France: The Case for Nuclear

This from the Spectator Index, World Bank data:

Share of electricity produced from oil, gas and coal in 2015. Indonesia: 89% Australia: 86% Netherlands: 82% India: 81% Nigeria: 81% Japan: 80% Saudi: 76% China: 73% Turkey: 67% US: 67% Russia: 65% Italy: 59% Germany: 55% UK: 53% Spain: 43% Brazil: 23% France: 6% (World Bank)

The reason is, of course, nuclear power. They haven't had any accidents, I suppose, and -- this is pure guessing -- but they must not have a very loud green lobby. I think it's a great example of how nuclear can and does replace fossil fuels. Yes, the waste storage problem remains a problem and yes, risks are risks but... Well, the floor's yours. 

@Guillaume Albasini, what do you think? 75%, I think, of France's power comes from nuclear plants. Good or bad?

What does Saudi A get 24% of its power from, by the way? 

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On ‎5‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 11:12 AM, Marina Schwarz said:

This from the Spectator Index, World Bank data:

Share of electricity produced from oil, gas and coal in 2015. Indonesia: 89% Australia: 86% Netherlands: 82% India: 81% Nigeria: 81% Japan: 80% Saudi: 76% China: 73% Turkey: 67% US: 67% Russia: 65% Italy: 59% Germany: 55% UK: 53% Spain: 43% Brazil: 23% France: 6% (World Bank)

The reason is, of course, nuclear power. They haven't had any accidents, I suppose, and -- this is pure guessing -- but they must not have a very loud green lobby. I think it's a great example of how nuclear can and does replace fossil fuels. Yes, the waste storage problem remains a problem and yes, risks are risks but... Well, the floor's yours. 

@Guillaume Albasini, what do you think? 75%, I think, of France's power comes from nuclear plants. Good or bad?

What does Saudi A get 24% of its power from, by the way? 

Must be a typo.

Its solar deployment is still quite low and I don't think it imports electricity which in any case would be from fossil fuels in that region.

 

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I don't know but it's very interesting. They don't have any rivers of large enough size, do they?

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16 minutes ago, Marina Schwarz said:

I don't know but it's very interesting. They don't have any rivers of large enough size, do they?

They don't have any permanent rivers at all.

A few seasonal streams over in the west.

When I was there (2010-12) they were talking about Waste to Energy Plants to dispose of tyres and municipal waste. I suspect that was hot air too.

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Curioser and curioser. I'll look into it if I don't forget.

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On 5/11/2019 at 4:12 AM, Marina Schwarz said:

This from the Spectator Index, World Bank data:

Share of electricity produced from oil, gas and coal in 2015. Indonesia: 89% Australia: 86% Netherlands: 82% India: 81% Nigeria: 81% Japan: 80% Saudi: 76% China: 73% Turkey: 67% US: 67% Russia: 65% Italy: 59% Germany: 55% UK: 53% Spain: 43% Brazil: 23% France: 6% (World Bank)

The reason is, of course, nuclear power. They haven't had any accidents, I suppose, and -- this is pure guessing -- but they must not have a very loud green lobby. I think it's a great example of how nuclear can and does replace fossil fuels. Yes, the waste storage problem remains a problem and yes, risks are risks but... Well, the floor's yours. 

@Guillaume Albasini, what do you think? 75%, I think, of France's power comes from nuclear plants. Good or bad?

What does Saudi A get 24% of its power from, by the way? 

France is now reducing nuclear moving to green.  I will search, but I read France and Germany electricity costs rising due to greening.  Maybe replacing the 40 year old nukes is more costly also.

Renewable energy in France

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Under its commitment to the EU renewable energy directive of 2009, France has a target of producing 23% of its total energy needs from renewable energy by 2020. This figure breaks down to renewable energy providing 33% of energy used in the heating and cooling sector, 27% of the electricity sector and 10.5% in the transport sector. By the end of 2014, 14.3% of France's total energy requirements came from renewable energy, a rise from 9.6% in 2005.[1]

The outlook for renewable electricity in France received a boost following the publication in October 2016 of the "Programmation pluriannuelle de l'énergie", showing a commitment to re-balancing the electricity mix towards renewables. According to the report, renewable electricity capacity is planned to grow from 41 GW in 2014 to between 71 and 78 GW by 2023.[2] Historically the electricity sector in France has been dominated by the country's longstanding commitment to nuclear power. However, the report emphasizes that by 2025 more than half of France's nuclear power capacity will come from stations that will be 40 years or older, and subject to closure or refurbishment to extend their operation. Thus, there is a need to look to other sources, including renewables, to meet the expected generating-capacity shortfall.[3]

