China’s Nuclear Energy is Still Less Expensive Than Solar and Wind

Zheng Mingguang, Chief Engineer, SPIC said that nuclear energy in China is still less expensive than renewable energy.

The CAP1400 power generation costs are 6 cents/kilowatt and cogenerated heat is USD6 per gigajoule.

Zheng was involved in planning China’s nuclear supply chain 12 years ago. They selected more than two suppliers for each product so that they could compete in all areas: on technology, price, management, quality assurance and technological development.

All four operating AP1000 units are running smoothly. The construction of two CAP1400 reactors at Shidaowan is going smoothly.

China has eight AP1000 reactors actively awaiting construction approvals. The Sanmen-3 and -4 and Xudapu-1 and -2 owned by CNNC, Lufeng-1 and -2 owned by China General Nuclear, and Haiyang-3 and -4 owned by Spic. China appears unlikely to approve any of these projects in the near term. China has approved Hualong One reactors.

China’s first commercial nuclear heating project began operating at the Haiyang nuclear power plant in Shandong province in November 2019. Two AP1000 units provide heat to 700,000 square meters of housing.

Hot testing was completed in early 2020 at the Fuqing 5 reactor in Fujian province, one of the first four Hualong One units under construction in China.

SOURCES- World Nuclear Association, World Nuclear Forum, World Nuclear News
Written by Brian Wang,

88 thoughts on “China’s Nuclear Energy is Still Less Expensive Than Solar and Wind”

  1. It wasn't contained but the elements people worry about still didn't move a smegging inch in the last 2 billion years.

  2. There is no maintenance. You put the fuel in it's natural element; the rocks; and 100k years goes by in the blink of an eye with nothing at all exciting happening.

  3. Wind and solar at 120% of average demand will still require massive backup and massive grid expansion etc; you might be producing 300% of the power you need at noon one day; 50% another (clouds, seasons). You might produce 200% of the power you need in the evening peak hours one day and 10% the next. A weeklong lul in wind is a common occurence; especially in places far from the equator where a big high pressure region can cause the awful combination of very cold, no wind (<3 m/s the turbines don't spin and generate nothing) and negligible solar (i.e. winter).

    8 hours of battery barely gets you out of the starting gate. It can shift the mid day solar peak to 8 hours later when the evening electricity use peak occurs; and that's about it. You are very wildly too optimistic.

  4. Dude, it's not that hard. Just get a backup generator. They're a couple grand to cover the entire load. Less if you get a weak one you use to charge your battery, like a plugin hybrid.

    And frankly, panels are cheap. If they're integrated into the roofing, the installation can be (but is not yet) cheap. Half the sunlight in the winter? Do you think people here are covering more than half the roof with panels already? A couple thousand square feet of panel can solve a lot of winter days. A can of gas can solve the couple stormy days remaining.

    But note that my comment was not meant to say that everyone in California will do this tomorrow. For one thing, houses already have their grid hookup. It's been paid for and that money isn't coming back. People in old homes also have big shade trees around which they aren't in a hurry to cut down. And even if I was building new, off in the boonies, I'm pretty sure most counties wouldn't issue a building permit if I leave the grid connection out. So it is what it is.

    But the basic math checks out and it will only get better, so in the long run, who knows? Kimhi was talking about eventually. Clearly he was overreaching when it comes to dense urban cores and probably many less sunny geographic areas. But over here, it could happen.

  5. Dude, it's not that hard. Just get a backup generator. They're a couple grand. Less if you get a weak one you use to charge your battery, like a plugin hybrid.

    And frankly, panels are cheap. If they're integrated into the roofing, the installation can be (but is not yet) cheap. Blanketing the rooftop can solve a lot of winter days. A can of gas can solve the couple stormy days remaining.

    But note that my comment was not meant to say that everyone in California will do this tomorrow. For one thing, houses already have their grid hookup. It's been paid for and that money isn't coming back. And even if I was building new, off in the boonies, I'm pretty sure most counties wouldn't issue a building permit if I leave the grid connection out. So it is what it is.

    But the math checks out, so in the long run, who knows? Kimhi was talking about eventually. Clearly he was overreaching when it comes to dense urban cores and probably many less sunny geographic areas. But over here, it could happen.

