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View Diary: U.N. Proposes Dumping Contaminated Fukushima Water (292 comments)

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  •  Nuclear power is imperfect but (5+ / 0-)

    a lot better than coal or any other carbon-releasing form of energy. We can't run the planet on hydro, solar, and wind - certainly not yet. People who really care about the planet are open to the building of modern, very safe nuclear power plants as part of our war against climate change. Even Cesium-137 is not as bad as the world heating up by 6 degrees.

    •  As the sea levels rise, what's the plan for (56+ / 0-)

      moving the 16 active US nuclear plants off the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans? Will we be jacking up the entire plants, core and all, and trucking them over to the new shoreline? How long will that take, do you think?

      btw, getting hit with bubonic plague is better than ebola, but that doesn't make bubonic plague a thing you want. (That's a generic 'you.')

      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

      by Jim P on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 06:09:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You wouldn't have to worry about that (3+ / 0-)

        If you built more nuclear now.

        by DAISHI on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:03:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But here in the real world (12+ / 0-)

          where nobody's going to build the 2- to 4,000 nukes you'd need, nor do we have the 15 years it would take to make them, the seas ARE rising.

          And PS: global warming or not, riverbeds and lakes and shorelines have always changed.

          So, again, what's the plan for moving a nuke plant when its heat-sink moves away, or over, it?

          Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

          by Jim P on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:15:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Replacing 75% of coal plants (0+ / 0-)

          with nuclear power plants would delay the rise of oceans by more than half.

          Generally, people have no idea how much damage to the atmosphere is inflicted by large-scale coal burning operations.

          By way of comparison, the big impact of nuclear power plants is building the plants. Not operating them. Building them. It's a large construction project....

          "Teachers: the Architects of American Democracy"

          by waterstreet2013 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:49:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That can be done in 20 years and at a cost (17+ / 0-)

            of trillions of dollars. Which would also drive up the price uranium through the roof. So more trillions to pay for the energy, and more trillions to deal with the waste, and more trillions when there's the more-frequent nuclear diasters. (400 plants yield a massive failure every decade or so, 5 times that number can be expected to give us a Fukushima or Chernobyl EVERY TWO YEARS.

            For a fraction of that, and with no risk, and with industries where the manufacturers would take on the insurance risk, we could go with the traditional four elements and have it done in half the time.

            Nuclear is nuts. Nuclear is dead. Economically, environmentally, security, and just plain bloody common sense.

            Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

            by Jim P on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:29:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have to say that I agree with you. (7+ / 0-)

              The lack of investment in renewable energy is unreasonable.

              Trillions should be thrown at the industry and efficiency preferably under public control.

              Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

              by k9disc on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:06:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Top comment (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BeninSC, ypochris, 3rock, Jim P, Lonely Texan
              For a fraction of that, and with no risk, and with industries where the manufacturers would take on the insurance risk, we could go with the traditional four elements and have it done in half the time.
            •  In addition ... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Box of Rain, ypochris, Jim P

              I'm always astonished that we don't do more to conserve energy, especially for home heating and cooling.  We have the technologies already and they are relatively low cost. I'm thinking here of energy efficient windows, insulation, white roofs, home solar panels, etc.  A not insignificant side benefit ... jobs.  

              •  During the 1st Oil Embargo of the '70s (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                there were regular public service spots on TV and radio: don't leave your fridge open after you've taken things out, turn off lights as you leave rooms, don't leave your car running if you don't plan to move etc. Even minor things like that are out the window now. iirc, just simple 'don't waste' practices saved almost 1% on our national use. Not major, but every bit counts.

                And like you say: jobs. It's almost like they want us to waste electricity and fuel for the billing's sake

                Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

                by Jim P on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 04:23:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Building sea-facing dikes like Holland (0+ / 0-)

        can protect any small- to medium-sized land area. That applies to the power plants that are located near oceans.

        This is not a difficult or even unusual engineering problem.

        "Teachers: the Architects of American Democracy"

        by waterstreet2013 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:46:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seen any maps of the coast-lines projected (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terabytes, Joieau, DawnN, ypochris, Kevskos

          from a modest sea rise? No. Otherwise you'd realize 'dikes' is ludicrous. And btw, how much would they cost, anyway?

          PS: That's 16 active plants on oceans in the US. There's a dozen or two more which are not active, but still have their cores present. Most of our plants are on rivers and lakes. Ever seen a map of the historical changes of river beds and lake shorelines?

          Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

          by Jim P on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:20:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  PS: every plant active and inactive (6+ / 0-)

            in one list. Scroll down, ount 'em up, see where they're located.

            Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

            by Jim P on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:23:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Holland ... (0+ / 0-)

            .... still exists, despite the way your logic says it can't possibly exist. Cities on rivers still exist, with the river in the same place for centuries.

            Likewise, we can still fortify the shoreline against a one-meter sea level rise, or a river's changing course. Humans have been successfully adjusting the shorelines for many centuries, and it's ludicrous to declare the presence of a nuke plant will somehow make such routine engineering become impossible.

            •  Who said engineering dikes is impossible? (5+ / 0-)

              One has to use their brain now and then, even if it does hurt.

              So when the sea rises to the point where the shoreline is eight miles behind the plant, what we'll be doing is building seawalls a thousand (or ten) feet below the rising ocean; as it rises and swamps the land, and then we'll pump out the water.

              I mean, you understand that's just bizarre, your comparison of Holland with seas rising along the entire coastline of the United States. WITH nuclear plants that go critical should they lose electricity for a half hour.

              Perhaps you foresee hundreds of thousands of The Nuclear Safety Fairies, at the last minute, rushing to do all this construction, and for free.

              Whew! Glad that's taken care of. Now what's your plan for the next Carrington Event? The next 'surprisingly strong, didn't think it could happen' earthquake / tidal wave / hurricane / tornado? And the terrorists? Unforeseen failures (which we know happen again and again at nuke plants and with its waste)?

              People who like to play Russian roulette should not force other people to do so.

              Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

              by Jim P on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:11:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  We CAN run the planet (27+ / 0-)

      on alternative energy - a great diary yesterday helps make that point.

      But even if we couldn't, I don't feel the case has been made that nuclear is a viable alternative. And it is anything but carbon neutral. The myth that nuclear can save us from catastrophic climate change has been thoroughly debunked.

      •  i have a 10kW system. (0+ / 0-)

        But the planet uses 20,000,000,000 kW. We're nowhere close to being able to switch to alt energy.

        •  Everyone needs a couple KW. (19+ / 0-)

          it's pretty fast scale.

          We went through a pretty amazing transition in the 80's
          when people started getting PCs and another in the 90's
          when people started getting internet.

          Here, we just need a buttload of roofers.

          It's all low tech, to install them.

          Micro-Inverters with some big ass ultra-caps
          and we get some serious power up there and short term drop out resistance.

          •  The diary I referenced (15+ / 0-)

            also went into the feasibility of pumped-water storage, which is about 80% efficient overall, making it a profitable use of peak power.

          •  Hey, Mr. Executive-Orderer: Order PV panels on (21+ / 0-)

            EVERY FEDERAL ROOF - and I mean COVER THEM.

            Everything from warehouses to hangers to the Pentagon.  ALL OF WASHINGTON.  Put our money where your mouth is, mister!

            Hey, you'll even get some people WORKING!

            trying to stay alive 'til I reach 65!

            by chmood on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:05:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  he has taken the first steps (8+ / 0-)

              ordering an increase to 20% renewables by 2020.  Which is why we need a Democratic President committed to renewables in 2016, because executive orders can go away in a heartbeat.


              •  that should have been 20% renewable by 1995 (0+ / 0-)

                but regardless, your comment's the scariest thing ever

                oh wait, isn't there some industry fuel cell consortium that expects to be ready in 2025... as long as they control the renewables industry (also) they don't give a rat's patootie I suppose

                •  that's almost as neat (7+ / 0-)

                  a trick as getting his birth announcement in the newspaper in 1961 because he knew he would run for President one day.

                  Obama can't control what the past was.  

                  And fuel cell technology may or may not make it in 11 years, but renewable power in federal facilities starting now is at least a step in the right direction.

                  So pretty much, we can continue the 'don't do anything' route or we can try somethings, which may be too little too late, but are no more unrealistic than pretending we can change 25 years of history since Jimmy Carter wanted to do the right thing and the country failed.

                  •  harry reid should cover the senate buildings now (3+ / 0-)

                    with solar and Solar thermal.

