Print 155 comment(s) - last by mudgiestylie.. on Aug 23 at 8:39 PM

  (Source: NC Warn)

  (Source: NC Warn)
Financial crossover occurred in North Carolina, bringing new opportunities

Duke University has reported that solar energy costs are now cheaper than nuclear energy costs after a "historic crossover" in North Carolina. 

The paper on this topic was written by John O. Blackburn, professor of economics at Duke University in North Carolina, and Sam Cunningham, a graduate student at Duke. The paper is titled "Solar and Nuclear Costs - The Historic Crossover," and shows that change in costs on both solar and nuclear energy has finally forced them to meet, and then solar stole the show by becoming the new low-in-price renewable energy resource.

Solar energy is a clean renewable energy resource that doesn't present much risk, but the problem has been that it's too expensive for everyone to implement. On the other hand, there is nuclear energy, which has several risks associated with using it such as damage to the environment from uranium mining, the possible creation of nuclear weapons and issues with the transportation and storage of nuclear waste. But until now, nuclear energy has always been cheaper to use. 

Over the past decade or so, nuclear energy costs have been rising while solar energy costs have been falling. According to Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and Environment, costs for nuclear energy have increased dramatically from $3 billion per reactor in 2002 to $10 billion per reactor in 2010. What's worse is that these prices are expected to climb, and U.S. taxpayers could end up paying hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars "more than needed to achieve our low carbon goals" if the government helps push the use of nuclear energy, which is exactly what it's doing. 

While nuclear power companies are obviously pushing for nuclear energy use in the U.S. hoping for loan guarantees, tax credits and subsidies, it looks as though government on both the federal and state levels are pushing for it as well, according to Diana Powers of The New York Times.

"From 1943 to 1999, the U.S. government paid nearly $151 billion, in 1999 dollars, in subsidies for wind, solar and nuclear power, Marshall Goldberg of the Renewable Energy Policy Project, a research organization in Washington, wrote in a July 2000 report," wrote Powers. "Of this total, 96.3 percent went to nuclear power.

"At the state level, the industry has also pressed the case for 'construction work in progress,' a financing system that requires electricity users to pay for the cost of new reactors during their construction and sometimes before construction starts. With long construction periods and frequent delays, this can mean that electricity users start to pay higher prices as much as 12 years before the plants produce electricity."

But now that Blackburn and Cunningham have showed that solar energy costs have met nuclear energy costs, which occurred at 16 cents per kilowatt hour, then fell below nuclear costs, there is hope that the push for nuclear will slow down and that the government may look to a combination of solar and other renewable energy resources that are low carbon and low cost. 

"Everyone should understand that both new solar and new nuclear power will cost more than present electricity generation costs," Blackburn and Cunningham's paper states. "That is, electricity costs will rise in any case for most customers, especially those who do not institute substantial energy efficiency upgrades. Power bills will rise much less with solar generation than with increased reliance on new nuclear generation."

Blackburn and Cunningham see great opportunity for North Carolina - and eventually other U.S. states - with these new findings, and hope that lower costs of solar, which is much less hazardous than nuclear, will be implemented. According to their paper, commercial-scale solar companies are already "offering utilities electricity at 14 cents or less per kWh" while nuclear plants would generate electricity at 14 to 18 cents per kWh. 

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By CowKing on 8/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Nice
By Murloc on 8/2/2010 12:58:06 PM , Rating: 1
plants being built today will last at least 50 years.

there always are submarines and satellites and medical.

RE: Nice
By quiksilvr on 8/2/2010 1:04:13 PM , Rating: 1
Nuclear power would be most useful in areas with limited sunlight (northern, mountainous regions).

All three forms of renewable energy (solar, wind, nuclear) have applications, but a fourth and equally important category is needed: efficiency.

We need to be more efficient. I still cannot believe with 13W CFL bulbs now only $1 each that we have millions of homes in the US not using them. I don't want to say "make it required, rawr commie commie", but more awareness needs to be drawn to the fact that we need to cut down the energy we are using in this day and age.

RE: Nice
By ninjit on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Nice
By vanionBB on 8/2/2010 1:26:30 PM , Rating: 5
We have enough nuclear fuel to last us over 400 years at the current rate of growth. The standard model is that we use up fossil fuels by the end of this century, and use nuclear fuel for the next 400 to 500 years until we develop nuclear fusion.

Solar uses rare earth elements which are also not renewable and solar panels wear out over time.

RE: Nice
By Phoque on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Nice
By mcnabney on 8/3/2010 9:43:37 AM , Rating: 4
While our oil is very limited, we have several hundred years of coal (at current usage) left before we run out. And although we do have uranium to mine, I don't think we have the hundred's of years that you are refering to.

Wind is still perfect. 100% clean. Can be 100% made in America. Don't require any dedicated land since they are loosely deployed to agricultural areas. Operate at night. And are 100% recyclable when they do eventually wear out.

RE: Nice
By Steve1981 on 8/3/2010 10:33:20 AM , Rating: 4
And although we do have uranium to mine, I don't think we have the hundred's of years that you are refering to.

"Breeder reactors could match today's nuclear output for 30,000 years using only the NEA-estimated supplies."

I think that's adequate.

Wind is still perfect....Operate at night.

Yes and no :P

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2010 1:39:54 PM , Rating: 5
Nuclear energy is NOT renewable, it's still using fuel (refined radioactive isotopes), that have to be mined from the earth,

EVERYTHING is mined from the Earth. Including what's needed to make solar panels. Did you have a point??

RE: Nice
By Silver2k7 on 8/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: Nice
By sigmatau on 8/2/2010 1:48:03 PM , Rating: 1
"Solar energy is a clean renewable energy resource that doesn't present much risk, but the problem has been that it's too expensive for everyone to implement. On the other hand, there is nuclear energy, which has several risks associated with using it such as damage to the environment from uranium mining, the possible creation of nuclear weapons and issues with the transportation and storage of nuclear waste."

Solar requires some rare earth metals and since you need so much surface area to provide little electricity, you will be doing plenty of mining for them.

I also agree with wondering why some haven't switched to CFLs. Especialy the poor. This will help their electric bill by a good amount each month. $5-$15 can go a long way. I too cannot wait for LEDs to come down in price and provide better non-spotlight and stronger lighting. There are a few options now, but they need to be cheaper. Sam's club and others seem to be selling some that are at the price of original CFLs which is about $5 each. Not a bad start.

RE: Nice
By FITCamaro on 8/2/2010 3:08:00 PM , Rating: 1
Solar also doesn't work at 100% capacity. So if you want 1 GW of power you'll have to build more than that. Then there's the fact that it doesn't work at night so you'll still need a nuclear or coal plant as backup. So the question is then why did you bother to build the solar plant.

As far as CFLs I tried switching all the bulbs in my house to them. However despite trying every brand of candella bulb for my ceiling fans, they all flicker. So I had to switch back to incandescent.

RE: Nice
By wiz220 on 8/2/2010 3:28:07 PM , Rating: 1
I think they're solving the night time problem with the molten salt solution. You heat it up during the day and it stores the heat and drives the turbines at night. I'm not sure how efficient it is, but it's a start.

RE: Nice
By FITCamaro on 8/2/2010 4:13:28 PM , Rating: 1
Yes but how much does that add to the cost. Nothing is more stable than nuclear and coal. And in a state like Florida, you might not have a sunny day in weeks. My freshman year of college it rained for three weeks straight. In 05 it rained 29 of 30 days in June.

RE: Nice
By JediJeb on 8/2/2010 6:31:44 PM , Rating: 4
I can see solar being good in the desert, especially if the molten salt idea works well. But in the mid-west or coastal areas there are just too many cloudy weeks, not just days. Also how well do the solar plants stand up to hail like the mid-west has been having lately? I don't think solar will ever be a one-size-fits-all type of solution, just as wind won't either. Some locations will be great for hydroelectric, others for solar, others for wind, but the rest will need nuclear if they want to move away from coal, natural gas or oil.

RE: Nice
By AssBall on 8/3/2010 1:49:33 PM , Rating: 2
The desert? What are you going to power there? By the time you create and use the infrastructure to deliver it eighty miles away, your energy is a fraction of what it was at the turbine. Power stations built in the middle of nowhere need that many more transformers and other costs.

Unless we find some really cheap way to produce high temperature superconductors, we will continue to waste most of our electricity whilst shipping it. And yet standard copper is still our most efficient option! Electromagnetic transfer (microwave/radio) is a nice idea, too, but it will be a long while before the costs associated with that even come close to our current grid setups.

RE: Nice
By AssBall on 8/3/2010 1:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
I guess my point in short is that creating usable energy efficiently and using that energy efficiently are two completely different matters. It sounds obvious enough, but it is always overlooked.

RE: Nice
By Silver2k7 on 8/3/2010 3:28:20 AM , Rating: 2
invent a rain powerplant ;) j/k

windpower would be a compliment to solar thought..

and lightning if that could be harvested somehow..
the problem I guess would be for something to handle the incredible large ammounts.. and then somekind of gigant battery to store the power..

