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Alternative Energy Sources

By agavero in Culture
Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: energy, hay, wind, solar (all tags)

In the past, most energy consisted of natural gas, oil and electricity. Construction was done with no thought as to how long these resources would last.

Today there is more emphasis placed on alternate energy sources such as solar and wind energy. Even common hay bales are being used in construction of buildings for insulation.


In a small community in Western Canada, they have become quite knowledgeable about the use of alternative energy - solar, wood burning, heat capturing and geothermal sources used in construction.

A 6,000 square foot cathedral style center was constructed after intensive research on the use of alternative energy use in buildings. This center houses a restaurant, conference rooms and a golf course clubhouse, which is all insulated with straw bales. A window on an inside wall shows how the 1,700 bales were installed. These straw bales are also fireproof.

It has no natural gas, no furnace, but plenty of glass windows facing south. Beams and posts from an old grain elevator garnish the structure.

As much natural lighting as possible from windows is used with various new lighting technologies turned on when needed. Since this building has only been open for one winter, it is too early to compare electricity use but there are favourable comments on power use compared with the local rink.

Photovoltaic solar energy is a future possibility but free energy from the sun is used.

The building uses heat sense with a fieldstone wall opposite south facing windows. Sunlight hits the wall and is stored. Heat has never been turned on in the fieldstone zone.

A system of plastic tubes under the floor heats the building with radiant heat from hot liquid heated in solar panels from the sun. When the sun isn't available and in colder weather, eight trenches, about three metres deep, run the length of a football field extended in loops into the parking lot. Water is circulated through them capturing heat from the constant 11 degree Celsius soil, and heats the center. A heat pump reheats the water.

A masonry oven built from old bricks is fuelled by wood, and the exhaust is piped around the oven in able to use less fuel. The oven and exhaust system are integral to the heating system.

Several features are used instead of conventional air conditioning. If venetian blinds are pulled down at the right time, they block a lot of the heat. If you miss it by half an hour, you are too late.

Cool liquid is pumped through under the floor. Overhead pipes bring in air from outside through the earth tube system to cool. Thick walls keep the heat out.

All water is treated in-house. As much water as possible is collected from the steel roof when it rains. An ozone system disinfects the water with two filters and light treatment. The washroom would normally use 1,500 gallons of water per day but with the biological setup, it uses less than 500 gallons. The liquid is separated and used to water the trees on the golf course.

Instead of a three-cell lagoon, solid waste goes to a basement chamber and is mixed with wood shavings to let microbes and red wiggler worms turn it into compost.

The steel roof reflects heat. Under the roof solar kiln-dried pine, an air space and cellulose insulation are rated at R-100 value.

Besides the center, the next stage is to develop a village demonstrating life with less energy use. There are free building lots available in a planned development. Five of the lots have been spoken for. Conditions include erecting a new dwelling incorporating energy-efficient development.

The program also focuses on education in the classroom and community workshops and seminars connected to using less energy.

Some seminars last winter involved growing hemp for clothing fibre. There are plans to build a processing facility using a new enzyme process to convert hemp plant matter into fibre for clothing. A flax seed processor is building a plant near the town using straw bales for insulation. Two plots totaling 100 acres of fast-growth hybrid poplars are located close by. When mature in 20 years, the plots may yield more than $1 million in timber.

The total cost of this 6,000 square foot cathedral style building in the community, was $600,000 dollars.

As I was unable to obtain any pictures, this building, shows a similiar scheme of the above centre.

Alternate energy sources are in our future.

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Display: Sort:
Alternative Energy Sources | 95 comments (58 topical, 37 editorial, 0 hidden)
go nuclear (2.83 / 6) (#1)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:15:08 PM EST

until we figure out fusion

that's about the whole subject matter in a nutshell


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

IAWTP (2.50 / 2) (#2)
by vqp on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:19:28 PM EST

Only because I hate those greenies.

Our children will figure out a way, our ancestors did just that.


happiness = d(Reality - Expectations) / dt

[ Parent ]

what's wrong with greenies? (3.00 / 3) (#6)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:34:15 PM EST

or at least the ones who have enough unpropagandized brain matter to realize that nuclear is a green energy source

there's nothing wrong with being concerned about your environment

there's everything wrong with being unable to properly identify what is good and bad for your environment, in the context of adequately supplying human wants and needs

it does no good denying human nature in environmentalism

it also does no good resisting nuclear, thereby allowing coal and gas to continue to greenhouse the hell out of the planet

environmentally, nuclear has only two negatives: radioactive byproducts and the potential to go kablooey

modern pebble bed reactors don't go china syndrome

fuel reprocessing/ breeder reactors consume 90% of fuel, and leave low level waste on the order of centuries (as opposed to high level waste on the order of tens of thousands of years, as older tech worked and as you may be basing your opinions on)

now compare that to what coal/ gas is doing to the enviroment

now make your choice

and no, there is no third option: the various boutique energy sources do NOT adequately supply our needs


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I should have said "irrational greenies" (2.66 / 3) (#11)
by vqp on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:47:55 PM EST

The problem is the irrational religious greenies that appear in the political scene from time to time, we are getting used to see them, and they are starting to make a living using their ideas. Once you start this process it can not be stopped easily.

