Is nuclear power the future? (16 Jan, 2019)

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Is nuclear power the future? (16 Jan, 2019)

Postby aardvark_admin » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:48 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2019/0116.shtml

Is nuclear power our only hope of avoiding irreversible climate change?

Or would this be a case of "out of the frying pan into the fire" as we deal with a limited supply of fissionable material, the risks of another Chernobyl/Fukishima, and the issues of safely storing huge amounts of spent fuel?

Would a better option be to simply focus heavily on boosting our energy efficiency across the board?

Or will wind, solar and tide come to the rescue?

You tell me.
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Re: Is nuclear power the future? (16 Jan, 2019)

Postby GSVNoFixedAbode » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:24 am

I'm not sure if a focus on how the energy is generated/harvested would be as beneficial as a focus on how that energy is stored. If we are able to crack the issue of dense, safe (comparatively), lossless storage for both mobile and non-mobile use then most current problems would vanish. This would probably involve superconductor storage at room temperatures which needs a level of materials science that's at least 10 years away (sorry, couldn't resist).
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Re: Is nuclear power the future? (16 Jan, 2019)

Postby decibel » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:25 am

There is a "futurist" from Stanford University called Tony Seba who thinks that solar/batteries are the way to go.

In this Youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duWFnukFJhQ , he even reckons that the price of home solar intalls will provide power at LESS then the cost of transporting power from zero cost central generators.

Also, he talks a lot about the future of ICE cars and even whether owning your own car will be finanacially worthwhile.

It all sounds very interesting.
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Re: Is nuclear power the future? (16 Jan, 2019)

Postby par_annoyed » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:47 am

Always the same old trade-offs ..... Yes - efficiency of generation versus storage versus efficiency of use (which therefore includes wasted energy)

I did read an interesting article on Low Tech Magazine site, where they show that for houses/building, compressed air could actually be competitive with current battery/storage technologies - amazing huh ?? It can even provide heating for hot water !! So perhaps we COULD come up with something radical.

I'm not up with latest numbers, but I think that solar cells and wind are still relatively appalling for efficiency of generation, and for energy density (e.g aircraft) it's till very, very hard to beat fossil fuels.

But then - another angle.

Why the hell do we drive around in one tonne (or more) metal boxes requiring large amounts of energy, when most journeys are for ONE person? They require special road surfaces, city layouts, traffic management.... Why the hell does everyone want to live in a mansion ? (yes, not universally true, making the point). Why the hell are we allowed to live in poorly insulated 'energy wasters' ??

If we can fix THOSE kind of things, get decent public transport, etc. we wouldn't need nearly as much in the first place......

Public transport CAN be done well - I went back to Manchester last year (lived there as a kid) and the changes are amazing, including a wide-ranging, and still growing tram network, which everyone likes, and is pretty much punctual and pleasant (although not always, old mates tell me it's pretty damn good overall) NZ though doesn't have quite the same left-over infrastructure, but so what ??
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Re: Is nuclear power the future? (16 Jan, 2019)

Postby Perry » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:39 am

Bruce wrote:And, even though solar isn't going to solve the problem, how about mandating that all new houses have to include at least a small PVA and battery so as to allow existing generation capacity to cope with the growth in demand. What do readers think will be the most effective way to achieve this and is it worth taking the long-term hit of nuclear fission generators in the hope that we develop some other, better technology before we kill ourselves?

A gummint with courage, vision and tenacity would be a good start.

But with gummints garnering so much tax - direct, indirect and stealth - coming from electricity generation, it's not going to happen.
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Re: Is nuclear power the future? (16 Jan, 2019)

Postby Muscular Jam » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:00 pm

aardvark_admin wrote:Is nuclear power our only hope of avoiding irreversible climate change?
I doubt it, I suspect we have already passed the tipping point.
aardvark_admin wrote:Or would this be a case of "out of the frying pan into the fire" as we deal with a limited supply of fissionable material, the risks of another Chernobyl/Fukishima, and the issues of safely storing huge amounts of spent fuel?
It is important to remember that there are many different kinds of fission reactors. The world went with the dangerous messy kind because they can be used to make nuclear weapons. Three Mile Island/Chernobyl/Fukishima were all unnecessary and totally avoidable. China is building two 12 megawatt molten-salt reactors in the Gobi Desert. They started in 2011 and last week they stated that they hope to have them up and running by next year. Using thorium will solve the limited supply of fissionable material.
aardvark_admin wrote:Would a better option be to simply focus heavily on boosting our energy efficiency across the board?
Does it have to be an either/or situation? Why not Both/and?
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Re: Is nuclear power the future? (16 Jan, 2019)

Postby A Bradford » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:22 pm

You didn’t really mean to say “forced” did you Bruce :) And twice too. You really meant to say ‘encouraged’ didn’t you? Or was that just a very canny piece of click-bait? I can’t decide. Or perhaps it’s just some minor latent leftist leanings subliminally seeping to the surface. The kind of leftist rumination that rationalises that it’s perfectly OK to declare your own judgement superior and then justifiably inflict your ruminations on others usually to their detriment. While the “thinker” with the superior judgement usually remains exempt from any hardship. At least that is how it usually works. And people always suffer when grand statements are made and programmes are implemented for “the good of us all.” I know quite a number of old ladies and some old men who go to bed at 6pm for seven months of the year because they can’t afford the heating due to the (Aussie) climate change programmes already implemented. Many of them have chilblains up the wazoo. Those old ladies don’t have a lot of other “unnecessary stuff” to cut, or is heating unnecessary stuff? I take it it’s OK to “force” them into even greater hardship, for the good of us all. And what about young people who are just starting out in the world, should they suffer more than you did because these measures “seem” like a good idea. And all of your suggestions – nuclear or not – are going to be expensive. Perhaps you plan on compensating them but who do you plan to saddle with that burden. Maybe the middle class have lotsa cash, but they will already be taking quite a hit under these plans. Should they alone carry the whole load? So what’s the hurry? Why the urgency? Why must this generation endure the entire burden of this change when they contributed zero to the problem, imagined or not. They had no input to any decision making that lead to this mess, imagined or not. Are they fair game because of their class (or group) guilt, individual guilt being deemed irrelevant? Especially since, whatever our insignificant little part of the world does, it will make not an iota of difference. The left seem religiously devoted to caring for the environment – and good for them – but I am totally flummoxed as to why they don’t care one bit about the people, especially the vulnerable people, the ones they are supposed to care about. What’s that about? As if I didn’t know.

I didn’t even get to your shot at personal transport. That’s leftist 101 and there’s a whole essay in that. Oh well it’ll have to wait until next time. So much click-bait in today’s post Bruce ;)
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Re: Is nuclear power the future? (16 Jan, 2019)

Postby phill » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:38 pm

im lost with your interpretation of .. left
.. have you been receiving logic lessons from some guy called donald ?

the left care only for the environment ... well ok some do .. but most in any practical way dont ( using actually do something as the divide )
next comes
the left dont care about people .... im struggling to find a ' right ' that gives a crap about anything but saying they own more however im open to any examples you can correct me with

take me some nice pics of the murray darling esp near the cotton and rice farms
it used to be such a picturesque and vibrant river system im sure greed hasnt changed it much
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )

i might live and eat in a sewer .. but hey look how many of these shiney things i have got
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