Producing power in the US of A, how should we?

What power source do you perfer?


  • Total voters
    48

G51989

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Feb 25, 2012
2,506
10
NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
I am currently in Pittsburgh of the PA right now, I have been for a few weeks dealing with clients.

One thing I noticed. It this on a local station, whom btw, KDKA TV2, and KDKA Radio AM1020, are some of the best stations I've ever heard in America I mean they rival European stations, and I've been all over, these guys kick some serious ass, entertaining, informative, and very little bias, incredible little stations. I have been on the Marty Griffin show before, and on the Mike Pintek show on this issue, take a listen, now only do these guys care about their city and state, they care about America, something which cannot be said about the midwest and south.


http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/07/30/corbett-coal-interests-rally-before-epa-hearings/




hahahah look at them, just waiting to get black lung.


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With music as the opening act, supporters of coal gathered at the Highmark Stadium on the South Side to demonstrate support for mining coal and register their objection to environmental regulations, they say, undermine the industry.

So here is the thing if you read of the story, they want coal to be forever, to save their cancer causing low paying jobs.

I find that insane, Coal miners are hard working people, when I worked for IBM, I was in coal mines and coal power plants, learning about grids, how they worked, how the people in them pulled it off, so I know coal, I know coal hardcore.

The fact is, I think cheaper Natural Gas along with Nuclear as base level loads is gonna be the way to go.

I think Natural Gas, Wind, Solar, Nuclear, Hydro is gonna power the future of America, and its gonna be affordable.

Look no further than the AP1000, the best nuclear power plant ever to be designed.

http://www.ap1000.westinghousenuclear.com/


Go ahead, take a gander, I've delt with this company before, everything they do is the best in the world no corner is cut for safety or power generation they even provide free daycare and K-4 school ( many people on MR would consider that horrible communist destroying shareholder profits ) , yeah, it might expensive up front, but they are the best, Ive seen simulations, and plans close up, these guys are the real deal, they are ready to place coal and natural gas tomorrow, they have the staff, they have manufacturing, and they can keep it safe, and its ready to go.

How would you power America?

I would say Nuclear, Natural Gas, Wind Solar, and Hydro, and biomass where it works.

PS: The Poll clearly states, vote more than one.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2010
1,100
1,293
You missed the most important one-- conservation. Well-insulated buildings, LED lights, efficiency-oriented design. I could write a book about it. :D Related: correctly-oriented windows (solar+conservation).

The cheapest power plant is the one you don't build.

However, in the future, I think there will continue to be a mix. There may well be a place for nuclear as you say, but, I think the industry was very irresponsible in its early days-- take 2 on nuclear will have to do much better with respect to many issues, and, it really isn't clear whether careful nuclear will be cost-competitive. Solar could continue to get more and more cost-effective.

Natural gas will be a transitional fuel, but, has a place as a coal replacement.

Coal should be dead and buried ASAP. It just needs to be phased out as soon as possible. There are lots of other jobs those miners could be retrained to do.
 

blackfox

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2003
1,208
4,029
PDX
Generate power with the source(s) it's relatively cheap and feasible to work with. Pacific NW - Hydroelectric/wind. Nevada - Solar/wind. Coal is a stopgap. Natural gas too. Nuclear scares the hell out of me, if only for natural disasters...

I also have no idea what microwave power is. Also, is hydrogen fuel a viable list candidate?
 

Sydde

macrumors 68020
Aug 17, 2009
2,105
2,163
IOKWARDI
I also have no idea what microwave power is. Also, is hydrogen fuel a viable list candidate?
Apart from deuterium for fusion, no, hydrogen is not a candidate. A source must be obtainable for less energy cost relative to what it yields. Hydrogen might be used as a carrier to transport energy from the actual source, but we cannot mine it or drill for it or obtain it in any other positive-yield manner.
 

zin

macrumors 6502
May 5, 2010
488
6,470
United Kingdom
There is no reason why nuclear cannot be the primary source of energy generation. For some reason the word 'nuclear' seems to spook people.

France is a good example and is a model for how it should be done. The amount of energy generated by nuclear power alone there is usually higher than domestic demand for most of the day. That's just from one energy source.
 

Bug-Creator

macrumors 6502a
May 30, 2011
550
2,129
Germany
France is a good example and is a model for how it should be done. The amount of energy generated by nuclear power alone there is usually higher than domestic demand for most of the day. That's just from one energy source.

Do they actually have a place to (safely) dispose all the toxic&radioactive waste ?
Are the powerplants probraly insured ?

Add those 2 and nuclear isn't even cost-competetive to hiring 1.000.000 chinese on dyno-bikes :eek:
 
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Arran

macrumors 601
Mar 7, 2008
4,353
2,725
Atlanta, USA
Do they actually have a place to (safely) dispose all the toxic&radioactive waste ?
Yeah, that's my issue with nuclear. The highly toxic waste will persist for hundreds of thousands of years after we're all dead.

