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While most of the energy-related news last week focused on the anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami — and the accident at Japan's Fukushima-1 nuclear plant that was a result of this natural disaster — across the Sea of Japan, China announced plans for the future: accelerate nuclear, while putting the breaks on solar and wind.

China will accelerate the use of new-energy sources such as nuclear energy and put an end to blind expansion in industries such as solar energy and wind power in 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says in a government report published on March 5.
(source)

That's not to say that renewable energy will be left out. On the contrary, China intends to expand renewable energy to 11.4% of China's energy consumption by 2016. Hydroelectric will play the largest roll in this expansion, contributing two-thirds to this target and adding 20 GW of new installed capacity, which is expected to cost about $21.7 billion.

Other renewables, like wind and solar, will continue to contribute and expand, but they will take a back seat to nuclear power and hydroelectric in China's new energy plan. Why? Although their deployment has been very rapid in recent years, their performance has been dismal. In the opinion of one energy insider:

... China will pay more attention to the utilization of new energy, hence wind power and solar power, which failed to achieve sound utilization, will bid farewell to the era of fast development, said Zhai Ruoyu, former general manager of the China Datang Corp., one of China's five power giants.
China has good reasons to reign in this "blind expansion" that Wen Jiabao refers to. As many renewable-energy advocates on DailyKos have pointed out in recent years, the renewable sector in China, particularly in the manufacturing sector, has been going gangbusters. Since 2008, China's capacity to produce both solar modules and wind turbines has doubled each year. Today, China now leads the world in the ability to manufacture this equipment.

Unfortunately, the markets for this equipment were not as quick to develop. For example, in 2010, China manufactured about 8 GW worth of photovoltaic (PV) modules, but it installed less than half a GW (about 5%) of that production.

This imbalance has global repercussions, since China has had no choice but to try to export the massive surplus. This has flooded markets in countries like the US, leading to a (spuriously) low cost for solar modules in recent years and accusations of "dumping" by bitter US manufacturers who have been forced to lay off workers or declare bankruptcy in recent years (Solyndra being the most notorious example).

Even such aggressive moves by the Chinese have not been enough to cover the deficit. Although sales in the US have remained reliable, fueled by generous government incentives and Renewable Portfolio Standards, other markets have not been as lucrative as originally anticipated. For example, countries like Spain have been forced to drastically cut their subsidies in recent years after coming to the hard realization that they cannot afford to pay for such luxuries as outrageously expensive forms of power generation in difficult economic times.

As a result, solar modules remain unsold, and the Chinese PV manufactures have accumulated large inventories of unsold product. Thus, it is not surprising that the Chinese government wants to halt further expansion of renewable energy equipment manufacturing.

Even the minority of renewable-energy equipment that ends up installed in China has severely underperformed, much of it due to poor planning. Although the numbers for installed capacity (the numbers that renewable-energy advocates on DailyKos love to reference) are quite impressive, the capacity does not translate directly to actual use. While the installed capacity of solar reached 3 GW and the installed capacity of wind reached 62 GW by 2010, only about 70% of the installed wind power in China was actually connected to the grid in 2010, and less than 60% of the installed solar capacity was connected.

Although part of the problem with integration of renewable energy into China's grid is the result of an energy act passed in 1996 — which imposes standards that are difficult for solar and wind producers to meet — the rapid rate of deployment, without an accompanying expansion of the infrastructure to accommodate such growth, has certainly contributed to and exasperated the problem.

What is worse is that this is before you consider that the capacity factor (i.e., ratio of the amount of electricity that will be generated relative the amount that could be generated based on capacity factor) for wind is less than 30% and the capacity factor for solar is less than 20%. This means that the 65 GW of installed solar/wind capacity generates less than what 15 GW of fossil-fuel or nuclear capacity would.

China also plans to continue using fossil-fuels. While they plan to decrease (slightly) the share that fossil-fuels provides to their energy mix, they also plan to "tackle key problems more quickly in the exploration and development of shale gas." So stay tuned.

Finally, as mentioned in the introduction, China plans to accelerate its nuclear energy program. Today, it has 14 nuclear reactors in operation and an additional 25 currently under construction. In addition to the near-term increase in nuclear capacity — much of it purchased abroad — China has been engaged in R&D projects to develop new technologies in this area. The plants currently under construction will very likely be the last nuclear reactors that China purchases from other countries. Meanwhile, China is aggressively pursuing the following nuclear technologies:

  • Advanced Light Water Reactors – A modernized version of the type of
    reactors we have in the US
  • Pebble Bed Reactors – An innovative technology originally pioneered in Germany
  • Reprocessing – For recycling the so-called "nuclear waste"
  • Liquid Metal Reactors – China has claimed that it can meet its
    electricity needs for 3000 years using existing uranium
    resources and this technology
  • Molten Salt Reactors – China is the first country to seriously
    reconsider this technology in about 40 years

Expect these nuclear R&D programs to expand and accelerate in the next five years. Meanwhile, expect the cost of cheap solar modules and wind turbines to either remain static or increase in the coming years as a result of changes in China's attitude.

Originally posted to bryfry on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 05:36 PM PDT.

Also republished by Nuclear dkos and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (27+ / 0-)

    Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
    -- Albert Einstein

    by bryfry on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 05:36:09 PM PDT

  •  Honestly ... (20+ / 0-)

    It is frustrating when a knowledgeable nuclear advocate's priority seems to be attacking renewable energy without, for example, having any serious discussion of fossil fuel (e.g. coal).

    Some points:

    A quibble

    What is worse is that this is before you consider that the capacity factor (i.e., ratio of the amount of electricity that will be generated relative the amount that could be generated based on capacity factor) for wind is less than 30% and the capacity factor for solar is less than 20%. This means that the 65 GW of installed solar/wind capacity generates less than what 15 GW of fossil-fuel or nuclear capacity would.
    Okay, 62 GW is wind and 3 is solar.  At 25% (well below the "less than 30" you use), that wind power is over 15 gigawatts equivalent of 24/7 production.  

    While nuclear power in the US is 95+% capacity factor, that is high for the PRC. Let's use 90%:  at that, 15 GW faceplate of nuclear would provide 13.5 GW 24/7 equivalent.  

    Cost

    Why not enage directly with LCOE?  Unclear that solar and wind are expensive in the ways you state with a real LCOE equation / analysis.

    And, wind in the United States is being offered for long-term contracts well below the life-cycle kWh prices proposed for nuclear power plants. (For both, financing costs / etc are a huge impact and changed policies/apporaches could help both improve their LCOE.)

    Wind / Solar Integration

    The allure of building systems that weren't connected into the grid -- Potemkin energy systems -- isn't isolated to the PRC. It is a serious failure and is a waste of resources.

    Externalities
    To what extent should 'externalities' be counted in our cost equations?

    Natural?
    Really.  Is Fukushima to be a throw away as "natural disaster"?  It doesn't even get comment about how modern / changed designs would make this impossible?  And, how about talking about PRC planned systems against such a standard?

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 06:26:14 PM PDT

    •  You're being honest? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dauphin, mircead

      I was hoping to give you the benefit of the doubt and tell myself that you were just repeating mindless talking points.

      It is frustrating when a knowledgeable nuclear advocate's priority seems to be attacking renewable energy ...
      No Adam, what is frustrating is when the knee-jerks show up to make stupid comments.
      ... without, any serious discussion of fossil fuel (e.g. coal).
      A quibble:
      1. How much fossil-fuel consumption has your diaries/comments eliminated over the years?
      2. Meanwhile, how much fossil-fuel consumption has China's 14 reactors displaced over the years?
      3. And for good measure, how much fossil-fuel consumption will China's projected 39+ reactors displace over the years?

      And you have the nerve to claim that I was not seriously discussing fossil fuel?!

      Okay, 62 GW is wind and 3 is solar. At 25% (well below the "less than 30" you use), that wind power is over 15 gigawatts equivalent of 24/7 production.
      Please, read the diary again (or for the first time, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt). Only 70% of the installed wind power capacity and less than 60% of the installed solar capacity was actually connected to the grid.

      Since you are so stubbornly pedantic as to go through an arithmetic exercise, here are the numbers:

      (62 GW * 70% * 30%) + (3 GW * 60% * 20%) = 13.38 GW

      While I have observed over the years that you play fast-and-loose with the numbers in your diaries, you should know better, Adam, than to question my figures.

      In any case, why do you have to be so petty? This was an order-of-magnitude type of calculation. I rounded up to 15%, which makes those mostly worthless renewables look better.

      While nuclear power in the US is 95+% capacity factor, that is high for the PRC. Let's use 90%: at that, 15 GW faceplate of nuclear would provide 13.5 GW 24/7 equivalent.
      Jeez, you can't get your facts right, even when you try to be nice and spot me an advantage. The average capacity factor for the 104 nuclear plants in the US is only about 90% (perhaps 91% in good years). It has never been 95%, and I would never claim it to be so high, unlike some renewable advocates who regularly exaggerate the performance of their toys.
      Why not engage directly with LCOE? Unclear that solar and wind are expensive in the ways you state with a real LCOE equation / analysis.
      Straw man. Did I do any kind of cost of electricity calculation?

      No. I'm just repeating what has been reported about China's latest plans for electricity. If you have problems with any LCOE calculations (I note that you provide none yourself), then please take it up with the China's National Energy Administration. Your pathetic attempt to shoot the messenger reeks of the desperation of someone who is not sure of his position.

      And, wind in the United States is being offered for long-term contracts well below the life-cycle kWh prices proposed for nuclear power plants. (For both, financing costs / etc are a huge impact and changed policies/approaches could help both improve their LCOE.)
      Does that include the PTC? Either way, this was a diary about China's energy policy, not wind in the US. Another attempt to divert away from the topic at hand. sigh
      To what extent should 'externalities' be counted in our cost equations?
      Don't get me started about the amount of pollution that is resulting from PV manufacture in China. Do you think that all of this explosive growth comes without any cost?
      Is Fukushima to be a throw away as "natural disaster"?
      Ha ha ... and you want to talk about "cost." This is priceless!

      Tell me, please. What has been the cost in human lives of the earthquake and tsunami? Now, what has been the cost in human lives of the alleged "nuclear disaster" that followed?

      I've been keeping score, have you? My tally has almost 20,000 killed by the natural disaster; nobody killed by radiation from the nuclear plant.

      Even if we assume that one or two people were killed by the nuclear accident, that's still a cost ratio of about 10,000 to 1.

      It doesn't even get comment about how modern / changed designs would make this impossible? And, how about talking about PRC planned systems against such a standard?
      I'll tell you what, you can come back an ask me these questions when I diary or comment that China is planning to build a 1960's-era General Electric Boiling Water Reactor with a Mark I containment. OK?

      Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
      -- Albert Einstein

      by bryfry on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:29:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I actually had to laugh (5+ / 0-)

        a couple days ago when I read an article about a visit (all suited up in haz-mat suits) into the Fukushima "exclusion zone".  Herds of "wild" cattle, they found.  Had to avoid a stampede when they spooked 'em.  Wild cattle.  Live wild cattle.  I thought they were all supposed to be dead from cancer or something . . .

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:45:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Give it time. (10+ / 0-)

          Just because they aren't dropping like flies doesn't mean they won't produce mutant offspring.

          Believe it of not, there really is something to this nuclear radiation thing.

          If you would like to convince us the situation is safe, then by all means make an impressive demonstration by moving next door to the reactors.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 03:01:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'd move there. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy

            Not on the coast, maybe . . . tsunamis can kill you.  But the cancer risk from radiation in the exclusion zone is less than the risk from chemical exposure that I face every day here in the good old USA.  I hear there's a lot of "hot" Cessium in the spinach, but I don't eat much spinach, and could always buy "imported" . . .

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:33:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But, but, but - didn't you read (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mircead, eigenlambda

              that peer-reviewed scientific paper that established the Fukushima had increased soil radioisotope levels by 3 to 10%?

              (I posted it a few days ago but could look it up again if there's sufficient demand for it)

              The horror, the horror!!

              •  Roadbed, could you give us that paper again? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mahakali overdrive

                You referred to a:

                peer-reviewed scientific paper that established Fukushima had increased soil radioisotope levels by 3 to 10%...
                You mocked the findings, which suggests that it failed your "peer-review". Please, we'd like to see what you're goofing on.
            •  What are you worried about? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joieau, Nulwee, jam

              That plant operated for years without any Tsunami problems and the one that hit was a historical worst case and so big it was virtually a statistical impossibility in the reactor design specifications.

              Do you realize how unlikely it is another like it would occur?

              Stop wimping out on us and do the math.

