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EPA Mulling Relaxed Radiation Protections For Nuclear Power

Maury Markowitz Re:Fossil fuel plants get to radiate us all they w (230 comments)

> What happens to our carbon footprint with all those electric cars powered from coal and natural gas?

It goes down by about half. Even if the mix gets more CO2 intensive.

http://matter2energy.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/wells-to-wheels-electric-car-efficiency/

Don't wonder, educate yourself.

about a week ago
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EPA Mulling Relaxed Radiation Protections For Nuclear Power

Maury Markowitz Re:About time (230 comments)

> You mix subsidized prices, market rates and costs in your analysis to the point where it doesn't make sense

Ummm, you are aware, of course, that the former is largely a function of the later? As to the market rates, all $/kWh figures I gave were *unsubsidized LCoE*. I don't know how you concluded otherwise, there was certainly nothing in the post that suggested that. Actually my numbers are out of date too, the latest figures are even more in the same direction:

http://gallery.mailchimp.com/ce17780900c3d223633ecfa59/files/Lazard_Levelized_Cost_of_Energy_v7.0.1.pdf

Go to page 2, the one titled "Unsubsidized Levelized Cost of Energy Comparison".

> The key thing is that 1Kw of nuclear capacity generates on average about 5 times the electricity in a year than 1Kw of solar PV

And the other key thing is that PV CAPEX costs more than 5 times less than nuclear. And in both cases, LCoE is pretty much directly a function of CAPEX because fuel costs are either low (nuclear) or zero (PV).

Levy County was tagged at $11/Wp. PV in the US, according to page 8 of that report, is about $1.75. 5 times $1.75 is $8.75.

$8.75 And, the cost of backup

Every study that has ever been prepared on the topic has conclusively demonstrated this is a non-argument until these sources account for a LOT of the energy mix. They don't, currently, and won't hit the levels needed for a long time. Certainly the recent production figures in Germany, which went off without a hitch, demonstrate this fairly conclusively. All the numbers I've seen suggest we don't have to do anything other than upgrade software (which IBM sells, among others) until we're well into the 30 to 35% range, and right now we're around 15%, including hydro which offsets the other numbers.

about a week ago
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EPA Mulling Relaxed Radiation Protections For Nuclear Power

Maury Markowitz Re:About time (230 comments)

> An individual contract in the context of a 50% subsidized source with added production
> credits means nothing in terms of actual cost.

Indeed, that's the entire point of the thread.

about a week ago
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EPA Mulling Relaxed Radiation Protections For Nuclear Power

Maury Markowitz Re:headed in the wrong direction (230 comments)

"With something like an LFTR reactor, your nuclear proliferation risk may not be zero, but it's a sum only slightly above zero. Unlike current, decades-old dry fuel reactors."

Oh geez, this again. As has been pointed out by many, the chemical re-processing used in the lifter is inherently a great way to take reactor grade fuel and upgrade it to weapon grade, all while producing power.

Will it be it more difficult than doing the same from a conventional U reactor? Yes. Will it make it MUCH more difficult? Not really. In fact, it might not be difficult at all:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v492/n7427/full/492031a.html

about a week ago
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EPA Mulling Relaxed Radiation Protections For Nuclear Power

Maury Markowitz Re:About time (230 comments)

> Solar doesn't come close when it comes to total cost of producing MWh on an annual basis

True, but certainly not as true as it was even a year ago:

http://www.epelectric.com/files/html/Macho_Springs/Macho_Springs_Notice_of_Proceeding_and_Hearing_12-00386-UT__2_.pdf

20 yr PPA at 5.79 cents/kWh (see para 2). Very competitive with wind and NG.

about a week ago
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EPA Mulling Relaxed Radiation Protections For Nuclear Power

Maury Markowitz Re:About time (230 comments)

> All energy sources are subsidized to some extent

Indeed.

> If all subsidies were removed, gas would completely dominate, followed by coal and nuclear

Maybe in the 1970s, but this is certainly not true today. Wind is very competitive with NG, nuclear isn't remotely close.

NG is only competitive because of a grab-bag of direct and indirect incentives on the exploration and development side. These include numerous reductions in oversight to lower the time delay in getting drills into the ground. I'm all in favour of this, but the point remains that if these changes had not been made, NG would still be more expensive than coal.