They will oppose everything not "political correct" thus preventing to find the real solutions. They have dominated the mass media judo techniques and the average Joes are starting to believe them more than they believe the science.

Also they are embedding their religious ideas in my children's heads.

 

happiness = d(Reality - Expectations) / dt

[ Parent ]

damn (1.50 / 2) (#13)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 05:04:50 PM EST

they're implanting things in your kid's heads?

was there a theocratic environmentalism episode of the x-files?

damn!

;-)


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

yeap (2.50 / 2) (#57)
by vqp on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 02:11:34 PM EST

They have a subject related to "enviromental education" or something like that.

happiness = d(Reality - Expectations) / dt

[ Parent ]
other theories (none / 1) (#83)
by Rhodes on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 01:40:55 PM EST

distributed power generation will have much less power loss due to transmission loss than your central nukes.  also, with the increased cost of uranium, does nuclear power become efficeient over the next 10 years.  

[ Parent ]
Transmission Losses (none / 0) (#89)
by cowbutt on Mon Sep 04, 2006 at 05:19:01 AM EST

Even Greenpeace only claims 3.5% loss due to our present distribution model (see page 24 of this report). The big win would be from improving the efficiency of our central power stations, but even as they are, I suspect they're still a net win compared with building thousands of micro-power stations. The other big win, of course, is to improve usage efficiency, but that's Hard and takes time.

[ Parent ]
Ummm... (none / 0) (#91)
by Eccles on Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 11:03:55 AM EST

and no, there is no third option: the various boutique energy sources do NOT adequately supply our needs

Nor does nuclear.

What's that you say? Lots of construction and it will? The same is true of those boutique sources. The only question is which costs more.

I label myself an economic environmentalist. That is, damage to the environment (species destruction, pollution, etc.) is damage to all of us, and should be treated as economic damages. Tax CO2 production (mainly by taxing coal and oil by carbon weight) and pollution (trickier), and then at the end of the year every one of us should get a check. If we economize and live cleanly, we'll get more money back than we pay out. If we buy a Hummer for our two hour commute, we'll pay the price.

(None of this carbon/pollution credit trading business, either. Just pay the damage you do. If that's still cheaper than an alternative that's less polluting, so be it.)

As an aside, subsidizing hybrids is idiotic (esp. the ones that get worse economy than a decent subcompact); instead, the payback is at the pump, as you would buy less gas for a more efficient car. No subsidies for nuclear, either (or nuclear waste disposal); if it's a win, it'll be reflected in lower cost than a coal plant that has to pay CO2 and pollution taxes.

The net result is that this argument would be pointless. (Ok, even more than it is.) We would create an economic environment where if nuclear is better, it would be cheaper. If wind is the big winner in the cost/benefit analysis, it would be cheaper, and so on.

[ Parent ]
Look I'm cts (2.50 / 6) (#4)
by debacle on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:24:10 PM EST

NUCLEAR NUCLEAR NUCLEAR NUCLEAR NUCLEAR NUCLEAR

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
it's NUCULAR NUCULAR NUCULAR nt (2.60 / 5) (#7)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:34:34 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Breeders (3.00 / 4) (#16)
by levesque on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 06:39:09 PM EST

Nuclear Waste and Breeder Reactors - Myth and Promise

(Also contains some interesting comments about bomb making)

[ Parent ]

Solution - Homosexual Reactors. Don't breed.$ (2.66 / 6) (#44)
by xC0000005 on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 01:01:20 AM EST



Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
Breeder reactors are positive ? (none / 1) (#85)
by levesque on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 11:26:11 PM EST

I'm confused, It might not be different on some levels but homosexuals can breed too.

[ Parent ]
looky at this (2.33 / 3) (#17)
by StephenThompson on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 06:42:26 PM EST

I found thisEconomic  Analysis of various power sources.  It was done by some guys investigating power satellite economics, but forget the powersatellite angle. The point here is to look at some data to back up our ideas about our favorite power soruces.  Look Lat what they concluded about the economics of nuclear
Surprisingly we were unable to find any nuclear installation
actual cost that showed profitability using a straight bond-financing model. We must assume that these plants either sell their electricity at a rate substantially above the national average, or receive other subisty to remain solvent.

Yes, they could be biased against nuclear to make it look good, but its the best economic comparison of technologies I've seen (baring the extremely optimistic power satellite projection).

The question is, if in reality nuclear plants cannot pay for themselves, while coal and natural gas make profits, how feasible is it to expect nuclear to become a staple energy source?

