- Date published:
6:00 am, March 17th, 2023 - 123 comments
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Open mike is your post.
For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.
The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).
Step up to the mike …
All good. About that Government support. Howabout ramping that up ! And looking at other options for the "Blue Highway". Are some kind of landing barge….shallow draught vessels a possible? for appropriate areas…of course.
And…maybe they were listening? # 1
One of my hobbies is "how would we survive a zombie apocalypse in the rest of the world?"
Food isn't a problem, but distributing it is. You'd see a massive emptying out of anywhere not connected by sea for food transport. The government probably needs a "book" that contains everything we'd need to do to survive an apocalypse like a nuclear war or alien attack. A chapter in that book would be entitled "a simple design for a 120 ton wooden schooner".
Hi Sanctuary. Well….there still maybe still some Old School (and notso old : ) tradies that would be up for that.Of course, Apprentices needed ! We could use Native timber (Sustainable grown, as in replant !)
Really..it makes sense. IMO
Hang in there CRL team; downtown Auckland is back and buzzing in no small part due to completed CRL sections and waterfront rebuilds from 2019-20.
Keep the faith.
I am not an expert on big power projects (perhaps Advantage may have view? Nah, who am I kidding, of course he'll have a view ) by any stretch of the imagination, but I wonder if we are going to spend sixteen billion on pumped hydro to buy the country what is effectively a giant six week duration battery that is 1000km of vulnerable power lines from the main population centres then ought we not consider what else we might get for the money?
For example, sixteen billion might get us something like a 1200MW nuclear power station at Marsden point. That is four times the output of the Clutha high dam. It is a geologically stable area (although you'd have to mitigate the design for tsunamis) and it is less than 150km from Auckland and building it there would mean you don't have to significantly alter an area of natural beauty in the South Island, since the site is already used for heavy industry. The lifespan of these nuclear power stations is 80 odd years so the ROI would be comparable (as an aside, I'd love someone to do an ROI analysis of the Acqua Vergine, built in 19BC and still going strong) to pumped hydro.
Building nuclear would require a massive cultural headshift on the part of NZers, but with Australia buying nuclear powered submarines as part of the rising tensions in the Asia Pacific region maybe building a nuclear power plant would give us the excuse to move away from a complete ban on nuclear reactors anyway.
Anyone got any better facts to contribute to this?
Your pro-nuke arguments could apply in britain/europe..
But we are blessed with multiple other options..
I don't know enough about the proposed water retention plan to credibly comment on it..
But it is clear that the amount of dosh being spent on it would buy a shedload of solar/wind/tidal power..which would neatly supplement our existing hydro assets..
I mean, we could have 600 giant wind turbines in the Kaipara/Taranaki bight… But thier is a question around environmental footprint. Surely a nuclear power station that takes up a fraction of the space and needs a lot less maintenance might be better?
Wind turbines last little more than 25 years.
Each turbine has highly unstable generation. Each collector group has unstable generation. Each wind farm has unstable generation. Wind farms simply can't be base load.
I have several posts I want to do. It's not unreasonable to ask the nuclear question given our isolation, generator concentration, and market that is screwing us all.
Even after 4 country-altering crises since 2011, National just can't figure out what the state is for.
"…Even after 4 country-altering crises since 2011, National just can't figure out what the state is for…"
Yes it does! "…National Party energy spokesperson Stuart Smith… …confirmed his view was that the current structure of the electricity market was right; generators had sufficient incentives to build enough new generation, and if a new solution was needed to address the “dry year” issue, then that could be left to the market to deliver…"
National is happy for the state to do nothing while average kiwis get utterly shafted by the electricity industry.
Nuclear might take up a fraction of the space of wind farms but the toxic waste it produces continues to be the major headache that nobody has a cure for.
Another problem with nuke-power is that it looks like the much cleaner nuclear-fission will soon enough supercede it..
And does anyone know why tidal-power is not used here…it is not wrather-dependant..
I sit 'on the dock of the bay… watching the tide rolling away'..each and every day ..
And I wonder 'why not..?'
Assuming fusion become practical, it is still decades away from being an efficient and reliable source of power – we need to decarbonise now.
There are a fair few concerns around the effects on marine life etc. Very hard to figure out what effect the infrastructure will have on the tidal currents and the 'noise' from the turbines interfering with marine mammals. Alot to go wrong and not a whole lot of understanding at this point in time.
Worse effects on marine life than the hordes of fish-hunters who descend on them most weekends..?.
Not to mention the commercial wing of that sorry pastime..?
Yes, potentially by an order of magnitude given the likes of the Kaipara are the nursery for massive amount of our snapper as an example. Interfering with the currents or the pressure waves that turbine blades can generate.
Imaging the noise of windmills but underwater, or how the altering flows has changed our rivers for the worst. Dont think we want to be doing that to our harbours etc…
The nuclear industry has a very strong track record of grossly underestimating the cost of builds. Building it within the proposed time frame is another of their challenges.
It's an issue with all major construction projects, but put the nuclear factor in there and it goes out by 10x. One of the reasons so few of them have been built in the recent generations.
Pumped hydro is within our skillset, nuclear is a whole new game from planning, through construction and then operation, both at a plant and grid level. Big ask for a small country.
Hi Graeme. I had linked these….a time ago. As an alternative. But what think?
It's a very interesting and mature technology building these things. I wish I was 40 years younger, I'd be in there. This is a very good overview of a similar, but smaller project in Europe, covers the technology involved and the problem solving that goes along. Onslow would be very similar in tech and geological challenges, but bigger.
You nail it with the 'within our skillset..' being the key.
