YOU!: Fix the US Energy Crisis


by russ_watters
Tags: crisis, energy
Aquamarine
Aquamarine is offline
#73
Nov1-04, 02:33 PM
P: 416
Regarding oil exploration, you are wrong. It is increasing due to higher prices:
http://www.greatfallstribune.com/app...410310305/1046

If you accept breeder technology as you say, using only today's totaly certain and economically usable resources gives 50x60 = 3000 year of uranium. Adding thorium and much more uranium with slightly higher prices and more exploration gives much higher numbers.

I agree that we should certainly look at all alternatives, all the way from hydrogen to tides to helium on the moon. But if peak oil is happening this decade, or have already happened, coal and nuclear are the only technology already realistically available. With biodiesel making a contribution as transportation fuel.

Actually, since I am a libertarian, I am not advocating any state intervention. Stop excessive regulatiions of the energy sector, stop subsidaries, stop unequal taxes. Let the best alternative(s) win and let the market decide.
RuiMonteiro
RuiMonteiro is offline
#74
Nov1-04, 05:25 PM
P: 30
Regarding oil exploration, you are wrong. It is increasing due to higher prices:
http://www.greatfallstribune.com/ap.../410310305/1046

If you accept breeder technology as you say, using only today's totaly certain and economically usable resources gives 50x60 = 3000 year of uranium. Adding thorium and much more uranium with slightly higher prices and more exploration gives much higher numbers.
You're either not well informed or you just took a quick look at what i have been writing. The site you provided shows that new oil wells are being drilled, but some posts ago i said "other un-familiar and abudant types of oil resources" not the traditional and familiar oil wells, on these un-familiar oil resources it's included the bituminous sands (i don't know if that's the correct name in english) - wich Canada has a high level of proven reserves or the freezen gas contained in the bottom of the sea at very long depths, and this types of resources require a new type of technology wich is estimated to be of a very high cost.

And this not to mention that the article doesn't make a direct relation or any relation at all that the new technology appeared because of the high oil price. They say that a conjugation of factors, in wich are included the high price, new technologies and tax incentives provide a boost in profits, they never say that the high price caused all that, they clearly say that the high price directly and obviously improves profits.
Of course that there is new technology, it evolves every year, but there isn't available any technology capable to extract other forms of reserves, this technology costs a lot of money, it's not profitable.
And this is what happens with the estimated uranium reserves for wich most of them would become only available if a high cost technology is developded, and what i'm trying to say here is that uranium reserves to last thousands of years are for the moment irrealistic and that the technology necessary to make use of those reserves don't automatically appear if the price goes up.

Regarding the breeder reactors i said i was not ignoring them but i also said that the site in wich you are basing what you're saying is very speculative (not to say biased). But let me repeat one thing, what i said is that the limitation for the use of nuclear plants is the physical available uranium (and this has to do with the technology wich i already discussed) and the economical limitation of the mineral, and not, if the new types of reactors can have a more effecient energy production, but lets not be fooled, this higher efficience doesn't make wonders, even BNFL admits that.

Let me also add that if the country where i live presented a project to implent a nuclear central i would support it. We don't have any nuclear central, there was a plan to build one about 30 years ago but unfortunally the activits had a very big impact in the public.


Rui.
russ_watters
russ_watters is offline
#75
Nov2-04, 10:39 PM
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Quote Quote by Cliff_J
The NRC and all nuclear facilities are suppossed to have learned from the mistakes made and implemented changes to make things safer. But 3MI and Chernobyl are seperated only be severity and luck in the historic TV shows I've seen and this show shocked me at how close we came to a meltdown.
What they don't tell you on those shows is that not only did all of those things need to go wrong in order for the situation to have gone as far as it did (an extrodinarily unlikely string of concurrent failures), but the design differences between Chernobyl and TMI (such as a concrete reactor building) made what happened at Chernobyl utterly impossible at TMI.