RE: Nice
By Jalek on 8/3/2010 4:15:34 AM , Rating: 2
There are rain powerplants, but hydro kills fish runs or something, so we're removing several dams each year instead of replacing 100 year old turbines because the plants using those don't generate a lot of power. Modern turbines could produce significantly more, but there's still the millions for fish bypasses and ladders.

Hydro's better than most conventional sources for dealing with supply transients as you get with wind and solar, but.. the fish..

RE: Nice
By mudgiestylie on 8/23/2010 8:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
Hydro is one of the most damaging things to the water table and river based ecosystems. Not just the fish. Silt and all the other goodies river critters need build up on the reservoir side, destroying the water quality on the other end. Its like an artery being blocked.

RE: Nice
By CowKing on 8/2/2010 2:18:59 PM , Rating: 1
well, that's what my brother is working on. Recycling that material to use it again

RE: Nice
By FITCamaro on 8/2/2010 3:26:52 PM , Rating: 4
For the foreseeable future of the human race, nuclear energy is unlimited. We would be more likely to run out of the rare metals required to build solar panels before we ever run out of nuclear material. Nuclear power does not consume its fuel. What cannot be recycled back into new fuel rods(> 90%) is mostly transformed into a new fuel that can be used in a different kind of reactor.

But nice try. The suns energy may be unlimited but our ability to build things to collect it and turn it into power is not.

RE: Nice
By Silver2k7 on 8/3/2010 3:32:29 AM , Rating: 1
"Nuclear power does not consume its fuel. What cannot be recycled back into new fuel rods(> 90%) is mostly transformed into a new fuel that can be used in a different kind of reactor."

Ive also heard something about cooling down nuclear waste, reduces the time it takes to become non-toxic to decades instead of millennia or what it usually is.. have you heard anything about this ??

RE: Nice
By Triple Omega on 8/3/2010 12:18:43 PM , Rating: 2
Nuclear power does not consume its fuel.

What cannot be recycled back into new fuel rods(> 90%) is mostly transformed into a new fuel that can be used in a different kind of reactor.

The second quote contradicts the first. There is definitely fuel being consumed here in the form of radioactivity. In the end it will all be non-radioactive. Sure it might last us tens of thousands of years(maybe longer with future developments), but eventually it will run out.

And even though you are right that we will run out of rare-earth metals if we keep building, we might not need to. It all depends on our power requirements and the improvements on efficiency.

Also, there are already researches being done to figure out a way to efficiently use solar energy without the use of rare-earth metals.

Lastly I'd also like to note that there is a good chance that non of this will matter, since the development of the first generation of nuclear fusion is expected to be completed in 30-50 years.(Depends on funding.) Then tritium will last us for thousands of years until we figure out deuterium-deuterium fusion. That will then last us for billions of years.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2010 1:22:42 PM , Rating: 1
I hate CFL bulbs. I refuse to use them. Their lighting looks fake and gloomy, and half of them emit a faint whining sound that drives me nuts.

Plus there is this amazing invention, you might have heard of it, called a dimmer switch? It saves power by lowering lighting levels when full brightness is not needed. They also don't work with CFL bulbs and can damage their electronics.

I don't leave my lights on all the time, and frankly, I don't know anyone that does. But CFL bulbs don't make sense for me. I don't want to have to change all my dimmer switches or put ugly tape over them. I'm not a fan of their light output. Also they are filled with toxic chemicals and lead, no thanks.

RE: Nice
By lelias2k on 8/2/2010 1:36:42 PM , Rating: 4
There are hundreds of different CFL bulbs in the market, all with different qualities.

Every bulb in my apartment is a CFL, and nobody can tell the difference. They don't make noise and the light is warm. The things you describe remind me of the CFLs we used to have in our kitchen 20-25 years ago...

True, we can't use dimmers, but we will when LEDs become more affordable.

Now, it is really silly to say that dimmers save power, when you're using a bulb that CONSUMES more power to begin with. At the very best you are paying the same to have less light.

And regarding them being "filled" with toxic chemicals and lead: Considering that most of our energy is coming from coal, I think you should be worrying more about the pollution we're putting out by consuming more energy than with traces of "toxic chemicals" and lead that are enclosed in a bulb that can last 10 years.

RE: Nice
By fleabag on 8/2/2010 1:46:31 PM , Rating: 5
Actually you CAN use dimmers with a CFL, you just have to get the right one.. While the CRI is lower with CFLs, for the most part it's pretty good as it is and for most applications, CFLs are appropriate.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Nice
By Homerboy on 8/2/2010 2:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
Lol you ignorant fool.
The point is that if everyone, or even the majority of people switched to CFL/LEDs then the total usage of electricity and therefor burned coal would drop. And drop significantly. It all adds up. If you are too ignorant to see that, I feel sorry for you.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Nice
By FITCamaro on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Nice
By lelias2k on 8/2/2010 4:17:45 PM , Rating: 1
If you can't understand exponential math, then this subject is too complicated for you two.

And life is not about what others can do to make your life better, but what you can do to improve everybody's lives.

If people were less selfish maybe the world would be a better place to live.

RE: Nice
By ClownPuncher on 8/2/2010 4:29:21 PM , Rating: 5
You can't force sympathy or empathy. With freedom, you absolutely have to accept the good with the bad, otherwise it isn't freedom. He is absolutely right in saying the government has too much reach if they can dictate the type of bulb you buy.

RE: Nice
By lelias2k on 8/3/2010 4:12:58 PM , Rating: 2
I completely agree that we shouldn't force that. But if the government doesn't give the population enough education to understand why little things like the bulbs we use in our houses are a problem, how are we going to actually fix problems?

People who think "how can one bulb make a difference" are completely ignorant about how the world really turns.

RE: Nice
By ClownPuncher on 8/3/2010 5:13:48 PM , Rating: 2
Education via punitive taxation? Meh, no thanks. I went fully CFL and LED on my own, I really can't justify a crusade against some redneck who doesn't really care what kind of bulbs he buys.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Nice
By thurston on 8/2/2010 7:46:38 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you have the right to label someone selfish because of the light bulb they prefer.

Sure he does, you might want to check the Constitution, you will find it at the beginning of the Bill of Rights. I'm surprised a fine patriot such as yourself doesn't know that.

I'm guessing that lelias2k would judge your selfishness based on statements such as this

How about life is about what you can do to better your life and your families?

than your choice of lightbulb.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Nice
By thurston on 8/2/2010 9:55:41 PM , Rating: 1
I practice random acts of kindness all the time. I found a substantial amount of cash over the weekend that a total stranger had lost and I gave it back to her. I could have easily kept it for myself since she was not a immediate family member, but I didn't. I give to the homeless multiple times a week. I provide my skills to others free of charge on a regular basis. I am providing and setting up a computer free of charge later this week along with instruction on how to use it. I did type this on a PC but that does not make me selfish and I have provided many PC's to people that do not have them. Owning a PC is not selfish, only caring about the welfare of yourself and immediate family is, but if you don't believe me here is the definition from Merriam-Webster's website.

Main Entry: self·ish Pronunciation: \'sel-fish\ Function: adjective Date: 1640 1 : concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others 2 : arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others <a selfish act> 3 : being an actively replicating repetitive sequence of nucleic acid that serves no known function <selfish DNA>; also : being genetic material solely concerned with its own replication <selfish genes> — self·ish·ly adverb — self·ish·ness noun

I do this because helping others is the right thing to do. I'm sure you will still think I am a hypocrite, but that is because you can't comprehend people that are not like you. That is fine with me, but it makes me feel bad for you.

RE: Nice
By ninjaquick on 8/2/2010 7:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
Gah, its those socialists that give my Subaru a bad name. Here in portland, OR, Subaru is the brand of choice for Hippies, along side the Honda Element. But my car gets 26 mpg on a good day, how the hell is that greener than a Buick that gets 31?

What amuses me is how much plastic and other oil by products are used in things made in the USA nowadays, as the homegrown metal industries fail. Everyone is all lets decrease our dependence on foreign oil, but buy a Buick or Chevy with a nearly fully plastic interior.
How much of a solar panel is actually made from US mined product. How much of a nuclear reactor is home grown?

The only green i see in solar is all the green going overseas because of it.

RE: Nice
By Alexstarfire on 8/3/2010 4:38:00 AM , Rating: 2
@ninjaquick, I suppose there is no way to keep our money. Seems like everything we do causes money to go overseas to produce power. Guess we should just use up more coal and natural gas. That seems to be working pretty well. /sarcasm

@Reclaimer77, I think the point the other guy was trying to make is that if people only thought of themselves then they end up doing things that hurt others. Even in an intro to econ course you learn about opportunities and that the best that can be achieved is when all opportunities have been taken that don't hurt others. That would include indirectly.

