Germany set to abandon nuclear power for good

Mar 23, 2011 By JUERGEN BAETZ , Associated Press
In this March 18, 2011 file photo, a traffic sign stands next to the nuclear power plant of Biblis, Germany. Germany stands alone among the world's leading industrialized nations in its determination to abandon nuclear energy for good because of the technology's inherent risk. Europe's biggest economy is betting billions on expanding the use of renewable energies to meet its demand instead. The transition was supposed to happen slowly over the next 25 years, but now it is being accelerated in the wake of Japan's Fukushima disaster. Chancellor Angela Merkel said the "catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions" irreversibly marks the start of a new era. (AP Photo/Michael Probst,File)

(AP) -- Germany is determined to show the world how abandoning nuclear energy can be done.

The world's fourth-largest economy stands alone among leading industrialized nations in its decision to stop using nuclear energy because of its inherent risks. It is betting billions on expanding the use of renewable energy to meet power demands instead.

The transition was supposed to happen slowly over the next 25 years, but is now being accelerated in the wake of Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, which Chancellor has called a "catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions."

Berlin's decision to take seven of its 17 reactors offline for three months for new safety checks has provided a glimpse into how might wean itself from getting nearly a quarter of its power from atomic energy to none.

And experts say Germany's phase-out provides a good map that countries such as the United States, which use a similar amount of nuclear power, could follow. The German model would not work, however, in countries like France, which relies on nuclear energy for more than 70 percent of its power and has no intention of shifting.

"If we had the winds of Texas or the sun of California, the task here would be even easier," said Felix Matthes of Germany's renowned Institute for Applied Ecology. "Given the great potential in the U.S., it would be feasible there in the long run too, even though it would necessitate huge infrastructure investments."

Nuclear power has been very unpopular in Germany ever since radioactivity from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster drifted across the country. A center-left government a decade ago penned a plan to abandon the technology for good by 2021, but Merkel's government last year amended it to extend the plants' lifetime by an average of 12 years. That plan was put on hold after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami compromised nuclear power plants in Japan, and is being re-evaluated as the safety of all of Germany's nuclear reactors is being rechecked.

Germany currently gets 23 percent of its energy from nuclear power - about as much as the U.S. It's ambitious plan to shut down its reactors will require at least euro150 billion ($210 billion) investment in alternative energy sources, which experts say will likely lead to higher electricity prices.

Germany now gets 17 percent of its electricity from renewable energies, 13 percent from natural gas and more than 40 percent from coal. The Environment Ministry says in 10 years renewable energy will contribute 40 percent of the country's overall electricity production.

The government has been vague on a total price tag for the transition, but it said last year about euro20 billion ($28 billion) a year will be needed, acknowledging that euro75 billion ($107 billion) alone will be required through 2030 to install offshore wind farms.

The president of Germany's Renewable Energy Association, Dietmar Schuetz, said the government should create a more favorable regulatory environment to help bringing forward some euro150 billion investment in alternative energy sources this decade by businesses and homeowners.

Last year, German investment in renewable energy topped euro26 billion ($37 billion) and secured 370,000 jobs, the government said.

After taking seven reactors off the grid last week, officials hinted the oldest of them may remain switched off for good, but assured consumers there are no worries about electricity shortages as the country is a net exporter.

"We can guarantee that the lights won't go off in Germany," Environment Ministry spokeswoman Christiane Schwarte said.

Most of the country's leaders now seem determined to swiftly abolish nuclear power, possibly by 2020, and several conservative politicians, including the chancellor, have made a complete U-turn on the issue.

Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle said Wednesday "we must learn from Japan" and check the safety of the country's reactors but also make sure viable alternatives are in place.

"It would be the wrong consequence if we turn off the safest atomic reactors in the world, and then buy electricity from less-safe reactors in foreign countries," he told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper.

But Schuetz insists that "we can replace nuclear energy even before 2020 with renewable energies, producing affordable and ecologically sound electricity."

But someone will have to foot the bill.

"Consumers must be prepared for significantly higher electricity prices in the future," said Wolfgang Franz, head of the government's independent economic advisory body. Merkel last week also warned that tougher safety rules for the remaining nuclear power plants "would certainly mean that electricity gets more expensive."

The German utilities' BDEW lobby group said long-term price effects could not be determined until the government spells out its nuclear reduction plans. Matthes' institute says phasing out nuclear power by 2020 is feasible by better capacity management and investment that would only lead to a price increase of 0.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

In Germany, the producers of - be it solar panels on a homeowner's rooftop or a farm of wind mills - are paid above-market prices to make sure their investment breaks even, financed by a 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour tax paid by all electricity customers.

For a typical German family of four who pay about euro1,000 ($1,420) a year to use about 4,500 kilowatt-hours, the tax amounts to euro157 ($223).

The tax produced euro8.2 billion ($11.7 billion) in Germany in 2010 and it is expected to top euro13.5 billion ($19.2 billion) this year. The program - which has been copied by other countries and several U.S. states such as California - is the backbone of the country's transition toward renewable energies.

"Our ideas work. Exiting the nuclear age would also be possible in a country like the U.S.," Schuetz said.

Another factor likely to drive up electricity prices is that relying on renewable energies requires a huge investment in the electricity grid to cope with more decentralized and less reliable sources of power. Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle just announced legislation to speed up grid construction but gave no cost estimate.

And even if non-nuclear power is more expensive, Germans seeing images daily of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear complex seem willing to pay the higher price.

Ralph Kampwirth, spokesman for Lichtblick AG, Germany's biggest utility offering electricity exclusively from renewable sources, said since the Fukushima disaster it has been getting nearly three times more new clients than normal, up from 300 to more than 800 per day, despite prices slightly above average.

Sticking with nuclear power would also have its costs and require public funds.

The only two new nuclear reactors currently under construction in Europe, in France and in Finland, both have been plagued by long delays and seen costs virtually doubling, to around euro4 billion ($5.7 billion) and euro5.3 billion ($7.5 billion) respectively.

The disposal of spent nuclear fuel is also a costly problem, but it has no set price tag in Germany because the government has failed to find a sustainable solution.

Many decades-old reactors are highly profitable as their initial cost has been written off, but they now face higher costs as regulators push for safety upgrades in the wake of the disaster. One of the most pressing - and costly - requirements is likely to be a mandatory upgrade to reinforce all nuclear power plants' outer shell to withstand a crash of a commercial airliner.

Utility EnBW pulled the plug for good on one reactor temporarily shut down by the government because the new requirements made operating it "no longer economically viable."

But even if Germany abandons , some of Europe's 143 nuclear reactors will still sit right on its borders.

Since France and other nations are firmly committed to nuclear power, shutting down all reactors across Europe won't happen, but Merkel is now pushing for common safety standards. The topic will be discussed at the European Union summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

Merkel said the 27-nation bloc, which has standardized "the size of apples or the shape of bananas," needs joint standards for nuclear power plants.

"Everybody in Europe would be equally affected by an accident at a in Europe," Merkel said.

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User comments : 154

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TabulaMentis
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 23, 2011
Hurry; tell the people over at CBS, CNN, ABC and NBC who are owned by nuclear power manufacturers that their future nuclear power ambitions are finished.
Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (10) Mar 23, 2011
Like I said before I'm glad. I hope more countries do this. It's just one less country that will be above the level of Somalia to compete with.
hush1
3 / 5 (2) Mar 23, 2011
U.S. media can always assert they don't trust anything that sounds foreign to them...especially language.
apex01
3.3 / 5 (14) Mar 23, 2011
Great, abandon nuclear energy and substitute it with what? Coal?? It sounds like they're going to turn into a second California(import most of their electricity) and brag about how clean they are. Do the Germans know what Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors are?
TabulaMentis
3.5 / 5 (8) Mar 23, 2011
U.S. media can always assert they don't trust anything that sounds foreign to them...especially language.
You underestimate the intelligence of Germans.
TabulaMentis
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2011
Great, abandon nuclear energy and substitute it with what? Coal?? It sounds like they're going to turn into a second California(import most of their electricity) and brag about how clean they are. Do the Germans know what Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors are?
Maybe you should Google and see what the German's have up their sleeve.
SteveL
4.6 / 5 (8) Mar 23, 2011
If my information is correct that the US only has about 65 years worth of materials suitable for nuclear energy (without mining) then perhaps it should be considered a transitory energy source. I think it's a viable source of energy for at least the near term. However recent events indicate that the geographical location is obviously of more import in planning than it was apparently given previously.

The Japaneese are smart folks. They engineered for the earth quake (which it survived), but apparently not for the tsunami. In obvious retrospect this was a poor choice of location for a reactor, but then, that is a cheap shot now in light of their loss. We shouldn't panic and consider nuclear power to be an unviable source of energy. However, we should learn from this event and consider that with a national network of high voltage DC lines - reactors don't have to be in high risk or high population areas. When it comes to energy there are no silver bullets, just risk vs. reward.
TabulaMentis
3 / 5 (6) Mar 23, 2011
Great, abandon nuclear energy and substitute it with what? Coal?? It sounds like they're going to turn into a second California(import most of their electricity) and brag about how clean they are. Do the Germans know what Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors are?

