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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-16-2007, 07:13 PM   #261
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
I still say NUCLEAR is my #1 as it improves air quality...
I think the Chernobyl folks are a good example of why nuclear power doesn't sell its air quality harder. It's like an airline selling its safety record-- 'We haven't killed anyone in months!!"

I've spent way too much time in the Pearl Harbor Emergency Control Center to shill for civilian nuclear power. And if it was run to the safety/incident standards of the Navy's nuclear propulsion program then no one would want to pay for it.
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-16-2007, 07:27 PM   #262
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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Originally Posted by Oldbabe
Friedman has an article in the NY Times Magazine that says basically the same thing. He makes some very interesting points, especially about how the USA could take the lead and solve our economic enslavement problem to China, Japan, and the Middle East. He points out a few US companies that have had success (such as the more energy efficient locomotive) which might be an investment opportunity.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/15/ma...73d&ei=5087%0A
Oldbabe,
Thanks for the link. Friedman's article is interesting, and he makes some good points (especially about the linkage between oil price and growing authoritariansism). The crucial point he mentions but quickly glosses over is that reducing carbon emissions provides no direct benefit to the person/company/country that pays the cost of cutting these emissions. Yes, America can compete well in developing green technologies, but who will pay more for them and why? His example of the US locomotive producer is not relevant--China is buying these US locomotives only because it makes economic sense due to their lower fuel costs. If they didn't save fuel but had dramatically lower CO2 output, nobody would be buying them.

The previous big natonal endeavors (the space program, interstate highways, mobilization for WW-II, higher defense expenditures during the Cold War, etc) were all done because we were in a struggle with a competitor, and by making sacrifices we increased our chances of surviving/winning. Real competitors are still out there, and if we go "green" at huge cost and they don't, our standard of living will decline. Even worse, our competitors will continue to pollute even more as they become more prosperous, produce an ever-increasing portion ofthe world's goods, and as their own populations demand cheap energy and products with higher embodied energy content. Given this, sacrifices by US consumers and companies could have the perverse effect of increasing global warming, as "dirtier" global competitors win out.

The atmosphere's ability to absorb human-produced CO2 may be a finite resource. Per Wikipedia's "Tragedy of the Commons" entry " . . .free access and unrestricted demand for a finite resource ultimately dooms the resource through over-exploitation. This occurs because the benefits of exploitation accrue to individuals, each of which is motivated to maximize his or her own use of the resource, while the costs of exploitation are distributed between all those to whom the resource is available (which may be a wider class of individuals than those who are exploiting it).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-16-2007, 09:45 PM   #263
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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Originally Posted by Nords
I think the Chernobyl folks are a good example of why nuclear power doesn't sell its air quality harder. It's like an airline selling its safety record-- 'We haven't killed anyone in months!!"

I've spent way too much time in the Pearl Harbor Emergency Control Center to shill for civilian nuclear power. And if it was run to the safety/incident standards of the Navy's nuclear propulsion program then no one would want to pay for it.
Yet France get's 80% of their electricity from nuclear and has some of the cleanest air in the industrial world...

And wasn't Chernobyl an old design with no water etc. etc. And of course the good ole Russian safety.... Did I not read that they did not use shielding (or maybe not much) in their nuclear subs so they had more speed then ours

Also, has it not gotten 'safer' with the newer plants??

BTW, I had read that the French 'recycles' their nuclear waste many times because there is so much energy left in the rods... so their 'waste' is a lot less than ours...
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-16-2007, 09:50 PM   #264
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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Originally Posted by samclem
Yes, America can compete well in developing green technologies, but who will pay more for them and why? His example of the US locomotive producer is not relevant--China is buying these US locomotives only because it makes economic sense due to their lower fuel costs. If they didn't save fuel but had dramatically lower CO2 output, nobody would be buying them.
I think that was his point... that going green in and of itself will not work. It MUST be done with better products such as the locomotive... and is it not the better fuel economy that produces less CO2??'

And also that if you put incentives in place, they must be there for the long term... short term will not work..
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-16-2007, 10:17 PM   #265
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
. . . and is it not the better fuel economy that produces less CO2??'
In this case the lower CO2 output is because the locomotive burns less fuel. But sometimes reducing pollution increases energy use (for example, your car might get better fuel economy of you took off that pesky catalytic converter). Granted, with CO2 there's a fairly linear relationship between fuel burn and pollutant production.

I saw a good estimate somewhere of the billions of tons of CO2 we could prevent from entering the atmosphere if we all just took 1/3rd fewer breaths . . .
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-16-2007, 10:28 PM   #266
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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Originally Posted by samclem
I saw a good estimate somewhere of the billions of tons of CO2 we could prevent from entering the atmosphere if we all just took 1/3rd fewer breaths . . .
I would prefer to reduce the CO2 contribution in a simple, painless way rather than trying to breath less
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-17-2007, 07:41 AM   #267
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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Originally Posted by samclem
I saw a good estimate somewhere of the billions of tons of CO2 we could prevent from entering the atmosphere if we all just took 1/3rd fewer breaths . . .
Closing Congress would dramatically reduce the expulsion of "hot air"... :P
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-17-2007, 01:28 PM   #268
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

Another example of just how little we know...

