Japan shuts last of nuclear reactors

Welcome to the Open Forum - the discussion forum for topics that don't quite fit anywhere else. Fair warning: Posts may be moved at the moderators' discretion to a more appropriate forum. Posts that are especially silly will probably end up in either the Fun and Games Forum or the Temporary Forum.

Moderators: Tempo Gain, TheGingerMan, Rockefeller

Forum rules
Posts may be moved at the moderators' discretion to a more appropriate forum. Posts that are especially silly will probably end up in either the Fun and Games Forum or the Temporary Forum.

Re: Japan shuts last of nuclear reactors

Postby finley » 07 May 2012, 22:42

If Japan can do it, anybody else can too. I don't understand the above posters who are arguing that it's impractical. They just DID it, didn't they? So it's obviously not impractical.

What should Taiwan replace its nuclear reactors with to make up for the energy shortfall? More coal-fired plants?

What energy shortfall? Taiwan's energy consumption has nothing to do with requirements: the subsidized cost of electricity means it is used thoughtlessly and sometimes with an overall economic loss (as, for example, when subsidized energy is a large component of some consumer item sold on razor-thin margins). If Taipower charged a proper price for electricity, you'd see demand fall within three months. Japan did what they did partly by clever "load balancing" - making sure that the limited constant output is matched more sensibly to demand. And I don't see Japan's economy crumbling to the ground. Or at least no more so than usual.
"Global warming is happening and we KNOW that man is 100 percent responsible!!!"
- Fred Smith
Forumosan avatar
finley
Retired President (tuì xiū de zǒng tǒng)
Retired President (tuì xiū de zǒng tǒng)
 
Posts: 5939
Joined: 20 Jan 2011, 23:34
858 Recommends(s)
657 Recognized(s)



Re: Japan shuts last of nuclear reactors

Postby grandfeller » 07 May 2012, 23:16

finley wrote:I don't understand the above posters who are arguing that it's impractical. They just DID it, didn't they? So it's obviously not impractical.


If you smother a person's face tightly with a pillow, and check the person's status in 30 seconds, you'll find that he is still alive. So it's obvious that people don't need air.

Nobody is arguing that shutting down nuclear power plants is outside the realm of possible actions. Doing so, however, carries heavy economic and environmental costs.
grandfeller
Memorized My Password (gāng jìhǎo zìjǐ de mìmǎ)
 
Posts: 72
Joined: 12 Apr 2012, 21:51
Location: Tennessee
12 Recommends(s)
4 Recognized(s)



Re: Japan shuts last of nuclear reactors

Postby headhonchoII » 07 May 2012, 23:43

Why shut down the nuclear power plants? Why not have vastly improved energy efficiency AND nuclear power?
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
headhonchoII
Maitreya Buddha (Mílèfó)
 
Posts: 12621
Joined: 26 Aug 2002, 10:40
Location: Taipei
1718 Recommends(s)
622 Recognized(s)



Re: Japan shuts last of nuclear reactors

Postby Impaler » 08 May 2012, 05:59

Taiwan can shut down its reactors too. With industry moving to mainland China, the Taiwanese can afford to be more forward-looking, and live in a glorious agricultural paradise akin to what Pol Pot ushered in in Cambodia. This is the future for all civilized peoples: import cheap manufactured shit from China while living off the fat of the land.
It's amazing what getting out of the care of the Scottish National Health Service can do for your life expectancy.


"Mostly, nature looks after itself, if you let it. If you arrange things correctly, nature will do all the hard work for you, but it takes a lot of careful thought, planning, attention to detail, and a little experimentation. In other words, we're all doomed." -- finley
Forumosan avatar
Impaler
Chinese Class Dropout (Zhōngwén kè zhōngchuòshēng)
Chinese Class Dropout (Zhōngwén kè zhōngchuòshēng)
 
Posts: 767
Joined: 08 Jul 2011, 10:17
2 Recommends(s)
38 Recognized(s)



Re: Japan shuts last of nuclear reactors

Postby finley » 08 May 2012, 11:16

Taiwan can shut down its reactors too. With industry moving to mainland China, the Taiwanese can afford to be more forward-looking, and live in a glorious agricultural paradise akin to what Pol Pot ushered in in Cambodia. This is the future for all civilized peoples: import cheap manufactured shit from China while living off the fat of the land.

