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Discussion > How to reduce global carbon emissions?

As I surmised, nuclear sub reactors are not subject to the ramp down/up limitations of power station reactors.

Land based reactors differ in many way from naval reactors. The power of land based reactors is in the range of 3,000 Mwth or higher.

In contrast, a submarine reactor's power is smaller in the range of the hundreds of MWths. Land based systems use uranium fuel enriched to the 3-5 percent range. Highly enriched fuel at the 93-97 percent level is used in naval reactors to provide enough reactivity to override the xenon poison dead time, compactness as well as provide higher fuel burnup and the possibility for a single fuel loading over the useful service time of the powered ship.

Reactor operators can wait for a 24 hours period; the reactor dead time, on a land
based system for the xenon fission product to decay to a level where they can restart the reactor. A submarine cannot afford to stay dead in the water for a 24 hour period if the reactor is shut down, necessitating highly enriched fuel.

Interesting that sub reactors evidently use essentially weapon-purity U235.

Somewhere else I read that submarine reactors are designed to generate the required power automatically. If you draw more power from them, they generate more power. Dunno how they manage it.

Also, they run at very low thermal efficiency, with only a 35 F difference between input and output.

Tiny-CO2 - from your link it seems that xenon poisoning is the major issue in twiddling the output of nuclear power stations.

Dec 21, 2015 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

stewgreen, I don't think your answers are helping Raff with his homework assignment. He is only after the answers he wanted, not the honest answers he didn't want.

Martin A, I am not sure whether a nuclear submarine's reactor is the size of a pedal bin, dust bin, wheelie bin or skip, but the important thing is, it fits in a sub, even if it can not be carried in and out as cabin luggage, through the loft hatch in the conning tower.

There is no requirement for Planning Permission for a Sub parked on the sea bed. Or on the bottom of Lake Windermere, or any of the large reservoirs just to the west of London. Prince Charles would love it if Windsor Castle was supplied with zero carbon nuclear electricity from a local source. It could even supply his old folks home at the other end of the Heathrow flight path.

Dec 21, 2015 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Yes I must be wrong about the batteries ..Diesel subs certainly have lots of batteries ..that's how they can run silently by switching off the engines and just drive by batteries.
but for nuclear it says stuff like : "Unlike commercial nuclear power plants, Naval reactors must be rugged and resilient enough to withstand decades of rigorous operations at sea, subject to a ship's pitching and rolling and rapidly-changing demands for power, possibly under battle conditions." and goes onto talk about the complexity and cost which surely can't be insurmountable, ................. unless you are doing well thankyou selling at super high cost.

- Anyway while you are talking about Oxford houses I see Raffs title says GLOBAL emissions
..and remember the UK is tiny less than 1% of world population and will be heading that way in energy use.
While we're bragging look we cut 50% of CO2 in a 20 years China (20 times bigger) will be saying something crazy like "oh yeh we increased by that same quantity last month

Dec 21, 2015 at 5:07 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@tiny said \\"The UK has a million empty homes" is somewhat misleading. Not every home that is empty is suitable for someone to move into. or READY//
..Jee, it can't that difficult to speed that process up avoid massive waste.

..........................Especially when the planet is at stake !!!

refs " Government data which shows over 200,000 long-term vacant dwellings (that is homes unoccupied for over six months"
- Guardian say 11 milion in Europe (why are all the imigrants coming here then , instead of to the abandoned resorts of Spain ?)

Dec 21, 2015 at 5:22 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Golf, are most residential rentals on FRI (full repairing and insuring) leases? If not, WTF?

Tiny, you mean you could paint a non-protected house pink without permission but you couldn't insulate it? Sadly, I believe you.

stewgreen, TL;DR. But your posts are so full of invective that it is not worth the effort sorting the wheat from the chaff. You obviously know much less about nuclear subs than you pretend to know and I have no way of knowing what else you wrote was similar BS.

I don't see why anyone would think importing $25bn of oil and gas each year (at today's low oil price - it is nearer $50bn with oil at $100 per barrel) can be sensible when there are are alternatives, even without the CO2 imperative. But as I said at the beginning, it is clear that people here prefer it. Go figure!

Dec 21, 2015 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

Found it. The article explains how the self-regulation of the SG7 submarine reactor works.

The S7G core was controlled by stationary gadolinium clad tubes that were partially filled with water. Water was pumped from the portion of the tube inside the core to a reservoir above the core, or allowed to flow back down into the tube. A higher water level in the tube within the core slowed down the neutrons allowing them to be captured by the gadolinium tube cladding rather than the uranium fuel, leading to a lower power level.

The system had a fail safe control system. The pump needed to run continually to keep
the water level pumped down. Upon an accidental loss of power, all the water would flow back into the tube, shutting down the reactor.