I was listening to a 'Science Friday' podcast today about 'Climate Action Day', the environment, global warming, carbon reductions, etc, etc, etc.

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Climate Action Day - SciFri Podcast - 2007041312 4/17/07 10:32 AM 4/13/07 35:31 14.3 MB Planning for a day of rallies aimed at encouraging Congress to act on climate change. Plus, reducing your carbon footprint. MPEG audio file 56 kbps

One of the guests talked about the concept of, 'leave the car at home, walk, or ride a bike when you can'. He claims that the combination of our body's utilization of food, along with an energy inefficient food supply means that walking creates *more* pollution and greenhouse gas than driving your car!

I know, there are a million ways to spin the numbers, but it makes you wonder. And of course, most of us could use that walk w/o 'refueling' our bodies to compensate for the calories burned, but I still thought it was an interesting observation.

-ERD50
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-17-2007, 01:34 PM   #269
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

Where was the article that I read that said a Hummer had less of a 'footprint' than a Prius.... seems that mining for all the metals in the batteries, manufacturing them and disposing of them is 'worse' than a Hummer.... it seems far fetched to me, but what do I know about this narrow aspect...
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-17-2007, 03:10 PM   #270
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
Yet France get's 80% of their electricity from nuclear and has some of the cleanest air in the industrial world...
There are those strange correlations masquerading as causality again. How the heck do we know that France's air cleanliness is a result of nuclear power generation and not weather patterns or Bangladesh butter production?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud
And wasn't Chernobyl an old design with no water etc. etc. And of course the good ole Russian safety....
The Chernobyl design wasn't much of an improvement over the Manhattan Project, with graphite moderation and a lack of water to flood/cool the core.

But when a gas plume escapes, the physics of pressurized water reactors breaking down U235 is pretty much the same everywhere. Once a valve pops open (whether it's material failure or operator error) there'll be a huge plume of radioactive isotopes floating over the downwind area. Some are short-lived, some build up in the human body, others tend to get into the food supply. TMI released less radioactivity than most coal-burning plants & granite office buildings, yet the public impression was that the Eastern seaboard would be irradiated, any unlucky survivors would die of cancer, and their children would never be able to drink the milk.

As for the Russian submarine force, given the options of reducing exposure by time/distance/shielding, they chose to rely heavily on the first two. Given what we knew at the time it was a great way to boost power & speed. We weren't much better in the 1950s & 60s because everyone's dose-effects predictions were based on scarce anecdotal data. I don't think the world health organizations boosted their estimates of radiation danger (effectively tripling them) until the late 1980s or early 1990s.

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
Also, has it not gotten 'safer' with the newer plants??
Pebble-bed reactor designs are getting a lot of publicity because of their inherent stability, much lower neutron activiation of materials, and reduced radiation release in the case of accidents. They're a lot easier to refuel. They're much safer than pressurized-water reactor designs. But we have over 50 years' experience with the latter and I'm not sure how many PBR plants are actually operating at utilities around the world. Even if they were among the safest designs ever built there'd be a humongous "China Syndrome" credibility image to overcome and a whole lot of NIMBY issues. Neither of the those two are based on logic or engineering-- just public impressions and media spin.

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
BTW, I had read that the French 'recycles' their nuclear waste many times because there is so much energy left in the rods... so their 'waste' is a lot less than ours...
I'm curious what the nation's nuclear waste "stockpile" is made up of. I'm pretty sure that a large part of it comes from decommissioned naval nuclear plants (with extremely high enrichment and lots of crapped-up plant materials) as well as nuclear warheads. Not much that you can do with a hunk of stainless steel piping whose neutron-activiated cobalt alloys will be emitting high levels of gamma radiation for the next 25 years. I'm sure a lot of the first- and second-generation civilian PWR designs were pretty messy, too.

But everyone recycles to the extent that it's considered cost-effective. If we all started swapping nuclear-waste credits like carbon credits then I bet a lot more companies would be clamoring to get into the business...
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-17-2007, 04:08 PM   #271
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

Thanks Nords.... I always like reading your posts....

Let me go on with the recycle aspect... and of course, this is coming from someone being brainwashed by public tv....

But, they 'say' that the fuel rods used in the power plants are removed and stored in their water bath (whatever it is called)... but not sent to be reprocessed (refined re-whatever) and put into 'new' rods to put back in the reactor (I hope you can read thru the muck here).... they just sit in the water even though there is nuclear fuel still there... something to do with being able to get weapons grade material if you refine it or something...


But, France says 'why waste good nuclear fuel' and does refine it and reuses it... so they get more electricity out of the same amount of nuclear fuel...

