back to article World's largest nuclear fusion reactor comes online in Japan

Japan's joint fusion reactor project with the European Union (EU), the JT-60SA, was inaugurated in Naka, Japan on Friday, marking the start of experimental operations for the world's biggest and most advanced tokamak. Tokamak is an acronym from the Russian тороидальная камера с магнитными катушками which means "toroidal …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Hope this goes well

    I've been watching this with interest for some time. It could solve a lot of problems.

    1. TonyJ

      Re: Hope this goes well

      Same. It seems we're always just on the cusp of success with it. Cannot wait (and hoping it's soon) we push over that into a fully operational reactor.

      1. Chris Miller

        Re: Hope this goes well

        Just another 20 years to wait (the same timescale as in 1970).

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: Hope this goes well

          Yeah, maybe not. I hope not, anyway. With fusion we will finally do away with all the stupid greenie arguments against nuclear and be able to advance to a society where energy is no longer a problem.

          I'm looking forward to seeing that start before I retire, at best, or before I die, at worst.

          Oh, and I basically just turned 57, so you see, I'm really hoping.

          1. Lurko

            Re: Hope this goes well

            "With fusion we will finally do away with all the stupid greenie arguments against nuclear and be able to advance to a society where energy is no longer a problem"

            You wish. According to IAEA research, fusion power will produce far more radioactive wastes. Whilst they're low level or intermediate, unlike the long lived nasties from fission plants, you can be sure the unwashed, poorly educated greenies will be campaigning vigorously against fusion power.

            https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1741-4326/ac62f7

            1. sitta_europea Silver badge

              Re: Hope this goes well

              Non-paywalled version:

              https://scientific-publications.ukaea.uk/wp-content/uploads/GONZALEZ_DE_VICENTE_2022_NUCL-_FUSION_62_085001.PDF

              You *really* need to read it if you think fusion power is the answer to radioactive waste.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Hope this goes well

                I don't know how it reads to me but the impression I got was along the lines of ploughing back the knowledge gained from decades of fission experience into designing minimisation and management of waste upfront plus the fact that the main waste component is tritium (a short half-life weak beta emitter).

                1. Aladdin Sane

                  Re: Hope this goes well

                  The Swiss watch making community are gonna love this.

                  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                    Re: Hope this goes well

                    I'm not sure watches use tritium but maybe we'd all be obliged to have a couple of Trimphones per household.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: Hope this goes well

                      @Doctor Syntax

                      "I'm not sure watches use tritium but maybe we'd all be obliged to have a couple of Trimphones per household."

                      Look up tritium watches. They are nice. I like these ones-

                      https://www.traser.com/en/traser-world/our-technology/

                      1. adam 40 Silver badge
                        Mushroom

                        TOKAMAK

                        Russia's enduring prank played on the West.

                        This architecture will never provide net positive power.

                        Why aren't we making stellarators instead?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hope this goes well

              You do know that Big Oil will just blow it up and blame it for a disaster- hopefully not causing anything like Flash Forward !!

              See COP28 for their true intentions:

            3. NeilPost Silver badge

              Re: Hope this goes well

              Just bury it on the Moon, and look after it better than Space 1999…. or shoot it into the Sun !!!

              Got to be far cheaper then running Sellafield (and that’s Uk only)

              https://amp.theguardian.com/business/2023/dec/04/sellafield-money-europe-toxic-nuclear-site-cumbria-safety

          2. Zibob Bronze badge

            Re: Hope this goes well

            Sure the power is clean, but I am also sure the talk will switch to "How much carbon to build and research this?" And that will be the next battle ground.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hope this goes well

            Nah. The greenies will still find excuses to thump tubs. Short-lived (relatively) waste, concrete, synthetic paints. I'm still surprised we've not seen demos about radiation from coal tips (I was told by someone in a high up tech position in the nuke industry who should know that, if you took the coal tip at Eggborough power station and dumped it on a nuke site, it would have to be treated as low level or possibly intermediate level nuclear waste.)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Hope this goes well

              Exactly. The greenies don't care about radiation, are only against technologies which compete with the fossil fuels of their paymasters.

          4. Caver_Dave Silver badge

            Re: Hope this goes well

            The majority of the waste from nuclear that is buried around the place is no more radioactive than the luminous watches that people used to wear.

            But that didn't stop the campaigns by the uninformed or ill informed.

            1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

              Re: Hope this goes well

              This is only because "the vast majority" in terms of volume is low-level waste, such as gloves that have been used to handle things that have some into contact with the robots that are sued to service the secondary cooling systems, and things like that. My collection of uranium glass is probably categorised as low-level waste, and you'd get more of a dose walking across Dartmoor than by handling it.

              This doesn't mean that the high level waste, which is the actual problem stuff, is no more dangerous than a luminous watch, it is far more dangerous. It's also worth pointing out that the people making those luminous watches frequently got radiation poisoning and nasty cancers from working with the materials involved. "No more dangerous" is a relative term, and relative to something that killed people isn't a good starting point. You might as well say "no more harmful than being slowly poisoned to death".

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Hope this goes well

                This is only because "the vast majority" in terms of volume is low-level waste, such as gloves that have been used to handle things that have some into contact with the robots that are sued to service the secondary cooling systems, and things like that.

                Actually, it's probably gloves that have come into contact with stuff being used to treat patients. The NHS is (I think*) the largest source of low level radioactive waste because a lot of radioactive stuff is used in radiotherapy, imaging etc etc. This stuff is so dangerous and deadly that it's fed to people!

                Which could also be a GoodThing(tm). Greens could carry Radiation Refusenik cards and refuse any treatment like x-rays or radiotherapy. This would be perfectly in line with other refusals on religious grounds like the JW's and save the NHS money and bed spaces. Also one of those fun things the neo-luddites don't think about, like if we close down all nuclear, where would the isotopes come from? Sure, some can be made in accelerators, but that's a lot more expensive and impractical than nuclear alchemy.

                *Think because I can't find the report that identified all the different sources of radioactive waste. There are many, and the nuclear industry itself is only a small part of this.

              2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Hope this goes well

                It's also worth pointing out that the people making those luminous watches frequently got radiation poisoning and nasty cancers from working with the materials involved.

                This was only one instance of pre-H&S days use of nasty materials - phosphorus in the manufacture of matches is one. Lead & arsenic in paints and, at least for arsenic, wallpaper, is another. Then there were the nasties in munitions etc etc.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Hope this goes well

                  This was only one instance of pre-H&S days use of nasty materials

                  Don't forget 'Mad as a Hatter' thanks to the mercury nitrate used in felt making for hats. As Simon Whistler might say, the past was the worst.

                  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                    Re: Hope this goes well

                    And parcel gilding which applied a mercury & gold mixture to base metal and then evaporated the mercury.

                    I still have my doubts about amalgam as a filling material.

            2. NeilPost Silver badge

              Re: Hope this goes well

              Go visit Sellafield, Yucca Mountain or Hanford.

              Lord know what further horrors are hidden away in Russia or China.

            3. NeilPost Silver badge

              Re: Hope this goes well

              https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/dec/05/sellafield-nuclear-site-leak-could-pose-risk-to-public

              Topical and output from The Guardian’s year long investigation into Sellafield.

              If only the UK Govt had put as much focus on this aspect of a ‘security threat y Howard’s the UK’ as towards Shamina Begum … it would have been solved years ago.

          5. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Hope this goes well

            @Pascal Monett

            "With fusion we will finally do away with all the stupid greenie arguments against nuclear and be able to advance to a society where energy is no longer a problem."

            Greenies are the problem. Being concerned about the environment is one thing but for those who rail against our civilisation they are mud hutters who will never be happy until we are back to peasant lifestyles while they dream of being the feudal lords

      2. tony72

        Re: Hope this goes well

        It will be interesting to see if any of the many fusion startups can leapfrog the "big science" fusion projects like ITER and JT-60. The likes of Commonwealth Fusion for example are using high-temperature (relatively speaking) superconductors that simply didn't exist when ITER was designed, allowing them to make magnets orders of magnitude smaller and much more practical. Exciting to see how the whole thing plays out.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: commerdial fusion

          NPR* interviewed 3 fusion start-ups. Looks like they asked for funding when money was cheap and will be turning machines on next year. (Likely to mean discovering and fixing problems next year more than getting more energy out than put in.)

          * I have been reading them regularly since Musk said they were state affiliated media.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    ITER and JT

    Seems that they both started construction the same year. Scientists, engineers and technicians have been collaborating on both projects. JT has achieved a monumental result already, but ITER is going to make us wait another two years.

    Is it because ITER is bigger ? The wiki says "ten times the plasma volume of any other tokamak operating today", but that was before JT.

    So what's the score now ?

    And, hang on, whatever the score is, they planned a decade ago to have a fusion reactor ten times bigger than anything running a decade later ?

    Wow.

    1. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: ITER and JT

      try this from Up and Atom channel (it's not just physics)

      "World's Largest Nuclear Fusion Reactor!"

      https://youtu.be/A5RxUW7VC-A?si=8k7S5emwOMIDtfrU

    2. Zibob Bronze badge

      Re: ITER and JT

      The article did say that the JT-60SA is 6 storeys tall and ITER will be double that at 12, all very rough estimates, but volume increase based on that could well beuch much bigger when its done. So yeah, hard to build twice the size in the same time thats whwre the 2 years goes. there is also likely some waiting on the ITERs part to see what comes of JT-60SA.

  3. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

    I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

    Whilst the claim that it generates no high-level long-lived radioactive waste is true (since high level waste is pretty much defined as fission products), the materials that make up the tokomak are going to get bombarded by neutrons, so when, a couple of decades down the line, the experimentation is done, and it is disassembled, there is potentially going to be plenty of medium-level radioactive waste to deal with.

    Obviously, this is much less of a problem than lots of messy and "hot" fission products, but why focus on the "clean" nature of the energy production, rather than, for instance, the cost and energy security aspects, which in my mind, are much more important.

    While we're at it, let's remember that burning coal produces radioactive waste as well, and releases it into the environment at much higher levels than are allowed with nuclear fission, so drawing attention to the issue of radioactive waste may not have the desired effect of convincing people that this is a clean form of energy production.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

      While we're at it, let's remember that burning coal produces radioactive waste as well, and releases it into the environment at much higher levels than are allowed with nuclear fission, so drawing attention to the issue of radioactive waste may not have the desired effect of convincing people that this is a clean form of energy production.

