efficent and well sutied for our future needs.
 

Hi i'm God

TRIBE Member
Ditto Much said:
I've been on the pro-nuclear power side for a long ass time. As a source country of the fuel and technology I think its efficent and well sutied for our future needs.
I agree.

12 reactors? Thats alot of new jobs.
 
tribe cannabis goldsmith - gold cannabis accessories

dig this

TRIBE Member
The OPA report claims that there's 20 times the provice's current demand of wind power in Northern Ontario (specifically James Bay) but quickly dismisses it due to its proximaty to Ontario's existing electric transmission sytem.

The report goes on to praise Nuclear Energy by saying "with construction and financial risk properly managed and if the nuclear fleet maintained high capacity factors and consistent operation, nuclear generation would provide an excellent alternative to...."

To me this is saying that option A can give us more than what we need but out of our reach, but option B, if run perfectly (which history has witnessed otherwise) will be a better alternative. Sounds biased. Plain & simple.

My problem is that we are looking for a long term energy solution, and we are ready to spend billions of dollars (estimate was $70 billion I think.) Just for a moment, think if the portion of this $70b reserved for nuclear power was to be given to wind power.

Like I said in my first post, there are far better options out there than nuclear. It's just a matter of investing in it & staying commited.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
dig this said:
The OPA report claims that there's 20 times the provice's current demand of wind power in Northern Ontario (specifically James Bay) but quickly dismisses it due to its proximaty to Ontario's existing electric transmission sytem.
Wind power around James Bay is completely uneconomic.

If you wanted to build 12,000 MW of wind capacity in that area, once you factor in increased construction costs for such a remote location as well as the massive investment in transmission infrastructure, it would cost you several times more than building an equal amount of nuclear capacity.

And going back to my earlier point, building 12,000 MW of wind capacity does not actually equal 12,000 MW of nuclear capacity. You can only rely on wind power about 10%-20% of the time when planning for system reliability. In other words, the system will need 9,600-10,800 MW of reserve capacity (i.e., fossil fuelled) to accomodate these gargantuan wind farms up in James Bay. In contrast, a nuclear plant can be relied on about 80%-90% of the time.

Spending $1 on wind capacity only gives you a fraction of the benefit from spending $1 on nuclear capacity. Replacing all nuclear with renewables would be astronomically expensive. That's why the OPA recommends only a limited role for renewables. It's not bias. It's fact.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Here's an interesting article that recently appeared in the Washington Post, written by Patrick Moore who co-founded Greenpeace.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/14/AR2006041401209.html

Some highlights:

In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That's the conviction that inspired Greenpeace's first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change.
And I am not alone among seasoned environmental activists in changing my mind on this subject. British atmospheric scientist James Lovelock, father of the Gaia theory, believes that nuclear energy is the only way to avoid catastrophic climate change. Stewart Brand, founder of the "Whole Earth Catalog," says the environmental movement must embrace nuclear energy to wean ourselves from fossil fuels.
Wind and solar power have their place, but because they are intermittent and unpredictable they simply can't replace big baseload plants such as coal, nuclear and hydroelectric. Natural gas, a fossil fuel, is too expensive already, and its price is too volatile to risk building big baseload plants. Given that hydroelectric resources are built pretty much to capacity, nuclear is, by elimination, the only viable substitute for coal. It's that simple.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
Yeah, I'm all about nuclear energy. People complain about the nuclear waste issue and threat of meltdown. We're past that now.

The Chinese and Germans invented this amazing new type of nuclear core that suspends uranium flakes into balls of graphite in such a way that creating a chain reaction is literally impossible The system can have all its cooling removed immediately and it will cool down on its own without danger of explosion or meltdown. Furthermore, their system is MODULAR, which means that a city can have a new module delivered by train and plugged into their grid the same way you'd upgrade RAM in your computer. I want THAT in Canada.

You know THOUSANDS of atoms bombs have been detonated on the surface of the earth, under the earth, in the ocean and in the atmosphere...you know, just like in a huge nuclear war. We're still here. Our major environmental issues--after thousands of atomic bombs have gone off--is carbon fuels pollution. So let's grow up about this nuclear power business. Seriously.

The idea that 'omg oh no we have to store nuclear waste' is silly--you can send nuclear waste into outer space using unmanned rockets--the same way that thousands of satellites are launched at relatively low cost.

I saw those propaganda ads in the subway, the "More Nuclear Power? No Thanks!" ones...and I got so angry. Excuse me, but fuck you, don't claim to speak for the people when really they're just a minority, well funded interest group that gets to have a say just because they have money. I want to find out what corporate interests they represent.

I really do beleive that the aversion to nuclear power is the product of years skillful anti-nuclear WEAPONS propagandists that found it convenient to extend their fear-mongering onto nuclear power. Obvious nuclear weapons should be feared like a mother fucker, but nuclear power is used safely and efficiently across the entire planet. It produces no harmful side-effects to the environment when its waste are properly controlled....or hurled into the Sun.