There's insufficient materials for this 'transition' to wind and solar let alone the manufacturing capacity and skill to execute here.
Work with what we've got is the key to surviving what comes next IMO.
@tc .Of course stopping eating/exploiting animals is the shortcut to that transition..
But that is down to the individual…and most seem to be looking outwards/to others..for the solutions…and not seeing much on offer..
In the history of man has a large project ever not blown out
Na, and you can probably go back to, or before the cave on that on one.
But nuclear power plant blow outs are another thing altogether.
Actually Sanct there is a serious fault in your proposed site. namely the Kerepehi Fault
Why is no one in NZ talking about gravity batteries, where excess power is stored by lifting weights? You can transfer power to other spots and store it there on-site, as the setups are scaleable.
"Gravity batteries". Pumped hydro, you mean?
Tidal turbines are a too much overlooked source of reliable power.
We have sufficient tidal flow in Cook Strait, for one.
And the technology is well developed. Tidal power turbines date back to the 60's.
When I was first apprenticed to the NZED >50 years ago there was a possibility that one day I would get to work at a nuclear power station.
Interest in nuclear power in New Zealand in the late 1950s and 60s was driven by rising demand for electricity. The New Zealand Electricity Department (NZED) included nuclear power in its range of possible generating sources, and in 1964 an interdepartmental Nuclear Power Siting Committee was established to begin the preliminary selection of possible reactor sites. By 1965 planning was under way for a 1000-megawatt (MW) station in Northland, with a site on the Kaipara Harbour being favoured. Engineering staff of the NZED were enrolled on overseas training courses, and an undergraduate course in reactor engineering was established at the University of Canterbury. During the 1960s and early 70s, several staff of the National Radiation Laboratory undertook training in reactor safety and licensing.
These small nuclear power plants cost about 4 Billion NZD each.
A single plant powers 1million homes.
Rolls Royce claims they are relatively quick to build and have all the latest safety features.
A couple of these and we would have emission free electricity and be set for generations.
Love it, lets put directly over a fault line to prove how smart we are.
Oh wait better yet, lets put somewhere we know theirs no fault lines.
Using Nuclear power in NZ is like expecting a bowling ball to float across water when thrown.
Just put the reactors in Submarines so that they float and can be moved closest to where needed most to reduce line loss. Already proven technology.
Not to mention that it would make us a 'nuclear state', hence a legitimate target. And what is the carbon cost of mining, transporting, storing, removing and disposing of the material, even before the super-long-term waste maintenance?
Welllll… The Kermadec trench is 10km deep and we happen to own that, so… if we need a disposal site I am just putting it out there.
Yeah, I wondered about using subduction zones as waste disposal sites… The crap just goes back into the core and burns away into its elemental parts…. Turns out they work on vastly different time scales than would be useful to us ☹️
You want to store spent fuel where it can be accessed as we currently only use about 10% of the available energy. As tech improves the currently 'spent' fuel will be viable again.
And in that article not a word about how much waste uranium and contaminated coolant will be discharged and what they plan to do about it. Very 70s – trumpet about your state-of-the-art designs but don't worry about the discharges.
Exactly, it's as if 'emissions' are the only concern.
And this assumes we do nothing with this material other than just store it. When in reality the solid 238U fuel rods still contain 97% of their original energy. We already know in principle how to extract this energy by reprocessing it, and with few decades of serious effort can fully commercialised these processes.
Which means in the medium term the actual volume of high level gamma emitting waste that would require safe storage would be less than 1- 2% of the already tiny volumes involved. There are any number of acceptably secure means to manage this.
Another key aspect not covered in my quote above, but delved into in depth by Delvanney here. The idea that any amount of radiation – no matter how small – causes accumulated catastrophic harm is a stupid lie. If this were the case the natural background radiation all life is exposed to would have rendered all life extinct billions of years ago. All the evidence suggests that our cellular DNA repair mechanisms can handle radiation up to dose rates of about 1-20 mSv/day. It is the rate that matters, not the cumulative dose. And for almost all sane scenarios the worst case power plant release or waste stream exposure is extremely unlikely to reach anything close to these dose rates for the general public.
As problems go nuclear waste streams have never so much as harmed a single person, yet for some reason this is why nuclear power cannot solve climate change which is claimed to be an existential crisis that could kill billions. This makes no rational sense whatsoever.
6 words: fukoshima, three mile island, chernobyl
I am not sure what your point is.
If you are saying that nuclear power plants can have failures then I totally agree with you. On current experience with all generation reactor designs we can estimate approximately one radiation release per 4000 reactor years of operation. In their operating life so far existing Gen 3+ reactors have not had a significant radiation release, and upcoming Gen 4 designs can reasonably expect to be as least as good if not better.
Nonetheless it is an engineering fallacy to claim we can build reactors of any kind that will never have any kind of failure. It is useful to make a comparison with commercial aviation. They invest heavily in making flying remarkably safe – yet they never pretend that an aircraft cannot have an accident. A fact they remind you of every time you board a plane and sit through a safety briefing.
Having agreed that it is impossible to have no radiation releases from NPP operation, the next question is – what is the harm of such radiation releases to the general public? In this respect for two of your three example cases the answer is a definitive zero.
Chernobyl is addressed in Sec 14 of this document. – a worst case accident of an uncontained design that would never have been licensed outside of the Soviet Union, and grotesquely mismanaged as only a pack of communist fuckers could – the confirmed harm was remarkably lower than most people imagine. We know for certain that the accident caused 59 deaths of which 57 were from radiation. All higher estimates are based on a faulty LNT model that pretends that living cells cannot repair DNA damage, and while I accept this point can be debated, it will still be orders of magnitude less harmful than this:
Since 1986 cumulatively fossil fuel pollution may well have already caused hundreds of millions of premature deaths – and yet we have continued to use them because the benefits outweighed the costs.
