Here in the U.K. we've had nuclear power since the 1950s, and despite the construction program being decimated by the government in the 1970s, today it accounts for about 20 to 25% of total output.
Our nearest neighbors have gone different routes. In France, nuclear power accounts for over 70% of their total generation. The Republic of Ireland has no nuclear stations at all, a fact they sometimes promote as a big bonus.
Do any of you have any particularly strong feelings either way on this subject?
Worked in a couple of them during shut downs, was impressed with all the grossly excess chicken**** in the name of safety. Have also worked in coal fired gen plants - no real difference after the heater for the boiler. If the excess safety rules were rationalized power costs would go down. Example: had to run 120 ft of 1/2 rigid, install a new single pole switch and a 100w light in a hall way. 3 days to complete job. QC had to check every thing I did - drill hole in concrete wall for mini to specified depth- clean out hole -call qc to check depth and location of hole- wait for qc to show- get qc to sign off for that hole- now can drill next hole after qc leaves to check somethig else. and so on. Over twenty five times to call qc and wait. Donot have the patience for that any more.
I don't have a nuclear station near where I live at the moment, but it wouldn't bother me if I did. I remember going to a guided tour of the Dungeness plant in Kent (county in so. England) when I was about 12.
We have the protesters here as well, of course. They used to fall back on the "Remember Three Mile Island" line, but in recent years they can make a bigger impact with Chernobyl (completely ignoring the different reactor types, different safety standards, etc.).
The media must take some of the blame for the paranoia; I'm sure you know what I'm getting at. If they hear of a leaky steam valve on a turbine it suddenly becomes a "major incident" threatening to swamp half the country in radiation, even though a dozen such incidents at other plants would go completely unreported.
I've found tha some of the anti-nuclear lobby can be very blinkered. They worry about the possibility of a nuclear accident, but accept the pollution pumped out 24 hours a day from a coal or oil-fired plant.
Hands down, the protesters are by far the best entertainment here. They even staged an event on Yankee Rowe's closing south of me, parading in costumes of skeletons and deformed catastrophic survivors.
I had a generator mechanic out today to do an annual inspection on our back up generator. He was telling me about some work he did for a nuclear plant near here.
They called his company to come fix a diesel generator. When he arrived, they searched his truck, searched him, took two hours to be admitted to the work area.
There was a written procedure on how to start the generator to test it weekly but no written procedure on how to start the generator to trouble shoot it. So they explained the problem to him the best he could and expected him to troubleshoot without running the engine.
He found what he thought was the problem, and had to get approval to do the repair the way he wanted from some engineers who stood around discussing the merits of his conclusion for another hour.
He eventually changed something and had to bleed the fuel pump...again no procedure so he couldn't run the engine to do this.
Some guy shadowed him the entire day to take notes that could be used to write a procedure for the next time.