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Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry

stomv Erm, not so much. (142 comments)

First of all, nuclear power plants are far more complex than coal plants. Sure, the steam to electric part is identical, but controlling a nuclear reaction requires far different parts than crushing and burning coal.

Secondly, coal fired power plants are not "popping up everywhere" in America. No new coal plants will be built anytime soon, because 111(b) prevents new sources of electric generation that emit more than ~1200 lbs CO2 per MWh (coal is ~2000 lbs). A few plants have opened in the past five years; we won't see any more.

Thirdly, it isn't "red tape" that caused this latest delay -- it's the inability for suppliers of key components of the power plant to deliver the materials on time. The parts are specialized, the vendors capable of building (some of) those parts few and far between, and the list of parts that must be assembled in order rather long. Any delay ripples through the project, and the loan (plus interest) needs to get paid back, even if the plant isn't operating yet.

The big risk in nuclear construction is a financial risk. It isn't until much later that the nuclear reaction itself becomes a challenge.

about a week ago
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Apple's Diversity Numbers: 70% Male, 55% White

stomv Re:Stupid (557 comments)

It is stupid, and it's not at all what Apple has said.

If Apple adds budget to recruiting and uses those resources to find more high-quality women, blacks, and hispanics, they they will likely improve their diversity numbers and they haven't implemented a quota.

about two weeks ago
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San Francisco Airport Testing Beacon System For Blind Travelers

stomv ADA?? (61 comments)

Yes, being blind sucks. That's part of why we have the Americans with Disabilities Act. Investing capital on taking care of those less fortunate is what leads to a prosperous society for all.

about three weeks ago
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The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

stomv Re:A Century Ago (195 comments)

That, and the insistence of running freight, commuter rail, and long distance passenger rail on the same set of tracks.

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

stomv You started so well, then went downhill (710 comments)

In terms of criteria air pollutants (CO, NOx, SO2, PM2.5, PM10), it's certainly true that modern cars are cleaner, even an F150. But that 150 gets 12 mpg, less than half of the U.S. average mpg for new cars. Since climate change is a thing, since automobiles are collectively a significant emitter of CO2, and since the F150 emits twice the CO2 per miles as an average new car, and since those average new cars also emit small amounts of those criteria air pollutants, no a 2011 F150 is not a green car.

Then you just slip into some strange piece of climate change denier and anti-tax zealot. There's no question that the impacts of climate change are systemic, pervasive, and real. Parts of Miami and Norfolk VA are under water during high tide. Hell, there are island nations preparing to no longer exist. Somehow, these "local" disasters are hand-waved, along with the hurricanes, droughts, floods, etc. But you call high gas taxes ruinous for the economy and claim that they have no impact on the environment, despite the facts that (a) most Western European nations have high gas prices, (b) most have higher mpg fleet averages, and (c) most have economies that are functioning just fine.

We get it. Regardless of your actual age, you behave like the old Brits referenced in the summary. That doesn't warrant a 5: interesting, except that it's interesting that old British-type dudes who are entirely wrong on the science and implications of climate change (and foolish about tax policy) are on slashdot.

about a month ago
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Renewable Energy Saves Fortune 100 Companies $1.1B Annually

stomv Citation? (116 comments)

Germany doesn't sell daytime power "at a loss". Power at night on the European grid doesn't sell for high prices. Show some citations, ye of eyebrow raising claims.

about 2 months ago
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The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

stomv Re:Nuclear power loses? (268 comments)

Indeed. Existing nuclear wins because the metric EPA is using for compliance includes a portion of MWh generated by existing nuclear in the denominator (something like 5%). Therefore, keeping existing nuclear online will help states comply with 111(d). Existing nuclear is a winner under 111(d) -- including the nuclear units under construction in GA, SC, and TN.

New nuclear? New nuclear will never win. It's simply can't hold a candle to PV and wind in an unsubsidized market. New wind is cheap enough now, and new PV trending that way that it's not worth the tremendous risk associated with a long, large, non-scalable, expensive construction project.

about 2 months ago
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The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

stomv Re:Big Oil wins (268 comments)

If your bills are going up 50%, its because your electric company is spending lots of money on existing coal plants so they emit less SO2, NOx, PM, and Hg. Of course, they'll emit about the same amount of CO2. Utilities that haven't insisted on coal coal coal haven't seen substantial increases in rates.

