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The FUTURE of Energy

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posted on Dec, 7 2009 @ 10:04 AM
Global warming continues. The world consumes oil and gas faster than finding it. We import oil from unstable countries. Producing ethanol from corn consumes almost as much energy as the ethanol delivers. Sites for wind, solar and hydro power are limited while intermittent with a low energy density. The population of the world continues to grow, we have continued economic growth, and efficiency gains are marginal, at best.

The High Costs of Copenhagen

Perhaps, though not without enormous effort. Operating a power grid reliably and economically with intermittent solar and wind resources generating 40% of the electricity cannot be done today. Carbon capture and storage has yet to be demonstrated on a large scale. Meanwhile, a still vocal group of environmentalists remains adamantly opposed to nuclear energy—even though it is the only low-carbon energy source that is both scaleable and already generating large amounts of electricity.

Yet falling short on any of these decarbonization measures would require even more of the others, or even greater energy efficiency gains. Failing that, the only way to reach the 83% reduction goal would be through slower or even negative economic growth, i.e., lower living standards. This is a matter of arithmetic; it cannot be wished away.

You have two choices.

A. Lower living standards.


B. Support a way to create vast quantities of cheap, clean, abundant electrical power.

If you chose A, then please turn the power button off because your computer uses too much energy - and - practice what you peach; go live in a cave, or something. If you chose B, then I introduce you to the Liquid Fueled Thorium Reactor (LFTR - pronounced "lifter", also known as the Molten Salt Reactor (MSR)) which can meet the above requirement.

The benefits of LFTR's

1. The LFTR is an extremely safe reactor design.

2. The thorium fuel cycle is efficient.

3. Elimination of the problem of nuclear waste.

4. Lowest fuel cycle costs coupled with very high fuel safety.

5. Lower manufacturing, construction and siting costs coupled with great manufacturing time efficiencies.

6. Liquid core reactors can be used to dispose of existing stocks of nuclear waste.

16 minute video with everything you need to know about the LFTR.


[edit on 7/12/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Dec, 7 2009 @ 10:29 AM
Conservation alone obviously doesnt work.
LFTR isnt lining the pockets of anyone, though. Just being efficient, does not mean it's lucretive.
It seems that we are at stalemate with the alternative energy topics. Just like years ago, with solar energy. Solar panel construction is bad for the environment, but better in the long run, we need too many of them.. etc....

Until big business dollars are taken out of the equation, we will not have any major changes. Or, until the cost of oil is so outrageous, no one can afford it.
It's kind of sad really.

posted on Dec, 7 2009 @ 10:45 AM
The main issue with the LFTR at the moment is its full development, which has yet to be realized. I feel if that issue is overcome, then "big business dollars" should be lining up for the LFTR, with the potential to completely replace our Fossil plants. Remember, many Nuclear Plants in the United States generate 2 million dollars profit per day, and the LFTR only eliminates existing technologies perceived weaknesses, while capitalizing on its strengths, for example, the LFTR makes the fuel cycle simpler, it lowers construction costs, and eliminates any perceived issues with waste, proliferation, and safety.

I certainly do not think it should be compared to solar, because solar, especially photo-voltaic is uneconomical, has a low power density, is intermittent, and has a low capacity factor. Nuclear, even today, fares much better in all those fields, and once the capital costs are payed off, it can compete with fossil fuels very easily. They are not building new Nuclear Plants in the United States for the first time in 20 years for nothing. Also, most of the private R&D into new Nuclear designs is in Liquid Metal Fast Reactors. They have some of the advantages of the LFTR, but not all.

What I feel needs to be done:

  • Create a new but seperate version of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) aimed at the licensing and operation of non-conventional 4th generation reactors.
  • Overhaul the existing NRC significantly so the licensing of conventional nuclear plants is rapidly accelerated. The steps the Bush administration took in this field were in the right direction because debacles like Shoreham (google it) should not happen.
  • Greater recognition, education, and awareness of current, and future Nuclear technologies such as the LMFR and LFTR. This means close public examination of claims by groups such as Greenpeace.
  • Divert funds from existing renewable R&D budgets to restart the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR - a LMFR basically) program. It was canceled during the Clinton administration, for, well, nothing. Also, start a LFTR (MSR) program.
  • Instate governmental policies aimed at supporting Nuclear, rather than vehemently opposing it like they currently do. For example, remove safety regulations that do not actually improve safety, but add hundreds of millions to construction costs. (e.g. property line radiation limit - ask if you want)
  • If they conventional reactors we are starting to build today in the United States end up on-time and on-budget, then massively expand the existing loan guarantees that are given to Nuclear at this time. (Loan guarantees are not subsidies, think student loans. )
  • Have the laws prohibiting fuel reprocessing to be revoked. This will dramatically reduce mining, and will significantly reduce waste output.


[edit on 7/12/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Dec, 7 2009 @ 11:35 AM
I think Wind and Solar are good choices, based on the fact that my brother is up to speed with alternative energy.. it's his business.. and so runs his home, the granny apartment, and, the large machinery shed.. AND, puts power into the grid for a rebate.