See the following map of power plants in California:

http://(omit)
.energy.ca.gov/maps/POWER_PLANTS_STATEWIDE.PDF

California only has around five coal power plants and their days are numbered. California does not import any power from other states derived from coal. They stopped doing so several years ago.
mrlewish
2.6 / 5 (7) Mar 23, 2011
If that's their solution for their energy problems then good for them. I just don't hope that they, zee Germans, don't start advocating their solution for everybody else. That can be so annoying
TabulaMentis
2 / 5 (1) Mar 23, 2011
However, we should learn from this event and consider that with a national network of high voltage DC lines - reactors don't have to be in high risk or high population areas.
Are you referring to DC current? If so, then the power line sizes would be enormous.
TabulaMentis
5 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2011
If that's their solution for their energy problems then good for them. I just don't hope that they, zee Germans, don't start advocating their solution for everybody else. That can be so annoying

I advocate H20, gravity engines, teleporters and fusion power no later than 2050!
Eikka
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2011
Germany has been here before, and like before, they don't really have any actual alternatives other than handwaving. They haven't solved any of the problems - nobody has.

So, good luck. We'll see you when you come back.
StarDust21
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 23, 2011
why would they abandon one of the cleanest source of energy? What are they gonna put instead? coal, natural gas, oil?

....
Eikka
3.2 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2011
why would they abandon one of the cleanest source of energy? What are they gonna put instead? coal, natural gas, oil?

....


Probably all of that.

You can also include biomass, which means more deforestation and soil erosion and water pollution, and more hydro power which means more methane emissions and more ruined landscape and animal habitats.

TabulaMentis
5 / 5 (2) Mar 23, 2011
I advocate H20, gravity engines, teleporters and fusion power no later than 2050!
My mistake. I meant to say no later than 2060!
kaasinees
4.2 / 5 (6) Mar 23, 2011
Germany has a high rate of solar panels, because of the subsidies and use of the energy on the grid. Also germany has a huge piece of land that gets alot of sun. Germany is seeing an explosive amount of solar panels and wind energy.
Modernmystic
4 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2011
If my information is correct that the US only has about 65 years worth of materials suitable for nuclear energy (without mining) then perhaps it should be considered a transitory energy source.


It's very incorrect, there is an arbitrary amount of fissile material with current breeder technology and reprocessing in the environment.
Modernmystic
2.6 / 5 (7) Mar 23, 2011
Germany has a high rate of solar panels, because of the subsidies and use of the energy on the grid. Also germany has a huge piece of land that gets alot of sun. Germany is seeing an explosive amount of solar panels and wind energy.


And where will they be in 50 years when their energy requirements are exponentially higher than they are now? Will they cover the entire country in panels and wind turbines?
Eikka
4 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2011
Germany has a high rate of solar panels, because of the subsidies and use of the energy on the grid. Also germany has a huge piece of land that gets alot of sun. Germany is seeing an explosive amount of solar panels and wind energy.


But they're also perilously close to the limit of how much "random power" from solar and wind they can reliably sink into the grid. Part of the reason why they do export a lot of energy, while still being utterly dependent on natural gas from Russia.

In theory, Germany could power itself completely with renewable 'average power', but then nobody else in Europe could. Just like Denmark - by living next to a powerhouse ten times bigger than yourself who can easily pick up the slack that you can't.
Eikka
3.5 / 5 (2) Mar 23, 2011
Will they cover the entire country in panels and wind turbines?


They already have 17 GW of solar power installed, and it is producing 1.34 GW on average as of 2010 which means that for every square meter in germany, you can get about 10 Watts throughout the year.

Germany has 357,021 sq-km so 1% of that could produce 35.7 GW or roughly all of the electricity that they're using right now.

The area isn't a problem. The daily and seasonal variability is.

If you couldn't sell it to other countries, where would you put half a year's worth of electricity on a national scale, and from where would you take it back when its winter time again and the sun is low?
Modernmystic
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2011
Will they cover the entire country in panels and wind turbines?


They already have 17 GW of solar power installed, and it is producing 1.34 GW on average as of 2010 which means that for every square meter in germany, you can get about 10 Watts throughout the year.

Germany has 357,021 sq-km so 1% of that could produce 35.7 GW or roughly all of the electricity that they're using right now.

The area isn't a problem. The daily and seasonal variability is.

If you couldn't sell it to other countries, where would you put half a year's worth of electricity on a national scale, and from where would you take it back when its winter time again and the sun is low?


Global energy usage is doubling every twenty years AND accelerating at the same time...do the math.
bg1
4.3 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2011
Do the Germans know what Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors are?

Yes, they developed them in the 70's and 80's.
kaasinees
3.7 / 5 (6) Mar 23, 2011
Global energy usage is doubling every twenty years AND accelerating at the same time...do the math.

What nonsense is that?
The energy per household is decreasing, yes in other parts of the world like china energy consumption might be rising because their economies are growing, but that has nothing todo with Germany.
Think about the uprising of LED's, more energy efficient devices etc.
apex01
2.8 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2011
Germany has a high rate of solar panels, because of the subsidies and use of the energy on the grid. Also germany has a huge piece of land that gets alot of sun. Germany is seeing an explosive amount of solar panels and wind energy.


"Subsidies".... really? When are people going to realize that subsides to assets that don't pull their own weight just ties up the money and stagnates the economy. The best thing you can do with subsidies is direct it into R&D. That or tax breaks to companies that demonstrate better effeciency(through innovation) for their customers. Why are are Spain and Italy cutting back on their energy subsides? http://www.google...;qscrl=1
Modernmystic
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2011
What nonsense is that?
The energy per household is decreasing, yes in other parts of the world like china energy consumption might be rising because their economies are growing, but that has nothing todo with Germany.


False. Germany's along with EVERY other country on the face of the planet's energy consumption is rising steadily and will continue to do so as long as civilization continues to advance.

Ever heard of the Kardashev scale? It's a good general guide to "where your civilization is" because it's based on the basic defining factor of ANY technical civilization...power usage.

Here's the stats on Germany hope the spam filters don't mess it up...

http://data.un.or...mID%3aEC
kaasinees
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2011
Your link does not prove your claims.
Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2011
Your link does not prove your claims.


Can't read?

Here ya go.

Germany Electricity - total net installed capacity of electric power plants, public & self-producer 2007 Kilowatts, thousand 132,593
Germany Electricity - total net installed capacity of electric power plants, public & self-producer 2006 Kilowatts, thousand 131,584
Germany Electricity - total net installed capacity of electric power plants, public & self-producer 2005 Kilowatts, thousand 125,031
Germany Electricity - total net installed capacity of electric power plants, public & self-producer 2004 Kilowatts, thousand 124,574
Germany Electricity - total net installed capacity of electric power plants, public & self-producer 2003 Kilowatts, thousand 125,057
Germany Electricity - total net installed capacity of electric power plants, public & self-producer 2002 Kilowatts, thousand 126,255

There's plenty more but you can only do so much with 1000 chars.
Modernmystic
1.3 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2011
If you don't like those here's a link to a chart that gives worldwide stats, just keep going back every year to compare...

http://www.nation...ate=2004
Eikka
5 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2011
Your link does not prove your claims.


Can't read?

Here ya go.


Still doesn't prove your point. Installed capacity is not the same as used capacity. The electricity use in Germany has gone up about 7.9% since 2003 in absolute terms, but for the past 4 years has stagnated and even gone down slightly.

Part of the reason is that the coefficient of power for renewable energy is absolutely s**t. Wind power makes 15-25% of its nominal capacity, solar power makes 8-9% of its nominal capacity. You have to overbuild massively to get energy out of it.

Another part is the fact that the EROEI of many sources of energy is decreasing, so to make an unit of energy takes more energy than before and that shows up indirectly as increased consumption, even though no more energy would be needed if you discounted the losses.
Eikka
5 / 5 (6) Mar 23, 2011
In fact, if you look at some reputable sources instead of trying to fish out a signal from disparate numbers, you'd go find something like this:

http://www.eia.do...0%29.pdf

For Europe, the average annual change has been estimated at 0.2% so 20 years from now we would use...

4% more energy than now! Wow, what a shocker!

Asia on the other hand would be at +74% of today's figures.
kaasinees
4 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2011
"Subsidies".... really?

Yes. Its one of the main reasons for the explosive grow of solar in germany.
Think about the costs to the government of non-renewable energy, specificly medical costs, cleaning costs etc.
It makes the solar devices economicly viable, there are companies that "rent" peoples roofs to put their solar panels on.
kaasinees
2.5 / 5 (2) Mar 23, 2011
4% more energy than now! Wow, what a shocker!


Also think about the greying of countries for ex the UK, that would put the energy consumption down alot.
But countries like Germany and the Netherlands see alot of settling immigrants, and a slight economical grow of Computer Technology(think Data Centers) that put the % slighty more up.
holoman
3.3 / 5 (6) Mar 23, 2011
The world can live without nuclear and Germany will prove it.
paulthebassguy
4 / 5 (4) Mar 23, 2011
Great, abandon nuclear energy and substitute it with what? Coal?? It sounds like they're going to turn into a second California(import most of their electricity) and brag about how clean they are. Do the Germans know what Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors are?