Yet despite the indisputable fact that nuclear power is definitively one of the safest forms of power generation we have – the irrational fear-mongering bugaboo of how dangerous it is continues to be recycled. We should know better by now – it is not the 1980's any more.
Sure, not so many people died immediately, but what about 200, 000 displaced, longer term radiation deaths and miscarriages, and a 4,000 km2 exclusion zone that will radiate gently for a while to come. I do admit it makes a fantastic wildlife sanctuary, but otherwise would have been productive land.
Also, Russia has threatened existing Ukraine nuclear power stations in the current conflict. Home-made dirty bombs.
I have no problem building nuclear power in nations that are not covered with volcanoes, and major faults.
But to suggest they be built in this country is the height of hubris. We have found new fault lines in the last 15 years we did not know were there. We have regular volcanic activity. We are moving, and have earthquakes every day.
It's a ticking time boom to build in NZ. We are stuck with wind, solar and if they can get it right, tidal. But building nuclear here is just stupid beyond measure.
I know it cannot be proven. but my brother who was vegetarian for all his adult life died in hie early 40's from stomach cancer. He was living in the UK at the time of the Chernobyl disaster and for several years afterwards. He ate a lot of cheese and other dairy products from France and Germany and travelled extensively in both those countries. He was always suspicious that his cancer may have been caused by the consumption of contaminated cheese or similar.
As he died here in New Zealand – he would not have featured in any stats about increased death rates post Chernobyl.
Yes – my recent experience with a certain medical procedure means I can well understand and sympathise with how your brother felt. Not knowing and not having any way of ever knowing is a disturbing position to be in. At best.
The good news is that we now understand that low rates of radiation exposure are very unlikely to cause harm. There are plenty of examples of people who sustained very high cumulative radiation doses, but at a low rate over long periods of time – who appeared to suffer no ill effects. Here is a good document covering this effect.
The other good news is that in the decades since 1986 there has been no detectable rise in excess deaths across Europe that can be attributed to Chernobyl. Again it was only with hindsight that we could determine this for certain.
Of course I cannot say anything absolute about the cause of your brother's cancer – but if it was connected with his consumption of milk and cheese products the isotopes involved 131I and 137Ce would not be typically involved with stomach cancer. Iodine concentrates in the thyroid and has a very short half-life of about 8 days. It is relatively easily managed. Of more concern is 137Cesium that typically substitutes for Potassium and is typically associated with skeletal and muscular cancers.
Again I am not trying to pretend anything definitive here – but with what we know in 2023 there are grounds to think it was unlikely your brother's demise was the result of the Chernobyl release. Which absolves nothing on the Soviet regime for what happened – the people most disgusted and angered by what happened are people who understand nuclear power intimately – and the immense reputational damage it caused.
Chernobyl is one of many in the former USSR. Some bloody nasty spots in Chernobyl, but kept in check by some bloody brave men and women.
Look for City 40. (some say outside the city is worse)
or Lake Karachay
Hot Spots – such a pc word – I always like Death Spots better. Spots if you go to, you will make yourself totally fubar.
The whole of NZ is a geo-technical hazard of some kind. You could argue the entire country is unfit for safe human habitation – but that would be stupid beyond measure as well.
It is is relatively easy to design plants to sustain very large earthquakes. I personally watched a large building containing a large paper machine suffer such serious ground shaking in the 1987 Edgecumbe event that it fluttered like a piece of paper in a gale – and I could not stand up – but afterward there was zero structural damage to the building or the machine itself. This was a very shallow quake that had dramatic surface energy, yet we had the entire site up and running again with two weeks.
An alternate approach is to float the plant in a sheltered harbour, where again it is quite straightforward to accommodate floods, quakes and tsunamis. This approach is being used by Thorcon and is progressing at their Indonesian pilot site.
If you want to postulate truly catastrophic events like a massive volcanic caldera super-volcanic event devastating much of the North Is – then go right ahead. But I suggest we might have bigger problems to worry about.
Personally I do not think NZ needs to rush into nuclear power; we do have a decent renewable SWB resource to develop over the next few decades and have the luxury of time before any nuclear fission adoption becomes urgent. But globally it is a quite different story.
RedLogix, absorbing the energy from a large rattle is one thing, keeping your plant/building functional if there is uplift or fissuring is a whole different story. In the 1855 Wairarapa earthquake
"About 5,000 square kilometres of land west of the fault was lifted up and tilted. The southern end of the Remutaka Range rose by over 6 metres, but the uplift decreased westward to near zero along the west coast of the Wellington peninsula." https://teara.govt.nz/en/historic-earthquakes/page-3
Now imagine your lovely powerplant with shock absorbers tilted 10 degrees from horizontal, or uplifted 6 m, or with a big crack underneath it.
I can understand your objections – after all images of the devastation from ChCh or more recently Turkey are not pretty.
Yet much of what you are seeing collapsing horribly in these quakes are buildings with a much, much lower specification than what is commonplace in heavy industry. A concrete steel reinforced column that is say 2m square on each side, and filled with so much 30mm steel RIO that the fabricators can barely get their hands in to assemble it – and then filled with very high MPA grade concrete – is astonishingly robust.
When I expressed my amazement at how well that paper machine building had survived with not so much as visible cracks, the engineers pointed out to me that the building, 200m long, 40m wide and 15m high, had been designed to sustain being tilted 30 deg from horizontal in any direction, with 3,000 tonnes of paper making machinery on a mezzanine floor 7m up, with no damage.
