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Reply #60: I did not notice we were talking about 2050 energy demand [View All]

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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-06-10 10:46 PM
Response to Reply #50
60. I did not notice we were talking about 2050 energy demand
I had calculated the number of nuclear power plants required to meet today's energy needs at 672, which includes 100% of our electricity generation and 100% of our transportation. I realize now that I did not include industrial uses nor non-electrical energy usage from commercial and residential buildings. The number would surely be higher than I gave but I cannot find a source for those two sectors' fossil fuel usage. I'll shelve that for now and will most likely stumble on it later on when I'm no longer looking.

Notably, my figures were for the USA only. And when I put in Holden's assumed 2% increase in electrical demand per year, by the year 2050 we will need 1,484 nuclear plants of 1 GWe each in the USA alone.

I think we both agree that neither the once-through uranium reactors nor the light water reactors are the technology that will allow us to get to that point. Once-through fuel cycles only consume 5% of the fissile material in each fuel rod before they need to be replaced. What a waste! That would be akin to you going to the gas station for a fill-up, driving 10 miles then pumping out all of the remaining gasoline in your tank to be stored in a huge cistern under your garage. Would anybody be stupid enough to do that?

The light water reactor designs harken back to the 1930s and need to be retired. We don't drive cars you have to crank start anymore do we? No, the technology has moved on and so should nuclear power plants. Light water reactors need to be retired and replaced with Generation IV nuclear power plants.

The Generation IV reactors I mentioned in an earlier post are up to the task. Many of them can be mass produced and if we use a Thorium fuel cycle we will have enough Thorium to last 1,000 years. If we haven't perfected Fusion power by then we should stop funding that research! :-)
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