26 thoughts on “The Green Real Deal

  1. Whatever deal this is, real or new, it is not something the green c0mmies are looking forward to. If energy production is ever safe, reliable and distributed, it means that greenies lose. They’ll fight this tooth and nail.

  2. I was briefly associated with a group building a thorium reactor prototype. As the fellow in this video says, the science and engineering is there. What he does not say is one of the biggest hurdles for operators of SMR’s is security.

    Smaller reactors = more reactors. More reactors = more opportunities for insane and/or leftist terrorists to create a catastrophe.

    Large nuclear power plants employ military grade security staff and infrastructure. Small power plants would have to do no less, without the economy of scale

  3. DrPS, you have no faith in the post-modern man! When everyone is a slave, we don’t need no stinking security!

  4. The DOE predicts a global increase in electrical demand of 50% by 2050.
    Energy use is a substitute for human labor.
    Like it or not, your future is either poverty or nuclear-heavy. No other energy source is scalable like nuclear.

  5. Silly MO, once you become a slave and will be given your ration of soylent green, jammed into rat infested projects and your car taken away from you along with all the other freedoms, there will be enough energy to go around from wind and solar. And on those cloudy windless days, you will have to do without heat, water and power. Because you are a slave and that’s what’s best for you as determined by your betters.

  6. MO, the problem with those projections is the models.

    There are presently this many people each using this much power, and we extrapolate that in the future, there will be that many people each using that much power, so we’ll need whoa, holy cow, lots and lots more power!

    No. The secondary premise is incorrect. There won’t be that many people.
    We’re going to unleash a virus on everybody else in the world. Then we can use as much power as we want and nobody cares.

    It’s the same solution to global warming. If burning coal really is the problem, and we’re truly facing extinction in nine years unless we stop it, then we really have no choice: we must launch a preemptive attack on China. It’s our only hope.

    Trying to solve life-and-death problems while thinking inside the box leaves you dead in a box. Bust out of the box. Or tone down the rhetoric.

  7. Dr. Pete is right about the security needs. It would be wonderful to have many small units where you could ramp power up and down to meet the grid demands, and to offer higher reliability to the grid in the event a unit(s) needed to come off line for maintenance needs. But unless you congregate those small plants the security requirements would be difficult. Heck we can’t even protect a single police precinct from a riotous mob much less a determined enemy attack.

    Security issues aside the whole conversation is mute in my opinion until a “permanent” resolution to the waste storage is accomplished. Politics make that the hardest problem to solve considering the history of the The Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository fiasco. A book could be written on the shenanigans that have taken place between the Greens and the Indian Tribes against NSP and the spent fuel storage casks at NSP Prairie Island Nuclear Facility.

  8. If as much effort and money was put towards solution to nuclear waste as was wasted on WoD™, AGM™ (including anti-nuclear stance) and SJ™, this issue would have been resolved decades ago.

  9. Security issues aside the whole conversation is mute in my opinion until a “permanent” resolution to the waste storage is accomplished.

    Four words, sir.

    Elon Musk. Rockets. Sun

  10. Also: Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository

    If you can’t safely store waste rods 500′ below the surface, in an existing salt mine, in the middle of the fucking desert, what good are you?

  11. So, let’s calculate the cost of launching 1lb of material into space; NASA vs Space X.

    You start.

  12. It does not matter who does it. You will have to add that cost to the price of the MW generated and sold. And I believe it will make it cost prohibitive in the process. Since it sounds like you are better equipped to make that calculation, I’ll leave it to you. Prove me wrong!

  13. OK, so I decided to look up the cost of sending stuff into space, and a quick hit yielded info that you may be mistaken in NASA vis a vis Saint Elon:

    “My cost per pound went up with these rockets,” Margasahayam told Tech Insider. “On the shuttle, it would be much less.” (Margasahayam spoke to Tech Insider as a private citizen and engineer, rather than as a representative of NASA.)

    Margasahayam points out that, while the space shuttles were more expensive — a whopping $500 million per launch (or possibly $1.5 billion, according to one analysis we’ve seen) — each mission carried about 50,000 lbs. (plus seven astronauts!). That means each pound of cargo used to cost about $10,000 to ship on a shuttle.

    Orbital Science’s Cygnus spacecraft costs about $43,180 per pound to send things up, dividing the $1.9 billion contract by the maximum 20 metric tons of cargo the company is supposed to supply.

    For SpaceX — the cheapest of NASA’s new carriers — dividing the cost of each launch ($133 million) by the cargo weight of its most recent resupply mission (5,000 lbs.) gives you about $27,000 per pound.

    So there you have it. Even if NASA was still in business, it would cost 10K per pound of material. What I do not know, is how many pounds of nuclear waste are we talking about and calculation per MW. I did my part, now you do yours 😉

  14. jpa, we would be remiss not to observe that all those costs included human crews; very spendy.

    How much to launch an unmanned nuclear garbage truck? Not sure anyone has done the calcs, but I’d bet it is less than the cost of maintaining pools of spent fuel rods.

    I will look I to it further.

