Check out Yottawatts From Thorium

January 27th, 2010
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Starting a blog can be pretty frustrating. For the first few weeks (or more) there are few visitors and even fewer comments, which really makes it feel like you’re posting to a vacuum. So when someone starts a blog that advocates things like nuclear energy, better enviornmental policy, human health and those kind of things, it’s always a good idea to support it and help it get going.

So why not do that for our friend Robert Steinhaus who has a brand-spankin-new blog called “Yottawatts From Thorium.” It’s worth a read anyway and although it only has a few posts up thus far, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more insightful and top-notch posts in the near future.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 at 1:00 am and is filed under Good Science, Links, Misc, Website. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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23 Responses to “Check out Yottawatts From Thorium”

  1. 1
    Geoffrey Kidd Says:

    The link to “Steinhaus” points to: http://depletedcranium.com/check-out-yottawatts-from-thorium/Robert%20Steinhaus


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  2. 2
    drbuzz0 Says:

    Crap! How’d that happen? Okay it’s fixed now


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  3. 3
    Geoffrey Kidd Says:

    Thank you.


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  4. 4
    DV82XL Says:

    Thanks for the link


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  5. 5
    Bruce Says:

    hmm, an even less tested, more dangerous form of nuclear power. I suppose Bush’s, Reagan’s, Nixons handouts for nuclear research and energy wasnt enough, you guys just need a few billion more right?

    Meanwhile, Obama is giving a state of the union that focuses on green energy and clean energy, California as he pointed out has made thousands of jobs in the solar industry. Thats the future, you guys are living in the past…


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  6. 6
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Bruce said:

    hmm, an even less tested, more dangerous form of nuclear power. I suppose Bush’s, Reagan’s, Nixons handouts for nuclear research and energy wasnt enough, you guys just need a few billion more right?

    Regulatory reform and not one red cent from the government. By the way, the government is currently giving billions to damn near every industry: Billions to automotive, billions and billions to banking, billions and billions and billions to realestate, bond markets, insurance, even coal and oil and gas.

    Each year the government spends at least 40 billion on useless “renewables” and supposedly a few crumby loan garentees with a market value equivelent of maybe few million constitute a huge subsidy?

    Use a fair pro-development nuclear regulatory structure (similar to how the FAA regulates aircraft safety) and I’ll invest every dime I have in it. I don’t want a thing from the government. Just setup the framework and everyone else will willingly pay, because a completed nuclear plant is a cash cow.

            Bruce said:

    Meanwhile, Obama is giving a state of the union that focuses on green energy and clean energy, California as he pointed out has made thousands of jobs in the solar industry.

    There is no energy cleaner than nuclear energy. California may have many jobs in the solar industry, but since solar power does nothing useful other than cause some grid destabilization and increase operating costs and rates, every job is paid for in more jobs lost.

    Look, the government could pay 5000 people to stand around in their underwear in a warehouse and yodel all day. Would this be “creating 5000 jobs” By some people’s definition it would, but the fact is that standing around in your underwear yodeling is useless and contributes nothing to society. it’s pointless and stupid to pay people for a worthless job – a job that accomplishes nothing and serves nobody. Furthermore, for every job created, more are lost because of the WASTE.

    Therefore, you can PAY people to do something useless and stupid and you’re not “creating jobs” you’re losing them, by committing financial and economic suicide.

            Bruce said:

    Thats the future, you guys are living in the past…

    Actually, not only is it the past (solar energy has been experimented with since shortly after the invention of the steam engine and wind in wide use since the 1600′s) but nuclear power is not just the future, it is the ONLY FUTURE. Nuclear energy, simply put, is THE BE ALL AND END ALL OF ALL ENERGY. It is the most dense, most plentiful, most fundamental form of energy that there can be.

    Unless someone can figure out a way of making antimatter in mass without putting as much energy into the reaction that creates it, nuclear is where the buck stops. It is the ultimate. Nuclear is the absolute pinical of humanities pursuit of greater energy sources.

