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Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 10:45 PM
Original message
If you think the BP incident was bad, wait until we have
an "accident" in a nuclear reactor or at a nuclear dump.

We have to move to solar and wind energy. They are the only near-safe methods of creating energy. They are not totally safe, and they may be more expensive than oil, but they are the only safe sources of energy.

We have to find a way to produce solar panels that are durable but less expensive than the current panels.

If we put the money into research on solar energy that was spent on drilling this well in the Gulf and will be spent to clean up the mess in the Gulf, we would have the technology to satisfy our energy needs with solar. Building the infrastructure to handle the electricity we could produced could be funded with the money we would save by not having to import so much oil from other countries.

It's a matter of just saying no to the oil and nuclear industries.
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Blue_In_AK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 10:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. +1
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Ditto. nt
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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 10:47 PM
Response to Original message
2. This could be worse if it continues for much longer
It is not going to be localized, it could kill large areas of ocean.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 11:01 PM
Response to Original message
3. The nuclear industry has already created a Dead Zone - Chernobyl. BP did the aquatic version.
Edited on Sun May-16-10 11:09 PM by leveymg
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Haunting photos. nt
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 12:02 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. Haunting, and also mostly faked.
Only the last two are actually of the Chernobyl radiological exclusion zone.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 06:32 AM
Response to Reply #11
21. Nothing fake about it. (Some people simply deny events and facts they don't agree with) Links:
Edited on Mon May-17-10 06:42 AM by leveymg
Caption to the photo of the men in gas masks (upper-right): "Ukrainian students try on gas masks as part of a safety drill in a school in Rudniya, just outside the Chernobyl contamination zone, Monday, April 3, 2006. The world will mark the 20th anniversary this month of the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which sent a radioactive cloud across Europe.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)"(reposted at: http://cryptome.org/eyeball/npp2/npp2-eyeball.htm ) The containment pool with the cooling tower in the background (top-left) is under Google Images: "Chernobyl Dead Zone." It is not the main reactor complex but a nearby waste facility. If you think this is all faked, here are more photos taken inside Chernobyl, the Ghost City, until that day 24 years ago, the third-largest city in Ukraine. Even the poor, stuffed bears left behind look dead:




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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #11
26. IMO, those are the most haunting. I knew the group in the gas masks wasn't
an actual shot of Chernobyl denizens, and the first one actually is pretty, I wouldn't have known it's supposed to represent a nuclear ground. It's the last two that really tug at my heart. There used to be life here. Now it's gone. Regardless, they get the point across, don't you think?
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #26
43. There's an abundance of life around Chernobyl, more than there was before the humans left.
Humans are deadlier than nuclear waste.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #43
55. I knew we ranked right up there as the most destructive force on the planet, but
yikes!

They were showing the new life on Mt. St. Helen's today -- 30 years after it blew. The area had been blocked off from humans so the recovery could be observed and allowed to occur naturally. I'd say it's thriving, and a lot sooner than they'd estimated. If we'd just stop the belief that we own the earth, and learn to live with it...


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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #3
50. (except it's not dead anymore, there's a huge wildlife resurgence)
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jp11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 11:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. Sort of
Coal will keep being burned because it is here in America and it is awfully good at catching fire and making electricity plus people who own the coal mines want to turn that crap into money and burning it is a great way of making that happen.

Solar, wind, tidal and geothermal would all be great but I do not think they can replace all the coal plants, the nuclear plants and still deliver the power we need when we need it, I could be wrong but coal won't get shut down anytime soon. Someone would have to figure out how much money it would cost to replace the existing plants, as well as the real estate needed, where, and deal with NIMBY aspects of putting up huge farms of panels, turbines, etc.

Oil by the way is massive in home heating(oil/gas) and transportation; cars, trucks, jets, planes, ships etc, until those can be replaced by equivalent technology in reliability/range plus infrastructure (charging stations, increase in electric grid capacity and reliability) getting off Oil isn't as simple as building more solar/wind farms that many people pimp as a way to get over fossil fuels.

In closing, a nuclear accident has the potential to be a horrible disaster but I don't think it would be likely to happen. Anyone who wants can feel free to focus on the previous sentence and how an oil well is not likely to leak out for weeks either. I know many people won't agree with me on the potential uses of nuclear power so let us leave it at that.

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FBI_Un_Sub Donating Member (610 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 11:29 PM
Response to Original message
7. We wil need a solar energy manhattan project
When we are talking about conversion of incident sun light directly into electricity (photovoltaic) we are talking about a very narrow band of the incident sun light. We are talking about a thin band of ultra violet light. This incident ultraviolet light generates an electron - hole pair in a silicon semiconductor photodiode. Other semiconductors are known and have been worked with. But -- they are expensive, toxic to work with, and (at present demand levels) expensive.

We will probably have to "encourage" residential and small business photovoltaic installation by "creative financing." The current Pacific Gas & Electric's "Tea Bagger" type campaign against some of these "creative financing" ideas has to be defeated. See http://www.ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Pr... for the details of this power grab.

Solar energy is not a cornucopia nor a panacea. But it is a good, solid first step.
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Lagomorph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I live in an area where...
there's not enough wind to support wind power and not enough solar energy to support large scale solar power. We get 250 days of rain in Seattle. If it weren't for the Columbia River hydroelectric dams, we'd be a big importer of energy.
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FBI_Un_Sub Donating Member (610 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Photovoltaics were developed and commercialized
in Michigan (about 30 miles north of Detroit) --- which is hardly a land of sun, sand, amd beach volley ball.
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Lagomorph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 01:21 AM
Response to Reply #10
30. I did my homework.
The numbers don't support using wind in my area. On average we'd get about 50 watts from a 10kw wind generator. We have a lot of wind power in the eastern half of the state. I was hoping for a more localized solution. I hate seeing mile upon mile of power transmission lines, huge wind farms or massive solar arrays.

The sun is a relatively weak source, relative to the sunnier climates. The state hasn't invested in any obvious solar power in the western half, other than to run a few LED displays on the freeway. You look around the area and you just don't see solar panels like you see in California or Hawaii.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 01:44 AM
Response to Reply #30
32. Small scale wind is bad almost everywhere, it is too close to the ground and...
...the rotors are too small. When it is scaled up it is great.