As for wind power, if you saturated the plains, lets say, with turbines you would cause severe environmental destruction by changing the wind and weather patterns. Those blades, when they accumulate in vast quantities, resis natural air flows. Imagine the destruction to various ecosystems that would result from having their weather suddenly turn upside down? Imagine the fucking irony of knowing that this "environmentally friendly" energy alternative was responsible for the extinction of all kinds cute furry animals that we all love.

Why not have a patchwork solution that involved community based wind, solar, water power in tandem with more nuclear power?
 
Last edited:

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
I saw those propaganda ads in the subway, the "More Nuclear Power? No Thanks!" ones...and I got so angry. Excuse me, but fuck you, don't claim to speak for the people when really they're just a minority, well funded interest group that gets to have a say just because they have money. I want to find out what corporate interests they represent.
Typically, the anti-nuclear lobby is well funded by the natural gas industry.

They salivate over the potential growth in natural gas consumption that would arise due to a continental shift to their fuel from coal and nuclear in baseload electricity generation.

Take a look at the sponsors of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA).

http://www.cleanair.web.net/aboutus/sponsors.html

Obviously the amounts are not published, but you can hazard a guess who is putting up the big bucks.

Calpine Canada
Coral Energy Canada
Enbridge Gas Distribution
Ontario Natural Gas Association
Sithe Energies Inc.
TransAlta Energy Corporation
Union Gas
 
tribe cannabis goldsmith - gold cannabis accessories

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
AdRiaN said:
Typically, the anti-nuclear lobby is well funded by the natural gas industry.

They salivate over the potential growth in natural gas consumption that would arise due to a continental shift to their fuel from coal and nuclear in baseload electricity generation.

Take a look at the sponsors of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA).

http://www.cleanair.web.net/aboutus/sponsors.html

Obviously the amounts are not published, but you can hazard a guess who is putting up the big bucks.

Calpine Canada
Coral Energy Canada
Enbridge Gas Distribution
Ontario Natural Gas Association
Sithe Energies Inc.
TransAlta Energy Corporation
Union Gas
Oh shit! Excellent; thank you very much!
 

Hypnotoad

TRIBE Member
I'm not sure why everyone believes this FUD about coal. There are several prototype coal generating plants in the US that release hardly detectable traces of pollutants, and there are methods to capture the greenhouse gasses from burning coal.

Through technologies such as coal gas and refining coal, it can be made very clean and at a fraction of the cost of nuclear power without the risk that nuclear reactors bring to the table. Not to mention that nuclear fuel rods and reactors are dangerous for thousands of years later. How is that green? These new types of coal plants are more expensive than natural gas power plants, but our supplies of coal world wide are much greater than supplies of natural gas.

I agree that renewable sources of energy should be the top priority. With that in mind, there have been significant gains made in areas such as bio-diesel, ethanol production, solar power and wind, but why discount the most abundant form of non-renewable energy availabe on earth? The US and Canada alone have enough coal reserves to meet the energy needs of the entire world for several centuries. It just seems like a big waste of resources.
 

why not

TRIBE Member
i don't know man, coal just seems so industrial revolution.
considering the air quality we deal with in toronto, any power source that doesn't require burning something and smoke stacks seems like a good one.
however, i have heard that the new coal generators are a lot cleaner, so maybe i'm wrong.

nuclear just seems so much more future though.
 

Hypnotoad

TRIBE Member
A bit more information on the next generation of coal powered generation plants here.


Some excerpts:

Rather than burning coal directly, gasification breaks down coal - or virtually any carbon-based feedstock - into its basic chemical constituents.

The main benefit of this is that after the breakdown and subsquent chemical reactions, hydrogen is one of the main compounds leftover. And this means...

Gasification, in fact, may be one of the best ways to produce clean-burning hydrogen for tomorrow's automobiles and power-generating fuel cells. Hydrogen and other coal gases can also be used to fuel power-generating turbines or as the chemical "building blocks" for a wide range of commercial products.

Is that future enough? :p

The environmental benefits stem from the capability to achieve extremely low SOx, NOx and particulate emissions from burning coal-derived gases. Sulfur in coal, for example, emerges as hydrogen sulfide and can be captured by processes presently used in the chemical industry.

This means very little in the way of smog and acid producing pollution from these types of power generators.

Coal gasification may offer a further environmental advantage in addressing concerns over the atmospheric buildup of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. If oxygen is used in a coal gasifier instead of air, carbon dioxide is emitted as a concentrated gas stream in syngas at high pressure. In this form, it can be captured more easily and at lower costs for sequestration.

Greatly reduced CO2 and other green house gasses. I don't have data, but I suspect using this method you would see a reduction below natural gas power plant levels.