[ Parent ]

did you tell that to japan and france? (2.33 / 6) (#18)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 06:53:06 PM EST

they basically depend upon nuclear for their power. and have been, for decades

i don't believe those nations are bankrupt

but silly me, you found a stupid article on teh intarwebs that says otherwise, so japan and france must be totally wrong, right?

well, i found an article on teh intarwebs the other day that "indisputably" proves that you can get free energy from magnets!

it's on teh intarweb! so it must be true!

pfffft


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

AFAIK (2.50 / 2) (#24)
by debacle on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:23:49 PM EST

Japan, and maybe France, subsidize.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
uh... ok (none / 1) (#30)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:00:06 PM EST

and what is your point exactly?

coal/ gas usage subsidizes

  1. global warming
  2. hugo chavez's mouth
  3. osama bin laden's armory

but, i see... nuclear power sucks because, uh, france subsidizes

oh darn

how you have slayeth the nuclear option

(snicker)

coal/ gas, as china and india ramp up demands, ain't getting any cheaper

better start looking at options chump


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I can live without electricity (none / 1) (#42)
by debacle on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:39:34 PM EST

Can you?

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
please demonstrate (3.00 / 2) (#46)
by circletimessquare on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 02:26:15 AM EST

turn off the fucking computer and never turn it back on

otherwise, shut the fuck up


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Hah (2.00 / 2) (#50)
by debacle on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 11:31:34 AM EST

<3

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
i thought you can live without electricity (none / 1) (#53)
by circletimessquare on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 12:23:33 PM EST

why the fuck are you still here?

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I can't live without you (2.66 / 6) (#58)
by debacle on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 03:38:01 PM EST

Didn't you see the heart?

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
Now ya got it (2.33 / 3) (#72)
by Sgt York on Thu Aug 31, 2006 at 01:04:38 PM EST

Nuclear sucks b/c France likes it. Anything the Frenchies like is bad. Any other kind of thinking means you hate America.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

at least its data not just bloviating..see here... (2.00 / 2) (#26)
by StephenThompson on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:32:59 PM EST

If you have data that contradicts this, well, I'd love to see it!
This  here. that says that japan only gets 12% of its energy supply from nuclear. This this says france is at 39%.  
But since power in those countries is operated by the governement, there isnt any way for me to tell if nuclear is actually economical for them.

Anyway I'm not questioning whether in some abstract world it would be good/bad for the US to go nuclear, I'm just questioning if it is feasible.  It seems like as long as natural gas and coal are cheap (and the US has a lot of both), nuclear will remain too expensive (in our freemarket economy) to be widely adopted.


[ Parent ]

france (3.00 / 3) (#27)
by Corey Haim on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:46:52 PM EST

80% but it's by some no-name organization (the "BBC"), which doesn't look as trustworthy as the ad-farm you linked to.

[ Parent ]
japan (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by Corey Haim on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:50:17 PM EST

35% with plans to increase to 40% by 2010, but then that's just the japanese electrical generation industry talking, what the fuck do they know.

who taught you how to google? special needs teacher?

[ Parent ]

3 things (2.20 / 5) (#29)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:55:38 PM EST

  1. gas/ coal are going to continue to go up in price as demand in china/ india grows, not so cheap anymore

  2. i really don't like soccer moms funding islamic fundamentalism and hugo chavez's windbag of a mouth every time they fill the gas tanks on their SUVs

  3. i don't like hurricane katrina either, which is a byproduct of gas/ coal

nuclear?

none of those problems

and here's some numbers for you:

In France, as of 2005, 78% of all billed electrical energy was generated by 58 nuclear reactors, the highest share in the world. France closed its last coal mine in April 2004, and currently relies on fossil energy for less than 10% of its electricity production. Some sources cite Lithuania as the world's most nuclear-dependent nation, generating 85% of its power from nuclear reactors. However, this is mostly a testament to the country's low power demand, as Lithuania runs only a single 1500MWe RBMK-2 at its Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant.[14]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power

and, from same link, some economic arguments made better than i can make:

Economy
Opponents of nuclear power argue that any of the environmental benefits are outweighed by safety compromises and by the costs related to construction and operation of nuclear power plants, including costs for spent-fuel disposal and plant retirement. Proponents of nuclear power respond that nuclear energy is the only power source which explicitly factors the estimated costs for waste containment and plant decommissioning into its overall cost, and that the quoted cost of fossil fuel plants is deceptively low for this reason. The cost of some renewables would be increased too if they included necessary back-up due to their intermittent nature.

A UK Royal Academy of Engineering report in 2004 looked at electricity generation costs from new plants in the UK. In particular it aimed to develop "a robust approach to compare directly the costs of intermittent generation with more dependable sources of generation". This meant adding the cost of standby capacity for wind, as well as carbon values up to £30 (€45.44) per tonne CO2 for coal and gas. Wind power was calculated to be more than twice as expensive as nuclear power. Without a carbon tax, the cost of production through coal, nuclear and gas ranged £0.022-0.026/kWh and coal gasification was £0.032/kWh. When carbon tax was added (up to £0.025) coal came close to onshore wind (including back-up power) at £0.054/kWh - offshore wind is £0.072/kWh.

