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  (Source: AP)

Wind turbines spin busily outside Wingate, Texas at one of Texas' many wind parks.  (Source: Lm Otero / AP)
Texas is rapidly becoming the U.S. leader in wind generated electricity

With oil prices and fossil fuel prices high, and with federal support of alternative energy expansion programs, wind power is picking up steam.  The west is leading the way with Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, Texas, California, and Washington all having in excess of 1,000 MW of wind production capacity.

Of all the states, the greatest leader is Texas, with 4.296 GW in capacity -- and it's just warming up.  Texas is not a state many associate with alternative energy.  It leads the country in fossil fuel production, both for oil and natural gas, containing approximately one fourth of known oil reserves in the U.S.  Typically, alternative energy conjures up images of California or Washington; both which do have strong wind programs.

However, these "green" states fall short of dusty Texas in green energy, thanks to the state’s leading commitment to wind power.  And Texas needs it -- Texans consume the most energy in the country, both per capita and as a whole.

Texas plans to aggressively expand its wind capacity.  Among its efforts, it just committed to the largest wind power infrastructure expansion yet, spending billions on power transmission lines to pump power from the park, located in remote but windy west Texas, to urban areas in eastern Texas.  The project will solidify Texas' leadership position in the world of alternative energy, according to Texas officials.

The state's Public Utility Commission Commissioner Paul Hudson, who approved the move, states, "We will add more wind than the 14 states following Texas combined.  I think that's a very extraordinary achievement. Some think we haven't gone far enough, some think we've pushed too far."

Patrick Woodson, vice president of E.On Climate & Renewables North America is among the wind entrepreneurs benefiting from Texans' thirst for wind energy.  His company has 1,200 MW of capacity in operations or planned.  He states, "People think about oil wells and football in Texas, but in 10 years they'll look back and say this was a brilliant thing to do."

Wind power has received a mixed response among the environmental community and from landowners. Some believe the energy source to be an essential step to generating clean energy and moving away from fossil fuel reliance, but others argue that the designs are inefficient, that they interfere with migrating birds, and that they bring down property values by marring the view.  Landowners have protested expansion at Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Idaho and Texas' South Padre Island.

However, the new project is less controversial as it builds no new turbines in desolate west Texas.  Rather it merely seeks to add power lines to better utilize the capacity, sending it to thirsty Texas cities.  From five scenarios ranging from $3B USD to $6.4B USD, the PUC decided on a middle-of-the road scenario of around $4 to 5B USD.  The PUC describes the timeframe stating, "It is expected that the new lines will be in service within four to five years."

Supporters laud the move saying it will encourage wind energy projects, grow jobs, reduce energy costs and reduce pollution.  They're terming the project a "wind energy superhighway".

Citizens will be feeling a bit of financial impact from the project, paying about $4 more, on average, a month on their electrical bills, or about $50 a year.  Tom Smith, director of the Texas office of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen says $50 a year is a small price to pay for energy independence.

He argues, "We have all these wind plants up and operating. What we're asking for is the superhighway to get the energy to the cities.  This will send signals to manufacturers all across the world Texas is ready to be a world-class player in renewable energy."

Rate increases are expected to be a couple years away.  The increases are no different in structure to those used to pay for power line expansion from traditional fossil-fuel burning plants.  Wind does have the advantage of a 2-cents-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit from the national government, which is due to expire in December.  Congress is currently mulling over a permanent extension.  Tax credit or not, though Texas has made it clear that it seeks to be the dominate leader in the wind power industry.





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Migrating birds
By doctor sam adams on 7/18/2008 2:30:17 PM , Rating: 2
should learn to go around them, no? I'm sure it's not the first time something dangerous has popped up in the middle of a migration path.




RE: Migrating birds
By nosfe on 7/18/2008 2:34:45 PM , Rating: 5
the question is not about migrating its if two European swallows could carry a coconut using a strand of creeper held under the dorsal guiding feathers


RE: Migrating birds
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/18/2008 2:46:10 PM , Rating: 1
Being European will the two work well together or debate on the "better" or "best" way to do it?


RE: Migrating birds
By DASQ on 7/18/2008 3:39:57 PM , Rating: 3
A five ounce bird cannot carry a one pound coconut!