  6. … At one point, not very far, a combination of wind, solar at 120% of demand, another source of 20% local biomass generation for low generation periods and an 8 hours battery of some form will be cost competitive, that is all what is needed for stable generation.

  7. You get half as much sun on a winter day in California on average than in the summer and that's in an exceptional place like California. There are days that are below average (clouds still exist, even in California). What is the cost of the kWh you need but your powerwall could not store? A day when my freezer does not work or when I cannot work costs as much as the conventional grid costs for months. If you assume electrification (e.g. electric cars) things get much, much worse.

  8. Distributed wind and solar is obviously dependent on some combination of awful options:

    • Expansion of world wide webs of HVDC grids that shuffle power from anywhere to anywhere with very low average utilization
    • Storage to even out variations on all scales from second-level noise, to daily variation, to weather variation to seasonal variation
    • Massive overbuild so that you can still get enough power in the off-season, off-hours etc
    • 2/3 of energy coming from "backup" sources like natural gas, hydro and nuclear, with an emphasis on high ramp rate gas and hydro
    • Using energy when you have it and suffering when you don't ("smart-meter" style price-rationing; enduring blackouts, etc.)

    None of these options get rid of the power grid in anyway at all except the last one if you choose to do so (the shiver in the dark-option). The first one massive expands the importance and dependence on the grid like the world has never seen before. The storage option if done locally and storing enough for seasonal variation on a household scale creates enough energy density to put a potential bomb in every house. The massive overbuild solution cannot go it alone and assumes a large area of land allocated to each person; there's never going to be enough overbuild for solar to run on moonlight or wind turbine tall enough to always have enough wind to generate power; an overbuild of a factor of a few might be feasible. 2/3 of power coming from fossil fuels is the default option.

  9. Those who are promoting Space Solar, such as myself, cannot be accused of supporting coal. Nukes do not open O'Neill Space, as Criswell's LSP would. Opening Space is essential for Earth survival. Nukes are not.

  10. Coal kills millions of people per year from pollution (heart disease, COPD, lung cancer). Nuclear power is very obviously going to have saved lives in the hundreds of thousands to millions.

  11. Part 2: Now back to your point "The bottom line is that all the estimates on nuclear costs and profitability do not take into account realistic costs of disposal projected on useful timescales.". I provided you a cost estimate for ONKALO, a project which you said you knew already. You argued that the cost may be inaccurate because "we can't know" (which of course means you also do not know if it becomes cheaper than projected, i.e. due to industrial progress) but whether that is true or not, the general claim that disposal is not taken into account is obviously WRONG.
    If you want to see how disposal is handled and accounted for rare earth extraction for renewables, google "baotou rare earth".
    At this very moment, hundreds of thousands of people in poor countries only have access to water with high arsenic (or other heavy metal) content. This will cause a wide variety of physical and mental health problems and death. Unlike the purely made scenario you are presenting, this happens right now and with 100% certainty. Are you going to do something about it?

  12. I strongly recommend you read my second link. Some of your points are covered explicitly.
    1+2) The bedrock has been stable for hundreds of millions of years and through thousands of climate changes. Even if it would be leaking, material migration from that depth takes many thousands of years. Side note: The 1 km^3 rock surrounding the repository naturally contains some 10`000 tons of uranium naturally. That is more mass than the waste itsself, though this has shorter half-lifes.
    3+4) Just seal that thing and forget about it. The chances that someone wants to drill at exactly the spot of the repository at a location that is of no geological interest is basically zero. Even if it happens, it is easy to measure the radiation and reseal the hole. And even if it is not noticed, it is hard to picture any scenario where big amounts are released and brough into human food chain. In 300 years, most of the really radioactive stuff has decayed anyways. And all that aside, if in 100, 1000, 10000 years cancer is curable, all of this is pointless. 
    Preindustrial civilizations do not have the capability to drill that deep. And if you are speculating about our civilization collapsing, which will ultimately cost billions of lives, you should rather worry about this instead of a hypothetical scenario on top of that which is unlikely to even cost a single life.

