Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Silver Bullet, Energy Collective Foxes, and the Nuclear Fix

A true nuclear hedgehog believes, contrary to conventional thinking, that there is an energy silver bullet. That bullet is one or more forms of nuclear technology. Rod Adams and I both believe that small reactors are essential to the nuclear fix. As Tyler Hamilton notede about a mini-reactor design:
Efficient. Flexible. Safer. Transportable. Scalable. Swappable. In the world of nuclear energy, small could end up becoming the new big.
Small can be built in factories. Factory production of reactors is a key to lowering nuclear cost. It is not however the only key. The view of the nuclear hedgehogs is that by fixing the reactor, by solving the problems that raise objections to nuclear power in the first place, the energy problem can be solved. The Energy Collective foxes, dismiss this as nonsense, and stop paying attention, because they are convinced that the nuclear fix is impossible.

The energy collective foxes have some tricks, but the tricks add up to expensive and limited electricity, a greatly diminished standard of living for ordinary people,and an American national economy that is not competitive with the emerging Asian economic powers. The foxes expect the American people to make due by thrift.

The Foxes seldom talk about energy costs, except to claim that nuclear power is too expensive. Too expensive compared to what is never explained. When future levelized costs are compared, nuclear costs turn out to be equal too or lower than renewables. Energy researcher Mary Hutzler notes the an obvious but often overlooked effect of wingmill construction on future wind cost.
In the case of the revised AEO 2009, more wind capacity is built earlier in the forecast than in the AEO 2009 without the stimulus (10 gigawatts more by 2010 and 33 gigawatts more by 2020). As more wind units are constructed, the better wind sites are used up earlier, and wind becomes more expensive due to access and resource availability issues.
in comparision, building reactors makes future nuclear has a negative impact on future nuclear costs because ofd the learning curve. Mary Hutzler's observation is beyond the sophistication of Energy Collective foxes who seem completely oblivious to reneewable cost issues.

The Energy Collective foxes are also completely ignorant of the basic facts of nuclear technology. We have Tyler Hamilton , so utterly and completely ignorant of nuclear technology, that he does not know that the problem of nuclear waste, as he understands it, could be eliminated by switching from a uranium fuel cycle to a thorium fuel cycle. Should competent energy writers know this? Yes, absolutely! Do most energy writers know this? Absolutely not! Lets face it, most energy experts are nuclear illiterates. Most of the so called energy experts whose writings appear on the Energy Collective, know so little about nuclear energy, that they are lack basic competence on many energy issues. What is worse, they seem to lack the will to learn.

By switching nuclear technology, by altering things like reactor size, fuel cycle, and reactor design and operation details, radically different nuclear technologies are possible. It is possible, by changing the rules of the nuclear game. It is possible to build reactors that are cheaper, lower priced, safer, and more far efficient. By adopting new nuclear technologies, reactors can produce from 60% to 80% of the energy required by society. Nuclear power is the silver bullet that the Energy Collective Foxes do not understand.

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