Author Topic: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...  (Read 29870 times)

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Offline tggzzz

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #225 on: December 21, 2018, 08:58:04 pm »
The build up of mercury pollution in the environment is the worst thing about burning coal.

Nonsense.

The buildup of CO2 is the worst problem.
No. The effects of CO2 are nothing more than a nuisance. WE humans see it as a problem because rising sea levels and changing weather patterns will reduce the amount of available land to live on, damage harvest and damage buildings. But in the grand sceme of things it isn't the worst that has ever happened.

Sigh. The context isn't "ever", it is "environmental damage from burning coal".
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
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Online Kleinstein

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #226 on: December 21, 2018, 09:42:16 pm »
We should cut usage of energy as our #1 goal.
I don't disagree with that, but while we wait for that to happen we need alternatives to coal. We should choose the safest alternative, which is solar, but solar can only replace a part of it (sun doesn't shine during night and less during winter), so we still need a lot of nuclear for the foreseeable future.

The problem with nuclear it that it take a lot of time to get new power stations: it takes many years to build new nuclear and the current capacities to do so are very limited as there are very few source for the large steel parts needed to build the pressure vessel. Currently they don't even keep up with the rate the old units are shut down. So too little too late to really help with replacing coal. Nuclear also turn out to be rather expensive in many examples. The US mainly stopped building new nuclear for economic reasons.

It is only a few countries that really still need there nuclear power (mainly France) for some time. Even Japan managed to not go dark essentially without nuclear for a few years.

It is still a difficult question weather it is better to shut down nuclear or coal first.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #227 on: December 21, 2018, 10:24:11 pm »
We should cut usage of energy as our #1 goal.
I don't disagree with that, but while we wait for that to happen we need alternatives to coal. We should choose the safest alternative, which is solar, but solar can only replace a part of it (sun doesn't shine during night and less during winter), so we still need a lot of nuclear for the foreseeable future.
The problem with nuclear it that it take a lot of time to get new power stations: it takes many years to build new nuclear and the current capacities to do so are very limited as there are very few source for the large steel parts needed to build the pressure vessel. Currently they don't even keep up with the rate the old units are shut down. So too little too late to really help with replacing coal. Even Japan managed to not go dark essentially without nuclear for a few years.
But not forever. The longer governments wait with building new nuclear power plants the longer electricity will be made from burning coal. It really is simple as that. We just have to wait a little bit longer until that reality sinks in. That process has already started.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online Kleinstein

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #228 on: December 21, 2018, 11:44:47 pm »
Even if they really want too, building lots of new nuclear would be a really hard task: It's not just building the power plants, but also new mines, new enrichment, new zirconium refinement and new steel plants to get the large forgings needed. 
As it would not be cost efficient only for a intermediate solution, very little private money would go there.
With nuclear there is also a high investment up front - so it needs that capital. Printing more dollars would not help here - it's about real money.

The needed resources are spread around the world - so if let's say the Japanese don't want to build more pants for the large steel parts, other countries would first need to develop that technology, or build the Russian Chernobyl type reactor that gets away without it - though at a price. This is not only safety, but also proliferation.  Zirconium supply could be tricky too, if some large resource countries decide against large scale nuclear. At least Germany and Japan are against more nuclear and this already slows down the speed new plants could be build. Because of the possible long range effects they may not want to provide key components for others to build new nuclear. China has also decided to go slow on nuclear and there is hardly a company left to build new nuclear in the west.

So chances are there is no more coal left to burn before there would be a significant number of new nuclear power plants.
 

Offline Kilrah

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #229 on: December 21, 2018, 11:52:44 pm »
Even Japan managed to not go dark essentially without nuclear for a few years.
Yeah by importing and burning massive amounts of coal, which precisely defeats the whole purpose of doing without nuclear.
 

Offline apis

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #230 on: December 22, 2018, 02:59:59 am »
Even if they really want too, building lots of new nuclear would be a really hard task
That may be true, which is depressing. But at least people could stop decommissioning nuclear power plants prematurely (for emotional reasons) and replacing them with coal and gas. There is some expansion potential; I vaguely remember someone saying you could expand nuclear about 5% over the next 30 years. Nuclear could at least be part of the mix for a while longer, while we replace coal and wait for the promised super storage solutions.
 