Your opinions are biased by current technology. Germany intends to invest in new power generating technology.
newscience
3 / 5 (6) Mar 23, 2011
The measurements of radiation reported in Japan are misleading.
If you breath in one piece of plutonium smaller that you can see it can get stuck in your lungs or throat and cause cancer and lead to death. Even though the radiation meter says it is reading low for this same piece of dust at one meter. Nobody has said what the dark cloud was yesterday coming from the plutonium reactor #3 blowing inland. Not measuring what is in that cloud is sloppy science which can lead to death. Germany is finally on the right path. No private investor will invest in nuclear because of the high liability. No insurance company will insure them. In the US the taxpayer is forced to pay the insurance and the cleanup for hundreds of years. The whole thing is insane.
TabulaMentis
1.7 / 5 (3) Mar 23, 2011
And where will they be in 50 years when their energy requirements are exponentially higher than they are now? Will they cover the entire country in panels and wind turbines?
Innovation will exceed demand, plus solar panels and wind turbines are only part of the future tech to meet energy requirements. The use of nuclear fission would be to go backwards in tech, not forward. It is so yesterday!
Fionn
3.9 / 5 (7) Mar 23, 2011
What utter idiocy. The incident in Japan means nothing but what we've known for decades: old reactors aren't as safe as new ones, BWRs aren't as safe as PWRs.

If anything, it should be spurring a new wave of reactor building, with every Gen II reactor being replaced with a Gen III+ or Gen V thorium reactors, eliminating the risk of Gen II reactors while providing for more, and greener, electricity.

Ban Gen II designs, mandate they all be off-line and demolished in five years, but don't go cold-turkey off nuclear until fusion is viable. Otherwise, you're just going to be burning more coal and natural gas.

Coal, working properly, releases sulfur, radioactive soot, and mercury. More men die coal mining every year than have ever died from nuke plant disasters. Fracking releases toxins and radioactivity into the water supply. And all fossil fuels are reaching, if they haven't already, their peak. We need dependable, long-term electricity, and it ain't wind or solar.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2011
Nuclear fission is not green, nor safe. Blow up a dam and lots of people may die downstream. Blow up a nuclear power generator and millions of people could die and make land none usable for years, some of the property worth billions to trillions of dollars. Nuclear power generation needs to be stopped worldwide except for government useage among friendly countries.
SteveL
5 / 5 (2) Mar 23, 2011
However, we should learn from this event and consider that with a national network of high voltage DC lines - reactors don't have to be in high risk or high population areas.
Are you referring to DC current? If so, then the power line sizes would be enormous.


Not that huge. Part of the Pacific DC intertie goes through the very NW corner of some property I own in NW Nevada. See: h_t_t_p://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_DC_Intertie

Actually HVDC is an excellent way to transmit power long distances (think of power plants in low population and low risk areas) and is a logical solution for system redundancy and a nation-wide power network.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Mar 23, 2011
@SteveL:

Yeah. I check it out and you are right. I was thinking about Edison and Tesla back in the 1800s and how Tesla's AC won out over Edison's DC. But, today with the direct current solar cell systems, etc., HVDC is the way to go, unless the load/feeders are mainly alternating current. Plus, the power is cleaner with much less electromagnetic radiation pollution.
hush1
5 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2011
You underestimate the intelligence of Germans.


lol
Thank you. An old folk German proverb:
They can only cook with water, as well.
Out of laziness, paraphrased.

We provided the notes, when our Italian neighbors excelled the world with Italian music instrument building craftsmanship. Always that artistic touch.

We have no idea if they overextended their handwork of the past with their cold fusion craftsmanship of today.

Cold fusion and superconductivity becoming viable at the same time staggers the imagination.
MarkyMark
not rated yet Mar 24, 2011
Well i wish them luck. Who knows they may succeed and give others an alternative to look at. Then again maybee not!

I will wait to see how this develops before i judge this plan.
88HUX88
5 / 5 (3) Mar 24, 2011
all this concern over the supply side, just to remind everyone it is also possible to consume less (yes, I know that is not the complete solution but it should form a part)
antialias
4.2 / 5 (5) Mar 24, 2011
Also germany has a huge piece of land that gets alot of sun.
It does? Funny. I live in germany. It's the size of Texas with 80 million people in it. We have no space to spare and the sun is not plentiful. STILL it is enough to supply a sizeable amount of our energy needs. People said that alternative energy would never go beysond 3-4%. guess what: we're at 17% now (and rising).

What are they gonna put instead? coal, natural gas, oil?
Solar, wind, wave and biomass (ther is enough 'garbage' biomass to fuel this so that no extra agricultural output is needed.

I just don't hope that they, zee Germans, don't start advocating their solution for everybody else. That can be so annoying

You don't like it when people export their high tech? Going green will create lots of jobs (green power is highly decentralized). It will also create a lot of know-how others will want once the oil/coal/nuclear runs out or becomes politically undesirable.
Jo01
3 / 5 (4) Mar 24, 2011
" ... Do the Germans know what Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors are?

Kind of ironic. They invented it.
The test reactor leaked radiation and management tried to cover this up by blaming it on Chernobyl.
So, Pebbles aren't save and organizations cant be trusted. Two huge no's for nuclear energy.

J.
frajo
1 / 5 (5) Mar 24, 2011
I just don't hope that they, zee Germans, don't start advocating their solution for everybody else. That can be so annoying

You don't like it when people export their high tech? Going green will create lots of jobs (green power is highly decentralized). It will also create a lot of know-how others will want once the oil/coal/nuclear runs out or becomes politically undesirable.
The Germans will have to accept that some of the manners some of their community members are exhibiting are not unanimously welcomed everywhere.
Eikka
5 / 5 (6) Mar 24, 2011
People said that alternative energy would never go beysond 3-4%. guess what: we're at 17% now (and rising).


That depends entirely on how you count.

Yes, you do have 17% of your capacity in renewable energy, but e.g. your solar capacity only produces 2% of the demand.

That's because, like I pointed out before, the coefficient of power for renewable energies is poor. You get 10% what it says on the nameplate on average.

Same thing in Denmark. They have over 20% of their capacity in wind power, yet only 3% of the country's demand is being met directly by renewable energy. Divide 3 by 20 and you get 15 which is quite close to the actual Cp of wind power. They do make a bit more out of wind, but they have to sell it to Norway because they can't use it directly.

You have to look through the smoke and mirrors to understand how these things work.
Eikka
5 / 5 (4) Mar 24, 2011

You don't like it when people export their high tech? Going green will create lots of jobs (green power is highly decentralized). It will also create a lot of know-how others will want once the oil/coal/nuclear runs out or becomes politically undesirable.


You're not actually exporting high tech. The subsidies for solar energy are, at the moment, leaking to China because people are buying cheaper older tech solar panels to get more profit from the subsidies.

The system has been rigged so that as solar power becomes more profitable and starts to break even economically, the subsidies would slowly vanish. The problem of this design is that if you can get solar panels cheaply somewhere, it pays you huge sums of money to install old tech panels in large quantities right now when the money is still flowing.

The end result is that tax payers lose money, don't get much electricity, and the technology isn't going anywhere because no money is spent on R&D.
antialias
4 / 5 (3) Mar 24, 2011
The subsidies for solar energy are, at the moment, leaking to China because people are buying cheaper older tech solar panels to get more profit from the subsidies

Solar panels are actually the smallest part of the alternative energy generated over here. (Although their use doubled just in the last year they still only contribute 2% to the total)

Spending on R&D has nbeen slashed by 700million Euros this year. A wildly unpopular move. Expect that to be reversed come the next elections.

However, if you look at nuclear and calculate all costs (excluding accidents) you get an energy cost of 2EUR per kWh. This is WAY beyond any cost of alternative energy sources - subsidies or no.

Looking at coal/oil (and the possible costs due to global wwarming/rsiing sea levels) the figures don't look any better. alternative energy sources are, in the long run, a lot cheaper than the 'conventional' ones.
Eikka
4.3 / 5 (4) Mar 24, 2011

However, if you look at nuclear and calculate all costs (excluding accidents) you get an energy cost of 2EUR per kWh. This is WAY beyond any cost of alternative energy sources - subsidies or no.


Any reputable peer-reviewed articles on that one?

I have seen one crackpot document circulated around the net, but that's it.
Eikka
5 / 5 (3) Mar 24, 2011

Solar panels are actually the smallest part of the alternative energy generated over here. (Although their use doubled just in the last year they still only contribute 2% to the total)


That's true, but as of 2009 wind power contributed only 6.5% to the total demand, so it's not that much more.

And these are the particular technologies that the government is planning to use to increase the share of renewable energy in the grid.

Because the problem with agricultural waste and biomethane etc. is that there's just so much to go around. It's very low intensity energy that takes a lot to produce.

For example, if you would turn the toilet waste of every Swede into methane, you could power about 10,000 cars and that's it. No more. 9 million people pooping to power a handful of cars.
antialias
4.5 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2011
[q 9Because the problem with agricultural waste and biomethane etc. is that there's just so much to go around. It's very low intensity energy that takes a lot to produce. That's why you don't use it constantly but only in times where the other kinds aren't available.

9 million people pooping to power a handful of cars.

A car uses a lot more power than you do (on average) in your home. And there are a lot more biofuel sources available than poop.

Plus: In germany total energy use has actually decreased over the past years (combination of declining population numbers, better effiency and the economics slump)

That's true, but as of 2009 wind power contributed only 6.5% to the total demand, so it's not that much more.