Not a legacy I care to leave behind.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
Yeah, that's my issue with nuclear. The highly toxic waste will persist for hundreds of thousands of years after we're all dead.

Not a legacy I care to leave behind.
The designs for the next generation of plants can burn the old fuel from previous gen plants, to the point where the waste is only toxic for a few centuries. If we were to modernize what we have, we could burn our current collection of waste without producing any more fuel rods for at least the next century, and what we have left over wouldn't be nearly as much of a problem for as long a term.

Fusion should be our ultimate goal, but it's still at least, at least, 30 years away from wide distribution. In the meantime, nuclear has become far cleaner and safer, and produces more energy output per energy spent of any other tech currently available.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
11,838
Midlife, Midwest
I think long term - ie. thirty to fifty years out, we are going to need a lot more energy than we do at present.

Not because we will be using more in our households. In fact I suspect household and office energy use will continue to become more energy-efficient.

But because I think we are going to need tremendous amounts of electric power to overcome the growing effects of global warming, and the looming water shortfall that threatens not just the Western US, but virtually the entire country.

With enough cheap renewable energy we can create enough desalinated fresh water to make the deserts bloom again. We can tear down the Western dams that have destroyed salmon fisheries. We can pump clean, fresh water from those places where it is in excess to those places where it is needed. And by harnessing America's bountiful supplies of sunlight, wind, water, and arable land - we can ensure our nation's prosperity; power; and pre-eminence for the coming century.

Its not too late for us. Germany - a notably sunless land - currently generates almost 30% of its total electric power from renewable sources. The United States ought to set a goal of increasing our total renewable fraction by 1% per year over the next 30 years.

My preferred means of accomplishing this would be by means of a generous feed-in tariff on rooftop photovoltaic systems. Provide tax credits and other incentives to encourage homeowners and business to install solar cells. And to foster a broad based solar installation and maintenance industry.
 

zioxide

macrumors 603
Dec 11, 2006
5,725
3,711
We need to do everything we can to move away from oil and coal, that's for sure. Not that it could happen overnight, but in the next 20 to 30 years that should be the biggest goal.
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2010
1,100
1,293
There is no reason why nuclear cannot be the primary source of energy generation. For some reason the word 'nuclear' seems to spook people.

France is a good example and is a model for how it should be done. The amount of energy generated by nuclear power alone there is usually higher than domestic demand for most of the day. That's just from one energy source.
Use all of the above as options with Nuclear being the primary.
Yeah, that's my issue with nuclear. The highly toxic waste will persist for hundreds of thousands of years after we're all dead.

Not a legacy I care to leave behind.
The designs for the next generation of plants can burn the old fuel from previous gen plants, to the point where the waste is only toxic for a few centuries. If we were to modernize what we have, we could burn our current collection of waste without producing any more fuel rods for at least the next century, and what we have left over wouldn't be nearly as much of a problem for as long a term.

--
In the meantime, nuclear has become far cleaner and safer, and produces more energy output per energy spent of any other tech currently available.
Waste is one problem with the fuel cycle. The other problem is weapons. To the extent that nuclear power is ubiquitous, so is Plutonium. Proliferation is a huge danger.

The other problem is accidents. Some people would have you believe that the Fukushima Daiichi accident was a freak occurrence. It wasn't.

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

That type of massive earthquake/tsunami was a known risk in that location. Yet, there were six meltdown-vulnerable Gen II BWRs sitting right there waiting for this accident to happen.

The seawall at Onagawa was taller and stronger, and the reactors there survived.

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

And that's the problem. Meltdown-resistant, terrorist-resistant, airplane-crash resistant, proliferation-resistant-fuel-cycle, earthquake (and tsunami)-resistant nuclear plants may indeed be possible. But, will they be cost-effective?
 

AxoNeuron

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2012
1,241
844
The Left Coast
Nuclear Power all the way.

If and when Americans finally kick out our Republican and Democrat corporate overlords out of congress, hopefully our new congress will see the brilliance of nuclear power. Even though there are high initial costs, the long term costs of nuclear power are low, and best of all, nuclear power doesn't generate ANY greenhouse gases.

The two main problems with nuclear power have already been solved a long time ago:

Nuclear Waste: this is actually an easy problem to solve. Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Kick out Harry Reid (Senator of Nevada) and finally get someone in to that office who has some common sense and we will actually have a safe location to stash all of the high-level radioactive waste. The people who campaign against Yucca Mountain tend to be Luddites who have no idea what they're talking about.