This design also had the advantage of a negative reactivity feedback and a load following
mechanism. An increase in reactor power caused the water to expand to a lower density lowering the power. The water level in the tubes controlled average coolant temperature, not reactor power. An increase in steam demand resulting from opening the main engines throttle valves would automatically increase reactor power without action by the operator.

Dec 21, 2015 at 6:13 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

stewgreen so the million figure is down to 200,000? Empty for six months is nothing in respect to probate, refurbishment and selling, which can easily take a year and in some cases lasts years. That doesn't even include a period where someone is in a care home and their things can't be sold or dealt with until someone is given permission to act.

We've just come out of a period where it was very hard to sell a property, some sat on the market for many months. No seller with a show home ready property to sell wants a rental to trash/complicate the sale. Where people had to move, some decided to rent out their old property and buy a new one, which was why the house prices didn't collapse. Having got a taste for it, some decided to keep renting.

Those properties are someone's posession. However councils DO have the ability to acquire properties that have no good reason to remain empty. They have the right to make them suitable for social housing and pay the owner rent for a period of years. At which point the owner has the right to get their building back and do what they want with it.

It's all very socially minded of those who want to steal property from others just because they're not using it but imagine if that applied to anything. What about people with spare rooms? It's a slippery slope.

Raff, no, even painting a house the wrong colour can be against the rules.

Dec 21, 2015 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Painting the front door the wrong colour is not allowed in some parts of Bath.

Dec 21, 2015 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

And painting your bath in some parts of Dore is frowned on, too.

Dec 21, 2015 at 11:54 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

We should not be participating in Raff's fantasies, there is no credible reason for reducing CO2 emissions and neither is there any cheaper fuel available right now.
Raff has come to a ready source of good ideas and common sense and seeks to get us to solve all his problems, we should wish him a merry Christmas and tell him to go bother Real Climate.
The Earth seems convinced that the Ice Age is not yet over and that we have been living in an interglacial period due to end relatively soon. If Raff is a Malthusian then he need not worry because mile thick glaciers will not leave much trace of our Northern Hemisphere civilisations as they scour the surface clean. If humans are not around to put CO2 back into the atmosphere then surface life on the planet will not survive a return to ice age.

Dec 22, 2015 at 12:49 AM | Registered CommenterDung

It is clear that people here don't want it to happen, but let's take this as a given: the global economy is going to reduce carbon (and other GHG) emissions. How can this best be achieved while at the same time maintaining and enhancing living standards worldwide?

Kyoto was "a given".

How was that best "achieved" while at the same time maintaining and enhancing living standards worldwide?

By ignoring it.

Dec 22, 2015 at 12:50 AM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

The first vague definition of intelligence that I read was something along the lines of ' if you place a chunk of information on the table then a greater intelligence will make more of it than a lesser intelligence. I have always thought that this understanding was a good one but in reality it does not work that way.
Today (and probably always) a human being looks at new information and filters it; accepting the information that does not conflict with his ideology and rejecting information that does conflict. It is actually possible that the human race could disappear because a majority of people have been convinced that we are a plague on the planet.
The evidence is all around us saying that human existence is threatened and that we need to act to preserve it. However if ideology rules I do not give us much of a chance.

Dec 22, 2015 at 1:14 AM | Registered CommenterDung


Kyoto was not a given, it would not have been ratified if Mann had not lied through his teeth about his Hockey Stick.

Dec 22, 2015 at 1:18 AM | Registered CommenterDung


I was referring to Raff's misplaced faith in Paris.

Dec 22, 2015 at 2:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterclipe

My apologies Mr clipe :)

Dec 22, 2015 at 2:16 AM | Registered CommenterDung

@Raff "stewgreen, TL;DR".... 'Oh, I don't have to read anything you wrote, cos what you wrote about submarines was BS'
Yawn, You are talking complete garbage.
You are using a typical alarmist trick of seeking ONE tiny excuse to dismiss arguments with THOUSANDS of points. And anyway you misrepresent me I didn't say I knew how nuclear subs works, rather I postulated "surely the".
(BTW still no one here has shown how they ramp reactor power up/down quickly)

"But your posts are so full of invective that it is not worth the effort"

insulting, abusive, or highly critical language.
"he let out a stream of invective"
synonyms: abuse, insults, expletives, swear words, swearing, curses, foul language, foul language, vituperation;
..The nearest I got was using the term "@Raff's Fantasy Island" twice, which I backed up by quoting evidence. Anyone can see what I wrote/write is not full of insults at all.