RE: Migrating birds
By KaiserCSS on 7/18/2008 3:43:22 PM , Rating: 2
"If at first you don't succeed, maybe winning just isn't your style."


RE: Migrating birds
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/18/2008 4:21:44 PM , Rating: 2
and a bee can not fly! :)


RE: Migrating birds
By beyazkeyat on 7/18/2008 4:35:51 PM , Rating: 3
It could grip it by the husk!


RE: Migrating birds
By DASQ on 7/18/2008 4:38:20 PM , Rating: 3
It's not a matter o' where 'ee grips it...


RE: Migrating birds
By eye smite on 7/18/2008 5:14:02 PM , Rating: 1
Everything's bigger in Texas man.


RE: Migrating birds
By ImSpartacus on 7/18/2008 7:59:12 PM , Rating: 4
A 20 lbs Texas bird still cannot carry a 50 lbs Texas Coconut.


RE: Migrating birds
By KaiserCSS on 7/19/2008 9:32:48 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't aware Texas had coconuts...

Damned climate change!


RE: Migrating birds
By nosfe on 7/20/2008 5:10:45 AM , Rating: 2
what? didn't you know that coconuts migrate?


RE: Migrating birds
By onwisconsin on 7/18/2008 5:49:10 PM , Rating: 2
Are you sure it's African or European?


RE: Migrating birds
By TheDoc9 on 7/18/2008 2:43:41 PM , Rating: 4
To me it's how ridiculous they look and how much land that's given up for so little return in electricity. What do we get for this joke? An increased electric bill so T. Boone Pickens can make even more money.


RE: Migrating birds
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/18/2008 2:49:46 PM , Rating: 2
I'd rather pay T.Boone Pickens (sounds like a blues player to me) verse someone in the middle east. Nothing against the middle east, just want to keep business on our home land when possible.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/18/2008 4:13:37 PM , Rating: 4
Paying T. Bone $10B versus paying the Middle East $5B for the same amount of energy? The deal is a little less appealing under those terms.

Fortunately, those aren't our only options. A similar investment in nuclear power would net us far more energy, at a substantially lower cost. And it's energy that's available all the time, not just when the wind blows.


RE: Migrating birds
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/18/2008 4:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
Well they were talking $50 per house hold...not a big deal. Keeping funds in USA a very good thing, government not collects tax on $10 billion dollars verse nothing because money going over seas.
I of course am not saying this is best option. Agree, it's time we put up some nuclear power plants...


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/18/2008 4:57:41 PM , Rating: 5
> "Well they were talking $50 per house hold...not a big deal"

It would be a great deal, if we could truly buy any energy independence with that. However, even ignoring oil and other non-electric sources, the total electric generation capacity of Texas is 110GW. An extra 4GW is a drop in the bucket. Furthermore, I strongly suspect that $50/year figure is just an optimistic assesment of initial costs, and doesn't include maintenance and operating costs, which for wind power are high.

Furthermore, the whole "keep it in the USA" is a bit of a red herring here. This wind power will, if anything, supplant coal...and the US has the largest coal reserves in the world.


RE: Migrating birds
By slashbinslashbash on 7/18/2008 5:37:12 PM , Rating: 4
The $50/year figure is what the Texas Public Utility Commission will charge to build the transmission lines to carry the electricity from the wind farms to the big cities (DFW, Houston, etc.). The wind farms themselves will be funded by other private and public means.


RE: Migrating birds
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/18/2008 5:39:42 PM , Rating: 2
Furthermore, the whole "keep it in the USA" is a bit of a red herring here. This wind power will, if anything, supplant coal...and the US has the largest coal reserves in the world.

OK, benefit...less black lung disease.

Did not think about the coal factor.....


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/18/2008 8:57:47 PM , Rating: 5
> "OK, benefit...less black lung disease."

If that's really the goal, why not spend the money on nuclear power? It would generate 2-3 more power for the same sum, allowing the retirement of far more coal-fired plants.

Furthermore, no matter how many windmills one builds, you still need conventional sources of power. The wind doesn't blow constantly.


RE: Migrating birds
By RaulF on 7/18/2008 9:40:32 PM , Rating: 1
The biggest thing is that it is clean energy.

No one else notices that?


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/19/2008 1:20:22 AM , Rating: 4
> "The biggest thing is that it is clean energy."

