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January 16, 2007

Comments

Paul Dietz

how much uranium, the U235 kind, the world currently consumes per year in nuclear power plants. My estimate is above ten thousand tons per year.

A 1 GW(e) reactor consumes around 1 ton of 235U per year (again, remember that a considerable reaction of the power production, particularly at high burnup, is coming from fission of plutonium that has been produced in situ), so this is a severe overestimate.

Ender

Paul - "We burn much more fossil fuel than that, per person, each year. "

Yes Paul however that bubbles up out of the ground - it is not manufactured. Quite apart from the transport of the supporting structures, dangling them over areas of the ocean where currents bring fresh supplies of water, losses due to storms and accidents, manufacturing sufficient polymer from depleting and more expensive oil resources it seems quite OK - looks like we have a rosy future ahead of us.

So all of this is much better than relying on bad old hippie renewable power??????

BTW about 150 tons of yellowcake produces 33 tons of fuel which is about the amount a 1 GW reactor uses in a year.

To fuel one reactor for a year then 150 000/.1 = 1 500 000. OK so you have to arrange for 1 500 000 kg of this material to be dangled in the ocean for a year to fuel one reactor. Thats 15 000 tons suspended off a ship or something just for one reactor. Let alone making it and then losing the whole lot in a storm.

Paul Dietz

Yes Paul however that bubbles up out of the ground - it is not manufactured

However, it is a good indication of the energy that already flows through the industrial economy. If a non-fossil energy source can operate with a secondary flow of organic matter that is orders of magnitude lower, yet still produce a large fraction of the primary energy demand, then that is strong evidence that the organic materials required are not a strong constraint.

So all of this is much better than relying on bad old hippie renewable power??????

Well, the reactors fueled by these devices can operate when you want them, not just when the wind blows or the sun shines. The adsorbant itself is a simple, low cost material, easily made in large quantities.

Thats 15 000 tons suspended off a ship or something just for one reactor.

First of all, your calculation assumes the fiber has to be suspended for a year to absorb 1% U. IIRC, the demonstrated time was actually a few months, so the quantity required would be a factor of a few less than this.

But even ignoring that, I don't understand the source of your resistance to the idea. 15KT of material in the ocean to fuel one reactor would be perfectly fine. 15KT of plastic just doesn't represent much energy. A coal-fired plant of similar capacity would burn millions of tons of coal over its lifespan.

BTW, how much would the wind turbines or solar arrays needed to replace a 1 GW(e) reactor weigh? A bit more than 15KT, I bet!

Ender

Paul - "But even ignoring that, I don't understand the source of your resistance to the idea."

Ok lets have another look at this. The amount of uranium in seawater is 3 mg U/m3. So lets consider a column of water 1m X 1m X 1000m that contains 1000 m3 of water and would contain 3 grams of uranium. From the previous example 150t of yellowcake would result in the fuel for a 1GW reactor for a year. A 1GW reactor would produce in that year 365 * 24 * .85 X 1GW = 7446 GWh of electricity. So therefore .003 kg or .000003 tons of uranium would produce .000003/150 * 7446 = 149kWh of electricity.

Now a solar panel 1M X 1M at the tropics will produce at a capacity factor of 30% in the same year 1000W * .15 * 365 * 24 * .3 = 394 kWh of electricity. Also it will do it without the extraction plant, the enrichment facility, the fuel assembly plant, the nuclear power plant and waste disposal facility. Just a solar panel in the sun. For 24 X 7 power just add a battery.

Even if you consider electrolysing the sea water to hydrogen you are almost as well off. At a 30% conversion rate of electricity from sunlight to hydrogen back to electricity again you would have approx 113 kWh of electricity from the solar panel. The hydrogen could be stored and used 24 X 7 if that is really what you want.

The problem I have is that yes it is feasible to extract uranium from seawater and make it work however it is disingenuous to suggest that this makes a fundamentally flawed power source like nuclear sustainable. The amount of effort and cost to access this uranium resource dwarfs the much smaller and truly green alternatives that are available. The energy on offer in the ocean water is more than twice as diffuse than the energy that bathes the top of the resource you are mining.

