Some Words about Nuclear Power

What is now happening in Japan is terrible. The earthquake, the tsunami, now the near-catastrophe in the nuclear power station of Fukushima. All the people suffering after having lost relatives, homes, and now being in danger of losing their health or even life. One may say that Japan is the country best prepared for such a calamity. It is probably true, but this doesn’t really alleviate suffering of the affected part of the Japanese population.

While the attempts to limit the negative consequences are ongoing, it is time to think about the catastrophe and its causes: It is clear that we have no influence on earthquakes and tsunamis. They are independent of our doings. We may be able to contain the damages – that is something the Japanese are really good at. However, the nuclear catastrophe is not independent of us. All in all, it is men who build power stations and use nuclear fission to produce electricity.

One may say: Japan is a special case because of the frequent earthquakes. Perhaps they shouldn’t have built nuclear power stations, it was too dangerous. In other parts of the world it is not. This may be true if we consider natural disasters as the only source of problems for this technology. I already have written twice on that subject – that there are many other problematic aspects one should take into account. Now, since the nuclear fission technology is becoming the central subject of public discussion world wide, I have decided to discuss the arguments against nuclear power one more time. Here they are:

  1. For the time being, there is no single launched final storage site in the world for the highly radioactive waste produced through nuclear power generation – even though the first nuclear power plants were launched in the 50-ies. There are two sites agreed on, in Sweden and in Finland – but both are still controversial and shall be launched as late as in 2025.
  2. Uranium mining: whether a uranium peak is arriving or already passed, is a highly controversial issue, so I won’t discuss it here. But it is a certain fact that uranium mining causes high environmental damages – and that it does even in countries like Australia and Canada, where there are comparatively high legal standards and modern technology. Meanwhile, much of the uranium we used, e.g., in European power plants is mined in Africa and Asia – and there the standards aren’t even comparable.
  3. Nuclear power stands in conflict with renewables. While generation and transmission of energy from renewable sources must be flexible and decentralized, nuclear power stations are quite the contrary – it is very costly to drop their energy production in the short term, and they produce vast amounts of energy each, thus being the antipode of decentralization.
  4. It is often claimed that nuclear electricity is cheap. Yes, it is, but to a high extent because of vast indirect subsidies by the State, without which the development of those power stations would have paid off. One part of the subsidies are the R&D costs. But the main part is the implicit insurance in the case of an accident: there is no insurence company in the world that is dumb enough to insure a nuclear power stations. Thus, in case of an accident, it is the people, the tax-payers, who pay for cleaning the mess.
  5. Not only does the mining cause huge environmental damages. There are further steps in the life cycle of uranium that are problematic. Consider the amounts of water needed for cooling of a single nuclear power station (and this in a world becoming ever hotter and, in many areas, ever dryer). Even “nuclear plants with closed-loop cooling (recycling water within the plant instead of using it once and then returning it to its source) consume 720 gallons of water per MWh of net power produced; the comparable figures are 310 to 520 gallons per MWh for several types of coal plants, and 190 gallons per MWh for natural gas combined-cycle plants.” (Ackerman 2010) Then there is the radioactivity of the plants (one cannot prevent all radiation from escaping)…

And then there is the hazard of possible accidents: as in Harrisburg in 1979, in Chernobyl in 1986, at Mayak in 1957, and now in Fukushima (for a more detailed analysis of the risks, see this article at Project Syndicate).

Taking these problems into account, we should reconsider the claim that nuclear energy “is the solution”. The solution of what? It may cause relatively little emissions of greenhouse gases. But, at the same time, it is a huge risk. The life cycle of uranium as fuel contains a multiplicity of hazards and unsolved problems. We may be able to solve them one day (though I don’t believe that). But as long as we still are not, nuclear power remains a huge mistake.

Related post: Is Nuke the Lesser Evil?

