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Brown making the right decision on power

Eight new nuclear power stations planned for England - Telegraph

The new nuclear plants will mainly be based alongside existing facilities and are expected to be constructed over the next decade.
New planning laws will be used to fast-track approval...

The Scottish Executive has blocked any of the new nuclear stations being built north of the border.
Many environmentalists are also opposed to the plans.

They better get a move on in building them otherwise the lights will be going out as we try to rely on whirlygigs - and if the Scotch don't want them, fine, let them use candles.


The jocks won't need candles when they'll have access to subsidised English power.

The French have got by just fine for years on nuclear power - 90% of theirs is nuclear. And their beautiful countryside isn't marred with those bloody awful worse than useless wind turbines (what is the "carbon footprint" of building one of these things?). I have a Lord of the Rings nightmare vision of forests of turbines spanning England only for the land to take off like a sycamore seed as soon as the West wind blows.

Nuclear power? First sensible thing you have done Broon since ye came Sooth?

Fortunately, the Scots will have access to the nuclear powered electricity provided from England. All's fair...

The basic principle of how to run a National Grid should be of interest to anyone commenting about this subject.

If you have a generating unit powering a known load, you just adjust the generator to feed whatever the load needs. If you have a varying load spread over much space, you need a Grid. The Grid transmits electricity, and acts as a buffer. It can be compared to a big balloon, into which the power stations are blowing, and out of which the load is leaking. The job of the National Grid is to keep the balloon nicely inflated, not too much or too little.

For this you need an efficient base load provider, which nuclear power does well, plus a flexible top-up source. Hydro-electricity is ideal here - it can be switched on or varied within a minute or so. But each feed to the Grid must be predictable.

Wind and wave fail badly at predictability. The Grid/Balloon can absorb a small percentage of fluctuating input, but will collapse if this becomes greater than a minute fraction of the whole. So direct wind/wave can never be a large feed to the Grid, no matter what the BBC or Greenpeace say.

There are solutions. Wind/Wave energy can be stored, either through batteries or pumped water, and then released when needed. This would require a lot of infrastructure, but could be possible. Alternatively it could be sold, and energy brought in from abroad when needed. This is what the Danes are doing. Unfortunately, they are finding that when they have surpluses to sell, electricity is cheap, but when they need it, it is expensive!

Another problem is that electricity does not travel well - there is quite a loss in transmission, so you can really only efficient to use electricity close to where it is generated. Wind and wave power suffers here, because it is very inefficient to generate in the back of beyond and then ship to London. If you were using a Grid, the wind energy could displace energy created nearer to, say, Glasgow, while Glasgow generated for Liverpool, Liverpool for Birmingham and Birmingham for London. But the variability of wind rules out this simple domino-type transmission....

Calm doon, laddies!

Historically Scotchland has been an exporter of approx 15% of total annual electricity production and this is expected to continue for some time.

It is, of course, mainly to your good selves.

'Course, if it upsets you to supply (some unknown quantity at some unknown future date) to us we could always fall back on the Auld Alliance.


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