To suggest that nuclear is sustainable because we can mine the ocean is flogging a very dead horse. Also diversion of resources to support such a hare brained scheme, where reasonable alternatives exist, would be a traversity and only serve to strengthen the ties of corporations on our lives.

Nucbuddy

Ender wrote: The energy on offer in the ocean water is more than twice as diffuse than the energy that bathes the top of the resource you are mining.

Thankfully, the ocean has currents. As I previously wrote in this thread:

Natural current-flow continuously exposes fresh seawater to the strips.

Therefore, for proper comparison, your example should feature every square inch of ocean-surface covered with solar-mining machinery. This might incur external costs above those incurred by covering on the order of one trillionth of the earth's ocean-surface with uranium-mining machinery.

Per Garwin's cost-figure quoted above, if seawater-mined uranium cost $100/kg, the additional cost per kWh would be some .02 cents ($0.0002) (comparing against terrestrially-mined uranium at $78/kg).


Ender wrote: The amount of effort and cost to access this uranium resource dwarfs the much smaller and truly green alternatives that are available.

Ender

NucBuddy - "Therefore, for proper comparison, your example should feature every square inch of ocean-surface covered with solar-mining machinery"

No not at all. I was comparing as best I could the energy available per unit area in sea water compared to energy available from sunlight not the total amount available. I chose a 1m X 1m column of water to illustrate that the area on top of the column has twice the energy available than the column itself and requires vastly less processing and produces no waste to dispose of.

You can easily be blinded by figures like 4 billion tons of U2 in the ocean however if an alternative us easier and more concentrated most sensible people will go with the alternative.

"Per Garwin's cost-figure quoted above, if seawater-mined uranium cost $100/kg, the additional cost per kWh would be some .02 cents ($0.0002)"

Such a figure is sheer fantasy as there is no real figures available. It could just as easily be $10000/kg.

Using such methods like this to justify you fixation on nuclear power is a bit like me saying the solution to solar power is solar satellites. After all there is much more than 1000W/m2 available 24X7 in orbit. Paul Glaser's idea maybe will have it's time however right at the moment it is impractical and ground based solar will do fine if we are prepared to cut back a bit. SPS and full speed ahead with our lifestyles is almost as bad as nuclear power.

Nucbuddy

Ender wrote: I chose a 1m X 1m column of water to illustrate that the area on top of the column has twice the energy available than the column itself

Thankfully, the ocean has currents. As I previously wrote in this thread:

Natural current-flow continuously exposes fresh seawater to the strips.


Ender wrote: "Per Garwin's cost-figure quoted above, if seawater-mined uranium cost $100/kg, the additional cost per kWh would be some .02 cents ($0.0002)"

Such a figure is sheer fantasy as there is no real figures available. It could just as easily be $10000/kg.

Quoting from page 211 of Megawatts and Megatons: A Turning Point in the Nuclear Age? by Richard L. Garwin and Georges Charpak:

Tadeo Seguchi, Director of Material Development at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, has reported a millionfold concentration of seawater uranium in plastic adsorbants, and has estimated its cost of recovery as some $100 per kg of uranium. He cautions, however, that no study has been done to provide a reliable estimate. In field experiments, a mass of 20 kg of modified polyethylene felted fabric is exposed for 20 days in a buoy in the Oyashio current; each kg of plastic then yields 3 g of uranium, 2g of titanium, 6 g of vanadium, and 6 g of cobalt. The valuable metals can be extracted and the fabric reused many times. In France, Jacque Foos and his team estimate $215-260 per kg of uranium from seawater using the Japanese techniques in the Gulf Stream, which transports about 10 million tons of of uranium per year -- 300 times the amount used per year at the present. Foos speculates that this recovery cost could be reduced to $80 per kg by the use of nanofiltration that would preconcentrate the uranium by a factor of 100 and thus allow a similar reduction in the amount of absorbent [sic] processed by the ship that is tending the buoys. By using a more selective (and more costly) adsorbent, the French estimate that uranium might be obtained from seawater at $18 per kg -- by a method less problematic than the exploitation of uranium by mining or leaching.
Bill Hannahan


Ender wrote
HOPE YOU DID NOT BASE ALL YOUR CALCULATIONS ON THIS ONE AS I THINK IT IS WRONG. 1,550 WATTS IS NOT A CONSUMPTION FIGURE IT IS A MEASURE OF HOW MUCH ELECTRICITY A DEVICE WILL USE IN A SECOND.

