back to article Small nuclear reactors produce '35x more waste' than big plants

Mini nuclear reactors that are supposed to usher in an era of cheaper and safer nuclear power may generate up to 35 times more waste to produce the same amount of power as a regular plant, according to a study. A team of researchers at Stanford University and the University of British Columbia came to this conclusion after …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Opaque

    Seems like the authors of study are trying hard to convolute the findings to match desired outcome.

    Then if you Google authors' names and Bill Gates you can see that there may be an agenda behind this.

    WEF wants energy to be expensive so that the process of stripping wealth is accelerated.

    You know by 2030 you should own nothing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Opaque

      What the heck has Bill Gates to do with it?

      Besides you're clearly part of the industry lobby trying to squelch all dissenting noises. The straw argument of "expensive energy" is a clear indicator, as nothing says small reactors are cheaper per Watt produced than bigger ones. Usually scale economies make smaller packages more expensive. Just saying.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Economies of scale

        The economic advantage of smaller reactors is that one module is always down for maintenance so you maintenance team are always productive instead of being active say only one month per year for a single large reactor.

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Opaque

        Bill Gates is a WEF member and he is using his influence to advance Great Reset agenda as he fully believes in the cause.

        Usually scale economies make smaller packages more expensive.

        So by your logic a tiny cellphone should be much more expensive than a phone booth?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Opaque

          *cough* Average price of an iPhone *cough*

          :)

      3. William Higinbotham

        Bill's (Earthquake) Fault

        Bill is OK with NuScale's power plant in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

        Check out earthquakes in area.

        earthquaketrack dot com/us-id-idaho-falls/biggest

        earthquaketrack dot com/us-id-idaho-falls/recent

    2. cray74

      Re: Opaque

      Bill Gates has been backing nuclear power for years. He's targeting cost-competitiveness with other sources of power, not expensive ones.

      You know by 2030 you should own nothing.

      I'm not a billionaire being targeted by the World Economic Forum's proposals for reducing income inequality.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Opaque

        Don't fall for that.

        Embrace, extend, and extinguish is in Bill Gates DNA.

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Opaque

        I'm not a billionaire being targeted by the World Economic Forum's proposals for reducing income inequality.

        WEF does not target billionaires, unless they are against them. The biggest enemy is the middle class and the goal of WEF is to reduce their income and any wealth they have amassed so we are left with three classes of people - billionaires and millionaire generals, serfs and disposables (e.g. people with aspirations, thought criminals).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Opaque

          I've upvoted your post not because I think it's really an explicit goal, but because some evidence of this being a goal for at least some was evident in a leak of a Citigroup paper of 2005 titled "Equity Strategy. Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances" (sic, no idea why the weird captilalisation, but I'm getting offtopic). The authors of this 35 page paper were Ajay Kapur, Niall Maclead and Narendra Singh of Citigroup Research.

          There were two followups, the first dated March 5, 2006 by the same authors which was more or less an update (18 pages), the second dated September 29, 2006 which seemed more like a restructuring and had more authors, this also leading to a total of 64 pages.

          I'm giving you all this detail because, despite all the frantic efforts of Citigroup lawyers (which mainly prompted the Streisand effect), copies of these papers can still be found online and they're worth reading, even just as an educational effort. You won't like, I fear.

          Worth a browse.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Opaque

      "Then if you Google authors' names and Bill Gates you can see that there may be an agenda behind this."

      Isn't he was too busy working on his Covid vaccine mind control chips?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Opaque

        Nah, he's finished that.

        Now he's got 500 million 5G chipped zombies he has to keep controlling for the next 5 decades or so.

        Tiring work.

      2. LogicGate
        Alert

        Re: Opaque

        You fool!

        the vaccine obviously does not contain a 5G mind control chip!

        Stop spreading this disinformation!!!!!

        It should be cleaar to everybody by now, that vaccine contains a guitar pedal.

    4. mevets

      Re: Opaque

      Will this help him inject more chips into us? What about fish? Will he inject fish with the chips?

      Fission chips?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Opaque

        This is no plaice for such dreadful puns. Salmon should get battered for making them.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Opaque

          He's just doing it for the Halibut. He's not Anglering for votes.

      2. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

        Re: Opaque

        If he does, ee'l wish he hadn't.

        1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

          Re: Opaque

          Pollocks to this. The sole reason for all these puns is to skate around the topic in the hope that people will clam up before the truth is winkled out. If it doesn't stop, I'll get crabby.

    5. iron Silver badge

      Re: Opaque

      The very specific answers given, and not given, by NuScale and other SMR builders seem to be cherry picked to tell their narative and avoid the given scientific facts that they are worse for the environment and species. Where there are weasel words there is someone lying to you and in this case their lying could kill millions.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Opaque

        Where there are weasel words there is someone lying to you and in this case their lying could kill millions.

        Emphasis on 'could'. So kids, don't go playing inside SMRs, or suck on fuel rods. Alternatively, current energy policy will kill millions. So we already know wind blows and sucks. That's why we abandoned windmills well over a century ago.

        That's sadly before they became retro, and our useless politicians decided 1,000yr old windmills were the future. So billions wasted on occasional generators, and more billions 'invested' in anti-nuclear campaigning. And given our current self-imposed energy crisis, lots of lobbying activity to steer billions more in the direction of the 'renewables' lobby rather than nuclear. Because nuclear can do reliable, zero carbon power, all 'renewables' can do is destroy the environment, jobs and quality of life.

        So rather than admit the EU/UK energy policy has been a collosal mistake, they double down on dumb. So because wind is intermittent, we've become dependent on stand-by generation. So as windmills have increased, so has the dependency and demand for gas. Energy costs have spiralled, even as the 'renewables' lobby tries to convince us that their product is the cheapest form of generation.

        Ukraine's just provided our clueless elite with the opportunity to accelerate 'decarbonisation', and give the 'renewables' lobby another $1tn+ to build even more windmills, even though we've known since before the Industrial Revolution that the don't work. Obviously the scum sucking parasites don't want their gravy train derailed, so will sponsor papers like this that cast doubt on competitors.

        SMR's are derived from naval reactors, and we know how to manage those. Submariners may be a little.. strange, but that's not due to radiation exposure. But we're exposed to more lethal radiation picnicing outside a nuclear power plant than we would be inside. The waste problem is easily manageable, partly due to the size. But after decades of anti-nuclear FUD, our neo-luddite eco-fascists are still violently opposed to cheap, reliable power.

        They probably don't realise the 'renewables' industry is responsible for more deaths and injuries than nuclear. Mainly because nuclear is paranoid about safety, and wind, especially off-shore is just a hazardous environment. So safety issues of working at heights, electrocution, crush injuries from heavy machinery etc etc.

        1. Cav Bronze badge

          Re: Opaque

          Tell me you haven't a clue about wind power generation without telling me you don't have a clue about wind power generation.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Opaque

        Are NuScale and other SMR buildings doing the cherry picking to fit the narrative, or are the authors of the article making the claims? Because I get a strong "nuclear energy is bad hhmmmm'kay. Don't do SMRs hhmmm'kay. SMRs are bad hmm'kay" vibe from it.

        The main idea behind SMRs is that putting in the smaller scale (and uniform) units will be easier in terms of licensing, operating and eventual disposal (since the main idea behind most SMRs is that you just plug up the ports on the RPV and bury the whole thing as a monolithic unit) over large scale BWR or PWR reactors that often take so long to build that even if you build a 4 reactor unit, by the time the first one or 2 are done, enough progress and "lessons learned" our found to require redesign of a lot of reactor systems for the next units to be built. This makes ongoing regulatory compliance an even bigger ball-ache on large reactors as no 2 units in the world are exactly the same, even if built by the same contractor to the same design. SMRs should theoretically be able to be built faster and to a more constant design, making sharing lessons learned between reactor units and operator training a lot easier too.

        If building a large (Gigawatt scale) reactor was easier and cheaper then they would probably win out over SMRs, but rightly or wrongly they're surrounded by so many mountains of bureaucratic paperwork and red tape there's few countries actively working to build new ones.

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Opaque

      well about some of that I'd say "you are not 'wrong'" in the general sense...

      The thing is some of what the article says IS true. That is:

      * smaller reactors have higher neutron flux, which means higher incidence of neutron activation of components that make up the reactor, coolant, and surrounding equipment.

      * smaller reactors use higher fuel enrichment and necessarily have higher concentrations of unspent U235 in the waste

      So in SOME ways they are right. What *I* call B.S. on is the "5 times" figure which seems oddly exaggerated to me. (if you assume all U235 in spent fuel as "waste" then MAYBE, but that would be a gross underutilization of U235 fuel, which I think is a WORSE thing than higher waste volume, if you consider how expensive enriching it is)

      Also you have to keep in mind that U235 in nuke waste CAN be removed chemically. Were it not for a lot of N.I.M.B.Y. nonsense (and in the case of Sellafield, equipment and storage facilities in need of proper maintenance), we could streamline the process and maybe MAKE USE of decay heat in some practical way.

      Radioactive metals from neutron activation are a problem, though, as are materials like Co60 that you get when Iron corrosion sends rusty particles through the coolant and into the heart of the reactor, where it is exposed to maximum neutron flux. The technical term for this radioactive rust is "CRUD". "CRAP" is what you have when things get contaminated outside of the reactor, like "I got crapped up when that valve dripped contaminated water on me".

      So - MY $.10 worth (or maybe up to $.25 now) is that YES, you DO get more waste from smaller reactors, which is one reason why the industry likes BIG ones. But 5 times as much? I doubt it.

      (since I have worked with one VERY small reactor design, and know what happens when it is very old and pipes are full of 'CRUD traps', and how often they need refueling, etc. etc. I think I can make a qualified assessment in this case).

  2. VoiceOfTruth

    even more safer to operate?

    -> even more safer to operate?

    Than what? Chernobyl? Fukushima? Three Mile Island?

    Nuclear power is not safe.

    1. the-it-slayer

      Re: even more safer to operate?

      Communist mismanagement, a natural disaster on a decades old design and a non event relatively speaking.

      Nuclear is the most safe energy production (in terms of deaths related to accidents in energy production) regardless on what you’re told. Same as aviation vs cars for transportation. Even though airline accidents are catastrophic, they’re rare. Same with nuclear.

      https://ourworldindata.org/safest-sources-of-energy

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: even more safer to operate?

        What are you trying to say? It was a commie mismanagement, so it doesn't really matter? Natural disaster, what can you do, shit happens?...