Abstract here: http://www.rsc.org/publishing/journals/EE/article.asp?d...

Full article for download here: http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/revsolglobw...


Energy Environ. Sci., 2009, 2, 148 - 173, DOI: 10.1039/b809990c

Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security

Mark Z. Jacobson

Abstract
This paper reviews and ranks major proposed energy-related solutions to global warming, air pollution mortality, and energy security while considering other impacts of the proposed solutions, such as on water supply, land use, wildlife, resource availability, thermal pollution, water chemical pollution, nuclear proliferation, and undernutrition.

Nine electric power sources and two liquid fuel options are considered. The electricity sources include solar-photovoltaics (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, nuclear, and coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The liquid fuel options include corn-ethanol (E85) and cellulosic-E85. To place the electric and liquid fuel sources on an equal footing, we examine their comparative abilities to address the problems mentioned by powering new-technology vehicles, including battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs), and flex-fuel vehicles run on E85.

Twelve combinations of energy source-vehicle type are considered. Upon ranking and weighting each combination with respect to each of 11 impact categories, four clear divisions of ranking, or tiers, emerge.

Tier 1 (highest-ranked) includes wind-BEVs and wind-HFCVs.
Tier 2 includes CSP-BEVs, geothermal-BEVs, PV-BEVs, tidal-BEVs, and wave-BEVs.
Tier 3 includes hydro-BEVs, nuclear-BEVs, and CCS-BEVs.
Tier 4 includes corn- and cellulosic-E85.

Wind-BEVs ranked first in seven out of 11 categories, including the two most important, mortality and climate damage reduction. Although HFCVs are much less efficient than BEVs, wind-HFCVs are still very clean and were ranked second among all combinations.

Tier 2 options provide significant benefits and are recommended.

Tier 3 options are less desirable. However, hydroelectricity, which was ranked ahead of coal-CCS and nuclear with respect to climate and health, is an excellent load balancer, thus recommended.

The Tier 4 combinations (cellulosic- and corn-E85) were ranked lowest overall and with respect to climate, air pollution, land use, wildlife damage, and chemical waste. Cellulosic-E85 ranked lower than corn-E85 overall, primarily due to its potentially larger land footprint based on new data and its higher upstream air pollution emissions than corn-E85.

Whereas cellulosic-E85 may cause the greatest average human mortality, nuclear-BEVs cause the greatest upper-limit mortality risk due to the expansion of plutonium separation and uranium enrichment in nuclear energy facilities worldwide. Wind-BEVs and CSP-BEVs cause the least mortality.

The footprint area of wind-BEVs is 26 orders of magnitude less than that of any other option. Because of their low footprint and pollution, wind-BEVs cause the least wildlife loss.

The largest consumer of water is corn-E85. The smallest are wind-, tidal-, and wave-BEVs.

The US could theoretically replace all 2007 onroad vehicles with BEVs powered by 73000144000 5 MW wind turbines, less than the 300000 airplanes the US produced during World War II, reducing US CO2 by 32.532.7% and nearly eliminating 15000/yr vehicle-related air pollution deaths in 2020.

In sum, use of wind, CSP, geothermal, tidal, PV, wave, and hydro to provide electricity for BEVs and HFCVs and, by extension, electricity for the residential, industrial, and commercial sectors, will result in the most benefit among the options considered. The combination of these technologies should be advanced as a solution to global warming, air pollution, and energy security. Coal-CCS and nuclear offer less benefit thus represent an opportunity cost loss, and the biofuel options provide no certain benefit and the greatest negative impacts.

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Lagomorph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 02:45 AM
Response to Reply #32
37. Good info.
I'm thinking the switch will take 100 years or so.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:04 AM
Response to Reply #37
38. Variously estimated at between 10 and 40 years.
Edited on Tue May-18-10 03:05 AM by kristopher
I think we will see remarkable progress in the next 20 years as businesses move to get ahead of a known change in how business is done. There will be some laggards that we have to move with regulatory pressure, but there is beginning to be a huge trend towards businesses positioning themselves to be competitive in a carbonless energy world. Now that it is a part of normal planning for all businesses, we are seeing the effects in private investment flowing into the renewable sector and its associated infrastructure and we are seeing the payoff in a very rapid pace of technological innovation and deployment. Look at development of batteries for EVs over the past 15 years for example; they are years ahead of development targets.


Sachs Solar Cost thru 2020


http://www.1366tech.com/
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Lagomorph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #38
45. Yes, we've come a long way.
But estimates assume a stable environment. Never, ever assume a stable environment. There could a fusion breakthrough or something of the sort. We can switch out the cars fairly quickly but we need to create terrawatts of power from clean sources without leaving a huge footprint.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #45
58. That is the goal.
All we can do is plan for the possible; obstacles always present themselves but there is nothing out there that rules out an orderly move to a renewable grid.

Fusion is a pipe dream, we need to focus on what we have that works now.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 02:11 AM
Response to Reply #8
16. Don't worry. There is enough sun in Southern California to
provide electricity for the entire coastal area.

I do not want to see nuclear plants in Southern California. We are too prone to earthquakes and fires.

Santa Susannah was used for early nuclear research as well as for rocket fuel research. There are serious allegations of illnesses due to the toxic wastes and carelessness at the site.

We are all human. We should not use things that have tremendous potential to damage large portions of our environment.

Drilling in the Gulf was probably much safer than situating nuclear reactors in Southern California.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #16
25. You are aware there are 4 operational nuclear power reactors in Souther Califronia right now.
Edited on Mon May-17-10 07:56 AM by Statistical




In the last 30 years despite being through dozens of earthquakes they have never resulted in an accident or danger to the public.

In the same time period there have been hundreds of oil spills including dozens of major 100,000 gallon+ spills.

Your belief that drilling for oil is safer is misguided and very easily disproven by looking at the track records.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 01:49 AM
Response to Reply #25
34. Nuclear and fossil fuels are two sides of the same coin
The risks of nuclear are not acceptable because they are not necessary.
Abstract here: http://www.rsc.org/publishing/journals/EE/article.asp?d...