When a storm knocked power out for 4 days, his beers were still cold, the kids still had music/entertainment, the freezers and shed equipment all ran fine, life went on as normal.

So, to make sense of my ramblings here, it could be very effective for all housing to be equipped with a combination of Wind and Solar energy production to take the drain off normal power supplies, and reduce household costs.

posted on Dec, 7 2009 @ 11:41 AM
How much do solar panels for the home cost, and what is their (average) output? I only know commercial, large scale solutions. I got to go, but I'll respond in full tomorrow.


And thank god the place where I live has the lights on... all the time, except during occasional lightning storms for less than an hour.

[edit on 7/12/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Dec, 7 2009 @ 11:50 AM
reply to post by C0bzz

But dont you think corporations would bastardize the technology?
Lets say Nuclear does compete with fossil. Corporations buy into it, and eventually its the main source.
Now that they have everyone buying into it, and its so much faster, cheaper, and efficient, dont you think that it would eventually turn into the situation we have now?
Sure it's cleaner, and easier. But at what cost to the public? Its easier to process, but would we still pay the same prices as before. Cheap for them, same price for us.

Maybe im factoring greed into this a little too much. Im a little jaded on the issue. While I want progression, I dont want the idea taken advantage of.

[edit: I meant to ask you about the property line radiation levels....arent they needed?]

[edit on 7-12-2009 by InertiaZero]

posted on Dec, 7 2009 @ 12:06 PM
Yes, property line limitations are needed. However, during the 1980s the NRC reduced the allowable radiation at the property line from 5 millirem to 1 millirem. The cost? 1 billion dollars and added delays, per reactor that was already built. For reference, a chest X-ray is 20 millirem, and the average American gets 200 millirem of exposure from Radon gas per year. I see these measures as completely unnecessary.

[edit on 7/12/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Dec, 7 2009 @ 12:37 PM
Do not need nuclear power...

There is a huge amount of effort going into research on zero point energy at many levels of funding. I firmly believe a breakthrough will happen quicker than new nuclear plants can be constructed.

posted on Dec, 14 2009 @ 07:59 AM

Originally posted by expat2368
Do not need nuclear power...

There is a huge amount of effort going into research on zero point energy at many levels of funding. I firmly believe a breakthrough will happen quicker than new nuclear plants can be constructed.

This has been said many times during previous decade, or even century. It is merely procrastination. So... while I wish free energy the best, Nuclear technology is the only platform that can realistically help get us off fossil fuels.

But dont you think corporations would bastardize the technology?

I am unfamiliar with the way the cost of electricity is set. However I do know that Nuclear can possibly be cheaper than many of the alternatives, and this is reflected in Europe, where France, which is 80% Nuclear, has some of the lowest electricity rates in Europe. France also has some of the lowest CO2 emissions per capita. Denmark, Germany, and Spain, which apparently are leaders in renewables, have far higher Co2 emissions per capita, and a far greater cost of electricity.

So, to make sense of my ramblings here, it could be very effective for all housing to be equipped with a combination of Wind and Solar energy production to take the drain off normal power supplies, and reduce household costs.

It is unlikely rooftop solar will decrease household costs, as the initial capital investment required is very high. This is even reflected in large scale centralized facilities where you would expect the actual cost to be cheaper. However, it will decrease dependence on the grid and energy companies, which can only be a good thing. Even so, it is physically impossible to run an industrialized nation on solar and wind, as the energy densities are too sparse, capacity factors are too low, and intermittency. It is no mistake that wind and solar make up less than 2% of total electricity generation worldwide.

[edit on 14/12/2009 by C0bzz]

posted on Jun, 12 2010 @ 07:12 PM
I had not heard of the Liquid Thorium reactor, thanks for bringing it up.

All I had heard of was the THTR-300 in the EU which has probably
given thorium a bad name over there.

It was non liquid, and had issues.

A lot of the public sees that every prior reactor type has safety issues
and thus thinks that any future type will as well.

I hope that liquid thorium can overcome that hurdle and help us
over our energy woes that are soon to get much worse.

As for wind it is helping with the issue, and it works better than you
give it credit. The central US is the Saudi Arabia of wind power,
and it will make a good 20% solution.

I agree that Solar takes up a lot of land, and I do not like photovoltaic.

I am a fan of solar thermal like the SEGs system or the power tower
with a molten salt storage.

SEGs is has been putting out 350MW for many years now.

More efficient, and no burn outs like the photovoltaics.

The sterling engine solar power devices have promise too.

I think a Thorium test reactor would be a good idea thou as
we need to prepare for all possible options and do real world
testing on all options in case they are needed.

posted on Jun, 17 2011 @ 01:15 AM
The MSR techgnology has been around for a long time.

Could our weapons ambitions have anything to do with why we didn't go with MSR's?

I'm thinking thats the right question to ask.

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