  13. Hi, I am familiar with the project and both the project and the 2nd link covering nuclear waste suffer from the same issue: before the repository is filled, sealed and monitored for a few thousands of years we will not really know how is it working. Furthermore the general objections still remain:
    1) the amount set aside to cover surveillance/maintenance costs estimated has to be accurate and now we do not have real world experience with good long term engineering analysis on that.
    2) things that we assume constant, might not be so: Now that we know that it is varying we can count climate change in the equation but there are other things that we consider constant and might change by themselves or be altered by us and could affect the stability of the repository.
    3) the institution/nation managing that amount of money and the storage facility will always exist and will have the resources and capabilities to do it for thousands of years
    4) Peoples and nations will always behave in a rational predictable way, and we already know this is not the case so repositories will have to be guarded/protected and there might be risks of weird ideas arising in the populations (like that the repository stores riches that should be retrieved or worse shared with the rest of the people)

  14. If built right this type of don't go off so quickly. There are all kind of apparatuses that go through much stronger kind of tension. Anyway, there all kind of small turbines out there, one of the will ultimately catch.

  15. That dish thing you linked is an abomination. It will vibrate itself to pieces in far less time than it would take to pay itself off. The internet is awash with novel wind turbine designs, very few of which have survived the tough environment they have to work in.

  16. It is being build in India as part of an effort to electrify all rural villages. I haven't seen any reports of issues with it. We are still in a mono mindset of solar on the roof only, that's all, it will change at due time.

  17. That thing is years old, if it was any good somebody would have built it by now. The reason why they build conventional wind mills is because that is the best tech known at this time.

  18. Saying a light water reactor could 'go Chernobyl' is like saying your diesel truck could have a boiler explosion. They're completely different designs. RBMK (Chernobyl style) reactors have hundreds of tons of graphite moderator in the core, which means the chain reaction could carry on, and in fact momentarily shot up to a hundred times full power, with no water left. In a light water reactor, the water is the moderator, so if it boils away, there's no more fission. The evil Chicoms could make their reactors out of melted down soda cans, but they're still not going to 'go Chernobyl', it's not in their DNA.

  19. "Most of the non-volatile fission products and actinides have only moved
    centimeters in the veins during the last 2 billion years.[4] Studies have suggested this as a useful natural analogue for nuclear waste disposal."
    Even in case of a leaking repository, it would take tens of thousands of years to transport water soluble elements to the surface. By that time, all highly active fission products have decayed. 
    The made a calculation for the finish repository, and for someone living on top of it and cosuming only vegetables from his garden, radiation would increase by only 1/10000 of natural levels.
    You also make the implicit assumption that cancer won't be cureable in thousands of years.
    BTW, a trip to Mars will give you a radiation dose of some 0,5 Sievert. So at least this kind of hyteria won't spread in the galaxy.

  20. You don't need to outsource on a day-to-day basis. Just buy the solar satellite.
    It's moved/constructed in a convenient orbit to illuminate your country, or at least a relay to your country.

    Then you tell everyone it's your's. You make up bullsnot publicity about how "Elbownia is now in the spaceage with our new solar satellite technology." All the schoolchildren are given textbooks claiming this was "All new Elbownian technology (based on a Japanese design)" even though every schoolkid is rolling their eyes and know perfectly well that no Elbonian ever touched the thing and the only change to the Japanese product is the logo painted on the side.

    The politicians have a big opening ceremony (via Zoom). Much expensive food and drink is consumed. Everyone is happy.

    Exactly like it's always been done.

  21. I have no dispute with the notion the area is radioactive at this point in time, but it won't be thousands of years before it returns to a livable level.

    In fact, animals have returned to the area with a vengeance…

    As well, it's currently safe enough for humans to travel into the area without full protective gear, and if I remember correctly, you can take a paid tour of the town.

    Yes, it will take a very long time before all the radiation has dissipated and people can return, but that was also said about Hiroshima, and I think you've forgotten that.

  22. Then how do you explain the below?

    An area originally extending 30 kilometres (19 mi) in all directions from the plant is officially called the "zone of alienation." The area has largely reverted to forest, and has been overrun by wildlife because of a lack of competition with humans for space and resources. Even today, radiation levels are so high that the workers responsible for rebuilding the sarcophagus are only allowed to work five hours a day for one month before taking 15 days of rest.

