Will Germany go out from the way out of nuclear power?

(Translation from the EFN’s french blog (Environmentalists For the Nuclear) – aepn – http://www.ecolo.org)

http://aepn.blogspot.fr/2014/04/l-sortira-t-elle-de-la-sortie-du.html

atomkraft

Will Germany go out from the way out of nuclear power?

For now, Germany has not regretted its progressive phasing-out of nuclear energy yet. Of course the majority is still not convinced that it is a huge mistake and it will take time.

Past sorrows explain many things:

1) the guilt of having created a Reich that was one of the initiators of the military nuclear energy,

2) the trauma of having imagined Germany as an operation field of military nuclear missiles between East and West

3) East German guilt from having approved a communist regime which has made Chernobyl possible (great human drama, but equivalent to one week of the European deaths linked to tobacco.)

So when will people be aware of the need to return to civil nuclear power, if we really want stop fossil fuel production and reach factor 4 without outsourcing its CO2 ? With the Generation IV? Or in 2100? Or sooner than expected?

In the meantime, can we venture to predict a postponement of the judgment of the last reactor? Even given the deliquescence of the industry?

To be continued… Never say Never.

Anyway hangover is already here in Germany:

http://www.euractiv.fr/sections/energie/sortie-de-route-pour-la-transition-energetique-allemande-301392

Hopefully, this model can only be an illusion temporarily in one country, as long as it appropriates the margins of others and storage remain prohibitive (long). Its forced sales are certainly not lost for everyone; skillful especially for a very liberal country.

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Nuclear power: a daring solution to [really] solve the climate change issue

Nuclear power: a daring solution to [really] solve the climate change issue

In french:
http://www.sauvonsleclimat.org/oser-le-nucleaire-pour-trouver-la-solution-au-probleme-climatique/35-fparticles/1704-oser-le-nucleaire-pour-trouver-la-solution-au-probleme-climatique.html

Written by SLC – Sauvons Le Climat (“Save the climate”, french NGO) – november 2014

Summary :

“The lates IPCC report urges governments to drastically decrease fossile fuel consumption in order to avoid the risks of severe global warming of the planet, which could be catastrophic for humanity.

Since its creation “Save the Climate” carries this message. In this context, it would be absurd, if not criminal to deprive oneself of the opportunities given by nuclear power. Renewable energies should not be regarded as a means of doing without nuclear power, but as a complementary panel of solutions to fight against greenhouse gas emissions.

In this spirit “Save the Climate”, starting from scenarios already taken into account by the IPCC, publishes a study of alternative scenarios fostering a faster development of the nuclear power in order to drastically reduce the need for the Capture and Storage of Carbon dioxyde (CSC.)
The study starts by summarizing the scenarios of reference of the IPCC wihch make it possible to limit the increase in total temperature to 2 degrees and which, with this intention, call on a massive storage of CO2 by CSC, up to 50 billion tons per year (to be compared with the current yearly emisssions of 35 billion tons) in 2100.

Two categories of scenarios were proposed and accepted by the IPCC to follow trajectories known as RCP 2.6: the category “IMAGE”, controlled by the “Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency”, and the category “MESSAGE” controlled by the “International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria”.
Only the scenarios of the category “MESSAGE” limit the storage of CO2 to 24 billion tons thanks to a massive development of the nuclear electrical production between 2060 and 2100, or to a drastic reduction of energy consumption. All the scenarios comprise a very strong contribution of solar and a strong contribution of biomass. In the scenario suggested by the IIASA, which maximizes energy consumption, 7,000 reactors of 1 GWe (Giga Watts of electricity) are built between 2060 and 2100 (a rythm lower than that achieved in France in the 1980s, when 50 reactors were built in a 15-year timespan).

The study shows that the massive use of breeder reactors would be compatible with this scenario, under the provision that the duration of reprocessing be shortened and/or the proportion of heavy-water reactors in the park of classical reactors be increased.