This is a generality -- individual utilities may have rate increases for other reasons, but very, very few utilities have had rates go up by 50% within the past 3 years. In fact, many utilities have had rate decreases.

about 2 months ago
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The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

stomv Peak? (268 comments)

Peak demand isn't as close to daylight as you might expect in the South. In fact, many systems are winter peaking (central Florida and Appalachia come to mind). Those systems peak winter 7-10am. Sure, the sun is just starting to come up, but PV isn't going to have a significant impact on that peak. Similarly, peak is 3-6pm. PV produces it's best power at high noon. As more PV comes on the system, the "net"-peak will push to 4-7pm, then 5-8pm. Again, solar contributes to meeting some of that peak, but depending on geography it isn't always going to align as well as you might think, including in the south.

about 2 months ago
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The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

stomv For fuck's sake, how does this get a 5, Insightful (268 comments)

> I think you can be sure no matter how this plays out, power is going to be more expensive.

No, you can't be sure of that. Wind power in the central portion of the country is cheaper than coal now. PV is cheaper than market power in the Southwest and the Northeast now. Many coal plants in tUSA are 50+ years old -- they're going to retire soon one way or another. And, not for nothing, wholesale electric power is cheaper now than it was five years ago due to cheap natural gas (and, by the way, switching from coal to gas helps comply with 111(d) and saves money).

> if the coal-fired plants are removed from the equation before replacement sources of power are in place, there will be power shortage

If my aunt had nuts, she'd be my uncle. There's absolutely no chance that 111(d) will result in reliability performance below the industry standard 1-day-in-10-years. Just won't happen. Retiring a unit requires years of planning. Google "integrated resource plan IRP" for your favorite utility and hunker down to a ~120 page report, produced every 3-5 years, laying out the company's plan, including projected retirements, new units, new transmission, etc.

111(d) doesn't require any coal plants to retire. It requires our fraction of electricity generated from coal to be reduced. The coal plants can still be "plugged in" and operated during times of peak load (weekday summer afternoons and winter mornings); what they can't do is operate much the rest of the time. Instead, a combination of new energy efficiency measures, new renewable energy production, more frequent operating of combined cycle natural gas generators, and squeezing even more MWh out of existing nuclear units through uprates or reduced downtimes will be the way states will comply with 111(d).

Seriously slashdot. Pithy remarks more frequently display ignorance than insightfulness.

about 2 months ago
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House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

stomv Not your business? (932 comments)

As a Virginian (and now as a Marylander), I don't consider it any of my business who represents people in say, California.

This is asinine. The 100 US Senators and 435 members of the US House each have an equal vote in their respective chambers on all federal legislation. So long as you as a Virginian (and now as a Marylander) are subject to federal law, then each and every of those Congressmen have a direct vote on the laws that you are obligated to follow. Just because only 2 of the 100 US Senators will return your call doesn't mean that the other 98 aren't your business. They are United States senators, not California state senators. They write your laws; they're your business.

about 2 months ago
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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

stomv Re:As a pedestrian (490 comments)

Indeed. The article agrees with you -- it doesn't advocate for "blasting" through the light. It advocates for approaching the stop sign controlled intersection slowly enough to determine all cross-traffic location and speed to determine if it is safe to cross, and then doing so. That includes peds as cross-traffic. Further, it advocates coming to a stop at traffic light controlled red lights, determining all cross-traffic location and speeds, and then, once there's no risk of collision, proceeding.

For both stop signs and red lights, the Idaho stop advocates for pedestrian safety, not for "blasting through the red lights".

I fail to see why you didn't RTFA.

about 3 months ago
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FCC Proposes $48,000 Fine To Man Jamming Cellphones On Florida Interstate

stomv don't over do it (427 comments)

just ban them from driving.

about 4 months ago
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Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

stomv Still need pipes (206 comments)

If you're going to extract tar sands of their crude, then refining the crude in ND doesn't change anything. You've still got to ship liquid petroleum products from ND to the rest of the country -- and, in fact, the rest of the world since the USA is a net exporter of refined crude -- be it pipe, rail, or truck. Moving the refinery doesn't change the need for transport.

about 4 months ago
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Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

stomv Does. Not. Compute. (206 comments)

My part of the country gets about 5% of our electricity from coal. The largest share (though not the majority) is natural gas, with big chunks of hydro, nuclear, and small but growing chunks of wind and solar and biomass/landfill gas. The carbon intensity of the electricity in my region per usable energy (say, per mile the vehicle can go) is less for electric than for gasoline, by a pretty wide margin.

Furthermore, if a person has PV panels on his own house, he can legitimately claim that his vehicle is low carbon emissions even if he does live in Kentucky or Ohio or Arizona or any other significantly-coal-dependent state.

