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Switch to Forum Live View More nukes for South Carolina - Are they crazy or just stupid?
2 years ago  ::  Apr 02, 2012 - 7:43PM #21
d_p_m
Posts: 9,584

Mar 31, 2012 -- 7:05PM, teilhard wrote:


Here in Minnesota, e.g., we are among the TOP States in Wind-Power Generation (along with California, Texas, and Iowa) ...


The PROBLEM is that the "Wind Farms" are necessarily located where the WIND blows reliably frequently dependably, which is unfortunately a good long Distance from our Population Centers ... So we have LARGE Amounts of (idle) CAPACITY, and a Public RELUCTANT to allow those huge crackling Power Lines in THEIR Neighborhoods ...


The Solutions AREN'T so simple as just to use more of those funny twisty Light Bulbs and buy more efficient Toasters ...




Oh, it's worse than that.


You can't count on the wind blowing when you need the power.


You need to keep generating capacity to operate when the wind isn't blowing, which is generally fossil fueled.


The backup generators don't get to run on an efficient duty cycle because they have to shut down when the wind is blowing....


... unless it is blowing too much, in which case the wind turbines have to shut down to avoid damage, and you need your backup systems again..


... which are less economically efficient because you only use that investment when they are doing the work, not all the time.


... and after all is said and done it is 15-20 times more expensive than the same power from hydro-electric or nuclear sources, which has a knockon effect, damaging the entire economic fabric.


"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr



"One need only watch a few minutes of any Orphan Black episode to see why Tatiana Maslany deserves to win every acting award available."

    —Mark Rozeman, http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2014/07/18-first-time-emmy-nominees-wed-like-to-see.html?a=1
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 02, 2012 - 8:07PM #22
teilhard
Posts: 49,996

There's no SIMPLE Solution to these Problems ...


Apr 2, 2012 -- 7:43PM, d_p_m wrote:


Mar 31, 2012 -- 7:05PM, teilhard wrote:


Here in Minnesota, e.g., we are among the TOP States in Wind-Power Generation (along with California, Texas, and Iowa) ...


The PROBLEM is that the "Wind Farms" are necessarily located where the WIND blows reliably frequently dependably, which is unfortunately a good long Distance from our Population Centers ... So we have LARGE Amounts of (idle) CAPACITY, and a Public RELUCTANT to allow those huge crackling Power Lines in THEIR Neighborhoods ...


The Solutions AREN'T so simple as just to use more of those funny twisty Light Bulbs and buy more efficient Toasters ...




Oh, it's worse than that.


You can't count on the wind blowing when you need the power.


You need to keep generating capacity to operate when the wind isn't blowing, which is generally fossil fueled.


The backup generators don't get to run on an efficient duty cycle because they have to shut down when the wind is blowing....


... unless it is blowing too much, in which case the wind turbines have to shut down to avoid damage, and you need your backup systems again..


... which are less economically efficient because you only use that investment when they are doing the work, not all the time.


... and after all is said and done it is 15-20 times more expensive than the same power from hydro-electric or nuclear sources, which has a knockon effect, damaging the entire economic fabric.






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2 years ago  ::  Apr 02, 2012 - 9:25PM #23
mountain_man
Posts: 38,742

Apr 2, 2012 -- 7:25PM, d_p_m wrote:

....And yet, zero radiation casualties. Not one death. That's pretty good for the second worst nuclear power accident, don't you think?


No. As with other power plant accidents; there is a huge chunk of land that is, for all intents and purposes, uninhabitable forever.


Nuclear power is probably the safest form of generally available power.


Not really... but I don't care. It is the dirtiest and the most expensive.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 02, 2012 - 9:28PM #24
mountain_man
Posts: 38,742

Apr 2, 2012 -- 7:29PM, d_p_m wrote:

Mar 30, 2012 -- 11:42PM, mountain_man wrote:

Nuclear power is the most expensive and environmentally destructive way to generate electricity.


