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[P]
How much paying for electricity?

By Philipp in News
Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 01:06:14 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

Deregulation of electricity markets is currently coming in a big way to Europe. Instead of buying your power from your local monopoly, you can now choose from a vast range of companies: large conglomerates, local municpal companies and new start-ups. This also gives you a choice on how your electricity is generated: coal, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, or others.


One German company, e-on lets you even create your own mix of these, with varying prices [follow the links "Mix-Power" to the Flash app]. If you would decide to get all from one source of energy, you would have to pay for:
  • coal 0.30 DM/kWh
  • nuclear 0.26 DM/kWh
  • biogas 0.43 DM/kWh
  • solar 1.42 DM/kWh
  • wind 0.46 DM/kWh
  • hydro 0.32 DM/kWh
Note: One deutsche mark (DM) is worth about half a dollar (US$) or half a euro. Oil is not a significant source of electricity generation in Germany.

What would you do? Would you support clean energy sources such as wind or solar, even if they are more expensive?

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Poll
I would choose
o coal 2%
o nuclear 50%
o biogas 1%
o solar 4%
o wind 21%
o hydro 20%

Votes: 89
Results | Other Polls

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Display: Sort:
How much paying for electricity? | 46 comments (45 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Wind energy (4.33 / 3) (#1)
by Philipp on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 09:10:20 PM EST

It is actually quite amazing to watch the progress of wind energy technology. It is now almost competitive with fossil fuels. Especially since externalities such as air pollution, global warming, etc. are not factored in the price of burning fossil fuel. Many European countries (UK, Spain, Denmark, Germany) are pushing for the build-up of large wind farms, some even off-shore.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
offshore best place to put them... (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by rebelcool on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 11:15:09 PM EST

mainly because you need ALOT of the things to generate sizable amounts electricity. Especially in land-tight countries of europe.

I figure they should put alot of the coast of florida. Make some good use out of hurricanes.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Nuclear (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by Weezul on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 09:11:33 PM EST

Was that Nuclear cost highly subsadiseed? I've always heard people claim that nuclear is more expencive. Hydro is pretty close to coal and nuclear is cleaner and cheaper then coal, so I don't see why any one would use coal. Still, the only think keeping biogas, wind, and solar from those prices is the lack of large scale production Hell, Texas found wind to be cheaper anyway. They could always place a small tax on coal and nuclear to make solar more attractive to both consumers and investors.
"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
Taxes? (5.00 / 3) (#3)
by jabber on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 09:20:39 PM EST

They could always place a small tax on coal and nuclear to make solar more attractive to both consumers and investors.

IMO, taxation makes sense from one angle, but not from another. If you tax because of the polution inherent in fossil fuels, and the risk potential of nuclear, then fine. I can see how those taxes would then go into a slush fund to cover environmental cleanup as necessary.

But if you tax one source to equalize cost with expensive alternatives, you're undermining the premise of a free market and of competition. You set up a prejudicial tariff and establish essencially a subsidy for the less capable/affordable alternative.

Where does it end there? Would all electric sources be taxed heavily to give my 'exhausted hamster plant' a chance of carching on?

IMO again, for my dollar, Nuclear would be the way to go. Subsidized or not, I believe in the technology and don't think it's utilized enough. No pun int.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Taxes == externalities (5.00 / 1) (#20)
by skunk on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 04:20:14 AM EST

If you tax because of the polution inherent in fossil fuels, and the risk potential of nuclear, then fine. I can see how those taxes would then go into a slush fund to cover environmental cleanup as necessary.

But if you tax one source to equalize cost with expensive alternatives, you're undermining the premise of a free market and of competition. You set up a prejudicial tariff and establish essencially a subsidy for the less capable/affordable alternative.

Fossil/nuclear/etc. power sources are inexpensive only because it is easy not to factor in the external costs of their use (pollution, health problems, waste disposal---everything that "cleanup" is supposed to address) when comparing them to other sources, that have smaller external costs.

A MWh (megawatt-hour) of oil power might cost $60, and a MWh of wind power might cost $80, and one might think that oil is the better choice. But oil gives rise to pollution, and cleaning up the pollution produced by that one MWh might cost $30. Whereas the wind turbines just kill a bird or two. So, in the long run, wind power is actually the cheaper option (in this very contrived example).

