Feb 19, 2021
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Nearly perfect solution to the energy problem

Back in 2019 in Yekaterinburg at the summit on production and industrialization GMIS-2019 Russian President compared the desire to abandon nuclear energy in favor of alternative energy sources with the desire “Put on skins or move to caves”… It is unlikely, the Russian leader suggested, that people would be comfortable living on the planet, “Lined with a palisade of wind turbines and covered with several layers of solar panels”

These words were spoken at a time when the transition to “carbon neutrality”, that is, zero carbon dioxide emissions, was set in the West as the main task for the coming decades – in the context of combating global warming. We will not discuss how the increase in the average temperature on the planet is really related to human activity, but to what extent it is a consequence of natural cycles. Let’s note something else: the cold winter of 2020-2021. led to serious disruptions in the operation of the power systems of several countries.

For example, a sharp cooling from -2 to -22 ° C and bad weather conditions caused power outages in the US state of Texas. As a result of the frost, more than four million people were left without electricity. Grocery stores, schools were closed, air traffic was stopped. Energy companies were unable to meet the sharply increased demand. Similar problems have arisen in other American states, in Mexico.

Merkel grieves amid cold winter in Germany

Germany is balancing on the verge of massive power outages amid abnormal cold weather – they are bailing out electricity supplies from other EU countries, primarily from France with its developed nuclear energy.

German media write: “Germany has recently claimed the title of the world capital of wind and sun. But it is impossible to buy green energy products right now. At no cost. Millions of German solar panels are covered in snow and ice, and calm, frosty weather means that 30,000 German wind turbines do nothing at all … German coal-fired power plants, which have been the target of intimidation and vilification in the past 20 years, are now deservedly regarded as serious sources of generation. available regardless of the weather. Nothing was left before the nationwide blackout, so the Germans’ obsession with unreliable wind and solar energy turned into a bomb about to explode. “

Wind turbines froze and ice in many countries around the world

And in America, the presenter of the TV channel Fox News Tucker Carlson reports: “The wind turbines froze and the power grid stopped working.” According to him, green energy justified itself exactly until the day when it became cold outside. “The wind turbines have fallen into disrepair, just like silly fashion accessories should be, and people have died in Texas … Green energy inevitably means blackouts … Green energy means less reliable power grids … It means outages like the ones we see now in Texas “

The crisis has clearly shown the problem of alternative energy, no less significant than its high price, compensated by the “green tariff”, i.e. at the expense of consumers. The generation of electricity by wind turbines is not amenable to planning – it depends entirely on the strength of the wind. Wind power plants should be supplied with sources based on traditional energy sources and with low inertia (with a short start-up and shutdown period) in order to be quickly connected to the grid in low wind conditions. These are gas turbines, but their cost is much higher, and the efficiency is significantly lower than that of traditional boiler installations, which once again negates the effect of using renewable sources.

Solar panels also do not work in the most optimal mode for power engineers. Peak loads on the grid take place in the morning and in the evening, when the illumination is low or absent altogether (in winter), and in the middle of the day, power engineers often have the problem of “extra” capacity. Even at “regular” operating hours, their performance strongly depends on weather conditions (cloudiness). This means that compensation capacities are also needed here, which, due to low efficiency, consume all the savings of traditional energy carriers.

Alternative sources are most vulnerable precisely when the demand for electricity is especially great. By the way, Germany was on the verge of blackout in the summer of 2019, when an abnormally hot and calm weather set in there – the windmills were steel, and electricity consumption increased due to the operating air conditioners and refrigerators.

The only solution to energy problems is nuclear power

The only solution here is nuclear power. This is a truly clean energy, in a normal mode, absolutely environmentally friendly and neutral, with a zero level of harmful impact on the environment and relatively inexpensive, cheaper than carbon (coal and gas) power plants.

The only solution to energy problems is nuclear power

Photo: REUTERS / David Cerny

The energy carriers available on Earth in sufficient quantities (uranium) and the development of fast neutron reactors (industrial plants are already operating in Russia) open up the prospect of making the atom an inexhaustible source of energy at the current level of technology development. The same technologies allow to solve the problem of radioactive waste disposal safely and without harm to the environment.

However, the classic “green” nuclear energy causes even more rejection than “carbon”. This position is based on a banal phobia fanned by politicians. Let’s figure it out. All three major accidents (Chernobyl, Fukushima, American Three Mile Island) happened at the first generation nuclear power plants designed and built in the 1960s – early 1970s. Nuclear power plants of generation 3+ are currently under construction, the fourth generation is on the way, and this is a completely different level of safety and technical excellence.

As for the territories withdrawn from circulation in Chernobyl and Fukushima, their area is immeasurably smaller than that which has to be allocated annually for new windmills and solar power plants, not to mention plain hydroelectric power plants (for example, the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant with an area of ​​2200 sq. km is only twice as large as the planned flooded Kiev reservoir – and this despite the fact that the capacity of the Kiev hydroelectric power station is 10 times less than that of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant before the accident).

Common sense cleared of hysteria suggests an almost perfect solution to the energy problem facing humanity. Only nuclear energy can be an uninterrupted source of energy and serve the purposes of preserving the planet’s climate. If not everywhere, then in many countries skepticism and fear of the peaceful atom will decrease, more and more governments will launch new projects in this industry. And for Russia, which is the undisputed world leader in nuclear technologies, this is a huge plus.

Cover photo: one of the nuclear power plants in the USA, REUTERS / Handout

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