        There are strong arguments for using nuclear power, but calling it "safe" is a pure unadulterated lie. When the shit hits the fan nuclear does a lot more damage than a coal power plant catching fire, or even a burst dam. And it's long term damage. Chernobyl is still unfit for humans to live there, but then it's somewhere far away, beyond the rusty remains of the iron curtain, so who cares, isn't it.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: much more safer to operate!

          Solar causes way more deaths per kWh than nuclear. Coal power pollution kills people down wind. Coal power also releases nuclear waste. There are traces radioactive isotopes in coal and because it takes a huge pile of coal to run a power station the amount released is larger per kWh than the nuclear.

          Death reports from non-nuclear power do not make the news because it would be a boring every day occurance.

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: much more safer to operate!

            -> Solar causes way more deaths per kWh than nuclear.

            If a solar plant falls over or blows up it won't contaminate an ocean or 1,000 square miles of land.

            1. Wellyboot Silver badge

              Re: much more safer to operate!

              solar > sunshine > skin cancer

              Should we ban medicine to avoid living long enough to develop these kind of problems?

              A stable global population of 10 million could burn coal forever and not see any measurable impact, our mere success as a species in the last few centuries just puts different obstacles in our path to overcome.

              SMRs are pragmatic given the ticking clock.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: much more safer to operate!

                "solar > sunshine > skin cancer"

                I have seen some idiotic statements in these forums before, but this one....

                What do you think is the relationship between solar power and skin cancer? Do you somehow think the photons get attracted to your roof because it has panels on it?

                If you don't want skin cancer then slip, slap, slop, slide but sticking solar panels on your roof isn't going to make a jot of difference one way or the other.

            2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: much more safer to operate!

              If a solar plant falls over or blows up it won't contaminate an ocean or 1,000 square miles of land.

              You are a fan of homeopathy it seems. So people got very excited about Fukushima, and proposals to dump radioactive water into the Pacific. So that's around 710,000,000 km3 of ocean. So waste water would end up rather diluted.

              And odd fact. Fukushima used to bottle a health tonic, because not far from the nuclear plant is a natural radium spring. Radium water kinda fell out of fashion, but the spring's still there, and naturally more radioactive than most of the waste water at the plant.

              And radiation is everywhere. So the Pacific is 165,250,000 km2 and the surface is constantly bombarded by cosmic and solar rays. Those smash into the water and create radioactive isotopes. And then there's all the geological activity from ocean vents pumping deadly radiation from the Earth into the oceans.

              And oddly enough, 'renewables' also contaminate the land with deadly poisons..

              https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342671383_Metal_dissolution_from_end-of-life_solar_photovoltaics_in_real_landfill_leachate_versus_synthetic_solutions_One-year_study

              Rainwater stimulating solution was found to be predominant for metal leaching from silicon-based photovoltaics, with Ag, Pb and Cr being released to 683.26 mg/L (26.9%), 23.37 mg/L (17.6%), and 14.96 mg/L (13.05%) respectively. Copper indium gallium (de) selenide (CIGS) photovoltaic was found to be least vulnerable in various conditions with negligible release of In, Mo, Se and Ga with value ranging between 0.2 and 1 mg/L (0.30%-0.74%

              And similar problems with slowly decaying windmills. Which can also do environmentally friendly stuff like oil spills. Or there's battery fires, which release clouds of HF and other toxic heavy metals. But the most polluting aspects of 'renewables' come from their production. But that's contaminating China, not UK Greens.

              1. VoiceOfTruth

                Re: much more safer to operate!

                Yeah, just dump it. Well done, pro nuclear pundit. You show us what you really think.

                1. imanidiot Silver badge

                  Re: much more safer to operate!

                  yeah, just dump it (after cleaning up all the other radio-nucleides, leaving only tritium and extremely low levels of other stuff with non-concerning levels of radioactivity, and after diluting it to levels lower than the radionucleide contamination levels found in most inland waterways in most of the world). The tritium doesn't do a damn thing to humans, the other stuff is so low level it's of no concern. You can literally drink a 2 litre bottle of the diluted "waste" water for the rest of your live and suffer no greater chance of ill effect than if you drank a 2 litre bottle from any other source (arguably less so because the contamination allowed in the waste water is tighter controlled than most bottled water companies bother with. There's a good chance there's more hazardous materials in your local drinking water supply!

              2. Snake Silver badge

                Re: much more safer to operate!

                I always note that pro-nuclear proponents on El Reg never bother to factor in the manufacturing of BOTH the plants and the fuel that feeds them.

                It is unhappy to note that BOTH American and British nuclear fuel enrichment facilities are listed as the most toxic and contaminated land in both nations, listed as "Grade A" hazards and will take BILLIONS of dollars / pounds, and decades, to clean up.

                You can also add in the decommissioning process of a nuclear reactor, which not ONLY has never been successfully accomplished but on average is planned to take almost 40 years and leave millions of tons of radiated material wastes.

                But, let's not really mention all that...

            3. Potemkine! Silver badge
            4. the Jim bloke Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: much more safer to operate!

              If the solar generator blows up...

              It will be out to the orbit of Mars..

              not even going to bother with the nuclear fireball icon..

        2. MrXonTR
          Mushroom

          I'll take the bait

          Using Chernobyl as an indicator of danger is the wrong argument to make. So far there have been 78 recorded deaths.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_and_radiation_accidents_by_death_toll

          A greater number of people have died from mishandling of radiotherapy and x-ray machines. This should be much scarier than nuclear power plants because people are closer to these things on a daily basis.

          However those few hundred losses pale in the face of renewable energy. One event at a hydroelectric dam can kill up to hundreds of thousands at once!

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1975_Banqiao_Dam_failure

          Even that is grossly overshadowed by fossil fuels which are responsible for 8.7 megadeaths per year (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2021/feb/fossil-fuel-air-pollution-responsible-1-5-deaths-worldwide). That's not a one-off like a Chernobyl disaster, it's every single year. And it's getting worse because despite all the evidence global use is still growing.

          https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/global-fossil-fuel-consumption

          ---

          Your pathetic fear mongering won't work here. The real obstacle to Nuclear power is it's huge up front cost. Try using that to deter people instead.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'll take the bait

            The real obstacle to Nuclear power is it's huge up front cost

            That's exactly why SMRs became attracive in the first place, even based on "traditional" fission. The upfront costs are mainly the cost of capital - you need to borrow a lot of money for a long time before it starts producing a return. Due to the modular nature of SMRs that time is significantly shortened which again adds to their attractiveness.

            It's almost as if the author of that paper was, er, 'encouraged' by those invested in the big plant idea, about as outdated as buggy whip vendors stating that horse drawn transport is so much better..

            Personally I think that especially Thorium based SMRs will quite simply be the only future of nuclear industry, but there is, of course, less profit in that for fuel refiners and those holding huge plots of land below which nuclear waste can be stored..

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'll take the bait

              The upfront costs are mainly the cost of capital - you need to borrow a lot of money for a long time before it starts producing a return.

              And I think this is a big factor in the growth of wind power. You are probably seeing some return from a wind turbine, before you even made the last payment to the supplier.

              This more than anything lets private business grow organically.

          2. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: I'll take the bait

            -> Using Chernobyl as an indicator of danger is the wrong argument to make. So far there have been 78 recorded deaths.

            WHAT ABOUT THE 1000 SQUARE MILES OF POLLUTED LAND? You people NEVER mention this, so I need to shout about it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'll take the bait

              Sure, because shouting adds so much weight to your argument, doesn't it?

              /s

              1. VoiceOfTruth

                Re: I'll take the bait

                When stupid people won't listen it's a way to get their attention. Dumb people understand noise.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: I'll take the bait

                  No, dumb people make noise.

                  1. VoiceOfTruth

                    Re: I'll take the bait

                    A lot of dumb noise comes from the pro nuclear lobby. Look how clean it is (not mentioning Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima).

                    1. elaar Silver badge

                      Re: I'll take the bait

                      Saying Nuclear Fission isn't safe because of Chernobyl is a bit like saying driving is dangerous because someone crashed whilst driving blind on 30 year old tyres and having no brakes.

                      Fortunately modern day reactors aren't built on flawed cold-war designs.

                      I'm not a big fan of Fission (or pro-nuclear as you like to call it), but weighing the odds, I think it's a better way to meet our energy needs than 8.7million people dying worldwide each year from fossil fuels.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: I'll take the bait

                        While I by and large agree with you, the technical advancements that have been made in reactor design haven't really eliminated all the tricky parts of Nuclear power. The reality of the physics of these beast means that even with entirely modern designs, it simply requires more screw ups to produce a severe disaster, and makes the disasters less catastrophic.

                        The physics of the fuel decay chains mean that even with a modern conventional design, even a scrammed reactor needs power, cooling, and correct action to reach long term cold shutdown safely. There is simply no "OFF" switch you can hit and walk away.

                        While that may seem to slant anti-nuke, let me say this:

                        I pointed this out to highlight that the human part of reactor operations is critical, and there is more improvement to be made there than in the physical plant designs these days. While expensive and low yield designs might solve some of these issues, we still need to deal with the existing world wide industries for decades even if we never built another plant.

                        So we need to tackle the human factor part of this now regardless. If that's the case, we should make best use of those improvements by building larger, safer, and more modern conventional plants. We should move up the decommissioning timeline on the older plants like the 40+ y/o early generation Westinghouse plants. We should force every state with a plant to implement an off site storage area for ALL of the material for ALL of their plants so the operators can't just declare bankruptcy and walk away from a radioactive pile. Those storage facilities need to be designed to work hot in case of an onsite accident, and still be able to operate safely.

                        These are not hard or clever things, but we haven't managed to do them due to human failures, not technical ones.

            2. Filippo Silver badge

              Re: I'll take the bait

              Dude, we know, but it still beats the alternatives. If we keep burning fossil fuels, we'll lose more land due to rising sea levels and/or exposure to too many extreme weather events, than what we'd lose in the most pessimistic nuclear reactor scenarios. Orders of magnitude more. I can't live in Chernobyl, but I also can't live underwater or anywhere that gets a cat 5 hurricane three times a year.

              Ideally, we'd power everything with renewables, but I really don't see any way that's going to happen fast enough (plus, the mining involved in slapping solar panels on everything would also contaminate vast tracts of land).

              1. VoiceOfTruth

                Re: I'll take the bait

                -> slapping solar panels on everything would also contaminate vast tracts of land

                Removing solar panels is as easy as placing them. Not so with nuclear contamination.

                The problem with nuclear pollution is the cost falls on the tax payer, not the private companies. They walk away with the profits while leaving all the crap behind for decades. And if there is yet another nuclear accident, which private company would even have the money to clean it? If you say that's the way it is, then start getting taxpayers now to pay for it. Let's say about £100,000 per tax payer to start with, rather than deferring it to their unborn grandchildren. That might liven up the debate, and we can then put the whole nuclear power industry in stocks and throw crap at them all day long.

