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Author Topic: Hitachi scraps Wylfa new nuclear plans  (Read 850 times)
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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2020, 09:51:19 PM »

What about demand in the winter being greater than in the summer, wouldn't nuclear need more than half a day's storage in that case?

And are we classing nuclear as baseload. If the nuclear comes on line in 10+ yrs time, shouldn't its generation need storage if demand is met by wind and solar, and the nuclear is additional?

I think there are multiple ways to look at this, but in the end nuclear only is as dependent on storage as RE only is. So we can look to total costs (since there is no scaleability nor cost issues with rolling out more RE) be that RE + (RE + storage) v's nuclear + (nuclear + storage), and RE will of course win.
The headache is that nuclear needs different types of storage and has different intermittency issues to wind or solar.
  • For instance, quite an effective way of dealing with an all-nuclear grid might be to insulate every house to a high standard, and move to all-electric heating with smart grid. Over a 24 hour cycle, you probably don't need very much storage (some batteries, possibly V2G, for the evening peak) and nuclear can load-follow well enough to deal with seasonal variability. If you do want to do interseasonal storage, synthetic gas is relatively cost-effective since the expensive plant can operate at high load factors in summer when grid demand is consistently low.
  • For wind (ignoring PV in winter - it works very well in summer and even load follows quite well so will happen as part of any likely system) using the housing stock to store energy doesn't work nearly as well since you need to store over ~4-6 days rather than ~12 hours (i.e. the time constant on the housing needs to be 10x higher, which isn't realistic - even 12 hours is tough for retrofit). Load following is very much easier (you can easily turn off and back on individual wind turbines, for instance - something no nuclear plant can do), meaning the requirement for a smart grid is much less demanding. Interseasonal storage is likely to be significantly more expensive as you are likely to struggle to run the plant 24/7 so need to oversize it, but the energy fed into the interseasonal storage system (I assume synthetic gas) is very significantly less expensive.
Given in either solution we're likely to need to be radically improving the UK housing stock and electrifying heat, the cost of storage for the two options isn't simply a matter of counting MWh. The nature of how the two sources of energy work as a system means that the cost of each MWh stored is different, possibly radically so. My <<suspicion>> is that a heavily nuclear or all RE system can be done cost-effectively, but any compromise system which only includes a few nuclear reactors will not be cost-effective.

We should also add in the fact that while the laws of physics don't change, the rules of engineering do - which means the demand we're assuming for the system now will almost certainly be wrong over the lifetime of the infrastructure we build now. Simple answers don't work here, and we (by which I mean the denizens of this forum going off public domain data - myself emphatically included) don't have sufficient information to work out the complex ones.
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Philip R
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« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2020, 01:01:37 AM »

There have been recent instances of interconnector outages. The IFA1 was damaged by a dragging ships anchor during winter storms a few years ago. We have seen cable failures on the Scotland /Northern Ireland interconnector. The Westernlink has had cable failures most recently too. Interconnectors are at risk from outside influences beyond our control.

Also, 10% intereconnector capacity in relation to the local grid. Most of UK interconnection  is to North western Europe. Should a large winter anticyclone set up over our area, there will be next to no wind generation in NW Europe and no prospect of importing the deficit from NW Europe to the UK.

I believe that M's economic comparisons from estimated future costings and less so the actual costings of recently completed wind turbine builds is although compelling, are too simplistic. The vagaries of the load cycles and that of the wind is difficult to analyse so ratiometric price comparisons are meaningless. 
Regarding  types of nuclear plants being built are not suitable for what is needed now, i.e too big and too difficult to build easily. The French got it right with the CP1 and the N4 reactors, building a fleet of each ( except they cant made a decent dome forging without overdoing the carbon content). Small modular load following rectors with quick build times. (Factory built and shipped to site) are what is needed. To Me the GE Hitachi BWRX300 seems like the closest to getting built in US and Czech Rep. Costings estimates given on their website (optimistic maybe). Still expensive, but capable of faster load following more likely to provide district heating capability. Not ure about Rolls Royce, they are in trouble and sold their reactor inspection services to Westinghouse recently. Urencos U Battery is small and neat. Moltexs molten salt reactors is being taken seriously in Canada, where development work is underway with local nuclear specialists SNC Lavalin.
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« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2020, 06:54:02 AM »

What about demand in the winter being greater than in the summer, wouldn't nuclear need more than half a day's storage in that case?

Agreed that demand in winter is higher than summer, but demand during the day is higher than at night even in winter so surely that would mean storing less than half? If we treat all sources equally, then assuming we know the day and night loads it should be relatively easy to proportion the storage with the technology. We also know that in winter solar is negliable, but then wind is much less in summer (average) not sure how well these fit together.

