Climate Change: We're Doomed

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby kirtu » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:55 pm

tellyontellyon wrote:They might get fusion to work better in the future. It needs more research.


I wouldn't count on it. I was on a hs field trip to Catholic University in DC when I saw my first example of scientific over-optimism from a real scientist (a laser research in this case) and this was in fact wrt to fusion power. What he said was reasonable but there are severe obstacles to fusion power still.

However if the Navier-Stokes equations really have solutions in general as a Russian-Kazakh mathematician claimed last month in a career-capping paper then we might be able to get fusion power working. And then we'd have free, non-polluting energy forever.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby tellyontellyon » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:50 pm

Then massive development in wind, solar and wave power.

But ther have been some advances with fusion recently:
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/12/nuclear-fusion-breakthrough-green-energy-source
Last edited by tellyontellyon on Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:51 pm

kirtu wrote:
It is unfortunately what we will have to do.


I am not in agreement. There is no place for nuclear fission power in any ecologically sustainable future.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby daverupa » Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:50 pm

Since solar power was mentioned recently, here is something interesting on that:

http://smp.businesswire.com/pages/world ... -operation

World’s Largest Solar Thermal Power Project at Ivanpah Achieves Commercial Operation

All Three Units of 392 megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System Now Delivering Solar Power to California’s Electric Grid
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby kirtu » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:17 pm

tellyontellyon wrote:Then massive development in wind, solar and wave power.


Yes but we have other renewable energy sources as well: hydo, geothermal, biomass, biofuels, and ocean/wave power. Hydropower has been used for thousands of years but we can now build massive dams. Geothermal is also beyond the experimental stage finally.



There is always something new about fusion research. In my lifetime it has almost always remained 10 years down the road. One day it will arrive but not for a few more decades unless we have some dramatic breakthroughs.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby tellyontellyon » Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:35 pm

They are planning to built a large tidal lagoon to generate power here in my home town. Tidal power is pretty predictable, and we've got a large tidal range here.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-sout ... s-26072805
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:18 am

Malcolm wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:... I'm more and more puzzled by your negativity about PV.

I am not so much negative about PV power generation as I am about its manner of implementation. Solar panels on a roof is one thing. Acres and acres of solar panels creates hot spots and dead zones, which add to local ambient temperatures and in many cases, at least in northern climes, require the extinction of grasslands which are just as crucial the Co2/O2 balance as trees and rain forests are.

Okay, that makes sense and I agree in general.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Feb 14, 2014 2:25 am

kirtu wrote:
tellyontellyon wrote:Then massive development in wind, solar and wave power.


Yes but we have other renewable energy sources as well: hydo, geothermal, biomass, biofuels, and ocean/wave power. Hydropower has been used for thousands of years but we can now build massive dams. Geothermal is also beyond the experimental stage finally.

No doubt about geothermal:
Five major geothermal power plants exist in Iceland, which produce approximately 26.2% (2010)[2] of the nation's energy. In addition, geothermal heating meets the heating and hot water requirements of approximately 87% of all buildings in Iceland. Apart from geothermal energy, 73.8% of the nation’s electricity is generated by hydro power, and 0.1% from fossil fuels.[3]

More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geothermal_power_in_Iceland

Germany is doing exceptionally well at mixing-and-matching all forms of renewables according to local availability.
Combined wind and solar generated electricity accounted for around 13% of Germany's power consumption last year, with total renewables output including hydro and biomass accounting for almost 25% of the country's energy mix in 2013.

More at http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4113

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Rickpa » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:36 pm

I am wondering if there will come a time when we can use nuclear waste, and other radioactive material as power. Not in fusion or fission. Just for being radioactive. I would think a means could be contrived for tapping into their radioactive quality as energy in the way sun radiation is transmogrified into electric energy. I have not heard of such a thing, but it has always seemed reasonable to me. I'm weird like that.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Malcolm » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:41 pm

kirtu wrote: we can now build massive dams.


Yuck, not acceptable. These things mess with the local environment, and disturb everything in their vicinity for years.

We need to be removing dams in order to restore fisheries in the atlantic and the pacific, not building more of them
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Sherab » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:30 pm

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:safe nuclear design (which does exist).


No, it doesn't. And the energy needed to extract uranium is hugely expensive, leaves radioactive waste behind, etc.

NO NUKES!

Molten salt nuclear reactors are considered to be "safe and proliferation-resistent".

"When it comes to fission reactor designs, there’s nothing quite as safe, efficient, meltdown-proof, waste-light and proliferation-resistant as a molten salt reactor (MSR), many nuclear experts believe." http://www.the-weinberg-foundation.org/ ... m-problem/
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:13 am

Sherab wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote:safe nuclear design (which does exist).


No, it doesn't. And the energy needed to extract uranium is hugely expensive, leaves radioactive waste behind, etc.

NO NUKES!

Molten salt nuclear reactors are considered to be "safe and proliferation-resistent".

"When it comes to fission reactor designs, there’s nothing quite as safe, efficient, meltdown-proof, waste-light and proliferation-resistant as a molten salt reactor (MSR), many nuclear experts believe." http://www.the-weinberg-foundation.org/ ... m-problem/

Well, MSR's may be better than other nuclear power plant but that's not saying a heck of a lot. And their waste may be shorter-lived than that of other reactors but that's not saying a heck of a lot either.
wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor#Advantages wrote:In theory a full recycle system can be much cleaner: the discharge wastes after chemical separation are predominately fission products, most of which have relatively short half lives compared to longer-lived actinide wastes. This can result in a significant reduction in the containment period in a geologic repository (300 years vs. tens of thousands of years).

