5 Comments
Sep 12, 2022Liked by Liberty

I hope you focus in the second part more about the real problems of nuclear instead of the image/marketing problems.

It's intellectually dishonest to mention France as good example and fail to mention that their reactors are down at the moment and France is getting its electricity from European neighbors.

Expand full comment
author

The problem in France isn't technological, it's largely political. For a long time they've been doing a lot to try to sabotage their fleet and move away from it, finding any excuse to shut down plants and engineer economic and regulatory reasons to do so, only turning around on that more recently because of the energy crisis.

There's some context here:

https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/somethings-rotten-with-french-nuclear/id1516526694?i=1000567168647

If France's fleet had been as well maintained and operated as Germany's fleet (because they decided to shut them down for ideological reasons), France would be an energy powerhouse.

Expand full comment
Sep 13, 2022Liked by Liberty

We need to be careful comparing operating metrics of France to Germany. 80% of France's load is supplied by nuclear which forces them to use the fleet for load following and not just 100% flat out baseload operations. This is contrasted to Germany where only about 10% is supplied by nuclear and allows them to operated pedal to the metal.

Mark's claim about sabotage and mismanagement is not supported by long-term operating data which is publicly available to all.

The real answer is likely nuanced and complicated like most things but probably goes something like the French:

-Are not the best operators in the world but not the worst

-Load following requirement forces capacity factor lower

-Political disdain for nuclear likely does seep into operational/maintenance decisions, but not directly, probably through a institutional imperative type process.

Expand full comment

I'm not sure about the submarine fleet. I was refering to the reactors. They are down because of a) planned maintenance (disadvantage of a centralized system, single point of failure) and b) not enough cooling water because of the summer drought.

I don't see how these points are political?

Expand full comment
author

Submarines? I didn't mean to talk about submarines.

And yes, these things are largely political if you look into them. Anti-nuclear people/politicians will engineer problems to shut down plants for no good reasons and then claim that nuclear is problematic so we need to get rid of it. Kind of like they tried to kill Diablo Canyon in California for a tiny quantity of hot water going in the ocean, which is a non-issue at the scale its happening, and a much smaller problem than burning more gas/coal/having an unstable grid/more expensive power/etc.

Expand full comment