[ExI] Nukes was less expensive energy

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Mon Sep 19 07:04:38 UTC 2011

On Sun, Sep 18, 2011 at 03:18:13PM -0700, Keith Henson wrote:
> On Sun, Sep 18, 2011 at 5:00 AM,  Dennis May <dennislmay at yahoo.com> wrote:
> snip (mostly agree)
> > The sheer energy density of nuclear power means
> > it dwarfs all other options.

This is a particularly batshit crazy remark.

Coarse-grained high energy density installations 

a) produce the power far from where it is consumed, requiring
expensive transformation and redistribution infrastructure, and
high lossess

b) default to the Corium failure mode https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Corium_%28nuclear_reactor%29

Building-integrated thin-film PV is air-cooled and produces
power exactly where it is consumed.

Low energy density is a *feature*, especially in the context
of scalability from uW to GW.
> ? Much of the time
> > delay for implementation of nuclear power
> > plants can be reduced by going to standardized
> > designs.
> So far that doesn't seem to have happened.  Fukushima didn't help either.

There are standartized designs. The time delay is due to approval,
construction and safety measures (which cause chronical cost creep).
It's a mature industry in slow failure mode. If you look at the numbers
over last 30 years, you do not see a young, high-growth industry.

It's dead, Jim.
> At $5,000 to $8,000 per kw, the power cost is going to range up to 10
> cents per kWh based on capital cost alone.
> > As far as big solar projects go - I see them as
> > being of interest in industrializing space
> > not moving space nuclear energy [sun] to
> > the Earth when there are plenty of Earth
> > based nuclear energy possibilities with much
> > less capital risk.
> Perhaps you are right.  But without selling power to earth, I don't
> see space being industrialized this side of the singularity at all.

We don't need space industrialization for the next 50 years. However,
we will need massive amounts of industrialization soon after, so why
not starting now?
> There is an awful front end cost to get the cost of transport down,
> but if it can get down to where it is no more than a third of the cost
> per kW of capacity, then we are talking power cost based on $1600/kW
> or less.
> And construction times measured in weeks.
> If we can't get SBSP cost down in this range, then you really should
> start thinking about what it would take to build and fuel 1000 new
> reactors a year.
> This might interest some people here:
> http://spacefellowship.com/news/art26681/nasa-announces-two-game-changing-space-technology-projects.html
> There is serious work starting on beamed energy propulsion.

"Ride the light" sounds great, but consider that even defense will
be cut. 

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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