Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tell It: Nuclear Power NOT "Carbon Free" Nor "Low-Cost", and CAN be replaced w/ no-to-low emission sources

I have compiled the following information on the 3 Talking Points most often heard from SoCal Edison/San Onofre boosters: San Onofre's Nuclear Power is "carbon free" and "low cost", can't be replaced by "intermittent" solar and wind power, and natural gas plants will increase CO2/greenhouse gas emissions. Please make use of these documented nuggets of truth to counter the ignorance spread by SoCal Edison, a monopoly to which its customers are chained by California law. WE pay for SoCal Edison's and SDG&E's shareholders' profit on OUR investment paid through our electricity bills. "Privatize profit, socialize losses", indeed.

Martha Sullivan, Organizer
Coalition to Decommission San Onofre

1. Whenever nuclear power plants are talked about as "carbon free", point out the TRUE carbon footprint of nuclear power. "

A life cycle analyses (LCA) carried out by Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith came to the following result: Electricity from atomic energy emits 90 to 140 g CO2 per kWh of electricity produced.

"The relatively high range of uncertainty is due to the different grade of ores used. It depends on how rich the ores are that are used to obtain the Uranium. For poor ores, the higher value does apply and for rich ores, the lower value does apply. This leads to an interesting issue: The world-wide reserves for Uranium are a very limited resource. It is estimated to last for about 50 to 70 years with the current demand. If additional nuclear reactors are built, the supply will last correspondingly shorter. The higher the demand for Uranium, the more and more poor ores will have to be processed. This however will lead to a CO2 balance for atomic power, which gets worse and worse over time.

"Storm and Smith in the above mentioned life cycle analysis came to the conclusion, that between the years 2050 (if additional nuclear power stations are built) and 2075 (no additional nuclear reactors) the CO2 emissions of electricity from atomic energy will be higher as the same electricity produced by a gas burning plant! So nuclear energy can definitely not be the solution to mitigate the effects of global warming!

"Let's compare the CO2 emissions to produce 1 kWh of electricity by different technologies:

Technology/ g CO2 per kWh electricity

Solar power, water power and wind power
10 - 40
Nuclear power plants
90 - 140
Combined heat and power in private houses
220 - 250
Gas burning plants
330 - 360
New coal burning plants
1'000 - 1'100"

2. Whenever nuclear power plants are talked about as providing the "lowest-cost electricity", point out the TRUE cost of nuclear power.

 "The efforts to consolidate the radioactive waste of one nuclear power plant in a safe manner will require investments of energy, materials and economic power of the same order of magnitude as the investments during the operational lifetime of the reactor. After closedown of a nuclear power plants a massive energy debt is left to society, increasing over time due to the unavoidable deterioration of the temporary storage facilities and increasing leaks.
"This debt cannot be written off as incollectable, like a financial debt, because the health of millions of people is at stake. If it goes wrong with the radioactive heritage of a nuclear power plant - and it will go wrong if nothing is done - it will go terribly wrong. We just cannot move millions of people to another, not contaminated region. Obviously the economy will also suffer a heavy setback in case of a severe accident. The chance of such accidents increase with time.

"Nuclear power delivers energy on credit."

3. Whenever SoCal Edison/San Onofre boosters talk about how they need their electricity rates to "stay low", point out the TRUE rates being paid by SoCal Edison customers compared to others in California. 

SoCal Edison's electricity rates (with 80% ownership of San Onofre) are 50% higher than those of L.A. Dept. of Water and Power (which owns less than 7% of Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant) and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (which decommissioned Rancho Seco over 20 years ago after a public referendum).