Sure, as an individual you don't have that much affect on power. But if everyone thought that way our power consumption would be much higher than it currently is. No one would watch their power consumption. I'm sure you've heard of the phrase, "The straw that broke the camels back." Very similar to what I'm talking about. It's not an individual that's going to make a difference, but everyone as a whole. I'm not suggesting that people should be forced to use low-power devices. Hell, my computer would obviously get tossed out considering how much it uses, as I'm sure many on here would. If you can use a low-power alternative that is effectively the same yet costs you less money overall, why wouldn't you?

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/3/2010 10:35:35 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, as an individual you don't have that much affect on power. But if everyone thought that way our power consumption would be much higher than it currently is. No one would watch their power consumption.

Most people watch their power consumption because it directly effects their wallets. Sorry, that's a fact. Not because it's making the world a better place or whatever these kids are trying to sell here.

RE: Nice
By Alexstarfire on 8/3/2010 3:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
True. They kind of walk hand in hand though. Using less power saves money but in turn it also saves on pollution. If we had an unlimited power source that provided 100% pollution free power then that might change, but I don't see that ever happening.

RE: Nice
By FITCamaro on 8/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Nice
By lelias2k on 8/3/2010 4:15:04 PM , Rating: 2
On the other hand, if YOU died tomorrow this forum would be a much better place. lol

RE: Nice
By sviola on 8/2/2010 2:22:56 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe your light usage is not massive, but if all 300 mi people in the US think like you, the impact is huge. Just think, if you use a 60W bulb and change it for 8W CFL, there will be a save of 52W, now, multiply by 300 million and you'll get a massive energy economy throughout the country.


And this is the reason the world is just the mess it is. Most people rather think of only themselves than give up a minor confort (change the bulb lights is just an example) so that everyone lives better...

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Nice
By Alexstarfire on 8/3/2010 4:03:33 AM , Rating: 3
You are a failure to the human race. Even Pirks is smarter than you because at least he understands what an EXAMPLE is.

RE: Nice
By ninjaquick on 8/2/2010 7:36:09 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, I had to object to this cuz I am as far from green as you can really get, but I do own and use CFL bulbs, for one because incandescent bulbs get too hot and die too often. And I think they are a waste of good ol' tungsten.

It doesn't take time to do any research, just go to a store, look at their bulbs and buy whatever seems to read like what you want.

I will not stand behind making any kind of change for the sake of being green, but it really is nice to have a slightly cooler room, more power for my pc without flipping any breakers and rarely if ever changing the bulb.

And I just think it is plain retarded how much a Nuclear Reactor costs in this country. If it were up to me every effing township would have its own reactor keeping em all warm, or cool.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Nice
By Spuke on 8/3/2010 10:47:04 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, I had to object to this cuz I am as far from green as you can really get, but I do own and use CFL bulbs, for one because incandescent bulbs get too hot and die too often.
CFL's don't seem to do well outside. I used them on my front porch. The porch lights are on when it gets dark till I go to bed. The only one's I haven't changed inside the house are the one's in the ceiling fans. All the rest have been changed. I am definitely NOT getting the supposed longevity that's being touted by others. And I did not see any savings on my electric bill. The only time I saw a savings on my bill was when I replaced a broken refrigerator (10 years old). My bill went down $20 a month. That said, if you're on the fence about replacing your old appliances, do it, it'll probably save you some money.

I have multiple types of bulbs and I am tracking them but none seem any better than the others. And I can't throw the burnt out one's in the garbage. Well, I've thrown the first two in the garbage but that was before I knew about the mercury in the ballast. No one mentioned that back then. I only discovered it when someone asked that question in the local newspaper. Luckily, we have a hazmat facility in our area but I'm not making a special trip over there just to dump my bulbs. It'll just have to wait until I need to go over there for something else (the dump is there too but I rarely use it..I've used it once).

I've been looking into LED's as they have been getting cheaper. I am currently replacing all of the bulbs in my 5th wheel with LED's. They're about $10 each with shipping. The bulbs in there are about 18 watts each and the LED's are 1.44W each. HUGE difference! I'm doing it primarily so I don't use up too much battery for off grid camping trips. I totaled the lights in my trailer and they add up to 504W, if I replaced them with LED's, the usage goes down to 40W. I'm doing some other things like a 600AH battery bank and a 165W solar panel too. I'd like to get a couple of 175W panels but it's just out of the budget.

RE: Nice
By cornelius785 on 8/2/2010 8:05:39 PM , Rating: 2
For some reason I remember hearing that LED lightbulb aren't as efficient as CFL (light out per watt) presently. I never thoroughly checked it myself. For some reason also, I'm second guessing LED light bulbs (or atleast early ones) can be used with dimmers. It sort of make sense from simplistic view of an LED lightbulb, as the voltage (120Vac, and yes I know there are 0 Vac crossings, but I'm talking about 'long' periods of 0 Vac) is being turned on and off every cycle and the AC->DC would most likely try to keep an even output voltage.

RE: Nice
By chagrinnin on 8/2/2010 1:58:15 PM , Rating: 5
And to make matters worse, probably have kids on your lawn. :P

***shakes fist at those darned kids***

RE: Nice
By Briliu on 8/2/2010 2:27:22 PM , Rating: 2
You sir,

Have won the argument.

RE: Nice
By Shadowmaster625 on 8/2/2010 2:02:55 PM , Rating: 2
If every incandescent in the country were replaced with a CFL, the amount of sulfur, mercury, arsenic, benzene, etc NOT released into the atmosphere (through coal burning) would be far greater than the amount of toxic chemicals released into the environment from broken/improperly disposed of CFLs. I probably wouldnt use CFLs if I lived on a fault line, but other than that there is no rational argument against them. Saying their light is "gloomy" is just silly. It's subjective. That's why we measure light by color temperature. You just get the CFL with the color temperature you prefer. Usually its about 2800K.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Nice
By namechamps on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Nice
By Smilin on 8/2/2010 5:18:25 PM , Rating: 2
I no place in the United States is 100% of the load powered by nuclear.

I hate to dispute a post that I otherwise agree with: Nukes don't do peak power.

That said... I live sandwiched between two nuke plants. One is ~3mi away, the other about 30. While they can deliver coal power to us the strain on the grid wouldn't be worth the trouble.

So I'm 100% nuke here. Others near the fringes are likely getting some coal (since all nuke "peak" is being sent to me).

As for CFLs: I use them everywhere except a couple choice lamps that the kids could knock over. I don't mind a bit of mercury in the home but I don't want the (suceptible) little ones giving themselves a dose before I'm able to do cleanup.

The one LED lamp I bought is crap. It just doesn't have enough output and the floodlight design makes it unusable in places were the lower output would be acceptible. Ah well. I'll shop better next time.

Some other "low hanging fruit" I do to save energy: insulated outlet covers on external walls, radiant barrier and solar fan in attic (I'm in the south), tinted windows on select rooms, caulk out the ying-yang, low R value insulation in attached garage, waterheater blanket.

All the above is about $250 in material and one grueling weekend to receipts too, Obama will give you your money back.

RE: Nice
By Nutzo on 8/2/2010 6:02:37 PM , Rating: 2
Only Led lights I have in my house are a couple nightlights. They're in a couple rooms that don't get much sunlight so they are on most the day.

Went from 5 watts to .5 watts on each.

Or 87 Kilowatts for the pair down to 8.7 Kilowatts.
(5 watts * 24 hours * 365 days)

Saves me $14 per year, and since the SCE discounted cost was only $5, I broke even after 4 months :)

RE: Nice
By thurston on 8/2/2010 10:28:55 PM , Rating: 2
And, again, my areas power is provided by Nuclear. So I guess that means I'm personally exempted from your statement, doesn't it? I'm not adding to this "coal" problem.

Since we live in a global environment and all use energy from different parts of the world throughout our daily lives me, you and everyone else are part of the coal problem.

But you know what, I think part of the reason I don't use CFL's is because of nosy annoying obnoxious eco-freaks such as yourself. Because I know deep down it just pisses you off.

That's because you must not have a very high IQ (not a personal attack just a conclusion based on your statement) and would cut of your nose to spite your face.

RE: Nice
By FITCamaro on 8/3/2010 8:00:18 AM , Rating: 2
So kill yourself if you view yourself as a problem.

I view myself as a relatively successful guy. And who's more of an idiot? The guy who laughs at you because you're arrogant enough to think we give a sh*t about your opinion and just go on living our lives content in our choices. Or you who tries to make us feel guilty about what light bulb we use and never stops trying to argue your case which is founded in nothing but a desire to stop something you can't control(which further shows your arrogance).

RE: Nice
By Shadowmaster625 on 8/3/2010 10:20:57 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you for proving my point. All I said was there is no rational argument against CFLs. Obviously, yes there are plenty of irrational ones.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/3/2010 10:44:06 AM , Rating: 2
Thank you for proving my point. All I said was there is no rational argument against CFLs. Obviously, yes there are plenty of irrational ones.

