Fuelly Forums

Fuelly Forums (https://www.fuelly.com/forums/)
-   General Discussion (Off-Topic) (https://www.fuelly.com/forums/f22/)
-   -   OT: Regarding the debate last night..... (https://www.fuelly.com/forums/f22/ot-regarding-the-debate-last-night-4841.html)

repete86 06-06-2007 06:20 AM

OT: Regarding the debate last night.....
Is anyone else frightened that the solution to global warming seemed to be "drill more, build more refineries, and make more nuclear power plants?" Every single candidate seemed to have the exact same opinion that somehow creating nuclear waste, drilling more oil and building more refineries will somehow be good for the environment.

Granted, they did say that biofuels were a good idea, but seemed much more interested in oil. It's probably no coincidence that the Republican party happens to be largely supported by and supporting pig oil.

Before anyone starts calling me a leftist or a Democrat, I hate all of the Dems too except for Mike Gravel.

Bill in Houston 06-06-2007 06:42 AM

Nuclear doesn't sound too great to me, but it seems to be a viable solution to certain aspects of our energy dependence. I hope there's a breakthrough on solar, really...

omgwtfbyobbq 06-06-2007 07:11 AM

Nuclear generally seems to be the best bet for Carbon Dioxide neutral baseload generation. We've been dragging our feet funding research into separation/transmutation while tossing millions at fusion, so I wouldn't be surprised if fission is viable in the same way EVs are viable. Of course, reduction in use would be the first, and easiest step, but that tends to run contrary to the profits and pocket books of those who own the energy sources.

SVOboy 06-06-2007 09:11 AM

I've been told that our supply of fission material is very limited and that in global use it would run out in just a few decades...doesn't mean we shouldn't try, of course...

Does anyone know if this is true?

omgwtfbyobbq 06-06-2007 09:48 AM

This is true, although somewhat limited. About half (iirc) of all fissile materials come from decommissioned military stuff, and the mines in operation tend to supply mostly the military and to a lesser extent civilian sector. Since there's been a pretty big increase in Ur demand, the price has shot up and there has been a lot of interest in opening up mines that have been dormant, as well as expanding mining operations. If we were to only use Ur until the mixture was poisoned w/o reprocessing then we could conceivably run out of Ur in a few decades, and have lots of waste. Iirc reprocessing will add decades (as well as decrease the volume of waste), and breeding will add centuries by most estimates, which isn't including the viability of extraction from sea water which may not be financially worthwhile, but is arguably energetically worthwhile. Then there's Thorium, in molten salt reactors.

But, and this is a big but, because nuclear fission requires a large capital investment, and the fuel is incredibly energy dense, it isn't nearly as profitable as other forms of power generation, where the cost of the plant is much cheaper, lots of fuel is needed because it has relatively poor energy density, and there is arguably, a much more limited supply in terms of energy provided, which means that we will "run out" sooner and there's more to be gained via "demand" pushing up the price thanks to limited "supply". ;)

Historically, imo/le, fission has been incredibly safe, as well as financially competitive with fossil fuels, even though it has to deal with it's externalities (i.e. waste stream) in a very thorough manner compared to fossil fuels. If, we were to say, see a breakthrough in separation/transmutation of the radioactive waste products, and make sure to build plants in sensible places, i.e. not on a fault line, or in Florida, there's no way fossil fuels could compete when taking into account externalities. If we were to have little to no radioactive waste from fission, the only ways for fossil fuels to be competitive in terms of safety/pollution/climate impact would likely render them financially disadvantaged imo. Even with the waste we have now, I don't see how the costs of long term storage can compare to the costs of climate change.

If you're really interested in the subject I recommend going through this thread and reading the links/opinions. The site in general is very cranky, if you know what I mean, but there seem to be several posters with experience in different industries such as power generation, waste disposal, chem applications, etc...

Silveredwings 06-06-2007 10:15 AM


Originally Posted by repete86 (Post 55375)
Is anyone else frightened that the solution to global warming seemed to be "drill more, build more refineries, and make more nuclear power plants?" Every single candidate seemed to have the exact same opinion that somehow creating nuclear waste, drilling more oil and building more refineries will somehow be good for the environment.

Be proud of America; we have the best government money can buy.


