Monday, 27 September 2010

PopAtomic Studios and thinking about nuclear



You may have noticed the fantastic new Nuclear Britain banner. Many thanks go to Suzanne and the team over a PopAtomic Studios for generously creating it. 

Many positive things have already been said about the aims and efforts of the PopAtomic team, but I want to add some more.

I see the chief aim of PopAtomic as being to provoke viewers of their art into further investigation and better understanding of nuclear power.

This effort is absolutely crucial for the future of nuclear power.

Since the dawn of the atomic age itself the general public has been told what to think and feel about nuclear power. In times past this may have been in a positive but fearful way, such as with the propaganda of the cold war. In present times many organizations exist solely to spread fear and misinformation on nuclear power. Again telling you what to feel and think

As the beautifully elegant and to the point artwork above says..."Think".

Think for yourself and investigate the benefits and reality of nuclear.

Please checkout the great work being done over at PopAtomic.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

EDM 557 and Britain's need for nuclear.

A British parliament 'early day motion' recently came to my attention. It is entitled "INQUIRY INTO NEW NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS".

These motions seldom get discussed but an interesting point regarding the British need for nuclear power is raised.

I will discuss one major point below while the full text of the motion can be found here EDM 557.

therefore calls on the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to suspend any decision to build new nuclear power stations and to commence immediately a parliamentary and public investigation into the need for new nuclear power stations and related matters including their cost, their effect on electricity prices and on fuel bills, and on whether they, or the alternatives to nuclear, are the best ways to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and to create jobs in the energy sector.
The majority of our electricity is produced all year round by the burning of fossil fuels. Our few operational Nuclear power stations ensure that around 12-15% of this electricity is produced in a carbon free way. Wind and hydro contribute some 2% to this carbon free energy production.

Public investigations aside, do this figures not clearly demonstrate the clear and present need for getting the new nuclear builds underway as soon as possible?


Here is a graph of today's electricity generation.


  The graph shows how much electricity the various types of generation stations provided for each thirty-minute "settlement period" throughout the day (this is today's information).

The important bit is to take note of the contributions between nuclear and fossil fuels. Nuclear throughout the day provided a pretty steady 5000 Megawatts. The coal and gas stations (yellow and khaki?) provided at most points during the day remaining 73% of the required generation.

Interestingly at times of lower demand such as the weekends we in Britain actually purchase around 5% of our required electricity from France. France apparently has a surplus of inexpensive electricity to sell (I wonder if that has anything to do with 75% of it being generated by nuclear?). This is the blue bar you can see.

Wind (orange) and hydro (blue) make up the remainder. 

So back to my point. Do we want to turn this graph around and have 75% generated by carbon free nuclear, and potentially the remainder by wind and hydro? If the answer is yes then we must wholeheartedly commit to getting our new nuclear power stations underway. 

This would seem to answer EDM 557's question quite clearly. Do we need nuclear in Britain? Resoundingly, YES.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Nuclear and wind. Strange bedfellows?

Why are nuclear power and the energy sources typically called 'alternative' usually considered strange bedfellows?

What are some the reasons that 'alternatives' such as wind and tidal power frequently go head to head?

Are the reasons usually driven by the financial agendas of the big business' protecting their future profits? Maybe there is some fundamental incompatibility between 'alternatives' and nuclear.

I will investigate some hard numbers on this question for a future post.

My personal observation is that alternatives and nuclear appear to be complimentary. It appears to me that the real source of friction between the two comes from a third party.

That party would seem to be the current dominant force in Britain's and indeed the worlds energy supply. Fossil fuels. In Britain this comprises natural gas and coal.

The gas and coal based energy suppliers have the most to lose should the nuclear and alternative 'camps' unite.

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