Full article for download here: http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/revsolglobw...


Energy Environ. Sci., 2009, 2, 148 - 173, DOI: 10.1039/b809990c

Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security

Mark Z. Jacobson

Abstract
This paper reviews and ranks major proposed energy-related solutions to global warming, air pollution mortality, and energy security while considering other impacts of the proposed solutions, such as on water supply, land use, wildlife, resource availability, thermal pollution, water chemical pollution, nuclear proliferation, and undernutrition.

Nine electric power sources and two liquid fuel options are considered. The electricity sources include solar-photovoltaics (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, nuclear, and coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The liquid fuel options include corn-ethanol (E85) and cellulosic-E85. To place the electric and liquid fuel sources on an equal footing, we examine their comparative abilities to address the problems mentioned by powering new-technology vehicles, including battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs), and flex-fuel vehicles run on E85.

Twelve combinations of energy source-vehicle type are considered. Upon ranking and weighting each combination with respect to each of 11 impact categories, four clear divisions of ranking, or tiers, emerge.

Tier 1 (highest-ranked) includes wind-BEVs and wind-HFCVs.
Tier 2 includes CSP-BEVs, geothermal-BEVs, PV-BEVs, tidal-BEVs, and wave-BEVs.
Tier 3 includes hydro-BEVs, nuclear-BEVs, and CCS-BEVs.
Tier 4 includes corn- and cellulosic-E85.

Wind-BEVs ranked first in seven out of 11 categories, including the two most important, mortality and climate damage reduction. Although HFCVs are much less efficient than BEVs, wind-HFCVs are still very clean and were ranked second among all combinations.

Tier 2 options provide significant benefits and are recommended.

Tier 3 options are less desirable. However, hydroelectricity, which was ranked ahead of coal-CCS and nuclear with respect to climate and health, is an excellent load balancer, thus recommended.

The Tier 4 combinations (cellulosic- and corn-E85) were ranked lowest overall and with respect to climate, air pollution, land use, wildlife damage, and chemical waste. Cellulosic-E85 ranked lower than corn-E85 overall, primarily due to its potentially larger land footprint based on new data and its higher upstream air pollution emissions than corn-E85.

Whereas cellulosic-E85 may cause the greatest average human mortality, nuclear-BEVs cause the greatest upper-limit mortality risk due to the expansion of plutonium separation and uranium enrichment in nuclear energy facilities worldwide. Wind-BEVs and CSP-BEVs cause the least mortality.

The footprint area of wind-BEVs is 26 orders of magnitude less than that of any other option. Because of their low footprint and pollution, wind-BEVs cause the least wildlife loss.

The largest consumer of water is corn-E85. The smallest are wind-, tidal-, and wave-BEVs.

The US could theoretically replace all 2007 onroad vehicles with BEVs powered by 73000144000 5 MW wind turbines, less than the 300000 airplanes the US produced during World War II, reducing US CO2 by 32.532.7% and nearly eliminating 15000/yr vehicle-related air pollution deaths in 2020.

In sum, use of wind, CSP, geothermal, tidal, PV, wave, and hydro to provide electricity for BEVs and HFCVs and, by extension, electricity for the residential, industrial, and commercial sectors, will result in the most benefit among the options considered. The combination of these technologies should be advanced as a solution to global warming, air pollution, and energy security. Coal-CCS and nuclear offer less benefit thus represent an opportunity cost loss, and the biofuel options provide no certain benefit and the greatest negative impacts.

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Lagomorph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #16
49. You guys are already hurting for water.
I read that solar farms require lots of water.

We're talking some major re-engineering of the environment.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #8
27. I'm a big proponent of solar energy but have always wondered if it's viable for
us here. I hope they can figure something out.

I know UV rays are present whenever there's daylight regardless of clouds, rain, etc., so maybe there's a way... :hi:
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #7
28. If the oil industry learned that in six months every drop of oil on the planet
would disappear, you can bet they, and other industries, would go balls to the wall in finding a way to make this work. The incentive has to be $$$.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #7
64. It is being reported by some DU'ers that there are now ads from
P G & E encouraging us to vote for Prop 16.

I don't see ads on account of my smalls donations to this board.

But we need to convince Skiner et al that this is not a good way to raise money for this site.
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 11:51 PM
Response to Original message
9. What you say isn't accurate.
"If we put the money into research on solar energy that was spent on drilling this well in the Gulf and will be spent to clean up the mess in the Gulf, we would have the technology to satisfy our energy needs with solar."

Not even close. The infrastructure to supply our energy needs with solar power scales out to about $3.6 trillion dollars. NOT including the factories to build all those solar panels, plus the transformers to convert that into grid energy, the cost in land to install them, maintenance, etcetera. Wind is vastly cheaper at $900 billion, but still a couple orders of magnitude more than the cost of this one well.

And for the record, every single day 436 civilian nuclear reactors operate safely around the world. Civilian nuclear power has never killed anyone in the US, which you can't say for fossil fuels. The simple fact of the matter is that you CANNOT make the math work for replacing dangerous fossil fuels without using nuclear power. It just doesn't work--you can't build enough wind turbines, or solar panels, or hydro dams.
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Incitatus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. "you CANNOT make the math work'
Maybe not, at this time. But you can greatly reduce the need for fossil fuels if more of an effort was made to move us toward renewable energy. Hopefully, they will figure out a solution for storing nuclear waste before it creates very serious problems.
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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 01:00 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. But we need a solution right now.
And actually, we needed a solution ten years ago. We can't afford to wait another 20 years to see if solar power suddenly becomes cheap and plentiful the way it was promised 20 years ago.

Also, don't store nuclear waste. 97% of it is usable uranium--just recycle it the way the Europeans do, use the uranium for new fuel rods, and use the remainder for it's useful isotopes. The only reason we don't do that is because it's cheaper to store spent fuel rods and buy newly mined uranium on the open market.
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Incitatus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 01:16 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Thanks, I did not have that information.
I thought the storing of nuclear waste was the main biggest problem, and it is reason for my opposition. If it can be recycled and won't leave problems for future generations to figure out, then is is definitely worth considering. I will have to look into this and may change my position.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 07:42 AM
Response to Reply #14
23. One clarification. Reprocessing can reduce the amount of spent fuel
but it doesn't completely eliminate the need for long term storage.