Nuclear power remained at £0.023/kWh either way, as it produces negligible amounts of CO2. Nuclear figures included decommissioning costs.[32][33][34]

In one study, certain gas cogeneration plants were calculated to be three to four times more cost-effective than nuclear power, if all the heat produced was used onsite or in a local heating system. However, the study estimated only 25 year plant lifetimes (60 is now common), 68% capacity factors were assumed (above 90% is now common), other conservatisms were applied, and nuclear power also produces heat which could be used in similar ways (although most nuclear power plants are located in remote areas). The study then found similar costs for nuclear power and most other forms of generation if not including external costs (such as back-up power). [35]

[edit]
Capital costs
Generally, a nuclear power plant is significantly more expensive to build than an equivalent coal-fuelled or gas-fuelled plant. However, coal is significantly more expensive than nuclear fuel, and natural gas significantly more expensive than coal - thus, capital costs aside, natural gas-generated power is the most expensive.

In many countries, licensing, inspection and certification of nuclear power plants has added delays and construction costs to their construction. In the U.S. many new regulations were put in place after the Three Mile Island partial meltdown. Building gas-fired or coal-fired plants has not had these problems. Because a power plant does not yield profits during construction, longer construction times translated directly into higher interest charges on borrowed construction funds. However, the regulatory processes for siting, licensing, and constructing have been standardized since their introduction, to make construction of newer and safer designs more attractive to companies.

In Japan and France, construction costs and delays are significantly diminished because of streamlined government licensing and certification procedures. In France, one model of reactor was type-certified, using a safety engineering process similar to the process used to certify aircraft models for safety. That is, rather than licensing individual reactors, the regulatory agency certified a particular design and its construction process to produce safe reactors. U.S. law permits type-licensing of reactors, a process which is about to be used. [36].

To encourage development of nuclear power, under the Nuclear Power 2010 Program the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has offered interested parties the opportunity to introduce France's model for licensing and to subsidize 25% to 50% of the construction cost overruns due to delays for the first six new plants. Several applications were made, two sites have been chosen to receive new plants, and other projects are pending.

[edit]
Operating costs
In general, coal and nuclear plants have the same types of operating costs (operations and maintenance plus fuel costs). However, nuclear and coal differ in the relative size of those costs. Nuclear has lower fuel costs but higher operating and maintenance costs. In recent times in the United States savings due to lower fuel cost have not been low enough for nuclear to repay its higher investment cost. Thus new nuclear reactors have not been built in the United States. Coal's operating cost advantages have only rarely been sufficient to encourage the construction of new coal based power generation. Around 90 to 95 percent of new power plant construction in the United States has been natural gas-fired.

To be competitive in the current market, both the nuclear and coal industries must reduce new plant investment costs and construction time. The burden is clearly greater for nuclear producers than for coal producers, because investment costs are higher for nuclear plants. Operation and maintenance costs are particularly important because they represent a large portion of costs for nuclear power.

One of the primary reasons for the uncompetitiveness of the U.S. nuclear industry has been the lack of any measure that provides an economic incentive to reduce carbon emissions (carbon tax). Many economists and environmentalists have called for a mechanism to take into account the negative externalities of coal and gas consumption. In such an environment, it is argued that nuclear will become cost-competitive in the United States.

[edit]
Subsidies
Critics of nuclear power claim that it is the beneficiary of inappropriately large economic subsidies -- mainly taking the forms of taxpayer-funded research and development and limitations on disaster liability -- and that these subsidies, being subtle and indirect, are often overlooked when comparing the economics of nuclear against other forms of power generation. However, competing energy sources also receive subsidies. Fossil fuels receive large direct and indirect subsidies, like tax benefits and not having to pay for their pollution [37]. Renewables receive large direct production subsidies and tax breaks in many nations [38].

Energy research and development (R&D) for nuclear power has and continues to receive much larger state subsidies than R&D for renewable energy or fossil fuels. However, today most of this takes places in Japan and France: in most other nations renewable R&D get more money. In the U.S., public research money for nuclear fission declined from 2,179 to 35 million dollars between 1980 to 2000 [39] - however, in order to restart the industry, the next six U.S. reactors will receive subsidies equal to those of renewables and, in the event of cost overruns due to delays, at least partial compensation for the overruns (see Nuclear Power 2010 Program).

According to the DOE, insurance for nuclear or radiological incidents in the U.S., is subsidized [40] by the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act - in July 2005, Congress extended this Act to newer facilities. In the UK, the Nuclear Installations Act of 1965 governs liability for nuclear damage for which a UK nuclear licensee is responsible. The Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage puts in place an international framework for nuclear liability.

