23 Comments
Sep 24, 2022Liked by Tomas Pueyo

I've thought quite a bit about education, specifically for adults, as it's my job, and I also created a pretty dense course for content creators/online "teachers" a few years back.

I'd be tempted to help around the topic, but to be honest my schedule has not been light these past few months, so I'd rather not promise something I likely won't be able to do.

Although I can direct you to the best resources I could find. From everything that I've read, two books were really better than the others :

- Seven Myths about Education by Daisy Christodoulou

- How Learning Works: Seven Research–Based Principles for Smart Teaching by Susan Ambrose et al. : very researched based on what works and what doesn't.

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author

This is already fantastic, Laurent. Thanks.

Yes, you're right that the core of the future of education is distributing the future. It looks like the 2 books you mention do that.

I take note!

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Sep 23, 2022Liked by Tomas Pueyo

Very interesting discussion, love these high-signal low-noise podcast episodes.

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author

I try. Glad to hear you think so!

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So helpful, excellent information!

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Reading this other article (is in spanish but easy to translate to english)

https://blogs.publico.es/ecologismo-de-emergencia/2022/06/07/cuentos-y-cuentas-sobre-la-energia-nuclear/

I kind of believe the Nuclear might not be profitable without Government support, appart from the danger, and scarce uranium or plutonium materials on Earth:

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Soy español!

I was looking for a good article against nuclears, and this is very good. So thanks!

I agree some core aspects of the article:

1. "Renewables are fantastic, we should push to get as much of them as possible."

2. "We should keep open all the nuclears that can remain open."

Here is the core I disagree with:

3. "We should prevent new reactors from being built as nuclear energy is a failed one."

Here's why:

a. Nuclear lost indeed market share, but it's mostly due to fear (post-Chernobyl), which translated into impossible and unnecessary safety standards (eg, one serious accident every 10 million years), which translated into cost, which made it unviable. You should look into ALARA in the US. The article says it: nuclear is the only energy that has a negative learning curve. Why do you think that is? What's unique about it? The fear, and subsequent regulation.

b. He says nuclear are not a good complement to renewables because they can't be turned on and off easily. The fact is true but the conclusion is not. Nuclear is a good complement to renewables because there are big periods of time when there is just not enough renewable around, mainly nights and winters. Nuclear can give you the baseload to cover those. You will still need either hydro or gas to cover peaks that short-term storage can't cover (and that assumes short-term storage will keep improving).

c. True that the new nuclear reactors are clearly overpriced. But not the Chinese ones. This is because. again, the safety requirements are too high, which reduces the market, which makes it hard to reduce costs. Every reactor in the West is basically artisanal at this point.

Also side comments:

- Germans now back keeping the nuclear reactors open at 85%

- According to Mark, keeping the Belgian reactors on (like the Germans) is not a matter of cost, but risk. If you have to invest billions in keeping them open, you have to make sure they do.

- The French reactors are out of commission because they've been testing new coolants AFAIK, but they corroded the system, so now they have to revert that. Apparently most of them will be back by the end of the year.

- Most of the article talks about right vs left. That an ad hominem argument. I don't judge whether an energy is good or bad by who backs it

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👍

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Hi, Tomás!

I'd be hapy to help you with education topics. We stay in touch just in case you need help!

Un saludo!

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author

Thanks! Can you respond to one of my email newsletters to I have your email?

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Dear Tomas,

How can we contact you privately to discuss any support in the processing of the articles?

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author

Thanks Andrea! I appreciate. You can reply to any of my newsletters and I’ll receive it

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Tomas

Happy to help out in your editing. Can send over some info to boost my case if you like.

Thanks

Cass

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author

Hi Cass, just thinking back to this. If you are interested in doing this, you can just send me an email with what type of involvement you'd be interested in in more detail, and I'll tell you how we can work together.

To send me an email, just take any of my newsletters in your inbox and reply to it. I will receive that email.

Thanks!

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Sorry, emails are bouncing...

Alex @ london-quays.com will work

Cassie

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Thank you Cass! I appreciate. You can share anything with me personally by replying to any of my newsletters

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Perhaps the need to have energy produced by nuclear reaction due to Russia's war in Ukraine may generate realistic and achievable storage of the radioactive waste each facility produces in multiple ton quantities for the multi hundreds of years that such material needs to be excluded from the living world. Safeguarding such waste from the caprices of industry and terrorists with explosives continues to be the most consequential barrier which the discussion failed to address. It's been a while since there has been any proposals for finding some way to either use the radioactive mass for further productive use or to render it harmless. Any conversation regarding the continuing use of this modality of energy production needs to budget for solving for this as well.

