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Old 03-24-2009, 12:30 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bicycle Bob View Post
Nuclear is an industry that can't live without subsidies, can't buy insurance, and will cost our descendants more or less forever.
False, false, and false. Nuclear gets far less in the way of subsidies than coal, and the government BUILT most of the hydroelectric power in this country. Maybe the nuclear industry can't buy insurance (I don't think anyone's ever actually tried), but fossil fuel & hydroelectric aren't required to have the same level of insurance that was forced on the nuclear industry. And there's darned little ongoing cost to burying stuff in the ground: how much did it cost to run Oklo for 1.5 billion years?

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Starting today, you need almost a decade to build a nuke...
And you need about the same amount of time and capital investment to build the same amount of solar, wind, coal, or whatever.

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...and another decade of running it to pay back the oil used in construction.
That's just flat-out wrong. No, I'll go further than that: it's so far off base that it's not even wrong, it's an example of the "big lie", where you make up something so totally off the wall that people figure it must be so, because they just can't believe anyone would have the chutzpah to say it if it wasn't true. Sort of like investing with Bernie Madoff :-)

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For a much smaller initial investment, you can have all the renewable power you want in two decades.
Nope, do the math. Say you want 1 GWatt of generation, 24/7. Get solar panels under $1/watt, that's $1 billion... Well, no, $2 billion, 'cause you have to generate twice as much during the day to make up for the night. And maybe you ought to allow another $billion for cloudy days, and low sun angles in the morning & evening. Then you have to build structure to mount the panels, and pay someone to install them, so there's another $billion or two. Then because you want power 24/7, you have to build some sort of storage facility, so add another $billion for that. Oh, and your storage is maybe 75% efficient, if you're lucky, so add another $billion or so worth of panels to make up for that. So where are we, $6-7 billion for that GWatt of solar? How much was that nuclear plant again...

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Old 03-24-2009, 12:57 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Near Lancaster, PA, there is a Nuclear power plant... it's called TMI - Three Mile Island. Some of you may have heard of a Three Mile Island partial meltdown...
Sure. Know how many people were killed? How many injured? How much property damage (other than the plant itself)? Zero, zero, and $0.

Now would you like to look up a few numbers on how many people die from the emissions from coal-fired power plants? How many die in mining & other accidents? The cost of property damage?

Or how about hydroelectric? That's pretty safe, isn't it? (Unless of course you're a salmon :-)) Look up Banqiao, though, and you might find out different. Or read here: List of dam failures - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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We hate it NZ.

And since we are 90% hydro, we don't need it.

Because we in NZ are coastal, wind and tidal generation are better alternatives.
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:39 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Bob, James, go have a beer or a cup of tea or something and find a common interest.

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Near Lancaster, PA, there is a Nuclear power plant... it's called TMI - Three Mile Island.
Ever heard of Chalk River Labs? Jimmy Carter, A fan of nuclear submarines, was on the cleanup crew at their first major incident and there was major core damage involved.
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:10 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I'd support a nuclear plant to replace our local coal ones. They consistently rate among the top polluters in the nation. In 2005, the one 15 miles from here was THE top mercury emitter. Nuclear sure sounds healthier than that.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:16 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Hi,

We have not yet solved the nuclear waste problem -- Yucca Mountain is a debacle, and it probably will never happen. The half-life of plutonium is ~24,000 years, and it will remain dangerously radioactive for several half-lives.

That is much longer than all our recorded history, and if we continue to use nuclear power we will continue to pile up the plutonium.

Not only is it highly radioactive -- it is extremely poisonous, too.

Compare these huge downsides to something like wind power, and I think the arguments for nuclear become moot. A combination of three or four (or more!) renewable energy (solar, wind, wave, tidal, biogas, geothermal, small hydro -- the list is a long one!) can easily meet all out energy needs, with almost none of the downsides of petroleum or nuclear.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:43 PM   #17 (permalink)
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A few weeks back on NPR (National Public Radio) I think it was the Science Friday program had a guest talking about nuclear power, explaining how they are already starting to have the same problems with the fuel as we currently have with oil, we already found the stuff that is really easy to find and refine and that the newest of the nuclear power plants are going to run out of fuel before they wear out, there are of course ways to recycle the radioactive fuel and use it as a lower grade fuel that it sounds like they are working on making more wide spread, but it makes me feel a little better, that this is not going to be our long term solution.

Also the extremely large scale solar most often is not PV with silicon, but instead is solar thermal that boils water to run a steam turbine, almost all large scale electrical production involves steam turning a turbine, they can also use natural gas as a back up, but because electrical use tends to fallow day light hours it tends to be cost affective.
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:43 PM   #18 (permalink)
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renewable is nice, but one has to think about energy density. My dad recently installed a solar panel at their home, rather large, and it tracks the sun throughout the day.
www.solarmoose.com
The website has all the specs about what they're using physically and electrically. The whole panel is 15' x 14' on a 20-something foot pole. It's a biggun'.
They system dumps power into the grid, and that counts as a credit towards their monthly bill. It does not directly power anything. There is a bunch of producers for the valley, thus taking some load off the coal firing plants. 1% so far, they hope for 3% soon enough.
It unfortunately doesn't produce enough throughout the year to support their home, but if they could store the energy from the 24hrs of daylight in the summer (alaska) it could supply their needs 24/7. For the month they're up to 282KWh. I'd like to see the dollar values they're saving and their current usage. See how much the panel is offsetting. I'll send an email and see if dad is willing to share that. I remember a few months when I was growing up it was over 600KWh in the winter. I think now dad said they keep between 150-400KWh summer-winter.

Tangent aside about the panel, while this one should produce most the electricity he needs, there are millions who use much more. There are places that don't get as much sunlight, where its not viable to install personal panels, or even a large array plant. We need something to supplement.

although now that I remember, someone said a solar array the size of NV would easily power North America. The size of AK would power the world for a few generations of electricity increase. Sooo....
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Old 03-24-2009, 01:52 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Looks like Nevada would be a good location, too. Alaska, not so much.

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Old 03-24-2009, 10:58 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Hi,

They are working on using things like molten salts to store heat for a longer term buffer. Wind can blow all the time (in some places) and waves and geothermal are pretty darn constant. Biogas is easy to store, and easy to use for peak loads -- like they are doing in Germany.

Having the energy distributed over a wide area is actually a good thing, and all we really need is a better "smarter" grid.

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