[edit]
Other economic issues
Nuclear Power plants tend to be most competitive in areas where other fuel resources are not readily available - France, most notably, has almost no native supplies of fossil fuels. [41] The province of Ontario, Canada is already using all of its best sites for hydroelectric power, and has minimal supplies of fossil fuels, so a number of nuclear plants have been built there. India too has few resources and is building new nuclear plants. Conversely, in the United Kingdom, according to the government's Department Of Trade And Industry, no further nuclear power stations are to be built, due to the high cost per unit of nuclear power, compared to fossil fuels. [42] However, the British government's chief scientific advisor David King reports that building one more generation of nuclear power plants may be necessary. [43] China tops the list of planned new plants, due to its rapidly expanding economy and fervent construction in many types of energy projects. [44]

Most new gas-fired plants are intended for peak supply. The larger nuclear and coal plants cannot quickly adjust their instantaneous power production, and are generally intended for baseline supply. The market price for baseline power has not increased as rapidly as that for peak demand. Some new experimental reactors, notably pebble bed modular reactors, are specifically designed for peaking power.

Any effort to construct a new nuclear facility around the world, whether an older design or a newer experimental design, must deal with NIMBY objections. Given the high profile of both the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents, few municipalities welcome a new nuclear reactor, processing plant, transportation route, or experimental nuclear burial ground within their borders, and many have issued local ordinances prohibiting the development of nuclear power. However, a few U.S. areas with nuclear units are campaigning for more (see Nuclear Power 2010 Program).

Current nuclear reactors return around 40-60 times the invested energy when using life cycle analysis. This is better than coal, natural gas, and current renewables except hydropower.[45]

The Rocky Mountain Institute gives other reasons why nuclear power plants may not be economical.[46] In the U.S. this includes long lead times on risky investments, and the more cost-effective approach of investing in efficiency instead of new power plants.

Nuclear power, coal, and wind power are currently the only realistic large scale energy sources that would be able to replace oil and natural gas after a peak in global oil and gas production has been reached (see peak oil). However, The Rocky Mountain Institute claims that in the U.S. increases in transportation efficiency and stronger, lighter cars would replace most oil usage with what it calls negawatts.[47] Biofuels can then substitute for a significant portion of the remaining oil use. Efficiency, insulation, solar thermal, and solar photovoltaic technologies can substitute for most natural gas usage after a peak in production.

Nuclear proponents often assert that renewable sources of power have not solved problems like intermittent output, high costs, and diffuse output which requires the use of large surface areas and much construction material and which increases distribution losses. For example, studies in Britain have shown that increasing wind power production contribution to 20% of all energy production, without costly pumped hydro or electrolysis/fuel cell storage, would only reduce coal or nuclear power plant capacity by 6.7% (from 59 to 55 GWe) since they must remain as backup in the absence of power storage. Nuclear proponents often claim that increasing the contribution of intermittent energy sources above that is not possible with current technology.[48] Some renewable energy sources, such as solar, overlap well with peak electricial production and reduce the need of spare generating capacity. Future applications that use electricity when it is available (e.g. for pressurizing water systems, desalination, or hydrogen generation) would help to reduce the spare generation capacity required by both nuclear and renewable energy sources.[49]



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Thank god, (2.33 / 3) (#31)
by Corey Haim on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:05:39 PM EST

I was scrolling up from the bottom and thought that was a reply to me. I was thinking, "Shit, I have to read all of this." Imagine the joy when I got to the top!

THAT'S AMORE

[ Parent ]

wrong (2.33 / 3) (#32)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:10:17 PM EST

you have to read every word i ever wrote

sorry


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Your data conforms to my theory... (none / 1) (#36)
by StephenThompson on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 08:59:29 PM EST

Your citing backs up my point in several ways.  
First off, it concludes that nuclear is more expensive than natural gas even in the the special case of it being the United Kingdom an island with little natural resources.   Then, anecdotes about tiny countries like lithuania is ridiculous; I could cut out any county in the US that is powered by a nuke and have a similiar distribution.
But we are talking about America here, with massive natural gas and coal resources.  America's cost for these resources is substantially lower than it is for the UK, or most any place in Europe.

And remember, my point was about feasibility. Is it possible for America to go nuclear given its free market?  The government could add CO2 taxes on, but coal companies would by carbon sinks.  The government could massively fund nuke plants, but as we have seen already, the governement is not very efficient at competing in the free market, and its also not very consistent or sane in the way it deals with unpopular issues:
they blew up a perfectly good nuke because it wasnt green enough!  
The bottom line, I think, is that nuclear is not and will not be competative in the US until the coal and gas reservers are depleted which will be in a couple hundred years or so.