Oh please. Pol Pot was a wanker. An evil little wanker. If we're going to start with the bizarre analogies (grandfeller, that means you): if America's agricultural policy were run by Kim Kardashian and it all went to hell in a handbasket, we can conclude that agriculture is a complete non-starter and we should stop doing it, yes? It never ceases to amaze me how people look down on agriculture as something third-rate and uncivilised, with the assumption that we should all be manufacturing cheap plastic shit for ourselves instead of importing it from China. Pol Pot was right about one thing: without agriculture, everything stops (although the start of his problems was that he knew absolutely fuckall about agriculture ... or anything else for that matter, except reading pretentious philosophy in Parisian cafes). No food = no workers in factories, or drones in cubicles. Someone, somewhere, has to be growing stuff.

- Nuclear reactors are horrifically complicated beasties. They are extremely difficult and expensive to build and operate - very few people on this planet know how to do it properly. The pollution they generate is almost impossible to dispose of safely. Given the choice between CO2 and rotting nuclear fuel rods, I'll take the CO2, thanks. They might be safe to operate under most circumstances, but if some outlier event does occur, the consequences are serious. You'll note that insurance companies refuse to touch anything to do with nuclear for that reason.

- There was some US state in the news recently who actually had to shut down some of their wind turbines because they have so much renewable capacity installed (yes, due to inappropriate gov't subsidies, but that's another story) that they were already cranking out more than the grid could absorb. I'll rephrase that: they were running on 100% renewables (temporarily) completely by accident. It's easier than it looks, apparently.

- As other people have mentioned, commercial nuclear only took off because of massive government subsidy and other freebies (such as gov't indemnity in case of accidents). Even after 50 years, it's still not really cost-effective. In some countries, solar is cheaper than nuclear, not to mention a whole lot easier.

Why shut down the nuclear power plants? Why not have vastly improved energy efficiency AND nuclear power?

That's the point. Inefficiency costs you money. Keeping energy prices below cost causes inefficiency AND adds to your tax bill (you have to pay for it somehow or other). If you believe in free markets, then anything that is using resources less efficiently that (say) China ought to be optimised away, not kept on life support.

Doing so, however, carries heavy economic and environmental costs.

Name one.

Coal plants have to be operated pretty much 24-7 anyway; they're just like that. You can't control them the way you can with (say) a gas plant. Post-shutdown, Japan's emissions from coal will be pretty much the same as they ever were. As for gas, yes, they're emitting more, but I would guess they are now operating at or near full capacity and therefore delivering better returns on their build cost.
"Global warming is happening and we KNOW that man is 100 percent responsible!!!"
- Fred Smith
Forumosan avatar
finley
Retired President (tuì xiū de zǒng tǒng)
Retired President (tuì xiū de zǒng tǒng)
 
Posts: 5939
Joined: 20 Jan 2011, 23:34
858 Recommends(s)
657 Recognized(s)



Japan shuts last of nuclear reactors

Postby headhonchoII » 08 May 2012, 11:26

I don't see the argument against doing both energy efficiency and reducing pollution at the same time. Taiwan would be crazy to shut down it's reactors due to sunk costs, energy and political instability, air pollution issues, price concerns and possible future sanctions due to fossil fuel use. Maybe they could shut down the oldest most out of date ones of course.

Something very important to understand is the cultural context here. The reality is there will NOT br any wholesale change to the economic model here anytime soon, so it would be better to propose practical solutions rather than theoretical models that work where 100% of the population is enlightened.

