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February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy1 Nuclear Power Reconsidered.

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1 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy1 Nuclear Power Reconsidered

2  Nuclear power is expensive, and poses significant environmental risks and the risk of catastrophic events including nuclear weapons proliferation. However, given the immense challenge of reducing greenhouse gases, it is … A. Unacceptable B. Acceptable only if we can solve the problem of waste storage C. Worth serious consideration D. Acceptable as a transitional source or energy E. A necessary risk February 13, 2013sustainable energy policy

3  Catastrophic failure of backup systems  A ‘focusing event’ that forced commercial nuclear power safety onto the agenda of many countries February 13, 2013sustainable energy policy

4  Wikipedia on Fukushima accidentsFukushima accidents  Several plants had core meltdowns; destroyed  2 nd (Chernobyl) Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.  Radiation releases effected local food supply; 1/10 Chernobyl  No immediate deaths due to radiation exposure; 6 workers exceeded lifetime limits  Estimate: future excess deaths February 13, 2013sustainable energy policy

5  Japan: all but 2 plants have been shut down  Germany – May 2011 announced plans to phase out nuclear power with 11 years  France – considering reduced reliance February 13, 2013sustainable energy policy

6  Every energy technology carries a cost; so does the absence of energy technologies. Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small. The crisis at Fukushima has converted me to the cause of nuclear power. readread  Japan's horror reveals thinnest of the margin on which modernity lives... We can try to deal with this in two ways. One is to attempt to widen it with more technology…The other possibility is to try to build down a little: to focus on resilience, on safety. And to do that – here's the controversial part – instead of focusing on growth.readread February 13, 2013sustainable energy policy George Monbiot Bill McKibben

7 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy7 Agenda Nuclear power: resource characteristics Political psychology of risk analysis Governance Policy – BC Policy – AB Conclusion

8 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy8 Reactor Design - LWR Uses “light water” – regular water Nuclear fuel needs to be enriched –Natural uranium only contains 0.7% fissionable U 235 –Up to 3-5% (90% for bomb)

9 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy9 Reactor Design - CANDU CANada Deuterium Uranium Does not need enriched uranium But needs “heavy water” - water which contains a higher proportion than normal of the isotope deuterium of hydrogen Lower meltdown risk because loss of water shuts down reaction

10 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy10 Nuclear Power Worldwide 17% of world’s electricity generation Country with most capacity installed: US Country most dependent: France (~80%)

11 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy11 Resource Characteristics (1) abundance – relatively high energy density – extremely high –One uranium pellet, which weighs about 20 grams, can provide energy equal to: 400 kilograms of coal 270 litres of oil or 300 cubic metres of natural gas (Candu site) cost per unit energy – high reliability – moderately high

12 Asustainable energy policy Wiki

13 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy13 Environmental Impacts “nuclear power has zero emissions of carbon dioxide, sulpher dioxide, and nitrous oxides” Duane Bratt (2005), p. 110 “nuclear power has the smallest “footprint” in terms of the amount of energy generated per hectacre of land.” (Alberta Expert Panel Review)

14 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy14 Environmental Impacts Lower GHG impacts “The fallacy of zero emissions” Need to consider entire fuel cycle –uranium mining and milling –uranium refining –conversion and fuel fabrication –waste fuel management

15 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy15 Comparative CO2 emissions Oxford Research Group, Secure Energy,

16 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy16 Risk - Safety low probability of potentially catastrophic event meltdown –failure of cooling system –runaway chain reaction –significant release of radiation

17 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy17 Risk – Nuclear Proliferation nuclear weapons require highly enriched uranium or plutonium technology used to enrich uranium for commercial nuclear power can also be used for weapons “dirty bombs”

18 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy18 Risk – Nuclear Waste high vs low level high level “unsolved” in any jurisdiction long half-lives require containment for 10,000s years deep burial technologically and economically feasible sites approved in Finland; operation a long way off material stored at existing facilities indefinitely

19 February 13, 2013sustainable energy policy

20 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy20 Agenda Nuclear power: resource characteristics Political psychology of risk analysis Governance Policy – BC Policy – AB Conclusion

21 Political psychology of risk analysis Risk: probability times consequence Most analysts believe nuclear power risks are low Psychologists note how people focus more on catastrophic or unfamiliar consequences Special political constraint to nuclear power February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy21

22 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy22 Nuclear Image: From Panacea to Nightmare Highly contested image Pre-1970’s: promising high technology, “too cheap to meter” 1970’s – one of major issues of environmental (anti-nuclear) - Came to symbolize –Danger –Environmental destruction –Centralization Aggravated by Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986)