[ Parent ]

oh jesus fucking mohammed on a pogo stick (2.00 / 2) (#40)
by circletimessquare on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 09:19:04 PM EST

nuclear has PLENTY OF PROBLEMS fuckwad

now compare them to GAS/ COAL's problems:

  1. increasing price from chinese/ indian demand
  2. funding islamonazis and hugo chavez's mouth
  3. hurricane katrina-creating global warming

ok, now that you understand that no energy source is pristine, kindly put your economic points where they belong: as LESSER, ULTIMATELY UNPERSUASIVE observations that don't dissuade us from going to nuclear IN THE CONTEXT of other energy source's problems

capisce?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

wrong (3.00 / 3) (#48)
by onealone on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 10:08:24 AM EST

The UK does have natural resources. Huge amounts of coal all over the country and also natural gas and oil from the North Sea.
Hardly a special case.

The free market will eventually force the US to turn to nuclear, as oil and gas supplies dwindle. The key question now is - will the US be ready for that with nuclear plants already built and running, or will it be struggling to catch up, needing huge investment at a time it can least afford it.

The UK government is planning ahead, looking at building nukes now before the North Sea reserves run out. The current US administration still seems to have its head in the sand though.


[ Parent ]

you're asking the wrong question (3.00 / 12) (#43)
by SocratesGhost on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 11:57:13 PM EST

About 15 years ago, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency for you non-USians) decided to do something about acid rain by lowering overall emissions of sulfur dioxide. The instituted an auction which allowed companies to competitively bid for the right to pollute sulfer dioxide. Many people cried and pointed to evidence that it was prohibitively expensive to install the sulfur scrubbers that would help them meet the demands of their pollution "requirements", and so there were estimates that a reduction of emissions was going to cost as much as $1500 per ton. Well, the auction came and went. By the end, guess how much each ton of pollution cost?

$70.

The result was that most polluters were making the necessary adjustments (installing scrubbers or buying cleaner coal) so that they wouldn't even have to go to the auction. We found out how cheap it is to have clean air just by asking people to put a price on dirty air.

The point: what price do you put on the cost of leaving planet earth a pale husk of its former self because we've destroyed the atmosphere? Just because you're not paying that bill doesn't mean it won't be paid.

No, I think you over-estimate the profitibility of coal and fossil fuels. The trick is in making everyone pay the actual costs.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Power in Japan is not... (3.00 / 3) (#52)
by BJH on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 11:52:24 AM EST

..."operated by the government".

Power generation is under the control of a number of private companies. While nuclear power plants are regulated by the government, they are not run by them.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]

Not that cheap (none / 0) (#87)
by pyro9 on Sun Sep 03, 2006 at 07:00:36 PM EST

Anyway I'm not questioning whether in some abstract world it would be good/bad for the US to go nuclear, I'm just questioning if it is feasible. It seems like as long as natural gas and coal are cheap (and the US has a lot of both), nuclear will remain too expensive (in our freemarket economy) to be widely adopted.

Of course if the gas and especially coal plants were forced to internalize their externalities ( many tons of pollutants a day), they would be more expensive than nuclear.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Those people are fucking retarded (3.00 / 2) (#76)
by LilDebbie on Thu Aug 31, 2006 at 05:33:10 PM EST

*durr* we can assume perfect energy transmission and totally ignore launch costs! this'll be great!

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Hey, look, a nit! (2.33 / 3) (#49)
by Sgt York on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 10:55:16 AM EST

IANANP, but I'm pretty sure fusion is still nucewler.

Then again, you are the authority on going nuclear.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

IAANP (3.00 / 2) (#60)
by QuantumFoam on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 09:59:49 PM EST

And fusion is nuclear in the sense that it involves the extraction of energy from the transmutation of elements. If you had a graph with the atomic number of each element on the X-axis (Hydrogen at 1, going higher with increasing x until you hit the transuranics) and binding energy per nucleaon on the y-axis, you get a nice rise that peaks around iron and then decreases until you hit the transuranics and artificial elements. The key to any nuclear reaction is that on the left side of iron you can make energy by moving to the right, that is you can fuse hydrogen to get helium plus a little extra energy, or you can make energy from moving to the left by fissioning uranium or other heavy elements to smaller ones. The reason stars die when they develop an iron core is that iron is the elemental ash of the universe, you can't make energy by fissioning or fusing it.

Now, I don't have much faith that we can turn fusion into a reliable power source. As people say, it has been 20 years away for the last 40 years. We can make a fusion reaction (just ask some Japanese people about it), but we can't make it sustainable. It holds great promise: basically free energy from readily available sources with a smaller chance of catastrophic meltdown and no radioactive byproducts. Sort of like a dog that eats pests and farts perfume. In the meantime, there is no rational reason that we can't use fourth-gen plant designs, which have are incredibly safe to the point that some can physically not melt down.

