Nuclear Power

  • News
  • Thread starter Phrak
  • Start date
  • #1
Phrak
4,265
2
I'm posting this in the Politics & World Affairs folder.

Stress on World Affairs; not politics.


Carbon energy sources will peak in 2017, 2030 or one hundred years from now. Probable closer to the first than the last. This will put a strain on the demand for the life styles to which we have become accustomed. We will demand cheaper energy, and governments will respond. In bulk, this will not be delivered in the form of windmills and solar cells. We should look forward to more nuclear power plants, and a lot of them.

In order to meet this demand, a great effort will be required by government to convince the majority of us as to the wisdom of this.

It seems a good time to discuss safety now, rather than after the propaganda hits the fan.

What is the current state of technology in processing and sequestering waste (say, ten times as much as today), and safety in operation?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Jack21222
204
1
I think this has been gone over in great detail over in the Nuclear Engineering forum. You might want to read there.
 
  • #3
What source do you use to say carbon energy sources will peak in 2017, 2030, or one-hundred years from now? (which to me then makes it seem like those making the claim really don't have a clue!). How long carbon-based energy sources last isn't just a matter of how much coal, oil, natural gas, etc...there is, but of how we use it, which deals with economic growth, technological development, etc...for example, what if some breakthrough is made by which automobiles can use half the fuel they do now to create the same torque and horsepower?

Also we very much could get energy from solar or wind eventually. Solar might hit a breakthrough akin to what the computer did with the innovation of the transistor and then the microprocessor.
 
  • #4
WhoWee
210
0
I'm posting this in the Politics & World Affairs folder.

Stress on World Affairs; not politics.


Carbon energy sources will peak in 2017, 2030 or one hundred years from now. Probable closer to the first than the last. This will put a strain on the demand for the life styles to which we have become accustomed. We will demand cheaper energy, and governments will respond. In bulk, this will not be delivered in the form of windmills and solar cells. We should look forward to more nuclear power plants, and a lot of them.

In order to meet this demand, a great effort will be required by government to convince the majority of us as to the wisdom of this.

It seems a good time to discuss safety now, rather than after the propaganda hits the fan.

What is the current state of technology in processing and sequestering waste (say, ten times as much as today), and safety in operation?

Does the Government need permission to build a nuclear research center or a nuclear powered vessel? Is the Government restricted as to where they can operate a nuclear powered vessel? IMO - the best way to proceed with a nuclear expansion is in partnership with the Government.
 
  • #5
aquitaine
21
9
What is the current state of technology in processing and sequestering waste (say, ten times as much as today), and safety in operation?

All of these are technically essentially non-issues. The only real problem is politica, whose roots are based on fear mongering by environmentalists, greenpeace in particular. They say anything and everything to keep people afraid, http://nuclearfissionary.com/2010/03/26/greenpeace-disables-comments-on-antinuclear-blog/ [Broken]. Unfortunately because of rampant scientific illiteracy, most people buy into it without at least asking the right people about it (nuclear physicists and engineers).
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #6
Jack21222
204
1
All of these are technically essentially non-issues. The only real problem is politica, whose roots are based on fear mongering by environmentalists, greenpeace in particular. They say anything and everything to keep people afraid, http://nuclearfissionary.com/2010/03/26/greenpeace-disables-comments-on-antinuclear-blog/ [Broken]. Unfortunately because of rampant scientific illiteracy, most people buy into it without at least asking the right people about it (nuclear physicists and engineers).

No, the biggest political problem with reprocessing is the fear of the materials being used to develop nuclear weapons. Reprocessing isn't an environmental issue, even though sequestering is.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #7
nismaratwork
353
0
Does the Government need permission to build a nuclear research center or a nuclear powered vessel? Is the Government restricted as to where they can operate a nuclear powered vessel? IMO - the best way to proceed with a nuclear expansion is in partnership with the Government.

:surprised:

Who... are you? Where is WhoWee the beloved rough and tumble conservative?!
But yeah... I like that idea.

Jack21222: Or the dirtiest bomb with a tiny amount of material. It's ugly all around if there were any reason to expect that material to be on the market.
 
  • #8
Jack21222
204
1
Jack21222: Or the dirtiest bomb with a tiny amount of material. It's ugly all around if there were any reason to expect that material to be on the market.

Exactly. I think that reason is far more important than environmental extremists.
 