But it's not clean. Producing millions of tons of steel, copper, and concrete isn't a clean process.

Those billions of dolllars spent on even a small wind farm...what do you think that money is spent on? Staggering amounts of resources, mined from the earth in dirty, energy-intensive operations.


RE: Migrating birds
By NullSubroutine on 7/19/2008 3:09:06 AM , Rating: 2
Uh, I have nothing against Glowing* Green (nuclear) energy, but would a large nuclear plant use similar amounts of steel, copper, and concrete? Or at least similar amounts of construction materials?

I lived to next to two coal powerplants my whole life in Iowa just south of Sioux City and I can say coal power plants are very clean with current technology. I've also been inside and around the plants when growing up as my father has worked there for 15-20 years.

All energy methods put out some sort of "pollution" whether in contstruction, descontruction, or operations. It just depends on which "pollution" you are trying to prevent - and that really seems to vary depending on what the media wants to report on.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/19/2008 11:26:01 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
but would a large nuclear plant use similar amounts of steel, copper, and concrete? Or at least similar amounts of construction materials?
Per megawatt of installed capacity, a nuclear plant uses less than 1/10 the steel and about 1/5 the concrete....and the plant's lifespan is twice as long.


RE: Migrating birds
By phxfreddy on 7/19/2008 10:13:20 PM , Rating: 4
Sorry you are wrong about Nuclear requiring same amount of building materials. Here are the important numbers:

-1- installed base of windpower ( est ) = 8000 MWatts ... that is every windmill installed and added up

-2- output of 1 nuclear plant ( Palo Verde Az ) = 30,000,000 MWatts

Thus total installed windpower = 1/4000 of a single nuclear plant.

Check my numbers but when I looked it all up windpower seems pretty dismal in comparison

http://www.amarketplaceofideas.com/wind-power-is-b...


RE: Migrating birds
By Chernobyl68 on 7/21/2008 3:16:00 PM , Rating: 2
your number for nuclear power plant capacity is off by several orders of magnitude.


RE: Migrating birds
By Calin on 7/21/2008 2:24:51 AM , Rating: 2
There are several reasons:
One nuclear plant is one big point of failure - when it's down (either scheduled or not), there's a big dent in energy production.
While using several reactors might help keeping the downtime at a minimum (5 reactors running at 80% load, or 4 at 100% load and one stopped), this doesn't help with other issues - remember that nuclear reactors use water for cooling, and droughts and heat waves are known to put a dent in nuclear energy production. Texas isn't well known for its access to lots of water usable for cooling. You must understand that thermal efficiency of Texas based thermal electric generators (be it nuclear, coal, steam or gas turbines) are inferior to similar power plants based in Washington, around Chicago and so on.


RE: Migrating birds
By phxfreddy on 7/19/2008 10:09:08 PM , Rating: 3
Problem is we dilute our response to replacing oil by using our efforts to displace coal !!


RE: Migrating birds
By MrPickins on 7/18/2008 6:19:37 PM , Rating: 2
Luckily Texas is also set to recieve the first new nuclear plant in 20 or more years.


RE: Migrating birds
By maverick85wd on 7/19/2008 9:56:29 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
110 [Gigawatts]


Great Scott!

quote:
Furthermore, the whole "keep it in the USA" is a bit of a red herring here. This wind power will, if anything, supplant coal...and the US has the largest coal reserves in the world.


so our coal reserves will last even longer. Sounds good to me, but even as you said,
quote:
An extra 4GW is a drop in the bucket.


I think the point here is that, while innovative, it's not really panning out to be a large-scale solution to the renewable energy question. But at least they're working at it, certainly something can be said of that.


RE: Migrating birds
By Sulphademus on 7/18/2008 4:54:17 PM , Rating: 2
While I am a strong advocate of nuclear power, I see no issue in this. The skyrocketing energy costs may make wind power a viable alternative now or soon. Nuclear does give much better bang for the buck but using barren land without access to a good water supply for wind power is a good idea.

I wouldnt recommend putting these turbines in Cape Cod though. A small oceanic state with a dense population? Nuclear is a much better option.

And huge wind farms in the midwest? They might also want to invest in some of those gigundous spinning disc electricity storage devices linked on DT not long ago and stick em underground. When a twister blows through, they could capture enough juice to more than make up the turbine replacement costs.