The technical requirements of such a development being met right now – which is not the case for CSC – the study proposes “supplied with nuclear power” alternative versions of the forementioned scenarios, by starting the strong development of nuclear power by 2020 rather than 2060, while ensuring up to 60% of energy consumption by nuclear power in 2100. It is then possible to reduce dramatically the unknown factor currently represented by CSC, since it would become possible to stabilize the concentration of CO2 in the atmospheren abd even reduce it, should this technique become affordable.

The scenario of nuclear power exit relies upon a reduction of energy consumption of more than 40%, without removing the need for CSC storage of 15 billion tons of CO2 per year, without making it possible to stabilize the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere before 2100.

On the other hand, steady development of nuclear power makes it possible to maintain energy consumption on a reasonable level, to stabilize the CO2 concentration by 2060, to drastically reduce and even remove the need for both CSC and fossile fuels several decades before the end of the century.

SLC thus invites policy makers to account for successes of France in the development of technologies of electrical production without CO2 emissions to draw an effective path towards the fight against climate change and global warming.

To reach the full summary of the study (in french):

http://sauvonsleclimat.org/images/articles/pdf_files/etudes/Motivation-scenarios-CS.pdf

Other text in english :
https://incofeee.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/to-dare-the-nuclear-full-text/

21/9 Climate March : more than 2000 events worlwide !

For the first time, people have joined worldwide to urge action against climate change. Action means local and global policies in order to drastically decrease GHG emissions and define a global emission cap at COP21 : 900-1000 GtCO2eq.

Why that ?

Here is a short summary: https://incofeee.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/climate-change-and-peak-oil-act-now-or-else/

Our resolve must not falter: we this summer has been the hottest in history: 0.8°C above the 20th century average (16.4°C), source NOAA: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/ via http://sciences.blogs.liberation.fr/home/2014/09/la-noaa-confirme-ao%C3%BBt-2014-record-de-chaud.html

So let’s keep the pressure on world leaders until COP21 next year.

Meanwhile, we’ll celebrate the fantastic opportunity to unite thousands of organizations and change the way we think and organize government and business.

Check out the photos and videos here:

http://avaaz.org/en/climate_march_media_hub1/

http://www.itele.fr/france/video/n-hulot-trop-de-conferences-ou-les-promesses-sont-restees-vaines-94150

http://www.france24.com/fr/20140921-defenseurs-lutte-rechauffement-climat-paris-environnement-onu-nicolas-hulot/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/21/peoples-climate-march-live_n_5855906.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/thousands-take-to-streets-for-nycs-peoples-climate-march/

Act now to prevent climate change runaway !

Join us on Sunday for the people’s climate march !

New York, Paris, Delhi, zillions of people will gather to save the climate : act now !

Come to the march next sunday : there ahas to be an event close to where you live or where you go this weekend…. find it here : https://secure.avaaz.org/fr/event/climate/

Please sign both our petitions now and pass the word along:

1. Phase out fossil fuels in Europe:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/EU_commission_president_JeanClaude_Juncker_Phase_out_fossil_fuels_and_waste_burning/

2. Switch to 100% clean, affordable, efficient energy sources (renewables and nuclear) :

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_final/

Feel free to comment and ask questions below.

Climate change and peak oil : act now or else…

We speak about climate change a lot. But are we acting effectively ?

While scientists gather field data and run climate change simulations, time is running out. Our carbon budget is less than 900 GtCO2 (1 GtCO2 stands for one billion metric tons of carbon dioxyde). Past this threshold, chances are that anything that will happen will be far worse than what we can predict.

Problem is: we’ve already “spent” 600 out of those 900 GtCO2 ! At 20 GtCO2 per year, only 30 years to go…

But it won’t take that long to trash the climate, since CO2 emissions are not decreasing, but increasing fast instead.

Adverse consequences are already here: the average atmospheric CO2 level is beyond 400 ppm for the first time in human history. This trend towards higher carbon dioxyde concentrations in air wages several kinds of threats:

– the nutrient value of crops decreases, as shown in this study: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13179

– ocean level rise has sped up by over a factor two since 1990. In the long run, major worldwide damage to ecosystems from sea level rise is expected to become the major environmental crisis, worsening the currently ongoing reduction of biodiversity, freshwater resources and natural land.

