No, it doesn't depend on civilian facilities. However, as you are now well
aware, fuel from civilian plants can (and has been) turned into fuel
suitable for nuclear weapons. The presence of a "legal" civilian facility
eliminates the need to shop around for a fuel source.
Please don't continue to dispute these facts. You are about to look silly.
It can be, but with substantial reprocessing. Suitable material can also
be made from raw materials with similar extensive processing. Kind of
like trying to ban automobiles because they can be reprocessed into
Civilian nuclear power plants have more than enough positive value,
particularly in these days of "climate change" to justify the very low
risk of them providing any advantage to a "rogue state" trying to
develop nuclear weapons.
Nuclear weapons apparently aren't a major concern anyway. If they were, A.Q.
Khan would not be a free man right now. But, he works for one of our
so-called "allies", so we haven't arranged an accident for him, even though
his activities continue.
Just to mention it in passing, the original suggestion of the use of
nukes for electricity was in the US. I would doubt that one or two more
legal civilian facilities within those borders woudl have a big impact
on proliferation. The original discussion was supposed to be about the
US using more nuclear power.
Yep, cheap, clean, safe, non polluting, non greenhouse gas releasing
nuclear power - power that could be used to replace a good deal of our
current oil use and bring us a lot closer to energy self sufficiency.
With the additional side benefit of eliminating all the daily pollution
from coal and nat gas fired power plants *now*, instead of 30 years from
now when we might have some of the renewable energy sources improved
enough to make a real impact.
I think now is not likely. Even if we magically licensed a nuke
plant tomorrow, it would still take 2-3 years to build it and bring it
online. We would probably be hard pressed to take a current plant off
line because of growth in demand in the interim. And that 2-3 year
thing ain't gonna happen since we aren't going to magically license nuke
plants any time soon. Heck just the enviornmental impact statement can
take a year or so to put together, let alone argue.
We certainly won't get there with the status quo. Something like an
executive order that we'll be energy independent in 5 years with the
weight to quash all the NIMBY and Eco-Loon attempts to prevent it.
What I want to see is a comprehensive push starting with new nukes to
allow the shutdown of the coal and NG plants and stop all that
pollution, provide cheap electricity for electric and plug in hybrid
cars and electric commuter rail and busses and home heating and cooling.
Use the freed up US NG and US oil to keep other transportation going
without foreign oil. Improve conservation as much as possible. Get
realistic renewable sources, including distributed solar and wind
generation online (again quashing NIBMY and Eco-Loon nonsense) over a
reasonable period of time so that in 30 years when those nukes are
reaching retirement they can be retires and we can by on entirely
Something sensible like that will never happen of course...
Good luck. Little of that would be constitutionally valid to overturn
as an EO since it is based on laws passed by Congress, at the minimum
bringing up sepatation of powers.
Which brings up the rather creative accounting for "clean" electric
cars where they look at tailpipe admissions and studiously ignore the
extra electricity that has to be generated.
But I digress (g)
I am not all that sanguine about real life solar and wind generation
as a viable major contributor. The solar cells have to too big and wind
generation takes too much space and both are fairly polluting on the
making of the cells or turbines. Might be useful at the margins, but I
am not all that sold for large scale applications.
Although even the marginal stuff would keep the growing part of
the demand at bay, as it were.
Well, since something like that will never happen, the exact logistics
don't really matter.
On my various business visits to San Francisco, I've note the fraudulent
claim of "Zero emissions vehicle" on the electric busses, which are in
fact "Remote emissions vehicles".
This is why I specified "distributed solar" (and wind where applicable),
i.e. panels installed on existing rooftops. Basically something like a
utility supplied and maintained battery less grid tie system. Trying to
do utility scale solar any other way just isn't practical and has huge
environmental impact. Distributed across customer's rooftops it uses no
new space and also greatly extends the service life of the already
overtaxed grid by producing a good portion of the power locally.
The (continental) US spans a few time zones so that gives some spread,
and hydro and tidal should go a long way towards filling in the night.
Add in locally viable items like biomass in big farm / ranch areas,
geothermal in the few areas where that works, some storage such as
pumped hydro and CAS to store surplus production during peak times and
you'll be in better shape. Some time of day rate breaks can also help
encourage utilization during off peak times and local energy storage as
BTW, I just looked at the Gray County (KS) wind farm production data.
Since initial startup mid-2001 thru mid-2007, they have averaged only
40% capacity factor w/ a high month of less than 60% and several months
of only 20%. That implies from 2.5X to 5X the required generation even
to get the output which still would be awfully expensive to have such
excess installed capacity. Wind has some benefits, but it can't replace
baseload generation in large quantites w/o very high excess capacity at
other times. This facility is in W KS, one of the highest wind energy
potential areas in the US.
It's still dark where it's dark when it's dark and those folks need
lights when it's dark, not while the sun's shining... :)
I understand what you think you would be doing there, but while haven't
done actual calculations, one problem is that you're adding even more
requirements for transmission during those dark times or still require
other generation facilities.
Certainly hydro, tidal and pumped storage have very limited geographical
constraints. I don't recognize "CAS".
I've driven past some relatively huge wind turbine farms in west TX and
they sure didn't seem to be anywhere near full production either. Wind
certainly isn't the answer by itself, but it can certainly contribute to
No single solution, a lot of different sources need to be adding power
to the grid in a lot of different places. If we can get better storage
technology than current batteries that will solve a lot of problems,
including EV range or lack thereof.
Hydro and tidal generation are geographically limited, but a have a lot
of energy available and should be significant contributors to the total.
CAS is compressed air storage, same basic idea as pumped hydro storage,
compress air with off peak excess and run back through a turbine on
There are very few significant hydro locations undeveloped in the US.
OK, I know of CAS now that you remind me -- it's small potatoes kind of
Wind is a "fill-in" but I don't see it ever being practical as a
large-scale replacement as it is simply too costly to build the required
alternate source since it isn't reliable (enough).
The fundamental answer to electrical generation is nuclear.
Nuke is certainly the short term solution. Hopefully in the few decades
of breathing room nukes would provide storage technology would improve
enough to solve the problem of the intermittent nature of most RE
For central station large-scale electrical generation, there's no reason
in the world to consider anything _BUT_ nuclear for as far forward as
one cares to project. _IF_ fusion ever turns out to be practical for
large application(*), one can progress from fission to fusion, but the
there is no practical limit on fission reactors for fuel since one can
always close the fuel cycle and recycle roughly 90% of conventional fuel
and w/ the incorporation of some breeding, one could (at higher cost)
even divorce from fresh sources of U if absolutely required although
that would entail a higher cost since U is quite plentiful and therefore
(*) My personal opinion from 30+ yrs as NucE in power generation area in
watching the fusion folks is it is a technology that will remain "20
years in the future" for the next 50-100 years at least. Perhaps there
will be the fundamental materials breakthrough to solve the containment
problems in a practical manner, but so far, nothing anybody has
conceived or tried seems, imo at least, to have a chance of ever making
for a cost-effective way to build commercial generating stations.
Nuclear energy is "green" energy, but it is not renewable. We should
certainly be using nuclear *now* to eliminate all the environmental
damage from the current coal/NG/oil energy sources, but we should still
be working towards all renewable sources for the future.
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