1,550 watts is the average rate of electricity consumption per person. Look at the calculations and point out the error or show your calculation.


THE AVERAGE CONSUMPTION OF ENERGY FOR A PERSON IN THE USA IS .3441 TJ PER YEAR. THIS EQUATES TO 94,750KWH.

Correct, for 2002.

94,750 kwh per year per person / 365 days per year / 24 hrs per day * 1,000 watts per kw = 10,816 watts per person.

My number, 11,300 watts is for 2005, we are using more energy now.

LOOKS LIKE WE WILL HAVE TO GUARD WASTE FOR TWICE AS LONG AS THE ROMAN EMPIRE LASTED - GOOD LUCK ON THAT ONE. ARE YOU SURE YOUR FACTS ARE CORRECT?

Your source based its comments on an IAEA report and somewhat misstated the facts.

Here is the actual IAEA report.

http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/TRS435_web.pdf

look at the graph on page 5 of the report, page 18 of the PDF.

The thin black line shows that unprocessed spent fuel decays to the level of uranium ore in 130,000 years. Notice that the scales are logarithmic, it looses 90% of its toxicity in the first 500 years.

The thick black line shows that the toxicity of fission products drops 90% in the first 90 years and drops below uranium ore in 270 years.

The grade of the ore is not a factor since a small amount of high grade ore can produce the same mass of uranium, and has the same toxicity as a large amount of low grade ore.

Imagine that internal combustion engines burned only 5% of their fuel and passed the rest out the exhaust pipe with the combustion products. Would you;

A ___ Collect the unburned fuel and exhaust products, put then in an expensive container, and bury them under Yucca mountain.

B ___ Bury the combustion products and recycle the unburned fuel.

That is our choice with nuclear power. Option A can meet our needs for several hundred years but option B makes more sense.

Keep in mind that human activity releases large quantities of toxic material that do not decay at all into the environment.

We are talking about less than 1/2 pound of radioactive atoms per lifetime that will be more carefully disposed of than anything else. Landfills are loaded with toxic materials like mercury that last forever and are unguarded.

I recommend deep sea bed disposal, there are far easier and more sensational ways to kill people than digging up toxic waste. If you are in a group of people being chased by a grizzly bear, you don’t have to be faster than the bear, just faster than the slowest person.

NOW REMOVING THE PLUTONIUM GETS US RIGHT BACK TO THE POINT OF WHO DO YOU TRUST WITH IT.

For now I trust large stable countries working under the supervision of the IAEA to reprocess fuel, and enrich uranium for new fuel. Eventually the recycling will be an integral part of the power plant design with no human access.

Molten salt reactors can do it without plutonium.

http://thoriumenergy.blogspot.com/

The estimated cost of sea water uranium has dropped from $7,000/ pound in the 70’s to $300/ pound. Uranium and thorium are rather abundant materials and the amount we need is tiny, 0.723 pounds per year per person with first generation reactors and 0.005 pound/year with breeders. A year’s supply of coal (14,200 lb) costs $218. For a years supply of uranium to cost as much as coal the uranium cost per pound would be $300 with first generation reactors and $46,000/pound with breeders. The comparable uranium prices for natural gas are $1,200/lb with first generation plants and $180,000/lb with breeders.

The uranium cost per kWh will always be very low.

ACTUALLY THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD USES AROUND 10,000 KWH PER YEAR. THAT PER PERSON CALCULATION IS WRONG AND NOT REALLY VERY USEFUL.

10,000 / 365 / 24 * 1000 = 1,141 watts / home in 2002?