                    •  I don't disagree (0+ / 0-)

                      with the philosophy, but I also recognize that a lot of tall office buildings offer a small amount of roof space for the square footage of the building.  I am not an engineer either,  there needs to be a payoff,  is more than a token amount of the needs of the building going to be met?  Otherwise switching to high albedo roofing and maybe some greenery may actually create a net postive on energy usage, heat dissipation, etc. over what could be gained in energy from roof panels.  Grand gestures that don't actually work aren't necessary.

                      •  The energy gain per square foot of roof (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        is the same if your building is one story or a hundred. Well, the gain is actually a little more on tall buildings as you have less chance of shade, and it is slightly cooler higher up. But what works on a single family homes works just as well on an office building, even if it doesn't generate a large fraction of the building's total energy usage.

                        •  but that is my point (0+ / 0-)

                          if you can't really make a substantial dent in supplying the buildings energy needs, is it cost effective to add the panels?  Or could creating a green space do more to combat the urban heat oasis effect to ultimately cut the need for energy more.

                          I don't think putting up solar panels to meet 1% of the energy use is actually energy positive,  you're wasting the energy that went into building the panels.

                          •  The economics for an office building are exactly (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            the same as for any other building. That is my point. If it isn't economical to put panels on an office building, it is equally uneconomical to put panels anywhere in the city.

                            Perhaps covering the entire city with rooftop vegetation would be more energy effective than covering it with solar panels, but I doubt it. And if you cover your own roof the benefits all accrue to you, including the shade the panels provide, whereas if you try to fight an urban heat island on one roof only a small part of that benefit accrues to you.

                          •  I would need (0+ / 0-)

                            mathematical proof of that assertion before I could wrap my head around it.

                            The area of the panels is directly related to how much electricity they can generate.  The area of the roof of a high rise office building is no way directly related to the area that can be occupied and require light, heat and operational electronics.   In a home, the area of the roof more closely corresponds to the square footage that must be heated/cooled, lighted, and the number of people per square foot using electronics is probably less intensive than an office environment.  

                          •  If an office building has 2000 sq ft of roof (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            it is going to cost x to cover it with solar panels, and it will generate y amount of electricity worth z dollars.

                            If a house has 2000 sq ft of roof, it will cost x to cover it with solar panels, and it will generate y amount of electricity worth z dollars.

                            The economics are exactly the same. The percentage of the structure's consumption that is being generated has nothing to do with it.

                            (Unless one is exporting power, which complicates things as the exported power is worth less, but that is beside the point.)

                          •  thank you (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            the building owner can obtain a savings overall by generating even a small percentage of electricity.

                            My feelings are still that overall energy usage might be reduced more (an aggregate benefit to the environment instead of minor cost savings to the owner) by pursuing other courses of action with high rises.   But again, I am not an engineer.

                          •  don't think percentage load, think $/KWH (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            jfromga, ypochris

                            I can put 7 KW on my roof and go Grid neutral  
                            100% of energy need.

                            An office building say 10 stories high cannot cover more then
                            5% of it's energy needs, but, the energy produced
                            can still eb economical.

                            If that building buys Electricity during Peak TOU rates
                            at 34 cents/KWH,  and the arrays produce at 7 Cents/KWH
                            then every watt they produce is a win, even if it's 5% of
                            need, it's still a payoff.  If the array produces enough
                            cash savings to pay off in 3 years, then it's a win.

                            and say the building has a big parking lot, you use the parking lot as array coverage. You can get a lot of power
                            out of that.

                          •  thank you (0+ / 0-)

                            that is where I was missing the math.  It may make sense to get only 5% if it is a cheaper 5%.  But in the larger picture, it isn't making that building self sufficient as one might make one's house with the solar array on the roof.   That was where I was caught up.

                            In a city like DC where so many buildings are owned by the federal government or under long term leases, they might still do more for energy savings and long term benefit by improving albedo and roof gardening over solar panels given that there is no realistic way to make existing high rises self sufficient with current solar technology.I have seen new buildings designed with that in mind that come closer.  If I can remember I'll look for the pictures, but I think it was about a three story building not an actual high rise.

                          •  The benefit of a solar panel (0+ / 0-)

                            is it converts what would be solar thermal gain into electrons.
                            Also it's easy enough to paint the roof white and then throw solar panels on top, the scattered light actually
                            boosts the PV output.

                            Now what's better? White roof or PV or White Roof and PV?
                            I'm not sure, there.

                          •  like a lot of problems (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            you have to square up the analysis, then it all makes sense.