Online Kleinstein

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #231 on: December 22, 2018, 11:33:40 am »
Germany is shutting down some nuclear plants down a little earlier than original planed. However so far this were mainly the rather old ones or those that caused problems more often. They are not replaced by more coal, but to a large part by more renewable energy (e.g. wind and PV).  However they could have shut down some coal fired power plants instead. Still nuclear tends to be less flexible than coal.

It is anyway less a problem of shutting down relatively new nuclear plants but more about the nuclear plants from the 1980s, that now start to reach there regular end of life (usually 40 years).  So it's the question of extending the run-time beyond the initial plans and possibly spend extra money to upgrade the safety.  In Belgium they even considered to extend the permit for a reactor that has known issues, that should normally have stopped them from starting the reactor from the beginning. The problem here is that they don't have a good replacement. This somewhat contradicts the safety concepts of the reactors that assumes the reactors to be shut down if a safety issue comes up and needs to be fixed. So let's hope the old reactor will not blow up in it's last years.  :(

So in this sense nuclear can't be safe and secure (always available) at the same time.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #232 on: December 22, 2018, 02:21:39 pm »
But then many people get health problems from power plants burning coal. Look at this website which shows the SO2 concentration world wide:
https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/chem/surface/level/overlay=so2smass/orthographic=108.72,33.63,401
Millions of people die due to air polution:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5843953/

Nuclear versus coal is like airplane versus traffic. An airplane accident kills a lot of people at once and yet it is one of the safest ways to travel.
An aircraft crash doesn't make the surroundings uninhabitable for extended periods of time. And once more, two wrongs don't make a right.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #233 on: December 22, 2018, 04:10:49 pm »
But then many people get health problems from power plants burning coal. Look at this website which shows the SO2 concentration world wide:
https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/chem/surface/level/overlay=so2smass/orthographic=108.72,33.63,401
Millions of people die due to air polution:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5843953/

Nuclear versus coal is like airplane versus traffic. An airplane accident kills a lot of people at once and yet it is one of the safest ways to travel.
An aircraft crash doesn't make the surroundings uninhabitable for extended periods of time. And once more, two wrongs don't make a right.
This isn't about two wrongs making a right. It is about statistics. Besides that large chemical spills (Bhopal anyone?) can also make a large piece of land too toxic to live on.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline cdev

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #234 on: December 22, 2018, 04:58:29 pm »
I found and saved this a while ago, its a pretty interesting read on the concept/racket of trading "rights to pollute" .

Kyoto's 'flexible mechanisms' and the right to pollute the air

http://www.globalgovernance.de/pdfs/cc6_web_AB.pdf
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Offline apis

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #235 on: December 22, 2018, 05:50:40 pm »
It is anyway less a problem of shutting down relatively new nuclear plants but more about the nuclear plants from the 1980s, that now start to reach there regular end of life (usually 40 years).  So it's the question of extending the run-time beyond the initial plans and possibly spend extra money to upgrade the safety.  In Belgium they even considered to extend the permit for a reactor that has known issues, that should normally have stopped them from starting the reactor from the beginning.
It's the same here and it's because of anti-nuclear crowd has made it impossible to build new reactors, so the only way to keep going is to patch the old ones. They keep demanding higher security standards and taxes for nuclear which makes it less economical compared to coal. It would be fine if coal and hydro also had to pay for it's own side effects but that isn't the case of course. There's even a de facto research ban on nuclear power technology here in Sweden. It's sad because if we had continued developing nuclear today's ghg emission problem might have been much easier to solve.
 
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Online Kleinstein

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #236 on: December 22, 2018, 06:17:39 pm »
Even without all the costs included nuclear had an economic problem. It is just to expensive to compete with something like natural gas. The other problems like the long term waste are just the topping on the cake or another bullet to an already dead horse.  :horse:.