      This-

      https://gridwatch.co.uk/Wind

      or-

      https://grid.iamkate.com/

      Should be better justifications, especially after the last couple of days of freezing temperatures, no wind and reports of people being paid not to use electricity. So the usual winter conditions of a high pressure weather system leading to no wind and very little solar. Plus to make matters even more interesting, the company that supplies Drax with much of their shredded trees is in the process of going bust, affecting the supply and price of the wood chips it burns. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of useful idiots flew into Dubai to demand more windmills. Well, except for the ones who's private jets were snowed in at airports like Munich.

      Downside to nuclear, fission or fusion is not managing the waste, because we can do this now.. But it's the lead times to bring new generating capacity online when we really need it now. Cars stuck on the roads in Cumbria that won't easily be moved if they're EVs. Heatpumps that won't work because temps were -5c or lower, and a switch to electric heating is going to massively increase demand.. It's only just December, and already our grid came close to collapse.

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Tilting at windmills

        We all know that wind is intermittent, and the sun only comes out during the day.

        Research is being done into better energy storage, which would largely mitigate the issue of peaks and troughs in production. Things like flow batteries and supercapacitors. These will undoubtedly become part of the electricity grid in time.

        However, the point to make here is that nobody is saying we should rely on a single source of energy production, and saying "this is useless because it doesn't work 100% of the time" is not only a false argument, but really, really boring to hear over and over again without any hint that you understand nuance.

        As for the grid being close to collapsing, this is down to a prolonged lack of investment by successive governments. It's not only the fault of the current Tory government (although, having had almost 14 years to do something to fix it, and having done nothing, they have to shoulder a large portion of the blame), but also the Labour government before them, and the Tories before them, pretty much all the way back to Thatcher. Perhaps if we had a grown-up system of PR for our voting in this country (like they do in functioning democracies), then we'd have fewer politicians chasing populist policies to win votes, and more serious government, rather than all the culture war bullshit which is starting to get really tired.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Tilting at windmills

          Research is being done into better energy storage, which would largely mitigate the issue of peaks and troughs in production. Things like flow batteries and supercapacitors. These will undoubtedly become part of the electricity grid in time.

          So there's been say, 2 days with virtually no wind. Current demand is 42GW. The wind has picked up a bit, so current generation is 13.6GW, or 32% of demand. To deliver electricity when there's no wind would require 650GWh of batteries. This would add billions to the cost of wind generated electricity. Then of course there are the minor details about where to put them, and how long they'd take to recharge.

          Alternatively, we just build 20GW of nuclear and call it good. No batteries required.

          However, the point to make here is that nobody is saying we should rely on a single source of energy production, and saying "this is useless because it doesn't work 100% of the time" is not only a false argument, but really, really boring to hear over and over again without any hint that you understand nuance.

          It's not a very nuanced argument. We've know the problems with wind for centuries, which is why we replaced sails and windmills the first time around. The problem is neo-luddites like you haven't grasped the obvious lessons of history and simply want to pile on costs to fix a fundamentally flawed generating system.

          As for the grid being close to collapsing, this is down to a prolonged lack of investment by successive governments. It's not only the fault of the current Tory government (although, having had almost 14 years to do something to fix it, and having done nothing, they have to shoulder a large portion of the blame)

          It is not lack of investment, but investment in the wrong things. The money we've wasted on windmills could have been better spent on nuclear generation, or even modern coal plants. Coal would have met CO2 emission targets simply by virtue of using more efficient technology, even without wastes of money like CCS. The fault is political, yes, but almost entirely due to the idiotic Ed Milliband and his 'Climate Change Act', which a government could easily repeal.

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: Tilting at windmills

            "Neo-luddites like you" he says to the guy with two degrees in chemistry who has worked as a software dev for 20+ years, and is also well read in physics and biology. If you were hoping to go chucking ad hominem nonsense about to make yourself look clever, I think you might have missed the mark there slightly. It's a straw-man argument too, because I've not actually advocated for what you are single-mindedly arguing against, but I suppose you're happy there in the Dunning-Kruger club. See, I can throw insults too.

            No, it's not very nuanced to say that we need to have diverse energy sources, for resilience in a number of dimensions (political, financial, physical, geopolitical, etc. etc.), yet you're still missing the point and doing a very good job of impersonating Don Quixote. I'm not sure what your fixation with wind turbines is (they're not windmills, nothing is being milled), they are, at the end of the day, just another form of energy generation, and obviously one that is effective enough for people to actually spend money on them (you know it's not actually the government buying them, right?) People who clearly know a lot more about the subject than you or I have done the sums and worked out that if they invest in building them, then there is a financial return. The subsidy by the UK government towards all "green" power generation is around £200M per year, which is a lot less than it has indirectly subsidised fossil fuels through tax breaks (around £2.5B per year).

            Meanwhile building Hinkley C, the only new nuclear power generation this century, will cost over £30bn, and then we are locked into high prices for the electricity generated from it. It then gets decommissioned after a few decades, at which point the next generation is left with the problem of large amounts of high and medium-level nuclear waste. It might have the advantage of producing a high and steady base load, but if you were to build all nuclear, then they are actually pretty slow to ramp up or down production, so you are still left with storage problems, and it is much more expensive, when you consider the decommissioning costs, than "windmills". Again, I'm not opposed to conventional nuclear, although the primary purpose of building all of those reactors in the second half of the 20th century was for plutonium production, not power generation, and I do oppose that.

            1. munnoch Bronze badge

              Re: Tilting at windmills

              "you know it's not actually the government buying them, right?)"

              But its the govt underwriting the production from them. That's why they get built. The owners are paid a guaranteed income whether they turn or not. And iirc they had to up the ante quite significantly to try to get the last round of licenses taken up but no one was interested.

              So its not just nuclear that has high cost built in. If wind*mills* were such a great idea then our bills would be falling as more of them are plugged into the grid. That's conspicuously not happening.

              Feel free to pick your favourite diversionary reason for that -- X'ty years of the Tories, Brexit, Russia etc.

              1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                Re: Tilting at windmills

                But its the govt underwriting the production from them.

                It's almost as if I didn't point out the government subsidy in my own post, or then go on to compare this to the indirect subsidy for fossil fuels, or the total cost of conventional nuclear. How could I have been so remiss as to forget to post that?

                Oh no, wait, it's just a reading comprehension fail.

              2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                Re: Tilting at windmills

                If wind*mills* [sic] were such a great idea then our bills would be falling as more of them are plugged into the grid. That's conspicuously not happening.

                It's conspicuously not happening because of the way payments for generation are weighted so that the price is based on the most expensive form of generation. Wind power generators have actually had a nice windfall (natch) from the fact that gas generation is so much more expensive, thus setting the unit price they can charge.

                Gas is, of course, only going to get more expensive, as the limited resource becomes more scarce, and harder to extract (e.g. from fracking rather than from free deposits, or from deeper deposits), it also has the geopolitical problems (not just the obvious one with Russia, but also other dubious places such as Kazakhstan), and the cost of mitigating burning it is only going to go up (CCS will have to be factored into the cost at some point if we keep burning it). Meanwhile, of course, the more we pump CO2 into the atmosphere, the more direct atmospheric heating we get from reflected solar IR. The physics and chemistry here are indisputable, and have been known about for well over a century, it is not only as basic as looking at the IR spectrum of carbon dioxide, but also the IR spectrum of water vapour, the atmospheric concentration of which is going to go up with temperature - again, this is basic physics/chemistry. More heating in the atmosphere indirectly means more atmospheric turbulence and more wind; unfortunately, this also means more large storms with wind speeds we can't handle - wind turbines that get blown down by 200mph gusts aren't too useful.

                Anyway, the point here is that if you bother to go and look at the costs per MWH for various forms of generation, onshore wind is already cheaper than most other forms of generation. Offshore wind is more expensive, largely due to the infrastructure costs, but we're stuck with a problem that we can't build a lot of onshore wind generation in sensible places because of NIMBYism. We have people who would rather have Drax on their dooorstep than some turbines.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Tilting at windmills

                  Gas is, of course, only going to get more expensive, as the limited resource becomes more scarce, and harder to extract (e.g. from fracking rather than from free deposits, or from deeper deposits),

                  Fraccing is cheap. It's all the regulatory stuff that makes it expensive. Tens of thousands of eco freaks have jetted off to Dubai to insist we ban fossil fuels though, and expert climate scientists are using fossil-fuel derived adhesives to glue themselves to roads, demanding that we ban plastics, chemicals, drugs and the many things we rely on and produce from oils & gas.

                  Indeed. So what, pray tell is the precise climate sensitivity wrt CO2? Like how many W/m^2 at what concentration? Please cite your sources.. The IPCC of course knows CO2 is a weak GHG, and the climate is pretty insensitive to CO2 levels. Hence the reliance on 'feedbacks' and 'forcings' to amplify it's effects. Yet those effects cannot be observed, or modelled accurately, especially strongly negative ones like cloud dynamics. Then if you assume a logarithmic relationship between CO2 and temperatures, we've already virtually all the warming we may expect due to 'The Science', and don't have enough carbon to double it again.

                  But if anyone's actually interested in the science, there's a handy paper explaining it here-

                  https://arxiv.org/abs/2303.00808

                  1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                    Re: Tilting at windmills

                    Tens of thousands of eco freaks have jetted off to Dubai

                    "Eco freaks" such as heads of state, going to an international summit, which is more a piece of political showboating than anything to do with resolving the climate crisis.

                    As for providing citations: Firstly, I am not writing an academic paper here, so I'm not going to provide references, especially not on order for specific questions raised by you. Secondly, here is a citation from 1978 about the infrared absorption spectrum of carbon dioxide, which itself cites the earlier literature (it was well established science back then). If you feel like doing your own research, which you really should do, before spouting off, you can equally well look up literature on the spectra of incoming solar radiation into the Earth's atmosphere, and the reflected infrared spectrum from the ground, so you can establish for yourself how the greenhouse effect works:

                    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0022285278900164

                    Also, here is Svante Arrhenius' original 19th century paper that works out the greenhouse effect from first principles:

                    https://www.rsc.org/images/Arrhenius1896_tcm18-173546.pdf

                    I'm not going to go ahead and summarise 127 years' worth of climate science for you, though. You are responsible for educating yourself.

                    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                      Re: Tilting at windmills

                      "Eco freaks" such as heads of state, going to an international summit, which is more a piece of political showboating than anything to do with resolving the climate crisis.

                      Uh huh. And the tens of thousands who.. aren't heads of states? But plant a few trees and it's all good.