A large part of the reason we have such lousy emissions statistics is that idiot Gaia-loving environmentalists have blocked the construction of nuclear power plants, forcing the construction of coal plants, which are several orders of magnitude more destructive to the environment. With the amount of uranium we have on hand, we could power the US for 100 years. If we reprocessed it, it could last thousands of years.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

"Can physically not melt down" - untruth (2.33 / 3) (#66)
by A Bore on Thu Aug 31, 2006 at 06:51:28 AM EST

I've seen the latest simulations that model the behaviour of a fourth gen nuclear power station that's gone critical while simultaneously being hit with a jet airliner stuffed full of jalapenos, and I can tell you, the result is not pretty.

[ Parent ]
Obviously a joke/troll (3.00 / 3) (#67)
by QuantumFoam on Thu Aug 31, 2006 at 07:15:46 AM EST

But here's a fun fact: a subcritical reactor produces fewer neutrons per generation than were in the previous on, a critical reactor produces exactly as many neutrons as were in the previous one, and a supercritical reactor produces more neutrons per generation than were in the previous one. A critical reactor is equivalent to a car on cruise control at 55 MPH. Whenever you see someone in a movie freaking out because a reactor has gone critical, that's like someone freaking out because a fire they're building just got to the self-sustaining point.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

preach it brother, amen! ;-) nt (none / 1) (#75)
by circletimessquare on Thu Aug 31, 2006 at 05:17:44 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
agree (2.33 / 3) (#69)
by fattie genocide on Thu Aug 31, 2006 at 10:45:36 AM EST

i read it in the cts koran, chapter 3, verse 11.

[ Parent ]
verse 12 nt (none / 1) (#74)
by circletimessquare on Thu Aug 31, 2006 at 05:15:35 PM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
WHAT?! (2.33 / 3) (#78)
by fattie genocide on Thu Aug 31, 2006 at 06:11:05 PM EST

ARE YOU QUESTIONING MY DEVOTION TO THE FAITH!?

[ Parent ]
Before George W. goes out to pasture ... (none / 0) (#86)
by k24anson on Sun Sep 03, 2006 at 09:31:56 AM EST

... one of the last things his presidency could be recognized for is to push for a generation of minds to understand physics and then put all that brainpower to building prototype, practical fusion engines. George W. should start a grassroot impetus similar to what and how JFK got Americans on the moon by the end of the decade.

Let's hear a loud hallelujah to this idea! and to George's crew! from all the good people of Kuro5hin.org!

One more time! Hallelujah George! hallelujah Condoleeza! hallelujah Donald! hallelujah Dick!

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their vulnerable planet earth.

Imagine five hundred years from now there are vehicles with fusion engines the size of today's internal combustion engines; they'll fill'er up with deutronium laced wate, and the exhaust product is water!

One has to like these little (glorius little) brainstorms that only come from the West, and bring out the best of the West. And how sad it is to realize thoughts like these never come out of a leader of today's Democratic Party. Democrats are losers, like the Whig Party of the 1850's. Not like the Whig Party's were, but today's Democratic party planks are for the sissies, the wimps, saps, the suckers who only reflect the attitudes of their leaders and what America means to them. John F. Kennedy was the last of the best Democrats before the intellectual guerrillas, the academic bums started hiding in there, and then took it over.

Liberal Spain is for all practical purposes dead. France is facing and acting as if, and in unbelief (Moslems breeding like rabbits, the response is, "This can not be happening ..."), she is in reality within the last moments before the cancer will kill her, and Great Britian, Germany and the rest of european nations are just starting to realize- it is dawning on them that they may have the same lethal form of brain cancer that has recently killed Spain, the same cancer that is killing France, too.

American Democrats, both leaders and constituents are like people who continue to smoke cigarettes knowing they're toxic; they're like people who engage in unsafe sex knowing the dangers of doing so. To these people threats to life and limb are Al Frankened, they're Michael Moored, and Donald Rumsfeld is the real enemy in their goofball world. Half of today's american political machinery and brainpower is for all practical purposes, suicidal. I remember how Hitler got rid of the SA one day, one week, but there must be a more noble and honorable manner of removing today's crap from Washington, and to lobotomize half the US population that think like, and voted for the-briefcase-of-criminal-indictments-for-al-Quieda-will-solve-the-problem Kerry & Lawyers crowd.

I have to go and do something now. Bye.
KLH
NYC

Stay focused. Go slow. Keep it simple.
[ Parent ]

lol let the flamewars begin (none / 0) (#94)
by newb4b0 on Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 10:27:50 PM EST

bush will be remembered for 'signing statements' and te war. lol we need CS students to design a set of checks and balances that work

http://www.netmoneychat.com| NetMoneyChat Forums. No Registration necessary. Ya'll.
[ Parent ]

lol we don't want another chernobyl on our hands. (none / 0) (#92)
by newb4b0 on Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 10:24:44 PM EST

no than

http://www.netmoneychat.com| NetMoneyChat Forums. No Registration necessary. Ya'll.
[ Parent ]

The energy crisis has been called off (2.66 / 6) (#9)
by Vampire Zombie Abu Musab al Zarqawi on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 04:45:06 PM EST

MrHanky has huge supplies of natural gas.