And are we classing nuclear as baseload. If the nuclear comes on line in 10+ yrs time, shouldn't its generation need storage if demand is met by wind and solar, and the nuclear is additional?
Perhaps, but equally we could say we know the proportion that is base load and that which is non-base load. If we take the average and say anything above that needs storing and anything below comes from storage should that then be proportioned out across the different technologies. If so that would work to nuclears advantage as RE being intermittant would require more storage. aything that is additional needs storage then wouldn't that apply to future wind, solar, tidal etc. So as each wind form is retired the next one needs storage as nuclear was there first?


I think there are multiple ways to look at this, but in the end nuclear only is as dependent on storage as RE only is. So we can look to total costs (since there is no scaleability nor cost issues with rolling out more RE) be that RE + (RE + storage) v's nuclear + (nuclear + storage), and RE will of course win.

I agree there are many ways to look at this, but looking at just the costs is fraught with danger, what happens if someone drops the basket?


Please understand, I'm more than happy to be proved wrong, but in all the years I've been suggesting this, and the huge number of times I've been told that we need nuclear (because of storage of RE), nobody
has ever gone further and shown how the higher cost of nuclear generation works out cheaper than RE + (RE + storage).
I'd love to see some numbers we can play with and chat about, but until then I'm simply not moved in anyway by a 'but RE needs storage' or 'RE needs more storage', since it's only a part of the calculation (that I believe RE wins) not proof that RE loses.
My main concern with RE at present is that in winter when we most need energy, solar is almost non-existant and we would be relying almsot totally on wind. If one or preferably more other RE technologies could be provided at scale, such as tidal things would be much more comfortable. This country has already experienced the problem of relying on one technology for electricity production to heavily, I don't know if you remember the miner's strike in the 1970's - it may not be the actual technology that lets us down but something unexpected. What would happen if all the undersea cables from offshore wind got damaged at the same time for example?


Edit - Actually, and I'm not trying to be difficult, maybe azps can help with this, but the more I think about it, the less I'm convinced that nuclear needs less storage. It seems logical to me that in the UK we would roll out RE capacity with a winter bias, so on average, we get less total generation in the summer, and more total generation in the winter, which would help us (on average) meet demand. Whereas nuclear, built out to meet annual average demand, even with summer refueling, would always produce too little in the winter and too much in the summer, and could [I'm only playing here, I don't know] therefore need more total storage capacity than RE.

Seems to me, the only way to argue for nuclear is to remove any large impact it will have by rolling out a pretty small amount, say 20% or less, and at that point we've probably gone to such silly lengths to protect it / justify it, that it would have been simpler, cheaper and faster just to roll out some more RE and storage instead.

I'm not arguing for nuclear, what I would prefer is a mix of technologies without fossil fuel burning except in extreme circumstances. Creating and burning hydrogen from excess electricity might be a technology that we could utilise, but that would require producing the electricty first from whateever source.

Alot of this comes back to the basics, reduce, reuse, recycle. We need to reduce our energy consumption, better insulate buidings, travel less etc. We need to reuse energy where we can, in buildings exhaust air heat pumps (to heat water if in summer for example), air conditioners should have the option to heat water and not just the outside air, in towns and cities perhaps a district heating system - certainly consider that on new estates - with well insulated housing ight not actually be worthwhile though.

Hiya, my point about annual storage may have been missed. I too accept that wind is winter biased and PV is summer biased, that's why I said the UK's RE rollout could be done with a winter bias (simply by installing more winter biased capacity v's summer biased capacity). I would also point to other forms of generation such as hydro having a winter bias, hopes for wave and tidal energy, and bio-mass which has 'in-built' storage and can help to demand follow. [I appreciate that bio-mass is highly controversial, but for arguments sake, if it's sustainably managed and production/transport uses low carbon energy, then it does have a massive future benefit of BECCS, since all of our efforts to reduce emissions are not enough, we will also have to remove CO2 from the atmosphere to have any chance of limiting the temp rise to 1.5C.]

I'm suggesting that average RE generation if built out to match UK demand, will have a greater winter generation, and a lower summer generation, so whilst daily fluctuations will need balancing, and we will of course need large amounts of longer term storage, this will be a very small amount of storage compared to the vast amount needed to shift summer nuclear excess into the winter period where nuclear will not be generating enough. Let's say that the RE rollout, on average will meet demand be it winter or summer, then we will probably need a couple of weeks of long term storage, but nuclear would need to store months worth of summer excess to shift it to the winter. So, after thinking about it, I'm pretty sure the scale of long term storage for nuclear would actually be more, not less, than that for RE.