    Some sources have given estimates for when the site would be considered habitable again:
    320 years or less (Ukraine state authorities, c. 2011)
    20,000 years or more (Chernobyl director Ihor Gramotkin, c. 2016)
    Tens of thousands of years (Greenpeace, March 2016)
    3,000 years (Christian Science Monitor, 2016)

  23. You do know that the AP1000 is a Western design, right? And that the Chinese Hualong One design is being certified for deployment in the UK by the regulator? At worst they could not be as anal about some welds during construction as in Western builds, but the result of that wouldn't be Chernobyl but a Three Mile Island scenario, with a loss of the reactor but no harm to the public.

  24. Sure, but it was actually NOT contained: indeed underground water infiltrated the deposit acting as moderator. You would probably not want to visit a nuclear powered yellowstone park

  25. Can we depend upon the public government that has received decades of per kilowatt hr payments made by the plant to take some of that vaunted 'personal responsibility' and build the nuclear waste repository that they agreed to build and are legally obligated to build with the +$40 billion collected so far so that nobody needs to babysit the waste for a few thousand years? I didn't think so.

  26. While the CAP1400 cogenerated heat is great and metered by a few US$/GJ it is worth pointing out two limitations:

    1. Heat isn't that hot, being limited by the design of PWR reactors.
    2. Heat is difficult to site near where you want to use it because "One does not simply place a CAP1400 nuclear power plant"

    Really if you want nuclear process heat then you need a NuScale sized reactor (180MWth) that is walkaway safe (e.g. Nuscale) or something like Terrestrial's molten salt reactor which runs much hotter than a PWR.

  27. MMm more complex than building your own rectenna. Sure you can build your own rectenna but you need the SPS to beam the power to your rectenna. Who controls where the SPS aims? That government has the power.

    I love SPS's just think that as with many things there are issues. Same goes for being beholden to Starlink for internet access or any other ISP that a nation doesn't have authority over. DNS black lists are rough things.

  28. Yes but currently most countries won't outsource their day to day power generation to other countries, and the countries that do nowadays have issues with being beholden to their suppliers (e.g. anyone dealing with Russia).

  29. Run your ship with solar, or your polar base.
    Yeah, there was that solar catamaran, but a really big ship that cruises at 30 knots 24/7.

  30. Turning nuclear waste into a resource is the way to keep it contained. Elysium industries has the best plan I've seen.

  31. I hope their containment is better than the Wuhan virus lab. Imagine how cheap they will be once they start building molten salt reactors.

  32. Again, if you find a way to consume the waste and make money out of it, it is not waste. If you do not manage to utilize the material or if you need to spend money to get rid of it, then it is a waste. At the moment there is no viable way to re-utilize the waste we are producing so they are indeed waste and we are trying to find ways to store them, independently of the fact that they have a high energy content.
    The main problem of nuclear waste is that independently of the volume they take they last forever (for our society standards). So know we might fill half of a supertanker with half century of waste production, but this waste will always increase and once is there it will last forever.

  33. Global demand for fossil fuels is about three cubic miles oil-equivalent a year. World stocks of spent reactor fuel are not even enough to fill one supertanker. Only about one percent of it is plutonium, which is needed to start fast reactors and turn the rest of it into energy. If all the 'waste' were used, it would be equal to over a hundred years of world oil consumption.

  34. beaming power to earth will increase the solar irradiation of earth which will have a heating effect. Now we are getting global warming because the solar influx remains the same but less photons get bounced back to space. With space solar you effectively increase the solar influx. It will be negligible initially, but If we are to go space solar we will have to figure out how to efficiently transfer wasted heat back to space

  35. Sure they have, but since nobody has ever maintained a storage facility of dangerous stuff for thousands of years it is a little difficult to consider the cost estimates reliable. Even the pyramids and most of the pharaohs tombs got plundered few years/decades after they were built and the oldest bank in the world still operating is Monte dei Paschi di Siena in Italy that was founded in 1472. Other banks were founded in the same years but failed few decades/centuries later when the business balance shifted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic.
    Here you are relying on the fact that:
    1) the amount you estimated is accurate and we have no empirical experience on that matter
    2) the institution/nation managing that amount of money and the storage facility will always exist and will have the resources and capabilities to do it for thousands of years
    3) Peoples and nations will always behave in a rational predictable way, but the weird/poor response to the Covid19 pandemic and the NoVax movement demonstrated that even highly industrialized nations sometimes act in shortsighted/irrational ways that damage them. The world cannot afford a movement that claims that the very armored door of your repository is the door to a vault of riches and blessings that must be shared with everyone else and that the Illuminati are keeping out of reach.

