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Delegates from the LDCs discuss the revised APA text at the Bonn climate conference, May 2017
Delegates from the LDCs discuss the revised APA text at the Bonn climate conference, May 2017. Photo by IISD/ENB/Kiara Worth.
INTERNATIONAL POLICY
19 May 2017 15:27

Bonn climate talks: key outcomes from the May 2017 UN climate conference

Carbon Brief Staff

Multiple Authors

05.19.17
International policyBonn climate talks: key outcomes from the May 2017 UN climate conference

Diplomats from around the world gathered in Germany over the past two weeks for the latest round of UN climate talks.

The “intersessional” talks, which take place in Bonn each year midway between the annual conference of parties (COP), aim to move negotiations forward ahead of the larger meeting which take place towards the end of the year.

A range of topics were on the table this year, including the detailed “rulebook” on how to implement the Paris Agreement, which must be finalised at COP24 in 2018.

Negotiators worked to iron out details of a stock-taking exercise in 2018, which will measure progress toward the Paris goals, and to move forwards with the sticky issue of adaptation finance.

All of this as countries continue to grapple with the uncertainty over whether US president Donald Trump will or won’t pull out of the Paris Agreement.

Carbon Brief takes a look at the major themes and points of controversy to come out of the talks. We have also collated a schedule of upcoming deadlines, reports and meetings under the Paris negotiating track, in the lead up to COP23 in November.

Trump threat

The news during last November’s COP22 annual climate conference in Marrakesh that Donald Trump had won the US election cast an initially heavy shadow over negotiations, not least because one of Trump’s campaign pledges was to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

Four months into his presidency, Trump has yet to announce a final decision on whether he will follow through on this pledge. Despite weeks of media titbits of the to-ing and fro-ing in his cabinet’s closed-door discussions, it remains hard to say what the final outcome will be.

The signals remain mixed. The US signed up to the Fairbanks Declaration, a joint statement of the eight-member Arctic Council that acknowledged the Paris Agreement (having lobbied behind the scenes to water down its language on climate change). But it sent a much-diminished delegation of seven to Bonn, versus 44 last year.

Nevertheless, multiple reports noted that in Bonn the discussions on the finer details of the Paris Agreement went ahead relatively smoothly in the face of this uncertainty, with envoys unusually cooperative as they strive to move ahead with implementing the deal.

“This has gone as far as we could have expected,” Yamide Dagnet, senior associate at the World Resources Institute tells Carbon Brief. “Negotiators will leave Bonn with a roadmap towards COP23.” Dagnet says the talks were marked by determination to make progress.

Stepping stones

The Paris Agreement set out the overarching goals and framework for international climate action, but left many details to be filled in later. These questions, collectively known as the Paris “rulebook”, include who should do what, by when, how and with what financial support.

For instance, it will address how countries communicate their efforts with regards to mitigation and adaptation, climate finance, transfer of technology and capacity building, how they will be held accountable for their commitments, and how collective efforts will be reviewed (and ambition increased) over time.

The process of working out these details began in earnest at COP22, in Marrakesh last November (see the Carbon Brief summary). It continued over the past two weeks in Bonn.

Official  conclusions from the meeting, published yesterday, begin by reiterating the firm deadline to complete the Paris rulebook by COP24, in November 2018, at the latest. The conclusions say that “substantive progress has been achieved” over the past two weeks, with this progress captured in a series of informal notes. However, with typical diplomatic hesitancy, it explains that these notes:

“Attempt to informally capture the views expressed by some Parties to date…[and] do not necessarily reflect the view of all Parties. The notes are not intended to prejudge further work that Parties may wish to undertake, or to prevent Parties from expressing other views they may have in the future. The views presented in the notes…do not signify any consensus among Parties or imply the basis for any future negotiations.”

Finally, the conclusions set out a series of stepping stones towards COP23, which will also be held in Bonn, this November.

Diary dates

Under each topic, parties are invited to submit their views during September 2017. These views will be collected together in another series of papers, with the aim of setting out options for draft text on the rulebook, as well as areas of agreement and disagreement.

“Negotiators [now] know what the stumbling blocks are and where creative thinking will be needed…to advance thinking,” WRI’s Dagnet says.

Negotiators will then reconvene at a series of roundtable workshops, held in early November in advance of COP23 in Bonn. The dates for each issue vary: see the table below for details.

Note that in keeping with the tradition of UN climate talks, negotiations operate under a set of jargon-filled titles and descriptions. The rulebook negotiating track is called the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement, or APA.

The work of the APA continues according to an agreed agenda, with working groups for each agenda item. These include: “agenda item 3” on the contents of and accounting for nationally determined contributions (NDCs); “agenda item 4” on how parties should communicate their adaptation efforts; “agenda item 5” on how parties will transparently report on action they take and on support they give to others; “agenda item 6” on a global stocktake in 2023, where collective progress towards the Paris targets will be checked; and “agenda item 7” on how compliance with the Paris Agreement will be monitored. Agenda item 8 covers other business, including the Adaptation Fund (see below).

Global stocktake

Under the Paris deal, parties agreed they would come together for a “global stocktake” in 2023 and every five years afterwards to measure their collective progress.

COP21 also agreed to undertake a similar process in 2018. Dubbed the “facilitative dialogue”, it aims to measure progress and inform the next round of NDCs, due in 2020.

However, the concrete rules and guidelines over how to do this are yet to be agreed upon. With the facilitative dialogue not set to take place until COP24, progress in this session was slow.

While some had hoped there would at least be concrete progression on the “headings” to be contained in the rulebook, this session resulted only in an “informal note” which collected together parties’ divergent views, rather than any consensus.

One key issue of disagreement is the scope of the process and what progress will be assessed against – for instance how do you measure global progress towards the adaptation goal of the Paris Agreement.

“Even for [the] mitigation long-term target, there will be different understandings, let alone other areas,” Naoyuki Yamagishi, a climate and energy leader with WWF Japan, tells Carbon Brief. However, Yamagishi – who has been involved in the process for 14 years – says he “wouldn’t be so easily disappointed”.  He says:

“It would have been, of course, great if we already had an agreed headings and subheading of the global stocktake part of the rulebook. However, if you listen to the discussion in the informal meetings during the session, you could see that issues to be resolved are getting clearer and [there was] some level of convergence, which I would describe slow but important progress.”

Transparency

Another process established by the Paris Agreement was the “enhanced transparency framework”, which aims to “build mutual trust and confidence and to promote effective implementation” by formalising the ways countries report and review their own progress, as well as the support they have provided to others.

The framework is scheduled to be completed by the end of COP24 in 2018, meaning a draft text is needed by this year’s COP23 in November to ensure there is enough time for negotiations over it to take place.

However, as for the facilitative dialogue, negotiations on transparency are currently still centred on which different areas should be included, and what the procedures and guidelines should be.

For instance, the Paris Agreement included a voluntary option for parties to submit formal communications on their adaptation plans, progress and needs. But it is not yet clear how this would fit in with the transparency framework.

In addition, negotiators are still trying to iron out how best to ensure that the transparency and reporting requirements are flexible enough to avoid them becoming an additional burden on developing countries, while also avoiding any unnecessary backsliding.

As Neoka Naidoo, transparency coordinator at Climate Action Network international, tells Carbon Brief:

“There still needs to be an element where you take national circumstances into account, and that’s the area of flexibility. So at the moment in these negotiations flexibility is quite a theoretical term, it’s like yes we need flexibility because we all have different national circumstances. But the real fact of the matter that’s happening here at the moment is how do you apply the mechanism of flexibility when it comes to reporting and review.”

Climate finance

Developed countries pledged in 2009 to jointly “mobilise” $100bn per year by 2020 to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change, and the Paris Agreement again recognised the importance of this climate finance.

Negotiations on this section of the Paris rulebook, taking place under the transparency heading, are focused on how to account for and track the climate finance that countries have given or received. The result, again, was a collection of informal notes which will form a basis of discussion for COP23.

One related area of contention is the future of the Adaptation Fund, a (relatively small) pot of money created in 2001 as part of the Kyoto Protocol, which provides grants to vulnerable countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

While countries agreed in Marrakesh that the fund should also serve the Paris Agreement, decisions on its governance and operations have proved contentious, and delegates left Bonn only with an informal paper that sets out the different options and the Secretariat’s legal analysis of some of the key questions.

Joe Thwaites, an associate at the World Resources Institute, says countries remain deadlocked on the issue. He tells Carbon Brief:

“Developing countries argued that the fund is ready to serve the Agreement right away, and that the decisions to confirm this should happen as soon as possible. However, developed countries did not want to take the decision before examining different options and implications on issues such as changing board membership, future sources of funding, and the role of the fund relative to other climate finance institutions.”

Finally, in one sign of goodwill and (in their words) “increased cooperation”, the EU pledged €800m in support for the Pacific region up to 2020, with around half earmarked for climate action. In a joint statement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) reaffirming their commitment to the Paris deal, the EU also announced €3m to support Fiji’s COP23 Presidency.

However in less hopeful signs, the lead US delegate reiterated that Trump does not currently plan on further contributing to the Green Climate Fund, after his budget proposal in March pledged to cut the remaining $2bn the US had previously promised.

It is also worth noting that the world still remains a long way off from the $100bn climate finance goal.

Peer review

One important part of the Bonn talks, not directly related to implementing the Paris Agreement, was a series of hearings where countries were asked to explain and defend their climate plans, in the face of public questions from their peers.

The process differs somewhat, between a more rigorous format for developed countries and a less formal one for developing nations, but the general idea is the same. See this presentation from WRI for more details.

First, countries submit biennial reports on their plans and progress. Then, their peers submit written questions, and they respond with written answers. (Carbon Brief covered the Q&As for the US, Russia and Japan.) Finally, the debate concludes at public hearings, which were held across the middle weekend in Bonn.

At a hearing on US plans, which are currently under review by the new administration, China and India asked pointed questions on contributions to international climate finance (the US won’t make any this year) and the health benefits of climate action.

In the developing country hearings, India stood out for its optimistic news that the country will achieve its solar energy goals eight years early. Outside the talks, WRI and Climate Action Tracker separately reported on the rapid climate progress being made by China and India.

