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Old 03-14-12, 10:04 AM   #1
AC_Hacker
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Default Alternative vs fossil vs nuclear power options (split from Wind Power in Spain)

[Mod] Discussion split from New Record: Wind Powers 40% Of Spain

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanE View Post
Technologies like solar and wind are good for people like us who like to tinker and who don't mind paying for the privilege or for those who are off-grid, but they're simply ill-suited for wide-scale replacement.
And in your mind the best alternative would be....?

-AC

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Old 03-14-12, 02:09 PM   #2
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Nuclear,obviously! I'm sure the people near any nuclear meltdown would agree! Why use renewables when we can kill and deform our children with nuclear accidents for many years to come. It is still only 40% efficient by the time it gets to the sockets in your home.

Whereas, grid tied de-centralised solar or wind, helps significantly boost system efficiency by supplying people in the same neighbourhood with electricity when you make more than you need.

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Old 03-14-12, 03:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nexsuperne View Post
Nuclear,obviously! I'm sure the people near any nuclear meltdown would agree! Why use renewables when we can kill and deform our children with nuclear accidents for many years to come. It is still only 40% efficient by the time it gets to the sockets in your home.

Whereas, grid tied de-centralised solar or wind, helps significantly boost system efficiency by supplying people in the same neighbourhood with electricity when you make more than you need.


World wide:
How many people have been killed in operational nuclear power plant accidents during the last 20 years?

How many people have been killed by accidents related to wind power during the last 20 years?


In North America:
Same two questions, but during the last 55 years...
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Old 03-14-12, 04:05 PM   #4
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And in your mind the best alternative would be....?

-AC
In a situation where all of your choices are suboptimal the best alternative is to chose the alternative with the fewest negatives and stick with that alternative until the situation changes sufficiently that another alternative presents with fewer associated negatives.

Right now fossil fuels are the best of the worst. This whole Obama vision of purposefully raising energy costs in order to make alternatives more attractive is being revealed as a Cuckoo Cocoa Puffs scheme that is getting shredded as it meets reality, so much so that Obama and his minions are now publicly backing away from the scheme of encouraging energy prices to rise as they see how unpopular their vision of the future is with mainstream America.
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Old 03-14-12, 04:18 PM   #5
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Nuclear is supposed to be a clean fuel, yet they still cannot safely deal with the waste, even after all this time. If the waste could be effectively neutralised, then it really would be the perfect alternative to fossil fuel. After all, it has a phenominal power output vs the raw material input.
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Old 03-14-12, 04:50 PM   #6
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Nuclear is supposed to be a clean fuel, yet they still cannot safely deal with the waste, even after all this time.
They can safely deal with the waste, the problem isn't that they don't know how (isolate) the problem is that they face political opposition.

To be sure, political opposition is, when it's implemented, as real a problem as any other roadblocking problem, but political problems are in a different class than problems that originate with economics, engineering, physics and chemistry. Political problems arise from people's attitudes and as such they are not as intractable as problems with physics, chemistry, and market forces. There is no way to make the sun shine at night or to make the wind blow when the air is calm, but there are ways to change people's political positions, though they're not easy.

For instance, whenever someone is declared as an environmentalist or an anti-nuclear activist simply ask them to uphold the costs of their beliefs - impose a 200% surtax on their energy consumption and subject them to the front of the line whenever brownouts and blackouts are required. In other words, subject them to the consequences which follow from their obstructionism rather than subjecting the entire population to the penalties. This would, I imagine, be a powerful tool in helping to persuade people on the merits of an issue when all they seem to focus on are the drawbacks.
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Old 03-14-12, 05:29 PM   #7
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Actually, when you have enough wind turbines distributed over a wide enough area, they put out a very consistent 40-45% of the total combined capacity.

We have several energy storage systems already available and in use: elevated reservoirs with a hydro plant -- pump water uphill when there is an excess, and then let water down the hill powering the hydro plant when you need more baseload. This is what they are already doing in Germany.

Another method would be compressed air in underground spent gas fields. The method is similar to the above method. And we could use all the EV batteries when we get a significant number on the road. Also, there was a recent report on very inexpensive large capacity batteries: a refrigerator sized one could work for a house, and one as large as a 40' shipping container could work for several hundred homes.

Also, we cannot expect a "silver bullet" solution -- a diverse range of renewable energy sources need to be used together in combination: solar PV, solar heat, wind, small hydro (there are many existing dams in the US and elsewhere that can be converted), biogas from sewage and farm waste, wave power, tidal power, and geothermal can be mixed and matched to an area. Also, the windy corridor from the Texas panhandle up through the Dakotas, and both east and west coasts are very constantly windy, that these alone could provide a huge excess of electricity for the entire lower 48 states.
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Old 03-14-12, 05:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nexsuperne View Post
Nuclear is supposed to be a clean fuel, yet they still cannot safely deal with the waste, even after all this time. If the waste could be effectively neutralised, then it really would be the perfect alternative to fossil fuel. After all, it has a phenominal power output vs the raw material input.

The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor doesn't create a lot of byproducts
and might also be a way to get rid of a bunch of radioactive materials
that we already have on hand. (Use them in LFTRers).



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Old 03-14-12, 07:27 PM   #9
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Do we have a commercially viable thorium reactor yet?
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Old 03-14-12, 07:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
Do we have a commercially viable thorium reactor yet?
Not in the US, mostly because the NRC refuses to leave the current technology because they have too many of the companies that sell the nuclear fuel paying them(indirectly/conflict of interest) to maintain the currently used, and outdated technology.

The fun thing is that a university testing this actually had some people who were trying to get LFTR going in China show up because they were serious about using the technology to produce power in their country.

Only in the US will we continue to hug and perpetuate everything except the best option with pride.

Oh, I'll add another note: LFTR cannot be used as a weapon as other nuclear grade material is, therefore it is undesirable to the US to go this route and eventually obsolete something that can protect the country.


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