                Nuclear power is one of the worst, dirtiest, malignant industries ever to be invented.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: I'll take the bait

                  > -> slapping solar panels on everything would also contaminate vast tracts of land

                  > Removing solar panels is as easy as placing them. Not so with nuclear contamination.

                  Nice cherry pick

                  The full sentence you're quoting said

                  > the mining involved in slapping solar panels on everything would also contaminate vast tracts of land

                  Moving solar panels about might be easy, undoing the harm inherent in manufacturing them isn't.

                  You weaken the argument for renewables when you play disingenuous games like that as it gives the other side examples tp show that the argument for renewables is based around lies.

                  1. VoiceOfTruth

                    Re: I'll take the bait

                    Saying nuclear power is safe is itself a cherry pick. Two can play at that game. When I hear one word of truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from the pro nuclear lobby I will quote in full. Until then I will quote whatever I like to suit my case.

                    1. Filippo Silver badge

                      Re: I'll take the bait

                      But you did not. I said that I am not denying the dangers of nuclear, but that climate change is a much worse threat, and I added that large-scale renewables have some environmental problems too that can't be ignored outright.

                      None of that is a lie, but all of that is open to debate. You could have tried to build an argument around a hypothetical increase in number of accidents with wider deployment, or around more optimistic estimates of climate change impact, or around new solar cell designs that don't need to strip mine entire regions. I don't know if any of those would be persuasive, but it would be a honest discussion, which could leave readers with some healthy food for thought at least.

                      But no! You felt it was appropriate to cut-and-paste part of one of my sentences, in order to produce a new sentence with an entirely different meaning that's not true, and then try to pin that untruth on me so that you could ignore my actual points?

                      Well, if that's not the worst kind of dishonesty, then I don't know what is. I don't think further discussion with you would be useful.

                      1. notyetanotherid

                        Re: I'll take the bait

                        Presumably, building a nuclear power plant involves no mining at all?

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: I'll take the bait

                      > Until then I will quote whatever I like to suit my case.

                      So you'll complain about the other side "lying" whilst you yourself are demonstrably doing so?

                      Good luck with that.

              2. ravenviz Silver badge

                Re: I'll take the bait

                “we'll lose more land due to rising sea levels”

                Even less space for cattle!

            3. Esme

              Re: I'll take the bait

              What about all the slagheaps from underground coal mining? Or the damage caused to the ecology by open-cast mining of coal? Why arent there huge outcries from the public about that/

              What about the ecological effects of manufacturing, transporting, maintaining and decommissioning all of those wind turbines, solar cells and come to think of it, solar furnaces?

              I've had a long term interest in methods of power production (and by long term I mean over 4 decades), and when you look into them properly not one of them causes zero problems whatsoever. In general, it's notionally a case of considering the pros and cons of each method of energy generation right from manufacturing the components needed through to recycling decommissioned kit, or dealing with the waste generated if it cant be decommissioned. And those in favour of more widespread use of "greener" energy (like me) can be just as prone as those in favour of nuclear power (also me) to ignore, or not know about the cons of non-nuclear energy production.

              The thing that opened my eyes to this was when I finally got around to looking into hydroelectric power, which is bad in multiple ways! First there's destruction of habitat to create a lake where none existed before. Secondly, there's all that concrete used to build the dams. Thirdly, the earthquakes caused by some of the larger dams are of some concern. Fourthly the amount of methane created by anaerobic decomposition of organic material drowned by the dam of . Fifthly, the ecological disturbance caused to rivierine creatures by building a ruddy great dam they can't get past. Fifthly, the effect on silt deposition at the rivers mouth, and the impact on nutrients entering the sea. Sixthly - if the water trapped by the dam isn't managed carefully, water supply to places downstream can be badly affected. And finally - water-table levels can be changed due to the effects of dams. If you happen to rely on wells to provide your water needs, this could be quite the problem if the water table drops significantly.

              I was once in the Green Party for a few years bt left mostly due to becoming fed up with the dogmatic anti-nuclear fanaticism I encountered from some. Technologies generally improve over time, and the nuclear power industry is no different from any other in that respect. The failings of some of the first generation nuclear powerplants should indeed be taken extremely seriously; but that does not ea that all future nuclear powerplants will have exactly the same failings - indeed, there are designs of nuclear power generation in which it is physically impossible to have the kind of runaway event that happened at Chernobyl, not because of clever and intricate warning and shutoff mechanisms but because of clever and simpler design of how the things actually work making it such that there actually is no way that an explosive situation could happen short of strapping some actual explosives to the thing! (which I don't recommend, it'd void the warranty).

              So far as I can see, it's likely to be difficult to provide enough power through to the end of this century without at least some nuclear power in the mix to supply a reliable base load. Unless, of course, humanity decides to drastically cut its use of energy. Call me a cynic, but even though I think that could be done, I'm betting it won't be, because history.

              So yes, wind farms, solar farms solar furnaces, solar furnaces, solar thermal, wave power generation, tidal flow power generation, geothermal geenration, rethinking of homes to include better use of heat pumps for both cooling and heating of homes (plus, possibly, refrigeration and cooking purposes). We do not have the time to f**k abut trying one, seeing how well it does, then trying another, then another, etc and then finally pick one or two for the long term. The best option is to hedge ur bets and have a sensible mix of everything we can think of - AND do our best tocut down on our power usage.

              Happily, the energy storage scene has seen several major breakthroughs in recent years, so the erratic nature of the supply of power from wind and solar may be less of an issue within a couple of decades - but it's unlikely to completely disappear for quite a while after that, barring the unforseen.

          3. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: I'll take the bait

            -> Your pathetic fear mongering won't work here.

            1000 square miles of contaminated land is not fear mongering. You are truth denier.

            1. the-it-slayer

              Re: I'll take the bait

              Even if it did, its far less than the amount of land (that becomes useless for any other use) for solar/wind. And solar/wind are totally unpredictable for the northern/southern parts of the earth who have 6 months at least without good quality sunshine.

              If you had some basis for your arguments against nuclear power, I think we’d all listen. And I admit a fully nuclear future isn’t ideal. But we need cheap energy to thrive as a species. The mass coal/gas energy that supplied your own needs has enabled you to use technology and devices uninterrupted.

              1. VoiceOfTruth

                Re: I'll take the bait

                -> If you had some basis for your arguments against nuclear power

                Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima.

                Over to you, Houdini. You ain't getting your arse out of this.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: I'll take the bait

                  Repeating a bad argument does not change it from a weak one to a strong one. Clearly you have a rock like position, but naming a few (Very SERIOUS) accidents isn't where you drop a microphone and walk away.

                  If you have an argument, feel free to make it. There's nearly a 100 years of hard lessons for nuclear safety. The ball never got of your side of the court.

                2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

                  Re: I'll take the bait

                  You keep quoting those. Would you care to quantify the actual damage done and lives lost?

              2. Cav Bronze badge

                Re: I'll take the bait

                Do you argue that the Chernobyl exclusion zone is unnecessary and presents no dangers?

                The number of immediate deaths might be low and the danger from undisturbed radionucleotides low but what would happen if this event occurred in the middle of England? A thousand square mile area smack in the middle of the country. As long as it's undisturbed, risk might be low. But no farming, no road building, no disturbance, hopefully no fires in the undisturbed area. Dangerous for an estimated 20,000 years, as in the case of Chernobyl.

                Anything humans can build can fail, and it only takes once to cause problems, and the duration of those problems is measured in millennia. How many other Chernobyls will happen in 20,000 years? Particularly with proliferation of reactors.

                1. adam 40 Silver badge

                  Re: I'll take the bait

                  >> Do you argue that the Chernobyl exclusion zone is unnecessary and presents no dangers?

                  The Russian Army thought so...

            2. RubberJohnny

              Re: I'll take the bait

              You seem to prefer the entire planet being contaminated, from the ionosphere down. Why are you continually ignoring the damage already done and continuing to be done makes any nuclear past incident tiny by comparison?

          4. Adair Silver badge

            Re: I'll take the bait

            The real obstacle to Nuclear power is it's huge up front cost + the massive downstream cost of waste management that goes on and on and on and on ...

            In fact it goes so far on that no one really wants to talk about it because, well ... oh, look over there - a squirrel!

            Nuclear fission is great for initiating a big bang, but it's pretty crap as a solution for any kind of 'sustainable' power generation- assuming you give a shit about your descendants.

            When someone comes up with a sensibly affordable way of neutralising harmful levels of radioactivity that is effective within a human lifetime then 'fission' may make some kind of logical sense, although given prospective and existing alternatives, probably not a compelling level of sense.

            Meanwhile, we blunder on because, well, money talks, and it talks very loudly to those who like having lots of it. Too bad about everybody else who have to live with the consequences of putting wealth before well being.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'll take the bait

              > assuming you give a shit about your descendants.

              The counter-argument though is that none of us are likely to have many descendants to give a shit about if we continue burning fossil fuels because we won't implement nuclear.

              What you're advocating here, in fact, is blundering on because you'd prefer to let perfect be the enemy of good.

              1. Adair Silver badge

                Re: I'll take the bait

                There you go, a squirrel - the only possible alternative to 'fission' is 'burning oil'. Wow.

                Perhaps there are other ways of generating and using energy that are economically and ecologically sustainable across the socio-economic spectrum of humanity.

                Fission power generation is a 'hi-tech' wet dream of the rich and powerful, utterly dependent on a highly technological society with the wealth and the will to build, maintain, decommission, and safely store the long term waste products.

                So far our record on sustaining such societies does not inspire long term confidence. While even in the present the number of societies capable of doing the above is a limited subset of the world's population.

                'Fission power generation' is basically economic and ecological bullshit, but it satisfies the longings of the positivists who believe that 'things can only get better'.

                History says otherwise.

              2. Cav Bronze badge

                Re: I'll take the bait

                Solar, tidal, heat pumps and wind can power our societies. The alternative to fossil fuel does not have to be nuclear. The problems we have faced are lack of generation capacity, which improves with every passing year, and storage. Storage is actually easily fixed, and not with advanced chemical dependent batteries. Renewable energy can easily be stored as kinetic energy, in the form of gravity batteries, or converted to hydrogen by electrolysis and then transported to wherever it's needed.

                Rather than coming up with dangerous nuclear alternatives, which are hideously expensive to initially build and then decommission, we should spend that money on reducing the demand for energy, for example by massively improving insulation.