Separately, Indian energy minister Piyush Goyal told the Vienna Energy Forum: “India stands committed to its commitments made at Paris irrespective of what happens in the rest of the world”, while a declaration from China’s One Belt One Road summit urged those that have ratified the Paris Agreement – which includes the US – to implement it in full.

‘Lifeline’

As negotiators began wrapping up this year’s intersessional a collective of 48 of the world’s poorest nations on Wednesday made a plea for the Paris Agreement to be strengthened.

Members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) called the deal their “lifeline” and urged countries to stick to its goal to limit temperature rise to as little above 1.5C as possible.

“Without increased climate action, no country will be great again,” said Emmanuel Guzman, climate change commissioner for the Philippines, in a blatant dig at Donald Trump’s US campaign slogan.

One contentious issue at the talks this year was corporate conflict of interest, with developing countries led by Ecuador repeatedly pressing for tighter rules to prevent fossil fuel firms having influence over the talks.

However, little progress was made towards an outcome, with only a compromise document inviting input from stakeholders by January 2018 on how to “enhance existing practices” on of outside observers to promote “openness, transparency and inclusiveness”.

Meanwhile, while the fraught topic of loss and damage was not explicitly on the agenda this month, vulnerable developing countries continued to emphasise its importance as an issue in COP23 and beyond.

Sven Harmeling, advocacy coordinator at CARE Climate Change, tells Carbon Brief:

“Unfortunately, although the Paris Agreement includes an entire article on loss and damage signalling its political importance, governments have not yet agreed where and how to address this issue from a longer term perspective.”

However the executive committee of the Warsaw Mechanism on Loss and Damage – agreed at COP19 in 2013 – is set to meet this October to refine its plans for the coming years.

Carbon markets

Another issue on the agenda in Bonn was Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which covers market mechanisms, and could provide a route to the creation of global carbon markets. However, despite devoting significant time to discussions, progress was slow.

David Hone, chief climate adviser to Shell tells Carbon Brief:

“[Views] range from a reincarnation of the CDM [UN Clean Development Mechanism, which supported carbon offsets for use under the Kyoto Protocol] through to a large scale mechanism to help countries develop carbon pricing. It will likely have to incorporate a broad spectrum of approaches, with perhaps more emphasis on projects in the near term and operation on a much larger scale in the medium to longer term.

Jonathan Grant, a director at PWC tells Carbon Brief: “Countries are still in brainstorming mode – the draft outputs from the carbon markets discussions are simply long lists of issues.”

Looking ahead

The next big climate conference, COP23, from 6 to 17 November, will be led by Fiji, the first small island state to assume the responsibility. Incoming COP president and Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama addressed delegates in Bonn on 18 May, urging the US to remain “in the canoe” as part of the Paris Agreement.

Fiji set out its aims for COP23 in a tweet:

Before then, Germany will host Fiji and others at its annual Petersberg Climate Dialogue, followed by a meeting of the G7 group of leading nations later next week.

An EU-China summit on 2 June will have climate “very high on the agenda”. Then, in July, the larger G20 group of nations will meet in Berlin.

As questions continue to swirl over the US approach to climate change, observers will be watching these meetings closely, while lobbying world leaders to pressure Trump on his plans. In a sign of the times for global climate sentiment, recent reports from news agency Tass suggest even Russian president Vladimir Putin could ratify the Paris deal in 2019.

Sharelines from this story
  • Bonn climate talks: key outcomes from the May 2017 UN climate conference
  • Joris75

    “David Hone, chief climate adviser to Shell tells Carbon Brief:

    “[Views] range from a reincarnation of the CDM [UN Clean Development Mechanism, which supported carbon offsets for use under the Kyoto Protocol] through to a large scale mechanism to help countries develop carbon pricing.””

    If the CDM is reincarnated, it is essential that nuclear power be fully *included*.

    The historical exclusion of nuclear power from the CDM is one of several disastrous international climate policy mistakes made since the Kyoto protocol was adopted. The world has now run out of time, on climate. The continued opposition to nuclear power by the climate policy community has to end ASAP.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Clean_Development_Mechanism_and_Nuclear_Power

    • Falsum

      I think we can afford to be fairly ambivalent about nuclear. It isn’t showing any real signs of growth, and given how long it takes to commission and build a new nuclear power plant, it doesn’t have much potential to achieve big carbon cuts in the short term. Renewables are a safer bet.

      • Joris75

        I think people who insist on sustaining the exclusion of nuclear power are missing the point. Solving the climate issue will be harder – not easier – if we don’t allow nuclear power to be part of the toolbox.

        • Robert

          Show us a best case time line for siting, permitting, construction, inspection, waste storage, training operators, costs, financing, decommissioning.

          Also, work out the carbon budget for their construction.

          • Sam Gilman

            Robert, the IPCC has done the metanalysis on carbon studies and nuclear comes out as one of the lowest. We really shouldn’t be having such silly conversations as that.

          • Robert

            You are cherry picking….
            And not even citing which IPCC study .

            And studies are looking at one aspect, don’t forget we have a history of what happens at fsilure.

            Perhaps we should be factoring in how many cows die when a when a turbine tower falls over . /s

          • Sam Gilman

            “which IPCC study”?

            Eh? The assessment reports. Quite what carbon emissions have to do with a turbine falling over is something you’re going to have to explain.

          • Robert

            1,2,3,4,5. Wg1,2,3……? Technical summary? SPM?

            But, nice way to miss the point. You don’t quote and cite.

          • Sam Gilman

            Well, it would be a good idea to look at the latest report, seeing as it’s the most up-to-date. I apologise for wrongly assuming you were familiar with the IPCC assessment reports. Here’s the reference:

            Assessment report 5, Working group 3 chapter 7, p. 539.

            And here’s a link in case you find the IPCC site a bit difficult to navigate:

            https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg3/ipcc_wg3_ar5_chapter7.pdf

            It’s the figures that turn up in the wikipedia article on lifecycle emissions. Funny – I get the wiki page coming up on the first page when I google for the answer to lifecycle emissions. What did you get? (I mean, obviously, you checked before you got so hostile about citations).

          • Robert

            “Continued use and expansion of nuclear energy worldwide as a response to climate change mitigation require greater efforts to address the safety, economics, uranium utilization, waste management, and proliferation concerns of nuclear energy use (IPCC, 2007, Chapter 4; GEA, 2012).

            Research and development of the next-generation nuclear energy system, beyond the evolutionary LWRs, is being undertaken through national and international efforts (GIF, 2009). New fuel cycles and reactor technologies are under investigation in an effort to address the concerns of nuclear energy use. Further information concerning resources, costs, risks and co-benefits, deployment barriers, and policy aspects can be found in Sections 7.4.3, 7.8.2, 7.9, 7.10, and 7.12.”

            7.5.4 ,your cite.

            Typical. Cherry picking and ‘look at this one graph’.

          • Sam Gilman

            No, it’s not cherry-picking. I was talking specifically about carbon emissions.

            It turns out you do know your way around the IPCC reports and so were deliberately concealing from people that you knew the my carbon emissions claim was correct.

            Behaviour like yours just reinforces the view from outside the anti-nuclear movement that you lot are not to be trusted.

          • Robert

            Yup. You cherry picked ONE part of the many issues around using nuclear.

            And my “deliberately concealing ” showed your work for the low level of intellectual honesty it was. Trying to imply a good resource said something different than what it said.

            So. Thanks.

            By the by: “..you do know your way around ..” is called doing research. A skillset taught from the upper elementary through post doc. It is a wonder how you missed learning that.

            Now. If you want to have a honest conversation on policy about moving from fossil fuel, show us the best case scenerio for implementing /rolling out the number of n. plants and how that matches to the Paris time line for action.

            And, of course, feel free to use the IPCCreport; they’ve done some of your homework.

          • Jag_Levak

            “show us the best case scenerio for implementing /rolling out the number of n. plants”

            Imagine trying to make such a projection about the best case scenario for air travel back in 1905. By that point, we’d had lifting gas balloons for well over a century, dirigibles were a few decades old, and we’d had the first practical demonstration of the principles of powered flight that Cayley had laid out nearly a century earlier. But even into the 1930’s, it wouldn’t be clear whether the future belonged to airships or airplanes, and that was just looking at two basic approaches to air travel.

            Next generation nuclear development is heading off in multiple directions, and some of them might intersect or overlap further down the road, so the picture is a lot more complex. And as with any future projection, the best case blue sky limit depends on where you draw the line on probability. It’s theoretically possible that Lerner could get his focus fusion reactor working within the next few years. The theory looks sound, but the prevailing view seems to be that he is attempting levels of plasma control that is too advanced for our present state of technology. (Lerner, obviously, disagrees.) If he gets his reactor working in, say, five years, the global energy system would be utterly transformed within another ten. It would probably be the fastest and largest energy transformation in history. The critical downside to his approach being that it relies on a fairly rare element to work, so we’d need to come up with another revolution within a century.

            To me, it looks like the highest-probability near-term next-gen approach will be China’s pebble bed gas reactor which they are developing as a drop-in replacement for the burners in their advanced coal plants. The basic concept is well-established, and they are a large way through the development process. They might have a prototype working in a matter of months. Once they have a final design, retrofit at each plant might take two or three years, but there will be a lot of simultaneous retrofits going on. So I think this will be the approach that will be first of the starting blocks, and it will have a rollout rate far faster than with today’s conventional nuclear, and it has a readymade market waiting for it, but whether that is a good enough launch platform to break out into a larger market is still a big unknown. It should be nearly impervious to meltdown with very low risk of combustion, and should be much cheaper than today’s reactors, but it still requires precision fuel fabrication, and being solid fuel, it accumulates fission products, which impedes good fuel utilization, so the scale of the waste issue is hardly improved from today’s reactors.