                            Even if a solar array is 1% of your power needs,
                            if it makes sense on  a Cash ROI, you do it.

                          •  if my goal is profits (0+ / 0-)

                            as a business owner, perhaps.   Though many people here, myself included, don't think profits should be the only measure of good/not good in business activities.

                            But what we were really looking at was not profit, but the best way federal buildings, such as the Senate buildings in DC, could be retrofitted to improve global climate change.   And perhaps a 1-5% gain in lower cost electricity isn't the biggest improvement.  So if the President is going to be issuing orders for federal buildings to be reviewed and actions take for alternative energy and other contributions to reducing contributions to climate change, in a place like DC where the government controls so many buildings,     solar panels isn't the best choice,  that energy savings could be obtained, and other heat issues that cause all buildings in large cities to use more power could be addressed for a bigger net gain.  I have not done the math, but the President ordered a review and choices.  They may all end up bad choices,  but it allows for more consideration of aspects of the issue than just order solar panels on every building.

                            That is what I adressed, a blanket one solution fits all, 'do this now'  statement that didn't seem all that thoughtful about solving the bigger problem to me.  It may in fact be the best one,  but from what I've read about greening efforts in large urban areas, I don't think it is.  The Parking lot solar arrays and roof gardens may make more sense, though of course, many places in DC because of cost of land already have multi-story and underground parking structures, , leaving roof tops as the most 'available space' for greenspace.

                          •  it's symbolic. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            why were the solar hot water heaters on the white house important?  Symbolism.

                            why did Reagan take them down?  symbolism.

                            why did Obama put them back up?  Symbolism.

                            If you put them all over, you make a big statement that is hard for the GOP to tear down later.

                            if the entire pentagon parking lot were solar PV, with rain barrels, it would be a real FU to the Kochs

                          •  but I addressed that (0+ / 0-)

                            Obama ordered a review and choice,  a "grand gesture" when real choices for improvement are available seems rather silly.  And the Pentagon parking lot with solar is different than a high rise, I think I already conceded open parking lots make more sense.

        •  please (26+ / 0-)

          all we need is the will to do it.  Nuclear energy went from a theory to existence in a few short years, all due to war.

          If we wanted to switch, if there wasnt huge status quo and corps in the way, Alt energy could easily be here by now.

        •  Well, maybe we will have to experience some (11+ / 0-)

          inconvenience and stop wasting energy like it was water.  Oh, wait, we waste water the same way.  I guess we must be stuck with either radioactive sea beds or mercury in our bodies.  No other choice, eh?

          Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

          by StrayCat on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 01:42:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Conservation (10+ / 0-)

            We can reduce building and transit emissions by over 50%, even if we reduce energy consumption by less than 50%, by becoming more efficient. With current technology.

            With a decade of the money we waste on subisidizing nukes and other petrofuels we could probably reduce building and transit emissions by over 80%, using mostly the current infrastructure.

            It's not at all too late. Though by wasting 35 years on Reagan/Clinton/Bush (and spining our Obama wheels another 5+) we've already committed to substantial damage. Even if we can roll back the Greenhouse to a sustainable level.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:07:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  2Gsystems for 8Gpeople (10+ / 0-)

          OK, you have a 10KW system in your home. For 20TW that would require 2Gsystems (2 billion systems).

          We have 8 billion people. That's one system like yours for every 4 people - about 40% more people than the average world household. Not entirely out of reach, though impractical the way our society is structured.

          Of course, you're American, so you use about 5x the global per capita average. The majority of America's energy is used in our economy that's about 1/5th the world's total, so we're consuming energy on behalf of foreigners who just pay. That energy is consumed by industry, which would have its own additional solar systems in addition to people in our homes. Plus industrial/utility scale generation, which is more efficient and of course much larger than in your home. Therefore far fewer home systems are needed in the world - maybe under 20% of all homes, or even under 10% if utilities switch en masse.

          Then there's wind power, which is over 2.25x the installed capacity already.

          And then there's geothermal, which is an even larger potential capacity than solar or wind, while even less developed yet.

          In the time it would take to replace coal, oil and gas plants with nukes we could deploy much more in solar, wind and geothermal. For less upfront cost, and a world of difference in risk and actual damage.

          "Close" is relative. Even ignoring the insane investment in eventual catastrophe from increasing nukes, we're closer in sustainable sources.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:04:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please provide links Dr Gonzo (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy

            to support your assertion of the vast geothermal potential, greater than either solar or wind.