RE: Migrating birds
By Fluxion on 7/18/2008 6:35:04 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, given the desire and willingness to provide a means for adequate water, a nuclear power plant can essentially be located anywhere. I live about 30 miles away from the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, and the station uses reprocessed waste water for its cooling needs.


RE: Migrating birds
By NullSubroutine on 7/19/2008 3:10:47 AM , Rating: 2
Actually I believe wind turbines shut down when wind gets too excessive.


RE: Migrating birds
By StevoLincolnite on 7/19/2008 11:16:06 AM , Rating: 2
They do, I live near the Cathedral Rocks wind farm in South Australia which has 33 Wind Turbines which generate 2 MW each, more often than not they shut down because of strong winds than lack-there-of.

Taken from the Almighty wiki:

quote:
As a general rule, wind generators are practical where the average wind speed is 10 mph (16 km/h or 4.5 m/s) or greater. An 'ideal' location would have a near constant flow of non-turbulent wind throughout the year with a minimum likelihood of sudden powerful bursts of wind


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_farm

Also here where the Wind farms are located, they have actually restored the coastline to what it was before it became farm-land, and where the actual wind-farms are the ground is used for Agriculture so really the land isn't missing out on much, as it was plainly agriculture before hand anyhow.

It's actually a rather nice sight going out to the sand dunes and seeing the Windfarms off in the distance, then again I'm amazed by any building that is larger than a few stories as I live in a rather small city.


RE: Migrating birds
By 306maxi on 7/20/2008 4:23:13 AM , Rating: 2
Yup. I live by the North Hoyle offshore wind farm in Wales and they're a great sight. Some people who like to be a stick in the mud complain that they ruin the view but we hardly have a great coastline here.


RE: Migrating birds
By Fluxion on 7/18/2008 6:30:51 PM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately, I think too many people still fear the idea of a major incident at a power plant occurring. It's rather unfortunate really, given how safe and efficient current-generation reactors are.


RE: Migrating birds
By 1prophet on 7/18/2008 6:51:17 PM , Rating: 2
Are you factoring in the wars, current and present in the middle east?


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/18/2008 8:39:48 PM , Rating: 3
What in the world does the Middle East have to do with a US expansion of nuclear power?


RE: Migrating birds
By ElFenix on 7/19/2008 6:09:30 PM , Rating: 2
he was quoting your 10 billion vs. 5 billion post.


RE: Migrating birds
By blwest on 7/19/08, Rating: 0
RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/19/2008 12:03:06 PM , Rating: 4
> "I might have to give up something, but at least I'm supporting an AMERICAN with my AMERICAN dollar; not some country that believes that women are 3rd class citizens. "

Besides the fact that wind power will never give us energy independence, you ignore the fact that these turbines will simply supplant a little coal or nuclear power...neither of which are supplied from the Middle East.

> "It only takes $20 of materials of that $5B for a terrorist to blow your @ss into little pieces."

And windmills will somehow stop terrorists from obtaining $20 to "blow your @ass" up?


RE: Migrating birds
By ggordonliddy on 7/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Migrating birds
By mles1551 on 7/18/2008 3:00:12 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
how much land that's given up for so little return


Have you been to West Texas? If you haven't maybe you should and then rethink your opinion. The entire southwestern corner of Texas is very sparsely populated.
Plus only a very small area around the base of the wind turbine is taken up.


RE: Migrating birds
By TheDoc9 on 7/18/2008 4:25:43 PM , Rating: 1
I agree it's small per turbine, but T. Boone is building a farm of 200,000 acres plus.

Yes, I've been there and while not full of life it's not a desert either. What I was alluding to is that there are other forms of energy that take up far less space and offer for more return - but this article isn't about that.

In all it's nice to see this source of power being used, but I believe it should remain a small percentage of our power supply as it's more of a novelty.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/18/2008 5:16:56 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
> "I agree it's small per turbine, but T. Boone is building a farm of 200,000 acres plus.

Yes, I've been there and while not full of life it's not a desert either. "
There's certainly far more life there than there is in ANWR...and these thousands of massive turbines will certainly disturb the natural environment far more than a few derricks would mar the Arctic tundra.