Dec 22, 2015 at 3:35 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@TinyCO2 Don't you start doing the same tricks as Raff
I gave multiple links and you have just picked the lowest most restricted one, you could have clicked the million one. Yes the million one is a bit contentious. It's something like 700K-900K rounded up to a million.
The higher number may come from including homes that have been empty less than 6 months
The Guardian "Empty Homes estimates that there are in fact 930,000 properties standing empty, and a further study by Halifax shows that more than 300,000 of these had been empty for more than six months ..another from The BBC

Wiki : "Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) – for dwellings that have been empty for six months or more .. have only been issued a handful of times"

There is something interesting that emerges from this talk of empty homes.
.............You can save CO2 by cutting waste ..............
and in our society we have masses of waste.

Not only government waste, but waste from individuals and biz. With this huge number of empty homes, and worldwide millions of empty offices, shops as things are constructed for speculation often from dirty money.
It's a fundamental aspect of capitalism that all the costs are front-loaded. Then after you have paid off your house or car you are not minded to use it efficiently. Assets are not being SWEATED like they should be.
eg. Your grandmother lived in a council house.. when she died the council could have had a new tenant in the house within two weeks. Later on your parents bought their council house, you moved to the city and bought your place. You got to 55 and your parents died leaving you the ex-council house, but you are busy in the city, it's too much hassle to put tenants in the house and property prices are going up anyway so you leave it practically unused for 5 or 10 years. The same for other assets like cars etc. there's properly millions sat in garages for months.

..I wonder if there are new forms of capitalism that can increase fluidity of the house market. Maybe something like aggregated ownership whereby you don't own an individual home, it's owned by the joint fund (maybe thru a building society) and you both pay rent to the fund and receive a dividend back from the joint rental income. That way if a house becomes empty the managers of the fund will quickly push to get new people into the house or sell it off, cos otherwise thousands of people like you will be saying "hey why is my rental dividend falling"
..Another advantage would be that cos you don't own an individual house then you are less likely to wanna hang on to it, so when you are offered a job transfer instead of doing the crazy thing like commuting 50Km you swap for another house closer to your new job. I imagine this scheme would be quite easy in the Soviet Union where there were thousands of identical apartment buildings across the empire.

@TinyCO2 you mentioned the spare rooms thing.Well that is the same thing, we have millions of old people living houses with spare rooms, but the property market still doesn't have the fluidity to make it easy to downsize. My grandmother owned the two houses next door to her, but gave up tenants as they were too much hassle. She moved into a care home and by the time she died all 3 houses were so delapidated they were of low value so the sale only covered the carehome costs.

There is the problem that the very infuidity of the house market is what keeps values high. I know a constructor who has empty old houses, but he builds new homes and sells them for a bomb.If people like him actually released their old homes onto the market it would actually depress the market. To me the UK economy is based on this fiction that houses are worth more than they should be. Similar houses in other countries are magnitudes cheaper.

Dec 22, 2015 at 3:39 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Raff, most residential rental agreements are not FRI. Commercial rents, offices factories may well be. Would you rent a house for 12 months and be held responsible for a leaky roof, subsidence, and rebuilding the drains?

99 yr leases tend to be, but not if they are for flats, though separate contracts may exist if there is a freeholders association comprising the leaseholders owning the freehold. The leaseholder of the top flat gets wet when the roof leaks, but should the leaseholder of the basement flat have to pay? When the drains block, the basement flat floods with everybodies sewage. Is the top flat responsible?

Owners of 99 year leaseholds who can not afford to repair their liabilities may surrender the remainder of the lease back to the freeholder. Normally the freeholder will be in a better bargaining position, because by then, the remainder of the leasehold, and its condition will not have attracted a buyer with a better offer.

It is not an area I have ever had much direct experience with, technically or legally, and it is more complicated than my brief summary. But sometimes the stories you, and indeed many, may read, are not quite the whole truth, or even close to the truth. Yes there are rogue landlords. There are also rogue tenants, leaseholders and lodgers.

The Duke of Westminster does alright out of it though. You could ask him.

Dec 22, 2015 at 3:54 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

To me the UK economy is based on this fiction that houses are worth more than they should be. Similar houses in other countries are magnitudes cheaper.
Dec 22, 2015 at 3:39 AM | stewgreen

I think it's also based on the fiction that the £ is worth something.

I always thought that the high price of UK houses was due to the intentional restriction of the availability of building land.

I never really understood it but I think it's to do with the effect that it's considered to be good for the economy. If people think their house is worth a lot, they are willing to borrow yet more money and buy more rubbish. So rationing the release of land avoids a collapse of the house market, with the economy following.

Dec 22, 2015 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Martin A, there is no attempt to ration land, to make it more expensive.

All readily available land, where people want to live is built on, apart from the land owned by developers who have it 'in the bank'. They can sell it, but if they don't NEED to sell it, and can afford NOT to sell it, they can hang on to it, safe in the knowledge that, on average, it WILL rise in value, faster than inflation/interest rates.

New roads etc increase the areas where people may want to live. Changing Planning Laws, Development Plans, Structure Plans, Local Plans etc, can change the amount of land that CAN be built on.

