[FoRK] Malthusian machinations

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Tue Jun 15 09:35:22 PDT 2010


On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 09:22:10AM -0500, Jeff Bone wrote:

> >Not good enough. Let's make the target 1% of all electricity world  
> >wide
> >produced by thorium reactors, by 2020.
> 
> Make it 1% of TODAY's production level by 2020 and you, sir, have  
> yourself a bet. (Somebody else will still need to write it up and  

According to 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_resources_and_consumption#Nuclear_power 
nuclear was 6.3% of world's total primary energy supply in 2005.
For 2006 it was 2658 TWh (23.3 EJ), or 16% of world's total electricity
production. So it's what, some 30 TWh annually from thorium
reactors (purely thorium fuel cycle, no HEU nor Pu but
for kickstart, all net power must come from in situ
conversion, numerical fractional contribution to power output
is acceptable) by 2020? I'm game.

P.S. http://www.ieer.org/fctsheet/thorium2009factsheet.pdf

> adjudicate, though.). Stakes?  I'm open to suggestion. Something  
> practical and non-financial, valuable enough to sting just a little  
> but not too much for whoever's tighter at that point. Suggestions?   
> Journal subscription? Charitable contribution? An instrument of some  

A year's worth of Science Magazine subscription, perhaps? Assuming
they're still around 2020, but that's probably a safe bet.

> kind?
> 
> (Another interesting bet would be calling the crossover point where  
> solar overtakes nuke of any / all kinds. Would have to think about how  
> to frame it, though.)

Presumably you would just plot the current annual growth on a linear
semilog, and see where it intersects. Of course, there's some
uncertainty due to considerable economic/ecological/military 
disruption heading our way. I wouldn't be willing to make that
bet just now. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Germany 
it's some 1.1% of electricity today and it expects to reach 25% by 2050,
so presumably (there's considerable uncertainty how many
reactors will be shut down by then, it's been pretty constant
at 150 TWh since 1985, or so) the breakeven is still ways
off.
 
> Of course, this all assumes we generally continue to dodge enders for  
> another nine years.  But hey, if we don't I guess I don't pay out  
> anyway. Score! ;-)

-- 
Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
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