              Surf's Up, Dude. Go for it.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:52:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  About the risk (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AaronInSanDiego, splintersawry

              The high school teacher in this story would beg to differ with you:

              Frankly, I think nuclear power is a necessary evil. Solar and wind don't come close to what it will take to power the planet. Actually, solar + wind + nuclear isn't enough given the current state of technology. Dr. Nate Lewis offers a better explanation of this than I can:

              My problem with nuclear power is the unnecessary danger posed to the public due to inadequate regulations as this video explains quite clearly:

              "I wish I could tell you, in the midst of all of this, that President Obama was waging the kind of fight against these draconian Republican proposals that the American people would like to see. He is not." -- Senator Bernie Sanders

              by Sagebrush Bob on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 04:45:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  So the existence of animals means no radiation? (4+ / 0-)

          That's like saying the existence of polar ice means no global warming.  I would say that is "weak science" except I don't believe that the word "science" should be used to describe your comment.

          Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

          by bigtimecynic on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:11:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't say that. (0+ / 0-)

            You said that.

            There's radiation everywhere.  All the time.  Sometimes even lethal.  Not so much in the "exclusion zone", though . . . minor compared to bus exhaust, at least as far as "lethality" goes.

            I presume you want to shut down all the buses, too, since they kill people ? ? ?

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:40:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Chernobyl exclusion zone (8+ / 0-)

          The 1900 square miles around Chernobyl has become Europe's largest wildlife reserve, complete with an entirely new type of birch tree that doesn't grow a trunk, so it presnts as a kind of wierd bush. And swallows whose wings are not symmetrical in length.

          •  It IS a wildlife paradise . . . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Nulwee

            with almost all animals doing quite well - or, at least better than with humans around.  Which is somewhat ironic, I suppose - i.e., that the worst commercial nuclear power disaster is better than "business as usual" human activity . . ..

            And there's even fungus that eats radiation for lunch, that's pretty damn cool!

            •  It may be a radioactive roach motel (9+ / 0-)

              There is some scientific debate.  Yes there is a lot of wildlife, but the US scientists who have studied it most quantitatively document that it draws wildlife from surrounding areas because there are no people there.  But the animals move in and die or fail to reproduce because of radiation.  There are also quite a lot of deformities and mutations.

              •  There a few species that have been unambiguously (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JayBat

                impacted, in general however there is scant evidence for widespread deleterious impacts on animals.

                •  Simply not true (7+ / 0-)

                  There is lots of evidence for widespread deleterious impacts on animals -- depending on how close they are to the reactor.  Swallows have been extensively studied and the rate at which they suffer deformities is proportional to how close they nest to the reactors.

                  The latest theory is that animals are drawn in because people aren't there.  That's why it looks like animals are abundant.  Unfortunately, they are drawn in and if they get close to the radiation they die.  Those that don't have high rates of sterility and deformed offspring.  

                  It is believed by some scientists that the population of animals at any given time isn't self sustaining and if it weren't for in-migration, the populations would die off.

                  •  That's essentially the hypothesis (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JayBat

                    of one crank - who somehow got the New York Academy of Sciences to publish a whole series of non-peer-reviewed articles on the topic -  it is not the consensus view widely held by most environmentalists who have looked into this.

                    •  Roadbed, who are all these "environmentalists" (6+ / 0-)

                      you cite as having found that there are "no widespread deleterious impacts on animals" within the Chernobyl exclusion zone? What peer-reviewed publications has their work appeared in?

                      You must have numerous references at hand since you state that a lack of harm to fauna is a "consensus view widely held by most environmentalists".

                      Then you go on to rave about: "fungus that eats radiation for lunch, that's pretty damn cool!". Yes, reportedly, there is native fungus in the Chernobyl exclusion zone and it absorbs radiation without being killed in the process. But then, as in the case of Fukushima, you end up with mushrooms which are, essentially, radioactive waste. In Chernobyl, wild boars have been eating the irradiated mushrooms and, consequently, the boars themselves are also irradiated in accordance with the volume of irradiated mushroom they've consumed. Where does that leave you?

            •  1) BBC Report with links (0+ / 0-)

              http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

              Chernobyl 'not a wildlife haven'
              The idea that the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has created a wildlife haven is not scientifically justified, a study says.

              Recent studies said rare species had thrived despite raised radiation levels as a result of no human activity.

              But scientists who assessed the 1986 disaster's impact on birds said the ecological effects were "considerably greater than previously assumed".

              2) Pictures: Animals Inherit Mixed Legacy at Chernobyl http://news.nationalgeographic.com/...
              But within a 1,100-square-mile (2,850-square-kilometer) area that remains cleared of most people and agriculture, the wildlife have moved in. A surprising variety of animals actually appear to be thriving in a landscape that is devoid of human activity. Scientists have observed that other species show signs of troubling genetic changes, evidence of the continuing long-term aftermath of what is still seen as the world's worst nuclear disaster.
              3) Is Chernobyl a Wild Kingdom or a Radioactive Den of Decay?
              http://www.wired.com/...
              A long article arguing both sides of the issue.

              So the situation is not as rosy as you and others want to paint it, but much more research and study are needed to determine the long-term effects, both harmful and beneficial.  

              „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

              by translatorpro on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 12:31:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Deward, got a link for that "cattle" article? n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  Let's see ... (11+ / 0-)

        1.  You take this as attack rather than engagement. It is hard to believe that you are serious about engagement with absurdities like this:

        How much fossil-fuel consumption has your diaries/comments eliminated over the years?
        Fine, want to take on how I did the calculation (which you did) but that line is simply intended to drive people off and isn't even cute as a "quibble".  

        2.  RE

        2.Meanwhile, how much fossil-fuel consumption has China's 14 reactors displaced over the years?
        3.And for good measure, how much fossil-fuel consumption will China's projected 39+ reactors displace over the years?
        Don't you realize how you would have strengthened your diary, for the DKos world and elsewhere, if you had taken a paragraph to discuss these within the diary?

        3.  Again, attack -- you treat my comments as an attack against nuclear power rather than engagement -- find in my diaries or comments any "attack" on nuclear power other than, occasionally, raising price issues.  Which points to LCOE.  What drove asking the question / making that suggestion?

        cannot afford to pay for such luxuries as outrageously expensive forms of power generation
        No, you don't do any form of electricity cost calculation but do a blanket statement.
        4.  Capacity factor # was my screw up -- been awhile since I've looked at the #s, late at night, and I should have typed "as I recall".  According to NEI, above 91% in 2010 (up from under 66 percent 20 years earlier .. http://www.nei.org/...).  So, if US is 91 then what is the PRC planning factor?

        5.  Point on Fukushima: engage with the concerns that you know exist. Highlight how the PRC plants are not 1960s designs.  Again, what is the community perception in which you are publishing.

        6.  Re deaths, have you seen me promote the study asserting 14,000 deaths in the US due to Fukushima or talking about radiation deaths in Japan?  On the other hand, do you not think that there weren't human factors leading to the evacuations / no go zones due to Fukushima?    By the way, as I understand it, the (relatively) low exposure #s are due in no small part to how many people were evacuated and from how large an area.

        6.  Externalities can (do) play against all energy production systems and should be part of the calculation(s).

         

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 08:25:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  PS ;; (5+ / 0-)

        Re your calculation of capacity -- note that you are putting nuclear in a less favorable light. What is nuclear capacity factor as opposed to fossil fuel electricity plant capacity factor?

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 08:31:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh yeah ... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, koNko, Joieau, Russgirl

        re the calculation, meant to point something out. You wrote "generates" not "delivered to the grid". "Generation" is what I calculated.

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 08:54:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Weak response. (4+ / 0-)

        Because personal attacks raise questions of credibility.

        But there is value in a good argument, despite the emotions, I'll grant you both that.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 02:58:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Clean energy catching up to poison nukes...fast! (4+ / 0-)
        Clean Energy Investments Hit Record Highs in 2011, U.S. Clean Tech VC Funding Jumps 30%

        Last year saw record levels of investment in solar, biofuels, and wind energy. Those 3 markets rose 31% to $246 billion, according to the Clean Energy Trends 2012 report (here) issued today by the research and advisory firm Clean Edge, Inc.

        The report is filled with some great charts.

        For instance, if you thought clean tech VC investment in this country was petering out, it turns out reports of that death appeared to be exaggerated:

        U.S.-based venture capital investments in clean tech increased 30 percent from $5.1 billion in 2010 to $6.6 billion in 2011, according to data provided by Cleantech Group.

        Clean Edge analysis found that clean-tech’s percentage of total U.S. venture capital investments accounted for a record 23.2 percent of total U.S. venture activity last year.

        Rest of article with FACTS - no spin - at link.

        http://thinkprogress.org/...

        •  Not just catching up -- surpassing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, splintersawry

          Globally, renewables have been kicking the shit out of nukes for about a decade now in terms of the amount of capacity brought online annually.

          It is truly bizarre how attached some people are to the idea of nuclear power, even though it is such an incredibly dangerous and horrible way of generating electricity.  Even if it didn't cause millions of years of insanely toxic waste, you're still boiling rivers as opposed to leveraging the mindblowing amounts of energy delivered to this planet free of charge and free of pollution 24 hours a day.  

          Wind is, in the final analysis, solar power.  Nuclear is humankind's weak and foolish attempt to build its own sun.

          I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. - Walt Whitman

          by CharlieHipHop on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 07:48:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  More FACTS - not spin. Read entire article link. (6+ / 0-)

        ...3.Nuclear power projects require considerably more in loan guarantees than renewables.

        Two new nuclear power plants at the Vogtle complex in Georgia recently received a conditional commitment for an $8.3 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. government.

        This loan amount is equivalent to more than 15 Solyndras, and the two plants alone equal nearly a quarter of all recent DOE loan guarantees.

        This one guarantee, based on its sheer size and the long history of nuclear power plant public opposition, delays, and closures, puts taxpayers at far greater risk than perhaps any other project.

        The whole report is worth reading. It focuses on ”five major trends for 2012″:
         1.The Few, The Proud, The Green: Military Leads Clean-Energy Deployment
         2.Japan Moves Toward Cleaner Post-Nuclear Future
         3.Deep Commercial Building Retrofits Reap Major Efficiency Savings
         4.Waste-to-Resource Breakthroughs Attract Attention – and Investment
         5.New Energy Storage Solutions Embolden the Grid

        Related Post:
         •One Trillionth Dollar Invested in Clean Energy in 2011: Will American Business Capture the Second Trillion?

        http://thinkprogress.org/...

  •  Reality bites . . . (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gzodik, VClib, bryfry, Blubba, Nulwee, mircead

    Solar is good for air conditioning, wind is good for pumping water.  Otherwise, if you want power when and where you need it you can't count on either.  There are a lot of "whens" and "wheres" in China.

    But they've done an excellent job, once again, of playing the US for suckers, as every dollar of "alternate energy" subsidy goes to China for technology that leaves us in the dark when the sun goes down.  Not to mention the "never" net ROI.

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 06:29:48 PM PDT

    •  My lights stay on after dark . (6+ / 0-)

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 08:55:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry (5+ / 0-)

        I'm kinda sick and didn't sleep well last night so I'm a bit cranky this morning so excuse me if this comment comes off as sounding a bit ... NNadirish, but, ...

        That's got to be one of the dumbest fucking comments I have ever read in my entire life. The whole stupid fucking meme of "OMG, the sun goes down, whatever shall we do when the sun goes down" is just assinine. No one, NO ONE, NO ONE is suggesting we convert to 100% solar powered with no energy storage grid. Um, allow me to repeat.... no one. It's just such an annoying straw man argument, even as a DUMB-ASSED throw away comment that it seriously chaps my ass.

        My lights stay on during the 36.5 days when the nuclear power plant is down (huh, what? um, 365 days a year, 90% availability = 36.5 days off-line) because THAT'S NOT HOW THE GRID WORKS. My lights also stay on during the day when peak power climbs above the baseload in such a manner that nuclear power can't/won't/doesn't follow. Wait, what?

        A case can certainly be made that a share of nuclear in national electricity generation of over 50 or 60% is less than optimal, given that nuclear plants are not ideally suited to meet peak power demand.Source: Nuclear Engineering International
        So, can we all just stop with the idiotic comments about the sun going down and try and have a reasonable discussion about energy?

        Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

        by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:50:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The sun (suns) doesn't (don't) set (0+ / 0-)

          on your planet?  That's neat . . . and no doubt saves a lot of money, not needing grow lights and all that.  There's no sun (now) where I am, hasn't been for about 10 hours, and won't be for a while because it's raining, with a solid cloud cover predicted for the next several days.

          But it's OK . . . I've got plenty of candles, and white gas for the Coleman lanterns.  And a hand cranked generator to charge the laptop . . .

          Ps. did you even bother to read the first sentence of my comment?

          Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

          by Deward Hastings on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:04:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  so, the answer to my question (7+ / 0-)

            about having a reasonable discussion about energy is apparently No.

            allow me to repeat for the reading impaired:

            No one, NO ONE, NO ONE is suggesting we convert to 100% solar powered with no energy storage grid. Um, allow me to repeat.... no one.
            So, your point about the sun going down is
            1/ irrelevant
            2/ a straw man

            I would go on, but it would get personal and I don't feel like getting my first TR in seven years here at DK.

            Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

            by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:10:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, it doesn't (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AaronInSanDiego, splintersawry

            The sun always shines on my planet.  Not always on my little corner of my planet, but it is always shining.

            I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes. - Walt Whitman

            by CharlieHipHop on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 07:52:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Jam , are you saying that to me ? (0+ / 0-)

          "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

          by indycam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 04:46:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If you did mean to say that to me , (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AaronInSanDiego, jam

          I guess you didn't get it , so I will make it real clear for you .
          My lights stay on because of my batteries .

          "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

          by indycam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 04:53:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Deward: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PreciousLittle, CharlieHipHop

      Don't they have batteries in your world?

      •  Nope. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry, mircead

        Not enough, anyway, and what there are aren't inexpensive (and they don't last).  I've seen credible calculations that demonstrate insufficient lead, planetwide (or lithium, or whatever you want to make them out of) to provide even a small fraction of the baseload requirement even if we mined all of it . . . and even if you are willing to cover the whole planet with batteries (which is about how many it would take).

        Of course if you're one of those who plans to just throw away your i-phone or i-pad when the (non-replaceable) battery fails (in a few years) and have the slaves build you a new one . . . well . . . considerations like "reality" won't much matter to you (or inexpensive and reliable energy sources).  You can have the slaves run on a treadmill when you want electricity . . .

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:55:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  China rural electrification program (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee, CharlieHipHop, Odysseus

      The reason all those wind and solar installations aren't connected to the grid is because they were planned that way.

      The China Village Electrification Program (Song Dian Dao Cun) is a scheme to provide renewable electricity to 3.5 million households in 10,000 villages by 2010. This is to be followed by full rural electrification using renewable energy by 2015.

      The total program is expected to cost in the region of US$5 billion, and solar generated electricity is expected to play a major role. China produces around 20% of the world’s total solar cells, and production is growing at over 50% each year. small hydro and wind power are also likely to be employed. The Program follows on from the smaller China Township Electrification Program which ended in 2005. China is committed to generating 10% of its electricity from renewables by 2010.

      Wikipedia, of course.
    •  Solar coincides with peak power consumption (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      science nerd, ozsea1, Russgirl, Odysseus

      While going 100% solar would not be a good idea, solar energy is a great supplemental power source. The times when the sun is overhead and hot, are the times when eletrcicity useage is peaking.

      Also- I am confused about the 'never' net ROI you are asserting. Over the long run solar panels will indeed pay for itself. What's the problem?

  •  There's nothing more dangerous than a little (17+ / 0-)

    knowledge, and quite frankly there's a serious lack of actual knowledge backed up by links, or any other type of citation here.

    First,  you're conflating wind and solar left and right here, painting them both with a wide brush. And then you drop this, uncited, jewel:

    What is worse is that this is before you consider that the capacity factor (i.e., ratio of the amount of electricity that will be generated relative the amount that could be generated based on capacity factor) for wind is less than 30% and the capacity factor for solar is less than 20%. This means that the 65 GW of installed solar/wind capacity generates less than what 15 GW of fossil-fuel or nuclear capacity would.
    Problems here.  You're trying to represent the standard capacity factors of PV solar, and wind, as basically the same.  The problem is the numbers that you are giving bear little resemblance to reality, at least in the US. First, as of 2006, new wind turbines had a capacity factor of 36%.  (pg. 27) Solar PV tends to run at 12-14% capacity factor in MA.  (See page 1.)

    I don't have access at my fingertips to numbers from China, but I can tell you that the problems with the wind power sector there are due to unique factors that don't translate to the US and other markets.  The problem in China

    In China, long‐distance power transmission is often cited as an important factor in power sector decision making by the government. Of particular concern is that the concentration of wind farms build‐out in the north and northeast (where the wind resources are among the richest) is a great distance from main demand centres (Figure 4).

    In western Inner Mongolia, wind already provided 6 TWh of electricity in 2009, about 6% of the total electricity generated in this region (EEO, 2010). Local demand is often lower than the supply. When the wind is blowing, surplus power is exported by transmitting electricity generated to adjacent grids. However, as only two 500‐kV transmission lines are currently connected to the adjacent North regional grid, passing on surplus is possible only when the additional amount of electricity is still relatively low. In the winter, when district heating from combined heat and power (CHP) plants must be assured, power generated from wind farms is often severely curtailed in the region – sometimes to levels as low as 20% (BNEF, 2010b).

    There is little in the way of combined heat and power in the US which is going to create a reverse merit order effect of this type, and there is a great deal more in the way of transmission infrastructure.  Moreover, there is good capacity in the Great Lakes region where existing infrastructure for the transmission of coal fired power to the northeast avoids the problem of "stranded" power.

    Now.  About Spain. The article that you link to is almost two years old, and refers to a bubble that long ago popped. Yes, their have been (minor) cuts), but it wasn't FITs driving the bubble in 2008. The problem was that Spain's many co-op buildings found that they had access to super cheap credit, which made it highly profitable to put a few panels on the roof, and feed the power into the grid for a profit. Without the credit bubble this would never have ballooned as it did.  It's a mistake to subsidize PV solar to place power on the grid.  It's competitive for self-consumption, but the credit bubble showed that FITs are a less than perfect instrument for PV solar because there's no square factor effect here, it's scalable.

    The problem that I have is that you've painted this very particular case of PV solar as though it's indicative of the entire Spanish renewables industry.  It isn't, and hinting at such shows a remarkable degree of ignorance about the actual factors at play here.

    http://www.economicpopulist.org

    by ManfromMiddletown on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 09:02:59 PM PDT

    •  I have a problem with reality? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gzodik, mircead, Blubba
      The problem is the numbers that you are giving bear little resemblance to reality, at least in the US. First, as of 2006, new wind turbines had a capacity factor of 36%. (pg. 27)
      Heh ... Yeah, sure. Very new, well-cited wind turbines can generate more than 1/3 of their nameplate capacity. We're talking about an entire country, however. Can you name one country that has achieved a nation-wide capacity factor of 30% with its wind turbines?
      Solar PV tends to run at 12-14% capacity factor in MA. (See page 1.)
      Perhaps your problem is not with reality, but with math. FYI: 12% < 20% and 14% < 20%. I'm baffled to figure out how you think that this little factoid has countered anything I have written.
      I don't have access at my fingertips to numbers from China, but I can tell you that the problems with the wind power sector there are due to unique factors that don't translate to the US and other markets.
      Well, that's besides the point, since I did not even mention the US in my diary. In any case, I did mention two problems that are specific to China:
      1. A 1996 law that interferes with wind and solar being connected to the grid
      2. A renewable-energy build-out that has outpaced the infrastructure to support it

      Now. About Spain. The article that you link to is almost two years old, and refers to a bubble that long ago popped.
      Do you really mean to claim that all consequences of a financial change last less than two years? In case you haven't noticed, the housing bubble in the US popped about four years ago. The repercussions are still being felt today.
      The problem that I have is that you've painted this very particular case of PV solar as though it's indicative of the entire Spanish renewables industry.
      I mentioned Spain as an example because it was expected to be a large customer for Chinese PV, and the actual sales were smaller than expected.

      Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
      -- Albert Einstein

      by bryfry on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 09:42:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Usual Suspects peddling the Usual BS (7+ / 0-)

    Lessee, two major "accidents" courtesy of the nuclear power industrial complex in less than thirty years, and Fukushima's legacy is far from over....

    How many accidents from renewables?

    * Crickets *

    You nuke trolls aren't fooling anyone, except yourselves.

    "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

    by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 01:23:04 AM PDT

    •  I'll play that game. (6+ / 0-)

      Let's take the absolute worst-case for Chernobyl as true, Greenpeace's estimate of death toll, which total something like 900.000, quite a few orders of magnitude higher than the official IAEA estimate (a few thousand).

      Sounds bad, right? Well... until you remember that, even not counting climate change, fossil fuels kill an estimated two million per year by pollution. Even if we estimate - since we cannot know - that Fukushima will be just as bad as Chernobyl, that sums up to one accident equalling a death toll of half a year of fossil fuel operation per something like fifteen years. Not really a bad result, especially given one of the accidents was due to a poor reactor design coupled with rampant incompetence and the other with one of the worst natural disasters in living memory, which is a location-specific problem.

      A simple Benthamite calculation suggests, at least to me, that we should prefer nuclear power over fossil fuels, particularly since we haven't resolved baseload generation issues with renewables. I'm no more inclined to put my faith in resolving climate change problems in a future as-yet undeveloped fossil fuel technology (clean coal etc.) than in an as-yet undeveloped and unproven renewable technology (smart grid etc.). Climate change is too serious an issue for that.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 02:40:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your bet and risk scenario (6+ / 0-)

        Totally excludes the thorny and unresolved problem of spent fuel storage, which is a very significant risk, and ultimate disposal, for which there is no technology proven for the duration.

        Sounds like you are willing to accept some very significant risk factors without even a second thought.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 03:13:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I do. (8+ / 0-)

          Compared to the proven alternative, there really is no contest. Besides, it's not like green technology is radioactive waste-free, is it? If memory serves, rare earths tend to come mixed with radioactive compounds, usually thorium, which are a devil to process safely. Isn't that one of the reasons Inner Mongolia is so environmentally degraded?

          Due to this I strongly advocate what India is doing, investing in thorium-based nuclear plants. That provides us with both a large carbon dioxide-free energy source, and, by giving a use to the byproducts of rare earth mining, improves the economics of renewables at the same time.

          Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

          by Dauphin on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 03:17:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  China is working on the problem (9+ / 0-)

            Of RIE mining and refining, much to the displeasure of the the USA, EU and Japan, but this is certainly a solvable one and if you are seriously comparing the scale to that of nuclear wastes I suggest you research the data and come back to argue.

            By the way, you may consider my own thoughts on the topic in this fairy-tale diary posted last year, or my comments in the blog following the CNN article on the WTO action, posted under the username xiaozi, my Disqus user name. Unfortunately my substantial comments are pretty far down the thread, so you will have to wear out the More Comments button to get there, but I speak frankly about by position if you are interested. Short Version: Our land, our problem, we have to solve it, and I don't care if it inconveniences some people who have gotten rich off polluting our country, be they Chinese or others, party over.

            No technology is risk-free or without environmental impacts, it is simply a matter of nature and scale.

            Despite my obvious concerns about the present problems of environmental pollution in China's RIE industry (particularly the illegal wildcat mines in the South that have been a source of handsome profits for MNCs like Mitsui, who couldn't give a shit about our landscape or watersheds), I think the situation is correctable and manageable with increased recycling and, ultimately, replacement technology and does not bear comparison to the problem of ever increasing inventory of spent nuclear fuel.

            I have greater concerns about China being able to manage spent fuel, we would have to do better than the global industry has ever done so far to put that one to bed.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 04:02:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bottom line (6+ / 0-)

              on the deadly-for-thousands of years spent fuel issue is that they still don't have any place to put it after ~50 years of promising they'd "get around to that" someday. Today is someday, and they still haven't gotten around to it.

              And while it may be unfashionable to whine "but what about the children?" it wouldn't hurt to consider how incredibly, callously selfish it is to will to our descendants tens of thousands of years' worth of dangerous, deadly waste just so we can 'conveniently' toast bagels for breakfast.

              Sort of gives a whole extra depth to the term "Me Generation."

              •  reprocessing, actinide "burning", etc. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nulwee, ozsea1, Odysseus, cville townie

                Spent fuel has become an issue since they discovered uranium was far more plentiful than they first suspected.  Since it was cheaper to mine new uranium, along with proliferation concerns, this put an end to reprocessing and construction of breeder reactors.  

                If you want to manage waste volume, extract 90% of the energy from a given amount of fissile material as opposed to 1%, and massively increase the total stock of potential fuel for meeting energy needs long-term, then reprocessing and breeding are the way to go.  A special type of breeder reactor called a "burner" is deliberately designed to destroy highly radioactive transuranics; lighter and longer-lived isotopes means less radioactivity at any one time, so it's the heavy stuff with very short half-lives that you want to worry about.

                Never attribute to stupidity what can be adequately explained by malice; stupid people couldn't hurt us so effectively.

                by Visceral on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 01:33:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  False equivalence again (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CharlieHipHop

            There are plenty of alternatives coming onstream. The tech improves and the cost/kw decreases with time. Although no one here claimed "green technology is radioactive waste-free," - a canard if ever there was - this is a huge reach full of "concern":

            If memory serves, rare earths tend to come mixed with radioactive compounds, usually thorium, which are a devil to process safely. Isn't that one of the reasons Inner Mongolia is so environmentally degraded?
            You're ok with the current state-of-the-art in spent fuel storage? That's nice as long as you don't live close to this mess....

            I do agree with you on this:

            If memory serves, rare earths tend to come mixed with radioactive compounds, usually thorium, which are a devil to process safely. Isn't that one of the reasons Inner Mongolia is so environmentally degraded?

            "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

            by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 11:55:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  By the way (5+ / 0-)

        If you think nuclear is so safe and reliable I suggest you take a deeper look at the situation in Japan, which is now struggling with serious power shortages Americans would find unfathomable and for which there are no simple solutions.