Essentially, they had about everything that could go wrong go wrong and still there was no significant release of radiation. That's why I think it validates the safety of American nuclear reactors.
Chronos
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#76
Nov3-04, 03:14 AM
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US reactor designs are extremely safe. Add up all the years of operation compared to 'disasters' [think TMI]. NASA would be more than proud to have such a safety record. The politics of nuclear power are a greater threat to public safety than the technology.
Cliff_J
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#77
Nov3-04, 02:22 PM
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Funny thing about watching some of these TV shows about historic failure is the "lesson" to be learned from the incident(s). Some things have the string of concurrent failures and some have single points of weakness. Hindsight may be 20/20 but the shows really don't stretch things too much to make parallels between failures.

The TMI show depicted a place designed and operated with the arrogance that no more than one failure mode would occur. I wouldn't expect redundancy on a safety valve or other items involved but lack of monitoring and training/communication on how to read the remaining indicators is frightening. The same shows on the space shuttle disasters need not search to find previously silenced people who were concenered about the particular failure modes before they occured.

I'll be the first to admit I'm ignorant about the exact workings of a nuclear power reactor and the failure modes of each piece and how that translates to a catastrophic event. But my faith that all efforts are made to keep things safe is most definitely tempered by the actions of the people involved. For TMI, what if Carter had been overseas? In 15 hours at least one shift change would have been scheduled to occur, an operator couldn't have gone to a nearby phone in a non-stop attempt to reach the designers?

And I'm not saying that the top would have blown off the reactor like Chernobyl at TMI, but according to the show once the China Syndrome is reached at 5000 degrees that the core would melt its way through the containment structures and into the earth below it. My understanding is that Chernobyl did this and its effects are still measureable in rivers miles away. That's much more sinister than reading Feynman's arguements about the amount of radioactive particles in the air, that nuclear pollution would enter the food supply and would need to be monitored very closely. We can't even agree if genetically enhanced grains or growth hormone feed livestock are totally safe. Or maybe I read too much chaos theory stuff.

Sure the nuclear power industry might pass a Six Sigma test, but man did they group plenty of failures into one incident. I agree that about everything that could go wrong at TMI did and with about as long a time between action/inaction as would ever be imaginable. And how that the control rods did their job (learned from that early army reactor failure?) which was a huge design asset, the containment building minimized leaks and risks so its another asset, and so on. But the human factor scared me the most with the outright lies given by the power company and the lack of urgent action. There are plenty of examples where an designer/engineer would "...go down with the ship..." but TMI is an example to me of an incident where if the engineers had been on-site from the begining reactor #2 would still be operational.

The best design can be messed up by poor decisions by the wrong people and NASA has unfortunately become its own case-study in this phenomenon. And in short that is my concern, not that 8 inches of high-carbon steel was used here or other design considerations, but that the people running the show need to be as good as the design.
tumor
tumor is offline
#78
Nov3-04, 03:04 PM
P: 312
Big changes demand small steps from each of us:
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russ_watters
russ_watters is offline
#79
Nov3-04, 09:15 PM
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Quote Quote by tumor
Big changes demand small steps from each of us:
I'm a big fan of compact-fluorescents - 10x the life and a quarter of the energy use.
CharlesP
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#80
Nov8-04, 08:35 PM
P: 147
I guess you folks haven't read the July, I think it is, Physics Today. My take on the two articles is two sentences: There is no possible solution to the energy crisis. The only way to avoid large scale loss of life is to immediately implement a strong population reversal program world wide (especially in the USA). (That means possibly the Chinese, one child per family, method.)

All major sources of energy were considered and all ruled out. I can go over the details with you and explain the failures from nuclear to photovoltaic.
hitssquad
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#81
Nov8-04, 10:06 PM
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Quote Quote by CharlesP
I guess you folks haven't read the July, I think it is, Physics Today.
Page 53, Albert Bartlett. Were there two articles?



All major sources of energy were considered and all ruled out. I can go over the details with you and explain the failures from nuclear to photovoltaic.
Nuclear fission was ruled out in terms of maintaining a worldwide hedonic pact at present population growth rates; or nuclear was ruled out in terms of being able to power individual diverse cooperatively competitive groups? The former sounds plausible.