I don't know Finley, you are smart, but until storage and massive energy efficiencies can be achieved solar and renewables don't replace nuclear and coal, they complement each other. Renewables are just too unreliable and cannot provide enough power. We could blanket the countryside with these things and they still wouldn't give a reliable supply on their own. If we have some type of huge smart grids the situation can improve but nuclear and coal and gas are part of the mix for base load and fast ramping up and down, that's it.
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
headhonchoII
Maitreya Buddha (Mílèfó)
 
Posts: 12621
Joined: 26 Aug 2002, 10:40
Location: Taipei
1718 Recommends(s)
622 Recognized(s)



Re: Japan shuts last of nuclear reactors

Postby finley » 08 May 2012, 11:37

Certainly, you wouldn't want to just switch them off. That would be a bit daft (especially since decommissioning a reactor costs nearly the same as building it). The first stage would simply be to allow electricity prices to rise to the actual cost of generation and distribution. Using other countries as a guide, the consumer price should be about NT$6/kWh, or 50% higher than it is now. Then implement a retirement plan. Phase out nuclear plants one by one at the end of their operational life, and don't build any more.

Nuclear power in Taiwan only accounts for about 8% total energy consumption anyway; most of what we burn here is oil, again due to improper subsidy and massive inefficiencies. Nobody can possibly argue that saving 8% is impossible over (say) the next 10 years.

Renewables are just too unreliable and cannot provide enough power. We could blanket the countryside with these things and they still wouldn't give a reliable supply on their own.

I agree - there are some things you simply can't do with solar. Certain heavy industrial processes, for example. OTOH those things represent a surprisingly small slice of global economic activity, and you could also argue (a) that Taiwan is not the right place for such things and (b) that the artificially low price of energy encourages proliferation of industries we don't really need. For instance, is it essential for the well-being of human civilisation that fizzy drinks are packaged in aluminium cans?

You've also made an assumption about the need for reliability (by which you mean power-on-demand, I assume); we've built a society that absorbs power 24-7 because it's awkward to shut down power generation plant, not because it's inherently necessary. And what is 'enough'? Some people are proposing that an average of 2kWh/day/person is 'enough'. That's a pretty tight target, but it probably is about right. There are technologies available right now that would deliver first-world living standards with that sort of consumption. Even if you said 4kWh/day/person, and assumed that ALL of that was needed as electricity (it isn't) that's still only 10-20m2 of solar panels per person.
"Global warming is happening and we KNOW that man is 100 percent responsible!!!"
- Fred Smith
Forumosan avatar
finley
Retired President (tuì xiū de zǒng tǒng)
Retired President (tuì xiū de zǒng tǒng)
 
Posts: 5939
Joined: 20 Jan 2011, 23:34
858 Recommends(s)
657 Recognized(s)



Japan shuts last of nuclear reactors

Postby headhonchoII » 08 May 2012, 12:05

But it would involve a wholesale restructuring of society. How are we going to power 25 floor apartment blocks in the city with solar power for instance? Would it even be enough to operate the elevators?
The costs would be enormous, the outcome uncertain of a wholesale restructuring , which is not going to happen in reality anyway. So increase the electricity price and promote solar panels for certain things like lighting or fans or scooter charging, yes. Powering cities and industry, even light industry, don't think so.
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
headhonchoII
Maitreya Buddha (Mílèfó)
 
Posts: 12621
Joined: 26 Aug 2002, 10:40
Location: Taipei
1718 Recommends(s)
622 Recognized(s)



Re: Japan shuts last of nuclear reactors

Postby tommy525 » 08 May 2012, 12:24

IF present six reactors account for only 8pct of taiwans electricity generation, then i propose shut down of the existing six and bringing online the newest (yet to be started but largely completed) 2 new ones at Kungliao.
Forumosan avatar
tommy525
Guan Yin (Guānyīn)
 
Posts: 18184
ORIGINAL POSTER
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:25
Location: calif baby !
607 Recommends(s)
376 Recognized(s)



Re: Japan shuts last of nuclear reactors

Postby finley » 08 May 2012, 14:57

headhonchoII wrote:But it would involve a wholesale restructuring of society.

