Another new Russian nuclear powerplant comes online
Construction surge as Kremlin aims to ditch fossil 'leccy
The newly-built Kalinin-4 nuclear power plant northwest of Moscow has achieved criticality, according to plant owner Rosenergoatom, some two weeks after completion of fuelling was achieved. The new power unit is expected to go into service shortly, and will become Russia's 33rd operational nuclear power plant and the fourth new one to come online since 2001.
At present, Russia has some 23 gigawatts of nuclear electricity generation, as compared to just over 10 gigawatts for the UK (though the UK economy is half again the size of Russia's) and 100 gigawatts for the USA (with an economy 10 times the size of Russia). In the US and UK nuclear construction has long been effectively stalled – though perpetually planned to resume – but in Russia construction has proceeded at a rapid pace over the last decade.
Russia's nuclear surge has been financed in large part by gas exports, for good reason as gas yields much more money if exported to western Europe rather than being used to generate electricity domestically. Vanishing coal and nuclear power stations in western Europe are being replaced mostly by gas (this fact being obscured by notional wind "capacity" figures), and many of these countries are also heavily reliant on gas for heating and cooking, so that Russia can be sure of a ready market for all the gas it can produce.
However the Kremlin doesn't seem to share the hopes of some in the West regarding a new gas bonanza from shale, and appears rather to be assuming that it will need to move off gas as its ordinary gas fields play out over the decades.
As of now, only 16 per cent or so of Russian electricity is nuclear, but plans call for a serious climb in capacity and a boost to the already considerable Russian hydropower base. Some sources consider that Russia's "long-term strategy up to 2050 involves moving to inherently safe nuclear plants using fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle. Fossil fuels for power generation are to be largely phased out." ®
We are SO being outsmarted by Russia and Eastern Europe on energy. I predicted this years ago. We'll continue to fudge and stall on nuclear while fossil fuel availability dwindles and prices shoot up over and over.
We'll be buying electricity from them very soon, it's bound to happen. The population of UK are such Luddites and the politicians are cowards.
We needed to be building nuclear big-time over ten years ago, we're so far behind now. And the Severn Barrage, which could produce 5% of our electricity needs day-in, day-out was shelved yet again for the sake of a few birds (which migrate from f***ing Russia to stay here in the winter!).
Paris, because she's got no bloody clue on energy, just like our successive governments.
fission for fusion
Stack those nuclear reactors to the sky and lets get those fusion boffins some more funding. Everyone is so scared of nuclear it's ridiculous.
If you want to differ, give some figures
I know of one successful wave power plant. It is sited where the coast line naturally focuses waves to a single point. The resulting tall but narrow wave fills a reservoir at the top of a cliff. If you have an example of a cost effective wave power plant that does not rely on a unique site, please post manufacturing, installation and running costs plus the average power generated per km of coast. If it is any good, I will invest and encourage others to do likewise.
Waves are created by the wind blowing over the ocean. As a result, there is even less power available from waves than there is from wind. The only reason waves are visible is because there are thousands of kilometers of ocean for them to build up strength. Waves suffer from other windmill problems: you must design tough enough for a storm, but you do not get the power of a storm every month. Also, peaks of power to not correlate well with peaks of demand.
By all means build some little wave power plants in the one or two sites where they are effective. Trying to build a fleet of wave power plants is even more stupid than the fleet of windmills that provide a piddling amount of power, but make are electricity bills here more than double what the French pay.
Tidal is much better. It is predictable, does not have the extreme fluctuations like wind and wave, and there are some big sites like the Bristol channel (you would need some big sites like that for tidal to provide a significant fraction of demand). Here is a working, cost effective example that supplies 0.012% of the power demand of France:
Solar voltaic is a complete waste of money in this country. It can be cost effective in the desert. (Solar thermal can pay for itself if you can get it installed at a good price.) The cost effective wind sites were populated years ago. The current craze of building them on second rate sites is the reason for our crippling energy bills, but still only provides a small fraction of demand.
Gas is cheap and nukes are long term. You can differ all you want it you pay the difference yourself.