Off shore windfarms are just getting started. There is a LOT of potential there. And wave/current energy hasn't even been tried yet. The possibilites in those areas alone are huge.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Mar 24, 2011

Off shore windfarms are just getting started. There is a LOT of potential there. And wave/current energy hasn't even been tried yet. The possibilites in those areas alone are huge.


And have you yet solved the problem of how to use that energy, or do you just plan to sell it like Denmark does and then buy nuclear energy back from France?
Eikka
not rated yet Mar 24, 2011

A car uses a lot more power than you do (on average) in your home. And there are a lot more biofuel sources available than poop.


A car would use about 2 MWh of energy per year directly, and turned into methane that would be about 6 MWh a year. 10,000 cars would therefore equal 60 GWh a year. The total energy consumption of Sweden is 376 TWh a year in 2010, so that would represent about 0.1% of their demand.

That puts things in scale.
Eikka
not rated yet Mar 24, 2011
That's why you don't use it constantly but only in times where the other kinds aren't available.


Like about 80% of the time, when you're talking about wind power. Let me quote:

http://en.wikiped...nd_power

Because so much power is generated by higher wind speed, much of the energy comes in short bursts. The 2002 Lee Ranch sample is telling;[13] half of the energy available arrived in just 15% of the operating time.


There's a simple physical reason to that. The power of wind increases to the cube of its speed, so it works in a rather on/off fashion. Furthermore, the probability of windspeeds is towards the lower end of the spectrum, so you get the power surge effect. When it's turning, it really turns. When it doesn't, it doesn't do much. Most of the time it doesn't.
Eikka
not rated yet Mar 24, 2011
Or to quote E.on Netz - A German grid operator.

http://www.nerc.c..._eng.pdf

Wind energy is only able to replace traditional power stations to a limited extent. Their dependence on the prevailing wind conditions means that wind power has a limited load factor even when technically available. It is not possible to guarantee its use for the continual cover of electricity consumption. Consequently, traditional power stations with capacities equal to 90% of the installed wind power capacity must be permanently online in order to guarantee power supply at all times.


They aren't trying to sugar coat it, because they have to deal with it.
Eikka
not rated yet Mar 24, 2011
Also, in terms of greenhouse gasses. France which produces most of its energy out of nuclear power makes 90 grams of CO2 for every kWh of electricity.

Finland, which has virtually no wind or solar energy, or the potential for biomass production except for the forest industry, produces 240 grams for every kWh.

Germany is at 600 g/kWh and Denmark is ironically at 840 grams per kWh according to the 2005 estimates of the IEA.

The correlation here is with the use of renewable energy - it seems the more a country tries to be ecological by employing renewables and shunning nuclear power, the more it fails.

TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2011
The Germans will have to accept that some of the manners some of their community members are exhibiting are not unanimously welcomed everywhere.

@Frago:

Glad to see you have joined a subject that is more important than talking about religious this and religious that. Skeptic Heretic and Ethelred should jump into this subject as well because there are so many politicians and many elite who are trying to pull a fast one. Natural gas power generation can pickup any slack that those nukeheads are trying to push over on us. There are other techs coming down the pike as well. Offshore wind turbines instead of offshore drilling sounds like a great idea. They may not be as attractive; however movie stars will not have to worry about gooey stuff getting stuck between their toes while walking along the beach with paparazzi following them.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Mar 24, 2011
Part of the reason is that the coefficient of power for renewable energy is absolutely s**t. Wind power makes 15-25% of its nominal capacity, solar power makes 8-9% of its nominal capacity. You have to overbuild massively to get energy out of it.

@Eikka:

Do you work for a nuclear forum getting paid to say these things? I wonder about people in the media as well getting paid under the table. I do not get your point. You are so negative towards anything but nuclear. What is your problem? Germans got sucker by Adolf Hitler and I guess the media pulled a fast one on the German public as well. Germany had decided to go green and then all the sudden they changed their minds and announced that they had scrapped their plans and where going to build bunches of nuke plants. I am glad to see they have come to their senses. Maybe the media over there should be reprimanded. At about the same time the UK changed their minds too. I wonder why the UK changed their minds?
antialias
not rated yet Mar 24, 2011
When it's turning, it really turns. When it doesn't, it doesn't do much. Most of the time it doesn't.

Off shore it does. And if you spread your windmills accross the country then the wind blows somewhere, always. We already had a long running test of a grid connecting some twenty odd power plants all over germany including solar, wind and biomass to cover base loads all year round. It worked. Biomass was only used intermittently to tide over when wind. This urban legend of "wind doesn't blow, sun doesn't shine" just won't die - even in the face of tests and facts.

The larger your grid (and the grid over here is connected accross all of Europe) the less there is any variability due to _local_ lack of wind and sunshine.
TabulaMentis
1.3 / 5 (4) Mar 24, 2011
I am speaking on the behalf of the Americas. We over here do not have the problem with a lack of natural resources, including wind and sun that many other parts of the world lack. Nukes have no place over here, unless someone is trying to line their pockets with gold, bankrupt the USA and dominate its people.
frajo
5 / 5 (1) Mar 24, 2011
Glad to see you have joined a subject that is more important than talking about religious this and religious that.
Sorry to disappoint you again, but I'm agnostic on this subject. My favorite is fusion, though.
Modernmystic
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 24, 2011
I am speaking on the behalf of the Americas. We over here do not have the problem with a lack of natural resources, including wind and sun that many other parts of the world lack. Nukes have no place over here, unless someone is trying to line their pockets with gold, bankrupt the USA and dominate its people.


Strike that, reverse it...

In the end the ONLY viable long term option is fusion. Fission will work fine too, but after the maturation of the technology will probably be more expensive and more "dangerous" than fusion.

Wind and solar, will NEVER provide enough energy for an advancing highly technical civilization. Burning bio matter lines the pockets of crazed religious zealots hell bent on raining nuclear fire on people who are likely to respond in kind and drag the rest of the world into it...

But it IS kind of funny to see people flailing about trying to make solar and wind into something it will NEVER be. Good luck with all that.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Mar 24, 2011
Sorry to disappoint you again, but I'm agnostic on this subject. My favorite is fusion, though.
I second that thought, but just when will fusion become available?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Mar 24, 2011
In the end the ONLY viable long term option is fusion.
I agree, but when will it become available? Fusion will not replace practical gravity engines, nor H2O power for autos, trucks, trains and vessels.

Fission will work fine too, but after the maturation of the technology will probably be more expensive and more "dangerous" than fusion.
Then why go there?

Wind and solar, will NEVER provide enough energy for an advancing highly technical civilization.
Maybe you should think about how to make coal clean or is that beyond your capability, not to say that is the only option?

continued
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Mar 24, 2011
Burning bio matter lines the pockets of crazed religious zealots hell bent on raining nuclear fire on people who are likely to respond in kind and drag the rest of the world into it.
Then you propose to let evil prevail?

But it IS kind of funny to see people flailing about trying to make solar and wind into something it will NEVER be. Good luck with all that.
There are many more options!

Note: Fusion sounds like the best option. Let us all put our minds and money into the tech and make it a reality! But for the time being, let's forget about nuclear fission.
SteveL
5 / 5 (1) Mar 24, 2011
As for what to do with the excess (transient) capacity from renewable energy; Duke Energy's Bad Creek pumped hydroelectric facility seems to me the most viable.

h_t_t_p://www.duke-energy.com/power-plants/pumped-storage-hydro/bad-creek.asp

The energy stored in the water in the upper lake is used to generate power as needed. The down side in this particular instance is that you can't really use these smaller lakes for alternative purposes such as boating or sailing. Larger lakes though could benefit from this technique.
rgwalther
not rated yet Mar 24, 2011
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong....
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2011
As for what to do with the excess (transient) capacity from renewable energy; Duke Energy's Bad Creek pumped hydroelectric facility seems to me the most viable.

Hydropower is the keyword people who are interested should research. See the following Wikipedia link:

http://en.wikiped...dropower

Waterwheels, mini-dams are other keywords for people to search. There is gold in that water that people can make that they are watching going down stream.

Half-dams are good for those who want fish to go upstream.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2011
For those who want fusion power, then look at this Wikipedia webpage:

http://en.wikiped...iki/DEMO

There is gold in that water that people can make that they are watching go downstream.

Half-dams are also good for boats that want to go up and downstream. I am making this up, though it does sound good.
Beard
5 / 5 (5) Mar 26, 2011
which Chancellor Angela Merkel has called a "catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions"


Why is this person leading a country?
hush1
1 / 5 (3) Mar 26, 2011
Fusion

I agree, but when will it become available?


Note: Fusion sounds like the best option. Let us all put our minds and money into the tech and make it a reality!


The smile.
The irony.
The Sun.

Why is this person leading a country?


Knows socialism first hand?
Is a woman?
Is a scientist?
Can be the first leader ever on maternity leave?
Takes the pill?
(Strike that last one - dunno)
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (3) Mar 26, 2011
Why is this person leading a country?
Probably because her party is getting kickbacks under the table and for political campaigns/re-elections. It seems politicians are only worried about getting elected and as soon as they do get elected they immediately start worrying about getting reelected which breeds corruption big-time.

Obama is trying to do the same thing with fission nuke electric power. It is a big time money business.