But the market won't choose wind power, because it only sees $60 vs. $80. It's not paying the $30 of cleanup, and thus couldn't care less about it.

In a sense, I do agree with you. Subsidizing one power source in order to distort its true cost and thus short-circuit the mechanisms of a free market is a Bad Thing™. However, I would say that in this case it is the "dirty" power sources that are being subsidized---by the wholesale repudiation of associated cleanup costs. I think that energy taxes are a very good idea, because they make the market grapple with the externalities, and help to make the environmentally conscious choices one in the same with the economically attractive ones.


--SS
[ Parent ]
Model (none / 0) (#38)
by A Trickster Imp on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:58:23 AM EST

When the government does, the business model for the company, the windmill one in this case, shifts from making a profit to bleating to Congress for more money for subsidy. Making the windmill more efficient does nothing other than reduce the subsidy since it is no longer needed. Hence, there is anti-pressure to get more efficient.





[ Parent ]
(Windmills) don't get the money (none / 0) (#40)
by skunk on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 03:20:53 PM EST

The tax money would fund cleanup/bioremediation efforts and the like. The point is not for "good" power sources to get a free ride, but to get the "bad" ones off of theirs.

--SS
[ Parent ]
Efficency (none / 0) (#44)
by Weezul on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 12:08:37 AM EST

No, there is alway presure to get more efficent since increases in efficency mean people want to buy from your windmill as opposed to other windmills. Hell, monopolies can even make money by making things more efficent (monopoly market price is determined by people's willingness to cut demand, so more efficency means more profit without changing the price).

Plus, the situation you describe where some powerful companies are lobing for congress to think polution is a big problem and some powerful companies are lobing for congress to think polution is not a problem is infinitly more desirable then the current system. Face it, if only one side has the money then we can not get a clear picture.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
[ Parent ]
subsidized (4.00 / 1) (#5)
by Delirium on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 10:22:26 PM EST

Was that Nuclear cost highly subsadiseed?

Yeah, that looks like the cost to operate a nuclear power plant. The capital expenses involved in creating a nuclear power plant are enourmous, and so the overall cost would probably rival that of solar power through the first 20-30 years of operation. However, these capital expenses are usually subsidized by government.

[ Parent ]

Deregulated energy market (4.00 / 1) (#4)
by Zeram on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 09:34:49 PM EST

This company, is model that FERC and NERC are all but requiring ISO/RTO's in the US to emulate. France and Tepco are also very tight with them.

From what I understand, in America anyway, pretty much everybody could give a flying rats ass, and so would rather let PJM figure out the cheapest way to deliver to the suppliers. Don't get me wrong, picking your own energy is a good idea, but most people can't be bothered with their 401k much less their energy bill.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
Nuclear - All the way! (4.60 / 5) (#6)
by brainrain on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 10:40:14 PM EST

In thinking about it, there are very few cons to having Nuclear power.

- It's Clean
No direct pollution effecting people

- Enviromentally sound
You don't have to take anything from the earth to create it. (unlike coal or gas)

- It's Cheap
The cost of operations is generally pretty low, however the initial start-up cost can be kind of hefty. (hopefully less, due to help from the government.

- It's Renewable
There's always more where that came from! ;)

- Farily Accident-Free
Minus Chernobyll (They were testing the maximum capacity of a nuclear reactor, with no safety mechanisms, during a change in shift. How safe is that?) and Three Mile Island (however nothing BAD ever really happened, thank goodness).

I've thought of some good things, however I'd be more then happy to hear some of the negative. Why are there all those anti-Nuclear groups, anyway?

--

--
Kleptotherapy - Helping those who help themselves

downsides to nuclear... (none / 0) (#9)
by rebelcool on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 11:11:59 PM EST

not taking anything from the earth isnt accurate..uranium is mined.

And of course, theres the nasty radioactive waste.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

TANSTAAFL (none / 0) (#11)
by Happy Monkey on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 12:25:32 AM EST

Solar power will cause heat pollution, hydro power ruins the local ecology, windmills kill the birds, coal and biogas cause air pollution (the one more than the other).

