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Nuclear Electricity

 

Nuclear power is a significant competitor to renewables generated electricity in many countries. Conventional nuclear power (fission) is growing rapidly and fusion sill holds promise for the future (as the resource is effectively limitless).

 

In much of the world nuclear generated electricity is already competitive with fossil fuels and less costly than wind or solar energy. Nuclear energy is expected to replace a modest proportion of fossil fuel generated electricity in many large economies during the first half of this century[28]. Prominent amongst these are China and India[29].

 

For example, the Republic of (South) Korea produced 343 TWh of electricity in 2004[30] of which 63 per cent came from conventional thermal sources, mainly coal, 36 per cent came from nuclear power, and a small amount came from hydro-power stations. But nuclear power is planned to steadily increase its share of the country’s net electricity generation. Korea already has four operating nuclear power stations containing a total of 20 nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 17,716 MWe. This exceeds the total electricity generation capacity in NSW[31].

Six additional reactors are under construction and a further six scheduled for completion by 2021 (total 14,800 MWe capacity). As a result, Korean manufacturers have developed proprietary IP and are beginning to market reactors internationally (with a target of 80 reactors exported by 2030)[32]. Similarly another major NSW coal customer Taiwan has two new 1,350 MWe reactors due to come on line this year.

A carbon mitigation strategy that attempts to achieve a zero increase in CO2emissions worldwide by 2030 (while not constraining economic growth) would need to achieve a very much faster growth in renewables than is presently the case (or is achievable in practice).

 

Implicit in the EIA projected worldwide growth in coal and gas consumption is the assumption that many new thermal power stations will be built. Many existing thermal power stations worldwide will also need replacement in this time frame.

 

Worldwide, the only practical and available alternative in a 20 year time-frame may be a very much faster growth in nuclear energy. If reliable, proven designs are adopted, allowing approvals to be streamlined, nuclear stations could have similar lead times to thermal stations.

 

A relatively modest threefold increase in present nuclear generation worldwide would meet the entire projected world electricity growth to 2030 and together with projected growth in renewables, return World fossil fuel consumption for electricity generation to 2006 levels.

 

 

World Electricity Projections to 2030 Present and with 300% Nuclear

 

 

image006
Source: IEA ibid; and the author

 
 

 

Simply replacing conventional thermal stations with nuclear stations as they retire may obviate the need to use the marginal renewables such as wind and solar when they are uneconomic without subsidy.

The following graphic shows the relative scale of energy flows in Australia.
 

image033

 

The dominance of coal and uranium are immediately apparent, as is the very small contribution presently made by renewables. The total of the carbon in the coal, gas and oil represents the Australian contribution to worldwide CO2 emissions.

The domesticity consumed component of this is so small that the domestic achievement of 20% renewables would be overwhelmed by a fractional increase in coal exports, as a result of the growing world demand for coal-fired thermal electricity.

 

A cessation of Australian coal exports might make a greater contribution to reduced world CO2 release. This would result in an increase in the world coal price, followed by accelerated development of coal projects in other countries to meet the growing demand.

This may be marginally effective as a higher coal price could be expected to accelerate the adoption of nuclear power, particularly by major NSW coal customers[33]; all of which have a high and growing nuclear capacity. But such a policy would have a serious short to medium term impact on the Australian economy (particularly in NSW[34] and Qld). Correspondingly, a relatively small increase in the export of uranium oxide would achieve greater reduction worldwide carbon emissions than can be achieved by adopting renewables domestically.

 

 

 

 

 


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Travel

Japan

 

 

 

 

In the second week of May 2017 our small group of habitual fellow travellers Craig and Sonia; Wendy and I; took a package introductory tour: Discover Japan 2017 visiting: Narita; Tokyo; Yokohama; Atami; Toyohashi; Kyoto; and Osaka.  

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Fiction, Recollections & News

The McKie Family

 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

 

This is the story of the McKie family down a path through the gardens of the past that led to where I'm standing.  Other paths converged and merged as the McKies met and wed and bred.  Where possible I've glimpsed backwards up those paths as far as records would allow. 

The setting is Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England and my path winds through a time when the gardens there flowered with exotic blooms and their seeds and nectar changed the entire world.  This was the blossoming of the late industrial and early scientific revolution and it flowered most brilliantly in Newcastle.

I've been to trace a couple of lines of ancestry back six generations to around the turn of the 19th century. Six generations ago, around the turn of the century, lived sixty-four individuals who each contributed a little less 1.6% of their genome to me, half of them on my mother's side and half on my father's.  Yet I can't name half a dozen of them.  But I do know one was called McKie.  So, this is about his descendants; and the path they took; and some things a few of them contributed to Newcastle's fortunes; and who they met on the way.

In six generations, unless there is duplication due to copulating cousins, we all have 126 ancestors.  Over half of mine remain obscure to me but I know the majority had one thing in common, they lived in or around Newcastle upon Tyne.  Thus, they contributed to the prosperity, fertility and skill of that blossoming town during the century and a half when the garden there was at its most fecund. So, it's also a tale of one city.

My mother's family is the subject of a separate article on this website. 

 

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Opinions and Philosophy

Frederick Sanger - a life well spent

 

 

I have reached a point in my life when the death of a valued colleague seems to be a monthly occurrence.  I remember my parents saying the same thing. 

We go thought phases.  First it is the arrival of adulthood when all one's friends are reaching 21 or 18, as the case may be.  Then they are all getting married.  Then the babies arrive.  Then it is our children's turn and we see them entering the same cycle.  And now the Grim Reaper appears regularly. 

As I have repeatedly affirmed elsewhere on this website, each of us has a profound impact on the future.  Often without our awareness or deliberate choice, we are by commission or omission, continuously taking actions that change our life's path and therefore the lives of others.  Thus our every decision has an impact on the very existence of those yet to be born. 

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