Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Future of Nuclear

There are many incredibly ridiculous people who talk about transitioning away from nuclear power and towards weak ambient power sources (the propagandistically misnamed "renewables"). In these people's views, the world is entirely static and unchanging but there is this magical fairy called The Future that will transform their chosen power source (through magic) to do anything they wish, irregardless of the laws of physics.

Ridiculous is a grossly inaccurate term for this batshit insane magical thinking. I happen to know all of the developments promised for wind, solar and nuclear and while some of the future developments of wind (but not solar) are impressive, they don't actually nullify that source of energy's inherent weaknesses. And future developments in nuclear power aren't "impressive", they are revolutionary.

Some of these ridiculous people are putting a 25 year timeline to "transition away" from nuclear power. Which is entirely ridiculous and unrealistic. At least if they'd said 100 years then I could allow for solar power satellites or other such technology but whatever. Within 25 years, wind power will almost certainly gain high altitude from kites, wings or other techniques and so bump up to a solid 40% reliability onshore, improve economics and siting issues, and reduce the infrasound pollution problems.

Nuclear Revolution

Within 25 years, revolutionary technologies like small nuclear, high temperature nuclear and nuclear gas turbines will all come online. With some luck even thorium, molten salt and chemist's designs will be developed, though the time horizon there is more realistically 40 years to deployment. Why do I say these are revolutionary? Well,

  • small nuclear plants will do away with the enormous expense (and unsightliness) of long-distance transmission lines, something that wind power will never be able to do since it actually multiplies transmission lines (another dirty side of wind power that's rarely spoken of)
  • high temperature nuclear will be vastly more efficient (thus cheaper) and assuming the temperature is high enough allow entirely new applications like providing heat for industrial process, something ambient power sources will NEVER be able to do (sun-powered forges have been tried & failed already while electric arc furnace mills will move out of the country rather than pay for expensive electricity)
  • nuclear gas turbines will allow NPPs to be dispatched (ramp up and down) very rapidly, opening up the potential to displacing single-cycle gas turbines and even hydroelectric dams. The competitor here is natural gas, ambient power sources need not apply!

So in 25 years, nuclear power will be entrenched as never before. It will definitely be powering mining sites, oil rigs, remote towns, and small islands. It will probably be competing against hydroelectric dams. And it will possibly be used in the chemical industry at refineries.

Thorium, molten salt, and chemists' designs are all equally as revolutionary, though their advantages are far more esoteric. Things the typical end user hardly cares about but the mining industry, nuclear industry and politicians definitely will.

In other words, for all the delusional crap about transitioning "away from" nuclear power, the reality is the future will involve transitioning TOWARDS nuclear power. Something we have honestly just barely begun. Something even France has barely begun when you keep in mind the massive potential of nuclear power.

Not Just Energy

And I haven't even mentioned laser enrichment which will collapse the price of fuel for nuclear power plants down to raw uranium, utterly changing the game there. It will also drastically shorten the acquisition period for nuclear bomb material, as well as make this activity undetectable. Both of which are excellent news for everyone who hasn't lived under the umbrella of peace provided by nuclear missiles. Something which anyone who's read about the confrontation Khrushchev had with the suicidal madman JFK will agree with.

Yes so when I said we had a glorious nuclear future, I wasn't restricting this to nuclear energy. The only fly in this ointment is truck bombs. Nuclear truck bombs to be exact. Bombs whose provenance you can't trace. Missiles are great for peace. Truck bombs, not so much. Or are they? Maybe a few rich cities getting blown up by terrorists will make the world's rich people take seriously the demands of disenfranchised poor people. When a poor person can light a nuclear fire in your gated community, the balance of power between rich and poor is going to change drastically. We'll be living in very interesting times.

I won't mourn when Tel Aviv is incinerated. I'll be too busy laughing at all the politicians scrambling to remake this world into a socialist paradise where poor people are happy, happy, happy.


Anonymous said...

Something which anyone who's read about the confrontation Khrushchev had with the suicidal madman JFK will agree with.

I haven't read on the confrontation between Khrushchev and JFK. Can you suggest a source?

Richard Kulisz said...

I am talking about the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis which the United States instigated in a deliberate attempt to start World War III. You can read all about it from Noam Chomsky.

The short story is that JFK was a nutter and actively suicidal. He WANTED to die. And all his generals were egging him on. Khrushchev's generals also were egging him on but he WASN'T suicidal and he didn't want his grandchildren to die.

You can read all about JFK's suicidal tendencies from Lloyd deMause. JFK knew he was going to die in Dallas given the SS warned him everyone there hated his guts (that "beloved JFK" line of crap is revisionist history - the sainted martyr effect). So when the SS told him they'd put him in a bulletproof car, he vetoed this and started playacting dying with his family.

Furthermore, the USA instigated the whole deal by keeping missiles in Turkey. How did the crisis get resolved? By removing the American missiles from Turkey! That's all the Soviets ever wanted. Sounds fucking reasonable, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Last paragraph -- have you not heard of the Samson Option?

Richard Kulisz said...

You're assuming I care about the middle-east.

Anonymous said...

The Samson Option isn't meant just for the Middle East, unless "take the world down with us" is a bluff.

Perhaps they're not THAT insane.

Richard Kulisz said...

To ensure Jews are exterminated across the world and Judaism is reviled for the rest of eternity? Hmm, tough question because Israelis really are nutso fascists.

Seriously though, I think they mean without petrol from the Middle East, the world would go down. And the USA certainly would. Not so sure about the rest.

Anonymous said...

I read the news and it talked about a thorium reactor. I might stop reading the news sometime though.