23 February 13, 2013sustainable energy policy

24 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy24 Is Reframing Possible? Can it be successfully reframed in the wake of climate change Canadian Nuclear Association:Canadian Nuclear Association –Clean –Reliable –Affordable

25 February 13, 2013sustainable energy policy

26  Loan guarantees ($8 billion)  New enthusiasm for small modular reactors small modular reactors  LWR technology  As small as MW  Plug and play: Made in factories and transported (reducing construction costs) February 13, 2013sustainable energy policy

27 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy27 Agenda Nuclear power: resource characteristics Political psychology of risk analysis Governance Policy – BC Policy – AB

28 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy28 Governance: Single Most Important Actor in Nuclear Industry?

29 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy29 Governance: Single Most Important Actor in Nuclear Industry?

30 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy30 Governance – Institutions federal jurisdiction paramount due to safety and security issues Also international jurisdiction under IAEAIAEA provincial approval will still be required

31 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy31 Governance – Actors Federal Government  Atomic Energy Canada Ltd (AECL) – a crown corporation that makes and sells the CANDU reactorAECL  2009 – Harper government announced plans to privatize commercial reactor divisionannounced  2011 – CANDU Energy Inc sold to SNC-Lavalin–SNC-Lavalin  The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)CNSC  independent quasi-judicial agency  reports to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources  regulates the use of nuclear energy and materials to protect health, safety, security and the environment

32 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy32 Governance – Actors Industry Canadian Nuclear Association Bruce Power –private nuclear power generating company –20% of Ontario’s electricity –Bruce Power Alberta – new entity 36% owned by CamecoCameco

33 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy33 Governance – Actors Environmental Groups Pembina Greenpeace

34 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy34 Current Policy: Federal Policy Nuclear Safety Control Act governs approval processprocess site application triggers need for EA CNSC is lead no specific policy to promote nuclear power

35 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy35 Agenda Nuclear power: resource characteristics Political psychology of risk analysis Governance Policy – BC Policy – AB

36 Current Policy - BC Formally opposed to nuclear power –2002, 2007 Energy Plans reaffirm commitments –Closest nuclear site is the Columbia Generating Station near Richland, Washington (1.1 GW) (Energy Information Administration)Columbia Generating Station –New google earth featureearth February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy36

37 Current policy - Alberta Current Alberta generating capacity (12 GW – 2007) –60% coal –30% natural gas –10% hydro power demand projected to increase 75% by 2024 compared to 2007 capacityprojected GHG concerns have provoked interest Bruce Power Alberta proposed to build 4 reactors in Peace Region Prompted government to establish expert panel (April 08) February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy37

38 Expert Panel Expert Panel Conclusions February 2009 Report largely positive Economically, $370 million in economic activity annually per reactor Environmentally, a plant releases no carbon dioxide footprint on the landscape similar to hydro & wind Waste disposal methods compared to CCS Safety -3rd and 4th generation reactors offer improved safety procedures All plants are subject to IAEA scrutiny. Socially; “It is the panel's view that there are no separate social issues which fall within provincial jurisdiction that are uniquely associated with nuclear power generation...”. The GoA would meet many of the same challenges in nuclear plant construction that they do in large oil & gas developments.

39  No special treatment: “The Government of Alberta has decided to maintain its existing policy where power generation options are proposed by the private sector in the province, and any nuclear power proposal would be considered on a case-by-case basis”decided February 13, 2013sustainable energy policy

40 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy40 Bruce Power Proposal 2-4 reactors for 4000 MW –Not directly tied to oil sands $10 billion Neutral on reactor choice at present Current site located 30 Km north of Peace River

41 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy41 Bruce Power Proposal Application for site license filed March 2008 Triggers an EA under Canadian Environmental Assessment Act Proposal dropped in December 2011dropped

42 February 13, 2013 sustainable energy policy42 Conclusion Renaissance due to lower GHG emissions, interrupted by Fukushima Cost a serious issue Comes with different risk profile Serious risk perception issues

43  Nuclear power is expensive, and poses significant environmental risks and the risk of catastrophic events including nuclear weapons proliferation. However, given the immense challenge of reducing greenhouse gases, it is … A. Unacceptable B. Acceptable only if we can solve the problem of waste storage C. Worth serious consideration D. Acceptable as a transitional source or energy E. A necessary risk February 13, 2013sustainable energy policy


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