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14 thoughts on “Some Words about Nuclear Power

  1. 1. Dobrze, że podkreśliłeś, że chodzi o wysokoradioaktywne odpady i pochodzące z cywilnej produkcji energii elektrycznej. Dla wszystkich

    pozostałych przypadków istnieją odpowiednie składowiska. Skoro więc technologia odpowiedniego składowania istnieje czemu nie mamy więc

    odpowiedniego składowiska? No cóż z jednej strony nie mamy parcia, bo równie dobrze, można je składować i na powierzchni, z drugiej

    wszystkim partiom antyatomowym zależy na tym, aby taki składowisko nie powstało, gdyż jeden z ich czołowych argumentów straciłby sporo

    na swojej aktualności. Warto tutaj wspomnieć o obłudzie Zielonych, gdyż podobne Endlager istnieją dla odpadów toksycznych. W odróżnieniu

    od odpadów radioaktywnych, które relatywnie szybko tracą prawie całkowicie swoją radioaktywność (ciężko podać bezpieczną wartość, gdyż

    zawsze będą choć trochę radioaktywne, ale mówimy powiedzmy o 1000 lat, więc z perspektywy geologicznej jest to mrugnięcie oka), odpady

    toksyczne są toksyczne po wsze czasy. No i te ich ilości – miliony ton, np w takim Untertage Deponie Herfa-Neurode. Nikt ich nie

    oportestowuje!

    2. Peak uranium. Mój pierwszy i czołowy argument: nie róbmy z operatorów atomówek idiotów, że budują elektrownię na 60 lat, a nie

    wiedzą, czy starczy paliwa. Te wszystkie obliczenia peak uranium nie uwzględniały np. powtórnego wykorzystania paliwa, wykorzystania

    paliwa z demontażu broni jądrowej (tylko tego starczy na parę dziesięcioleci), wykorzystywanie plutonu zamiast U235 do produkcji

    energii, ogromne jeszcze nieodkryte zasoby, postęp technologiczny przy wydobyciu itd. Również graniczne ceny wydobycia uranu były mocno

    poglądowe. Uran po 200$/kg nadal jest opłacalny, a można go wydobyć wielokrotnie więcej niż uranu za 100$/kg.

    Szkody wywołane wydobyciem uranu. Wiadomo, wydobycie radioaktywnego pierwiastka musi powodować gigantyczne skażenie radiologiczne, a do

    jego ekstrakcji trzeba używać jakiś superduper chemikaliów. Taki przynajmniej pogląd jest lansowany w mediach i jest oczywiście

    kompletnie nieprawdziwy. Sama ruda uranowa często występuje blisko powierzchni (albo i na powierzchni, też i u nas w Polsce) i jest

    bardzo, bardzo słabo radioaktywna. Żeby było śmieszniej to zabieramy jej jeszcze ten radioaktywny pierwiastek, uran. Od strony

    nieradiologicznych zniszczeń środowiska to produkcja uranu nie różni się specjalnie od wydobycia innych metali, z tym, że wydobycie

    uranu to biznes na małą skalę.

    Sugerujesz też zupełnie niesłusznie jakoby kraje inne od Kanady i Australii były eksploatowane i skażane. Typowy uproszczony i zupełnie

    niesłuszny lewacki obraz świata. Szczególnie, że w odróżnieniu od wielu innych zasobów uran jest wydobywany przede wszystkim w “białej”

    części świata.

    3. Z tą decentralizacją i uruchamianiem na zawołanie porównując do energii odnawialnej to po prostu pojechałeś… Decentralizacja. No i

    co z tego? Akurat w przypadku elektrowni wiatrowych i słonecznych oznacza to konieczność budowania gigantycznych i superkosztownych

    sieci transmisyjnych zdolnych wytrzymać rozchwianie przez te OZE. W Niemczech jest gigantyczny problem transferu e. wiatrowej z północy

    na południe i słonecznej w odwrotnym kierunku. Państwa ościenne, w tym i my, już groziliśmy Niemcom zablokowaniem dostępu do swojej

    sieci, gdyż raz po raz Niemcy ratują się przerzucając nadwyżki/niedobory energii w częściach swojej sieci na sąsiadów.