            A bit further out–around 5-10 years–will be the liquid fuel molten salt reactors. The big hurdle here is coming up with a long-term corrosion management strategy, but the physical reactor designs could be some of the simplest yet. These would be totally impervious to meltdown, no risk of combustion, and fluoride salt is a very robust form of chemical containment for elements like cesium and strontium. With liquid fuel, fission products could be removed during operation, so fuel utilization should be several times better than now, and the possibility of dividing the output into discrete element streams could reduce the waste profile even further. Some, like the Moltex design, could have great flexibility regarding the neutron spectrum and kinds of salts and fuels used. Molten salt reactors would also be good candidates for small modular production. Martingale projects for their Thorcon reactor that a single manufacturing site could produce 100 GW of reactor capacity per year, with an installation time for each power plant being in the vicinity of 2-3 years–much of that being just digging a big hole. And there’s no reason multiple manufacturing sites could not be set up, so the chief limiting factors here would be regulatory restrictions and market demand. Small molten salt reactors could also be good candidates for drop-in replacements for large ship motors, providing as much power in a smaller package with lower operating cost. At the right price point, the transition across the heavy freight shipping industry could be very rapid.

            I think the last big piece of the fission puzzle we’ll get to is full fuel utilization, which would greatly improve the economics of deep borehole disposal. In the thermal neutron spectrum, that’ll mean transitioning to thorium. For uranium, that’ll mean transitioning to the fast neutron spectrum. Or for both cases, we would need some other source of neutrons, like from proton beam spallation or from fusion. We already know how to do all of those things. What we don’t know yet is how to do them cheaply. And it might turn out that the lowest cost approach is a blend of technologies, like having a small fleet of large uranium-burning breeder reactors making fuel for a larger fleet of much smaller and cheaper thorium-burning reactors.

            But nuclear would also include fusion (and fission / fusion hybrids), and there are a number of teams who think they can get there in a fairly short timeframe, so that introduces several more wildcard possibilities for nuclear expansion. On the other hand, I’ve seen remarkable claims for some emerging non-nuclear technologies which also have very high blue-sky projections. These are generally low-probability or long time-scale projects, but it would only take one near-term success to change everything, including the future of nuclear development. But presumably, if it is good enough to displace next-gen nuclear, that’ll mean that in some ways, it’s even better. Whatever course we wind up taking, I think we’ll get our best chances of it being the best course if we develop all our options, and then let them compete on their merits.

          • Robert

            What an odd claim….”But even into the 1930’s, it wouldn’t be clear whether the future belonged to airships or airplanes…”
            We still have blimps, we still have piston prop planes, we used to have supersonic passenger travel….

            Your long screed is masking that we’ve been working on n tech for electricity since the 40s and there is a long history of failure, overbudget, lower production, cost overrun, and no real need.
            Show us who is willing to finance the research and development costs of ‘newer, better, sooner’ Show us who is willing to accept the responsibility of safe storage of waste. Ask why the Hanford budget is being cut . A federal responsibility that is being shirked while the facility continues to deteriorate.

            You weren’t able to cite a single study showing a rollout that is effective in stopping use of carbon based fuels.

            The simple truth is, we’ve basically stepped past the need to burn something to make electricity. Not wood, not coal, not nat gas,.not nuclear. We have wind and solar doing just fine and we have industry, econ, govt science, the people,, all behind them .

            “…which they are developing…” “A bit further out–around 5-10 years–will be…” “Next generation nuclear development is heading off in multiple directions, …”

          • Jag_Levak

            “What an odd claim….”But even into the 1930’s, it wouldn’t be clear whether the future belonged to airships or airplanes…”
            We still have blimps,”

            The context was air travel. In the 30’s, it looked for a while there like the great rigid-frame airships might dominate. I would venture the proportion of global air travel carried by blimps today is pretty small.

            “we still have piston prop planes,”

            Piston prop airplanes decided the contest between airships and airplanes. How larger airplanes would subsequently give way to jet airliners is another story.

            “Your long screed is masking that we’ve been working on n tech for electricity since the 40s and there is a long history of failure, overbudget, lower production, cost overrun, and no real need.”

            It isn’t “masking” any of those issues. It had nothing to do with them because your question was specifically about the best case scenario for the future rollout of nuclear. And my reply was long because it’s a huge and complex issue. But by analogy, it might also have seemed in 1905 that there was nothing but a long history of failure with respect to air travel. Balloons were still at the mercy of the wind, dirigibles could barely manage decent ground speeds, and airplanes were finally, after decades of trying, just barely a demonstrated possibility covering only an absurdly tiny distance at very low altitudes. Only a few people with some vision and foresight recognized the scale of potential that powered flight had.

            And whatever our energy future is, it isn’t going to be decided by need. It’s going to be decided by cost and performance. Are the legacy designs of early reactor technology we have today going to be able to compete on that basis? No, of course not. Early designs are usually a long ways from optimal, and they don’t improve merely by getting older. But the best case for future nuclear will be decided by reactors which are radically different from the old modified military reactors we have now.

            “Show us who is willing to finance the research and development costs of ‘newer, better, sooner'”

            Are you asking for a list of the major players currently funding next-gen reactor research? I can, but I thought you didn’t like long replies. Just in North America there are dozens of next-gen projects being funded almost entirely by private interests, and there are a large assortment of private and state-supported programs elsewhere around the world. There are small companies like Martingale and big companies like Lockheed. There are shoestring operations like Lawrenceville Plasma and richly funded companies like Tri-Alpha. China, India, and Russia are the large state players for now, but the U.S. is finally starting to swing the weight of the national labs behind the next-gen effort.

            “Show us who is willing to accept the responsibility of safe storage of waste.”

            There are different waste profiles associated with each kind of technology. Like I said, the first off the blocks, with about the same waste profile as today, will be the Chinese pebble bed gas reactor, and the responsibility will undoubtedly be set by Chinese state policy. For the molten salt reactors, the dangerous part of the output stream is the highly radioactive short-term fission products and derivatives. But they only need to store those for a few years before they become a inventory of usable elements ready for sale, so that’s not really “waste”. Only the not economically recoverable fission products are really waste, and borehole disposal would be funded by the operators who use it. And waste burner reactors would actually diminish the current stockpile of waste, make the remainder much easier to deal with, and provide a source of revenue in the process.

            “Ask why the Hanford budget is being cut.”

            That’s really not related to the future rollout of next-gen reactors.

            “You weren’t able to cite a single study showing a rollout that is effective in stopping use of carbon based fuels.”

            Again, the question was about the best case scenario for the future rollout of next-gen reactors. Those reactors are currently under development, and the properties of their final versions haven’t been established yet. Two of the biggest unknowns at this point will be cost and the regulatory environment. There simply isn’t enough information to conduct any sort of meaningful study at this time. But many of today’s teams have their sights set on undercutting the cost of coal globally, and only one of them has to succeed for that to become a reality. Competing against gas where it is extremely cheap will be much tougher, but there’s a lot of carbon can be displaced before that point, and most gas plants are flexible, so cheap renewables should be able to displace some of the gas consumption in the meantime.

            “The simple truth is, we’ve basically stepped past the need to burn something to make electricity.”

            In theory. Getting from theory to reality is going take time, especially while a large chunk of the human population now living in energy poverty will be increasing their energy consumption. For now, the mainstream projections are not only that we will continue burning carbon fuels for energy, their use is actually projected to continue growing year after year, well into the 30’s–unless there is a large technological game changer which we don’t have yet.

            “Not wood, not coal, not nat gas,.not nuclear.”

            We might be past the need, but we are a species driven by what we want. And one big thing humans want is an energy-rich lifestyle. And for now, they want that more than they want to avoid the consequences of getting that energy from hydrocarbon fuels.

            “We have wind and solar doing just fine”

            The current rapid growth in all categories of low-carbon renewables combined with the current global growth in nuclear is not even enough to keep up with the current global growth in energy consumption. The remainder is being filled with carbon fuels, which means carbon output is still increasing. That is not “just fine”. Cheaper, mass-produced nuclear looks like it has good potential to substantially alter the rollout rate of low-carbon energy, and there are some applications, like heavy shipping, where wind and solar penetration have very poor prospects, but which nuclear could transform rapidly, if it can reach the right price point.

            “and we have industry, econ, govt science, the people,, all behind them.”

            Sure, I like them too. And right now is a great time to grow them because we are at the low-hanging fruit phase of cutting into the variable output buffer from other kinds of energy. But the growth rate isn’t fast enough, and we’ll need something additional if we are to reach high levels of low-carbon penetration. Maybe that’ll be much improved battery storage. Maybe it’ll be much improved nuclear. Maybe it’ll be something else barely on the horizon at this point, Or maybe, if we develop all of them, then all of them can help get us there faster.

          • Robert

            “Are you asking for a list of the major players currently funding next-gen reactor research? I can, but I thought you didn’t like long replies. ”
            Go ahead. Length is not the issue. Completeness and good cites are though.

          • Robert

            You weren’t able to cite a single study showing a rollout that is effective in stopping use of carbon based fuels.

            “The current rapid growth in all categories of low-carbon renewables combined with the current global growth in nuclear is not even enough to keep up with the current global growth in energy consumption”

            “The remainder is being filled with carbon fuels, which means carbon output is still increasing. ”

            “…they want that more than they want to avoid the consequences of getting that energy from hydrocarbon fuels.”

            You’re.really making lots of claims with out a single supporting resource…

          • Jag_Levak

            “You weren’t able to cite a single study showing a rollout that is effective in stopping use of carbon based fuels.”

            Again, there simply isn’t enough information to conduct any sort of meaningful study at this time, so I didn’t even look for one. If someone did try to do some sort of “study” it would basically be numbers based on a stack of premises, which at this point would be mostly conjecture and handwaving. I’ve seen studies which showed how nuclear power in the past was able to accomplish rapid and substantial decarbonization (the example of France still being pretty much unmatched by anyone) but those were generally state-driven, and I think any global transition will have its best chance if it is based on competition. At this time, we don’t know which of the various nuclear development paths will turn out to be the most competitive, we don’t know how soon, and we don’t know what competition to all forms of nuclear will become available.

            Having said that, just look at the hype and excitement that’s already building around the Braga/Goodenough solid state glass battery, based on some very preliminary announcements regarding its potential properties. They still have some substantial hurdles to overcome, and their projections don’t address static discharge rates, but it’s pretty obvious that if they can match the retention of today’s lithium ion batteries and deliver on all the other properties they’ve described, it would be a radical game changer, and nobody needs to conduct a study to see why such a superior battery would lead to a rapid revolution. It is enough just to know how much it is superior to the alternatives.

