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PeakOil is You

PeakOil is You

THE Nuclear Power Thread pt 9 (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 13 May 2005, 06:08:38

katkinkate wrote:
Colorado-Valley wrote:If we have oceans full of free energy, then why is Halliburton destroying whole mountain valleys here searching for coalbed methane?

If salt water provides limitless energy, then why the hell am I paying $2.33 a gallon and a hundred billion dollars a year in Iraq so I can get enough gasoline to run my car?

I think your cornucopia dreams are just dreams for the feeble-minded.


Its there, they know its there. They just haven't figured out how to get it our in an affordable way.


Its much sadder than that, the reallity is we don't have the power plants built to use the Uranium in the sea so why 'mine' it? The USA should have done what France did, 77% of their electricity is nuclear and much of the rest is Hydro. There was a lot of Uranium mined for the cold war and a lot of high value ores found before 1990, then when the cold war ended and with the fall in the number of nuclear power plants and the huge increases in nuclear plant efficiencies we ended up with a Uranium glut. Then in 1994 we started buying FSR Uranium from dismanteled nuclear weapons http://www.usec.com/v2001_02/html/megat ... tworks.asp

All these factors add up, there has been little need to mine Uranium for 15 years and the only reason they keep the mines going is they know someday the surpluses will run out and they want a trained workforce ready for that day.
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Unread postby Tanada » Fri 13 May 2005, 06:25:07

smallpoxgirl wrote:On the closure of the Superphenix: link

On the cleanup of Britian's closed Dounreay breeder reactor: link

The only attempt to build a large scale breeder reactor in the US was the Clinch River Breeder Reactor, which was canceled in 1983 after 4 years of construction and $1.6 billion of tax payer investment.link

Besides the remarkably poor track record of breeder reactor programs, there is another fundamental problem with your research above. It all assumes that cheap oil will be available to mine and enrich the uranium, reprocess used breeder reactor fuel rods, build the reactors, and dispose of the waste. For a detailed analysis of the energy economics of nuclear power, see: http://www.mnforsustain.org/nukpwr_tyne ... _power.htm

Their conclusion was that if we were to comence building a reactor per month, even with their most optimistic calculations, it would be over 20 years before we even broke even with recouping the invested energy.



When you read the stories about Superfenix you have to remember it was hated by the greens in France and they exerted every bit of pollitical power they had to get it closed. They alligned with the peace movement because it was said that Plutonium from Superfenix could be used for weapons, which is true. Add in the fact that just as Auperfenix came online we hit a huge glut in the Uranium supplie which still exists. Why go to the trouble of making more fuel when you have more fuel than you need at the time and for the next 20 years?

Clinch river in the USA was a story I followed in High School, the party not in power was also against it because it was 'evil nuclear power' and 'evil dirty plutonium' would be made there. The USA has tried several of this style of Breeders, ERB-1, ERB-2, Fermi-1. They were all cutting edge technology and they all worked after the bugs were gotten out of the new system, but with the price of Uranium so low there was no pressing need to make Plutonium for fuel.

The best reactor design we have yet come up with IMO is the integral fast reactor, it consumes not only Thorium and Uranium, it also consumes Plutonium, Neptunium, Americium and all the other higher trans-uranics. It also reprocesses its own fuel internally to the complex where it is located so that only the short half life waste ever needs to leave the complex and the short half life waste is stored on site for 30 years or so making it below background radiation level when it is shipped out for final disposal.

As for the argument that you can't build a nuclear power plant without massive quantities of oil, well you need energy not Oil specifically for most tasks. Creating the concrete and steel from raw materials is most efficient with fossile fuels, but all the hauling, dumping and constructing can be done with electric powered machinery. The idea that manufacturing the Cement and Iron for a new power plant takes more energy than operating the plant is absurd on its face.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Unread postby Doly » Fri 13 May 2005, 06:50:28

And besides, we aren't running out of oil, just cheap oil. We'll still have enough oil to build as many nuclear power stations as needed.
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Unread postby Omnitir » Fri 13 May 2005, 06:59:20

Madpaddy wrote:Smallpoxgirl,

It's not methane from Mars - it's methane from Uranus and you have to be careful how you say that one.