    Regulacja produkcji: no cóż w przypadku OZE innych niż biomasa i e. wodna nie mamy żadnej kontrolii nad produkcją energii. I tyle w tym

    temacie. W elektrowniach atomowych sterowanie produkcją energii nie jest tak elastyczne jak w elektrowniach gazowych, ale równie możliwe

    co w węglowych, jednakże z racji prawie darmowego paliwa do elektrownii jądrowych nie opłaca się ich wyłączać – lepiej wyłączać

    elektrownie węglowe.

    4. Bzdury kosmiczne i śmieszne jeśli probujesz przeciwstawić e. atomową OZE. Na samo projektowanie nowych typów reaktorów itp. obecnie

    nie wydaje się praktycznie żadnych pieniędzy. Nikt również nie zmusza takiej Polski to finansowania swojego własnego programu

    nuklearnego. Koszty ubezpieczenia – nikt nie chce ubezpieczyć, bo nie ma jasnych zasad wypłaty odszkodowań. Prawdopodobnie Państwo

    próbowałoby wyeksploatować ubezpieczyciela. Biorąc pod uwagę gigantyczne ilości supertaniej energii produkowanej przez taki reaktor

    atomowy to koszta wypadku to peanuts. Jeślibyśmy podnieśli cenę 1kwh e. atomowej o 1 cent, w celu zabezpieczenia się przed wypadkiem to

    przy rocznej produkcji ca. 2500TWH mówimy o sumie 25 mld euro. Nie sądzę, aby elektrownie III/IV generacji wybuchały co roku. Albo w

    ogóle.
    Dla porównania sami Niemcy co roku dopłacają z tytułu samego EEG ok. 10mld euro. A koszta rozbudowy sieci? A co z energią niepotrzebną?

    A co ze stojącymi ciągle pod parą elektrowniami węglowymi? A co z dopłatami do RD?

    5. Pierwszy raz słyszę taki argument, jakoby ilość wody miała być problemem. Nie widze powodu dla którego typowa e. atomowa musiałaby

    zużywać więcej wody niż węglowa, czy słoneczna termalna. Ponadto w Polsce planujemy postawić elektrownię nad Bałtykiem.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/cooling_power_plants_inf121.html

  2. I would prefer a discussion in English, since my blog is written in this language.

    ciężko podać bezpieczną wartość, gdyż zawsze będą choć trochę radioaktywne, ale mówimy powiedzmy o 1000 lat, więc z perspektywy geologicznej jest to mrugnięcie oka

    Halflifes:
    Np-237: 2.144(7)×10^6 years
    U-234: 246,000 years
    Pu-238: 87.7 years
    Am-241: 432.2 years

    How do you come to the result that after about 1000 years this waste won’t be harmful anymore? Furthermore, there is a significant difference between geologic and human perspective: do we know what humanity is going to be like in even 1000 years’ future? How to prevent them from harming themselves with the radioactive waste we’ve left behind?

    Warto tutaj wspomnieć o obłudzie Zielonych, gdyż podobne Endlager istnieją dla odpadów toksycznych.

    You are right in pointing out that disposal of toxic waste is a huge, mostly ignored problem. However, let me say to things: first, most toxic wastes can be made harmless through chemical treatment, although at a very high cost. Secondly: I am not “Greens”. It is wrong that toxic wastes receive that little attention, but I don’t see why you try to use this argument against me.

    Sugerujesz też zupełnie niesłusznie jakoby kraje inne od Kanady i Australii były eksploatowane i skażane.

    Angola? Niger? They are large uranium exporters and the safety standards there are very low.

    Sama ruda uranowa często występuje blisko powierzchni (albo i na powierzchni, też i u nas w Polsce) i jest bardzo, bardzo słabo radioaktywna.

    What about all the pitmen who had worked in the Wismut uranium mines in Eastern Germany and then died of cancer?

    nie róbmy z operatorów atomówek idiotów, że budują elektrownię na 60 lat, a nie wiedzą, czy starczy paliwa.

    As you said yourself, nuclear power stations are very profitable. So, their operators don’t have to pay that much attention to how long exactly uranium will last. Furthermore, why should they know it exactly? Nobody does. It depends on too many factors (from political and legal regimes to prices and the like). I don’t know whether we are approaching peak uranium or not. But we should take account of the possibility that we are.