RE: Migrating birds
By StevoLincolnite on 7/19/2008 11:18:11 AM , Rating: 2
Once the wind-farms are up and running there will probably be conservation programs up and running, the Windfarms themselves actually use up very little land space, thus the land around the actual turbines is often used for Agriculture.


RE: Migrating birds
By slashbinslashbash on 7/18/2008 5:33:41 PM , Rating: 3
Just to make a minor correction, when people talk about "West Texas" they aren't necessarily talking about the southwest corner, down in the Big Bend / El Paso area. They are talking basically about the whole western half of the state. Texas geography gets kind of weird:

North Texas: Dallas / Fort Worth area, and north to the Oklahoma border; west to Wichita Falls
South Texas: south of San Antonio
East Texas: Draw a line running north/south through Houston. Anything east of that line is East Texas.
Central Texas: Austin, San Antonio, Waco, extending west approximately to San Angelo.
Gulf Coast: Obvious.
West Texas: Everything else. Basically you can draw a line north/south through Abilene, and anything west of that is in West Texas (even the part that you might think should technically be called North Texas). The current biggest "West Texas Wind Farms" are in the area just west of Abilene, near the town called Sweetwater, in Nolan County. The T. Boone Pickens proposed wind farm is in the very northeastern part of the Texas Panhandle, northeast of Amarillo. Yes, some people count the Panhandle as a separate region, but it is often lumped in with the rest of West Texas.


RE: Migrating birds
By daftrok on 7/18/2008 3:43:45 PM , Rating: 1
You're not thinking of the obvious benefits:
1) No emissions.
2) Long term benefits (unlike oil reserves it won't just magically run out of wind)
3) The more you build, the more efficient it gets. Remember how cars in the 60s and 70s get like 10-20 mpg? Now we have hybrid engines that give us at least 45 mpg. So the more we develop it, the more efficient we can make it (less friction loss on its spin so that it spins faster and generates more electricity, better electricity transfer from windmills to generators,etc.)
4) The more you build, the cheaper it gets. That's simple enough. Prime example are gaming consoles. The PS3 used to cost 600 bucks and a year and a half later its 400 bucks and takes less power to run it.
5) Less reliance on coal mines. Coal mines are a dangerous place to work. If we can cut down the number of coal mines, it can open opportunities to open up for safer jobs.

So in the end, its a slightly rough transition but the long term benefits are highly apparent. And who knows? Maybe someone can make a low energy high frequency sound device that can make birds avert the spinning windmills....oh wait!
http://www.bird-x.com/products/sbxpel.html


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/18/2008 4:12:08 PM , Rating: 5
> "1) No emissions"

Do you think you can produce millions of tons of steel with no emissions? By some estimates, powering even half the US's energy needs with wind would require over 25% of the world's steel production.

> "(unlike oil reserves it won't just magically run out of wind)"

Eh? When the wind stops, the power does also. Texas has already had one major outage due to a widespread loss of wind:

http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN2...

> "The more you build, the cheaper it gets. That's simple enough. Prime example are gaming consoles."

Err, windmills are not electronics. You don't get the same benefits of scale you do from lithography. While some economies of scale do exist, there is also the counterbalancing effect of high demand. A huge investment in wind power will cause the price of steel and many other commodities to rise, not fall.

Wind power is substantially more expensive than nuclear, and will continue to be for the foreseable future.


RE: Migrating birds
By mthambi on 7/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Migrating birds
By 67STANG on 7/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/18/2008 5:15:24 PM , Rating: 4
> "Really his point is moot as they aren't expanding nuclear power production... "

Eh? The point isn't moot as long as we have the need for energy, and nuclear remains the most practical alternative.

"They" in the US aren't expanding nuclear power production because of an uneducated populace believes nuclear power is dirty and dangerous, and thinks we can fill all our energy needs with wind and solar.


RE: Migrating birds
By Pirks on 7/18/2008 6:00:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
uneducated populace believes nuclear power is dirty and dangerous
I understand this part but why is the American government as uneducated as the Americans themselves? Didn't the ruling elite attend universities? Couldn't they hire knowledgeable experts who'd tell them about nuclear being most cost effective AND the most eco-friendly option at the same time?