The graph shows how sea levels will change for four different pathways for human development and greenhouse gas pollution. The green, yellow and orange lines correspond to scenarios where it takes 10, 30, or 70 years before emissions are stabilized. The red line can be considered to represent business as usual where greenhouse gas emissions are increasing over time.

Credits: http://takvera.blogspot.fr/2011/10/scientists-estimate-sea-level-rise-for.html

 

In the meantime, low lying land and islands will be destroyed (Kiribati, Marshall, Tuvalu, Tonga …). Pacific presidents all claim the party is over:
Incidentally, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has finally admitted to the reality of the peak oil. Dwindling oil extraction rate will soon end up in soaring oil prices :
Dependence on fossil fuels, initially a good bargain, is becoming a trap for people fighting to keep their independence from overwhelming oil and gas exporting superpowers.
Finally, the World Healh Organization (WHO) issued an alert on air pollution levels in 1600 cities, involving 7 million casualties each and every year:http://www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/databases/en/

Let’s stop fossil fuels now ! 
By switching from fossil fuels to an optimal energy mix based upon affordable, clean carbon-free energy sources, including renewable and nuclear heat and electricity, we would at the same time:

– moderate and control energy costs
– create jobs everywhere
– improve air quality
– protect biodiversity, freshwater and other natural resources

– prevents conflicts and wars


 
 

Climate update: 2014 will be hotter , ice will melt faster

As spring extends its wonders across the northern hemisphere, after a cold winter over North America and Asia, and warm winter over Europe, the arctic sea ice extent is receding fast at record low levels (source http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/).

 

Figure 3. Monthly March ice extent for 1979 to 2014 shows a decline of X.X% per decade relative to the 1981 to 2010 average.||Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center|  High-resolution image

Arctic sea ice extent is a reliable indicator of long-trend global warming conditions, because the geographic situation of the northern polar cap makes it much more stable over time than the southern polar cap, subject to strongly changing wind and current conditions from year to year. The march average trend clearly shows how arctic sea ice extent is affected by the solar cycle: the minimum is reached a couple of years after the solar heating maximum of each cycle. As the current cycle (Solar Cycle 24) nears its maximum, not really a peak but rather a series of peaks separated by quieter periods*, evidence that something is happening in Northeastern Greenland is becoming stronger: the slow, regular motion of ice towards the sea, sped up fast during the last solar maximum year (2003). The same is expected to happen this year (and/or maybe next year).

Ref: http://www.livescience.com/44129-northeast-greenland-ice-sheet-melting.html

 

The problem is the following:  we are used to see large contnental icebergs forming on the west coast of Greenland, but the northeastern coast was exempt from this phenomenon due to the presence of thick sea ice along the northeastern coast. Nox that this old, thick sea ice has disappeared, there is little left to prevent the ice sheet to move towards the Greenland Sea through the lowest and thinnest of the mountain ranges surrounding the ice sheet.  Very few people expected this, including myself.

File:Topographic map of Greenland bedrock.jpg

Now it seems that someone needs to update this statement on the Greenland ice sheet Wikipedia page : “Some scientists predict that climate change may be near a “tipping point” where the entire ice sheet will melt in about 2,000 years.”

For all we know, that could very well be 200 years, which would be bad news for sea-level residents, since every chunk of continental ice reaching the sea immediately makes sea level rise. This means a 7-meter level rise over a few centuries: that is not sustainable!

So please tell your political representatives to STOP fossil fuels NOW, including shale gas and oil, before they destroy our coasts !

* real time information about solar activity and solar storms is available from spaceweather.com

Message from France : “Economic and environmental crises : European socialists must act now.” (RESSEC)

“Economic and environmental crises : European socialists must act now.”