As I've shown, the Government have actually been advised to scale back their plans* to just 6GW of nuclear (about 15% of current demand, and less than 10% of future) due to the cost difference of nuclear v's RE + storage, so I'm obviously not the only one who thinks that the additional storage costs needed to ensure reliability of supply are less than the cost difference of RE v's nuclear generation.

*I'd go further and suggest the advice to stop at HPC +1 is because HPC has started, and the Gov was in the thick of discussions for Wylfa and SC. Advice today, now that plans for the other power stations have stalled, might be to just stop ........ or even swallow the £20bn poison pill for HPC, and spend the £30bn** in savings on more RE and storage.

** It's looking like HPC subsidies will be about £50bn, whilst new RE CfD's might be net subsidy zero.


Edit - Sorry, forgot a key point I meant to make. I assume that long term storage will be based around H2 or bio-methane or similar, so we would be able to use the existing 25GW of gas generation to demand follow when demand exceeds RE generation. Obviously the same applies to nuclear storage.


Just for fun, hope you don't take this too seriously:

Quote
So as each wind form is retired the next one needs storage as nuclear was there first?

But then, RE jumps the queue and gets ahead of nuclear after 1 (or 2) years, when the nuclear powerstation shuts down for refueling for a month or two ....... chicken and egg perhaps?
« Last Edit: September 17, 2020, 07:12:18 AM by M » Logged

Just call me Mart.     Cardiff: 5.58kWp PV - (3.58kWp SE3500 + 2kWp SE2200 WNW)
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« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2020, 07:02:45 AM »

I think the idea of SMR's is quite attractive, especially with district heating, but after thinking about it longer, I've never been convinced.

You end up with more facilities that need high security and carry risk. If you add more and more modules to one location, then you simply end up with a large nuclear facility. I'm not sure how these could be located close enough to large urban areas to benefit from the H part of CHP. In the case of local SMR's I don't think NIMBYism could be criticised.

Then there's the potential scale. If I recall the brochure correctly (it's been a few years) then RR estimated Worldwide demand at around 65-85GW, which is actually tiny, equal to the generating capacity of installed PV at the time (around 500GWp), and an amount that could be rolled out every 3-5yrs.

I think RR said that they could get the cost down, eventually, to £40-£60/MWh, so we have the nuclear industry hoping to reach costs in say 15-20yrs, that RE is already beating. Also they would need subsidy help to scale out production enough to first meet HPC generation costs (£100/MWh). But who's going to buy these higher priced generating units, if even the final (hoped for) cost is greater than RE costs today?
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Just call me Mart.     Cardiff: 5.58kWp PV - (3.58kWp SE3500 + 2kWp SE2200 WNW)
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« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2020, 07:39:14 AM »


When we have no wind,no sun,run out of storage moments we just turn on the gas stations which we already have.
Those stations will be burning hydrogen produced by excessive RE, which we already have now and will be getting 3X more by 2050.  Already RE does not require subsidy and therefore there is nothing as Mart says for us not to go out tomorrow and build as much as we need.

Ken

Two apologies. First sorry for so many rapid posts, but I am running off in a minute, and also this is a subject I feel strongly about, and also find fascinating.

Secondly, sorry Ken, I shouldn't have skipped over you, as this point you make is crucial, at least the way I see it. I feel that a lot of the pro-nuclear propaganda which can mislead some of the public (not suggesting anyone on here) is actually pro-FF. By suggesting any technology that is not yet ready for deployment, or will take a decade or more to roll out, we actually lock ourselves in to consuming more FF's and emissions whilst waiting/debating.

This reminds me of much of the pro hydrogen argument for cars and light duty vehicles. I seriously believe that this was being pushed by ICE manufacturers and the FF industry as a way of slowing down BEV development and large capacity production. "Don't play around with those silly battery toys, in the future we will all be driving HFCEV's, but till then can I interest you in the Gas Guzzler 2000?" Both industries benefit from continuing the status quo as long as possible

I fear that nuclear 'dreams' act as a way to confuse carbon reduction plans (just like HFCEV's) and thus slow down rollouts. If the Gov gave up on the possible 6GW of new nuclear, would they then shift the CfD fund direction by a corresponding amount (say 12GW of off-shore wind) and boost RE/storage both in scale and confidence?
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Just call me Mart.     Cardiff: 5.58kWp PV - (3.58kWp SE3500 + 2kWp SE2200 WNW)
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« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2020, 07:48:40 AM »

Is it all about cost, though ? What part does power security play ? Not location security but the ability to keep the lights on.