I mean, who the hell is stopping the GOVERNMENT to do proper thing? Are you telling us that the American government is as dumb as the Americans themselsves, but this contradicts the common and widespread view that intellectual level of the ruling elite is USUALLY somewhat higher than of a common Joe they rule. Could you explain this contradiction please?


RE: Migrating birds
By Fluxion on 7/18/2008 6:41:23 PM , Rating: 5
Most politicians are concerned with one thing: retaining their position. So whether or not they believe in certain stances, they'll often follow what they believe the residents of their state/district/etc., in order to remain a Representative/Congressman, etc.

It's also important to realize that many politicians are simply individuals who got to where they are due to the right connections, money, personality or any combination of the prior. Am I saying some don't deserve to be there, and that there aren't good politicians currently? Of course not. But in general, I would say most are primarily watching out for agenda #1: themselves.

And as far as education goes, I think we don't have to look any further than our current President, to see that even a degree from a Prestigious institution doesn't necessarily mean anything...


RE: Migrating birds
By Fluxion on 7/18/2008 6:43:09 PM , Rating: 2
It should read, "follow what they believe the residents of their state/district/etc. desire"


RE: Migrating birds
By iNGEN on 7/19/2008 10:19:10 AM , Rating: 4
Careerism stops politicians from doing the "proper" thing. The founders of this country never expected anyone would want to serve in Congress for more than a term or two at a time. That small mistake has left us with a "ruling elite" that are far more concerned with gaining and retaining influence than with protecting and empowering the people of The United States.

People in elected office often do what gets the most favorable response at that polls, not what is most in their constituents interests.


RE: Migrating birds
By andrinoaa on 7/22/2008 3:40:27 AM , Rating: 2
Its called democracy, the best thing since sliced cheese!
If the majority rules , then a poly will only go that way.
I think the environmental and waste issues have won over the majority. I don't see any form of resolution of the problems occuring anytime soon. Therfore its all Vapourware.
To say its ignorance smacks of communist style arrogance.


RE: Migrating birds
By weskurtz0081 on 7/22/2008 11:35:13 AM , Rating: 2
Since when has the US been a Democracy?


RE: Migrating birds
By 67STANG on 7/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Migrating birds
By Fluxion on 7/18/2008 6:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly? Because it's a good PR statement. It tells their customers/competing companies/the rest of the US, "Hey, look at us, we're trying to be environmentally friendly, by promoting alternative sources of fuel."

In reality, it's such a small amount of electricity compared to what other power plants produce, it's not going to have much impact.

And they build new power plants because when the word "nuclear power plant" or "nuclear reactor" comes to mind, people's minds jump to "Three Mile Island" or "Chernobyl", and started protesting against a new plant being put "in their backyard".


RE: Migrating birds
By Solandri on 7/18/2008 7:07:02 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Rate me down all you want, but the point is still moot. They are building what.. 1 nuclear power plant right now?... the first in decades.. How is it a practical alternative?

It's impractical because we have regulations on nuclear power that are far more stringent than just about anything else we do. There are materials you can buy in a corner drugstore that are radioactive enough that in a nuclear power plant they'd trigger a full shutdown. Our coal plants currently put out as exhaust approx 3x the uranium and over 100x the radiation than the uranium that would be used inside an equivalent nuclear plant. Basically it's impractical because we decided to make it legally impractical, not because of engineering or financial reasons. The risk-to-regulation ratio is completely screwed up with nuclear in the U.S. due to a conflagration of environmental interests with anti-nuclear weapons sentiment.
quote:
The public doesn't have the final say in what gets built. Utilities and the government have the final say. Do you actually think companies like BP and Edison would "throw their money away" on renewable energy for no reason? Don't you think they'd be lobbying hard for Nuclear power? How could they possibly offer Wind as power source if it was so unreliable and not cost effective? Why would they?
Right now there are a lot of incentives and subsidies for alternative power generation. Generally these are not a bad thing. But the idea is that they will spur development and advances which reduce the cost of operation to where it is competitive on its own merits. However, such improvements in efficiency are not guaranteed, especially for something like wind where the primary scale of the endeavor is outside of your control (i.e. you need to tap a large volume of air to get power - there's no way to make it smaller). You cannot take cost decisions made in the presence of these incentives, and assume that the projects will remain cost-effective when those incentives disappear.