All one needs to do is to follow the money. See the following article about GE who makes nuke plants and owns one of the big media conglomerates:

http://(omit).thetakeaway.org/2011/mar/25/ges-tax-return-billion/

Chancellor Angela Merkel or her party is up for re-election. Physorg.com has some articles about that over the last couple of days. People who are concerned may want to connect the dots.
yoatmon
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 26, 2011
The Germans will have to accept that some of the manners some of their community members are exhibiting are not unanimously welcomed everywhere.

Frajo, your statement is not restricted to the Germans only; it applies to everyone worldwide including yourself.
For this very reason, I recommend that you restrict your favor for nuclear to yourself.
Don't forget that the Germans lent a major contribution to the development of nuclear rechnology. You seem to have a high preference for some of their technological contributions while at the same time refuting others. On what basis do you make your decisions?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) Mar 26, 2011
@Hush1:
With FUSION nuclear power only two decades away and with the USA having all its natural gas reserves that could be used to power gas turbines, then why would anyone in their right mind start building 200 fission nuclear power plants as some in congress are proposing?
hush1
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011
Well, it is no longer fashionable to drop the bomb. So give everyone 'plants' instead. And we all know 'accidents' or even 'unforeseeable natural disasters' are 'unavoidable'.

Seriously though, I don't know anyone in their right mind. lol
frajo
not rated yet Mar 26, 2011
The Germans will have to accept that some of the manners some of their community members are exhibiting are not unanimously welcomed everywhere.
your statement is not restricted to the Germans only; it applies to everyone worldwide including yourself.
I think you're right.
But why did you strip that quote of its context? With its context included you would be wrong.
For this very reason, I recommend that you restrict your favor for nuclear to yourself.
Thanks for the recommendation, but what makes you think I favour "nuclear"?
Don't forget that the Germans lent a major contribution to the development of nuclear rechnology. You seem to have a high preference for some of their technological contributions
Which German contributions? What makes you think so?
while at the same time refuting others.
Which German contributions did I refute?
On what basis do you make your decisions?
Which decisions?
pernar
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
Here - have some - but don't use them all at once:

antialias_physorg
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
"The Germans will have to accept that some of the manners some of their community members are exhibiting are not unanimously welcomed everywhere. "

Our attitude to this is much like the americans' atitude to criticism of what they do: Who cares what others think?

Whether that's right or wrong is up to each person to decide. Personally I think it's prudent to at least consider opinions of outsiders. But utimately people are individuals. So why should an entire people care (or be made responsible for) how some individuals think or behave?
frajo
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
The Germans will have to accept that some of the manners some of their community members are exhibiting are not unanimously welcomed everywhere.
So why should an entire people care (or be made responsible for) how some individuals think or behave?
Did anyone write they should care or the entire people should be made responsible?
hush1
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
@antialias

Our attitude to this is much like the americans' atitude to criticism of what they do: Who cares what others think?


Sind Sie Deutscher? Ich bin Deutscher.
(Are you German? I am German.)

Anyway, JFK's "Ich bin ein Berliner!" gaffe is still an all-time classic. I wonder to this day, if anyone one told him.
lol :)
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2011

Anyway, JFK's "Ich bin ein Berliner!" gaffe is still an all-time classic. I wonder to this day, if anyone one told him.
lol :)


Probably a lot, and ironically, it wasn't a gaffe.

Whereas the citizens of Berlin naturally do refer to themselves as Berliner, they generally do not refer to jelly doughnuts as Berliner. While these are known as Berliner Pfannkuchen (literally meaning "Berlin Pancake(s)"), commonly shortened to Berliner in other areas of Germany, they are simply called Pfannkuchen (pancakes) in and around Berlin.[6] According to the German History Museum, the theoretical ambiguity went unnoticed by Kennedy's audience.


He was speaking figuratively, so of course he had to use "ein".
Eikka
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011

Off shore it does. And if you spread your windmills accross the country then the wind blows somewhere, always. We already had a long running test of a grid connecting some twenty odd power plants...


I've seen those tests by E.on as well, and it isn't quite how you make it seem. It takes an area of about a 1000 kilometers in diameter to have any sort of reliability for wind power, and the transmission losses at that distance are huge. That's why there's been proposals for the European supergrid using HVDC and superconductive power lines. Even so, you need pretty much the whole continent from north to south and even then it is somewhat probable that the grid will black out entirely at times.

And the problem of solar energy isn't that the sun doesn't shine, but that the sun only shines when it's daytime, and fixed photovoltaic panels are further limited to just a couple hours of that, because of their inherent limitations. (angle of incidence related problems)
OdieNewton
2.5 / 5 (2) Mar 27, 2011
Wow, I just read all of these comments. It's all very enlightening, but upon first glance I would have thought that the simple solution would be "If you are an island country susceptible to natural disasters, you should cut back and maybe dismantle your nuclear power." Of course, I'm not saying that everyone else is impervious to unpredictable (as of yet) disasters, but this is not the first earthquake-spawned tsunami we have seen and we know that the statistics are weighted against island countries on and around the "Ring of Fire" fault lines. I may be naive, but I don't think that everywhere somebody builds a reactor is going to suddenly be struck by an earthquake and kill millions of people.
frajo
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
Anyway, JFK's "Ich bin ein Berliner!" gaffe is still an all-time classic.
How many Germans know that he was referring to the much older classic "Civis Romanus sum"?
hush1
5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2011
How many Germans know that he was referring to the much older classic "Civis Romanus sum"?


Ah, none?

Maybe the gaffe threw them all of track. ;)
hush1
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
of=off
(typo) (gaffe!)lol
hush1
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
He was speaking figuratively, so of course he had to use "ein".


O.k. Interesting. I have never heard that explanation until now.
frajo
5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2011
Anyway, JFK's "Ich bin ein Berliner!" gaffe is still an all-time classic.
How many Germans know that he was referring to the much older classic "Civis Romanus sum"?
How many US Americans know that he was comparing the US to the Imperium Romanum?
antialias
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
Anyway, JFK's "Ich bin ein Berliner!"

Urban legend. It was not a gaffe. It's correct german.

Only if you willfully try to superimpose the secondary meaning of 'Berliner' as the pastry of the same type is it a 'gaffe'. But in Berlin, where the speech was held, the 'Berliner' pastry is not known as a 'Berliner' - there it is referred to as a 'Krapfen'. So the crowd would not even have been aware of any _possible_ gaffe.
hush1
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
How many US Americans know that he was comparing the US to the Imperium Romanum?


That depends.
There is no consensus in psychology when exactly a denial phase begins or ends. ;)
hush1
not rated yet Mar 27, 2011
Es klingt Alles nach Schadensbegrenzung.
Sind Sie Zweisprachig?
It's not 'correct' German. You are rationalizing.

Only if you willfully try to superimpose the secondary meaning ...

"So the crowd would not even have been aware..."


is being more than presumptuous.

Burnerjack
5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2011
Up until the JFK speech, the blog was quite interesting (really, the "gaffe" was too...). Back at the ranch.... Why so much emotion? Its really a question of Safe(st),clean(est) and most practical power source and distribution, no?
Of all the power sources discussed, you all left out Geothermal.
WHY,WHY,WHY? Although initial outlay is substantial, utilizing "abandoned" wells are halfway 'there' already (?).
Because this energy source is EVERYWHERE, source to destination paths can be of minimal length. With a deep enough well, a coaxial pipeline can produce indefinitely.
I suspect a subsidy for initial development could be well worth the result compared to other subsidies. This ommision I myself find staggering.
Please, if any of you can answer constructively as to why this is not considered seriously beyond Norway, Iceland, Some locations in the US and the Phillopines, I would love to hear it.
antialias
5 / 5 (2) Mar 27, 2011
Sind Sie Zweisprachig?

Yes. And I am german, living in germany (english is my second language).

Saying that "Ich bin ein Berliner" is a gaffe would be like trying to say that:
"We'll have a gay old time..." (from the opening lyrics of the Flintstones cartoon) is a gaffe because 'gay' means 'fun' but also 'homosexual'.

When a citizen of Berlin comes up to you and says: "Ich bin ein Berliner" then what he means is not ambiguous and nobody in germany would laugh because of any possible double meaning of the word 'Berliner'.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Mar 27, 2011

Please, if any of you can answer constructively as to why this is not considered seriously beyond Norway, Iceland, Some locations in the US and the Phillopines, I would love to hear it.


The average ground heat is only about 0.1 Watts per square meter, and you have to drill kilometers down to get enough temperature to boil water, so it is only viable in places where the earth's mantle is already close to the surface because that gives off heat a lot faster.