Nah, it’s not methane on the planets, it’s the methane in the asteroids and comets that are really important (and close to Earth). Not to mention all the metals/minerals floating around out there.


BTW, there's only trace amounts of methane on Mars. :)
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Unread postby Wildwell » Fri 13 May 2005, 07:34:06

A lot of costs, especially in capital intensive industries or where there is a ‘potential for a catastrophic incident’ are in fact due to risk management. This can be seen in the case of Transport (especially rail and air), civil engineering, nuclear, oil and gas drilling and exploration and so on. Safety paranoia imposes huge costs on some industries, when the actual risk is small.

The other things to note about costs and one of my main bugbears, are the issue of externalities. Oil based drilling, exploration, road and air transport, pollution (eg from plastics, farming etc) has huge externalities that are rarely seen in the real cost.

It’s simply not good enough to rant on about ‘cheap’ anything. The entire system is distorted by a myriad of other factors.

Oil should be far more expensive than it is, maybe 3-4 times as much or more. If you like the entire United States i(the most oil dependent country in the world) is getting by on what is effectively an economic con of cheap oil, which completely distorts any idea of substitution.
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Unread postby Chichis » Fri 13 May 2005, 08:13:33

Nuclear is the most promising of all energy techs, but it has significant barriers that make it seem like it won't happen. First, we needed to start building these things years ago. We can't spend so much money building nuke plants now that it will sink our economy. We need our economy to continue floating, as oil supplies contract, and while we build hundreds upon hundreds of power plants. At this point, we replace all the electrical uses of oil. THEN we need to find an efficient way to convert electrical energy into a portable energy supply to replace oil in transportation. I don't think these hurdles can be overcome in a world where energy supplies and economy are contracting.

This point seems to be the trump card for a lot of potential solutions to Peak Oil. There's many things that could help mitigate or maybe even solve our current energy problems but every single one of them requires a huge investment of time, energy, and money, all of which we won't be able to front BECAUSE of the very problem they need to fix.
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Unread postby Doly » Fri 13 May 2005, 08:34:49

Chichis wrote:This point seems to be the trump card for a lot of potential solutions to Peak Oil. There's many things that could help mitigate or maybe even solve our current energy problems but every single one of them requires a huge investment of time, energy, and money, all of which we won't be able to front BECAUSE of the very problem they need to fix.


You got it, Chichis. That's exactly the problem. Eventually, we will fix it, but nothing can avoid the economic depression that's coming for a start. And it won't be a short depression.
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Unread postby Liamj » Fri 13 May 2005, 08:43:15

Doly wrote:
Chichis wrote:This point seems to be the trump card for a lot of potential solutions to Peak Oil. There's many things that could help mitigate or maybe even solve our current energy problems but every single one of them requires a huge investment of time, energy, and money, all of which we won't be able to front BECAUSE of the very problem they need to fix.


You got it, Chichis. That's exactly the problem. Eventually, we will fix it, but nothing can avoid the economic depression that's coming for a start. And it won't be a short depression.


So think smaller :)
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Unread postby Wildwell » Fri 13 May 2005, 08:52:45

Doly wrote:
Chichis wrote:This point seems to be the trump card for a lot of potential solutions to Peak Oil. There's many things that could help mitigate or maybe even solve our current energy problems but every single one of them requires a huge investment of time, energy, and money, all of which we won't be able to front BECAUSE of the very problem they need to fix.


You got it, Chichis. That's exactly the problem. Eventually, we will fix it, but nothing can avoid the economic depression that's coming for a start. And it won't be a short depression.


Yes, I agree that we have a crunch coming up because of bad planning basically. But I don't think it's the end of the world, yet.
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Unread postby MonteQuest » Fri 13 May 2005, 12:08:12

linlithgowoil wrote:if oil is declining at 3% per year, then we need some other energy source to meet this decline plus add, say, another 2-3% above this to meet growth demand.

there are tons of alternatives, but the problem they have is scalability and time frame. im pretty sure we could have almost all of our electricity generated by nuclear and renewables - but this could take up to 25 years to achieve. if peak oil hits 2005-2008 as seems likely, then we have a couple of years. thats the problem really.