    Akurat w przypadku elektrowni wiatrowych i słonecznych oznacza to konieczność budowania gigantycznych i superkosztownych sieci transmisyjnych zdolnych wytrzymać rozchwianie przez te OZE.

    And this is an argument in favour of nuclear power? I guess, I missed something. I am aware that the transition to renewables will be dire.

    W Niemczech jest gigantyczny problem transferu e. wiatrowej z północy na południe i słonecznej w odwrotnym kierunku.

    This is rather a political than a technological problem.

    Na samo projektowanie nowych typów reaktorów itp. obecnie nie wydaje się praktycznie żadnych pieniędzy.

    I recently saw a chart for Germany showing exactly the opposite. I’ll link it when I find it. Furthermore, there is the cost of seeking a site for final disposal, borne by the public.

    Nie sądzę, aby elektrownie III/IV generacji wybuchały co roku.

    I know that you won’t like this one, but: before Fukushima, would you have expected a BWR to blow up?

    Pierwszy raz słyszę taki argument, jakoby ilość wody miała być problemem.

    Is it a compliment…? I mainly meant cooling problems in Southern countries, not in Poland or else in Europe.

    • Halflifes:
      Np-237: 2.144(7)×10^6 years
      U-234: 246,000 years
      Pu-238: 87.7 years
      Am-241: 432.2 years

      How do you come to the result that after about 1000 years this waste won’t be harmful anymore?

      Furthermore, there is a significant difference between geologic and human perspective: do we know what

      humanity is going to be like in even 1000 years’ future? How to prevent them from harming themselves with

      the radioactive waste we’ve left behind?

      Yeah I can come up with some even longer half-lifes too.

      http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf103.html#Point5

      I said it’s only an approximation. Actually I’d say the HLW in it’s endform (stored in glass etc.) is inherently safe, unless you plan on eating it (just like trying to eat you cars accumulator), because I see no way you would get in contact with it. I also don’t see any way how people in 1000 years would harm themselves, unless you predict some kind of nuclear war where all the knowledge and cultural references (like the radioactivity sign) are lost, the buildings up on the earth levelled and then they somehow drill exactly in the same place, find those canisters, decide to pulverise them (without checking the radioactivity first) and eat them.

      You are right in pointing out that disposal of toxic waste is a huge, mostly ignored problem. However,

      let me say to things: first, most toxic wastes can be made harmless through chemical treatment, although

      at a very high cost. Secondly: I am not “Greens”. It is wrong that toxic wastes receive that little

      attention, but I don’t see why you try to use this argument against me.

      The waste I’m talking about is NOT neutralized (why would they dispose it then as highly toxic waste, eh?).
      I’m bringing up this argument because it shows that the disposal on a large scale is technically possible.

      Angola? Niger? They are large uranium exporters and the safety standards there are very low.

      They are only minor producers. Do you have any proof of any large scale pollution? Or maybe a comparison if the uranium mining was any more dangerous than any other kind of mining?

      What about all the pitmen who had worked in the Wismut uranium mines in Eastern Germany and then

      died of cancer?

      Don’t you have any more recent cases? Yeah I know that IN BADLY VENTILATED/EQUiPPED UNDERGROUND URANIUM MINES (do such still exists?) there is a high concentration of radon gas, which might be dangerous over very long exposure time. Generally in badly equipped mines there are many risks and radon in uranium mines is a minor one (also in Wismut). Just to name few: Pneumoconiosis, methan explosions, rock bursts, toxic exposure… I still don’t see how uranium mining is more dangerous than any other kind of mining. Well it’s safer than mining for hydrocarbons.

      As you said yourself, nuclear power stations are very profitable. So, their operators don’t have to pay

      that much attention to how long exactly uranium will last. Furthermore, why should they know it exactly?

      Nobody does. It depends on too many factors (from political and legal regimes to prices and the like). I

      don’t know whether we are approaching peak uranium or not. But we should take account of the possibility

      that we are.

      So if it’s still profitable to run thermal reactors then why not allowing them???

      And this is an argument in favour of nuclear power? I guess, I missed something. I am aware that the

      transition to renewables will be dire.

      Actually it is. Renewables aren’t an alternative to a nuclear plants.