            My experience is that geothermal energy is opportunistic, taking advantage of isolated instances of volcanic like heat near the subsurface, that luckily has water sources available.

            “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

            by 6412093 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 11:35:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Vast and Vaster (4+ / 0-)

              Maybe geothermal potential is not as vast as solar or wind. A 2012 NREL study showed 4TW geothermal capacity, excluding offshore Alaska or Hawaii (so probably at least double that). But solar potential is 155TW and wind is 15.2TW.

              However, wind power is more concentrated than solar, so a better investment when the larger capital requirement can be met, as economics have demonstrated. Geothermal is even more concentrated, so it's probably even more the case. Plus these individual large projects can get at a larger share of the total resource than the very wide but relatively shallow coverage required for wind or solar. And the entire huge drilling industry is better prepared to switch to geothermal than the small current scalable size of solar or wind.

              But even so, 155TW solar potential is so much larger than 4TW geothermal potential that solar is probably bigger even after thos considerations. Wind exploitation though would probably plateau as geothermal exploitation rose past it.

              Thanks for giving me a reason to learn the actual proportions among these potentials. Though I note that geothermal potential over 10x what's needed to replace all coal plants - and so also all nukes and even oil and gas plants - is itself reassuring.

              If we were serious about survival we'd charge $10:gallon for gasoline and equivalent prices for coal and oil, spending everything above today's prices on building these sustainable resources in a robust electric grid. By 2030 we'd be winding the Greenhouse back to preindustrial, safe levels.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 12:58:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Don't get me wrong (0+ / 0-)

                I like geothermal especially since binary (no air pollution) plants came in to use.

                Its just that generally what I see are 10 and 20 megawatt plants popping up in Nevada, Imperial County, hot spots in Utah and New Mexico and so on, so I question the scope of the resources.

                “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

                by 6412093 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 03:10:29 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I Like It (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Joieau, 6412093

                  The raw geothermal resources of course are far vaster than even the vast solar and wind to choose from. The limits are our technology for reaching the heat below the surface. Evidently we tripled what's exploitable from 2004-2011, the updates to the original 1998 map, by reaching 4mi deep and using even near-boiling temperatures.

                  I think eventually we should be able to exploit volcanoes, even dormant ones, without triggering them into eruption - possibly even managing active ones into safety. If we could capture the 24 megatons (28TWh) from a Mt St Helens eruption, we could power the whole US for about 9 hours. Continuous power draw might power the whole US, or much of it, or at least the large part of the grid nearby. And that's just one place.

                  Geothermal efficiency can double or more using liquid CO2 instead of water, which could sequester CO2 someplace it would actually be monitored and kept locked up. It directly replaces coal and nukes plants.

                  All these sustainable resources should be tapped as appropriate to them and their sites. We never selected a single energy source before, we will continue to need complementary ones going forward.

                  "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                  by DocGonzo on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 04:06:25 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'd be more optimistic, Dr., (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    But several companies have failed in their efforts to tap the geothermal energy in my backyard at Newberry Crater, a barely dormant volcano in Oregon, south of Bend.

                    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

                    by 6412093 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 10:57:46 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Too Early (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Joieau, 6412093

                      Tapping volcanoes will require very new materials, probably graphene or something dynamic, and new science of volcano dynamics gained by direct exploration inside the magma with devices of these new materials. I'd say it's 20 years away. I expect the Russians will do a lot of the pioneering work.

                      But eventually I could see borer robots drilling 5-10 miles beneath anyplace necessary to connect a beefed up electric grid to the power that's directly underneath everyplace on Earth. If we don't get ample power from remote centralized hotspots first.

                      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                      by DocGonzo on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 05:26:23 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  They've beeen tapping Kilauea on Hawai'i island. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        It hasn't worked out so well for nearby residents, as the high heat and corrosive, toxic gasses have proven to be difficult to contain. A lot of people (including myself) have gotten sick when hit with a gas plume after the numerous blowouts. And although I'm not certain, after a couple hundred million dollars have been sunk into this I don't think it is working out economically, either.

                        I like the idea of geothermal, and it appears to be working in places like New Zealand and California, where temperatures are lower and the fumes less toxic. But siting it on active volcanoes doesn't seem to be a good idea.