    Nuclear energy is as fundamental a shift in energy production as agriculture was from foraging when it comes to food production. One actually makes it and the other tries to gather it where it can be found. It is the foundational energy source that has a ceiling so high that it can power our civilization to the stars. Its potential and ramifications may be greater than fire.

    When I think of those who oppose nuclear energy I often think of what it must have been like when a tribe of early man first discovered fire. Some saw it made light at night and warmth in the cold and observed it could tenderize their meat and make it safer to eat. They realized fire was a great tool and would make their life far better. They knew not of the extent that fire would bring – of smelting metals and creating industry, but they knew it had potential and knew it was a great gift for them to use. They knew it also had its dangers, but knew that it could be mastered just the same.

    Yet there were likely some who didn’t like fire. They saw it the first time and tried to touch it and it burned them. They became angry. These were the very small minded people. They could not be convinced that fire was useful. They didn’t want to understand it. Their minds were very small and very full of fear. They thought fire must be an evil spirit and wanted it out of their village. Nothing could convince them that fire was good.

    This is you, Bruce.


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  7. 7
    Curtains Says:

    I like that fire analogy. I may have to use it (but I will give you full credit).


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  8. 8
    Bruce Says:

    Yet there were likely some who didn’t like fire. They saw it the first time and tried to touch it and it burned them. They became angry. These were the very small minded people. They could not be convinced that fire was useful. They didn’t want to understand it. Their minds were very small and very full of fear. They thought fire must be an evil spirit and wanted it out of their village. Nothing could convince them that fire was good.

    This is you, Bruce.

    lolll

    I am an atheist and I don’t believe in any kind of spirits. I am rational and look at the evidence. A rational person reduces risk, and therefore does not use unneeded risky technologies, I will post a rebuttal of the rest of your points tomorrow.


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  9. 9
    Kevin B. Says:

    ^Hey Bruce, you might want to check the transcript from the State of the Union:

    “But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.” -Pres. Obama

    So, your hero is living in the past as well?


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  10. 10
    Matthew Says:

            Bruce said:

    Yet there were likely some who didn’t like fire. They saw it the first time and tried to touch it and it burned them. They became angry. These were the very small minded people. They could not be convinced that fire was useful. They didn’t want to understand it. Their minds were very small and very full of fear. They thought fire must be an evil spirit and wanted it out of their village. Nothing could convince them that fire was good.

    This is you, Bruce.

    lolll

    I am an atheist and I don’t believe in any kind of spirits. I am rational and look at the evidence. A rational person reduces risk, and therefore does not use unneeded risky technologies, I will post a rebuttal of the rest of your points tomorrow.

    And the Missing the Point Award of the month goes to…


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  11. 11
    An Actual Scientist Says:

    Steve, while I agree with you 100% that nuclear energy is where the buck stops, I don’t think I know anyone who puts it quite as bluntly as you do. That said, I can’t disagree. Until someone can figure out a way to make a black hole and gather the hawking radiation it emits or somehow otherwise convert particles to energy in a non-nuclear way, nuclear energy stands as the ultimate.

    Going back to the fire analogy. We obviously can only speculate about what it must have been like for primordial man with the introduction of fire, but it’s not a big stab in the dark to think that not all were happy with it, because indeed fire is a very powerful and potentially harmful force and fear is a very strong emotion that can block all others.

    Imagine what it might have been like for an early human who had seen fire before when a wildfire from lightning or something had raged and killed and injured others and maybe destroyed their family or their community. They would have seen that fire was now brought into their community and all they could see was the wildfire and the memories of how bad it was. Now lets contrast this to some of those who might hear the word nuclear and all they can imagine is Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    What these have in common is that it’s not rational. You can tell a person that fission can happen slowly in a low-enrichment fuel and provide useful power, but they won’t listen if they are paralyzed with irrational fear. At that point they become a “caveman” of sorts because fear is primordial and exists on a lower level than rational thought. If they are too ignorant of nuclear energy to understand it, they may not even want to understand it, because it’s symbolic of a kind of evil.

            Bruce said:

    I am an atheist and I don’t believe in any kind of spirits.