Globally nuclear never was more than a side note and not significant in reducing emissions. It was more like delaying other research by promising things it could not hold. So some BS detector seem to have failed there.

The probably the best that can be done with nuclear power is to make clear it was a bad idea and will not help much in solving the emission problems. One might still run the few well working pants for there planed life and take that little in saved emissions as a small compensation for all the money spend.  Keeping up the false hope that there may be some magic new type of nuclear than can solve the emission problems is doing quite some harm, as it slows down the search for working alternatives. Currently nuclear is coals best friend.  :-DD
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #237 on: December 22, 2018, 06:55:17 pm »
Well... then tell us what the alternative is. I agree with Apis and on top of that I'm quite sure we will continue to burn coal and gas until nuclear has caught up.

You shouldn't forget that in France over 70% of the electricity comes from nuclear power plants. France isn't a particulary small country either so at least France shows it is very possible to get a significant amount of power from nuclear energy.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2018, 06:56:48 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline apis

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #238 on: December 22, 2018, 07:21:54 pm »
Globally nuclear never was more than a side note and not significant in reducing emissions. It was more like delaying other research by promising things it could not hold. So some BS detector seem to have failed there.
Mine just gave a strong beep so it seems to be working fine, but maybe you were talking about your own. Compare emissions from countries that use a lot of nuclear, like France or Sweden, and those that does not, like Australia, and it becomes clear that nuclear can make a big difference.
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC?year_high_desc=true

(Ironically Australia being the the third largest producer of nuclear fuel: "In 2017 Australia produced 6937 tonnes of U3O8 (5882 tU). It is the world's third-ranking producer, behind Kazakhstan and Canada. All production is exported. Uranium comprises about one-quarter of energy exports." http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/australia.aspx )

We are going to need electric power in the future too, whether people like it or not. The countries with superpower ambitions are never going to abandon it either because their military depends on it. (It should be self evident that the ones in ships and the bombs are what people should worry about if anything, yet what we are discussing is civilian nuclear).

The other problems like the long term waste are just the topping on the cake or another bullet to an already dead horse.  :horse:.
It's a boogeyman to scare the children with. As I've pointed out the nuclear waste is a solved problem
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onkalo_spent_nuclear_fuel_repository

There is so little produced per watt that all the waste produced in the Netherlands can be stored in a single building:

Scary, isn't it?
« Last Edit: December 22, 2018, 07:24:32 pm by apis »
 

Online Kleinstein

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #239 on: December 22, 2018, 08:33:04 pm »
In many places PV and wind are considerably cheaper than nuclear. Even with something like 50% lost on storage (e.g. hydrogen) it can be a good alternative. Improvements on the storage part would be definitely good to make is more practical. It likely won't be as cheap as coal - but chances are good to compete with nuclear when it comes to price.

France has some 70% nuclear, but the problems now start to show up: in summer they have to shut down some capacity because of lacking cooling water. In winter there capacity is not enough. So at times they have to import quite a lot of electricity from other source.  With many stations now getting old and decommissioning more expensive than thought there is also a financial problem - there is essentially not enough money for the required replacement reactors to keep the 70%. The nuclear contribution is plant to go down to below 50%.