It's the same argument with oil. Now that oil is at $140/bbl, a field that would've cost $100/bbl to drill suddenly becomes economically viable. But if the price should drop below $100/bbl, suddenly the field is a money loser and any capital you've spent to drill there is money down the drain. The government incentives for alternative energies are like a government guarantee that oil will remain at $140 for X years. Power companies can then do the math and decide the project will be worth it for those X years. But it's no guarantee that the project will be viable afterwards.

In fact, the construction of those projects isn't even the goal of those incentives. The real goal is advancing the technology so future projects will become more cost effective. Kinda the opposite of what we've been doing with nuclear.


RE: Migrating birds
By 67STANG on 7/18/2008 11:57:56 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
It's impractical because we have regulations on nuclear power that are far more stringent than just about anything else we do. There are materials you can buy in a corner drugstore that are radioactive enough that in a nuclear power plant they'd trigger a full shutdown. Our coal plants currently put out as exhaust approx 3x the uranium and over 100x the radiation than the uranium that would be used inside an equivalent nuclear plant. Basically it's impractical because we decided to make it legally impractical, not because of engineering or financial reasons. The risk-to-regulation ratio is completely screwed up with nuclear in the U.S. due to a conflagration of environmental interests with anti-nuclear weapons sentiment.


Good, then I'm glad we agree it is impractical-- at least until there are major changes in regulations.

quote:
Right now there are a lot of incentives and subsidies for alternative power generation. Generally these are not a bad thing. But the idea is that they will spur development and advances which reduce the cost of operation to where it is competitive on its own merits. However, such improvements in efficiency are not guaranteed, especially for something like wind where the primary scale of the endeavor is outside of your control (i.e. you need to tap a large volume of air to get power - there's no way to make it smaller). You cannot take cost decisions made in the presence of these incentives, and assume that the projects will remain cost-effective when those incentives disappear.


That's true, to an extent. But you have to look at other countries as well. Not all of them are quite as generous as the US with wind/renewable incentives, yet they are still building a lot of wind farms.

Wind projects are rated on a availability percentage, promised to whoever is buying the power. If the power ever drops below that availability level, the owner(s) of the turbines actually pays the utilities fines and penalties according to a pre-arranged contract.


RE: Migrating birds
By Solandri on 7/19/2008 7:26:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Good, then I'm glad we agree it is impractical-- at least until there are major changes in regulations.
So you're agreed the only reason it's impractical is legal? Then quit dismissing nuclear power as impractical and get started working on getting those laws changed, like I and others are doing here by correcting misconceptions held by non-technical people.
quote:
That's true, to an extent. But you have to look at other countries as well. Not all of them are quite as generous as the US with wind/renewable incentives, yet they are still building a lot of wind farms.

I have nothing against wind power. Given the right geographic and atmospheric conditions, it works great. Spain gets 10% of their electricity from wind. They're at the right latitude on the East coast of the Atlantic to pick up very strong and consistent trade winds.

I'm merely cautioning that wind power is not a panacea, and unlike hydro it's a lot easier to find yourself into situations where it's not cost-effective. Don't expect it to work anywhere and everywhere. (Texas is actually a good place to be building these.) The only country with more wind generation capacity than the U.S. is Germany, and they banned nuclear power, leaving them short of electricity, forcing them to buy it from France, which generates 80% of theirs from nuclear.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/18/2008 8:45:12 PM , Rating: 2
> " They are building what.. 1 nuclear power plant right now?... the first in decades.. How is it a practical alternative?"

Your statement makes no sense. It's a practical alternative because we have the ability to build as many as we need.

> " Do you actually think companies like BP and Edison would "throw their money away" on renewable energy for no reason?"

There isn't a utility in the world that doesn't realize wind and solar is far more expensive than conventional alternatives. But what do they care? They're effectively guaranteed a profit by state regulatory boards. They're more than willing to bow to public opinion and build wind and solar farms. What extra costs aren't being borne by government subsidies, are simply passed on to the consumer.


RE: Migrating birds
By 67STANG on 7/18/2008 11:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
I never said it wasn't practical. I said it wasn't a practical alternative. Obviously, if it were an alternative, they would have built more than 0 in the last 2 decades... Make sense now?

