Thread: Wind turbines
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Old 09-06-2018, 01:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
RustyLugNut
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The difference is in density of power produced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
There is even more concrete and steel, and copper, and electronics, and water - used in nuclear power plants. It takes a lot of energy to mine and refine, and enrich, and transport nuclear fuel.

It takes 10-20 YEARS to build a nuclear power plant. The spent nuclear fuel has to sit in pools of water for a decade or more - and the water has to be pumped, and then processed afterward; because it is contaminated and radioactive.

A lot of energy is used to decommission a nuclear power plant - and it will probably take another 10-20 years to do this. It will take a lot of energy and steel and concrete to build the dry casks - which last only 100 years. Rinse and repeat, for a very long time.

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Wind power uses no fuel. So, it has a much lower energy overhead, and the foundations can be reused.
You are absolutely correct about the nuclear power plant costs. But those plants should run for 40+ years and produce Giga Watts of power near constantly. Wind turbines will not last 40 years and will need replacement well before that. Also, due to the dispersed nature of wind energy, you will need a large number of them dwarfing the mass of the nuclear power plant.

As I've pointed out in other posts, the sheer volume of renewables results in titanic bulk. Though low grade in pollution, the sheer mass of it all results in tremendous pollution that is distributed around the environment instead of concentrated.

And if people weren't so frightened of nuclear power, generating plants could be built in 7 year time-frames using modern designs and techniques. The same can be said for waste disposal as modern designs produce a small fraction of current designs. Modular molten salt reactors will be smaller and fast neutron reactors will be more thermally efficient. The fact that current plants will need waste stored on site is a good thing because, as Oil Pan4 pointed out, much of the old fuel waste can be burned in new Generation 4 reactors. Siting new reactors on old power generating facilities leverages the existing distribution network. That was the plan all along. Upgrades of nuclear cores doesn't have to be as upsetting as they are now. NIMBYs are killing any possibility of this happening economically.
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