        But the default position is a step backward to fossil fuels.

        Perhaps you should work through the entire equation before jumping to conclusions.

        Certainly coal has outlive by twice it's usefulness to the world and there isn't enough oil or safely extractable and consumable oil or gas, but nuclear is not a panacea.

        Generation diversity is the best current approach and what the world can do at this point. And lifestyle adjustment, elected or forced.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 03:24:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They are struggling with an energy (7+ / 0-)

          crisis because of their idiotic decision to voluntarily shut down all of their nuclear power plants.

          Which will result in an increase in carbon emissions greater than the entire output of the Alberta Tar Sands (which we often read at this site are by themselves dooming this planet . . . )

          •  What is idiotic about shutting down plants (5+ / 0-)

            in areas where 1. regulation has already proven to be untrustworthy and 2. earthquakes and tsunamis have proven to be potential and dangerous hazards to the structures there?

            You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

            by mahakali overdrive on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 08:00:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It is idiotic because there is absolutely (6+ / 0-)

              no chance that ALL of the reactors suffer from the same design and geographic vulnerabilities of Fukushima.  They should be evaluated on a case by case basis, not subject to blanket hysteria.

              Plus, compared to the zero people who have died from Fukushima, many will from expanding fossil fuel use by almost 2-fold compared to the entire output of the TarSands (I just use that as a benchmark because it is often brought up on this site as the endall of environment appocylipse on this site - but yet this is almost twice as bad!)

              •  The people evaluating them (5+ / 0-)

                have proven to be corrupt.

                Also, would a different reactor model withstood a earthquake-tsunami combo like the one which hit Fukushima? Would the outcome necessarily be better or, in many cases, could it not have proven yet worse?

                You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                by mahakali overdrive on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 08:53:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm just curious if the top energy people (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bryfry, gzodik

                  in Japan are inexorably corrupt, how do you ever trust them to massively scale up fossil fuel energy consumption, which has a proven track record of being (quite literally!) tens of thousands of times more deadly than commercial nuclear power?

                  That really makes no sense at all.

                  •  Strawman (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Russgirl, ozsea1, PreciousLittle, Joieau

                    I've not uttered a word about fossil fuels. That's all yours, baby doll.

                    You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 09:24:56 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I know you have not uttered a word about (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JayBat, gzodik, mircead

                      it - and it is very telling that you haven't - clearly that's the 900 pound gorrilla in the room that the anti-nuke faction would prefer to remain swept under the rug.

                      But the reality is that it can't be - Japan is for all intents and purposes working hard right now even as I type this (and yes, I know it's the middle of the night over there!) to replace all of it's nuclear generation of electricity with fossil fuel fueled capacity.

                      •  I was talking about Japan's nuclear reactors (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Russgirl, ozsea1, PreciousLittle, Joieau

                        and the fact that they don't seem safe to me. You seem to want to discuss Japan's energy situation in general and are refusing to stick to the topic of discussion, which is "Japanese nuclear reactor safety." Your gorilla in the room is a pink elephant of sorts. Thus said, I would be open to discussing a broader issue than the one which I introduced, which again, was "Japanese nuclear reactor safety," however, I'm off to work.

                        Have a fine day! :)

                        You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                        by mahakali overdrive on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 09:39:16 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  It is not intellectually honest to discuss a (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          gzodik

                          topic in a complete vacuum - in this case if you propose that Japan nuclear safety is poor, fine, you are entitled to do that.  However, that is completely meaningless unless you compare it to the alternatives.

                          And in this case the alternatives are much, much worse.

                          •  Intellectually dishonest is refusing (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ozsea1, Odysseus

                            to answer the question which I initially asked, to which you replied with a strawman. I agree that the topic itself which you raise is profoundly important, but I was still at the level of asking you, and waiting for an answer from you about this initial question:

                            ...would a different reactor model withstood a earthquake-tsunami combo like the one which hit Fukushima? Would the outcome necessarily be better or, in many cases, could it not have proven yet worse?
                            You have not answered that question. You have instead attempted to fully derail the conversation.

                            These are literally "yes" or "no" questions.

                            Not even attempting to address them amounts to proselytizing rather than conversing. Personally, I prefer the latter mode of discourse.

                            On a break having lunch.

                            You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                            by mahakali overdrive on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 01:19:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I answered those questions elsewhere (0+ / 0-)

                            clearly a different reactor design in a different location would not have suffered Fukushima's fate.

                    •  Here's a link (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JayBat

                      Fossil Fuel Imports, Use Soar as Japan's Nuclear Fleet Sits Idle

                      In January 2012, consumption of fuel oil, crude oil, and LNG were up 118%, 115%, and 27% respectively compared to January 2011 figures. To meet surging demand for these fossil fuels, Japanese utilities increased imports of fuel oil by 165%, crude oil by 174%, LNG by 39%, and coal by 12%. It appears that much of this fuel was used for thermal power generation, which rose 29% in January 2012 compared to January 2011 levels.

                      Already, the high cost of these fossil fuel imports has contributed to Japan's newfound trade deficit of $32 billion, the country's first in over 30 years.

                      •  No one is saying use more FFs (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        mahakali overdrive, Russgirl, Joieau

                        Use only to buy time (~ 20 years ) to get alternatives and conservation online.

                        Your either/or senario is strawman stuff, as MO stated above.

                        "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

                        by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 12:17:51 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  People have been saying that for 30 years (0+ / 0-)

                          and yet fossil fuel consumption continues to race on.

                          When is the alternative energy and conservation magic going to kick in?   Not in my lifetime for sure!

                          Instead what this idiocy gets us (and by us I mean the planet) is the instant equivalent of almost two tarsands . . . .

              •  FAIL (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PreciousLittle, Russgirl, Joieau

                Oh, the fail.....

                "absolutely no chance that ALL of the reactors suffer from the same design and geographic vulnerabilities of Fukushima."
                1) You can guarantee this? You'd risk your life on this?

                2) Some of the plant workers and other personnel that were near the "accident" and were inadvertently exposed to various radioactive materials will die sooner and from cancer from irradiated body cells. Fact. That they haven't died yet doesn't only makes the zero-people-have-died canard true for the moment only.

                "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

                by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 12:14:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Addressing point 1, there have been numerous (0+ / 0-)

                  diaries right here at DailyKos describing the uniquely poor design flaws of Fukushima and it's vulnerability to tsunamis.  If you have not yet seen them, I assume that is through willful avoidance and there's no point rehashing that right now.

                  About point 2, please provide evidence that the workers received exposure to radiation levels needed to increase the risk of cancer.  I'm not necessarily disputing that they did, I just haven't seen any such evidence.

              •  Well, there were a number of (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ozsea1

                accidents at northeastern Japan's various power plants, not just Daiichi. Daiini, Tokai, others then and since. Daiichi's just the worst. So far. And it ain't over.

                More than a handful of plants won't be restarting anytime soon. As in your lifetime at least.

                BTW, it's a good thing HSD lifted tsunami warnings after the 6.8-7.0 off Tokai today, n'est c'est pas?

      •  You're making the wrong comparison (6+ / 0-)
        Let's take the absolute worst-case for Chernobyl as true, Greenpeace's estimate of death toll, which total something like 900.000,
        You then mention fossil fuel.

        We're trying to replace fossil fuel and the question is with what?

        So what's the death toll for wind?

        How many square miles of land, how many towns and villages and farms have been contaminated beyond use during our lifetimes by wind?

        •  Let's talk baseload. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryfry

          And how much will it cost, in total, to replace baseload power with wind, assuming it's technically possible at the moment? Nuclear doesn't need overcapacity and a smart grid to compensate. It's a question of which technically feasible solution produces least economic and social cost.

          Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

          by Dauphin on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 04:02:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Adopting nuclear increases coal/gas use (9+ / 0-)

            I don't mean to equate you with the nuke fundamentalists like the diarist and Nnadir, but the baseload argument in their hands goes something like, since the problems with renewables are unsolvable, adopting them invariably leads to more coal and gas.

            Well, as a result of Fukushima, Japan has shut down its nuclear power plants and is now more dependent on fossil fuel than it has been for a long time and is now emitting more CO2.  

            Each technology has benefits, costs and technical challenges, and focusing on the problems of wind and ignoring the problems of nuclear is intellectually dishonest.

            And how much will it cost, in total, to replace baseload power with wind,
            No one rational and in the real world is talking about doing this.  It's about a mix of types of energy linked on a smart grid.  We can no more replace baseload power with nuclear than we can with wind, considering the risks of accidents (and shutdowns and reversion to coal), the problem and cost of waste, and the problem of cost of building plants, overruns, etc.

            I don't object to nuclear power but the all nuke and nothing but nuke argument is solely for the deranged.

            •  I don't think they are unsolvable, (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bryfry, JayBat, gzodik

              but a smart grid is untested, in the sense of not having been deployed before (at least not pn a large scale, as far as I know), and is estimated to be very expensive. Plus, I haven't seen an estimate of how long it would take to construct a comprehensive smart grid.

              Now, the US probably can direct enough capital to the project to resolve these challenges. But my country, for example, stuck somewhere between the First and Second World, might not. Plus, we're so small and have such a poor wind resource that we might not be able to implement distributed generation on our own even with the necessary capital).

              As for accidents, how large is the risk, really? There have been three major accidents to date (four if you count Three Mile Island). The first was Kyshtym, where the accident was pretty much the consequence of Soviet brute-force research and development strategy, as well as a we-don't-give-a-fuck policy toward safety. The second, Chernobyl, was a consequence of an atrocious design and incompetent management. Only the third, Fukushima, represents a general threat in today's accident-conscious world, and that was a consequence of the plants hit by some of the worst earthquakes and tsunamis in living memory, very much a geographically limited problem.

              Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

              by Dauphin on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:03:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I'll be sure to avoid smoking whatever it is... (3+ / 7-)

              you're smoking.

              Ever hear of, um, France?

              No?

              That's really not surprising.

              If any uneducated, uninformed, and unenlighted dogmatic anti-nuke like to name a wind/solar based country that has matched France for phasing out coal, or any other dangerous fossil fuel, that would be represent even a more graphic demonstration of exactly how clueless the morons in "Nuclear Free DKos" are.

              If wind's so damn great, how come Denmark can't stop drilling, baby, drilling?

              How come those assholes in Germany can't stop building pipelines to Russia fast enough.

              Now we also have the spectacle of a card carrying extremely rude and extremely ignorant member of "Nuclear Free" DKos announcing - isn't this precious -

              I don't object to nuclear power but the all nuke and nothing but nuke argument is solely for the deranged.
              Really?   Who's kidding whom?

              I have always regarded the members of the anti-nuke cults as the intellectual and moral equivalents of creationists.

              It doesn't matter whether they are simple liars or whether they simply are unfamiliar with the meaning of the word "free."

              Apparently all the cheering for the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and wishes for lots of deaths is another case of over promising and under delivering for the rote anti-nukes, and the obvious thing is that anti-nukism is even less respectable than ever when presented before rational people.

              It appears that the whole deal in Japan didn't kill as many people as will die in the next half hour from air pollution.

              Unfortunately, the ignorance associated with rote anti-nuke rhetoric, and the associated fear and superstition has been killing people for several decades now, in ever rising numbers.

              Have a nice day.

              •  Um (5+ / 0-)

                Denmark is a primary energy exporter. They keep drilling because they keep selling.

                Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

                by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 01:05:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Denmark is an oil and gas drilling nation. (0+ / 0-)

                  Norway is a primary energy exporting nation, and so is Saudia Arabia and Kuwait.

                  So's Russia, which is making tons of money exporting gas to that renewable nirvana in Germany.

                  My position is not about whether one can export oil and gas; it's out about the phasing out of dangerous fossil fuels.

                  Why is that mysterious.

                  •  What does this have to do with wind? (0+ / 0-)

                    Is my question. You imply that if wind were so great they wouldn't need to drill. Why is Saudi building reactors if oil is so great? They want to displace their own usage so that they can sell their resource into the market. Why is that so mysterious?

                    Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

                    by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 03:28:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  HR'd for insulting a community series (10+ / 0-)

                and all of its members:

                If any uneducated, uninformed, and unenlighted dogmatic anti-nuke like to name a wind/solar based country that has matched France for phasing out coal, or any other dangerous fossil fuel, that would be represent even a more graphic demonstration of exactly how clueless the morons in "Nuclear Free DKos" are.
                It is unacceptable to call an entire series names. Argue on the issues or do not argue at all.

                None too surprising to find yet another solid reason to donut you based on your comment history here for the past seven or so years now.

                You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

                by mahakali overdrive on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 01:48:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Grow up! (0+ / 0-)

                  This is NNadir style and it is a very funny and polemic one. Grow up and don't get into overdrive!

                  •  It's neither funny nor polemic (7+ / 0-)

                    It just makes him sound unhinged, makes it obvious he has nothing worthwhile to contribute or read, and has serious personal issues dealing with disagreement.

