Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

It is currently Feb 19, 2018 5:15 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Oct 28, 2015 10:52 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Dec 29, 2011 10:14 am
Posts: 217
Imagine the surprise, at the lead in to the GOP main debate tonight -- the prelim debate -- Pataki mentions nuclear and thorium in response to AGW question. Hope the others study up and jump on board.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 01, 2015 1:21 pm 
Offline

Joined: Nov 14, 2013 7:47 pm
Posts: 569
Location: Iowa, USA
I was able to find video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFabPJULOVE

The last time I recall nuclear power being mentioned in a presidential debate was one between McCain and Obama. McCain said something like how we should be building a new nuclear reactor every month, Obama replied that nuclear power is something that needs research and development. In other words, Obama didn't want any nuclear power plants built in his term.

I tried looking for the part of the Obama/McCain debate that mentioned nuclear power, best I got is this (about 20 seconds):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2nduCO8dY4

Here's a few things I learned about energy:
- Energy is energy.
For the most part by making one source of energy cheaper we make all other sources cheaper. That is because people will choose the cheapest means to get something done and switching fuels on large industrial scales is trivial in many cases, meaning that the market levels out quickly. Therefore cheap nuclear means cheap gasoline.

- Wind and solar are proxies for natural gas.
The wind doesn't always blow, and the sun doesn't always shine. This means that something needs to fill in for when the demand does not match the weather. That means natural gas turbines, a power plant that can be put on-line quickly, is expensive to run, but is cheaper than having the lights go out. Wind and solar are already quite expensive, and to it the cost of running natural gas and you will see energy prices double.

- Biofuels will get us all killed.
The other day I heard on the radio about a cellulosic ethanol plant being built. They talked about the "waste" that was normally just left to decay in the fields being used as feedstock for ethanol. I grew up on a dairy farm and the cornstalks are not "waste". We had an implement called a corn chopper that would take the entire corn stalk and turn that into silage. Silage is feed for the cattle that keeps for a long time in a silo, that feed is what made the milk. Not all the corn was made into silage, about half we harvested by combine. That corn was used as feed for the cattle, some fed to pigs, some we sold. That "waste" of the corn stalks we used as bedding for the cattle, we'd spread it out on the ground so the cattle had a warm, dry, and clean, place to lay down. After that bedding was soaked with manure we'd scoop it up and spread it out on the field. Those corn stalks fertilized the field and controlled erosion. If we remove that cellulose from the fields then we have to replace that erosion control and trapped nitrogen with something else, or we all starve. Right now that is done with fossil fuel products.

- Biofuels are a proxy for fossil fuels.
I know I'm repeating myself here but this is important. While we are taking corn and cellulose from the fields to turn what we use to make food we are using fossil fuels to process OUR FOOD into fuel. Ethanol, regardless of the feedstock, needs heat to cook and distill. What do we used to make the heat for this process? Coal and natural gas. People will point out how much diesel fuel is burned in the harvesting of biofuel crops but that is, IMHO, largely irrelevant. We burn a lot of diesel fuel in the harvesting of crops whether we use it for fuels or food. If we didn't burn that diesel for fuel crops then we'd just be burning that diesel fuel where we'd be using the biofuel instead. Unless we can close this loop, and use biofuels to drive the biofuel harvesting, then we will continue to rely on (inexpensive) fossil fuels to get our biofuels. From what I've read the energy gain from biofuels is very small, so small that it is unlikely we can close this loop and still have anything meaningful left over to use elsewhere.

- The only choice we have is nuclear power.
Wind and solar will leave us with very expensive power, and reliant on a continual source of inexpensive natural gas. Biofuels, if it doesn't destroy the fields from over use, will also leave us reliant on inexpensive fossil fuels. Energy sources like hydro and geothermal require favorable geography, use it when and where you can but the rest of us need something else. Energy sources like algae oils, nuclear fusion, and tidal power, are all theoretical now. Assuming we can make those technologies work some time in the future then we'd still need something to keep the lights on until then. That means we keep burning fossil fuels, with all its pros and cons, hoping we can make fusion happen or, we start building fission power plants so we don't have to hope for the best.