As to nuclear, it's not even close. The cost of nuclear power was only ever competitive due to *MASSIVE* development funds and spin-offs from the nuclear bomb industry. As the thorium crowd is fond of pointing out, the only reason we use uranium is that its what the bombs were using (as a feedstock, if nothing else). That Chernobyl was an adapted bomb-supply device illustrates this point.

But more to the point, the cost of nuclear has been rising almost continually since the 1960s. It's currently about twice what it used to be. Most of this is due to increased safety requirements, things like remote operating rooms, redundant control wiring, fireproofing, etc. The industry has been trying to fight back by introducing newer designs like the AP1000, but these have seen limited results to date.

To put numbers to the problem, nuclear power currently provides about 53% of Ontario's power, but the reactors are aging out. Plans to add a replacement came in so expensive that they simply gave up (CAPEX was *at least* 8.25 $/Wp). Instead, they are now planning a massive refurb of the Darlington plants. They haven't even started, and they're already $300 million over budget. Ignoring that, the original estimates put the refurb at about 8.3 cents/kWh. That's for a plant where the CAPEX is already paid down!

A MIT report from 2009 calculated the rise in construction costs at *15% per year* during the 2000s, a general figure from industry as a whole. As a result, the power industry has turned to smaller systems that are less capital intensive. The "credit crunch" didn't help either. The same report still said nuclear would be cheaper, but only because they applied a CO2 disposal cost that made it so. Even then, they assumed a 2007 CAPEX at $4, the overnight rate, while the industry is seeing real rates at $8 and over (that florida plant was $11/Wp). At these rates, nuclear is on the order of 6 to 8 cents/kWh *just for the mortgage payments*.

For comparison, conventional hydro is 1 to 3 cents, NG plants about 5 to 6, modern coal plants about the same, and wind about the same too. These numbers are typical, which is why you're seeing nuclear plants being abandoned all across north america, they simply do not compete with modern systems.

As to wind and PV, again, you're just wrong. Wind systems are currently going in for about $1/Wp, which is about the same as an NG turbine. For comparison, even coal plants cost more, about $2/Wp. As a result, wind power is between 5.5 and 6.5 cents/kWh in the US, making it the second fastest growing power source. As to PV, CAPEX is currently 1.80 $/Wp in the US for industrial systems, which makes the power about 10 cents. That's more expensive than base load from the other sources mentioned here, but fairly competitive with peaker systems. More importantly, PV efficiently scales from about 200W to 2GW, something no other power source we have is able to do (hyrdo comes close, but small hydro is even less reliable than PV).

And these last two are in spite of receiving pennies on the dollar in terms of support that the other sources get. Yes, there are incentives, but in the grand scheme of things, they're *tiny*. Yet they are already outcompeting most other power sources, which is why they are the fastest growing power sources world wide.

Nuclear is dead. You can tilt at that windmill all your want, but the facts are plainly evident. There is exactly one new reactor site going in in the US at this time. All other plans to build new plants are either cancelled or on infinite hold. Plants are going out of service faster than they go in. There is no sign that this is going to change.

about a week ago
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EPA Mulling Relaxed Radiation Protections For Nuclear Power

Maury Markowitz Re:About time (230 comments)

> China is aiming to build enough nuclear capacity to beat the USA

Not any more, all plans have been dramatically scaled back. By the time the next round starts there is the significant possibility that their wind and PV installs will render it moot. Those are currently going in faster than even the peak of the predicted nuclear commissioning, which would have been around 2025.

Fukushima had something to do with this, but the Sichuan Earthquake was the real problem. You don't want construction companies who can't be bothered to bend over the tops of rebars building your reactors, and you don't want corrupt local politicians in charge of inspecting their work. If there is one major advantage that the Chinese have, it's a level of introspection unseen in the fUSSR.

about a week ago
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"Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

Maury Markowitz Re:We had that before (102 comments)

Thank you. You are cleared through Voice Print Identification.

about a week ago
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The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

Maury Markowitz This is NOT the record (195 comments)

The LIMRV hit 188 in 1972 and 256 in 1974.

This Budd gizmo isn't even close.

about two weeks ago
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Researchers Find Evidence of How Higgs Particle Imparts Mass

Maury Markowitz Re:LHC (91 comments)

> We now have figures for the Higgs that have ruled out a large number of possible theories

Sure, until they modded the theories. I don't think any of the technicolors are REALLY gone yet?