That's not true. Gruntboyx posted a whole big list of "rational reasons" against CFL's.

And I categorically reject your premise that we, as free citizens, must justify our purchase of legal goods to you and everyone else. Wtf is going on here? I thought this was America.

I love it. People get praised on Daily Tech for wanting to legalize pot. But god forbid me and Fit prefer one light bulb over the other, nope, that's crossing the line.

RE: Nice
By Smilin on 8/3/2010 10:54:25 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry but there IS a rational argument against it.

This is coming from a guy who uses them.

I have kids. Kids knock over lamps. Kids are suceptible to mercury more than adults. Kids don't understand what precautions to take when a CFL breaks and will dose themselves before I can arrive.

In the lamps I have in playrooms and kids bedrooms I use incandescent. CFL/LED everywhere else.

Is this irrational?

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/3/2010 11:04:30 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry Smilin but that's just a risk you're going to have to take. It's pretty selfish of you to not use CFL's anywhere and everywhere they possibly can be used. Everyone thinking about themselves and their family is why we're in this mess. You're so selfish!! Isn't the risk of permanent brain damage and other conditions worth the MASSIVE energy savings that those few lamps could provide the entire nation?

You're the lowest form of human being. God you make me sick, I can't even look at you.

/satire off

RE: Nice
By Smilin on 8/4/2010 6:23:09 PM , Rating: 2
There is no end to my selfishness :)

You think I'm using incandescents to spare my kids mercury poisoning? pfft. That's amature selfishness.

I'm trying to get YOUR family dosed with mercury from a coal plant so my kids will beat your Trig Palin looking kids at school.

RE: Nice
By invidious on 8/2/2010 2:30:08 PM , Rating: 1
You can buy CFL bulbs that are compatible with your dimmers. You will pay a little bit more for the bulb, but you will save more by using the dimming. So its still a net win, go to home depot and get some.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Nice
By Pneumothorax on 8/2/2010 4:27:15 PM , Rating: 2
I tried several different brands of these and they don't last. In my home theater room, these "dimmable" CFL's basically go from 100%--80%---50%-then straight to zero. In other words there's no in between 50% to 0%. If you try it starts to flicker heavily. Unfortunately, in a my HT room it's unacceptable. I do use them in the rest of the house, but their real "lifetime" rating is about the same as incandescents unless you leave them on all the time (regular on/off switching is really hard on the ballasts)

RE: Nice
By tastyratz on 8/3/2010 8:51:09 AM , Rating: 2
How long has it been since you have purchased a cfl light?

Did you come to that conclusion years ago when you tried an older generation light? I hated them 5 years ago, but now they are completely different. I suspect you not knowing about dimmable cfl bulbs means its been awhile since you have looked.

Whining noise comes from cheap or poor quality ballasts as well as cold weather environment usage (unheated workshop, etc) You shouldn't be able to hear the bulb with great hearing and your ear to it with a modern bulb.

Dimmer switches allow you to use a smaller fractional electricity when you need less light. You cant dim a 100w incandescent to 10w while providing 100w of light. If you want to dim your lights get a dimmable cfl bulb they make them.

Don't forget if you have 100w of energy used your producing 100w of heat in electricity requiring 100w of cooling in the summer (doubling your cost) or detracting from your more financially efficient existing heating solution (thermostatic gas/oil/spot baseboards/etc).

Don't think that dimmer is really saving you money if its an older one, because they used to just be variable RESISTORS. Yup you read right, does it get warm? it just voltage drops the line with a heavy resistance using more electricity. Efficient? I think not. Modern dimmers work differently.

CRI is also very much improved in modern day bulbs. The majority of incandescent light is actually wasted with infrared light. like cool light or warm light? Want another temperature? buy another temperature range.

Consider this, 1 100w bulb left on 100% 8 hours a day will cost you just under $25 a year to run ( @0.1 kwh give or take local costs, and not considering hvac compensation and losses)
that's just 1, multiple family members and multiple bulbs in single lights add up.
Do you hate MODERN CFL bulbs enough to pay $10 every month more? $20?

Also arguing "toxic chemicals"? Lead / Mercury pollution but the overall mercury output of current electricity production methods far outweighs the minute quantity in the bulb (this might change when we eventually move to more renewable resources)

In comparison 1 cfl bulb contains approximately 5mg of mercury. That's the same as 5 lbs of swordfish. While you might not sit down and eat 5 lbs of swordfish just yourself (your whole family might in 2 meals) you also wont sit down and eat your cfl bulb. That same 100w in electricity will put 0.176g of mercury in the air over its run time per day.

I suppose its good reason to hold on to that knob and tube wiring running the record player in the attic?

Now if you argued cold temperature environment such as outdoor lighting in the winter or some other specific special application then you would have something that held water.

Doesn't matter though, government mandate will be pulling incandescent bulbs off the shelves before an affordable viable alternative for those needs is really around. LED is close but all manufacturers tell you not to use their bulbs in cold weather and they don't produce enough light to fully replace outdoor flood lights, etc.

RE: Nice
By Spuke on 8/3/2010 5:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
LED is close but all manufacturers tell you not to use their bulbs in cold weather and they don't produce enough light to fully replace outdoor flood lights, etc.
Not quite true. I use flood light LED's on my shedrow barn. One is older than the other and the newer one produces noticeably more light than the old one. Admittedly, none are near as bright as the two incandescents but I only use that sparingly and I don't want that bright of a light on all the time. I got mine from here:

They don't have mine anymore but have better one's for the same price I paid for mine.

RE: Nice
By Spuke on 8/3/2010 5:26:35 PM , Rating: 2
Oh and mine are solar powered with a battery too just like the one's in that link. If you get a few hours of good sun, they last all night easily.

RE: Nice
By tastyratz on 8/3/2010 7:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
but its all down to lumens. You can use it for that purpose but for a good security light you need output and led floods still just aren't up to snuff. They are certainly better than they were, but still a long way away from current offerings. If you could achieve say 80% of the light for $50 I would call that my personal breaking point.

The link you provided has at the top a 270 lumen light for $230.

200 lumens is roughly an 18 watt incandescent light.

We are still not there yet if you ask me

RE: Nice
By vanionBB on 8/2/2010 1:22:52 PM , Rating: 2
Three forms?

What about hydro and geothermal, these are as renewable as the rest and very clean energy sources, and pumped hydro is the most efficient of energy storage method known to man.

Why is hydro not listed as renewable?

RE: Nice
By StevoLincolnite on 8/2/2010 1:24:39 PM , Rating: 2
I still cannot believe with 13W CFL bulbs now only $1 each that we have millions of homes in the US not using them.

Here in Australia, Incandescent light bulbs were banned, sometimes it's the only way for people to see the light and switch over.

However... CFL's for me aren't ideal they emit a harsh light, and they also give me frequent headaches, so for now I'm sticking with Halogen light bulbs untill perhaps LED lights drop in price.

On the bright side... I do save a pretty penny every quarter because of the switch to energy efficient light bulbs!

Regarding energy production technologies... We need a "mix".
Solar doesn't work at night unless you "store" the energy harnessed from the sun to use at night, which can add to the costs... Not to mention the land real estate it potentially requires.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Nice
By StevoLincolnite on 8/2/2010 2:00:59 PM , Rating: 2
But you are obviously in favor of people being forced to "see the light" so I'm wasting my breath probably.

Not at all, I completely agree with you, the market forces should have decided which way we should have went.

I was personally hoping for reduced energy costs in combination of the reduced electricity demands, but that never came about either.

In the end I was just one person, we voted the Government in that made the changes, so unless another Government has a policy to reverse it, we are stuck with it. (Plus the general feeling is that people generally agree with the lighting shift here.)

RE: Nice
By JediJeb on 8/2/2010 6:48:17 PM , Rating: 2
I was personally hoping for reduced energy costs in combination of the reduced electricity demands, but that never came about either.

This is something I think everyone is promising but will never happen. If the energy company wants to keep making the same amount of money each month,yet everyone is using less energy, then the difference must be made up by either reducing costs such as fuel or labor, or increasing efficiency which right now is pretty much maxed out. So in a sense everyone switching to more energy efficient bulbs will in the long run cost power plant workers some jobs. There is always a trade off, and usually not one for the better.

RE: Nice
By sviola on 8/2/2010 2:37:17 PM , Rating: 1
If they were the best option for people, there would be no need for a ban, CFL's would gain market dominance and incandescence would die out.

Not really. Most people shun any kind of change in their way of doing things (see smoking as an example - it is common knowledge that it is bad for the health, but that generally didn't stop people from smoking).

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2010 2:44:38 PM , Rating: 2
Terrible example. Light bulbs are not addictive. Smokers aren't afraid of change, they just feel compelled to keep doing it. Addicts.

RE: Nice
By Chaser on 8/2/2010 2:49:14 PM , Rating: 1
so I'm wasting my breath probably.

Ya think?

