Nuclear Power as Part of Sustainable Ireland?

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    • #708576
      Cute Panda
      Participant

      I have been following the recent nuclear power debate we have had in this country recently and I must say that it personally sickens and insults me that the likes of such self-appointed millionaire “experts” such as Christy Moore and Bono’s wife, as well as Duncan Stewart’s bizzare personal vendetta (*yawn*) under the shadow of the Urals are getting more airtime to voice their opinion against nuclear power in Ireland than people who actually understand the subject.

      I consider myself more or less an environmentalist in terms of wanting a sustainable economy, and I see nuclear power generation as part of this equation along with proper planning, well insulated houses, solar, wind energy and so on. I make no distinction. Nuclear power generation is a natural process. This is how the sun works and the earth’s magnetic field is created at the earth’s core.

      But the main reason I am in favour of it, is that we here in Ireland need to move away from oil ASAP and also generate vast amount of energy ASAP and nuclear is the only reality-based option to achieve this.

      My main interest is public transport and we need to get as many metros. light rail, electrified heavy rail and eventually high speed rail lines in Ireland up and running as we need. Nuclear energy is the only means to get this in the quantities we need and as soon as we need it.

      I am sick of listening Irish celebs who think that Monty Burns, and Hollywood movies such as Silkwood, The China Syndrome and Adi Roche represents the complete and absolute story on nuclear energy worldwide. All over the developed world, and in many of the so called “green” countries nuclear generation is a fact of life. This is not to diminish what happened in 1985, but for christ sake how many people have been killed and dysfigured in car accidents during the same period.

      Sorry, but I support nuclear power generation for Ireland and I make no apology for this. Being condesendingly patronised by the likes Christy Moore, Duncan Strewart and Trevor Sargent who also forget to tell us that the dream public transport systems in Holland, France, Sweden etc which we should aspire to in Ireland are all powered by nuclear generated electricity.

      A solar panel here and there and a wind turbine here and there is great, but it ain’t enough. Ireland has to have a nuclear future IMHO.

    • #777307
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Not sure what this has to do with the usual topiscs discussed here CutePanda but for what is worth many people (other than the few you mention) would have concerns about nuclear power. Sure its a vitually poillution free source of energy…as long as you dont count the waste. Or the distruction caused by mining for the uranium (someone elses problem). Or the fact that uranium is a finite resource and if we were all to jump on the nuclear bandwagon (China and India especially) it wouldnt last more than 50 years based on current known sources. And how come the Germans have opted out of nuclear energy if its such a great solution.

      Personally I have never found Duncan Stewart patronising…. in fact he is one of the few voices in the Irish media highlighting environmental issues. Same goes for the Greens. There is no way Dick Roche would push environmental issues unless there was a green political constituency to tap into.

    • #777308
      Bren88
      Participant

      @Cute Panda wrote:

      Nuclear power generation is a natural process. This is how the sun works and the earth’s magnetic field is created at the earth’s core.

      You could regard nuclear power generation as natural. As you pointed out the sun uses nuclear power to generate light and heat, but the sun uses nuclear fusion. Which has a much better potential, but unfortunatly we cannot use that process down here.
      And as for your point about the earth magnetic field, that has nothing to do with nuclear power. The field is there, it isn’t created by a reaction of any sort.

      My only concern about nuclear power is that it is limited. Current methods and sources cannout last. It will last longer than the oil that is left, maybe. But what then??

    • #777309
      Limerick Guy
      Participant

      I think we should use nuclear power as a bridge from going away from the burning of fossil fuels and the use of renewble energy.

    • #777310
      a boyle
      Participant

      @Limerick Guy wrote:

      I think we should use nuclear power as a bridge from going away from the burning of fossil fuels and the use of renewble energy.

