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 Post subject: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 07, 2016 7:59 pm 
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On Netflix there is a Norwegian movie called Occupied. The central conflict is that Norway decides to stop production of oil and gas and convert the country to Thorium power.

The opening scene is the dedication of a new Thorium power plant with a stirring speech by Norway's PM about how cool Thorium is. This conversion to Thorium doesn't please everyone, so movie plot beings.

It's interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 08, 2016 12:51 am 
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Joined: Nov 14, 2013 7:47 pm
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Location: Iowa, USA
At first glance I thought this sounded quite interesting. It seems to me that this premise is very Tom Clancy-esque, and I like Tom Clancy. But then I thought about it some more.

How does thorium power free a nation from the need to drill for oil and gas? Planes, trains, and automobiles still need hydrocarbons to run. Not just for fuel but for lubrication. Let's not forget that even if a nation is freed from their own consumption of oil and gas there is still a compelling economic interest in the continued export of these fuels. If this thorium power is mated with a technology to synthesize hydrocarbons then a nation might be able to free itself from drilling for them but then the spice... I mean oil will still flow. If Norway can synthesize hydrocarbons from thorium power then why would the Russians not simply copy that technology and leave Norway alone?

i tried to find a trailer for this show hoping it might clear up the premise for me but I could not find one that was in english. I did watch about a minute of the video and I saw a lot of helicopters flying, what did those run on? We can build electric cars and trains but aircraft need kerosene to fly.

I can suspend my disbelief only so far. Unless I can here more on how this speculative fictional universe works, and can be convinced of it's realism then I'm not the least bit interested. I see a lot of interesting things coming from Netflix that make me consider subscribing but this is not something to convince me to open my wallet.

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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 08, 2016 5:50 am 
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Joined: Nov 18, 2011 11:44 pm
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Location: Sydney, Australia
You can make hydrocarbon fuels, such as jet fuel, out of sea water if you have access to cheap electricity. See the following article:-

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2012101 ... to-jetfuel


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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 08, 2016 8:12 am 
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Kurt Sellner wrote:
How does thorium power free a nation from the need to drill for oil and gas? Planes, trains, and automobiles still need hydrocarbons to run. Not just for fuel but for lubrication. Let's not forget that even if a nation is freed from their own consumption of oil and gas there is still a compelling economic interest in the continued export of these fuels.

They decide that they cannot extract any fuels or export them in this time frame after they take serious damage with major fatalities from an extra-tropical hurricaine that manages to hit them. Which shows just how screwed up the climate has become.

Lubricants and plastics are only about 12% of oil consumption at the present time however, and with Norway's low population density you could probably run synthetic lubricants on biomass if you use electricity to process them and thus use them only as a carbon source.

Kurt Sellner wrote:
i tried to find a trailer for this show hoping it might clear up the premise for me but I could not find one that was in english. I did watch about a minute of the video and I saw a lot of helicopters flying, what did those run on? We can build electric cars and trains but aircraft need kerosene to fly.

And that many helicopters probably use negligible amounts of fuel anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 08, 2016 4:10 pm 
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TerjeP wrote:
You can make hydrocarbon fuels, such as jet fuel, out of sea water if you have access to cheap electricity. See the following article:-

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2012101 ... to-jetfuel


Yes, that is the technology I was thinking of. For a nation to be free from having to extract oil and gas from the ground they'd need viable alternatives. Synthesizing them has so far been too expensive outside of high end lubricants, and even then the feedstock is some sort of petroleum product.

E Ireland wrote:
They decide that they cannot extract any fuels or export them in this time frame after they take serious damage with major fatalities from an extra-tropical hurricaine that manages to hit them. Which shows just how screwed up the climate has become.


That makes a bit more sense but, again, it is going to be difficult to convince people to give up their planes, trains, and automobiles. Synthesized fuels would still need to be part of the solution and if we have the technology to synthesize fuels then why would Russia be so adamant that oil would need to be drilled from the ground?

E Ireland wrote:
Lubricants and plastics are only about 12% of oil consumption at the present time however, and with Norway's low population density you could probably run synthetic lubricants on biomass if you use electricity to process them and thus use them only as a carbon source.