  36. Small wind near the house is out of question. Just like nobody wants a nuke in their backyard, nobody wants a windmill in their backyard either. Solar's big drawback is the "duck curve" Wherever they have a lot of wind and solar on the grid the price per kWh rises which makes it harder for services and industries to compete.

  37. OK, if you are able to find a use for the waste then it is not waste by definition and you will not be going to store it in a permanent storage site (unless the global demand is lower then your production volume and in that case you are back to square 1). What is not useful does not need to be totally useless it simply does not have any economy value at your storage quantity scale. Arsenic has several applications too but if you have hundreds of thousands of tons of it and if this quantity is several order of magnitudes bigger than the global world usage then you have a permanent storage problem.
    Furthermore the presence of anything useful/valuable make the storage of the waste more dangerous since someone might try to have access to it for some purpose just to retrieve an amount useful for them and still compromising the storage integrity.

  38. Every constituent of nuclear 'waste' is useful. Plutonium and higher actinides are worth nearly a million dollars a kilo in power production from current light water reactors, much more in generation IV reactors. Cesium and stontium, the 30 year half life radioisotopes that are pretty much the only ones still detectable round Chernobyl and Fukushima, can be used for sterilising foods and bandages, in industry, or as thermal sources. Rhodium, ruthenium and palladium are worth thousands of dollars a kilo as catalysts and alloying agents. Technetium, which has no non-radioactive isotopes, is a very weak, long half-life beta emitter, could be used instead of ultra-rare rhenium (~ $8,000 /kg) in high temperature turbine alloys ( bonus -it's lighter.) Noble gas krypton is worth about $300 a kilo. Zirconium makes up about ten percent of the fission product yield, but the metal is also the major component of fuel cladding. Nuclear grade zirconium costs about ten times as much as normal zirconium, which is contaminated with a few percent of chemically identical hafnium, a powerful neutron poison that must be separated out for reactor use. Fission product zirconium is mostly 93 Zr, which has a 1.5 million year half life, so should not be too lively to also be used as cladding. 95 percent of the used fuel, though, is Uranium 238, which is not very radioactive, not useful for weapons, but could be used in fast reactors to give about two million times as much energy as oil, per kilo.

  39. South China Morning Post was crowing about these "domestic" reactors being cheaper, despite pretty clearly being AP1000 derivatives/uprates. Though they are achieving better costs through series production though, so hats off to them for at least getting over that hurdle. Last time we really saw that was during the buildout of the fleet in france, correct?

  40. Here in California, I can see what you mean. I've looked into buying a plot of land and building a home. The cost of the grid connection is equivalent to buying a power wall, and the way Musk is going, batteries will probably cost half as much in ten years. We also get enough sun even in the winter that just about any single family detached dwelling could manage to get enough power.

  41. The number of countries currently able to build viable nuclear power plants is not much more than the number of countries able to launch space vehicles.

    For that matter, there are only a few international manufacturers of gas turbines.

    Other countries purchase their power plant from those places that have the capability. As is currently done.

  42. You either don't care about this subject enough to bother looking at public information, or you would be aware that nuclear power plants already have to, by law, put aside funds for waste disposal.

  43. And since corruption is endemic to all autocracies, one has to wonder how long until one of these "inexpensive" plants goes "Chernobyl". Any system that relies on human interaction is bound to fail sooner or later since we humans are fallible. Any system that operates in a totalitarian state that abhors accountability is almost sure to fail spectacularly. How much then will it cost China to close down all these reactors when its population demands it?

  44. True, but Chernobyl will be a ghost town for thousands of years. And cancer will one day be curable. I'm not an anti-nuker by any means, but if solar and/or wind is feasible, why would I want to build something that produces radioactive waste and could turn my neighborhood into an irradiated nature preserve?