The building for storing the nuclear waste looks like expensive to keep up for the next 100000 years or so - especially in the Netherlands with likely rising see level.  I know there are a lot of irrational fears about the waste storage, but there are still a few real problems to it. One is that the costs come up in the future - this requires confidence in a stable society at least for the next lets say 20-40 years, before the waste can go to a reasonable "final" storage. I consider the technical side solvable, but have doubt with the social / political side.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #240 on: December 22, 2018, 08:36:20 pm »
In many places PV and wind are considerably cheaper than nuclear. Even with something like 50% lost on storage (e.g. hydrogen) it can be a good alternative. Improvements on the storage part would be definitely good to make is more practical. It likely won't be as cheap as coal - but chances are good to compete with nuclear when it comes to price.
But those storage technologies don't exist yet. Electricity from nuclear does exist. Recently I saw a video from a Dutch scientist saying we could do without nuclear. I was pleasantly surprised that storage was mentioned in the video. However when the video was over I was still left with the question on how the storage for electricity from solar and wind would work exactly. Without knowing how the storage is going to take place you don't know the price. Currently nuclear, gas and coal are the batteries for solar and wind but those costs aren't factored into the price of electricity from solar and wind. IOW: solar and wind are made to look cheap artificially.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2018, 08:40:02 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #241 on: December 22, 2018, 08:47:15 pm »
When all is said and done, solar and wind still save on fuel. It doesn't do nothing useful, it's just rather expensive (when including the cost of fossil fuel backup).
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #242 on: December 22, 2018, 08:48:52 pm »
When all is said and done, solar and wind still save on fuel. It doesn't do nothing useful, it's just rather expensive (when including the cost of fossil fuel backup).
I never said solar and wind aren't useful but they do have their limitations. Storage is one but capacity is the other.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline cdev

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #243 on: December 22, 2018, 09:24:22 pm »
Nuclear energy is being made to look cheap artificially. Don't fall for it.

The question to ask is, who ends up footing the bill for a nuclear accident? We all do. And it could be world changing in the case of a solar storm. Nctnico, I've repeatedly tried to explain the problem with the loss of the ultimate heat sink and nuclear fission reactors - the issue that caused the multiple meltdowns at Fukushima. Do you understand what Ive been trying to explain there? Why its a serious problem we need to address far better than we have before we go back to creating lots more 'hot' nuclear waste that has to be cooled?

Don't trust people who claim to be experts who shrug off this potential problem.

Also, be aware that as the global economy cools off (deindustrialization) due to the shift to automation - its likely to get harder and harder to make the insane profit margins that some entities demand as their keep.

Are they above creating crises themselves? No? Are you sure?

Okay, here is what could spark a huge REAL crisis in this area. A solar storm like the "Carrington" one in 1859. (Named after the scientist who discovered it) It would go like this. A huge solar flare would erupt, sending charged particles right at the Earth. If it was detected we would have a very short time minutes, to remove thousands of power transformers from the grid and shut it down. Shut down the power and pull the plugs, everywhere. Would that happen properly? lets look at other emergencies when similar systems ad been put into place, like for tsunamis. Have they succeeded when put to the test? No.

This has to succeed, the way things are set up now.

Or that CME, when it hits Earth (One narrowly missed us just a few years ago) could wipe out the power grid, globally, which would be bad enough, because literally everything depends on electricity. For example, people who are depending on electricity to heat, might not have any alternative source of heat.  But that would just be the beginning because shortly afterward, the lack of energy at nuclear power plants - if they did not have backup already in place to cool the reactor cores and spent fuel pools, which takes power, power enough to last as long as the power was out, which could be months or even years. Left without cooling, the decaying nuclear fuel would get hotter and hotter and start to burn through whatever was enclosing it. This might be happening in multiple places. That would stretch the resources that exist to handle these crises thin. Its not at all impossible, that would cause a huge, global nuclear crisis.

Loss of the ultimate heat sink.

With multiple nuclear power plants losing their abilities to cool themselves, then going critical..

This would be addressable, but it would take a desire to fix it which does not translate into immediate profits.

Have we addressed it yet?

Fully?

Where are we on that?

These are the questions we need to have answered before we build any more power plants to create even more risks and more nuclear waste that needs to be stored safely.

Its not rocket science.

For profit entities are not objective enough in my opinion to handle this risk. Are governments?