> statistics are useless

"useless statistics" != "statistics are useless"

about two weeks ago
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Researchers Find Evidence of How Higgs Particle Imparts Mass

Maury Markowitz Re:LHC (91 comments)

> Everytime the LHC makes the news ... I think congratulations to the EU

For what? Collecting more useless statistics?

So far there has been zero actual scientific output from LHC. All we've done is confirm that a theory from the 1970s (and earlier) is still correct to our ability to test it. We haven't learned anything that we didn't think we already knew.

Call me when we get an anomalous result that *isn't* in the SM and then we're talking. Sadly, this article is an example of the opposite.

about two weeks ago
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Researchers Find Evidence of How Higgs Particle Imparts Mass

Maury Markowitz That's not what this paper is about, at all (91 comments)

"Researchers Find Evidence of How Higgs Particle Imparts Mass "

Ummm, no. This paper is about an unrelated bit of physics, W-W scattering. It is orthogonal to the Higgs mechanism.

Reading over the article I don't see any confusion on this point, so I'm looking at the author here on /.

about two weeks ago
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

Maury Markowitz Re:High power use doesn't have to be dirty: (709 comments)

> And add new problems - long refill time, limited battery life

This is called "shifting goalposts"

>Also, all new cars (electric or gasoline) look bad -

The first thing I always hear about the Tesla S is how ugly it is.

Do us the favor of jumping right to the part where you start complaining about LED lights and why we shouldn't have moved off the horse and buggy, you may as well get it over with.

about two weeks ago
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

Maury Markowitz Re:user error (709 comments)

> If the government were throwing up new coal plants to meet a rising demand, then reducing demand would be relevant

AHHHH. Yes, I WAS missing your point.

about two weeks ago
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

Maury Markowitz Re:user error (709 comments)

"Usually the hot water is piped from the heater to the tap over a longer distance with gas heaters. The heat in the water in that piece of pipe is lost"

I guarantee you the energy in the 10l I use is less than the 22l the machine uses. There is no scenario where this is not true.

Losses in piping are actually tiny in overall terms - it takes at least 30 minutes to cool off standing water in the pipes, and a few seconds to get all the way from the tank to me. Think about that.

about two weeks ago
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Harvesting Energy From Humidity

Maury Markowitz Re:Few alternatives? (89 comments)

> Solar power, at roughly $1/watt (and then "free" for 10-20 years), price falling on a nearly Moore's Law trajectory.

Ummm, no. Current prices, all in and spinning the meter, is around $1.70/W. Those are the latest cross-US numbers.

> Wind power -- expensive, unreliable but simple technology and humidity isn't reliable either.

Whereas wind actually is about $1/W (same source, DoE) and has a CF of 30% as opposed to 15% for PV.

Both are inexpensive and work well. We need both, and are installing both faster than any other power source ever. 95GWp combined last year.

about two weeks ago
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Harvesting Energy From Humidity

Maury Markowitz Old idea (89 comments)

Really MIT? Stooping to ripping off the University of Dayton?!

http://books.google.ca/books?id=ZgEAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA75

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

Maury Markowitz Oh, come on (509 comments)

"Jeremy Rifkin (The Third Industrial Revolution) and Ray Kurzweil"

Who are collectively batting zero when it comes to predicting the future.

This is akin to telling her not to get into aerodynamics after reading Well's "The War in the Air".

about two weeks ago
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

Maury Markowitz Re:High power use doesn't have to be dirty: (709 comments)

"No matter how full of computers a car is, it will still have the same mechanical components - valves, pistons, camshaft, throttle, steering, suspension"

Electric cars eliminate most of those things.

So basically you just invalidated your argument.

More to the point, you argue from your specific case - someone who drives a very old car and does his own repairs, as if this should be cogent to the topic as a whole. For the vast majority of drivers, newer cars are safer, more efficient, cleaner and far, far more reliable. I'm sure at least two of those apply to you as well.

about two weeks ago
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People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

Maury Markowitz Re:High power use doesn't have to be dirty: (709 comments)

> However, a carburetor does not require a computer and my car uses a carburetor.

You have a 1982 W123 without injection? I thought all carb models went out for 80/81?

about two weeks ago

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