                      If you feel like doing your own research, which you really should do, before spouting off, you can equally well look up literature on the spectra of incoming solar radiation into the Earth's atmosphere, and the reflected infrared spectrum from the ground, so you can establish for yourself how the greenhouse effect works:

                      I know how it works. You clearly do not. I asked you to provide a simple number between 1 and 2 that represents the current climate sensitvity number wrt CO2. But of course you can't and instead gish-galloped into a trap...

                      Also, here is Svante Arrhenius' original 19th century paper that works out the greenhouse effect from first principles:

                      Yes, I mention Arrhenius and the debate that's been ongoing ever since. It's why I mention him and Angstrom, and even Einstein piled in. And of course Arrenhius published before knowing about CO2's 4th absorption/emmission band. But according to Arrhenius, doubling CO2 would result in 4°C warming... We've doubled CO2. How's Arrhenius's prediction looking?

                      But such is science. It moves on, and predictions can be falsified by evidence. Normally.

                      But I also cited you a paper from a couple of atmospheric physicists who explain it all as well.. But what would atmospheric physicists know about climate 'science'? Much better to trust the members of the tree ring circus I guess.

                    2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

                      Re: Tilting at windmills

                      A genuine question - why did the last ice age end - we weren't around (or if we were not in significant numbers) so what caused the warm up that time?

                      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        Re: Tilting at windmills

                        A genuine question - why did the last ice age end - we weren't around (or if we were not in significant numbers) so what caused the warm up that time?

                        That is one of life's great mysteries. Also whether it has actually ended. Most long time scale temperature and isotope proxies show climate oscillates, with periods of warming and cooling, but it's unclear why. For ice ages though, it's generally assumed to be this-

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

                        So orbital changes altering insolation, ie the amount of energy the Earth receives at the top of the atmosphere and then surface varies. So theory goes that the Earth's orbit changes, and we get less energy from the Sun. But it's one of those things where effect exceeds cause, ie we need quite an excursion to lower and raise insolation enough. It's a gradual process though, and includes many factors. So Earth wanders, slowly cools, ice cover increases, albedo changes, more energy is reflected and radiated away, atmospheric water vapor levels change, the atmosphere contracts.. And more. Then it reverses again, we start warming, ice melts, biosphere wakes up and CO2 levels start to rise. CO2 can't really drive this process.

                        So then if you accept natural influences, it gets harder to accept that CO2 is the magic molecule that can drive a planetary system. It's just a small bit player. Plus there are a whole bunch of other natural climate cycles, like solar and oceanic that play a part. The Sun's output varies both in raw intensity and spectral shifts, those have effects on the atmosphere, and we don't have a lot of data showing how it varies. Sunspot records go back a long way, but spectral measurements do not. Again it's one of those fun areas where effect may exceed cause, ie we know it changes, but does it change enough?

                        Then there's my personal favourite-

                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrik_Svensmark#Cosmoclimatology_theory_of_climate_change

                        Where cosmic rays affect CCNs (Cloud Condensation Nuclei), which affects cloud cover and thus temperatures. There's a whole slew of factors included in that theory, ie Solar output which increases/decreases cosmic rays hitting the Earth, our own magnetic sphere intensifying or declining, or maybe we just end up flying through some dusty space every once in a while. There was a fun NASA paper explaining 'cosmic fluff' and Voyager flying through it.

                        But it's fascinating to learn more about real climate science, and frustrating at times to be called a 'denier' by the cult of CO2.

                        1. codejunky Silver badge

                          Re: Tilting at windmills

                          @Jellied Eel

                          "But it's fascinating to learn more about real climate science, and frustrating at times to be called a 'denier' by the cult of CO2."

                          MMCC co2 theory and green madness are amusing in that you are a climate change denier if you believe in climate change but not wholly submit to the religious belief versions. Oddly you can deny natural climate change and blame humans for everything and they wont label you a climate change denier.

                          But they will be absolute in their opinion that they know the answers as long as they dont look at the facts. Sometimes this world seems upside down.

                      2. HISTSIZE=10000

                        "genuine"? duh...

                        >>> "A genuine question - why did the last ice age end - we weren't around (or if we were not in significant numbers) so what caused the warm up that time?"

                        Man, educate yourself. Look up Milankovitch cycles.

                        The Earth is not a static system, orbiting in perfect circles around its star. The sun itself is not a static star always radiating the same amount of energy in an isotropic way.

                        Our planet even experienced very long periods when it was covered with ice. It's called cryogenian. Also look up the carbon cycle and the role of volcanoes in that cycle.

              3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

                Re: Tilting at windmills

                -- The owners are paid a guaranteed income whether they turn or not. --

                And sometimes even get paid for not producing when the wind is blowing but we don't want the electricity

            2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Tilting at windmills

              People who clearly know a lot more about the subject than you or I have done the sums and worked out that if they invest in building them, then there is a financial return. The subsidy by the UK government towards all "green" power generation is around £200M per year, which is a lot less than it has indirectly subsidised fossil fuels through tax breaks (around £2.5B per year).

              It's not an ad-hom to point out people are either ignorant of simple realities, or intentionally trying to mislead people. The subsidy regime around windmills are complicated, but the majority of the subsidies are paid by consumers, not the government. This is why our energy costs are so expensive compared to virtually everywhere else in the world. The fossil fuel 'subsidy' argument is also a lie given it's pretty much entirely based on energy not being charged 20% VAT, and ignores all the additional taxes and duties levied on those industries. But apply your big brain to this-

              https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2023/11/24/environmental-levies-to-cost-95bn-in-next-six-years/

              In short, the cost during this financial year is expected to be £14.4bn, rising to £18.1bn in 2026/27, equivalent to £670 per household.

              Not all of the extra costs incurred because of policy are included. For instance, there is no mention of the costs of grid upgrades, system balancing costs and constraint payments – all the direct result of increased renewable generation.

              Which is an accountant looking at the OBR figures. This is the only reason there's investment in 'renewables', because the massive subsidies generate windfalls, not electricity.

              Meanwhile building Hinkley C, the only new nuclear power generation this century, will cost over £30bn, and then we are locked into high prices for the electricity generated from it. It then gets decommissioned after a few decades, at which point the next generation is left with the problem of large amounts of high and medium-level nuclear waste.

              That's because government negotiated a very lousy deal to help bail out EDF. Other countries are building new nuclear far faster, and far cheaper. Indexation on energy prices is also another reason why 'renewables' are costing is more because those contracts are also indexed. So food prices increase inflation, wind power gets more expensive.. And because our politicians are clueless fuckwits, they haven't yet realised that because energy costs are inputs to everything, the more they go up, the faster inflation rises. So in their infinite wisdom, they've managed to create self-inflating inflation.

              There also isn't a problem with waste. There aren't large amounts of either, and both are manageable. Except neo-luddites wibble about stuff remaining radioactive for 100,000yrs because that sounds scarey. With your education, you should know that it's the stuff with shorter half-lives that's more dangerous, and decays to manageable/safe levels pretty quickly.

              Again, I'm not opposed to conventional nuclear, although the primary purpose of building all of those reactors in the second half of the 20th century was for plutonium production, not power generation, and I do oppose that.

              Agreed, but nobody is really proposing doing that. But the fuel cycle is the key. At the moment there's plenty of fuel in the world to carry on doing once-through, or thorium-based reactors where fuel was previously waste. Plus the ability to recycle existing or future nuclear waste. Then again, there are some interesting fusion/fission designs that might need more Pu as a neutron blanket around a fusion core.

              1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

                Re: Tilting at windmills

                This -- paid by consumers, not the government. -- is something I have to disagree with - you make it sound as though the government has a source of income other than the consumers.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Tilting at windmills

                  This -- paid by consumers, not the government. -- is something I have to disagree with - you make it sound as though the government has a source of income other than the consumers.

                  It shouldn't, and the article makes it pretty clear that the subsidies are policy costs that are forced onto all UK consumers. This is why despite the bs from the 'renewables' scumbags that their product is cheap, our energy costs have been rapidly increasing rather than falling. The opposite is also kind of true, ie the claims that the fossil fuel industry is subsidised. It's not, it's heavily taxed in everything from higher CT rates to extraction duties to the fuel duties we pay on consumption. The majority of the claims for 'subsidies' just comes from VAT being applied at a lower rate to energy from fossil fuels.

            3. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. munnoch Bronze badge

            Re: Tilting at windmills

            Ah, the inevitable, "but grid storage", from the numerically illiterate...

            For a bit of context 650GWh of storage is about 10 *million* EV batteries. No worries, we'll just get them all to pull over and plug into the grid. Probably a lot of them are half-charged (on account of generating capacity being knackered because the wind stopped blowing), so lets round it up to 20 million. No one will mind if public transport and deliveries stop for a few days to help keep the lights on.

            Or how about the biggest pump storage scheme in the UK proposed at Coire Glas with 30GWh of capacity. So we'd need over 20 of those at 1.5 billion a pop.... Assuming there are that many suitable sites.

            And then there is our current nuclear fleet that's limping along essentially end of life (but being extended every few years, cracks? what cracks?), and all that lovely import from the continent courtesy of the French nuclear fleet that is in a similar state.

            That's about 7GW of capacity that will have to be replaced sometime in the next decade before we can get back to the day job of displacing fossil carbon.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Tilting at windmills

              That's about 7GW of capacity that will have to be replaced sometime in the next decade before we can get back to the day job of displacing fossil carbon.

              This one is also going to be fun-

              https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2023/11/25/enviva-near-collapse/

              With Enviva being a major supplier to Drax's woodburning kettles, and Drax being one of the only things keeping the lights on at the moment. Like the article says though, it also exposes one of the great, Green lies.. like it burning trees, not 'scrap wood'.

              1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                Re: Tilting at windmills

                "Scrap wood" does, of course, not come from trees.

                There are a number of things that "scrap wood" can be used for, other than burning it. For example, pulping to produce low-quality plant fibre-based cardboards for packaging materials (I'm still getting some new electronics packaged in expanded polystyrene, and I can't work out why this is allowed, when the cardboard-based packing materials do the job just as well and are compostable). You might as well suggest burning waste plastic for power generation, rather than tackling the problem of unnecessary, polluting, and wasteful single-use plastic production. At least incineration of waste products is no worse a solution than shipping fossil fuels in from nations that we'd not choose to do business with if they didn't have us over the OPEC barrel. As long as it is done properly, with high-temperature incineration, waste flue scrubbing, and proper disposal of the residues. Of course, not producing that waste in the first place is the preferable solution, and at least a lot of things like postal packaging are now produced from starch-based films, and not polyethylene destined for landfill.