(And have to point out again that the Edgecumbe quake was no mere rattle; it may have been only 6.3 Richter, but because of the nature of the event, the surface shaking was extreme in the immediate vicinity. Literally I was thrown many metres off my feet several times with no hope of controlling what was happening. Many people had similar stories.)
And yes the Wairarapa uplifts are bloody impressive – I have walked along that coast many times. Hell when I was working in Dusky Sound we found a relatively recent quake slip that had about 24m of horizontal displacement. So these things are possible.
Yet they are not impossible to design for. Wellington's Te Marua Water Treatment Plant has the main Alpine Fault literally running right through the carpark just metres away from the front door – yet the engineers are confident the facility can sustain any the predicted event. Again it is astonishing what a lot of concrete and steel can do.
But that is the old fashioned way to build nuclear power plants. Most Gen 4 designs are going to be built in a factory, and typically shipped to a coastal site as a single steel fabrication, using the same kind of highly automated and efficient methods we already use in modern ship building. This kind of highly robust facility can be designed to sustain unthinkably catastrophic events – again I'll point to Thorcon's approach as an example.
Engineers are typically highly motivated to learn from their mistakes – and events like TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima are closely studied afterward. (One of the root causes of the TMI incident was that operators thought they had commanded an important pressure relief valve closed, when in fact it was physically stuck open. Because there was no position feedback from the valve, no-one in the control room knew this for far too long. Directly because of the reports that came out of this event, valve position feedbacks that were rare beforehand, have become virtually universal throughout all heavy industry.)
Looping back to the analogy with commercial aviation – imagine if the world had said we were not going to fly anymore because of the Hindenburg. That because of that mistake we were incapable of learning from it and making aviation acceptably safe.
RedLogix, I'm 'warming' to your argument, thanks for the expansion and the impressive description of over-engineering for earthquakes.
There must be upsides to decommissioning such latest-generation portable nuclear plants – maybe popping them down an active subduction zone whole?
For a very long time I was firmly on the anti-nuke side of this argument. But despite a decent technical education for many decades I believed a lot of half-truths and distortions – and looking back on a lot of what I was saying a decade ago is an exercise in humility.
Oddly enough the turning point for me was Fukushima itself. At first I was alarmed as was almost everyone else – but then slowly it dawned on me that it was not a radiation catastrophe turning the entire Pacific Ocean into a dead wasteland as some where predicting.
After this I invested quite a few thousand hours learning as much as I could on what this industry was really about. And in this respect I do not demand anyone else simply accept anything I say about nuclear just because I say it. If there is a lesson I learned here it is about respecting other people's right to an independent search for truth.
Nuclear fission engineering is a serious business and I do not want to gloss over any of the very real challenges that remain, even with the Gen 4 designs I have frequently pointed to. But there are no magical energy sources that come with no downsides – there are no free lunches and I accept nuclear fission comes with it's own price. Yet I would contend the very real costs of unconstrained climate change will be in the long run far, far worse.
PS – no I have not seen anyone suggesting subduction zones as a disposal method. I suspect the objection would be the slow and uncontrolled burial in ocean depths with limited options to react to the unexpected. But next time I am chatting with some of my online contacts I will ask about it if I remember.
I do. If humans allow climate to get so bad that it collapses civilisation (this is not a fringe theory), who will look after the power stations and nuclear waste?
NZ nuclear power plants? Nimby if it's all the same to nuclear enthusiasts.
Australia first! Heck, they've got unmatched uranium reserves.
Spaceship Earth currently absorbs more solar energy than it radiates – the Anthropocene is an era of planetary hyper-energisation.
In 2022, CO2 was 417 ppm. Is this iteration of civilisation incapable of learning to live within its means? If so, then it's not for want of lessons.
As someone fortunate enough to be born into a 'good' NZ family, the interval from the 1950s onward has been an exceptional time to be alive.
Many of us still don't know how lucky we were – yet.
A not unreasonable question, but again you have to ask if civilisation has collapsed so suddenly and dramatically that managing the legacy tail of retired nuclear power plants cannot be done – then I would suggest we have bigger problems to worry about.
Personally I find myself increasingly squeezed between climate deniers who still want to pretend that we can do unconstrained CO2, and climate catastrophisers who insist on immediate and radical industrial dismantling and systems transformation.
On the one had the deniers pretend we can fuck with intricate climate systems we do not properly understand, and on the other the alarmist pretend we can radically fuck with economic and energy systems upon which depend the lives of billions, with only happy consequences. In my view both are insanely risky pathways.
Nothing about our future is certain or guaranteed, but I have consistently argued our best bet is to treat this as the engineering problem it is and rationally plan to transition toward nuclear fission over the next few decades. Just as we have already moved from photosynthesis, to coal, to oil, then gas and now renewables. Eventually we will likely move from fission to fusion – or maybe something entirely unsuspected.
If we have just got on with nuclear energy as we already were in the 70's, we would not even be having this climate conversation now half a century later.
The blameless France …
But there other options to supplement the variables, wind and solar … battery storage of them and
No, we wouldn't be having that conversation, we'd possibly be having one like they have about the Sellafield nuclear power plant. Opened in the 1950's, and expanded and run for 60 years or so, it will take a hundred years to decommission. A nuclear power plant is a gift 'for generations' indeed.
Again I would point to the analogy with the Hindenburg – an engineering failure from very early in the aviation era – that we learned from and did not repeat. We found better and much safer ways to fly.
Same with nuclear power – we never built another 1950's Windscale style pile again. If the world was full of reactors just like it you might have a point. But we don't.