Of course many progressive countries are taking steps to build repositories to safely store spent fuel for 100,000+ years.

Finland for example is building one about 500 meters deep into solid bedrock (well below any ground water).

http://fopnews.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/onkalo_layou...

Spent fuel is very energy dense. If 100% of your lifetime electrical use came from nuclear power the spent fuel would be roughly the size of a soda can. That is before reprocessing.

Another option is to burn spent fuel in fast breeder reactors.

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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 01:57 AM
Response to Reply #23
35. Holdren (President's Science and Technology advisor) on nuclear and renewables
The renewable option: Is it real?
SUNLIGHT: 100,000 TW reaches Earths surface (100,000 TWy/year = 3.15 million EJ/yr), 30% on land. Thus 1% of the land area receives 300 TWy/yr, so converting this to usable forms at 10% efficiency would yield 30 TWy/yr, about twice civilizations rate of energy use in 2004.

WIND: Solar energy flowing into the wind is ~2,000 TW. Wind power estimated to be harvestable from windy sites covering 2% of Earths land surface is about twice world electricity generation in 2004.

BIOMASS: Solar energy is stored by photosynthesis on land at a rate of about 60 TW. Energy crops at twice the average terrestrial photosynthetic yield would give 12 TW from 10% of land area (equal to whats now used for agriculture). Converted to liquid biofuels at 50% efficiency, this would be 6 TWy/yr, more than world oil use in 2004.

Renewable energy potential is immense. Questions are what it will cost & how much society wants to pay for environmental & security advantages.

The nuclear option: size of the challenges
If world electricity demand grows 2%/year until 2050 and nuclear share of electricity supply is to rise from 1/6 to 1/3...

nuclear capacity would have to grow from 350 GWe in 2000 to 1700 GWe in 2050;

this means 1,700 reactors of 1,000 MWe each.

If these were light-water reactors on the once-through fuel cycle...
---enrichment of their fuel will require ~250 million Separative Work Units (SWU);
---diversion of 0.1% of this enrichment to production of HEU from natural uranium would make ~20 gun-type or ~80 implosion-type bombs.

If half the reactors were recycling their plutonium...
---the associated flow of separated, directly weapon - usable plutonium would be 170,000 kg per year;
---diversion of 0.1% of this quantity would make ~30 implosion-type bombs.

Spent-fuel production in the once-through case would be...
---34,000 tonnes/yr, a Yucca Mountain every two years.

Conclusion: Expanding nuclear enough to take a modest bite out of the climate problem is conceivable, but doing so will depend on greatly increased seriousness in addressing the waste-management & proliferation challenges.


Conclusion: Expanding nuclear enough to take a modest bite out of the climate problem is conceivable, but doing so will depend on greatly increased seriousness in addressing the waste-management & proliferation challenges.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 02:00 AM
Response to Reply #14
36. Don't believe the hype - you can't really "recycle" the waste
I posted a bunch of links about "recycling" in this thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
Read them all.
One of those links is to an article by Richard Garwin titled "Reprocessing isn't the answer": http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
Garwin is part of the team of experts Chu selected to work on the oil leak: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

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TheWraith Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #36
42. A wall of text and super-dense links doesn't change the scientific facts.
97% of spent fuel rods are reusable uranium. The rest can either be harvested for it's commercially useful isotopes (stuff used in radiation therapy, for instance), stored, or burned in other ways such as fast breeder reactors or radioisotope generators.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #42
57. That "wall of text and super-dense links" are the scientific facts.
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eShirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 05:55 AM
Response to Reply #13
19. +1
"just recycle it the way the Europeans do"
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-19-10 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #19
62. That is not a recommended solution
Nuclear Recycling Fails the Test

By Robert Alvarez. Edited by Miriam Pemberton, July 2, 2008

Over the past few years, attention to the recycling of nuclear power spent fuel has grown. Fears of global warming due to fossil fuel burning have given nuclear energy a boost; over the next 15 years dozens of new power reactors are planned world-wide. To promote nuclear energy, the Bush administration is seeking to establish international spent nuclear fuel recycling centers that are supposed to reduce wastes, recycle uranium, and convert nuclear explosive materials, such as plutonium to less troublesome elements in advanced power reactors.

Advocates, such the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank, argue that used fuel at U.S. power plants contain enough energy to power every U.S. household for 12 years. Heritage points out that nuclear recycling can be affordable and is technologically feasible. The French are proving that on a daily basis. The question is: Why can't oui?

The key to recycling is being able to...
http://www.fpif.org/articles/nuclear_recycling_fails_th...




Nuclear power supporters point to a study done by MIT as THE definitive work on nuclear and here are their conclusions:
Over the next 50 years, unless patterns change dramatically, energy production and use will contribute to global warming through large-scale greenhouse gas emissions hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon in the form of carbon dioxide. Nuclear power could be one option for reducing carbon emissions. At present, however, this is unlikely: nuclear power faces stagnation and decline.

This study analyzes what would be required to retain nuclear power as a significant option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting growing needs for electricity supply. Our analysis is guided by a global growth scenario that would expand current worldwide nuclear generating capacity almost threefold, to 1000 billion watts,by the year 2050.Such a deployment would avoid 1.8 billion tonnes of carbon emissions annually from coal plants, about 25% of the increment in carbon emissions otherwise expected in a business-as-usual scenario. This study also recommends changes in government policy and industrial practice needed in the relatively near term to retain an option for such an outcome. (Want to guess what these are? - K)

We did not analyze other options for reducing carbon emissions renewable energy sources, carbon sequestration,and increased energy efficiency and therefore reach no conclusions about priorities among these efforts and nuclear power. In our judgment, it would be a mistake to exclude any of these four options at this time.

STUDY FINDINGS
For a large expansion of nuclear power to succeed,four critical problems must be overcome:

Cost. In deregulated markets, nuclear power is not now cost competitive with coal and natural gas.However,plausible reductions by industry in capital cost,operation and maintenance costs, and construction time could reduce the gap. Carbon emission credits, if enacted by government, can give nuclear power a cost advantage.