      W Niemczech jest gigantyczny problem transferu e. wiatrowej z północy na południe i słonecznej w

      odwrotnym kierunku.

      This is rather a political than a technological problem.

      It’s an economical problem. Ow well the Dumme Michel might pay more as well and by the time the new networks aren’t finished the current network might not go kapput.

      I recently saw a chart for Germany showing exactly the opposite. I’ll link it when I find it.

      Furthermore, there is the cost of seeking a site for final disposal, borne by the public.

      You have your answer here:
      http://www.kernenergie.de/kernenergie/documentpool/Aug-Sept/atw2011_0809_weis_forschungsfoerderung_1956-2010.pdf

      I recommend you to read the whole article, because what you’re saying about the seeking of the disposal is not true.

      Anyway why not bringing up the special nuclear power tax – Bennstoffsteuer?

      I know that you won’t like this one, but: before Fukushima, would you have expected a BWR to blow up?

      Actually? No. Why? Because it required a nationwide destruction and huge damage to the powerplant itself. I’d expect that in case of a power shortage/cooling problems there would be help from outside of the plant. Maybe in case of a war and carpet bombing there would be enough destruction to make such help impossible…
      Anyway the new reactor designs are much more secure, than the first generation of commercial reactors.

      Is it a compliment…? I mainly meant cooling problems in Southern countries, not in Poland or else in Europe.

      Not a compliement, but I don’t think it’s a problem. Of course nuclear power should be used when it’s economically viable. I’m just trying to dedemonize it.
      Did you read the link I provided? Basically it says that there is only a slightly higher usage of water in nuclear plants. There are also technologies that can greatly reduce the water consumption/allow using sea water.

  3. It’s not [quote], but “blockquote” in angle brackets.

    The waste I’m talking about is NOT neutralized

    I know. There are huge amounts of quite “unpleasant” things down there. I just meant that much of that may be neutralized. And I think this would be better than storing it underground, even though the cost would be very high.

    With regard to your other arguments: I must admit that I currently have not enough free-time to check them more thoroughly. I guess, nuclear power is the other subject (along with GMO) which I have to reassess. But this must wait a bit.

    Feel free to comment other things on this blog. I usually don’t get much traffic.

  4. They are only minor producers.

    Niger is, at least, the 5th largest source of uranium in the world (8% of world production). Namibia (I confused it with Angola) is the 6th at 7%. Kazakhstan is 3rd at 16%. So, your proposition that most of uranium comes from the “white world” is only conditionally right.

    One more thing about geological stability of final disposal sites: since you seem to know much about Germany (do you live here?), you should know about Asse. There is a lot of radioactive waste in there (nobody knows exactly, how much). Although initially thought to be appropriate for final storage, now there is a rush to haul out the waste before the site breaks down. Decisions about final storage sites are always also political decisions, with all the negative potential consequences.

    It’s an economical problem.

    I don’t quite agree. The money is there – see, e.g., the big infrastructure projects of the State owned Deutsche Bahn. The network is in a bad shape, either, especially due to the deficient connection between ex-GDR and the Western part of the country. However, public concern about the plans to build new high-voltage transmission lines seems to be the main obstacle, along with lack of political will.

  5. Niger is, at least, the 5th largest source of uranium in the world (8% of world production). Namibia (I confused it with

    Angola) is the 6th at 7%. Kazakhstan is 3rd at 16%. So, your proposition that most of uranium comes from the “white world” is only

    conditionally right.

    You’re not saying anything I wouldn’t know and I’m still keeping my opinion. I also wouldn’t place Kazahstan in the same league as Niger or Nambia.
    You still didn’t provide any proof that there is some technological process during mining uranium that poses a danger to the enviroment and people. And I mean a big one, because any kind of mining is somewhat dangerous, but if we didn’t do it we would still stick in the stoneage. Given how poor those african countries you named are, they are probably very, very happy to have this industry there.

    One more thing about geological stability of final disposal sites: since you seem to know much about Germany (do you live here?), you should know about Asse. There is a lot of radioactive waste in there (nobody knows exactly, how much). Although initially thought to be appropriate for final storage, now there is a rush to haul out the waste before the site breaks down. Decisions about final storage sites are always also political decisions, with all the negative potential consequences.

