The Anonymous Widower

Should The World Call A Halt To Large Nuclear Power Stations?

When I left Liverpool University in the 1960s with an engineering degree, my fellow graduates and myself felt that nuclear power would be a sensible way to provide the electricity we need. Aberfan and other disasters had ruined coal’s reputation and not one of my colleagues joined the National Coal Board.

Over the intervening years, nuclear power has suffered a greater proportion of adverse events compared to other forms of electricity generation.

Large nuclear has also suffered some of the largest time and cost overruns of any energy projects.

My optimism for nuclear power has declined, although I do hope and feel, that small modular factory-built reactors, like those proposed by Rolls-Royce and others, might prove to be as reliable and economic as gas-fired, hydro-electric and tidal power stations, or solar and wind farms.

The smaller size of an SMR could be advantageous in itself.

  • Smaller factory-built power stations are more likely to be built on time and budget.
  • The amount pf nuclear material involved is only about twenty percent of that of a large nuclear station.
  • A smaller site would be easier to protect from terrorists and Putinistas.
  • Would the risk of a serious accident be reduced?
  • SMRs would be less of a blot on the landscape.
  • SMRs would not need such a high-capacity grid connection.
  • An SMR integrated with a high temperature electrolyser could be the easiest way to generate hydrogen for a large customer like a steelworks.

Overall, I believe an SMR would be involve less risk and disruption.

Zaporizhzhya

Zaporizhzhya is probably the last straw for large nuclear, although the incident isorchestrated by an evil dictator, who is much worse, than any of James Bond’s cruel adversities.

I doubt Putin would get the same leverage, if Zaporizhzhya were a gas-fired or hydroelectric power station.

Conclusion

I feel, the world must seriously question building any more large nuclear power stations.

August 26, 2022 - Posted by | Energy, Hydrogen | , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. You make fair point about large Nuclear Power Plants, however it got me thinking about the vulnerability of wind and solar plants in areas around the world where political stability might be fragile. In particular I’m reminded that Morocco annexed the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara with the result that the Polisario Front have reignited their opposition. Hopefully XLinks plans don’t involve any part of that territory.

    Comment by fammorris | August 26, 2022 | Reply

    • I suspect that XLinks have a plan for the Western Sahara. I was once told by Paddy Docherty, that the best way to level up poor parts of Africa is to send them things like hand sewing machines and other things we have no use for, so they can work.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddy_Doherty_(activist)

      He told me that in his experience, the devil makes work for idle hands. He didn’t use those exact words, but a much better Irish expression.

      I suspect if XLinks or Morocco put in power to the Western Sahara, things would change.

      Comment by AnonW | August 26, 2022 | Reply


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