Safety.
Modern reactor designs can achieve a very low risk of serious accidents, but best practicesin construction and operation are essential.We know little about the safety of the overall fuel cycle,beyond reactor operation.

Waste.
Geological disposal is technically feasible but execution is yet to be demonstrated or certain. A convincing case has not been made that the long-term waste management benefits of advanced, closed fuel cycles involving reprocessing of spent fuel are outweighed by the short-term risks and costs. Improvement in the open,once through fuel cycle may offer waste management benefits as large as those claimed for the more expensive closed fuel cycles.


Proliferation.
The current international safeguards regime is inadequate to meet the security challenges of the expanded nuclear deployment contemplated in the global growth scenario. The reprocessing system now used in Europe, Japan, and Russia that involves separation and recycling of plutonium presents unwarranted proliferation risks.


And here are some parts of a presentation on climate change by John Holdren, Obama's Science and Technology Adviser and one of the authors of the MIT report:
The renewable option: Is it real?
SUNLIGHT: 100,000 TW reaches Earths surface (100,000 TWy/year = 3.15 million EJ/yr), 30% on land. Thus 1% of the land area receives 300 TWy/yr, so converting this to usable forms at 10% efficiency would yield 30 TWy/yr, about twice civilizations rate of energy use in 2004.

WIND: Solar energy flowing into the wind is ~2,000 TW. Wind power estimated to be harvestable from windy sites covering 2% of Earths land surface is about twice world electricity generation in 2004.

BIOMASS: Solar energy is stored by photosynthesis on land at a rate of about 60 TW. Energy crops at twice the average terrestrial photosynthetic yield would give 12 TW from 10% of land area (equal to whats now used for agriculture). Converted to liquid biofuels at 50% efficiency, this would be 6 TWy/yr, more than world oil use in 2004.

Renewable energy potential is immense. Questions are what it will cost & how much society wants to pay for environmental & security advantages.

The nuclear option: size of the challenges
If world electricity demand grows 2%/year until 2050 and nuclear share of electricity supply is to rise from 1/6 to 1/3...

nuclear capacity would have to grow from 350 GWe in 2000 to 1700 GWe in 2050;

this means 1,700 reactors of 1,000 MWe each.

If these were light-water reactors on the once-through fuel cycle...
---enrichment of their fuel will require ~250 million Separative Work Units (SWU);
---diversion of 0.1% of this enrichment to production of HEU from natural uranium would make ~20 gun-type or ~80 implosion-type bombs.

If half the reactors were recycling their plutonium...
---the associated flow of separated, directly weapon - usable plutonium would be 170,000 kg per year;
---diversion of 0.1% of this quantity would make ~30 implosion-type bombs.

Spent-fuel production in the once-through case would be...
---34,000 tonnes/yr, a Yucca Mountain every two years.

Conclusion: Expanding nuclear enough to take a modest bite out of the climate problem is conceivable, but doing so will depend on greatly increased seriousness in addressing the waste-management & proliferation challenges.


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ljm2002 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 01:40 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. There are other alternative energy sources...
...besides wind and solar. There is geothermal, wave motion, and of course biomass. Cooking oils can be reused. There is no reason we cannot wean ourselves from oil in the near future.

And yes, I know that current machinery would have to be retrofitted to use other fuels. We can figure that out too. And it would be helpful if we also got some high speed rail going -- maybe maglev -- so that people would not need to use their automobiles as much as we do now.

Also, wind and solar do not have to be only big centralized installations that power the grid. Yes we should have the grid, but every house and building should also have its own solar and wind power, decentralized. It saves on transporting the energy, too. Most people would still be on the grid, for those times when their own systems do not provide enough. At other times they would produce a surplus and feed it back to the grid.

Let's get real. Our current way of life is simply not sustainable. We need to adapt.

"Where there's a will there's a way."
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dbmk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 04:20 AM
Response to Reply #9
40. Technically..
..research is not the same as establishing infrastructure. :)

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Strelnikov_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #9
46. And we are at $2.5 Trillion+ for the Iraq debacle (current + future costs)
Regardless of the nuclear/solar/wind debate, your numbers underscore how badly priorities are screwed up in this country.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #9
52. Ah, you again. You always forget about converting garbage to energy. And retrofitting.
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Scuba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 05:38 AM
Response to Original message
17. The moon, via tides, can produce all the energy we need...
...we just need a bit of a technical leap. This is where we should be putting the profits from oil, not into the pockets of the already-filthy-rich.
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 05:54 AM
Response to Original message
18. Once you get over the initial investment, solar & wind is way cheaper.
They can and should be implemented widely today.

Those things should pay for themselves in a few years, shouldn't they?
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 07:51 AM
Response to Reply #18
24. No.
Everything wears out. A solar or wind plant has a finite lifespan. It doesn't produce unlimited energy. It produces power for a finite period of time. Annual output * economic lifespan = lifetime power.

Wind is close to grid parity (with heavy subsidies) but solar is a long way off.

Solar panels run about $2 to $3 per watt. Rest of system (wiring, mounts, inverters, labor, etc) runs about another $1.5 to $2.
As an example lets go below the low end and say complete system is $3 per watt installed.

Say you finance it over 30 years @ 7% interest. Total cost (capital & interest) is about $7.15 per watt.

Now in sunnier parts of US a panel will produce 5 watts hours per day. 1.825kWh annually.
Now solar output degrades slowly however lets assume (unrealistically) it remains at 100% for 30 years before it dies.
1.825 * 30 ~= 55 kWh. In reality output over 30 years would be less because it would decay slowly every year (about 0.25 to 0.5% drop annually). Electrical energy from grid runs about $0.10 per kWh thus the value of power produced in lifetime is $5.50 however the system cost you $7.15.

This also excludes any maintenance & repairs.

Of course currently you can get a better deal because of subsidies. However subsidies don't reduce the cost of solar they simply shift them (from owner to taxpayer).
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 01:46 AM
Response to Reply #24
33. No.
Sachs Solar Cost thru 2020




Abstract here: http://www.rsc.org/publishing/journals/EE/article.asp?d...