What were the details of Bartlett's ruling out of nuclear fission (in terms of whatever purpose)?
Aquamarine
Aquamarine is offline
#82
Nov9-04, 05:47 AM
P: 416
Quote Quote by CharlesP
I guess you folks haven't read the July, I think it is, Physics Today. My take on the two articles is two sentences: There is no possible solution to the energy crisis. The only way to avoid large scale loss of life is to immediately implement a strong population reversal program world wide (especially in the USA). (That means possibly the Chinese, one child per family, method.)

All major sources of energy were considered and all ruled out. I can go over the details with you and explain the failures from nuclear to photovoltaic.
Many responses here:
http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-57/iss-11/p12.html

For example,
Paul Weisz's article on long−term energy supplies (Physics Today, July 2004, page 47) states that uranium resources with breeder reactors could provide the world's energy needs for "hundreds of years." That is a gross underestimate. The world's energy needs could be provided by uranium−fueled breeder reactors for the full billion years that life on Earth will be sustainable, without the price of electricity increasing by more than a small fraction of 1% due to raw fuel costs.1

The error in Weisz's calculation is that he is referring to uranium available at its present price, $10−20 per pound. But in breeder reactors, 100 times as much energy is derived from a pound of uranium as in present−day light water reactors, so we could afford to use uranium that is 100 times as expensive.

The cost of extracting uranium from its most plentiful source, seawater, is about $250 per pound—the energy equivalent of gasoline at 0.13 cent per gallon! The uranium now in the oceans could provide the world's current electricity usage for 7 million years. But seawater uranium levels are constantly being replenished, by rivers that carry uranium dissolved out of rock, at a rate sufficient to provide 20 times the world's current total electricity usage. In view of the geological cycles of erosion, subduction, and land uplift, this process could continue for a billion years with no appreciable reduction of the uranium concentration in seawater and hence no increase in extraction costs.


Reference
1. B. L. Cohen, Am. J. Phys. 51, 75 (1983).
Not that we need that many years. We need only enough time to get into space and really start using the greatest fusion reactor, the Sun.
urbsurfer
urbsurfer is offline
#83
Nov10-04, 05:14 PM
P: 9
There are a few fundamentals to energy usage and how to effectively supply more energy demand while the source of energy is reducing as in oil and becoming increasingly toxic and costly such as nuclear production and waste.

So breaking down the utiliation of energy into transportation, manufacturing, and lifestyle; what are the alternatives?

The alternatives for electrical requirements are soon coming to market. See production ready devices such as www.blacklightpower.com, perendev magnetic motor/generator, and Beardens MEG motionless electromagnetic generator. Look at all of J Naudins work and tests and working devices from people all over the globe. http://jnaudin.free.fr/meg/meg.htm. Join the free energy yahoo group.

The alternatives for transportation are near as well. The disclosure project, the searle effect generator and offshoot technologies, impulse drive technology, propellentless propulsion devices, flash hydrogen generators.

The lifestyle of using energy in our daily lives is something that will only grow over time. So we must enact these pioneering technologies now to perfect them and reduce the costs for the masses to adopt.
Imagine the possibility that within the next ten years you will be able to use a magnet only motor to propel a vehicle 300mph at altitude and have the same magnetic motor provide the electricity needed onboard without having to stop running for 25 years.
The state of CA spends billions and billions on fixing and adding asphalt to our state. If they routed just 20% of those funds to technologies mentioned above, we could be in an energy surplus in 10 years.
Take a look at the flash hydrogen generator from www.emergingtec.com. Runs your car on water or seawater and the only byproduct is purified water. I have mine on order when they start production.
I am crafting a inertial drive mechanism for propellantless propulsion which runs on electricity. Combine that with a free energy magnetic motor = unlimited range, unlimited direction, unlimited exterior conditions (undersea, air, space). Any body want one?
CharlesP
CharlesP is offline
#84
Nov10-04, 09:36 PM
P: 147
Quote Quote by CharlesP
Page 53, Albert Bartlett. Were there two articles?