    Every time I hear this question (I heard it billion times. You can’t have contact to Germany and not have heard, but no, I don’t live there) I want to punch the asking person really hard. But probably you don’t know the story behind it. First of all it’s not HLW repository, so you shouldn’t compare them. Secondly they KNEW very well for decades that there will be water breaches (and there were long before it was turned into LLW repository), because the salt barrier was largely mined out to the point where it was
    penetrated. You may ask why did they do it then? Well go back to point 1. Almost all the waste is low level waste and there for hardly any threat to health or not at all. Therefor they didn’t care that much about it, especially given how deep underground it is (still far away from the biosphere even with the water there) and that they predicted that it may take decades for it to lose its stability, which means that some more water may get in (still no end of the world coming). But what they didn’t expect was the increase in the German radiophobia and that it would be made to a political question. I don’t see that much politics when it comes to the disposal of toxic waste.
    PS. There is precise data about the amount of waste disposed.

    I don’t quite agree. The money is there – see, e.g., the big infrastructure projects of the State owned Deutsche Bahn. The network is in a bad shape, either, especially due to the deficient connection between ex-GDR and the Western part of the country. However, public concern about the plans to build new high-voltage transmission lines seems to be the main obstacle, along with lack of political will.

    I don’t think that the public has that much power to block the building of the new lines. The reason that the German e. network worsen so fast is because of the closing of some nuclear plants that supplied a constant amount of electricity while at the same time more renewable sources were added. Now it’s just the question of time and money (which in the end will be paid by the German citizens) to build new connections.

  6. You still didn’t provide any proof that there is some technological process during mining uranium that poses a danger to the enviroment and people.

    You are right. After having read a little bit I have not found any serious indications of why uranium mining should be more dangerous than any other kind of mining (not that I am a friend of mining, I think that it should be constrained to what is really necessary, but this does not influence your argument).

    Given how poor those african countries you named are, they are probably very, very happy to have this industry there.

    Even though this is a completely different issue: have you ever heard of the so-called “resource curse”? I bet they are happy, but I am not sure whether they rightly are.

    First of all it’s not HLW repository

    That’s true. I cannot assess the potential health hazards from various kinds of nuclear waste, but at first glance it seems that you are right. Unfortunately, as I already stressed, I currently have not enough time to dig deeper into the subject. However, I must admit that my information I used in the post was at best incomplete.

    PS. There is precise data about the amount of waste disposed.

    I read that the documentation is partly incomplete.

    I don’t think that the public has that much power to block the building of the new lines.

    Probably they are not able to block anything, but they seem to have enough power to delay it (especially when supported by municipal authorities – I know of such cases in Thuringia).

    The reason that the German e. network worsen so fast is because of the closing of some nuclear plants that supplied a constant amount of electricity while at the same time more renewable sources were added.

    Even if (I am not convinced that the reason is that simple), then the problem would have emerged even without the closing of nuclear power plants – because of climate change we have to curb fossil fuel use, so base load would have to be reduced either.

  7. I have been thinking about our discussion and would like to add two thoughts to my last comment.

    First, I still don’t understand the logic behind first building nuclear power plants (on a vast scale worldwide) and then looking for a possible final disposal site. Actually, it should have been the other way around. And it appears stupid to me to produce more and more of that waste as we still don’t have a final disposal site (running).

    Secondly, you have pointed to the need to invest heavy sums of money into modernizing the transmission grid in Germany. I think, here too, we have to do with a kind of fallacy on the side of the decision-makers and planners. On the one hand, (virtually) all want renewables due to their clear environmental and partly also health and economic benefits. So we build one windfarm and PV site after another. However, at the same time we are still sticking to the old baseload power paradigm. Renewables are hardly compatible with it (including the conventional structure of a grid). For them to make sense, one need real decentralization (as far as this is possible, of course), viz. possibly local generation of electricity. At least at the household level, this is not that difficult. But a paradigm shift would be needed.