                Nuclear is expensive and dangerous. Don't give me the nonsense about it being safer than alternatives. Yes, as one-off incidents, it may be. But the effects of truly serious incidents are applicable for periods measured in millennia. If the Chernobyl exclusion zone is going to be dangerous for 20,000 years then we only need 1 major incident a century to render Europe uninhabitable for millennia. Our record with nuclear is not good. Anything man can make, can fail in unexpected ways. Anyone who says they can guarantee that we won't have such accidents is a liar or a fool.

          5. Potemkine! Silver badge
            1. VoiceOfTruth

              Re: I'll take the bait

              -> Minimizing Chernobyl disaster is a mistake.

              The pro nuclear lobby continually does this, when it mentions Chernobyl at all. It is regrettable that something like Chernobyl did not happen in, say, France or the USA or the UK. That would likely have ended this poisonous industry. But even then the pro nuclear lobby would be saying it is safe.

              1. Casca

                Re: I'll take the bait

                So you wanted it to happen in a more populated area because it would prove your point? You really are a horrible human.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'll take the bait

              In that study, was there any controlling/compensating for age? I’d rather expect a higher likelihood of cardiovascular and circulatory disease in a population 26 years older, so did they find it was higher than baseline aging?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: I'll take the bait

                "’I'd rather expect a higher likelihood of cardiovascular and circulatory disease in a population 26 years older"

                Especially in a population with a very high proportion of smokers.

        3. jmch Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          "Chernobyl is still unfit for humans to live there"

          Not exactly true, judging by the proliferation of wildlife. Right now the lack of safety around Chernobyl has, sadly, nothing to do with radioactivity.

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            It is exactly true. It is why people going into the exclusion area are screened for radiation contamination when they come out. These are not just workers working on site, but anyone who obtains a permit to go into the exclusion area. If it was safe this would not be necessary.

          2. Cav Bronze badge

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            "Not exactly true, judging by the proliferation of wildlife"

            It is actually. While some wildlife may dig burrows, they do not affect the environment as much as humans do. the radionucleaotides are still there, in the soil and the dust. Radioactivity spiked when the recent Russia incursion disturbed the dust with their vehicles. As the dust settled within a few hours, so the levels fell.

            That would not happen if people lived within the exclusion zone in significant numbers, making significant changes to the environment - digging ditches, farming, planting out their gardens etc, etc. You can't compare a relatively undisturbed environment with one subject to heavy human activity.

        4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          Re: commie mismanagement,

          When you deliberately turn off all the safety guards and then send your reactor into a tailspin, it's not an accident and it tells us nothing about the safety of nuclear power.

          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            You forgot about the bit where the design never met even the most basic standards we've ever had in the west - in the west it would never have been allowed to be built because the design was inherently not very safe.

            Then the operators turned off what safety systems there were and performed unauthorised experiments.

            1. VoiceOfTruth

              Re: even more safer to operate?

              -> in the west

              In the west we had Windscale, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima was built to western standards.

              It could never happen here, is what you are saying. History tells us otherwise.

              1. imanidiot Silver badge

                Re: even more safer to operate?

                Windscale - Vast, vast majority of the contamination is long gone as a multitude of half-lives have passed. What remains has likely little to no long term impacts. Also another design that should have never been built had there been proper knowledge sharing, but the yanks didn't want to share their secrets with the brits who had to find out about Wigner energy on their own. The problems and dangers of the design were well understood in the US but that knowledge hadn't reached the British nuclear energy sector yet. The high mark of estimated deaths as a result of the incident is roughly 200 people. Certainly not trivial, but that's assuming an LNT model and is likely a large over exaggeration. Conclusions from subsequent research "A study of workers directly involved in the cleanup—and thus expected to have seen the highest exposure rates—found no significant long-term health effects from their involvement." seems to support this.

                Three Mile Island - Lots of lessons learned from this incident and an accident like it occuring again in a modern reactor is slim to none. The incident released relatively little materials and left no significant long term contamination in the surrounding area. Current reporting afaik states no additional radiogenic cancers are expected in the general populace.

                Fukushima - See also my earlier post. The absolute worst accident that can happen in a modern nuclear plant and the after effects in terms of nuclear contamination seems to be relatively mild. Certainly they'll pale in comparison to the loss of life and destruction from the earthquake and tsunami that precipitated the events at the power plant. It's had a far bigger impact than it needed to have due to extremely strict (to downright paranoid) contamination limits, an unnecessary large scale evacuation and rampant nucleo-/radio-phobia.

                In conclusion, yes, I'd rather live within 5 km of a nuclear plant than within 5 km of a coal, LNG or wind power plant.

                1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                  Re: even more safer to operate?

                  You missed the minor detail of Windscale never being a power plant - it's sole purpose was to make plutonium.

                  1. genghis_uk

                    Re: even more safer to operate?

                    .. and government pressure to increase production meant that safety was compromised to meet their demand.

              2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                Re: even more safer to operate?

                It could never happen here, is what you are saying. History tells us otherwise.

                History tells us that old designs (especially Chernobyl which never met any western safety standards) could have problems. We've learned from those. TMI and Fukushima were 1960s designs - so 50-60 years old now.

                If we applied your own logic, then wind and solar power would be completely impractical, being massively expensive and with piss-poor efficiency. I assume you'd say that's "not fair" as there's been a lot of development in the intervening (more than) half century - and you'd be right. So why do you apply that logic to others when you must realise that it's not valid to do so ?

                And just think what road safety would be like if we still only had 1960s cars available !

                But then, let's not let facts get in the way of a failed ideology.

        5. FIA Silver badge

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          There are strong arguments for using nuclear power, but calling it "safe" is a pure unadulterated lie.

          It's not that nuclear isn't dangerous, it's that the danger is perhaps disproportionatly represented. There are many industrial processes that aren't safe, and can cause long term environmental damage and have a significant death toll when they go wrong, and they do go wrong, it's just that without the friendly click of a geiger counter people forget.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          Chernobobyl was an appallingly designed reactor. It had no containment vessel. Even so, it operated safely until they decided to do an idiotic test to see what would happen if they disabled all the safety system.

          Nobody else builds rectors without containment vessels.

          Fukushima was hit by an unprecedented tsunami. The reactors were an older design and as they are actively cooled they needed power. As part of the procedure for an earthquake they shut down all power production from the power station. The plan was the reactors would get power needed for cooling from elsewhere or from on site generators as a backup. Unfortunately, the power lines to other stations and the onsite generators were destroyed by the tsunami. If they hadn't shut down onsite power, there wouldn't have been a problem.

          Even after all this, the reactors were contained in their containment vessels.

          Many modern reactor designs are passively cooled and will fail safe if there is no power.

          Coal fired power stations spew out much more toxic and radioactive material than any fission plant. I would rather live near a nuclear power station than a coal fired one.

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            -> Nobody else builds rectors without containment vessels.

            Fukushima. The containment vessel failed, didn't it?

            Literally every time the pro nuclear lobby comes out, they omit facts. The whole history of nuclear power is full of lies.

            -> Many modern reactor designs are passively cooled and will fail safe if there is no power.

            Fukushima.

            And I will hear no 'yes buts' from you.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: even more safer to operate?

              No, the containment vessels didn't fail at Fukushima.

              As noted in my comments, Fukushima was actively cooled as it was an older design.

              Do you actually bother to read comments before responding to them?

        7. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          Chernobyl was a commie design with absolutely no reactor containment that made most western nuclear engineers get an involuntary shiver down their spines if you even mentioned it. Having both a positive void coefficient and a positive temperature coefficient (making it react faster if it got more steam in the core and if the core got hotter) was something that made more sane engineers quickly bin an idea. The commies liked it because it was both very cheap to build and produced lovely, lovely plutonium. And then they did several things to it that were KNOWN to be absolutely terrible to do, but badly trained operators on a night shift got pushed to perform an unfamiliar to them and badly defined test in bad conditions on a hot reactor core. And then it went kaboom. Something no reactor now in operation can do in the same way. Subsequent coverups, denial and mismanagement has made the impact of it far worse than it could have been

          Fukushima is another example of bad management and political interference. It would have ended far less badly if they had been allowed to vent reactor pressure earlier, but political dithering and conditions conspired to prevent permission being given. It would never have happened if they had heeded warnings both at time of design and later that putting ALL your backup generators below sea-level is a bad idea. It would have ended less badly had they had external power hookups ready to go instead of having to jury-rig them afterwards, again they were warned of that ahead of time. It's also the absolute extreme worse-case scenario that can happen to a nuclear power plant. A very severe earthquake (which the station survived without issue, followed by a tsunami exceeding expected height by about 100% flooding all backup power generators AND destroying all power connections to the rest of the grid, leaving a nuclear power station with 3 active reactors in total blackout. Final tally is 1 reactor with a full fuel relocation (meltdown), potentially (partially) melted through the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel, 1 reactor with a partial fuel relocation where most evidence points to nearly all fuel still being in the RPV and 1 reactor with a partial meltdown where the core is still largely intact. Outside of the reactor, the earthquake and tsunami killed more people and did more devastation than the incident at the powerplant ever will, even long term. Most of the areas that were (unnecessarily) evacuated are being repopulated, the vast vast majority of contamination outside the plant has been cleaned up to a level far beyond what most countries would require and now things are simply going to take time to figure out how to safely remove the rest of the debris and fuel from the damaged reactors. It's a difficult process but not impossible.

          As to the impact of coal plants it's not as if those incidents don't happen, and it's not as if the companies managing those plants don't do their best to shirk responsibility and ignore the risks

      2. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: even more safer to operate?

        -> Communist mismanagement, a natural disaster on a decades old design and a non event relatively speaking.

        Yes. There's always something. And the result is vast contamination.

        -> Nuclear is the most safe energy production

        There are 1,000 square miles of eastern Europe which are uninhabitable thanks to 'safe nuclear energy production'. You cannot live there. Fukushima is going to dump contaminated water into the ocean because it has run out of space to store this safe product.

        1. VoiceOfTruth

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          Voted down for pointing out some inconvenient truths about nuclear power and how filthy a product it really is.

          1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            No, voted down for not being able to do the calculations to compare actual impact - just seeing the mushroom clouds.

            1. VoiceOfTruth
              Go

              Re: even more safer to operate?

              Give us your opinion on the 1000 square miles of polluted land. It happened in eastern Europe so it's not important?

              1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

                Re: even more safer to operate?

                Give us your opinion on the many thousands of coal miners killed by lung disease. Oh, they're working class so it's not important?

                Better still... instead of throwing meaningless headlines around, do some real calculations on lives lost/impacted per megawatt-hour from different energy policies.

                1. VoiceOfTruth

                  Re: even more safer to operate?

