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February 01, 2007

Comments

Ender

"The answer: Deploy clean energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies now!"

After reading it I can't argue with this. Energy efficiency is the number one measure that we need to implement.

Nucbuddy

Ender,

phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter8.html#3

The final alternative to nuclear power is conservation, doing without so much energy. Improvements in efficiency are, of course, always welcome, and there has been heartening progress on this in recent years. Waste is bad by definition. But while many people think that doing without energy is the safest strategy, it is probably by far the most dangerous.
George

nucbuddy wrote: while many people think that doing without energy is the safest strategy, it is probably by far the most dangerous.

Nucbuddy, I'm not opposed to nukes, but what do you mean by the quoted statement? Are you trying to set up a straw man involving conserving *Sooooo* much that, say, we freeze to death? I can't imagine how sensible conservation could be "by far the most dangerous" when compared to all possible alternatives, like unrestricted coal burning, unshielded backyard reactors, or just letting global warming happen.

Nucbuddy

George,

Risk is inversely proportional to wealth. There are always lower-risk options one can choose if one can only afford them. A key factor of wealth and its creation is energy availability. The book-chapter I linked-to goes some distance in explaining these concepts.

Ender

Nucbuddy - The site you posted is a nuclear advocacy site isn't it. It is extremely likely that such a site will be favourable for nuclear power exactly like this report, that is by a renewable power group is advocating renewables.

However it is making one rather large assumptions that reduced energy use automatically means lower standard of living. However Europe and Australia both have much lower per capita energy use and have a similar standard of living. We have also had the discussion about smaller cars. Australia has smaller cars and has the same fatalities as the US. If you had to slum it in smaller cars no more Americans would die.

Increasing energy efficiency does not mean a lower standard of living therefore the idea that lower energy use is more dangerous is ridiculous.

Nucbuddy

Ender wrote:

If you had to slum it in smaller cars no more Americans would die.

The IIHS says vehicle size and weight are positively correlated with safety, Ender. Here is recent IIHS report that was released on December 19, 2006:

iihs.org/news/rss/pr121906.html

First crash tests of minicars: Nissan Versa earns the highest overall rating; three minicars earn poor ratings in side tests [...] Crash test results indicate which vehicles in each weight category afford the best protection in real-world crashes, and this round of tests reveals big differences among the smallest cars. But results of real crashes show that any car that's very small and light isn't the best choice in terms of safety. Driver death rates in minicars are higher than in any other vehicle category. They're more than double the death rates in midsize and large cars.

"People traveling in small, light cars are at a disadvantage, especially when they collide with bigger, heavier vehicles. The laws of physics dictate this," says Institute president Adrian Lund. Death rates in single-vehicle crashes also are higher in smaller vehicles than in bigger ones.

Minicars weigh about 2,500 pounds or less. A typical small car weighs about 300 additional pounds, and midsize cars weigh about 800 pounds more than a minicar. A midsize SUV weighs 4,000 pounds or more, exceeding the weight of a minicar by at least 60 percent. In every vehicle category (car, SUV, or pickup truck), the risk of crash death is higher in the smaller, lighter models.
[...]
Versa is best: Bigger than the other cars the Institute tested this time around, the Nissan Versa is classified a small car, the next size class up from minis. But this car is marketed to compete with minicars, so the Institute is releasing its ratings along with those of competing models.

The Versa is the only car in this round to earn the highest rating of good in all three tests. In the frontal test, its structure held up well, minimizing intrusion into the space around the driver dummy. Most injury measures were low. In the side test, the standard curtain-style airbags prevented contact between the striking barrier and the heads of the crash test dummies [...]
The Institute's side test is especially challenging for small cars because the barrier that strikes the test vehicle represents the front end of a pickup truck or SUV.
[...]
"The Versa is bigger than the other cars we tested, so it has size and weight on its side as well as good test results," Lund says.