  • #9
mheslep
Gold Member
360
728
Some comments on the assumptions in the question:
Carbon energy sources will peak in 2017, 2030 or one hundred years from now. Probable closer to the first than the last.
I think after 2030, but ok
This will put a strain on the demand for the life styles to which we have become accustomed.
It well might if things staid the same but they http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704648604575621122887824544.html" staying the same.
Matt Ridley said:
For example, the world is on a surprisingly steady trajectory toward decarbonization. The number of carbon atoms we burn per unit of energy we generate is falling as we gradually switch from carbon-rich fuels like wood and coal to hydrogen-rich fuels like oil and especially gas. At current rates, we would be burning almost no carbon by about 2070, though I suspect that point will never actually be reached..

We will demand cheaper energy, and governments will respond.
Governments respond slowly, or wrongly, or not at all. It is markets and private enterprise that provide answers to demand.

Otherwise I agree with the suggestion that more nuclear is needed.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #10
aquitaine
21
9
No, the biggest political problem with reprocessing is the fear of the materials being used to develop nuclear weapons. Reprocessing isn't an environmental issue, even though sequestering is.


That's only a problem in the US, other nuke powered nations actively engage in reprocessing.
 
  • #11
WhoWee
210
0
:surprised:

Who... are you? Where is WhoWee the beloved rough and tumble conservative?!
But yeah... I like that idea.

I think Government involvement makes sense on two levels. First, the project finance and permitting problems are nearly eliminated. Second, (IMO) energy independence is a national security issue.

The Government is very good at certain tasks - such as funding and supporting large projects. I prefer projects whereby the Government realizes a return on investment - move away from the money pit mentality.

The Government would have several ways to earn; first by financing a reactor and either operating or leasing the facility (to a US company) thus earning a fee and selling the power (at a wholesale rate) to power companies (who sell the power at a lower cost to consumers). Taxpayers have a win-win - lower utility rates and a Government that is slightly less tax-dependent.

Last, the Government might be able to integrate it's weapons disposal program into the energy program.
 
  • #12
nismaratwork
353
0
I think Government involvement makes sense on two levels. First, the project finance and permitting problems are nearly eliminated. Second, (IMO) energy independence is a national security issue.

The Government is very good at certain tasks - such as funding and supporting large projects. I prefer projects whereby the Government realizes a return on investment - move away from the money pit mentality.

The Government would have several ways to earn; first by financing a reactor and either operating or leasing the facility (to a US company) thus earning a fee and selling the power (at a wholesale rate) to power companies (who sell the power at a lower cost to consumers). Taxpayers have a win-win - lower utility rates and a Government that is slightly less tax-dependent.

Last, the Government might be able to integrate it's weapons disposal program into the energy program.

Works for me!
 
  • #13
WhoWee
210
0
Works for me!

I'm trying to find a link for a paper discussing the conversion of nuclear powered naval vessels into mini power plants and transmitting via Tesla "Tower of Power" technology. It was a fun read.
 
  • #14
I think Government involvement makes sense on two levels. First, the project finance and permitting problems are nearly eliminated. Second, (IMO) energy independence is a national security issue.
Just to add a third, government already has a monopoly on nuclear fuel. Building a nuclear plant is already effectively illegal without active government involvement, as a result of national security laws.
 
  • #15
nismaratwork
353
0
Just to add a third, government already has a monopoly on nuclear fuel. Building a nuclear plant is already effectively illegal without active government involvement.

Exactly, and who wants to fund something that the controlling body hasn't budged on in decades? Having made a monopoly of itself, at least provide us with the better end of the product-line.
 
  • #16
Exactly, and who wants to fund something that the controlling body hasn't budged on in decades? Having made a monopoly of itself, at least provide us with the better end of the product-line.
I agree. And this isn't like making and selling other products, where libertarians like me say that it's none of government's business (as a uninvited third party). Power companies as a practical matter just won't work as a private enterprises. A private enterprise can't obtain the right of ways needed to distribute the power.

Government is involved in electric power as a result of being asked for help by the private companies, not as a result of forceful interference by government. Might as well make the partnership a good one.
 
  • #17
nismaratwork
353
0
I agree. And this isn't like making and selling other products, where libertarians like me say that it's none of government's business (as a uninvited third party). Power companies as a practical matter just won't work as a private enterprises. A private enterprise can't obtain the right of ways needed to distribute the power.

Government is involved in electric power as a result of being asked for help by the private companies, not as a result of forceful interference by government. Might as well make the partnership a good one.

OK... I think now the wormhole opens and frogs start raining, but... yeah, well said!
 
