[FoRK] Great graphs and facts: Energy

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Fri Mar 25 16:58:53 PDT 2011

Darn thread has a long half-life! ;-)


[Current nuclear prices, not what it would be with focus and investment...]
> Energy Source - % of Total - Cost per kWh
> Nuclear - 19.7% - $0.04
> Hydro - 6.1% - $0.03
> Coal - 48.7% - $0.04
> Natural Gas - 21.4% - $0.10
> Petroleum - 1.1% - $0.10
> Other Renewables - 3.0% - $0.15

In comments, after data points of 3.5 cents kWhr for a current plant, 3 cents estimated in some cases, 6.6 cents overall typical, 
but 8.4 cents with a 'risk premium' added:
> The point I care about is doing something about the solar advocates who are getting away with quoting MIT on the cost of new 
> nuclear. They are saying MIT says new nukes are prohibitively expensive, then they flog their solar dream. They are advocating 
> solar power that costs in excess of 20 or even 30 cents kWhr. It is getting politically ridiculous, as for instance in the UK 
> where the government is proposing the expenditure of billions on solar subsidies and the opposition, instead of saying this is 
> money down a rat hole compared with spending on equally low carbon nuclear, is calling for even more billions to be spent on 
> solar, fueled by the dupes of the solar dreamers who have been duped into actually believing nuclear is far more expensive. Or in 
> California, where the 1/3 subsidy of solar plants costing in excess of $15,000 per installed available kW would exceed the entire 
> cost of a nuke, i.e. the taxpayers would be further ahead if they paid for the entire cost of building a nuclear plant and gave it 
> away to the nearest utility company – the net cost per available kWhr to the ratepayers and taxpayers would be less.

Thorium as a nuclear fuel
> According to Australian science writer Tim Dean, "thorium promises what uranium never delivered: abundant, safe and clean energy - 
> and a way to burn up old radioactive waste."^[22] <https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Thorium#cite_note-Dean-21> With 
> a thorium nuclear reactor, Dean stresses a number of added benefits: there is no possibility of a meltdown, it generates power 
> inexpensively, it does not produce weapons-grade by-products, and will burn up existing high-level waste as well as nuclear weapon 
> stockpiles.^[22] <https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Thorium#cite_note-Dean-21> Ambrose Evans-Pritchard 
> <https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Ambrose_Evans-Pritchard>, of the British /Daily Telegraph/, suggests that "Obama 
> could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium," and could put "an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within 
> three to five years."^[14] <https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Thorium#cite_note-Pritchard-13> He also points out that 
> "China <https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/China> is leading the way" with its own "dash for thorium," which it 
> announced in March 2011.
> In the U.S., NASA scientist and thorium expert Kirk Sorensen calls it the "next giant leap" in energy technology, noting that the 
> "potential energy in thorium is staggering," explaining how just 8 tablespoons of thorium could provide the energy used by an 
> American during his or her lifetime.
> Turkish nuclear expert Ayhan Demirbas has summarized some of the benefits of thorium when compared with uranium as fuel:^[24] 
> <https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Thorium#cite_note-23>
>         * Weapons-grade fissionable material (U-233) is harder to retrieve safely and clandestinely from a thorium reactor;
>         * Thorium produces 10 to 10,000 times less long-lived radioactive waste;
>         * Thorium comes out of the ground as a 100% pure, usable isotope, which does not require enrichment, whereas natural
>           uranium contains only 0.7% fissionable U-235;
>         * Thorium can not sustain a nuclear chain reaction <https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Nuclear_chain_reaction>
>           without priming^[25] <https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Thorium#cite_note-24> , so fission stops by default.


So, where are the corrections to those facts?


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