    That does not matter. Whether or not you call it a spirit, magical and superstitious thinking can take other forms. Some people call themselves atheists but they show religious-like devotion to an idea or concept or person and apply magical thinking to things that substitute for the supernatural.

    What does nuclear mean to you? I bet it’s associated with everything you think is bad and evil and scary.

            Bruce said:

    I am rational and look at the evidence.

    Which would be what? There’s never been an off-site danger posed by any LWR reactor in history. None have even come close. As it has been pointed out, for the past 50 years, there have continuously been thousands underwater, relying on nuclear reactors for their own survival.

    We have subjected nuclear reactors to destructive testing and extreme conditions like loss of coolant. We have run reactors in sub-optimal conditions. We understand these very well.

    I’d say that Chernobyl is a poor example of a nuclear reactor, but even if we accept this as being the worst possible failure, what are the concequences? The amount of death and destruction caused by this, the worst nuclear incident in history is less than what has been caused by other disasters. For example, hydroelectric. Chernobyl is dwarfed by the destruction of dam failures. One dam failure caused a cascade of failures that lead to hundreds of thousands dying in China. There have been other industrial disasters that have caused more deaths.

    A modern PWR, BWR or CANDU reactor has never killed a single person nor even come close. You can’t say that of any other form of energy. Reactors like the molten salt or pebble bed reactor may be even safer (if that’s possible!) Reactors like the AP1000 can lose all power and control and they will cool themselves effectively with simple convection for days or weeks, until the decay heat is neglidgable. They’re wrapped in multiple layers of overly reinforced material.

    I’ll go further: We take more precautions than we need to. I’d feel safe living next door to an AP1000 any day. I’d feel safe living next to an AP-1000 with a containment structure half the thickness. I’d even feel safe living next to one with no containment structure at all.

            Bruce said:

    A rational person reduces risk, and therefore does not use unneeded risky technologies, I will post a rebuttal of the rest of your points tomorrow.

    Lets define “unneeded” here. What do we NEED? Do we need nuclear power to get by? I don’t think anyone can argue that it’s a necessity, if we accept the concequences of not using it. Coal is plentiful, and so if we refuse to use nuclear, we can provide energy using only coal for the next century at least – possibly maybe far more.

    If we do not use nuclear energy, our society will continue to function. There will be more early deaths due to respiratory illness, we will have to accept that. Most of the Appalachian Mountains will be destroyed, and we must accept this. We will see the same outside the US. Germany will destroy many historic towns and cultural treasures to strip-mine the coal (as they are already doing). Australia and China will likewise see huge areas reduced to rubble pits. People will lose their homes and die when ash dams break. There will be regions where all the lakes have become “dead” except for high acidity tolerant bacteria. Human generated CO2 will only become worse.

    We have seen what coal does and since it’s the only viable alternative to nuclear, not using nuclear energy means that we consider the price of using coal less. In my opinion this is a fools folly.

    Now let me just address a few things about renewable energy and the whole idea of wind and solar: These don’t work to provide mass amounts of dispatch energy period. If they did, they would have been used for this years ago. Our ancestors were not as stupid as you might think. They knew the wind and sun provided energy and they had the means to harness it. They did, to some extent for water pumping, for some applications. They didn’t use it extensively because they knew the energy was not there in quantity. IF there were free energy falling from the sky, you’d be a fool not to use it. They didn’t because there isn’t or at least there is only a trivial amount, that does not justify that expended collecting it.

    These energy sources rely on nature giving us energy. It is not us producing energy, it’s finding that energy out there, and the energy simply is not there. The power density is too low. There are a few exceptions to this. Sometimes nature gives us a break and through sheer luck, we have a source of massive amounts of energy just ripe for the picking. Where do we find places where nature has concentrated it for us? Geysers and hot springs, water falls, steeply falling high flow rivers, especially in valleys that are easily dammed.

