Archive for October 16th, 2021

Energy Crisis: Unleash 4th Generation Nuclear

October 16, 2021

Democratic opposition in the Senate to Biden’s hare brained energy plan, led by Democratic Senator Manchin who ridiculed Senator Sanders’ pleas to West Virginians to please head to the poor houses, and disaffected mines in which he intent them to live the rest of their miserable existences… So Biden would drop “clean” energy generation all together. In other words, Biden will drop the only thing that make a difference for the climate calamity. It’s not that there just no money for it. The very nature of the idea should be called into question. China right now builds one coal plant a week to make US solar panels. Also China produces most of the world’s lithium. China, having learned its lesson from Europe well is on a no-holds barred technological development path. It also helps much of the needed materials are from the largest cavalcade of austere and barren mountain ranges, most appropriately located among old opponents and occasional tormenters of the Han…. When Trump allowed a Native American approved lithium mine in Nevada, WASP ecologists suffered nervous fits: they don’t mind destroying China, the Congo, or Bolivia but they want to keep home pristine.

So Biden can’t finance clean energy. As it is, US citizens emit 18 tons of CO2 per capita per year… More than twice the European average… which includes Merkel’s increasing dirty Germany… with ten tons of CO2 per capita. The world’s average, per capita is 5 tons… which is also the French output. France achieves this with the biggest nuclear generation, per capita.  

Safely unleashing nuclear regulations is the way out for the USA and the world: it would cost nothing. Nuclear mitigation is our best choice. We are 1.1 to 1.3 C above the 1850 baseline. We will blow past 1.5C within a few years. The CO2 equivalent of ALL man-made greenhouse gases (NOx, CH4, etc.) is above 600ppm… not just the 420 ppm of CO2 we will hit in 2022.

We are on track for +7C by 2100.

The anti-nuclear ecologists behave exactly as if they were paid by the fossil fuel industry. Their uneducated anger and irrational phobia against nuclear power is equivalent to an advocacy of keeping the fossil fuel industry as a baseload.

It would take 750 years to bring down CO2 emissions to zero, using hydro, wind and solar. It can’t be done: we don’t have enough copper, semi-precious metals and rare earths to go all-electric with them alone. This way is too slow and the economics of carbon pricing are not necessarily positive… Indeed it costs a huge amount of energy and human life to sustain the pristine life style celebrity ecologists have achieved… And which we cannot all achieved.

Not being a celebrity ecologist or a corrupt politician, I live not far from a fossil fuel plant, a giant refinery. My car uses its products. It’s a state of the art gasoline car, it can go more than 750 miles on one tank of oil (1,200 kilometers). Its CO2 emissions is as low as it gets, including electric cars (which use fossil fuels sneakily). Would I want this dangerously polluting refinery to be replaced by a few state of the art safe fourth generation nuclear reactors? Yes. There is another refinery up the freeway. Together, the refineries had three uncontrolled raging fire infernos over the years, and to remind us of their potential for rage and destruction, they continually burn gas in ten meter long flames… A few miles away, there is often wind. Thousands of windmills were built, and then all taken down at Altamont Pass and in the Delta. 23 turbines can produce 57.5 megawatts of electricity per hour… when the wind blows, which is at most twenty percent of the day… However, the Golden Gate director of the Audubon Society (the major bird protecting society in the world) Glen Phillips says: “If we continue killing eagles at the rates that we have been … there will be no golden eagles left in 50 years or so. Wind energy is important, but there are lots of other places to develop it.

So the “ecological” plan here is to exchange here a major alpha species, the Golden Eagle, for an energy production which is 1% of that of an average nuclear reactor? And some comical characters call that ecological? Auschwitz style elimination for Golden Eagles is ecological? No wonder the Nazis were very ecological… Some of it out of sincerity, some of it out of contempt for the weak, and the non-“Teutonic”, some of it as cover-up, some of it out of fear for the new world, some of it out of hatred for the human race… Several of these psychological traits are found in all too many of today’s self-described half mentally retarded celebrity ecologists…

Just as with most Nazis, most self-proclaimed ecologists seem ignorant of basic physics.

