pstarr wrote:Uranium supply is not a "technicality" and is not the only argument. There are lots of other arguments against nuclear, eroei, security, nimbyism, time-lag, etc. Breeder reactors are always just around the corner. I would not depend on them. Perpetual energy system? Other than thermodynamics and reality there are other impediments to this techtopian dream: an entire investment, industrial, economic world paradigm built on petroleum which is in decline.
Firstly - renewable intermittency is being solved: - http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/e ... tery_N.htm
Secondly, I’m a regular reader of TOD and have never seen a peak-battery argument made. Surely the materials could simply be recycled and reprocessed?
On Nuclear, read here http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2323 and here http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2355 for a contrasting view which thoroughly answers most of your points. EROEI with nuclear are you kidding me??? Average oil EROEI is what 5 to 1 now? That’s less than wind and many times less than any conceivable nuclear system. Designs for breeder reactors exist and are doable now. The reason they haven't been commissioned is simple, they are uneconomical with the historic collapse in the uranium price. Thorium is also very abundant and can be used for fuel in slightly more expensive reactors but it hasn't happened yet because uranium is so abundant. However, from a technical point of view, they are available now. NIMBYism - In a post-peak world this won't be a problem. Lead in times are primarily a function of NIMBYism. Scalability yes, issue here. An insurmountable problem - I don't think so.
Nuclear is not ideal and I agree with the writer of the second article I posted the energy order should be the following:
First, conservation and energy efficiency. "Negawatts" are the cheapest and most underexploited resource we have;
Second, renewable energies, starting with wind. They are proven technologies, are scalable and wind is already competitive, price wise;
Third, nuclear. It’s the least bad way to provide the base load capacity we'll need in the foreseeable future;
Fourth, gas-fired plants. Gas is less polluting than coal, gas turbines are very flexible to use. Such plants will probably be needed (in places that do not have sufficient hydro) to manage the permanent adjustment of supply to demand that electricity requires;
last, coal should be dismantled as quickly as possible from its current high levels of use - and new construction should be stopped.