[ExI] Two Japanese reactors on red alert

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Sun Mar 13 05:32:31 UTC 2011

On Mar 12, 2011, at 10:52 AM, spike wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org
> [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes
> ...
>> ...Concentration of wealth, by itself, is not a problem so long as the
> wealth is then invested.  It is the concentration without investment that is
> the problem.  A billion dollar business empire that has most of its assets
> in play is far different from a billion dollar business empire that's
> sitting on most of its wealth.
> Ja.  I trace most of that sitting on wealth behavior back to these comments:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlTxGHn4sH4
> and
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-aLcbr63ME
> What is "skyrocket?"  Double?  Triple?  If so, the consumer class will have
> far less money as businesses must cut salaries to pay higher power bills.
> Most of the consumers' remaining money will be spent on food.  If so, many
> investments make no sense.  In the US, the investing class is sitting on its
> money, waiting to see what those energy costs are going to be.

What is this "investing class"?  The largest part of the money in the US stock market is from 401K plans and the equivalent.  That means that a lot of people are included in this class (for better or worse).   It is not energy costs that are worrying the rational investor.  It is the seriously damaged economy and the capricious and arguably extremely ill-adivsed actions of government in response.  Sure you may temporarily make a tidy sum if the latest "stimulus" flows your way and you time it right.  Or you could lose everything very very quickly when the next shoe drops.  Long range value investment?  What does even mean if you believe, as many rational investors do, that spiraling interest rates and major inflation are a certainty some time in the next few years?   Buying tangibles that are likely to retain or go up in value makes sense.  Buying known non-perishable consumers at todays prices makes sense.  Buying hedges such as gold and silver makes sense.  But not a lot else.  

>  Without some
> means of modeling that cost, most investment options become too risky.
> Result: note the price of gold and silver in the recent past.  It becomes
> difficult to derive a cost matrix for energy futures when the coal industry
> is under political threat.

Partially although there is no conceivable way you are going to turn out the lights by making it nearly impossible politically to derive electricity at affordable rates from coal.  At least not until a just as cheap alternative is widely deployed.

>  Nuclear and solar together are the way, but we
> will still need coal power for a long time to come.

Yep.  For about a decade if we clear the tracks of all but necessary delays on the right types (thorium primarily) of nuclear power.

> Events like Japan's earthquake remind us that nuclear power is an answer but
> may not be the universal answer.

In a molten salt thorium plant such an event would not have been much of an issue.  See http://energyfromthorium.com/2006/10/27/molten-salt-reactors-safety-options-galore-paper/

- samantha

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