That is the peak oil crisis in a nutshell.
A Saudi saying, "My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet-plane. His son will ride a camel."
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Unread postby Wildwell » Fri 13 May 2005, 12:26:58

There's ways and means around some of the scalability, as long as people understand the problem.

1. Limit 1 car per household unless you make a special application for an additional license.
2. Incentives for work based car pooling.
3. Carrot and stick approach to goods and food production. Price out of existence inefficient supply lines. For example there’s cases where bottle tops are made in one country, food in other, it’s prepared in other country and packaged in another - and water where goods are not time sensitive.
4. Minimum standard for car MPG fuel efficiency. Say 35mpg.
5. Raise tax for fuel on private car use and lower public transport fares and income tax.
6. Incentives for hauliers to tighten supply lines and even use freight containers and piggyback services on rail.
7. Technological improvements and new energy sources
8. Limit internal flights were there are other options This would free up air capacity and prevent aircraft being stacked which wastes fuel.
9. Better use of transport capacity, bargain basement bus and rail fares off peak by using yield management.. Staggered working times - big part of the problem is the 9-5. Four day week and more night time use especially for freight, all of which would reduce congestion.
10. Home working and living closer to work.
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Unread postby Ludi » Fri 13 May 2005, 12:56:07

MonteQuest wrote:
linlithgowoil wrote:if oil is declining at 3% per year, then we need some other energy source to meet this decline plus add, say, another 2-3% above this to meet growth demand.

there are tons of alternatives, but the problem they have is scalability and time frame. im pretty sure we could have almost all of our electricity generated by nuclear and renewables - but this could take up to 25 years to achieve. if peak oil hits 2005-2008 as seems likely, then we have a couple of years. thats the problem really.


That is the peak oil crisis in a nutshell.


But I've understood the argument to be that no basket of alternatives could take the place of oil. Is this true, or is it not true?

Or is the argument that a basket of alternatives could take the place of oil if there was a significant restructuring of our economy and way of life?
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Unread postby Ebyss » Fri 13 May 2005, 13:35:36

Ludi wrote:
MonteQuest wrote:
linlithgowoil wrote:if oil is declining at 3% per year, then we need some other energy source to meet this decline plus add, say, another 2-3% above this to meet growth demand.

there are tons of alternatives, but the problem they have is scalability and time frame. im pretty sure we could have almost all of our electricity generated by nuclear and renewables - but this could take up to 25 years to achieve. if peak oil hits 2005-2008 as seems likely, then we have a couple of years. thats the problem really.


That is the peak oil crisis in a nutshell.


But I've understood the argument to be that no basket of alternatives could take the place of oil. Is this true, or is it not true?

Or is the argument that a basket of alternatives could take the place of oil if there was a significant restructuring of our economy and way of life?


Probably a bit of both... if by "restructuring our economy and way of life" you mean reduce our population and grow our food locally.
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Unread postby Ludi » Fri 13 May 2005, 16:02:31

I guess what I'm trying to figure out, is if Wildwell and Monte are actually arguing at all. If I'm not understanding the position, then I'm not sure I'm understanding what this thread is about.

I've understood the position of many who believe in Peak Oil to be that basically we're screwed because no basket of alternatives will replace oil at our current and projected demand and need for it.

Some people seem to propose that we're just plain screwed, others seem to propose that we could pull our asses out of the fire if we suddenly and radically change our way of life. Both Wildwell and Monte seem to hold this last position, though Monte seems to propose that the likelihood that we can restructure our society so radically is extremely low, so we are basically screwed. Wildwell seems to fall into the more hopeful camp, apparently believing this restructuring needn't be so profound and that it is feasible.

However, I may be misunderstanding both of them....
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Unread postby cube » Fri 13 May 2005, 18:24:04

I just love it when someone copies and pastes a long ass post because they can't come up with OWN ideas....and use that as their "central argument". And when nobody bothers to read the entire long ass post they get defensive and start crying, "you didn't read MY post." :roll:

I don't mind people copying and pasting as a way to give out information but anybody who's too lazy to come up with their OWN words point blank has no credibility in a debate IMHO. 8)
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Unread postby Wildwell » Fri 13 May 2005, 18:45:21

I love it when someone posts something assuming people cannot come up with their own ideas and reads into things in order to retort with childish statements to look clever, but actually ends up not telling anyone anything at all. These are merely references, even academic work has references.

