Post by engineerpoet on Aug 9, 2019 23:47:37 GMT 9.5
The "waste" problem is easily taken care of by separating the used fuel into recovered uranium, recovered plutonium and other transuranics, short-lived fission products (up to Sr-90) and long-lived FPs (Tc-99 and I-129, mostly). The first two get recycled, the last goes into a salt dome somewhere and you package #3 so it won't leak and just sit on it.
I don't know if you get Cerenkov radiation in glass (there appear to be glass Cerenkov detectors for charged particles, so I guess you do) so my fantasy is to put the beta and gamma emitters inside blocks of lead crystal and stacking them on a concrete pad in a desert somewhere with a screen of lead crystal blocks on the outside. The waste would just sit there, glowing away as its own self-powered warning sign. It might pay for itself as a tourist attraction.
According to this AEMO sponsored study, in particular the state of Victoria faces blackout risks this coming summer. No surprise there. Note that so-called renewables are gently chided for the inability to keep the air conditioners going.
Concentrates mostly on South Australia, hardly representative of the NEM states as a whole. Furthermore, only considers so-called baseload generators, perhaps ignorant of SMRs. Altogether a disappointment but I fear with some influence.
"Nuclear power not the answer as renewables continue to boom in Australia, report finds"
(I put in quotation marks because it is the title given by the ABC (media), not a summary of the article by David.) The so-called "report" and "audit" are the work of one man, a spin-doctor for renewables with the Orwellian title of "Climate and Energy Director" of a left-wing think-tank. The article quotes him as saying that the wind-heavy "power grid in South Australia is effectively eliminating the need for so-called "baseload" supply, the type typically supplied by coal or nuclear."
That's putting lipstick on a pig. More accurately, the amplitude of the noisy output from wind is so great that it cannot be buffered by varying the spin of steam-driven generators inside the state. South Australia averages ~1.3 GW of demand, with supply alternately being imported from or exported to the rest of the Eastern Australian grid. Most of the backup for SA wind is in fact fossil-generated in Victoria, a thousand or so kilometres to the east. Critically, the phase for SA power is often stabilised in Victoria, so when the link goes down, South Australia goes down, regardless of the windmills.
The article goes on to say that the audit found that "for 44 hours during the month of July, South Australia generated enough wind and solar energy to power 100 per cent of its own demand, with some left over for export to eastern states." An unsuspecting reader is being led to believe that – – for a study period of 44 hours, SA used no fossil power at all, – wind and solar between them are able to continuously supply smooth electricity on demand, – solar is able to supply a significant fraction of 1.3 GW during midwinter, – simultaneously, there is enough spare capacity to supply the eastern states when they needed it.
In case visitors to this thread think that is honest analysis, let me spell out the deceptions. – Wind and solar are always, always intermittent, not continuous. For a total of only 44 hours (6% of the best month, 0.5% of the year) were they generating output near and above 1.3 GW, with the intermittent excess being exported, uninvited and unwelcome into Victoria, using the fossil-fired steam generators there as buffer. – July is midwinter in that Mediterranean climate, with winter rainclouds and good westerly winds. Wind at its best. Solar would have made a trivial contribution, even in the shortened daytime, so it is wind, not wind-and-solar. Still hot summer nights have neither. – The excess generation exported to Victoria would have been even more noisy than Victoria's own wind generators because what constancy there would have been in SA would have been kept for a semblance of electricity-on-demand in SA. Generation in the eastern states is many times more, but their wind component is increasing too, decreasing their capacity to absorb dumped wind power surges from SA.
Notice that the spin-doctor avoids including gas along with coal and nuclear as a source of steam. In Australia gas is sacrosanct. Not only does gas keep the windmills turning, liquefied natural gas is also a major export. No one dares speak of natural gas as an enemy of the greenhouse and even methane is rarely mentioned in greenhouse discussions. The Left frequently speaks of "coal and nuclear" as the enemies of the environment, when in fact they are the enemies of gas. Both sides of politics instead speak of reducing coal as though it is "coal dioxide" that causes global warming.
The next episode in the saga of the fragile South Australia grid. Diesel powered open cycle turbines are eventually to be moved to a location with a natural gas connection. Still, it is unclear to me how these units can ever be profitable.
Unclear to me how interties to South Australia and also Victoria are to compensate for a shut-down coal burner in New South Wales. Both of those states have recently had difficulties keeping the air conditioners going on their own.
Something about new solar and wind farms planned for inland.