If by "bio-mass" you mean plant matter then I must disagree on its viability. Plants are just too valuable to use as fuel. I believe anyone that advocates using plant matter for fuel has not done the numbers. If by "bio-mass" you mean sewage water, or discarded paper/lumber/cloth/whatever, then I might believe you. I'd think that getting the carbon from seawater would be easier, and avoid a lot of political resistance.

E Ireland wrote:
And that many helicopters probably use negligible amounts of fuel anyway.


Negligible is not zero. If a country is taking a carbon free lifestyle so seriously that they abandon currently operating oil wells then I cannot imagine them importing any oil products.

For a country that wishes to be free from having to drill for oil and gas then they'd need alternatives so that they can keep aircraft flying. The only path I can see happening in a 20 year span is the use of nuclear power to synthesize hydrocarbons. If a nation can produce enough hydrocarbons to keep everyone with a car happy then they have achieved this feat in a way that has not impacted their economy in any significant way. Any other nation that sees this would, IMHO, work to copy this technology over invasion to restore that nation's oil and gas production.

I don't follow the premise and I have to wonder if the authors of this story thought this through.

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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 08, 2016 7:04 pm 
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Kurt Sellner wrote:
E Ireland wrote:
They decide that they cannot extract any fuels or export them in this time frame after they take serious damage with major fatalities from an extra-tropical hurricaine that manages to hit them. Which shows just how screwed up the climate has become.


That makes a bit more sense but, again, it is going to be difficult to convince people to give up their planes, trains, and automobiles.


Norwegian railways, like all Scandinavian systems are relatively heavily electrified at 15kV 16.7Hz [if we exclude Denmark which did it late and plumped for 25kV 50Hz]. So trains are not so much of a problem. The remaining lines could be electrified with a tiny fraction of that titanic Sovereign Wealth Fund. They are lightly used and single track with few overbridges so the supply infrastructure would be simple to engineer (long electrical sections) and little clearence work.
And cars could be replaced with electric cars, which are already the top selling models in Norway thanks to low electricity prices and crazy car taxes that favour them. So that is not that bad really.
Kurt Sellner wrote:
Synthesized fuels would still need to be part of the solution and if we have the technology to synthesize fuels then why would Russia be so adamant that oil would need to be drilled from the ground?

Synthesised fuel for aviation could easily be heavily subsidised as it will be a very small part of Norwegian energy economy.
Kurt Sellner wrote:
If by "bio-mass" you mean plant matter then I must disagree on its viability. Plants are just too valuable to use as fuel. I believe anyone that advocates using plant matter for fuel has not done the numbers. If by "bio-mass" you mean sewage water, or discarded paper/lumber/cloth/whatever, then I might believe you. I'd think that getting the carbon from seawater would be easier, and avoid a lot of political resistance.


I mean literally anything that contains any carbon that currently goes unused.
Kurt Sellner wrote:
The only path I can see happening in a 20 year span is the use of nuclear power to synthesize hydrocarbons. If a nation can produce enough hydrocarbons to keep everyone with a car happy then they have achieved this feat in a way that has not impacted their economy in any significant way. Any other nation that sees this would, IMHO, work to copy this technology over invasion to restore that nation's oil and gas production.


The Norwegian car market is already unlike any in the world. Assuming almost total transition to electric cars under current conditions in NOrway is not unreasonable. Especially since they are sitting on a SWF with over a million dollars per Norwegian in it.


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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 08, 2016 10:53 pm 
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E Ireland wrote:
Synthesised fuel for aviation could easily be heavily subsidised as it will be a very small part of Norwegian energy economy.


You can subsidize the aviation fuel is if you like but all that does is shift how it gets paid for, that money still comes from the economy. This money might not come from the same person that bought the plane ticket but the economy as a whole still takes the hit on fuel prices. What bothers me more about such subsidies is that I'm paying taxes so that someone else gets a cheaper plane ticket. Electric car subsidies mean that I pay taxes so that someone else can get $4000 off a shiny new $60,000 four door testicle... I mean Tesla.