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(edited)

On 5/11/2019 at 5:12 AM, Marina Schwarz said:

This from the Spectator Index, World Bank data:

Share of electricity produced from oil, gas and coal in 2015. Indonesia: 89% Australia: 86% Netherlands: 82% India: 81% Nigeria: 81% Japan: 80% Saudi: 76% China: 73% Turkey: 67% US: 67% Russia: 65% Italy: 59% Germany: 55% UK: 53% Spain: 43% Brazil: 23% France: 6% (World Bank)

The reason is, of course, nuclear power. They haven't had any accidents, I suppose, and -- this is pure guessing -- but they must not have a very loud green lobby. I think it's a great example of how nuclear can and does replace fossil fuels. Yes, the waste storage problem remains a problem and yes, risks are risks but... Well, the floor's yours. 

@Guillaume Albasini, what do you think? 75%, I think, of France's power comes from nuclear plants. Good or bad?

What does Saudi A get 24% of its power from, by the way? 

France started a push back in the 70s to become energy independent and now they have some of the lowest electricity costs in Europe with 75% coming from nuclear.

France is in a great position to slowly transition into renewable resources without causing a massive price spike. Their nuclear plants are aging and need updates but they're currently trying to be at 50% nuclear power by 2025. I think this will either cause a price shock with renewables making up the remainder and/or forcing them to fire up the coal plants like Germany and then this happens: "Considering Germany’s current energy mix and the amount of energy used in battery production, the CO2 emissions of battery-electric vehicles are, in the best case, slightly higher than those of a diesel engine, and are otherwise much higher." - Germany’s ifo Institute’s Center for Economic Studies. Not only has this effort led to dirtier air in Germany, its citizens pay among the highest retail electricity prices in Europe (30 euro cents per kwh compared to 15 in France). I know that Germany has brought on a lot of renewable energy in the last 8 years and reduced carbon emissions, but it's painful to see it replacing more nuclear compared to coal (maybe they're still having to use cheap coal because it offsets the costs of renewables?).

France has a low cost and low carbon source of energy and yet they're pushing to shrink it. Why not ride it out another 40 years and put a plan in place to slowly add on renewable energy capacity? I think it's public misinformation (see quote below - dated and likely inaccurate today but still directionally relevant) causing their politicians to have to cater to people who don't know enough about the subject.

"Early in 2003 France's first national energy debate was announced, in response to a "strong demand from the French people", 70% of whom had identified themselves as being poorly informed on energy questions. A poll had shown that 67% of people thought that environmental protection was the single most important energy policy goal. (However, 58% thought that nuclear power caused climate change while only 46% thought that coal burning did so). " - http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/france.aspx

I believe they're dealing with a similar situation in the New England states right now. Residents paying 24c per kw/h in the winters when they're sitting on an abundance of natural gas. Meanwhile, they're talking about shutting down a nuclear plant in Connecticut and importing wind power instead. How are we not seeing the realities of this? Is it indeed cause people don't know enough about it? 

Alright, getting off my soap box. Thanks to the readers who made it all the way through.

Edited by nathan_john
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3 hours ago, nathan_john said:

France has a low cost and low carbon source of energy and yet they're pushing to shrink it. Why not ride it out another 40 years and put a plan in place to slowly add on renewable energy capacity? I think it's public misinformation (see quote below - dated and likely inaccurate today but still directionally relevant) causing their politicians to have to cater to people who don't know enough about the subject.

"Early in 2003 France's first national energy debate was announced, in response to a "strong demand from the French people", 70% of whom had identified themselves as being poorly informed on energy questions. A poll had shown that 67% of people thought that environmental protection was the single most important energy policy goal. (However, 58% thought that nuclear power caused climate change while only 46% thought that coal burning did so). " - http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/france.aspx

Right on ! Here in Canada the Dirty Oil smears turned folk against the oilsands.  The politicians followed to get their votes.  My wife and I fight the blogs with what we hope is good information.

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1 hour ago, WayneMechEng said:

Right on ! Here in Canada the Dirty Oil smears turned folk against the oilsands.  The politicians followed to get their votes.  My wife and I fight the blogs with what we hope is good information.

Good for you, Wayne!  You hang in there. 