                    Frankly, he is a disruptive element who actually makes it difficult to provide either positive information about nuclear power or rational criticisms of it.

                    Above all, whenever he's around it makes it impossible to have rational discussion of power from an economic perspective, including from the perspective of marginal costs.

                  •  that's what they say about Limbaugh (3+ / 0-)

                    it's humor or absurd or whatever, lighten up.

                    Bullshit. It's insulting and totally unacceptable to refer to anyone you disagree with as "the Anti-nuke".

                    uneducated, uninformed, and unenlighted dogmatic...clueless the morons in "Nuclear Free DKos..."
                    This guy should either behave or leave, as far as I'm concerned. He'll get HRs for all his insulting comments, and his enablers should knock that shit off.

                    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson

                    by Karl Rover on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 02:54:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Um (1+ / 1-)
                Recommended by:
                ozsea1
                Hidden by:
                I give in to sin

                You've proven again that you've lost your mind and aren't worth communicating with.

                Btw, how is the mental health treatment going?  Best of luck with the new meds combo.

                Hope it works this time.

              •  HRd for (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HamdenRice

                the usual insults and ad homs from the Usual Suspect.

                Lame, tiresome and not funny.

                "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

                by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 02:51:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, this little gem - TOTAL BULLSHIT (4+ / 0-)
                Apparently all the cheering for the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and wishes for lots of deaths is another case of over promising and under delivering for the rote anti-nukes,
                No one here is cheerleading for death and disaster.

                I was gonna hold the donut so that the community can see the lack of boundaries and judgement which are your "specialties".

                But that is just unacceptable.

                "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

                by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 02:55:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  This (4+ / 0-)
                Apparently all the cheering for the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and wishes for lots of deaths is another case of over promising and under delivering for the rote anti-nukes, and the obvious thing is that anti-nukism is even less respectable than ever when presented before rational people.
                is an outrageous, sick thing to say.

                „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

                by translatorpro on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 03:22:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I can't believe two assholes uprated this. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ozsea1, HamdenRice
                Apparently all the cheering for the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and wishes for lots of deaths is another case of over promising and under delivering for the rote anti-nukes, and the obvious thing is that anti-nukism is even less respectable than ever when presented before rational people.

                It appears that the whole deal in Japan didn't kill as many people as will die in the next half hour from air pollution.

                HR'd mainly for the above.  There have been more than 20,000 deaths so far from the Japanese disaster, and there is widespread fallout.  Your minimizing and lying is disgusting.

                You really have a nasty attitude.

                •  20000 deaths from Tsunami, deaths from nuclear 0 (0+ / 0-)

                  If anyone dies from radiation from Fukushima, no one will be able to tell because the incremental risk will be barely above background risks due to, oh I don't know, say air pollution from fossil fuels.  

                  This is what nnadir means by the "cheering":  the science says the radiation release is NOT going to harm anyone, yet people such as yourself are conflating it with 20,000 deaths via the term WIDESPREAD FALLOUT as if this were a nuclear bomb blast.  It is clear you so WANT it to be so, damn the science.

                  There was a widespread disaster, but the rad emissions are NOT part of it.  It is very unlikely that anyone will be hurt due to fractional increase in background radiation vs. thousands from the tsunami damage and release of so much chemically toxic crap from decimated industry.  To believe otherwise is to fall victim to the same kind of thinking behind creationists or cultists.  You MUST reference science fact.

                  Take the matter up with nuclear physicist and radiotherapy expect, professor emeritus at Oxford: Wade Allison
                  More here: http://canadianenergyissues.com/...

                  The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

                  by mojo workin on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 08:17:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Let's talk consumption and conservation (5+ / 0-)

            And system design.

            Renewables are presently viable to cover significant portions of demand if intelligently deployed.

            No strong advocate I personally know suggests this alone is a total solution but it can actually be more cost-effective particularly where consumption is remote from source, and I would point out that transmission losses for ANY type of generation forces over-capacity, a problem overcome by distributed generation and small grids.

            The problem with these arguments is once anyone tries to advance any technology as a panacea or total solution. There are no silver bullets or one size fits all solutions, so diversity and evolutionary change is the best and most practical solution.

            I do not prefer nuclear for real reasons, but I accept it as one leg of the table that can work and is available now, but over-reliance on it is as impractical and expensive as any renewable if you do the deep accounting.

            And no less than Exxon agrees. When they did a deep dive study in 2009, they concluded under some scenarios, wind was the cheapest generation technology.

            Furthermore, the deployment cost and time of renewables is significantly cheaper than nuclear, which takes typically at least a decade to construct and put on line, and more decades to realize cost-effectiveness in it's characteristically inflexible and installed forever little way.

            From that perspective, renewables have inherent advantages and are more flexible for change, including evolutionary upgrading as technology improves. The same claim can not be made for any present nukes, they come with a built-in expiration date and effectively zero upgradability (unless you have a proposal to rebuild 40 year old reactors).

            If you understand the principles that make small, modular reactors an attractive concept, then you are most of the way there to understanding some advantages of renewables.

            Exactly the same arguments apply and the good news for the modular reactor advocates is renewables have already proven these concepts. Some dishes are better cooked in small batches.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 04:42:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Nuclear doesn't need overcapacity (0+ / 0-)
            Available French nuclear capacity was operating flat-out with three reactors off line. However, France's famed nuclear fleet delivered only 60 percent of the 100,000 MW of peak load experienced at 7:00 p.m. (19:00 hours) as millions of French homeowners switched on their electric heaters.

            The remainder of demand was met by oil, coal, hydro, imports from neighboring countries, and renewables.

            Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

            by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:36:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Solution=give nuke tax payers pay for to alt. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PreciousLittle, ozsea1, science nerd

            energy.

            Nukes will NEVER be built without taxpayer subsidies.
            Nukes will always poision our environment - leaking little by little.
            There are no real disposal areas for nuke waste - other than making bombs for the DOD.

            SICK, KILLING nukes have got to be decomissioned NOW - before the next event.

            STOP NUKES NOW.

            •  I meant to say taxpayer money pays for nukes (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ozsea1, science nerd, Joieau

              to be built
              to be decomissioned.

              NO insurance co. will insure them today or in the past due to their obvious deficiencies to the envirionment, people, and the bottom line.

              So, some "brillent"? dude in the 50's got together and made a law - supported by the DOD and all who benefited directly - that said... LET TAXPAYERS PAY FOR ALL.

              And that... dear folks... is the ONLY REASON we have these killing nukes today.

              Facts.

              •  It doesn't matter what you meant (3+ / 1-)
                Recommended by:
                gzodik, sviscusi, eigenlambda
                Hidden by:
                Russgirl

                to say, since all of it is incorrect.

                For example:

                [taxpayer money] to be built ... to be decomissioned [sic].
                Plant owners are required to maintain a decommissioning fund by the regulator as part of the conditions required to operate. The money in this fund comes entirely from the plant owner.

                What's more, unlike for other industries, taxpayer money is not even used to regulate the nuclear industry. That is, the nuclear industry in the US is required by law to completely fund their own regulation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

                Fees for service or thing of value

                Pursuant to section 9701 of title 31, any person who receives a service or thing of value from the Commission shall pay fees to cover the Commission s costs in providing any such service or thing of value.

                Now, back to the nonsense:
                NO insurance co. will insure them today or in the past due to their obvious deficiencies to the envirionment, people, and the bottom line.
                Heh ... could you be more wrong? Please tell me then what American Nuclear Insurers (ANI) does. Here's a hint:
                ANI is a joint underwriting association that acts on behalf of our member companies. We directly write nuclear liability insurance for nuclear facilities in the United States, and assume reinsurance shares on nuclear business written by other nuclear pools and mutual insurers throughout the world.
                This is a collection of private insurance companies who underwrite the liability insurance of nuclear facilities, which is entirely paid for by the facility owners.

                And here is the most ridiculous part of the comment:

                Facts.
                Perhaps you're confused. "Stupidity" is the word that most accurately describes your comment.

                Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
                -- Albert Einstein

                by bryfry on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 10:06:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Can someone please ban Russgirl? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  eigenlambda

                  or at least take away her rating status?

                  This is a clear example of HR abuse. One should not HR a comment that one simply disagrees with. The rules used to read as follows:

                  1. Do not troll rate people for expressing a contrary opinion, so long as it is expressed in a civilized fashion. The exceptions are for conservative talking points or debunked or false information; this isn't a site for conservatives, they have entire swaths of the internet in which they can regale each other with their reality-impaired fantasies.
                  2. Do not troll rate someone you are actively having a fight with. If you are in a heated argument with someone, you should not be judging whether or not what they say is trollworthy. Leave it to others to decide what behavior is or isn't over the line.
                  Russgirl is in clear violation of the HR rules and should have her privileges removed.

                  Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
                  -- Albert Einstein

                  by bryfry on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 07:40:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It wasn't HR abuse (0+ / 0-)

                    I wouldn't have HR'd the comment, but you did call her stupid, which is HRable.

                    It's weird that the nuke and only nuke faction seem incapable of making an argument without throwing around insults.

                    •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      SpeedyGonzales

                      When did "shill" become a respectful term and the only plausible explanation for anyone expressing a view on nuclear power that is contrary to the progressive orthodoxy?

                      •  Totally irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

                        The issue isn't whether Russgirl made a HRable comment.  Maybe she did.  I haven't gone through the whole thread.

                        The point is that bryfry's comment WAS HRable because he called her stupid.

                        If she called him a shill then that's also HRable and should be dealt with at that comment, not by calling her stupid.

                      •  Addendum (0+ / 0-)

                        Didn't realize you linked to one of my comments, which you obviously misread.

                        You do realize that I was saying in that comment that Nnadir and others ARE NOT SHILLS, right?

                        Although I do have to add in Nnadir's case, he has written himself about sitting down with nuclear industry organization lobbyists to get his talking points.  That does not make him a shill, because the only payment he received was a very expensive lunch and some trinkets:

                        http://www.dailykos.com/...

                        Last week, on Friday, I traveled to Washington and I met with a few representatives of the nuclear industry.   Nice guys, by the way.    They bought me lunch.   I made a point of not ordering the cheapest thing on the menu by the way and it was a nice restaurant.    The nuclear industry gave me a wonderful golf shirt and several very nice trade show trinkets.  

                        Some people say I am a "nuclear shill."   Those people will now be able to offer as evidence for their case the fact that the nuclear industry bought me lunch, and we’re not talking lunch at Burger King either.   I have a golf shirt too, a gift from the nuclear industry ...

                        The representatives of the nuclear industry who bought me lunch solicited my ideas on what the nuclear industry should do to promote itself ...

                      •  I was responding to your comment (0+ / 0-)
                        It's weird that the nuke and only nuke faction seem incapable of making an argument without throwing around insults.
                        not to what Russgirl or Bryfry said.
                    •  Heh ... WTF? (0+ / 0-)
                      ... you did call her stupid, which is HRable.
                      No, I didn't. I said her comment was stupid. Perhaps your skills at reading comprehension are so poor that you don't understand the difference?

                      I also called her comment "ridiculous" and "nonsense." Does that also merit an HR?

                      No, she broke the rules, not me. There was nothing in my comment worthy of an HR, but plenty that was worthy of attention.

                      It's weird that the nuke and only nuke faction seem incapable of making an argument without throwing around insults.
                      I don't know about factions (it seems to me that the anti-nukes are more prone to tribal thinking), but at least I can make an argument by using facts backed up by references, instead of lies and Hide Rates.

                      And then there are those who try to defend the lies and Hide Rates. sigh

                      Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
                      -- Albert Einstein

                      by bryfry on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 08:19:32 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  He does make a valid point (5+ / 0-)

          About the pollution caused by mining and refining RIEs in China, which includes, incidentally, radioactive waste.

          This is a problem the Chinese government is working to solve, but it is real and significant.

          I do not know if there is even any real health or mortality data related to the situation, but let's just say the supply-chain for materials used to manufacture wind generators and some types of solar cells is not as squeeky-clean as many people assume.

          It does not compare to the scale of problem spent reactor fuel presents, but it is not a trivial matter. When fish in streams float up dead or have tumors, something is wrong.

          My comment elsewhere links to a diary on the subject posted last year.

          I strongly support renewables, but everything has a cost.

          What about my Daughter's future?

          by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 04:16:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't promote fossil fuels, now did I? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau

        False equivalence and fail

        "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

        by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 11:44:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Banquaio dam (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, Egalitare, bryfry, JayBat, Nulwee

      The Banquaio hydroelectric dam failure in China in 1975 caused at least 150,000 deaths although some folks claim over 220,000 deaths. There have been several other hydro power dam failures over the centuries which have killed large numbers of people and devastated millions of hectares of land but Banquaio is the flagbearer for renewable energy in that category.

