Why do the French have good nuke power?


"No one knew for sure exactly how far those molten fuel cores had traveled before desperate plant workers — later celebrated as the “Fukushima Fifty” — were able to cool them again by pumping water into the reactor buildings. With radiation levels so high, the fate of the fuel remained unknown.

As officials became more confident about managing the disaster, they began a search for the missing fuel. Scientists and engineers built radiation-resistant robots like the Manbo and a device like a huge X-ray machine that uses exotic space particles called muons to see the reactors’ innards.

Now that engineers say they have found the fuel, officials of the government and the utility that runs the plant hope to sway public opinion. Six and a half years after the accident spewed radiation over northern Japan, and at one point seemed to endanger Tokyo, the officials hope to persuade a skeptical world that the plant has moved out of post-disaster crisis mode and into something much less threatening: cleanup."  NY Times



"Nuclear power is a major source of energy in France, with a share of 40% of energy consumption in 2015.[1] Nuclear power is the largest source of electricity in the country, with a generation of 416.8 TWh, or 76.3%[2] of the country's total production of 546 TWh, the highest percentage in the world.[3]

Électricité de France (EDF) – the country's main electricity generation and distribution company – manages the country's 58 power reactors.[4] EDF is substantially owned by the French Government, with around 85% shares in government hands.[5]

As of 2012, France's electricity price to household customers is the seventh-cheapest amongst the 28 members of the European Union, and also the seventh-cheapest to industrial consumers, with a rate of €0.14 per kWh to households and €0.07 per kWh to industrial consumers.[6] France was the biggest electricity exporter in the EU in 2012, exporting 45TWh of electricity to its neighbours.[7] With very inclement weather, when demand exceeds supply, France infrequently becomes a net-importer of electricity in these rare cases, because of the lack of more flexible generating plants.[8]  Wiki 



Japan is reputed to be among the most technologically advanced countries in the world.  The process of the progress of their society in this regard runs uninterruptedly from the Meiji period onward.  So, how did these events at Fukushima get so out of hand and why have they not worked out solutions over the last six years?

At the same time, the French who are obsessed with their patrimoine and good cheese seem able to manage a nuclear power system that provides 40% of the countries electric power needs.

Why is that?  pl

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73 Responses to Why do the French have good nuke power?

  1. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Like I said, France is the authentic Diocletian Coffee and Japan a very good decaffeniated coffee.
    Any way, progress requires Diversity and Discontinuity.

  2. SM says:

    nuclear power also provides more than 50% of power requirements in Ontario, Canada. Despite this success, recent virtue-signalling governments have launched huge subsidy-sucking windmill programs that produce essentially zero power in peak demand (here hot humid summer days) and unneeded power in shoulder seasons, which we have to dump into NY, Michigan. In recent fourth quarters, Ontario has paid ~$425 million for unneeded wind power, dumping it for ~$5 million. Meanwhile, nuclear plants, mostly built a generation ago, hum on.

  3. Willybilly says:

    France is not immune, but they manage somehow to hide persistent weaknesses and minor accidents well, simply because their merdias are completely “aux ordres” and only report what they are told on this and most other issues.

  4. Dabbler says:

    Assuming that by Babak’s comment is meant as a compliment to France, it’s deserved in this case to a great extent. France has of course maintained an independent, if not enormous nuclear weapons program, but has also pioneered many aspects of civilian nuclear power. French scientists and engineers developed the vitrification process for disposition of nuclear reactor fuel, for example, and the British nuclear fuels industry gained prominence in the US after it purchased French technology, making it available in the US without the cultural issues that sometimes arise here in regard to France. In a similar vein, the British were not as independent from the US as was France in the development of weapons. Authentic coffee is a good way to put it.

  5. Fellow Traveler says:

    I don’t think there’s a degree of difference between the Japanese govt and utility, given that the govt was regurgitating the Tepco press releases while the containment buildings literally exploded
    In the background. No shame in that from their perspective.
    French engineers love a good debate over wine.

  6. egl says:

    Hard to be sure about what’s going on, but consider the following:
    The Fukushima reactor was purchased from GE; EDF designs and builds their own reactors. This is representative of a much deeper expertise in nuclear power in France. In this way the U.S. is like Japan: the local U.S. utilities who own and operate nuclear reactors bought them (in the 1970’s and 1980’s) from vendors like GE and Westinghouse and had to develop sufficient expertise to operate them.

  7. ked says:

    the French are far more technologically & engineering ops adept than you give them credit for.
    as to Fukushima, it is confirmation that eventually all human designs, materials & operations will fail – it’s right up there w/ death & taxes. so, we’d better be willing to mitigate & accept consequences.