I read that entire article carefully and was not surprised to find it the usual carefully contrived scaremongering. While it heavily emphasises how long spent fuel and waste is radioactive for – it completely fails to distinguish between highly penetrating gamma radiation that needs to be kept isolated for a few centuries at most, and low level alpha radiation that is only dangerous if you ingest the material.
Nor does it mention that this spent fuel is really a highly valuable source of fresh fuel for the next generations of reactors – and that disposing of it in deep underground facilities is incredibly wasteful and unnecessary.
Nor does it mention that medium and low level waste are for the most part harmless. That current exposure levels are set far too low because of the entirely flawed LNT (Linear No Threshold) model that assumes any exposure to radiation – no matter how low, even below the natural background level- is somehow cumulative. This model results in stupidly expensive regulations to reduce radiation levels well beyond any sane requirement.
(Just a few hours ago I read an article written locally here in Perth by a journo privileged to spend a day on a visiting Virginia class sub. One of the nuke officers pointed out that working 24hrs next to the reactor has less total exposure than a day on the beach.)
What matters is the rate at which you are exposed – not the cumulative dose. If you read this article on the Windscale fire you will note the remarkably brave actions of the Reactor Manager Tom Tuohy who must have been highly irradiated many times during the course of the accident – but because he managed to limit the rate of his exposure through instinctive good sense – he suffered no radiation sickness and lived into his 90's.
Once we resume taking a science based approach to properly managing radiation risk we will find most of these absurdly inflated fears and costs around managing spent fuel and waste will become a great deal more manageable.
Please have a read of the effects on a population of low-grade exposure to uranium ore mining pollution in India. It's not contained nuclear waste, but gives a perspective on living in an environment contaminated with uranium waste, ie improperly managed, representing chronic exposure.
"I have consistently argued our best bet is to treat this as the engineering problem"
You have, indeed.
Could it be that "engineering"; that is, acting unilaterally upon the world, is where we have gone wrong?
Perhaps we should be co-managing/taking advice before acting?
New Zealand has been beset by at least four country-altering events since 2009's GFC. Not a "window" so much as the wall fall down. Front fell off.
The stupidity of the Key part-privatisations of energy generators particularly Contact, is that they are now free to lobby hard. So they are. They oppose anything except their own projects. Hence the politics is far harder than it needed to be.
The scale of disability New Zealand is facing if we don't replace our Indonesian brown coal fired thermal baseload energy security should make every major user get noisy. So far it's mostly complaints.
Which project has a shot at completion in time to achieve both national energy security and carbon goals by our stated 2050 goal?
Woods has done really well to protect this concept from the Policy Bonfire Hipkins is undertaking. In fact I'm surprised it hasn't died.
There is a high risk that NZSuper's Taranaki offshore wind deal will fuck up Woods like they did Twyford on light rail, using NZBattery to bury her. They are aggressive lobbyists who undercut policy.
Woods needs to outplay NZSuper and Infratil and ACC and Contact all at once. Very hard. Dr Turner is deep beltway but he's not in the world of energy finance politics, which tends to chew you up fairly fast.
The existing NZBattery proposal will be hard already. Nuclear would require a version of a Strategic Spatial Plan in which multiple regions agree, on untested legislation.
That would not be as hard as it sounds if for example one proposed nuclear the the Kaipara as per the 1970s proposal, and NZBattery in the south.
Believe it or not I expect a future National government to inherit national energy crises far harder than the current term, and on the last 3 decades history they are better at the nation-altering projects than Labour.
A decent HVDC cable to Australia from Taranaki would enable what we really need which is an internationalised energy market, which NZ would export into. That would be a more useful gig for NZSuper, Infratil and ACC in the nation-building game.
Yes. The obvious objection is that NZ lacks the capacity to operate nuclear power at present. Yet one of the main spin-offs from the AUKUS agreement is going to be the rapid development of this capacity in Australia. Already they have hundreds of engineering and technical people in study and training, and while for the next decade it will be focussed on the submarine program, inevitably these people will be available to build out a civilian nuclear program. NZ might well eventually be able to leverage this.
And secondly it is worth noting that most Gen 4 designs intentionally minimise the need for highly skilled operators. Indeed it has been joked that walk-away safe Gen4 designs really could employ Homer Simpson – because there literally is nothing he could do to cause a plant failure.
Besides most of the skills required locally would be in regulatory and engineering agencies within government. It would be the overseas vendors who would do almost all the heavy technical lifting from a design, build and operate perspective.
You trans-Tasman HVDC cable is admirable – but a tad heroic in scope surely? Would there be a decent economic case?
Someone thinks there's an economic case for a 3800 kilometre submarine cable .
Would we pay Australia to transit our power to SE Asia, as they're planning to do quite soon, from ginormous solar farms?
We may be better off buying our power from Oz.
Contact got flogged off well before Key arrived on the scene, in 1999, but aside from that Key's decision to turn the rest of our electricity industry into a vehicle to generate returns for private (and to a lesser extent state) interests has fucked our nation.
Your portrayal of NZ Super brings back the Muldoon Dancing Cossacks portrayal of 1975 Labour's super scheme, with a government fund that powerful it takes over / crushes everything. I shudder at the monster we may have created.
As an aside, is there a breakdown of how Onslow went from 4 Billion to 15.7? Does this include the purchase / nationalisation of Contact. Beause that's the only way I can see the thing functioning.
Now a HVDC link across the Tasman and an integrated energy market across the same with energy flows both ways, now that’s an idea to explore and develop.
Tbf if you were to compare nuclear to a fossil fuels over even a relatively short period of time the death and destruction wrought by coal etc etc would be far worse than nuclear.