On the average spot with a 2-3 km hole straight down, you could extract the heat for a couple decades before the rock cools down too much and you have to abandon the hole for the next hundred years.
Objectivist
5 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
The problem of lowering production, and thus increasing price, has never been due to household consumption. It has been due to commercial consumption. It's rather given that most households can easily consume less electricity, but the question is what a sudden increase in price will do to the industries.
frajo
2 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
When a citizen of Berlin comes up to you and says: "Ich bin ein Berliner" then what he means is not ambiguous and nobody in germany would laugh because of any possible double meaning of the word 'Berliner'.
Not so sure about this. In fact, an acquaintance of mine who was born in the small town of Uerdingen liked to introduce himself with a bottle of "Uerdinger" (some booze), smiling "We are two Uerdingers". And people used to laugh politely.
resinoth
3.5 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2011
they'll be back: you can't unlearn this technology (this fact of life), and the ability to control it will be increased exponentially over time. I personally think this is a good thing, because it might cause tightened regulations on nuclear power in other countries. Also, nuclear waste is a *lot* like nuclear fuel, existing power plants use some small % of the binding energy, then take this mass of glowing (ie, radiating, ie power throbbing) "waste" and seal it underneath mountains. I also think increased energy/fuel costs are a good thing for the long-term survival of humanity, as it spurs innovation in energy-production technologies like nothing else can. However, I am lucky to be first-world where power costs do not make up a large portion of my budget and increases effect me minimally.
Sanescience
4.3 / 5 (4) Mar 28, 2011
Guess I'm late to this party, skimmed the comments, saw the usual mishmash of the ill-informed and moral high hoarse lecturing.

For efficient use of nuclear fuel resources and management of new and existing "waste", and to provide energy for hundreds to thousands of years into the future, we need some fast neutron reactors.

In all likelihood, and as mentioned above, Germany's path to shut down their power plants will result in their importing more energy (from France perhaps, LOL!) and higher prices. Germany might be doing this to "advertise" alternative energy products they hope to be exporting to the world, but just as likely it is a bunch of frightened eco-minded special interest groups who are leveraging current events into a grab for political power.

However, I predict that as the studies come in and the numbers are crunched, this plan will slowly just fade away as different hot topics take attention away from it.
hush1
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
A commentator mentioned geothermal scenarios.
I don't know why that is constantly being tossed between being 'orphaned' and adapted. Maybe there are reservations about the commitments involved.
antialias
5 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2011
Geothermal (at least the way it has been tried) has some problems. The prototype power plant in Basel (Switzerland) was closed because several earthquakes resulted from pumping water down the bore hole.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2011

Fission will work fine too, but after the maturation of the technology will probably be more expensive and more "dangerous" than fusion.
Then why go there?


Because it's not really dangerous at all, hence my quotes. Moreover we're probably 50-100 years away from realistic commercial fusion. We really should do something other than oil or coal in the mean time.

]Maybe you should think about how to make coal clean or is that beyond your capability, not to say that is the only option?


I don't think coal is "dirty"...non-sequitir. I don't care if we burn coal from now till hell freezes over, unless we start buying it from Islamic fascist psychopaths.

Then you propose to let evil prevail?


No, I propose to use fission rather than oil, which robs evil of it's money. What didn't you understand about that?

(cont).
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
There are many more options!


Such as...

Note: Fusion sounds like the best option. Let us all put our minds and money into the tech and make it a reality! But for the time being, let's forget about nuclear fission.


No let's not forget about the most viable option open to us. It's safer than oil, or coal. Granted it's not as safe as solar or wind, but solar and wind are never going to cut it.
Kingsix
2 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
Interesting read guys.
There are a few areas that the industry needs to focus on to get our power requirements under control.
1. Efficiency of Production, solar mostly - Solar is the best possible source when you think about it. You just have to catch it, and football field sized solar farms are not possible everywhere. Increase to 50% and solar could be about all we need. The low end is about 6% and the high is 20% right now. When a skyscrapers roof covered in panels, and all the windows covered in solar film, can provide all of the power for lighting and heating/cooling, that would be great
Our buildings btw are very very bad. There is some work being done to make them more efficient but it has a long way to go.

2. Eff. of power use. If we used 1/3 of the power to do the same stuff, there goes your problem. Change your lights to cfs, don't buy cheap and you won't be sorry.

3. Power storage, ultra high capacity storage to deal with the days where its rainy.
antialias
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
Granted it's not as safe as solar or wind, but solar and wind are never going to cut it.
Why not? All the experts seem to disagree with you on that. The amount of energy in sun and wind are (more than) plentiful. The storage problem is being solved (or is already solved) in a number of ways. Where#s the problem?

Fusion would be nice, but I don't see it happening any time soon. the timeline has been "in 30 years we'll have commercially available fusion" for the past 50 years or so.
Sanescience
3.5 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2011
Wow antialias, you must work hard at being that willfully ignorant about the issues of providing power to a modern economy. Experts do not agree, with each other let alone you or the person you quote.

And while energy demand grows, the real winner is the fossil fuel mining and burning industry, which I suspect played a major behind the scene roll in sabotaging Nuclear and promoting "solar+wind".

Why promote "solar+wind" if your are the coal industry? Because people who don't understand base-load requirements and principles of energy density and flow design. Coal especially is going to be the "go-to" energy source when "solar+wind" doesn't deliver. And America has lots of coal!

If nuclear had progressed as most industries do, the reactors designed back in the 50's with slide rulers would have all been replaced with vastly more efficient and less polluting and safer reactors. But no, politics got involved and the environment is going to suffer because of it.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
The average ground heat is only about 0.1 Watts per square meter, and you have to drill kilometers down to get enough temperature to boil water, so it is only viable in places where the earth's mantle is already close to the surface because that gives off heat a lot faster.

On the average spot with a 2-3 km hole straight down, you could extract the heat for a couple decades before the rock cools down too much and you have to abandon the hole for the next hundred years.
Some techs try to boil water on the rocks below to power steam turbines, but such tech also creates property damage from the vibrations like mini-earthquakes.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2011
Hydrogen for years has been touted as the ultimate solution of the future. Fusion reactors will use it; H2O cars, trucks, trains and boats will use it. Even jets will use it until replaced by gravity engines.

Articles like the one published March 27th by Physorg.com titled "Debut of the first practical 'artificial leaf'" will go a long way in the future to making homes self-reliant energy producers. See link:

http://.physorg.com/news/2011-03-debut-artificial-leaf.html

Solar cells and solar thermal panels have proven to work extremely well in many areas, and they are becoming more efficient every year.

PROTO fusion reactors are estimated to be commercially viable starting in 2050. With more interest and funds they could possibly become available sooner.

Right now, natural gas, coal gas and methaine gas are excellent sources for power generation.

Why make a few people rich with nuclear fission when the wealth can be spread around putting a lot of people to work?
Sanescience
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
Ug, don't get me started on molecular Hydrogen as an energy carrier. It is a terrible energy carrier. Nature has shown the way for how to use hydrogen, react it with some carbon and then it has vastly superior mechanical properties for handling, storage, and transportation.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Mar 28, 2011
Ug, don't get me started on molecular Hydrogen as an energy carrier. It is a terrible energy carrier. Nature has shown the way for how to use hydrogen, react it with some carbon and then it has vastly superior mechanical properties for handling, storage, and transportation.
I know what you are talking about, but just in case others do not, then here are some good subjects regarding your statement:

"The Myth of the Hydrogen Economy" by Dale Allen Pfeiffer.

"Puncturing the Hydrogen Fuel Myth" by Brandon Keim.

"Hydrogen's Dirty Secret" by Barry C. Lynn.

Ug? Are you an Eskimo?
Sanescience
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
Maybe...
antialias
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
And while energy demand grows

In germany (a heavily industrialized nation) energy demand has dropped in the past years.

Because people who don't understand base-load requirements and principles of energy density and flow design.

Being an electrical engineer I am well aware of these things. But a recent large scale trial over here showed that a combination of solar, wind, water and biogas power plants can easily supply base loads all year round. If you factor in all the ecological fallout and ancillary costs from coal/oil/nuclear then this network of powerplants was EASILY cost competitive.
antialias
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
You can get more information on this test run here:

kombikraftwerk.de/index.php?id=27
hush1
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
Wir sind uns einig.
(We agree)

I am German, as well.
I enjoyed this thread very much.
I especially found antialias and eikka comments insightful.
Sanescience
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
The Combined Power Plant is pretty awesome, but I'm reserving final judgment until details about construction and maintenance costs, and line-loss effects on diffuse gathering of power to centralized industry complexes.

There was also no analysis of how much hydro and bio-gas is available to compensate for when wind and solar aren't producing.

And one thing any industrialist will point out, it is always going to be more expensive when the inherent design is that there will be times of "idle", where your expensive equipment isn't doing anything.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
The Combined Power Plant is pretty awesome, but I'm reserving final judgment until details about construction and maintenance costs, and line-loss effects on diffuse gathering of power to centralized industry complexes.
Unlike fission nuclear power, these power plants can be located closer to where the energy is needed.

There was also no analysis of how much hydro and bio-gas is available to compensate for when wind and solar aren't producing.
That is where natural gas can play a large role in at least the U.S., though it contibutes more to greanhouse gases.

And one thing any industrialist will point out, it is always going to be more expensive when the inherent design is that there will be times of "idle", where your expensive equipment isn't doing anything.
Physorg had an interesting article today titled "Making Liquid Power." The link is as follows:

http://physorg.co...wer.html
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Mar 29, 2011
Being an electrical engineer I am well aware of these things. But a recent large scale trial over here showed that a combination of solar, wind, water and biogas power plants can easily supply base loads all year round. If you factor in all the ecological fallout and ancillary costs from coal/oil/nuclear then this network of powerplants was EASILY cost competitive.
What is your opinion towards coal gasification, if any?
VOR
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
parking lots and rooftops are ideal places to put solar panels. *It's space that is already in use *in addition to providing power, it reduces cooling demands on bldgs and keeps cars cooler and reduces UV damage to the cars. *you can walk to your car in the rain
antialias
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
What is your opinion towards coal gasification, if any?