  8. I recently saw a chart for Germany showing exactly the opposite.

    I found it again. It was data from the BMBF (Ministry of Education and Research). And it does not really confirm your claims. It is here.

  9. First, I still don’t understand the logic behind first building nuclear power plants (on a vast scale worldwide) and then looking for a possible final disposal site. Actually, it should have been the other way around. And it appears stupid to me to produce more and more of that waste as we still don’t have a final disposal site (running).

    -for the ease of reprocessing and storage the fuel it has to be first stored on the surface for about 50 years
    -the amounts of spent fuel are so limited that we can handle them easily with surface storage

    I found it again. It was data from the BMBF (Ministry of Education and Research). And it does not really confirm your claims. It is here.

    Yeah and it says pretty much the same as my link from kernenergie.de, but mine explains it in more detail.
    Your point was that the nuclear power is heavily subsidized, especially in R&D. So I provided a link showing that in fact the nuclear receives only “peanuts” compared to the subventions of renewables R&D and their “direct” subventions (although the system of the subventions is so created that it is impossible to make exact estimates).

  10. the amounts of spent fuel are so limited that we can handle them easily with surface storage

    Why don’t we just do it then? You can say than in Germany it is due to some kind of “radiophobia”, but what about France? The US? As far as I know, no country has decided to store the waste on surface indefinately.

    the nuclear receives only “peanuts”

    You call half the amount for renewables (or some 100 million € p.a., in absolute terms) “peanuts”? I haven’t claimed that renewables get less – it is the right thing that they get more, if you ask me. Nonetheless, nuke still gets a lot of funding.

  11. Why don’t we just do it then? You can say than in Germany it is due to some kind of “radiophobia”, but what about France? The US? As far as I know, no country has decided to store the waste on surface indefinately.

    Yeah why don’t they do it just like with millions of tons of toxic waste that will never be safe? Obviously because of political reasons.
    The radiophobia is a worldwide phenomenon with more or less “green” parties being in every parliament and preventing the solution of the waste problem. They don’t actually give a fuck about the safety or anything, all they want is for the debate to still exists. You ask about US – ever heard about Yucca Mountain? It’s finished and could have been opened many years ago, but now for no technical reason it’s not allowed.
    Also to make it more clear for you: the fact that the HLW waste should rest about 50 years on the surface before disposing it means that for the waste from the first commercial reactors (60s, but more were build much later) the need for a disposal site starts to appear just now.
    Why no one has decided to store it on surface? Well technically it’s possible and it’s a viable option. No politician would make such a declaration because the green opposition would go berserk. Of course couple hundreds of meters of salt and rock would provide more safety. Probably in a decade or two there will be some HLW underground depositories.

    You call half the amount for renewables (or some 100 million € p.a., in absolute terms) “peanuts”? I haven’t claimed that renewables get less – it is the right thing that they get more, if you ask me. Nonetheless, nuke still gets a lot of funding.

    If you take a look on my data then it’s even less than 100mln €, but that’s not the point. Yes it is peanuts given how much electricity is generated with nuclear power. In 2010 Germany produced 140TWH. 100mln€/140TWH=7,14*10^-7 €/kwh (if I didn’t make any mistake), not to mention profits from selling nuclear technology. Moreover 2011 the new Brennelementensteuer taxed the nuclear power plants with 2,3 billion €.
    Why am I comparing nuclear power with renewables? Because any debate about subsidizing one energy form is incomplete without mentioning subsidizing of other energy sources.

  12. They don’t actually give a fuck about the safety or anything

    Could we let “arguments” ad personam (especially when they are thus generalizing: I know a lot of Greens since I am one and most of them really care – whether rightly or not is another issue) out?

    I have heard about Yucca Mountain but not much, so I cannot assess whether this really was a political decision. I also know that the Finns are just building a final deposit site.

    the fact that the HLW waste should rest about 50 years on the surface before disposing it means that for the waste from the first commercial reactors (60s, but more were build much later) the need for a disposal site starts to appear just now

    I know this. But it doesn’t change the strange logic for me.

    (if I didn’t make any mistake)

    You did, although it is a minor one (its some 0,07 ct per kWh), not much changing the picture.

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