Ken

Solar is the energy source with the greatest potential to provide low GHG cheap energy - that it's potential has not been fully realised does not reduce it. Thin sheets of the right materials in repetitive patterns makes electricity and finding and producing those materials is not beyond us. I have hopes that Nanosolar's roll printing of CIGS (or some of the other promising thin film solar producers') solar cells will see the economics of Solar shift dramatically and see the ongoing presumption that it can't supply serious amounts of power ended. And still R&D (as underfunded as it is) continues to come up with novel ways to get electricity from sunlight. All the possibilities are not exhausted.
The late Richard Smalley, one of the founders of nanomaterial technologies wanted to see a major commitment to R&D aimed at developing clean, cheap energy for our future. I believe he proposed a starting budget of US$10 billion - as much as a few miles of freeway or one or maybe two nuclear power plants. Not that much to develop materials that can turn every roof, wall or awning into an energy source.

Nucbuddy

Ken,

$10 billion would buy about six AP1000 nuclear reactor units. They would operate at a ~98% capacity factor for 100 years, together ultimately producing ~5.9 trillion kilowatt-hours of electrical energy. At $0.04/kWh, that energy would be worth ~$235 billion, in constant dollars.

Are you figuring that all of the other components that go into making a solar power system are going to be free-of-charge, Ken?

Ender

nucbuddy - "The IIHS says vehicle size and weight are positively correlated with safety, Ender. Here is recent IIHS report that was released on December 19, 2006:"

Well that correlation if it is so strong should carry over into other countries. You know full well that it doesn't. There are so many factors that relate to car safety before car size.

"$10 billion would buy about six AP1000 nuclear reactor units. They would operate at a ~98% capacity factor for 100 years"

Sorry nucbuddy but nuclear reactors do not have a 98% capacity factor. Read this table:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/ptb0902.html
Some years it was 70% which is not far off CSP with heat storage.

Kyle A

Nucbuddy, you're not fooling anyone with the 100 yrs at 98% capacity. What a joke! I'm from Ontario, and the reliability of our reactors over the past 30 years has been mediocre at best. Nuclear power may be required from some situations, but every dollar spent on nuclear power can buy a lot more in terms of energy efficiency. Nuclear is very expensive, comes in large increments, and has a very lengthy startup times. The uncertainty associated with the future energy supply of any given area makes nuclear a highly risky investment in most cases. There's also the problem of nuclear weapons proliferation, as current situation with Iran shows. Expanding nuclear operations around the globe will do nothing to ease this. Don't be so quick to prop up nuclear above everything else, you come off as a lobbyist.

jlw

Personally, I think NucBuddy is beingoverly cautious. Since no AP1000 has ever been built, why not claim they will operate at 115% capacity for 1,200 years? Who can prove that they won't?

On the other hand, nuclear power does have a history--one that has a fairly good track record, but has been subject to cost and maintenance issues that are par for the course for a very complicated technology. There's also the question of what to do with spent fuel and materials made harmful by their exposure to neutrons. Whether the virtues of nuclear power overcome having to deal with the headaches isn't an engineering question--it's a societal (or small-p political, if you will) one.

Personally, I see a lot more upside in a society organized around carbon-free solar (and wind) than carbon-free nuclear, assuming the likely advances in those technologies. But again, that's not an engineering question--engineering questions are what CAN be done. Choices about what SHOULD be done are personal and political.

Dezakin

The choice is obvious. Ban coal power and watch where the market goes. I'd bet everything that nuclear takes the lions share.

amazingdrx

Try this... URGE2..better slogan. Use Renewable Energy Efficiently. Invented by DR over at Grist.

http://amazngdrx.blogharbor.com/blog/_archives/2007/1/13/2646426.html

Nucbuddy

Ender wrote: Well that correlation if it is so strong should carry over into other countries. You know full well that it doesn't. There are so many factors that relate to car safety before car size.

Small cars operated in Australia are not more dangerous than large cars operated in Australia? If so, how did you establish that fact?