  • #18
mheslep
Gold Member
360
728
It is not historically correct to make the blanket statement that private companies asked the government to participate in electric power. The government inserted itself quite forcefully, as governments do.


http://newdeal.feri.org/tva/tva10.htm
In 1935 the Rural Electric Administration (REA) was created to bring electricity to rural areas like the Tennessee Valley. ....
Many groups opposed the federal government's involvement in developing and distributing electric power, especially utility companies, who believed that the government was unfairly competing with private enterprise [...]. Some members of Congress who didn't think the government should interfere with the economy, believed that TVA was a dangerous program that would bring the nation a step closer to socialism. Other people thought that farmers simply did not have the skills needed to manage local electric companies.
 
  • #19
WhoWee
210
0
It is not historically correct to make the blanket statement that private companies asked the government to participate in electric power. The government inserted itself quite forcefully, as governments do.


http://newdeal.feri.org/tva/tva10.htm

Understood, but without the Government - it's doubtful we would have nuclear power plants. To look at it a different way, if given a choice to have them involved in the nuclear power industry or healthcare - I would choose nuclear every single time.
 
  • #20
nismaratwork
353
0
It is not historically correct to make the blanket statement that private companies asked the government to participate in electric power. The government inserted itself quite forcefully, as governments do.


http://newdeal.feri.org/tva/tva10.htm

Yes, because it's an obvious matter of national security, and later because of nuclear power's byproducts. I can't believe that you're proposing a completely private nuclear industry, right?
 
  • #21
mheslep
Gold Member
360
728
Understood, but without the Government - it's doubtful we would have nuclear power plants.
Probably so, but that's a different issue. I was responding to AI68's comment that the electric power industry (not just nuclear, or at least AI68 didn't qualify it that way) invited government intervention. It's also doubtful that without industry the US would have a substantial number of nuclear power plants.
 
  • #22
WhoWee
210
0
Probably so, but that's a different issue. I was responding to AI68's comment that the electric power industry (not just nuclear, or at least AI68 didn't qualify it that way) invited government intervention. It's also doubtful that without industry the US would have a substantial number of nuclear power plants.

Understood again - I'm suggesting that Government should focus on things it can (and should) do well. Energy independence is a national security concern, as is the safe design and operation of nuclear plants. Further, anything that might either save money for taxpayers or (dare to dream) facilitate a return on taxpayer investment (lower tax burden) should be considered.

I'm wondering what the potential savings on permits and delays alone would total?
 
  • #23
nismaratwork
353
0
Probably so, but that's a different issue. I was responding to AI68's comment that the electric power industry (not just nuclear, or at least AI68 didn't qualify it that way) invited government intervention. It's also doubtful that without industry the US would have a substantial number of nuclear power plants.

OR... they could turn out like rail and airlines. If the last couple of decades have taught us one thing, it should be that betting something like "the power grid" on the private sector is folly. You either end with a failed product that requires subsidy, or no development at all.
 
  • #24
mheslep
Gold Member
360
728
I'm wondering what the potential savings on permits and delays alone would total?
The difference in nuclear construction costs between here and China for the same Westinghouse design appears to be roughly $4/Watt. That's $8 billion per 2GW nuclear plant. Chalk as much of that as you like up to bureaucratic hurdles put in place by the US NRC and US legal system. Then there are the additional costs imposed by paying for other sources while waiting on delayed nuclear installation.
 
Last edited:
  • #25
nismaratwork
353
0
The difference between nuclear construction costs between here and China, for the same Westinghouse design appears to be roughly $4/W. If I naively chalk that entire difference up to bureaucratic hurdles placed by the US NRC and US legal system, that's $8 billion per 2GW nuclear plant.

If I less naively point out that there are literally NO political concerns when a plant of any kind needs to be built, the military runs the power industry, and China has shown a strong willingness to expend human capitol in favor of infrastructure. Waste isn't an issue, as again, if a dedicated rail line is needed, it's made; if that means 're-locating' a bunch of people, they're game.

I'm at a loss to understand how you could expect to get any accurate read on relative costs in essentially polarized political and social environments? In the USA, a company is going to need to get through the legal challenges, and if the federal government exercises its powers, you'll have senators worrying about their careers. There's no win there, and no equivalent of what China does in the USA either.
 