            [“The current rapid growth in all categories of low-carbon renewables combined with the current global growth in nuclear is not even enough to keep up with the current global growth in energy consumption”
            “The remainder is being filled with carbon fuels, which means carbon output is still increasing. “]
            “You’re.really making lots of claims with out a single supporting resource…”

            Here’s a Bloomberg analysis, optimistically titled “Fossil Fuels Just Lost the Race Against Renewables”
            http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2015/04/fossil-fuels-just-lost-the-race-against-renewables.html

            Check out that first graphic. That’s increases in capacity (which always makes wind and solar look better than comparing increases in actual production) projected out to 2030. It shows reductions in the growth of fossil fuels through 2030, but the bottom line is that it is still projecting continued growth in fossil fuels through 2030–based on current conditions. But if we develop some technologies we don’t have yet, maybe we can change that projection.

            [“Are you asking for a list of the major players currently funding next-gen reactor research? I can, but I thought you didn’t like long replies. “]
            “Go ahead. Length is not the issue.”

            Here are some of the projects I think could yield competitive forms of nuclear. Brackets include notable funders or supporters.

            Pebble bed gas reactor:
            HTR-PM NECC China (drop in replacement for coal)
            X-Energy

            Traveling wave reactor:
            TerraPower [Bill Gates]

            Molten Salt:
            SINAP (China) projects (pebble bed salt cooled and liquid fuel thorium)
            UC Berkeley (pebble bed salt cooled)
            Flibe [DoD partnership]
            TransAtomic
            Seaborg Technologies
            Copenhagen Atomics
            SAMOFAR consortium [European Commission]
            Terrestrial Energy
            Martingale (Thorcon)
            Thorium Tech Solutions
            Southern Company Services
            Moltex Energy
            Bhabha Atomic Research Centre–India
            Russian Kurchatov Institute ‘MOSART’ and ‘MARS’ MSR projects
            EVOL, a Euratom project, (molten salt fast reactor)

            Fusion:
            EMC2
            Fusion Development Corp.
            Dynomac (Spheromac) [University of Washington]
            General Fusion [Bezos]
            Helion Energy [Peter Thiel–Mithril Capital]
            Lawrenceville Plasma Fusion
            IEC Bussard Physics
            Tri-alpha Energy [Paul Allen, Rockefeller family]
            Lockheed Martin
            Proton Scientific

            fusion/fission hybrid:
            Apollo Fusion
            Kurchatov Research Center

            There are a bunch of smaller research projects which could turn into development projects, but those were the main players that I’d heard about as of the end of last year. I didn’t include liquid metal cooled fast reactors, or small modular water cooled reactors mostly because I don’t see these as having good potential for being game changers. Then again, I thought DBX was far superior to Dolby and Betamax was better than VHS, so clearly there are other factors besides specs and performance. Sometimes, you just have to run the experiment to see who comes out ahead.

            Here’s someone else’s list of notable projects:
            http://www.thirdway.org/report/the-advanced-nuclear-industry

          • Robert

            “Again, there simply isn’t enough information to conduct any sort of meaningful study at this time, so I didn’t even look for one.”

            “Sometimes, you just have to run the experiment to see who comes out ahead.”
            And a p.r. piece from 3rdway…..”.. poised…” “developing…”

            You’ve just done an excellent job of explaining why nuclear isn’t a viable choice.

            Oh, btw, here are some other studies…

            http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2736691/false_solution_nuclear_power_is_not_low_carbon.html

            https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/meeting-the-carbon-budgets-2012-progress-report-to-parliament/

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life-cycle_greenhouse-gas_emissions_of_energy_sources

            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/sustain_lca_results.html

            onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00472.x/pdf

          • Sam Gilman

            Those aren’t roll-out studies, they’re lifecycle emissions assessments, and by and large they clearly show nuclear as being low carbon.

          • Sam Gilman

            I took issue with one of your claims. You tried to gish gallop out of being shown you were wrong.

            End of story.

          • Robert

            So, teasing out one sub issue isn’t cherrypicking. Interesting interpretation that reads like attempted justification via rationalization.
            Nuclear is fought with issues from safety, economics, political, industrial, personnel, sustainability, what if scenerios. And there is little that even suggests it is required to be used in transitioning from carbon based electricit produtuction.

            So, yes, choosing the only issue where it ‘looks’ good drives questions about why that one aspect was consciously chosen to pursue.

            Further evidence is that your own source walks through all the aspects involved. Yet you push one chart out of a whole chapter to support your claim. That is cherrypicking also.

            Now, if you real want to pursue the thinking, write up counter arguments for every aspect you are trying to cover up with your claims of ‘gish gallop, &”deliberately concealing “. Just as you were taught to do when writing a persuasive paper.

          • Sam Gilman

            I challenged you on your suggestion that nuclear was not low carbon, and provided a good source to back that challenge up.

            If there are other issues you want to focus on, we can do that, one at a time.

          • Robert

            It is a package. Separating out one specific issue doesn’t support the whole package.
            Read the methodology for the IPCC WG3 findings. The text. Not just repointing to one graphic. That’s cherry picking

          • Sam Gilman

            Then choose another issue. If I choose one, I fear – quite fairly – you will accuse me of cherrypicking that issue as well. We’re already discussing health impacts, so obviously not that.

          • Robert

            By the by: “..you do know your way around ..” is called doing research. A skillset taught from the upper elementary through post doc. It is a wonder how you missed learning that.

            Now. If you want to have a honest conversation on policy about moving from fossil fuel, show us the best case scenerio for implementing /rolling out the number of n. plants and how that matches to the Paris time line for action.

            And, of course, feel free to use the IPCCreport; they’ve done some of your homework.

          • Sam Gilman

            Fascinating projection. You demand a source as if it doesn’t exist. I give it to you. It turns out you knew it existed.

            And then you blame me for all that.

          • Robert

            Wow. “You demand a source as if it doesn’t exist. ”
            Basic research: cite your source. You should have learned that by middle school and when called on it, you then propose there was some nefarious scheme.

          • Sam Gilman

            I did – I named the IPCC and assumed that someone would be able to google IPCC lifecycle emissions. I then gave you the source when it turned out you wouldn’t do that.

          • Robert

            Thanks for the snark , however it did a poor job of masking the basic fact that you were obfuscating and not citing sources. That is poor academic honesty.

            At this point well also note you proved only one resource, and with your noting that the ipcc report was in wikipedia, you failed to mention there are several studies listed there.
            So, multiple cases of cherry picking.
            Good way to demonstrate bias. Not a good way to further a conversation.

            Oh, and projecting out a 100,000 years. When we don’t even have a grasp on how humans will even be writing or reading warning signs on the waste facilities?

          • Sam Gilman

            The IPCC is not a single study, it’s a summary of the literature. If you have evidence that the IPCC’s metaanalysis is wrong, then you should bring that to the table rather than trying to insinuate that it’s wrong.

            The Wikipedia article isn’t a peer-reviewed article in itself, and so I wouldn’t give the selection of studies it prioritises much credence. One is not supposed to cite Wikipedia itself, although it can be a useful repository of sources. However, WP does feature high in google searches, so I think it’s fair to assume that someone engaging in honest debate could have found the IPCC results it summarises because of that.

            Now, when you talk about 100,000 years, you’re apparently replying here to my reference to the ExternE project regarding the comparative lethality of different power sources going into the future. You’re replying here rather than to the post where I gave that reference, and you’ve done a Gish gallop: in that post I explicitly stated two issues of human health and waste, and that I would deal with human health first. Objecting to the reference on the grounds that it doesn’t go over nuclear waste is one half of the gish gallop. The other half is that you didn’t even bother to check if the ExternE assessment includes the risks from nuclear waste.

            It does.

            From the methdology Q&A:

            Are long-term effects of nuclear energy treated adequately, in particular, nuclear waste storage and other land contamination?
            In estimation of the impacts of future normal operation of storage facilities for nuclear waste is included in the analysis. The risk of leakages has been examined only for low and medium-level radioactive waste. It is expected, and assumed in the analysis, that future storage facilities for high level waste will be built and operated according to strict standards and any remaining risks will be limited to the local zone, which would be chosen in a low population density. Therefore, according to case studies, any leaks would affect only a small number of individuals and the associated damages would be small.

            You are trying to get me to do all the reference work while you throw up objection after objection without checking yourself to see if the objection is valid. That’s Gish galloping, and I learnt about it from debating climate change deniers.

            As for studies directly on waste, here, for example, is the study on Yucca Mountain, safe for a million years:

            https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1428/ML14288A121.pdf

          • Robert

            Read again. Only one study /meta-analysis was cited.
            There are several others
            http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2736691/false_solution_nuclear_power_is_not_low_carbon.html

            https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/meeting-the-carbon-budgets-2012-progress-report-to-parliament/

            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life-cycle_greenhouse-gas_emissions_of_energy_sources

            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/sustain_lca_results.html

            onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00472.x/pdf

            Cherry picking one issue in using nuclear
            Cherry picking using one study on carbon.

          • Sam Gilman

            – All but one (the conspiracy theorist-edited Ecologist) have nuclear as low carbon.
            – The Ecologist-cited study (or at least Sovacool’s analysis) I believe is included in the IPCC assessment
            – The NREL citation is the IPCC
            – Wikipedia isn’t peer-reviewed and doesn’t do proper syntheses of research (I believe that’s actually against its rules). It leads with the IPCC

            You’re now cutting and pasting the same material into other posts regardless of whether they address the point at issue. Why?

          • Robert

            Try again. Most have a range, not a single number. There is a reason for the range.

            Cherry pick on carbon.
            Cherry pick on one study.

            And, btw, wiki was included because it is a compilation of resources.Obviously. No encyclopedia does original researce. Obviously.

          • Sam Gilman

            The range is because most are metanalyses. Hope that helps.

            Look at the structure of the range. It shows that very few studies (by people with track records of somewhat poor research, such as Sovacool) disagree with the finding of nuclear as low carbon.

            If you want to look at the outlier cases, you need to do the same for all sources. Otherwise you’re introducing bias.

            I chose to focus on carbon first because, unlike you, I think climate change is the most serious issue.