Full article for download here: http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/revsolglobw...


Energy Environ. Sci., 2009, 2, 148 - 173, DOI: 10.1039/b809990c

Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security

Mark Z. Jacobson

Abstract
This paper reviews and ranks major proposed energy-related solutions to global warming, air pollution mortality, and energy security while considering other impacts of the proposed solutions, such as on water supply, land use, wildlife, resource availability, thermal pollution, water chemical pollution, nuclear proliferation, and undernutrition.

Nine electric power sources and two liquid fuel options are considered. The electricity sources include solar-photovoltaics (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, nuclear, and coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The liquid fuel options include corn-ethanol (E85) and cellulosic-E85. To place the electric and liquid fuel sources on an equal footing, we examine their comparative abilities to address the problems mentioned by powering new-technology vehicles, including battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs), and flex-fuel vehicles run on E85.

Twelve combinations of energy source-vehicle type are considered. Upon ranking and weighting each combination with respect to each of 11 impact categories, four clear divisions of ranking, or tiers, emerge.

Tier 1 (highest-ranked) includes wind-BEVs and wind-HFCVs.
Tier 2 includes CSP-BEVs, geothermal-BEVs, PV-BEVs, tidal-BEVs, and wave-BEVs.
Tier 3 includes hydro-BEVs, nuclear-BEVs, and CCS-BEVs.
Tier 4 includes corn- and cellulosic-E85.

Wind-BEVs ranked first in seven out of 11 categories, including the two most important, mortality and climate damage reduction. Although HFCVs are much less efficient than BEVs, wind-HFCVs are still very clean and were ranked second among all combinations.

Tier 2 options provide significant benefits and are recommended.

Tier 3 options are less desirable. However, hydroelectricity, which was ranked ahead of coal-CCS and nuclear with respect to climate and health, is an excellent load balancer, thus recommended.

The Tier 4 combinations (cellulosic- and corn-E85) were ranked lowest overall and with respect to climate, air pollution, land use, wildlife damage, and chemical waste. Cellulosic-E85 ranked lower than corn-E85 overall, primarily due to its potentially larger land footprint based on new data and its higher upstream air pollution emissions than corn-E85.

Whereas cellulosic-E85 may cause the greatest average human mortality, nuclear-BEVs cause the greatest upper-limit mortality risk due to the expansion of plutonium separation and uranium enrichment in nuclear energy facilities worldwide. Wind-BEVs and CSP-BEVs cause the least mortality.

The footprint area of wind-BEVs is 26 orders of magnitude less than that of any other option. Because of their low footprint and pollution, wind-BEVs cause the least wildlife loss.

The largest consumer of water is corn-E85. The smallest are wind-, tidal-, and wave-BEVs.

The US could theoretically replace all 2007 onroad vehicles with BEVs powered by 73000144000 5 MW wind turbines, less than the 300000 airplanes the US produced during World War II, reducing US CO2 by 32.532.7% and nearly eliminating 15000/yr vehicle-related air pollution deaths in 2020.

In sum, use of wind, CSP, geothermal, tidal, PV, wave, and hydro to provide electricity for BEVs and HFCVs and, by extension, electricity for the residential, industrial, and commercial sectors, will result in the most benefit among the options considered. The combination of these technologies should be advanced as a solution to global warming, air pollution, and energy security. Coal-CCS and nuclear offer less benefit thus represent an opportunity cost loss, and the biofuel options provide no certain benefit and the greatest negative impacts.

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Ghost of Tom Joad Donating Member (651 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 06:07 AM
Response to Original message
20. does anyone know
how many nuclear accidents have occurred in France? I know they have a lot of plants over there but have yet to hear of any problems.
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chillspike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 07:31 AM
Response to Original message
22. Solar and Wind power are not totally safe?
Um, except for wind turbines clocking birds every now and then, solar and wind ARE totally safe.
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dbmk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 04:24 AM
Response to Reply #22
41. Totally safe is not true :)
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 10:07 PM
Response to Original message
29. Safe? SAFE?
Why didn't you realize that ANY energy source worth having demands SACRIFICE? 11 men here, a few dozen there. What does it matter?

What matters is that energy flows unimpeded. Anything less is wimpy, defeatist talk.

What are you, some kind of liberal, tree-hugging, human-life valuing freak?
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Lagomorph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 01:31 AM
Response to Original message
31. I appreciate your concern.
I give it about .0000000001% chance of getting traction without some kind of "StarWars" level of high energy power creation. If we could have solar power, we would. We'd have to cover every square mile of open land to replace oil, coal and nuclear. We've a long way to go.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:40 AM
Response to Reply #31
39. That isn't true
Edited on Tue May-18-10 03:41 AM by kristopher
See posts 32, 33 and 35.

And then there are the analyses like this, which posit no carbon tax or cap:
Snyapse Energy Economics

Beyond Business as Usual
Investigating a Future without Coal and Nuclear Power in the U.S.

May 11, 2010

Prepared for the Civil Society Institute

Prepared by:
Geoffrey Keith, Bruce Biewald, Kenji Takahashi,
Alice Napoleon, Nicole Hughes, Lauri Mancinelli,
and Erin Brandt
(All of of Snyapse Energy Economics)


Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. is a research consulting firm specializing in energy, economic, and environmental topics. Synapse provides research, testimony, reports, and regulatory support to consumer advocates, environmental organizations, regulatory commissions, state energy offices, and others. The Firm was founded in May 1996. For more information please visit www.synapse-energy.com .

1. Introduction
The electric power industry in the U.S. is at a crossroads. Many of the nations generating plants are over forty years old and in need of upgrades to continue operating efficiently. The transmission grid is also in need of reinforcement and expansion. At the same time, the risks associated with climate change are forcing us to consider quantum shifts in the way we generate and use electricity.

Some proposals to address climate change assume that because coal is relatively abundant in the U.S., it must play a key role in our electricity future. Typically, these proposals include massive investment to develop technologies to decarbonize coal and/or remove CO2 from coal combustion gases. Similarly, many proposals assume that because nuclear generation does not emit CO2 directly, additional nuclear plants must be a part of the solution. This assumption has led to new subsidies and large government loan guarantees designed to revive the U.S. nuclear industry.