                  Come on, out with it. What about the 1000 square miles of nuclear pollution around Chernobyl? And Fukushima? Come on. Let's hear you. No digressions.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: even more safer to operate?

                    Oh, fine, I'll bite. Let's play duelling disasters!

                    You say, "Chernobyl".

                    I say, "Exxon Valdez".

                    Has anyone got one relating to solar panels?

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: even more safer to operate?

                  Graham, don’t waste your time arguing with VoiceOfTroll. That old aphorism about wrestling with a pig, etc etc.

                  Judging by his post history, he’d be a lot happier if we all gave up on nuclear and instead used lots and lots of lovely Russian oil and gas from that nice Mr Putin.

                  1. VoiceOfTruth

                    Re: even more safer to operate?

                    Anonymous Coward lives up to its name.

                    Nice digression and diversion. This is about the safety of nuclear power, which is not based on buying oil or gas from anyone. It stands alone all by itself as the worst type of pollution.

                    We hear about it all the time. Security agencies are concerned about so called dirty bombs. We don't hear them worrying about somebody blowing up a gas or oil bomb to the same extent. Why is that? It is because nuclear material all by itself is dangerous.

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: even more safer to operate?

                      Nice digression and diversion. This is about the safety of nuclear power, which is not based on buying oil or gas from anyone. It stands alone all by itself as the worst type of pollution.

                      How many people have died in the last decade in-

                      a) The nuclear industry

                      b) The 'renewables' industry

                      We're not building any more Chernobyls. Nobody is. Lessons learned and all that.

                      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                        Re: even more safer to operate?

                        We're not building any more Chernobyls

                        The west never did, even by the most basic standards we ever had it would have not been allowed.

                      2. VoiceOfTruth

                        Re: even more safer to operate?

                        1000 square miles of contaminated land. Nuclear rubbish being dumped into the ocean off Fukushima.

                        Come on, if nuclear is so good, defend it.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: even more safer to operate?

                          Why bother if you're not prepared to listen to the arguments?

                          You may have more luck in a place where people lack critical thinking skills.

                          1. Anonymous Coward
                            Anonymous Coward

                            Re: even more safer to operate?

                            Why bother if they aren't willing to mount a real argument themself. Endlessly repeating Chernobyl and Fukushima isn't an argument by itself, it's two buzzwords strung together by someone who is out of their depth, and is displaying less actual knowledge of the incidence than you can pick up form watching cable TV.

                            1. VoiceOfTruth

                              Re: even more safer to operate?

                              I have yet to see one solid rebuttal. Try and rebut this.

                              Chernobyl: 1000 square miles of eastern Europe have been contaminated and the people evacuated. Nobody can enter this zone without permission.

                              Fukushima: widespread contamination, and they have already started dumping their nuclear 'clean up' (hahahahahaha) waste into the ocean.

                              You can't. The pro nuclear lobby lies, it omits information which does not suit it, it's a filthy industry, it's expensive, it is corrupt.

                              1. mevets

                                Re: even more safer to operate?

                                In that 1000 sq mile club you swing so deftly, the flora an fauna have been doing just fine. Compared to other areas, where people are present, the Chernobyl exclusion zone has been doing very nicely. There has been a resurgence in the lynx and European bison, and an increased diversity and population of mammals. Noted botanist Stuart Thompson concluded that "the burden brought by radiation at Chernobyl is less severe than the benefits reaped from humans leaving the area."

                                Perhaps Fukushima's exclusion zone will have a similarly beneficial effect on its area.

                                This compares quite well with, say, the art of burning coal. Nuclear reactors produce roughly 2.3 tonnes of nuclear waste per Terra Watt; Coal reactors produce 2.1 tonnes of nuclear waste per Terra Watt. However, the nuclear reactors waste is almost all contained within the reactor. A coal plants is distributed over a radius of approximately 80km. If you live within 80km of both a coal and nuclear plant, you will experience an additional 0.39 micro Sieverts - 0.09 from the nuclear reactor and 0.3 from the coal reactor.

                                That sounds frightening, but eating a banana provides a 0.1 micro Sievert dose. Just like the old saying " a banana a day is like living close to a nuclear reactor ".

                                1. Cav Bronze badge

                                  Re: even more safer to operate?

                                  I like it. Our choice of power potentially causes us to be forced to turn vast areas of land back over to nature. I'm not sure many people would agree, if it was smack in the middle of somewhere like England. No, road building, no more house building, no farming etc. Sounds wonderful for nature. Could we just do that bit without irradiating the place first?

                                  1. mevets

                                    Re: even more safer to operate?

                                    Could we just do that bit without irradiating the place first?

                                    Effectively no, ironically because our non-central planning organization of society puts common good behind dash for cash. The only way to beat the (obligatory Scooby Doo reference) 'corrupt politicians and sleazy real estate developers' is to make the land unfit for humans. Otherwise it will be over run but butt ugly square houses and horrendous condominiums.

                                    1. jake Silver badge

                                      Re: even more safer to operate?

                                      "butt ugly square houses and horrendous condominiums."

                                      Shirley you mean "made out of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same."

                      3. VoiceOfTruth

                        Re: even more safer to operate?

                        The effects of Chernobyl will be present for decades more. The same with Fukushima. It's not just about the number of deaths, it is about the widespread contamination.

                    2. Corporate Scum

                      Look in the mirror

                      Unless you are legally named VoiceOfTruth you are doing what you are accusing.

                      Plenty of people here post as AC because they are more worried about how their words will be received then the tag attached to their post. I usually do.

                      On a slightly different note, you may want to take a breather. You are getting pounded into the ground like a tent stake here. There are decent arguments on your side, but you are so wound up you are not making them. You are just digging a hole for yourself, and it's getting deep enough your dragging down your side of the argument with you. If you really care about the issue, be an effective advocate for it.

                      If you just want to rant in a forum, well, this is the internet, have at it, but the ratio isn't going to get better unless you start using some of the better arguments your side has. I'm split on the issue, as I see both the peril and promise of it, but I've opposed most of the proposals I have seen on the particulars.

                      If you want to score some hits, those details matter. Even if the reactor itself is being operated safely, if the operators plan is to close the plant, declare bankruptcy, and stick the locals with a multi-billion site cleanup you may be able to move the needle.

                      1. VoiceOfTruth

                        Re: Look in the mirror

                        -> You are getting pounded into the ground like a tent stake here. There are decent arguments on your side, but you are so wound up you are not making them. You are just digging a hole for yourself, and it's getting deep enough your dragging down your side of the argument with you. If you really care about the issue, be an effective advocate for it.

                        Nobody is pounding me into the ground. I have yet to see one good response to the words Chernobyl and Fukushima. Not one.

                        1. Casca

                          Re: Look in the mirror

                          Thats because you refuse to listen to the arguments being made and just shouting those two names...

                        2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                          Re: Look in the mirror

                          I have yet to see one good response

                          Ah, the "I see no ships" approach !

                          https://jonathangifford.com/april-2nd-1801-i-see-no-ships-horatio-nelson-turns-a-blind-eye-at-the-battle-of-copenhagen/

                          You have had a number of good responses. That you haven't seen them indicates that you are either completely blind, or wilfully failing to see them because it wouldn't support your flawed ideology. That you continue to respond to posts suggests that you can read them, so it must be the latter.

                    3. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

                      Re: even more safer to operate?

                      So is fertiliser at least if you stockpile nearly 3000 tonnes

              2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                Re: even more safer to operate?

                No. It's not important. It was not an accident. It was an monumentally stupid act of self-harm. It tells us nothing about the safety of nuclear power.

                1. Cav Bronze badge

                  Re: even more safer to operate?

                  It does actually - because, as in that case, people make reactors and people are too often stupid, greedy and lazy.

                  The Chernobyl exclusion area is only not presently dangerous because it is undisturbed. It will have to remain this way for some 20,000 years. 20,000 years is a long time in which other accidents can occur, each with the potential to have harmful impacts for millennia. It only takes one accident, or act of stupidity, to happen every couple of centuries, to turn vast areas of land into nature reserves, that are ticking time-bombs - fire has the potnetial to spread radioactivity from such areas.

                  Now, I'd be happy to have large areas of the world returned to nature, but I'm sure many would object, since Nuclear power stations tend to be where the people are, and not in remote, wild areas.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          There are 1,000 square miles of eastern Europe which are uninhabitable thanks to 'safe nuclear energy production'

          Have you tried adding up the square footage of land buried under the waste of coal mining? Might shock you.

        3. Bitsminer Bronze badge

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          There are 1084 square kilometers of now uninhabitable land behind the Three Gorges dam on the Yangtze river in China.

          There are 1350 square kilometers of now uninhabitable land behind the Itaipu dam between Paraguay and Brazil.

          There are 4250 square kilometers of now uninhabitable land behind the Guri dam in Venezuela.

          And so on.

          All due to safe energy production of hydroelectric power.

          (Source: Wikipedia).

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            What does that have to do with the alleged safety of nuclear power?

            More digressions and diversions from the pro nuclear lobby.

            1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

              Re: even more safer to operate?

              If you push the "nuclear is dangerous, renewable are safe" agenda, then you can expect FACTS to be brought up that put your claims into context.

              And using Chenobyl as a benchmark for nuclear safety would be like sending someone down a busy motorway on a penny farthing to prove that road travel (esp motorways) is dangerous.

              1. VoiceOfTruth

                Re: even more safer to operate?

                Windscale.

                Three Mile Island.

                Fukushima.

                You people keep on denying it. In your world it didn't even happen.

                1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                  Re: even more safer to operate?

                  In your world it didn't even happen

                  Now then, you are projecting your ignorance onto others. I know full well that they happened, but I also know enough to understand why they happened, and why they do not represent current safety standards. You missed Chernobyl BTW - an example of what happens when you build something that's inherently unsafe due to the design, and then let the operators turn off what safety systems there are and perform unauthorised experiments.

                  Windscale, specifically the piles that used to be a big feature on the landscape (they started taking them down a few years ago), was never a power plant. The piles were air-cooled, graphite moderated reactors which had the sole function of creating plutonium for the weapons program.

                  Fukushima, a 1960s design (things have moved on a bit since) which had all its support services wiped out by a tsunami - yet "not a lot" happened. Yes there were some not radioactive at all hydrogen explosions, but given what happened to the plant, it did pretty well. Modern plants have different designs in that respect. For example, the Westinghouse AP1000 design includes "hit the big red button and walk away" passive cooling that will keep the reactor cool for a couple of days, long enough to get in with a tanker (or just a big hose) and top the header tank up. And SMRs are generally designed to be passively cooled for DHR (Decay Heat Removal) if it ever came to it.