  8. ToivoS says:

    )ne big difference between France and Japan is that Japan is sitting on top of some very active faults having experienced at least two earthquakes richter 8 or above. It is even worse than California. France doesn’t have to engineer around that danger.

  9. Kassandra says:

    seem able to manage a nuclear power system that provides 40% of the countries electric power needs.
    Why is that? pl
    Just pure luck.

  10. In the Fukushima case, I don’t think the Japs actually did anything wrong at all. As I recall, the whole disaster was caused by a tsunami or a typhoon. Am I wrong?

  11. Farmer Don says:

    Japan’s problem was not hiring Nassim Taleb (Black Swans, Antifagile),to calculate the height of the ocean wall needed to protect the power plants.

  12. JohnH says:

    France doesn’t have strong earthquakes.

  13. Grimgrin says:

    “Patrimoine and good cheese” could be why the French can manage nuclear infrastructure. Just about every nuclear disaster I’ve ever heard of has not been just due to a technical problem, it’s been a control problem (Chernobyl, Three Mile Island) or an organization problem (Fukushima). You want to run nuclear power plants successfully, you need to be small c conservative and you need to be a long term thinker. I’m being somewhat flippant here, but, you need the same mindset to make really good wine and cheese (minute attention to detail over a long term plan) as you need to run nuclear power infrastructure.
    I admit, I could also just be reasoning backwards. However, I have an uncle who was in the US Navy as a nuclear engineer. They’re another organization that’s been quite successful in running nuclear power plants. When he came up to visit we got to talking about Hyman Rickover, and his approach to radioactive ‘crud’, or unidentified deposits forming in nuclear cooling lines. He made a point of talking about how Rickover had insisted that instead of being flushed out at sea, it had to be sealed in barrels and brought on shore for disposal. The larger point my uncle made was that Rickover had both the vision to see that uncontrolled releases of radiation would scare people and damage the future of the nuclear navy, and was enough of a perfectionist to make sure they didn’t happen. Similar sort of traits, and IIRC the US Navy has one of the better safety records of any country that operates nuclear powered anything.

  14. GeneO says:

    Seismic risk in Japan is an order of magnitude higher than in western Europe. And although Japanese earthquake engineering and construction techniques are world class there is still some mumbo jumbo and magic in that discipline.
    What I want to know is what do the French do with nuclear waste?

  15. ocop says:

    It’s helps to keep in perspective that Fukushima was subjected to a series of extreme events which were significantly outside of the reactors’ design envelopes. The Tohoku quake and tsunami killed upwards of 20,000 people–its a pretty mind boggling number in the context of one of the most technologically advanced countries on earth. For perspective, death toll projections for the “Cascadia event” in the PNW are 10,000… although who knows if we have an appropriate appreciation for risks there either.
    I do not know if there are any sort of cultural pathologies unique to the Japanese that have slowed down recovery at Fukushima, but my guess is that the French (or anybody else) would be at risk in similar circumstances.

  16. Tim B. says:

    I’m sure that if a French nuclear reactor was located near a magnitude 9.0 – 9.1 magnitude underwater earthquake (fourth largest ever worldwide since modern record keeping began in 1900) and 50 minutes thereafter was hit with a 42 foot high tsunami that destroyed the emergency diesel generators that powered cooling and electronic controls to the reactors, the result would be the same.
    Frankly, the question isn’t much different than asking why the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11 but the Sears Tower in Chicago did not. The answer has nothing to do with the differences between engineering techniques in New York and Chicago and everything to do with a local phenomena one experienced and the other did not.

  17. Walker says:

    France may have more flexibility in siting nuclear plants.
    1) is much more densely populated
    2) has a much smaller proportion of buildable space due to its terrain
    3) has a much higher proportion of its buildable space near its coasts (& tsunamis)
    4) is much more earthquake-prone
    One wonders whether nuclear plants are a good idea in Japan at all.

  18. Huckleberry says:

    Technological prowess is one thing, but the stunningly civilized Japanese have achieved their present state of order and grace (as compared to, say, Baltimore) at the cost of willful blindness to the sorts of things that the US military has taken to referring to as “challenges” – i.e. when things do not go as planned, or not as well as they should, and so on.
    The entire culture seems predicated on the precise opposite of the greased squeaky wheel model. Tall poppies, etc.
    So even when something like Fukushima happens, there is a general absence of accountability, little finger-pointing, and a general sense of being all in it together.
    This can go to an extreme, of course: going hungry in a disaster area instead of breaking into vending machines being a stark example. But I would rather have that than post-Katrina behavior.
    But with nuclear power, the consequences of this behavior are too damn high.
    A simple solution might be effected by inserting a Korean here or there as quality control. They seem to have less problem calling horse-hockey when needed.

