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Old 04-10-2008, 09:59 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hvatum View Post
That's one of the better uses of solar or wind, the only problem being that you usually charge at night, when solar cannot be used. But it's a nice idea for wind power since you can just charge with whatever power it produces, charging a car doesn't require a constant input like computers or hospital equipment does.

Otherwise wind and solar don't have much potential to actually offset fossil fuels, it's not constant the way coal or nuclear plants are. Solar and wind are expensive, and can only really offset our current base load when one considers the absolute minimum that it might produce. If at some point wind and PV installations might produce 2% of their maximum output (100,000MW), that means that you need a 98,000MW reserve. That will probably come from natural gas, which can be cycled quickly, but that still means we're not getting rid of fossil fuel plants, just using them less.

If it gets into cycling coal plants it's quite questionable, since they will pollute more in the warm up stage and cool down. Ironically with the intermittentcy of wind power in Denmark they just run their coal plants 24/7, and when they get a lot of wind generation they sell it at dirt cheap prices to Germany and Sweden, where industrial users probably use it to smelt aluminum or something.

For the time being nuclear is the only option we have NOW. Solar power and wind power seem perpetually "just a few years" away from being economical. I'll believe it when I see it, but we shouldn't depend on a technology "eventually" being practical. Also solar panel manufacturers are piggy backing on the electronics industry right now using excess low quality processed silica, but a serious ramp up in production would mean they'd have to smelt their own and prices would have to jump.

I see far too much "feel good" focus on windmills and solar panels, and not enough consideration of the actual environmental impact. Also despite all the talk we're building 39 coal plants right now in America, Germany is building 4...

PS. Nuclear waste disposal, reactor safety are no longer technical issues, they're just political issues. France has no problems with it, we're just shackled politically by the psychological fallout from Chernobyl.
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:26 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LostCause View Post
I don't think burying nuclear waste in metal drums, encased in concrete, encased in a massive overfilled cavern is the most responsible thing to due when taking future generations into account. Trash is one thing, but when it lasts 14,000 years it is a trans-generational issue.

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I didn't say we should do that. Metal drums? Never heard of anyone burying nuclear waste in metal drums, is this a technology you are developing?

France reprocesses it, reducing volume by 70% and removing the longer lasting isotopes, these longer lasting isotopes actually make usable fuel again. The leftover waste is not nearly as long lasting, within 10,000 years the amount of Amercium will not be notable. Only neptunium will be left over in waste that was well processed using PUREX, but that's a tiny percent of the waste.

The only reason we here in the US are talking about storing waste for 300,000 years or whatever is that we banned reprocessing, so instead it all has to get buried in Yucca mountain suspended in porcelain flasks which could even be crushed and smashed without releasing radioactivity - only a volcano would have the potential to release the isotopes, but then it would just be suspended in magma. Anyway, if it weren't for the silly "environmentalists" stopping us from reprocessing then we wouldn't have to worry about storing long lasting Uranium or Plutonium isotopes.
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:50 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
Isn't Germany building 4 because of it's massive Solar program? :

Germany Embraces the Sun - 07.09.01
http://www.wired.com/science/discove.../2001/07/45056
If anything this shows how far from practical solar technology is, it needs to have a 43 cent per KWH subsidy to make it competitive(!). The pricing structure also means consumers simply have it added to their electricity bill. Instead of the subsidy coming out of a government budget every consumer and industrial user is paying inflated electricity bills.

Also that still doesn't solve the intermittentcy problem. Germany has become so anti-nuclear that they will jump through hoops, import nuclear power from France, import it from the Czech republic, saturate the entire landscape with windmills just to avoid building a reactor.

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It would make convenient sense that we're building coal because we have huge reserves (Carter said this in the late 1970's).
Oh we do, so does Germany. It makes perfect economic sense, sadly it doesn't make environmental sense.

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I don't believe you on the nuclear waste disposal issue.

