The Ergosphere
Thursday, June 30, 2016

What KQED and FAIR aren't fair to

Straight talk.  I posted this to KQED's discussion of the Diablo Canyon shutdown last night:
But as more renewable energy comes online, running renewables, natural gas and other power sources all together sometimes creates more power than the state needs. At those times, the California ISO has to switch off solar farms to avoid overloading the grid.

Retiring Diablo Canyon could help with that problem.
So instead of turning down some unreliable generators which can only generate at peak for maybe 3-4 hours a day (and never at the peak demand hours in the evening), they propose to kill an emissions-free generator which runs at peak 24/7.

Why isn't the word "insane" applied to these people?  Or, if denial of the threat of climate change is a crime, the word "criminal"?
The nuclear plant is designed to run at a steady, constant level. Nuclear advocates have argued that the state needs this kind of “baseload” power. Others say shutting down Diablo could actually improve grid management.

“It will reduce the need to curtail our solar power plants,” said Cavanagh.
It's hard to say what's nuttier here:  that the logic of curtailment is totally backwards, or that nobody dares to say that it's totally backwards.  It's as if California's government and media are run by paranoid schizophrenics who freak out over the potential of some tiny radiation exposure from a nuclear power plant, and then relieve their tension at a natural hot-spring spa where the waters and air are full of radon and radium... which come from decaying uranium.

In a California that was not ruled by the insane, the state would be building out its entire base-load to be carbon free.  Diablo Canyon would be pushed to renew its licenses to the 2040's and beyond.  San Onofre would be repaired and running.  Rancho Seco would still be on-line, and Bodega Bay would be one of the jewels of California's GHG-free generation portfolio.  Generators which cannot run when needed would take a back seat to those which can, and all air emissions would be taxed either internally (via preferences and feebates) or explicitly.

Sadly, nothing about California's energy priorities is sane.  Not one thing.

And this comment in reply to TeeJae at FAIR a couple days ago:
Your attempt to counter studies you’ve never seen is not only intellectually dishonest, it’s laughable.
I've seen Jacobson's "work".  I could tell it was fraudulent from the ridiculous level of precision it specified.  His "Solutions Project" specifies that Washingtion state could power itself with 0.5% wave devices, 0.3% tidal turbines, and 35% onshore wind.  Really, he can specify these things to a tenth of a percent?  And he can rely on on-shore wind for more than a third of total generation, when the wind over the entire BPA area can go AWOL for almost 2 weeks at a time?

Have you looked at the personnel at The Solutions Project?  There are a bunch of "directors" and a "producer", but not one engineer or scientist on the staff.  It is staffed like an ad agency, which it is.  Its product is not science; it cannot be.

You ruinable religionistas need to be forced to live according to your own dogmas until you either prove them workable or die trying.  If I didn't have you bums insisting that I MUST NOT BE ALLOWED NUCLEAR POWER, I'd be just fine year-round TYVM.
If my desire to protect people and planet makes me a “sorry excuse for a human being” in your eyes
Protect people and the planet from WHAT?  You're certainly not protecting either from climate change or air pollution; if you were, you'd be steadfastly opposed to the Energiewende and the shared German/Danish idiocy of burning coal to make up for the vagaries of wind.

If you wanted to protect people from air pollution, you'd look at the success stories.  Toronto hasn't had a smog action day in some time.  Not coincidentally, Ontario shut down its Nanticoke and Thunder Bay coal-fired power plants.  This was made possible by the restart of nuclear reactors at Bruce Point.  Are you so deluded that you think this is NOT protecting people and the planet?
what does your desire to protect corporate profits say about you?
You are so stupid.  I tell you how much corporate profit is destroyed by the cheapness of nuclear fuel, and you accuse me of wanting to protect those profits.  Were you born that dumb, or did you have to study?
Bringing fossil fuels into the discussion is another tell-tale sign of a pro-nuclear shill. Despite your best straw-man efforts, fossil fuels are irrelevant to this topic.
Fossil fuels are irrelevant to the health of the planet?  WTF?!

You're either a climate denialist or insane.  It's impossible to tell which via this medium, but the total logical disconnects in your statements indicate one or the other.
Neither of these comments will see the light of day under the censorship regime of these two "press" outlets.

This country, and especially its media, need a long trip on the Straight-Talk Express.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Radiophobia continues to keep people from their homes - NOT Japan either!

