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View Diary: Things about 2013 that make me hopeful about 2014 and beyond. (30 comments)

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  •  Consider the economics of nukes. (2+ / 0-)

    There's the enduring coal-financed hoax that the standard well-engineered nukes have killed thousands of humans. That the systems we've built over the last 30 years involve black magic.

    Hokum is hokum. The salesmen for this fear mongering line are not experts.

    On the other hand, nukes provide off-peak capacity that can be used to achieve interesting objectives:

    -- The Livermore CO2 Machine

    "When powered by renewable electricity and consuming globally abundant minerals and saline solutions, such systems at scale might provide a relatively efficient, high-capacity means to consume and store excess atmospheric CO2 as environmentally beneficial seawater bicarbonate or carbonate," Rau said. "But the process also would produce a carbon-negative 'super green' fuel or chemical feedstock in the form of hydrogen."

    Most previously described chemical methods of atmospheric carbon dioxide capture and storage are costly, using thermal/mechanical procedures to concentrate molecular CO2 from the air while recycling reagents, a process that is cumbersome, inefficient and expensive.

    "Our process avoids most of these issues by not requiring CO2 to be concentrated from air and stored in a molecular form, pointing the way to more cost-effective, environmentally beneficial, and safer air CO2 management with added benefits of renewable hydrogen fuel production and ocean alkalinity addition," Rau said.

    But of course the excess capacity from a nuclear plant does the job just as well. And uranium is as plentiful as tin -- dirt cheap today and unlikely to rise by more than a factor of three or four at any time within a million years.

    Time the CO2 reduction for midnight-to-dawn and there's very very low cost.

    -- Electric Cars

    Are perfect for taking the excess capacity power from nukes. Day time is always the peak use period for power grids and the recharge cycles for cars can be set for midnight to dawn which is the bottom period.

    Already, today, a sedan takes $50 of uranium for a year's power. Transmission lins and billing cost a lot more than the fuel.

    CO2 impact is near zero. Same for heat. The used fuel for a whole plant for a year runs to about two cubic yards for the whole plant.

    In effect the electric cars make no environmental impact when they live off the midnight-to-dawn nuke power. Other than making the cars and making tires and such.

    Sometimes engineering reality is good for us.

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