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4 hours ago, nathan_john said:

I believe they're dealing with a similar situation in the New England states right now. Residents paying 24c per kw/h in the winters when they're sitting on an abundance of natural gas. Meanwhile, they're talking about shutting down a nuclear plant in Connecticut and importing wind power instead. How are we not seeing the realities of this? Is it indeed cause people don't know enough about it

For those readers not familiar with the nuke scene in New England,the electricity generators are segregated from the electricity distributors, who are the retail resellers.  The resellers are (mostly) a controlled market,  and the generators are "market price", and bid on generating power blocks to the so-called "Independent Service Operator," or ISO.  A number of nuke plants have shut down, mostly due to pricing pressure from natural gas market-generators, who can underbid anybody except the hydro plants. Vermont had a nice nuke plant; all gone.  Western Mass had a nuke plant, nothing left there except a grass field.  There is a plant in Massachusetts on the Atlantic Ocean, I think in Salem, which is going to close.  One plant in Haddam, Connecticut closed a decade ago, that was Connecticut Yankee.  Now the huge generating station in Waterford, CT, run by Dominion Energy, I think they are from somewhere in the South and they bought the plants, is threatening to close down unless they are allowed to bid for power on the same basis as "renewables," which grants a bonus for the power production. Waterford generates some 1.6 Gigawatts, so losing that installation will wreak havoc on electricity supply in New England.  And it may well.  The costs are quite high to run, in large part for the huge fire and police departments on site that have to be staffed 24/7. 

As there is limited gas being brought into New England, due to the stubbornness of New York and the refusal of NY to permit drilling into the Marcellus Shale sitting underneath their feet and that of Pennsylvania, in staggering abundance, I am not convinced the power will be there.  Massachusetts is attempting to bring in hydropower from Quebec via either Maine or New Hampshire, and both routes are being opposed by various Greens, on the various grounds including the scenery is blighted, so why not put the wires in a tunnel for 500 miles?  Another proposal, which makes eminent sense, is to drop a long power cable into a trench in the bottom of Lake Champlain, then to surface at the lower end and connect with existing lines, which would have more cables strung on existing towers, for power to NY and Western Connecticut (that one is totally practical and will likely proceed). Interestingly, that cable operator, financed by a giant hedge fund, will make a ton of money from payments from Ontario to take away their excess wind-power at night, and then get to sell that power to the New Yorkers.  Nice to have a supply where you are being paid to accept it!

Don't be surprised when New England retail power goes over 30 cents/kwh.  Won't be long.  Can factories handle that cost?  Probably not. 

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On 5/11/2019 at 12:12 PM, Marina Schwarz said:

This from the Spectator Index, World Bank data:

Share of electricity produced from oil, gas and coal in 2015. Indonesia: 89% Australia: 86% Netherlands: 82% India: 81% Nigeria: 81% Japan: 80% Saudi: 76% China: 73% Turkey: 67% US: 67% Russia: 65% Italy: 59% Germany: 55% UK: 53% Spain: 43% Brazil: 23% France: 6% (World Bank)

The reason is, of course, nuclear power. They haven't had any accidents, I suppose, and -- this is pure guessing -- but they must not have a very loud green lobby. I think it's a great example of how nuclear can and does replace fossil fuels. Yes, the waste storage problem remains a problem and yes, risks are risks but... Well, the floor's yours. 

@Guillaume Albasini, what do you think? 75%, I think, of France's power comes from nuclear plants. Good or bad?

What does Saudi A get 24% of its power from, by the way? 

At the beginning the french interest for nuclear power was mainly related to the production of nuclear bombs but after the oil shocks of the seventies the french government decided to massively invest in nuclear energy to reduce the dependence on foreign oil.

Most of the french power plants were built in the seventies ans eighties as you can see on this map :

image.png.5c8f15faf6dd277188289d47d08418b6.png

The 19 nuclear plants totaling 58 reactors are getting old. They were expected to be in use for 40 years but now EDF is planning to extend the use to 50 or 60 years. However this implies to change and upgrade some components and this could be very costly (55 to 90 billions of euros)

The only new nuclear reactor now under construction in France is Flamanville-3 a third generation EPR reactor. The constructon started in 2007 and this new reactor was expected to cost 3 billions euros and to be connected to the grid in 2018. But after an accumulation of problems the startup has been delayed and the cost has increased to 10.9 billions.

Recently they discovered faulty weldings that could further delay the startup perhaps to mid-2020

https://www.reuters.com/article/edf-flamanville/update-3-edf-should-fix-faulty-weldings-at-nuclear-plant-french-regulator-idUSL8N21T3ED

With all these delays and cost overruns the new EPR reactors will face a hard competition from renewables to replace the ageing reactors in the coming years. So I expect the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation to shrink in the future.

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