Nucbuddy

Ender wrote: nuclear reactors do not have a 98% capacity factor. Read this table:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/txt/ptb0902.html
Some years it was 70%

The average capacity-factor in the United States has not been 70% since almost two decades ago. It is now around 90%, despite the fact that the fleet includes no third-generation reactors. I base my estimation of the performance of third-generation reactors, such as the Westinghouse AP1000, partly on the following:
world-nuclear.org/info/inf01.html

US nuclear power plant performance has shown a steady improvement over the past 15 years, and the average load factor now stands at around 90%, up from 65% in 1990. This places the USA among the performance leaders with 12 of the top 25 reactors - achieving more than 97.5%.
Ender

Nucbuddy - "This places the USA among the performance leaders with 12 of the top 25 reactors - achieving more than 97.5%."

So brand new reactors that no-one have ever used before are instantly going to be 98% capacity factor? I don't think so.

The point is, and this is gist of the report, that even just energy efficiency can do more for greenhouse gas reductions quicker than nuclear ever will.

Nucbuddy

Ender wrote: this is gist of the report, that even just energy efficiency can do more for greenhouse gas reductions quicker than nuclear ever will.

Actually, the ASES report intentionally-disregarded new nuclear, Ender:
ases.org/climatechange/climate_change.pdf

The purpose of this study was to consider a renewables-only scenario that focuses on what renewable energy can do in the absence of any new nuclear or coal gasification (with carbon capture) plants.
Harvey D.

ender: I'm also conviced that energy conservation is by far the 'cheaper' and 'quicker' way the reduce GHG (and oil import)

The heaviest per capita energy consumers are concentrated into less than 25 inductrial countries. However, there major differences.

Why is USA's and Canada's per capita consumption twice that of Germany, France, Japan, United Kingdom and almost three times that of Italy, Israel, Ireland?

We (USA/Canada) could certainly reduce our per capita consumption by 50% from the equivalent of about 95 000 Kwh/yr to 47 500 Kwh/yr as Germany has done. The 1001 ways to do it are all very well known, starting with a significant but progressive energy price increase of up to 1%/month for the following 50 to 150 months. Cheap energy is not conducive to conservation.

To double the benefits, the cost of an all azimuth energy conservation program could be financed with a carbon tax + an end to oil wars.

However, we shouldn't be surprised to learn that the vast majority of Americans + Canadians prefer 100 new Nuclear Reactors + 5 more million barrel/day from tar sands + 5 to 10 billion barrel/day from biofuels etc., to continue with our addiction to energy consumption and gas guzzlers.

RammsteinRocks

Dose of reality time:

http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/environment/

Followers of the unhinged Algore, put down the
Koolaid .

Nucbuddy

Harvey D. wrote: Why is USA's and Canada's per capita consumption twice that of Germany, France, Japan, United Kingdom and almost three times that of Italy, Israel, Ireland?

The Unites States has large populations of low-IQ, violent, and personality-disordered racial blacks, native-Americans, and Southeast Asians to take care of, and it has higher per-capita economic and scientific outputs than those other countries. It is more spread-out, geographically, so transportation takes more energy. It is also more concerned about pollution -- hence it uses more energy to reduce pollution.

Canada has a cold climate.

Ender

Nucbuddy - "The Unites States has large populations of low-IQ, violent, and personality-disordered racial blacks, native-Americans, and Southeast Asians to"

If you really think this load of BS then I am not replying to anymore of your posts anywhere on any blog until you retract this load of racist scumbag bullshit. Futhermore if you don't retract it you need to be banned from this blog.

The future has should have no place for people that think like this.

Nucbuddy

Ender,

Have you read this?:
amazon.com/Factor-Science-Evolution-Behavior-Intelligence/dp/0275961036

ChuckK

These comments are interesting, but how about some more comments on the ASES report itself? I would appreciate feedback. Thanks.

Ender

Nucbuddy - "Ender,Have you read this?:"

Nucbuddy - I find this extremely offensive - racism should be not be condoned.

Jim is this the sort of thing you are going to tolerate?

