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  1. #71
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    First, I stipulate that nuclear power as we know it, today, can be some "really nasty stuff" if you aren't very, very careful with it. It can be made "safe enough" with current technology but at high cost and a willingness to agree that "safe enough" is a moving target. I never meant for people to get the idea that I think we should just forge ahead and use nuclear power without serious thought and work, beforehand.

    Having said that, I think it is a shame that we only do two things with nuclear power: We boil water with it and we blow stuff up.
    All nuclear electric power plants that I know about are simply steam turbines that use nuclear reactors for heat instead of coal furnaces. What a waste that is!

    Wouldn't it be great if there was some way to use an atomic chain reaction to generate electrons, directly?
    There is a theoretical device called a migma cell that is supposed to do that but, to date, nobody has ever made one work in a self-sustaining reaction. I don't know if the idea is even practical but it is an intriguing idea, none the less. This idea about subcritical reactors is intriguing to me, as well. I'm going to have to read up on them.

    Sure, all of these things are 99% theoretical. However, all good science starts with a theory then people test that theory to see what works and what doesn't. My point is not about building reactors and power plants. My point says that we should be looking into the ideas above and other things so that we can learn more about the subject and, hopefully, bring these ideas out of the theory lectures to the real world.

    At our current state of understanding, our use of nuclear technology is like trying to use a baseball bat to play a violin.

    I believe that thee is so much more we might be able to do with nuclear power but we can't find out because there are so many people who knee-jerk at the mere mention of the word, "nuclear." Until we get over that hangup, we're never going to find out just what nuclear energy can do for us.
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

    -----

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

  2. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Gray View Post
    However, one of the big problems that solar has is that it has a hard time providing for base load electricity demands. Wind has this problem too. Hopefully we come up with some super 'green' method for dealing with it.
    Yes, it is a problem, but just like solar itself, the solution is just around the corner, too. Modern battery technologies do not need especially environmentally unfriendly or expensive materials anymore and is going down in price. This process actually goes hand-in-hand with the electrification of cars, even literally so by sharing the same batteries for both purposes by the means of using so called smart grids.

    Some centralized nuclear probably still needs to be built, because the nuclear peak was in the 70's and the plants are ageing quickly. It is more safe to build some modern plants to replace them than giving extensions without very thorough reassessments. However, I don't think we will need to build very many of them due to the pace of the alternatives that has really taken off, finally.

    And remember that both wind power and biodiesel or bioethanol (from algae) are also just forms of solar power! Both also have that capability of storing the energy, especially the latter one.

    Thanks for very level-headed discussion.

    It seems we all quite agree. We just need to be very careful on the terminology; for most people, the term "nuclear" refers to the nuclear technology currently in use, which is quite understandable. I think we should consider those new or alternative ideas as a completely different thing, even though they fall under the term "nuclear". BTW, fusion reaction is also one of those...
    Last edited by hrst; 05-16-2012 at 03:36 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #73

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    On the batteries, I'll have to see it to believe it. We might be making strides in that department, but it strikes me that we still have a long way to go. As far as I know, the most efficient and widespread method of energy storage on the grid is pumped-storage hydroelectricity.

  4. #74
    bobwysiwyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoffy View Post
    Because people have started to realise that it is going to cost money to move forward and people have realised that the money is going to have to come from their pockets.....
    Folks have a hard time understanding that the money always... always, comes from their pockets, though the route may so long and circuitous that they forgot where it came from.
    WYSIWYG - At least that's my goal.

    Portfolio-http://apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=25518

  5. #75
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Someone should make a better capacitor.

    PE

  6. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Gray View Post
    As far as I know, the most efficient and widespread method of energy storage on the grid is pumped-storage hydroelectricity.
    You can see it in operation in Niagara Falls. During periods of low electric power demand, water is pumped into a large reservoir; when power demand goes up, water from the reservoir passes through the pumps, now operating as generators.

  7. #77
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    My god, Archimedes has gotta be laughing up at us.
    K.S. Klain

  8. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Someone should make a better capacitor.

    PE
    Where the heck have you been, PE? The Flux Capacitor... duhh!!

  9. #79
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    That is for time travel, not for energy storage! Sheesh!

    PE

  10. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    That is for time travel, not for energy storage! Sheesh!

    PE
    What's the difference?? Energy is energy!!



 

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