General discussion


The Nuclear debate rages on...

By Benevolence ·
George Ou recently opened up a particularly large can of worms recently when he wrote an article discussing the myths surrounding Windows XP and power consumption. Much of the debate has turned into a discussion on how to best produce power whilst reducing pollution.

One thing many people seem to agree on is that whether or not humans are contributing to global warming, it is in our best interests to reduce the effect and protect our environment.

Some of us believe we need to move toward nuclear energy production, and some of us believe this is a bad idea.

With so many new developments in energy production, and so many differing arguments, what do you think is the direction we should head in?

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If that is the case then...

by Benevolence In reply to Actually.

...Perpetual Motion has been realised.

Understanding the basic laws of physics, that can not be the case.

The material provided is 'wishy washy' and leaves holes and flaws in the ideas discussed.

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No, that's not "perpetual" anything.

by deepsand In reply to Actually.

A breeder reactor does not create mass-energy, it simply transforms it. When its available supply of such is exhausted, it too, like a star, will cease to function.

Breeder reactors work. The U.S. came near to deploying them, but pulled up short. Other nations use them, and are continuing to build more. Eventually the U.S. will be forced to re-visit them if it is to obtain any degree of energy indepence.

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I am glad you agree that nothing can 'produce more fuel than it consumes'

by Benevolence In reply to Actually.

Firstly. ALL 'energy production' is simply about TRANSFORMING ENERGY into something usable by us.

Secondly. Please stop trying to compare reactors with stars, they function in totally different ways, and as such it is a pointless comparison.

Like I have been trying to explain, Breeder reactors are only able to more efficiently use available isotopes, which is of course a good thing. But there are cleaner and easier ways to harness available energy. Nuclear is useful in limited application, where better alternatives are not available.

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The comparison to stars is necessary because ...

by deepsand In reply to Actually.

stars are the source of energy that is mistakenly referred to as "renewable." There is nothing renewable about solar sourced power; it, like all other forms, is finite.

As for breeder reactors producing more "fuel" than they consume, such statement is, using the precise definition of the word "fuel," correct. The breeder reactor transforms a "non-fuel stock into fuel.

As for not relying on a single energy source, that is self-obvious, given that not all energy consuming devices either share the same input requirements nor yield the same outputs. My point, with regards to breeder reactors, is that they are much more evironmentally friendly than are many of the so-called "renewable" energy sources where the large scale production of power is necessary.

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Your missing my point about stars...

by Benevolence In reply to Actually.

Stars already exist, outside of our interaction, and would do without us... that is why from a human perspective harvesting their natural output is described as renewable. In truth, NO energy usage / production is renewable (I know we already agree on that point).

A breeder reactor, as I have said, simply makes use of the available fuel.

I still agree with you on the necessary temporary application of reactors for industrial power needs etc. But it would be sad to see it rolled out on a large scale, and retained indefinitely.

For most energy production, different levels of power consumption for different devices is not really an issue, as central regulation (not of the political sort) is likely to remain a reality in the near future.


All in all, I think we are actually in agreement on most of these issues. But we are coming from slightly different perspectives.

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Centralized vs de-centralized power generation.

by deepsand In reply to Actually.

From both an economic and environmental viewpoint, it seems to me each has advantages and disadvantages which are dependent on both the resources locally available for the generation of power and the density of the demand for such.

In general, the larger scale generation facilities are more suited for areas with the larger concentrations of people and industries, while the smaller ones are better suited to those areas which are more sparsely populated.

For example, those residing in rural areas sufficiently close to suitable waterfronts might be best served by electricity generated by aquatic wave power, with a minimal disruption to either the terrestial or aquatic environs. Those further inland, but still in rural areas, may be suitable candidates for wind and/or solar power.

On the other hand, those residing within, for example, the East Coast Megalopolis, by necessity require large scale generation facilities, and are best served by large scale facilities, such as nuclear power.

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A mix...

by Benevolence In reply to Actually.

A mix of technologies is of course a more reliable option. Cityscapes could include both centralised and decentralised power production. Many of the large surfaces created by high-rises would be perfect for voltaic cells. There have been great advances in technology that allows you to turn a window into a 'solar panel', at the same time reducing the amount of heat being transmitted through the windows (you can still see through them of course).

In Australia, we have many people, in cities, actually selling power to the grid, as they are producing more than enough power for themselves. The investment pays for itself in around 10 years!

Large production facilities should be mostly for back up!

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In some areas, local production is simply not feasible.

by deepsand In reply to Actually.

The United States' East Coast Megalopolis, home to over 25% of the total population of the U.S., stretching from Boston, MA to Raleigh, NC in general, and the portion north of Washington, DC in particular, simply lack sufficient open space for local production of power adequate to its needs.

In this area, centralized power is required of necessity.

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Not true!

by Benevolence In reply to Actually.

Please read my last post a little more carefully. Actually, megalopolis are perfect for (laterally thought out) energy production.

You need to think out side of the square in this case. As I said before, we already have many people switching to what I am talking about... IN SYDNEY!

It is old-school industrial age thinking that has blinded many to the opportunities available.

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With all due respect, I don't think that you comprehend ...

by deepsand In reply to Actually.

the density of people and businesses here involved; you've nothing even remotely approaching it in Australia.

In 1997, with a then combined population of 38 million, the Middle Atlantic Census Division (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) alone consumed 11 Quadrillion Btu of energy.

In 2003, New York City alone had peak electricity demands of 11 GIGAWatts!

To attempt to locally generate all the power here consumed would require that all of the remaining open space, what little remains, be wholly given over to energy production, with devastating consequences to our local environments, and we'd still come up short!

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