  19. anobserver says:

    As you say, there have been some far from innocuous events in French power plants in the past. A notable one is the partial core melt-down in Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux in 1980. The nuclear power plant was subsequently stopped for about three years and a half for repairs — which were accompanied by by deliberate discharges of plutonium-contaminated waste in the river Loire during the whole period. The accident and its consequences were well-hidden for decades and only became public a couple of years ago.
    The new generation atomic power plants that the French are building in France, in Finland and in China have been marred by shoddy practices in the construction of the reactor vessels and concrete pouring, tripling of budgeted costs and (so far) doubling of project time-scale.

  20. gc says:

    does france have major earthquakes?

  21. turcopolier says:

    I think highly of French technology. My statement was for the benefit of those who do not. pl

  22. Rob D. says:

    Indeed, France escaped a Fukushima type accident during the storm “Martin” in december 1999, when a much higher than usual tide flowed into the diesel building for the emergency cooling system of the “Blayais” power plant, near Bordeaux (~ 1 million people with suburbs)… (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blayais_Nuclear_Power_Plant)
    France “immunity” is not a matter of cheese or technology, but sheer luck: the conception of previous generations nuke reactors does not cover enough emergency cases. Anyway the problem with fission nuke is you can start the reaction (catalyse a natural phenomenon), but you cannot guarantee to be able to stop it once started (since it’s an extremely energetic natural phenomenon…)

  23. outthere says:

    It was France that built Israel’s plants at Dimona, and Norway that sold Israel the heavy water.

  24. mikee says:

    From what I’ve seen the risk is low.

  25. mikee says:

    And experience

  26. laguerre says:

    The French are very hedonistic, that is more interested in immediate pleasure than in long-term consequences. That’s why so many French continue to smoke so much.
    There’s a nuclear power station at Joinville-le-pont, only 30 Km southeast of Paris. Everybody expects it to blow sooner or later. Let’s hope that the prevailing wind is blowing that day, and carries the crap away.
    More seriously, the French choice of nuclear power has much to do with the availability of uranium in the former French African colonies. Power without pollution.

  27. laguerre says:

    You are right. French technology is as good as anyone’s.

  28. Not In Istanbul says:

    As with many things, short term interests and the profit motive can erode or corrode any system no matter how well built or advanced the country/company behind it.

  29. Imagine says:

    There is a theory that the Israelis, who were guarding the plant, sabotaged the reactors.
    see these pictures first:
    even longer:
    Stone alleges that Reactor 4 had been defueled, yet it exploded anyway; that stereo camera devices installed by Israel looked like bombs and somehow weighed half a ton–for an electronic camera; that the containment walls were about 15′ thick, and even Three Mile Island did not blow its walls.
    The Japanese are like the Swiss, extremely precise when it comes to engineering. A theory of sabotage should not be ruled out ahead of time.

  30. Andy says:

    Had the Tsunami been 9 feet lower (~30 feet instead of ~39 feet), we’d be talking about Japanese engineering prowess.
    The reactor survived an earthquake rated higher that it was designed for. Everything worked perfectly until the Tsunami took out the generators required for cooling for some of the reactors (others stayed functional which prevented another core meltdown). Hindsight being 20/20 the reactors and fuel ponds should have had some kind of emergency passive cooling system or a redundant active system. Putting the generator fuel tanks and the generators themselves on lower floors meant that the seawall was the only line of defense from Tsunamis. That was, again in hindsight, a design oversight.
    But I don’t see much comparison in terms of critical comparison between the two – French nuclear power has not faced a catastrophic test of similar magnitude as Fukushima. The French are also blessed by geography where natural disasters are much less common. I, for one, hope the French system never gets a similar test.

  31. Haralambos says:

    I am reluctant to put music up, but I will post this from Ireland 36 years ago as some/many of the folks there wanted a nuclear-free Ireland. By way of background, my better half was mountain climbing in Bulgaria when the Chernobyl cloud passed over on a rainy Easter weekend here in Greece. The main isotope emitted was an Iodine isotope, that is absorbed by the thyroid. Children in France and here in Greece were given iodine tablets to preempt the thyroid absorbing the isotope. She had thyroid surgery three years later in Portugal as did several colleagues who were exposed.
    I first heard this performed live in 1981 in Donegal, Ireland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6tIBFwNj3o
    The men who developed these were not Einstein’s disciples.

  32. TV says:

    Maybe because not all stereotypes are accurate.