But if we didn't have choices then we wouldn't have stubborn old goats that "have a life" enough to post over 10 useless belly aching whines about light bulbs because you want to live in the stone age and suck energy down just to make your boring statement and have something new to ***** about.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Nice
By Ghost42 on 8/2/2010 2:38:32 PM , Rating: 4
I have the same issue. CFL's or just FL in general can and usually does induce optical migraines in my case. It wasn't as bad for the longest time, however when the company I worked for moved to a new location that had 2x the amount of Florescent lighting in my office the problem was irreversibly made worse. It was so bad that I personally went around and removed 75% of the bulbs from the fixtures as any paper work that I processed that was highlighted was retina burning. Most of the time I had to leave the lights off and worked via desk lamps.

Due to all that I've had to get rid of all CFL's in my home and switch back to Incandescent.

RE: Nice
By jdietz on 8/2/2010 5:12:51 PM , Rating: 3
Lighting is <20% of our electricity usage. Even if everyone switched, it wouldn't save much. What is really needed is a way to save on heating/cooling energy cost, which is around 60% of our energy use. We could also use a way to save on transportation energy use.

RE: Nice
By JediJeb on 8/2/2010 6:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
Why not force the outdoor sign companies to change their lights first, before the residential ones. Look how much light output is wasted every year on billboards and outdoor lighting. Not to mention all that stray light leads to light pollution. If the government is really serious about this like they say they are in banning our incandescent bulbs, then I say they should first make Times Square and the Las Vegas Strip switch to all LED lighting before forcing the rest of us to change.

RE: Nice
By Spuke on 8/3/2010 5:37:37 PM , Rating: 2
then I say they should first make Times Square and the Las Vegas Strip switch to all LED lighting before forcing the rest of us to change.
Can't do that because those people have money and would sue. Not to mention, that's the tax base. Mess with your tax base and they start shutting down and leaving to more friendly places.

RE: Nice
By GruntboyX on 8/2/2010 7:17:56 PM , Rating: 2
We need to be more efficient. I still cannot believe with 13W CFL bulbs now only $1 each that we have millions of homes in the US not using them. I don't want to say "make it required, rawr commie commie"

There are a few reasons not to use CFL's

1. Mercury Poisoning. Read the box as to what you are suppose to do if you break one.
2. Degradation to the power grid via all the Harmonics they spew out.
3. Their energy savings are greatly exaggerated due to the fact your power company only bills you the watts. Reality is a CFL bulb only cuts energy usage in half. (Power is AC its V*I*Cos(theta).
4. They perform poorly. I am tired of the CFLs warming up like stadium lights. They also loose about half there luminece in about 1-2 years.
5. Quality Control is abysmal. Because everyone is so focused on the economies of scale, China is pushing these things out with little to no standards.
6. More expensive to purchase than Incandescent. Incandescent is blown glass with a filament. CFL has a complex blown glass structure, Power supply with about 15 components, and Case. It will never be cheaper than a Incandescent bulb. No matter how many you produce. This is why governments are outlawing them.
7. Light they produce is harsh and has odd temperatures. However, lots of improvements have occurred to minimize this problem.
8. They are ugly. If you have a decorative fixture they ruin the aesthetics.
9. Very expensive if you want to use them in dim-able fixtures.
10. CFL doesn't scale well into the high luminance products. Such as flood lights and ceiling spots.
11. They dont handle temperature variations well, cant be used in outdoor situations where it gets really cold. IE fridge.

There are some advantages and I do use them in certain applications.

1. In fixtures that are on more than 6 hours a day.
2. hard to reach places where it is very difficult to change the bulb, then I will use one because they do last a long time.

I have my Eye on LED, but in the mean time I just open a window and try to maximize the amount of natural light that comes into my house. I don't stick them everywhere and they are by no means a solution to our energy problems. Nor should we outlaw Incandescent.

RE: Nice
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2010 7:28:35 PM , Rating: 1
Don't bother, there is no way to make a reasonable argument with these brainwashed idiots. If you don't buy CFL's you're a terrible person representing everything that's wrong with the world.

But it's ok "thankfully" the government is here to tell you what kind of light bulb you can buy. Because that kind of power is totally within the Constitutional constraints placed on it... Right...

RE: Nice
By Spuke on 8/3/2010 5:41:51 PM , Rating: 1
Because that kind of power is totally within the Constitutional constraints placed on it... Right...
If the healthcare bill gets shot down by the Supreme Court, then maybe this bulb thing will get shot down too.

RE: Nice
By Alexstarfire on 8/4/2010 1:49:17 AM , Rating: 2
CFLs certainly aren't for every situation, such as the flood lights you mentioned. Not even worth it for lights that are almost never on, such as lights in storage areas of a house.

1. Technically possible, but have you ever heard of that happening even once? I could die from toxin chemicals that are in my computer components, but that's highly unlikely. For that matter, not disposing of them properly is also not really worth arguing over ATM. This is only because a lot of other things in a house should be disposed of properly but people just throw them out. This includes pretty much anything electronic, oil, and recyclables among other things.
2. I'd like to know more about this if you can list some sources. Could be an actual reason to not use them.
3. You do realize W = P/s. Since time is going to be the same it's actually perfectly linear. Watts is already known, though it might vary a little bit between bulbs, and so is time so I don't see how you figure it's half the energy. Though, if it's half the watts then it will be half the energy.
4. I've noticed the warm up, but only if I'm looking straight at the bulbs. Of course, if you get really crappy bulbs it can be VERY noticeable. Haven't seen the luminescence loss you are talking about and several, if not most, of our bulbs are older than 2 years. Might be different with lower quality bulbs, but IDK. The crappy bulbs never last that long anyway.
5. I agree strongly with this point. It can be a big problem, but if you get them at HD, Lowes, WalMart, or any other big name company then you should be fine. I've only seen the cheap/crappy bulbs at dollar stores and places like that.
6. True, but if you end up saving more money in power savings then this point is moot.
7. Very subjective. Ours look identical to "regular" bulbs. The crappy ones certainly can do what you say though.
8. Subjective. I try to look straight at light bulbs myself so the way they look is moot.
9. This point goes along with what I said beforehand. CFLs don't belong everywhere.
10. Same as 9.
11. Our bulbs have faired pretty well outside. Biggest problem has actually been moisture for us since the enclosures for our bulbs are busted. I do live in the south so it doesn't exactly get all that cold down here most of the time. Never below 0 where I live.

All in all only points 2 and 6 are really valid points, and point 9 I suppose.

RE: Nice
By MatthiasF on 8/2/2010 3:49:54 PM , Rating: 4
Nuclear energy is cheaper, the Duke researcher just conveniently kept the uranium prices at 2007 levels, even though they've plummeted to nearly a third that since.

RE: Nice
By MatthiasF on 8/2/2010 6:50:53 PM , Rating: 4
Commodity price for Uranium:

First became a trade-able commodity in 2007, started out pretty high then dropped considerably.

By Paj on 8/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Why?
By lelias2k on 8/2/2010 1:44:31 PM , Rating: 1
Are you new here or something? lol

Prepare to be downgraded, laughed at, and worse... :)

RE: Why?
By Paj on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: Why?
By Schrag4 on 8/2/2010 3:46:58 PM , Rating: 5
I'm not going to call you an idiot like you just did everyone else, but you seem to be missing the fact that none of the alternatives you mention have anywhere near the density that nuclear has. Not to mention that several options such as wind and solar don't generate power all day long so you still need to fill that capacity some other way anyway (which begs the question "why do we even bother with those?").

I just happen to be pro-nuclear because it's the cheapest, safest (you read that correctly), most reliable option we have, and to top it all off, we don't have to litter our shores and countryside with countless wind turbines, solar plants, and wave generators. I don't give France credit for much, but they certainly got it right with nuclear power.

RE: Why?
By lelias2k on 8/3/2010 4:09:26 PM , Rating: 2
Well, go back and read what it says: He supports a combination of methods in order to supply the energy we need. He's not necessarily bashing nuclear as much as saying that he's baffled of how people are against other alternatives.

Now, just out of curiosity. How is nuclear the safest option we have? Seriously, I can agree that much of the fear over nuclear is unfounded, but to say that it is the safest is to completely ignore the potential damage during and post use.

You probably only read official documents that say that Chernobyl only killed 31 people and disregards other documents, especially local ones, that say that it affected the lives of more than one million.These are the same people saying that the oil spill in the Gulf hasn't really affected people the way we thought they would. Please, open your eyes.

But that is not even my argument. My argument is, how can a nuclear facility, which has so much invested in safety, be safer than the solar panel sitting atop of my house? If it was safer we probably wouldn't need all the safety precautions, would we? ;)

How come I can put together my own solar panels, but I probably wouldn't dare putting together my own nuclear reactor?

RE: Why?
By arcsnsparks on 8/3/2010 9:26:21 PM , Rating: 2
How is nuclear the safest? Simple, you look at fatalities per megawatt-hour for various energy technologies.