Ken

Six reactors for $10 billion seems overly optimistic as is the long life and lack of maintenance or other costs. I expect the price of Uranium will rise significantly so it will cost more to run them - does that mean the value of output is even greater? I think it will only make solar more attractive. Certainly solar has not realised it's full potential but the technology is getting better and of course it will be able to be added to roofing, cladding and other materials that will be produced anyway. That is it's potential. If Nanosolar can build a 400MW pa production facility for around $100M and be producing solar at much reduced costs then the economics of solar are really shifting. Storage also is improving and that along with the use of HV DC transmission (widening the grid and improving it's efficiency) will help smooth out the intermittencies of solar.
The sun has not set on solar. I have no doubt there'll be a lot more nuclear power plants built but there are problems including security issues, safety, waste disposal, decommissioning as well as being relatively expensive. The value of developing solar's full potential is enormous, able to carry humanity far into the future. It seems to me to be worthwhile to invest in the R&D needed to optimise it.

Nucbuddy

Ken wrote: Six reactors for $10 billion seems overly optimistic as is the long life

energypulse.net/centers/article/article_print.cfm?a_id=633

Of the 103 US reactors, 23 have already received 20-year license renewals, extending their lives to 60 years. 19 more have already submitted their license renewal applications, for which approval is expected in only a year or two. An additional 21 have formally scheduled to submit their applications in the next couple years.

All of these applications are expected to be approved, as the technical case for reactor life-extension is sound, and political resistence is very light. Reactor life-extension is the one thing that virtually all policy-makers (including the Democtratic presidential candidates) agree on. They all realize that extending the lives of existing reactors is both an economic and environmental no-brainer (since they were very expensive to build, but now have very low operational costs, as well as emitting no pollution). License renewal is also completely necessary to have any hope of significantly reducing CO2 emissions, or emissions of other pollutants.

It is expected that virtually all US reactors will have their operating lives extended to 60 years. In fact, many are asking whether there are any fundamental reasons why operation can't be extended almost indefinitely, i.e., 100 years or more (assuming all components are replaced as necessary). When will the Hoover Dam, or the Empire State Building "wear out".

Ken, please explain to us why a Westinghouse AP1000 would be unlikely to reach an operating-age of 100 years.


Ken wrote: and lack of maintenance or other costs.

Nuclear-power capital costs are high, Ken. All other costs are inherently low, because of the high energy-density of the fuel. Here is a World Nuclear Association (WNA) article on nuclear-power economics.

world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html


Ken wrote: I expect the price of Uranium will rise significantly so it will cost more to run them

It is interesting that nuclear fuel costs have been dropping, even as uranium prices have been dramatically rising. From the above link:

Fuel costs are one area of steadily increasing efficiency and cost reduction. For instance, in Spain nuclear electricity cost was reduced by 29% over 1995-2001. This involved boosting enrichment levels and burn-up to achieve 40% fuel cost reduction. Prospectively, a further 8% increase in burn-up will give another 5% reduction in fuel cost.

Charts are here:

nei.org/index.asp?catnum=2&catid=51
nei.org/documents/Monthly%20Fuel%20Cost%20to%20U.S.%20Electric%20Utilities.pdf


Ken wrote: I have no doubt there'll be a lot more nuclear power plants built but there are problems including security issues, safety, waste disposal, decommissioning as well as being relatively expensive.

Every one of those problems afflicts solar power to a greater degree than nuclear power. The reason is that nuclear power is more energy-dense. Because of its superior energy-density, in the long run, nuclear power is by far the least-expensive energy option currently available to us.


Ken wrote: The value of developing solar's full potential is enormous, able to carry humanity far into the future.

At a modest power-growth rate of 20-times per century, in three centuries the world would reach a power demand of 8,000 times that of the present -- just eclipsing the entire surface-solar insolation value of the earth. Continuing that power-demand growth curve, the solar insolation value would soon be dwarfed.

How much solar generating potential will there be the next time a large comet collides with the earth, or a supervolcano erupts?

Carlos

I've decided to revive the lost art of protest poetry. Do you think it will catch on? On second thoughts, don't answer that.
Carlos, Sydney, Australia.