I can't think of one for geothermal, but there probably is one.

At least you can put nuclear waste in barrels...
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Heat polution??? (none / 0) (#19)
by stfrn on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 03:09:11 AM EST

I have never heard of that before. Honestly, considering that solar/wind/hydro are taking enery right out of naturaual systems that give off heat, the use of them to generate electricity would reduce heat polution.

OTOH, windmills don't kill all that many birds. especially when compared to factories and skyscrappers. nuclear waste can only be hidden.

-stfrn

[ Parent ]

Heat pollution doesn't mean adding heat. (none / 0) (#25)
by Trepalium on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 06:05:36 PM EST

Heat pollution involves anything that alters the tempurature. For example, hydroelectric dams cause heat pollution by having the turbines below the surface of the water, which tends to be cooler than the surface in summer, and warmer in winter, the end result is downstream from the dam, the water ends up cooler in summer, and warmer in winter. It's similar for solar panels that will prevent sunlight from reaching the ground, preventing the sun from heating the earth.

"Heat pollution" is probably a very bad name for it, because the word pollution means to most people to add a harmful substance to something (and indeed, that's what the dictionary will define it as). The word's origin probably has to do with the fact that many power plants emitted heated water because they were using water source for cooling their equipment. In the cases of these, where the power generation isn't directly emitting any harmful substances, the effect is the same.

[ Parent ]

Windmills. (1.00 / 1) (#22)
by Type-R on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 07:51:36 AM EST

Windmills kill birds?!?!?!!?! Argh, the fsck'ing envirowhacko's are EVERYWHERE!!! :)

If the bird is too stupid to avoid the 90 foot tall spinny thing, then consider it cleaning the gene pool



[ Parent ]
well, they're birdbrains (none / 0) (#28)
by cpt kangarooski on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 09:17:21 PM EST

Birds are all generally pretty dull. What do you expect? My parents have a problem with a cardinal that sometimes nests at their house. It sees its reflection in their window, and rams the thing constantly, for hours on end, which is mildly annoying to the occupants ("squawk, squawk, squawk, THUD, squawk, squawk, squawk, THUD") and can't be good for the bird.

House has been there for nearly 15 years, so that's got to be one stupid bird.

I can totally believe that windmills kill birds. Given the difficulties in getting smarter birds w/o killing ALL the birds in hopes that smart ones will become dominant (who would then pose a threat to humanity anyway, e.g. Planet of the Birds) it seems that a simpler and better solution would be to muck about with windmill design until we get something that birds don't like to fly into. Perhaps we could install whistles onto the blades or something?

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Let evolution do the work (none / 0) (#37)
by A Trickster Imp on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:45:16 AM EST

So a few birds get killed, BFD. Let them evolve to handle it, like varmints and roadkill issues.


It is rather satisfying to see "envirowhacko's" stabbing themselves in the back over this issue. Massive alteration of a local ecosystem is not a bad thing, but rather an enormous boon to humanity (that they supposedly care about.)




[ Parent ]
We're special, but not that special (none / 0) (#42)
by cpt kangarooski on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 05:08:29 PM EST

Oh please. Human engineers can devise a better windmill design that doesn't kill birds almost infinitely faster and perhaps even better, than birds can evolve to handle it.

Your argument is a very poor one.

Firstly, humans presently rely on a very poorly understood environment in order to survive. I really do not want to end up in a bad Asimov short story, where the only living things are humans, our intestinal bacteria, and yeast cultures, because we're preoccupied with our IMMEDIATE concerns, and aren't using our big-ass brains to consider long-term ramifications of our actions, and their overall worth.

Secondly, the existance of evolution for large lifeforms does not make it a satisfactory solution for anything on timescales relevant to humanity. Birds would take many many years to evolve into something that could coexist with windmills, even assuming we didn't periodically modify the design. Shall we dump toxic waste in playgrounds because human beings are capable of evolution? No, I don't think so. Yet there's no fundemental difference in your argument. (unless they're your kids, but they're not _all_ your kids)

We have the ability to take action to try to not do damage to our presently irreplacable and essential environment. We have the foresight and knowledge to recognize the importance of this. (minus you, evidently) Perhaps we ought to use our own natural advantage constructively for a change, rather than just proceeding pell mell and wondering twenty years later why things aren't as good as they once were. Would it be _so_ harmful to us to look before we leap?