            Howeve, you are repeating your false claim that it’s the only issue I have addressed. Once you have been corrected and you continue deliberately to repeat it, it becomes a deliberate falsehood. Would you mind not telling deliberate falsehoods?

          • Robert

            Thanks for the strawman.
            “..because, unlike you,…”
            “..want to look at the outlier cases..”

          • Sam Gilman

            Pointing out that focussing on carbon first isn’t a straw man, not if you accept the fact of anthropogenic climate change. Do you?

            Also, pointing out that the clear majority of studies have nuclear as not just low, but very low isn’t a straw man either.

            You don’t seem to have much to say apart from your attempt to gainsay without evidentiary support.

          • Robert

            You have the numbers, cite them.
            And compare.
            Then factor in the other issues that are solely nuclear’s.
            There are several reasons why nuclear isn’t a viable option; among them are the issues with:
            extraction,
            refining,
            transport,
            waste storage,
            siting,
            decommissioning,
            and time frame.

            By focusing only on carbon, which was your choice, you cherypicked.
            Then , by trying to say I was not focused on carbon, that I was not concerned about ACC, was you trying strawman.

            So, in an effort to promote a dead technology, you feel compelled to create logical fallacies and use poor intellectual rigor and honesty.
            Good going.

          • Sam Gilman

            You are an excellent example of how ideological anti-nuclearism is one of the biggest obstacles to tackling climate change.

            You actually took someone to task for focussing on carbon emissions. You actually described someone looking at the impact on the climate as “cherrypicking”.

            You then indulged in Gish galloping, by each time I answered a concern, ignoring that answer and moving onto what you saw as the next issue regardless of whether it had been dealt with in the first place, and regardless of whether you even had evidence to back yourself up.

            This is what your ideological anti-nuclearism makes you do: behave like all the climate change deniers you think you oppose.

            Isn’t it time for a rethink?

          • Robert

            Review the thresd. Notice who hasn’t addressed the whole list of issues that are solely nuclear’s.

            You have the numbers, cite them.
            And compare.
            Then factor in the other issues that are solely nuclear’s.
            There are several reasons why nuclear isn’t a viable option; among them are the issues with:
            extraction,
            refining,
            transport,
            waste storage,
            siting,
            decommissioning,
            and time frame.
            By focusing only on carbon, which was your choice, you cherypicked.
            Then , by trying to say I was not focused on carbon, that I was not concerned about ACC, was you trying strawman.
            So, in an effort to promote a dead technology, you feel compelled to create logical fallacies and use poor intellectual rigor and honesty.
            Good going.

          • Sam Gilman

            OK. Let’s l mook at the first item in your list: “extraction”

            With proper sources (eg not stuff edited by conspiracy theorists), explain what you mean by nuclear power being unviable because of the extraction processes involved. Bear in mind that nuclear power stations have been operating for decades and that your argument implies this shouldn’t have been possible.

            I look forward to your well-sourced and on-point answer.

          • Robert

            I’d say that was a pretty difficult way to misinterpret a pretty simple statement…
            “..that your argument implies this shouldn’t have been possible.”
            Start with the increased level of electricity production you are wanting from nuclear.
            Are the existing mines able to scale up?

            Beyond that, you are cherry picking your argument. Again. Yet again.

            Transport the ore.
            Scale up the facilities for processing.
            Process the ore
            Handle the tailings and other waste products.

            And we still haven’t sited the reactors.
            And we still haven’t scaled up the waste handling.

            And, much like the efforts to clean up coal, the next Gen reactors are still in developement.

            And, financing…..
            And insurance….
            And public safety planning…..

            Let’s also discuss issues like small, local production, developed by cooperatives or municipal owned v monopolistic, large scale, out of local control.

            And where is there a study showing that we can’t do what is needed with solar and wind?

            Hence. The pro nuc agenda needs cherry picking to make a case.

          • jmac

            Disclaimer: I have not studied the latest information on nuclear.

            But from what little I do know, it does seem an awfully expensive and dangerous way to boil water. 🙂

          • Sam Gilman

            Dangerous? Compared to what?

            Have you ever googled “deaths per TWh”?

            You may be in for a surprise.

            (If you want sources on the issue, I’ll given them to you as I have to Robert if you like, but feel free to find them yourself as evidence that I’m not making things up).

          • Robert

            That we’d be just replacing one extractive system – coal, natural gas – for another is a big issue. The environmental issues are enormous for either. And while some materials needed in solar and wind tech, those are recyclable, not sent into the atmosphere or involving all the issues of nuc waste storage.

            And for themarket drivers, it seems wind and solar has been finding more accepted cell in funding, development, and actualization.

            Another issue is that the big tech of nuclear inherently means large Corp involvement. Whereas wind and solar can be set up locally and by co-ops or municipalities passing the savings and control to those effected by those decisions. I’ll admit a bit of bias the in both the political /economic and from having lived the last 50 some years where both have been successful.

            There is also that weird pro nuc argument about how it is govt causing the cost overruns, slow production etc because of inspections and quality control requirements and simultaneously claiming how safe the industry is. That seems to be more magical libertarian pipe dream smoke.

          • jmac

            All very solid points IMO.

          • greenthinker2012

            Robert,
            Where are you getting your 10,000 year number and what specifically is it referring to?
            Are you claiming that spent fuel rods from civilian nuclear power will be lethally radioactive in that time or something else?
            Please be specific since it is not clear from your comments.
            Cheers

          • Sam Gilman

            The 100,000 years is the time frame for the ExternE study that I cited in a separate post.

            ExternE make actuarial calculations 100,000 years into the future for a projected steady population of 10 billion in order to produce comparative deaths/TWh rates for a variety of sources.

            Their calculations actually include assessments of the impacts of nuclear waste, something he didn’t check before he posted.

          • Robert

            Up thread a study was cited by someone claiming 100,000 yr projections.

            There has been a fair amount of study and research on how and what warning need be place on waste and given the variety of dead language’s in our short history, it seems even a projection of a few thousand years is problematical.

          • robwheeler

            Sam I have just done a google search on Nuclear and Renewables re carbon and life cycle assessments. The findings do indeed state that nuclear and renewables are in the same range; however I would and do question the analysis in regards to long term wastes and decommissioning. We do not even have good long term storage depositories figured out yet; how do we know what it will cost and how much carbon and energy will be used to safeguard these materials for hundreds of thousands of years?

            Similarly just look at what it is going to take to decommission the Fukushima plants. They can’t even find where the melted fuel is yet much less get any decent pictures inside the facilities. What is going to be the environmental and carbon costs of building the massive ice wall and maintaining it for who knows how long?

            Rob

          • Sam Gilman

            Are you questioning the IPCC from an evidence point of view or because it clashes with personal prejudices?

            Be honest.

          • robwheeler

            Sam,

            I am questioning the IPCC’s findings on this because I doubt they (or anyone else) has done due diligence to truly figure out what the human and energy costs are going to be to take care of the spent wastes for the time period required. No one can or does even know what these costs will be, all we can do is guess. We have no idea how we are going to store the stuff safely for millennia. I am hoping that within another century or so we will figure out how to neutralize the stuff. Right now it is so toxic that you can’t come anywhere close to it for even a second.

            Rob

          • Sam Gilman

            In other words, your response is ideological. There are actually high quality studies looking far into the future on waste and on the human health impact.

            You also don’t ask the same questions of the ecological messes being generated to produce cheap wind and solar which are killing people now and are very toxic. Why don’t these count? I suggest to you it’s because you find it cognitively difficult to process that renewables are not one big happy family of zero-impact resources. Both renewables and nuclear have negative impacts. It’s ideological to deny the former and spin junk science about the latter.

            Is climate change a serious issue for you, or is the promotion of specific technology more important?

          • robwheeler

            Sam, send me links with easy to read and understand articles on such studies and information or post them here and I will happily read and consider them. I have not found or seen them to date.

            Rob

          • Sam Gilman
          • Robert

            “There are actually high quality studies looking far into the future on waste and on the human health impact.”
            Where?

          • Sam Gilman

            Are you asking “where” because you don’t know of any?

          • Robert

            Basic research: cite your source. You should have learned that by middle school .
            So, let’s see if or how they match to your description.

          • Sam Gilman

            Hmm. Interestingly aggressive response.

            Let’s look at health impacts first. Probably the best source for the health impact is the large ExternE project. This looks 100,000 years into the future with a projected population of 10 billion.

            The 2005 methodology update is here with their clearest statement of estimates:

            http://www.externe.info/externe_d7/sites/default/files/methup05a.pdf

            p. 201 following includes material on deaths per TWh for various sources, including for modern nuclear and for the Chernobyl disaster, but notes that of course, no one is proposing to build another reactor like the Chernobyl one.

            As it happens, the ExternE project is also summarised in the graph on this page here from David MacKay’s book Without the Hot Air, including the ExternE estimate for wind:

            https://www.withouthotair.com/c24/page_168.shtml

            Are you with me so far?

          • Jag_Levak

            “how do we know what it will cost and how much carbon and energy will be used to safeguard these materials for hundreds of thousands of years?”

            How do you know it will require safeguarding for hundreds of thousands of years? There are multiple teams in several countries working on the development of fast spectrum reactors, and for fast reactors, around 95% of what’s in spent fuel is simply fuel. The energy potential in the current global stockpile of spent fuel is around 325 terawatt-years (e). If that electricity were priced to provide an average of one tenth of a cent per kWh profit, that would amount to around 2.8 trillion dollars profit. And such reactors would also be able to consume decommissioned bomb fuel and depleted uranium.

            When consumed in a fast reactor, spent fuel, DU and bomb fuel become fission products or fission product derivatives (either decayed or transmuted from fission products). Most of these have half lives of less than 70 days. If these are separated out from the output stream, they will become usable elements in just a few years. A few of the isotopes with extremely long half lives could be usable as is or might be candidates for neutron transmutation. Around a fifth of output stream (roughly 200 kg. per gigawatt year) won’t be economically recoverable in a timeframe short enough to be worth hanging onto it, but there’s also no need to babysit it. Drop it down a deep, hard-cased borehole sequester in a stable rock formation, and seal it, and it won’t bother any living thing on or near the surface for the few hundred years it will take it to drop to the radioactivity levels of the surrounding rock. And the carbon footprint for that would be negligible when weighed against the hundreds of terawatt years of clean energy which would be generated in the process.