No, it isn't. Our nuclear plants are producing electricity at (IIRC) 5.5 cents/Kwh,


That's assuming the fuel just pops into existence. Add in the environmental costs, the disposal costs, the decommissioning costs, and nuclear makes no sense since all that comes to over $1/kwh.


....while in its infinite lack of wisdom, our provincial government is paying something like 80 cents/Kwh for wind generated power.


It's about 95 cents/Kwh and coming down rapidly.


Nuclear power has a pretty good track record for cost, even without correcting for the very overdone approval and licencing red tape that drives up costs and delays projects.


Sure, but only if you ignore some factors that turn nuclear into a disaster for the environment and the end users that have to pay for it all.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 02, 2012 - 9:30PM #25
mountain_man
Posts: 38,742

Apr 2, 2012 -- 7:43PM, d_p_m wrote:

You can't count on the wind blowing when you need the power.


That's why you use several kinds of generation, not just one. It's not a black and white issue. It does not have to be all wind or all coal or all anything. It must be a combination.

Dave - Just a Man in the Mountains.

I am a Humanist. I believe in a rational philosophy of life, informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by a desire to do good for its own sake and not by an expectation of a reward or fear of punishment in an afterlife.
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 02, 2012 - 9:41PM #26
teilhard
Posts: 49,996

Yup ... Coal, Diesel, Wind, Hydro, Natural Gas, Solar, Bio-Mass Fuels, Geo-Thermal, and Nuclear ...


Apr 2, 2012 -- 9:30PM, mountain_man wrote:


Apr 2, 2012 -- 7:43PM, d_p_m wrote:

You can't count on the wind blowing when you need the power.


That's why you use several kinds of generation, not just one. It's not a black and white issue. It does not have to be all wind or all coal or all anything. It must be a combination.





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2 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2012 - 4:42PM #27
d_p_m
Posts: 9,584

First off, MM, it seems kind of odd to be on opposite sides of a debate here... :)


Thanks for the costing on wind power. That's about what I thought, but I didn't want to overstate my case.


This is a complex issue, and I don't think I can lay out my entire position in one message, nor am I totally sure the best place to start, as there are so many factors involved. I'm going to just have to start somewhere, so if I leave some questions unanswered at first, I may be about to get to them a bit later.


Unfortunately both popular culture and the popular media tend to wax hysterical over things nuclear, in a feedback loop. People are scared of anything with 'nuclear' in the name.


As well, we have a notoriously poor, proven, abiliity to evaluate low probability risks. People worry about terrorism and aircraft accidents, while not really being bothered by much more likely risks like car accidents, and falling in the bathtub.


Add to that partisan 'cost analysis' (when people are against something, they look at the costs and largely ignore the benefits, and when they are for something they tend to look at the benefits and ignore collateral costs), and the waters can get very murky indeed.


Another factor is the relatie newness of nuclear power technology. The NPD demonstration reactor commissioned in 1962, and the actual commercial plant at Pickering only went into service in 1971... nine years after NPD, and 41 years ago. In other words, it has been in service for 4.5 times the accumulated experience when it was turned on, and it had to be designed and built before that.


As a result, judging nuclear power by currently operating plants is a little like judging the usefullness, cost efficiency, and safety of air travel by open cockpit wood and wire biplanes.


The forty year old Fukushima plan is a generation II reactor. Current designs are (depending on method) generation 4 to 6. Think of Fukushima as being a more advanced biplane with more reliable engines, better navigation instruments and a closed cabin. Still not representative of what we can do today, let alone future capabilities.


Remember, aircraft took the better part of a century to go from accidents waiting to fall from the sky to the safest form of long range travel. Nuclear power is getting there - but most of the current plants are 30-40 years old... and correspondingly primitive. The plants we can build today are more like the all metal monowing turboprops of the 1950s, or maybe the four engined piston powered all metal airliners of the late 1940s and early 50s. Much better, but still not what they will be.


One of the more interesting designs is the thorium fuelled reactor, which can be made inherently safe, has a much higher total burnup of fuel, and which can be used to burn up spent waste from light water reactors.





"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr



"One need only watch a few minutes of any Orphan Black episode to see why Tatiana Maslany deserves to win every acting award available."