There's no way outside of complete castrophe the energy demands of humanity as a whole are going to decrease. Thinking they can or will is essentially sticking your head in the sand. As it stands nuclear is the safest and fastest way forward
Compared to nuclear, hydro doesn't look too flash.
this is the thinking that sees the crisis as about carbon isolated from everything else. There's a reason the XR paired the climate and ecological crises. Peak everything tells me that nuclear won't solve the problem because the problem is we act as if there are no limits. But there are and we're about to learn some very hard lessons on that.
But the price of building a nuclear power station must include the cost of decommissioning it, plus l-o-n-g-term waste storage, which exceeds the build price. It’s no cheapie solution.
The shut UK Sellafield plant, which admittedly also reprocessed used uranium rods from round the world, costs £2 billion a year just to maintain. That does not include the cost of dissassembling structures and transferring waste uranium to a planned £56 billion deep mine storage facility. Spent nuclear fuel is no picnic, and is essentially ignored by most nuclear-powered countries.
”Former National Party leader Todd Muller will step down at the next election.
Muller is MP for the Bay of Plenty. In a statement on Friday morning, he said he would not re-contest the seat or seek a list position with the National Party.”
Jumped, pushed, non selected, or can see the electoral writing on the wall?
But Willis keeps the Fonterra flame alive at the front of a government-in-waiting.
For a moment we could have had Fonterra senior players as Number 1 and Number 2 in the country…
… which would have been a most natural power-concentration for New Zealand.
Re fonterra:..is it ironic or deeply disturbing that stuff recently gave fonterra the number one gong in nz top ten polluting companies..?
And that seven of the other top ten polluters are meat processing entities…?
Fonterra has not yet made a donation for the re-fencing $20 a metre fund raiser.
http://Former National leader Todd Muller to step down at election https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/486140/former-national-leader-todd-muller-to-step-down-at-election
"In June 2021, he announced he planned to retire from politics – but after Christopher Luxon took over the party leadership, he said he had decided to stay."
Maybe Christopher Luxon wasn't the White Knight he was hoping for after all.
Again, this is late in the piece for an MP to announce his retirement.
The BoP electorate committee will have already confirmed him as the National Candidate, and will now have to re-open selection.
His letter does indicate (well, at least to me) that there are pressure issues in the role, which, following his breakdown, he just can't be confident he can manage. He acknowledges that it will be a tough election campaign (who would expect otherwise), and that he just doesn't have the capacity and stamina to put in the effort needed.
While it's good to have that level of self-awareness – it would have been better for the party and his electorate, if he'd had it last October or November.
Todd retired, then unretired when his God squadder buddy boy got the top banana role and he thought they might win the election, now he's had a revelation in a conversation with a snake at his happy clappy church and re-resigned again.
to paraphrase Monty Python,
When electoral danger reared it's ugly head, Sir Todd bravely turned his tail and fled. Yes, brave Sir Todd has turned about and gallantly he has chickened out.
According to Mr Luxon, Todd has a "world-class brain" (at about 3:00 min in this NZ herald video) – which is why he appointed Todd to a shadow role in cyclone recovery. It is a shame if someone with a world-class brain sees no future for themselves in the current National Party. Other thoughts come to mind though:
Decided 3 more years in opposition was unpalatable I expect
I respect Todd Muller for the way he has handled himself since his breakdown and resignation from the leadership.
We've seen MPs suffer health problems, take leave and come back, but it's usually physical health, like cancer (Nikki Kaye, Kiri Allen). The stigma attached to mental health makes it harder.
Muller has been honest about it – this is a moving and important interview, from Stuff in 2021:
It should not be either/or: you're always fine, or you're not up to the job. He has made a contribution to improved understanding and empathy on mental health issues, and deserves credit for that.
Point 1, Onslow is already a lake, it will just be bigger.
Point 2, Compared to nuclear, its local water with no problematic waste.
Point 3, Nuclear requires ongoing imported fuel.
Point 4, Marsden Point is within one of the largest calderas in the country, albeit extinct, or is it?.
Point 5, apparently there is not as much consistent wind in NZ as we think.
Lake Onslow is already a man made lake it would take between four and five years to build and a further two years to fill.
All for six weeks of extra hydro water supply which would then take two years to refill. What do we do in the mean time while it is replenished?
It does not increase the out put of the Clutha hydro dams just keeps them going for a short time in low rainfall years.
Citation please. Which means a quote, and explanation and a link. The onus is on you to provide evidence and argument not expect people to read an article and parse your meaning.
The first sentence above "Lake Onslow is already a man made lake it would take between four and five years to build and a further two years to fill." was a quote from the previously linked article.
Both are public knowledge.
Thanks. Citation still needed for the idea that the intention is to use up the whole storage and then wait 2 years for it to refill.
I'm not an engineer nor a hydro bod, but my understanding is that they will use the battery to produce power on an as needed basis when the hydro lakes are low. I cannot imaging they will run the battery dry. The hydro lakes don't run out of power completely, which is what would need to happen in your scenario of powering the whole country for six weeks just from Onslow.
But feel free to correct me with some evidence.
If the full capacity is not planned to be used why is it so big?
Without doubt it is a slow fill/quick empty device. So that even if a smaller proportion is used the refill will be slow and intersected with another draw-down further emptying the lake. Eventually emptying it or only using a small part of the capacity.A LOT of land will be flooded just to use the top bit of water.
I do remember "Damn the Dam said the Fantail" ……… or is this 'different'?
Shall we assume you made your statement up then.
Still does not explain why a $20 Billion asset will just sit there just in case it is dry from time to time justifies the destruction of an Iconic landscape and destroying the locals farms.