                  And TMI. Well yes, a 1960s design with many flaws - and you may note that as a result of the accident, regulations were tightened up. The control & instrumentation system was apparently a usability disaster zone, of the sort that wouldn't get past initial reviews these days even for a non-nuclear system. Note that a key factor was that there was no indication of the actual position of a valve (only an indication of it's commanded position) - something I've known in other situations and which nearly sunk an oil exploration rig in the North Sea many years ago.

                  1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                    Re: even more safer to operate?

                    Just to expand on that control & instrumentation issue with TMI.

                    I recall it being part of several lectures at university - that (if it's important enough to bother measuring) you should have an instrumentation system that reports on the actual state of something, not the state the control system "expects" it to be.

                    AIUI, in the TMI case, the actual valve stuck open, but the instrumentation only reported on the pilot valve position. In principle, the actual valve would always follow the pilot valve - but there are failure modes where it doesn't and you can't control what you don't measure.

                    In the other case I mentioned, also from uni, it was as simple as someone modifying the hydraulic systems on an oil rig - they needed a hydraulic return, and tapped into the most convenient pipe. What they didn't account for is that the flow they introduced into the pipe created back pressure - which was enough to prevent the pilot operated valve from closing fully, even though the C&I system said it was closed. As a result, (just going from old memory), a buoyancy tank slowly filled with water and the rig nearly capsized.

                    In both cases, the operators were given faulty information "the valve is closed" which caused them to make false assumptions and not respond in an appropriate manner.

                    These things are easy to spot with the benefit of hindsight - and "this is the sort of thing you should remember to avoid doing" type of lectures. A modicum of inquisitiveness and a willingness to accept that you don't know everything, and you certainly will not live long enough to learn all this through your own mistakes, also helps.

        4. iron Silver badge

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          You can live there and people do. If you watch any documentary about Chernobyl you will see the old grannies who moved back as soon as they were able because it is their home and they don't want to live anywhere else. They are not allowed to live there but they do.

        5. the Jim bloke Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          There are 1,000 square miles of eastern Europe

          So an area 32 miles by 32 miles ( i feel dirty even writing 'miles')

          You can live there - you just wouldnt want to. Probably a better chance of getting shot in the USA than dying early there.

          As for Fukushima,

          Fukushima is going to dump contaminated water into the ocean because it has run out of space

          .. if you love something, let it go..

          Honestly, you cant keep stuff forever, so after a bunch of half-lifes, and suitably diluted, and monitored, dispersal is an effective tool for harm mitigation.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: even more safer to operate?

        " Even though airline accidents are catastrophic, they’re rare. Same with nuclear."

        Humans are very poor at risk perception.

      4. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: even more safer to operate?

        -> https://ourworldindata.org/safest-sources-of-energy

        I call out this organisation for being economical with the truth. If it does not even mention the vast contamination from nuclear power then it is not worth quoting.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          Which is precisely why a pro-nuke cheerleadxer cited it as a source. Just like how the tree-huggers will cite sources that say the very opposite.

      5. jmch Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: even more safer to operate?

        Surely it goes safer... more safer... most safest ??

    2. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: even more safer to operate?

      Nuclear power is many orders of magnitude 'safer' than fossil fuel power generation which is widely regarded as the biggest single man made threat to humanity barring global nuclear war.

      SMRs producing relatively more waste per MW seems an obvious outcome of the smaller scale plant but worst case it’s only several hundred cubic metres per reactor and we’ve been able to recycle the nasties back into fuel* since the 60s, so we have this as one of the least worse options.

      *yes a much smaller amount of far nastier stuff results

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: even more safer to operate?

        -> Nuclear power is many orders of magnitude 'safer' than fossil fuel power generation

        Chernobyl? Fukushima? Three Mile Island? Windscale?

        Nuclear power is safe when it is safe. When it is not safe it is catastrophic completely off the scale. You people who push the agenda of nuclear power without admitting to vast pollution it has caused should be rounded up and forced to live on the contaminated land around Chernobyl, eating fish from around Fukushima, until the end of your days.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          OK, Vlad, time to take your meds.

          We know that Europe planning not to buy your oil and gas is a big concern for you, but enough is enough.

          You should be happy the old USSR managed to fuck up nuclear power research and deployment since the 70s with your green movement and move on.

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          You people who push the agenda of nuclear power without admitting to vast pollution it has caused should be rounded up and forced to live on the contaminated land around Chernobyl, eating fish from around Fukushima, until the end of your days.

          Excellent idea! So once the Chernobyl exclusion zone has been de-mil'd and de-mined, sounds like a plan. Ukraine is going to need repopulating. So I'd take say, 10 square miles to do a spot of homesteading. But having been to Chernobyl, seen the cafe, swimming pool, fairground etc, I'd happily live there. Or the Fukushima zone.

          Mainly because having been there, I've had the safety briefings and understand something of the risks, which can be minimal. It would be perfectly safe to grow my own food because there's handy (and ancient) tech like bringing in topsoil, making compost and growing stuff in good, uncontaminated soil. Sure, there are some hotspots, but there's also detectors that can help you avoid them.

          But such is politics. Of course if you want to be really environmentally, what we need to do is more of this-

          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/05/30/fjords-emit-as-much-methane-as-all-the-deep-oceans-globally/

          Researchers from the University of Gothenburg have estimated that the total emissions of this climate-warming gas are as great from fjords as from all the deep ocean areas in the world put together.

          Oops.. I mean this-

          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/05/29/swiss-daily-wind-park-destruction-of-1000-year-old-untouched-german-forest-exposes-absurdity-of-green-energies/

          Lately we’ve been reporting on what many people are calling one of the greatest environmental felonies in Europe: the deforestation of the 1000-year old Reinhardswald, known as the “fairy tale forest”, in order to make way for largescale industrial wind parks to produce “green” energy. Proponents claim the wind parks will save our environment and climate. Clearing the forests has already commenced.

          And looking on the bright side, burning Germany's ancient forests will probably have a lower carbon impact that shipping American forests to the UK so they can be burned in the clean, Green Drax power station.

          1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            We have similar up here in the Scottish Highlands - peat bog being planted with wind turbines, ditto for Forestry Commission land to say nothing of the effect on natural beauty.

            I'm waiting for tour operators to switch from the whiskey trail to see the wind farms trail.

        3. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          Fukushima

          Which ignores the inconvenient (for an anti-nuke person) fact that only a very small number died or were injured by the "nuclear" stuff. It's takes a cold hearted callous b'start to ignore the 20,000 who died from the Tsunami, and the vast problems caused by having huge areas contaminated with oil, salt water, dead animal and human carcasses, etc, etc.

          Windscale

          Nice of you to bring that up. Windscale wasn't a power plant - it was designed to do one thing and one thing only, create plutonium for the military. Also, if you look, you'll find that we don't build graphite moderated, air cooled, power stations. If you knew anything about the subject you'd know that having a big pile of graphite, heating it, and feeding it lots of air is a recipe for problems if you get it wrong. But then, I find that vociferous anti-nuclear are generally ignorant of basic scientific knowledge - and often proud of being ignorant. You come across as one of them.

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            Fukushima. They have already started dumping water contaminated with nuclear material in the ocean. How about they dump it on your head to wake you up.

            Come on, defend it.

            1. Casca

              Re: even more safer to operate?

              Look up how BIG the pacific ocean is...

            2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

              Re: even more safer to operate?

              So are you denying that massive areas of land were heavily contaminated with oil, salt water, sewage, decaying animal and human carcasses, etc ?

              And are you denying that something in the order to 20,000 - read that slowly, twenty thousand - people died due to the tsunami ?

              As to the dumping of "contaminated" water into the ocean. As pointed out, the ocean is "quite large" - fish crap in the ocean, so are you suggesting that we remove all the fish because they'll contaminate it ? And of course, a big factor you miss is that standards are so tight around nuclear that it's not unknown for people/things to trigger the detectors on the way INTO work. Many parts of the UK (Edinburgh and that area for example) are significantly radioactive, more than would be permitted on a nuclear site - erosion of the rocks results in radioactivity flowing down the rivers into the sea. This isn't glow in the dark, cook an egg in a minute, radioactive water - its water that would possibly not raise an eyebrow elsewhere.

              But I don't expect you to allow any facts to get in the way of a fatally flawed ideology.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: even more safer to operate?

        Interestingly the worst it finds to say about three specific long-lived fission products which are most difficult to contain geologically is that SMRs wouldn't reduce them.

        Of these Wikipedia suggested selenium 79 would be picked up in the food chain. So is C14. It also says it's a weak beta. So is C14. One difference is that Se79 has a much longer half life so the disintegrations per hour of a mole of that are going to be a fraction of those of a mole of C14.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          Did it mention the most deadly, K40? Nuclear power has produced so much of that that it's absolutely bananas. Nuts I tell you!

          I did see it mentioned one of my favorite isotopes-

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technetium-99m

          Popular with neo-luddites, including Gordon Brown. Sometimes used as evidence for leaks from Sellafield, because being nuclear, it must have come from the nuclear industry!

          Which is of course true, given the nuclear industry produces moly cows, which produce Technetium, which is then fed to hospital patients. Much the same as some iodine isotopes used to treat thyroid problems. Obviously this demonstrates just how evil the medical-industrial complex is if it intentionally feeds radioactive substances to sick people!

          And of course if those patients don't poop into a radioactive waste container, then that enters the sewage system and get discharged into the sea. If it is disposed of properly, then it becomes deadly radioactive waste that has to be stored for hundreds of thousands of years, and eco-facists have no clue how to dig holes, or understand that most radioactive waste comes from medicine and industry.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: even more safer to operate?

      Ooh, congratulations, you managed to cite the three problems nuclear reactors have had - two of which were caused by human incompetence and one by an act of God compounded by human stupidity.

      Well done.

      Now, care to cite the problems of coal mining ?

      How about mining accidents ?

      Nuclear power is a lot safer than any of those, and when we finally get fusion there will be no more power problems.

      Get your head out of your ass.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: even more safer to operate?

        -> three problems

        That's how you define major incidents. I lost my car keys is a problem. Contamination 1000 square miles of land is not on the same scale, is it?

        Instead of addressing these long lasting major incidents, the pro-nuclear lobby always start saying what about this or what about that. The nuclear lobby is full of deceit.

        You would be one of the people who I would round up, take you to a cage in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and feed you fish caught around Fukushima. And then we will listen to your whataboutery from a safe distance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          That's your 12th post on this topic. Putin really would rather we buy his oil and gas, than be self sufficient with nuclear.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            Make that 23 posts and counting.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: even more safer to operate?

              Now 30, every single one of them with more downvotes than up.