  33. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    ” . . the French choice of nuclear power has much to do with the availability of uranium in the former French African colonies. Power without pollution.”

    The French choice also had a lot to do with the country’s lack of petroleum resources. IIRC, it was back in the 60s that the country made an industrial policy choice to go heavily nuclear, which it could do relatively quickly because Electricite de France is state owned. During those pre-Yom Kippur War days when that decision was made, the lowest cost fuel for fossil-fired steam electric generation was the heavy residual oil from refineries. Subsequent to that war the well-head oil price quadrupled overnight and France’s decision looked brilliant.

  34. JJackson says:

    The risk assessment was wrong. In addition to which putting the backup generators just behind the sea wall’ so they were the first thing swamped, did not help. With no power the blow up rubber seals on the spent fuel pool doors leaked exposing the rods. When you factor in the number of quakes and tsunami with the fact that there are plants all the away around Japan’s coast it matters little where an tsunami hits it will find a station. The all causes risk is a lot higher than we are being sold. Japan is not alone.
    I am not anti nuclear power but I would like a more realistic risk assessment, one I can believe.

  35. doug says:

    It seems people have forgotten that the natural disaster deaths and destruction was from the tsunami. Directly. It kill around 20,000 people!
    Fear and loathing associated with the reactor meltdowns has been more damaging than actual injury from radiation.
    The reactors and safety systems performed – and failed – as designed. Arguably the estimated risks of such large earthquakes and concomitant tsunamis were too low resulting in excessive loss of life and insufficient barriers to protect the reactors – and the population.
    Japan has perhaps the best early warning systems for both earthquakes and tsunamis but there proved to be flaws in the computer simulations that went to work immediately after detecting the quake.
    Initial warnings were generated before the quake had propagated across several faults based on point source data. It understated the expected tsunami size. The population was warned but they expected a much smaller tsunami. Subsequent modeling and sensor measurements produced a more accurate estimate, but provided less than 10 minutes warning before the tsunami hit.
    The population had become somewhat accustomed to false warnings. While I read that 58% did seek higher ground the rest just ignored the warning. And, many of those that did seek higher ground did not go to regions appropriate for the unwarned larger tsunami.
    But had not Japan put in place the systems it did they likely would have suffered perhaps 40,000 dead.
    As always, lessons are learned, and there is much more known about the risks to Japan from quakes and tsunamis as a result of this disaster.
    But getting back to nuclear reactors for a moment, they are much better understood than nature’s vagaries. They are designed for specific limits and should be expected to withstand those. The rest is a tradeoff between cost and risk. My main concern about reactors is that they are terrorist targets and sensitive to large scale infrastructure breakdowns that could occur from natural or human causes. Not so much the reactor as the cooling systems and backups to them. The problem isn’t continuing fission, it stops immediately, but getting rid of continuing high levels of heat generation from decay of radioactive isotopes has to be uninterrupted and continuing or you have a real mess. So how long are the backup systems good for? What happens if fuel to run the cooling systems can no longer be delivered?

  36. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Very few people, whether in the industry or outside of it, appreciated the danger presented by the spent fuel pools prior to Fukushima. The spent fuel rods still give off a lot of heat and the water must therefore be circulated through heat exchangers to prevent it from reaching the boiling point and evaporating away. Plus the pool as constructed must not spring an unstoppable leak even in the most violent upheaval (seismic, terror, etc.) predictable. As pools fill up at older power plants some of them are transferring some fuel rods to storage in dry casks in which they are surrounded by an inert gas. It would be useful if the Wikipedia entry on dry casks contained more information on their design, especially with regard to heat build up and dissipation.

  37. Prem says:

    The French built lots of near identical PWRs. In the UK our reactors were all pretty much one-off (or a few off) designs.
    Thatcher killed off the Advanced Gas Cooled Reactor design (which had better passive safety than PWRs) as part of her deindustrialisation strategy (eg she also killed our train locomotive design capability).
    She decided to buy US designed PWRs (from Westinghouse IIRC) but, again, we only built 2 before the programme was halted. Now we are planning on buying French reactors (using Chinese money) in a very expensive public-private partnership agreement.

  38. steve says:

    It seems as though there have always been some Americans who have liked down upon the French, but their refusal to invade Iraq with us helped to cement that among certain groups here. The French were portrayed as cowardly and also as an incompetent, poorly run country. In fact they are quite technically competent (their medicine is excellent). That said, as others have noted, they don’t have to account for tsunamis when they engineer their plants.

