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Old May 27th, 2015, 07:41 AM   #21
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Nobody is dragging this issue into the swamps of Politics, as far as I know. Some poster has stated here that there is no effort in Asia regarding avoiding coal burning etc. Let me state here i ) an immense effort is on way in India to start really big on solar energy as well as wind energy. In my state of Maharashtra ( size of France plus ), we are seeing a very large number of modern wind mills coming up pretty fast. ii ) in spite of resistance on account of misunderstandings /doubts caused by Fukushima and Chernobyl, a big push is being given to the erection of Nuclear Power plants. In my state, we are likely to soon see the start of erection of 6 plants each of 1600 megawatts, in a place called Jaitapur in the coastal district of Ratnagiri. The initial designs are being processed between the French firm Areva and our local firm Larsen and Toubro.
But this nuclear power production is not going to see the light of the day till another 4-5 years. Meanwhile a developing country has to burn coal, what else can it do to enable its industry to come up and the employment numbers to rise ?
I'm not yet sold on the cost efficiency of wind and solar; they've been improving but there are still significant issues with storage and peak usage along with the fact that their electricity generation itself is still less cost effective than more traditional sources. I think nuclear energy is the way to go, after hydroelectric it's probably the best source of energy; unfortunately, we've regulated the industry to death in the US, to the point that it's no longer cost effective, but that's an artificial result of excessive regulation, not a reflection on the true cost efficiency of nuclear power. I'm glad to see India investing in nuclear power, it's a stable, reliable long term solution to energy production and the environmentally friendly nature of nuclear power is a nice bonus.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 08:08 AM   #22

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I'm not yet sold on the cost efficiency of wind and solar; they've been improving but there are still significant issues with storage and peak usage along with the fact that their electricity generation itself is still less cost effective than more traditional sources. I think nuclear energy is the way to go, after hydroelectric it's probably the best source of energy; unfortunately, we've regulated the industry to death in the US, to the point that it's no longer cost effective, but that's an artificial result of excessive regulation, not a reflection on the true cost efficiency of nuclear power. I'm glad to see India investing in nuclear power, it's a stable, reliable long term solution to energy production and the environmentally friendly nature of nuclear power is a nice bonus.
Hydopower sites are getting increasingly rare in India. Moreover the dams often silt up loosing much of their effectiveness apart from the fact that a hydro project often destroys irreplaceable forests and hence the habitat of many wild animals and birds.
As regards the costs of the solar power, yes, the unit costs are high and the conversion efficiencies of the photovoltaic cells are at best about 15 % in the lab and only about less than 10 % in the field, after some deterioration over some years.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 08:47 AM   #23
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Hydopower sites are getting increasingly rare in India. Moreover the dams often silt up loosing much of their effectiveness apart from the fact that a hydro project often destroys irreplaceable forests and hence the habitat of many wild animals and birds.
As regards the costs of the solar power, yes, the unit costs are high and the conversion efficiencies of the photovoltaic cells are at best about 15 % in the lab and only about less than 10 % in the field, after some deterioration over some years.
That's the big problem with hydroelectricity, there are only a limited number of good spots for such power plants (and often not near the cities that need the power) and there are always rather harsh environmental consequences for building them. We've pretty much used up all the really good sites in the US and the ones that are left tend to be in protected nature areas. Most dam construction today tends to be the raising of existing structures. But, when you do have a good location, it's a very efficient and reliable source of power. Nuclear is probably a close second and far more versatile in possible locations, provided you can get over the irrational fears that plague the industry...a major problem in the Untied States.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 08:57 AM   #24