Dear friends,

The RESSEC (french environmentalist and socialist network for carbon-free energy) has been advocating that nuclear energy is not a transition energy, but a sustainable energy that should be developed, as some of the renewables, wherever that can be done in a clean, safe, responsible and sustainable way. How can we be both socialists and pronuclear environmentalists ? How is that possible ?
Our main statement is that some kinds of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) are far less dangerous to humans and Gaia than most other energy sources, including most renewables. Of course, we do oppose low-cost, dangerous NPPs (Nuclear Power Plants).
On a personal note, let me make it clear that we share the same concerns about both safety and sustainability of NPPs, since I was an anti-nuclear activist, back in the nineties. As a member of “Les Verts” at that period of my life, I did celebrate the shutdown of SuperPhenix in 1997… which I deeply regretted later !
Superphenix was the first large surgenerator reactor, with electric power exceeding 1000 MW. Surgenerator means that it produced more fuels than it needed, thanks to its core design and a fuel reprocessing plant, hence the sustainability.

It’s only in 2005 that I discovered that its shutdown was a historical mistake : I (we) had been misled for years into believing that civil nuclear energy had to be stopped as fast as possible, by false rumors about the effects of radioactivity on health and nature.
The bottom line is: there is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE of radiotoxicity by external exposure up to doses far larger than what can happen during normal operations of any civil NPP complying with European or American standards. There is scientific evidence to the contrary (many people and animals live very well in naturally radioactive zones with higher levels of radioactivity than near safe and clean NPPs, mining facilities, waste storage or fuel production plants). Furthermore, some people and most animals have continued an almost normal life within contaminated zones in Russia and Japan: massive radioactive pollution that can be spread by accidents like Fukushima is far less dangerous than the human consequences of an extended evacuation, most people in Fukushima have been allowed to return home and should have been much earlier and on a regular basis, wildlife has been impacted by human evacuation, but not by radioactivity. In Russia, some people have been ill : most of them were not evacuated on time or had to work on the accident. Many died, but many more survived. The numbers are such that it is almost impossible to determine what caused their illness : alarming reports show sick people, but it is impossible to know whether they were affected by radioactivity ot other causes, like medical care problems or post-traumatic stress due to the panic caused by the accident, which led to the collapse of health and public services. It is likely that a better handling of the situation by emergency and governmental organizations would have saved many lives and spared woes to those victims. By better handling, we mean swift evacuation and return as soon as volatile radioactive elements have been naturally eliminated, which occurs within a few months after a major accident.
If the humain organization is insufficient as in Chernobyl, the amount of directs deaths approachs one Russian montly car accidents each 30 years, and 3 months for indirect ones, but it avoids 100 time more deaths by inherent with other energies.

On the contrary, the severe pollution due to some blunders in handling toxic radioactive materials from military nuclear applications has much more inescapable and fatal consequences, which should not be confused with those of civil nuclear accidents. This is due to the higher concentrations, thus radioactivity, of military-grade radioactive material and waste.
Even during any severe accident, nuclear reactors of PWR or EPR type, and NPPs of similar design elsewhere in the world, are inherently safe, thanks to their reinforced concrete structure : they will always release much less radioactivity into the environment than that released in the only two large NPP severe accidents (Chernobyl and Fukushima). This was proven in 1979 during the TMI (Three-mile Island, Harrisburg, PA) core meltdown. If you’ve been there, you’ve probably talked to people that can testify that there is no long-term consequence of a major accident. Only the complete destruction of the one-meter wide external concrete shell could change that: it can happen, but catastrophic events capable of achieving this have a time period over 5 million years. It can be argued that the last such event happened only 1 million years ago, during the most recent massive earthquakes in the Alps (the European and African tectonic plates collided long before and will likely create another cataclysmic event within a million year, but most probably not during the next millenia), but we could agree that NPP radioactivity would not be much of a concern if such a cataclysmic event were to happen any time soon.

