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Why nuclear will not be a knight in shining armor in the United States


Why nuclear will not be a knight in shining armor in the United States13-10-2015 18:31
trafnProfile picture★★★☆☆
(779)
Here's a great article about the current state of affairs for nuclear power in the United States:

America's newest nuke plant shows why nuclear power is dying in the U.S.

Even if it weren't in such disrepair and we could wave a magic wand to convert all possible global energy use over to nuclear, given our current fuel recycling capacity, there's only about 20 or so years of raw and recycled fuel on this planet. That would mean a short lived career for any knight in shining armor, and is likely why most new power plants in the United States use old technology instead of new: to cut down the financial return time on investment.


Thoughts?


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Edited on 13-10-2015 18:33
13-10-2015 21:56
IBdaMannProfile picture★★★★★
(4906)
trafn wrote:
Here's a great article about the current state of affairs for nuclear power in the United States:

Thoughts?


Fusion is the future, just not the near future.


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14-10-2015 00:55
trafnProfile picture★★★☆☆
(779)
@IBdaMann - Agreed. As far as I'm aware, the last time I looked fusion was still cold.


The 2015 M2C2 (Global 9/11) Denialist Troll Awards

1st Place - Jep Branner - Our Stupid Administrator!
2nd Place - IBdaMann - Science IS cherry picking!
3rd Place - Into the Night - Mr. Nonsense numbers!
4th Place - Tim the plumber - The Drivel Queen!
14-10-2015 01:13
drm
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(67)
Fusion is the present - that big yellow thing in the sky. The fastest growing source of electricity in the US.
14-10-2015 01:32
trafnProfile picture★★★☆☆
(779)
@drm -
- good one! And how true!


The 2015 M2C2 (Global 9/11) Denialist Troll Awards

1st Place - Jep Branner - Our Stupid Administrator!
2nd Place - IBdaMann - Science IS cherry picking!
3rd Place - Into the Night - Mr. Nonsense numbers!
4th Place - Tim the plumber - The Drivel Queen!
22-12-2015 22:37
jdm
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(16)
trafn wrote:
Here's a great article about the current state of affairs for nuclear power in the United States:

America's newest nuke plant shows why nuclear power is dying in the U.S....


The article title about "newest nuke plant" is misleading -- the entire article repeatedly describes how antiquated the plant design is.

You are entirely correct about old-style nuclear power plants being unable to make an additional major difference in global atmospheric CO2 status. There are 437 civilian nuclear power plants worldwide. To make a major difference in the timeframe supposedly required to avoid 2C warming would require construction of *thousands* of new nuclear plants within the next 20 years.

With that many new reactors, you would definitely want them passively safe -- not based on current designs.

Furthermore these new plants would have to use a closed fuel cycle, else (as you mentioned) there would be insufficient fuel. The closed fuel cycle can also vastly reduce radioactive waste. The technology for this has been long available. Unlike fusion it does not require decades of fundamental research -- it is essentially an engineering exercise. Despite this it would probably take 10-20 years to built and test the first "Gen IV" reactors, and decades after that to build sufficient numbers to make a difference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_IV_reactor

Even James Hansen the Father of Climate Change, is very supportive of nuclear power: http://www.science20.com/news_articles/james_hansen_to_mitigate_climate_change_nuclear_energy_should_be_included-154923

However it is extremely unlikely that new nuclear reactor designs could be built on the huge industrial scale and within the timeframe allegedly required to prevent catastrophic climate change -- which is zero *global* industrial carbon output by around 2038.

This illustrates the virtual impossibility of achieving this with *any* alternative energy source. With nuclear power the technology is available, it does not require thousands of square miles of land (solar/wind), does not require storage (solar/wind), nor a new distribution infrastructure (hydrogen). Despite all this it cannot be built on the required scale and timeframe for the task at hand.




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