Monday, March 14, 2011

So much for the Nuclear Solution....

As a practical matter, nuclear energy as a solution to the West's declining petroleum supplies is a dead issue, at least in my lifetime.  The time frame for substantial declines in petroleum availability is short and it is upon us... and the time frame for a nuclear answer to that problem is long and any attempt to ameliorate petroleum's decline with nuclear power has been put on hold indefinitely.


In reality, nuclear power was the only energy source that had any chance whatsoever of cushioning the energy shock. Now, that cushion is gone.

Take a moment and wrap your mind around that.  Let it wander where it will. The are a great many permutations of outcomes to come from this.


It would seem that with cross boarder forces entering Bahrain that Pioneer's analysis has been borne out in the short term.  I must say that I had not even considered that this could happen... I need to give it some thought.


On an entirely different subject... and please don't take this out of context...

I don't watch T.V. for the most part, and I (almost) NEVER watch news (propaganda) channels as there is enough news to be had on the Web absent the commercial pitch (well, at least I can ignore and click away from the commercial pitch online).  I have to question how healthy it is for people to be bombarded with the misery one can find in the world - earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, Tsunami's in Indonesia and Japan, wolves eating children in India, Shark attacks in Egypt, car crashes, murders, rapes, child molestations... while I don't watch T.V., that is not true for the rest of my family, and I watch the impact this rolling disaster menu has on them... not to mention the voyeur "news" media, who couldn't possibly care less about anything - except ratings and the rate that they can sell advertising time for for hooking us into events that are beyond our ability to control or influence but that do effect us quite negatively.

It would seem that tuning into disasters on T.V. is not helpful for the victims or the individual watching. If unaffected individual want to do something, it seem to be better to turn off the T.V. and do something to prepare for the day when you and yours are confronted by the unthinkable.

Yours for a better world,



Donal Lang said...

I don't watch TV. I find the disaster-porn and celebrity-porn too depressing. I do occasionally miss a good program or documentary but I find listening to the BBC Radio4 news channel and BBC World Service for news and analysis (and some very good entertainment) to be enough to keep me informed.

That way I find I can get on with what's important to me in my life right now, and not get hooked on whats happenning to other people, real or imaginary. What a waste to spend a chunk of a short and valuable life, watching other people live theirs on TV!

As for nuclear, it was always going to be an interim solution. Uranium is finite too - Peak Uranium by 2020, I read somewhere. If 3 Mile Island hadn't happened we'd have run out already.

PioneerPreppy said...

It will interesting to see if the two factions focus on each other. If they do Israel has a chance but Christian populations in MENA need to begin moving fast as I doubt they will survive the storm that is coming.

I still can't shake the feeling that "They" (whoever they is in oil producing MENA) know the gig is up and now it is time to settle old scores. Oil is not going to be the "cash crop" it was before so the pieces are moving.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Israel should be able to duck this for the most part... longer term, Israel has unique problem.... they have the same liabilities as the rest of the region, except that they are completely surrounded by enemies.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

The U.S. must be unwavering in its support of Israel... and in the end, Many Israelis may well wind up emigrating to the U.S.

Dextred1 said...

The whole nuke thing is being blown way out of proportion. No one died on 3 mile Island and a little more than 4000 at Chernobyl. This will only stop the nuclear solution if these enviro-loons keep on telling us how bad nuclear energy is. Fact is that Cars kill ten of thousands a yr and we don’t only live with it, we can’t live without it. This will blow over like every other event (remember the oil disaster, all but gone now), just seems big now because a bunch of talking heads blab it up. The only problem is now we have an enviro-loon in office that refuses to have any sort of backbone, whatever though, just got to keep on keeping on!

Jeffers, I agree with you view that this is just the start. No macro, just micro solutions now. Hope everyone is preparing, don’t think we got to long now.

Anonymous said...

There is no point in listening to the media; they are all a bunch of blathering idiots. However, that second reactor explosion did look more serious than the first one. The second one looked similar to a boiler explosion, which would be serious if the containment vessel ruptured. However there is no way to tell for sure other than looking inside the building and the media isn’t helping.

To me it looks like all they need to do is harden the generators a bit. While it would be cost prohibitive to harden everything, a few critical pieces of equipment at a multibillion dollar site is doable.

First two pictures, here.


Greg T. Jeffers said...


I take it you are an engineer?

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Please note the reaction to this in the commodity and precious metals markets...

Dextred1 said...

I took my daughter to the doctors today and the head of Michigan’s nuclear engineering program was on 760 (suppose to be best program in world). His basic premise is that this would not have happened to the new plants because they have passive cooling systems. Meaning that they do not need electricity to pump coolant over rods. He said the diesel backup generators got knocked out by tsunami and could not power any of the active cooling systems. He also said that plants in the united states on the west coast are built to withstand a 9 quack, the plants in Japan were built for a 7 something (can't remember exactly). He said there is a 10 ft concrete pad at foundation then 6 inch metal casing and something else that would have to go for a real meltdown. A meltdown just means that the pellets in the Rods are starting to melt but that can be contained if they just keep water flowing. It was a certain type of water that can absorb radioactive isotopes. He also kind of made fun of the idea that people think it is like a bomb or something. He said some groups are just hyping it for political ideology (greenies) the overall jist was that this blown out of proportion and newer plants have almost none of these same design faults.