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That's the big problem with hydroelectricity, there are only a limited number of good spots for such power plants (and often not near the cities that need the power) and there are always rather harsh environmental consequences for building them. We've pretty much used up all the really good sites in the US and the ones that are left tend to be in protected nature areas. Most dam construction today tends to be the raising of existing structures. But, when you do have a good location, it's a very efficient and reliable source of power. Nuclear is probably a close second and far more versatile in possible locations, provided you can get over the irrational fears that plague the industry...a major problem in the Untied States.
The safe storage of the spent fuel in Nuclear power projects is also a problem area. We do have possible storage sites by way of excavating deep caverns in basaltic rock which is abundantly available near Jaitapur. The problem is that Jaitapur lies in seismic zone III ( likely to be upgraded to Zone IV ) as per the BIS codes of pracice pertinent to that subject. And this is a high risk zone as far as likely intensity of seismic forces is concerned. A party called Shiv Sena, which is a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance presently ruling at the Govt. of India level is opposing the project tooth and nail. Though the BJP has sufficient seats on its own at the center to rule on its own, it has to have help from the Shiv Sena at the level of the government of the state of Maharashtra, where it does not command a majority on its own.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 09:23 AM   #25
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The safe storage of the spent fuel in Nuclear power projects is also a problem area. We do have possible storage sites by way of excavating deep caverns in basaltic rock which is abundantly available near Jaitapur. The problem is that Jaitapur lies in seismic zone III ( likely to be upgraded to Zone IV ) as per the BIS codes of pracice pertinent to that subject. And this is a high risk zone as far as likely intensity of seismic forces is concerned. A party called Shiv Sena, which is a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance presently ruling at the Govt. of India level is opposing the project tooth and nail. Though the BJP has sufficient seats on its own at the center to rule on its own, it has to have help from the Shiv Sena at the level of the government of the state of Maharashtra, where it does not command a majority on its own.
We have the same issues, most spent fuel rods are stored on site because storage is so controversial. We have perfectly good places in Nevada where we could dig a deep hole and bury them for all time, sites that were the location of extensive atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons during the cold war. The risk from burying spent fuel rods pales in comparison to the risk still presented from those atmospheric tests to this day, but as a result of a lot of political scaremongering, we still don't have a permanent storage facility for spent fuel rods. But, that just gets back to my previous point, most the problems with nuclear power are political, not real, physical problems.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 11:06 AM   #26

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We have the same issues, most spent fuel rods are stored on site because storage is so controversial. We have perfectly good places in Nevada where we could dig a deep hole and bury them for all time, sites that were the location of extensive atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons during the cold war. The risk from burying spent fuel rods pales in comparison to the risk still presented from those atmospheric tests to this day, but as a result of a lot of political scaremongering, we still don't have a permanent storage facility for spent fuel rods. But, that just gets back to my previous point, most the problems with nuclear power are political, not real, physical problems.
The problem of safe disposal of spent fuel is more acute in case of Uranium 235 based plants. But it is said to be much less in case of Thorium based plants because the spent fuel in this case can be reprocessed to produce some more energy. The waste that remains, however, is capable of being turned into bombs ! And that is why no country in the Nuclear Supplier's Group is ready to permit India to erect Thorium based plants, although India has rich resources of Thorium. And Uranium 238 ore , although, is available in sufficient quantity in the north-east state of Manipur it is not allowed to be mined by the people of that state from the point of view of radiation hazards. Hence our Prime Minister has been going around asking this or that country to supply us Uranium ! Eventually Canada has agreed to supply us some 3000 tonnes of Uranium in the next 5 years.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 07:06 PM   #27

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There are no right or wrong climates nor is there any ideal climate. What you have stated here is true in so far as pre-human history of climate is concerned. The violent lava eruptions that destroyed the sub-tropical forests on the Grecian island you cite are truly suggestive of the might of natural forces that have caused climatic changes from ice age to ice age and so on. But we humans also have caused substantial changes in the environment. Even in a micro-environment of a semi-urban area where I live, there is indiscriminate tree cutting, indiscriminate dumping of solid and liquid urban wastes on once grass covered open spaces that the authorities have coolly designated as municipal dumping grounds. Then they put the wastes on fire, causing a most vile smelling smoke to cover huge areas of our once green country supposedly once having a beautiful dry and cool climate. Newer and newer roads and buildings are covering the soil with relatively impermeable layers of concrete or asphalt, thus not allowing the subsoil to get recharged with rainwater and thus causing not only sudden flooding of rivers but a wasteful discharge of precious rainwater into the nearby saline creeks. I am staying here since 1996 and I am noticing the inexorable rise in summer temperatures y/o/y.Human activity is surely adversely affecting the environment, whether decisively or not, one can find out only to one's cost in the coming years and the generations to come may have cause to regret. So what is wrong if our precious fossil fuels are to be used with care with an eye to the future and to switch gradually over to renewable sources of energy ?
Well of course we've had impact on the environment. So do elephants and beavers. Insects probably have more impact on the environment than any other creatures. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0131133227.htm

ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/012/i0842e/i0842e04.pdf

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...1031124457.htm

Cities have huge environmental impact -- but again, don't see too many people suggesting we all go back to being hunter/gatherers without our technological tools, including modern medicine. We should take care of the plant for the simple reason that it is (so far) the most habitable place we know and certainly a lot easier to get to (as opposed to relocating on Mars or the Moon and living on converted asteroids ), so we ought not to destroy what we depend on. But there's no reason to feel guilty about our transforming the landscape any more than beavers should feel guilty when their damming a stream floods a meadow.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 08:27 PM   #28

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I have not suggested anywhere in my posts above that we go back to the caves. I am no luddite being a structural engineer. But we all must recognise that fossil fuels are limited in quantity. They are not renewable either. Human beings are intelligent and must be more responsible than animals in their action. We cannot knowingly harm our planet and we cannot endanger the future generations. We have to explore and develope alternative and preferably renewable sources of energy.
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Old May 28th, 2015, 07:38 PM   #29

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We have the same issues, most spent fuel rods are stored on site because storage is so controversial. We have perfectly good places in Nevada where we could dig a deep hole and bury them for all time, sites that were the location of extensive atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons during the cold war. The risk from burying spent fuel rods pales in comparison to the risk still presented from those atmospheric tests to this day, but as a result of a lot of political scaremongering, we still don't have a permanent storage facility for spent fuel rods. But, that just gets back to my previous point, most the problems with nuclear power are political, not real, physical problems.
Nevada's salt mine isn't acceptable to those in Nevada
[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain_nuclear_waste_repository]Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
YUCCA MOUNTAIN: Unsafe site won?t ever be safe for nuclear waste | Las Vegas Review-Journal
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Nevada Rep. Cresent Hardy, who joined a pro-Yucca Mountain congressional site visit this past week, recently asked the question, “Is there a scenario in which Nevadans would actually welcome nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain?” (“Time for Nevada to talk Yucca Mountain,” March 22 Review-Journal).

The answer to that question is an emphatic “no” for one simple yet unavoidable reason: Because Yucca Mountain is an unsafe place for storing or disposing deadly nuclear waste and was selected for purely political reasons having nothing to do with science or suitability. There is nothing for state officials to negotiate. In fact, our leaders would be remiss in their duty to protect the public and the environment to entertain the notion that any amount of dollars could possibly compensate for likely grievous and lethal harm from siting a facility in such an unsafe location as Yucca Mountain.
Nevada already has "downwinders" from trinity site. They pretty much feel it is someone else's turn.
Nevada Test Site Overview | ONE


As with Hanford, Wash, the US Government's track record on "this is safe" has not necessarily been that great.
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Old May 28th, 2015, 07:49 PM   #30

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Nuclear Fission and Fusion - Difference and Comparison | Diffen
[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell]Polywell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell]Polywell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

One of the better possibilities is fusion, possibly using the plasma wiffleball system.


but even so, cheaper, cleaner energy doesn't resolve the issue of umpteen members of a given species eating, farting and otherwise occupying the planet in lieu of saber tooth tigers, lions, or feral cats -- so we should eliminate the cockroach. They've been here for more than 45 million years. Time for them to go!
49-Million-Year-Old Cockroach Fossil Found

Click the image to open in full size.
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