Also (from the brainwashed)... the pebble bed was supposed to be 'China Syndrome' proof... the fuel never got hot enough to melt... also easier to transport etc...
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-17-2007, 05:06 PM   #272
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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But, France says 'why waste good nuclear fuel' and does refine it and reuses it... so they get more electricity out of the same amount of nuclear fuel...
This may also be a reference to the French fast breeder reactor FBR progam. Whereas a conventional light water reactor is able to use only 1% of the available energy in fissionable uranium, a liquid metal FBR gets 75% of the available energy AND produces more fuel than it consumes (so, at the end of a 20 year cycle you've got enough fuel to load up another reactor.) Several other nations have active FBR progras, but the US no longer does. The downside of these reactors:
1 ) They use some very esoteric technology to operate. Imagine cooling a large radioactive core using high-pressure liquid sodium and you've got some idea of what this is about. They just can't be made as safe as a light water reactor or a pebble bed reactor.
2) They pose nuclear fuel proliferation issues--they produce prodigious amounts of plutonium--great for making weapons.

Still, the US has enough easily acccessed uranium fuel for only about 50-100 years of light water reactor operation if we produce 30% of our domestic energy from nuclear power. We could go on for hundreds of years if we used FBRs.

Caveat: Every syllable above is subject to correction by Nords. I have been smacked down on the subject of hose bib valve types, I am taking a big risk in commenting on nuclear plants.
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-17-2007, 07:14 PM   #273
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
But, they 'say' that the fuel rods used in the power plants are removed and stored in their water bath (whatever it is called)... but not sent to be reprocessed (refined re-whatever) and put into 'new' rods to put back in the reactor (I hope you can read thru the muck here).... they just sit in the water even though there is nuclear fuel still there... something to do with being able to get weapons grade material if you refine it or something...
I've been looking for more info on that too, and I haven't been able to find any.

The Navy cores are highly highly enriched and I thought those were sliced up for re-use. I haven't been able to find any source (UNCLAS or otherwise) on it and it just never came up when I was on active duty. I have huge gaping holes in my knowledge of civilian nuclear plants but I thought that Westinghouse was in the commercial-reactor recycling business in the 1970s before my dad quit his job in their nuclear division. But I could be wrong from those teenage memories, and the fuel in civilian reactors isn't so highly enriched that it would make much of a difference to try recycling.

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
Also (from the brainwashed)... the pebble bed was supposed to be 'China Syndrome' proof... the fuel never got hot enough to melt... also easier to transport etc...
Absolutely right, but this is a public-relations problem and not a safety or design problem. And there's still the issues of cooling-water towers, helium leaks, operator training, being good neighbors to the community while carrying out emergency drills, and so on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
1 ) They use some very esoteric technology to operate. Imagine cooling a large radioactive core using high-pressure liquid sodium and you've got some idea of what this is about. They just can't be made as safe as a light water reactor or a pebble bed reactor.
The first USS SEAWOLF (SSN 575) used a high-temperature core cooled by liquid sodium. It has a number of advantages (much higher temperature, much higher steam pressure, more speed, special neutron-moderating effects of sodium) but operationally the rest of it was a disaster.

Imagine that every time your reactor coolant pumps stopped you had to take special precautions to keep the loop's sodium from solidifying. And whenever the coolant leaked out of a valve or a fitting, if it hit water (on a submerged submarine, go figure) it'd combine explosively to form highly caustic sodium hydroxide. (The primary loop's sodium coolant exchanged its heat in a steam generator filled with the secondary loop's water.) SEAWOLF crew members were looked upon as rugged pioneering nuclear gods or idiots, depending on your perspective on whether they volunteered for that duty.

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Originally Posted by samclem
Caveat: Every syllable above is subject to correction by Nords. I have been smacked down on the subject of hose bib valve types, I am taking a big risk in commenting on nuclear plants.
Several of the mechanics & torpedomen I served with would be very surprised to hear that I had some valve knowledge to demonstrate... it's probably the one area of nuclear technology in which my skills & experience haven't been rendered obsolete. Yet.
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-17-2007, 11:50 PM   #274
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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Absolutely right, but this is a public-relations problem and not a safety or design problem. And there's still the issues of cooling-water towers, helium leaks, operator training, being good neighbors to the community while carrying out emergency drills, and so on.
If the show I saw (and I will admit I only saw about 5 minutes before I had to go...) there was a guy holding a metal ball... like a big ball bearing... they insinuated it was 'real'... but I don't think I would want to be that guy carrying around a "hot 'ball'.... (leaving that there for all the puns )
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning
Old 04-18-2007, 04:25 PM   #275
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Re: Global warming and financial positioning

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud
If the show I saw (and I will admit I only saw about 5 minutes before I had to go...) there was a guy holding a metal ball... like a big ball bearing... they insinuated it was 'real'... but I don't think I would want to be that guy carrying around a "hot 'ball'.... (leaving that there for all the puns )
Yep, that's a fuel pellet. But guys, don't carry it in your front pockets.

When I was growing up I had a tie bar made from a piece of the spent fuel rod of a Westinghouse commercial reactor. Presumably these things are frisked clear of radioactivity before they're released for souvenirs. Yeah, that's it. Sure. No problems.
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