  45. Each person or group that builds or purchases the building of a rectenna will own it, on their own land one presumes. This rectennae part is 50-80% of the cost of the whole system. Then, anyone who wants to can send them a power beam, from Earth, the Moon (Criswell LSP), or Space, such as L5 or even GEO if there is room there, which may only be true at the start. You are not tied to the power line, or where it gets power, as there is no power line long distance. People will be collecting solar power in Space for various reasons other than Space Solar, BTW, so there is plenty to go around. And, the project opens O'Neill Space to further goodness, as O'Neill proposed over 50 years ago. Looked good then, looks good now!

  46. At the moment we have no experience in maintaining infrastructures that are an economic burden for hundreds of years, The only infrastructures maintained for centuries (roads, bridges, waterways, temples, castles…) provided advantages to the population currently maintaining them. The general assumption that you can keep this things alone for centuries at no costs is also unverified. Furthermore we know already that the "if not intentionally disturbed" assumption is false as people constantly dismantled monuments and buildings throughout the centuries. Someone could try to dismantle the kasks to recover something valuable (like copper casing) or just because they are unaware of the danger/stupid (see the RTGs dismantled in syberia or the Goiânia accident). Not to mention the possibility to exploit some of the waste as terror weapons. So the waste disposals sites will have to be guarded.
    I agree that low activity waste is indeed low activity, but if you stock enough of it you still get a lot of activity for a very long time.
    Finally many of the heavy nuclei are chemically toxic so you will have to maintain the structures long after the activity is gone.

  47. Which country owns the SPS stations and does every other country give up their energy independence to that country?

    I suppose that everyone could set up their own SPS stations once they establish their own reusable rockets?

  48. Ah, the twin boogeymen of nuclear.

    Which are fixed by not being in an incompetent Soviet-like regime using obsolete technology, and by avoiding putting nuclear plants in the way of a tsunami!

    By the way, nowadays there are plenty of designs that are meltdown safe, even walk away safe.

  49. 100 000 years is extreme. There are 3 types of nuclear waste. High-level and short lived. You keep the kasks in a pool for a few years and it is all gone. Low level long lived – it is long lived by it is low level, not any different than the original ore, which is also radioactive. The most problems come from medium term living waste. Stuff like stroncium and cesium which have a half-life of about 30 years. However, if you can keep them for a bout 300-350 years due to their half-life being 30 years their intensity will be reduced a thousand times (divide by 2^10 = 1024). If you can keep them for 700 years ( i give some room for halflifes a bit longer than 30 years). The intensity(and quantity) of meidum lived waste would be a million times less. If you keep it for a thousand years it is already a billion times less. Of course you will have a fraction of even longer living isotopes but they will be a low-level waste. If you don't ingest it it is all OK. So if you have a geologically stable dry storage which can last , if not intentionally disturbed for 10K years, it should be ok. Note also, that toxic chemical waste doesn't decompose like that and can last much much longer. Simple toxic compounds can last for millions years. However, for htose we don't have such a burden of safety proof.

  50. I have seen the "death ray" reaction from '77. As with all radio frequencies lower than IR, power beam photons can do NO WORK in a system at IR temp, such as liquid water. The only way to do damage is to do some sort of work. Now, if you get so many of these photons that it heats you up, that can be a problem. You should get your head out of the microwave! And, the energy can be collected, with a whole bunch of the photons at the right frequency for the antennae (rectennae). This is a much higher safety argument than usual. I call the 'Green at Any Cost' outlook 'small world' as they have the instructions for you to obey utterly needed to protect our only home. O'Neill has demolished the very foundation of their power. They are in panic! The fact that the obvious result of O'Neill Space Solar and more is the salvation of Earth does not seem to matter to them. Freedom is a direct threat to all power addicts.

  51. Can we depend upon the corporate owner of the plant to take some of that vaunted 'personal responsibility' and set enough funds aside to babysit the waste for a few thousand years? I didn't think so.

  52. Think I've mentioned before that at the first resurgence of this idea the 'Green at Any Cost' crowd are going to start hyperventilating and screaming about how dangerous it'll be to transmit the power earthward. Catastrophic scenarios will abound, from birds being flash-microwaved by flying through the beam to cities being destroyed by rogue groups messing with the targeting software.

