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Does solar generate more waste than nuclear? No. June 18, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in nuclear, solar.
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Picture of the star of Highlander

There can be only one!

As I noted in an earlier post, one of the things you often come across in the energy blogging world is that supporters of one technology attack others.

This example takes the cake. It’s a somewhat old article (archived here) that claims to demonstrate that solar power generates more waste than nuclear.

Update: a reader pointed out a rather obvious error, and when I checked against my original calculations I found a whole section was missing. Both fixed.



Areva in turmoil, bullet dodged? March 5, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in nuclear.
Image of a French nuclear reactor

Funny, it doesn’t look like a boat.

The newswires were alight this morning with the latest tale of woe from the nuclear industry; Areva, what’s left of the mergers of various French and other European nuclear firms, announced losses that were greater than the company’s book value.

The company is exploring “voluntary departures” while the government is arranging a bailout to save some of the industry’s 220,000 employees from what appears to be an impending financial implosion.

Which makes the recent sell-off of Canada’s version of Areva, AECL, seem prescient. After eating about $50 billion of taxpayer’s money for 50 years with no upside in sight, the company was sold off for negative $750 million and promptly disappeared into a partnership with the Chinese that has so far yielded zero dollars in actual work.

Looks like we dodged a neutron!

Fusion – ain’t gonna happen February 28, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in fusion.
Image of ITER under construction with the concrete floor being build.

ITER is a big hole in the ground. Literally and metaphorically.

A while back I wrote a lengthy article on the problems facing the fusion energy concept, and how even if the technical issues were solved, it wouldn’t make a difference…

No matter how hard you try, a fusion reactor will be more expensive than power sources we have now, so no one is going to build one.

The argument was made by, and backed up by, lots and lots of independent studies. I was merely the messenger. The messenger was attacked, of course. This tech has convinced so many people of it’s total awesomeness that logic simply no longer works. Well, maybe this will…


Serial offenders: Darlington already over budget July 9, 2014

Posted by Maury Markowitz in AECL, nuclear.
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One of the major problems for AECL and their customers was their complete inability to budget their designs. Every single reactor installed has gone over, and every refurb has too.

And so now it is with no great surprise that we learn that the Darlington refurb hasn’t even started, and it’s already $300 million over budget. Well, at least according to two 3rd party firms contracted to oversee the work, OPG says it’s “only” $235 million.

Seven more years to go…

ITER update: At least they got the name right February 28, 2014

Posted by Maury Markowitz in fusion.
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ITER under constructionIf it really is true the any news is good news, the management at ITER should be ecstatic right now.

I suspect they’re not.

A recently released 3rd party report on the project was damning, pointing out enormous problems with the project’s management, while the budget and timelines continue to recede into the infinite.

Completion has already slipped to 2020, four years late in a ten year timeline. The budget is currently US$22 billion, three times the estimates, and the report suggests this is going to rise dramatically.


Darlington B nuclear plant cancelled October 11, 2013

Posted by Maury Markowitz in AECL, nuclear.
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The Darlington power plant

Darlington as it is and will ever be

I missed it when it first came over the wire, but last night Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli announced that the Darlington B project is dead. As the only ongoing development project in Canada, this represents a sort of mid-life point for nuclear power in the country.

Although Chiarelli didn’t close the door on re-examining the decision in the future, given the history of similar decisions around the world is that this is basically that. Vogtle may prove to hold the unlikely banner as last nuclear plant built in North America.

It’s interesting to read the few news reports that covered this. In Durham Region, home to Pickering and Darlington, the news was presented in a surprisingly neutral light, referring mostly to the governments oft-announced plans to keep nuclear around 50% of the energy mix. In the Owen Sound area, home to the Bruce plant, the news was greeted with a very positive spin, noting that the cancellation almost certainly means a round of refurbs at that plant.