                Anyway, getting back to your post; I'm not sure how Drax burning wood is any more a "green lie" than any other bunch of unscrupulous people claiming false green credentials in the name of profit. I don't think you'd find many of the people providing those wood-pulp chips for burning are members of Greenpeace, or other environmental lobbyists, so you've made a bit of a category error there.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Tilting at windmills

                  I don't think you'd find many of the people providing those wood-pulp chips for burning are members of Greenpeace, or other environmental lobbyists, so you've made a bit of a category error there.

                  Go look at Drax's website. As for environmental lobbying, one of Drax's execs sat for years on Gummer's 'Climate Change Committee'. Burning 3m tonnes of forest is somehow 'Green', at least in the most important sense of keeping the subsidiy money pouring in.

                  1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                    Re: Tilting at windmills

                    Sat on a committee. So what? Committee stuffing is a practice as old as time and doesn't prove anything.

                  2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                    Re: Tilting at windmills

                    "Burning 3m tonnes of forest is somehow 'Green', at least in the most important sense of keeping the subsidiy money pouring in."

                    But it's US forest, not British forest. Totally different.

                2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                  Re: Tilting at windmills

                  "I'm still getting some new electronics packaged in expanded polystyrene, and I can't work out why this is allowed, when the cardboard-based packing materials do the job just as well and are compostable)"

                  The almost universal answer to "why" is money. EPS is dirt cheap, easy to form and cut. To get formed pulp packaging is expensive to tool and requires buying a lot more pieces before it's at parity with EPS. Paper has to be pulped, formed into shape and then dried before being useable. The heat can be quite expensive. To make it much easier and cost effective, it is another business that would do much better if it could buy heat from an adjacent power generation plant.

            2. JassMan

              Re: Tilting at windmills

              The real problem with all these discussions is that everyone seems to think that to store electricity, you need batteries. If you are going to build nuclear, you could at least use the technology used in solar towers and build a decent sized heat store. That way, at times you are generating too much due to the inability of nuclear to transition power levels quickly, you dump it into the store. Excess wind and solar can also be dumped in when there is a surplus.

              The thing about heat stores is that the bigger you make them, the more efficient it becomes. For each 8 fold increase in volume you only have a 4 fold increase in surface area. Make it big enough and you don't even need to pay for insulation. Make it even bigger and you don't even need to use molten salt for the store. The thing is, that for the cost of a couple of nuclear power plants you could probably build a big enough heat store to tide us through the weeks when there is insufficient wind and solar. We already have geothermal power in Cornwall and the government only had to chip in £22M unlike the £30Bn going into nuclear. It only takes some politicians with imagination to see that even in areas where the earths core is not close enough to the surface for geothermal, we can create it at a fraction of the cost by dumping wind & solar power into the ground, then sucking it out again as needed.

              The real problem at the moment is having politicians who think that by relabeling nuclear as renewable (which is definitely isn't) they are showing some sort of green credentials which they definitely don't have.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Tilting at windmills

                We already have geothermal power in Cornwall and the government only had to chip in £22M unlike the £30Bn going into nuclear. It only takes some politicians with imagination to see that even in areas where the earths core is not close enough to the surface for geothermal, we can create it at a fraction of the cost by dumping wind & solar power into the ground, then sucking it out again as needed.

                Go look at the planning docs for the Eden Project's geothermal plant. It used fraccing! And more importantly, it produces a lot(ish) of radioactive waste because Cornwall's granite is pretty radioactive. So the water used in the heating loop and heat exchangers becomes irradiated to a level where it's (regulatory) dangerous and has to be treated as radioactive waste. Plus of course there's the earthquake risks..

                But the biggest problem is still the cost, and the quantity of energy that would need to be stored to be any use during blocking highs and cold weather like we just experienced, and will undoubtedly experience again this winter.

                1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                  Re: Tilting at windmills

                  It used fraccing! [sic]

                  The legitimate issues people have with fracking are based on how it is used. Fracking itself isn't the problem, it is the sort of fracking that is used to extract gases, where it is continuous and ongoing, and fracking fluid is constantly pumped into the ground to displace the hydrocarbons it is used to harvest. Fracking for geothermal in its simplest form involves drilling of two boreholes (a "down" and an "up") and then injecting water under pressure to form channels between the two, and then cycling of water through those in order to generate steam. One of these involves injecting large quantities of drilling fluid into a wide area to displace as much gas as possible, and the other involves pumping water into what is essentially a closed loop. Yes, that water is going to get mineralised, but the same issues of things like groundwater pollution and ongoing tremors just don't apply (the minerals in those rocks would usually seep into groundwater anyway, unless you're going very deep through multiple strata of different rock types).

                  The actual problems with fracking for gas, of course aren't the tremors (these have been overstated, and are typically below 2 on the Richter scale, which can't normally even be felt by people), or even necessarily the groundwater pollution (as long as this is properly monitored and managed, and not brushed under the carpet). It's that we are extracting more fossil fuels which add to CO2 production.

                  To use a standard car analogy, it's like saying that because bank robbers use cars as getaway vehicles, then a disabled person using a car to do their essential shopping is also bad.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Tilting at windmills

                    The legitimate issues people have with fracking are based on how it is used. Fracking itself isn't the problem, it is the sort of fracking that is used to extract gases, where it is continuous and ongoing, and fracking fluid is constantly pumped into the ground to displace the hydrocarbons it is used to harvest.

                    Err, no. You can't even get that right. Fraccing isn't 'continuous and ongoing', and there's a big clue in the name, which is short for 'hydraulic fracturing'. You are confusing it either due to ignorance, or intentionally with enhanced oil & gas recovery, where a fluid is pumped into a well to extract (usually oil) product. And it may suprise you to learn that one of the most popular fluids for this is.. CO2! Which explains why the oil & gas industry is keen to promote CCS and maybe get a cheap source of liquid CO2. Or just make a few million using old wells for the storage part.

                    Yes, that water is going to get mineralised, but the same issues of things like groundwater pollution and ongoing tremors just don't apply (the minerals in those rocks would usually seep into groundwater anyway, unless you're going very deep through multiple strata of different rock types).

                    Are you sure you're a science grad? So.. I'm curious. Admittedly I'm no geologist, but why would oil & gas be where it is, if there was permeable rock above it? I'm also curious what contamination may come from the chemicals used given they're usually detergents, and even Marmite. But geothermal also fracs. It has to to get a path between the injection and extraction sites. It recirculates the water, and loses a lot. That water will get mineralised, and in the Eden Project's case, become radioactive. Obviously there's exactly the same risk of ground water contamination, except unlike oil & gas fraccing, the working fluid gets more contaminated over time.

                    You.. also miss something rather obvious. So geothermal works by removing heat from hot rocks below the surface. What happens when things cool? Do they.. expand, or contract? Or other fun stuff can happen-

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_energy#Environmental_effects

                    Construction can adversely affect land stability. Subsidence occurred in the Wairakei field.[8] In Staufen im Breisgau, Germany, tectonic uplift occurred instead. A previously isolated anhydrite layer came in contact with water and turned it into gypsum, doubling its volume.[48][49][50] Enhanced geothermal systems can trigger earthquakes as part of hydraulic fracturing. A project in Basel, Switzerland was suspended because more than 10,000 seismic events measuring up to 3.4 on the Richter Scale occurred over the first 6 days of water injection

                    I think there's also a mud volcano still erupting somewhere in Australia from another failed geothermal project. The Basel one was fun though because that 'Green' experiment caused quite a lot of damage, despite geologists apparently warning them it would happen.

              2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Tilting at windmills

                "We already have geothermal power in Cornwall and the government only had to chip in £22M unlike the £30Bn going into nuclear."

                How do the figure match up on a per Kwh basis? that's what really matters.

            3. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Tilting at windmills

              "For a bit of context 650GWh of storage is about 10 *million* EV batteries. No worries, we'll just get them all to pull over and plug into the grid. "

              Many personal vehicles spend most of their time sitting so there's no need to get them to pull over. There just needs to be lots of places to plug them in so they can be used as grid storage batteries. No, you wouldn't get into your car to find the battery totally flat. People would be able to set their car so they have the power that they need and can take advantage of low prices when there is an excess of supply (lots of wind, middle of the night) and also make some money selling power back when there is high demand.

        2. PermissionToSpeakPlease

          Re: Tilting at windmills

          @Elongated Muskrat

          Agree with you on the first 90%. However as a Dutchman residing in the UK for the last 25 years, I'm very sorry to have to tell you that even a "grown-up system of PR" doesn't stop politicians chasing populists policies - so our last elections from a couple of weeks ago... (and also having a national grid with significant difficulties in places)

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: Tilting at windmills

            No, indeed not. It does result in those populist politicians being moderated in order to be able to form a coalition government, though, rather than getting absolute power by means of one more vote than anyone else.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Tilting at windmills

          "Perhaps if we had a grown-up system of PR for our voting in this country (like they do in functioning democracies), then we'd have fewer politicians chasing populist policies to win votes, and more serious government, rather than all the culture war bullshit which is starting to get really tired."

          PR guarantees nothing. I had hopes for it in NI but look at Stormont now.

          1. munnoch Bronze badge

            Re: Tilting at windmills

            Also Holyrood.

            The voting system was supposedly designed to prevent an outright majority but that's what we got year after year until the last time they just fell short. Problem easily solved by bringing a couple of Greens in from the lunatic fringe onto the cabinet giving them influence grossly beyond their proportion of the vote share.

            All of the high profile policy failures since have been instigated by them, deposit return, gender identity etc. immaterial whether you agree with those policies, they have just shown themselves to be immensely inept. But incredibly useful to the Nats, not only do they get their majority to stave off revolt but anything that could be slightly controversial they put in the (in)capable hands of the Green ministers. If they fuck it up then the Nats can sagely mull over whether the power sharing agreement was the right thing (a majority is *always* the right thing). If they don't then the Nats get another one over the populace.

            And they are continuing to drive us off a cliff with their energy policy proposals. No point of use emissions to be allowed i.e. nothin' up yer lum. Despite there being absolutely no viable alternative to chemical fuels for space heating in the vast majority of properties.

            "Wur doomed".

            1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Re: Tilting at windmills

              Whilst I (living in the Highlands) fully agree with you I do feel that you need to give some credit to the SNP for their own ability to mess things up above and beyond the level you expect from any government.

