Originally posted by twhitehead
But wind, solar, tidal and other renewables, could. I am not totally anti-nuclear on principle, but I do think that it is not economically the best choice any more - especially in first world nations. China can get away with new nuclear because they have far fewer regulatory issues to deal with. In the US and presumably the UK, it is no longer the best va ...[text shortened]... companies, and the government itself, will loose out, there is significant political opposition.
Part of the reason that electronics are expensive [among many other things]
is the limited supply of rare-earth metals that go into making them.
Which are currently largely sourced from china.
Another major potential source is the USA, which has large deposits, that
are largely untapped due in no small part to the fact that with these
rare-earth's you get large amounts of Thorium, and the USA has strict
rules about handling and disposing of radioactive materials which make
it prohibitive to extract these rare-earth's.
If we built molten salt reactors [which are potentially much cheaper than current
reactors, due to operating at atmospheric pressure and not needing a very expensive
steel containment vessel [among other benefits]]
which can use Thorium as
a fuel then we gain a fuel supply that will last for centuries if not millennia, is very safe,
is low/zero carbon, and frees up the extraction of lots of valuable rare-earth metals which
are the basis of a lot of new technologies.
Couple this with economies of scale demonstrated by France, which has had long term
stable low electricity prices due to large nuclear investment, and you have something
that is easily competitive.
Also did I mention that molten salt reactors can eat nuclear waste which means that
after we're done [moved to fusion?] we have less waste than today rather than more...
They also have a very small land use footprint, and can be built close to cities and/or
industry where the power is used. Which reduces the need for long distance power
transmission reducing the cost of the grid and reducing transmission losses.
Most cost analyses are far too simplistic.
Also, there is value in redundancy, having multiple sources of power makes you more
secure, and less vulnerable to a disaster [natural or economic] that effects some more
We can't practically do geothermal in the UK [sadly otherwise I would be going all out
for geothermal power] and we need something low/zero carbon with a small footprint to
produce our base-load. Nuclear fits that bill perfectly.
But it has a big upfront cost, and takes time to install.
And successive governments have failed to plan ahead or act decisively [while doing the