Unintended consequences...

Larry Gude

Strung Out
In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That's the conviction that inspired Greenpeace's first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/14/AR2006041401209.html


Please go read this article, the whole thing. It's not long but it says so much.

I've have alot to say about this story but I am so damn busy right now, I just don't have time. But I want this out there for discusion and we'll get to chewing it over when I have a few minutes. In the mean time, please do help yourselves!
 

FromTexas

This Space for Rent
You know I am all for a nuclear movement. I think we should be hoping on the pebble bed reactor bandwagon. However, I do have one point of contention with his article. Nuclear is more expensive than he makes out. The cost of producing nuclear energy is very low. The cost that is hidden deals with the waste. The government mostly carries that burden now which keeps nuclear energy costs low. It is a plus that they can get more use out of the "waste" now as he points out. Still, the cost to recycle that fuel is high, as well. Yet, the rising cost of other fuels makes this negligible.

If we built 5 nuclear plants over the next 8 years, we could dramatically reduce emissions and reduce power costs. It would also be nice if we built up the technology to transfer power between grids. We lose a lot of potential energy (excuse the play on words) from aging and outdated transmission methods.
 

Larry Gude

Strung Out
Keep going...

...tow MAJOR issues of the day, perhaps the two biggest are bastard children of the anti's.

Where would we be today with a middle east NOT awash with the trillions of dollars and repressive regimes that oil dependency beget over the last two generations?

How would Mother Earth be doing absent 30 years of whatever billions of barrels left unburned, replaced by glow in the dark?

If you look at the root causes of global terror and take oil out of the equation, it disappears over night; no infidels on holy ground. No western backed dictators fostering domestic discontent.

Think about the depth and breadth of the results of misguided and just as wrong then as he acknowledges now anti nuke politics.

They asked for this, today's world, with their blindness, their passions over reasons and facts.

The most ironic? Some guy has a $400 million retirement and Greenpeace couldn't have assured it any better if they ran Exxon and voted it for him.

And they did it for him and big oil...

For free.
 

MMDad

Lem Putt
Larry Gude said:
.

Where would we be today with a middle east NOT awash with the trillions of dollars and repressive regimes that oil dependency beget over the last two generations?

They asked for this, today's world, with their blindness, their passions over reasons and facts.

The most ironic? Some guy has a $400 million retirement and Greenpeace couldn't have assured it any better if they ran Exxon and voted it for him.

And they did it for him and big oil...

For free.
I saw the Exxon Valdez being repaired after the spill. When it was ready to leave the yard, some GP loonies chained themselves to the screw so it couldn't leave. This definitely brings the irony of that situation into focus. No Greenpeace = No Exxon Valdez = No spill.

Imagine Saudi Arabia without oil money. Osama Bin who? Camel dung shoveler?
 

Larry Gude

Strung Out
Now...

MMDad said:
No Greenpeace = No Exxon Valdez = No spill.
Imagine Saudi Arabia without oil money. Osama Bin who? Camel dung shoveler?
...we're getting to the core of the matter; had anti nukers, with all their energy and education and passion taken ONE minute of their precious time and simply ANALYZED the situation they could have had protested for all they were worth FOR nuclear energy for the EXACT SAME REASONS; to save the planet from the ill effects, real and imagined, of fossil fuel.

Instead, they played chicken little, fossil is king, nomadic tribes people have the money to cause global geopolitical chaos and some guy just got a $400 million retirement.

And all the oil execs sat around and just threw parties every time gp and company made the evening news. 'Go, baby!', said they. "Momma needs a new mansion!". And the dictators said 'Go, baby! Daddy needs a new bomb!"

As these people, these used dupes, finally, grew up and are smelling the sheets, yet we have the EXACT same mentality running rampant today.
 

