Author Topic: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...  (Read 30051 times)

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Offline Kjelt

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #350 on: December 29, 2018, 11:12:55 pm »
Of course, the US is a fairly wealthy nation. 
It is one of three countries with the largest debt per capita in the world  :o

https://www.imf.org/external/datamapper/DEBT1@DEBT/OEMDC/ADVEC/WEOWORLD/USA
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #351 on: December 29, 2018, 11:20:34 pm »
It is one of three countries with the largest debt per capita in the world  :o

https://www.imf.org/external/datamapper/DEBT1@DEBT/OEMDC/ADVEC/WEOWORLD/USA
Let's not get into that discussion here. Let's just say they have the ability to rebuild.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #352 on: December 29, 2018, 11:27:08 pm »
Seeing the damage a hurricane does in the US I kinda wonder why they keep building their homes so fragile. I've been watching some US home improvement shows and the build quality isn't very high. Mostly wood. If homes where build from concrete and bricks they would survive a hurricane easely.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #353 on: December 29, 2018, 11:30:37 pm »
I don't know the cheaper the houses are built the quicker rebuild.
And besides if you look at our houseprices we might better start building cheaper houses ourselves  :)
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #354 on: December 29, 2018, 11:32:40 pm »
Let's not get into that discussion here. Let's just say they have the ability to rebuild.
Ok let's not but the city that was ravaged in Katrina is still not fully rebuild AFAIK, and the US has 700 billion $ in technical infrastructure debt, so they must have different priorities then.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #355 on: December 29, 2018, 11:49:29 pm »
Ok let's not but the city that was ravaged in Katrina is still not fully rebuild AFAIK, and the US has 700 billion $ in technical infrastructure debt, so they must have different priorities then.
New York has been much more adequately rebuilt. Coincidently New York is a more developed part of the US, as opposed to the much poorer New Orleans. It's not too hard to see how things are being prioritized, regardless of we agree with them. Maybe the takeaway is that even nations with some of the largest budgets can't even afford to rebuild the damage currently caused.
 

Offline Kjelt

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #356 on: December 29, 2018, 11:52:16 pm »
That is a good take-away.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #357 on: December 30, 2018, 12:12:16 am »
Ok let's not but the city that was ravaged in Katrina is still not fully rebuild AFAIK, and the US has 700 billion $ in technical infrastructure debt, so they must have different priorities then.
New York has been much more adequately rebuilt. Coincidently New York is a more developed part of the US, as opposed to the much poorer New Orleans. It's not too hard to see how things are being prioritized, regardless of we agree with them. Maybe the takeaway is that even nations with some of the largest budgets can't even afford to rebuild the damage currently caused.
I think it is a matter of priorities. In the US people pay much less income tax. This means that the government receives less money for clearing rubble, rebuilding and aiding people in need. Also the US spends a lot of money on their army. You can't just say that the US doesn't have enough money. It doesn't happen because people deem it unnecessary. Remember the US has some form of democracy so if people would find rebuilding important they'd vote for politicians who feel the same.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #358 on: December 30, 2018, 12:37:42 am »
I think it is a matter of priorities. In the US people pay much less income tax. This means that the government receives less money for clearing rubble, rebuilding and aiding people in need. Also the US spends a lot of money on their army. You can't just say that the US doesn't have enough money. It doesn't happen because people deem it unnecessary. Remember the US has some form of democracy so if people would find rebuilding important they'd vote for politicians who feel the same.
That sounds fairly naive, to be honest. Ask New Orlean's citizens how they feel about that. Prepare for some strong language.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #359 on: December 30, 2018, 12:58:03 am »
I think it is a matter of priorities. In the US people pay much less income tax. This means that the government receives less money for clearing rubble, rebuilding and aiding people in need. Also the US spends a lot of money on their army. You can't just say that the US doesn't have enough money. It doesn't happen because people deem it unnecessary. Remember the US has some form of democracy so if people would find rebuilding important they'd vote for politicians who feel the same.
That sounds fairly naive, to be honest. Ask New Orlean's citizens how they feel about that. Prepare for some strong language.
You'll hear the sound of someone who didn't got the home owner's insurance he/she should have gotten. OR got unlucky their rented home is no longer there.

In the Netherlands there is a government fund to cover damages caused by flooding. Ofcourse everyone pays tax to keep that fund floating. Such 'distribution of wealth' is likely to be frowned upon in the US. I don't know where you are from but there is a major difference in culture between the US and the western part of Europe when it comes to things like covering damages from natural dissasters. This makes it hard to compare the situation in the US and Europe. The US likely needs to go through a learning curve to understand that the government needs to be more involved in mitigating the effects of natural dissasters.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 01:00:12 am by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #360 on: December 30, 2018, 01:15:05 am »
You'll hear the sound of someone who didn't got the home owner's insurance he/she should have gotten. OR got unlucky their rented home is no longer there.

