Skip to main content

View Diary: New silent wind turbine could generate half of a homes electric needs, says company The Archimedes (292 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Nuclear is a non-starter in an economy like ours: (14+ / 0-)

    Extremely high start-up costs, a few decades of useful life followed by 60-100 years of decommissioning at a cost higher than the initial cost of the plant.
       Lenders don't want to lend for nuclear. Insurers won't insure without government imposed liability limits.
       Not to mention the usual: Storage of nuclear waste. And the vulnerability of the cooling water source to climate change.

    •  You've been badly misinformed. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Roadbed Guy, HeyMikey

      Start-up costs for nuclear are lower than solar on a per-Watt basis. Decommissioning costs for reactors are roughly 10% of construction costs, not much larger than other large projects. All three of the current nuclear builds in the US today (Watts Bar, Vogtle, and VC Summer) obtained private financing without government subsidy -- in contrast to the two recently completed large solar plants in California. which required large loan guarantees before construction could begin.

      And it's not waste if we don't waste it. The current stockpile of "spent" nuclear fuel contains enough energy to power the entire US electric grid fossil-free for 150 years, if we have the intelligence to use it. Bright students at MIT have already designed a reactor that could use SNF directly as fuel, as-is, and formed a start-up to do just that.

      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 Jun 03, 2014 at 09:16:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong. Very wrong. (6+ / 0-)

        Decommissioning costs are far higher than you claim.  See, for instance, this article: for example, decommissioning the Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Rowe, MA took $600 million, compared to construction cost of $39 million, plus $8 million per year essentially forever.  Start-up costs for solar have come down considerably, and I seriously doubt that you can find a source of credible numbers that will support your claims.

      •  They're no doubt glowing from careless handing of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the nuclear waste?

        Bright students at MIT have already designed a reactor . . . .
      •  Chernobyl. Fukushima. Three Mile Island. (0+ / 0-)


        •  math (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:


          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 07:18:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  40x thyroid cancer in Japanese children, since (0+ / 0-)

            Fukushima, and radiation is washing up on our west coast now.  

            It takes a while to kill people with radiation exposure, even if all of them are counted.

            •  Old reactor design, built in stupid area. (0+ / 0-)

              Liquid thorium reactors will be cheaper, smaller, and safe:

              "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

              by HeyMikey on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 11:29:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And... (0+ / 0-)

                Multiply that little-bitty nuke box in the graphic above x 40. You still won't come close to the size of the coal box.

                "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                by HeyMikey on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 11:29:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And then multiply it by 20 years, at a minimum (0+ / 0-)

                  Most cancers take a long time to develop.  Fast appearance is unusual for cancers.

                  Imagine if even one of those children were yours.

                •  And then multiply it by 20 years, at least (0+ / 0-)

                  Most cancers take a long time to develop.  It's unusual for them to appear quickly.

                  Imagine if even one of those children were yours.

                  •  Why are cancer deaths worse than other deaths? (0+ / 0-)

                    Cancer is bad--lost my dad and father-in-law to it; my wife's mom suffered greatly from it before dying of something else; my mom is a 10-year cancer survivor. So I know a bit about family with cancer.

                    But deaths are, more or less, deaths. More of them come from fossil fuels than from nuclear--and it's not even close. Not to mention the suffering caused by drought, famine, flooded farmland due to global warming.

                    The math is horrible, but it's still the math.

                    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                    by HeyMikey on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 02:54:37 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The math is: multiply what's there by 800 at least (0+ / 0-)

                      20 x 40 = 800

                      And this is just what's easy to see.  Plus our nuclear plants are disintegrating, and many of them have the same design as Fukushima.

                      There's a reason no insurance company will touch nuclear plants.

                      Not to mention how much worse it could get if/when one of our plants does a Fukushima.  They sit on active faults and in flood plains and have come very close already.

                      •  Two points. (0+ / 0-)

                        (1) You have to multiply the deaths on fossil fuels, too, if your plan is to keep operating them for decades.

                        (2) You're still confusing old designs that are already in place with new designs that could be put only in geologically stable areas.

                        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                        by HeyMikey on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 05:17:45 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Wishful thinking (0+ / 0-)

                          kind of like "clean coal."

                          •  "Homage to Catalonia." (0+ / 0-)

                            Mentioned in one of my previous comments above. Purism = defeat.

                            I am basically on your side. People like you and people like me should be working together against the common enemy. The differences between you and me are small compared to the differences between us and the fossil fuel industry.

                            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

                            by HeyMikey on Mon Jun 09, 2014 at 12:19:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

      •  comparing apples and oranges (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gwennedd, Late Spring

        Nuclear and renewable sources can't be directly compared, and the comparison goes completely off the rails when trying to compare big, centralised nuclear to small home solar.

        Construction costs are incredibly high for a nuclear power plant and it takes many years before you finally get power out of it. If anything goes badly wrong (accident or attack) you can poison a landscape for thousands of years and damage the genetic material of generations.

        Solar power for a home can be installed in a single day at a cost affordable to a home owner. It starts generating power that very day. If anything goes wrong then there is no major calamity because the giant fusion reactor it generates power from (our Sun) is safely 93 million miles away. The additional security of having distributed power instead of putting all your eggs in one basket with centralised power should be obvious to anyone who is not wearing blinders. (Remember the big blackout from the domino-effect shutdown of several nuclear powerplants on the eastern seaboard of USA not so long ago?)

        Nuclear power has amazing potential (especially fusion), but we can't trust people to do it right when the stakes are as high as they unfortunately are. They cut corners on construction or personnel training or safety measures. (Fukishima's warning signs were ignored by staff, and what idiot builds a nuclear power plant in a seismically active zone anyway?) Low level and high level radioactive materials always find their way into military uses. India signed a contract promising to only use Canadian uranium for peaceful purposes and built a nuclear bomb with it anyway. Depleted uranium shells litter warscapes everywhere USA has been and children are contaminated when playing with the curiously heavy pieces of metal. In Afghanistan a worrying analysis has turned up undepleted uranium in the blood of locals which leads some to think USA is using very radioactive rounds in its war there, contaminating not only innocent locals, but their own soldiers.

        Nuclear could be a great technology if we could trust the people involved, but more than half a century of experience shows that we can't. No matter how many good people are involved in nuclear power, there are still far too many who are untrustworthy... making nuclear power, by extension, too dangerous. It is a pity, but it is unavoidable.

        Maybe in a thousand years (coincidentally when some of the radioactive waste has become a little less dangerous) we might have matured to the point where we can be trusted with nuclear power. But not today.

        What dumbfounds me is that those who love centralised power completely ignore the elephant in the room: geothermal power. It's free after building the plant, there's plenty of it for producing baseline power, especially in fault zones, and it doesn't produce toxic waste. WTF?!?

        ----- The brain is the only organ where you'd prefer to be the donor instead of the recipient.

        by miriam e on Tue Jun 03, 2014 at 04:20:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Taking them one at a time ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Construction costs are high for a nuclear plant, but so is the amount of energy you get out of it. On a Watt-hour basis, nuclear is as cheap as any non-fossil source, and cheaper than many. The "poisoning a landscape for thousands of years" argument is nothing but hype. People are living in the Chernobyl exclusion zone right now (illegally), and are outliving their counterparts who accepted relocation. Birds captured by ornithologists in the zone show the lowest levels of DNA damage in the areas with the highest background radiation, due to the hormesis effect. The area around Fukushima could be repopulated right now except for the unhealthy level of irrational fear.

          As I said elsewhere, distributed power is great if you're already a landowner with enough capital to install it. But if you're poor and urban, it's an additional expense that is yet-another mechanism that moves wealth from the poor to the well-off. That's not a progressive value. We're already seeing this in Germany where a renewable-heavy grid is driving up retail electricity prices by large amounts -- costs neatly avoided by the landowning rich, and falling heavily on the urban poor.

          Fukushima's warning signs were known by staff and ignored by government bureaucrats, who delayed a critical depressurization by hours against the advice of engineers. If they had not, it's likely that all three meltdowns would have been avoided.

          Regarding military uses, the military uses solar power too. Should we therefore ban solar? The whole argument falls into absurdity when examined closely. And undepleted uranium in anyone's blood almost certainly comes from the soil, not from any military device.

          Regarding the alleged "danger" of nuclear power, Chernobyl killed about 60 people. Three Mile Island killed zero, and Fukushima killed zero. Or rather I should say Fukushima killed zero from radiation, but about 2000 died from the fear of radiation, in the mostly unnecessary evacuation. On a levelized basis, nuclear power is one of the safest forms of power there is.