       Non-hydro-power dam failures also kill folks although the hydro dams are the big ones as scale is important for them to be efficient and cost-effective. Eight people died and several houses were damaged or destroyed when an irrigation supply dam in the hills above Fukushima city collapsed during the Japanese earthquake last year. That's more people killed than the total number of deaths attributable to the radiation releases from Fukushima Daiichi over the past year.

      •  Hence, the attractiveness of small hydro /eom (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Egalitare, Joieau, ozsea1

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 04:47:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I don't get how people can with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry

        a straight face ask how many deaths renewable energy has caused.

        The toll has been horrific . . . .

        •  analogy time (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Russgirl

          Banquaio dam failure is to wind energy as Hiroshima is to fukushima?

          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

          by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:16:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, not at all (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryfry

            Was the dam (or any dam?) built for and/or used in war?

            Not that I've heard of.

            By contrast, one of the two major sources of renewable energy is hydroelectric (the other is biofuels).  So it is totally appropriate to bring up dam failure when talk turns to renewable energy.

          •  This specifically was exactly what (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jam, bryfry

            I was replying to:

            How many accidents from renewables?

            * Crickets *

            link
            •  apologies (0+ / 0-)

              definitions are all over the place here and my mind jumped to the more limited definition of "solar/wind" when referencing renewables.

              Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

              by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:39:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure, it often seems to be overlooked (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bryfry

                but seems to fall squarely into the "renewables" category - from Wikipedia:

                Hydroelectric power in the United States

                Hydroelectric power is currently the largest producer of renewable power in the U.S. It produced around 6.0% of the nation's total electricity in 2008 which was 66.8% of the total renewable power in the U.S. The United States is the fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world after China, Canada and Brazil. The Grand Coulee Dam is the 5th largest hydroelectric power station in the world and another six U.S. hydro plants are among the 50 largest in the world.

                link
                •  I don't discount it (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ozsea1, mahakali overdrive

                  but the arguments around here tend to be circular:

                  A: Renewables can't do baseload
                  B: what about hydro/biomass
                  A: I was talking about wind/solar
                  B: Oh, ok, well then renewables have never had a massive accident
                  A: what about Banqiao?
                  B: I was talking about wind/solar

                  rinse/repeat

                  Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

                  by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:54:56 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Limited only because taxpayer money funds nukes. (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ozsea1, PreciousLittle, Joieau, NoMoreLies

                Put the money into alternate energy solutions - for today and future.  See what happens then... vs. the dead, dying dinosaurs of poison nukes.

                Give alternate energy a chance - catch up to the rest of the world for a change, instead of falling behind for short term profit for the 1% - at the cost of everything else.

                Adm. Hyman Rickover, “father of the nuclear navy,” came out against nuclear power near the end of his life:
                “I do not believe that nuclear power is worth it if it creates radiation. . . .

                Every time you produce radiation, you produce something that has a certain half-life, in some cases for billions of years.

                I think the human race is going to wreck itself, and it is important that we get control of this horrible force and try to eliminate it.”
      •  You should probably (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Russgirl, ozsea1, PreciousLittle

        warn China about this, since they're going big on new hydro according to this diary.

        Of course, they may not be all that concerned about dangers to the population.

  •  Elaboration and Comment (9+ / 0-)

    China has periodically revised it's energy policy over the past decade reflecting the lessons of first, small scale pilot projects in various technologies, which prompted rather bullish investment in wind and solar, and second, reconsideration and moderation of the policy based on lessons learned in actual build-out of large scale infrastructure which has been less successful as the distribution infrastructure was found insufficient to realize efficient utilization of installed generation capacity.

    In simple terms, Chinese found that traditional grids, particularly some of the out-dated existing infrastructure, is not up to the task since it is not capable to sufficiently balance load and in some cases has insufficient capacity to transmit peak production (particularly in the case of wind).

    While this may seem to have been putting the cart before the horse, people must realize China started from essentially a zero knowledge base and built major industrial capacity in under a decade, a significant accomplishment by any measure, particularly considering these are young industries on a steep learning curve globally.

    China was not alone; indeed, the European industry experienced some of the same problems and stumbling blocks (including inevitable bankruptcies and consolidation) albeit at a more leisurely pace and with less drama, but then, Europe had the luxury of taking a slow and steady path while China has been under the constant pressure to expand capacity in an environment of chronic power shortages that made a higher risk taking an acceptable proposition.

    None of this is anything to be ashamed of; no technology can fully mature until it is built on a large scale and problems encountered and solved, and indeed, conventional power technologies developed and improved over many decades. In fact, we need look no further than the nuclear power industry with it's history of chronically late and hugely over budget projects delivering power at higher cost than original estimates to understand most things are easier said than done.

    At this point, China is now in a period of adjustment developing and rolling-out more modern grid technology to correct the short-commings of distribution, and the time scale to accomplish it, which is greater than producing solar cells or windmills is likely to take years. IOW, the industry needs some breathing room to mature.

    In fact, the needs of China are now accelerating the development of Smart Grid and Ultra High Voltage transmission systems and many of the global players such as Siemens, ABB, GE and Emmerson, as well as some non-traditional such as IBM and Cisco, are using China as a development base for this technology as it presents a unique and rare opportunity to do so.

    A second significant factor has been the virtual collapse of the European market for clean energy on the hells of the global financial crisis, which caused European financing and subsidies to be rapidly curtailed, which has hurt the industry everywhere, as producers scramble to compete for available business wherever they can find it - competition is fierce.

    This has not only resulted in the failure of companies in the EU and USA, but China as well. Presently, the shake-out of small companies and industry consolidation in China is on-going and, while it does not make big news in the West, it is most certainly the situation. What can be expected is that strong companies such as Suntech (pv) and Sinovale (wind) will survive by growing where others fail, as some small firms pursue niche markets such as off-grid lighting applications and small systems suitable to rural Chinese use. Additionally, Joint-Ventures will emerge such as Siemens-Shanghai Electric (which have a successful relationship in rail systems) that have global reach.

    The decision to promote nuclear must be understood as a matter of necessity; as recently as 3 years ago, during the great roll-out of renewables, nuclear was an essential but less favored technology, but as the challenges and time-scale of building renewables grids became clear, high-level decisions were made to address the short-commings.

    In simple terms, China faces the problem that it cannot continue to build fossil fuel plants at present rates much longer due to the environmental impacts and failure to develop clean coal technology that is truly viable in the long-run despite continued effort to do so.

    Therefore, China faces the choice to increase nuclear or face the economic impacts of power shortages, which is obviously not much of a choice. Nuclear is one obvious choice, albeit a difficult one in economic and real terms.

    What people in developed countries must understand is that China, despite it's heavy industrialization, still has far lower per capita power consumption and carbon emissions than the developed word (roughly 1.4 or US emissions), but multiplied by our population, the aggregate is staggering.

    It is simply not an option to allow emissions to reach the level of a country such as the USA, although China now approaches the levels of lower emitting EU nations.

    The question, then, is can China develop a safe nuclear infrastructure of similar scale to the USA? Can it do a better job? In it's favor is that it is a late-commer, so benefits from more modern technology, and looking forward, is investing in development of pebble-bed and small modular reactors that hopefully would be more inherently safe (although that remains to be proven); less likely is that it will find a safe and economical solution to the problem of nuclear waste materials.

    All of that said, I must take issue to your framing of the subject for the simple reason that China will continue to develop renewables (indeed R+D investment and innovation is accelerating) and would be very likely to again revise it's planning as better solutions are found and as history suggests. Visit a Chinese Restaurant and the number of option suggests we are adverse to ever limiting the bandwidth of options - flexibility is in our DNA.

    So to suggest China has given a thumbs-down to renewables is a misinterpretation of the message sent.

    Lastly I would like to comment on the often unquestioned conspiracy theories about the Chinese solar and wind industries that have become a staple of the Western (particularly American) narrative.

    This is complete nonsense. The very suggestion that Chinese had a grand master plan for global market domination is frankly ridiculous when one consider the present state of the industry.

    The basic frame of virtually all recent Chinese industrial development is intense competition and fast-following, speculative investment. There can be no comparison to the historically slower pace of development in the developed Western world and the growth of the Chinese economy over the past 30 years, which is the highest sustained growth in recorded history, is the proof.

    China has 1.3 billion people. Typically, we start small, but when things start to happen, the change comes fast and furious, and it is an often chaotic process the government struggles to direct, regulate and contain.

    If the renewables sector is due for a period of adjustment and maturing, it is but one more example to prove the point and I'll leave it at that. This is a Chinese problem Chinese will solve. Other countries have their own.

    I must also speak to the case of Solyndra. This is an American problem, an American case of inattention to detail and over-optimism, and an American lesson to be learned. Please learn it, lick your wounds and move on.

    Solyndra had unviable technology and an unviable business plan. The entire proposition was based on the assumption that the price of Silicon, which was in global shortage and at record high prices at the tie they got government funding, would remain so indefinitely. The DOE was blinded by the light reflected by those pretty, shiny tubes.  Typical case of American blind faith in new technology.

    This does not matter. The American system has operated on this principle of rapid technology development and investment, tempered by a weeding-out process, for generations.

    This is your strong and weak point.

    And guess what?

    It works. The US has continued to innovate in renewables and can continue as long as the system does not crash.

    What you need to do better is INDUSTRIALIZE.  More attention to the details of that, and more strategic planning, supported by rational policy.

    Please. Because, your present level of per capita emissions is unsustainable, and your present level of industrial sector unemployment is too.

    With all of your advantages, and they are many (just ask an envious Chinese government official), you can do better, and of that I am most confident or I would not waste time on this site.

    Your thoughts?

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 02:54:20 AM PDT

    •  Correction (0+ / 0-)

      I typed: (roughly 1.4 or US emissions)

      Should be: (roughly 1/4 of US emissions)

      The measure being per capita.

      Sorry, my error.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 03:09:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As usual, great analysis, wasted here on DK (6+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately discussion of energy on DK is always side tracked because several of the most vocal commentators don't want a rational discussion of options and mixes, but have taken the bizarre view that the energy future must be all nuclear and nothing else.  I have no idea how they came to this basically religious, non-rational view, but there it is.

      Visit a Chinese Restaurant and the number of option suggests we are adverse to ever limiting the bandwidth of options - flexibility is in our DNA.
      Great analogy.  I would say that in the real world, not DK, the US energy future is similar.  There will be a wide variety of options.

      The big difference between the US and China is that the particular mix will be less affected by high level policy making and more affected by marginal costs in particular settings.  That's the strength and weakness of the US system compared to China.

      I think what the diarist doesn't grasp is that the article is saying that China is ending reckless expansion of renewables, not ending expansion of renewables.

      That is China's unique advantage and weakness -- namely that there are still aspects of a command economy and central planning in the socialist market economy.  China can decide to pour capital into a technology regardless of the short term profitability.  

      Profitability, however, is a chicken and egg problem that socialist market systems can overcome and a free market fundamentalist system like ours has difficulty overcoming.  In other words a technology becomes profitable only after a lot of capital is poured into it, but in a free market system capital often won't get poured into it until its profitable or at least looks profitable.

      On the other hand, in a socialist market system planners can make bets that don't entirely work out, wasting time and money.

      Many younger people here on DK don't realize how close we came to a more socialist market system just a few decades ago, although it wasn't based on socialism, but on the European/Japanese system of "industrial policy."  That's what Bill Clinton campaigned on in 1992.  The mainstream media went berserk at the idea of industrial policy and treated Clinton's suggestions as though he were going to require all children to join the church of Satan.

      I think with the economic crisis, the pendulum is slowly swinging toward rational economic policy.  The Obama administration's handling of the auto industry is a good example, and the person put in charge -- a guy with both union organizing and investment banking background -- is exactly the sort of person we're going to need more of.

      •  But faced with this-- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gzodik
        Unfortunately discussion of energy on DK is always side tracked because several of the most vocal commentators don't want a rational discussion of options and mixes, but have taken the bizarre view that the energy future must be all nuclear and nothing else.
        --isn't it equally egregious to automatically declare "absolutely no nuclear power, at all-- nada, zip, nuh-uh, negative, no, non, nein"? If having a "bandwidth" of options is desirable, nuclear will be one of many options to consider.

        I'd love it if wind & solar were drop-in replacements for our power needs right this second, but right now they can't keep up with demand. And nuclear, despite its drawbacks, is infinitely preferable to more coal plants, which still provide the majority of power both here and in China.

      •  I agree except one point (8+ / 0-)

        I don't think Dkos is a vacuum where rational arguments are wasted even if that sometimes appears to be the case.

        We have a large audience and some thoughtful readers do not comment much until they publish their "I have been lurking for years" diaries and then they are off and running. In any case, if one is to engage on topics such as environment, energy, mass-transit or the like, some days you have to have a little blind faith you will get read and considered. Like comedian J. Wong said "Its like pissing in the snow on a dark winter night; you probably made a difference, but it's difficult to tell".

        Astute analysis of socialism vs capitalism! I gather you have observed "market socialism with Chinese characteristics" first hand. Central Planners vs. Provincial Emperors, LOL.