  39. ISL says:

    Dear colonel,
    Actually France does awe-inspiringly well.
    During one of the heat waves in the summer, I recalled reading that some 35000 french (mostly elderly) died. I was in Italy at the same time. Same heat, Italy has lots of old people, no reports of anyone dying. Probably not due to wine in Italy being better (as any Italian will swear).
    Media reportage is a major factor, IMO, except when some threshold of destruction is exceeded.
    The US is much better thanks to our legions of lawyers.

  40. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Chemical plants are easier and more lethal potential terrorist threats:
    ; e.g. the sabotage of the Union Carbide plant in India.
    There are millions of liters of deadly chemical residues stored haphazardly all over the place, juicy targets, no doubt.

  41. Bill H says:

    The Fukushima reactors created disaster due primarily due to two factors.
    One, they are of the boiling water type rather than the pressurized water type. The BWR is cheaper both to build and to operate, but is much less robust and should never have been licensed for operation. There are some BWR power generating stations in the US still in service, but US Navy reactors and most US power reactors are PWR types, and I believe the French use PWRs as well.
    Second, the water immersion storage for spent fuel was elevated to the level of the top of the reactor vessels. This was done to facilitate and reduce the cost of transferring fuel into and out of the reactor vessel, but it was an unsafe construction that is not permitted in the US, as the elevated storage tanks are too prone to failure.
    A third issue, which would not have been a factor had the first two not been operant, was that the generators were inadequately sited and were taken out by the tsunami. A well maintained PWR with a properly trained crew probably could have been shut down without catastrophe when power was lost.

  42. Ulenspiegel says:

    Der Oberst schrieb: “So, how did these events at Fukushima get so out of hand and why have they not worked out solutions over the last six years?”
    Wrong question. Would have French NPPs the same issues as Japanese ones in a Fukushima scenario?
    However, my real beef with this article is the economy of NPPs:
    Frenches electricity prices are low, they are supported by government. The costs of electrcity generation is NOT low.
    This is important as new French reactor designs are eye-watering expensive and are not competitive and no solution in sight. Areva is more or less bankrupt and was merged with EdF.
    The current situation is a legacy from good times that are gone, nothing a serious projection could be based on.
    It will cost >100 billion EUR to prolong the production life of 2/3 of the NPPs by 20 years, most will be around 40 years before 2030.
    OTOH Offshore wind power (the expensive one) is now cheaper than electrcity generated by new NPPs, unfortunately, France has no large domestic producers of wind turbines, neither onshore nor offshore.
    Overall: French nuclear energy is not good but in deep trouble. And the alternatives (windpower) require a huge commitment if a domestic industrial base is on the wish-list.
    Minor quibble: France indeed exports a lot of electrcity, unfortunalely, in summertime. During winter France imports a lot as electric space heating dramatically increases demand (58 GW NPPs, 103 GW demand), France is a netimporter of German electrcity and in winter 2012 the Frech butt was saved by German windpower, only to get the facts straight. 🙂

  43. Ulenspiegel says:

    “This is representative of a much deeper expertise in nuclear power in France.”
    The point is, that NEW French NPPs are too expensive and not competitive. If you have to pay >7000 $/kW then you are economically dead.
    2017: Flamanville 3 (1.7 GW) is 7.2 billion EUR(!) over budget, and 6 years late, actually, still under construction.
    In Finland the situation is the same.

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You cannot be serious about Wind Turbines, they are heavily subsidized – the Green Utopia.

  45. outthere says:

    Scott Humor reviews Russian technology, here is a small part:
    Two years ago, Russia formally launched a commercial MOX fuel fabrication facility at the Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC) in Zheleznogorsk. The production line will fabricate MOX fuel for the BN-800 reactor at the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station.
    The plant uses weapon-grade plutonium, which Russia committed to eliminate under the PMDA agreement with the United States, but it can work with “any isotopic composition, any plutonium.”
    In 2016, after spending several billion dollars the US discontinued construction of its own MOX Fuel Fabrication facility, because it just doesn’t have the technology.
    At this point, Russia is the only country on earth that has the technology to make MOX fuel from the nuclear waste.
    “Fast breeders significantly expand the fuel base of the nuclear power industry, enabling it to provide reproducible nuclear fuel. In addition, it will be possible in future to reduce the volume of radioactive waste through burning hazardous radionuclides from spent nuclear fuel in fast breeders, softening the impact on the ecology.”
    Radioisotope products made in Russia are now available in the Philippines and Morocco

  46. charly says:

    Very infrequent but enough to be an issue one needs to keep in mind. It is something like ones every 10000 years or so (excluding the Italia and Spanish border regions). If you build something with a change of less than ones in a million years than you really do need to assume that an earthquake will hit.
    ps Major as in 6 or 7

