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Old 11-17-2007, 09:53 PM   #41
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Except for the fact that coal plants release more radiation into the surrounding area than do nuclear plants. 100x more.-ERD50
not sure i said anything to the contrary, but if it makes you feel any better i've also got a coal burner right here in river city at port everglades. but then, that should be burning cleaner gas just as soon as they rip through some of our last remaining reefs to bring in a pipeline from a proposed bahamas plant.

the black not glowing green soot i notice more than that from the electric plant which i believe has scrubbers is from all the cruise ships burning whatever's fed into their diesel powerplants. the more successful is our port, the dirtier is my car. twenty years ago a car stayed clean for two weeks easy. now it is dirty in three days. at least the tourists are happy.
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:30 PM   #42
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Apparently, the problem with nuclear waste is that it is highly concentrated and already conveniently contained right on the powerplant grounds. This forces us to acknowledge it and have to deal with it. If it was spewed all over the countryside in a plume everything would be fine.
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:31 PM   #43
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Half coal is still better than all oil
Besides, some of us won't be using any coal. For my electric car it will be all solar.
Depends on the total 'wheel-to-well' efficiency. There are a lot of losses between burning the coal, converting it to electricity, getting the electricity to your house, converting it to DC, charging the batteries, and...finally... getting the battery power through the motor and to your wheels. That's a lot more conversions and opportunities for losses than pumping oil, refining it, getting it to your tank and burning it.

Solar - fine. Hopefully it will be affordable one day. Let's hope that day is before $200/barrel oil. Of course, $200 oil will make solar panels more expensive, too. There is currently about one-two years worth of energy required to make solar panels. Effectively, you will be 'burning' fossil fuel for the first one-two years of use.

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Old 11-17-2007, 11:05 PM   #44
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The nuclear core and various other highly-radioactive parts were encased in concrete and shipped off to Washington state's Hanford reservation for processing,
They're still trying to figure out what to do with the waste at Hanford. A lot of smart scientists were playing with things they didn't truly understand, and now a lot of smart scientists are cleaning up after them. There's a wall of radioactive sludge inching towards the Columbia river. Their latest gambit is to pump molasses into the ground.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:02 AM   #45
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Depends on the total 'wheel-to-well' efficiency. There are a lot of losses between burning the coal, converting it to electricity, getting the electricity to your house, converting it to DC, charging the batteries, and...finally... getting the battery power through the motor and to your wheels. That's a lot more conversions and opportunities for losses than pumping oil, refining it, getting it to your tank and burning it.
Very good point. Excactly what I was referring to as well.
There are some very educational white papers at http://www.teslamotors.com/display_d...centurycar.pdf
Basically they ran the numbers based on electricity from natural gas power plants. From that source of electricity, the well to wheel efficiency is 2-3 times more efficient than standard gasoline powered, hybrids, fuel cell or natural gas cars.
The efficiency of the fuel cell cars may very well get better as new technology is developed.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:50 AM   #46
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Then the solution is pretty simple to get rid of all the transition steps.

Put the reactor in the car.

That'd also probably smooth out a little of the aggressive driving.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:53 AM   #47
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Interesting thread - got me thinking.


Hiroshima: 2006 population - 1,154,391
Nagasaki: Recent population - 459,198

Both cities were rebuilt within 10 years after the war, as far as I can tell.

Perhaps we're being a bit paranoid about nuclear power.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:56 AM   #48
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They're still trying to figure out what to do with the waste at Hanford.
Tell me about it... lifetime employment for submarine nukes. I've lost track of the number of retired O-6s & flag officers who were "sent up there to fix Hanford".

My favorite stories of the place are the staff having to deal with the radioactive animal droppings. It must've seemed so simple & straightforward 50 years ago...
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:14 AM   #49
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.It must've seemed so simple & straightforward 50 years ago...
Heck yeah! To save yourself in a nuclear disaster you only had to bend forward and put your head between your knees, or hide under a standard 3rd grade issue student desk.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:20 AM   #50
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Then the solution is pretty simple to get rid of all the transition steps.

Put the reactor in the car.

That'd also probably smooth out a little of the aggressive driving.
I suppose a roof top sign with 'Licensed Nuclear Reactor on Board' and lots of official looking RAD signs and flashing yellow lights would keep some of those drivers from pulling right in front of me.

Of course, if they are on their cell phone, they may not notice.

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Old 11-18-2007, 10:23 AM   #51
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Easy. Instead of one of those jammers install a device in the car that injects a geiger counter like crackling sound into the phone conversations within 1000 feet.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:32 AM   #52
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Very good point. Excactly what I was referring to as well.
There are some very educational white papers at http://www.teslamotors.com/display_d...centurycar.pdf
Basically they ran the numbers based on electricity from natural gas power plants. From that source of electricity, the well to wheel efficiency is 2-3 times more efficient than standard gasoline powered, hybrids, fuel cell or natural gas cars.
The efficiency of the fuel cell cars may very well get better as new technology is developed.
Yes, I was thinking of the Tesla reports when I wrote that. It is great that the Tesla gets that eff, but they are using the expensive Lion batteries. A more affordable electric car doesn't fare so well. Coal plants don't have catalytic converters, gasoline is low sulfur, low mercury, etc. Electric cars have a lot to overcome, in terms of total pollution/environmental impact.