Of course, reduction in use would be the first, and easiest step, but that tends to run contrary to the profits and pocket books of those who own the energy sources.
Conservation is by far the greatest source of nearly untapped alternative energy. Often times its free, but career politicians fear they can't succeed against oil-pimpdaddy handouts nor appeal to a fickle public that thinks cutting back is an intolerable sacrifice.

Matt Timion 06-06-2007 10:16 AM

here's the issue with nuclear power.

It takes years and years to build a nuclear power plant. I'm sure up to 10 years in some cases. It also costs millions upon millions of dollars. You don't get a payoff until it's finished being built, and then you have waste to boot.

With wind power, however, you start getting a payoff the instant you put up the first wind generator. No waiting 10 years. No waste... just payoff. The same can be said for solar.

So why waste our money/energy building a site that won't even produce energy for 10 years when we could spend the same amount and get energy NOW?

SVOboy 06-06-2007 10:23 AM

I'm a big fan of solar myself, even though it is energy intensive to build (but this is changing, see honda soltec), it is the easiest thing to get. People complain about how much space it takes, but yakno, how much roof space is there in this country? You can put it anywhere the sun shines and in any increment, :)

Telco 06-06-2007 10:54 AM

Nukes are the way to go because they can generate so much power at a single facility. The new breeder reactors can reprocess their spent fuel into new fuel with very little waste compared to standard reactors, and the projected lifetime to reprocess the fuel until it is unusable is 500 years.

A bunch of new nukes combined with the elimination of fuel oil as a heating product in the Northeast would drop our carbon emissions as well as crap in the air by far more than anything else we can do in the short term, ie next 10 years. Solar and wind are fine, but at this time simply can't produce the amount of power needed by this nation. Our generating and transmitting capabilities are already stretched to the limits, and now we want electric cars too? Sorry, but while I am a proponent of solar and wind, we need nukes, we need a lot of them, and we need them now.

Once we have the nukes in place, and even while they are being built, we need to get alternative energy on the ground as well. This means many laws need to change. For example, I can't have solar or wind in my neighborhood because the neighborhood nazis have it outlawed. All houses have to meet the same standards, right down to paint and shingle color and style. I will be moving in 2 years, in the meantime I'm tied to the wire with no alternative. Nice thing is, their little laws mean I'll be able to sell for more than I might otherwise have been able to, and should be able to build a 100 percent solar house off the profits I make on this house alone. :D

The only way we are going to be able to get this going is to get independents elected into office, and tell them that we will be watching them closely and if we find them to be on the take, out they'll go. If we were to send a whole new third of Congress in, with mostly independents, and the message that we want an end to big business interests coming first, Congress might get the message and start representing the people's interests first. For a small while, anyway.

omgwtfbyobbq 06-06-2007 10:58 AM

-Nuclear reactors only take a decade to build in the states, thanks to NIMBY. Actual construction time is only a few years, if that.

-The problem with any renewable is scaling to load. We can build according to what we have now, and deal with blackouts, or build enough additional capacity to always have all the energy we want, but it would cost so much that I doubt it'd be worthwhile, and we would have most of our capacity idle most of the time.

-In order to implement large scale renewables, we need to use large scale fossil fuels, which means large scale pollution. Since nuclear power is suitable for baseload generation, we can use it to maximize the amount of carbon dioxide neutral energy we make from the fossil fuel base we have now. Renewables do this as well, but only when they're a relatively small percentage of load and can generate 24/7/365.

Otoh, if everyone were to, say, use roughly 100kwh/month, then we could realistically use the energy storage we have now and expand renewables to deal with most of the load. We can also have everyone driving cars that get ~100-200mpg. I don't think either is likely... :(

Possibly in the future, as energy storage drops in cost, and we come closer to having a global energy network (Big grid interconnects?) renewables can easily play a larger part, but for now they cannot be scaled easily and are only suitable for ~10-20% (maybe 30-40% with radical steps being taken) of generating capacity imo. One thing I cannot argue with is that for an individual, buying "cheap" land a hundred or so miles out from heavily populated areas is much less expensive than buying into whatever developments, because an individual can drop their electricity consumption enough to make a renewable home system viable, they can insulate the home they built properly, etc... The "hidden" costs of new homes/city living are fairly large imo.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:43 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.