Poetic Justice

I have a sorry tale to tell, about a small green planet.
A tale of greed and argument, between the men that ran it.
But so you can appreciate, the subtleties involved,
We must go back a little ways, before the truth be told.

Twas early eighteen hundred, when wheels began to spin,
Pistons pumped and whistles blew, and made an awful din,
Come forth they sang, dig up that coal, this is a revolution,
By George you’re right, we’ve seen the light, at last a good solution.

Did anybody stop to think, twas too good to be true?
Did anybody wonder what was passing up the flu?
For unbeknownst to all concerned, there was a little hitch,
Of the products of combustion, the C-O-2 is rich.

Relax they said, we know this gas, tis perfectly all right,
It’s natural - harmless stuff, plants use it day and night.
And they were right, it posed no harm, to their generation,
Twas not till later times we learned, all things in moderation.

A decade after world war two, on lofty Mauna Loa,
Some measurements were taken and the boffins all said “whoa!”
Not only was the carbon there, in the atmosphere,
It oscillated season’ly, yet still went up each year!

This is not good, the boffins shook, it must have some effect,
It’s a matter of importance for the President elect.
This cannot be sustainable, this cannot last forever,
Lest something undesirable, should happen to the weather.

The years went by, no one much listened, till nineteen ninety seven,
Suits gathered in Kyoto, the greenies were in heaven.
At last, they cried, a remedy, to fix this awful mess,
Alas, they were reliant, on Australia and US.

A protocol was nutted out, the suits were resolute,
Economy! They cried, we shall not sign, if we can not pollute,
Australia plead a special case, a loophole round land clearing,
was let to pass. Who gives a toss? My aeroplane is leaving.

The treaty sat and gathered dust, till one day, a miracle,
The Russians chose, they figured best, no more would they be cynical,
With no support from Uncle Sam, the la-nd of the free.
The protocol was given birth, by majority decree.

John Howard took his every cue, to Bush he was so loyal,
He promised George a full platoon, to fight on foreign soil.
Ostensibly, twas all about, weapons of mass destruction,
Had naught to do with oil they said, a ridiculous deduction.

In two thousand six, Albert Gore, put forth a documentary,
In which he argued visually, and most comprehensively,
The truth at last was out there, no more could weasels hide,
ExxonMobil were overcome, an end to their free ride.

One other major industry, deserves a special mention,
For their eagerness to stop all moves, promoting new invention,
A motor car, you will agree, with engine of great force,
Would make an all-round better friend, without the damned exhaust.

Not only can the batteries, be charged en-route downhill,
They offer great utility, when plugged and standing still,
Our grid is very clever, an act of balance steady,
For every watt that I might need, a burner sits at ready.

A smarter grid would have reserve, to meet the unexpected,
Electric cars, the studies show, are set to be selected,
By drivers who prefer to sell, than pay for fossil dust,
and help the local wind turbine, catch every passing gust.

So here we stand today my friends, we’re all in this together.
A victim of our ignorance, at mercy of the weather.
The answer to our problem, is there for all to see.
Put your cursor in the status bar, and google "V2G".

Nucbuddy

Carlos wrote: Electric cars

...Are indeed irrelevant today, due to the fact that gasoline is given away for free.

Electric commercial-vehicles, on the other hand, may find a market -- if only some party would think of selling them.

someguy

If its efficiency we are after, the first thing we can do is make use of the waste heat on our power plants.

Here it is February and the NE is in the deep freeze and homeowners buy nat gas or heating oil to heat their houses meanwhile the power plants throw their waste heat away up the stack. Why not capture that high quality heat, ship it to cities via a steam pipeline and use it to heat houses or industrial processes ?

I'm not in favor of nuclear energy because of the terrorism threat. Those plants are capable of enormous damage and all it takes is one hijacked air liner. The risk is simply too great.

I love the solar solution. If we spent as much money on solar research as we do on drilling for oil, we wouldn't need half as many power plants.

For me the solution is lots of solar, lots of plug in electric cars and lots of conservation.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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