                        •  Project Causes Blowouts? (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ypochris, 6412093

                          The geothermal project causes blowouts that gas the neighbors? It's certainly too soon to be trying that. They should experiment on some of the many active volcanoes in uninhabited areas. Sounds like a handout to some consultancy, not a serious effort at generation.

                          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                          by DocGonzo on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:05:39 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It is a very serious effort at generation. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Puna Geothermal Venture is currently producing 38 Megawatts on a good day.

                            And still gassing the neighbors on a bad one.

                          •  Serious Generation (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ypochris, 6412093

                            You're right, that's a serious effort at generation. Serious generation, anyway. Their failure to protect the neighbors from their demonstrated ill effects makes them less than serious in other ways - that matter more. They don't sound responsible enough to be allowed to continue this project.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 01:42:09 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Most of the population of Puna (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            DocGonzo, 6412093

                            would agree with you.

                          •  I need to look Puma up, thanks for commenting n/t (0+ / 0-)

                            “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

                            by 6412093 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:12:23 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Puna, a district on the Island of Hawai'i (0+ / 0-)

                            that consists mostly of the north and east flanks of Kilauea volcano, where the geothermal development in Hawai'i is taking place.

                            As the vast majority of Puna is under 300 years old, this is where the cheap land in Hawai'i is found, dirt-free lava for the most part. Meaning it is where the poor live. So who cares if we gas them with our power plants? Isn't that how it's done everywhere, site them where it only affects the poor?

            •  On the plus side, geothermal is essentially (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              "safe" nuclear energy - which is perhaps a tad ironic to be being advocated in this particular diary.

            •  hihg temp and low temp geo-thermal (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              there is big high temp stuff in Iceland,  etc.

              but low temp Geo-thermal helps you sink a
              Heatpump for  a house.

              it's a great payback

        •  "The planet" doesn't use (6+ / 0-)

          20 billion kW. Industrialized nations use it, while developing and forgotten nations get little to none. Industrialized nations also waste the vast majority of what is generated, and nukes mostly generate grid power for the next nuke down the line (not for public consumption). It's a cash flow scam, always has been.

          We can do much better for ourselves and the future.

          There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

          by Joieau on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:20:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am always amazed (6+ / 0-)

            at how in the developing world, where it is necessary to have non-grid power, there are so many consumer friendly options in appliances,  chargers, etc. that don't make it to the store shelves in the US.  The one advantage of not having a huge infrastructure in place is that innovation is easier to pick up.  There is no entrenched bureaucracy supporting the status quo.

            I recognize it isn't the same as reliable power at the flip of a switch, but still impressive to me.

        •  the planet receives 20 times that amount (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ypochris, Joieau, Lawrence
          But the planet uses 20,000,000,000 kW. We're nowhere close to being able to switch to alt energy.
          If the will existed, we could not only power our entire civilization with solar energy (photovoltaic and thermal), but consume 20 times more energy than we do now before we ran out of solar power.

          Of course, if we had that kind of power available, we could easily expand our solar energy infrastructure into space.

          Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

          by Visceral on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 12:42:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  20 EE9 KW on a planet with 6 billion people (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and a billion dwelling units.

          That's 3 KW/ person  

          knock it down to 2 KW with high efficiency lighting and

          and i'm assuming you are talking about a peak power demand.

      •  Which means, you're not running on solar. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It means you're running on the grid when the sun doesn't shine. Don't delude yourself that we can run the grid on solar. We can't.

        We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

        by Keith Pickering on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:09:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hail (0+ / 0-)

        Do you get golf-ball sized hail every 5 years or so? I do in my area. Until there are cheap solar panels that can survive that, solar is not a realistic possibility for much of the USA. The rigid plastic panels won't even survive to the energy break even point, much less to the money break even point.

        •  Surely this is a problem that can be overcome? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I live in Florida ... I have hurricane shutters on every window.  Couldn't something like this be developed for solar panels?  I'm sure there is a more clever solution, it just seems to me that this is a problem that could be resolved without too much trouble.

          btw ... I also have 30 year old solar panels on the roof.  They've been providing hot water without incident for that long ... and survived an almost direct hit by Hurricane Andrew.

        •  The tempered glass (0+ / 0-)

          used on panels is highly impact resistant. Although I've never tried it on a panel, I have hit one of the large tempered glass windows on my house with a sledgehammer (a friend who works with glass bet me I couldn't break it) and it just bounced off. Yes, the edges and especially the corners are delicate, but these are protected by the aluminum frame of the panel.