        Clinton made one fatal error: choosing the LCD industry as his standard-bearer 5 years too late. I spent the better part of the 1980's in the US attending university and working in the microelectronics industry, and I recall this case quite well. Within the industry there was a lot head shaking.

        Obama has the big picture about right on what the US should do to regain competitiveness; unfortunately, he has about the worst possible Congress to execute. Sometimes I look at it from afar and it makes me crazy - what planet did they find these species of legislators on? That is why the coming election is so important, it is past time for the tide to turn and I hope the Women, Independents and Latinos are starting to get it because it is in their hands, vote wise.

        My comment about Solyndra was serious. Blip on the screen, forget it and move on. I track renewables and related technology closely and still, no country comes close to the US in terms of R+D productivity, the basic issue is most definitely industrial policy. Toward that end, Germany is good to study, not that the US should be remade in their image, but there are some very sensible policies worth adapting particularly how they support SMEs and prime the pump of technology industrialization, where government can play a very decisive role.

        Vote Dem. Think progressive.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:01:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My cynical pre-morning coffee comment (2+ / 0-)

          I don't think rational discussion is wasted and I agree with what you say about DK.  

          The problem with energy discussions is that there are a very, very few members who trash many discussions with a weird nukes-only fundamentalism, and then engage in vitriolic personal attacks against anyone who disagrees with them.

          This means that much of the DK audience, which is very thoughtful, tends to "turn off" from any nuclear discussion.

          On the other hand there are many diarists and members from across the spectrum on nuclear power, from pro to anti, who really know a lot and have rational discussions.  I was astounded when Fukushima happened and it turned out we had people here who had worked in nuclear power plants and even nuclear engineers who explained a lot -- even though they were often trashed by the fundamentalists.

          After having my coffee, I'm more optimistic.

          My China experience is limited by eye opening.  My area of expertise has generally been Africa, having worked in African development, environment and human rights, but in grad school, as I majored in African studies, I always minored in Chinese history.  As a result, in the late 90s, when I was working in law/finance/consulting I was given this great opportunity to consult for agencies within China on water pollution and land use for about 3 years.  Most of the work was done in the US but we had conferences and study tours and field trips in Beijing, Chengdu and Naning, and I also read like crazy.  I think most Americans have no clue about how China actually works and how it is a unique model.  Most Americans think that because it is economically successful, it has to be capitalist -- and that's a bias as much on the triumphalist right as of the defeatist left.

        •  but I really loved the elegance (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          science nerd

          of the Solyndra modules. It was the 3x market price manufacturing costs that did them in...

          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

          by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 09:19:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hamden... (0+ / 0-)

        your comment is an interesting point... one that should be diaried.

        In fact, I anticipate writing about Japanese industrial policy at some point, if only cursory information.

        Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

        by Nulwee on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 02:01:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  thank you so much for that reasonable response (0+ / 0-)

      And your practical approach.

      As for our industrial system and infrastructure--you're preaching to the choir here. People on this site have been trying to get the gov't to invest in and update our infrastructure for years (and "green" it).  

      Our government simply doesn't listen to us and our political process is broken. We can't make them do this investment in a green(er) infrastructure, or anything else, without political action in the streets on a scale that, quite frankly, scares most of us. One way to put it is that ordinary channels have failed.  

      That's why many of us are so devoted to the Occupy movement. We've tried elections, we've tried affecting the legislative process--all to no avail.  

      I'm not saying we should altogether abandon traditional political actions, but clearly they won't suffice.

      This failure of democracy and more basically of gov't itself really frightens me in conjunction with the climate crisis, but I don't know how to solve this problem.

      Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 12:50:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One of the things about which I'm ambivalent... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, mojo workin, bryfry

    ...in China is their recent installation of DME infrsatructure fueled by coal.     However if their high temperature reactor systems succeed, as I expect they will, it will be relatively straight forward to move this infrastructure to a nuclear based energy source.

    •  Possibility, but as yet unproven. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare

      We have a lot of interesting research, but the proof in in the pudding on working scale.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 04:49:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  China has industrial DME plants, some of the... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryfry, Deward Hastings

        largest in the world.   These are industrial plants.

        China has been operating the HTGR-10 pebble bed reactor for more than 10 years

        China has already produced hydrogen via thermochemical cycles on a pilot scale - not the cycle I would have chosen, but maybe they're smarter than I am.    The technology was not driven by nuclear heat however.

        They plan to integrate the two systems in 2014 for testing purposes.    This puts them ahead of Korea, which plans the same thing around the end of this decade.

        It is obvious that the solar dream has represented a tremendous failure, despite decades of uncritical cheering, and billions of Euros, dollars, yen, yaun etc "invested"/thrown down the rabbit hole...

        It would only require a few reactors to match the output of all the world's solar capacity, and it had better work or humanity is in even bigger trouble than I thought.

  •  I've republished this diary to Nuclear DKos. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bryfry, gzodik, Tomtech

    I'm sure you won't mind.

    Thanks for your email.   I'm sure I'll learn more.

  •  Chinese policy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bryfry

    They realize that some things just aren't efficient enough to be practical for anything but small-scale use.

    Fukushima is an example of how nuclear reactors are much safer than people think: it was hit with two devastating natural disasters and the reactor malfunction wasn't catastrophic, in fact, the reactor malfunction caused no deaths.

    •  52 of 54 Japanese reactors are shut down (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, Russgirl, Egalitare

      and may well be for the forseeable future, and have been replaced with electricity generated by fossil fuels.  Which means relying on nuclear power too much leads to a vast expansion of CO2 emissions.

      It may not have killed lots of people (yet) but it has contaminated and rendered unusable billions of dollars of property, farmland, industrial assets and infrastructure.

      •  Nuclear power (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gzodik

        Both times disaster has even been a decent possibility at a nuclear power plant, it has been because of idiotic decisions by the government.

        The Soviet Union decided to use an obsolete design relying on an emergency shutdown that would leave the reactor offline for a few days, and then instructed the workers not to ever use that because they'd lose power for a few days.

        Japan gathered their reactors into one place, as the uneducated masses heard "nuclear" and assumed that it would be intrinsically unsafe. I don't fault them, as Japan hasn't had a particularly good history with nuclear reactions, but in any other country (such as the United States), with the possible exception of Ukraine, such an attitude would be totally unfounded

        •  First hand reports from Fukushima workers (6+ / 0-)

          strongly indicate that the earthquake alone (which occurred nearly an hour before the tsumani hit) had completely destroyed the piping and mechanical systems.  Electronic records show that the backup cooling pumps came on right after the earthquake, meaning that the primary cooling systems had failed (again, nothing to do even with the tsumani).  Furthermore, the backup cooling systems were unable to achieve the required distribution pressure because of obvious piping failures.  In essence, there was an utter failure of engineering and construction. It was quite obvious that the plant was not built to even the minimumm required standards.  And therein lies the greatest risk of nuclear power. In order to be "safe", the standards must be followed. And they often are not.

          Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

          by bigtimecynic on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:23:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Daini reactors (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayBat, Joieau

            The Daini plant reactors about 10km south of the Fukushima Daiichi site suffered similarly from the earthquake. They also took some tsunami damage to the structures although not as much as the Daiichi site.

             They kept one power line operational and that was sufficient to bring all the Daini reactors to cold shutdown within a few days and maintain them in that condition. The primary containment of three of the Daini reactors have been entered and inspected in the past few months; no damage other than to paintwork has been noted.

             The Onagawa reactors were even closer to the earthquake's epicentre but avoided being hit by the tsunami as the whole site was situated further above sea level than the Daiichi and Daini plants were. The only problems I've head of from Onagawa is that one of the turbines was damaged by the shockwave while it was still spinning. The reactors and their cooling and control systems were unhurt by the earthquake.

             I have my doubts that piping failures caused any sort of problem with the Daiichi reactors. The real problems began when the diesel generators didn't start due to flooding and the battery power gave out. After that overheating of the core structures and catalytic generation of an oxygen-hydrogen mix caused the subsequent explosions -- if there had been any significant failure of reactor piping I don't see how the internal pressures in the reactor vessels could have reached the levels needed for that catalysis reaction to occur.

          •  WTF? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayBat
            Electronic records show that the backup cooling pumps came on right after the earthquake, meaning that the primary cooling systems had failed (again, nothing to do even with the tsumani).
            You clearly don't understand how a nuclear reactor works. The primary cooling "system" is to dump the heat energy to the turbines to be converted to electric power. When the reactor trips in an accident like this, the turbines also trip, which means heat cannot be removed by that path anymore, so of course, backup systems come online.

            This is how the system is supposed to work.

            Furthermore, the backup cooling systems were unable to achieve the required distribution pressure because of obvious piping failures.
            This is simply not true. Everything was fine with the reactors until the tsunami took out the diesel generators. Even then, the cores of the reactors were sufficiently cooled by the action of steam-powered pumps until the batteries running the control systems for these pumps were eventually drained. That's when the problem started.
            It was quite obvious that the plant was not built to even the minimumm [sic] required standards.
            It is quite obvious that you don't know what you're talking about. Nobody with any credibility doubts that the plant was adequately built to all requirements, specifications, and QA standards. The combination of earthquake and tsunami was what is called a "beyond design basis event," which means that it exceeded what the plant was designed to handle without any problems. Nevertheless, nuclear plants are over-designed, on purpose, to mitigate the consequences of events that exceed design specifications, and that is what happened in this case.

            Compared to the devastation in human lives wrought by the natural disaster itself, the consequences of the nuclear accident are negligible.

            Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
            -- Albert Einstein

            by bryfry on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 10:36:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  That's some "low cost" after effects, eh? ;( (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, Joieau

        Costing Japan and the rest of the world for hundreds of years to come... this madness of unregulated radioactive emissions is still going, one year later.

        Chernobyl still has radioactive wild boars people are paid NOT to eat, but to hunt and kill.

        Coming soon to all of us unless we WAKE UP to clean energy alternatives.... put our taxpayer monies to energy that works for ALL.

    •  Apparently your definition of "catastrophic" (7+ / 0-)

      is a wee bit different than mine.  Please define what would have to happen at a reactor to classify the event as "catastrophic."  As an engineer, I'd say that multiple explosions, structural failure, complete collapse of mechanical and piping systems (from just the earthquake, mind you, not the tsunami), failure of backup power, and the discharge of countless millions of gallons of highly radioactive water to the ocean would qualify. But hey... I'm a nitpicker like that.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:18:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree with the renewable bashing. BUT.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayBat, gzodik

    the author is spot-on that this means an export-only Chinese renewable policy, which will have a crushing effect on US production, and more importantly, innovation.  In a downward race to the lowest price, innovation suffers.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 05:29:49 AM PDT

    •  not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

      the issue is the industrializtion/commoditization of the product. These days, there is no practical difference between solar panels other than $/W. Efficiency, the only innovation that anyone cared about for the first 30 years, is irrelevant at this point. Who cares if it takes 3, 4, or 5 acres per megawatt? Most projects run out of money or transmission capacity before they run out of land.

      I have 100 acres

      You can put 20-30 MW on it and that will cost roughly $40-60 M

      oh, I only have $30 M

      OK, you can build 15 MW and that will take around 50-75 acres. Now we could use this module with higher efficiency which would reduce your footprint and create minor efficiencies in installation costs or ...

      Blah, blah, blah, I'm not listening ...

      The innovation that is required to drive down costs is more about installation than panels and/or inverters and that can't be off-shored.

      Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

      by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:04:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed on the efifiency issue. I think the big (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, Russgirl

        leap forward in renewables innovation will be energy storage.  The intermittent nature of solar and wind is an unfortunate fact.  A solar technology that can effeciently convert water to hydrogen would be a fantastic way to store energy.  Some kind of stationary battery system that is inexpensive would also be a game changer.  

        Basically the only valid argument the fossil/nuclear folks can make anymore against solar and wind is the intermittent issue. Solve that, and game over.

        Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

        by bigtimecynic on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:38:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  never been a huge fan (0+ / 0-)

          of the hydrogen angle, but otherwise agreed.

          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

          by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:57:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The biggest strike against hydrogen is the fact (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1

            that the current source of all hydrogen is fossil fuel. So producing hydrogen makes no sense from an economic or energy balance perspective.  You're better off just burning the natural gas and skipping the middle man. A "hydrogen economy" makes absolutely no sense in this regard.

            But.... Revolutionizing hydrogen production into a carbon-free process that not only eliminates the carbon-based feed stock, but also uses solar as the energy input, would be a quantum leap forward towards viability.

            By the way, you can also generate electricity by the combustion of hydrogen. You dion't need fuel cells.

            Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

            by bigtimecynic on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 10:24:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Nonsense (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HamdenRice, Frank Knarf, jam, JayBat, ozsea1

      From the start, the Chinese pv industry has been export-led and the reverse is the trend; the rate of domestic consumption is increasing, but incrementally.

      The diarist mis-characterizes the change in policy, which is not to reduce the use of renewables, but promote an increase of investment in nuclear.