Fudging issues allows houses to be built on flood plains/flood risk areas, that for centuries, local people have known should not be built on. This local historical knowledge can be ignored at very little cost to the developer, provided he can sell the lot, before anything floods. Then global warming is blamed, and insurers have to pick up the bill.

20(?) years ago, John Prescott stated that the Green Belt was a great achievement of a previous Labour Government, and he wanted to build on it.

Dec 22, 2015 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Stewgreen, Martin A - the strength of the UK housing market is because there is a rapdly growing population and an increasing number of people living alone. There were many predictions of houses falling to a fraction of their pre crash value in 2009. Owners, pressed to seriously drop the price of their properties thought 'sod it, I'll keep it'. THAT led to a lot of new landlords.The owners were right to stand firm because prices didn't crash. People discovered that renting was a better return than savings accounts. Add to that, massive investment in rental property from abroad and you have a lot of property taken out of the old system where property found the right level. Maybe the government's new rules might change that.

It's a myth that there are a lot of old people longing for a smaller property, if only it were easier to move. Old people like their home, their garden, space for their relatives to visit, their neighbours, their routine (shops etc). By the time they have to give up their familiar surroundings there are only a few years left at most. An interim move would be massively stressful and expensive.

There are lots of things that could be done (including the HMRC having more staff so they deal with probate quickly) but my point is 'will they?' Everybody is quite clear, that the things that should be cut first, are those that don't affect them.

Stewgreen, Raff. You still haven't told me how much any one person should be allowed to have.

Dec 22, 2015 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

@Golf "All readily available land, where people want to live is built on"
Sorry there is loads of land in the UK
Yes there is a kind of rationing that other countries don't have , that we have building land and agricultural land without council friends it is diffcult to change the permission of agricultural land*. There is loads of space for houses around our village, Scunthorpe, the whole county and most of the country ..but foreigners think the UK is just London.

*Of course if you want to industrialise agricultural land with wind or solar factories permission is often easily given

Disagree with @Tiny aswell housing boom at least partially due to foreign (dirty) money coming into London..Population growth is quite new so many of those are still kids.
You are right about two part divorced families now living in 2 houses instead of one..Another have your cake and eat it solution.
Thirdly there was a massive fetish for buy-to -let investments ..Wait until interest rates go up ..the gov is scared stiff.

I didn't say that old people want smaller properties , I said it would be more ecological if they didn't hog large homes.

@Tiny said "So what do you and Stewgreen consider 'enough' if cheap energy lets us consume too much?"
after @Stewgreen said "as a real-green I think that energy should never be cheap, cos that encourages people to consume more, use more land cut more trees and have a higher impact on the ecosystem"

What I am saying is if we all live like Al Gore then that probably is too much impact for the planet. I am warning of a concern rather than setting a specific limit.

One thing about @Raffs plan to force landlords to spend megabucks on super insulation is the law of UnC, that some landlords will just say no screw that. So that instead of a choice of a low insulated home, the renter will find that no home is available at all.

I wonder what Raff has done to reduce his CO2 as an example to us all ?

Dec 22, 2015 at 3:50 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

stewgreen, what is the Planning history/status of the loads of land around your village, where loads of people want to live?

I do not need to know where you live. But if the land would get planning permission for housing, the owners are seeing a steady rise in its value. Whether it is derelict factories or agricultural land, someone, somewhere is making a substantial paper profit every year.

In some towns and villages, now remote/separated from the original purpose for which they were built, semi derelict properties in the UK can be bought for well under £10,000, on the assumption that a new owner will spend 3-7 × the purchase price on refurbishing them. It still relies on the assumption that someone WILL want to live there.

In a Green Belt area, you may have a pretty, desirable town or village. It may be cramped with houses. Then a ring road or bypass is put in. Over the next 1 -30 years, Planning Rules will permit the town to expand out towards the bypass. The owners of the farm land within the bypass do very well. The owners of farm land outside the bypass don't. Worth remembering in the context of proposed new bypasses, the routes, and landownership.

Select a town in an area you know, that has had a bypass in the last 50 years, and before and after maps and landownership. Even more interesting if you compare the names of landowners who benefitted the most, with names of local councillors over the last 50 years ........

Dec 22, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

While the climate imperialists think the world should use less carbon, and claim to hope the world will use less carbon, unless nuclear energy is used, the climate imperialist sentiment will be mere pretense.
In the real world, carbon based fuel use will increase. Germany and Japan are showing the way out for countries trapped by climate imperialists. Faux renewables like wind and solar will maintain or even reduce their role. The benefits of fossil fuel based energy sources have been dramatic worldwide despite the deceptions of the climate consensus and that reality will become plain to more and more.

Dec 22, 2015 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter