Re: Electric cars....
how many nuclear power stations have been FULLY decommissioned, with the old fuel stored safely for the next few thousand years, and at what cost?
Ah, that good old standby diversionary tactic !
The first thing to bear in mind is that typically the pro-wind lobby like to compare 50 year old nuclear designs with the newest windmill design - and argue that because old designs had problems, all nuclear must have all the same problems. That is really what most people would call a lie.
When we started with nuclear, in what could well be considered a lack of forward thinking (I wouldn't disagree with it) they didn't really consider decommissioning in the design. That in itself makes decommissioning more expensive than it needs to be.
But the anti-nucular lobby managed another PR hit by demanding that we deal with nuclear "waste" in teh most difficult and costly manner possible. Lest say you have done the Sunday roast, and have a roasting tin that's been in the oven and is nice and hot - do you a) leave it to one side to cool down before trying to clean it, or do you b) insist on cleaning it while it's still too hot to touch without special protective measures (an oven mitt) ? Logically you let it cool down till it needs no special handling - but the anti-nucular lobby have managed by "lies and halftruths" to get the masses so worked up that they demand TPTB deal with nucular while it's still too hot to handle.
For example, consider the old Magnox stations like Calder Hall. AIUI they did have a plan in mind when they built them - the plan being that at the end of life they shut it down and just leave it to cool for a bit, when it's cooled down enough you remove the fuel, and remove all the ancillary stuff leaving just the reactor and containment. So you'd be left with a block of concrete something like the size of a house, post a guard in case someone tries to graffiti it, but otherwise it's a risk to no-one and no use to a terrorist. Apart from this small house, the rest of the site can be returned to greenfield if you want. After 100 years, it's still so radioactive (yes, that's sarcasm) that you can just cut a hole in the side, walk in and carry out the carbon moderator blocks. But no, that sensible plan is no good - never mind that we could put 1p in a savings account, and thanks to the wonders of compound interest that by the end of the universe it will have grown to pay for your bill at Milliways ... oh sorry, went off at a tangent there. But it would be fairly easy to set aside some money now that would pay for all the costs in 100 years time. Instead certain groups insist on us doing it NOW and having to handle the benign stuff that is more or less the same as common coal as nucular waste needing careful and expensive treatment and storage. And having made people do stuff the most difficult and expensive way possible - then use the cost to "prove" that nucular can't be cheap.
And that's before we get into the discussion about the fuel "waste". How we handle nucular fuel is roughly the equivalent to going to a petrol station, dispensing a few gallons into a bucket, using a thimble to pour some into your car, and then throwing the rest away. Naturally several gallons (less the thimbleful) of petrol is hazardous stuff so will need expensive handling and storage "for ever". Yes, it's crazy, but that is how we use nuclear fuel - we throw most of it away with all the costs of disposal and storage that entails, rather than actually using it. I believe that if we built the right sort of reactors, we have enough processed fuel in storage (but labelled as waste) to supply all our (the UK's) lecky for something like a century. And at the end, we'd have a small amount of waste left over.
and nuclear is not carbon free by any stretch
And neither is wind. It would be interesting to see an accurate comparison taking into account all the factors through whole of life. Simple things like : a windmill uses a lot of steel and concrete in it's foundations - nothing like the quantity used in a nuclear power station, but then it'll never put out anything like the energy the nuclear power station will. So if you take all the windmills that would be needed to match the energy output of the nuclear station, how big a pile of steel and concrete would that be ? That's just one "for example" (and ignoring the non-recyclable composites sypically used in the blades) - no I don't have the answers, but I do know that there are orders of magnitude difference in the power outputs.
If you are still with me, yes you might just get the feeling that I think most anti-nuclear people are "severely misguided". Many because they are misinformed by lies, some because they have a vested interest in staying misinformed.
lastly, even the eye watering cost of a new nuclear power station is something that needn't be. For the record, I agree with the anti group - it's a "sh*tload" of money ! But it's not inherent in nuclear power, it's only inherent in how we've done it up till now. So far our designs have basically been large reactors that need complex safety systems - and that adds cost. So there's a driver that says the bigger you make the reactor, the less the safety systems cost in terms of £/MWHr - with the result that we now see (or don't as they aren't exactly getting built en-masse) multi-GW rated plants at "GDP of some countries" prices.
There is an alternative in the form of small modular reactors - which many groups are investigating/designing. With a small enough reactor you can "fuel it for life" and thus remove all the problems/costs associated with in-service refuelling, you can make it small enough that it's made in a factory and delivered complete on a lorry and thus remove a lot of the costs associated with on-site construction of pressure vessels etc, you can make it inherently or intrinsically safe (so you can just pull the plug on the ancillaries and it won't "blow up"), and you can make it low enough in cost that it's possible for modest enterprises to install them without needing underpinning by government level guarantees. Hopefully we'll see some progress on that front soon.