5 Filters

Excellent Article: "Hinkley Point C – Why nuclear power accelerates carbon emissions"

"In August 2018, Prof Andy Stirling and Dr Phil Johnstone published their working paper exposing the link between the fissile material produced by nuclear power plants and its importance for military purposes, where depleted uranium is used in weaponry and in submarines1.

The British government now openly admits that the taxpayer subsidises nuclear used for military purposes in our energy bills2. This is the motivation behind the ‘Regulated Asset Base’ (RAB) funding model proposed by the Government to finance new nuclear power. We will all pay for the construction of new nuclear power plants through higher energy bills.

Nuclear power is expensive, toxic and there is no solution for its long term storage. It is powerfully destructive, not only for its use in weaponry, but also leads to an increase in levels of radioactive materials in the air, as has been measured at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston3.

As cancer rates in the UK rise to unprecedented heights, access to health care declines, and more people and businesses cannot afford to pay their energy bills, one must question the wisdom of UK energy policy and how it is manipulated to our detriment.

Hinkley Point C will produce 25TWh of electricity per year. As the electricity is produced whether there is demand for it or not, because a nuclear power plant cannot be switched off spontaneously, the present system of financing means that the taxpayer will fund the wastage that occurs on the grid when nuclear powered electricity generated is not used.

Historically, approximately 64% of energy produced by the centralised energy generation and transmission system has been wasted4. This happens in the production of electricity – the efficiency of the plants themselves, the heat generated that is wasted and the transmission and distribution of electricity across the country. Therefore, the projected carbon emissions savings are overstated because most of the electricity produced is not used, or worse, clean renewable power is switched off to manage oversupply of electricity on the grid.

Construction on the 3.26GW Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset began in 2016. Unprecedented feats of engineering have been achieved during the process, of which engineers are rightly proud.

In total, 74,600 tonnes of concrete has been poured to construct its base, the four intake heads and two outfall heads. 3km of cement tunnels have been constructed to expel the cooling water for the plant into the Bristol Channel.

These carbon emissions have already been absorbed in the atmosphere, long before the plant starts producing electricity. Renewable sources of energy (like the three windfarms in Kent powering 400,000 homes) are cheaper, come with much less associated environmental destruction, and have a carbon footprint a fraction of the carbon emissions produced by the concrete footprint of nuclear power.

The newest nuclear renaissance, “Great British Nuclear” is part of the government’s efforts to include nuclear power in the UK green taxonomy, i.e. that nuclear power is considered to be “environmentally sustainable”. Many see this as part of the government’s attempts to defer important investment away from wind and solar power developments (combined with investment in grid scale energy storage to ensure reliability). Because wind and solar power are the cheapest source of electricity, they embed affordability into our self sufficient energy future. They also bring higher gross value added to government accounts, as opposed to investments in carbon capture and storage which only add to the cost of generation, just to continue burning fossil fuels.

By focusing efforts on investing in partnerships with other NATO aligned countries (the USA spends $840 billion every year on its “defence” programme) in the spirit of Brexit, this government irresponsibly spends taxpayer’s money on programmes that maintain business as usual to burn fossil fuels and promote nuclear power instead of protecting its people during times of unprecedented suffering in social care, health care and energy security.

BHESCo have been saying for years that new nuclear power is a bad deal for the UK taxpayer and for the planet. Our Government should be directing its investment towards a national energy efficiency improvement campaign while encouraging the development of clean, renewable energy generation and energy storage.": https://bhesco.co.uk/blog/hinkley-point-c-why-nuclear-power-accelerates-carbon-emissions

" Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest atomic energy station, spent several hours operating on emergency diesel generators Monday after losing power for the seventh time since Russia’s invasion began last year, the UN nuclear watchdog said.

“This morning’s loss of all off-site power demonstrates the highly vulnerable nuclear safety and security situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a statement.

Hours later, national energy company Ukrenergo said on Telegram that it had restored the power line that feeds the plant.

For Grossi, it was a reminder of what is at stake at the Russian-occupied plant, which, as the first ever nuclear power plant located on the front lines of an all-out war, has seen shelling precariously close by.

“As I’ve said repeatedly, this simply can’t go on,” he said. “We’re playing with fire. We must act now to avoid the very real danger of a nuclear accident in Europe, with its associated consequences for the public and the environment.”

The plant’s six Soviet-built VVER reactors, which are protected by reinforced concrete capable of reducing damage if hit by an errant shell or rocket, have been shut down.

But a disruption in the electrical supply could disable cooling systems that are essential for the reactors’ cooling functions even in their idled state. Emergency diesel generators, which officials say can keep the plant operational for 10 days, can be unreliable and their fuel supplies easily interrupted by military clashes.

Energoatom, Ukraine’s state nuclear company, blamed Russian shelling for the loss of the last high-voltage transmission line to the plant in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine, about 500 kilometers from Kyiv — though those claims have not been independently verified.

The facility is “on the verge of a nuclear and radiation accident,” Energoatom warned. Once the power line was restored, Energoatom described the situation as “stabilized.

The new blackout came amid reports from the IAEA that staff shortages at the plant could become dire. Since mid-May, according to the agency, residents of Enerhodar, the company city of the Zaporizhzhia plant, have been voluntarily evacuating, depleting an unknown but possibly critical number of personnel.

Russian officials have begun training for a planned evacuation from the plant of 3,100 staff and their families, a representative of Energoatom told the Associated Press last week. The official said that most of those were plant personnel who had signed contracts with various affiliates of Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom.

Before the war, the plant employed around 11,000 people, some 6,000 of whom remain at the site and in the surrounding town of Enerhodar, the representative said.

About 500 Russian troops are stationed at the site, while at least 1,500 others are based in the nearby city of Enerhodar, the representative told AP.": https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2023-05-ukraines-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-again-briefly-loses-power

Hi @GKH ,

Good article on the downsides of nuclear power, but the reference to global warming and carbon footprints to add to the critique of nuclear power is not needed.
I take the stance that no-one has proved anthropogenic global warming through CO2 beyond a minute influence which is essentially irrelevant in determining any climatic event. Recent critiques of the views held by Rancourt, Zharkova, Harde and others which I pointed to here:
( Zharkova praised in this new article in TCW - the word is spreading! ) specifically in relation to optical saturation which Sabine Hossenfelder youtubed have in turn be critiqued here:

If the stance of Kees de Lange and Guus Berkhout proves to be correct then all the CO2 production and carbon footprint numbers are irrelevant to any argument over energy production. We must then look at economic and health impacts of local pollution factors - these would lead us back to using fossil fuels with pollution controls in place where economically feasible.
On economics I understood that energy produced by windmills and solar panels just about equals the cost of production distribution and replacement (including disposal) and ultimately saves no money at all and that windmills on land have been responsible for local droughts as well as species destruction. The removal of the whole of the multi trillion dollar carbon market activity would save the world these trillions. And of course Nuclear is clearly a no-go from economic as well as health impacts.


PS I forgot sustainability of energy sources - this is the peak energy point. To deal with sustainable energy issues in a fossil fueled planet we must rethink our use of energy - do we really need the throwaway society blueprint and the " unlimited choice basis of capitalism" as well as military activity and warmongering to dictate our use of resources. The list of things we shouldn’t be doing is infinite so perhaps we should focus on what we should be doing - providing clean air and water, wholesome food, shelter and safety from harm, and aid to the aged and disabled would be a good start - adding on employment, health and education and other forms of welfare that conform to sustainable standards would also be good.

1 Like