  47. kao_hsien_chih says:

    It is a reminder of the inherent danger in certain technologies (and I am not necessarily against nuclear technology). There are things that can and do happen that were unexpected and are highly improbable, even things that were never even thought of. We anticipate the dangers and estimate the risk on the basis that we know the unknowns well enough, so to speak. That’s a paradoxical hubris. If the potential danger is big enough, one should always overbuild, against unknown unknowns, which are always larger than what we think (b/c we can only think about the known unknowns, by definition.) It’s not just Japan or France, but anyone trying anything “new,” big, and risky. (“New” as in we haven’t done enough of X before…so some things, even if they might be “old” chronologically, are still new because we don’t have enough experience with them to know all that could go wrong.)

  48. charly says:

    It is not like Tepco would use hobo’s to clean their reactors to get away with maximum allowed dose or that Isreali’s don’t stand out in Japan.
    ps. Search for what happened to Tepco in 1999. I would prefer USSR nukes to Tepco run ones.

  49. charly says:

    It is like snow. If a feet off snow falls in Toronto than nothing happens but it would be an emergency situation if a inch falls in Atlanta. Italy is used to such temperatures, France is not.

  50. charly says:

    All big electricity production is “subsidized” in one way or the other.
    Gas is a strategic good and should not be wasted on regular electricity
    Hydro uses land on a massive scale
    Coal pollution is not accounted for
    Big advantage for wind is that it creates very low priced energy for industry to use. Which means if you want to be industrialized you probably need to have wind turbines.

  51. outthere says:

    In USA there would no nuclear powerplants at all if it were not for government guarantees of debt and insurance. Wall St knows how dangerous nuclear power is, and will not finance any nuclear powerplant. The two new plants being built are not finished and electricity users in their areas are already being billed an increased rate to cover their construction.
    Read this:
    Authors JEFFREY A. DUBIN, etc

  52. Fred says:

    What is the cost per turbine, currently sized at ~8MW (siemens)? How much to install on the sea floor? How much to connect the power output to the shore? How much for the step up transformers? How much for the electrical switchyard? How many of each, turbines, transformers, switchyards, are needed? How much to connect to the existing transmission grid? How much for all the design work? What weather conditions would prevent utilization of any or all of the off-shore turbines? In the event that happens what replaces that power, how reliable is it and how much does it cost? What is the probability of an underwater cable failure and what is the replacement cost as well as replacement energy cost?
    (I think it cost New Zealand a bundle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_Auckland_power_crisis )

  53. outthere says:

    also read this
    Billions of Dollars in Subsidies for
    the Nuclear Power Industry Will Shift
    Financial Risks to Taxpayers
    Nuclear Subsidies in the American Power Act (APA) and the American Clean Energy Leadership Act (ACELA)
    The Nuclear Power Industry Should Not Receive Tens of Billions of Dollars in New Subsidies
    The Clean Energy Bank Must Have Clear and Effective Limits
    The Title XVII DOE Loan Guarantee Program For New Reactors Should Not Expanded.
    The Accelerated Depreciation Period for New
    Reactors Should Not Be Further Reduced.
    New Reactors Should Not Receive a 10 Percent
    Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
    The Production Tax Credit for New Reactors Should Not be Expanded
    Tax Exempt Bonds Should Not Be Used for Public-Private Partnerships for New Reactors
    Federal Regulatory Risk Insurance for Nuclear Plants Should Not Be Expanded.
    New Nuclear Reactors Already Benefit From Generous Taxpayer Subsidies

  54. robt willmann says:

    Generating electricity by a nuclear power plant is a very expensive and extremely dangerous way to boil water or an appropriate liquid. The boiling liquid creates steam which turns a turbine which spins a shaft that turns a generator. After you start your car, a shaft spins and runs a generator (in the old days) and an alternator (today). A brief description of nuclear power to generate electricity is here–
    On a boat trip on the Danube River in Austria quite a few years ago, I heard the announcement that a partially completed nuclear power plant was by the river, and a referendum had stopped nuclear power generation in that country. A description of the history of the attempt to establish nuclear power plants in Austria and the vote that stopped it is in a paper by Dr. Peter Weish of the University of Vienna which was presented in Japan in 1988–
    A Big Euphemism in the nuclear power industry is the term “spent fuel rods”, which, of course, are not “spent”. They require constant cooling, usually in circulating water, or else….
    The problem of toxic nuclear waste has not been solved, and is continuing in an unrelenting way in the ongoing tragedy at the nuclear power facility in Fukushima, Japan, which began in 2011. To make it worse, radioactive waste has been washing into the ocean.
    Nikola Tesla, an extraordinarily creative and inventive person, had a different approach about electricity. He produced alternating electrical current, different from direct current, and numerous other ideas–
    Tesla had a concept of free energy, something that the U.S. government and utilities will not touch with a 10-foot pole, but I think he was on to something. The idea of free energy means just that (the first two citations are the same article)–

  55. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, but the question is the ratio of these subsidied to one another.