2ndAmendment

Just a forgiven sinner
PREMO Member
MMDad said:
Imagine Saudi Arabia without oil money.
What is it you want to trade? Oil? For wheat? No, we don't use much oil; only for lubrication and Pennsylvania crude is best for that. Sand? Uh ... I don't think so. Bye now.
 

jazz lady

~*~ Rara Avis ~*~
PREMO Member
I was reading the article last night and found it very interesting, especially coming from a founder of Greenpeace. The all or nothing mentality of the 70's has given way to the reality of today's situation. We ARE held hostage by the oil barons as there is NO clear alternative unless we use nuclear technology to its fullest potential.

FromTexas said:
You know I am all for a nuclear movement. I think we should be hoping on the pebble bed reactor bandwagon. However, I do have one point of contention with his article. Nuclear is more expensive than he makes out. The cost of producing nuclear energy is very low. The cost that is hidden deals with the waste. The government mostly carries that burden now which keeps nuclear energy costs low. It is a plus that they can get more use out of the "waste" now as he points out. Still, the cost to recycle that fuel is high, as well. Yet, the rising cost of other fuels makes this negligible.
I am a proponent of nuclear energy myself, although I would like to see other technologies such as solar, hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal sources explored, too. But as the author states, no other technology to date is a viable alternative to the coal firing plants due to unpredictability of energy generation or prohibitive costs.

But the huge problem facing nuclear plants is what to do with the waste. I believe it was during Jimmy Carter's administration that there was a decree that no new storage facilities, such as the one in the desert Southwest, would be allowed to be built and I believe that ban is still in effect. Calvert Cliffs NPP stores all its spent fuel rods on site because there is nowhere else to take it. This adds enormously to the costs to produce electricity. I was glad to see the article mention that recycling fuel is no longer banned, but it's going to take awhile until this becomes cost effective.

If we built 5 nuclear plants over the next 8 years, we could dramatically reduce emissions and reduce power costs. It would also be nice if we built up the technology to transfer power between grids. We lose a lot of potential energy (excuse the play on words) from aging and outdated transmission methods.
Reducing the amount of pollution in the air and cheaper energy costs most definitely. :yay: And just as importantly, it would greatly reduce our reliance on foreign oil.

The power grids are definitely part of the the problem. They are sorely outdated and archaic. The infrastructure was fine 30 years ago but times have definitely changed. But overhauling the current structure will take an enormous amount of time and money, which is probably not something energy companies are going to buy into now that they must stay competitive.

As the author says, "Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. And these days it can do so safely." The United States and other countries do have the technology to safely harness and use nuclear power, but will we and those others have the foresight and courage to use it? I sincerely hope so, for all of our sakes.
 
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2ndAmendment

Just a forgiven sinner
PREMO Member
Larry Gude said:
...
As these people, these used dupes, finally, grew up and are smelling the sheets, yet we have the EXACT same mentality running rampant today.
Wisdom often comes with age, not always, but often. It is good to listen to your parents. They probably went through much of what you are going through. But do we?
 

MMDad

Lem Putt
People freak about the possibility of a radiation leak. Three mile island proved that can happen, and there is evidence it may have contributed to increased cancer rates downwind.

In the same amount of time, I wonder how many cancers could be attributed to living downwind from coal or oil fired plants? And how about all of those coal miners? We know they are dying, especially this year.

I say bring on the nukes. Cheap electricity, cleaner air, bankrupt towel heads. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!
 

Larry Gude

Strung Out
Deuce eh...

2ndAmendment said:
Wisdom often comes with age, not always, but often. It is good to listen to your parents. They probably went through much of what you are going through. But do we?
...this ain't about wisdom! You knew, I knew, anyone, ANYONE who bothered to read about nuke power or talk to someone who KNEW about it, how it worked, why it was controllable, what went wrong with Chernobyl, what went right with 3 mile, etc, etc, KNEW damn well that nuke was a WONDERFUL solution 30 years ago.

CHEAP.
EASY.
PLENTIFUL.
CLEAN.
NOT SUBJECT TO THE VAUGARITIES of other nations.
Hell, it even works in the rain.

Those guys had scientists as friends, had to. They knew, most likely, far more about it than enough to know better.

