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  •  I have never understood why so many... (2+ / 0-)
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    blue aardvark, NYFM the center-left community championed the decommissioning of nuclear plants after the tragedy in Japan.

    What power source did they think would replace nuclear in Japan with its limited space?

    And in Europe, so many Kossacks praised Germany for accelerating its phaseout of nuclear power.  Upshot?  More coal powered electricity.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 11:29:24 AM PDT

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    •  Japan has great resources for geothermal (6+ / 0-)

      Part of the reason it is so seismically active. And no, it will not set off or start volcanoes. Iceland sets a great example.

      It really pisses me off there is not more attention paid to geothermal- its possible nearly anywhere; all it needs is a thermal gradient in the ground. Hot spots provide a great differential gradient, thus more energy at a time. But even where it isn't that grand, it's consistent across our lifetime, day or night, weather has little or no effect, and once in place, pretty much only needs maintenance. Iceland uses water in their geothermal to drive steam power, but in low water areas, sealed oil-based systems also work just fine.

      I am much too liberal to be a Democrat.

      by WiseFerret on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 11:45:30 AM PDT

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      •  True, but I don't necessarily see the Japanese (1+ / 0-)
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        tapping into those resources to a large extent any more than I see the US setting up geothermal plants next to Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park. They would worry about their beloved onsen and similar resources.

        •  I would think being that close would be too much (1+ / 0-)
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          When your too close to the heat source, the wear and tear on your metal pipes and what not for geothermal, is not worth the gain in heat differentials. Next to is probably good enough.

          And why the heck can't the plants be made ascetically pleasing??? Why not make electrical towers and poles look more like trees? Murals on overpasses and sound barriers along freeways? A grain elevator as a fairytale castle? Somewhere there are pictures of oil derricks (the bobbing head ones) painted as giraffes and zebras- just beautiful work!

          Wait. That might meaning some artist (aka DFH) getting paid decently. Wow. Artists actually making a living and enhancing our world.
          (aye. Sarcasm. I live in a community of DFH (love them) & artists and its hard to see such talent struggle with keeping a roof overhead)

          I am much too liberal to be a Democrat.

          by WiseFerret on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 02:04:58 PM PDT

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          •  Thermodynamically, the hotter the better. (1+ / 0-)
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            It might result in more dissolved minerals in the steam and therefore more rust and scale deposits on the turbines and piping, but that is a tradeoff and engineer would take any day.

            I think that I shall never see
            a geothermal plant lovely as a tree

            A tree whose hungry mouth is prest     
            Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;     

            A tree that looks at God all day,             
            And lifts her leafy arms to pray;     

            A tree that may in summer wear     
            A nest of robins in her hair;     

            Upon whose bosom snow has lain;     
            Who intimately lives with rain.      10

            Geothermal plants are built by engineers like me,     
            But only God can make a tree.

        •  Most onsen *are* artificial. (2+ / 0-)
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          KenBee, Blubba

          They're created by drilling for hot water.

          •  I thought it was the monkeys and a religious (3+ / 0-)
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            CanyonWren, Rei, WiseFerret

            attitude that kept the Japanese from booting their furry little arses out of the pool, then developing the heat power source.

            In Iceland, I just read that the magma chambers and at the great rift in Ethiopia are less than a kilometer down there.


            Watch yer step!

            From those who live like leeches on the people's lives, We must take back our land again, America!...Langston Hughes

            by KenBee on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 10:47:32 PM PDT

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          •  I didn't know that. (1+ / 0-)
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            Still I can easily imagine the operators and customers of onsen worrying about possible temperature or turbidity changes that might result from a geothermal plant if one were proposed nearby. Also, I understand most of the available geothermal resources are located in national parks and that the law was recently changed to allow more development of geothermal in them. I wonder how popular that will be and whether enough is eventually developed to make much of a difference.

            •  The most popular hot springs bath in (0+ / 0-)

              Iceland is the output water from a geothermal power plant.

              •  My understanding is Iceland's (1+ / 0-)
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                geothermal is largely built on landscape that has, shall we say, a "rugged" beauty. So geothermal plants don't clash that harshly with the rock quarry-like ambiance. On the other hand, there is (or was) long-standing resistance among native Hawaiians to developing the geothermal potential on the Big Island. I won't pretend to know where along that spectrum geothermal will fit with Japanese sensibilities.

                •  The resistance in Hawaii has been religious. (1+ / 0-)
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                  You're drilling into Pele.  Wouldn't matter whether it was for power or for baths.

                  The key factor is that if you're drilling down and pulling up hot water for baths, it doesn't make a difference whether you run it through a turbine first apart from the fact that it drops the water's temperature.

      •  In fact, at Krafla (in Iceland)... (1+ / 0-)
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        they actually drilled into a lava chamber.  Totally accidentally.  ;)  Not only did it not cause some sort of eruption (which is, btw,  unrealistic; these aren't empty holes but holes full of heavy drilling "mud" providing pressure equal to that of the removed rock), but they discovered that they were able to turn it into a production well -- which opened up a whole new class of potential well sites.

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