The average home used 1,290 watts in 2005, 540 watts per person, 34% of the 1550 watts each person consumes. You buy one third of the electricity that supports your life directly from the utility company, who pays for the rest? You do, every time you spend money. When you buy a loaf of bread you help pay the electric bills of the grocery, the baker, the farmer who grew the wheat and everybody else who contributed to creating that bread.

If you install enough solar and wind power equipment on your house to go off the grid, you replace one third of your electricity, 13% of all the energy that supports your life. You still have to pay, the same as everybody else, for the remaining 87%, which comes largely from fossil fuel.

RENEWABLES CAN DO 'BASELOAD' IF THE SYSTEMS ARE DESIGNED PROPERLY WITH STORAGE TO COPE WITH TIMES WHEN THE RENEWABLES ARE NOT AVAILABLE.

LARGE CENTRALISED POWER STATIONS ARE GOOD FOR CORPORATIONS HOWEVER DISTRIBUTED MICROGRIDS ARE GOOD FOR PEOPLE. THEY ARE FAR LESS VUNERABLE AND TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF FRAGILE DISTRIBUTION NETWORKS THAT ARE ALREADY STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT.


Wind and solar are not suitable for baseload and require much more expensive transmission grids. See my cost estimate for a wind baseload plant under the liquid chimney discussion, Jan18.


http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2007/01/the_liquid_chim.html#comments


The total cost of windmills, backup power plants and transmission lines for a 10 gW system is $145 billion, vs. $30 billion for nuclear plants and the nuclear plants lasts twice as long as the windmills.


YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT MOST OF THE URANIUMS ARE NOT USEFUL NUCLEAR FUELS. THERE ARE U238 AND U235. YOU NEED U235, WHICH IS ONE PART OF 137 PART OF TOTAL URANIUM.

Actually first generation plants get 40% of their energy by converting U238 into Pu239 and splitting Pu 239 atoms into fission products. 8% of US electricity is from U238 via plutonium now.

Breeder reactors can split over 90% of all uranium atoms.

SO ALL OF THIS IS MUCH BETTER THAN RELYING ON BAD OLD HIPPIE RENEWABLE POWER??????

My position is push every technology and take whatever works best, bring on your hippie power.

I can understand why many people are anti nuclear. I was anti nuclear until my junior year in electrical engineering, when I took a course in nuclear engineering to solidify my anti nuclear position with the facts. Once I understood the facts my opinion was reversed.

The failure of our education system to prepare us for life in a high tech world is a far greater threat to our civilization than Osama, Iran or North Korea.

You should really read the paper and the spreadsheet before you start shooting at them.

Brian Wang

Here is a link to a PDF for an MIT study on Geothermal
geothermal.inel.gov/publications/future_of_geothermal_energy.pdf

Key points: geothermal is not cost competitive now. They suggest spending $1 billion over 15 years (about 65 million per year) to work on pilots and prototypes and refine them. Probably worthwhile for the long term, but no help for the next 15 years and minimally helpful into 2050 when they project 100GW.

Here is link to waste generated from uranium versus thorium.
thoriumenergy.blogspot.com/2007/01/uranium-vs-thorium-mining-processing.html

Note: MT stands for metric ton.

From this article
thoriumenergy.blogspot.com/2006/05/introduction-and-basic-principles.html

10. Liquid-fluoride reactors can retain actinides while discharging only fission products, which will decay to background levels of radiation in ~300 years and do not require long duration (>10,000 year) geologic burial.

I agree with Bill Hannahan
Push the development of all the different approaches and take what works best.

The worst power is coal and its use is increasing with one new plant added in the world per week.
http://advancednano.blogspot.com/search/label/coal
Outdoor air pollution kills 3 million worldwide every year and coal pollution is a primary factor.

Note: coal pollution is definitely responsible for over 1 million deaths per year. Many times more than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. How about Pollonium? How many? Oh thats right 1. How about Chernobyl. 50 with a few thousand sick.
Until you get rid of coal power everything else must be used instead. Nuclear included.

The coal industry in the US is a $50 billion/year in sales industry and it makes maybe $4 billion in profit.