They wanted utopia, no vulgar use of power at all, and I guess that's where your point comes in; We WILL use power, so, make you peace with that fact and make the best choice, not some dream.
 

Larry Gude

Strung Out
Jazz...

I am a proponent of nuclear energy myself, although I would like to see other technologies such as solar, hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal sources explored, too.
Think of the technological and industrial knowledge and know how that DIDN'T happen as we sat on our no nuke hands.


The all or nothing mentality of the 70's has given way to the reality of today's situation
That mindset is alive and well. Just take a stroll over in DU land. Or witness the Iraq caterwauling.


I believe it was during Jimmy Carter's administration that there was a decree that no new storage facilities,
Jimmy Carter changed our national symbol from a scavenger to an ostritch. Moscow Olympics. Energy. The economy. Etc.


but it's going to take awhile until this becomes cost effective.
Well, the BIG problem is we're talking so much about coal, a steady, reliable domestic source we shouldn't wanna hurt. Cars are our big deal, big oil users.

The power grids are definitely part of the the problem
So, we need to allow the market the room to breathe and allow investing in modernization to be naturally profitable.


It sickens me to think where we'd be today had we the ability to actually think well in large groups.
 

jazz lady

~*~ Rara Avis ~*~
PREMO Member
Larry Gude said:
Think of the technological and industrial knowledge and know how that DIDN'T happen as we sat on our no nuke hands.
Exactly. We've shackled ourselves for so long that major advances and opportunities have passed us by.

That mindset is alive and well. Just take a stroll over in DU land. Or witness the Iraq caterwauling.
No, thank you on the DU. That place is EVIL. :lol: But at least SOME are changing, which gives me hope.

Jimmy Carter changed our national symbol from a scavenger to an ostrich. Moscow Olympics. Energy. The economy. Etc.
I totally agree. Roll over and show your soft underbelly. He was IMO the worst president ever.

Well, the BIG problem is we're talking so much about coal, a steady, reliable domestic source we shouldn't wanna hurt. Cars are our big deal, big oil users.
But coal is a massive polluter and is a finite resource - maybe not now, but in X number of years. What will we do when it runs out?

Maybe we can get nuclear powered cars? :shrug:

So, we need to allow the market the room to breathe and allow investing in modernization to be naturally profitable.
I agree, but how so? Government incentives? But that isn't "natural."

It sickens me to think where we'd be today had we the ability to actually think well in large groups.
Me, too. We are our own worse enemies, that's for sure. We would be so far advanced and in such a better domestic and global position but we're hog-tied ourselves for so long, it's going to take a long time to recover if we ever can.
 

Larry Gude

Strung Out
As far as coal...

...it's domestic, USA, so, we gotta let her down easy. A gradual phase out UNLESS we do the math and find that X million tons of CO2 a year is fine.

And for all of you who just fainted reading that...wanna know what greenhouses use to enhance...ENHANCE...enhance plant growth???

:wavefan:

Ready? CO2 generators. That's right, there's number, a range that is JUST peachy for Ma' Nature.

As far as nuke u lar cars, well, who knows? It is the height of man's arrogance to think that we now know it all any more than we knew it all at all the other points in history that we 'knew' it all. Point being, sitting on our hands and playing chicken little over nuclear power while it is nowhere near rational to think we'll all die at a ripe old age if only we can keep nukes away is insane.

The power exists, master it. Just like fire. Just like oil. I mean, look at a real holocuast; London and Chicago buring to the ground because the energy source of the day, fire, got out of control.

Get them scientists busy! Turn 'em loose!
 

