AndyH wrote:Nuke folks - this is a problem/solution thread. If you think that nuclear technology is a useful solution, then feel free to share it - but it's got to be a real solution, not simply a duplication of past mistakes.
Andy, no one is building soviet era Chernobil reactors anymore, the new stuff is far far safer... and less than 40 people died at Chernobil, 4000 more may get cancer from all the radiation.. (those numbers are off the top of my head so dont hold me to them) and that was a horrible accident with a naked core actually burning in air.
Thanks for weighing in Herm! Please don't try to pull the point off-course though.
The message in the graphic is that when a problem does happen with a nuke plant it tends to have far-reaching effects. Yes, Chernobyl was not a 'current tech' plant, but we haven't yet had a couple of decades to analyze the fallout and damage from the 'modern' Fukushima disaster yet. And the plant just approved for Georgia doesn't yet include safety improvements from "lessons apparently not yet learned from Fukushima."
I'm not suggesting that current plants be taken off-line (unless there's a real need to do so), but I don't think we can build enough new plants in time to make a meaningful dent in our CO2 emissions. I'm not anti-nuke, but am anti-blowing-smoke-for-the-sake-of-artificially-propping-pet-projects.
Herm wrote:I have no idea how many people died building all those solar panels but I bet a lot since most of the power in China used to build them comes from coal. I'm not saying that solar panel factories should only be powered by solar but dont assume their innocence. The expense of solar panels also means that people starve and die of disease due to lack of funds.. how much money did the Germans divert from famine relief in Africa to build their infrastructure?
Ok, I think this is quite a stretch, but let's 'go there' for a moment.
Are you suggesting that all solar panels are made in China? That's got folks in solar plants in the US and Europe rolling their eyes. I agree that burning coal is not a clean power conversion system, I suspect we can factor it out though considering that it takes plenty of energy to build gas, coal, nuclear, and geothermal power systems. Care to run the numbers on how much energy it takes to make the cement used for a nuke plant containment building (or how much CO2 is released just making the cement)?http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/1993/3/1/Cement-and-Concrete-Environmental-Considerations/
Cement production is one of the most energy intensive of all industrial manufacturing processes. Including direct fuel use for mining and transporting raw materials, cement production takes about six million Btus for every ton of cement (Table 2). ... The industry’s heavy reliance on coal leads to especially high emission levels of CO 2, nitrous oxide, and sulphur, among other pollutants. A sizeable portion of the electricity used is also generated from coal.
Check the Wiki pages with an open mind for a minute or two. Those problems - the deaths, contaminated ground water, accidental leaks to the atmosphere, etc. were not about Chernobyl.
(And are quite likely only the info easy to gather - care to guess how many military issues are classified?) And those are only the 'problems' we're not in denial about because the fuel cycle is still an 'externality' and as Dave's already highlighted, we still don't have a clue about how to handle the spent fuel.
I have broken Evergreen string ribbon PV cells in my dining room. They're not bothering me, my son, or my cat - and aren't likely to anytime soon.
Herm wrote:We need nukes, solar and wind when we stop using fossil fuels to generate electricity .. I dont think fusion will ever amount to much.
Maybe you're right about fusion, maybe not - but we don't need it now - we have all the tech we need today with ZERO R&D.
Herm wrote: Wind is useless without backup, storage or continental wide grids.
Others seem to disagree with you about wind's usefulness without storage (though it will be an improvement when it happens). But since we already have a continental wide grid, and we have grid-scale storage in use today, I'm thinking we're golden here!
Grid-scale battery storage:http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/03/100325-presidio-texas-battery/
The hoped-for remedy is a battery, a Texas-size battery, which could eventually end up playing an important role in wider use of green power generation such as solar and wind. The U.S. $25 million system, which is now charging and is set to be dedicated April 8, will be the largest use of this energy storage technology in the United States.
American Electric Power (AEP) first tested the NaS system for stationary power at its Dolan Technology Center near Columbus, Ohio, and deployed it in a demonstration project in Gahanna, Ohio, in 2002. Since then, AEP has installed four NaS battery systems in West Virginia, Indiana, and Ohio.
Here's one way to use wind power to provide base-load power (without grid storage):http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/winds/aj07_jamc.pdf
A solution to improve wind power reliability is interconnected wind power. In other words, by linking multiple wind farms together it is possible to improve substantially the overall performance of the interconnected system (i.e., array) when compared with that of any individual wind farm. The idea is that, while wind speed could be calm at a given location, it will be noncalm somewhere else in the aggregate array
Again - if anyone thinks that new nuclear power should be part of the solution, I'd like to see a rough guestimate of how much new generation capacity we can get in service by 2030 and 2050 - experts suggest those dates are important targets for leveling and then reducing atmospheric CO2 levels. I'd like to see if it's possible, and I don't know enough about how to manufacture the estimate. Thanks!