Tell you what, if you promise to store the waste in your own backyard for that long, I will ... still oppose MSR's actually, now I think about it. They are still slow and expensive to build, still demand toxic fuel, still have low EROI over their lifecycle ...
Let's transition from fossil fuels to renewables, not to another toxic non-renewable.

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edit: fixed formatting :emb:
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Malcolm » Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:55 pm

Sherab wrote:Molten salt nuclear reactors are considered to be "safe and proliferation-resistent".


Yes, the operative word here is "considered"; Three Mile Island was "considered" safe, Fukushima was "considered" safe, Chernobyl was "considered" safe until it turned out that they weren't safe at all.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:40 am

Meanwhile ...
99 Percent Of New Power Generation Added In January Came From Renewable Energy
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/02/21/3317221/99-percent-power-renewable/#

That's just in the US.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby kirtu » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:10 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Tell you what, if you promise to store the waste in your own backyard for that long, I will ... still oppose MSR's actually, now I think about it. They are still slow and expensive to build, still demand toxic fuel, still have low EROI over their lifecycle ...
Let's transition from fossil fuels to renewables, not to another toxic non-renewable.

:namaste:
Kim

edit: fixed formatting :emb:


Nuclear power will be forced on us because we began transitioning to renewables 40 years too late. Perhaps had we really begun seriously back in the 70's this would not now be necessary.

Nuclear waste isn't a real problem *long term*. We will rocket it to the Sun.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:22 am

kirtu wrote:Nuclear power will be forced on us because we began transitioning to renewables 40 years too late. Perhaps had we really begun seriously back in the 70's this would not now be necessary.

I see the problem but I really hope - and cautiously think :smile: - we can avoid it.
kirtu wrote:Nuclear waste isn't a real problem *long term*. We will rocket it to the Sun.

No we won't - ever. Look at the payload-to-gross-weight ratio of rockets and work out how much steel and fuel we would need for rockets to lift even a few percent of our *current* nuclear waste.

Better ideas are always welcome. :smile:

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby kirtu » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:38 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sherab wrote:Molten salt nuclear reactors are considered to be "safe and proliferation-resistent".


Yes, the operative word here is "considered"; Three Mile Island was "considered" safe, Fukushima was "considered" safe, Chernobyl was "considered" safe until it turned out that they weren't safe at all.


TMI was in fact safe. The radiation release was heavily overblown in the press. Chernobyl was never, ever considered safe. No Eastern European reactor was. Fukashima was stupid design and that could easily be seen. It should never have been permitted in a country with major earthquakes and regular tsunamis.

However safe means, if there is a total disaster, the reactor will shut itself down with no or minimal radiation release (obviously we need to engineer this for no release).

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby kirtu » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:43 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
kirtu wrote:Nuclear waste isn't a real problem *long term*. We will rocket it to the Sun.

No we won't - ever. Look at the payload-to-gross-weight ratio of rockets and work out how much steel and fuel we would need for rockets to lift even a few percent of our *current* nuclear waste.

Better ideas are always welcome. :smile:

:namaste:
Kim


Yes we will because it's not an economic issue. Nuclear waste could be the first payload on a space elevator. Once in orbit we shoot it into a lazy, slow orbit that spirals it into the Sun using a railgun cannon in orbit. Prior to the space elevator coming on line (in 100-150 years) we might even use a railgun to launch it to orbit (25 years) unless we get laser propulsion working (more like 50 years).

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Zhen Li » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:55 am

A nuclear melt down is never going to be like a nuke, and most of the radioactive material released will decay in a few days. You can walk and have a nice stroll right through the Fukushima exclusion zone and receive less radiation than you would have got while in the jumbo jet flying to Japan. Mother nature is still more dangerous than nuclear power, so why worry? Mother nature's most potent weapon is a disease known as birth, it has infected 100% of the human population, expands at an exponential rate, and has a 100% mortality rate. Solution to all these problems: Don't worry, and achieve Nirvana - the more worry, the less Nirvana.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:36 am

kirtu wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:
kirtu wrote:Nuclear waste isn't a real problem *long term*. We will rocket it to the Sun.

No we won't - ever. Look at the payload-to-gross-weight ratio of rockets and work out how much steel and fuel we would need for rockets to lift even a few percent of our *current* nuclear waste.

Better ideas are always welcome. :smile:

:namaste:
Kim


Yes we will because it's not an economic issue. Nuclear waste could be the first payload on a space elevator. Once in orbit we shoot it into a lazy, slow orbit that spirals it into the Sun using a railgun cannon in orbit. Prior to the space elevator coming on line (in 100-150 years) we might even use a railgun to launch it to orbit (25 years) unless we get laser propulsion working (more like 50 years).

Kirt

Hi, Kirt,
You said "rocket", I said "no way" and you have come back with ... a better idea! :twothumbsup:
But not a rocket.
Instead you have invented a space elevator (OK, not invented - Arthur C Clarke did that) and a railgun (they've been vapourware for a while, too) and filled up near-earth orbit with radioactive waste ... at about 20 tonnes per GW generation per year.
And even if your timeline works out, the quantities you're volunteering to store in your back yard until then (you did volunteer, didn't you?) are on the order of thousands of tons.
:thinking:

I'm still gonna push for renewables.

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