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Earth Power

France To Invest One Billion Euros In Nuclear Power 308

An anonymous reader writes "France will invest one billion euros in future nuclear power development while boosting research into security, President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday." The Guardian has a more detailed article. It's not a huge investment, but it is nice to see continued commitment to Generation IV reactors by at least one Western country.
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France To Invest One Billion Euros In Nuclear Power

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  • by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @03:11PM (#36602358) Journal

    Except that France has a reprocessing facility that dwarfs other countries' capacity to get useable fuel out of the "waste."

    Nice job not knowing any facts though, and spewing the same non-issues like a good parrot.

  • by demonbug ( 309515 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @03:18PM (#36602490) Journal

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but why can nuclear power only supply base-load, instead of peak as well? I've certainly heard that solar and wind are unsuitable to supply base load, as they're not terrifically reliable, but never anything about nuclear being unable to scale to peak load.

    It isn't practical to rapidly change the load on nuke reactors, because it takes a significant amount of time to ramp up and down power output. Also, it basically costs the same to run whether you are at 10% capacity or 100% capacity, so it makes sense to run them as near to full capacity as possible. Contrast that with something like a gas-fired powerplant, where you can ramp generation quickly and you are pretty much only paying for the gas you are burning.

    Of course, France announced at the same time as this announcement that they will be going ahead with something like 1.5 billion euros funding renewable resources over the same period, so it isn't like they are putting all their eggs in the nuclear basket - just not abandoning it entirely as others are doing.

  • This is good news (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @03:29PM (#36602702) Homepage

    At least someone isn't giving up.

    Still, the lessons of Fukushima Daiichi are serious. There are a sizable number of reactors out there which will melt down if they lose cooling pump power. (The reactors and the pumps at Fukushima survived the earthquake and tsunami. Cooling continued until the battery bank ran down, then stopped. All the damage shown in photos is from later hydrogen explosions.) That's unacceptable. There has to be backup passive cooling.

    All plants should have catalytic hydrogen recombiners [] to prevent hydrogen explosions. There's no excuse for not having those. That should have been fixed after TMI, decades ago.

    Long term storage of used fuel rods on site has got to stop. After initial cooling, those need to go to dry cask storage.

    The really tough issue is evacuation zones. Indian Point in New York has 19 million people within 50 miles.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @03:43PM (#36602926)

    You do not want to burn hydrogen in a turbine, you do not want to store hydrogen. It embrittles everything. It leaks through anything. It is an explosive hazard. It would be far cheaper and safer to just buy and burn natural gas.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein