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View Diary: Banning Oil:   Dimethyl ether, Hydrogen, Nuclear Power and Motor Fuel for Cars and Trucks. (45 comments)

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  •  Option 3. (0+ / 0-)

    "The waste from fossil fuels is gaseous and kills people by the millions."

    The waste from nuclear generation would be foisted on generations to come.

    What if we put a small portion of what we're spending in Iraq to boost green energy?  

    It's already less expensive to create new wind energy than nuclear.  So spend some money on storage and transmission.

    Spend some money to ramp up photovoltaic and Stirling cycle production.

    Get wave and tidal action working for us on a larger scale.

    All this stuff generates without killing.

    "It's time we get back to our future." MJF

    by BobTrips on Fri Nov 24, 2006 at 07:53:48 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  The popular renewable "options" you cite (0+ / 0-)

      are not without environmental cost.  Neither are they without high economic costs.   Neither is their going to be significant capacity to produce them.

      Energy storage is enormously wasteful because of the laws of thermodynamics in most circumstances and the environmental costs are extremely high.

      The external costs of energy have been systematically reviewed.   It happens that nuclear energy is (marginally) safer than solar, vastly safer than biomass, and slightly less safe than wind.   Depending on location, it is often safer than hydroelectric.

      Solar is a panacea for consumer types to pretend that their lifestyle can be risk free.   The external cost of solar energy is often missed because the solar industry is - after 50 years of research - insignificant, producing less than 0.01% of the world's electric energy.   Since everybody in principle loves solar energy, this suggests something about how viable it really is.  

      In theory the sulfur iodine cycle could be used with a molten salt solar collector plant.   Although this is true it will never happen, and the reason is economic.

      I often hear about this "third" option, and it is very popular.   It is also wishful thinking.   My claim is that climate change is real, that it is serious, and it cannot be wished away.   Nuclear energy produces nearly 30 exajoules of primary energy out of the 470 exajoules the world demands.   Hydroelectric produces about 10 exajoules - almost all of it in the form of electricity though, which makes it comparable to nuclear.   For all the talk and posturing "other renewables" produce less than 2 exajoules.   The disappearance of glaciers because of climate change puts hydroelectric at risk, and in any case there is little room to expand this capacity in any case.

      The balance comes from fossil fuels.

      We will not be able to replace fossil fuels without nuclear energy.   If we do not replace fossil fuels, and if we do not do it soon, the consequences are far too horrible to contemplate.  I'm sorry, but that's how it is.

      •  Somewhat with you... (0+ / 0-)

        I agree that we have a significant problem on our hands with global warming.

        I don't agree that we should rush headlong into a nuclear future without thoroughly investigating how to avoid the very long term problem of nuclear waste.

        I don't care if it costs more upfront to provide energy if we can avoid the very long term costs of glowing hot spots.

        Yes, we are pretty much done with hydro power development, at least large scale.  But other forms of energy production still have huge potential.

        Solar usage is small at the time but photovoltaic costs are dropping rapidly and are ideal to solve the peak load problem in the US which comes mainly from air conditioning demands.

        We have huge wind potential in the mid-west which mainly needs transmission lines to make it available to the greater grid.  I'd rather spend money on transmission lines than on concrete bunkers which would be only temporary fixes for nuclear waste.

        We may not be able to totally eliminate nuclear from the mix.  We may need to build a few plants if we can't get other solutions on line quick enough.

        But nuclear, IMO, should be like abortion.  Available but rare.  As rare as we can possibly make it.

        470/30/10/2 is merely a description of what now is.  It is not an indication of what must be.

        "It's time we get back to our future." MJF

        by BobTrips on Fri Nov 24, 2006 at 08:57:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually the problem of so called "nuclear waste" (0+ / 0-)

          is well understood.

          It is technically understood better than any form of energy waste there is.

          I don't know why that seems so mysterious but it does.  

          I've been over the matter of wind power, and it's not quite as easy as you say.   I think we all should expand the growth of wind, so long as we keep ourselves aware of its limitations.   I do think that it can be of service in places with geography that allows for pumped storage, but it's not as reliable - or, depending on back up - as safe as nuclear energy

          In any case, wind is intermittent and nuclear is continuous.   This makes for possible synergies, but it means that wind can only displace some natural gas.   Nuclear and coal (and to a very small extent, biofuels and geothermal) compete but wind is not a part of the equation.

          I don't regard nuclear power as something we should do reluctantly.   I think the world should commit to immediate expansion to the largest possible extent.   It's just vastly better than all of its options.

          •  NNadir, please add youself to the list of authors (0+ / 0-)

            that can be contacted directly by email in the "contact us" area of Kos.  I wish to inform you of some aspects of nuclear waste disposal technology and politics off-line.

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