Skip to comments.German nuclear damage shows atomic and renewable power are unhappy bedfellows
Posted on 07/19/2017 7:21:58 PM PDT by george76
A Germany nuclear plant was damaged because its operators increased and decreased its output to respond to energy grid fluctuations. The incident supports the theory that nuclear and renewable energy generation are incompatible. EURACTIVs partner Der Tagesspiegel reports.
The Brokdorf nuclear power station, located in northern Germany, was taken offline in February after maintenance showed its reactors fuel rods had begun to unexpectedly oxidise.
A regional nuclear supervisory body has now ruled that the plant can be booted back up but only in safe mode, according to Schleswig-Holsteins energy transition minister.
State Minister for Energy Robert Habeck (Greens) added that the power plants output should not be increased or decreased at short notice to adapt to the supply of renewable energies on the electricity grid. The minister warned that atomic energy is not a bridging technology.
A 2011 study by Greenpeace also concluded that renewables and nuclear are not compatible and that fuel rod damage is a possible consequence.
The practice of quickly increasing or decreasing electricity generation to compensate for excessive or reduced renewable output has been particularly prevalent since 2015.
(Excerpt) Read more at euractiv.com ...
Fuel pre-conditioning guidelines
Nuke is baseload. They shouldn’t have been doing that.
US operators use nat gas mostly to keep the system balanced.
Wind is just unpredictable.
Well, you can’t have that eevil fracking in Deutchland. You know what they burn for balance during nighttime? Wood. That they mostly import from the U.S. Counts as renewable, even though it has to be shipped across the Atlantic. Typical liberal insanity.
I would certainly hope that every operating mode of a nuclear power plant would be a "safe node". :=)
“Nuclear power is perfectly safe, except for the idiots who work in the industry”. A quote from my late father who worked at K-25 and Y-12 for 42 years.
Your dad worked in K25 and Y12 for 42 years?
42 years? I thought I was doing well to make it 10 years (under contract at DOE), now retired.
The only people I have ever met that had worked in both were contractor radiation protection technicians.
Yep. You crank 'em up and adjust the load by dialing natural gas plants up and down as needed. I was told Germans are smart but I'm beginning to have my doubts.
Nuclear power should have been the dawn of the modern era. I agree,like most good things in life,idiots ruin it for everybody.The industry is incompetently run,over regulated and held hostage by enviro-nazis and the scare-them-all media
I believe the military has mastered it with very minimal setback.
Energy sustainability and independence would not solve all problems but would solve most of Americas.
How basic is that? No one with any sense is running the grid there, clearly. They’re bowing to the political winds, stupidly.
“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
- Richard P. Feynman
” Operating in safe mode.” Sounds like Microsoft Windows. Not very reassuring considering the blue screen of death means a melt down.
Like coal fired thermal generators, it is not wise to set nuclear powered thermal generators as ‘load following’. Both work best when they are ‘base loaded’. In AB, gas fired thermal generators and sometimes hydro generators were ‘load following’. Hydro units were kept as ‘spinning reserve’ and lower levels of reserve, available instantaneously, in case a unit tripped. These German jokers need to refit their mothballed coal plants into NG plants to ‘load follow’.
Metals deteriorates more rapidly when forces increase and decrease rapidly. Just look to airworthiness of aircraft. After a certain number of take off and landings, they require in depth testing and serious maintenance. Ramping nukes rapidly up and rapidly down stresses in a similar way.
You are spot on about the lack of cross over. Dad was loaned out on occasion to the DOE by both Carbide and Martin Marrietta for fire protection and safety projects. I do believe Dad included himself in the “idiot” description as he lacked formal engineering education. His main beef with the nuclear industry was that the various training, inspection and safety shortcuts the various contractors implemented over time in the name of being the lowest bidder. The guy was not perhaps the brightest bulb in the business, but he was a stickler for detail and loyal to a fault. He carried his slide rule and pocket protector to the very end.
“A quote from my late father who worked at K-25 and Y-12 for 42 years.”
Wow! I worked in both of those places once upon a time.
Someone else pointed out indirectly that it’s not good for nuclear plants to be cycled on and off frequently. Thermal stress on the large metal parts is the reason. Also, it takes a long time to start up a nuclear plant.
It’s peculiar that the oxidation of the fuel rods is unexpected. Fuel rods are regularly replaced. Did they leave fuel roes in the reactor beyond their operational lifetime in order to save money?
Perhaps someone in the power industry could shed light on this question:
Why not run nuclear plants at some optimal level (say 95% of capacity) and then just shunt unneeded power to a resistive load?
An even better approach would involve cycling the plant through the same power curve every day, designed to follow average power use (AC/heating, industrial use etc.).
My understanding is that fuel costs are a negligible fraction of nuclear plant costs. Why worry about adjusting output at all? The higher the fraction of grid power coming from reliable sources, the better this approach would work, of course...
There will come a time, if not in Germany then somewhere else, that the attempt to have “renewables” provide the most/major source of electricity will start to encompass a physical footprint across the land that will make earlier revolts of “not in my backyard” look tiny by comparison.
Commercial power rates are usually based on peak load, that is, you pay a higher overall rate as your peak demand increases. This highly incourages commercial costomers to manage (lower) their peak load. If you own a plant or factory you can run different equipment at different times in a scheme to lower your peak. This discourages spikes in demand and is very much in keeping with free market principles.
Likewise, we should value supply (the rate we pay the supplier) based on the reliability of the supply. Aply that very valid market principle, which goes hand and hand with that above and renewable energy as we know it is just simply folly.
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