            We don’t have practical and economically viable fast reactors now (though I know Russia would disagree with that opinion), and there’s always going to be that clunky initial phase you get with any new technology, so maybe it’ll take 20, 30, or 40 years before the first pretty good fast reactors. Even with such a delay, and all the spent fuel that builds up in the mean time, we’d still be talking on the order of several centuries to consume all the spent fuel. Not hundreds of thousands of years.

          • Robert
          • Sam Gilman

            I’m sorry that you don’t think carbon emissions are important. This is where we disagree. I think tackling climate change is important, while apparently you don’t. (You’ve repeatedly cried foul over me correcting your insinuation that nuclear isn’t low carbon on the grounds, as far as I can see, that it’s not that important.)

            You don’t understand how the IPCC works. It doesn’t do “one study”. It does something called a metaanlysis, whereby it gathers a large number of studies to see where the preponderance of results is. You also didn’t read your NREL link, as it’s actually a link to an IPCC metaanalysis (the link is broken, I can’t tell which AR it is).

            As for your link to the conspiracy-theorist edited Ecologist magazine, that’s to a single study – the very sin that you falsely accuse me of. I believe that study (or at least one of Sovacool’s other efforts) did actually make it into the IPCC review, so I didn’t ignore it.

            Your journal article agrees, unsurprisingly, with the IPCC that nuclear is low carbon, as does the CCC.

            It really does help to read your own links.

          • Robert

            Ah, seaman time. Try reading for content. Carbon is one issue . There are several others.
            Besides picking only one study to ‘prove’ carbon, you are ignoring several other issues that only nuclear has to deal with.
            Which they haven’t done.

          • Sam Gilman

            No, I have addressed human health and waste as well in other comments directly addressed to you.

            It may be a good idea to check your claims before you post. Not just here, but in general. Not doing so gives the impression of gish galloping.

          • Kem Patrick

            You say to Robert, > quote> (“I’m sorry that you don’t think carbon emissions are important.”), < Unquote.

            Why did you write that? It is false, a lie. Whom are you trying to fool?

            It appears most of your replies to Robert are just as dishonest and misleading. What is your objective? It cannot be anything that is honest.

          • Sam Gilman

            Is it false?

            Then why is he up in arms about me challenging his original (unfounded) insinuation that nuclear isn’t low carbon on its full life cycle?

            Why does he continue to complain about me focussing on it when I have looked at other issues? He’s pretty insistent that I have made some kind of unfair move by pointing to nuclear’s low carbon emissions, even as he’s posted sources backing me up on this.

            If someone was concerned with climate change, would they seek to relegate the issue of GHG emissions to some kind of also-ran topic?

            I’d love to hear your explanation, because I’m having difficulty making holistic sense of Robert’s.

          • Kem Patrick

            Why does he complain aoubt yo focusing on nuclear being so low on Carbon you ask…

            (*Why*) is because you ignore so much and the truth about nuclear power being so “Earth friendly” as you argue and so “safe” to use and the true cost of nuclear power in so many different ways.

            There is no use discussing it with you because you will deny truths about the dangerous for all life flaws of nuclear power and the dangers of nuclear power and the truth of how carbon free it actually is.

            You have well demonstrated that here with your obtuse replies to Robert and others by lying by omission and attempts to discredit others with false charges against them.

            The truth is nuclear power is much cleaner than burning coal but there are other much better, cleaner and safer alternatives then splitting atoms to boil water. I will not argue with you further or your many nuclear supporters like Lavek and others here flocked here to protect the nuclear power stupidity.

          • Robert
        • Aaron Oakley
          • Realiτy022

            James “Mmmbop” Hanson???

          • Aaron Oakley

            Fake account. Reported.

          • Realiτy022

            This is a real account Aaron!

          • Aaron Oakley

            There is a real Disqus user called Reality022. The above account uses the exact same image with the “t” in the username substituted for the Greek letter tau (τ). That stinks of fakery. Reported.

          • Realiτy022

            Different image Aaron!!! I have a penis growing out of my hat.

            I had no idea that there was a person with a similar image. Thanks for letting me know!!!!!

            Are you arguing with some WooOOoohamster about Konspiraceaz?? Black helicopters and DOE stolen magnetic motorz???

          • Aaron Oakley

            “Different image Aaron!!! I have a penis growing out of my hat.”

            Note the very high similarity with the image used by the real reality022:

            https://disqus.com/by/reality022/

            “Thanks for letting me know!!!!!”

            Since you are attempting to masquerade as the real reality022, I’m sure you already knew that. I’m also sure you know how unethical and dishonest your behavior is.

          • Realiτy022

            What a coincidence!!!!!

            You look exactly like this Disqus user: https://disqus.com/by/disqus_UmLBL5l8pj/

            And you have the same last name. I ought to report you!!!!

      • Sam Gilman

        If renewables are a safer bet, why have German emissions failed to fall?

        • Falsum

          I’m not sure where you’ve heard that German emissions aren’t falling, but it’s not true. This graph shows a definite downward trend: http://www.climatechangenews.com/files/2016/03/germany-emissions-e1457969351518.png

          • Sam Gilman

            Not since 2009. They’ve essentially flatlined. The originally sharp fall was just the closing of GDR industry. Your own chart shows how the target in reductions looks pretty impossible now.

          • Falsum

            2009 is a cherry-picked data point. Emissions that year were unusually low, which explains why they are slightly lower than this year. Other than that, German’s emissions have continued to decline. Look at the graph I posted.

          • Sam Gilman

            I am looking at it. Your graph stops in 2015. Emissions rose again in 2016.

            This is a serious problem. At least, it is if you take climate change seriously.

            Do you?

          • Kem Patrick

            They rose in 2016 you claim… Prove it… You are purposefully ignoring the TREND…. You are a very accomplished liar.

          • Sam Gilman

            OK Kem, you’ve accused me of lying.
            That means you are claiming emissions didn’t rise in 2016.

            Let’s see if you’re telling the truth.

            https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/rising-emissions-threaten-climate-goals-less-interest-e-cars/climate-targets-germany-almost-out-reach

            Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions rose to 906 million tonnes in 2016 (from 902 million tonnes in 2015), making it unlikely that the country will reach its 2020 emission reduction target, according to preliminary data by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), reports Michael Bauchmüller in Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ).

            Any chance of you apologising?

          • Kem Patrick

            The trend did not rise, don’t nit pick one year.

    • robwheeler

      Investing in nuclear power is way more expensive than investing in renewables instead and takes much longer to bring facilities on line. When you factor in the cost of dealing with nuclear wastes over eons, as well as the risks of environmental contamination it is clear that no more nuclear plants should be built. If we had invested in renewables instead of nuclear a half a century ago and since we would already be well on our way towards transitioning to a fully renewable energy economy.

      Rob Wheeler

      • Joris75

        China and India have only recently – about a decade ago – embarked on vast nuclear power expansions. China alone intends to build a thousand nuclear power plants this century. India is making progress too, but at a slower pace.
        http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/cabinet-clears-proposal-to-build-10-nuclear-power-plants/articleshow/58725625.cms

        If China and India had been able to obtain technological support and financing earlier in their development, they would not have had to build their coal fleets, and co2 emissions would be much less today.

        Historical antinuclearism as captured in the CDM exclusion of nuclear power has done tremendous damage to human health and the environment. I would urge all of us to get our heads around this and put an end to this madness as soon as possible. Don’t let antinuclearism continue to destroy our common future!

        • robwheeler

          Joris, do an honest full life cycle assessment comparing renewables like wind and solar with nuclear and you will see that they are much better environmentally than nuclear in almost all categories. Since around 1970 no one had to build coal or any other fossil fuel or nuclear facility any more. It was already predicted that as soon as sufficient investments were made in renewables that their price would drop dramatically – which is what has finally been proven to be true – now that the investments are finally being made.

          Rob

          • Sam Gilman

            What environmental categories are you suggesting wind and solar clearly outperform nuclear?

            Carbon? No. (IPCC)
            On the biosphere? No. (Chernobyl wildlife sanctuary: that’s after a horrendous disaster)
            Effect on human life? No. (Google deaths per TWh)
            Land use? No.
            Concrete use? No.

            If you care about climate change, you have to be evidence-based on your solutions.

            The evidence also strongly points to wind and solar only partly being able to decarbonise energy. Something else is needed in addition that is dispatchable and independent of geography. Trying to treat climate change as a winner-takes-all competition between low carbon sources is silly.

          • Aaron Oakley

            “Since around 1970 no one had to build coal or any other fossil fuel or nuclear facility any more.”

            I see no evidence for this.

            “It was already predicted that as soon as sufficient investments were
            made in renewables that their price would drop dramatically – which is
            what has finally been proven to be true”

            Prices have dropped, but this does not overcome the non-dispatchable nature of said renewables. So they either need storage (expensive, and not available on anywhere near grid-capacity), or backup (from e.g. gas).

          • Sam Gilman

            Indeed: Japan is building new coal capacity.

            Also, one of the fundamental problems of intermittent supplies is that no matter how much their cost drops, above a certain level of penetration, they will start to produce excess electricity: they can force prices to zero or even negative, meaning that additional capacity won’t pay its way. Storage only ameliorates the problem.

          • Aaron Oakley

            Yep. Last report I saw said Japan plans to build up to 45 new coal fired power stations:

            http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2017-01-31/japan-coal-power-plants/8224302

          • Sam Gilman
          • Starviking

            The self-serving nature of Greenpeace renders them unable to appreciate the hypocracy of their stances. What the hell did they think would happen if they pushed to keep Japan’s nuclear plants closed? Some magical green fairy would come and wave a magical wand which would make everything better?

          • robwheeler

            Actually what is happening instead as in Germany is that the utilities are just idling fossil fuel plants like coal and oil to favor renewables when it is running high. Once the renewable plants are built they are cheaper to run without the fuel costs.

          • Sam Gilman

            So why are emissions not falling? You need to grasp the problem with intermittency.

            The goal is not more renewables. The goal is decarbonisation.

          • robwheeler

            No evidence of this, just look at the number of coal plants in US being idled and the number of planned plants in China that have been canceled. This could have happened decades ago.

            Recent articles state that intermittency etc are no longer considered a problem. You have to include a huge amount of renewables – something like above 50% before it becomes a problem. And by then we will likely have all the battery storage we need with electric vehicles and solar house installations to deal with the challenges. If not there are other means of storage being developed along with broader grid connections.

          • Aaron Oakley

            “just look at the number of coal plants in US being idled and the number of planned plants in China that have been canceled”

            There is still a net increase in thermal coal since the 1970. And as I pointed out, Japan is planning more coal generating capacity.

            “This could have happened decades ago.”

            Wishful thinking?

            “Recent articles state that intermittency etc are no longer considered a problem.”

            Recent articles by whom? Allow me to link to a recent article in the scientific literature showing the unfeasibility of 100% RE scenarios:

            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032117304495

            “something like above 50% before it becomes a problem.”

            Then it is still a serious problem if we want to kill CO2 emissions.

          • Sam Gilman

            “Recent articles state that intermittency etc are no longer considered a problem.”

            ???

            Really?

            You may need to tell the grid engineering community.

          • Robert

            Also:India cancels plans for huge coal power stations as solar energy prices hit record low

            http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/india-solar-power-electricity-cancels-coal-fired-power-stations-record-low-a7751916.html

          • Joris75

            I agree that the current price of renewables was (in the ’60 and ’70’s already) correctly predicted to occur, if renewables were seriously developed.
            I do not agree (and neither does any reputable scientific institute) that full life cycle assessment shows renewables are better than nuclear. In fact, such life cycle assessments show (time and time again) that nuclear and renewables have about the same – low – life cycle costs.
            The key advantage of nuclear, though, is that it provides reliable power, 24/7, uses very little materials and land, and is not geographically constrained, whereas solar and wind power is intermittent, requiring storage, uses a lot of land (or ocean) and is very materials intensive. As long as storage is not available, shutting down nuclear power or blocking its use will harm people and the environment. And no: battery technology is not nearly cheap enough to provide the necessary storage for making solar and wind behave like reliable sources of power, and doesn’t look to be any time soon, if ever. Without cheap storage, fossil fuels will remain the backup of renewable energy and maintain the majority share of energy supply while doing it.
            Which is why opposing nuclear power is the same as supporting fossil fuels. Hence, all concerned citizens need to become active in opposition of the antinuclear movement and it’s misleading propaganda, which is a serious threat to people and nature.

        • Joris75 have you seen this? (6 mins): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4GSDRqah-0

          It’s a cheap molten salt reactor – cheaper than coal. Hopefully about 10 years away or less. It’s cheap because it doesn’t pump the fuel. Just leaves it sitting there in vertical tubes, with noble gases bubbling out at the top. The tubes are the same stainless steel tubes used in current reactors, galvanised with zirconium to protect them from the molten salt. Its fuel is derived from existing nuclear waste.

          And this this is an estimate to decarbonise the whole atmosphere to 350ppm for a little over $1 trillion. Not only that, it explains that sulphur free petrochemicals could be made from seawater cost effectively (if they ever get round to carbon pricing). It’s based on technology being developed by the US Navy to synthesise jet fuel at sea. It assumes the cheapest nuclear power, i.e. Chinese costs. It’s from an Australian chemical engineer: http://ecomodernist.org/zero-emission-synfuel-from-seawater/

          Lots of business for petrochemical companies, so no need to keep buying off governments to deny climate change.

      • Sam Gilman

        In what way did investment in one low carbon energy source prevent investment in another? Wouldn’t, by the same token, investment in solar preclude investment in wind and hydro and geothermal?

        • robwheeler

          Dear Sam, Yes of course investments in solar will limit the amount of investments in wind, hydro, geothermal etc and the other way around too. Just the nature of government budgetary policy. However, with nuclear it is not really a low carbon energy source when you factor in its full life cycle, amount of cement, steel, fossil fuels used in construction, shipping and storage, etc. And it is also a high water user.

          Rob

          • Sam Gilman

            Nuclear is low carbon over its entire life cycle. The IPCC has established this in metaanlayses of dozens of studies.

            We really shouldn’t be having such silly conversations any more if people aspire to be evidence based.

      • Aaron Oakley

        “way more expensive than investing in renewables”

        That depends on your assumptions. Small-scale deployment of wind/solar may indeed be cheaper, but their value falls with increasing grid penetration. And so we end up with the situation in Germany where emissions have effectively flat-lined in spite of billions being poured into RE.

        • Realiτy022

          … with increasing grid penetration.

          I love it when you say that!!!! Say it again with the word “ass” instead of the word “grid”!!!!

          • Aaron Oakley

            Impostor mimicking real Disqus user @reality022:disqus.
            Flagged.

          • Thanks, Aaron.
            I would also suggest users report my impersonating troll Rene to Disqus by clicking on his avatar to bring up his profile and then clicking on the blue “…” next to the “private”. That will display the report user pop up. Click on report user to get the next pop up and one of the reasons for reporting is “impersonating” another Disqus user. Click that and you’re done.

            Then we’ll see how long it takes for Disqus to ban the lunatic Rene.

          • JoeFarmer

            Done.

          • Proponent

            Hey hey, Reality.. might wish to edit your post above a tad.

            ‘Cause..

            The reason for reporting, since he is not impersonating me.. would be; “Inappropriate profile — profile contains inappropriate images or text”.

            And that has certainly been true of Rene’s posts/comments numerous times.

          • Realiτy022

            Hey look, It’s my impersonating troll.

            Flagged.

            I encourage everyone to do the same.

          • Damo

            What kind of a sad sack loser pretends to be someone else just to defame that person?

            Gotta be a low life anti-vaxxer or lying anti-gmo troll.

          • Realiτy022

            Not me. Different image; different name.

            You inability to discern highlights the sad condition of your nervous system. You should cut-down on the aluminum!!!

          • Damo

            Yup, like I said, a loser.

          • Realiτy022

            You’re a moron.

          • Damo

            Oh, why is that? Because I called out your childish behavior? Or pointed out that you must be so desperate for a win in your argument that you have taken to impersonating someone. This all looks rather sad to anyone that isn’t dumb enough to support Wakefield.

          • Realiτy022

            For the last time, I am not impersonating anyone. I have a totally unique name and avatar.

            Maybe you should see the ophthalmologist!!!111!!!!

          • Damo

            And I am the moron?

            Good bye, idiot.

          • Damo

            He’s gone now, apparently.

  • robwheeler

    Joris and Sam,

    I doubt we are going to agree on any of this; so after this message I am going to quit writing. Actually renewables use relatively little land as compared to farming, transportation, deforestation, etc. and mixes well with agricultural uses etc for many applications such as wind and can be placed in under-utilized sites such as concentrated solar.

    With renewables hopefully the materials used can be recycled into reuse at end of life, though I would like to see articles and info on this. With nuclear once it becomes nuclear waste – it is nuclear waste. End of story. Imagine producing 1000 years of the stuff. It would start to become a pretty big bunch of piles. What humanity needs to create is a fully circular regenerative economy and ways of living on our one planet home.

    Intermittency is not a problem because we already have lots of fossil fuel plants already built everywhere that can continue to be used as needed until we can transition fully to renewables. We don’t need to build any more. The only places we might need to add new plants would be in the developing world where distributed energy makes more sense anyway. Efficiency and renewables could fairly easily fill the rest of what is and will be needed.

    • Aaron Oakley

      “With nuclear once it becomes nuclear waste – it is nuclear waste. End of story. Imagine producing 1000 years of the stuff.”

      Spent fuel is a political problem –thanks to fear mongering environmentalists, not a scientific one.

      “It would start to become a pretty big bunch of piles.”

      Actually, volumes of spent fuel are tiny compared to the amount of energy produced.

      “What humanity needs to create is a fully circular regenerative economy and ways of living on our one planet home.”

      We can’t power our lives with wishful thinking. Reality is not optional.

      “until we can transition fully to renewables.”

      Definitely wishful thinking.

      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364032117304495

    • Sam Gilman

      Hi Rob,

      You say

      Intermittency is not a problem because we already have lots of fossil fuel plants already built everywhere that can continue to be used as needed until we can transition fully to renewables.

      I think the source of disagreement here is that I think the target is a reduction in carbon emissions as fast as possible, whereas as you think it’s changing all our energy sources to renewables as fast as possible. You might benefit from reading more about climate change (and ocean acidification) and the scale of how bad it could be. It seems you lack a sense of urgency about it.

      There is no scientific reason for having “renewables” as the end goal. Some renewables have environmental challenges, such as with a large expansion of hydro. Some face sustainability, land and emissions issues on any substantial scale, such as biomass. And some face serious constraints as to how much we can use them on a grid, such as wind and solar. These are all “renewable” sources, but they are actually a diverse bunch of resources with a diverse impact on the environment and diverse behaviours as energy sources.

      That isn’t to say that some or even all of the energy sources labelled as renewables can play a role in decarbonisation, but that this label of “renewable” is incredibly misleading because it effectively leads people such as yourself to treat them as all identical and all as having all the best traits of each and none of the downsides.

      Regarding nuclear waste: I fear you are raising questions as if they don’t have good answers when they do. You also, regretfully, chose not to respond to the evidence provided about environmental damage caused now by the production of renewables that far outstrips that caused by nuclear waster now.

      • Anaussieinswitzerland

        “Regarding nuclear waste: I fear you are raising questions as if they don’t have good answers when they do”

        LOL, Sam.

        I always enjoy reading your comments and agree with you on the vast majority of the issues I see you posting on but this is simply not true.
        The volume of waste created by nuclear power plants and the length of time that waste needs to be safely stored make it completely untenable as a long term contributor to humanity’s energy requirements.

        • Kem Patrick

          Thank you…. Very well said.

        • Sam Gilman

          OK, so the proposition is that the volume of waste produced from nuclear is unmanageable.

          Presumably this is because there are other options that produce less toxic waste per KWh generated. Have you done the calculations for that?