In the Netherlands there is a government fund to cover damages caused by flooding. Ofcourse everyone pays tax to keep that fund floating. Such 'distribution of wealth' is likely to be frowned upon in the US. I don't know where you are from but there is a major difference in culture between the US and the western part of Europe when it comes to things like covering damages from natural dissasters. This makes it hard to compare the situation in the US and Europe. The US likely needs to go through a learning curve to understand that the government needs to be more involved in mitigating the effects of natural dissasters.
It seems you think the US hasn't learnt this yet. You'll find that typical Americans don't want that. They quickly see these things as government meddling.
 

Offline apis

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #361 on: December 31, 2018, 04:36:46 am »
The current models that are used for this have high inherent uncertainties.
It would be weird if they did not.
The climate models have quite some uncertainties. But the case of no or an opposite effect of CO2 is still very unlikely.

The uncertainty also does not make it better to burn more coal. It is more to the opposite: The expected damage from an increasing temperature is expected to go up faster than linear with the temperature. With uncertainty in the temperature rise we have to take the chance of a stronger effect serious as it would be much more damaging. So the larger the uncertainty the more careful we should be burning more coal.
Besides the temperature rise, there is also the PH of the oceans that is effected by CO2. Here the model is much easier to understand.
That is a good point, the uncertainty means it could be a lot worse. I remember seeing a nice graph in AR5 showing the combined uncertainties in the radiative forcing:

Figure 8.16 — Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing — IPCC

Even if there are large uncertainties, the probability mass of the total (the black curve) is completely in the "warming" side. Is it 1 or 3.5 W/m2? We should prepare for the worst case that it might be 3 or even 4 while we hope it's lower. Iirc they also write that the models have somewhat underestimated the warming so far.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 04:41:03 am by apis »
 

Offline IanMacdonald

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #362 on: December 31, 2018, 08:52:32 pm »
Apis, Dave's not too keen on climate change being discussed here because it leads to bust-ups. So I'll just say that there are two distinct issues here:
  • Whether there is actually a problem
  • Whether the proposed fix will work
To me anyway first is uncertain. One the second there is no doubt, though. The answer is a definite No.

We've been installing wind turbines for over 20 years. Granted, the rate of installation has been much higher in this last decade. However, all that has been achieved by this  is to replace 1% or 2% of total world energy by wind power. If we say 10 years to achieve 2% as a best case, that still means 500 years to go '100% renewable' by that route. In this I'm not even considering measures to smooth out the fluctuations of wind power. So it's an absolute best case scenario. The reality is bound to be worse.

Solar PV can make some inroads, but its main problem is that most of the planet doesn't get enough year-round sun for it to be useful.

So if we want to solve the problem, we need to look elsewhere than the traditional renewables. I really think we should be developing thorium LFTR and fusion. More money is now being spent on wind and solar, easily by a factor of ten or more, than it would take to perfect those technologies in  the five or ten years the alarmists say we need a solution by.  We can do it that way. There is an element of gamble but if it pays off we're quids-in with a better energy system anyway, climate change or no. Sticking with the current approach just means colossal sums of money wasted, no solution, nothing gained. 

-If the option is between a gamble with a decent payout and certain failure.. which do you choose?   :-//
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #363 on: December 31, 2018, 09:05:11 pm »
If you throw enough money at a problem you can solve it. JFK's famous 'men on the moon' speech was at the end of 1962. At the end of 1969 men where walking on the moon. If all the big economies would pitch in -like our lifes depend on it-, how long would it take to develop nuclear fusion?
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Kleinstein

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #364 on: December 31, 2018, 09:44:10 pm »
PV and wind alone can not provide all energy everywhere. However they can be quite effective in some areas.  Both need suitable places - PV in southern Spain or much of Australia gets about twice the output from a typical place in Germany or England. Similar with wind. At the good spots wind and PV are now very competitive as the good spots also mean less storage needed.

World wide Wind the installation of large scale wind power is just at the beginning,  if economic the best solution the rate of growth could easily be higher. However by now many of the good spots in the few countries really committed to wind start to be used up. Still the production in Germany has about doubled in the last 5-6 years and was providing some 18% of the electricity in 2016. So the build up can be reasonable fast. Overall Germany is not even a very windy country. Denmark should be now be > 50% wind.

Fusion is a difficult topic. The problem here is that the chances are falling that it would be cheap. At least chances are that the development is far enough to come to the conclusion that the costs would definitely be too high to compete with PV + storage.  No need to develop after that point.