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Hi John, I promise at some point I will cover nuclear, and that includes waste.

As a short response:

- There are different types of waste

- Most of the waste is actually not that radioactive compared to things like natural granite, or has a quick decay

- The only really radioactive waste seems a lot in weight because uranium is heavy, but is in fact very little volume. All of the very radioactive waste of all nuclear reactors in the world since the beginning of nuclear energy would take a football stadium filled to about 4-6 feet.

- Water stops all radiation, which is why all this waste is quietly sitting in pools for decades and there has been no urgency in solving it through other means

- Finland is just inaugurating a more stable long-term storage

- New reactors ("breeders") reuse that waste so that they extract more energy and the waste has a much faster decay, so that the pbm is not measured in thousands or millions of years, but rather decades or so.

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Mark Nelson says something similar to "nuclear is the most independent source of energy".

How is that true, for instance in Europe, with these two examples:

- Akkuyu NPP in Turkey, owned by Rosatom.

- Hanhikivi NPP in Finland, that was stopped in May 2022 precisely because the contractor was Rosatom.

- Bohunice NPP in Slovakia, for which the only fuel supplier is a Russian company.

I find difficult to accept that this sort of set up can be compatible with what I understand by an independent source of energy, or a source of energy that gives a country independence.

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I don’t know the specifics of these plants. Here’s what I know:

- the main exporters of nuclear uranium are Russia, Canada, and Australia. So very much unlike oil and gas, you have some very stable countries to get uranium from.

- the rods can be bought from several western companies that can replace Russian ones. They might be more expensive, but fuel is a minor cost of the overall nuclear cost

- the 3 reactors you mention are in Russia’s periphery. I assume most of them come from the Soviet era. I’m sure there’s no patent protection left, and Operating the plants through other companies is probably doable.

So my wild guess is that nuclear independence from Russia is much easier than for gas

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Akkuyu and Hanhikivi are new constructions. Akkuyu is managed in mode Build-Own-Operate, which means that for the next 60 years, it's basically Russian property with the intention of supplying 20% of Turkish electricity needs. Not a small risk these days.

Bohunice is from the Soviet era. With the last info I have, there were no other companies approved to provide such fuel except from the Russian ones.

I think that my point is, I see a nuance. Let's be aware that "yes to nuclear" might be carrying a hidden "yes to Russian nuclear".

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Thank you! I agree with being data driven, and this is a complex issue. But complex issues don't mean that conclusions can't be stark. The current closing of nuclear reactors, from the info I still have, appears to be folly.

Re Russian reactors: he West just took over all of Russia's foreign reserves. Do you think they can't do the same with their reactors?

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I am not giving an opinion on the closing of the current reactors as I don't have enough information about that yet. I wanted to question the statement that "nuclear is the most independent energy" pointing at the Russian connection.

Can the West take over the Russian reactors? On paper everything is possible, even though (obviously) a nuclear reactor is not a foreign reserve. But what about the practicalities?

- Each nuclear provider makes a bid based on their technology, the one they master, the reactors they build and they know by heart. Taking over a competitor technology with a different design is not evident.

- European companies are entangled in difficult and delayed nuclear projects (Hinckley Point C, Olkiluoto 3). Having the capacity of taking over a Russian reactor mid-construction doesn't look easy.

- There are usually public tenders. But what about when a EU country decides *without a public tender* that they're going to award the construction of a nuclear reactor to Russia? How can Western companies take this over? This is the case of Hungary PAKS 5 and 6, which is being built by Russia in EU territory and the construction permits were approved in the past weeks, it's happening now.

The case at Paks, to me, is a Russian trojan horse inside a nuclear reactor project. Russian is lending 10 billion € to Hungary to pay for the construction. I do hope that the war effort diverts this money somewhere else and Paks 5 and 6 follow the usual trend in nuclear constructions of delays of several years, and eventually gets cancelled.

I think that one thing is being pro-nuclear in general terms, another thing is being in favour of the Paks extension, or by extension, in favour of any nuclear project that has ties with Russia.

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