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Old Mar 13, 2011, 06:06 PM   #101
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Huh? I agreed with you that there are more car accident deaths. But just as I said Chernobyl is an estimated death toll. My point is many deaths from a nuclear accident aren't known. I personally know someone who died from the effects of Chernobyl who wasn't included in the estimation. I'm sure there are many, many more.
Your anecdotal evidence, though saddening, proves nothing. Expert estimates place the figure at around 4000 and anything other than that is just playing fantasy conspiracy theory. Playing on people's fears of what is not known is just poor science.

Perhaps the true figure is an unknown but even if we underestimate the figure by 10 times, it's still small compared to other risks and given that nuclear power is still in it's infancy, that risk can only go down with time as it did in other industries and technologies like cars. I would think the biggest risk from nuclear power at the moment belongs to the uranium ore miners.

People have the same irrational fear about flying. Every time there is a horrific plane crash, many people become afraid of flying for a short period of time afterwards, ignoring the excellent all-round safety record. Personally, I think it's because with flying or nuclear power, the risk lies outside of one's personal control. Walking or driving appears much safer because you are the one in control, even if statistics prove otherwise.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 06:18 PM   #102
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The biggest wind farm in the world provides around 2MW/km^2. Your 100milesX100miles plant would only provide around 52 000MW (52GW) of power with same ratio. USA's power consumption in 2005 was 29PWh. I don't know how exactly this things can be converted but Fukushima I has installed power of 4.7GW and provides 25.8GWh each year while the biggest wind farm has installed capacity of 781MW. The plant you described would be around 10 times more powerful than the Fukushima but even then, it could provide around 250GWh which is a fraction of 29PWh.

Solar plants are better (80MW/km^2) but 10PWh is still far from 29PWh.

If someone knows how to convert these things properly or has more info on this, please educate me/us.
Maybe I can find a link. I've read (I think it was Popular Science) that a 10 square mile solar farm in the American West could provide enough to power the entire U.S. Now, due to distances, that power could not be transmitted to the East Coast, but it illustrates there are other much safer methods of obtaining power than dealing with the atomic genie.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 06:21 PM   #103
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Your anecdotal evidence, though saddening, proves nothing. Expert estimates place the figure at around 4000 and anything other than that is just playing fantasy conspiracy theory. Playing on people's fears of what is not known is just poor science.

Perhaps the true figure is an unknown but even if we underestimate the figure by 10 times, it's still small compared to other risks and given that nuclear power is still in it's infancy, that risk can only go down with time as it did in other industries and technologies like cars. I would think the biggest risk from nuclear power at the moment belongs to the uranium ore miners.

People have the same irrational fear about flying. Every time there is a horrific plane crash, many people become afraid of flying for a short period of time afterwards, ignoring the excellent all-round safety record. Personally, I think it's because with flying or nuclear power, the risk lies outside of one's personal control. Walking or driving appears much safer because you are the one in control, even if statistics prove otherwise.
I'm not against nuclear power, but the estimates don't always take a lot of long term effects into account and the experts can't even agree. Some think radiation is good for you, and some say the Chernobyl estimate is 140,000 deaths in Ukraine and Belarus alone.
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What's more, the long-term effects of the one instance of a severe radioactive meltdown and leak at a nuclear power plant—at Chernobyl in 1986—has also caused disagreement. The UN's World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency claim that only 56 people died as a direct result of the radiation released at Chernobyl and that about 4,000 will die from it eventually. But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, another UN agency, predicts 16,000 deaths from Chernobyl; an assessment by the Russian academy of sciences says there have been 60,000 deaths so far in Russia and an estimated 140,000 in Ukraine and Belarus. http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/201...ation-is-safe/

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Old Mar 13, 2011, 06:22 PM   #104
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Maybe I can find a link. I've read (I think it was Popular Science) that a 10 square mile solar farm in the American West could provide enough to power the entire U.S. Now, due to distances, that power could not be transmitted to the East Coast, but it illustrates there are other much safer methods of obtaining power than dealing with the atomic genie.
I think the theory is the amount of solar energy falling on a 10sq mile area could be enough to satisfy our domestic energy needs.

That's different than building a solar power plant and actually harvesting that energy, as solar plants are very inefficient.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 06:33 PM   #105
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We will take your depleted uranium, and use it in our reactors.

But the U.S. is using this material to coat their artillery shells, the better to penetrate the Bad Guy's tanks and fortifications.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 06:34 PM   #106
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I think the theory is the amount of solar energy falling on a 10sq mile area could be enough to satisfy our domestic energy needs.