Haven't looked into that, yet. Off the top of my head I'd say it doesn't really solve the problem associated with coal (at least the CO2 issue). What it does in terms of other issues (radioactivity released into the atmosphere, etc. ) I honestly have no idea.

We might keep a few coal power plants around for prolonged periods of low output from alternative power plants. But when you start placing alternative power plants all over the place then those periods are ever more unlikely. Maybe the wind doesn't blow where a particular powerplant is - but it always blows _somewhere_.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
@Antialias:
The problem I see is if the U.S. were to suddenly move away from coal, then a lot of people would be out of work. Yes, clean coal sounds sort of like a joke, but maybe there is a way to use some of it while it gradually fades away into new less polluting tech?
antialias
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
The problem I see is if the U.S. were to suddenly move away from coal, then a lot of people would be out of work.

So? Is that all the excuse you have in the face of inviting global disaster? Jobs? Are really saying this with a straight face?

And you think building alternative power plants, energy storage systems, maintaining them and refining/researching the tech won't create jobs and chances for export oriented businesses (something the US desparately needs. Can't rely on exporting nothing but weapons forever)?

Should the US have kept operator switchboards around just because atomatic switching of phone calls put switchboard operators out of a job?
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
@Antialias:
Almost anything is better than fission nuclear power. I was thinking more of gradually phasing out of the fossil fuel business, because none of these new techs are going to replace everything overnight. Electric cars sound great, but they cost $10,000 to $20,000 more and they have limited milage range if they are not hybrid. I do not see electric semi-trucks coming anytime soon, so natural gas, biogas and coal gas should be considered in the meantime to help clean the air ASAP. Then we could go on with trains, etc..
antialias
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
certainly the phase-out will be gradual. If we (in germany) go back to the original plan (the one BEFORE Merkel's party prolonged the run-times of all nuclear reactors) we'd shut down the last reactor in 2021. I could live with that. In that timeline we can replace that capacity with alternative energy sources. After that we should phase out most coal power plants as more alternative ones come online (as I said: we might keep _some_ around in a mothballed state in case of really unlucky weather conditions over a wide range of Euroope and northern Africa)
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
OK. That sounds very reasonable. What do you think of Obama today saying he wants to go forward with the fission nuclear power plants? He wants to accelerate the process and get started on it right away. Obama's strategy sounds a lot like Merkel's party. Another thing Obama wishes for is more biofuel. I did not here the word biogas. Biofuel ethanol is not easy to create in the U.S.. If we had an abundance of sugar cane, then that would be a completely different story. Ethanol production produces pollution, uses farmland to feed cars and jets instead of feeding people and animals, creating a shortage of food, raising prices worldwide and creating hunger. People are dying because of the food shortage caused by the production of ethanol in America. Cellulosic ethanol production is still in the research phase along with clean coal tech and nuclear fusion power.

more
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Mar 30, 2011
I fill years later people will say nuclear fission power plants were a big rip-off strapping Americans to debt for decades making the rich richer and the poor poorer while destroying the economy and adding to unemployment.

This is change America cannot afford.

Corruption and stupidity are the keywords to this story.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
I fill years later people will say nuclear fission power plants were a big rip-off strapping Americans to debt for decades making the rich richer and the poor poorer while destroying the economy and adding to unemployment.

This is change America cannot afford.

Corruption and stupidity are the keywords to this story.


You fill? Yes you do that a lot.

I FEEL that years from now we'll look back at the deriders and over regulators of nuclear power as people responsible for an economy in ruins due to the insane costs involved with other power production (excluding fossil fuels) and listening to left wing commie wannabe troglodytes who worship the environment as their God with their only mantra that solar and wind power will (somehow) power a civilization more technically advanced than Mid evil Europe....
antialias
not rated yet Mar 31, 2011
Insane cost as opposed to what? Nuclear power is WAY more costly than any other power source if you:

- take away all the subsidies (which are paid for by your taxes)
- include the cost for securing and storing all the resulting gunk (which are paid for by your taxes)

And this even EXCLUDES costs from possible misshaps, ecological fallout due to uranium mining, and the tax burden on a hundred generations into the future for the storage/security of the waste.

If you look at it in the light of total cost to YOU then we arrive at a figure in excess of 2$ per kWh.

Using alternative power sources is not only environmentally (and politically) beneficial - it also makes a lot of fiscal sense.

And since you're such a stickler for spelling: it's 'medieval'
SteveL
not rated yet Mar 31, 2011
Perhaps the Germans can sell their nuclear power plants to Iran - I understand they are in the market...
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Mar 31, 2011
Insane cost as opposed to what? Nuclear power is WAY more costly than any other power source if you:

- take away all the subsidies (which are paid for by your taxes)
- include the cost for securing and storing all the resulting gunk (which are paid for by your taxes)


The "gunk" can be reprocessed and reused significantly reducing costs of both mining and sequestration. Over regulation is a huge problem for the nuclear industry too.

If you have some unbiased figures on the cost of nuclear power minus the heavy handed regulators and costs of sequestration vs. unsubsidized wind and solar be my guest. You talk the talk, do you walk the walk?
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Mar 31, 2011
If you have some unbiased figures on the cost of nuclear power minus the heavy handed regulators and costs of sequestration vs. unsubsidized wind and solar be my guest. You talk the talk, do you walk the walk?
Yeah. Just read all of the posts above, you ignorant fool!
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Mar 31, 2011
If you have some unbiased figures on the cost of nuclear power minus the heavy handed regulators and costs of sequestration vs. unsubsidized wind and solar be my guest. You talk the talk, do you walk the walk?
Yeah. Just read all of the posts above, you ignorant fool!


Indeed. Which post provided a link to such a source? Could you please re-post it?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
You do the research. I have been there and done that, and have better things to do!
antialias
3 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
The "gunk" can be reprocessed and reused significantly reducing costs of both mining and sequestration.

You have a method of reusing radioactive waste? Let's hear it: the world is all ears.

If you have some unbiased figures

You mean figures which are _even more_ biased in favor of nuclear energy? We coudl include all the ecological and ancillary costs of accidents and the costs of dismantling nuclear power planst (after letting them sit and cool off enough for thirty years - all the while guarding them)...and then you'll get a figure substantially higher than 2$/kWh.

Do you have any idea what Fukushima is costing Japan economically? And what it will continue to cost it in the future (all the food that will have to be imported, maybe even water for years to come. Land area totally unusable, loss in tourist revenue for the region around fukushim for the next few centuries, decline in fishing, ... )
Frangible
3 / 5 (2) Mar 31, 2011
I'm surprised Merkel did this... given not only the CDU's subsidies to the nuclear industry, but the fact that it will likely be replaced by importing nuclear energy from France. But Germany is a sovereign nation and is free to choose its own energy policy. Merkel's u-turn will ensure the CDU gets stomped politically by Die Grunen.

I liked this German's take on Fukushima: YouTube v=m0uUtJz9RZY

I think solar is the long-term future, but it's not yet economical compared to wind. I don't see fusion ever working, nor is it "clean"... the intense neutron flux from D-T fusion makes everything radioactive. Tritium's also $20k/gram.

WRT coal... it's more nuclear waste per kwh than nuclear. It kills tens of thousands every year. Coal can make towns uninhabitable; see Centralia, PA. Bad juju.

Eventually I think nuclear will be relegated to niches like naval propulsion, deep space, etc. But it's the lesser evil for now.
Frangible
3.8 / 5 (4) Apr 01, 2011

You have a method of reusing radioactive waste? Let's hear it: the world is all ears.


Spent fuel can be used directly in a CANDU reactor, or it can be re-enriched for PWR reactors.

Mostly it's U238 which is breedable to Pu239. Rest is short-lived transuranics / actinides that can be transmuted away with a breeder.

That's >99% of the "waste" recycled.

Transmutation: the power to make lead from gold! (irony)

We coudl include all the ecological and ancillary costs of accidents and the costs of dismantling nuclear power planst


Dismantling costs are; ancillary costs should be.

Do you have any idea what Fukushima is costing Japan economically?


A lot less than the quake/tsunami. (btw, what do you think a hydro dam break costs?)

The area farms/fishing/tourism weren't very large-scale. The largest costs are the blackouts and lost productivity.

The radiation will disperse, not ruin it forever and turn it into Fallout 3. (see Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Pripyat)
Frangible
Apr 01, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antialias
3 / 5 (2) Apr 01, 2011
I'm surprised Merkel did this...

It was a (failed) attempt at a PR stunt because 2 weeks after Fukushima happened there were two importnat state elections in germany (in both of which the CDU lost big time and the Green party won big time).
The minister of Economy (Brüderle) openly admitted to heads of industry in a leaked meeting minutes that it was all a PR stunt.
There's no way that in a 3 month moratorium you can check all nuclear rreactors for safety issues. that takes a year at least. Until now they haven't even specified WHAT they will be checking. She had hoped that everything would blow over in 3 months and that they could just go on like before.

Mostly it's U238 which is breedable to Pu239.

Which is a REALLY bad idea. While U238 is already a bitch to store, PU239 is incredibly problematic. Once that gets out into the open then you have wide stretches of landscape (and ground water) which are unusable for millennia.
antialias
3 / 5 (2) Apr 01, 2011
That's >99% of the "waste" recycled.

