Tagged: nuclear RSS

  • jimmy 12:44 am on April 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Afghanistan, geopolitics, ivory coast, japan, , nuclear, Pakistan, Syria,   

    It’s amazing what you can learn just from headlines/tweets. Last few days I haven’t had a lot of time for in-depth reading of a ton of news, but I’ve learned (through following a whole host of news sources in Twitter) that Gaddafi’s government seems to be cracking (if not exactly falling apart yet); the Ivory Coast is basically at civil war; Syria is trying hard to be the next Egypt (only with more bloodshed); Yemen is a freaking mess and the only difference between Libya and Yemen is that The West is ignoring Yemen because the government there is an “ally” in the War on Terror; speaking of which Bahrain is also an “ally” and seems to have mostly “put down” their own protests, although I’m not sure if we can give Bahrain all the credit what with the Saudi Army’s (invited) “help,” all with The West looking the other way and whistling a happy tune (oh, and suggesting things like “political reforms”…what about, “hey jackasses, it’s time for you to leave” like we told Mubarak?).

    Oh yeah, and turning our attention to actual defined “war zones,” Afghanistan is officially out of control when we let 8 (6?) UN workers be killed (possibly stoned?) in a riot. War: not won, possibly even lost.

    And wasn’t there some assassination or something in Pakistan, too?

    And last, but not least, Japan is still playing host to several unstable nuclear reactors and the evacuation zones may need to be expanded and the area near the plant may need to be permanently left?

  • jimmy 2:03 am on March 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: energy, nuclear, , solar, wind   

    I ran some numbers today. Numbers relating to the cost to build a new nuclear power plant. And the cost to install solar panels.

    To cut through the wordiness of both those links (mostly the former) here’s the highlight reel: since no new nuclear plants have been built in the USA in over 30 years, estimating costs is pretty much guesswork, but the 2007 guesswork puts prices at anywhere from $2/watt (lowest estimates, mostly from utilities and/or the possible contractors…in other words, people with questionable conflicts of interest) up over $4/watt ($4.3/watt via a later redacted report from a utility; and a S&P report that estimated “final construction costs” in 2007 dollars as $4.3-4.55/watt…that’s $4.57-$4.83 in 2011 dollars).

    Solar costs are much easier to pin down, since people are actually, you know, buying solar panels. That source there estimates that new solar costs around $4/watt.

    Wait, what?

    Here’s the best part: the cost of solar panels keeps dropping, while the construction costs to build new nuclear reactors (with things like 12-foot think concrete walls) keep going up.

    So here’s the question, if new nuclear and new solar cost the same, why the hell are we even considering a technology that has the chance (however small*) of blowing up and killing us all (yeah, that’s an overstate…unless “us all” is the subset of people living within a mile or two of the 104 nuclear power plants in America) instead of a technology that not only has no chance of blowing up and killing us all, but that can be installed in a decentralized grid, thus making our entire power system resistant to disruption from storms, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, or human error.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, commercial scale wind turbines cost $1.75/watt.

    They also have no chance of blowing up and killing us all.

    *There are currently 442 nuclear power plants in the world. There have been at least 6 “nuclear accidents” in the past 51 years. Simple math (I know this probably calls for more advanced math, but I’m lazy) gives the “accident chance” at 1.36%.

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