      As the system operates now, renwable energy cannot progress past 30 % of requirements.Renewable can provide enough electricity for the whole country , but the grid cannot cope. The electricity grid is like a sea saw that has to be kep in balance at ALL times otherwise it shuts down. The current system works by have a whole series of power plants that produce different amounts of electricity. The control room for the grid literally spend all day juggling the power plants on and off. It is simply impossible to cope with the end user flicking on and off switches whenver he feels like it , AND at the same time having the power plants (windmills / wave/ etc) turn on and off when they feel like it.

      As a result of this vital but not well known fact , as things stand nuclear will be part our grid permanently.

      The only only way to get around this basic problem is if a village or town seperates from the grid and relies entirely on it’s own windmills or sun light. THIS would mean that cut outs would have to ocur from time to time.
      But heavy industry will always require a big dirty plant.

      Anyone , i mean ANYONE who tells you different simply doesn’t know what they are talking about .

    • #777311
      magicbastarder
      Participant

      something i’ve pondered a couple of times – how efficient is electrolysis of water, in terms of the energy achievable from using the end products?
      i.e. is it feasible to use large windmills to electrolyse water, and then use the hydrogen as an energy source, with the oxygen as either the oxidising agent, or as a revenue source as a raw material for other processes?
      if this was feasible, it would get over the reliability issues surrounding wind supply.

    • #777312
      Bren88
      Participant

      I doubt it would be a possible solutuion, the electricity used in the process would probably be a better source of energy than the gases gained, It would work on a small scale, such as somebody needs a small amount of hydrogen or oxygen for a hobby, would be cheaper to create it than to buy it but I don’t see it working on a larger scale.
      Just my view, I could be way off the mark.

    • #777313
      a boyle
      Participant

      @magicbastarder wrote:

      something i’ve pondered a couple of times – how efficient is electrolysis of water, in terms of the energy achievable from using the end products?
      i.e. is it feasible to use large windmills to electrolyse water, and then use the hydrogen as an energy source, with the oxygen as either the oxidising agent, or as a revenue source as a raw material for other processes?
      if this was feasible, it would get over the reliability issues surrounding wind supply.

      The problem with hydrogen is that in a word its crap. To be of any use you need a lot. This mean compressing it into a canister. Unfortunately hydrogen takes up a lot of space so you have to hugely compress it to have enough of it. You end up wasting a huge amount of energy just in compression. It’s about 50 years of.

      I am not trying to broadside the contributions here. But anything i have seen by any politcal party is just crap. There are very few options , if any.

      The green diesel is nonsense ,we would have to cover 95% of the planet in rapeseed.

      Ethenol (booze ) takes in more energy than it ever gives out so go figure.
      So called cellulose method for ethenol are great , but decades away.

      Solar panels are overall hugely wastefull as they require a lot of energy to make them.

      As my previous post alluded to , the future requires a choice , nuclear or phased and planned electricity cuts to accomodate the fact that the wind does blow all day !!!

    • #777314
      LittleLamb
      Participant

      To be honest I am not a great supporter of nuclear…especially because it will not last us much longer than oil and the negative aspects of it almost make it even less appealing. I dont think slating tv presenters and famous spouses is very constructive in this argument:rolleyes:
      Just a point I have been thinking about re energy in Ireland…I am going to generalise here to make my point….farmers in Ireland are selling off sites because farming has become uneconomic with cheaper imports and higher cost of produce in Ireland, and development has become the new industry to be in….why not give grants to farmers to keep their sites and to produce crops, e.g. elephant grass, rapeseed etc which would contribute to the power grid&sustainable energy…in that way the countryside is preserved and the farmers can make a living without selling off their land? ok, so I know there are a huge amount of details to be sorted out in this idea, e.g. non-native species introduced to ireland, how to get the power onto the grid, will there be enough power produced to make any impact, how to avoid another CAP scenario…so consider this idea open for discussion πŸ™‚

    • #777315
      Dg101
      Participant

      It’s interesting that the education system now is seems to be in favour of nuclear power. The leaving cert sciences now focus on oil, hydrogen and nuclear power as sources of energy, since the recent syllabus change at least and the slant given to nuclear is resoundingly positive. You have to wonder whether the government is doing this in preparation for a policy change in the future.