I’m not too far from the MQ position, perhaps I’m a little more moderate for cultural reasons?

There’s no basket of resources to directly replace what is being run today, no. PO is more about scalability, practicality, and energy out for energy invested. The point I have made all along is you can make efficiencies are not everything needs to be included for a straightforward switch, there is a lot of ‘slack’ This thread was to prove we will not run out of energy, the problem still remains because of economics and scalability reasons. Yes it’s a problem, but a permanent problem, probably not.
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Unread postby Ludi » Fri 13 May 2005, 19:16:23

Wildwell, do you see people making the adjustments to their way of life voluntarily, or through necessity? That is, do you see demand destruction, or do you see conservation, being the way people will change?

From what I gather, Monte thinks it will be demand destruction, from what I understand from your posts, you believe it will be conservation. Is this correct?
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Unread postby Wildwell » Sat 14 May 2005, 03:34:00

Ludi wrote:Wildwell, do you see people making the adjustments to their way of life voluntarily, or through necessity? That is, do you see demand destruction, or do you see conservation, being the way people will change?

From what I gather, Monte thinks it will be demand destruction, from what I understand from your posts, you believe it will be conservation. Is this correct?


Both. European Governments with interfere in this much more than the US government too.
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Unread postby Wildwell » Sat 14 May 2005, 10:35:33

I want to add this document to the debate, it does make a number of assumptions though.

http://www.feasta.org/documents/wells/c ... meyer.html

# General assumptions

* the population of EU 15 will grow from 140 million in 1998 to 164 million people in 2050
* by 2050 the standard of living in EU 15 will all be at the current Northern Europe level industrial, commercial and living areas will be developed to minimise transportation demand
* 10% of all land area will be set aside for nature preservation
* consumption patterns will change to reduce meat imports and to allow for food production with only 20% of the present input of fertilisers

# Assumptions concerning energy demand

* material use by industry will be reduced by a factor of 4 thanks to careful product design.
* recycling rates will be doubled. energy consumption in industry will be reduced accordingly.
* floor space will increase to 42 m2 per capita household size will decrease to 2.24 persons per household.
* heating demand for buildings in Northern and Central Europe will be reduced from 150 kWh/m2*a to 30-40 kWh/m2*a.
* energy efficiency of household appliances will be increased by 60-85% .
* the tertiary (service) sector will grow by 50% by 2050.
* the transport of goods will decrease by 60% since industry will be using less materials. short and medium distance flights will be abandoned in favour of rail transport.
* 50% of all journeys will be by public transport. people will travel shorter distances due to changed spatial patterns.
* passenger cars will use only two litres of fuel per 100km and trucks will use only 2/3 of their present diesel consumption.
* the overall energy demand per capita will be reduced from 4500 W/cap in 1990 to 1700 W/cap in 2050.

# Assumptions concerning energy supply

* the renewable energy sources considered in the scenario were biomass, solar radiation, wind energy, and hydropower. The share of each was based on expert judgement.
* 500 W/cap will be produced by biomass.
* PV modules will be installed on 30% of the suitable roof area supplying 150 W/cap.
* solar thermal collectors will be installed on 50% of the suitable roof area supplying 330 W/cap.
* wind energy will contribute 50 W/cap from on-shore and 160 W/cap from off-shore installations.
* solar power plants will contribute 180 W/cap. no large hydropower plants will be added.
* the use of small hydropower sites will be increased from 20-25% today to 90% in 2050 with a total contribution of hydropower of 140 W/cap.
* heat pumps will utilise environmental heat to supply 90 W/cap.
* no more than 80W/head, 5% of the total energy demand, will be supplied by fossil fuels
* no energy will be imported by the EU15
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Unread postby Permanently_Baffled » Sat 14 May 2005, 14:11:06

no energy will be imported by the EU15


Yeah right... :lol: :roll:
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