          Geothermal is great, but the geology that can support geothermal is not widely available. (The same is true of hydro.) So we need more than that.

          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 Jun 03, 2014 at 06:17:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  cherry-picking (0+ / 0-)

            When you say that people living in the Chernobyl area are outliving those who have relocated, you neglect to mention that those who have stayed are generally old, that the incidence of radiation-linked cancers among young people in "lightly" contaminated areas has risen, and that any people who are moved forcibly -- refugees -- tend to end up with bad health problems. None of this is any kind of vindication for nuclear power. It is another indictment of it.

            Chernobyl killed about 60 people immediately. How do you assess the increased incidence of cancers? Leukaemia and thyroid cancers in particular have increased, and I think I recall reading that bone cancers have too, though I'm less sure of that.

            The genetic damage to birds? Well, I can't comment on it because I don't know about it, but I'll find out more. I suspect it will be due to unexpected side-effects, such as those prone to die from radiation do so, leaving those that are more resistant, or that their predators die more easily from the radiation, giving them an easier life. Again, I doubt it will belittle the dangers of radiation.

            We have half a century of knowledge of the medical effects of nuclear radiation. No amount of hand-waving and fringe-cases will change the fact that it is dangerous.

            When you say the bureaucrats ignored the safety warnings at Fukishima, that doesn't make it safe -- it actually proves my point. In any case, if you look at the investigations you'll see both bureaucrats and the workers, almost everybody, ignored the safety warnings. The event was virtually guaranteed to happen. People can't be trusted to operate nuclear power plants. And I just know you'll point to other nuclear plants that have that have been operated safely, but that doesn't affect my point. The big problem with nuclear power is that all you need is a few that are unsafe and you have thousands or millions of people at risk, not only immediately, but potentially for centuries.

            When you say there were no deaths from Fukishima, again you are focussing on immediate deaths. Radiation tends not to work that way (unless used in a bomb). Also it is a bit silly to say everybody ran away from the scary radiation, thus avoiding getting contaminated, proving that the radiation is actually safe. It kind of damns your own argument.

            Have you heard the much-publicised complaints from the German nuclear industry that wind power has reduced the cost of energy below the point where nuclear plants can make a profit? That stands at odds to your suggestion that sustainable sources have raised the price of energy there. In the USA energy prices appear to be low, but that's because the government hands out massive subsidies and tax-breaks to fossil fuels and nuclear. The real costs are hidden. If there was a level playing field sustainable sources would trump all unsustainable sources, including nuclear. Wind power is already cheaper than coal, even with coal's prop-up from the public purse.

            Your point about the military using solar power is a mislead. The military don't leave solar panels scattered over regions, giving generations of children leukaemia. The military can't use solar panels to level an entire city in an instant. Here, I can prove your point is a mislead: which would you prefer al Qaeda to have? Solar panels or enriched radioactive material?

            Again, you can fob this off and wave it aside as hysteria, but the fact is, we have a mountain of undeniable medical knowledge about the dangers of radiation. We also have other ways of getting energy that are sustainable and involve no risk of radiation. Why would you opt for putting people at risk when you don't need to?

            I can understand the geek love for gadgets. I am just such a geek, and I do think the concepts behind nuclear power are very cool. But I don't let it override my sense of danger when I see how history has proven over and over again that people intentionally or unintentionally misuse it and turn it into a very risky technology.

            We waste most of the energy we generate. We seem to believe we have a right to waste truly lunatic amounts of energy and all other resources. If we used sane and sensible efficiency measures we could have all the energy we need, and more, from sustainable sources. There would be no question of bothering with nuclear power. If we could curb our irrational desire to waste colossal amounts of everything it would mean we wouldn't be running into problems with all our resources.

            ----- The brain is the only organ where you'd prefer to be the donor instead of the recipient.

            by miriam e on Thu Jun 05, 2014 at 06:04:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  So many dead miners. (0+ / 0-)

          I don't know why the potential of massive death rates that have never happened overrides the enormous number of actually dead miners that are still being blown up on a monthly basis to mine fossil fuels.  Fukushima was probably not half the disaster to the local sea life that Deepwater was, and will be for generations.

          Currently reading: * People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener, Healthier Cities * The 5th Discipline * It's All About Work

          by Aramis Wyler on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 09:50:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site