Anti-nuclear activists get furious about nuclear melt-downs. There have been 4 in the West, including three at Fukushima and one at Three Mile Island, in the USA, which produced only radioactive water inside the containment building… At Fukushima incredibly primitive 2nd generation, weapon oriented enormous nuclear reactors, designed to melt-down, and astoundingly badly managed, installed deliberately in the way of a giant tsunami which had already happened 12 centuries before, and without the mandatory backup electric emergency supplies… unsurprisingly melted down after being hit by a wave taller than them. Three of those reactors melted down, and they exploded spectacularly. Nobody died. And the beach was open, a decade later. Compare with fossil fuel installations, such as refineries, which kill many in their surroundings, year after year… Leaving the vegetation covered with soot up to many miles away…

So yes, I would prefer nuclear in the neighborhood… Melt-down potential can be completely avoided with a plant designed to prevent it. Indeed, fourth generation reactors can be made which will never melt down. From the physics. Also much greater efficiency than second generation reactors enables to radioactively exhaust the radioactive “waste”, and transform it into energy. 

It is certainly a mass extinction. Going the wrong way by trying to solve the crisis with hydro, wind and solar will bring war, because when the cataclysm is fully on, nations will fight for resources. Millions are already displaced by the climate emergency. Civilization will not be wiped out, but wars killing billions could easily happen as basic necessities supply routes get cut off. 4th generation nuclear power would enable us to make electricity, hydrogen and desalinate…actually Saudi Arabia is pursuing such a development… This is the sane thing to do. Argentina relaunched its nuclear program and is building a small energy producing reactor not far from Buenos Aires. To keep the air good, indeed, nuclear.

The Biden White House was reduced to beg OPEC+, the world organization of petroleum exporting countries to increase production: “While OPEC+ recently agreed to production increases, these increases will not fully offset previous production cuts that OPEC+ imposed during the pandemic until well into 2022. At a critical moment in the global recovery, this is simply not enough.” PEC+ laughed. Putin added he would try to help Europe, if it really asked politely. “We are not using any weapons. Even during the hardest parts of the Cold War Russia regularly has fulfilled its contractual obligations and supplies gas to Europe.” Putin called such accusations “politically motivated blather” and there was “nothing to support the idea that we use energy as a kind of weapon.” On the contrary, he said, Russia was “expanding its supplies to Europe.” Next Biden went to beg US frackers to please increase output. The inertia here is six months, because it takes time to deploy the tech.

Meanwhile California has ambitious plan to shut down roughly 25% of its energy production, planning apparently to replace it by… blackouts?

The real solution to all this mess is to go on with fossil fuels while introducing a carbon tax, and a hefty one, to force efficiencies. Poor people could get direct check to compensate. Meanwhile giant governmental research programs both on distant energy (thermonuclear, ten times better batteries) and imminently deployable energy (Thorium, 4th generation nuclear and hydrogen) should be financed. Wind and solar should be deployed… accompanied with storage…

Patrice Ayme

Franco-CHINESE POWER: Power for more than three million homes from two nuclear reactors… Taishan 1 and 2 are the first two reactors based on the French EPR design. They form part of an EUR8.0 billion (US$ 10 billion) contract signed by Areva and CGN in November 2007. The Taishan project – 140 kilometres west of Hong Kong, 80 kilometers west of Macau and next to a one million inhabitant city – is owned by TNPJVC, a joint venture between CGN (51%), French utility EDF (30%) and the Chinese utility Guangdong Energy Group (19%). Unit 1 of the power plant started construction in 2009, followed by unit 2 in 2010. The 1750-megawatt EPRs entered commercial operation in December 2018 and September 2019, respectively. The EPR design in Taishan above was developed by Framatome. Although it is a French design, built by French engineering, it was build much faster than the EPRs in Europe… which are still NOT operating… being full of construction defaults, like poor welding.

So the question is why is European manufacturing so poor nowadays? The answer is lack of practice. The Chinese have been building one major power plant a week (generally coal, but ready to switch to Thorium). Europe, meanwhile, has been deindustrializing, overdoing the “energy transition” switch… With poorly reasoned alternatives…

To solve the climate calamity one has to do what China is doing, which is the exact opposite of what Europe has been doing: one has to RE-INDUSTRIALIZE. And with more power than ever, because there are eight billion people out there, not just 80 million Germans…


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