Click to get your own widget

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Professor Stephen Salter (inventor of the Salter's Duck wavepower device which has been receiving government money since the 1970s on the promise that with just an extra few million more he will have a commercial generator) replied to my letter on the 23rd that I was dishonest:

Neil Craig (Letters, 23 October) gives a figure of 1.3p per kilowatt hour for the cost of French electricity. This is as dishonest as many of the statements of nuclear advocates. The French tariff is complicated and depends on your connection rating, the time of day and three different day "colours" announced day to day, depending on expected demand. An excellent explanation can be found on Google.

For the typical example of 3000kWh at the cheap rate, 2000kWh normal rate, plus the connection charge for 9kW, the total was 0.11 per kilowatt hour in 2004 . Can Mr Craig say where he got the 1.3p figure?

Well no I wasn't & though they asked me to cut my reply the Scotsman have published mine as their first letter today. Tightening it may have actually made it more hard hitting & after defending myself I still got to make half the letter a critique of the entire anti-nuclear case though I did have to drop an extraneous bit about how greenery is much of the reason why our economy is not growing like China's.

Professor Salter accuses me (letter 25th Oct) of being "dishonest" in saying that whereas our windmill power is being reduced from 9 to 8p per kwh the French equivalent is 1.3p & requests that I inform him where the figure came from. I was responding to a previous article in the Scotsman about a proposed reduction in wholesale windmill prices to the grid & gave the equivalent French price, to the grid. This came from the World Nuclear Organisation whose website lists the production cost of French nuclear as being 2.54 cents which does, or at least used to, correlate to slightly under 1.3p. Perhaps Professor Salter may wish to acknowledge his error in confusing retail prices with wholesale

Keeping the lights on is arguably the most important issue in British politics today. However bad the credit crunch may be it does not compare with what will happen when they go out. Nor is the fact that 24,000 pensioners have been dying, quite unnecessarily, every year from the effects of fuel poverty & that this is expected to nearly double this winter, an unimportant statistic.

As the previous LibDem leader said on TV "nuclear is the easy solution" going on to explain that it thus must be prevented from working otherwise the public could not be frightened into subsidising windmills. Professor Salter can confirm this since he was Nicol's co-speaker at the time.

Reactors can be built in 4 years, excluding paperwork & if we do not have them by 2015, when new EU emission controls will close so much conventional power, we will have massive blackouts.

French & other figures Expected fuel poverty deaths's remark

UPDATE This letter in today (Friday) shows I have been in error. I have been far to kind to the windmillers.

Neil Craig (Letters, 30 October) is correct to draw attention to Professor Stephen Salter's failure to understand the electricity prices he quoted for wind and French nuclear production.

But it is worse. The reduction of price from 9p to 8p per kWh refers only to the wholesale price at the wind "farm" gate or landfall. To this must be added 5.5p for the renewable obligation certificate, giving about 14p per kWh compared with the French 1.3p per kWh.

The politicians who crowed about a "9p to 8p reduction" were selling a half-truth.


Aye well, see:

The reality of France's aggressive nuclear power push

'Further claims that French nuclear power costs are "the lowest in the world" can't be substantiated because nobody knows the cost of the entire domestic nuclear program. For decades, the civilian program has profited from direct and indirect subsidies, in particular through cross-financing with the nuclear weapons program. Current estimates don't apppropriately take into account eventual decommissioning and waste-management costs, which remain a concern and quite uncertain. (In addition to post-fission waste, 46 years of uranium mining has left 50 million tons of waste for eventual cleanup and remediation, the cost of which is unknown.) Official final disposal cost estimates for long-lived high- and intermediate-level fission wastes vary between $21 billion and $90 billion'

Had you checked the link to prices I gave you would have seen that France's is not the lowest. Czech & South Korean are slightly lower.

As regards the cost of clearing up mine tailings there is no reason to believe they need cost more, per ton, than removing coal bings - though obviously there are very much fewer tons.
You appear to have real difficulty in understanding the point that has been made. Strange really, since it's been made to you so many times before.

There is no transparency in the French figures. They are meaningless.
Presumably the Czech figures are also faked and the South korean & indeed all the others since all of them show nuclear far cheaper than windmills. So everybody in the world is lying except the anonymous eco-fascists.
The figures have no integrity. They do no compare like with like. In any case the nuclear industry has a history of hiding and underestimating costs. There are massive government and state subsidies in the USA for example and the current reactor build in Finland is subject to huge cost overruns. The UK government could not get the private sector to build our proposed new reactors without underwriting the project with a potentially massive sum of public money. Nuclear is not considered a commercial proposition by the nuclear industry itself. Ignoring legitimate points like these does not help your case.
You are merely shouting "liar" at ALL the countries listed while producing no evidencd whatsoever. If you have some produce it. You are merely demonstrating the integrity, or otherwise, of the anti-nuclearists.

Yhe statement "Nuclear is not considered a commercial proposition by the nuclear industry itself" is merely a lie.