Just to make sure that we were talking about the same country I thought we were I went to look up Norway on Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway

The fifth paragraph on that page tells me that 1/4 of that country's GDP comes from oil and gas. That's a lot of money they would leave in the ground if they went carbon free. A fleet of thorium reactors would mean that Norway is no longer burning oil but the oil export income would have to be made up somehow or the economy will tank. Presumably the thorium energy is so cheap that they can withstand this loss of income. But then again if this is true then would not Russia wish to emulate this instead of risking a world war?

Russia produces many times more oil than Norway. If Norway can show Russia how to build LFTRs, electrify their trains, AND Russia keeps drilling for their own oil then Russia would have an awesome economy. Cheap electricity for their trains and cheap kerosene for their planes.

Perhaps I'm missing a very important detail. Perhaps an english language trailer could explain this to me but I have not found one.

Another thought that just came to mind. This TV show has the premise that a nation builds nuclear power plants only to have another nation invade to steal their stuff. Does this not show that nuclear power is "bad"? I mean that nuclear power is so good that if you build it then "they" will come. Only they don't come to play baseball, they come to take your stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 08, 2016 11:16 pm 
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The Norwegian economy is rather odd in that although 25% of GDP comes from oil and gas a lot of that money never actually makes it into the actual economy.
It goes into the "Government Pension Fund of Norway" as the majority of the Norwegian oil industry is directly owned by the state through Statoil.
Only 33% of that company is in the private sector.

This is an attempt to avoid the "resource curse" effect seen in other Petrostate economies.

As for subsidised fuel for aviation - there aren't that many unavoidable users of aviation fuel in Norway.
If we exclude international flights that would likely just either tank up at the other end of make use of treaty stipulations regarding aviation fuel for international journeys there isn't much really.

The majority of the population of Norway lives in a tiny handful of urban areas, mostly in the South of the country.
This is amenable to a rail or road based solution.
A high speed route built with the enormous wealth fund up the spine of the country could quite feasibly shred the majority of the domestic air industry. Even Oslo-Trondheim is only ~560km.
What would be left is probably something along the lines of 'Essential Air Service' to places in the far north.
And that is being reduced by road infrastructure improvements including an obsession of building tunnels all over the place.


After that what's left is government and police use and a handful of airliners pottering about.


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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 09, 2016 1:52 am 
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E Ireland wrote:
The Norwegian economy is rather odd in that although 25% of GDP comes from oil and gas a lot of that money never actually makes it into the actual economy.


Of course that money goes into the economy. It might be delayed in time, limited in the rate it enters the economy, and so forth but that is a lot of money that will end up getting spent within the borders of that nation.

E Ireland wrote:
As for subsidised fuel for aviation - there aren't that many unavoidable users of aviation fuel in Norway.
...
After that what's left is government and police use and a handful of airliners pottering about.


Aircraft is just a part of the problem. Norway is a nation highly reliant on fishing and imports for food, those ships need fuel, lots of it. Norway also already produces nearly 100% of their electricity from hydro power. What would thorium reactors get them unless it is to synthesize fuel?

If a nation can synthesize liquid fuels cheap enough that they can abandon oil well that are already producing oil then would not the thorium be more valuable to another nation than the oil? Russia does not have a shortage of oil, gas, uranium, or thorium, they don't need to invade anyone for energy. Or at a minimum why would Russia not simply buy the rights to drill in Norway's off shore oil reserves? That would seem more logical than risking war.

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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 09, 2016 9:23 am 
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The background is that the EU/rump NATO abandons Norway to the Russians in order to get the oil flowing again. After all the oil must flow. At which point the only people in a position to actually resist the invasion is the Norwegian military itself, which was projected to be able to hold out for a couple of weeks at most even against the weak forces the Russians would be able to commit to the northern theatre.

As to hydro - electric cars/lorries will increase demand by many gigawatts which will cause serious issues for the existing hydro capacity, which is pushed relatively close to the available production limits.