That's different than building a solar power plant and actually harvesting that energy, as solar plants are very inefficient.
They were talking talking about a 100 square mile solar plant. Take this PopSci link for example. A 20 acre site produces 5 Megawatts. One square mile (640 acres) would provide 160 Megawatts. Ten square miles would provide 16000 Megawatts (16 Gigawatts). The link says the country will need 20 Gigawats by 2050. The worst possible accident in this case does not result in thousands of square miles being permanently (as far as this generation is concerned) contaminated.

In contrast Japan Disaster May Set Back Nuclear Power Industry. As far as I know, solar farms don't "melt down" at least not in a way that might effect the entire population of a U.S. state. I understand the nuclear reactors are built to hold in the radiation when things go wrong, but what if they don't and what a mess afterwards.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 06:41 PM   #107
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I love when people don't read threads....

this was already posted, way to go...

http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...nergy-at-night
Did you even read the article you posted? The stored solar energy is drained after 8 hours. Which means if you have a day where the sun is obstructed, your city will black out.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 06:52 PM   #108
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Did you even read the article you posted? The stored solar energy is drained after 8 hours. Which means if you have a day where the sun is obstructed, your city will black out.
did you actually read my post? Centralized solar would just be one part.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 07:04 PM   #109
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'Renewables' are hardly without issue either. To make a decent amount of power you have to do it on a massive scale. What are your thoughts on the Chinese Three Gorges Dam?
And even given that China has had to build a hell of a lot of coal power stations.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 07:18 PM   #110
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'Renewables' are hardly without issue either. To make a decent amount of power you have to do it on a massive scale. What are your thoughts on the Chinese Three Gorges Dam?
Solar plants can be put out in the scrub, they don't destroy what can be some of the most beautiful places on Earth like dams do, and have much less land impact.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 07:27 PM   #111
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Solar plants can be put out in the scrub, they don't destroy what can be some of the most beautiful places on Earth like dams do, and have much less land impact.
We don't all have scrubland... or reliable sunshine! Can't see solar power taking off in the UK, I'm afraid. The same goes for most of Northern Europe.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 07:30 PM   #112
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We don't all have scrubland... or reliable sunshine! Can't see solar power taking off in the UK, I'm afraid. The same goes for most of Northern Europe.
I agree with you, it's not an option for some countries, but there are lots of deserts on this planet, apparently some by our own making.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 07:38 PM   #113
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We don't all have scrubland... or reliable sunshine! Can't see solar power taking off in the UK, I'm afraid. The same goes for most of Northern Europe.
With cooperation it may not be as difficult as many think:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...ower.windpower
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 08:00 PM   #114
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None of the studies I have read proposing this, have suggested the sort of ecological impact you are implying. This is pure, unadulterated, BS.
There is absolutely no need to be insulting. Quote your "studies", first of all, but I find your assertion pretty bizarre as originally stated - mostly because Death Valley is almost entirely subsumed within Death Valley National Park. Unless you something we don't know, there is zero chance that you are going to be installing a 100 square mile solar array in the park. Not to mention the mountainous topography.

Solar panels are a useful supplement to other power sources in certain regions where favorable environmental conditions exist. But no more than that I'm afraid. In fact, it is obvious to me that there is no direct replacement for fossil fuels and nuclear energy - replacing them will require both 1) an increase in global energy efficiency in order to reduce power demands, and 2) aggressive implementation of wind, hydro, geothermal, and solar sources, among others. No single magical technology improvement is going to come along to alleviate our energy crisis.

Finally, there is tremendous social, political, and economic pressure to continue using fossil fuels and nuclear energy rather than the alternatives. Even though alternatives are now more prevalent than before and enjoy increasing popularity, fossil fuel and nuclear energy are going to be used heavily until all the fuel is exhausted.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 08:11 PM   #115
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did you actually read my post? Centralized solar would just be one part.
Yeah I did. Everything you mentioned except tidal is intermittent, cannot be used for base load, and is subject to the grid energy storage problem that I mentioned and you said an 8 hour "battery" will solve (which it won't). Tidal can be used for base load but has a crappy generating capacity, no way could it cover the base load for the entire US.