The LFTR is a dead horse that sometime comes up again. So far the research did not give much hope and it was stopped in the 1970s for a good reason. Not much new came up since than, except the MRSE test reactor nearly blew up from inadequate storage. So more like new problems came up: French research essentially came to the conclusion that it can't be safe and breading at the same time - supporting the doubts from the 1970s with more detailed simulations. Chances are it is less viable than the fast breeder reactor, that still has problems.
 

Offline Marco

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #365 on: December 31, 2018, 09:56:48 pm »
If you throw enough money at a problem you can solve it. JFK's famous 'men on the moon' speech was at the end of 1962. At the end of 1969 men where walking on the moon. If all the big economies would pitch in -like our lifes depend on it-, how long would it take to develop nuclear fusion?

Having fusion is useless if it's not cheap and we don't know the reasonable bounds on the cost of fusion plants. It might turn out the wear and tear costs using dirty deuterium fuel raise the price to 10x of current generation fission plants. Same might be true for the machinery necessary to reprocess the molten salt in a LFTR.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 10:00:03 pm by Marco »
 

Offline apis

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #366 on: January 01, 2019, 12:49:07 am »
Apis, Dave's not too keen on climate change being discussed here because it leads to bust-ups. So I'll just say that there are two distinct issues here:
  • Whether there is actually a problem
  • Whether the proposed fix will work
To me anyway first is uncertain. One the second there is no doubt, though. The answer is a definite No.

We've been installing wind turbines for over 20 years. Granted, the rate of installation has been much higher in this last decade. However, all that has been achieved by this  is to replace 1% or 2% of total world energy by wind power. If we say 10 years to achieve 2% as a best case, that still means 500 years to go '100% renewable' by that route. In this I'm not even considering measures to smooth out the fluctuations of wind power. So it's an absolute best case scenario. The reality is bound to be worse.

Solar PV can make some inroads, but its main problem is that most of the planet doesn't get enough year-round sun for it to be useful.

So if we want to solve the problem, we need to look elsewhere than the traditional renewables. I really think we should be developing thorium LFTR and fusion. More money is now being spent on wind and solar, easily by a factor of ten or more, than it would take to perfect those technologies in  the five or ten years the alarmists say we need a solution by.  We can do it that way. There is an element of gamble but if it pays off we're quids-in with a better energy system anyway, climate change or no. Sticking with the current approach just means colossal sums of money wasted, no solution, nothing gained.
My conclusion after having looked at this for many years is that we need to do everything, as much as we can, as long as it is reducing GhGs (unfortunately that also means energy reductions). To be safe we should emit zero GhGs for a while, and we should have begun doing that 10 years ago, we don't have time to be picky anymore.

We have been putting billions and billions into fusion research for decades and they are still saying "no commercial reactor within 30 years" so unfortunately we don't have time to wait for fusion (they don't even have materials that could survive in the tokamak for long enough to be used commercially). Had they been putting that money into solar we might have been far better of today though.

LFTR sounds good but I don't know enough about it, maybe Kleinstein is right. But there are plenty of other types of fission reactors that are a lot safer than the existing ones, like pebble bed reactors, to name one. And even if we continue building LWR reactors they are still safer than both coal and hydro power. At a minimum, we should not decommission fission reactors as long as they are replaced by coal or gas.

There is an enormous potential in sunlight, you can easily cover the worlds energy needs with a few percent of the worlds deserts. The problem is distributing that power (quite doable), and to even out the energy production between day and night (harder but might be doable). It's technically not that hard to build cables from the Sahara to continental Europe for example. A complete solution doesn't exist yet though, and while we wait we need all the other options (wind, nuclear, hydro, reduction).


Image source: Big solar - Australian sunlight could power the planet (The science show, ABC)

Wind has the same problem as solar. Denmark produce more than 40% wind, Sweden is up over 10% now, so it's not insignificant, but they export excess to the rest of Europe and relies on Hydro in Norway and Sweden to act as storage. There isn't enough hydro globally that it can be a storage solution for everyone.

So is it doable? Well, technically it is I believe (with some sacrifices in form of energy reductions). The big question is if it is doable politically.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2019, 01:17:55 am by apis »
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #367 on: January 01, 2019, 01:24:51 am »
The problem with electricity from solar is not the supply of energy but storage,  distribution and political stability. People will want generation of electricity inside the borders for reasons of political stability -> nuclear. Storage and/or distribution are likely more expensive than developing and building fusion reactors. Storage and distribution aren't developed and build overnight either.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline apis

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #368 on: January 01, 2019, 01:45:10 am »
Quote
People will want generation of electricity inside the borders for reasons of political stability -> nuclear. Storage and/or distribution are likely more expensive than developing and building fusion reactors. Storage and distribution aren't developed and build overnight either.
Distribution isn't a problem, it just needs to be built, and I don't see why you think it will be more expensive than fusion, that is just silly. We already have high power undersea cables and distribute power hundreds of km with small losses.