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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 09, 2016 2:04 pm 
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This series is like "The Matrix" - interesting, but the core premise the plot is built on makes no sense whatsoever. Russia would be overjoyed if the middle east collapsed and Norway turned off the taps - it would leave them firmly in control of the world oil market and they would get very rich. They would be rushing to defend Norway against the the EU, not doing their dirty work for them. It the Russians were going to do anything nefarious in this scenario, it would be to try to slow the expansion of nuclear energy to keep the EU dependent on Russian oil.


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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 09, 2016 2:22 pm 
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Here's some "technical" input based upon a scheme invented/described & apparently patented by a guy at LLNL a few years ago.

It looks like Norway could make its fair share of jet/helicopter fuel plus about one half that much methanol to use in their cars, etc. with 1.24 full-sized nuclear reactors. Another plus for it is that it'd be carbon neutral because that fuel would be made from CO2 scrubbed from the atmosphere.

Oil & coal should be considered raw materials to make valuable stuff (plastics, insulation, etc) of, not fuel.

GOOGLing & spreadsheets are wonderful things - much more fun than "tweeting".


Attachments:
jetfuel 9mar16.xls [39.5 KiB]
Downloaded 168 times

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 Post subject: Re: "Occupied"
PostPosted: Mar 09, 2016 6:11 pm 
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E Ireland wrote:
The background is that the EU/rump NATO abandons Norway to the Russians in order to get the oil flowing again. After all the oil must flow.


That still does not follow. Norway is now carbon free, would that not be an example for the rest of the world?

E Ireland wrote:
At which point the only people in a position to actually resist the invasion is the Norwegian military itself, which was projected to be able to hold out for a couple of weeks at most even against the weak forces the Russians would be able to commit to the northern theatre.


How can any nation with a functioning military have vehicles to fight unless they have secured sources of fuel. This could be in the form of oil that they drilled for themselves, oil from a friendly nation (preferably a neighbor to avoid long and fragile supply lines), or they have the technology to synthesize fuel. Electric cars and trains are great for a peacetime nation but in war those cannot be relied upon.

E Ireland wrote:
As to hydro - electric cars/lorries will increase demand by many gigawatts which will cause serious issues for the existing hydro capacity, which is pushed relatively close to the available production limits.


That's fine but what about vehicles for mining, agriculture, construction, and the military? They need fuel. Unless this fictional world has some sort of technology that can store this nuclear energy in some other way to power vehicles. Perhaps an air cooled, 150kW, thorium reactor that is the size of a modern V-8 diesel engine?

Titanium48 wrote:
Russia would be overjoyed if the middle east collapsed and Norway turned off the taps - it would leave them firmly in control of the world oil market and they would get very rich.


This sounds more likely. Sending Russian oil workers to work on Norway's oil rigs, under what is on the surface supposed to be a peaceful operation, would require some compensation to Norway or this veil of peace is gone. If those same workers were in Russia, drilling in Russian oil reserves, then they'd keep all the income to themselves.

Titanium48 wrote:
It the Russians were going to do anything nefarious in this scenario, it would be to try to slow the expansion of nuclear energy to keep the EU dependent on Russian oil.


Yes, that makes some sense. Russia could try to starve Norway and other nations of thorium through a variety of economic and political measures. Thorium cannot be filtered from seawater like uranium could, at least I have not heard of any proposal to do so, therefore it must be mined. Denying people access to uranium is near impossible as anyone with access to seawater has, at least theoretically, a viable source of uranium. Thorium deposits could be denied by surrounding them with force. Thorium is common enough that this might not stop all thorium access but it might make it too expensive to bother for many.

This show is set 20 years in the future? For any nation to shut off it's own oil supplies, and it's quite profitable exports, in that time they'd have to be planning for it starting now if not 10 or 20 years ago. The typical commuter car has a half-life of about ten years, at least that's what I recall based on US data. The typical commercial aircraft, seaworthy vessel, and other large vehicles even down to common farmers' pickup trucks will be in service for 30 years. Much of this is economics, some is just logistics. Unless the nuclear power provides a suitable analog for current petroleum based fuels this switch is going to be very expensive or must happen very slowly.

I just read a review that the implausibility is made up for by the story telling, at least according the one reviewer. If I had the opportunity to watch this show for free then I might watch some of it just out of curiosity. I just don't care to invest my time or money into it.

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