    Nature has not filled the world with easily diverted waterfalls and steam springs. Where it has, we were quick to recognize that we got a freebie and we did take advantage of it and still do! The few gems have been exploited for decades or centuries and nature does not accommodate our wishes simply because we want there to be easily avaliable energy for the tapping. It’s like living off the land. Sometimes you may stumble on a patch of thick berry bushes or a population of animals that are easy to hunt and full of meat. However, this is the exception, not the rule, and living off the land means that more often than not, you’ll struggle to keep your belly full.

    I hope these statements are logical, because I’m trying very hard to get past your Dogma, Bruce. It’s very frustrating.


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  12. 12
    DV82XL Says:

            An Actual Scientist said:

    I hope these statements are logical, because I’m trying very hard to get past your Dogma, Bruce. It’s very frustrating.

    I don’t think it’s as much dogma with our Bruce anymore, as it is obstreperousness, and an inability to admit he is wrong. That is, of course, if he is not simply a little troll who gets off bearding us for the fun of it.


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  13. 13
    Bruce Says:

            Kevin B. said:

    ^Hey Bruce, you might want to check the transcript from the State of the Union:

    “But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.” -Pres. Obama

    So, your hero is living in the past as well?

    How about putting it in context?

    From the State of the union, 2010: Next, we need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history — (applause) — an investment that could lead to the world’s cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year’s investments in clean energy — in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.

    But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. (Applause.) It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. (Applause.) It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. (Applause.) And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America. (Applause.)

    The way I see it, that was simply a laundry list of things, with nuclear sadly listed among them. But by Obama’s action on Yucca and his appointment of Carol Brown, I’d say at worst he is sending mixed signals. Really, he’s keeping the status quo, which is good, because the status quo is dis-advantageous to nuclear energy, as it should be. Notice that he does not mention nuclear as a good jobs creator, because it isn’t, as the other blog points out (Yottawatts from Thorium), much of the components for nuclear power come from overseas… well I guess it would create some jobs, in Japan.


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  14. 14
    Bruce Says:

            An Actual Scientist said:

    Steve, while I agree with you 100% that nuclear energy is where the buck stops, I don’t think I know anyone who puts it quite as bluntly as you do.

    That said, I can’t disagree.

    Until someone can figure out a way to make a black hole and gather the hawking radiation it emits or somehow otherwise convert particles to energy in a non-nuclear way, nuclear energy stands as the ultimate.

    Going back to the fire analogy. We obviously can only speculate about what it must have been like for primordial man with the introduction of fire, but it’s not a big stab in the dark to think that not all were happy with it, because indeed fire is a very powerful and potentially harmful force and fear is a very strong emotion that can block all others.

    Imagine what it might have been like for an early human who had seen fire before when a wildfire from lightning or something had raged and killed and injured others and maybe destroyed their family or their community.

    They would have seen that fire was now brought into their community and all they could see was the wildfire and the memories of how bad it was.

    Now lets contrast this to some of those who might hear the word nuclear and all they can imagine is Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    What these have in common is that it’s not rational.

    You can tell a person that fission can happen slowly in a low-enrichment fuel and provide useful power, but they won’t listen if they are paralyzed with irrational fear. At that point they become a “caveman” of sorts because fear is primordial and exists on a lower level than rational thought.

    If they are too ignorant of nuclear energy to understand it, they may not even want to understand it, because it’s symbolic of a kind of evil.

    That does not matter.

    Whether or not you call it a spirit, magical and superstitious thinking can take other forms.

    Some people call themselves atheists but they show religious-like devotion to an idea or concept or person and apply magical thinking to things that substitute for the supernatural.

    What does nuclear mean to you?

    Proliferation risk, impossible to have good long term storage.

    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22850/

    http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/1976/uncertainty_underground.html

    Allison McFarlane, who sat on the panel which recently finally ruled Yucca unsafe, provides iron clad arguments against it as a disposal site.

            An Actual Scientist said:

    Which would be what?

    There’s never been an off-site danger posed by any LWR reactor in history. None have even come close.

    As it has been pointed out, for the past 50 years, there have continuously been thousands underwater, relying on nuclear reactors for their own survival.