"catastrophic failure if Australia adopts nuclear energy"
With a PhD in nuclear physics, Ziggy Switkowski may have been cajoled with a loaded question into using the term in the mathematical sense, of a discontinuity in a continuous function. That is, when a twig is bent past its elastic limit, it suffers catastrophic failure, and goes "snap!". Similarly, when a nuclear reactor is pushed past its recovery limit and suffers permanent damage, its function has undergone a catastrophic failure. Needless to say, it may be a catastrophe for the reactor, but it would not be a catastrophe for Australia. With such insinuation, the reporter is able to deliver a juicy ain't-it-'orrible quotation of the sort the antinuclear community wants to read.
However, Ziggy is not a naive laboratory boffin but an experienced leader in business and politics, including leading the UMPNER* review of 2006. It is quite possible that he was practising the art of the politically possible, by throwing gigawatt-scale reactors to the wolves so that the small modular reactors might survive.
If anyone in Australia is fit to judge that gigawatt scale reactors have no immediate future** in Australia, it would be Ziggy. Instead, he is focusing our attention on preparing the ground for the introduction of SMRs.
Unclear ...how interties to South Australia and also Victoria are to compensate for a shut-down coal burner in New South Wales.
If the shutdown coal burning steam plant were to be replaced with a large, new steam plant, all of the peripheral support (water supply, grid connections, staff, etc) could continue. Moreover, an intertie connection to South Australia would provide phase, backup and spinning reserve to the wind-dominated state. Without specifying whether gas, coal or nuclear is to provide the steam, here is talk that something may be happening…
St Baker told Guardian Australia: “I think making Liddell an exclusive baseload power precinct and paying all the existing generators for spinning reserve that they’ve never been paid for could give AGL or any purchaser of Liddell a better business case to keep it going for as long as it can keep going, and not retiring it until it is replaced by a like for like baseload plant providing 24/7 power.”
If the shutdown coal burning steam plant were to be replaced with a large, new steam plant, all of the peripheral support (water supply, grid connections, staff, etc) could continue. Moreover, an intertie connection to South Australia would provide phase, backup and spinning reserve to the wind-dominated state.
Without that replacement plant that would leave SA basically a parasite on its neighbors, using their plants for balancing and likely not compensating them properly for it.
That appears to be more or less the situation of California, which has exported much of its emissions from both electric generation and manufacturing and counts itself virtuous. Meanwhile, Chinese manufacturing plants shipping to CA probably emit much more than the same manufacturing done in California would.
Post by David B. Benson on Sept 1, 2019 10:47:39 GMT 9.5
engineerpoet --- Liddell is a coal mining district about 200 km north of Sydney and about 850 km east of the SA border. The operation of a power plant there has little effect on South Australia as the only current connection is via Victoria. I suppose that would change with the proposed billion Au dollar transmission line from NSW to the SA border.
...SA basically a parasite on its neighbors, using their plants for balancing and likely not compensating them properly for it.
Quite so. According to StBaker (quoted earlier), the grid operator should be "paying all the existing generators for spinning reserve that they’ve never been paid for".
It seems that the current rules require – but do not pay – steam generators to cut back on production when wind is injecting power, then surge forward when wind drops away. StBaker is proposing a massive steam power station that is always guaranteed payment for cheap constant power, with no disruption by erratic wind power -- by parasites, as EP would have said. Implicitly requiring that wind do its own firming, this would be quite compatible with wind-plus-storage, if the storage was big enough for all contingencies. It is a challenge to the windies to come good on their dreams of massive storage.
Post by engineerpoet on Sept 16, 2019 12:12:08 GMT 9.5
I note that if you copy and paste the text of links such as the above, you avoid the spying redirect inserted into the link itself by "viglink".
I wish proboards would stop this spying, and several other annoying misfeatures like not allowing hard links to specific comments but re-writing them to "scrollTo" attributes. You can't even un-fix the irritating top bar, the instant you scroll in the page it is re-fixed at the top of your window.
Changes are required. Rates go up 10% per annum despite the high penetration of household solar.
Shouldn't that be "rates go up 10% per annum BECAUSE OF the high penetration of household solar"? So long as consumers demand power when they want it and not just when PV is generating it, somebody is going to have to perform that balancing act. The more difficult that balancing act becomes, the more it's going to cost and the more consumers will have to pay for it.
Any true solution has to include making the SOURCE of the problem pay for CREATING the problem. If household solar makes power when nobody needs it and then sleeps on the job when power is required, those households are going to have to accept zero payment for that un-needed power or even pay to put it on the grid. Shift the costs back to the source and the rates for everyone else will go down.