Hopefully, the good battery technologies really do get affordable soon, and electric will be available for all. One of the great advantages of electric is that the electricity can be generated by whatever works - you don't have to change all the cars on the road. That is a big plus to push renewables, wind, solar, etc.

I didn't mean to sound negative (no pun intended) on electric cars, just that they aren't quite here yet. I love Tesla's approach - use the power you already need for 200 mile range to move the thing from 0-60 in four seconds so you can price the car in the exotic sports car range, which in turn allows you to afford expensive LION batteries. Very smart business plan, especially if it actually helps to accelerate (again, no pun intended) bringing the technology down to more moderately priced vehicles.

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Old 11-18-2007, 10:34 AM   #53
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Easy. Instead of one of those jammers install a device in the car that injects a geiger counter like crackling sound into the phone conversations within 1000 feet.


Just goes to prove the new version of an old saying:

Invention is the Mother of Necessity!

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Old 11-18-2007, 10:35 AM   #54
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I couldn't find an animated one

We used to have a lake house by a nuke power plant on "the cold side" of the lake. We never saw any fish like Blinky.

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Old 11-18-2007, 12:23 PM   #55
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No question about it, ERD, you are correct that battery tech has a ways to go.
The Norwegian company Th!nk has a lot of potential for entering the market at a more affordable level www.think.no.
Nuclear power to generate the necessary electricity for electric cars is, IMO a very good method. Second only to Hydro/Wind/Solar (ok, forth to Hydro, Wind or Solar)
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Old 11-18-2007, 02:40 PM   #56
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I think that nuclear is the only viable near/medium term solution apart from a draconian conservation program to reduce oil and fossil fuel dependency so I support building nuclear power plants.

However as others note waste storage is an issue that must be addressed. I also don't necessarily buy into all of the safety and reliability numbers put forth by their proponents.

Another issue that I don't think anyone has mentioned is depletion of uranium. IRRC from an undergrad nuclear engineering course that known uranium reserves had a life time projection of a couple times that of coal unless you used breeder reactors. (This was late '70s so the numbers may have changed.) That is a long time compared to oil but eventually it does run out.

IRRC, France currently uses breeeder reactors but we don't have any in the US. I think that Carter cut funding for their development.

Eventually everything has to be solar and other renewables.

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Old 11-18-2007, 05:15 PM   #57
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If CO2 pollution is recognized to be a true threat to the world, we'd need a worldwide solution. One problem is that coal power is inexpensive, and is likely going to be the preferred electrical generation approach in the developing world, unless something is done. China is building a tremendous number of coal plants every year. One possible approach would be for the developed world to offer subsidized cheap nuclear fuel to these countries if they build nuclear pebble-bed reactors in place of coal-fired plants.

There would have to be very tight safeguards on the fuel (to prevent diversion to nuclear weapon production) but at least the safety of the plants themselves is a virtual non-issue (since the pebble-bed reactors can't suffer a core meltdown).

The plan would require use of breeder reactors in the fuel-providing countries, and we'd need to figure out how to reclaim the "fuel pebbles," cycle them through the breeder rector, then re-pebblize them. The payoff is relatively cheap, zero CO2 emission electric power for a very long time. I'll bet one of the developing nations would even volunteer to store the small amount of waste (entombed in ceramic blocks) in exchange for the jobs it would provide.
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Old 11-18-2007, 05:49 PM   #58
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............ I'll bet one of the developing nations would even volunteer to store the small amount of waste (entombed in ceramic blocks) in exchange for the jobs it would provide.
Maybe we could store nuclear waste at Chernobyl. I don't think they have any big plans for the site, for a while.
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Old 11-18-2007, 06:14 PM   #59
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I love our north carolina nuke plant, in fact was fishing today in the lake right down stream from the cooling tower. Cool sight. The water is the cleanest around.
I got in tight with a few of the on-site biologists at IPNPG while there, after they found out I had a minor in it and was interested in Limnology (water quality). Those nuts were so proud of the fact that their water was of such high quality after they were done with it that it tested cleaner than the water they were siphoning off the Hudson River. They were always drinking it to impress people. Even I have to admit that the numbers were pretty impressive.

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Funny...I used to fish the outlet water at the Plymouth Pilgrim plant when I was a kid. Tons of fish. I think they liked the warmer water.
Another really NEAT post to have at IP was to work the fish farm. Most people aren't even aware of this one. But NPG's are required to pull their intake screens every couple of weeks and sample them for fish remains. After applying a long drawn out formula it tells them how many pounds of each fish they have sucked up into their intakes. Then they are required to put that amount plus some extra back into the river below the outputs.

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I'll bet one of the developing nations would even volunteer to store the small amount of waste (entombed in ceramic blocks) in exchange for the jobs it would provide.
Now I LIKE this idea! The Chernobyl suggestion was pretty good too.
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:52 AM   #60
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Maybe we could store nuclear waste at Chernobyl.
What a seriously interesting idea.

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