What were the details of Bartlett's ruling out of nuclear fission (in terms of whatever purpose)?
This is not Bartlett. It was the Physics Today that got lost.

Nuclear fission has the problem of long construction lead time. Americans are scared to death of Nuclear power because of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.
Biomass/alcohol is insufficient land area. Photovoltaic is too expensive. Coal is forbidden because of greenhouse. Wind energy is only local because of infrastructure. It has been a forgone conclusion since the 70's that humanity will be greatly diminished when this is all over.
hitssquad
hitssquad is offline
#85
Nov10-04, 11:18 PM
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Quote Quote by CharlesP
Quote Quote by hitssquad
Quote Quote by CharlesP
I guess you folks haven't read the July, I think it is, Physics Today.
Page 53, Albert Bartlett. Were there two articles?
This is not Bartlett. It was the Physics Today that got lost.
It got lost? The July 2004 Physics Today is right here, and it says there are two articles on long-term energy. One is by Albert Bartlett, and the other is by Paul B. Weisz. The only issue with regard to nuclear fission mentioned by Weisz is finite uranium resources. He ignores the uranium resources present in the oceans and incorrectly states that breeder technology would be required in order to extend uranium supplies beyond a few decades' worth.



Quote Quote by CharlesP
Quote Quote by hitssquad
What were the details of Bartlett's ruling out of nuclear fission (in terms of whatever purpose)?
Nuclear fission has the problem of long construction lead time.
This is solvable via mass production and possibly by routing around, via free enterprise, government red tape.



Americans are scared to death of Nuclear power because of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.
One way to deal with radionuclide fear might be to desensitize the public with regular radionuclide releases at randomly-selected spots around the country. Since easily-obtainable chemicals exist that protect against radiation-induced biological damage, this would not necessarily harm anyone.
CharlesP
CharlesP is offline
#86
Nov11-04, 10:50 PM
P: 147
Quote Quote by hitssquad
The July 2004 Physics Today is right here, and it says there are two articles on long-term energy. One is by Albert Bartlett, and the other is by Paul B. Weisz. The only issue with regard to nuclear fission mentioned by Weisz is finite uranium resources. He ignores the uranium resources present in the oceans and incorrectly states that breeder technology would be required in order to extend uranium supplies beyond a few decades' worth.
That comeback is not helpful because Nuclear fission has the problem of long construction lead time. Thanks for the URL. I notice they hid Bartlett. I am getting tired of all this APS members stuff.

Quote Quote by hitssquad
This is solvable via mass production and possibly by routing around, via free enterprise, government red tape.
Don't start with that "free enterprise, government red tape". I just got finished bashing a bunch of Republican/Libertarians and I will tell you the best thing for them is for folks like me to take a hike and watch 10 years down the road as the lynch mob gets them. It is the corruption of folks like them that causes all the "red tape." There are basic physical reasons why enough reactors cannot be built in time.

Quote Quote by CharlesP
Americans are scared to death of Nuclear power because of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.
Quote Quote by hitssquad
One way to deal with radionuclide fear might be to desensitize the public with regular radionuclide releases at randomly-selected spots around the country. Since easily-obtainable chemicals exist that protect against radiation-induced biological damage, this would not necessarily harm anyone.
You better speak softly, I feel a lynch mob coming near. If the problems of the National Radioactive Depository in Yucka Mountain are not solved soon, there is going to be a horrible radioactive mess scattered all over the country.
And there is no way the mob will let you build another nuke.
Aquamarine
Aquamarine is offline
#87
Nov12-04, 12:01 AM
P: 416
Quote Quote by CharlesP
This is not Bartlett. It was the Physics Today that got lost.

Nuclear fission has the problem of long construction lead time. Americans are scared to death of Nuclear power because of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.
Biomass/alcohol is insufficient land area. Photovoltaic is too expensive. Coal is forbidden because of greenhouse. Wind energy is only local because of infrastructure. It has been a forgone conclusion since the 70's that humanity will be greatly diminished when this is all over.
You actually think that most people prefer to die rather than to build out nuclear power? Or die rather than use coal, even if this means global warming?