  56. uak says:

    Both the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party and Tokyo Electric are corrupt, and proper oversight of planning and maintenance at the Fukushima and other Japanese nuclear power plants has not been carried out. Japan has many more powerful earthquakes than France has, yet when the Fukushima plant was being built, the plans completely ignored the possibility of a 9.0 earthquake and/or a large-scale tsunami. Moreover, no contingency plans or emergency procedure practices for a large tsunami were ever carried out at either of the plants. Tokyo Electric is said to have paid off government regulators and assured them that no big tsunami would ever occur in the area. Moreover, the air intake vents were built low down on the sea side of the shoreline plants, so tsunami damage to them was much greater and in fact fatal, since all electrical equipment, including cooling equipment, was disabled in several of the generators, thus causing meltdowns. The Fukushima meltdowns were a human-made, politically-caused disaster. Hopefully there is less corruption and stricter government oversight in France.

  57. ToivoS says:

    No typhoon, just one humongous earthquake followed by a resulting tsunami. Even California isn’t facing that danger of a double whamy.

  58. charly says:

    For most states it is the cheapest, most economical, locally produced electricity if you include the next 40 years in your decision and it has the bonus that it is a fantastic way to support heavy industry with cheap electricity. Besides subsidies don’t matter that much if they don’t leave the country.
    ps. Solar has a totally different profile, Hydro is already build out, gas is import if you look at a 40 year horizon, coal is import and dirty, oil is too expensive, nuclear is way too expensive and other (hydrothermal, tidal, wave, osmotic power, OTEC) are to local or not developed enough.

  59. Babak Makkinejad says:

    May be for US prairie states, where a constant surface wind speed of 8 to 9 milred an hour is common.

  60. outthere says:

    Coal is generally estimated to generate electricity for 5 cents a kilowatt hour, so it is now 3 times as expensive as the cheaper solar, and it is headed toward being 5 times as expensive by the time Trump is running for reelection. Nuclear costs 12 cents a kilowatt hour. Of course those prices don’t count externalities. If you count the damage coal does to the environment, from producing pollution that causes heart attacks to producing heat trapping gases that cause global heating and hurricanes, then coal is more like a dollar per kilowatt hour. It isn’t even remotely in the same league with solar.
    World’s Cheapest Solar Power in Mexico a Coal-Killer
    By Juan Cole

  61. charly says:

    Wave/Tidal is still in the prototype stage. Wind and solar cells aren’t. Cost and production are reasonable predictable.

  62. charly says:

    I was talking about heavy industry. The 40% times of plenty, 60% of hunger is ideal for heavy users off electricity. They just operate in the 40% of plenty time and get their power for peanuts.

  63. GeneO says:

    Citroen DS back in the 50s was light years ahead of Detroit technology.

  64. outthere says:

    A Troubling Look at the Human Toll of Mountaintop Removal Mining
    For years, the coal industry has dismissed the idea that mountaintop mining adversely affects people living nearby. But research by Indiana University’s Michael Hendryx provides stark evidence that this widespread mining practice is leading to increases in disease and deaths in Appalachia.
    e360: Birth defects?
    Hendryx: We looked at birth certificate data over a six- to seven-year period, over a million births, again controlling for other risk factors, like smoking or drinking during pregnancy, and other medical conditions, and we found a striking pattern. Not only were the birth defects significantly elevated in the MTR areas. Heart defects were the most common – the risk for these was 181 percent higher in mining areas. Compare that to mothers who smoke during pregnancy, which is a well-established risk factor for birth defects, which [elevates the risk by] 30 percent. So the effect of mothers living in a mining area was six times higher than the effect for mothers who smoke. It’s incredible.
    . . .
    e360: But MTR does create some jobs, doesn’t it?
    Hendryx: Blowing up mountains, deforesting large tracts of land, polluting streams, destroying roads from all the trucks going by, coating the landscape in dust, making people sick — what other employers are going to move into that area? If you aren’t lucky enough to have one of those jobs, you’ve probably got nothing, you’ve got maybe a part-time job at the Dollar Store. Because there aren’t other opportunities, the economic base has been destroyed.
    The perception that people have is that this is kind of a trade-off between the environment and jobs, and it’s really not — it’s a trade-off between the environment and the profits of a few people.