      The government will be funding proportionately less renewables for several years until grid expansion makes higher utilization of installed generation capacity, particularly in the case of wind where peak generation capacity can not now be effectively transmitted.

      China is a high-growth energy market where all technology sectors are growing installed base. Total production is another matter.

      Currently the slowdown in the export market is the major factor in the decline of their business. Adding to that will be less certain growth in domestic markets.

      It is also a logical fallacy: if you assume renewables companies are dependent on government subsidies, then if such subsidies are reduced or eliminated, how exactly would the companies continue to operate in what is now a long buyer's market where prices are continually declining and the market contracting, year-on-year (globally)?

      The Chinese industry has been consolidating for 3 years with numerous bankruptcies and mergers, it does not make big news in the US because they are Chinese companies, not American.

      The entire global industry for solar and wind is in the middle of a shake-out that some will survive and ultimately prosper in when it turns upside, but if you actually check the facts you will find virtually all are now struggling and many running at a loss that cannot be sustained much longer.

      China has two major pv Solar companies, Suntech and Trina Solar. Look at their share prices, profit and sales - and they are the strongest ones.

      Name a major solar or wind producer anywhere in the world and I will show you trouble.

      What about my Daughter's future?

      by koNko on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:43:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  after digging a bit (0+ / 0-)

        it appears that the only part China seems to be scaling back on is adding more manufacturing capacity because they outstripped the market. That doesn't indicate any weakness in the installation/deployment of new projects.

        Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

        by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 09:22:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The problems faced by the two high-profile (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank Knarf, JayBat

    nuclear disasters were primarily the results of poor human planning. As hagagaga pointed out, an obsolete design at Chernobyl; and at Fukushima, poor choices in locating the reactors and (I'd add) not designing the reactor to withstand more robust challenges in an area notorious for powerful earthquakes.

    The anti-nuclear shock that swept the world afterwards would be funny if it wasn't such an exercise in hyperventilating drama. The German decision to shut down all nuclear plants-- I mean, seriously? How many 9. earthquakes and 50-foot tsunamis are likely to strike Bavaria?

    Renewables aren't yet able to keep up with the established demand. They're going to have to go back to coal, and no one will comment on the respiratory ailments or deaths that will cause, although some teeth-gnashing will be had over emissions of CO2. Hydroelectric? Sure, because blocking fish from migrating and ruining river ecologies (not to mention hydrological stress earthquakes) never happen in the dammed-up rivers in the US.

    Nuclear is one option. Not the only one, but one to be used.

    •  Let me emphasize that... (7+ / 0-)

      ...the cure for "poor human planning" is expensive and time consuming: rigorous and redundant oversight, inspection and regulation.

      Those are the very costs and measures that Big  Nuclear always attempts to minimize and curtail.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 07:03:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's because nuclear power is a business, (0+ / 0-)

        and business's goal is to make money first and foremost. The nuclear industry should either be nationalized as a strategic energy program or have close to that level of oversight. I'm not blind to the problems of nuclear power, but I think condemning nuclear power as an alternative is a knee-jerk reaction.

        But then, I'm also a person who believes in national health care, too, so we'll see what that gets me.

        But the government-run nuclear power plants (ie, on subs, carriers, and briefly on a series of cruisers in the 1970's) have operated in extreme conditions with an excellent safety record. That's because profit isn't factored in as a motive in the running of those reactors, but efficiency and safety. So it can be done-- which means that the Chicken Little response of "nukes = we're all gonna die" is an argument based on fear rather than fact.

        •  What you're suggesting is that perhaps... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          translatorpro

          ...Private Sector commerical use Nuclear Energy  can never be acceptably profitable. Profit from the perspective of the Financial Elites must have some degree of "permanent upside": there must be someway to "sell" the fact that profit can be made ever greater if (fill in the blank).

          Nuclear energy is simply too volatile to trust to factors eroded to improve profitability above all other circumstances and factors. I do not trust those intent on short term profit to keep us sufficiently safe. And if they understand that they won't be allowed to "mine profit" from commercial Nuclear the way they've been able to "mine profit" from just about everything else they touch, perhaps we'll start getting factual, pragmatic costs of developing, siting, constructing and operating Nuclear Energy, inclusive of all inputs and waste streams.

          I'm not looking to kill Commercial Nuclear Energy. My experience in Naval Nuclear power plants informs me that the public is being offered only "the sales pitch", the "rosy scenario prospectus" on Commercial Nuclear expansion, not the complete package of trade offs and opportunity costs.

          When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

          by Egalitare on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 06:40:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The reason for Germany's energy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare

      decision are being vastly misrepresented, and thus wildly misunderstood. It had nothing to do with the likelihood of massive earthquakes or tsunamis (which is patently ignorant on its face), but everything to do with threats of terrorism and human frailty. The government came to the conclusion that they can never wholly protect the reactors from terrorist attack, nor is there any way human error can be 100% eliminated from any nuclear power equation, and those are the facts. Please stop spreading that silly meme about their so-called "irrational fears". If you understood the German mentality, which I do since I've lived here for 25 years, then you would know better.
      In addition, a recent survey showed that 90% of the German population doesn't want nuclear power. Do you really think any sane government would try to work against that kind of majority? I didn't think so. And you can hardly say that 90% of the German population are uneducated, irrational scaredy-cats (of course, um, um, some here - ahem - would very likely not shrink from a blanket um... condemnation along those lines. Oh, and 'um...' for good measure).
      Let them develop alternative energy sources and delivery - it's working well for them, so why knock it? No one is forcing anyone else to do the same, now, are they? In fact, the reason Germany was able  to help France (with 59 nuclear power plants!) during their recent power shortage because of the extremely cold period a few weeks ago (See reference here: http://www.dailykos.com/...) was because the massive amount of rooftop solar energy capacity in southern Germany stabilized the supply.

       

      „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

      by translatorpro on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 04:18:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Since the peak load occured (0+ / 0-)

        in the afternoon, when solar output was zero, I somehow doubt this:

        In fact, the reason Germany was able  to help France (with 59 nuclear power plants!) during their recent power shortage because of the extremely cold period a few weeks ago (See reference here: http://www.dailykos.com/....) was because the massive amount of rooftop solar energy capacity in southern Germany stabilized the supply.
        •  Doubt all you want. That doesn't change (0+ / 0-)

          the facts - the quotes are from the end of the article, which begins with the temporary triggering of the reserve power plants:

          Brutal cold triggers reserve power plants
          snip
          A recent study showed that Germany is now compensating for the off-line nuclear stations primarily with renewable energy: around three-quarters of the atomic gap. So although it’s been extremely cold recently, sunny weather in Germany helped fill France’s power shortfall caused by the country’s heavy dependence on nuclear energy.

          This is largely because the French heat with electricity, rather than with natural gas like the Germans. Notoriously inefficient, electric heating across France has caused a spike in power demand during the latest cold spell that the country’s 58 nuclear reactors are having trouble covering.

          “It is during extremely cold days like these that we see that renewable energies can provide us security of supply and stability,” German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, told Der Tagesspiegel newspaper on Sunday.

          http://www.thelocal.de/...

          You might want to brush up on how solar energy works:
          http://www.renewables-made-in-germany.com/...

          „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

          by translatorpro on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 06:09:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have to add that the "natural gas" statement (0+ / 0-)

            in the middle is not quite accurate. Only part of winter heating comes from gas. There is a lengthy discussion on this topic in the linked dailykos diary/thread at the end of the comment you are responding to.

            „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

            by translatorpro on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 06:31:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Here's an even better article with (0+ / 0-)

          a graph about mid-page, showing solar production over the course of February 5th, which occurred during the Siberian cold front's 2 1/2 week visit to Europe:

          http://cleantechnica.com/...

          Clean-Energy-Loving Germany Increasingly Exporting Electricity to Nuclear-Heavy France
          snip
           Hmm, a bit of cognitive dissonance for solar power haters with breakfast this morning.
          Power prices in Germany also seem fine, indicating no lack of power. However, due to its challenges, electricity prices in France have been up about 50% and the country has had to ask its citizens to reduce their electricity consumption.
          Also, as you can see in the chart above, Germany’s electricity from solar has been peaking at about 10 gigawatts lately, or about 40% of its 25 gigawatts of capacity. I have a feeling citizens opposed to Germany’s nuclear shut down and clean energy revolution are keeping quiet at the moment.
          Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/...)

          „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

          by translatorpro on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 01:52:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I should perhaps have been clearer (0+ / 0-)

            I didn't mean that solar didn't contribute at all, it clearly did.
            What I meant was that solar contributed exactly zero to the peak, which was reach at a time of day when the solar output was zero. That means that it did nothing to "stabilize the supply".

            A peak output of 40% is decent, but still leads to a low capacity factor. Assuming about half the peak as average for the productive hours, and about 8 productive hours at that time of year, the diurnal capacity factor is only ~7%.

            I also completely reject the notion that electric heating is "notoriously inefficient", at least as a blanco statement. If you have a dirty, coal dominated electricity supply like Germany, then gas is better, but not with hydro and/or nuclear like Norway (where I live), Sweden, Switzerland and France. District heating would be even better than electric with high nuclear share, but I'm not shure about how close France's nuclear plants are to major population centers and how coslty it would be to deploy.

            This winter showed that France has inadequate peak electricity supply, but it was not solar that saved them, it was coal.

            •  Coal is only one of several heating fuels, (0+ / 0-)

              Germany uses many types of fuel for heating.  I didn't say solar by itself was responsible for the stabilization, and you agreed with that. As I said, there is a lengthy discussion of this in the thread linked above. I don't want to repeat everything that was written there and there are several helpful links so you can research it further if you are so inclined. However, I think your conclusion is too simplistic, but I don't have time to check the exact figures right now because I also have a business and work to do that has a deadline that I get paid to adhere to.

              When you've done the research, you are welcome to post the results here.

              „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

              by translatorpro on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 03:09:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the numbers. Good to have them. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bryfry

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:18:58 AM PDT

  •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
    their performance has been dismal
    Any numbers to back this up? And not plugging them in doesn't count as poor performance of the technology, it counts as a poor planning.
    Since 2008, China's capacity to produce both solar modules and wind turbines has doubled each year. Today, China now leads the world in the ability to manufacture this equipment.
    Unfortunately, the markets for this equipment were not as quick to develop.
    Nice. Capacity has been doubling each year and the markets have been only growing at 40-50% per year so obviously this represents a massive failure of the technology in question...
    outrageously expensive forms of power generation
    and then in comments:
    Straw man. Did I do any kind of cost of electricity calculation?
    No, you didn't do any cost calculations ... Nice that you can intuitively know that something is outrageously expensive without doing any cost calculations. Neat trick, that.
    This means that the 65 GW of installed solar/wind capacity generates less than what 15 GW of fossil-fuel or nuclear capacity would.
    who cares (other than you, of course)? If you were to do a cost calculation (oops...) you might find that you can build and operate the 65 GW of solar/wind for the same or less than you can that 15 GW of nuclear. so who cares what the nameplate capacity of the plant is?

    Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

    by jam on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:51:05 AM PDT

  •  For the reasons cited in the comments here (5+ / 0-)

    I strongly disagree with the decision of MsGrin to feature this in the community spotlight. This diary is troubled with a lack of cited knowledge as multiple commenters have already pointed it.

    You might want to re-think those ties. - Erin Brockovich

    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 07:57:39 AM PDT

  •  I'd love to see new molten salt reactors. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1

    I entirely believe that this country would have several times the nuclear capacity it has now if it weren't for the need to have nuclear plants that produce uranium for weapons.  The molten salt reactors don't produce this in significant amounts, and are much safer than the kind we use.

    "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." - Isaac Asimov

    by Aramis Wyler on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 11:38:29 AM PDT

    •  Indeed (0+ / 0-)

      The current nuke industry complex uses primitive mid 20th century tech because the costs are externalized.

      Newer nuclear power tech and associated research, such as Dauphin detailed upthread; I support with as much vigor as I do renewables and conservation.

      "What have you done for me, lately?" ~ Lady Liberty

      by ozsea1 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 12:37:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rec'd for content, not tone (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, kalmoth, ranger995, Egalitare

    Your diary & comments would be more effective if you dropped the personal hostility and defensiveness.

    One issue you don't discuss is China's water problems. Wind and solar use less water than fossil fuel and nuclear plants. Water may become a limiting factor in many parts of China.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 02:57:55 PM PDT

    •  i agree (0+ / 0-)

      the virulence and disdain shown by the diarist and nnadir are as toxic to good debate as the radioactive toxins they eschew as necessary to satisfying our huge use/waste of energy.

      it is sadly absurd not to see the word 'negawatts' not come up once in the whole diary or comments. seeking to diss renewables because they cannot satisfy our crazed levels of demand is a strawman.

      is is inelegant to waste energy, whatever its source.

      thanks to all who stand up to the propaganda from the nuke industry and the sociopathic, sycophantic shills who support it.

      why? just kos..... *just cause*

      by melo on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 12:36:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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