        4. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: Tilting at windmills

          -- However, the point to make here is that nobody is saying we should rely on a single source of energy production, --

          We obviously read different news sources

          -- and saying "this is useless because it doesn't work 100% of the time" is not only a false argument, but really, really boring to hear over and over again without any hint that you understand nuance. --

          Boring I can understand but false - NO

          -- Perhaps if we had a grown-up system of PR for our voting in this country --

          Why would that help - we'd still have the Civil Service and politicians .

          Personally what I find boring is all the people telling me this is the solution without bothering to address the problems.

        5. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: Tilting at windmills

          -- Research is being done into better energy storage --

          All together now "it will be here in 20 years"

        6. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Tilting at windmills

          @Elongated Muskrat

          "Research is being done into better energy storage, which would largely mitigate the issue of peaks and troughs in production. Things like flow batteries and supercapacitors. These will undoubtedly become part of the electricity grid in time."

          Unfortunately they are not looking too good. It would be great if they could be made to work but unfortunately the cost of storing such a limited amount of power is prohibitive in any real sense. They are an attempt to fix the very different generation model but for now they dont work. We are used to generating power on demand while wind/solar is about generating power when it is possible.

          "As for the grid being close to collapsing, this is down to a prolonged lack of investment by successive governments."

          Kind of but not entirely. Again we are used to generating energy where we want it, but wind/solar means generating it where we can and transmitting the power however far to where it is needed. That requires a huge change to the grid. Simply the vast sums of money that should have gone into producing power and maintaining our way of life has been blown on monuments to a sky god and still requires vast investment and technology that doesnt exist to make it work.

          "Perhaps if we had a grown-up system of PR for our voting in this country (like they do in functioning democracies)"

          Unfortunately as Germany has shown this doesnt work either. Once green madness takes hold it drives the country into the wall at high speed. They are losing manufacturing and suffering badly because they ran ahead with this dream and run smack into reality. They have a serious energy problem (as we are developing) which they need to address but struggle to because reality and the green dream are contrary and exclusive positions right now.

      2. munnoch Bronze badge

        Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

        Wish I could up-vote you more times.

        At one point in the last few days *coal* was out-generating wind.

        Its not going to work peeps, all we are doing is cutting our own throats whilst its business as usual in the rest of the world.

      3. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

        Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

        >>Heatpumps that won't work because temps were -5c or lower

        Ah, the old "It won't work below -5°C" canard. How come they work fine in places like Norway & Sweden?

        "According to a study by the independent group Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), air source cold-climate heat pumps can be up to twice as efficient as electric heating when outdoor temperatures fall to -30 Celsius." Linky to the source article not the study

        OK that makes it ~30% less efficient than a decent gas boiler, but -30°C is extreme even for the coldest bits of the UK.

        For the UK, LG even have an air source monobloc heat pump (available for the relatively low cost of about £5k) rated with a flow temp of 75°C, at an air temp of -15°C, with a SCOP of IIRC (at worst) 5.

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

          Shhhh, don't confuse him with facts.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

            A few more facts needed. What's the comparable cost of a boiler of equivalent heat output? Does it also produce DHW or would there be extra costs to alter the plumbing to reinstate/install a hot water cylinder and header tank?

            1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

              Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

              To be fair, I don't think those are questions raised by the posts being refuted here, just misinformation about operating temperatures that he appears to have debunked well.

              Your questions may well be valid ones, but you leave yourself open to accusations of moving the goalposts. A valid criticism of heat pumps may well be their high up-front cost, and also their applicability to old housing stock or existing hot water and central heating systems, which can be very expensive to overcome. This is almost certainly the main barrier to their widespread adoption. I think an approach which the government could take, which might be much more effective, but which they steadfastly seem to oppose (presumably on ideological grounds) would be to fund insulation of old housing stock, and to mandate that landlords properly insulate rental properties, then we'd all have to burn less gas in the first place.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

                "To be fair, I don't think those are questions raised by the posts being refuted here, just misinformation about operating temperatures that he appears to have debunked well."

                He quoted a price for one alternative without without a comparison.

                "A valid criticism of heat pumps may well be their high up-front cost, and also their applicability to old housing stock or existing hot water and central heating systems, which can be very expensive to overcome."

                Unless there's a huge rebuilding of our housing stock (and just think of the carbon footprint of that) retro-fitting to old housing stock is a significant factor. A reasonable analysis has to start with what we've got and what we've got is a very large number of housed which were designed with other heating systems in mind.

                As it happens my house was built to take a solid-fuel fired boiler and converted to combi later. It still has the cupboard formerly occupied by a hot water cylinder, the header tanks in the roof-space and some of the plumbing to connect them. It would need some plumbing work but would be feasible to refit those and going back to the header tanks might even mitigate Yorkshire Water's sometimes variable supply pressure.

                But houses built from new to take combi-boilers won't have those. Getting them all into place will be difficult. There probably wouldn't be a space for the cylinder and unless some sort of collapsible header tank is devised there'd need to be some surgery on ceiling joists and if lofts are insulated at ceiling level there's a risk of freezing the tank and pipework. The alternative would probably be to use an ancillary electric heater for DHW. Reality is a bitch and which I suppose is why my original question about DHW provision went unanswered.

                One point - I do understand that a heat pump can pump heat out of cold air - it's just a matter of supplying enough air. But how do they cope if clogged with snow or ice? It's not an idle question as the only feasible place to fit one here would face the wind direction from which most of the snow comes.

                1. munnoch Bronze badge

                  Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

                  Good points on retrofitting. One detail, a header tank isn't required if you use an unvented storage cylinder i.e. one that stores hot water under mains pressure. Its a bit more complicated and needs regular inspection (think of all the highly skilled jobs...) because its basically a big bomb...

                  But yes, just getting all the kit through the door in the vast majority of properties built in the last 20 years will be nigh on impossible. As you say properties that used to have a conventional storage cylinder will probably have given that up by now and the space will have been happily absorbed into the rest of the house. But its worse than that, HP's hate high temperatures so instead of storing water at 70 or 80 degrees you're not going to be storing it at more like 50 or 60 (whatever the Legionella threshold is). Lower temperature means less energy means the shower runs for a shorter time before going cold unless you put back an even *bigger* tank than was there before. Good luck finding somewhere for that and for your matchstick floor joists to cope.

                  If I believed in conspiracy theories I'd definitely see one here in how HP's are being portrayed in the media and on social feeds, all sweetness and light. There are so many barriers to retrofitting that its just going to be impossible to get any serious penetration (ooh err missus) into existing housing stock. New builds, sure, fill your boots, but we all know how fast that's happening...

            2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

              A few more facts needed. What's the comparable cost of a boiler of equivalent heat output? Does it also produce DHW or would there be extra costs to alter the plumbing to reinstate/install a hot water cylinder and header tank?

              The biggest ongoing cost would be the electricity required. Which Germany has just discovered is.. a slight snag-

              https://www.euractiv.com/section/electricity/news/ev-chargers-heat-pumps-may-be-curtailed-in-germany-as-of-2024/

              1. TDog

                Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

                Just to add a little more information. And this came as part of my OU degree in STEM. The electricity which is used in heat pumps costs about 4* the price of the gas that it replaces in a gas boiler. Thus even with an annual efficiency of 3 (a good value) this indicates that the user will pay about 4/3 the price that would have been paid had gas been used. The green advantage is often touted but as electricity production --> green then there is little to no net green effect. Of course, were the system to be running on dirty electricity the green effect would exist.

            3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

              Having just had a new oil boiler to replace my 20 year old one I can say £4494.95 - same pipework and radiators

        2. munnoch Bronze badge

          Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

          "air source cold-climate heat pumps can be up to twice as efficient as electric heating"

          "Can be", "up to". Very convincing.

          Electric heating, as in resistive heating elements is widely acknowledged to be just about the least economical way of heating. Other than perhaps charging up storage heaters with an off-peak rate. So its really not a very impressive baseline for comparison. The real baseline is gas. And the real, real baseline, is the cost of gas 2 or 3 years ago.

          A COP of 2.0, which is what they are really saying, is still no fucking use at all when electricity costs 3 or 4 times as much as gas, which it always has for as long as I've been paying attention to tariffs. So before anyone starts prattling on about the wonders of HP's, first fix the broken energy wholesale market and bring electricity down to no more than 10p a unit. That'll put us back to where we need to be for electricity to be a viable alternative to gas in terms of running costs at pre cost of living crisis levels.

          "For the UK, LG even have an air source monobloc heat pump (available for the relatively low cost of about £5k) rated with a flow temp of 75°C, at an air temp of -15°C, with a SCOP of IIRC (at worst) 5."

          Yes, but it won't do all those things at the same time. If its asked to raise the temperature from -15 to +75 it ain't going to be running at a COP of 5. HP performance is generally quoted for completely unrealistic conditions like input temp of 20' and flow of 35'. Woopy doo, on a warm summer's day the radiators could be almost body temperature...

          I just can't understand why people aren't falling over themselves to hand over their 5 grand...

        3. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

          -- How come they work fine in places like Norway & Sweden? --

          I don't know but the owner of a heat pump manufacturer did say they weren't suitable for Scotland

          From the linked article "To heat a home, heat pumps extract outdoor heat - which exists even in cold weather - and inject it indoors."

          I am now going to display my ignorance: at -30 where is the heat coming from?

          1. munnoch Bronze badge

            Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

            | "I am now going to display my ignorance: at -30 where is the heat coming from?"

            Because everything is "hot" until you get down to -273'ish and hit absolute zero. The convention of putting 0 in the middle is purely anthropomorphic being of course relative to the freezing point of our favourite liquid H2O.

            The first law of thermodynamics says that heat always flows from hot to cold, think of it as downhill. What HP's do is move the heat "uphill" so they persuade something to get hotter by moving the heat from somewhere else. The ratio of heat moved to electricity used is the COP -- coefficient of performance.

            The further uphill you have to go the harder it is, the more work you have to do. Obvious, right? So if you are starting at -30 and want to get to +40 then thats quite a lot further to go than starting at 20 and going to 35. The HP has to work harder, more electrical energy is "consumed" (converted) to do the extra work. The COP depends very much on how hard you ask the HP to work. Manufacturers aren't entirely honest because they will quote the COP for easy work not for hard. There is a thing called SCOP -- Seasonal COP -- which is supposed to take into account how hard the HP will work averaged out over the whole year, but is probably more snake oil.

            So its not that they don't work, they just become uneconomic.

            The other reason they really don't work is that you get moisture from the air condensing on the unit and freezing up in cold weather. The manufacturers know this so they incorporate a heating element to defrost it. This uses yet more electrical energy,. Only air source has this problem, ground source does not, so when people say "but it works in country X" that's probably because they are more likely to be ground source. Here on the edge of the Atlantic the air tends to be pretty moist all year round, air source is a bad idea. But air source is easier to install than ground source and you know how we Brits love the lazy approach.