To claim that I am "ignoring" your "legitimate points" when it must be blindingly obvious I am currently answering them is very foolish.

If your points are legitimate rather than rants you will be able to produce evidence.
And I can, see pp 2 to 8 of 'The Nuclear Illusion' at

'During the nuclear revival now allegedly underway, no new nuclear project on earth has been financed by private risk capital, chosen by an open decision process, nor bid into the world’s innumerable power markets and auctions. No old nuclear plant has been resold at a
value consistent with a market case for building a new one. And two strong global trends—greater transparency in governmental and energy decision-making, and wider use of competitive power markets—are further dimming nuclear prospects.

U.S. nuclear operators’ impressive success in improving reliability and performance (through experience, better management, ownership consolidation, shut-down lemons, and compliant regulation) have been unable to offset prohibitive capital costs. To deemphasize this hurdle, the industry emphasizes its low operating costs, often comparing the cost of just running plants already built with the total costs of building and operating other kinds of new plants. The
term “generating costs” or “production costs,” widely used in such misleading comparisons, refers
to bare operating costs without capital costs for construction or (usually) for major repairs...

...The nuclear industry has consistently underestimated its capital costs, often by large factors,
and then claimed its next low forecasts will be accurate. Of 75 U.S. plants operating in
1986, the U.S. Energy Information Administration found two-year-cohort-average cost overruns
of 209–381%...

...bottlenecks and scarcities have put the flagship new-build project—Finland’s Olkiluoto-3 reactor—at least 24 months behind schedule after 28 months’ construction, at least 50% over budget (losing the fixed-price builders at least €1.5 billion and customers twice that), and harshly criticized by the Finnish nuclear safety regulator.'

And at p 27...'France has striven with unique fervor since 1974 to substitute nuclear power for oil,
but when this shift began, less than an eighth of French electricity was made from oil. France today, making 78% of its electricity or 18% of its total delivered energy from nuclear power,consumes only one-tenth less fossil fuel than in 1973; transport has increased oil use far more than nuclear power has reduced it. Oil still provides nearly half, and fossil fuels more than 70%, of France’s final energy needs, while all uranium is imported. Carbon emissions are higher than in the mid-1980s. Nuclear overcapacity has become a serious problem, requiring dumping” a dozen reactors’ surpluses on neighboring countries and even weekend shutdowns of reactors that can’t sell their output....heavy financial losses throughout the nuclear value chain have required massive taxpayer bail-outs and still-opaque subsidies. To be sure, the French nuclear program is an impressive technical and logistical achievement; yet the world is expected to add its capacity equivalent in windpower in just the next two years.'
You may be interested in knowing that the author of the propaganda piece you are quoting is the guy who said "the only physics I ever took is ex-lax". He may be as far from impartial as from educated indeed you quote:

"Nuclear overcapacity has become a serious problem, requiring dumping” a dozen reactors’ surpluses on neighboring countries"

We should all have such problems & all be able to sell, at profitable prices (or as he spells it "dumping") this spare capacity.

Lets se some evidence, whichn is not the same as repasting ignorant eco-fascist rants.
Since when did you need to be a physicist to make an economic argument? What qualifications do you have for that matter? Is it possible that you can answer the point made to you just once without attempted ad hominems or fallacious arguments?
And in any case you appear to be mistaken about Lovin's qualifications. He is an experimental physicist, see:

'Lovins spent much of his youth in Silver Spring, Maryland and in Amherst, Massachusetts. In 1964, Lovins entered Harvard University. After two years there, he transferred to Magdalen College, Oxford, England, where he studied experimental physics. He became a Junior Research Fellow in Oxford’s Merton College, where he studied for two years and earned a master of arts (M.A.). He has received many honorary degrees recognizing his work.[1]'

So answer the charges!
"What qualifications do you have for that matter? Is it possible that you can answer the point made to you just once without attempted ad hominems..."

Now that looks ad hom to me?

I have answered your point by saying that assertion without you producing evidence is valueless. You still haven't tried to produce evidence.
I have to apologise. It wasn't Lovins who said that but another idiot, in fact Lovins does know more than that & I had misread something.

Nonetheless your "point" is merely to assert that that France has an "oversupply" of electricity & has to "dump" it on neighbours. That is nonsense & if speaking English, dishonest since "dump" * "seel" have different meanings.

And, as with integrity you would already have admitted, I have already answered that. Now have you any actual evidence?
This argument is about costs. I have produced evidence about the hidden costs of nuclear power. You are resorting to bluster to cover your lack of any rebuttal argument.
You have bot produced evidence you have produced asertions that the World Nuclear Association have got their figures wrong but have produced no evidence of it. You may be interested to know that in a reply printed by the Scotsman no attempt at evidence was produced either & Professor Salter has apparently felt unable to produce evidence of his assertions either.
You have a very strange idea of what constitutes evidence. It seems you simply rule out everything you don't agree with. That's handy if you have no rebuttal to that evidence and you ain't shown any yet.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

British Blogs.