So basically your plan would cause a lot of blackouts and upset a lot of people.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 08:37 PM   #116
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With cooperation it may not be as difficult as many think:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...ower.windpower
Superb. Replace one fuel reliance on the Middle East with another. Genius idea.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 08:48 PM   #117
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Superb. Replace one fuel reliance on the Middle East with another. Genius idea.
You may have little choice.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 08:55 PM   #118
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Superb. Replace one fuel reliance on the Middle East with another. Genius idea.
I think you confuse cooperation with exploitation by paying those in the Sahara (which is Africa by the way) a fair price for their resource it's a win win situation,applying 19th century ideas to a 21st century problem isn't going to work.It would raise living standards in Saharan Africa to European levels very quickly.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 09:56 PM   #119
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They were talking talking about a 100 square mile solar plant. Take this PopSci link for example. A 20 acre site produces 5 Megawatts. One square mile (640 acres) would provide 160 Megawatts. Ten square miles would provide 16000 Megawatts (16 Gigawatts). The link says the country will need 20 Gigawats by 2050. The worst possible accident in this case does not result in thousands of square miles being permanently (as far as this generation is concerned) contaminated.

In contrast Japan Disaster May Set Back Nuclear Power Industry. As far as I know, solar farms don't "melt down" at least not in a way that might effect the entire population of a U.S. state. I understand the nuclear reactors are built to hold in the radiation when things go wrong, but what if they don't and what a mess afterwards.
You need to separate capacity from demand. Capacity is just the maximum power a station can theoretically produce. In practice, most of these renewable stations never reach that max. I've checked the stats at my utility's wind farm and that thing is usually around 9% of capacity. Considering a wind farm costs 4 times as much money as a natural gas generator to build for the same capacity, efficiency-wise, the station is a joke.

What's more important is demand - being able to produce enough energy when we need it. This is where solar and wind fall short. They don't generate when we want them to, they only generate when mother nature wants them to. It would be fine if grid energy storage (IE batteries) technology was developed enough to be able to store enough energy to power a service area through an entire winter (in the case of solar). But last I checked, current grid energy storage batteries can only store a charge for 8-12 hours before they start losing charge on their own. They're also the size of buildings, fail after 10 years, and cost a ton of money.

This is why a lot of utilities have gone to nuclear to replace coal and why here in the US, we still rely on coal to provide roughly 50% of our electricity and most of our base load. There are few options.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 11:34 PM   #120
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Why can't people get away from the concept of a centralized power source, like a coal or nuclear plant or even a wind farm to generate their national needs? I even see arguments that 'we don't have the space' for alternative power. Look at an aerial photo of any city and all you see is miles and miles of dead empty blank rooves. Solar panels or even small wind turbines on every single roof in every city will have people either reducing their reliance on a central power source or even contributing their own electricity to the grid to the point you may not even need a central power source, or maybe just one - which could be a wind farm or a nice clean geothermal plant.

Of course that all requires people actually caring more about the world than money, so it ain't gonna happen.

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What's more important is demand - being able to produce enough energy when we need it. This is where solar and wind fall short. They don't generate when we want them to, they only generate when mother nature wants them to. It would be fine if grid energy storage (IE batteries) technology was developed enough to be able to store enough energy to power a service area through an entire winter (in the case of solar). But last I checked, current grid energy storage batteries can only store a charge for 8-12 hours before they start losing charge on their own. They're also the size of buildings, fail after 10 years, and cost a ton of money.

This is why a lot of utilities have gone to nuclear to replace coal and why here in the US, we still rely on coal to provide roughly 50% of our electricity and most of our base load. There are few options.
Geothermal. Magma is 24/7.

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Opinions should be the same. Nuclear is clean and efficient, but has potential dangers. Shouldn't take a meltdown to remind anyone of that.
I wish people would stop repeating this public relations line from the nuclear industry PR depts. If they were making cheese, would you believe their cheese is cheesier?

I posted on the first page of this thread that it only looks clean on your end because all the filth and pollution is on our end where it's mined. To wit, 60 MILLION TONNES of radioactive tailings waste from just one mine in just 20 years. Seriously think how much that is - it's one fifth of a tonne of radioactive tailings waste for EVERY man woman and child in the USA. EVERY twenty years. From JUST ONE MINE. Now assure me again how 'clean' nuclear is?

And then once the toxic fuel is spent where to dump all that filthy poisonous waste? In 40 gallon drums in the ocean? Pay another country to bury it so it leaches into their water table?

The *only* clean part nuclear power is the part with the white whispy steam. Ah, look, it's just water, how cleaaaaann! But for the non-steam parts, it really does sound like shatting over the edge of your nests onto others' heads where you can't see the diarrheous filth and delude yourselves into proclaiming that you are being 'clean'. If it was a cartoon it'd actually be funny.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 11:50 PM   #121
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Why can't people get away from the concept of a centralized power source, like a coal or nuclear plant or even a wind farm to generate their national needs? I even see arguments that 'we don't have the space' for alternative power. Look at an aerial photo of any city and all you see is miles and miles of dead empty blank rooves. Solar panels or even small wind turbines on every single roof in every city will have people either reducing their reliance on a central power source or even contributing their own electricity to the grid to the point you may not even need a central power source, or maybe just one - which could be a wind farm or a nice clean geothermal plant.
I sure as hell would not want wind turbines on the roof of houses. The noise from them would drive me insane.