      And as for the point about fusion reactions not being possible, http://www.iter.org/index.htm
      it is not outside the realms of possibility. While the nuclear waste is obviously a huge problem, and uranium extraction is dangerous and environmentally damaging, it can still potentially work as an energy source. And of course, fusion reactions wouldn’t require uranium, only water (or rather, deuterium from water) and lithium, which is comparatively readily available.

    • #777316
      GregF
      Participant

      I think Ireland will have to look into the Nuclear option. It is rediculous the way the goverment ignorantly dismisses the idea. We don’t have any natural energy resources as such …besides wind power….and the ESB and the gas bills keep going up. I would hate to think we were totally dependant on Britain and Europe for our gas and electricity supply. We like to ignore isssues or let some one else deal with them. We have to face up to the problems we have and make, as like the idea of having a National Incinerator, which is another no-no at the mo. There are an abundant of Nuclear power plants in operation throughout Britain and Europe. Sellafield is not the only plant in Britain. It has many more. France has about 59, Germany has 17. See the chart in the link….http://www.euronuclear.org/info/encyclopedia/n/nuclear-power-plant-europe.htm

    • #777317
      Anonymous
      Participant

      I don’t understand the logic of persuing the nuclear option when uranium is also a finite resource.

      Estimates vary significantly depending on the what side of the argument your on, but even those on the pro nuclear side say we have max 200 years before we reach a ‘peak uranium’ situation, i.e. the point at which it is no longer economically viable to extract uranium.

      So we simply store up another peak oil situation for future generations & leave permanent scars on the landscape, which will need to be maintained, indefinitely.

      Blair’s decision is regressive, i refuse to believe that it has to be part of the answer, it is only an option because the technology exists. Anyway this is hardly a discussion for the archiseek boards !!!

    • #777318
      shadow
      Participant

      That is because plutonium (fast breeder reactors) and Fusion (deuterium) would extend the range infinitely

    • #777319
      corcaighboy
      Participant

      I can only imagine the planning delays with regard to any planned siting of a nuclear power plant! The politicos would be running for cover and the nimby factor would be out in force. Understandable too I suppose as everyone has an opinion on nuclear power.
      Incidentally, the waste treatment plant for the Cork Main Drainage Scheme in Little Island aroused many passions, and Indaver’s incinerator plant in Cork aroused even more. So I can imagine what reaction a nuclear plant would receive. Could they put one offshore πŸ˜‰

    • #777320
      a boyle
      Participant

      of course!! they are already off shore : they are in sellafield. We already are able to buy nuclear energy and will be buying a lot more in the future when the interconnector with wales is built.

      There are many different technologies available with nuclear, so the broad stroking arguments for and against here and in the media are not helpfull.

      Frances nuclear waste is only dangerous for 100 hundred years. given that regular waste dumped can take over 150 years to degrade , that is not bad. They have a pretty simple method akin to forests managed on 300 hundred years rotation.

      whether nuclear is needed or not can be debated perpetually , what can’t is people getting pretty annoyed about shelling out buckets of cash for electricity, gas ,petrol .

      Further price hikes will focus the mind wonderfully on what to do.

    • #777321
      shadow
      Participant

      “Frances nuclear waste is only dangerous for 100 hundred years. given that regular waste dumped can take over 150 years to degrade , that is not bad. They have a pretty simple method akin to forests managed on 300 hundred years rotation.” Must be a new form of Physics since most radiological products used in nuclear facilities have half lives of hundreds and thousands of years.

