O/T: Nuclear Reactor Problems

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"HeyBub" wrote:

"Han" wrote:

---------------------------------
As far as Germany being able to produce renewable energy at a competitive price, they already do it.
Much of it using equipment built by an in-house outfit by the name of Siemens.
Lew
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On 5/31/2011 5:52 PM, Lew Hodgett wrote: ...

A) yes, B) not so much...it's pretty heavily subsidized.

They (Siemens) also have a facility in KS building for the US market (also quite heavily subsidized).
Problem still is that wind doesn't blow 100% of time either here or in Germany. Baseload is still an issue.
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Probably less of a problem in Germany than hereabouts.
--
Best regards
Han
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On 5/31/2011 6:13 PM, Han wrote:

There's got to be _something_ generating baseload...as much as the wind blows here in SW KS, the capacity factor of wind here is only about 40% of installed capacity. Take that baseload away from the nukes where's in coming from?
For the nearest of the large wind farms there's >80% correlation of local wind speed to output over the 7 years' of operational data so far so the limitation is real, not a decision to not operate.
--
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Tidal Power station. Their studies run into the same cyclical issues as does wind, with the odd exception that they can count on the moon coming around. Really interesting design.
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On 5/31/2011 6:53 PM, Robatoy wrote: ...

Indeed, altho it's much more predictable/repeatable than wind. I'd think the random component from storms, etc., would be a very small fraction for them. OTOH, the averages are fairly consistent over the long term w/ wind, but the short term random variations are quite large. Like last couple of days--we had 18 hours of 30+ mph sustained wind w/ 50-60 mph gusts until roughly 8 PM last night. Within an hour sustained winds dropped to under 10 and stayed there until just within the last hour or so today they've come back up to near 20 after being 15 or under the last 24. Of course, of the previous 12 hours prior to the time that they exceed 30 mph at roughly 1 PM, roughly 9 hrs were under 10 mph while the minimum generation level is 9 mph. That's hardly a consistent fuel source even if it is cheap. :)
Yet this area has one of the highest annual average wind speeds in an accessible location that makes building large scale wind farms as economical as they're going to get from the physical side (unlike places like, say, Mt Washington, etc., that have incredible winds but are a) very isolated areas and b) highly impractical to get the power from even if had the turbine.
Do you have any links that might have convenient data to look at for the tidal generation output? I know where US EIA data links are; not sure what there is up north.
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A cursory look and I found this for you: http://tinyurl.com/3rtyqqu
Hard data is out there somewhere.
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dpb wrote:

First thing a sailor learns is how to productively deal with winds that vary widely.
"Reef early" is something the prudent sailor learns early, if he is going to survive.
Same principle applies to windmills.
Design for 100% output from 10MPH-20MPH wind velocities.
From 20MPH and up, start feathering the blades.
Good grief, it's not the end of the world.
It is very old technology.
Lew
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On 5/31/2011 9:00 PM, Lew Hodgett wrote: ...

That would, indeed, be very old technology and would reduce the 40% installed annual average capacity factor to something under 20% just raising the cost/MWe _another_ factor of 2X (which is already 2X that of conventional generation for us and 3X that of our nuclear)
--
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"dpb" wrote:

Sounds like my design parameters are a tad conservative.
People have been known to say my stuff is built like a brick out house.
Guess they were right.
Lew
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On 5/31/2011 10:06 PM, Lew Hodgett wrote:

I looked at the wind data for the nine years I had previously correlated to the output of the Gray County wind farm. I have only daily averages (24-hr sustained wind speed averages) and a maximum sustained daily wind speed on hand; going to the finer resolution would require downloading more data than I care to deal with on a dialup link.
If one were to feather so that no extra energy were extracted above 10 mph, 97% of the days over those 9 years you would be leaving something on the table for at least a portion of those days.
At 20 mph, the ratio is lower, of course, but my guess of 2 probably wasn't too terribly far off. The 9-yr average for that threshold is right at 60%.
While they do feather the turbines (and shutdown speed is something around 55 mph iirc, I've not been able to find a specific criterion documented on whether that is sustained or measured gust or for what length of time to require shut down nor what time/threshold releases the rotor again), they are more sophisticated than to simply feather the blades at constant power at some relatively low windspeed. That's another aspect I've not seen the full details on that I'd like to know more about but as previously noted, there's an almost perfect 1:1 correlation w/ wind speed and generated output over these nine years so it's clear they extract more energy w/ more energy input (as one would expect and again demonstrating that the low average output isn't one of simply not operating at capacity as then the output would be essentially independent of the wind speed).
It's unfortunate that there isn't a way to generate the maximum or a desired setpoint and have the output match that like a conventional generation device; that then would be the cat's meow, I'd agree. But w/ the fickle fuel source it requires a redundant generation source (or sources if those are also not highly reliable) and the fixed capital expense of those facilities means the real cost of the "free" fuel is actually quite high. And, of course, since all of these other sources are low density fuels, the capital cost for them per MWe is also pretty high.
--
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"dpb" wrote:

Engineering details that are being resolved.
Nobody said it was going to be easy, but we're are gaining on it.
Afterall, it took almost 10 years to get to the moon.
If you look at the cost of ownership equation, wind power has a very high front end cost, but after that operating costs drops drastically.
As every sailor knows, the wind is free, but putting it to use gets expensive.
Lew
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On 6/1/2011 11:43 PM, Lew Hodgett wrote:

There aren't enough locations with reliable wind sources to make wind power a viable option for ore than a small fraction of existing energy needs.

isn't a major consideration, solar heat is more viable. The sun shines everywhere. Build a massive solar heat powered steam turbine generator. Give it enough excess capacity to convert water to hydrogen during the day. Store the hydrogen and burn it when the sun isn't shining. Repeat as needed.
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"Just Wondering" wrote:

HUH!
Might want to go back and check your sources again. -----------------------------------

HUH!
Might want to go back and check your sources again.
Morris has a pretty decent package for solar heating and money is almost always an issue. ----------------------------------

Replace the hydrogen with solar heated water and you have a unit being permitted for construction here in SoCal.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

But what are the consequences of interrupting surface wind flow? Will it affect the weather? Crop pollination? A dog's sense of direction?
It's said that in some parts of Texas, one can't have more than one windmill per acre or all the wind will get used up!
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I'd guess that is minimal. Possibly the biggest drawback is hitting and killing flying creatures.

Given the size of the propeller, I would suggest the same, if indeed an acre is ~208 feet squared. Since the biggest rotors have a diameter of 400 feet, more than 4 acres seems better <
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQxp6QTjgJg

--
Best regards
Han
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On 6/2/2011 12:43 AM, Lew Hodgett wrote: ...

Engineering can't change that the basic fuel energy density is extremely low and variable.

And where did that get us? (On the same vein as the sidebar about W, GE, etc., ...)

Well, but it doesn't. It still has the reliability problem that requires the conventional generation facilities be maintained and operational to make up for the shortfall when it isn't up to the task.
That makes the cost the cost of the wind investment _plus_ the other standby investment cost anyway. It can _never_ be even equal.

And never gets cheap...
--
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On 6/2/2011 12:43 AM, Lew Hodgett wrote: ...

Again, if it weren't for the alternative sources req'd to be around because it isn't reliable, that would be basically true.
In reality, it is nuclear that is expensive initial capital cost but for which fuel costs are near minimal over time--which is what makes our REC shared ownership of a fraction of Wolf Creek Nuclear by far the cheapest power we have.
OK, I found the annual meeting minutes program I was looking for--we're in process of trying to build a new coal-fired plant in W KS for future demand for us and secondarily as an exporter to CO in return for the revenue the extra power will bring to the local economies.
In there the current estimated construction costs are--
Coal $2500-$2600 /MWe Nuke $5000-$5200 /MWe Wind $2400-$2500 /MWe (including tax credits)
The kicker is that w/ wind we can only expect roughly 40% of that installed capacity to be available (on annual capacity of 112 MWe installed observed over nine years of actual production) so the actual average installed cost is roughly 2.5X the above or $6000 /MWe-ongrid.
So, when one factors that into the overall operating cost of the facility to satisfy a given load demand, the cost for wind is well above any of the alternatives and this doesn't account for the capital cost needed to ensure reliable backup from conventional or imported purchased from an alternate-source to ensure the necessary reliability.
One has to consider what it actually requires to run a utility grid in toto and simply the fact that one has X number of installed wind generators of Y MWe rated capacity really has surprisingly little to do with the Z number of MWe one can count on putting onto the grid at any given instant. And, the bottom line is that one has to be able to do the last 24/7 come wind or no.
--
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On 6/3/2011 1:46 PM, dpb wrote: ...

BTW, just for comparison--for the time period the overall average capacity factor for Wolf Creek Nuclear Station was 87.1% w/ a peak annual capacity of 95.8% in '07; the _lowest_ being 81.5% in '05 owing to an extra week (roughly) longer outage duration costing roughly 2% on annual output.
--
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Can we zoom back and look at the big picture, rather than get buried under copious amounts of detail? When I played waterpolo, varsity level, we had a play called "******'s Washup". I would make so much froth, that the refs could not see that I was elbowing some poor opponent in the chops. In politics it's called obfuscation. Everybody is so busy looking at some tracks, going: Mmm doesn't look like bear tracks, mmm doesn't look like moose tracks.... could it be deer tracks??? then the train hits them.
YES, YES, YES, we KNOW about all the fog, we KNOW about the insane amounts of details. WHERE is the solution? Too many engineers vying for perpetual employment by clouding issues with bullshit details. I know. I was one.
Instead of pummeling each other with lofty 'educated' crap, why not stop this bullshit train and look at what makes sense?
Goddammit!!!!!
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