I am a fan of putting solar cells on the roof of houses and then the excess power is sold back to the grid. That helps reduce it by a fair amount. Not that it would work in a large part of the country due to not being cost effective. You need to be farther south for it to really be worth it and have fair amount of sun shine.

biggest thing is we need more efficiency out of what we have. HVAC is some of the biggest power draining system and improve those and it greatly improves the over all system.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 12:07 AM   #122
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I sure as hell would not want wind turbines on the roof of houses. The noise from them would drive me insane.
The small ones, like satellites dishes. You can buy them at Jaycar.

http://www.jaycar.com.au/productResu...d&form=KEYWORD

Pretty much like a weather vein or TV aerial. Provides a couple of hundred watts at 24V or 12V. I was thinking about one for if there is ever a blackout (ie a drunk hitting a power pole, it's happened) instead of needing a petrol generator.

Every home generating 500W of their own wind power with one of these little things on their roof in a city of Los Angeles with a million homes = 500,000,000 watts. As well as a solar panel at 500W too is up to a billion watts not required from any central power source.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 12:18 AM   #123
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The small ones, like satellites dishes. You can buy them at Jaycar.

http://www.jaycar.com.au/productResu...d&form=KEYWORD

Pretty much like a weather vein or TV aerial. Provides a couple of hundred watts at 24V or 12V. I was thinking about one for if there is ever a blackout (ie a drunk hitting a power pole, it's happened) instead of needing a petrol generator.

Every home generating 500W of their own wind power with one of these little things on their roof in a city of Los Angeles with a million homes = 500,000,000 watts. As well as a solar panel at 500W too is up to a billion watts not required from any central power source.
California is making great strides in this area. Through creative financing, tax breaks, and fairly high electric rates, quite a few people have solar. It's especially important here in the summer when electricity use is at its greatest.


However, the one thing that nobody has brought up is that evil word..... CONSERVATION

Not using electricity is a lot cheaper all around than building a new power plant, no matter the fuel source.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 12:21 AM   #124
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The small ones, like satellites dishes. You can buy them at Jaycar.

http://www.jaycar.com.au/productResu...d&form=KEYWORD

Pretty much like a weather vein or TV aerial. Provides a couple of hundred watts at 24V or 12V. I was thinking about one for if there is ever a blackout (ie a drunk hitting a power pole, it's happened) instead of needing a petrol generator.

Every home generating 500W of their own wind power with one of these little things on their roof in a city of Los Angeles with a million homes = 500,000,000 watts. As well as a solar panel at 500W too is up to a billion watts not required from any central power source.

idea time only. Wind produces the most power during the night (not during peak load times) and again I would not want the noise from the wind turbines all over hte place.
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Old Mar 14, 2011, 12:43 AM   #125
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Why can't people get away from the concept of a centralized power source, like a coal or nuclear plant or even a wind farm to generate their national needs? I even see arguments that 'we don't have the space' for alternative power. Look at an aerial photo of any city and all you see is miles and miles of dead empty blank rooves. Solar panels or even small wind turbines on every single roof in every city will have people either reducing their reliance on a central power source or even contributing their own electricity to the grid to the point you may not even need a central power source, or maybe just one - which could be a wind farm or a nice clean geothermal plant.
Even with residential solar or turbines, you still need centralized power to cover base load. Geothermal would work if you can could actually find a heat pocket. A windfarm doesn't. All of this is also very expensive and your distributed generation sources are not economically feasible in a lot of cities. You'll never see turbines mounted on roofs in Southern California where the wind barely blows. It'd be a waste of money.

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Geothermal. Magma is 24/7.
Geothermal is probably the only renewable that would cover a significant part of base load for a local grid. But it's expensive as hell and it's a gamble. First of all, you're not tapping into Magma. You're trying to find a heat pocket underground. The research costs about 10 million and this is before you even start drilling. Then when you find a site and spend tens of millions of dollars to drill, there's still a 10% chance that there was really nothing there and you just wasted all that money. If there's something there, then you spend more money to build a plant and there's a chance that after 30 years, the heat will run out and your plant will be useless. Geothermal capacity was about 10,000 MW worldwide in 2010. LA alone has a capacity of 6,000 MW. No way is Geothermal going to cover capacity for the whole entire country.
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