    Yeah, because we can really trust the military to be honest about that, since we can’t, because if it were discovered that there were major accidents they’d be put at a disadvantage by not having nuclear power sources for long missios. You think it’s an accident that the future french aircraft carrier is not nuclear powered? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_French_aircraft_carrier

            An Actual Scientist said:

    We have subjected nuclear reactors to destructive testing and extreme conditions like loss of coolant. We have run reactors in sub-optimal conditions. We understand these very well.

    I’d say that Chernobyl is a poor example of a nuclear reactor, but even if we accept this as being the worst possible failure, what are the concequences?

    The amount of death and destruction caused by this, the worst nuclear incident in history is less than what has been caused by other disasters.

    For example, hydroelectric.

    Chernobyl is dwarfed by the destruction of dam failures.

    One dam failure caused a cascade of failures that lead to hundreds of thousands dying in China.

    There have been other industrial disasters that have caused more deaths.

    A modern PWR, BWR or CANDU reactor has never killed a single person nor even come close.

    You can’t say that of any other form of energy.

    I’d say TMI came pretty close.

            An Actual Scientist said:

    Reactors like the molten salt or pebble bed reactor may be even safer (if that’s possible!)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/THTR-300

    Except for when they are not.

            An Actual Scientist said:

    Reactors like the AP1000 can lose all power and control and they will cool themselves effectively with simple convection for days or weeks, until the decay heat is neglidgable.

    They’re wrapped in multiple layers of overly reinforced material.

    I’ll go further: We take more precautions than we need to.

    I’d feel safe living next door to an AP1000 any day. I’d feel safe living next to an AP-1000 with a containment structure half the thickness.

    I’d even feel safe living next to one with no containment structure at all.

    Maybe you would, problem is, with nuclear power, you are making choices about the rest of our safety and choices for our children as well, who will need to deal with the waste, which we still have no solution for (see above).

    And I don’t by this “either nuclear or coal” argument, even if, there are no renewables, but they are a good option (as Obama has points out repeatedly) then there is plenty of natural gas, which for CO2 storage could be pumped deep into the ocean or back into the places it was removed from.


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  15. 15
    Bruce Says:

            DV82XL said:

    I don’t think it’s as much dogma with our Bruce anymore, as it is obstreperousness, and an inability to admit he is wrong. That is, of course, if he is not simply a little troll who gets off bearding us for the fun of it.

    I have not seen any evidence you are not simply a troll – so there we have that.

    And, I have admitted I was wrong about things, for example I used to think beta and alpha radiation were waves, I now realize that isn’t the case. I have no problem admitting I am wrong when I am, I won’t admit I am wrong when I’m not sure I am wrong. Another example is solar energy, which I previously thought was a good source with current technology, but now I realize (thanks to this site) that it is too expensive right now, which of course just points out the need for more research money for solar power.


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  16. 16
    DV82XL Says:

            Bruce said:

    Another example is solar energy, which I previously thought was a good source with current technology, but now I realize (thanks to this site) that it is too expensive right now, which of course just points out the need for more research money for solar power.

    O.K. you’re not a troll, you’re ground-in stupid.

    It’s been explained to you over and over why nuclear energy is safe and inexpensive and why wind and solar can never meet our needs, yet you persist. If you are not doing it to troll, then then the only other conclusion that can be draw is that you are a moron.


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  17. 17
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Bruce said:

    And I don’t by this “either nuclear or coal” argument, even if, there are no renewables, but they are a good option (as Obama has points out repeatedly) then there is plenty of natural gas, which for CO2
    storage could be pumped deep into the ocean or back into the places it was removed from.

    UH OH! Somebody is showing his true colors. He’s a big fan of fossil fuels! Yeah, the natural gas bull****. The US is already a big importer of natural gas.

    It’s amazing, I didn’t think those commercials from the natural gas industry would be ineffective. I figured nobody was stupid enough to fall for the “There’s plenty of natural gas” bull****.