Another alternative source of energy (1.42 / 7) (#25)
by United Fools on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 07:31:29 PM EST

is human energy. Think of all that fat in your belly!

We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
hmmm (2.50 / 4) (#55)
by khallow on Wed Aug 30, 2006 at 01:21:09 PM EST

I hear that each human is like 75 watts of power. We could hook them up and make, idunno, human batteries!

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

War of The Worlds? (1.50 / 2) (#81)
by Lethyos on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 08:32:23 AM EST

Harvesting your stinking, useless human bodies for energy sounds like a great idea.



earth, my body; water, my blood; air, my breath; fire, my spirit
[ Parent ]
free energy (none / 1) (#82)
by chro57 on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 09:50:50 AM EST

Don't forget that "free energy" is knowed since more than 80 years, but is repressed by the oil barons.

http://www.magneticpowerinc.com/mpi-patentapplication.pdf


ethanol is fucked (none / 1) (#84)
by insomnyuk on Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 03:04:47 PM EST

just thought I would mention it in this thread, seems appropo

---
"There is only one honest impulse at the bottom of Puritanism, and that is the impulse to punish the man with a superior capacity for happiness." - H.L. Mencken
biodiesel (none / 0) (#88)
by Norkakn on Sun Sep 03, 2006 at 08:35:04 PM EST

Made from algea in a closed system in the desert.

next question?

Before George W. goes out to pasture ... (none / 0) (#90)
by k24anson on Mon Sep 04, 2006 at 08:42:06 PM EST

... one of the last things his presidency could be recognized for is to push for a generation of minds to understand physics and then put all that brainpower to building prototype, practical fusion engines. George W. should start a grassroot impetus similar to what and how JFK got Americans on the moon by the end of the decade.

Let's hear a loud hallelujah to this idea! and to George's crew! from all the good people of Kuro5hin.org!

One more time! Hallelujah George! hallelujah Condoleeza! hallelujah Donald! hallelujah Dick!

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their vulnerable planet earth.

Imagine five hundred years from now there are vehicles with fusion engines the size of today's internal combustion engines; they'll fill'er up with deutronium laced wate, and the exhaust product is water!

One has to like these little (glorius little) brainstorms that only come from the West, and bring out the best of the West. And how sad it is to realize thoughts like these never come out of a leader of today's Democratic Party. Democrats are losers, like the Whig Party of the 1850's. Not like the Whig Party's were, but today's Democratic party planks are for the arm-chair quarterbacking pant loads, the ineffectuals who reflect the attitudes of their leaders and what America can be to them. John F. Kennedy was the last of the best Democrats before the intellectual guerrillas, the academic bums started hiding inside there, and then took it over.

Liberal Spain is for all practical purposes dead. France is facing and acting as if, and in unbelief (Moslems are breeding like rabbits? and to which the response is, "This can not be happening ..."), she is in reality within the last moments of freakishness before the cancer will kill her; while Great Britian, Germany and the rest of the european nations are just beginning to have dawn on them that they may too have inherited the same lethal form of brain cancer that has recently killed Spain, this same cancer that is also turning France decrepit.

American Democrats, both leaders and constituents are similar to people who continue to smoke cigarettes knowing they're toxic; similar to people who engage in unsafe sex knowing the dangers of doing so. To these people threats to life and limb are Al Frankened, they're Michael Moored, and Donald Rumsfeld is the real enemy in their goofball world. Half of today's american political machinery and brainpower is for all practical purposes, suicidal. There must be a noble and honorable manner of removing today's crap from Washington, and to lobotomize half the US population that think like, and voted for the-briefcase-of-criminal-indictments-for-al-Quieda-will-solve-the-problem Kerry & Lawyers crowd.

I have to go and do something now. Bye.
KLH
NYC

Stay focused. Go slow. Keep it simple.

oil heat. it's just better. (none / 0) (#93)
by newb4b0 on Wed Sep 06, 2006 at 10:25:28 PM EST

is that a nation wide ad slogan.

http://www.netmoneychat.com| NetMoneyChat Forums. No Registration necessary. Ya'll.

Hay Bales?? (none / 0) (#95)
by Surly on Sun Sep 10, 2006 at 11:03:12 PM EST

>>  Even common hay bales are being used in construction of buildings for insulation.  <<

No-one in there right mind would use hay bales for insulation.  Straw bales sure but never hay bales.  Stray is the leftover stalk from a wheat/grain field and is organically neutral.  It is typically used as bedding for animals.  It has no nutritive value.

Hay, on the other hand, is alfalfa or other types of grass and contains clorophyll etc.  It is used as feed for animals.  It will break down over time and release heat -- which would cause interesting side effects to your building.

Alternative Energy Sources | 95 comments (58 topical, 37 editorial, 0 hidden)
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