We have long since abandoned any hope of energy independence, and it's not really desirable either, it's more efficient to share and interdependence is politically stabilising.

Storage is still a problem, which is why we need all the other other options to help balance the load.

Politics is a major hurdle though.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #369 on: January 01, 2019, 01:48:49 am »
Quote
People will want generation of electricity inside the borders for reasons of political stability -> nuclear. Storage and/or distribution are likely more expensive than developing and building fusion reactors. Storage and distribution aren't developed and build overnight either.
Distribution isn't a problem, it just needs to be built, and I don't see why you think it will be more expensive than fusion, that is just silly. We already have high power undersea cables and distribute power hundreds of km with small losses.
But these cables are a couple of hundred MW at most. If you want to take electricity from sunny places and create a follow-the-sun grid so no storage is needed then you are talking TW or more over tens of thousands of kilometers. That is not so cheap & simple to build and very sensitive to attacks.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline apis

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #370 on: January 01, 2019, 02:41:12 am »
You can have more than one cable in parallel though. And the production and consumption will be spread out so it's doable. But I wasn't thinking of something as fancy as a follow-the-sun grid. If you just produce solar in Sahara, for example, and export that north to Europe, Europe wouldn't need coal during the day: voilà, coal is reduced by nearly 50%. In Australia it could even be 100% domestic. You would still have the coal plants on standby for emergency, so risk is minimal. And that is without any storage.

Examples of some underwater power cables
Baltic cable: 250 kilometres with a maximum transmission power of 600 megawatts
Basslink: 370 km 500 MW
« Last Edit: January 01, 2019, 05:42:02 am by apis »
 

Offline Kleinstein

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #371 on: January 01, 2019, 11:58:35 am »
The existing light water reactors are not that bad when it comes to safety - they are actually really good in this respect compared to other concepts.

There are other concepts and a few prototypes of these, but they also have there problem.  Gas cooled reactors for example need even larger pressure vessels and cooling gets really tricky when the pressure is lost. The pebble bed idea did not work well either: its usually gas cooled and the graphite pebbles don't slight well once they get hot. The was a prototype reactor in Germany (THTR) that showed up quite a few problems. Also graphite moderation can be tricky with disposal and in case of an accident - burning graphite in the Chernobyl accident contributed to distribution of the radioactivity.
I would consider a pebble-bed reactor more of a problem or at least an economic bad idea.

I have read quite a bit in the LFTR, as at first it looked intriguing.  However with more readings the problems got obvious. For comparison to existing reactors the fast breeder reactor is a much better starting point. The concepts are surprisingly similar, including many of the problems. In direct comparison the LFTR is second to the uranium/plutonium concept in essentially all points:  more critical safety - though many proponents ignore this or suppress the information,  more chemical reprocessing, more difficult chemical reprocessing and thus higher costs,  slower breading, more difficult materials.

Especially the chemical reprocessing is kind of hoping for a magic much petter process. Getting Information here is difficult, as much of this is classified for a good reason. From the few information available: The Russians tried similar methods in the uranium cycle and did not get contemplative performance. The molten salt methods also seem to work better with uranium than thorium. Especially cleaning the thorium seems difficult. For fast breeders there are plans for using similar methods but but much lower requirements to purity. The difficulty to get high purity is given as an argument against proliferation concerns.

So this points to the LFTR being way inferior to the fast breeder in the U/Pu cycle.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #372 on: January 01, 2019, 12:16:22 pm »
You can have more than one cable in parallel though. And the production and consumption will be spread out so it's doable. But I wasn't thinking of something as fancy as a follow-the-sun grid. If you just produce solar in Sahara, for example, and export that north to Europe, Europe wouldn't need coal during the day: voilà, coal is reduced by nearly 50%. In Australia it could even be 100% domestic. You would still have the coal plants on standby for emergency, so risk is minimal. And that is without any storage.
AFAIK The problem with coal power plants is that the efficient ones cannot ramp up/down quick enough.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Kleinstein

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #373 on: January 01, 2019, 12:36:47 pm »
Coal plants can ramp up at a reasonably speed.  Modern ones tend to be better than nuclear in this respect.

With renewable sources spread out over some area - which is needed anyway, the changes are not that fast anyway. Much of the change is also predictable.
It would not need that much storage to reduce the need for very fast changes. Besides coal, there would be also natural (and biological sourced) gas, that is more flexible.

Even though we need lights at night, the electricity consumption is still much higher during the day than at night. Especially the increasing need for air conditioning fits solar production reasonably well.
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #374 on: January 01, 2019, 01:08:10 pm »
Even though we need lights at night, the electricity consumption is still much higher during the day than at night. Especially the increasing need for air conditioning fits solar production reasonably well.
Not if people have EVs at home which need charging during the night.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 


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