So this new type of coal generation is very high tech, very futuristic and uses resources we have in abudance, but at a fraction of the cost of nuclear.
 

atbell

TRIBE Member
Hi i'm God said:
I agree.

12 reactors? Thats alot of new jobs.
Damn right. And it's a lot of experience that can be contracted out after the fact.

Being a leader would clearly make a would class body of knowledge that would be a nice thing to have if other countries followed suit.
 
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders

Hypnotoad

TRIBE Member
atbell said:
Damn right. And it's a lot of experience that can be contracted out after the fact.

Being a leader would clearly make a would class body of knowledge that would be a nice thing to have if other countries followed suit.

Hahaha. You do realize that many of the workers that were hired to repair and refurb pickering and bruce plants came from outside of Canada. In fact, the brilliant guy at OPG that saw the projects go way over budget and behind schedule was a yank with lots of experience. Do you realize how long and expensive it would be to train and figure this out for 12 new reactors? Why don't we just design a whole new reactor while we're at it? I'm sure the rest of the world will jump on board to the design just like they did with the CANDU reactors! :rolleyes:
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
While I have always been a proponent for nuclear technologies as a viable option for our energy demands, it is dishonest to cite statistics about the "impossibility" of wind turbines as an alternative. The calculations used to derive those numbers are based on a large number of factors that rarely take into account efficiency improvements or other community-based energy production models.


I think being open to "alternatives" in general (this obviously includes nuclear energy) is absolutely necessary. This is, after all, a scientific process, not a political one.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Hypnotoad said:
So this new type of coal generation is very high tech, very futuristic and uses resources we have in abudance, but at a fraction of the cost of nuclear.
According to the OPA's Supply Mix Advice Report (page 34), the levelized unit energy cost of coal "gasification" is higher than nuclear and roughly equal to natural gas.

I agree that Ontario should actively pursue coal gasification, but only as a substitute for natural gas (i.e., to reduce exposure to fuel price volatility). I do not believe gasification should be a substitute for nuclear power. It's more expensive and the technology is still in its infancy.
 
tribe cannabis goldsmith - gold cannabis accessories

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Okay this has been bugging me for a while and its only slightly off topic. Is natural gas really a good long term sollution for anything right now. It seems that with its high level of consumer usage it would be in high demand and using it for industrial purposes as well will only drain the supply faster.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
~atp~ said:
While I have always been a proponent for nuclear technologies as a viable option for our energy demands, it is dishonest to cite statistics about the "impossibility" of wind turbines as an alternative. The calculations used to derive those numbers are based on a large number of factors that rarely take into account efficiency improvements or other community-based energy production models.
Nobody is going to build a wind farm on the basis of "efficiency improvements." You need to have a good site with favourable wind patterns, otherwise, the project will be uneconomic.

The major drawback with wind power, particularly in a country like Canada, is that many of the best sites happen to be located in remote areas, thereby drastically increasing the cost for reasons I mentioned earlier. If a few years (or decades) down the road, wind turbines become efficient enough to justify the cost in comparison with other generating technologies, then fine, let's go for it. But right now, relying on very expensive and remotely located wind capacity would not be prudent for long-term planning purposes.

Community-based energy production is already being encouraged in Ontario, but again, its role is very limited. You cannot just stick a wind turbine beside a baseball field and pray that you recover your investment. You will never be able to find enough sites to come anywhere close to replacing a nuclear reactor, let alone the entire nuclear fleet.
 

Hypnotoad

TRIBE Member
AdRiaN said:
According to the OPA's Supply Mix Advice Report (page 34), the levelized unit energy cost of coal "gasification" is higher than nuclear and roughly equal to natural gas.

I agree that Ontario should actively pursue coal gasification, but only as a substitute for natural gas (i.e., to reduce exposure to fuel price volatility). I do not believe gasification should be a substitute for nuclear power. It's more expensive and the technology is still in its infancy.
I'm not familiar with the levelized unit energy cost, but the capital costs for natural gas is between $300-$500 USD per kilowatt of electricity generation. The current cost for gasified coal is $1000-$1500USD per kilowatt of electricty generation, and if my math isn't too off, it seems the province wants to spend about $3200CAD per kilowatt of electricity generation. Also, I would take the initial $40B with a huge grain of salt. Pickering and Bruce generators have both gone way, way over budget with their repairs.

Anyway, capital costs do not include what happens to fuel rods and reactors after they have been used up. Fuel rods can be recycled, but I'm pretty sure Canada is not allowed to do that as the process creates weapons grade plutonium(or uranium, I can't remember). And even if the fuel rods are recycled, you still have the reactors which have to sit around for thousands of years. Add those costs to the capital costs of a nuclear reactor or levelized energy cost, and I suspect it will not really be competive.
 

basilisk

TRIBE Member
If I learned anything from Sim City it's simply that a nuclear plant probably won't blow up, but just in case it does - put it in some far off corner of the map.
 
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders
Top