          The thing is, I’m not sure we even know how much toxic waste is produced by, say the solar industry. I found this:

          The Associated Press compiled a list of 41 solar makers in the state, which included the top companies based on market data, and startups. In response to an AP records request, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control provided data that showed 17 of them reported waste, while the remaining did not.

          The same level of federal data does not exist.

          The state records show the 17 companies, which had 44 manufacturing facilities in California, produced 46.5 million pounds of sludge and contaminated water from 2007 through the first half of 2011. Roughly 97 per cent of it was taken to hazardous waste facilities throughout the state, but more than 1.4 million pounds were transported to nine other states: Arkansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Nevada, Washington, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

          45 million pounds is 20,000 tonnes. Over a four 1/2 year period that would be 4,400 tonnes annually.

          That’s for 17/41 companies for the solar industry in one country for an energy source that produced less than 1% of world electricity over that period. Let’s be generous and imagine that the California industry is the whole world, and solar produced 1%.

          4,400 * 41/17 = 10,600 tonnes annually for 1%. This stuff is, as far as I understand, largely permanently toxic.

          Nuclear provides 10%. Annual waste is: on various estimates about 45,000 tonnes of high level waste, including spent fuel. This is ignoring the potential for reprocessing and reducing that waste.

          So even on a preposterously generous to solar estimate, nuclear appears to produce less toxic waste than solar, and as it stands, it is disposed of more safely, with massively better accountability.

          That’s a simple look at the figures I could find. Do you have different ones?

          • Anaussieinswitzerland

            “Annual waste is: on various estimates about 45,000 tonnes of high level waste, including spent fuel. This is ignoring the potential for reprocessing and reducing that waste.”

            Sam, I bow to your vastly greater knowledge of the nuclear industry.

            The problem is that the maths just don’t work for nuclear.

            Let’s work on 50% of the numbers you quote.

            That means that each year humanity needs to safely store over 20,000 tonnes of material.
            Multiply that by the number of years before the waste from year one returns to the level of radioactivity as the original ore (300,000 years or so?) and how much physical space is required to store 6 billion tonnes of waste?

          • Sam Gilman

            You’ve somehow managed to miss the point: how does this compare with the permanently toxic material from an industry you insist is fundamentally superior?

            Are you arguing that low carbon energy in general is unsustainable and we shouldn’t bother?

          • Anaussieinswitzerland

            A by-product of the building of any power generation facility is waste.
            That is true of coal, gas, solar, wind, hydro, nuclear and everything else.

            The difference with solar, wind and hydro is that after the initial build there is essentially zero pollution created as a result of the plant’s operation.

            That is the point Sam.
            Try as you like you cannot avoid the fact that nuclear plants produce waste as result of their operation which must be stored for hundreds of thousands of years in order to avoid serious environmental damage.

          • Sam Gilman

            Environmental damage?

            Do give a source for that.

          • Anaussieinswitzerland

            Come on, Sam.
            Are you now going to suggest that nuclear waste can be released into the environment without causing environmental damage?

            Seriously?

            If that is the case why are we worried about million year storage facilities?
            Why not just leave it at the back of the council tip with a sign saying “don’t touch”?

          • Sam Gilman

            Yes, actually, if it was just left there, the damage to the environment and human health would be rather more limited than, say, pouring the byproducts of the solar industry over the ground and into rivers which would be your equivalent in this example. We see this now with the contrast between the mess of Chernobyl, a thriving wildlife sanctuary (and an acknowledged disaster), and stages in the production of solar and other “green tech” in China, as part of normal “non-disaster” processes. If your argument is that we should stop building solar or wind or batteries, then say it. If it isn’t, then stop making the weaker argument against nuclear.

            The volume of material – which was your original objection – is far less year on year for the energy yield. It is also more recyclable, and requires less energy to dispose of.

            Until you apply to the same standards to all energy forms, you are wide open to the charge of bias.

          • Anaussieinswitzerland

            Google “children of Chernobyl”.

            You should be ashamed of that post. It is beneath you.

          • TheDudeofVoo

            Radioactive material is released all the time … The Monterrey Bay Aquarium sucks in seawater, passes it through the aquarium, and discharges that water back into the ocean. That seawater is contaminated with 13,000 Becquerels per cubic metre when it is discharged back into the ocean. Count the Becquerels – not the tonnes. BTW, the seawater sucked into the Monterrey Bay Aquarium is contaminated by about 2000 Bq per cubic metre, from natural 210Polonium, and about 11,000 Bq/m^3 from natural 40Potassium … nothing new, there.

          • Sam Gilman

            Also, could you give a reference that says the waste from the solar industry ceases even though solar panels will be on a constant pattern of replacement?

            Thanks in advance for your well-sourced reply.

          • Anaussieinswitzerland

            “As with any industrial product there is an environmental impact associated with solar Photovoltaic panels. The main areas of potential concern are:

            The energy required to produce them, particularly the photovoltaic cells
            What happens to them at the end of their lifetime
            Toxic and other potentially harmful materials used or created in the production of PV panels/cells
            However, it is important to take these issues in context. All electronic equipment can cause these concerns, and whereas many electrical goods are only designed to last for a couple of years, PV panels are expected to last for at least 30 years (here at CAT we have some that are 15 years old and still functioning well). Furthermore, PV panels are used in place of other sources of electricity which have a much greater environmental impact per unit of electricity generated.”
            http://info.cat.org.uk/questions/pv/what-environmental-impact-photovoltaic-pv-solar-panels/

          • Sam Gilman

            Again, you don’t appear to grasp the question: how does it compare per unit of electricity produced with other sources?

          • Anaussieinswitzerland

            Sam, this a fabulous attempted pirouette but the point you still haven’t addressed is the simple mathematics of nuclear waste storage.

            So far you haven’t disputed the 6 billion tonne number I used or provided an answer to the question of how much space is required to keep this safely locked away for 300,000 years.

          • Sam Gilman

            Again, you’re missing the point: How much space is required for the same amount of permanently toxic waste from, say, solar? Or, the batteries that will magically make solar grid penetration completely unproblematic?

            Your argument – and you were very confident about this at the beginning (“LOL”), perhaps rather less now – rests on things like this volume being notably smaller than that from nuclear.

            At the moment, it doesn’t seem like it to me. You haven’t actually managed to give any figures on this. Your point about solar panels not creating waste once they’re built misses the point: they’ll need rebuilding and replacing on a regular basis.

            I’m not against solar. But you are against nuclear. I don’t need to make a case that nuclear waste is better than solar waste. On the other hand, you need to make a case that solar waste is significantly less of a problem than nuclear waste. You haven’t done that.

            Perhaps a comparative study from the literature?

          • Anaussieinswitzerland

            No, Sam.

            You need to demonstrate that storage of billions of tonnes of nuclear waste is possible.

            How much room under how many mountains?

            All energy production is problematic to some degree. Nuclear energy is not problematic, it is completely unworkable as part of the long term solution.

          • TheDudeofVoo

            Most of the “billions of tonnes” of so-called “nuclear waste” are so low, in terms of actual radioactivity, that they shouldn’t’ be classified as such. See, anything that comes from a “nuclear” facility that is even a tiny bit radioactive, is classified as “nuclear waste” but natural Earf items, such as Uranium, Thorium, Potassium that are discovered, outside of “nuclear facilities” are classified as “NORM” and dealt with in a rational fashion; as opposed to the irrational statement regarding “Nuclear Waste”.

          • Kem Patrick

            Right and the major thing is to SAFELY store it for thousands of years.

            It has been well established it is not possible to safely store it for 60 years.

          • Robert

            And the proposed budget cuts back on the funding for Hanford…….

          • What’s unworkable about this? (6 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4GSDRqah-0

          • Kem Patrick

            Another very serious issue Sam and his friends ignore is the fact that here in the US there are more than a dozen nuclear reactors and spent fuel rod ponds located on or near one of the most dangerous earthquake fault lines on the planet, the New Madrid earthquake fault line which is overdue another strong earthquake.

          • Kem Patrick

            Then there is the damage of mining the uranium and shipping it and then making the uranium pellets used in the fuel rods.

        • Robert

          I’m thinking much of the new pro nuc is arising because those with financial interests are seeing an opportunity to gain traction/$$$ from the market share of coal dropping and investor money moving elsewhere.
          There is the ‘we say the is developments just over the horizon, we need more money/engineering developement $$$$, get in on the ground floor with this new $$opportunity,’ implied and reiterated here in the comments.

  • steven452345

    Such kind of technology is more essential for us and i i hope most of the people are like this to change the climate in here. I hope every body are ready to help in there.

  • These climate talks look like a gravy train for snouts in troughs to me. Trump has reason to walk away from the Paris agreement. (Not that I’m a Trump supporter in any way.) The US is the only large industrial economy to have reduced emissions while remaining energy intensive. It has done so by switching from coal to gas, which happened under Obama. Meanwhile Germany, for all its Energyweinde has increased emissions by closing nuclear plants and building new coal plants! All 1600 of the Fukushima accident-related fatalities were due to the evacuation, none from the effects of radiation. That’s a big fat zero. And probably no one will die prematurely from radiation effects either. You have to receive over 100mSv per month for that to even register. Yet they’ve closed down nearly all their nuclear plants as well, and are having to build coal. Well done anti-nukes.

    Sorry to rant but the anti-nukes really are the enemy of the planet. In the same way certain African women and girls are killed for being witches, the anti-nukes *know* Fukushima will kill millions. It’s all touchy feely prejudice and superstition. Why do they point blank refuse to learn the basics of radiation safety? What will they do if they ever need radiotherapy? That’s more like 2000mSv (or 2000mGy, since Alpha particles are irrelevant). Their problem is numbers mean nothing to them. I wish I ran the Greenpeace shop – I’d charge them £100 for a pint of milk.

    ..Or are they shills for the fossil fuel lobby? That would make more sense.

    What’s needed is fewer anti-nukes and more revenue neutral carbon pricing, like it’s done in British Columbia, Canada where it’s been a political success. This is what mainstream economists have been arguing for, for decades. Then energy companies would be able to see for themselves what’s the most cost effective energy to invest in, instead of us all trying to do their job for them. Anti-nukes just add to costs = keeping the poor down. Economies thrive on cheap energy.

    http://ecomodernist.org/british-columbias-carbon-tax/


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