I get it – Farmers can be sacrificed for urban ease?
Next the McKenzie Basin?
Your numbers make no sense…but that aside…it is not just farmers that stand to benefit from (i agree) an expensive project…ultimately the country must secure its energy production and as has been noted, this appears to be the most possible method.
Many may not like it, but our ag production is what enables our current existence…and until such time as we develop an alternative (offers please?) thats what we have.
You don't understand what it's for obviously.
It's to cover peak load times and will recharge constantly, hopefully it'll enable all coal fired milk drying facilities and coal backup generation to be mothballed.
Once again, gravity batteries seem a plausible option to a storge lake to manage flucuating load.
Are you going to support NZ powering down then?
" the destruction of an Iconic landscape and destroying the locals farms."
Have you been there, Maurice, to see what it is you are describing?
How many gravity batteries to secure 5 TWh? (remembering that pumped hydro is a gravity battery)
Gravity batteries, alas, are currently more a short term solution to green energy fluctuations, it seems.
"In a valley in southern Switzerland, the striking steel and concrete prototype from Energy Vault, another leader in the gravity battery space, stands more than 20 stories tall. When green power supply exceeds demand, one of several AI-controlled cranes lifts a pair of 30-tonne blocks upwards. When demand outstrips supply, back down they go, generating enough energy for thousands of homes..
….Think of it as a warehouse of [1000s of] energy elevators…When clean electricity is coming in, the blocks – made of recycled material – go up, and when the grid needs supply, they go back down. An EVx with a storage capacity of 100MWh can power around 25,000 homes for a day.'
Each installation's size and layout will determine its overall storage capacity, but even at the lower end, the buildings will cover dozens of acres. Could this be problematic? No, Piconi says, as the systems are likely to be situated near wind and solar farms far from urban centres…'Basically anywhere you can construct a 20-storey building will work,' he says."
To my thinking, it doesn't have to be one giant facility at the generation site. Smaller-scale storage could be built around NZ to reduce the need for peak-load coal-fired stations.
At the start of the article, gravity batteries are suggested as an alternative to pumping water back up to the storage lake of a hydropower station when demand is low. That's what sparked my interest initially. I didn't realise Lake Onslow will be for medium-term storage, but thought it was part of a repumping system. Gravity batteries clearly won’t work at that scale; my claims of scaleability were fantasy, sorry.
.. gravity batteries clearly won't work at that scale, apart from pumped hydro…
A history lesson
Public Works and Maori land
South Island hydro
ECAN and nitrates in the Canterbury aquifer supplying urban areas with drinking water.
Some one has already allowed dairy farming … McKenzie Basin
" I didn't realise Lake Onslow will be for medium-term storage., but thought it was part of a repumping system."
As I understand the proposal Onslow is to be used as a variable sink to enable the intermittent renewable production WHILE providing a back up store of energy in the event of a dry year….most of the alternatives dont provide that flexibility (though theoretically elevated weights could but as noted that is essentially what Onslow is)…even nuclear dosnt provide that flexibility even if we overlook the other issues.
So ypu think all other power production might stop??
I don't think the caldera is pertinent. Given Fukashima, the whole Tsunami palaver would need addressing. But it doesn't have to be there, that was just an idea.
Supprizez me that noone talks about tidal generators tide comes in tide goes out round and round every day of the year regardless and we cant harness that force ??Why ?
Someone tried that at the mouth of the Kaipara. Got knocked back. Something to do with snapper spawning grounds.
Whatever your opinion about the ppsd lake Onslow 'chance would be a fine thing' is my response to the good sense idea from Hon Megan Wood of parties working together.
National does not do whole of Govt approaches, well rarely, as we found with the response to the pandemic. As I have said before it was one of the most shocking times for me, as I waited for Simon Bridges to cross the floor to stand with the PM as she announced that NZ was facing a pandemic and we faced unprecedented times. I still feel the sinking feeling when I realised the pandemic was going to be a party political issue.
I guess it would be too much to have expected working together with such right wing drollery such as Stuart Smith's
In contrast to those who know
Be a bit careful there about interpreting Bridges's non-support over the pandemic in Parliament. I read somewhere at the time that National had approached Labour to offer bipartisan support. (Sorry, went hunting, but couldn't find the news article). My memory suggests a hint of let's plan this together, ie we want to share in political visibility over pandemic management.
I wondered at the time why Ardern turned National down (a sense of flatly?). Perhaps managing compromise with Peters was enough work already; or perhaps Peters himself turned it down. So I interpret the no vote of support from Bridges as payback for be8ng shut out.
Here's a news article which says Bridges was 'not opposed to the idea'.
Which looks to me as though he was floating the concept – and waiting for a Government reaction.
I have heard after the event that this is what happened, ie that an offer was made, but I was thinking of something far more spontaneous and that was to get up and cross the floor during or after the announcement. Very much like on a marae people will get up and cluster to support a speaker. Often not so much for exactly what they have said but for the fact that they have got up and said something.
Even if nothing had happened then and there and it was left to politics the offer was there and the people of NZ could have seen that this unprecedented happening was a problem for united NZ not party political NZ.
I believe that would have made a difference
Shanreagh, I only mentioned National's bipartisan offer being turned down by the Coalition because you followed National's lack of pandemic support in Parliament with a claim they have a general resistance to bipartisan planning.
Sorry I don't understand……National tends to have the approach of being anti most things unless they have thought of it themselves. They are generally not reflective about what might happen in the future and generally act as if everything issue in life involves a political approach ie left or right.