It costs $127-390 billion in health, productivity losses to the USA
(see www.flcv.com/cap.html
at the bottom for the table of costs).
this would not be including the green house gas costs or the 40% of railroad maintenance costs (coal is 40% of the freight moved).

Here is my response on nuclear proliferation.

1. The thorium reactors or more proof to proliferation. See the thoriumenergy blog for the reasons about the nuclear fuel cycle and the hard radiation generated which is hard to hide. Nuclear weapons need to be hidden or they will be destroyed

2. Proliferation to Iran is a horse that is already out of the gate. They got their centrifuges decades ago. They can't get pregnant twice. That being said, reversing/delaying proliferation ala the Bombing of the Iraq reactor in the 80s is possible although more difficult now. New remote detection of nuclear weapons and material could allow for more targeted first strike to cripple small programs like Iran and N Korea have.

3. Canada has nuclear power but no nuclear weapons.

List of countries with nuclear reactors
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_reactors
About 60 countries

List of countries with nuclear weapons
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_nuclear_weapons
9 countries

Ender

Nucbuddy - Look I do not know how better to put this. It does not matter how many currents are in the ocean I was comparing a unit of volume of water to a unit of area of sunlight. I could have use square kilomters or anything.

As to your second point your own reference gives it away:
"He cautions, however, that no study has been done to provide a reliable estimate. In field experiments, a mass of 20 kg of modified polyethylene felted fabric is exposed for 20 days in a buoy in the Oyashio current;"

Nucbuddy

Ender wrote: I was comparing a unit of volume of water

...Which was an odd thing to do, considering that an ocean mining platform with polyethylene strips dangling from it is not exposed to only a single static column of water. It is instead exposed to ocean currents. Any given single ocean-mining platform has access to the entire combined mineral content of all of the world's oceans.

Thankfully, the ocean has currents. As I previously wrote in this thread:

Natural current-flow continuously exposes fresh seawater to the strips.
Ender

Bill Hanrahan - "1,550 watts is the average rate of electricity consumption per person. Look at the calculations and point out the error or show your calculation."

I am not certain what to say to an electrical engineer that insists the ENERGY consumption of a person in the USA is 1550W. The watt is a unit of power not energy - that is what really confused me. If you had said that the average hourly power consumption was 1550W I would have known what you were talking about. Wh and Joules are units of energy as I am sure you must know. When I read the reference I saw that the hourly average is 1550W per hour or 1550kWh

"Correct, for 2002.

94,750 kwh per year per person / 365 days per year / 24 hrs per day * 1,000 watts per kw = 10,816 watts per person.

My number, 11,300 watts is for 2005, we are using more energy now."

Again where did you get the 11 300? 24 X 1550W = 37 200 kWh. By your figures the average is 37.2kWh of electricity. My figure of 94 750kWh includes transportation energy such as car use etc. Dividing my figure the way you do only gives the hourly use of energy which is different from your figure of 1550W and you have the units wrong.

Until you sort out your figures I will take the rest of the post with a grain of salt.

Nucbuddy

Ender wrote: Again where did you get the 11 300?

He took the total energy used in America in a year, and divided by time and population. Multiplying 11,300 watts by 24 hours * 365 days * 300,000,000 people * conversion factor of 3.413 produces just over 100 quadrillion BTU's (QBTU) of energy per year.

I would state it as, "Each American drew an average of 11.3 kW continuously throughout 2005;" or as, "The average per-capita power draw in America in 2005 was 11.3 kW."

Ender

Nucbuddy - "Which was an odd thing to do, considering that an ocean mining platform with polyethylene strips dangling from it is not exposed to only a single static column of water"

Not really as I was demonstrating the diffuseness (if that is a word) of the energy contained in the uranium in the seawater. In most cases is would be far easier just to put up solar panels as sunlight is more than twice as concentrated as uranium in seawater and uses far less resources to produce electricity.

"He took the total energy used in America in a year, and divided by time and population."

But he said before that each American drew 1550 watts on average without giving the time scale that that power level was sustained for. For all anybody knew it could have been 1550W per year or hour or day. That was not specified. I would have expected an engineer to be much more rigorous in specifying units and times as they know so much more about the subject than a humble technician like myself.

