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Thread: Dear AEMan
02-09-2005 02:28 AM #11
It seems strange to keep a fairly lively discussion about nuclear power going on a hybrid car website, so I think this will be the last time I comment on it (maybe ;-) ). Besides, hybrids and energy efficiency investments go together.
I haven't commented on this website for a while since I just picked up my '05 Prius two weeks ago and I am still playing with it.
I'm not necessarily against nuclear power, I just don't think it will make sense--economically, environmentally, etc.--for at least 100 years. The reason I say this is because I believe there is so much waste out there now, whether in gas, electric, gasoline, oil, etc. that we can reduce energy demand for a long time without needing subsidies to increase supply.
I believe it is much better to provide incentives and penalties on the demand side than on the supply side. Encouraging people to reduce demand for energy (raw materials too, etc.) will enhance the free market and let it work its magic much better than incentives on the supply side. Supply side incentives generally go to a few large companies that generally don't have my (our) best interests in mind. But demand side incentives let me (us) decide what we want to buy, and let the corporations supply that demand, which is the way it is supposed to work. Supply side incentives are also hidden and therefore we as consumers don't pay the true cost of a product, since it is already subsidized before we buy it (I'm talking oil, electricity, gas here, but I believe this works for other products as well).
And as I mentioned in previous posts, it is cheaper to give people money to buy efficiency, than to give a corporation money to produce power, or drill for oil or gas. The subsidy would be the same in both cases, but the benefit to the economy and the country is better for the first method. Since windpower is much cheaper than nuclear power, I also think the hydrogen economy can be fueled using windpower and again nuclear power won't be necessary for a long time, it at all.
As a consumer, I would rather put my money into a hybrid car, than keep buying more oil/gasoline. California (I'm from Ohio) pays roughly $21 billion per year on health-care related costs due to diesel particulate pollution alone. (Gasoline vehicles also produce soot, just not as much.) This is from a Union of Concerned Scientists report "Sick of Soot." I may not see a payback from helping to reduce that soot, but the country as a whole does and that's good enough for me.
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02-11-2005 02:30 AM #12
I like the way you think, Vince. Better to avoid "necessary evils" like nukes if we can by reducing demand. We need government policies that foster demand reduction rather than supply increases so that people can continue living lavishly and wastefully. However, industry needs lots of power, so even if we all make full use of demand reducing technologies reliable power has to come from somewhere. Have you ever read Marshall Savage's "The Millenial Project"? I can't agree with his entire vision but he writes some real good stuff about OTEC power. Also, in 100 years we will have fusion and space solar power. Possibly sooner.
02-12-2005 08:07 AM #13
guys - admit it. oil power controls the future energy methods we will see.
british petrolium & shell oil are the largest suppliers of solar electric panels.
of course solar power has been researched & developed by oil money & will magically become available once all the easy oil has been pulled from the ground.
it's a shame we dropped the nuke energy so totally 30 years ago. with today's technology in design & manufacture we could build VERY reliable plants.
everyone here is arguing nukes based on 40 year old technology.
to turn out backs so completely on nukes is like turning our backs on fire because we can get burned.
02-16-2005 11:40 PM #14
Right on. Thank you, Steve.
02-17-2005 10:25 PM #15
Steve, many universities are founded upon the principles that all business and corporations are inherently evil. Proof of this is in folks like the professor in Colorado who said the real terrorists in the September 11th attacks were the people who worked in the World Trade Center.
Universities have been the biggest proponents of solar power in the world. They get their own research budgets, their own staff, their own labs, and conduct their own experiements. Last time I checked, no one has been able to get much more than 16% efficiency out of a solar panel. The sun produces about 1000 watts of power per square meter, which means we can turn that into maybe 150 watts under ideal conditions.
No one has been able to do much better than that, even in the labs. If you did even 10 minutes of research on solar power you'd stop with the conspiracy theory act about how oil companies are stopping solar power or whatever.
02-18-2005 07:25 AM #16
i never reported a conspiracy theory of oil controlling solar power, i simply stated the fact that they already control it.
go buy pannels & see for yourself where they are made. living in california i'm glad that shell oil is just up north a bit employing people in the manufacture of these panels.
and from a business point of view why wouldn't you cover today's bet with ideas on the next futre bet?
and colleges also don't set up labs and conduct tests of substance without grant money.
and grant money usually comes from the government or deep pocket corporations.
simply fact, no conspiracy.
03-04-2005 09:34 AM #17
Environmentalists too often rely upon fear to motivate the public against nuclear power. Terrorist attacks are the latest bogieman, as is "nuclear proliferation". But all these things are scare stories appealing to emotion. The fact is there are countries like Iran and Korea that will have nuclear weapons at some point ,no matter what the US government decides about nuclear power. They don't have anything to do with each other.
Wind and solar are nice in theory but they won't supply the power that the world needs, they are not realistic solutions to burning coal or natural gas for electricity.
My theory why environmetalists generally hate nuclear power; because nuclear power came about because the hippy generations parents created it. It was part of the "establishment". It was created by the "military industrial complex", so it's inherently bad. This is an extremely childish view, but it sums up the root of the problem.
There are exceptions. European environmentalists are increasingly pro-nuclear, after seeing several failures of wind and hydroelectric plants to create sustainable power and meet the Kyoto treaty obligations in the short run. Germany and Sweden are slowly halting the shutdown of their reactors, as well. James Lovelock, the creator of the Gaia hypothesis, is pro nuclear-energy, as are many other European greens. But it would only be fair to say this is controversial, even among European greens.
03-05-2005 07:11 AM #18
i think some reasons people don't like nuke power is because growing up such terrible accidents happened ~ from very unreliably designed plants. word on the "half life" of the spent fuel rods is rumour after rumour, and i will not add much except to say it's not hazzardous anywhere as long as people think.
today we certainly know more about design and manufacture. quietly naval boats & space probes are using nukes safely. the days of the nuke accidents were before PC's were invented!
we'll build a new nuke again one day. possibly in an aera depressed who want the plant as a way to get an economic shot in the arm for their small town.
03-07-2006 02:09 AM #19
Try this notion: wind and solar are not sustainable practices when used as centralized power generation.
As mentioned earlier the big Euro efforts with wind did not pay off. All of the utilities who have tried end up with an average availability of the windmills to produce power only 30% of the time. Worse for solar. Sinking money into wind farms that sit idle while other sources, probably fossil based, are lighting up the grid is not cool with me.
That being said, I think wind and solar work on a decentralized basis, where the individual can make the decision about the high capital cost and uncertain payback period. But for the central power distribution it is absolutely necessary to have a reliable source that can kick in any time to pick up the slack on those windless nights.
In order to meet this need in a carbon-free manner, we can either go build an orbiting solar array and figure out a way to beam the power back to earth or we could start building nukes. I recall someone earlier was talking about economic viability....