Here's a question we need to ask ourselves as a nation, in a world with inexpensive and safe nuclear power does any other "green" energy source like wind, solar, or biofuels even make sense? I mean that if nuclear power is already cheaper than solar, more reliable than wind, and does not destroy crop fields like biofuels then why even consider any of them as part of the national grid?

_________________
Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 15, 2015 12:35 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Mar 22, 2013 1:50 pm
Posts: 265
Kurt Sellner wrote:
Here's a question we need to ask ourselves as a nation, in a world with inexpensive and safe nuclear power does any other "green" energy source like wind, solar, or biofuels even make sense? I mean that if nuclear power is already cheaper than solar, more reliable than wind, and does not destroy crop fields like biofuels then why even consider any of them as part of the national grid?


Why would a billionaire want nuclear power?
Lowering the cost of energy? No thanks.
Disruptive technology to provide cheap energy for the masses? no thanks.
Clean energy to get rid of the carbon tax on the working classes? no thanks.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 16, 2015 12:05 am 
Offline

Joined: Nov 14, 2013 7:47 pm
Posts: 569
Location: Iowa, USA
NicholasJanssen wrote:
Why would a billionaire want nuclear power?

To make piles of money, perhaps?

NicholasJanssen wrote:
Lowering the cost of energy? No thanks.

Explain to me why anyone would NOT want to lower the cost of energy? Even the people that currently make piles of money selling energy want to lower energy prices, either to get a price lower than the competition (to increase profit margin) or to increase the consumption (lower price and lower margin still means more profit from greater volume sold).

NicholasJanssen wrote:
Disruptive technology to provide cheap energy for the masses? no thanks.

Why would anyone NOT want to make history providing the market with a disruptive technology? I read about Steve Jobs and Henry Ford in history class precisely because they brought disruptive technology to the masses.

NicholasJanssen wrote:
Clean energy to get rid of the carbon tax on the working classes? no thanks.

The billionaires might not be concerned about the carbon tax on the working class but they will be concerned about the carbon taxes they pay themselves. The billionaires don't collect the carbon tax, the government does. A certain segment of the billionaires might benefit from selling the carbon credits because they own "green" energy producers like wind and solar. Then a solution to this is declare nuclear power a "green" energy source and then the billionaires will have a greater incentive to invest in nuclear power.

I believe that billionaires already have plenty of reasons to invest in nuclear power. I think the problem is that the government has not yet been pressured enough to care that nuclear power grows as an energy source. Best we got so far is the government to approve building replacement reactors on plants that are already operating. The amount of new nuclear power generating capacity will be largely limited to how much bigger the new reactors are compared to the old.

If investing in nuclear power is something that you, NicholasJanssen, feel that billionaires would not be interested in doing then why are any getting built any where? Why would current nuclear power plants continue to operate? The answer on why these people invest in nuclear power is because it makes them money.

_________________
Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 16, 2015 9:31 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 14, 2013 2:34 pm
Posts: 178
Location: Here and There
Quote:
I believe that billionaires already have plenty of reasons to invest in nuclear power. I think the problem is that the government has not yet been pressured enough to care that nuclear power grows as an energy source. Best we got so far is the government to approve building replacement reactors on plants that are already operating. The amount of new nuclear power generating capacity will be largely limited to how much bigger the new reactors are compared to the old.


If you were a billionaire interested in getting a return on his dollar invested, would you invest in a new nuke plant or a latest technology natural gas plant? What is your risk to reward? The natural gas plant probably would not be protested by GreenPeace and / or Friends of the Earth. The natural gas plant would be built and run. It would not be subject to microscopic scrutiny by government agencies which could shut the entire facility down for a year. The spent fuel would be spread into the atmosphere and not stored forever in large concrete casks. Your labor force would be small and the plant would be largely automated. The siting would require a gas pipeline, but otherwise be little hassle. A minimal security force would be required, most likely dictated by your insurer. The place would pay back investment with quite a chance of a tidy profit in 5 years or less.