However, coal and nuclear power come at a high price. New rules enacted to protect public health will require billions of dollars in new emission control equipment at old coal-fired plants. These controls would reduce SO2, NOx, and mercury emissions but would do nothing to reduce CO2 emissions. The environmental impacts of mining coal are massive and well documented, and the recent tragedy in West Virginia has brought attention back to the health and safety risks of mining. Mountain top removal presents different risks and costs to communities where it is employed. Coal ash wastes present additional costs and risks to communities around the country. Nuclear power produces high-level radioactive waste, and the nation still has not established a long term repository for that waste. For the indefinite future, the waste will be stored throughout the country at the power plants themselves. The risk of accidents would also increase with additional nuclear plants, and while the nuclear industry assures us that these risks are vanishingly small, history argues that they are not.

This study challenges the assumptions that coal and nuclear power must be key parts of our response to climate change. We investigate a scenario in which the country transitions away from coal and nuclear power and toward more efficient electricity use and renewable energy sources. Specifically, coal-fired generation is eliminated by 2050 and nuclear generation is reduced by over one quarter. We perform a simple and transparent analysis of the costs of this strategy relative to a business as usual scenario, which includes expanded use of coal and nuclear energy. We also estimate the reductions in air emissions and water use that would result from this strategy. We do not quantify other benefits of the strategy, such as reduced solid waste from coal and nuclear plants or reduced environmental impacts from mining.

The goal of the study is to provide a highly transparent and objective analysis of the cost of moving away from coal and nuclear energy and toward efficiency and renewables. Toward this end, we have used cost data from actual recent projects wherever possible rather than from researchers estimates or industry targets. We include in our analysis the costs of integrating large amounts of variable generation into the nations power system and the cost of new transmission needed to deliver renewable energy to load centers. The study is a high-level view of a nationwide strategy, and it is designed to help identify areas where more detailed analysis is needed.

This work is motivated by a simple realization. The need to reduce CO2 emissions will force a major retooling of the electric industry. If we retool around coal and nuclear energy, we will exacerbate a number of environmental, health, and safety problems. If we retool with efficiency and renewable energy, we will largely eliminate those problems. Moreover, the traditional arguments against renewable energy are no longer valid. Energy efficiency and several renewable technologies now cost less than new coal and nuclear plants in terms of direct costsignoring the externalized costs of coal and nuclear energy. Additionally, efficiency and renewables are already in commercial operation, so the technology development and commercialization challenge of retooling with these technologies appears smaller than the challenge of developing low-carbon coal technologies and a new fleet of nuclear plants.
Moreover, there is no rush to build additional capacity. Surplus generating capacity in every region of the country provides us the time to carefully and systematically increase investment in renewables and energy efficiency while we reduce investment in coal-fired and nuclear power.

Section 2 of this report outlines the methodology and key assumptions. Section 3 presents the results for the U.S. as a whole, and Section 4 presents results on the regional level. Section 5 summarizes our conclusions. Appendix A describes our methodology in greater detail, and Appendix B describes our assumptions about the cost and performance of technologies in the Transition Scenario. Appendix C shows presents data in tabular form from selected charts in the report.

...

5. Conclusions
We draw the following conclusions from this work.
By the middle of this century, the U.S. could replace coal-fired electricity generation with energy efficiency and renewable energy, and we could reduce our use of nuclear power. Near-term costs would be modest, and long term savings would accrue.

A concerted, nation-wide effort to use electricity more efficiently would have to be a part of this strategy. A scenario in which the entire country achieved long-term energy savings similar to the most aggressive states and utilities today would be needed to make the scenario envisioned here possible.

In terms of meeting peak loads, the current surplus of gas-fired capacity coupled with aggressive efficiency programs would provide ample room to add variable generation like wind and solar. Large amounts of new gas-fired capacity would not need to be added to firm up wind generation.

The regional fuel mixes in the Transition Scenario are likely to allow system operators to incorporate the levels of wind generation envisioned here. Removing the most inflexible generation from regional power systems coal and nuclear units would make these systems much more flexible. The current trend toward demand response and larger balancing areas will add additional flexibility, as will the transmission investments we include in the Transition Scenario. (To be conservative, we have included wind integration costs throughout the study period.)

Transmission investment would be needed to distribute wind energy around the Midwest and from the South Central region to the Southeast. We have estimated the cost of that transmission and included it in this analysis. Much less new transmission would be needed than envisioned in studies that do not include aggressive energy efficiency efforts. With efficiency and the development of in-region renewable resources, the Northeast would not need to import any electricity and California could import much less.

Retiring roughly 85,000 MW of coal-fired capacity in the 2010 to 2020 period would save tens of billions in new emission controls, as plants facing large emission control investments would be targeted for retirement in this period.


This is a high-level study, and working out the details of a transition like the one envisioned here would be challenging. However it would certainly be no more challenging than working out the details of a carbon cap and trade program, a program to retrofit the nations coal plants with new emission controls and a new generation of nuclear power plants. Moreover, energy efficient and renewable technologies are already in widespread use in our power sector. Carbon capture and sequestration remains speculative and no new generation nuclear plant has yet been completed.

The decisions we make now about how to remake our electric power industry will affect the lives of generations to come. We hope that this study contributes to a careful comparison of the options.


Download full open access paper at this pdf link: http://www.civilsocietyinstitute.org/media/pdfs/Beyond%...
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Lagomorph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #39
47. You are talking "Could be"...
I'm talking what's already out there, which is far more influential. That's why I give low traction. People compromise by necessity, they seldom live long enough to see the long term consequences of their actions. Every time the doom sayers predictions fail to come true, the whole thing takes a step backward.

We can't seem to get people to agree on anything large scale.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #47
56. No, your assertion was shown wrong by the paper.
Edited on Tue May-18-10 11:18 PM by kristopher
You wrote, "If we could have solar power, we would. We'd have to cover every square mile of open land to replace oil, coal and nuclear. We've a long way to go."