    • #777322
      Dg101
      Participant

      That’s very, true, nuclear waste now has a half life which means that it’s still dangerous for hundreds, even thousands of years. But again, the prospect of fusion reactors are not so far off. And of course, the nuclear waste from a fusion reaction is much less radioactive than from fission and it has much less overall environmental impact than even regular fossil fuel plants. But, it’s still a few decades off. That considered, it seems like a bad idea for Ireland to invest in nuclear power in the short term.

    • #777323
      lostexpectation
      Participant

      nuclear power is not sustainable so stop spouting crap CP

      you so unbelieveable deluded I don’t how you put up with yourself?

    • #777324
      a boyle
      Participant

      while i have been blatently stirring things up out of summer boredom in the last week , on this topic i am not.

      First off nuclear fuel is like petroluem ,it comes in a whole variety of types. Some do have relatively short half lives. France does manage it’s waste on hundred year rotation.

      Chernobyl was a tremendous disaster , but so are trabant cars. They make skodas look plush.

      Petrol kills ten of thousands year on year through polution.

      Regarding sustainability. please whoever thought of this forget about it!!! human have never done a single thing that is sustainable. We will never be in a position to do anything sustainable.

      My basic point is that when petrol cars were first developed they were incredibly dangerous initially. So it is with nuclear. Scientists have learnt from their mistakes. This technology is safe. It can work.

      We don’t need it now or even in the short term. But we have to get our heads around it in the end. We have to make it work.

      I now that lots died in chernobyl (although a team of eminent scientists from the UN , with no axe to grind, said this is wrong. They resoundedly confirmed that not more than a few thousand died, and a relatively small area was significantly damaged.)

      We need to grasp the nettle and get out of our ivory towers.

    • #777325
      Dg101
      Participant

      While admittedly nuclear fusion does require fuel, deuterium, which is one of the two fuels needed is available in water. And, we do seem to have quite a bit of that. Lithium is the other fuel, which is more of a concern, but estimates indicate that we have more than sufficient quantities to make fusion viable for the foreseeable future. And, waste from fusion is minimal, with only the reactor itself becoming highly radioactive, and that can be recycled after a period of roughly a century. So, yes, it is sustainable.

    • #777326
      a boyle
      Participant

      @Dg101 wrote:

      While admittedly nuclear fusion does require fuel, deuterium, which is one of the two fuels needed is available in water. And, we do seem to have quite a bit of that. Lithium is the other fuel, which is more of a concern, but estimates indicate that we have more than sufficient quantities to make fusion viable for the foreseeable future. And, waste from fusion is minimal, with only the reactor itself becoming highly radioactive, and that can be recycled after a period of roughly a century. So, yes, it is sustainable.

      yes fusion is sustainable , but to my knowledge there is no working reactor anywhere that works on fusion. It is still a completely theoretical creation , that has only been achieved in laboratories.

      Is it not time we realised that there is nothing we can do that is sustainable ?? . is it not time to realise that anyone who tells you there are no side effects , is either grossely naive , or plain straight lying ?

      even windmills are of dubious sustainability , requiring mounds and mounds of concrete , which itself require the releasing of heaps of co2.

      fission (curren nuclear stuff) is a way forward

    • #777327
      Dg101
      Participant

      It’s true that for the present fission is the only proven technique, but, as I mentioned earlier the ITER reactor in France is giving indications that commercial fusion is no longer the pipedream it once was, that we may see fusion reactors in the next decade or so. Which would mean that investing in fission now would seem like a poor choice.

    • #777328
      a boyle
      Participant

      not really even if there was to be fission comercially ready in a few years it would take a few decades to realistically test and refine the construction of such a such a process.

      we already have no control over our enery source , which means we have no control over our economic future at all . A war , any war would tumble us into recesion , becasuse we would simply have to start turning things off.

      what happens if and when there is a major pipeline destroyed through a terrorist bomb, and the price of petro triples for a few months . do you think people will be so anti nuclear then ?

      for now we could get by radically changing our whole approach to taxing cars … but that is not going to happen.

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