  65. Tidal messes up coastal ecologies. The energy source is us rotating. All seven billion of us plus the rocks. Tidal movement causes friction so there must be some underlying energy loss. Is that increased or decreased by temporary retention? Will our days be longer or shorter? Wind power on a vast scale would disturb the global wind flow low down and could lead to climate change. This is “studies have shown” territory. We environmentalists don’t read our doom porn for nothing.
    Wave power? Exhausting the energy of the waves before they hit the disappearing cliffs of England looks to be a thoroughly good move. Particularly for those of us who live close to the edge. As for nuclear power, I was once told pityingly by a hotshot physicist doing statistical work on failure rates of components that the things were now so safe that we could expect a major incident only once in ten thousand years. So don’t worry your head about such things. How does that work out if you had, say, a thousand of them, I asked. We broke off the discussion at that point and never resumed it.
    There’s always walking and cold baths. They go together very well, once you get used to it. My fellow environmentalists don’t seem to be that keen on getting used to it, I find.

  66. outthere says:

    Fukushima Darkness
    by Robert Hunziker
    > According to Dr. Shuzo Takemoto, professor, Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University: “The problem of Unit 2… If it should encounter a big earth tremor, it will be destroyed and scatter the remaining nuclear fuel and its debris, making the Tokyo metropolitan area uninhabitable. The Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will then be utterly out of the question,” (Shuzo Takemoto, Potential Global Catastrophe of the Reactor No. 2 at Fukushima Daiichi, February 11, 2017).
    > Dr. Broinowski’s research is detailed, thorough, and complex. His study begins by delving into the impact of neoliberal capitalism, bringing to the fore an equivalence of slave labor to the Japanese economy, especially in regards to what he references as “informal labour.” He preeminently describes the onslaught of supply side/neoliberal tendencies throughout the economy of Japan. The Fukushima nuke meltdowns simply bring to surface all of the warts and blemishes endemic to the neoliberal brand of capitalism.
    > According to Professor Broinowski: “The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (FDNPS), operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), since 11 March 2011 can be recognised as part of a global phenomenon that has been in development over some time. This disaster occurred within a social and political shift that began in the mid-1970s (ed. supply-side economics, which is strongly reflected in America’s current tax bill under consideration) and that became more acute in the early 1990s in Japan with the downturn of economic growth and greater deregulation and financialisation in the global economy. After 40 years of corporate fealty in return for lifetime contracts guaranteed by corporate unions, as tariff protections were lifted further and the workforce was increasingly casualised, those most acutely affected by a weakening welfare regime were irregular day labourers, or what we might call ‘informal labour.”
    > In short, the 45,000-60,000 workers recruited to deconstruct decontaminate Fukushima Daiichi and the surrounding prefecture mostly came off the streets, castoffs of neoliberalism’s impact on “… independent unions, rendered powerless, growing numbers of unemployed, unskilled and precarious youths (freeters) alongside older, vulnerable and homeless day labourers (these groups together comprising roughly 38 per cent of the workforce in 2015) found themselves not only (a) lacking insurance or (b) industrial protection but also in many cases (c) basic living needs. With increasing deindustrialisation and capital flight, regular public outbursts of frustration and anger from these groups have manifested since the Osaka riots of 1992.” (Broinowski)
    > Indeed, Japan is a totalitarian corporate state where corporate interests are protected from liability by layers of subcontractors and by vested interests of powerful political bodies and extremely harsh state secrecy laws. As such, it is believed that nuclear safety and health issues, including deaths, are underreported and likely not reported at all in most cases. Therefore, the worldview of nuclear power, as represented in Japan at Fukushima Daiichi, is horribly distorted in favor of nuclear power advocacy.

  67. charly says:

    No electricity source is a solution for all demand so why demand it from a solar/wind combination.

  68. charly says:

    Wave & tidal is still in the prototype phase. Would love for it to be successful and there should be a lot of money invested in it for R&D and trails but they aren’t yet ready for a build-out.

  69. charly says:

    Wave is a form of wind energy and Tidal is only useful where the ocean meats land. The total energy in tidal is also small compared to solar irradiation.

  70. charly says:

    I don’t work in a troll farm “Pacifica Advocate” nor can i see any of the wind farm/solar cell makers having a monopoly.

  71. outthere says:

    Coal in Germany – still going, still growing, like Appalachia, devouring towns and forests

  72. charly says:

    How is that entirely false? Explain to me how to capture tidal energy without using the ocean.The tide in even big none ocean waters like the Mediterranean is very small.

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