We have a reliance on interconnectors with our European mainland neighbours - is this as secure as it should be with ageing nuclear fleets plus the tensions of Brexit ?

Maybe Iím too cautious/belt and braces type, but Iím unconvinced RE can provide the level of power security in scenarios we could face on a regular basis.
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« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2020, 08:25:57 AM »

Security is no 1 thats for sure and everybody here understands that.

We have NO reliance on interconnectors both parties use them to mutual advantage and for the last week we have generally been exporting. The interconnectors are run on price economics not some big master plan and for lots of reasons it is usually cost effective for us to import.  Note that pollution is counted at the point of production not use, some EU production is public owned, most EU production does not carry the same tariffs as UK does. (so much for a level playing field).

Until you can get over the mindset of when the wind and sun dont work and understand how it could you will never be convinced.
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« Reply #22 on: September 17, 2020, 11:59:14 AM »

Is it all about cost, though ? What part does power security play ? Not location security but the ability to keep the lights on.

We have a reliance on interconnectors with our European mainland neighbours - is this as secure as it should be with ageing nuclear fleets plus the tensions of Brexit ?

Maybe Iím too cautious/belt and braces type, but Iím unconvinced RE can provide the level of power security in scenarios we could face on a regular basis.

Yep, it's all about cost. At no point am I suggesting, nor accepting a difference in risk. At all times I'm comparing apples with apples, a reliable electricity supply, which typically (for simplicity) I describe as the cost of nuclear v's RE + storage. I believe that the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) based their recommendation to reduce the nuclear rollout and develop more RE + storage on the same criteria.

Do bear in mind that nuclear is not guaranteed, it also has unscheduled shutdowns, and whereas the UK can lose a PV panel or WT, or a string, or even a farm, and cope reasonably well, it can't cope with an instantaneous loss of 1.6GW or 3.2GW of supply as would happen in the case of HPC, so nuclear needs backup provisions.


Funnily enough, I'm a belt and braces type too, so I'm not in any way belittling the argument that we shouldn't put all our eggs in one basket, but I do think there has to be a logic point too where the line must be drawn. For instance 100 eggs in one basket is a bad idea, but 1 egg in each of 100 baskets is also not rational. So somewhere there has to be an optimal number of baskets, and for me (in my opinion) nuclear sits outside of the logical point due to economics, as its far higher cost provides enough margin to deploy alternative baskets (or belts and braces) such as large capacity, longer term storage ....... I think.
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« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2020, 02:08:14 PM »

You could of course argue that planting lots of wind turbines is like putting 1 egg in 100 baskets - that they're too small individually to make enough difference and so therefore it's a very costly way of doing it.   

I can see the argument too that the reactor/generator sizes of the EPR - at 1.6GW each, could certainly be considered too big - because as you rightly say, if one or both of those generators goes out, that's an enormous loss of power, inertia, frequency, supply etc from one source - so yes significantly back-up/ alternative generation supply will also be required.

I can also see that a huge part of the problem is vested interest - politics - money.   More nukes are great for the nuclear industry.  They have money - they can influence politics. But it's not as straightforward as that either.  Those are thousands of highly skilled jobs - people's livelihoods - investments in entire communities that come with it.

Glad I'm not making these decisions. Although I'm also not glad that these decisions are being made by the likes of those in our current Government. 
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« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2020, 11:41:25 PM »

Dan,
SZB was built with 2 off 660MW Turbine generators instead of a single 1320 MW TG Unit. At  the time , UK Manufacturers had already produced 900MW and 1170MW units for the North American Market at 60 Hz 12 years earlier. French and German Manufacturers were already making larger half speed TGs in slightly larger outouts with consequential loss of inertia for their PWR and BWR fleets. The old CEGB reckonned that it was not good to go too big in unit size in relation to the grid system size due to the system disturbance that would arise if the TG unit lost load suddenly. (I know about that as I have a 660MW unit trip to my name. Its is a lot better than a 1200MW unit trip.

Two smaller units offer greater inertiai than one big one.

The other problem with big generator units is the provision of capital spares. Again, in the UK AGR Fleet, we carried spares for the GEC TGs and the Parsons TGs. with the refurbs being carried out to the the latest designs guidelines agreed between OEM and customers. It meant that the whole fleet could be provisioned with spares at reasonable cost because of the commonality of the conventional plant equipment. The reactors were completely different due to government interferance when stations were being orderred. With jobs going to areas of not employment need, not necessarily where the best stuff was designed / built. But that is UK in a nutshell,
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