Furthermore, coal plants are being retired all around the country. There's currently about 300 GW of coal fired capacity in tUSA -- by 2020 it will be closer to 220 GW. Folks who want less carbon emissions are opposed to building new capital infrastructure which will facilitate more carbon emissions for decades to come. Those folks would rather spend money (and create jobs) building wind turbines and solar farms and expanding subway and bus lines and switching more truck delivery to rails and switching from the manufacturing of gasoline fired autos to electric vehicles.

The folks who oppose the Keystone aren't in favor of coal fired electric power plants. That's pretty freaking obvious.

about 4 months ago
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Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

stomv Not at all (206 comments)

Every action that increases the cost of gasoline decreases the consumption. For people who believe that climate change is real and caused/exacerbated by human activity, reducing the amount of gasoline consumed is a good thing.

Whether or not the cost rising results in more profits for oil companies (hint: it doesn't -- the profit per unit goes up, but the number of units sold goes down, and profits go down) is irrelevant to those who want less consumption of fossil fuels because, well, the carbon emissions are bad for mankind.

about 4 months ago
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Bug Bounties Don't Help If Bugs Never Run Out

stomv On reducing black-market value of vulnerability (235 comments)

> "I'm not sure if there's anything a software company could do by themselves to lower the black-market value of a vulnerability in their product, other than voluntarily decreasing their own market share so that there are fewer computers that can be compromised using their software! Can you think of any other way?)"

Sure. Educate your users so that fewer of them allow themselves to be vulnerable to the bug. This doesn't work in all cases, but certainly some -- encourage your software users to use better network security, to avoid using their actual ID information, etc. If fewer of the software's users are valuable to the crackers because the users protect themselves, then the black market value of the vulnerability goes down. If my front door lock can be picked, I'm vulnerable -- but if I don't store my most valuable items in my house at all, the value of picking my lock goes down... maybe to the point where the cost-benefit ratio to the criminal makes my house a bad bet for a burglary.

about 4 months ago
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

stomv Coal is certainly not clean (712 comments)

> Coal today is just as clean as other forms of energy when you factor in all the externalities.

No, no it isn't. Coal is far dirtier -- even modern scrubbed plants (of which most aren't) emit mercury and other heavy metals, and SO2. Less than they used to, but more than gas, hydro, wind, nuclear, and solar, which emit none. Both gas and coal emit NOx (the others don't). Extracting coal from the ground is horribly messy -- just ask the good folks who like to drink water in West Virginia. Storing the coal waste is also horribly messy -- just ask the good folks who live along the Dan River in North Carolina and Virginia. Oh, and then there's those pesky CO2 emissions. Coal emits twice as much CO2 as gas per MWh, and of course hydro, nuclear, wind, and solar emit zero or virtually zero.

Coal is far, far dirtier than gas. Coal emits twice the CO2 as gas. In terms of environmental damage, the power plants aren't the same merely because they all have downsides.

> The environmentalists need to learn to quit when they achieve "good enough".

I suspect that they know to quit when they achieve good enough. After all, being an environmentalist is hard work -- the pay sucks if you're even lucky enough to get paid to do it. You're up against deep pockets all the time. The environmentalists won't quit until CO2 emissions are down 80%, and that won't happen so long as we're getting any electricity from coal.

about 5 months ago
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'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official

stomv Re:Ain't no body got time for that (606 comments)

"Who the hell "likes" sharing walls with people?"

I do. Much lower bills -- lower heating and cooling, easier to landscape, lower taxes. I still BBQ in the back yard, and I'm near enough a public park that I have plenty of greenspace available.

Oh, and the subway is two blocks away, so I save lots of money by not owning a car.

about 6 months ago
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'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official

stomv Re:Ain't no body got time for that (606 comments)

NYC, Chicago, DC, Boston, SF, Philly off the top of my head, but that's not really the point. Google is near enough San Francisco that they could have located in San Francisco. There's plenty of Class A space, and at this point Google would build the building themselves, just as countless Fortune 500 companies have done for over 100 years in major American cities.

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Vermont Yankee nuclear plant to close in 2014

stomv stomv writes  |  about a year ago

stomv (80392) writes "Vermont Yankee nuclear plant is to close in late 2014, about 20 years before it's (extended) NRC operating permit expires in 2032. Vermont Yankee is a merchant plant, which means that it sells its energy and capacity on the open New England market. The three reasons cited by Entergy, the owner, to close are: low natural gas prices, high ongoing capital costs of operating a single unit reactor, and wholesale market flaws which keep energy and capacity prices low and doesn't reward the fuel diversity benefits that nuclear provides."
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