I have discussed issues with enough Nats and Nat type supporters over many years to know that they believe just about everything in life has a political spin or approach to it.
I gave an example of this by the quote 'and National would immediately cancel the business case if it won the election.' So nothing that says would review, reconsider……just cancel fullstop.
I instanced the pandemic announcement as being a case in point, afterwards and with reflection they may have said they were going to work with the govt. PM gave them a task of formally peer reviewing/adopting a steering committee approach.
They could not do this, Bridges made it all about how he needed to breach lockdown by travelling to Wellington so he could address the media. Did he even adopt a careful and helpful approach to this task. No.
So the recent-ish moment when they could have taken a whole of govt approach brought out their tendency to do a left/right oppositional stance.
There is more to policy making than just being opposed to what the last person suggested. National's policy approach shows that just being contrary is a major way they 'do' policy.
I mentioned the pandemic announcement as that was top of my mind when looking at their cancel, cancel, cancel approach to Lake Onslow. It was the very reason Hon Megan Woods did this shot over the bows and that was to bring forward the expected sterile response of cancel and the market does everything wonderfully well and if it needed doing the market would have done it.
Hopefully Megan Woods will keep saying these things about working together so that it will get through Nats noggins that some issues would be better with everyone talking rather than trying to put a left right spin on everything that walks.
Thanks for your thoughtful and informative expansion, Shanreagh. I think there is likely to be an even bigger divide now, after National were happy enough to glide in the wake of the anti-Ardern movement.
Cheaper power, can't have that old chap think of the poor share holders!!!
First he was coming for Citizens Advice. Now ..Librarians?
Could we have a volunteer to replace Mayor "buckets Brown” ?
It is worse than that. The guy is a complete moron.
Why limit it to librarians?
Surely the Mayor can be responsible for cleaning his own office. As can the senior executive team. They can form a roster for cleaning the staff room and toilets. All outside work hours of course, this can be entirely 'voluntary'!
How about all of the people who holding stop/go signs on the roadworks. Surely this is an 'unqualified' job that could easily be done by volunteers.
[All sarcasm, intentional]
And, just in case he's missed the fact that we have a cost-of-living crisis. There are not limitless wells of volunteer time out there – just waiting to be tapped. People need an actual paying job to survive in Auckland (and often need more than one)
All of the charities which depend on volunteers, have been saying for at least the last decade that their volunteer support is drying up – as people simply don't have the free time any longer. And that's for organizations where you donate time to accomplish a charity goal – not for something that you already pay for in your rates.
If Mayor Brown wants to argue to close libraries, or reduce opening hours – then that's one conversation. But claiming that you can continue to run a library service with volunteer staff is quite another.
Actually, the libraries which 'could' be argued to be unnecessary (heavy overlap in a small geographical area) – are the ones in the heritage boroughs of Auckland (Remuera, Parnell and Epsom Libraries, for example). Which all have highly motivated and wealthy usergroups who will fight to the death for their local library (and have done so, in the past)
Just thinking more about the East Cape slash problem.
As I understand it, the law of nuisance says you cannot use your land in a way that causes damage to the property of others by letting something dangerous escape.
So far, landowners have relied on the council to prosecute forestry companies, but farmers whose land is covered in logs would seem to have a cause of action in the courts, ie a private lawsuit, for the damage they have suffered.
A NZ case is Double J Smallwoods Ltd v Gisborne District Council, 13 June 2017 (fire spread because of pampas and scrub on the council's land).
Probably too hard for farmers to contemplate that sort of thing right now though.
If silt/farm soil chokes downstream communities, should farmers be held to account (for not retaining their soil)?
Never forget that if Ardern had not become PM, this man would have been a senior Cabinet Minister in a Bridges/English government …
For us horoscope watchers, welcome to the dawning of the Age of Aquarius:
"The rise of [Social Media Misinformation] has corresponded to a modern transition to the information age, where information itself has become a productive force."
More seriously, the source article for this quote nails the societal effects of misinformation spread through social media.
Having close friends who, variously, have swallowed The Great Replacement racism, Jordan Petersen's anti-woman dross, and RT News lies about Russia's actions in Ukraine, I can only shake my head, button my lip around them, and wonder what poisoned bait I personally have succumbed to.
I've spent very little time on Peterson, but is it anti woman to point out that men are the ones out there doing the big hours in the shitty conditions getting squashed burnt and broken building and repairing, and delivering and getting very little recognition for it.
Go to a gas station a 5 am, it's all men in high vis with calloused hands or driving trucks, (occasionally a woman but predominantly men)
It probably is, however, anti-woman to refrain from pointing out that women are the ones doing the big hours in low-wage jobs, with little hope of promotion.
And the ones, overwhelmingly, doing the unpaid 'work' that keeps the family running.
As a society, we undervalue 'women's work' – to an even greater extent than we undervalue blue collar work.
Check out the night-cleaning staff – overwhelmingly women (with the occasional man invariably a recent immigrant).
The easy answer to earthquake risk for reactors is to build them on vessels. These can be largely stationary, but are portable for refit or scrapping, and circumvent some of the permitting issues land-based reactors might have.
Of course it would have been better had certain epic morons not boosted our population beyond the capacity of significant infrastructure, but we must play the hand those blithering idiots have dealt us.
Auckland cannot build so much as a cycleway without pissing away tens of millions, but a reactor generator vessel can be built by a country that has not traded in their engineers for dysfunctional bureaucrats, and has a sporting chance of actually working.
Begins with T ends with Nami
It's not a perfect defense – but large ships are rarely damaged by the great waves, Their destructive effect is a consequence of rapidly shallowing water – get a bit of water under your keel and you experience them as a simple swell.