Friday, December 20, 2013

Positive Nuclear Step

Someone in the civil service made a smart energy decision as the Department of Energy announced a small funding opportunity for small modular reactors. At $450 million, it is peanuts in comparison to spending on anything big in the government realm, and this is not even on par with what Solyndra received from the government. This is a small but positive step in a pro-nuclear energy direction. The idea of small, safe reactors spread around the nation makes sense to cut down on transmission costs and losses. There is an odd irony behind the same bastards who protested against nuclear power being the chief proponents of reducing cabron emissions. Nuclear power being the most carbon friendly base power generator, therefore had the plan to slowly replace oil fired power plants and then gas and coal fired power plants gone into place, the United States would emit far less evil CO2, use the nat gas for other economic activities and export more coal to the rest of the world, helping our balance of trade.

Nuclear power is a wonderful example of the ability of the credentialed progressives of the cathedral to hamstring positive technological developments with the power of the pen. M. King Hubbert who was the originator of the Hubbert peak oil production theory was not worried about peak oil because he was a believer in the amazing potential and energy density of nuclear fuels to power our world. We unlocked the power of the atom only to see it bottled up by red tape, protestors, teachers and media scare pieces.

1 comment:

sykes.1 said...

There is a balance between transmission costs and the economies of scale for reactors. That is, the cost of production of electricity increases as about the 0.7 power to the production capacity. This means that if you double the size of the reactor the total cost of production increases by only 60%, so cost of electricity per kWh goes down.

On the other hand, transmission costs are relatively insensitive to the amount of power being transmitted because the bulk of the cost is in the ROW and towers, which depend weakly on power in the cables.

So, the actual size of the "small" reactors is likely to be fairly large. The proposed designs are simply than what we have, but it is unclear what the actual savings would be. Remember, the first generation of reactors was supposed to produce electricity so cheaply that it wouldn't be metered; there would only be a connection fee.

Also, we want a dense transmission grid for many reasons, most commonly load balancing. And there is no way the highly dispersed green power sources can be used without extending our grids.

And then there is Wilfred Beckerman (economist)--"Small is Stupid."