  • #26
http://newdeal.feri.org/tva/tva10.htm
In 1935 the Rural Electric Administration (REA) was created...Some members of Congress who didn't think the government should interfere with the economy, believed that TVA was a dangerous program that would bring the nation a step closer to socialism.....
What? I thought using the word socialism to refer to government economic interference was a neocon invention of Fox News. :biggrin:
Probably so, but that's a different issue. I was responding to AI68's comment that the electric power industry (not just nuclear, or at least AI68 didn't qualify it that way) invited government intervention.
Well, I should have been more specific. I was referring to the case of state and local governments being "invited" to help with rights of way for poles and lines to distribute the power, not the federal intervention you referenced.

I didn't mean to imply that all government intrusion in the power industry was invited.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #27
OK... I think now the wormhole opens and frogs start raining, but... yeah, well said!
Thank you. But I'm still a libertarian, and against government intrusion as a third party. No raining frogs or wormholes yet.

But if a private company actively partners with government, they can't then claim government is a third party. And a private company can't use eminent domain to force people to sell property rights of way to use to run their lines. So a private electric power enterprise just can't succeed as a practical matter.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #28
WhoWee
210
0
Thank you. But I'm still a libertarian, and against government intrusion as a third party. No raining frogs or wormholes yet.

But if a private company actively partners with government, they can't then claim government is a third party. And a private company can't use eminent domain to force people to sell property rights of way to use to run their lines. So a private electric power enterprise just can't succeed as a practical matter.

I'd much rather see a private/public partnership on nuclear expansion, than continued subsidies of "Green" projects that can't exist without Government assistance - and potentially lead to increased consumer costs.
 
  • #29
I'd much rather see a private/public partnership on nuclear expansion, than continued subsidies of "Green" projects that can't exist without Government assistance - and potentially lead to increased consumer costs.
Me, too.
 
  • #30
nismaratwork
353
0
I'd much rather see a private/public partnership on nuclear expansion, than continued subsidies of "Green" projects that can't exist without Government assistance - and potentially lead to increased consumer costs.

And... possibly predictably... I say do both, but focus on nuclear.
 
  • #31
WhoWee
210
0
And... possibly predictably... I say do both, but focus on nuclear.

If you're talking about subsidies for research - I'm in favor. If you want to subsidize windmills, ethanol production, and solar panels (possibly purchased from China) - I say no thank you.
 
  • #32
nismaratwork
353
0
If you're talking about subsidies for research - I'm in favor. If you want to subsidize windmills, ethanol production, and solar panels (possibly purchased from China) - I say no thank you.

I'm happy to subsidize ethanol production from cellulose, otherwise I agree.
 
  • #33
Phrak
4,265
2
Otherwise I agree with the suggestion that more nuclear is needed.

I wasn't really suggesting that nuclear energy is needed, true or not, only that we should expect more of it as a forgone conclusion of things to come--say, within 30 years from now.

However, there is one important factor I failed to consider. If you have had the opportunity to visit a grade school or middle school (of high schools, I'm ignorant), the stress on 'ecology' is prevalent and pervasive. It's been a persistent theme molding young minds for as many as three decades and obtaining opinioned adults for these critical coming years. Unfortunately, how much of the ecology theme has been to used to place nuclear energy within the evil category, I'm uncertain.

Depending on the degree of instilled anti-nuclear education, we might see a great deal of conflict, public displays, caustic debate, daily news reports, violence, vigilantes, saboteurs, martyrs--the list goes on and on--over the issue before new norms become established marginalizing decent opinion.

The start of this game might be signaled at a time where OPEC becomes emboldened again, a third time, to ratchet the price of oil, and take it over the critical point.

In the US, what would the be the critical point, measured in the retail cost of 87 octane gasoline, per gallon?
 
Last edited:
  • #34
russ_watters
Mentor
21,844
8,805
I'm not sure about the education issue, but a related issue that is always a big problem for any big project is NIMBYism. Education can help, but it can't totally eliminate that issue. So it is important to frame the issue as a choice between nuclear and coal, not nuclear and nothing:

"Do you want a nuclear plant or a coal plant in your 'backyard'?"

not

"Do you want a nuclear plant in your 'backyard'?"
 
  • #35
Phrak
4,265
2
For these who don't know, NIMBY means "Not In My Back Yard".

Russ, I've been thinking about the same NIMBY thing. I sure a community will be far more motivated to discourage a nuclear power plant, close or upwind, than a coal burning plant somewhere close. I would be.
 
Last edited:

Suggested for: Nuclear Power

  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
21
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
22
Views
3K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
52
Views
9K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
4
Replies
110
Views
17K
Replies
123
Views
16K
Replies
10
Views
3K
Replies
56
Views
8K
Replies
18
Views
14K
Top