              1. VoiceOfTruth

                Re: even more safer to operate?

                Lots of stupid people out there.

                1. Casca

                  Re: even more safer to operate?

                  Nope, only one.

                2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

                  Re: even more safer to operate?

                  VoiceOfTruth said:

                  Lots of stupid people out there.

                  Actually, shorn of context, you've managed to make a true statement there. Well done!

                  Now try a little introspection.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: even more safer to operate?

                VoT up to 39 posts, obvious no Jubilee bank holidays in Moscow.

        2. TDog

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          Just remember, more people died at Chapwuidick than Three Mile Island.

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            Did Chapwuidick require 150,000 people to be evacuated? Yes or no? Answers on a postcard to:

            ProNukeDiversions

            Rubbish Bin 1

    4. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: even more safer to operate?

      I’d be careful with the truth. A lot of people don’t want to hear it.

      I’d be interested to know how much damaging waste is produced by all forms of energy - I’m a fan of wind, solar and wave, but I also accept that they’re not waste free. The manufacture of the PV panels, the magnets in the solar generator etc. equally I’m fairly sure that Mw for Mw they product less waste than coal, gas or nuclear. But what nuclear? Fission? Hybrid? Fusion (coming soon)?

      I’d like to be able to make a properly informed decision on which energy is cleanest - rather than one based on bias. I’d also like to suggest that the cleanest form of energy is not using it at all - so turn off those vampire devices at night (standby mode is not your friend!), buy energy efficient devices (including cars, you probably don’t need an SUV, electric or otherwise), and if it’s just a gizmo that won’t really benefit your life then don’t buy it at all. /hypocrite-mode

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: even more safer to operate?

        I agree about the pollution brought about by production of these so called green forms of energy. This should not be discounted. It is fair to say that some are greener than others.

        The problem with nuclear waste is it is so long lasting. They even have to research ancient symbols to label it, because the present waste will be dangerous for longer than the history of written languages. How many people today read hieroglyphics? Presumably the ancient Egyptians thought it would be around a while longer than it was.

        Waste from other forms of energy production do not require this sort of storage (or putting it out of sight out of mind, as I prefer to call it).

        1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          Bear in mind that much of the problem is caused by the "anti nuke" lobby. Much of what is currently considered waste would in any other context be called "fuel" or "raw materials". We have the technology to stuff most of it into a reactor and vastly reduce the quantity - but because an intermediate stage involves plutonium then that's "bad".

          Also, you need to differentiate between long lasting and highly active. It's a "candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long" sort of thing. If something is highly active, then it has a short half life - so you simply leave it alone for ... say a century and it'll be vastly lower in activity. If it's long lasting, the sort of "but it's dangerous for billions of years" then it's not highly active and thus isn't all that dangerous (from a radiation PoV).

          Analogy. Someone has a gun and a thousand rounds of ammo. If the gun takes a minute to reload after each round, it'll take a long time to run out of ammo, but there won't be many bullets flying around. Put that ammo in one of those fancy machines that can fire it in a few seconds, then it'll be "highly dangerous" to be anywhere near the line of fire, but after a few seconds it's all gone.

          But of course, as you're such an expert on nuclear energy you already knew all this but chose to ignore it.

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            We don't need any analogies. Nuclear waste is extremely dangerous and long lasting.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: even more safer to operate?

          -> The problem with nuclear waste is it is so long lasting

          Radioactive material becomes less radioactive over time. I'll grant the timescale is geologic, but the most dangerously radioactive materials decay pretty quickly.

          Arsenic (to pick just one) remains just as poisonous as yesterday on a much MUCH longer timescale.

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: even more safer to operate?

            -> the most dangerously radioactive materials decay pretty quickly

            They don't. Which is why there is still a search for a long term dumping ground (aka repository).

            1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

              Re: even more safer to operate?

              Congratulations, we have a star winner who's proved to everyone with 2 brain cells to rub together that he/she doesn't understand radioactivity.

              You can have highly radioactive materials. Their half-life is relatively short - more atoms decaying per unit time == amount of active material left decaying at a similarly high rate.

              And you can have very long lived radioactive materials. Their activity is low because if it weren't low then they would decay a lot faster than is consistent with them having a very long half life.

              What you can't have is very highly active materials which also have a very long half life - the two are mutually exclusive.

              As an aside, I am reliably informed that TPTB did in fact have a plan for decommissioning (safely) the old Magnox plants. It's quite simple : turn off, cool it down, defuel it, then remove all the ancillary stuff so you're left with the reactor itself (about the size of a house). You then post a guard (in case someone wants to come and graffiti it or something) and leave for 100 years. After that time, the residual radioactivity is such that you can cut a hole in the side, walk in, pick up the carbon (graphite) blocks, and walk out with them. OK, somewhat simplified, but you get the gist.

              But, the "what about the childrun" brigade come along and refuse to accept that letting something cool down before you deal with it makes any sense, so instead we have to deal with it NOW, maximising expense, and in the process creating a larger volume of radioactive waste to be dealt with.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: even more safer to operate?

                -> Congratulations, we have a star winner...

                Yep. Sad to say that even living near a major nuclear technology research lab, in amongst the researchers working there, doesn't make people much more aware. Look up "Chalk River Near Surface Disposal Facility" and the kerfuffle around it. FFS people, most of the waste intended to go in there is not only *on the site already* (in the form of buildings that need to be torn down because they're in rough shape), a lot is more hazardous chemically than radiologically, and this site will have FAR higher attention to detail than the average city dump the stuff would otherwise end up in! :(

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: even more safer to operate?

      Societal breakdown due to chronic energy shortages is not safe either. At least with nuclear energy there are ways to mitigate the risks.

    6. DS999 Silver badge

      Let's keep burning coal then

      Nevermind that coal burning releases more radioactivity into the atmosphere every decade than all three of those accidents, plus all the atomic bombs humanity has detonated, combined.

    7. Xalran

      Re: even more safer to operate?

      The technology used in the current commonly used nuclear reactor is safe... up to a point.

      That's why there's some many failsafes and security systems.

      The whole issue is that inherent safe nuclear power plant technologies were discarded because they couldn't produce in large enough quantities the all important isotopes used in nuclear bombs.

      ( and when they produced some it's a pita to separate them compared to PWR tech wastes recycling )

      we could have had nuclear power plants that can't go Chernobyl or Fukushima in the same circumstances decades ago... but The Bomb was more important than a totally safe nuclear reactor that goes back by itself to a cold stable state if everything around goes FUBAR.

  3. the-it-slayer

    Does anyone want cheap and reliable energy?

    Even with 35x more waste, I’m sure the nuclear industry can deal with it objectively. I mean, do we not want cheap and reliable energy for the next 50-100 years?

    Switching off the gas/petrol from Russia (stupid as it is when we knew we relied on it in the UK) was a dumb move. We know that countries/societies do better when energy is cheap. If anyone cares about relatively poor people too. Printing money and distributing to try pay for a gap won’t work either.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Does anyone want cheap and reliable energy?

      Each fission releases about three neutrons. For a stable reactor you want exactly one of them to cause another fission. Some of your spare neutrons will decay to stable protons. Others will get stuck in other atoms which could transmuted them into short or long term nuclear waste. If you put you long lived nuclear waste in the path of your spare neutrons it becomes either short term waste or fuel for your Jupiter + Saturn space probes, which are sometimes solar powered these days because of a shortage of nuclear waste.

      Believe it or not, nuclear physicists have already thought of this. I am surprised it was not mentioned in the counter arguments.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Does anyone want cheap and reliable energy?

        Believe it or not, nuclear physicists have already thought of this.

        I'm not a nuclear physicist, simply a fan of nuclear alchemy. But it's like the eco-facist's arguments against hydrocarbons. They demand we ban production, but seem blissfully unaware of how much we depend on hydrocarbons for a huge array of non-fuel products.

        I think the same is true of nuclear, ie without a nuclear industry, nuclear medicine gets a lot harder and more expensive, along with producing all the other isotopes needed by industry.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does anyone want cheap and reliable energy?

      "Even with 35x more waste, I’m sure the nuclear industry can deal with it objectively."

      I hope you were being sarcastic. Apart from expensive PR campaigns, the nuclear industry has done nothing of signifiance to deal with the waste they've produced for the last 70-odd years. Where has this stuff been safely stored or recycled? Not the low-level waste that goes to glorified landfill, the really nasty high-level waste with half-lives measured in millenia. Making bombs out of plutonium or enriched uranium doesn't count.

      1. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: Does anyone want cheap and reliable energy?

        They want the tax payer to pay for it. The companies want the profits without the risk.

        Nuclear power is safe, said nuclear liars everywhere.

      2. Si 1

        Re: Does anyone want cheap and reliable energy?

        Burying nuclear waste underground is a perfectly safe means of disposal. Where do you think radioactive materials come from in the first place? There’s pockets of radioactive material all over the globe that are mined for reactor fuel. Or is Mother Nature working for the Pro Nuclear Lobby now too?

        1. VoiceOfTruth

          Re: Does anyone want cheap and reliable energy?

          I've met a few dumbos in life. You don't think there might be a smidgen of difference between highly enriched nuclear material and ore? Here, I've got a mountain to sell you. It's full of gold, I tell you.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Does anyone want cheap and reliable energy?

            I've met a few dumbos in life

            They're easily found if you hang out with some Greens..

            You don't think there might be a smidgen of difference between highly enriched nuclear material and ore? Here, I've got a mountain to sell you. It's full of gold, I tell you.

            You might want to check this out-

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_nuclear_fission_reactor

            The natural nuclear reactor formed when a uranium-rich mineral deposit became inundated with groundwater, which could act as a moderator for the neutrons produced by nuclear fission. A chain reaction took place, producing heat that caused the groundwater to boil away; without a moderator that could slow the neutrons, however, the reaction slowed or stopped. The reactor thus had a negative void coefficient of reactivity, something employed as a safety mechanism in humanmade light water reactors. After cooling of the mineral deposit, the water returned, and the reaction restarted, completing a full cycle every 3 hours. The fission reaction cycles continued for hundreds of thousands of years and ended when the ever-decreasing fissile materials, coupled with the build-up of neutron poisons, no longer could sustain a chain reaction.

            See? Nuclear power can be perfectly natural, even sustainable. Nature is cool like this..

          2. RubberJohnny

            Re: Does anyone want cheap and reliable energy?

            I've met a few dumbos in life

            Finally, something believable from you.

            Birds of a feather etc.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does anyone want cheap and reliable energy?

      Switching off the gas/petrol from Russia (stupid as it is when we knew we relied on it in the UK)

      We don't actually rely on Russian oil/gas in the UK, we have our own and buy most of the rest from Norway and the middle East.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does anyone want cheap and reliable energy?