If energy prices increase to very high levels and significantly starts threatening people, then there will be no more opposition to nuclear. And time for approval and construction will be very short if it is a matter of life or death.

But oil will not suddenly end. There will be a gradual decline with gradual increasing prices. Long enough to notice when the peaks takes place, for higher prices to change attitudes and to build new plants. If necessary using more coal for a while.

You are wrong regarding biomass. Biodiesel produced from algae require much smaller land area than previously. See earlier in this thread. Fuel prices will not rise higher than the cost of producing biodiesel.
And there is no way the mob will let you build another nuke.
The only mobs will be those chasing "environmentalists".
CharlesP
CharlesP is offline
#88
Nov12-04, 10:35 PM
P: 147
Quote Quote by Aquamarine
You actually think that most people prefer to die rather than to build out nuclear power? Or die rather than use coal, even if this means global warming? If energy prices increase to very high levels and significantly starts threatening people, then there will be no more opposition to nuclear. And time for approval and construction will be very short if it is a matter of life or death.
You are wrong about lead time. It takes five to ten years to build a plant and we have ten years at the most. Meanwhile we are nearly guaranteed to waste the first five.

Quote Quote by Aquamarine
But oil will not suddenly end. There will be a gradual decline with gradual increasing prices. Long enough to notice when the peaks takes place, for higher prices to change attitudes and to build new plants. If necessary using more coal for a while.
In five years oil prices will be much higher, essentially making gasoline unavailable for many folks. The Europeans are already mad at us for failing to adhere to the Koyoto limits. You say more coal? Coal is soon to be forbidden.

Quote Quote by Aquamarine
You are wrong regarding biomass. Biodiesel produced from algae require much smaller land area than previously. See earlier in this thread. Fuel prices will not rise higher than the cost of producing biodiesel.
Let me state categorically that no useful amount of fuel can be produced by biological means without decreasing available food. All such processes are extremely inefficient and expensive. You can't pay $10 for $1 worth of bio anything.

Let me remind you that we few environmentalists jacked the price of freon up a hundred times and starved a thousand famlies over a spotted owl. We just stopped the National Nuclear Repository dead in its tracks.
Aquamarine
Aquamarine is offline
#89
Nov13-04, 12:48 PM
P: 416
Quote Quote by CharlesP
You are wrong about lead time. It takes five to ten years to build a plant and we have ten years at the most. Meanwhile we are nearly guaranteed to waste the first five.

In five years oil prices will be much higher, essentially making gasoline unavailable for many folks. The Europeans are already mad at us for failing to adhere to the Koyoto limits. You say more coal? Coal is soon to be forbidden.

Let me state categorically that no useful amount of fuel can be produced by biological means without decreasing available food. All such processes are extremely inefficient and expensive. You can't pay $10 for $1 worth of bio anything.

Let me remind you that we few environmentalists jacked the price of freon up a hundred times and starved a thousand famlies over a spotted owl. We just stopped the National Nuclear Repository dead in its tracks.
At least honesty.
CharlesP
CharlesP is offline
#90
Nov13-04, 08:35 PM
P: 147
It seems the internet is permeated by the same right wing cult which has overtaken American society. This cult is exemplified by Rush Limbaugh. Most of what he believes and says is lies. Since his nonsense on such subjects as environmentalism, global warming and the energy (actually population) crisis is widely believed, we now have a populace which is in poor condition to think rationally based on historical and physical fact. I was hoping that I would not find such ilk on this message board but apparently they are dominant. I think discussion should be confined to folk who are educated in physics and share the same recognition of facts as the mainline physics community. The articles in Physics today indicate what is accepted truth in the physics community. If you are so dishonest that you choose to ignore facts and push an ideology no matter what the cost then you should identify yourself as such a person. If you want to see reliable scientific reports on these and more issues read Scientific American and visit the Union of Concerned Scientists website ucsusa.org.
I am interested in talking engineering numbers about specific technologies. There have been hundreds of reports about breakthroughs in recent years that have not panned out. Therefore a healthy skepticism is warrented.


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