2ndAmendment

Just a forgiven sinner
PREMO Member
Larry Gude said:
Jimmy Carter changed our national symbol from a scavenger to an ostritch. Moscow Olympics. Energy. The economy. Etc.
I am pretty sure a bald eagle is considered a bird of prey. :whistle:
 

jazz lady

~*~ Rara Avis ~*~
PREMO Member
The earth is a symbiosis. Nature has evolved over the years to strike a harmony among the various components that is our Earth. What makes one thing thrive can be absolute poison to another. Such is CO2. Too much is great for plants but not good for animals. :dead:

Anyway, coal production is a major industry in this country, but we're strapped right now to get all the power we as gluttonous Americans demand, so I don't think building more nuclear plants will initially have much impact on the coal industry. I think we can enact a gradual phase out of coal production but it's going to be a hell of a fight as it's been around for a LONG time and is deeply entrenched.

That is the key to any energy source: harnessing the power in a safe and efficient manner. I definitely think we are more than capable of it as long as we don't choke ourselves in the process. Scientists now are salivating at the chance. :lol:
 

2ndAmendment

Just a forgiven sinner
PREMO Member
jazz lady said:
...
Anyway, coal production is a major industry in this country, but we're strapped right now to get all the power we as gluttonous Americans demand, so I don't think building more nuclear plants will initially have much impact on the coal industry. I think we can enact a gradual phase out of coal production but it's going to be a hell of a fight as it's been around for a LONG time and is deeply entrenched.
...
We can keep the coal production. Run vehicles on coal synthesized fuels.
Coal can also be converted into liquid fuels like gasoline or diesel by several different processes. The Fischer-Tropsch process of indirect synthesis of liquid hydrocarbons was used in Nazi Germany, and for many years by Sasol in South Africa - in both cases, because those regimes were politically isolated and unable to purchase crude oil on the open market. Coal would be gasified to make syngas (a balanced purified mixture of CO and H2 gas) and the syngas condensed using Fischer-Tropsch catalysts to make light hydrocarbons which are further processed into gasoline and diesel. Syngas can also be converted to methanol: which can be used as a fuel, fuel additive, or further processed into gasoline via the Mobil M-gas process.

...

Estimates of the cost of producing liquid fuels from coal suggest that domestic U.S. production of fuel from coal becomes cost-competitive with oil priced at around 35 USD per barrel [4], (break-even cost), which is well above historical averages - but is now viable due to the spike in oil prices since unrest in Nigeria in 2006, the 2nd Gulf War and the devistation to many of the US oil platforms as a result of Hurricane Katrina. [5].

...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal
Seems with oil at what? $70+, it should be economically feasible.
 
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jazz lady

~*~ Rara Avis ~*~
PREMO Member
2ndAmendment said:
We can keep the coal production. Run vehicles on coal synthesized fuels.
Very interesting reading, especially considering this on how it's used today:

When coal is used in electricity generation, it is generally pulverized and then burned (~35% efficient).
I wonder what it would take to make refineries that can do this? Could our current refineries be converted for this use or would new ones have to be built?

But again, it doesn't get us away from the fact that coal is a very finite resource and it's still a major polluter, but it would keep the industry alive and productive.

Seems with oil at what? $70+, it should be economically feasible.
But...
Coal liquefaction is one of the backstop technologies that will limit escalation of oil prices and mitigate the alleged effects of peak oil, provided that the extra carbon dioxide released in the process does not catastrophically accelerate global warming/adverse climate effects.
:ohwell:
 

FromTexas

This Space for Rent
BTW - converting to nukes is no big capital jump. There are many companies itching to build if they could just get the approval. We have many companies who have been trying to sell small nukes for years. The capital is there. We just need everyone to say, "Gee! What a great idea!"
 

MMDad

Lem Putt
FromTexas said:
BTW - converting to nukes is no big capital jump. There are many companies itching to build if they could just get the approval. We have many companies who have been trying to sell small nukes for years. The capital is there. We just need everyone to say, "Gee! What a great idea!"
:yay: Thanks to the Navy, the technology isn't stagnant. Reactor production could be ramped up, and there could be small plants serving localities, instead of huge plants serving distant locations.

A fact of electric transmission is the loss through the lines. Reduce the distance and you reduce the loss.

People were freaking over the possibility of a Nuke south of the base. I understand it's scary at first, but wouldn't halving your electric bill make it easier?
 
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