Nucbuddy


Ender: But he said before that each American drew 1550 watts on average without giving the time scale that that power level was sustained for.

Your statement is absurd, Ender. The 1,550 watt power draw is a continuous average.

You made a previous absurd statement:

If you had said that the average hourly power consumption was 1550W I would have known what you were talking about.

The "W" above stands for "watt". The watt is a unit of power. Your phrase "the average hourly power consumption" is absurd since it seems to imply that power is energy. The phrase "the average hourly ENERGY consumption" would make sense, since energy includes a unit of time, and therefore it can be divided by time to get an average power figure. It is absurd to suggest -- as you did -- that power can be divided by time, and the reason is that power is merely force times speed.

Here are links to the "How Stuff Works" pages on force, power and energy:
howstuffworks.com/fpte.htm
howstuffworks.com/fpte2.htm
howstuffworks.com/fpte7.htm
howstuffworks.com/fpte8.htm


Bill Hannahan's phrase "The average American consumes 1,550 watts of electricity," seems ambiguous to me. I might have phrased it as, "The average American continuously draws an average of 1,550 watts of electrical power."

Ender

Nucbuddy - "Your statement is absurd, Ender. The 1,550 watt power draw is a continuous average."

So now my head is hurting. Perhaps I misunderstood what Bill was talking about however when I was discussing energy he replied with a unit of power the watt. Perhaps because I was expecting a unit of energy I did not realise that Bill meant 1550W continuously which would be 1550Wh of energy in 1 hour and 37.2kWh per day. As I said before Bill could have been more explicit with his units to avoid this sort of confusion.

"the average hourly power consumption" is absurd since it seems to imply that power is energy"
Yes I slipped up there - you are correct - as I said my head is really starting to hurt here. As the layperson here I am allowed a mistake or two.

This is what Bill said in the original post way way back:
"The average American consumes 11,300 watts of source energy."
I am not alone in mixing with units as this is very misleading however now looking at what we have discussed then he must mean that the average American now consumes 11.3kW continuously.

Really really need a couple of Panadol now, better make that a Panadeine (gotta love that codeine).

Jimmi

I'm by no means a scientists or engineer but I had an idea and I would like you guys to break it down and see if the idea is cost effective and/or practical.

This concerns hydro-electric power. Would it be feasible to build a dam infront of an existing dam... let's say about 1/4 mile or less downstream of the existing dam... so when the original dam decides to open up to generate power... the water will accumulate at the second dam where you can generate more power from the same water released previously. Essentially you can generate twice the power with very little effect to the environment because you will not be creating a damn dam water valley... at most you'll be creating a small temporary reservior. And if the geography and the evironmentalists permit... build a series of dams... 3 or 4 or even more to fully utilize this renewable resource.

Please try to keep from laughing to hard and please keep the ridicule remarks to a minimum =) Would this work?

Ender

Jimmi - "Please try to keep from laughing to hard and please keep the ridicule remarks to a minimum =) Would this work?"
I would never do this.

As far as I can see the problem with this that normally hydro electric plants let the water fall a long way in pipes before the turbines get it. This is because the energy that drives the turbine is gravitational energy and for efficient operation need a long drop. If you built a second dam close the water would not be falling very far and not generate much energy.

This link on microhydro plants illustrates how hydro electricity works pretty well.
http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/yourhome/technical/fs49.htm

Jimmi

Thanks for the link Ender. I'll check it out to see if the idea can be tweaked. If not I'll go back to reading stupid stuff like company financials =b

Engineer-Poet

Ender, speaking as another electrical engineer, your objections come across as a transparent attempt to change the subject to avoid having to admit that you're wrong.  The 1550 W figure is instantly recognizable as ballpark by anyone familiar with the published EIA summaries.

Ender

EP - fair enough - I admit I am the layperson here in the company of engineers. I am not familiar with the EIA summaries at all. I just got confused when talking about energy and being confronted with units of power. It did not occur to me until it was explained what Bill meant. If any offence was taken I apologise.