In the paper I offered are the specific requirements for land and it disproves the objection which underpinned your conclusion. You are also incorrect in your assessment of what is getting "traction". Wind is second only to natural gas in capacity growth and attracting investment. The writing is on the wall, carbon is on the way out and the investment money is following that conclusion.

Now if you don't like that one, here is another:
Abstract here: http://www.rsc.org/publishing/journals/EE/article.asp?d...

Full article for download here: http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/revsolglobw...


Energy Environ. Sci., 2009, 2, 148 - 173, DOI: 10.1039/b809990c

Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security

Mark Z. Jacobson

Abstract
This paper reviews and ranks major proposed energy-related solutions to global warming, air pollution mortality, and energy security while considering other impacts of the proposed solutions, such as on water supply, land use, wildlife, resource availability, thermal pollution, water chemical pollution, nuclear proliferation, and undernutrition.

Nine electric power sources and two liquid fuel options are considered. The electricity sources include solar-photovoltaics (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave, tidal, nuclear, and coal with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The liquid fuel options include corn-ethanol (E85) and cellulosic-E85. To place the electric and liquid fuel sources on an equal footing, we examine their comparative abilities to address the problems mentioned by powering new-technology vehicles, including battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs), and flex-fuel vehicles run on E85.

Twelve combinations of energy source-vehicle type are considered. Upon ranking and weighting each combination with respect to each of 11 impact categories, four clear divisions of ranking, or tiers, emerge.

Tier 1 (highest-ranked) includes wind-BEVs and wind-HFCVs.
Tier 2 includes CSP-BEVs, geothermal-BEVs, PV-BEVs, tidal-BEVs, and wave-BEVs.
Tier 3 includes hydro-BEVs, nuclear-BEVs, and CCS-BEVs.
Tier 4 includes corn- and cellulosic-E85.

Wind-BEVs ranked first in seven out of 11 categories, including the two most important, mortality and climate damage reduction. Although HFCVs are much less efficient than BEVs, wind-HFCVs are still very clean and were ranked second among all combinations.

Tier 2 options provide significant benefits and are recommended.

Tier 3 options are less desirable. However, hydroelectricity, which was ranked ahead of coal-CCS and nuclear with respect to climate and health, is an excellent load balancer, thus recommended.

The Tier 4 combinations (cellulosic- and corn-E85) were ranked lowest overall and with respect to climate, air pollution, land use, wildlife damage, and chemical waste. Cellulosic-E85 ranked lower than corn-E85 overall, primarily due to its potentially larger land footprint based on new data and its higher upstream air pollution emissions than corn-E85.

Whereas cellulosic-E85 may cause the greatest average human mortality, nuclear-BEVs cause the greatest upper-limit mortality risk due to the expansion of plutonium separation and uranium enrichment in nuclear energy facilities worldwide. Wind-BEVs and CSP-BEVs cause the least mortality.

The footprint area of wind-BEVs is 26 orders of magnitude less than that of any other option. Because of their low footprint and pollution, wind-BEVs cause the least wildlife loss.

The largest consumer of water is corn-E85. The smallest are wind-, tidal-, and wave-BEVs.

The US could theoretically replace all 2007 onroad vehicles with BEVs powered by 73000144000 5 MW wind turbines, less than the 300000 airplanes the US produced during World War II, reducing US CO2 by 32.532.7% and nearly eliminating 15000/yr vehicle-related air pollution deaths in 2020.

In sum, use of wind, CSP, geothermal, tidal, PV, wave, and hydro to provide electricity for BEVs and HFCVs and, by extension, electricity for the residential, industrial, and commercial sectors, will result in the most benefit among the options considered. The combination of these technologies should be advanced as a solution to global warming, air pollution, and energy security. Coal-CCS and nuclear offer less benefit thus represent an opportunity cost loss, and the biofuel options provide no certain benefit and the greatest negative impacts.

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Lagomorph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-19-10 02:43 AM
Response to Reply #56
59. Ummmm...
Those numbers are rather daunting but seem to concern themselves with mitigating the effects of vehicles? If I'm living on clean energy before the end of my life, I'll be happy to concede your point.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-19-10 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #59
60. The proof is in the eating, as they say.
This deserves a close look. The paper uses the amount of energy needed to power our personal transportation needs if it is served by a fleet of electric vehicles. Both battery storage and fuel cells (hydrogen storage) are evaluated. Using this as a basis it is fairly easy to figure out the totals for other purposes.
This graphic shows what it would look like if we grouped all the land use into one space. It is helpful to think how things like roads, building etc would appear if they too were all clumped into one spot.

The bottom line is that with both solar and wind, land use is not a problem.


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Lagomorph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-19-10 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #60
61. That's a lot of land.
I was thinking about industrial use as well, when I made my fanciful projection. Unfortunately, much of the suitable land could be needed for other purposes, as well. I still think we need a "Starwars" level leap in energy recovery/creation.

Without considering the risks, those 20MW reactors the size of a refrigerator or the "organic cold fusion" type of leap would be desirable. I'd love to see a city producing it's own power inside it's limits, without 300 miles of high tension wires or fuel pipelines.

Just the same, that is some useful information you're posting and I thank you for it.
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dionysus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
44. another thing, which most people ignore about the whole oil deal, isn't driving, or electricity. we
need to find somethign else to make plastic out of.
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Lagomorph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #44
48. I've read that....
...there are enough elements in your backyard to make nearly anything, if we could only recover it.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
51. The BP incident actually happened.
A nuclear meltdown is hypothetical, unlikely, and fear-mongering.

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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
53. If you think the BP incident was bad, wait until we have ...
a giant flood of molasses.

*real incident, btw, that caused more death and destruction than any American nuclear accident.

Sid
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 03:46 PM
Response to Original message
54. Didn't Al Gore already say this and endorse Obama because he thought Obama was on the same page?
:argh:
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tomm2thumbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-19-10 03:19 PM
Response to Original message
63. big kick!

imagine if the world's construction industry made more money from monorails than they do from building freeways - we'd be in heaven - instead, they fight for what makes the most cash instead of what is good for the country. unPatriots, every last one of 'em who put overstuffing their wallets ahead of their country

making money is one thing, but gorging is another

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