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That's fine, feel free to research it yourself. I'm not asking you to take my word for it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spent_nuclear_fuel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PUREX
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:52 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Old 04-10-2008, 05:46 PM   #25 (permalink)
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hvatum -

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Originally Posted by hvatum View Post
...

That's fine, feel free to research it yourself. I'm not asking you to take my word for it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spent_nuclear_fuel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PUREX
Sorry for pouncing on your earlier post. It sounds like you have an in-depth knowledge of your side of the argument.

PS - I consider myself a version of one of those silly "environmentalists", .

http://www.nirs.org/

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Old 04-10-2008, 06:51 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
hvatum -



Sorry for pouncing on your earlier post. It sounds like you have an in-depth knowledge of your side of the argument.

PS - I consider myself a version of one of those silly "environmentalists", .

http://www.nirs.org/

CarloSW2
No problem

Thanks for being open minded about this, whenever I argue about this I don't mean to ever be making personal attacks, I just want to see the best solution implemented - and fast. Whether it's going to be wind, solar or nuclear we need to really move on it, because the lead time for building the massive over-capacity we'd need to go wind and solar or educating a new nuclear energy workforce would be at least a decade.

By the time we really start feeling the pinch from global warming, peak oil or environmental catastrophe we won't be able to suddenly switch over to a carbon friendly infrastructure because it won't be there, we need to build it now.

Thanks for the link. They have some good points about safety on older plants, but their economic and emissions analysis is way off base. They assume a massively increasing effort required to find nuclear fuel, but if we re-processed that would be a non issue. Also they assume almost no expansion in known uranium reserves, which is kind of like someone in 1920 saying that we'll run out of oil by 1940 - sure, with current known reserves. But no one is even looking for Uranium because producers expanded capacity so much in the 70s, then TMI and Chernobyl happened so there's been a massive over-capacity.

http://www.nirs.org/alternatives/alternativeshome.htm

Also their proposed alternatives have some mis-leading statements like "19.7 Gigawatts of wind" was installed in 2007. But that's PEAK capacity, average output will be closer to 20% of that, and the minimum is probably somewhere around 2-5% of that.

And Biomass as an alternative energy source? Are they serious? I don't know about you, but I'd rather have a modern nuclear power plant next to my house then a biomass plant that's burning sooty biomass to produce a meager amount of power. Burning biomass puts so much fine particulate matter out that installing filters would be prohibitively expensive because they'd cloged in no time. Just think about it for a second, when you grill, what puts out more smoke and junk: Burning charcoal, or burning moldy logs that were destined for a landfill?

Gasification is a better technology, but it needs to be demonstrated on a commercial scale. Anyway, if you're talking about Biomass just gassify coal and then plant trees to capture the carbon, same end effect but it would be a lot cheaper.
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:01 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvatum View Post
I didn't say we should do that. Metal drums? Never heard of anyone burying nuclear waste in metal drums, is this a technology you are developing?
My first patent: 2245413

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France reprocesses it, reducing volume by 70% and removing the longer lasting isotopes, these longer lasting isotopes actually make usable fuel again. The leftover waste is not nearly as long lasting, within 10,000 years the amount of Amercium will not be notable. Only neptunium will be left over in waste that was well processed using PUREX, but that's a tiny percent of the waste.
Hey, only 10,000 years...as long as we're not burdening our children with the byproduct of our greed.

Quote:
The only reason we here in the US are talking about storing waste for 300,000 years or whatever is that we banned reprocessing, so instead it all has to get buried in Yucca mountain suspended in porcelain flasks which could even be crushed and smashed without releasing radioactivity - only a volcano would have the potential to release the isotopes, but then it would just be suspended in magma. Anyway, if it weren't for the silly "environmentalists" stopping us from reprocessing then we wouldn't have to worry about storing long lasting Uranium or Plutonium isotopes.
I thought the reprocessing issue centered around nuclear proliferation. After India demonstrated it could build bombs from reprocessed fuel, Carter nixed our nation's use of that technology. France, the United Kingdom, and Japan, who had already invested heavily in to the technology, kept going. While the PUREX method produces very little weapon's grade plutonium, the potential exists.