4. Whenever nuclear power boosters say, "Replacing nuclear power means increasing CO2 emissions and solar/wind is intermittent," point out the TRUE state of the current energy marketplace, which is DISTRIBUTED generation near the point of use, for greater reliability and efficiency.

a. Fuel Cells
"Fuel cells are fundamentally more efficient than combustion systems, achieving 40% to more than 50% fuel-to-electricity efficiency when using hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas or pure hydrogen, depending on the type of fuel cell and the application. High efficiency is an inherent advantage for fuel cells because they use the chemical energy of a fuel directly, without combustion. Hybrids, such as systems that combine high temperature fuel cells with a turbine, can operate at electrical efficiencies estimated at more than 60%, higher than even the most efficient combined cycle turbine plants now available.

"When the fuel cell is sited near the point of use, waste heat can be captured for cogeneration, where it can be used to provide hot water, space heating, or cooling. This combined heat and power (CHP) installation can deliver 80% to 90% overall fuel efficiency. Heat can also be used for refrigeration using absorption chillers, as supermarkets installing fuel cells are opting to do. In buildings, fuel cell cogeneration units can reduce facility energy service costs by 20% to 40% compared to conventional energy technologies."

b. Solar Rooftops
As of the Summer of 2012, the CA Public Utilities Commission reported that California is generating 1,255 MW of electricity from 122,516 rooftops (more than one of the San Onofre Units). Rooftop solar installation can be done in a matter of months, not the years that power plant construction requires. The CA Air Resources Board estimated in June 2010 that 150 permanent jobs are created for each 100 megawatt (MW) of local solar added. As an indication of the growth potential of this job sector, in San Diego County, we have only installed 2% (or 140 MW) of rooftop and parking lot capacity -- this is a GROWTH industry!

c. "Intermittent" Solar and Wind Power
Southern California experiences about 290 days of sunshine per year, and "peak use" of electricity occurs from 10 am to 6 pm, which happens to be the peak time for sunshine, too (noting November-February shorter daylight, also lower electricity demand) . Wind tends to rise overnight, which complements solar's daytime production, as well as during stormy weather. A microcosm of this symbiotic relationship can be found in a suburban tract home in Oceanside, CA (north San Diego County), which is nearing 1 Year completely off the grid, using solar rooftop to charge batteries during the day, a micro-wind turbine to charge batteries overnight, and energy efficient appliances.

d. Re-THINK Not Re-Start
We need to update our electricity grid to reflect the innovations in electricity production, which are DISTRIBUTED, not centralized. Electrical engineers know how to do this, and THIS should be a focus of our technological innovation, NOT making our future fit the constraints of the archaic technologies of the 20th Century. For example, from the trade journal Power Engineering: "Converting an obsolete synchronous generator to a synchronous condenser is a viable, economical alternative to retiring the unit. As the condenser is a rotating device, it can also provide short circuit support in addition to reactive power capacity. While converting the unit requires a system-level approach and custom engineering, the result can greatly extend the generator’s useful lifespan. For the community, a conversion to a synchronous condenser can provide electrical system voltage support resulting in a stable source of electric power."

Tell It: Nuclear Power NOT "Carbon Free" Nor "Low-Cost", and CAN be replaced w/ no-to-low emission sources (facebook note)

see also

whats up: "Nukes are not carbon-free" | C.A.N. Coalition Against Nukes
whats up: NO NUKES • #RE_TOOL NOW

Gary Shaw photo

C.A.N. Coalition Against Nukes at #ForwardOnClimate Rally

#BustTheMyth :: You can't Nuke Global Warming :: C.A.N. Coalition Against Nukes 
Nukes are NOT clean, #green, safe, or affordableC.A.N. Coalition Against Nukes

whats up: photos: Coalition Against Nukes U.S.A. joins with Forward on Climate! to Bust the Nuclear Myth in Washington D.C.

anti-nukes at #ForwardOnClimate recognized by New York Times

whats up: Coalition Against Nukes U.S.A. joins with Forward on Climate! to Bust the Nuclear Myth in Washington D.C. | whats up: 2.17 #BustTheMyth :: Forward on Climate Rally

#BustTheMyth (twitter) 

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