          As I said, I haven't tried it on a solar panel, but I'm not sure this is actually an issue.

    •  Why do we insist on running the planet. What can (6+ / 0-)

      we just live on it and with it.

      Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

      by StrayCat on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 01:35:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Feel free to be the first one to (0+ / 0-)

        shut down your electricity forever. But people don't really want to do that.

        by DAISHI on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:05:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or join those of us (9+ / 0-)

          who generate their own electricity on their roof, or with a wind turbine in their yard. It isn't nuclear or nothing.

        •  there isn't a binary choice (7+ / 0-)

          presented between running the planet and live on it and with it.  One doesn't have to eschew all electricity, all technology, etc.

          Living with the planet means giving up ideas of control, which we really don't have anyhow, and start looking at existence in a biosphere in sustainable ways.  It will mean changes, many people will look upon them as great sacrifices, but in other ways, it means leaving a planet for their children and grandchildren that remains livable.  What wouldn't most people sacrifice for their families if they only were presented with choices based in facts rather than the scare propaganda that is out there in the media today?  We are participating in the very rich and powerful people's bet that they can survive while most of us die off and take the load off the planet.  Why participate in mass suicide of the species (taking most other living things on the planet with us) over the next 100 years or so to benefit a small number of greedy sociopaths?

          •  VHEM (0+ / 0-)

            really the best option  

            voluntary human extinction

            but a lot of people aren't qualified

            •  the link didn't work (2+ / 0-)

              but it seems a kind of catch 22 situation,  those who understand and would act to resolve the problem would die, leaving the problem unsolved because the ones that chose to stay, are the problem.

              No reason an evolved primate shouldn't be adaptable enough to learn to survive out of reason and forethought without destroying all other life.   We just need to engage in better breeding practices, not kill people after they get here, don't create so many of them in the first place.

                •  I don't exactly agree (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I don't think the human species must become extinct.  We are one of nature's products, just as any other species, no better, no worse, no specialiar, etc.  We do have the ability to choose not to overpopulate.   Seems to me some of the ideas are ok, the extremism just defeats the more rational message.

                  I didn't have kids, I hope more people continue to make that choice.  I think there are better solutions.   US is at a pretty steady state of births, we gain population by immigration, and the first generation or two of third world immigrants show birth rates more typical of their homeplaces, then drop to the typical US rate.   Much of Europe also has birth rates at or just below replacement rate.

                  The vast increases in numbers are in places where male oriented traditional values hold,  women aren't as well educated as males, don't tend to hold positions of power in the society.  Educating females, making birth control available, makes a huge difference in birth rates.

                  And yes,  the birth rates should fall below replacement to voluntarily thin the numbers of humans.  But I just can't hop on board with a movement that claims extinction as its goal.  Any more than I would say that it is ok to cause extinction on a massive scale as we have.  Nature is about achieving balance in changing circumstances.  It isn't static, something else may evolve in our niche that doesn't do any better at not disrupt the planet.  That question is beyond our knowledge at this point.

          •  You point to a part of the problem. But (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            convenience and laziness, comfort and the desire for contentment are, maybe, more important elements of the problem.  That and the feeling by many people that one person cannot make a difference.

            Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

            by StrayCat on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 05:40:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Most of the world's population can't. (0+ / 0-)

        The richer segment of the world would survive, though.

        Food available is directly dependent on the energy available.

        •  Disagree. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau, ozsea1

          The wealthy don't have the skills to survive on their own. Money becomes worthless when society collapses.

          If it happens quickly, my money is on hunting and gathering societies, and those who have learned from them. Economic collapse has zero effect on those who don't use money. And hopefully they will be able to adapt to climatic changes.

          •  Hunting and gathering? (0+ / 0-)

            That's completely ahistorical.

            Societies and empires have fallen, but we've never lost agriculture as a technology.

            •  In the aftermath of societal collapse (0+ / 0-)

              it's a lot easier to survive hunting and gathering than to try and protect your crops from marauders.

              Particularly as sophisticated gatherers 'enhance' their food supply by planting trees and perennials throughout their territory, food supplies that are very difficult for outsiders to find.

              Those who have experienced this lifestyle will understand. Those who gather with a grocery cart and hunt fine steaks in the meat department may not. Farmers can argue their points, but I just don't see how they will be able to defend their farms if hungry millions come pouring out of the cities.