    I mean, are people so stupid that they don’t remember how the price of gas has gone up and down repeatedly in the past few years? People forgot how Russia squeezed Europe’s balls in a vice repeatedly with their natural gas supply valve? People too stupid to realize that the biggest sources of natural gas are Quatar and the United Arab Emeritz? Are people really so stupid not to realize that the natural gas companies are often the same as the evil oil companies?

    I guess they are that stupid.


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  18. 18
    RBR1978 Says:

            Bruce said:

    Yeah, because we can really trust the military to be honest about that, since we can’t, because if it were discovered that there were major accidents they’d be put at a disadvantage by not having nuclear power sources for long missios.

    Uh, yeah, because it would be so easy to hide the fact that a massive aircraft carrier with thousands on board has suddenly experienced an accident, or for that matter a submarine. As I understand it the US had two nuclear submarines lost, neither for reasons related to their nuclear systems. The UK has never lost one and the US has never had a nuclear realted accident and neither have the French.

    You can’t really hide it if they did. Their ships and subs are too big and too populated for something to happen to one and not be noticed. When there has been a collision or something, they end up being seen by everyone when they come into port big a big dent in them.

            Bruce said:

    You think it’s an accident that the future french aircraft carrier is not nuclear powered? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_French_aircraft_carrier

    You did not mention the reasons why. The French Navy is entirely opposed to this and the Royal Navy has objected as well to not having a nuclear carrier, especially when countries like India and China soon will. One of my friends was in the Royal navy for years and he told me that based on the amount of activity they do with the American Navy they are all acutely aware of the advantages of the nuclear carriers and they wish that they had that kind of thing.

    The reason is political. The French Navy is 100% nuclear and the issue is that they want nuclear populsion but the British government (not the Navy) blocked it because it’s supposed to be a common hull design and this may even cause the French to pull out and build their own. Parliament basically stated that nuclear propulsion was too expensive without even investigating the option seriously.

    It’s complete politics and the dirty kind.

            Bruce said:

    I’d say TMI came pretty close.

    How do you figure that? From what I have read, the reactor vessel was never in danger of compromise and if it were, there is the confinement dome, but at worst there was just a lump of spent fuel that ended up on the bottom.

            Bruce said:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/THTR-300

    Except for when they are not.

    What? It was unsafe because… people accused it of being? Seems like some circular logic here. I also don’t think you can trust the German government for objective info on it. What was wrong with THTR-300? It had a jam? I don’t believe that’s considered a critical failure.

            Bruce said:

    And I don’t by this “either nuclear or coal” argument, even if, there are no renewables, but they are a good option (as Obama has points out repeatedly) then there is plenty of natural gas, which for CO2 storage could be pumped deep into the ocean or back into the places it was removed from.

    Doesn’t it take quite a lot of energy to pump all that CO2 out to sea and deep under? What about the ecological concequences? I know some scientists have said that they believe this scheme is too dangerous because the CO2 remaining under the surface assumes that there are no major disturbances to the area (like a landslide, a shift in curents or something) could change the dispersion rates and cause it to convect up and possibly return to the atmosphere. Also there’s the issue that it will possibly create a lot of carbonic acid if it dissolves enough

    It sounds like a really really bad idea from all I’ve heard. Actually, I’d just as soon vent it into the atmosphere, because at least then you don’t have the unknown risks of a sudden regional upset causing years of co2 to come out all at once.

    Also, where is all this natural gas? They have said recently that Europe is having trouble accommodating more natural gas demand because of the lack of new wells and the fact that there is almost no excess capacity.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dd/Henry_hub_NG_prices.svg


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  19. 19
    FRE Says:

    I don’t necessarily recommend it, but the “non-dispatchable” and eratic nature of solar and wind power could be dealt with by leaving it up to the final user. Thus, if the final user didn’t like the lights, air condition, TV, etc., going out frequently, he could go to to the local Montgomery Ward’s store and by a back up unit of some sort, getting the amount of storage he required. It could be battery, flywheel, or spring power.