Yeh - If you want new nuke plants, they need a big brother to help. Government mindset has to be influenced to change. Long term thinking has to be applied for once.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 16, 2015 10:09 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Dec 29, 2011 10:14 am
Posts: 217
The wealthy, the middle class, and the lower or poor class all do better with plenty of affordable energy -- it is called economic growth. Picking the winners and losers does not work as well with a healthy economy. When we look back at this era, we will see anemic growth, subsidies for expensive, inefficient, and intermittent energy, and increasing prices for basic electrical grid energy. These are problems of policy since the market would optimize economic growth far better than we have actually done. When there is more growth and economic activity, we all increase our standard of living and history teaches us that more affluent societies do a better job of cleaning up their environment and having better sanitation and life spans.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 17, 2015 6:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sep 22, 2013 2:27 pm
Posts: 262
As long as a 1200MWe NPP costs 6 bn $ it is not a benefit for anyone. The society is served better with a coal fired power station.

The nuclear future starts if the costs for a new power plant will be < 4 bn$ depending on the average coal price, interest and depreciation period. To achieve this target it is necessary to make a restart of the nuclear regulation with certifications, testing and documentation.

The billionaire might invest in such a plant and will make some profit, the lower classes profit from inexpensive electricity and some well paid jobs.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 17, 2015 6:27 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 14, 2013 2:34 pm
Posts: 178
Location: Here and There
Quote:
These are problems of policy since the market would optimize economic growth far better than we have actually done.


The market is actually an idealization. When has the free market ever existed for energy? It has been manipulated since the days of ole J.D. Rockefeller. Sometimes, central planning can better serve the masses. Electric utilities are a natural monopoly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_monopoly

There are those out there who resist this idea and try various ideas to try to make electric utilities more like the makers of widgets, but it doesn't work. The duplication of effort entailed in these efforts leads to greater waste and higher prices for the consumer. (Enron, anyone?)

It was in the days of the regulated utility that we saw the last boom in nuclear power. The public has benefited from it ever since with relatively low predictable prices and clean energy. The "market" really cares about only one thing and that is returns to the investor. Often the only concern is short term returns with no interest in the long term good of society.

Economic growth will occur when good long term decisions are made by those in authority. These decisions would be the type with a wise long term outlook for the good of society and not those to whom are only concerned with what return the "market" will bring. These long term decisions lay a foundation from which growth can occur. They include infrastructure, education and plans for growth. The people who make these types of decisions are those with both vision and hope. Market driven leaders, on the other hand, will take the money and run.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 19, 2015 2:56 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sep 22, 2013 2:27 pm
Posts: 262
Dear Eino,

Thats socialist ideology....

In Europe we have pension funds and life insurances that appreciate very much low risk long term investment as they have fixed obligations to fulfill decades ahead. German Government bonds give 0,5% interest for a 10year € bond. This is why they are buying electricity grids, pipelines and other infrastructure.

That means if a nuclear power plant can provide a steady stream of cash it is very welcome.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 19, 2015 7:13 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 14, 2013 2:34 pm
Posts: 178
Location: Here and There
[url]Thats socialist ideology....[/url]

EGADS! Socialism can be near heresy in some parts of the good ole USA.

Quote:
German Government bonds give 0,5% interest for a 10year € bond. This is why they are buying electricity grids, pipelines and other infrastructure.


Giving people an honest return for wise investment in their own future doesn't seem like too bad of an idea. There's been a lot of talk about the infrastructure going bad and failing in the US of A. Roads, bridges, sewers, and electrical infrastructure all seem to be getting old at once.

Just don't call it socialism. (and certainly don't call it communism. That will bring out the hunting rifles.)

And we have lots of right wing commentators that have been telling us for years that the economies of Europe are going to collapse. They've been telling us that Sweden has been going downhill ever since I was a kid a long long time ago.

There's a sucker born every minute - P.T. Barnum


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Nov 19, 2015 10:35 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Nov 30, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 3418
Location: Alabama
Now we need to get Ted Cruz to mention thorium energy in a speech.

Or maybe not to mention it, just to believe in it privately. Mitt Romney did in 2012.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group