    •  Sorry, but that is just plain factually incorrect. (22+ / 0-)

      Technically, we can now fairly easily switch to 100% or near 100% renewables by 2040 to 2050.  Renewables have also gotten pretty inexpensive, even to the point that they are often a less expensive option than both fossils and nuclear.  They still do carry a higher upfront cost than fossils, though, and are more expensive than fossils in a lot of cases, but this also is a chicken or the egg type of problem:  

      If there is a full court press by the global community for the implementation of renewables, then costs continue to come down due to economies of scale, improvements in efficiency, and technological advances.  If the global implementation takes place at a slower pace, however, then costs for renewables don't come down as fast, leading to fossils being viable for a longer time period.

      We could quite easily be replacing the energy from every old fossil and nuke plant that shuts down right now with renewables, which would be a huge step in the right direction, but it requires the willpower to do so and a shattering of the traditional big energy lobby.  

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 03:27:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cesium-137 isn't tracked 'cause IT's SO dangerous (18+ / 0-)'s tracked AS A MARKER:  as IT rises, so are all the other nuclides we're NOT testing for.

      And FYI dumping all that contamination isn't a solution:  it's either an abject surrender, or a glowing neon FUCK YOU sign.

      trying to stay alive 'til I reach 65!

      by chmood on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 05:59:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  People Who Really Care About the Planet ??? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ypochris, DocGonzo, Joieau

      Oh, for Pete's sake.

    •  "Very safe" (8+ / 0-)

      Hilarious. Really stupid technology those nukes. Really stupid. Oh and criminal, but that's another story.

      Libertarianism is something that most people grow out of, not unlike, say, hay fever or asthma. Bob Johnson

      by randallt on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 06:37:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nuclear Devastation is Imperfect (12+ / 0-)

      Look, returning to the Stone Age is also safer than a petrofuel civilization, but we're not doing that, either.

      In the time it takes to build even an existing design nuke plant, we can instead deploy many times its generating capacity in wind, solar and geothermal. Add the time it will take to develop and test these "very safe" nuke plants, at least a decade or two, and that's plenty of time to instead deploy the sustainable capacity. Without leaving the extreme nuke risk exposure in the hands of the people and industries/governments that have already destroyed places on the Earth. Places like Fukushima (destruction still unfolding). For timescales far longer than even the Greenhouse catastrophe that is probably "only" about 10,000 years.

      "People who really care about the planet" is propaganda. If you really care about the planet you develop it sustainably, not with nukes. Because the people who develop nukes have demonstrated they will destroy what they touch, sooner or later. It's propaganda typical of the "all or nothing" nuke booster attitude. It immediately disqualifies its proponent from an actually fair and respectful debate.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:45:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to Mention - (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DocGonzo, ypochris, Joieau

        All the moolah.

        How much will the F.U. cleanup cost when it is all said and done?

        •  Who Pays? (4+ / 0-)

          The US has already collected casualties from our military sent in to help. If they dump this crap into the Japan Current it will at least double the current's existing artificial radioactive pollution (from nuke tests, Chernobyl) even if they dilute it over a month or more. An express conveyor first to Alaska, then BC then WA/OR/CA...

          As bad as the US might be, we didn't vote for the Japanese regulation of TEPCO. Or for the Conservative government the Japanese just reelected after hearing how badly their disaster response has already been conducted.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:56:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Good points, Dr (0+ / 0-)

        I've been waiting patiently for the Vogtle 2 nuke to get finished in Georgia for several years now, and that's just another 1000 megawatts.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 11:38:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Horrible Idea (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau, ypochris

          The kind of terrible oversight that Georgia provides its livestock, its racism, its education... with a dirty bomb to screw up. And for just 1GW. Goddamn Obama for breaking the moratorium to give some of the most unaccountable cronies in the country the riskiest new venture available. And with my debt-laden taxes covering the tab.

          For $6.8B, the made-up projected cost, we could install over 2GW of solar in Georgia. For $14B, closer to its eventual actual construction cost, over 6TW. For $30B, its eventual cost to build, maintain, demolish and clean up, over 10GW. For over $50B, the cost its users will pay for its power over 30 years, we could build enough solar to power every Georgia household without additional costs, rather than less than 5% of them with a stack of unmanageable waste.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 05:35:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Fusion? (0+ / 0-)

      There was something on NPR about that the other day.  Sounded like something to support with research funding.

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