Saturday, June 13, 2009

If I Keep Talking About Energy, Will Anyone Listen?

I came across this article yesterday. This is being touted as a huge deal. But it's only 70MW. Electric. Using 450 acres of "habitat". To put this into perspective, the typical new nuclear plant generates about 2000 MW of electricity. This type of solar plant would require nearly 13,000 acres, or about 20 square miles (an area 4 miles by 5 miles). I assure you, no other power source will use that kind of real estate (except maybe wind - but perhaps you heard about this...).

In addition, the subsidies for "renewables" is astronomical compared to other energy types.

Energy policy in the United States has never been very good, if at all. Energy policy under this administration is worst in my lifetime.

3 comments:

Ordinary Jill said...

You're underinformed about energy policy and technology developments. The news sources you read are slanted against Obama's policies, so they harp on wind and solar (which will always be a minor, complementary part of our energy grid).

The administration has released research grants for new nuclear energy technologies (UW-Madison is the recipient of one of those grants). They are also receptive to this new mini-reactor technology (which costs about the same per kW as a conventional reactor, but is much easier to site, since it has 1/10 of the footprint):

http://www.realclearmarkets.com/news/ap/finance_business/2009/Jun/10/babcock___wilcox_planning_mini_nuclear_reactor.html

Because Yucca Mountain will not be developed as a waste storage site, and because DHS has said that new above-ground reactors must be able to withstand the impact of a jet plane, it is widely assumed that the administration will allow no new nuke plants. But that is not the case -- the mini-reactors are built underground, which satisfies the DHS security concerns, and they are designed to store waste on site for the entire life of the plant (which is how nuclear waste has been handled in this country for the past 60 years).

Deekaman said...

Quite the contrary. I spent 20 years in the energy industry. I'm still pretty well connected. Mini-nukes located underground are decades away. I realize the article indicates before 2020, but Big Environmental is already against nuclear in all its' forms. They will use the same delaying tactics they used 30 years ago.

This administration says nothing about nuclear power other than to close Yucca Mountain. If they really meant to bring back nuclear, they would restart the reprocessing of spent fuel and the breeder programs. The U238 capture process actually increases the fissile content of a conventional U235/238 mixed isotope fuel module. Because a fixed mass/volume ratio is required for a self-sustaining reaction, little of the actual fuel is "burned". Most of the waste products are high-level, short-lived radioisotopes. The "problematic" long-lived isotopes can be reduced to short-lived products in another fuel module. The French, Japanese and Russians all use these techniques. We have chosen to forgo them as a matter of political expediency.

EIA and Boston Globe are far from biased against Wind/Solar. Nor are they biased in favor of nuclear. I might add that the news sources you read are biased in favor of anything this administration chooses to do. Obamalove runs strong and deep. (But that is a debate for another time.)

I stand by my remarks.

Dad29 said...

Also, as noted by DoE, the subsidy numbers on wind and solar are extraordinary compared to coal/gas.

At least Jill admits that wind/solar 'will always be minor'--

I'm waiting for in-home portable nuke plants. Plug it in and fire up the microwave!

It'll happen about the time that the (D)/GreenWeenies allow the mininukes you reference, or restart reprocessing.