You think PU 239 is not waste?

but the fact that it will likely be replaced by importing nuclear energy from France.

Not really. Even with the 7 reactors curently offline germany is a net exporter of energy. If we follow the original (pre-Merkel) plan then we'll shut down the last reactor in 2021 (which I think is a reasonable timeline). Even without additional impulses to the solar/wind/biogas industry we'll have replaced those capacities by then.

A lot less than the quake/tsunami. (btw, what do you think a hydro dam break costs?)

Very little by comparison. Remember that you can use the land after a hydro dam break again almost immediately. If 5% of the Japanese agricultural land stays contaminated for thousands of years then you can do the math on how many trillions that is in lost income.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2011
You have a method of reusing radioactive waste? Let's hear it: the world is all ears.


http://en.wikiped...ocessing

http://en.wikiped..._Reactor

That took five seconds of google time...

"The World" has known about this for a long time. Catch up.

You mean figures which are _even more_ biased in favor of nuclear energy?


So you don't have any then...

You do the research. I have been there and done that, and have better things to do!


They don't exist, I've been there and done that too. You're a liar.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2011
Which is a REALLY bad idea. While U238 is already a bitch to store, PU239 is incredibly problematic.


You don't have to store plutonium of any kind, IFRs can burn ALL actinides.
antialias
3 / 5 (2) Apr 01, 2011
Read your own sources: The problems (and that IFRs actually have no real advantage when it comes to dangers for the environment) are spelled out quite plainly.

So you don't have any then...
The figures for subidies to the DoE are available.

e.g. this source
nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/RS22858.pdf

cites figures from the DoE that cumulative funding for nuclear has been, to date, 5 times that of solar funding.

Other sources cite the DoE as:
"The DOE has calculated that the US will spend more than 1,000 billion dollars over the next 70 to 100 years "

...for the storage alone. Given that we need to store stuff for hundreds of thousands of years and we have no clue how to build a container that is stable for more than, say, 500 (excluding accidental damage) this is all rather academic. The cost of something we cannot do is virtually infinite.
Frangible
not rated yet Apr 01, 2011
You think PU 239 is not waste?


No, I think Pu239 is a valuable isotope. Possibly the most valuable substance on the planet. It is the best isotope for weapons production and makes fine reactor fuel as well.

Even without additional impulses to the solar/wind/biogas industry we'll have replaced those capacities by then.


Won't you need energy storage for baseline demand? And what about replacing coal?

Remember that you can use the land after a hydro dam break again almost immediately. If 5% of the Japanese agricultural land stays contaminated for thousands of years then you can do the math on how many trillions that is in lost income.


If you look at the Fukushima area and plot 10km, 20km, etc on Google Earth, it's not that much land. And how can it stay contaminated for thousands of years when Hiroshima and Nagasaki are fine and levels are dropping fast at Pripyat?

People fled Fukushima to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ironic, no?
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (2) Apr 01, 2011
I think solar is the long-term future, but it's not yet economical compared to wind. I don't see fusion ever working, nor is it "clean"... the intense neutron flux from D-T fusion makes everything radioactive. Tritium's also $20k/gram.
Read up of DEMO and PROTO fusion reactors. The PROTO will create it's own tritium.

WRT coal... it's more nuclear waste per kwh than nuclear. It kills tens of thousands every year. Coal can make towns uninhabitable; see Centralia, PA. Bad juju.
Germany has lots of coal. Coal gas, clean coal technology is something Germany should consider.

Eventually I think nuclear will be relegated to niches like naval propulsion, deep space, etc. But it's the lesser evil for now.
H2O power and gravity engines will be the energy of choice within fifty years, as well as fusion.
Frangible
1 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2011
Read up of DEMO and PROTO fusion reactors. The PROTO will create it's own tritium.


It would be foolish of me to call them impossible, but they would represent a very large jump in efficiency over current tokamaks. Surely you must admit their goals are at least very ambitious. I think that large of a jump forward cannot be predicted with confidence.

I think it will be very difficult for them to beat the other form of fusion power economically-- solar, where we sponge off the giant fusion reactor in the sky.

Germany has lots of coal. Coal gas, clean coal technology is something Germany should consider.


Everyone has lots of coal, other than maybe Japan. (see Hashima Island... pretty unreal pictures) But it's never truly clean. Even sequestered, still more nuclear waste than nuclear.

H2O power and gravity engines will be the energy of choice within fifty years, as well as fusion.


$10 says in 50 years we're still burning lots of coal. The dirty kind.
Javinator
3 / 5 (2) Apr 01, 2011
Very little by comparison. Remember that you can use the land after a hydro dam break again almost immediately. If 5% of the Japanese agricultural land stays contaminated for thousands of years then you can do the math on how many trillions that is in lost income.


The soil won't be contaminated for thousands of years. The contaminating isotopes and the magnitude of contamination do not have half lives that would suggest the land would be useless for thousands of years as you suggest.

Not trying to downplay the event, but hyperbolic assumptions are unnecessary. The tsunami and earthquake impact far outweighs the impact of the nuclear event at this point.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2011
@Javinator:
I bet you are wrong.

My new motto is: Stop blowing your smoke and radiation in my face.
TabulaMentis
not rated yet Apr 01, 2011
$10 says in 50 years we're still burning lots of coal. The dirty kind.
You are the one I meant to say "I bet you are wrong!"
Did you know in 1900 people were saying it would be hundreds to thousands of years before man would fly only to learn four years later that the Wright Brother did it? Go figure? You need to learn math and common sense.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2011
Read your own sources: The problems (and that IFRs actually have no real advantage when it comes to dangers for the environment) are spelled out quite plainly.


I saw no problems, I read the un-sourced paragraph at the end where it says "some believe...". Not convincing at all. You must have selective reading (where they talked about Synroc etc)...

cites figures from the DoE that cumulative funding for nuclear has been, to date, 5 times that of solar funding.


As it should be. Just like young earth creationists should be getting less research money than astrophysicists.

Other sources cite the DoE as:


Which?

Given that we need to store stuff for hundreds of thousands of years-


No we don't, we can burn it. Can't you read?

Frangible
not rated yet Apr 01, 2011
$10 says in 50 years we're still burning lots of coal. The dirty kind.
You are the one I meant to say "I bet you are wrong!"
Did you know in 1900 people were saying it would be hundreds to thousands of years before man would fly only to learn four years later that the Wright Brother did it? Go figure? You need to learn math and common sense.


You misunderstand me.

If every prediction in energy was true, nuclear would give us power too cheap to meter, solar would cost almost nothing and be on every roof, cold fusion would generate crazy amounts of power, and fusion would be outperforming fission.

But you know what? We're still burning a lot of coal.

Really, I'm all for getting rid of coal. But I'm also skeptical and jaded.

If they manage to trot out commercial fusion, naquadah reactors, or zero point modules, or whatever, I'll be quite impressed. But I think it's far more likely that in 50 years, coal will still be used. Unfortunately.
Frangible
not rated yet Apr 01, 2011
No we don't, we can burn it. Can't you read?


In fairness to zee German, we can burn it... but we don't. So we still have to do something.

cites figures from the DoE that cumulative funding for nuclear has been, to date, 5 times that of solar funding.


Historically, yes. The US was the primary developer of nuke tech for a very long time. Back in the day we were developing fission rockets for space travel, nuclear powered cars, all kinds of crazy stuff. (and people say government funding never gets you anything)

Medical and industrial isotopes, even those neat little tritium keychain fobs... all the nuclear stuff you enjoy today, most came from US government research.

But currently? Solar has far higher subsidies per kwh and gets more R&D dollars. Cold war spending is irrelevant.

And it's not as if Germany never spent any cash here either. Reichmarks count too. The uranium club? Heisenberg? Norwegian D2O? Uncle Sam is in ur u-boat, readin ur enigmas.
TabulaMentis
1 / 5 (1) Apr 01, 2011
Cellulosic ethanol is a worthwhile future fuel research investment. See link:
http://en.wikiped..._ethanol
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Apr 02, 2011
In fairness to zee German, we can burn it... but we don't. So we still have to do something.


We have to burn it. Why are we still talking about this?
Javinator
not rated yet Apr 04, 2011
I bet you are wrong.

My new motto is: Stop blowing your smoke and radiation in my face.


The radioactive isotopes that are spreading and are being detected at long distances from the reactors are iodine-131 and cesium-134 and cesium-137. The half lives of these isotopes are significantly lower than thousands of years (iodine is within weeks and cesium within ~30 years or so I believe... still long, but not thousands of years long).

Again, I'm not saying the current situation isn't serious and that there isn't contamination, but it won't be "thousands of years" before the land can be used. Just because you don't believe it doesn't make it untrue.

It is highly unlikely that there will be widespread contamination of farmland with long lived isotopes given the current situation in Japan.
rgwalther
not rated yet Apr 04, 2011
which Chancellor Angela Merkel has called a "catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions"


Why is this person leading a country?


German leaders have considerable experience in apocalyptic catastrophy.
Shelgeyr
5 / 5 (1) Apr 05, 2011
I think there was a typo in the article's title...

"Germany set to abandon nuclear power for evil"

There! I think that better captures the spirit of the thing...