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  20. 20
    DV82XL Says:

            FRE said:

    I don’t necessarily recommend it, but the “non-dispatchable” and eratic nature of solar and wind power could be dealt with by leaving it up to the final user. Thus, if the final user didn’t like the lights, air condition, TV, etc., going out frequently, he could go to to the local Montgomery Ward’s store and by a back up unit of some sort, getting the amount of storage he required. It could be battery, flywheel, or spring power.

    Well any number of alternate energy schemes can be said to ‘work’, if you are prepared to accept a major reduction in the quality of service. I’m not sure exactly how this qualifies as an improvement.


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  21. 21
    FRE Says:

            DV82XL said:

    Well any number of alternate energy schemes can be said to ‘work’, if you are prepared to accept a major reduction in the quality of service. I’m not sure exactly how this qualifies as an improvement.

    It doesn’t qualify as an improvement, and you are quite right.

    Another back up method would be to use a heavy weight that would be lifted by a cable wound around a drum. When the power failed, the descending weight would drive a generator. That might be better than the spring. Or, a dog on a treadmill could provide a bit of power ’til the utility resumed providing power.

    Probably nuclear is the best option.


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  22. 22
    Engineering Edgar Says:

            FRE said:

    I don’t necessarily recommend it, but the “non-dispatchable” and eratic nature of solar and wind power could be dealt with by leaving it up to the final user. Thus, if the final user didn’t like the lights, air condition, TV, etc., going out frequently, he could go to to the local Montgomery Ward’s store and by a back up unit of some sort, getting the amount of storage he required. It could be battery, flywheel, or spring power.

    A power grid that was frequently experiencing surges, brownouts, frequency drops and so on would be a lot more than a problem for the end user. You’d have a lot of stress on equipment trying to compensate, the reactors (not nuclear reactors, power reactors) would constantly be experiencing stresses. Generators at power stations would start to fight frequency changes. If they started losing sync badly, you could end up with mechanical failures.

    For the end user in a home it might be something you could deal with by buying a whole lot of UPS’s, but what about industry? Every metal smelter and big factory would need enormous lead acid batteries, inverts, flywheels and so on.

    Then there’s the fact that you’d actually need more electricity. Energy storage is a net consumer. Every time power is inverted, rectified, stored or whatever, some is lost. It’s not necessarily a real lot, but it adds up and compounds, especially if you had every home and buisiness maintaining their own local energy storage system.

            FRE said:

    It doesn’t qualify as an improvement, and you are quite right.

    Another back up method would be to use a heavy weight that would be lifted by a cable wound around a drum. When the power failed, the descending weight would drive a generator.

    That’s pretty much what is done with pumped storage hydro, except water is better as the weight because it can free flow and easily be metered to the amount needed. Also there’s enough of it around to use. It can be done rapid dispatch too, by having the water already flowing at a very low rate keeping the turbines basically idling as spinning reserve and then the gates can be adjusted in real time to keep things smooth.

            FRE said:

    Or, a dog on a treadmill could provide a bit of power ’til the utility resumed providing power.

    Uh, well a dog, even a big one, would not provide enough power to keep even a small lightbulb going. Also, I’m not sure you’d ever want to go back to using animals as a major static energy source. If you did, dogs would still be a poor choice.

    At one time, static power was provided by draft animals, typically horses, but also oxen or whatever which would be walked to turn wheels that ran mills or pulled winches or something. Really a pretty brutal way of doing things, if you happen to be an animal lover. It was an expensive way of making energy, and so to maximize the return the animals were worked as much as possible with the minimum amount of rest necessary. Pretty much they were worked to death.

    These days, few people realize what a hellish existence it was to be a horse prior to the industrial revolution – and even afterward, at least until mechanization became standard.

            FRE said:

    Probably nuclear is the best option.

    agreed


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  23. 23
    DV82XL Says:

    While I would very much like to see thorium fueled molten salt reactors become the standard for electricity generation, we have to keep in mind that something as basic as flipping on the light switch is the end result of a series of political decisions that begin at the voting booth and make their way through the vast dark spaces of politics, bureaucracy, and commerce.

    The selection of which GenIV design moves forward, may have more to do with politics than engineering.


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