In the Marshall Islands.  Here's the money quote from the abstract of a paper on the continued "unsafety" of living on the former nuclear test site:
Measurable excess radiation could be expected from the decay of 137Cs produced by the US nuclear testing program there from 1946 to 1958. These recordings are of relevance to safety of human habitation and resettlement...  and relatively high gamma radiation on the island of Bikini (mean = 184 mrem/y = 1.84 mSv/y)...  the standard agreed upon by the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) governments (100 mrem/y = 1 mSv/y). External gamma radiation levels on Bikini Island significantly exceed this standard
Meanwhile, external gamma radiation levels on the beach at Guarapari exceed 53 μSv/hr ( > 460 mSv/yr), and the international radiation protection community says nothing.

Everyone should be allowed to go back home in Chernobyl, in the Marshalls, and in Fukushima.  Right now.  This is insanity.


Thursday, June 09, 2016

Getting steamed by nuclear power

District heating has been big in the Big Apple since the eighties... that is, the 1880's.  The whole island of Manhattan is cris-crossed with steam pipes which occasionally make the news.

On a whim, I tried to find the price of steam in Manhattan.  I was somewhat surprised when I found it.  Steam goes for about $31 per thousand pounds, and each pound carries about 1200 BTU of energy.  This comes to roughly $26 per million BTU, or a bit under $25/GJ.

NuScale doesn't give the output conditions of the steam from its reactor, but it does give the turbine throttle pressure:  475 psia.  This yields a minimum temperature of ~462°F (239 C).  ConEd distributes steam at about 165 PSIG and 358°F (which has to be a typo, as this temperature/pressure is compressed water; real temperatures would be slightly superheated at 375°F or more), so if the NuScale was used for district heating there's some room for a topping cycle to drop the steam pressure.

The NuScale boiler inlet water spec is 300°F; assume 500 psia:  h = 627.7 kJ/kg.  Steam at 475 psia/275°C (reasonable PWR SG outlet conditions) has h = 2946.1 kJ/kg, Δh = +2318.4 kJ/kg.  Dropping this to 180 psia/saturation yields h = 2784.9 kJ/kg.  (I did not check the entropy to see if the steam would still be superheated.)  Δh = -161.2 kJ/kg.  Roughly 6.9% of the input heat is convertible to work even if high-pressure steam is tapped off for district heating.

 6.9% of 160 MW(t) is 11.1 MW, which is more than enough to cover the NuScale house loads of about 2.5 MW per unit.

Assuming up to 145 MW(t) of steam output, this comes to 522 GJ/hr with a value in excess of $12,500 per hour.  If this can be sold at 30% capacity factor, revenue from heat sales would be on the order of $33 million/year.  A NuScale unit selling for $6/W(e) installed would cost $285 million; $33 million/year in heat sales alone would be a greater than 11%/year return on investment not including electric output.

If New York could be gotten off its paranoia over nuclear power, this could be YUGE.

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Monday, June 06, 2016

Watts Bar Unit 2 synced to the grid and generating power

Short item at Nuclear Street.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Where to find scientific illiterates? Physicians for Social Responsibility, that's where.

The BAS just published a guest piece by one Steven Starr, among whose howlers I pulled this gem:
many individual pools contain more cesium-137 than was released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons tests combined. These utterly lethal radionuclides will require some form of supervision for hundreds of thousands of years....
Clue for you, Steven:  Cs-137 has a half-life of 30.17 years.  Roughly 90% of it disappears every century.  In 3 centuries spent nuclear fuel is so low on gamma-emitters that it can be handled with gloves, and in 5 all the Cs-137 and Sr-90 are effectively gone and the spent fuel has LESS activity than the raw uranium ore from which it came.  What remains has such low activity, and most of it alpha-emissions, that you're probably more at risk from heavy-metal poisoning than radiation if you eat it.  Those risks are pretty low, too; the "UPPU" group who got significant body burdens of plutonium through accidents show no related ill effects.

If physicians actually wanted to be socially responsible, they'd learn something before spouting off.  It's a pity that this guy is a senior scientist and not a physician, otherwise it might be possible to charge him with malpractice and get him out of the fear-mongering business.  Sadly, PSR is just a front group for well-heeled anti-nuclear interests; if they were subject to real medical and scientific discipline, it might be possible to make them ACTUALLY serve the cause of social responsibility.

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