Safety: Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island...we all know these disasters. They were all VERY easily avoidable. If we put the nuclear power plants in the right locations (ie. some boring field in Iowa) and use new and efficient AC long-distance power grids to deliver the power around the country, we can avoid nuclear disasters.

my most important point is that while nuclear energy is NOT perfect, people need to realize that NONE of our power sources are perfect. They all have problems. Right now, solar and wing energy just don't produce enough power compared to the amount of equipment and money needed per watt. Oil and coal produce disastrous greenhouse gases. Fusion is a pipe dream.

Nuclear energy has it's problems, but LOOK AT THE ALTERNATIVES! Right now, if we continue to rely on coal and fossil fuels, we will RUIN the planet while we continue to whine about how "dangerous" nuclear power is, even though it's perfectly safe if implemented properly.
 
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G51989

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Feb 25, 2012
2,506
10
NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
You missed the most important one-- conservation. Well-insulated buildings, LED lights, efficiency-oriented design. I could write a book about it. :D Related: correctly-oriented windows (solar+conservation).

.
Sounds like Communism.

The cheapest power plant is the one you don't build.
Indeed, tho I doubt that will happen.

Its very interesting, I never thought of a out of the way city like Pittsburgh PA would be such a huge center for a green movement, solar panels are popping up all over the place, theres even a local chain called Eat N Park, that not only has decent food, they put solar panels and small wind turbines on their locations near the mountains and rivers, and they have the largest LEED public building in the country, very cool place.


There may well be a place for nuclear as you say, but, I think the industry was very irresponsible in its early days-- take 2 on nuclear will have to do much better with respect to many issues, and, it really isn't clear whether careful nuclear will be cost-competitive.
I am not saying this because I do business with them, but.

http://www.ap1000.westinghousenuclear.com/

That just might be the stop gap type of reactor that can be built quickly and safely, its one of the best mainstream dressings Ive ever seen.

Natural gas will be a transitional fuel, but, has a place as a coal replacement.
I agree, and I'll take natural gas over Coal any day.

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What the hell is "microwave"?
Its a theory that exists, and has been accomplished at very tiny levels, that you build crazy super good solar farms in space, then transmit that power to a station on each.
 

AxoNeuron

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2012
1,241
844
The Left Coast
And that's the problem. Meltdown-resistant, terrorist-resistant, airplane-crash resistant, proliferation-resistant-fuel-cycle, earthquake (and tsunami)-resistant nuclear plants may indeed be possible. But, will they be cost-effective?
When you look at it from a long-term perspective, yes, it will be MUCH more cost effective than any of the other methods mentioned. Honestly though, can we afford to not do nuclear power? Wind, solar, geothermal, they will all only work in very limited regions. Wind and solar especially are incredulously more expensive than nuclear. Nuclear power is our only hope.
 

G51989

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Feb 25, 2012
2,506
10
NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
There is no reason why nuclear cannot be the primary source of energy generation. For some reason the word 'nuclear' seems to spook people.

France is a good example and is a model for how it should be done. The amount of energy generated by nuclear power alone there is usually higher than domestic demand for most of the day. That's just from one energy source.
The problem is Chernobyl hippies. That thing a well made and run plant in France or America is exactly the same as a RBMK communist mess.

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I thought miners were usually pretty well paid.
Normally its between 50-70,000 USD for an average miner, and 100,000 for a foreman, working 6 days a week 10 hours a day with little time off.

And a very high chance of cancer or black lung that takes decades off their lives.

Sounds like they aren't all that well paid.

The thing about Gas is that its good for heating people's houses.
Its also great for generating power, and Natural gas reserves in the US of A are pretty insanely huge.
 

Sydde

macrumors 68020
Aug 17, 2009
2,105
2,163
IOKWARDI
Waste may actually one of nuclear power's lesser issues: breeder reactors ultimately create waste with a lower profile of transuranics, and vitrification would go a long way toward preventing accidental leakage/release.

But the are other major issues. First and foremost, we kind of really want safe plants, so we are more than willing to accept onerous government regulation over construction and operation. Because of this, no private business will ever try to build a nuclear power plant without lots and lots of government subsidy – which becomes a cash cow, as the company will drag their feet and piss around throughout the construction phase in order to suckle at the government nipple.

Reactors are not exactly cheap to build, and they call for some pretty high-grade materials. This phase is not carbon neutral. Then, they have a limited lifespan. Five decades is probably longer than safe for most of them, after which the materials used in the system are complete junk due to the heavy radiation bombardment. Then we have to pick up and build an expensive replacement reactor out of shiny new materials. So there are other non-trivial costs associated with nuclear power that we ought to be aware of.

Now, when fusion comes along, it could well be worse. No worrisome waste, but the materials needed to build reactors will probably be even more expensive than what we need for fission reactors, and they will wear out much faster. I will be surprise to see a good fusion reactor last twenty years. It will not become unsafe, it will just taper off until it can no longer produce net positive power. The material cost of fusion power will simply be breath-takingly unsustainable over the long term.