Of course it would. I'm sick of living in the 19th century. Aren't you?

I can imagine the Mesopotamians grumbling like this when some upstart invented that wretched "wheel" thing. Bugger me, young people these days. If bunions and a backpack were good enough for granddad, they're good enough for us.

How are we going to power 25 floor apartment blocks in the city with solar power for instance? Would it even be enough to operate the elevators?

Well, we did that in another thread: apartment blocks are one of the reasons we "need" so much power to achieve so little.

The power density of solar (in terms of land area) is about 1/10th that of a nuclear or coal-fired power station; that is, you need 10x as much land for a given output. But the advantage of solar is that you can distribute it. It's not a point source. So you can put it on other things that already take up space; the net result is that very little land area is required, with properly-designed infrastructure.

The costs would be enormous, the outcome uncertain of a wholesale restructuring , which is not going to happen in reality anyway.

Oh, it will. One way or another. I'm afraid it will only happen when the cost becomes so outrageous - and when there is no choice but to pay the price - that it will reduce Taiwan to desperate poverty, when it could instead be implemented as part of the natural replacement cycle of outdated stuff. It doesn't need to happen overnight. Everything fails, becomes obsolete, or needs to be knocked down eventually. Few man-made things last longer than 30 years. All that needs to happen is for the government to stop paying crusty old industrialists to keep building the same outdated systems over and over again.

So increase the electricity price and promote solar panels for certain things like lighting or fans or scooter charging, yes. Powering cities and industry, even light industry, don't think so.

That's what politicans think, but it doesn't work like that. Our current per-capita energy expenditure here is about (IIRC) 35kWh/day. The cheapest and best way to maintain the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed is not to attempt to provide 35kWh/day from solar - which would indeed involve covering the whole country with panels - but to reduce our expenditure by 90%.

Unfortunately, I do agree that it's not likely to happen soon, but "can't be done" is not the same as "can't be arsed because we're too busy raping the country to provide fat middle-aged businessmen with SUVs". It will happen when said businessmen are on their hands and knees eating grass like cattle and Taipei is an abandoned concrete hulk. Only then will TPTB consider change. That might be 20 years away or it might be 200. I wonder, if Taiwan were hit by a double disaster the way Japan was, it might alter some opinions and speed things along?

IF present six reactors account for only 8pct of taiwans electricity generation, then i propose shut down of the existing six and bringing online the newest (yet to be started but largely completed) 2 new ones at Kungliao.

Not 8% of electricity - 8% of energy use. It's about 15% of electricity generation. But seriously tommy, why bother with all that aggro and expense? Are you saying Taiwan, which prides itself on being the technological centre of the universe, can't figure out a way to shave 15% off it's national electricity bill?
"Global warming is happening and we KNOW that man is 100 percent responsible!!!"
- Fred Smith
Forumosan avatar
finley
Retired President (tuì xiū de zǒng tǒng)
Retired President (tuì xiū de zǒng tǒng)
 
Posts: 5939
Joined: 20 Jan 2011, 23:34
858 Recommends(s)
657 Recognized(s)



FRIENDLY REMINDER
   Please remember that Forumosa is not responsible for the content that appears on the other side of links that Forumosans post on our forums. As a discussion website, we encourage open and frank debate. We have learned that the most effective way to address questionable claims or accusations on Forumosa is by engaging in a sincere and constructive conversation. To make this website work, we must all feel safe in expressing our opinions, this also means backing up any claims with hard facts, including links to other websites.
   Please also remember that one should not believe everything one reads on the Internet, particularly from websites whose content cannot be easily verified or substantiated. Use your common sense and do not hesitate to ask for proof.
PreviousNext




Proceed to Open Forum



Who is online

Forumosans browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 4 visitors

Life is not long, and too much of it must not pass in idle deliberation how it shall be spent -- SAMUEL JOHNSON