Mark C R (Chemist) UK

Jimmi - check out the CHINESE "THREE GORGES PROJECT"...

Also I think from alittle bit of research that the following would be an existing example of what you talk about. But bear in mind that engineering factors dictate where the second dam is a) needed b) built

Kihansi Dam is a hydroelectric dam in Tanzania
(Downstream) the Mtera Dam, Tanzania

Bill Hannahan


Ender, you wrote

"THE AVERAGE AMERICAN CONSUMES 11,300 WATTS OF SOURCE ENERGY."
I AM NOT ALONE IN MIXING WITH UNITS AS THIS IS VERY MISLEADING HOWEVER NOW LOOKING AT WHAT WE HAVE DISCUSSED THEN HE MUST MEAN THAT THE AVERAGE AMERICAN NOW CONSUMES 11.3KW CONTINUOUSLY.

You are correct, it should have read, The average American consumes an average of 11,300 watts of source power.

BILL HANNAHAN - "THE AVERAGE AMERICAN CONSUMES 1,550 WATTS OF ELECTRICITY."
HOPE YOU DID NOT BASE ALL YOUR CALCULATIONS ON THIS ONE AS I THINK IT IS WRONG. 1,550 WATTS IS NOT A CONSUMPTION FIGURE IT IS A MEASURE OF HOW MUCH ELECTRICITY A DEVICE WILL USE IN A SECOND.

I will stand behind this one with a small modification.

The average American consumes an average of 1,550 watts of electricity.

I AM NOT CERTAIN WHAT TO SAY TO AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEER THAT INSISTS THE ENERGY CONSUMPTION OF A PERSON IN THE USA IS 1550W.

Very sneaky Ender.

The word electricity is not an engineering term, it has multiple meanings. If I am reading my electric bill and someone asks how much electricity I used, my answer will be in units of energy, kWh. If I am holding a new toaster and someone asks how much electricity it uses my answer will be in units of power, watts.

You substitute your word, energy, for my word, electricity, thereby making the sentence inconsistent, and then you accuse me of being inconsistent.

Don’t you just hate it when people do that to you?


OK LETS HAVE ANOTHER LOOK AT THIS. THE AMOUNT OF URANIUM IN SEAWATER IS 3 MG U/M3. SO LETS CONSIDER A COLUMN OF WATER 1M X 1M X 1000M THAT CONTAINS 1000 M3 OF WATER AND WOULD CONTAIN 3 GRAMS OF URANIUM.

Let’s assume the current is one meter per second. The flow of water through this column is 1000 cubic meters/sec. The flow of uranium through the column is 3 gm /sec, 180 gm/min, 10,800gm/hr, 259,200 gm/day.

Assume that we collect 10% of the uranium, 25,900 gm/day.

Converting 1.11 grams of uranium to fission products will release 24 megawatt hours of heat, 1 megawatt day.

http://www.nuclearweaponarchive.org/Nwfaq/Nfaq12.html


7 breeder reactor power plants of 1,000 mw each can split 90% of these atoms, 23,300 grams per day, releasing 21,000 megawatts of heat which will produce 7,000 megawatts of electricity.

NOW A SOLAR PANEL 1M X 1M AT THE TROPICS WILL PRODUCE AT A CAPACITY FACTOR OF 30% IN THE SAME YEAR 1000W * .15 * 365 * 24 * .3 = 394

Dividing by the 394 watts of solar power gives a ratio of 17,800,000 watts of nuclear power to 1 watt of solar power.

We have flushed 1/3 of our topsoil into the oceans in 200 years. We will pay for biofuels 3 times, once at the pump, once at the grocery store, and our descendents will pay again when they run out of topsoil.

Humans will never see peak uranium. We will have run out of most other essential raw materials and uranium will still be eroding into the sea.

So why are biofuels renewable and fission not renewable?

Ender

Bill - "I AM NOT CERTAIN WHAT TO SAY TO AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEER THAT INSISTS THE ENERGY CONSUMPTION OF A PERSON IN THE USA IS 1550W."

I actually did not mean to misrepresent you I just got a bit confused with the changing of what we were talking about. I have apologised as I would not condone misrepresenting someone.

