[ExI] Unsustainable was Re: Solar power makes UK people poorer

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Sat Jun 11 17:38:15 UTC 2011

On Sat, Jun 11, 2011 at 08:06:15AM -0700, Damien Sullivan wrote:
> On Sat, Jun 11, 2011 at 11:29:59AM +0200, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> > > we could run out of it? Nuclear power is bad because in 50,000 years
> > > we could run out of fissile elements?
> > 
> > It's bad because http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-05-nuclear-power-world-energy.html
> That seems flawed.  It goes from 15,000 nuclear reactors to needing
> 15,000 exclusion zone sites, but don't multiple reactors share a site?

Most reactors will be built in places which don't have reactors yet.
Notice that even in places where nuclear power is established (France)
the reactor duty cycle is rather intermittent. Especially, in the summer,
where many reactors must be shutdown to prevent overheating of 
rivers due to cooling requirements.

> The uranium abundance seems flawed too: isn't it true that there's a lot
> more uranium known to be available at slightly higher prices, and that

The problem is not price, the problem is EROEI. Uranium extraction
from seawater doesn't work for the same reason corn ethanol doesn't
work. Turns out granite is a poor substitute if you can't get 

> exploration for U hasn't been a big priority due to its historical

It's not that simple. See http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2379
and http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5060

The exact number are less important than the general picture.

> cheapness?  And we're told the guy argues breeder reactors are
> "uncompetitive", which is obviously crucial.

It's pretty well known breeders are chronically plagued with
issues (control, breeding factor, fuel reprocessing) and produce
the most expensive nuclear power, with the exception of expected
prices of tokamak fusion.

So I'm thinking the whole hooha doesn't matter. You can't change
physical realities by politics fiat. May the better power source win.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
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