nuclear power

stuff written to watts 20110402
When a wind turbine explodes you do not get a 20km radius of land made uninhabitable for generations.

When a wind turbine explodes you can go and reclaim the rare earth magnets (if used), steel and copper and recycle them.

UK gov subsidies creating 550 jobs - if these jobs were not created then there would be 550 more people claiming beneits from the same gov. What is the differential?

Wind turbines do not all use rare earth magnets (see the Enercon technical manual.)

Wind turbines do not all use gear boxes (see the Enercon technical manual.)

Wind turbines can be low noise (see the Enercon technical manual.)

Wind turbines in Japan are still operating well after the earthquake.

No wind supporter expects massive reduction in conventional generating capacity - you will still need some generators idleing ready in seconds (just as at present- nucear plant scramming in seconds requires replacement capacity available to fill the hole in seconds), some ready for action in hours and some as long term backup i case of gas/oil/nuclear failure.

However as gas becomes more scarce (coal, nuclear, oil generators can be phased out) it seems sensible to use low cost, low polution sources of energy to preserve the reserves of gas until someone comes up with a fusion reactor!

Wind turbines do not suddenly remove GW of capacity from the grid - wind does not suddenly stop over vast areas.

Plant Availability
About 3 times better than wind power.

Worth noting is that the  national grids have to have instantly available reserve capacity to allow for the sudden power down of its largest plant. For example UK has pumped storage systems that can handle (approximately ) sizewell B scramming but not Sizewell+Longannet as happened in 2008:
By using distributed sources e.g. Wind turbines the maximum loss for one site is much less.
Power Plant age
What will be interesting over the next few years is the sudden increase in decommissioning  required. Life is usually 25 to 30 years but France has increased theirs by 10 years. So in the next few years about 70 stations will be up for decommissioning (those older than 35 years)

Cost of decommissioning
In USA many utilities estimates now average $325 million per reactor all-up (1998 $).
In France, decommissioning of Brennilis Nuclear Power Plant, a fairly small 70 MW power plant, already cost 480 million euros (20x the estimate costs) and is still pending after 20 years. Despite the huge investments in securing the dismantlement, radioactive elements such as Plutonium, Cesium-137 and Cobalt-60 leaked out into the surrounding lake.[62][63]
In the UK, decommissioning of Windscale Advanced Cooled Reactor (WAGR), a 32 MW power plant, cost 117 million euros.
In Germany, decommissioning of Niederaichbach nuclear power plant, a 100 MW power plant, amounted to more than 143 million euros.

The reality of France's aggressive nuclear power push