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View Diary: The Utility of Light: Getting Real with the Existing Energy Infrastructure. (122 comments)

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  •  Sorry, your fellow nuclear shill disagrees. (1+ / 0-)
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    NNadir

    I've pondered you post for a couple of days now, and I've decided I'm not on board.

    Fisrtly:

    Also trillions of dollars in investment - represented by the coal plants themselves - would need to be destroyed.  Who is going to pay for this?   NNadir?   As it happens I don't have trillions of dollars

    It's not trillions to replace the coal plants with nuclear.

    Consider that to replace coal with nuclear ~350 new nuclear plants need to be built.  At the pessimistic price of $2 billion each, that's $700 billion.  But that's also spread over 5 years.  So the burn rate is $140 billion a year.  That's slower than the burn rate of a certain current fossil fuel war.

    As for the 5 year part:  I don't think ANY sequestration project can conceivably retrofit all 800 coal plants in under 5 years.

    •  I am talking on a planetary scale. (0+ / 0-)

      I am also talking about generating a lot of hydrogen that is not now generated by nuclear means.

      Coal produces about 120 exajoules of primary energy.  This is about 3.8 terrawatts of power (thermal) continuously averaged.

      If we get 3000 MW(th) for $2 billion bucks a pop this is 2.5 trillion dollars, just to match modern coal to get somewhere around 1250 reactors.

      Next we need to recognize that there are many countries that do not have power and that there still is the matter of natural gas and the hydrogen/MeOH/DME to replace it.

      This is the kind of thinking that goes into my estimate.

      •  the best we can do is get our house in order (0+ / 0-)

        This is a site on US politics so that's where my mind heads.  But we do have some fellow English speakers from other countries on the diary so some convincing of them may be in order.

        As I see it:

        The people of the EU are buying the cool-aid on renewables at the moment, but they aren't stupid.  They will see the comparison of France to the rest of the EU on dangerous fossil fuel waste and will wake up eventually.  It helps to have such a good model next door.

        China, Korea and Japan get it.  China is king coal at the moment but seems to be recognizing that not the best long term solution.  I am actually quite impressed at the rate China is evolving on the environment compared to their recent modernization.  Compare their pollution to ours 15 years after the industrial revolution.

        India is just plain screwed up in more ways than power supply.  They may have nuclear ambitions, but I'm doubtful that they will replace coal anytime soon.

        Australia is out to lunch.  There may be signs of change, but nothing substantial yet.

        •  I agree that the EU will come around. (0+ / 0-)

          The immediate response has been sort of NIMBY, trying to put new stuff in post-communist Eastern Europe, but I think that will see a lot of new reactors in Western Europe.   You're right - it's hard to ignore what is going on in France, although the Germans, Spanish, and Portugese having been doing a damn good job at keeping their heads in the sand.

          The fossil fuel shill who used to run Germany though, has set up a real difficult situation.   That phase out has done a lot of damage.   It may prove damn hard to find a German speaking nuclear engineer in a few years - unless of course he or she is Swiss.

          The Italian phase out has also caused tremendous damage.

          I'm not so down on the Indians.   I have been through some Indian industrial facilities - not nuclear plants - and they are some of the finest in the world.   I think they're going to prove to be world leaders in the thorium fuel cycle bacause they have world class reserves of thorium.   In general I'm a big fan of heavy water technology and the thorium cycle.   India has a legitimate shot at world leadership in this area.   I wrote here about India here of course, but there are really two Indias, one ensconced inside the other.   One of the Indias is highly westernized, urbane, educated and sophisticated.

          I agree that the Chinese are hyper aware, but China is really in bad shape.   In many ways they are the future writ large.   Their environmental problems are enormous and the elephant on the table isn't the one that everyone's talking about:  coal.   The elephant is water.   I think the Chinese government is running scared, and well they should be.    There is a reason that all the new nukes are planned along the coast.

          Australia is a bizarre case.   The destruction of the Murray-Darling system is really, really scary but their official position is one of climate change denial.   What is really striking is that these are the people with the world's largest uranium reserves.   It should be a no brainer in Australia, but they have their heads screwed on wrong.    I understand they're going to try to desalinate.   The truly frightening thought is that they will try to get the energy for that from coal.

          If the Australians won't use their uranium, the Chinese and the Japanese will.   I am, by the way, very excited by the Japanese work on uranium recovery from seawater.   It's not certain it will pan out, but if it does, this will be a real boon to humanity.

          •  I wouldn't worry about that too much (0+ / 0-)

            about the German nuclear engineers.

            The fossil fuel shill who used to run Germany though, has set up a real difficult situation. That phase out has done a lot of damage. It may prove damn hard to find a German speaking nuclear engineer in a few years - unless of course he or she is Swiss.

            What used to be Siemens Nuclear is now part of the French company AREVA, which is currently building a plant in Finland that was designed by the French and the Germans. Until the plants in Germany actually reach the end of their life according to the phase-out, they will still need to be run, so there will be people in Germany who run them.

            Besides, many many German nuclear engineers speak and work in English anyway. Such is the way of this increasingly global world that we live in.

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