I like the misdirection: "...completely ignore the potential damage..." Nothing like imagining "potential" safety concerns and ignoring 1000s of reactor-years of operation.

The safety difference between nuclear and solar you cite involves their energy density in deployment. This is why you can put 1000 MWe nuclear plant on a several dozen acres, while you would need to spread solar over quite a bit of land mass.

RE: Why?
By nafhan on 8/2/2010 4:44:47 PM , Rating: 2
an energy mix is considered to be the most viable option
That sounds great, except that their are no solar or wind projects that are "viable" on there own merits. They all require subsidies to be viable in an economic sense.
to argue that its safe, cheap or guarantees energy independence is erroneous at best
Why do you think this? Any reasons? Without reasons you kind of just come across as generally anti-nuclear rather than someone attempting to engage in discussion, and the nuclear bomb comment makes you sound anti-American on top of that... Seriously, JAPAN uses more nuclear power on a percentage basis than the US.

RE: Why?
By vanionBB on 8/2/2010 2:03:19 PM , Rating: 3

1. I doubt you are "genuinely curious."

2. I am proud we built the first bomb proving Einstein's theory correct, further unlocking the mysteries of our universe, and it helped secure the unconditional surrender of Japan, ending WW2.

3. What sort of "more sustainable","environmentally sound technologies" would you have us condiser?

RE: Why?
By Briliu on 8/2/2010 2:11:09 PM , Rating: 5
Perhaps the question should be why does France like nuclear power so much?

US makes 20% of its power via nuclear, France makes more than 75%.

The public in the US "hates" nuclear power because they do not choose to learn, and are lied to by people who stand to benefit from the other side of the coin.

And "we" love drama so if someone says a small problem in a nuclear plant results in YOUR ENTIRE TOWN BEING IRRADIATED AHHH OMG OMG AHHH, they listen. Versus being intelligent and reasonable~

RE: Why?
By Paj on 8/2/2010 2:44:26 PM , Rating: 1
I know this, I am French. And yes, I am genuinely interested in an honest debate, if anyone cares to engage in one.

Nuclear power makes much more sense in France than it does in America - we have very few other options, having no energy resources ourselves. Plus we get far less sun, with almost no desert regions whatsoever. Geographically, France is much smaller, so the grid can be more compact, leading to less transmission losses and upkeep. You dont get all of these remote, distant locations that have to be wired up at huge cost, as you do in America and Australia.

The French culture is very different to that in America - you could say its more of a technocracy. Engineers and scientists have the same prestige as doctors and lawyers do in the US, so the public is far more trusting of what they have to say.

But France possesses all of the same problem that any nuclear industry does - waste disposal, non-renewability, and cost. And the question of inertia - the nuclear industry is so mature and dominant that reactor designs have become homogenised and there is a great deal of expertise in the industry. Pursuing alternative options makes little sense for France, due to the intertia that nuclear has in the country.

Europe in general seems far more open to the idea of so called 'green' energy - consider Germany and Spain, that have well developed solar programmes. Iceland is arguably the world leader in geothermal (although thats largely explained by its geography). Could America, with its large expanses of hot deserts and geologically active areas, not implement successful solar and geothermal projects? Could America, which has given the modern world so much, not become a pioneer in alternative energy as well?

RE: Why?
By Solandri on 8/2/2010 3:08:53 PM , Rating: 4
But France possesses all of the same problem that any nuclear industry does - waste disposal, non-renewability, and cost.

One big difference is that France reprocesses. The U.S. does not. So France's nuclear "waste" problem is minor compared to the U.S.' (which is minuscule compared to coal).

Another thing to note is that although France gets a much larger percentage of its power from nuclear, the U.S., due to its larger population and power consumption, actually generates more nuclear power than France. The U.S. generates almost as much electricity from nuclear as France and Japan (#2 and #3) combined.

Also worth noting is that Germany, which has banned nuclear power and has many green power initiatives, is forced to buy electricity from France to make up for shortfalls in its electrical production capacity.

RE: Why?
By nah on 8/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: Why?
By Solandri on 8/2/2010 3:46:52 PM , Rating: 5
Hannes Alfvén, Nobel laureate in physics, described the as yet unsolved dilemma of high-level radioactive waste management: "The problem is how to keep radioactive waste in storage until it decays after hundreds of thousands of years.

You've deliberately misquoted him to try to create the impression of a problem. High-level radioactive waste does not last hundreds of thousands of years. The higher the level of radioactivity, the shorter the half-life, and the quicker it decays. Most high-level radioactive waste lasts only a few years to a few decades before it decomposes into something not classified as high-level radioactive.

Low-level waste lasts for millions or billions of years, but its radioactivity is low enough that simple storage or dilution should be enough.

The problem is the stuff with half-lives in the thousand-year range which decays into more radioactive stuff before decaying into low-level radioactivity. Most of these could be eliminated by reprocessing or switching to an alternate fuel like thorium.

RE: Why?
By nah on 8/2/2010 11:21:23 PM , Rating: 2
You've deliberately misquoted him to try to create the impression of a problem.

I haven't wiki has--it was copy and paste as perhaps you can see

RE: Why?
By Paj on 8/2/2010 3:36:24 PM , Rating: 2
Some excellent points, including some I had not realised.

It's true that France exports a great deal of power. However, I don't believe its true to say that we are energy independent - we still have to import uranium. If we had our own reserves you could definetely make that claim.

I'm not against nuclear power - in fact i think its amazing, a wonder of the modern age. But its not the magic bullet everyone seems to think it is. I believe nuclear needs to play a role in global energy policy. But to think of it as the sole solution is a closed minded approach.

For me, the most elegant solution is a mix of renewables and nuclear.

RE: Why?
By nafhan on 8/2/2010 4:55:46 PM , Rating: 3
Most of the energy in the US comes from coal. Nuclear is the only mature and reasonably priced technology that could replace or augment coal power.
Adding new capacity or replacing coal plants with nuclear NOW while putting money into researching advanced renewables seems much better than implementing a mix of nuclear and highly subsidized, inefficient renewables to me... A nuclear plant will last for 50 years, with advances in solar power (for one) occurring so fast, it seems like it would make a lot more sense to build the nuclear plants now, and supplement them with advanced solar as it becomes viable.

RE: Why?
By Paj on 8/2/2010 6:10:19 PM , Rating: 2
This too makes more sense. But I don't see the problem with sensible subsidies - private industry is only altruistic until they start to lose money. Many industries have, and will continue to require public money initially until they become commercially viable to the point where they can be sustained profitably by the free market - with some taking longer than others.

Can someone answer a question for me - has anyone ever looked into the possibility of setting up geothermal power in yellowstone?

RE: Why?
By Dr of crap on 8/2/2010 3:30:00 PM , Rating: 1
No - America cannot become a pioneer in alternative energy. Sadly we are to fat and lazy in the country to be anything that we once were.
I see it every day - the laziness is all over.
The "It's not my problem" , or "It's not may fault" thinking is all over everything we do.
Only if there is fistsfull of money to be made would anyone rush to build up some alternative project.
Otherwise it business as usual!

RE: Why?
By Paj on 8/2/2010 6:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
This is the kind of thing I'm seeing a lot of. 'its too hard'.'its not my problem'.'I don't give a shit'.

These do not seem to be the thoughts a progressive, forward thinking, innovative nation of minds would generate. Where is the same spirit and endeavour that propelled america in the space race? Where you did things not because they were easy, but because they were hard? Where you thought about what you could do for your country?

Perhaps i should lay off the kennedy quotes. But i honestly belive that this problem is solvable to everyones satisfaction. Get the government involved - private enterprise alone isn't enough. Be bold, be daring, prepare to be challenged. Isn't that all why we visit this site in the first place?

RE: Why?
By SSDMaster on 8/2/2010 4:01:49 PM , Rating: 1
Not without subsidies Paj. I'm not saying that subsidies shouldn't be used. Just with the culmination of our aging Power Grid, and compounded with the whole "distance" thing... Its not financially feasible.

The power grid should not have been neglected for this long.

RE: Why?
By JediJeb on 8/3/2010 2:41:05 PM , Rating: 2
Could America, with its large expanses of hot deserts and geologically active areas, not implement successful solar and geothermal projects?

The problem here is that those areas are far removed from our population centers. Any power generated there would need to be transmitted hundreds of miles to reach a large enough population to make their use viable. The problem then becomes that the "green" crowd also has an agenda of not allowing the power lines needed for this to spoil the pristine lands between where the power would be generated and where it would be used. It becomes a Catch 22 proposition, the "green" crowd wants us to use renewable energy sources but does not want us to do what is necessary to make it happen.

The French culture is very different to that in America - you could say its more of a technocracy. Engineers and scientists have the same prestige as doctors and lawyers do in the US, so the public is far more trusting of what they have to say.