    —Mark Rozeman, http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2014/07/18-first-time-emmy-nominees-wed-like-to-see.html?a=1
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2012 - 4:44PM #28
d_p_m
Posts: 9,584

Oh, and I did mean to say that I realize that a mixed strategy is the best answer. The question becomes "what goes in the mix, where, and how much".


Clearly nuclear, gas, oil, coal, and hydroelectric have major roles to play. Solar, wind, geothermal and tidal can also contribute, but have limitations that are important to consider.

"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr



"One need only watch a few minutes of any Orphan Black episode to see why Tatiana Maslany deserves to win every acting award available."

    —Mark Rozeman, http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2014/07/18-first-time-emmy-nominees-wed-like-to-see.html?a=1
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2012 - 5:16PM #29
teilhard
Posts: 49,996

And most likely there develop a "most economical" Mix ...


E.g., Wind Farms tend to located out-on-the-Prairie far from Population Centers, but closer to major Agricultural or Forestry Areas ... So most likely eventually the surplus Wind-generated Power can/will be used to power Industries that convert Ag-Waste and other bio-Mass into solid or liquid portable Fuels ...


Etc. ...


Apr 3, 2012 -- 4:42PM, d_p_m wrote:


First off, MM, it seems kind of odd to be on opposite sides of a debate here... :)


Thanks for the costing on wind power. That's about what I thought, but I didn't want to overstate my case.


This is a complex issue, and I don't think I can lay out my entire position in one message, nor am I totally sure the best place to start, as there are so many factors involved. I'm going to just have to start somewhere, so if I leave some questions unanswered at first, I may be about to get to them a bit later.


Unfortunately both popular culture and the popular media tend to wax hysterical over things nuclear, in a feedback loop. People are scared of anything with 'nuclear' in the name.


As well, we have a notoriously poor, proven, abiliity to evaluate low probability risks. People worry about terrorism and aircraft accidents, while not really being bothered by much more likely risks like car accidents, and falling in the bathtub.


Add to that partisan 'cost analysis' (when people are against something, they look at the costs and largely ignore the benefits, and when they are for something they tend to look at the benefits and ignore collateral costs), and the waters can get very murky indeed.


Another factor is the relatie newness of nuclear power technology. The NPD demonstration reactor commissioned in 1962, and the actual commercial plant at Pickering only went into service in 1971... nine years after NPD, and 41 years ago. In other words, it has been in service for 4.5 times the accumulated experience when it was turned on, and it had to be designed and built before that.


As a result, judging nuclear power by currently operating plants is a little like judging the usefullness, cost efficiency, and safety of air travel by open cockpit wood and wire biplanes.


The forty year old Fukushima plan is a generation II reactor. Current designs are (depending on method) generation 4 to 6. Think of Fukushima as being a more advanced biplane with more reliable engines, better navigation instruments and a closed cabin. Still not representative of what we can do today, let alone future capabilities.


Remember, aircraft took the better part of a century to go from accidents waiting to fall from the sky to the safest form of long range travel. Nuclear power is getting there - but most of the current plants are 30-40 years old... and correspondingly primitive. The plants we can build today are more like the all metal monowing turboprops of the 1950s, or maybe the four engined piston powered all metal airliners of the late 1940s and early 50s. Much better, but still not what they will be.


One of the more interesting designs is the thorium fuelled reactor, which can be made inherently safe, has a much higher total burnup of fuel, and which can be used to burn up spent waste from light water reactors.









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2 years ago  ::  Apr 03, 2012 - 5:39PM #30
d_p_m
Posts: 9,584

It looks like wind may be best for applications where you don't care when you get the power as long as you get it... like pumping water into a reservoir.

"If you aren't confused by quantum physics, you haven't really understood it."

― Niels Bohr



"One need only watch a few minutes of any Orphan Black episode to see why Tatiana Maslany deserves to win every acting award available."

    —Mark Rozeman, http://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2014/07/18-first-time-emmy-nominees-wed-like-to-see.html?a=1
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