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]
Biomass fuels are neutral (none / 0) (#31)
by Jacques Chester on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 11:59:24 PM EST

Mainly because of the carbon cycle that was taught to many of us in 4th grade.

Light + Water + Carbon Dioxide + Trace Elements + Photosynthesis = Biomass. Burning the Biomass gives you back light (as heat), your trace elements, and CO2. As it happens, there can be no more CO2 in the smoke than was taken out of the air in the first place.

In short, biomass is CO2 neutral. Fossil fuels, which add net CO2 after burning (if you don't count them before burning), really do cause problems.

Of course there is local variance in CO2. But globally there is negligible difference.

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]

On the other hand (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by A Trickster Imp on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:42:54 AM EST

> In short, biomass is CO2 neutral. Fossil fuels,
> which add net CO2 after burning (if you don't
> count them before burning), really do cause
> problems.

On the other hand, that buried carbon was CO2 in the air back then, and all that did was make enuf food for animals to grow gigantic.

For all we know, a time-traveling dinosaur scientist might pop up, take a measurement of CO2, and declare, "Dang you guys are dangerously short on atmospheric CO2. Keep on burning the stuff!"






[ Parent ]
Heat pollution (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by epepke on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 12:18:50 PM EST

Any method of power generation will cause heat pollution. If nothing else, the power generated will wind up as heat.

Nuclear, coal, oil, biomass, geothermal, and solar (other than photovoltaic) also suffer from the heat engine problem. The efficiency of heat engines has an upper limit of the Carnot cycle, a cycle using only isothermal and adiabatic strokes. These are the only two strokes which ideally do not increase entropy. From this, you can calculate the Carnot efficience simply from the input and output temperatures. You can't get better than this. Typically, engines don't operate anywhere near Carnot efficiency. An automobile engine is about 45% Carnot efficiency, and a large scale power generation plant is about 65%.

The higher the input temperature, the higher the Carnot efficience, so nuclear plants have a slight edge, as long as they are operated hot.

Wind farms don't run on heat engines, but there will be heat generated by friction and electrical resistance. Photovoltaics aren't heat engines, either, but one has to factor in the energy cost of building the photovoltaic. Hydrodynamic does cause heat as well, besides the fact that building a dam tends to have some significant effect on ecology.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Point taken (none / 0) (#12)
by brainrain on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 12:43:44 AM EST

Sorry for that inaccuracy. Yes, Uranium is mined.

However, I do agree with Happy Monkey, in that radioactive waste can, and is, barelled up and store for indefenite periods of time. As far as I'm concerned, if we can keep deadly waste in a can with no threat of death or destruction, it sounds pretty good to me.

--

--
Kleptotherapy - Helping those who help themselves
[ Parent ]

The NIMBY problem (5.00 / 2) (#14)
by rebelcool on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 12:51:53 AM EST

NIMBY - not in my back yard.

In essence, its the main problem with nuclear waste, theres no place to keep it, because nobody wants to live anywhere near it. Another problem is that, wherever you put it, to be safe, it must be undisturbed for the next 10,000 years. Thats a damn long time. Even if you put it in the middle of the desert, whos to say that 3000 years from now people who have no idea what a storage caske might contain (and whos records have been long lost) try to break it open, thus spilling still very radioactive waste.

Then of course theres the sheer engineering challenge of making something last 10,000 years...especially in a highly radioactive environment. Indeed, languages and symbols might be entirely different by then... how do you tell future explorers "DONT TOUCH - DEADLY"?

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Excellent (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by brainrain on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 01:02:51 AM EST

Very well put. I'm fairly certain that the general assumption is that we store our "problems" today, and figure out how to take care of them later. Which could lead to interesting results (as you pointed out) if we, the human race, are not able to find a workable solution for maintaining nuclear waste. Who knows? Maybe someday the waste itself will be a form of power!