Dextred1 said...

Forgot that he said that the only thing that matters is the temperature. As long as they can keep it within range they will be fine. I suppose that is the same as getting water over the rod though.

Anonymous said...


They don't use a special kind of water to absorb radioactive isotopes in reactors. I am not sure why he would say that. In fact nearly every reactor I am familiar with uses distilled water as it is the exact opposite effect they are trying to create. Aka they don't want to activate the water. Activation is the process by which neutrons bombard various atoms making them radioactive. Now some of these newly created radioisotopes will decay rapidly and others not so much. Minerals in the water or salt as in the case in Japan will activate and remain radioactive longer then the isotopes that form when hydrogen and oxygen are activated.

Now these activated elements can be removed from the water but it is costly so most plants attempt to avoid it. And thus they use distilled water. In Japan's case they used sea water as a last resort. Not to capture neutrons but rather to cool the rods.

Dextred1 said...

Have no idea why he said it. I don't know crap except what I read and hear. I have no experience, just relaying what I heard. Name was Waz/Wuz or something like that. Has the credentials but I don't have the base knowledge in this subject to confirm or deny anything.

Dextred1 said...

I might of heard him wrong also, I was driving with my daughter yelling at me :)

Dextred1 said...

Deionized water must of been what I heard, looking over articles about meltdowns and that makes sense.

In a loss of coolant accident, either the physical loss of coolant (which is typically deionized water, an inert gas, or liquid sodium) or the loss of a method to ensure a sufficient flow rate of the coolant occurs. A loss of coolant accident and a loss of pressure control accident are closely related in some reactors. In a pressurized water reactor, a loss of coolant accident can also cause a steam 'bubble' to form in the core due to excessive heating of stalled coolant or by the subsequent loss of pressure control accident caused by a rapid loss of coolant. In a loss of forced circulation accident, a gas cooled reactor's circulators (generally motor or steam driven turbines) fail to circulate the gas coolant within the core, and heat transfer is impeded by this loss of forced circulation, though natural circulation through convection will keep the fuel cool as long as the reactor is not depressurized.

Stephen B. said...

I think the reason nuclear accidents and deaths are worse than other kinds is because of at least two things:

1.) Radiation in general lasts longer than other kinds of pollution. Some of the isotopes released from Chernobyl have half lives of hundreds of years and for the purpose of farming and human habitation close in to the reactor sites, that's not so welcome. Coal plants, auto accidents etc. are different in that once you cease the activity, the ground isn't thought of as poisoned for centuries (although some aspects of coal mining certainly would stand a long time.)

2.) As far as auto accidents are concerned, one can control one's risk to a certain point. That is, the driver has a say in how they drive and where they go. True, a drunk driver can come along and kill you, but that is only one aspect of the auto death thing.

3.) Nuclear has a long history of a lot of double talk from government and industry that says one thing and then does another. Combined with the fact that most people don't understand nuclear technology to begin with, a lot of fear gets generated. Corners get cut on the building and operation of reactors. The engineers may have designed a very good plant, but they don't have the final say on how it's built or how it's maintained.

While I have read of some new reactor designs that feature passive cooling systems, there aren't any of those plants in operation. The nuclear industry points to the new plants as safe, which implies that the old plants should be retired, but when all these old plant licenses expire, industry is right there saying that they're safe and should continue running. We have to consider the safety of the plants installed and running, not plants on some computer's drawing board.

Uranium mining is also a historically very dirty business that leaves lots of low level radioactive tailing piles around.

Sometimes spent nuclear material goes missing and in this crazy world, that's not a good thing.

Stephen B. said...

Regarding the nuclear thing, my undergraduate degree is electrical engineering. I'm not automatically adverse to large, industrial plants, designed by engineers and physicists. I am not, nor ever was a greenie flower child.

Stephen B. said...

In some kinds of reactors and/or reactor situations, boron is added to the coolant to moderate the passage of neutrons. I did read that the seawater they were using in at least one of these reactors was intentionally doped with boron.

Maybe that's what you folks heard.

Anonymous said...

Reading this three years later is really quite funny. DexTurd, like all half-baked fuckwits who thinks he has it all "figgered out" automatically assumed that them damn "greenies" were unnecessarily alarmed over Fukushima. Shee-it, he said, hain't nothing to worry about. Shee-it, inbreedin' (a subject DexTurd knows all too well) done kilt more people. Here we are, three years hence and the corium has melted through the floor of the plant and is sinking into the ground. I'm sure if DexTard were still here he'd quote some rubbish from the Bauble and St. Ronnie and one wonders if that's not what he masturbates to at night, assuming he has a dick at all.