    Yeah, you and I know that they're unlikely, and the beam power density isn't going to be dangerous – but since when has that EVER stopped an environmentalist from seizing on the absolute worst possible imaginary scenario and insisting it'll be happening all the time?

  53. The tsunami didn't have anything to do with it? Or bad prioritization of fuel deliveries? (Personally, I'd have thought that keeping the nuke plant generators going would have had top priority, but when you get an area totally wrecked like Fukushima province, I can understand how things get missed.)

  54. Not to mention what happens when/if the next big solar flare causes most of the nukes to run out of pump fuel (the proximate cause in Japan).

  55. Yet many more would die without the Vit D, and many many more w/o the Sun at all. Can you say the same about light water (meltdownable) nukes?

  56. Given the time dimension of permanent disposal of nuclear waste I do not see how we could even imagine to have private companies managing it for hundreds of thousands of years. So I do not see how we can claim to have realistic costs estimate for nuclear. We do not know the real costs of maintaining stuff for 100000 years. We have few infrastructures (roman roads and aqueducts, few temples) that have been somehow maintained for several centuries, but this still pales in comparison to the timescale of nuclear waste disposal. A more fitting comparison could be with Neanderthals being forced to sustain costs and investments to maintain their caves sealed and guarded until now, and if they did not manage to do it, we are the ones that will have to sustain the costs of something done 100.000 years ago (and I am still considering a short timescale, not one that goes back to millions of years)
    The bottom line is that all the estimates on nuclear costs and profitability do not take into account realistic costs of disposal projected on useful timescales. At the moment taxpayers heavily subsidize the nuclear energy sector covering the costs if storage and disposal, the salaries of the military personnel involved in guarding the sites, and so on. These factors are rarely taken into account in terms of costs of the nuclear energy and some other heavy industrial processes (see gold extraction at Giant Mine in canada for example). So in my opinion all these cost estimates are misleading.

  57. Small solar and wind can't fully "win", because they'll never work for dense urban cores. Those will stick to their grids, and need large scale, efficient power generation and transmission.

    Solar might win in sunny suburbs if solar/battery costs fall enough, so homes with enough roof area eventually go off grid. This probably requires cheaper batteries – possibly flow batteries scaled for individual homes or a microgrid cluster of collaborating homes. Off-grid homes will be equipped to endure long low-solar periods – gas generators, candles/LED lanterns, propane/wood cooking/heating. Eventually the grid would be abandoned in such areas, forcing out anyone in homes too small to work well off-grid. Solar for the Win!

    Wind is a non-starter for suburban homes. Towers too tall and blades too wide in order to get decent power. Too much noise. Stealing wind energy from each other. Maintenance and insurance too costly. Rural homes in less sunny areas might use wind to supplement or replace solar. Power companies will likely be happy to abandon rural grids. We might see them cutting deals to help subsidize rural off-grid solar/wind homes to get that.

  58. A million times more people have died from sunshine caused skin cancer than Fukushima and Chernobyl combined.

    With equal relevance to modern power plants.

  59. Fukushima, Chernobyl. All the waste of nuclear and no where to go. No thanks. Community battery storage and solar is our best bet with LG backing it up.

  60. The cheapest cost envisioned for the batteries required to carry a home over long term infrequent low wind/solar weather events would increase the home power bill to $5/kWh – ain't happenin.

  61. It exists, but very little in practice. The model I have presented makes it possible that it will become complementary to solar at a future point.

  62. In the end nuclear is the way to go. Unbridled ignorance and fear need to get out of the way.

    That's not to say a range of generation system aren't necessary. Even wind and solar have their place, but nuclear is the way to go for consistent grid power as demand increases.

  63. Sorry in the grand scheme of things small solar and wind in house or close to house with off peak generation batteries are going to be the winners in the energy generation wars. You can apply mass production in fabricating them, no need for transmission lines, no need for fuel mining and no bureaucracy. This is what drive energy generation low the fastest. Even if in some regions they are not the lowest rate yet.

  64. "To secure more energy from solar and wind you need stability of the
    network system. The fossil power plant is still necessary, but for the
    responsibility of baseload operation we think that nuclear power could
    take that role." Or, they could do Earth to Earth power beaming as they prepare for Space Solar. Ppg 12-13 of the Criswell paper cited *below* for explanation of this exciting way to solve world problems!

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