--
Kleptotherapy - Helping those who help themselves
[ Parent ]
actually... (none / 0) (#18)
by rebelcool on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 01:18:50 AM EST

this is hearsay, but the french i believe do alot of work with waste re-processing. That is, they take nuclear waste and turn it into usable fuel again. I dont know how it works (or how well), but given that the majority of france's electricity is generated by nuclear plants, it must work fairly well. I imagine that its not 100% efficient though.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Give it 10 years or so... (none / 0) (#27)
by brunes69 on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 06:09:20 PM EST

When space travel is economical, and these problems will all go away. Just save her all up, then shoot off a giant payload toward the sun every couple years. It sure as hell isn't going to hurt anyone there.



---There is no Spoon---
[ Parent ]
One Word. (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by Jacques Chester on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 11:54:34 PM EST

Challenger.

--
In a world where an Idea can get you killed, Thinking is the most dangerous act of all.
[ Parent ]
Oh, come on now (none / 0) (#35)
by A Trickster Imp on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:39:29 AM EST

> Just save her all up, then shoot off a giant
> payload toward the sun every couple years.

Don't you guys follow future tracking? We're supposed to store all this stuff on the far side of the moon, then it all blows up, knocking the moon (and the cute moon base inhabitants) on a journey to other stars every week.





[ Parent ]
Nuclear Waste (none / 0) (#33)
by Bad Harmony on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 09:43:50 AM EST

I was just reading a book last night that described the vitrification of nuclear waste. The process mixes the waste with silica and other ingredients, then heats it to a high temperature. The result is a radioactive glass that is poured into hollow steel cylinders. The cylinders can then be stashed away in an underground repository. The glass prevents the nuclear waste from leaking or migrating.

5440' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

more still (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by rebelcool on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 01:03:05 AM EST

Since theres no place to keep the waste currently, most of it sits in storage pools at the plants. Generally, these storage pools werent designed for the long haul, so they're not hardened structures. All it would take would be a determined suicide terrorist and a van full of explosives to drive into one of those buildings and create one hell of a radioactive mess.

Nuclear fission is fraught with these kind of uncertainties... now fusion is something I think alot more money needs to be put into. The supplies of fuel for it (hydrogen) are virtually limitless, and the byproduct of is helium.

It also does not require a chain reaction and is easy to shut down, therefore it has far fewer inherent safety issues.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Don't think that will break it (none / 0) (#21)
by squigly on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 05:09:40 AM EST

All it would take would be a determined suicide terrorist and a van full of explosives to drive into one of those buildings and create one hell of a radioactive mess.
I'm not sure that would actually cause the damge they would hope for. Presumably they add enough lead to prevent a catastrophic chain reaction, and have a very large factor of safety. The containers are very strong. I remember British Rail demonstrating that it was safe to transport these things by rail by driving a train into one at top speed.
now fusion is something I think alot more money needs to be put into. The supplies of fuel for it (hydrogen) are virtually limitless, and the byproduct of is helium.
Let down by the problem that when yu report a ractoe leak, everybody is too busy laughing at your squeeky voice to do anything about it.

Actually, I agree. It actually produces a non-radioactive (helium) substance from a radioactive substance (Deuterium and tritium). A problem we have at the moment is converting hydrogen to the right isotope. I believe this needs a fission reactor.

[ Parent ]

Fusion (5.00 / 2) (#23)
by physicsgod on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 11:33:32 AM EST

Our best bet for controlled fusion is a Duterium-Tritium (D-T) reaction. You can get duterium from water (it isn't a renewable resource, but there's tons of the stuff) and tritium from exposing lithium to nutron flux. The nice thing is that neutrons are a by-product of fusion.

There are two downsides: 1) Neutron radiation tends to make things radioactive, so your reactor parts will become radioactive waste when you decommission. 2) Controlled fusion is 10 years off, give or take 30.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

Or more (none / 0) (#34)
by A Trickster Imp on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 10:36:43 AM EST

> 2) Controlled fusion is 10 years off, give or take 30.

It's been that way since I was a kid in the 1970's, young man. Don't hold your breath.