"Let’s assume the current is one meter per second. The flow of water through this column is 1000 cubic meters/sec. The flow of uranium through the column is 3 gm /sec, 180 gm/min, 10,800gm/hr, 259,200 gm/day."

If you are going to do this then this is a much larger area and not what I intended at all. If you consider the flow then this is a swept area at the top of 1 M X 3600 X 24 = 86400M^2 of area. The solar energy from this would be 86 400 X 1000W * .15 * 365 * 24 * .3 = 34 GWh

You can see by you taking the flow into account the square at the top can be considered to be moving at 1m per second sweeping out an area of 86400M2 in a day. This is only fair - my initial comparison was a static one.

Dividing a fair comparison of 34GW to your 7GWh (I assume it is GWh as you mention grams per day) is that solar energy gets about 5 times more energy.

BTW my figure of 394 is not watts it is kWh. This is what I said:
"Now a solar panel 1M X 1M at the tropics will produce at a capacity factor of 30% in the same year 1000W * .15 * 365 * 24 * .3 = 394 kWh of electricity."

Engineer-Poet

Will you two jokers

learn to use the standard
<blockquote>
and
</blockquote>
tags

instead of SHOUTING AT EVERYONE?

BILL HANNAHAN


IF YOU CONSIDER THE FLOW THEN THIS IS A SWEPT AREA AT THE TOP OF 1 M X 3600 X 24 = 86400M^2 OF AREA. THE SOLAR ENERGY FROM THIS WOULD BE 86 400 X 1000W * .15 * 365 * 24 * .3 = 34 GWH

OK, Lets take a 1 second interval. The photovoltaic array produces 45 watt seconds of energy.
The uranium produces 7 billion watt seconds of energy. The ratio is 155,000,000 watt seconds of nuclear power per watt second of solar power.

Ender

Bill - "OK, Lets take a 1 second interval. The photovoltaic array produces 45 watt seconds of energy.
The uranium produces 7 billion watt seconds of energy. The ratio is 155,000,000 watt seconds of nuclear power per watt second of solar power."

No because if we are talking about a 1 second interval then you are stuck with the 1m X 1m X 1000m which only has 3g in it. If you are really going to take 1 second then the process of extracting the energy takes 3 or 4 months so one second is less than 3g. Which I am not going to calculate because this whole discussion is getting too ridiculous and I am completely sick of it.

Go ahead and extract uranium from sea water if it helps you to sleep at night.

Paul Dietz

this whole discussion is getting too ridiculous and I am completely sick of it.

You trolled a bad argument and they wouldn't let you get away with it.

Go ahead and extract uranium from sea water if it helps you to sleep at night.

I doubt my sleep will be much affected by the issue, but one has to wonder about yours. One almost detects a resistance to solutions in your attitude.

Nucbuddy

Ender,

To compare the continuous 45 watts/meter^2 of solar-PV electrical power to the power in collected-uranium of a square meter of a mineral-mining ocean platform, we would need more information than we have. However, we can plug in some assumptions. Above, in this message, Richard Garwin mentions 20 kg of modified polyethylene felted fabric exposed to the Oyashio-current collecting 3g of uranium per day. Let's assume that we can hang 20 kg of fabric from every square meter of our ocean-mining platform.

Using the figures from Bill Hannahan's message here, we see that, since 1.11 grams of uranium can be converted in breeder reactors to 0.9 megawatt-days of heat energy, our 3 gram per day rate of collection yields a continuous average heat power of 2.432 megawatts.

This compares to the continuous average 45 watts direct-current electrical power per meter^2 of solar-PV at a ratio of 54,054 to 1. If we assume there is an electrical-conversion efficiency of 33%, the ratio of electricity to electricity is reduced to 17,838 to 1. If we change our above assumption of 20 kg of polyethylene per meter^2 to 20,000 kg, the ratio per square meter of nuclear AC electric power to solar-PV DC electric power rises to 17.8 million to one.

We can divide these ratios by 60, if we want to assume the use of only non-breeder reactors.

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