Environmentalists...who likes those willing to call a glutton fat? I think we should rip up the world's rivers and valleys looking for uranium while mountain topping the world's peaks for coal. Then, when we run out of all these non-renewable resources we can panic all over again. My vote is for nuclear power, hummers for all, and sweat shop slavery...

Alright, I'll stop being rude right...now.

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Old 04-11-2008, 01:01 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LostCause View Post
My first patent: 2245413



Hey, only 10,000 years...as long as we're not burdening our children with the byproduct of our greed.
We already are. There are all sorts of cancer causing substances that we've put into the food chain, some pesticides which have longer lives than nuclear isotopes. Mercury in our oceans which will be around for thousands of years.

But with nuclear waste we're talking about burying it in casks in the ground, there is some minute risk that it a volcano could result in the isotopes being suspended in Magma. But we won't ever be putting poisonous substances into the environment in general with nuclear power, unlike many other human activities.

Also calling it greed is a cheap shot. You're using a computer. You drive a car. The manufacturing processes for those result in a range of long lasting effects. If you're using grid power then you're supporting the coal industry. Nuclear could allow you to do these things without intentionally spewing poisons into our environment, Wind and Solar can't (yet), though they can make a nice contribution if people like.

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I thought the reprocessing issue centered around nuclear proliferation. After India demonstrated it could build bombs from reprocessed fuel, Carter nixed our nation's use of that technology. France, the United Kingdom, and Japan, who had already invested heavily in to the technology, kept going. While the PUREX method produces very little weapon's grade plutonium, the potential exists.
Proliferation? India and Pakistan already have nuclear bombs. Iran is well on the way to getting one. North Korea already does. This wasn't from reprocessing technology used in France or one picogram of reprocessed fuel from France. It's a lot easier for a country like Iran or North Korea to set up a few centrifuges and use uranium hexafluoride to create material for a bomb then it is to infiltrate a US reprocessing plant, get a large quantity of pre-processed weapons grade plutonium without anyone noticing and alerting anyone (nearly impossible since all quantities are constantly measured, like people working with diamonds), bring it across the border (where it is extremely easy to detect even at great distances), and then hurry home and build a bomb quickly before the plutonium degrades too much, and then use the bomb in under a year before it's shelf life runs up, without having the ability to actually test this bomb technology to see if the designs they have actually work and aren't fake, which they probably are.

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Environmentalists...who likes those willing to call a glutton fat? I think we should rip up the world's rivers and valleys looking for uranium
Not necessary. Current reserves at the Olympic Dam mine ALONE would last until 2040 if they were to mine specifically for Uranium. Currently they consider Uranium to be an annoying impurity which they need to get rid of so they can get at the profitable gold and silver, not even worth mining by itself.

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=-30.4...228,136.888675

There's the largest Uranium mine in the world, in all it's mundane glory. Under six square miles in the middle of a desert in Australia, and it isn't even a Uranium mine, it's a Gold mine.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:10 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hvatum View Post
The only reason we here in the US are talking about storing waste for 300,000 years or whatever is that we banned reprocessing, so instead it all has to get buried in Yucca mountain suspended in porcelain flasks which could even be crushed and smashed without releasing radioactivity - only a volcano would have the potential to release the isotopes, but then it would just be suspended in magma. Anyway, if it weren't for the silly "environmentalists" stopping us from reprocessing then we wouldn't have to worry about storing long lasting Uranium or Plutonium isotopes.
You forgot to mention it's vitrified too No green glowing bars as seen on the Simpsons cartoon
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:20 AM   #30 (permalink)
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You forgot to mention it's vitrified too No green glowing bars as seen on the Simpsons cartoon
Good point

too bad, we could paint watch dials and make glowing "Health Tonics" with the nuclear waste if those spoilsports would stop vitrifying it

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