[ Parent ]
Laugh, it's funny! (none / 0) (#41)
by physicsgod on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 04:50:03 PM EST

Physicists have been saying "fusion in 10 years" since the '50's. When your error bars are larger than your measured value you don't really know the value. That's where the joke comes in.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Sigh. (none / 0) (#46)
by kitten on Mon Dec 17, 2001 at 11:32:21 AM EST

The real problem with nuclear power isn't the way it's mined, or the disposal, or the possibility of an accident.

The problem, quite frankly, is people.

People hear the world "nuclear" and think "oh my god we're going to die". Take MRI scanners, for example.. years ago, they were properly called NMRI, for "nuclear magnetic resonance imaging", which means exactly what it says: images from manipulating the nucleus of an atom using magnetic fields somehow (I don't know the physics behind it). But people staunchly refused to get in these machines, because they hear the word "nuclear" in the name and panic, so the name has been truncated to accomdate people's ignorance.

I'm not saying that nuclear power plants don't have a possibility for serious accidents. I'm saying that people's fears of them are totally irrational and based on complete ignorance.

"The radioactive waste! My god, the waste!" they cry. Here's a newsflash, people: A nuclear weapons explosion produces thousands of times as much radiation and waste as a nuclear reactor. Yet nobody cares when the government explodes test weapons in the middle of the Nevada or New Mexico desert. Why not?

Answer: Because it's the fucking desert and it doesn't matter.

So..

Problem: We need to get rid of nuclear waste from reactors in a safe manner.

Solution: Blast a big fucking hole eight miles underground (use a nuke if you have to), line it with concrete, and dump the waste in there. If it leaks - which it won't - who cares? It's eight miles underground in the middle of the desert.

Since 1958, the US, Europe, and Russia have collectively operated hundreds of nuclear reactors. With that number of power plants, over a period of 44 years, I'd say that only two accidents - one of which wasn't anything major - is an excellent track record. Better than any other nonrenewable energy source, anyway.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
renewable? (none / 0) (#15)
by delmoi on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 12:52:34 AM EST

You do have to take remove this stuff from the earth, and once you do it's not there anymore

Of course, it dosn't require very much, but it does take some.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Sorry, but check other community sources. (5.00 / 2) (#43)
by libertine on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 08:05:31 PM EST

Its not clean. I live near lake Rancho Seco. Want a giant mutant frog? They have plenty there- grown to full size, and still no back legs, just a tadpole tail. Those frogs are the result of some sort of contaminant in the lake that is right next to that nuclear plant. The frogs are real, I've seen em. Take a look at health records for communities local to the waste storage facilities, and you will find high rates of cancer, especially lukemia. And, you can count on it being even less clean when you build on a fault line- the ground shifts, whether you like it or not, and even a fraction of an inch a year or a decade is enough to fuck up some pretty sound engineering.

Not very environmentally sound...that is part of clean. You have to mine the uranium. Heck, if you spouted "environmentally clean" near the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota reservations where some of the stuff is mined, you would probably get a beating. Sorry, don't mean to be threatening or sound mean about it, it is just the truth.

Its cheap. Well, that is after government subsidies, and if there are NO incidents at the plant causing it to be shut down for months at a time, then yeah, it could be considered cheap. Otherwise, no, it is really fucking expensive- no plant to my knowledge has ever been built without significant subsidies (and that is my pizza money, bub) and most plants don't run for most of the year due to safety concerns.

Its not renewable. No way you are going to find more uranium just growing somewhere.

Fairly accident free? hmmm...well, reported accidents, yes. However, I would recommend looking at the stacks of some indie newspapers near the communities that have storage facilities and plants, and see about all the unreported incidents that didn't make it to FERC. Sacramento News & Review has at least 2 stories that I know of, where containment pools leaked (how do you think they got those frogs). There is a waste storage facility in Eastern Washington state that has had several spillages from those "safe" cans, as well as fires and explosions- by the way, hope you don't drink the water in southern Washington state, because the facility is at a junction of all their headwaters up there. When there is an accident, they can ALWAYS be considered fairly catastrophic to the surrounding communities. Always. Same can't be said for most other forms of fuel or power generation.

I am not some anti-nuclear protestor of any kind. I am just one of those folks that DON'T like being lied to about something being safe when it isn't. And people in my community have been lied to. That is why Rancho Seco, in spite of being subsidized by our community, was shut down. I really pity the communities surrounding the federal land that takes the waste, because they can't make the feds stop. They have no choice in the matter but to move away, or stay and hope that their kids don't get lukemia.