      I WOULD like cheap and reliable energy for the next 50-100 years. The molten salt SMRs, at least, don't last as long as the current reactors due to the high temperatures and the highly corrosive molten salt - 7 years and then you replace the core in the case of Terrestrial Energy. Handwaving the cost of doing that, and handling the leftover waste (a decades-long process even in the unlikely event there will actually be some reprocessing)...there is no way for this to be a realistic prospect for those city-size "cheap and mass produced" reactors.

      I mean, based on history, the most likely result of building, say, 100 of those reactors in the 2030s? In the 2050s there would be some huge corruption scandal about the waste handling, the manufacturers and the operators would go bankrupt (then or even earlier) and the mess would end up being handled by various governments at huge cost.

      There are just about enough traditional nuclear power plants that have been built recently (at great expense, with any number of delays from the learning curve of restarting the industry) that slightly downscaled versions, back to the 1000 MW range, seem like the best, quickest, and most reliable way forward. The industry just has to get serious about learning lessons from the failures of these projects.

      No, I am not a fan of SMR startups doing their very best to hide the actual lifetime costs of their new and improved reactors behind empty promises that "this time it will be different"...

  4. Tomato42
    Facepalm

    Size?

    Oh, so instead of one hand-egg stadium to store all the nuclear waste ever produced, we would need 35 stadia? I.e. less than a single open-air lignite coal mine?

    How will we ever manage that! /s

    1. gotes

      Re: Size?

      I think the issue is storing it safely for the next few thousand years or so. Hopefully we'll find a way to reprocess it into something useful and/or less dangerous.

      1. Alumoi Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Size?

        We could load it up in rockets and fire it into the sun. Along with politicians, lawyers, HR and marketing drones.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Size?

          Add Musk to it and I'm in.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Size?

            Has to be Zuck as well.

        2. TDog

          Re: Size?

          No - it may be valuable in the future. What has the sun done to upset you? Fire it in small quantities in cometary like orbits - something like spinlaunch would be ideal for this - encase the hot stuff in a suitable material and keep that wheel spinning.

          50 launchers whanging out 10 launches each of 50kg high level waste per day could get rid of it into cometary like orbits in about 25 years (250,000 tonnes of high level waste around). That's not long, it just becomes an engineering problem.

        3. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

          Re: Size?

          Best to fire it to deep space, or any other moon / planet than The Sun. It is poison to The Sun and will cause it to explode sooner.

          Sending all the nuclear waste into The Sun is like throwing plastic into the oceans, just with a slightly longer timescale

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Size?

            The Sun turns 250,000 tonnes of H into energy* in about 1/16 second - all our nuclear waste may bring forward the Suns eventual end by a small fraction of 1 year, some 5 billion years from now.

            Science would be hard pressed to spot any meaningful change in the Sun if you dropped Jupiter into it.

            *radiation if you prefer

  5. JimC

    A study for a group which is for/anti nuclear/renewable/fossil/natural/artficial/organic/manufactured fuel/transport/food/clothing/water by a team they selected produced results entirely in line with their beliefs/preconceptions/policies.

    Its a difficult world to be objective in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Who wants to be objective?

      All people want is to be reassured and comforted in their preexisting beliefs.

      1. Mike 125

        Can you please explain the difference between 'preexisting' and 'existing'?

        I want to be reassured in my existing belief that they're exactly the same.

        I asked my insurance company, but haven't heard back.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It'll be in the queue with the rest of the preorders ....

        2. jake Silver badge

          After you get your car side-swiped by a drunk, the new damage is existing damage, and will be paid for by insurance. The door-dings and faded paint on the other side, however, is preexisting damage. If you want that to match the rest of your car, it'll be out of your pocket.

          As I found out as a teenager ::mumble:: years ago.

  6. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Naively, it sounds like there would be a surface-area:volume problem. The same volume of fuel used in smaller machines would mean a greater surface area (being irradiated). Given that "surface area" includes moving coolant it seems inevitable and unavoidable they would produce more waste.

  7. mevets

    More to the story....

    A primary advantage of small, regional power sources is to reduce the losses inherent in long distance transmission. Any study of waste / power is only relevant by measuring power delivered, not power inserted into the grid.

    According to world-nuclear.org, 90% of nuclear waste is low level -- typically things that are contaminated by radioactivity, such as clothing and tools -- vs spent fuel. An advantage of smaller reactors is less human maintenance, thus less low level waste. The article is only focused on intermediate (cladding, shields) and high level ( spent fuel ). These are certainly the most volatile, but it should be noted they are smaller in volume.

    This sort of research is very valuable; we need to understand that, as usual, there is no silver bullet. That said, small reactors are one of our important weapons in weaning ourselves off our petroleum addiction before we over dose. Dealing with larger volumes of volatile nuclear waste must be seen as a form of penance.

    1. Mike 125

      Re: More to the story....

      > reduce the losses inherent in long distance transmission.

      Agreed. It's also the standardised model of the minis: in relative terms- mass production.

      The large sites (HPC etc.) are more bespoke one-offs, despite what the designers and builders claim. The site itself always has different characteristics. So they inevitably overrun, for that reason at the least.

      The same regularity will apply to waste management.

      We need the Model T of nuclear.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: More to the story....

      "These are certainly the most volatile, but it should be noted they are smaller in volume."

      Exactly. Is this a 35% increase on a billion tonnes of 35% on few 10's of tonnes? It matters a lot when working with numbers. Are they absolute or a percentage. If a percentage, what is the absolute starting number.

      100% INCREASE IN DEATHS FROM WIDGET WIDDLING!!!!!

      1 death last year, 2 deaths this year

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      To be fair...

      Transmission losses aren't a huge part of the equation, and at costs the reactors themselves are are only part of the problem. So even if they build these smaller reactors, it will be cheaper to build and staff multiple reactors at larger sites then to spread them around everywhere.

      The other issue is that the cleanup costs will probably not scale as favorably. The bigger issue is that the operators plant to deal with cleanup costs is usually to declare bankruptcy and run off in the middle of the night, leaving the ratepayers stuck holding the bag. (the empty bag as the operator will spend any funds that had been set aside before they bail).

  8. Ashto5

    Why the HELL Nuclear

    It takes thousands of years to clear up the waste.

    This is a trap to ensure energy companies can continue to make profits and YOU pick up the tab for the ridiculous clean up cost.

    Solar and wind are free once you have the panels / blades.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Why the HELL Nuclear

      "Solar and wind are free once you have the panels / blades."

      The wind turbine on my horizon is static right now - maybe there isn't quite enough breeze for it but whatever, it's not currently providing power. It spent a lot of time out of action after it was first installed and then big red splashes appeared on the blades, lubricant seal failure would be my guess. Then the top was taken off and the tower was left for months, probably over a year. A few months ago it was reinstated - whether with a new generator and blades or just refurbished I'm not sure but (a) it didn't produce a reliable return on investment first time round and it hasn't proved a one-off cost to whoever owns it.

      There was an even earlier adopter turbine erected a mile or so away. A few years ago the owner was looking for community investment to replace that.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Why the HELL Nuclear

        and then big red splashes appeared on the blades, lubricant seal failure would be my guess.

        Lubricant bird would be more likely. Don’t get many seals at that altitude.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Why the HELL Nuclear

      Because the clean up cost isn’t ridiculous… it’s just the only power source that has ever been asked to contribute.

      35 times more waste than a *very* small amount is still a very small amount.

      Fossil plants don’t bother, they just belch it everywhere… and they produces *many* orders of magnitude more waste.

    3. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

      Re: Why the HELL Nuclear

      While wind turbines are getting better they are hardly free or maintenance free. Youtube: Discovery UK - Engineering issue with wind turbine blades provides an example of just one of the issues. Putting aside the cost of the replacement blades, you've got the cost disposing of the old blades

      1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        Re: Why the HELL Nuclear

        Waste Management Febriary 2017: Wind turbine blade waste in 2050

        "The research indicates that there will be 43 million tonnes of blade waste worldwide by 2050 with China possessing 40% of the waste, Europe 25%, the United States 16% and the rest of the world 19%."

        Currently wind turbine blades are difficult to recycle. That's a lot of land-fill.

  9. Alan Hope

    Peer review?

    Studies like this should go through a peer review process - rather than just generating headlines while having their methodology and conclusions criticised. Now we simply don't know where the science lies on this one.

  10. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Da Future!

    Humans will never amount to anything of significance.

    Fundamentally we are still in the steam age

    Morons

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Da Future!

      Posted from your difference engine...?

    2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

      Re: Da Future!

      Given that nuclear reactors are pretty much sophisticated kettles, producing steam to power turbine-generators, yes, it is a steam age.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like traditional dirty nuclear power is upset that its being usurped by a long discarded proven safe technology from the 1960's.

    Is this a case of Gamma-ray washing by a dying industry.

  12. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Should we trust the nuclear reactors designers and builders? No, of course. When a VP of "marketing and communication" speaks, I would tend to not trusting her.

    This study is a warning bell. The study may be inaccurate, or not. Only a fully independent evaluation can tell. Nuclear safety requires doubt, controls, investigations and cross-examination.

    So now, other teams fully independent from the nuclear industry should make other studies to sort that out.

  13. Rogue Jedi
    Mushroom

    Surely this is a win win scenerio

    The nuclear diamond batteries people have been getting excited about recently use nuclear waste to generate to create batteries designed to be self recharging and last thousands of years, so surely more nuclear waste means they can produce more of those nuclear diamond batteries, which is great for the environment right?

    Either that or they produce less waste, so we can use the SMRs to phase out fossil fuel/biomass fuel power plants and reduce CO2 production, which is allegedly great for the environment.

    The only potential downside I can see is if those who believe we are currently dangerously low on surface level CO2, which is starving plants, are correct, in which case this (as well as everyone talking about the "climate crisis") causing the reduction in CO2 levels which could end up making Earth uninhabitable.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Potentially stupid, but genuine question:

    Does *volume* of waste actually matter? Is the capacity of a place like Sellafield measured in tonnes per year? If I swap to reactors that produce 5x more waste in physical volume terms do I need four more Sellafields, or does the fact I need at least one fuckoff-great-big reprocessing plant in any case make the question of volume mostly moot?

  15. adam 40 Silver badge

    Cost

    RR reactor will cost £4/W (just to install, the fuel/maintenance costs on top presumably?)

    I just installed solar that cost about £0.25p/W i.e. 1/16th the cost per W. Admittedly using 2nd hand panels.

    So the question is - is the convenience of having the power at night worth the factor of 16 extra?

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