In many places PV and wind are considerably cheaper than nuclear. Even with something like 50% lost on storage (e.g. hydrogen) it can be a good alternative. Improvements on the storage part would be definitely good to make is more practical. It likely won't be as cheap as coal - but chances are good to compete with nuclear when it comes to price.
But those storage technologies don't exist yet. Electricity from nuclear does exist. Recently I saw a video from a Dutch scientist saying we could do without nuclear. I was pleasantly surprised that storage was mentioned in the video. However when the video was over I was still left with the question on how the storage for electricity from solar and wind would work exactly. Without knowing how the storage is going to take place you don't know the price. Currently nuclear, gas and coal are the batteries for solar and wind but those costs aren't factored into the price of electricity from solar and wind. IOW: solar and wind are made to look cheap artificially.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2018, 09:35:55 pm by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline apis

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #244 on: December 22, 2018, 09:32:17 pm »
The building for storing the nuclear waste looks like expensive to keep up for the next 100000 years or so - especially in the Netherlands with likely rising see level.  I know there are a lot of irrational fears about the waste storage, but there are still a few real problems to it. One is that the costs come up in the future - this requires confidence in a stable society at least for the next lets say 20-40 years, before the waste can go to a reasonable "final" storage. I consider the technical side solvable, but have doubt with the social / political side.
They cleverly put a math formula on it to make people stay away. That building is only temporary storage, although it contains all the waste produced in the Netherlands so far apparently. The other link was an example of the permanent storage solution I've been talking about:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onkalo_spent_nuclear_fuel_repository
(And it's about 1000 years not 100000.)
 

Offline cdev

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #245 on: December 22, 2018, 09:40:57 pm »
Do you have a credible source to back up this statement that spent nuclear fuel only requires special storage for 1000 years?


(And it's about 1000 years not 100000.)

« Last Edit: December 22, 2018, 09:48:22 pm by cdev »
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Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #246 on: December 22, 2018, 09:46:38 pm »
Nuclear energy is being made to look cheap artificially. Don't fall for it.

The question to ask is, who ends up footing the bill for a nuclear accident? We all do. And it could be world changing in the case of a solar storm. Nctnico, I've repeatedly tried to explain the problem with the loss of the ultimate heat sink and nuclear fission reactors - the issue that caused the multiple meltdowns at Fukushima.
Fukushima used an old design. The newer designs don't do meltdowns because the cooling water is needed to keep the reaction going. No cooling water = no nuclear reaction. Intrinsically safe is the keyword here.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online Kleinstein

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #247 on: December 22, 2018, 09:49:20 pm »
There are several storage technologies already in use: pumped water (requires suitable terrain and thus not much in the Netherlands), batteries, fly-weels, compressed air - especially combined with gas power, hydrogen from hydrolysis.  The different technologies have there use over different time scales so one will likely need a combination and not a single solution. Hydrogen is still rather experimental and thus expensive, but one of the few options for seasonal storage. Chances are it can get reasonably cheap though at a low efficiency. This is why it would be mainly for long time storage. Backup power (e.g. from gas) can also be an alternative to storage.

I know storage is expensive, and some methods also have low efficiency, but only a part of the energy would have to go through storage. Still nuclear powers get subsidies promised  to some 16 cents in the UK, while off shore wind in Germany start to be offered at whole sale prices (currently around 5 cents - they may hope for more in the future).  So there is some room for storage costs or loss.  For nuclear one can argue there are additional hidden subsidies like not requiring full insurance and possibly rising disposal costs.

Nuclear power actually also needs some storage as it also produces power at night, when demand is low. They would even also need a backup, because of possible safety issues if safety is taken serious.

I don't see such a large risk in a solar storm - this is mainly effecting large grid cells like in the US. The smaller distant grid in Europe would already help. It would still disrupt the net, but nuclear pants are made to work without the grid, unless there is an tsunami  and earthquake that also takes out the backup power. Ideally it would only need a set of new fuses to get the grid up again after a solar-storm. Though I would still expect a few fuses to fail protecting some transformers or switches.  Local installations should be much less susceptible to a solar storm - first victims could be many satellites though.
 

Offline cdev

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #248 on: December 22, 2018, 09:56:01 pm »
Could you be specific as to the scientific name of this new technology?

What kind of fission reactor are you claiming has solved this problem?
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #249 on: December 22, 2018, 10:00:45 pm »
Could you be specific as to the scientific name of this new technology?

What kind of fission reactor are you claiming has solved this problem?
I already linked to that before! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressurized_water_reactor And no, this isn't new at all. Many of the nuclear power plants running today are using this principle.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 


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