"Live for lust. Lust for life."
[ Parent ]

Hydro (2.50 / 2) (#7)
by /dev/trash on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 10:49:36 PM EST

Hydro was looking nice......

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Updated 02/20/2004
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Hydro has problems, but isn't too bad. (none / 0) (#24)
by Trepalium on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 05:53:23 PM EST

The construction of a hydroelectric dam is by far the most damaging part of it's existance -- they end up flooding an area of land, which in turn, tends to poison the river that is being dammed with methylmercury for quite a few years. There's also the decomposition of plants in the affected area. Once the hydro dam is operating, there's some thermal pollution and sedimentation issues, both of which can alter the ecology downstream from such a facility.

Don't get me wrong, though. Hydroelectric power is quite a bit cleaner than most fuel-based power sources, and in fact, nearly all the electricity in Manitoba (where I live) comes from hydroelectric (which is why the local power company is aptly named "Manitoba Hydro"). The problem is that nearly all power sources are not immune to various kinds of problems (in fact, I think all power generators suffer from thermal polution in one way or another).

[ Parent ]

Limits to Hydro (2.00 / 1) (#26)
by Philipp on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 06:07:28 PM EST

Another thing is, of course, there is only so much hydro-electric dasm you can build. For most of the developed world, all economically reasonable locations have been used up. Current hydro-electric projects, such as the Chinese three-gorges (sp?) dam forces relocation of 100,000s of people. This is also the case for ongoing projects in India, which are mostly built, because the World Bank provides the funding. Brazil, which gets 90+% of its electricity from hydro, will also be unlikely to build more.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]
Biogas?? (2.66 / 3) (#8)
by BehTong on Sat Nov 17, 2001 at 10:53:10 PM EST

When I first read "biogas", I thought, What?! Those idle scientists have actually found a way to generate electricity from fart?? And then I thought, oh wait... nevermind. :-)

Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!

Uh-Huh... (2.00 / 2) (#29)
by Phage on Sun Nov 18, 2001 at 10:15:24 PM EST

There is no way for a consumer to tell whether the power they receive is a "green" or "brown" electron. Given that all electricity is fed into a national grid to be provided to industry and consumers, this question would be more fairly reprsented as,

Please tell us how much levy you are willing to pay for R&D into renewable sources of power.

There are certainly some signs of hope, but this appears to me as a rather cynical exercise by the power generation companies. If you choose renewables the power you receive will still be generated by the same old power stations, you'll just be paying a levy that has no apparent guarantees of reaching scientists/engineers working on improving our supply from renewables.


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros

Input = Output (5.00 / 1) (#32)
by Philipp on Mon Nov 19, 2001 at 12:43:14 AM EST

Of course, it is impossible to tell, where a particular electron came from. But it is also not neccessary. As far as I understand the regulations, the utility companies have to inform the consumers how the electricity is produced and these numbers have to add up. If people sign up for 1000 MWh of hydro power, the utility company has to buy 1000 MWh of hydro power from producers. So, all the consumer decisions are channeled to the producers. If a massive number of consumers sign up for energy X, the utility company can raise the price for energy X and finance more generation of energy X.

How this all works out in the real-world, will be interesting to see.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]

Hydro & Wind (none / 0) (#45)
by Chuq on Tue Nov 20, 2001 at 10:50:48 PM EST

Here in Tasmania, Australia, there are a high number of hippie^H^H^H^H^H^H environmentalists, of which one of the few upsides is that we have fairly clean power. We've had a Hydro-electric system here for .. 85 years or so? Not sure..

In the 80s there was a big legal battle about another river that they planned to build a hydro dam on.. and the greenies were so against it - they <b>encouraged people to use woodheaters instead</b>. Now that is coming back to bite them in the ass, especially in Launceston which is covered with smog (due to its terrain), and the most popular form of heating for new houses is electrical - hydroheat, cheap and clean.

Also, on our west coast there are plans for a big wind farm, are the greenies going to use the bird killing arguement for that too? :P

How much paying for electricity? | 46 comments (45 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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