This is another thing that I have a problem with here in the US. The culture here promotes figures who are popular for sports and entertainment but ridicules those who excel in science and mathematics. Government, business, labor unions and the entertainment industry are all to blame for this in my opinion. If you want to sit on your butt and have five or six children when you have no job, the government will pay you well, but if you have a great idea to improve society with science you have to fill our a hundred pages of paperwork and lobby to try to get even a little funding to do the research and development on that idea. I have friends who work in chemical plants where the union janitors are paid more than the chemist who make it possible for everyone to have a job. And the entertainment industry doesn't care how you make your money as long as you spend it with them before you spend it on anything so trivial as food or rent. Of course if our schools would stop spending two to three times as much money on their sports than they spend on academics then maybe we would graduate a society that was smart enough to make their own intelligent decisions and move society forward into a more technological age that would be better for all, just like we did back during the time of the Space Race and Apollo Mission era.

Sorry I tend to rant on that last subject, but when I see our schools more worried about allowing our children to have the rights to send text messages to their friends in class than making them leave there phones in their lockers and actually learn, it just gets me fired up.

RE: Why?
By vivas89 on 8/4/2010 2:31:23 PM , Rating: 1
I agree that there shouldn't just be one "holy grail" solution to our energy problems. Nuclear has its place but so does solar, wind, etc.

The best energy source out there is energy conservation + efficiency. Think about all the buildings, houses, and facilities that exist in the United States. If we can replace older lighting fixtures with newer, more efficient ones, that alone can significantly grant us more energy (because we are using less).Think about something as simple as a technology that you can attach to your wall outlet that would cut off the power to your tv during the night so it wouldn't use any electricity even when its off. Simple implementations like that can have significant gains in the amount of energy we use. We gotta squeeze all the juice out of the lemon before we go buy the next one.

Can we get rid of this "writer"
By Denigrate on 8/2/2010 12:58:43 PM , Rating: 5
Her blogarticles are so full of false information it's ridiculous.

RE: Can we get rid of this "writer"
By 7Enigma on 8/2/2010 2:33:24 PM , Rating: 5
This shot to a 5 so quickly I couldn't add my voting support, so I will merely post an agreement. Mick is pretty bad but this is a whole new level of hogwash.

RE: Can we get rid of this "writer"
By TSS on 8/2/2010 6:47:03 PM , Rating: 5
You know the writer's really bad when she makes Mick look like Masher :p

RE: Can we get rid of this "writer"
By nstott on 8/3/2010 1:55:31 PM , Rating: 3

By nstott on 8/3/2010 2:11:09 PM , Rating: 3
I think Kubicki punished me for complaining about Mick by hiring Kaiser. OK, Kris, you win! Mick isn't that bad. Please just make her go away!

RE: Can we get rid of this "writer"
By Chaotic42 on 8/3/2010 10:15:04 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, this article is making me reconsider my daily visits to Dailytech, and I'm not one to sit and whine about the articles here. I'm going to hope this was a fluke, but if I see more of this:


Solar energy is a clean renewable energy resource that doesn't present much risk, but the problem has been that it's too expensive for everyone to implement. On the other hand, there is nuclear energy, which has several risks associated with using it such as damage to the environment from uranium mining

I mean come on.

RE: Can we get rid of this "writer"
By MrWho on 8/4/2010 10:40:54 AM , Rating: 2
Forgive me my ignorance, but I've read that paragraph three times and can't find what's wrong with it. Can you elaborate?

By Chaotic42 on 8/5/2010 8:57:02 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the paragraph contains one very specific comparison that I feel is just so bad that it makes the article hard to take seriously.

She says that solar energy doesn't present much risk, but nuclear energy has risks such as environmental damage from uranium mining. Now this isn't necessarily false, but it's a very biased statement. Solar panels are made using materials, some of which are rare, that have to be mined (and eventually disposed of) just like uranium does.

It would be like if I said that Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor has the mad flavor that takes any situation to the next level, but Jet Gas Malt Liquor presents dangers like alcoholism and obesity due to its high calorie content. Not a lie, but certainly not neutral the way a good report on malt liquor should be.

By Breathless on 8/2/2010 12:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
No, it isn't

RE: No.....
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2010 1:04:00 PM , Rating: 4
Sure it is. Only using the ridiculous parameters that they are taking into account and ignoring all others.

A single nuclear plant can service over a hundred thousand homes and businesses. How many solar panels would it take to match that, and where in the hell would you put them? I live in North Carolina, there are no vast deserts here or empty flat wastelands.

There is no way to increase the output of the sun, and even if you could make panels that were 100% efficient, the fact is not all that much solar energy reaches us. Certainly not when you compare it to nuclear power.

Solar is fine as supplemental power in small uses, but comparing it to Nuclear?? That's a pipe dream.

RE: No.....
By SublimeSimplicity on 8/2/2010 1:14:29 PM , Rating: 2
That was my first thought: "Does that consider real estate cost?"

But I'm sure that's one of a hundred parameters that were perfectly chosen (or ignored) to come to the conclusion the author wanted.

RE: No.....
By dajeepster on 8/2/2010 1:14:38 PM , Rating: 2
another thing they didn't take into account was the power density... how many square miles land for solar versus how many square miles of land for nuclear do they get an equivalent output.

RE: No.....
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: No.....
By JonB on 8/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: No.....
By mmntech on 8/2/2010 1:35:34 PM , Rating: 5
The largest solar power plant in the United states, The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Centre, generates up to 25mW of power, with only 4.2MW being the average. It's located in Florida. By contrast, the smallest single reactor nuclear plant in the state, located at Crystal River, generates over 800MW.

Studies done in 2007 and 2008 found that advanced nuclear costs about $67 to $199/megawatt-hour. Solar (PV and thermal) costs $116 to $396/megawatt-hour. This includes not only operating costs but plant construction.

In real terms for the consumer, based on European studies, Solar costs between €28.43 – 39.14/Kilowatt-hour while nuclear costs €10.70 – 12.40.

I somehow doubt the price of photovoltaic solar has dropped that much in two years time.

Solar only ends up cheaper for end consumers because it's heavily subsidized by the government. Of course, taxes go up to pay for that so in reality you're not paying less at all.

There's also the problem that solar energy isn't efficient above a certain latitude, especially in the winter. All solar plants in the US are in southern and south-western states.

RE: No.....
By omnicronx on 8/3/2010 12:15:20 PM , Rating: 2
A single nuclear plant can service over a hundred thousand homes and businesses. How many solar panels would it take to match that, and where in the hell would you put them? I live in North Carolina, there are no vast deserts here or empty flat wastelands.
Exactly, the cost per watt is only a tiny piece of the puzzle when it comes to feasibility.

The article really makes me mad, I don't see how ppw is even relevant if you need substantially more space that we don't have to implement it.

Solar power is not a replacement for anything! It will complement other sources of power, thats it! Trying to make the claim that we can rely on a source of energy that is not always around makes absolutely no sense.

RE: No.....
By nstott on 8/3/2010 2:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
Ridiculous parameters such as government forcing the price of nuclear power higher through over-regulation and pushing the price of solar power lower through subsidies, or what the libtard progressives like to call "leveling the playing field." I love the idea of cheap solar power and think it will be possible someday, but we don't cross the threshhold until both are treated equally under the free market system rather than some being deemed more equal than others, comrades.

RE: No.....
By Alexstarfire on 8/4/2010 2:36:10 PM , Rating: 4
Actually, if we had 100% efficient solar panels it'd be easy to run the world on solar power for centuries.... if not nearly indefinitely. Solar panels are very inefficient, and probably will be for the foreseeable future, so going up to 100% efficiency is like a 6x increase, at worst. Pretty sure at 100% efficiency they'd just stick solar panels on everything that receives sunlight.

By bobsmith1492 on 8/2/2010 12:59:50 PM , Rating: 5
How much of the cost differential is due to:
- Taxes, regulations, licensing fees on nuclear
+ Subsidies and tax credits for solar

That is the first question that comes to mind.

RE: Taxes/incentives
By Aikouka on 8/2/2010 1:42:04 PM , Rating: 2
I wondered if the litigations brought up by the NIMBY-minded folk tends to hurt nuclear's baseline cost for this study. I recall hearing that the litigation tying up the construction for years is why we rarely ever see new plants being built (in the USA).

RE: Taxes/incentives
By ZachDontScare on 8/2/2010 2:20:23 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. The technology for nuclear power is comparatively inexpensive. Whats expensive is the bureaucracy surrounding it... the 20 year approval process, fighing non-stop lawsuits from eco-whackos, etc.

RE: Taxes/incentives
By Nutzo on 8/2/2010 6:13:16 PM , Rating: 4
If Nuclear power had the same government subsidies, tax breaks and streamlined approval process as solar, it would likely be 1/10th the cost.

RE: Taxes/incentives
By JediJeb on 8/3/2010 2:03:30 PM , Rating: 4
We need to push for a new law that limits lawsuits challenging a nuclear plant construction to one per plant prior to construction. And this lawsuit would have to be placed on a fast track process to prevent the litigation from stalling construction for an inordinate amount of time.

