SONE Newsletter 296 – April 2024

Posted by Wade Allison on 20 April 2024 in Newsletters

Tagged with: Australia, Czechia, Estonia, France, LNT, Latvia, South Africa, Ukraine.

This month

An analogy with bridges and ferries

A good illustrative comparison with nuclear versus wind+solar, [posted by Oscar Martin].

Solar and wind are dirt cheap ways to make energy very expensive for the end user, whereas nuclear energy is an expensive solution to make energy cheap and abundant for everyone.
The analogy comparing them to ferries and bridges shares more than one characteristic
💡 Ferries, like solar and wind, are not always there when you need them, as they only work for a few hours a day.
💡 Like solar arrays or wind turbines, you need a humongous amount of ferries to provide the equivalent service of a bridge.
💡 Bridges, like nuclear plants, require several times more upfront capital than ferries but in the long run, they are way more convenient, and economical, than ferries.
💡 Almost always a ferry service is more expensive than bridges, for a lower quality service.
💡 A bridge can easily replace a fleet of ferries, you won’t see ferries replacing a bridge.
Solar and wind advocates like using a metric called LCOE (Levelized Costs Of Energy) that measures the costs of the generation facility per unit of energy delivered during the amortization period. But that is a tiny portion of the price paid by the end users. Most of it comes from other parts of the grid, multiplying those costs when using intermittent sources, saving a few cents in the generation part only to make the rest of the costs extremely expensive.

A collage of different types of bridges Description automatically generated.

Radiological protection – science confronts the LNT Model

Most people, scientists included, do not need much persuading that the extreme energy of nuclear radiation should over-power the frail biological molecules of life. Physical scientists may be familiar with the nuclear radiation but know little of the biological science. For doctors and biologists the world of quantum mechanics is forbidding. In both cases their caution would appear to be confirmed by simplified accounts of the bombing of Japan in 1945. The story of Oppenheimer, as told with much drama and little science in the recently acclaimed film, adds to this impression.

The officially accepted description of the biological effect of radiation on life is called the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) model. This dates from the 1950s and is jealously guarded by the International Commission for Radiological Protection (ICRP) that reports to the UN. LNT was promoted by Hermann Muller, who won the Nobel Prize in 1946 for discoveries about the genetic effects of radiation which are incorrect – and he knew to be incorrect when he received the prize. [Calabrese EJ. Confirmation that Hermann Muller was dishonest in his Nobel Prize Lecture. Arch Toxicol 97:2999–3003; 2023. DOI:org/10.1007/s002. - Researchgate.]

The extremely cautious nuclear regulations that make nuclear energy costly and bureaucratic derive from LNT. However, serious doubts about its validity persist. Last year I was invited to review it. This was published by the Health Physics Society on April 3rd of this year. SONE members are encouraged to read the short Abstract which is posted as an Article on the SONE website.

As well concluding that nuclear energy is much safer than fire, it criticises our segmented education system that produces experts at the expense of a knowledgeable overview such as was prized in the 18th Century. Perhaps in the future, with AI deployed to take repetitive decisions, society will find the time to educate students with breadth as well as depth. Then it will become obvious that nuclear energy is safe and should be the main source of primary energy – and cheap, too.

Stories of nuclear plant closures in New York and elsewhere in USA

Shoreham and Indian Point Closures: The Biggest Crime in New York History:

This video that dates from 2021 lasts for an hour and 45 minutes. I can strongly recommend sparing the time to watch it. The politics is local but includes comparisons with Canada. The half dozen speakers know what they are talking about and have firsthand experience.

Europe’s Energy Blunders: Lessons from IEA Chief

The International Energy Agency (IEA) chief has criticized Europe’s energy policy for its reliance on Russian gas and its turn away from nuclear power, leading to electricity prices in the EU being two to three times higher than in the US. This has negatively impacted the competitiveness of European industry, with the IEA chief highlighting the need for more nuclear power to cover baseload needs, affecting energy security and the transition to renewable energy sources. The discussion comes amid concerns over Europe’s energy security and its ability to compete with the US and China.

That both EU policies were heading in the wrong direction led by Germany was clear after Putin exposed his ambitions by invading Crimea in 2014. That was a major reason for Brexit. Unfortunately, the UK then failed to seize the early advantage and invest accordingly.

Current enthusiasm for new nuclear going critical

Suddenly everybody seems to be struggling for position in the nuclear market.
It’s the workforce that they are angling for and
Here are a couple of the anglers and

Nuclear news from a number of countries that caught my eye


Kalev Kallemets writes “I’m very pleased that the official Parliamentary discussion on nuclear energy adoption in Estonia was of such high quality, participation and [cross party]. Nuclear is now the mainstream in Estonia to achieve serious decarbonisation and security of supply. There is still much work to be done and both Fermi Energia and SMRs still need to prove themselves.”


They have agreed plans with Holtec on SMRs
Then with Westinghouse, Ukraine plans for a fleet of AP1000s, as well as new western fuel supplies for their existing Russian reactors. Energoatom CEO Petro Kotin said: “Westinghouse is our reliable strategic partner: both in the development and loading of alternative fuel into the VVER reactors, and in the creation of a fuel production line in Ukraine and in the construction of new power units … during the war, we have not stopped, but on the contrary deepened and accelerated our cooperation.”!)

The Czech Republic

Nuclear district heating: the Dukovany to Brno hot water heating supply pipeline takes step forward. Czech nuclear power operator ČEZ and municipal heating company Teplárny Brno have signed agreements relating to a 42-kilometre pipeline from the Dukovany nuclear power that aims to benefit 250,000 people in the city of Brno.


My contact in Latvia invites us to participate in the conference “Nuclear Energy for Latvia”, which will be held on May 15, 2024 at 10.00 EEST. Unfortunately, I cannot contribute this time but it would help them if some SONE members attended, online if not in person. He writes. “The purpose of the conference is to promote Latvian society’s understanding of the role of nuclear energy in achieving Latvia’s climate goals and strengthening energy independence. The relevance of nuclear energy in Latvia is confirmed by the informative report “Nuclear energy development opportunities in Latvia” prepared by the Ministry of Climate and Energy and published in January 2024 and again in March.
The conference will take place online and in person in the conference hall of the Scientific Library of Riga Technical University, Paula Valdena street 5, Riga. Participation is free of charge, but registration is mandatory.
Conference program:
The conference will be held with simultaneous translation into Latvian and English.

South Africa


Flamanville EPR aiming for summer 2024 grid connection. France’s nuclear regulator has launched a three-week public consultation on its draft decision to authorise the commissioning of the Flamanville EPR reactor, which has a summer 2024 target for connection to the grid. (WNN 28/3)


Recently I was invited to give a personal presentation to the Australian Opposition Federal Minster for Energy for an hour. He and his party are strong supporters of nuclear energy for Australia. Public support is growing although the present Government is opposed. Much of the Australian media is still vocal in its objection With a change of government and the defence politics of AUKUS in the background, the law forbidding nuclear energy in Australia will be repealed, hopefully. The way might then be open to introduce a civil nuclear power programme.

New Nuclear is HOT”, a new book by Robert Hargraves

Hargraves is assistant professor at Dartmouth, cofounder of fission energy company ThorCon, and author of “THORIUM: energy cheaper than coal”.

Wade Allison, Hon. Sec.
19 April 2024