            Its all just science. But don't let that get in the way of a good policy story...

        4. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

          -- (available for the relatively low cost of about £5k) --

          I presume that's just for the heat pump - new pipework and radiators maybe needed as well - bit higher total cost

      4. Stork Silver badge

        Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

        The comment about heat pumps not working in-5C is plain wrong. At least they do in Scandinavia.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

          Most heat pumps there are ground source.

          1. Stork Silver badge

            Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

            In Denmark, which has a climate comparable to Scottish lowlands, the eastern bit, many are air source.

            Houses are (better) insulated and heating systems use lower temperatures, making it easier to switch. But the statement that heat pumps don’t work at moderate frost is wrong.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

              But the statement that heat pumps don’t work at moderate frost is wrong.

              Not really. The UK has decided to go Net Zero. This means electrifying heating, cooking and transportation. This means roughly tripling electricity demand. This we can't supply with windmills, because as the recent cold snap shows, when those happen, there's no wind. Plus there's the very high cost of 'renewable' energy. Heat pumps require electricity, and their efficiency varies. So they 'dont work' in the sense that they cost a lot more, and are less efficient at heating compared to traditional gas central heating. People will argue efficiency, but I mean that in a practical sense, like cost/heat output. Not to mention other headaches, like having space to install ground source, or the noise from air source.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: I worry the "clean" nature may be being overstated here

                "Heat pumps require electricity, and their efficiency varies."

                This is why you want a house that is a 100 years old with 2' thick walls adjacent to some land for a ground source heat pump that can do much better than an air source unit. Just add double glazing and insulation the attic.

  4. DJO Silver badge

    We'll see

    While I have hopes for fusion I could do without the disinformation.

    It generates no high-level long-lived radioactive waste

    Well, no - it wouldn't as high level waste tends to be short (half) lived, it's the low to medium level waste that has a really long half-life.

    If they plan to use the neutron/lithium reaction to make tritium, firstly good luck, it's never been demonstrated on anything larger than a lab bench and secondly that reaction will produce radioactive waste - nowhere near as much as a fission reactor but quite enough to be an issue. If they are not planning on the neutron/lithium reaction I'd be interested in knowing where they plan to source the tritium from because it's an incredibly rare resource.

  5. Millwright

    There's a lot of 'anti-greenie' tosh being written in here. Knocking down straw men to bolster untenable arguments is as old as debate, so I shouldn't be surprised.

    Yes, renewables like wind and solar are intermittent. There are two obvious fixes for this - grid scale stoarge (including producing fuel hydrogen, cryogenic and thermal storage as well as batteries) and diversification into other non-fossil, non-nuclear types of genertion such as tidal flow (needs good sites and sound ecological planning but predicatable and reliable, marine current (hard engineering but energy dense and very reliable and predicatable), geothermal, wave power, salinity gradients and so on. None of these is a magic bullet and some may never be practical at meaningful scale but there are a lot of options and some proven to be both achievable and of very great potential output.

    Two other avenues are bigger, longer interconnects to link places with different weather patterns (vulnerable to issues of politics and sabotage) and it's opposite, decentralised generation and storage. The latter ties in with the expected vast increase in electric vehicles, which IF the V2H and V2G infrastructure is in place will provide a lot of grid demand smoothing and storage.

    Fusion has a lot of potential problems, some of them noted already like waste generation and the tritium issue. These may be overcome with diligence, intelligence and lots of money but to start crowing now about the demise of renewables is both unscientific and an act of wishful thinking on the part of insecure nuke Believers.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Yes, renewables like wind and solar are intermittent. There are two obvious fixes for this

      Rather than just piling on more costs, why not accept that they're fundamentally flawed and stop throwing good money after bad? Wind and solar are the problem, not the solution.

      1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        That's why I don't own an umbrella or waterproof coat because it doesn't rain all day, every day.

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          I bet he's one of those people who steps outside when it's frosty and says "what global warming", and at the same time says, "this is fine" when it hits 40°C in the summer because it's regularly that hot in the south of Turkey, without any appreciation of temperate climate ecology. He'll then blame "windmills" when we get blocking weather patterns for weeks at a time because the high-level jet-stream air currents have formed circumpolar loops causing weeks of constant sun / constant rain, and start blathering on about how it was hot in 1976.

          Some people will only read the "evidence" that supports their own beliefs, often in the form of "news" programmes which are little more than opinion (and often very politically biased opinion) and youtube videos. Seeking out, reading, and understanding the scientific literature that deals with the subject (and is necessarily dumbed right down to the point of often changing the meaning, for any media that cares to report on it) is anathema. It uses long words, references other things they'll have to go and read and understand, and has those squiggly maths symbols they saw once on an episode of CSI.

          tl;dr; I'll place more credence with information provided by those who are experts in the subject over that from some RWNJ with an opinion on the internet. Whilst some bias does creep into the scientific literature (largely due to those funding the research being selective about what they fund, and what they publish, especially if it contradicts their financial interests), it is much closer to primary evidence than Jeel's bullshit.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Whilst some bias does creep into the scientific literature (largely due to those funding the research being selective about what they fund, and what they publish, especially if it contradicts their financial interests), it is much closer to primary evidence than Jeel's bullshit.

            Weren't you whining about ad homs earlier? But I do also wonder whether you have vested interests yourself.

            Again, the problem is extremely obvious and we have centuries of data, knowledge and experience to explain it. We used to rely on wind and water for power centuries ago. We stopped when we produced better, cheaper and more dependable alternatives. Sail gave way to steam.

            Sure, technology has allowed us to build bigger windmills, but the fundamental problem is the same. They rely on the weather, and cheaper alternatives do not. This is all the more bizarre when climate 'experts' tell us that we're experiencing more weather 'extremes'. Which is bs, but high winds damage windmills and solar. So does stuff like hail, and of course when it freezes, there's the problem with icing and also keeping blades turning to avoid creating flat spots on bearings. So windmills spin from being energy producers, to consumers. Or you could look at the Met Office's historical wind data, which shows average wind speeds have been declining.

            As for snow, I'll just leave this here-

            https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2023/12/04/david-viners-blunder-saved-for-posterity/

            According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event"...

            ...David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes – or eventually "feel" virtual cold.

            Oh, those crazy climate 'experts' that conned gullible politicians into building windmills instead of reactors..

            1. DJO Silver badge

              If you cherry pick the met office data it can prove anything you want.

              If you look at the data in the whole then your entire thesis falls apart - I have worked with met office data both processed and raw, even down to scans of handwritten reports from the 1960's and the climate has changed far more quickly and severely than could be down to natural changes.

              So what are your vested interests because ALL the science (performed by climate scientists - what someone in an unrelated field says does not matter) proves beyond reasonable doubt that man-made climate change is real. This just leaves unreasonable doubt which is where shills for the oil companies like you come in.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                If you look at the data in the whole then your entire thesis falls apart - I have worked with met office data both processed and raw, even down to scans of handwritten reports from the 1960's and the climate has changed far more quickly and severely than could be down to natural changes.

                That's nice. Which data? CET? That doesn't show anything unprecedented. Sea level? Neither does that. Maybe you mean data that goes back a couple of thousand years, and covers the RWP, MWP, LIA and all those things that make CO2 dogma fall apart, unless you deny them?

                1. DJO Silver badge

                  Weather station reports for a specific south coast weather station dating back to before the turn of the last century. Over 120 years of almost unbroken daily records (some were missing from the time of WWII)

                  Records for max-min, rainfall, barometric records, some wind speed and direction records and some other readings (depending on what equipment was available and if there was a war going on at the time).

                  It showed a continued and accelerating trend: max temps are higher for longer, min temps do not go as low as they used to.

                  It's the trends that matter, a single hot or cold summer does not signify. 10 hot summers in a row however is a trend and does matter.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    It's the trends that matter, a single hot or cold summer does not signify. 10 hot summers in a row however is a trend and does matter.

                    Not really, although they are essential for the climate con. Single data point and you could generate infinite trends. Add more data points, you may produce something more statisticaly significant. But even 120yrs is a blip in time given a climate interval is normally 30yrs of average weather. Then of course if you cherry pick a start date, like the end of the LIA, you get an exagerated warming trend. Pick a date during the peak of the MWP and you can get a cooling trend.

                    But regardless, a single weather station will tell you nothing about Global Warming. The data will tell you nothing about weather land use changes around that weather station, incorrect location, maintenance etc etc have potentially contaminated the data. Pretty much as it does with airport measurements where a summer record was set for about 15 mins as a flight of Typhoons took off. Airports are common locations for temperature data, but places like LHR were very different a century ago.

                    Then of course there's all the deliberate data corruption and manipulation, ranging from the good'ol Hockey Stick to erasing the MWP & LIA, or just 'revising' temperatures measured during the 1920s in the US. Or again, finding tree and plant matter under melting glaciers. There is an enormous amount of evidence that it was warmer in the relatively recent past than it is today, if only you could be bothered to look for it.

                    But no, don't invest in fusion because it's dirty! Invest in windmills, because they'll save the planet! Except of course we've been there, done that and should already know that wind is a lousy power source for a modern economy to rely on.

                    1. DJO Silver badge

                      A single station (nowhere near an airport) gives continuity, if I was collating data from different ones you'd say it's not valid because each station uses different methods and equipment. I did have access to data from other nearby stations as I was considering using them to extrapolate readings for any missing data but I decided to just leave the gaps in place because people like you would jump on "extrapolated readings" claiming it was data manipulation.

                      I had access to the raw data, scans of handwritten readings, there is no manipulation. There were transcription errors which is why I had to refer to the original data.

                      Wind as a part of an integrated system has no downsides. There is always wind blowing somewhere and we have this neat thing called "the national grid" that allows power to be moved from where there's too much to where there's not enough. There's also storage liked pumped hydro which can deal with any instant demand or surplus. Solar is a good one, not photoelectric but lots of heliostats used to melt salt which will stay hot for hours and can be used to generate power long after the sun has set. Tidal power also has a lot of potential. The UK is not well situated for geothermal but many countries have access to tectonic boundaries that are perfect for geothermal.

                      And for your next idiotic straw man (cue drum roll), nobody is saying "don't invest in fusion because it's dirty" all I said is it's not as clean as some proponents make out but assuming they can make it work continuously it's still it's much cleaner than fission. There is a problem with tritium supply but there's a few years before that becomes a worry, plenty of time to sort out a solution.

                      One question I ask deniers such as yourself and have never has a single reply is: Plainly we can't add CO₂ to the atmosphere for ever (if you disagree 'll find a chamber with 25% CO₂ for you to spend some time in) so there must be a point where it's too much - what is that point? -- You don't know so how can you say with any confidence that it's not already a problem when literally every climate scientist on the planet says it is.

                      1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

                        -- you'd say it's not valid because each station uses different methods and equipment. --

                        Fair point, so did the equipment change over the 120 years? If so what was the difference in accuracy etc between the various set of equipment, if not how accurate did they build the equipment 120 years ago?

                        -- every climate scientist on the planet says it is. --

                        Strange that when their job and salary depend on them saying that.

                        1. DJO Silver badge

                          And the scientists who work for oil companies are somehow more honest than academic scientists many of whom have tenure so they get paid regardless of their opinions.

                          Look at it this way - all the scientists who say climate change is a real and present danger work for universities or other independent bodies who are not financed by vested interests. All the scientists with opposing views work for or are financed by polluting industries such as oil or coal. Which group is more likely to give an unbiased view?

                      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        I did have access to data from other nearby stations as I was considering using them to extrapolate readings for any missing data but I decided to just leave the gaps in place because people like you would jump on "extrapolated readings" claiming it was data manipulation.

                        And it would be. But it happens a lot in climate 'science', ie kriging to create temperature measurements where none exist. It's one of the problems with climate 'science'. Large parts of the world aren't covered by instruments, or don't extend very far back in time. Some do, eg our good'ol CET, but don't necessarily show 'global waming'.

                        Wind as a part of an integrated system has no downsides.

                        Other than cost and intermittency. Burning banana peels for electricity also has no downsides. We just need to invest the money in collecting, drying and probably growing bananas for fuel. With global warming, this could be a future proof, sustainable solution for the UK. Except it's a dumb idea, just as windmills are. Sure, they can provide some electricity when the wind's blowing. But the wind doesn't blow all the time. Again we know this from history when we used to use wind for energy. We replaced them with steam so we had more power, when we needed it. The downsides then to wind are many. So there's the impact on the grid, stabilising that grid to deal with very variable inputs when we need and expect highly consistent outputs. So the 'renewables' scumbag's solution is to spend even more money to overcome wind's fundamental inadequacies. So invest billions to extend the grid, stabilise it with some form of storage, and provide pretty much 1:1 stand-by generation for when the wind doesn't blow.

                        Nuclear doesn't need any of this. It just works.

                        ...all I said is it's not as clean as some proponents make out but assuming they can make it work continuously it's still it's much cleaner than fission. There is a problem with tritium supply but there's a few years before that becomes a worry, plenty of time to sort out a solution.

                        It's not that dirty either. We could manage nuclear waste, if only the Greens would let us. Tritium isn't necessarily a problem because maybe we could get commercial aneutronic fusion working that just uses lithium and deuterium. Then we'd just need to figure out how to turn fast alpha particles into electricity. Or there's a fun project the US is doing to wrap a fusion reactor in a fission blanket and use fast neutrons to generate heat. Think Kyle Hill did a video on this, but can't find it.

                        But we have waaaay too many neo-luddites who insist we 'invest' in pre-industrial technology instead of JFDI and builing more nuclear. But then those neo-luddites have spent decades spreading radiation FUD, and are paid to promote 'renewables' instead. But perhaps try watching this-

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aUODXeAM-k

                        Nuclear waste is a solved problem, if only the neo-luddite Greens would let the nuclear experts get on with managing it.

                        1. DJO Silver badge

                          Other than cost and intermittency. Burning banana peels for electricity also has no downsides

                          Are you really that dumb or just pretending for the lols?

                          Wind is by far the cheapest power available in quantity. Intermittency does not matter, there is always wind blowing somewhere, especially offshore. This fantasy you have of all windmills idly sitting there while everybody suffers power cuts is just that, a ridiculous fantasy. Once again - wind is not the only source but part of an integrated energy policy, yes if someone was so stupid to rely on wind alone then there would be issues but nobody is that stupid it's just an absurd strawman argument.

                          Burning ANYTHING releases CO₂ which is a pretty major downside unless you unilaterally decide CO₂ is not a greenhouse gas. Yes burning crop waste is not too much of an issue as it's not fossil CO₂ but reducing emitted CO₂ also has no downsides.

                          I don't understand why you are so vehement in this - ever heard of the "precautionary principle"? If we cut CO₂ and it turns out you were right then no harm done. If we don't cut CO₂ and you are wrong then there is huge damage so from a basic logical position we should do everything to reduce CO₂ emissions. And considering every single piece of evidence suggests you are completely wrong then CO₂ reduction would seem the most prudent approach.

                          Steam replace wind and water so industry could be sited where people lived instead of where resources were available. Where natural power was available near to residential it was continued to used because it's cheaper than steam, there's still windmills grinding flour and watermills are still to be found.

                          1. codejunky Silver badge

                            @DJO

                            "Are you really that dumb or just pretending for the lols?"

                            I dunno about Jellied Eel but that was my first thought when I read your response. It seems to be very wrong.

                            "Wind is by far the cheapest power available in quantity"

                            What is this goalpost of quantity? Wind is expensive, and not included are the transmission costs and batteries (technology we dont have but need to make them work). Simply they were sold as free energy, then it changed to cheap energy, then it was 'save the world' because quite simply they are stupidly expensive for something that doesnt work.

                            "Intermittency does not matter, there is always wind blowing somewhere, especially offshore"

                            Nope. Intermittent really does matter. We need power when we need it, not when the conditions are favourable to generate it. In our current civilization (never mind the electric dream) we need power on demand. Also the 'always blowing somewhere' was shown wrong. However lets hypothetically pretend it is true and the wind is always blowing 'somewhere'. That requires our minimum demand of power (from wind) to be built in every place that counters the lack of wind somewhere else.

                            So an offshore wind farm must be replicated in that 'somewhere' else to make up for the potential lack of wind in one place. Except it might not blow in those two places so replicate the wind farm again, as many times necessary to meet the minimum required energy from wind.

                            Then we must also factor in the cost of the grid. If London needs the power but Scotland has the wind (or visa-versa) there must be sufficient connectivity ALL through the grid for EVERY replicated wind farm otherwise we pay power companies to not produce energy because there isnt an interconnector to pull the power to England.

                            "This fantasy you have of all windmills idly sitting there while everybody suffers power cuts is just that, a ridiculous fantasy"

                            You are assuming sufficient gas powered backup probably supported by coal and nuclear and maybe oil. Otherwise it would be a reality if we had to rely on wind for our stable energy supply. Thankfully we can rely somewhat on the French nukes.

                            "Once again - wind is not the only source but part of an integrated energy policy"

                            Except it doesnt work. Supply really is weather dependent which is not a stable energy policy. So wind requires gas backup with wet dreams of a future technology (doesnt exist yet) to store vast quantities of electricity economically and supply it when we actually need it and where we actually need it. Potentially days of energy due to the variability and unreliability of the wind blowing (and just right).

                            "Yes burning crop waste is not too much of an issue as it's not fossil CO₂ but reducing emitted CO₂ also has no downsides."

                            I assumed his banana example was stabbing the stupidity of burning wood (drax) for energy. I am not sure why you think reducing C2 emissions has no downsides as it has made us all poorer, less energy secure and relies on technologies that doesnt exist but being deployed now. It has no downsides like setting yourself on fire has no downsides.

                            "ever heard of the "precautionary principle"? If we cut CO₂ and it turns out you were right then no harm done. If we don't cut CO₂ and you are wrong then there is huge damage"

                            That would work if that was true, but it isnt. There is extensive harm in cutting CO2 which is why this is such a discussion. It is extremely harmful to cut CO2 and so should only be done if there is a damn good reason, and the so called evidence of a reason is very shaky and open to wide interpretation. If after devoting all these resources and self harm it turns out you were wrong, but we need to counter an actual threat, we would not be able to because the resources are squandered on green madness.

                            Compare that to MMCC co2 skeptics being wrong. First of all the idea that we are all gonna fry/drown/die is bull even in the so called 'science'. Adaptation is a real thing that we have technologies to do now, they are real and not a pipe dream. We would have the resources to actually react to a real problem assuming there is one.

                            "Steam replace wind and water so industry could be sited where people lived instead of where resources were available."

                            People suffered the hostility of the natural world and struggled to eek out a life. Human ingenuity moved power generation to where it was needed and deliver resources to where they are of use.

                      3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                        One question I ask deniers such as yourself and have never has a single reply is: Plainly we can't add CO₂ to the atmosphere for ever (if you disagree 'll find a chamber with 25% CO₂ for you to spend some time in) so there must be a point where it's too much - what is that point? -- You don't know so how can you say with any confidence that it's not already a problem when literally every climate scientist on the planet says it is.

                        I can say with 97% confidence that it isn't a problem. Climate 'science' is the problem. Go do some research into how the '97%' figure came about, or just think about why 'consensus' in science isn't really that important. Especially when studies like the 97% ones don't actually represent climate scientists. There are a lot of climate scientists who disagree with the dogma, but of course they get branded climate deniers instead. We used to be called sceptics, but then the PR gurus behind the dogma probably realised scientists are supposed to be sceptics, not deniers of reality.

                        But it's a good question, and if you thought about it, you'd realise the problem. It's basically the question I asked Muskrat, and they couldn't answer, and is this-

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

                        Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels rose from 280 parts per million (ppm) in the 18th century, when humans in the Industrial Revolution started burning significant amounts of fossil fuel such as coal, to over 415 ppm by 2020. As CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it hinders heat energy from leaving the Earth's atmosphere. In 2016, atmospheric CO2 levels had increased by 45% over preindustrial levels, and radiative forcing caused by increased CO2 was already more than 50% higher than in pre-industrial times because of non-linear effects.[12][note 1] Between the 18th-century start of the Industrial Revolution and the year 2020, the Earth's temperature rose by a little over one degree Celsius (about two degrees Fahrenheit)

                        This is on from wiki, so it must be true. And there has been much edit warring over anything climate related on wiki to ensure The Truth is maintained. And then..

                        The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is the long-term temperature rise (equilibrium global mean near-surface air temperature) that is expected to result from a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration (ΔT2×)... Computer models are used for estimating the ECS

                        So this is the multi-trillion dollar question. How much warming, for how much CO2, or the expected temperature response per doubling. So for simplicity, 280-415ppmv = 1C warming. Next doubling would be 415-830ppmv and we'd get another 1C. So by the time we're at 830ppmv CO2, we'd have warmed by a whole 2C! Maybe. So then it becomes a simple question of finding the carbon to do this. Since 1850, we've burned gigatonnes of fossil fuels and maybe increased CO2 levels to 415ppmv. During that time, we've also gone from domestic coal and Clean Air Acts to burning fossil fuels more efficiently.

                        How would, or could we generate enough CO2 to hit 830ppmv? Where is the carbon?

                        Then there's the 'non-linear effects'. It's assumed ΔT CO2 is a logarithmic response, so front-loaded, hence the claim that going from say, 280-320ppmv provided 50% of the radiative forcing and so most of the 1C warming we've measured to date. So as we increase CO2 beyond 415, we should see warming accelerate again and then level off. But we don't. But this is where climate 'science' meets homeopathy, and the less you have, the greater the effect.

                        But as wiki explains, ECS assumptions are plugged into climate models, and those spit out results ranging from +11C warming to very little. Funnily enough, models have become more accurate by lowering ECS, which is why it's been revised downwards pretty much every IPCC Annual Report. Those reports also explain that the atmosphere is relatively insensitive to CO2 because of it's basic physical properties, ie it's a weak GHG. But to get to Thermageddon scenarios, climate 'scientists' have also assumed a slew of 'forcings' and 'feedbacks' where the effects of CO2 are somehow amplified to produce scarey numbers. Reality and observations have proven most of those wrong as well. Climate deniers assume that if their models say their predictions are true, then it must be reality that is wrong. Climate sceptics tend to prefer to trust reality and observations.

                        But CO2 is far more economically important than it's radiative properties suggest, ie it's a proxy for human activity, and human activities can of course be taxed and regulated. Ecofreaks don't like oil & gas, therefore seize on it's CO2 potential to try and ban it, and force social change. More pragmatic people just look at how they can profit from CO2 and flog 'renewable energy', carbon credits, carbon offsets etc etc. which is why there's 70,000 or so scumbags in Dubai at the moment looking for their slice of the Green pie.

                        But some good news has emerged, ie nations saying they're going to invest in nuclear power, which is a far more sensible use of their money than tilting at windmills. New fission reactors may provide clean, reliable, zero CO2 power for 30yrs or more, and by then, fusion may be commercially viable.

            2. graeme leggett Silver badge

              You skipped part of the original news story in your eagerness to selectively quote.

              "The first two months of 2000 were virtually free of significant snowfall in much of lowland Britain, and December brought only moderate snowfall in the South-east. It is the continuation of a trend that has been increasingly visible in the past 15 years: in the south of England, for instance, from 1970 to 1995 snow and sleet fell for an average of 3.7 days, while from 1988 to 1995 the average was 0.7 days. London's last substantial snowfall was in February 1991"

              and

              "Fen skating, once a popular sport on the fields of East Anglia, now takes place on indoor artificial rinks. Malcolm Robinson, of the Fenland Indoor Speed Skating Club in Peterborough, says they have not skated outside since 1997. "As a boy, I can remember being on ice most winters. Now it's few and far between," he said."

              1. DJO Silver badge

                Skating I can live without, the opportunity to have snowballs lobbed at me is not one I'll miss.

                What is often overlooked is that a lot of crops needs a winter frost to prosper and with the changes at the lower end of the scale we will soon have winters without any frosts which will be a disaster for agriculture.

            3. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

              Ooh, ooh, ooh, "vested interests", let me check, yes! RWNJ BINGO! Where do I collect my prize?

              I'll just add, that calling bullshit bullshit is not an ad-hom. If I said "Jellied Eel has sex with dogs", that would be an ad-hominem because it attacks the person, not the argument.

              Stating that your posts are bullshit is backed up with evidence: your posts.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Ooh, ooh, ooh, "vested interests", let me check, yes! RWNJ BINGO! Where do I collect my prize?

                Ask your boss? You claim to be reasonably well educated, yet have made some very basic mistakes in your defence of the scum sucking parasites in the 'renewables' industry. I apparently have multiple jobs doing PR for oil & gas, Putin and probably now Musk.. Where do I find the time, and more importanly, where's my damn paycheck!

                But this is how it goes. Climate deniers like you fabricate evidence, or believe in things without any actual evidence..

                1. DJO Silver badge

                  Oops, let a bit of truth get through there:

                  Climate deniers... ...fabricate evidence, or believe in things without any actual evidence.

                  Yes well you are the "climate denier" and your "evidence" is complete cherry picked nonsense without any actual evidence or peer reviewed research to back you up.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Yes well you are the "climate denier" and your "evidence" is complete cherry picked nonsense without any actual evidence or peer reviewed research to back you up.

                    And yet I cite papers. Either the atmospheric physics one, or the infamous Indie article from actual climate 'scientists'. Kids won't need peer-reviewed literature to know what snow is, they can simply look out of a window..

                2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                  Ooh-hoo, "climate denier" is it now. I can actually remember the lectures I took back in the mid '90s that dealt with the physical chemistry involved in atmospheric greenhouse gases. At that point, it had been known about for many decades and was already long-established science. I also remember how people used to laugh at the actual climate science deniers then. The only thing that has changed is that those lobbying for the fossil-fuel industry have got better at funding and promoting them, although the evidence is that such lobbying goes back at least to the 1970s. Incidentally, these are pretty much the same people that lobbied for the tobacco industry, so they're not exactly burdened by morals.

                  I'm quite capable of looking at all the climate science, and not just cherry-picking the bits that suit my argument. For example, yes, the sun is actually getting hotter over time (this is down to stellar evolution, incidentally, another thing I studied a course on as an undergraduate), and the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit changes over time (you guessed it, studied that at degree level, too) which affects climate. These have such a miniscule, and slowly changing effect in comparison to AGW as to be akin to rounding errors. There are other things, such as the oscillation of the solar system above and below the galactic plane, that are also postulated to have various effects, which, when you take the time to read about them and account for their effects, don't apply. The lack of scientific rigour of those who quote such things as "alternative theories" to AGW is second only to their abuse of the meaning of the word "theory". If you go with those arguments, you might as well be a flerf. Just to check here - you do actually accept that the Earth is (approximately) spherical, right?

                  If you bother to properly read anything I have written today, you will see that I have not made any suggestions that you might work for the oil and gas industry, for Putin, or for Musk. The people who shill for those for a living are far more capable of constructing a consistent (if false) argument than you are.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Incidentally, these are pretty much the same people that lobbied for the tobacco industry, so they're not exactly burdened by morals.

                    True that. Naiomi Oreskes cut her teeth lobby against the tobacco industry, now lobbies for the Green Blob. Throw out a bunch of pseudo-science and the gullible will believe it. Even Obama quoted the '97%' meme!

                    I'm quite capable of looking at all the climate science,

                    No, you are not. You clearly exhibit selection and confirmation bias, which is something scientists are normally warned about. But apparently isn't required for climate 'science'. See Mann et al for more info..

                    These have such a miniscule, and slowly changing effect in comparison to AGW as to be akin to rounding errors.

                    You could have just shortened that to 'Milankovich Cycles' and then I cite this-

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles#Theory_constraints

                    and point out effect exceeds cause, rain follows plough (ie CO2 increases lag warming in ice cores) etc etc. Yet much as with the X-Files, you have to believe to explain ice ages or past climate changes that are well documented and can't be explained using CO2 dogma. The of course there's other stuff like ENSO, AMO, PDO and good'ol solar cycles where they have different periodicities and in the past have correlated with climate effects. Just because there was climate change during the last grand solar minima, it doesn't automatically follow that it will during the current Eddy Minima.. assuming that's actually happening right now. Perhaps that will lead to another LIA, or climate deniers like you will just carry on pretending that never happened.. Despite all the evidence to the contrary. If it does, then we may be in for the cooling period scientists warned us about in the '70s.. Except we'll be totally unprepared for it because we've assumed unstoppable warming.

              2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                <iIf I said "Jellied Eel has sex with dogs", that would be an ad-hominem because it attacks the person, not the argument.</i>

                Actually it wouldn't, because you are not addressing the argument at all. Ad hominem would be "This argument is worthless because Jellied Eel" is making it". Which is a reasonable stance, of course, because she has such a record of contrarian posture that it's hard to believe anything she posts is based in reality,

            4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

              Noting that I am replying to a well-known pro-Putin troll ...

              Sure, technology has allowed us to build bigger windmills, but the fundamental problem is the same. They rely on the weather,

              That is very much less of a problem when windmills all over the country are connected together by what we will call, for the sake of the argument, a "national grid". Plenty of time you can't mill corn in Norfolk, many fewer times when you can't generate electricity anywhere.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                That is very much less of a problem when windmills all over the country are connected together by

                Magic? Have you ever looked at a weather map, and the area covered by a typical winter blocking high, as we just saw a few days ago and covered much of the UK and our EU neighbors..

              2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

                -- many fewer times when you can't generate electricity anywhere. --

                But how many where you can't generate enough for the whole country?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Summary: there are no easy fixes.

    3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      There's a lot of 'anti-greenie' tosh being written in here. Knocking down straw men to bolster untenable arguments is as old as debate, so I shouldn't be surprised.

      The commentariat here has a very strong Daily Mail type libertarian bias: I think it's because of the widespread belief in the IT world that "tech" can solve everything coupled - very Mail, this - with a furious resentment of having to modify individual behaviour for the common good.

  6. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    I lost the bet with myself!

    I was betting on how far down I scrolled before I saw a mention of Godzilla!

  7. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    When gaseous fuel is introduced into the chamber, the magnetic coils cause it to accelerate to very high speed, at which point the gas is ionized and becomes plasma

    Some confusion with a particle accelerator here. The plasma in a tokamak drifts around slowly.

  8. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Step two

    With economic sustained fusion only 20 years away, there is still the issue of power conversion. Heat has to be able to be extracted and turned into electricity to feed to the grid. It shouldn't be as daunting of a problem, but it will mean finding a way to integrate the system into the reactor in such a way that it doesn't create even more touchy problems to solve.

    In the mean time, I'm not going to make any investments in fusion generation. I see all sorts of lower hanging fruit that only require engineering and not nearly as much science to make go.

    1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Re: Step two

      -- the issue of power conversion --

      Its easy just build solar panels inside - sun 24 hours a day

  9. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

    First pass I read катушками as Катю́шами. A fusion reactor with magnetic rocket launchers - probably already in the design process somewhere or other.

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