This would at least make the challengers do their study and preparative work quickly and with a lot of attention to detail and not just file some lawsuit that was thrown together willy-nilly just to cause a headache for the builder.

terrible reporting
By arcsnsparks on 8/2/2010 3:06:52 PM , Rating: 5
I see everyone launches as if this unassailable truth.

First, this is not a Duke report. If I were Duke, I'd have a serious conversation with the reporter.

Second, the authors relied on a single nuclear cost project report by a researcher that is questionable. MIT and OECD both have nuclear project costs of greater reliability.

Third, In addition to failing to mention the terms and conditions under which electricity is being offered, Blackburn and Cunningham bury a few "minor" details about solar electricity real costs in an appendix.

A pathetic report that the New York Times, unfortunately, swallowed hook, line, and sinker. Of course, everyone keys on the NYT article and off to the races we go.

What nonsense.

RE: terrible reporting
By QuantumPion on 8/2/2010 4:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
I'm dumbfounded (but not really) at how this same story has been making headlines across the internet for the past two weeks. Let there be no doubt that there really is a vast left-wing media conspiracy. They get thoroughly debunked, but then just pretend it never happened and repost the story the next day.

Link to the debunking:

RE: terrible reporting
By QuantumPion on 8/2/2010 4:13:21 PM , Rating: 2
Updated link, the previous one doesn't seem to have the debunk anymore.

RE: terrible reporting
By Executor115 on 8/4/2010 3:38:32 AM , Rating: 2
If you read the bottom of that NY Times article, the editor pretty much discredits the whole thing. Another case of lazy reporting.
An article published July 27 in an Energy Special Report analyzed the costs of nuclear energy production. It quoted a study that found that electricity from solar photovoltaic systems could now be produced less expensively than electricity from new nuclear power plants.

In raising several questions about this issue and the economics of nuclear power, the article failed to point out, as it should have, that the study was prepared for an environmental advocacy group, which, according to its Web site, is committed to ‘‘tackling the accelerating crisis posed by climate change — along with the various risks of nuclear power.’’ The article also failed to take account of other studies that have come to contrasting conclusions, or to include in the mix of authorities quoted any who elaborated on differing analyses of the economics of energy production.

Although the article did quote extensively from the Web site of the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group, representatives of the institute were not given an opportunity to respond to the claims of the study. This further contributed to an imbalance in the presentation of this issue.

World War II
By vanionBB on 8/2/2010 1:03:14 PM , Rating: 3
"From 1943 to 1999, the U.S. government paid nearly $151 billion, in 1999 dollars, in subsidies for wind, solar and nuclear power, Marshall Goldberg of the Renewable Energy Policy Project, a research organization in Washington, wrote in a July 2000 report," wrote Powers. "Of this total, 96.3 percent went to nuclear power.

From 1943???

What kind of bullcrap are they trying to feed us with this article. I think the money we spent in WW2 was well spent. To lump it in with wind and solar?, GIVE ME A BREAK.

RE: World War II
By Chillin1248 on 8/2/2010 1:17:14 PM , Rating: 3

The Manhattan Project was $1,889,604,000, or in 1999 dollars $18,325,804,473.37; which alone counts for 8.5% of the report.


RE: World War II
By Solandri on 8/2/2010 3:37:22 PM , Rating: 3
On top of that, Nuclear's contribution to our electrical grid was about 806,208 GWh in 2008. Wind was 52,026 GWh. Solar was 843 GWh.

So electricity generation by the three was 93.8% nuclear, 6.1% wind, 0.1% solar. Factor in the history of generation since 1943 (wind and solar were almost nonexistent until the late 20th century), and it's pretty obvious that even though nuclear got 96.3% of the subsidies of the three, it produced a lot more than 96.3% of the electricity. That is, the subsidy per GWh generated is a lot lower for nuclear than for wind or solar.

Basically, that 96.3% stat is like complaining the U.S. generates over 10x as much trash as Canada. While completely ignoring that the U.S. has 10x as many people as Canada.

Damn you eco-girl
By shikigamild on 8/2/2010 2:07:27 PM , Rating: 4
When I saw the title of this article, I said out loud "Holy Shit", but that emotion and happy feeling vanished away when I saw Tiffany Kaiser's name.
I don't even need to point out how this is misleading, and is not considering real world scenarios, but rather hyper subsided scenarios that at the end of the day the price is still a LOT higher than nuclear, because Tiffany Kaiser's name on this article ALREADY DID THAT JOB.

I hate you Tiffany Kaiser, go away from my DailyTech. I don't want to read eco propaganda, I WANT TO READ REAL SCIENCE.

RE: Damn you eco-girl
By Schrag4 on 8/2/2010 3:33:59 PM , Rating: 3
No kidding. When I read the article I was pretty skeptical, but that doesn't mean I wasn't hoping Solar had indeed somehow become cheaper. No, what they meant is that when the price of power "necessarily skyrockets" (as BO put it when talking about his plan to destroy the coal industry), the extremists that have made it into power will make sure that the cost of nuclear UN necessarily spikes along WITH coal.

By Maradon on 8/3/2010 9:30:32 AM , Rating: 5
I have a question!

Why is the cost of nuclear going up, and why is the cost of solar going down?

This is an important question. If the cost of solar is only coming down because of government subsidies, the net cost to society may still be greatly higher than nuclear. Similarly, if the cost of nuclear is only going up because of onerous regulatory roadblocking, governments may be deliberately setting our most efficient and clean source of energy out off limits.

Given widespread nuclear paranoia, I would not put it past "researchers" to overlook this point.

"Conveniently" left out
By mjcutri on 8/2/2010 1:15:28 PM , Rating: 4
The sponsor of the "paper" is NC-WARN:
NC WARN: Waste Awareness & Reduction Network is a member-based nonprofit tackling the accelerating crisis posed by climate change — along with the various risks of nuclear power — by watch-dogging utility practices and working for a swift North Carolina transition to energy efficiency and clean power generation. In partnership with other citizen groups, NC WARN uses sound scientific research to inform and involve the public in key decisions regarding their well-being.

I can't imagine their sponsorship had anything to do with his conclusions...

By moenkopi on 8/2/2010 6:12:10 PM , Rating: 2
What about the enormous decommissioning costs of old nuclear power plants? I agree, nuclear is a great cleaner resource, clearer than coal and oil, but it definitely has its issues. What about thorium reactors??

By JediJeb on 8/3/2010 2:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
Most of the waste is low level radioactive waste, like rags and protective gear that was possibly exposed to the fuel at one time, but the high level waste like the spent fuel itself can be reprocessed and reused as fuel which would eliminate it as waste and make it fuel again.

Thorium is another alternative which I hope one day will take off. If only smart people would push nuclear as much as those who fear all things nuclear want to push for solar, maybe we would see some movement on it.

News and Observer had an article
By DoeBoy on 8/2/2010 1:53:36 PM , Rating: 3
THey had an article about this in the N&O recently and progress put the utilization of solar energy at like less than 25%. So I think like anything else liars figure and figures lie. Clearly if solar didn't have tax credits and the same regulation as nuclear than it would far exceed the costs of nuclear.

By DFSolley on 8/2/2010 3:47:54 PM , Rating: 3
I notice the data for the cost of Nuclear takes a jump at 2007-2008. This would indicate either a reduction in supplies necessary or an increase in governmental costs. Putting a trendline to this data without taking this into account, especially since a shallower natural trendline appears in the data, indicates a desire to push the thought of solar power at the expense of the truth.

There is also a noticable trendline shift for solar power at 2010 that would indicate tax policy, not cheaper technology.

I hope we get to cheap solar power one day, but it is not yet. And manipulating the data points to encourage an industry should be left to marketing, not journolism.

By adiposity on 8/2/2010 4:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
I don't even have to look at one piece of data to know this can't possibly be true.

Only if you assume limitless area for putting down solar panels can this possibly be true. MAYBE the solar panels themselves are cheaper than nuclear supplies, per watt output. But I doubt even that.

Seems rather dubious to me
By Leper Messiah on 8/2/2010 4:47:37 PM , Rating: 2
The costs of nuclear power are only increasing because of the mountains of litigation put forth by the same people who are advocating solar power. The rest of this article is just anti-nuclear FUD being pushed by someone with an obvious agenda.

clean energy
By PV or Not PV on 8/7/2010 7:40:57 AM , Rating: 2
well if a nasty man blows up a wind turbine it just falls on my head. If the nasty man blows up a solar panel manufacturing site lets SiH4,H2, NH3,Cd or Te or Selenide ( process dependent) into the atmosphere...but don't worry 70% of Solar panels are made in China anyway ( another argument).....worse case is he blows up my solar panel on my roof.....Now as for blowing up a nucluer site....well what harm could it do but destroy 75% of France......we don't have to visit it for 100 years or more ;-) ....Oh and I holiday in Chernobyl.....with geiger counter one travels lightly

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