On the other hand:
– public safety regulations are weak : emergency drills have proven that the risk of contamination by inhaling volatile fission products or absorbing solute radiotoxic material through food and water may not be ignored. This can easily be improved, at least in the U.S., Canada, Japan and Europe, at a minimal cost compared to benefits (extremely low air, water and soil pollution results from the entire cycle with fuel recycling, which only Fance masters so far). The problem is far worse in other countries (including Pakistan, Russia, China, India and Ukraine), where environmental awareness is not strong enough.
Ressec and other socialist organisations have suggested a Civil Nuclear treaty to enforce worldwide safety regulations and provide international emergency assistance, under UNO supervision.

– Low cost NPPs should be either secured or shutdown, depending on the cost of necessary safety improvements, because they actually threaten the health and welfare of thousands of people (not millions). Many such plants are still operating, dozens in Europe and even more worldwide: we should focus our attention and criticism towards those power plants, and tighten public control over all existing and new plants.
– NPPs are NOT THE PROBLEM, but part of the solution: we environmentalists should focus on fighting against pollution, not energy. It is not true that all energy sources are pollution factors: some are much more polluting, threatening both wildlife and human health, than others, far more acceptable. Energy transition is indeed about picking winners and losers. Not choosing is not an option. But we must make choices based upon facts, not senseless fear nor hatred !
 The criterion for energy transition must become sustainable progress : last saturday’s socialist progress forum (12/23/2013 in Paris) was right to the point ! Sustainable progress is not just energy savings: it starts with energy savings, up to the point when savings become costlier than sustainable energy. Sustainable energy includes clean, safe, self-sustained nuclear power. Self-sustainability is achieved thanks to Generation IV reactors. SuperPhenix was the first affordable, safe, clean NPP !!! We were wrong in assuming it was a problem: it was the missing link towards sustainable energy !!! Europe must base economic and social progress upon their technical and scientific advances. Ref : http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x16wyti_clip-le-progres-face-aux-ideologies-du-declin_news
– Sustainable energy also includes hydraulic power : many small and medium-sized dams have become natural and economic assets. There are still 25 GW of small, clean, affordable, on-demand hydraulic electricity dams to be built in Europe (5 GW in France). Let’s do it !

– Sustainable energy also includes high-performance solar power built with environmentally responsible materials : there are 4 companies which are leading the path. Let’s subsidize them and stop subsidies on low-cost, polluting and invasive solar power. It’s easy to do: just add technical performance criteria for subsidized purchase price, in peak power, annual output and GHG emissions per unit area (respective units: W/m2, MWh/m2/yr and gCO2eq/kWh, thresholds: to be defined). Here they are:
1. Solar Euromed : http://www.solareuromed.com
2. Heliotrop : http://www.heliotrop.fr/
3. Dual Sun : http://dualsun.fr/
4. EMIX : http://www.emix.fr/index.php

– Sustainable energy also includes second-generation biofuels from wood and recycled biomass, assisted by carbon-free heat and electricity, which are currently wasted for lack of storage capacity. Current production price is 2 €/liter before tax but will go down to 1 €/l by 2020 if we organize it wisely. This will become imperative by 2020, since most european forests will be exposed to increased risk of massive wildfires due to climate change. We have a choice to let burn or trim: which do you prefer ?
Sustainable energy does not include off-shore wind nor low-cost solar PV electricity, because it’s not only expensive (well over 150 €/MWh), but requires fossil fuel backup plants upper than 10% of mix if stockage is not guaranteed..

Hence, nuclear power is not a transition energy, but offers a major, sustainable share of the solutions to the three major environmental crises (climate change, air/water/soil pollution and biodiversity) and the three major economic crises (lack of fuel, natural resources, jobs).

It’s a bit long an explanation but we must propose and act now… or face the consequences, both environmental and political.

Target 2050 for France: 50% renewable and 50% nuclear energy (final). Electricity: 20% solar and wind , 10% hydro, which means lowering nuclear electricity from 75% to 70%. All details (in french) may be found at: http://ressec.wordpress.com/about
member of the INCoFEEE (in english) : http://INCoFEEE.wordpress.com/about