  15. OK jpa, according to your article, the price per payload varies +-$100k depending on what it is.

    For instance, a gorilla suit cost somewhere between $39,130 to $185,680. An espresso machine was between $400,400 and $1.9. Other mission critical items like saxophones, birthday cakes and guitars varied just as much.

    A fuel rod assembly weighs 185kg, or 84 lbs, or 2 espresso machines.But let us not forget, the new, smaller reactor cores will weigh only a fraction of that, and will have a 20 year life.

    The point being, if we can afford to shoot gorilla suits into orbit, we could definitely foot the bill for 20 years worth of electricity.

    Also, St. Elon says he will soon get the price down to a fixed $1k per lb.

  16. St. Elon says a LOT of things – he is a quintessential snake oil salesman. Does not mean he is not a smart and successful snake oil salesman, but a snake oil salesman nevertheless.

    The point being, if we can afford to shoot gorilla suits into orbit, we could definitely foot the bill for 20 years worth of electricity.

    Who is this “we”? In the gorilla suit case, it is NASA and taxpayer dollars. In the case of spent fuel rods, it will be YOU and I via the price we pay per kW or MW to the utility company. Not sure about you, but to me it is a HUGE difference.

  17. How much to launch an unmanned nuclear garbage truck? Not sure anyone has done the calcs, but I’d bet it is less than the cost of maintaining pools of spent fuel rods.

    Oh, sure – go ahead and piss off the garbage haulers union.

  18. Not sure where all that Elon hate comes from, jpa. He and his team built the first commercially viable, unmanned, reusable rocket. Seems like a breddy schmart lad to me.

  19. Does not mean he is not a smart and successful snake oil salesman

    DrPS, I NEVER called St. Elon anything but smart and successful. And I never said I hated him, just called him a snake oil salesman because that is what he is. He is a master salesman and marketing guru and I never impugned his ability to muster the right investors and talent a la Space-X – that is his master trait as a snake oil salesman. Hyperloop anyone?

    Still want to hear about your definition of “we” and calcs on additional cost per kW or MW if we are to spend 10k per pound to send nuclear waste to the sun. I have no idea – could be a lot, could be miniscule. Just want to know.

  20. Well, since the cost per lb seems to fluctuate more wildly than the bat flu death toll, it’s gonna be hard to tell, jpa. But let’s say it’s $10k per lb. right now.

    That’s the cost to fly it into space on a an incredibly complex machine fitted out with life support, multiple, redundant safety systems to back up that life support, a sophisticated navigation and telemetry system. It also includes the “dead weight” of the pilots and crew, and all the infrastructure it takes to do their jobs; chairs, computers, space suits & etc. That is weight that could be used to pack more spent fuel rods, thus lowering the per lb. cost.

    We need to ask, what’s the price to fly it in a machine that has no life support system (it could be open to vacuum in fact), no navigation system other than a pre-programmed flight path; a flying tin can.

    I dunno. Musk says he can get the price down to $1k/lb on the Cadillac; what if he can only get to $2k? How much less could he get a tin can flight to? Remember, we’re only talking 84lbs for a 1.6 gW reactor. SMR’s are looking to hit the 300mW range, so it will take more of them to replace the larger reactors, but remember they are more efficient. What if 15lbs of fuel lasts 20 years?

    And, we must spread the cost over the projected 20 year life span of the new technology between re-fuels. I think it’s very doable.

  21. Ugh, I ask a simple question… what much does it cost? I am not debating the actual cost, just what it would add to the electricity bill. A number based on presumptions since that is all we have right now, regardless whether it is $1000/lb or $100,000/lb to deliver the payload. I guess I have to figure out it myself.

    So lets start with the fact 185kg=408lbs (not 84, you zigged when you should have zagged). Let’s presume you require 5SMR reactors at 1/2 the weight for each 1.6gW unit. That’s 5*200=1000lbs for each 1.6gW. At $1000/lb, that’s $1,000,000 to send 1.6gW into space. $625k per 1gW or $625 per MW. Take 1/3 of that due to increase in useful life of the reactor and we have $208/MW. My average monthly usage is about 1500kWh so I use about 0.062MW per day. So, additional cost is $208*.062=$12.9 per day. I currently pay about 10 cents per kWh or roughly $3-4/day.

    Somebody please check my math, I have been known to zig instead of zagging, DrPS is not the only one afflicted with that disease. But if my calculations stand, I would surmise that no, this is not doable unless rammed down sheeople’s throats.

  22. Upon re-reading my comment, I think my presumption about MW usage and cost relationship is iffy, so please check it.

  23. For me, the biggest danger in launching nuclear material into space is not the cost. It is, rather, the likelihood that the launch will fail (e.g. Challenger ) and rain radioactive materials all over the place.

    And I think the knock against Yucca Mountain is that it’s got a bunch of faults right there, not exactly what you want if you want to prevent nuclear waste from getting out of its container and into the environment. Putting waste in an abandoned mine in a desert with not much water activity is a good idea; doing so in a block fault mountain is not.

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