There isn't a utility in the world that isn't looking at their bottom line and profit. If they would make tons of cash extra on Nuclear power-- or if it were cheaper for that matter, they'd do it. Plain and simple.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/19/2008 1:16:52 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
"I never said it wasn't practical. I said it wasn't a practical alternative. Obviously, if it were an alternative, they would have built more than 0 in the last 2 decades... Make sense now?"
None whatsoever, sorry. It sounds like you're debating the meaning of the word "if". Nuclear power is more than just a practical alternative; it's *the* most practical of all our alternatives.

quote:
If they would make tons of cash extra on Nuclear power-- or if it were cheaper for that matter, they'd do it
Again, you're making no sense whatsoever. There is no question that nuclear power is substantially cheaper than wind and solar. None. The figures are a matter of public record.

In the very best of locations, wind power runs about 5-7 c/kw-h...but that includes federal and state subsidies, which run anywhere from 1.5 up to 3 c kW-h. In non prime locations, wind power can run double that cost. And, worse of all, if you want to use wind power for anything but a supplemental source, you need some means of energy storage...and that costs from 3-10 times more than the base kW-h cost.

Wind power also requires a much greater cost for transmission lines, due both to the size of the farms, and the widely varying output (the lines must be sized for peak, ensuring underutilization). Look at the figures in this article -- $50/year for every person in the state of Texas -- not to build the farm, but just for extra transmission lines. And this is just for one farm, less than 4% of what the state needs.

Nuclear power, on the other hand, runs from 4-7 c/kW-h, with no subsidies whatsoever. That's also the cost to run our current generation of plants, which are 40 year old technology. We have newer designs on the books: far more efficient, cleaner, and safer. But little interest in building them, thanks to a public which displays an ignorant fear of all things nuclear.


RE: Migrating birds
By andrinoaa on 7/19/08, Rating: 0
RE: Migrating birds
By weskurtz0081 on 7/19/2008 1:48:04 PM , Rating: 2
You know what is funny.... you were the perfect example of the ignorance masher was talking about.

1) A new reactor has actually been developed that produces 0, yes, it produce NO nuclear waste. It turns the nuclear waste into INERT glass..... there goes that waste storage problem.... what what are we going to do with all that GLASS?! OH NO!!

2)There is not enough Uranium in a modern reactor to actually cause the type of meltdown you (see: ignorant people) think of when you talk about the pending "disaster" all of the time. It just CANNOT happen with these newer reactors. Sure, with those ultra-modern reactors designed back in the 60's and 70's.

Oh, and they might not have built a NEW nuclear plant, but they have been adding reactor's to existing plants, pushing us to over 100 reactors in the US.... OH NO!!!! RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!

Come on man, the technology is there, the need is there, but the people are to scared.....


RE: Migrating birds
By andrinoaa on 7/19/2008 7:38:20 PM , Rating: 1
No , man , I am applying the same methodology as Masher2. Only the tables are turned and you glow boys can't handle it. YOU STILL don't have the answers. Its always" they are there" or its coming. I say its all bull
"IT CANNOT HAPPEN"..... How fucking arrogant is that!
THATS WHAT SCARES ME


RE: Migrating birds
By weskurtz0081 on 7/20/2008 12:27:05 AM , Rating: 2
"Glow Boys" is pretty funny (not being sarcastic either). When I say it cannot happen, what I am saying is, there is not enough material used in the process to blow up because the new reactors don't require as much Uranium. So, it's physically impossible for it to blow up like that, there just isn't enough Uranium being used for that to happen. Fact is, the US has over 100 reactors, how many have melted down? Hell, how many reactor meltdowns have we had in the US since 1980?


RE: Migrating birds
By andrinoaa on 7/20/2008 8:53:35 AM , Rating: 1
What about all the other weaknesses in the chain. Isn't any form of human control prone to stuff-ups? Loading the stuff and transporting it leaves avenues for accidents.
You don't need a meltdown to create any number of catastrophic scenarios which could cause the facility to be abandonded. But it still doesn't answer the basics like storage of waste for hundreds of years. Are you saying that there will never be an accident over hundreds of years? Assuming society remains stable for that period of time .
For nuclear to be accepted, it needs to be proven to be safe in all areas AND seen to be safe in all areas. By calling people who disagree ignorant or fearful, ain't gonna win any friends at all! Thats why I laugh. Keep being arrogant and nuclear really ain't going anywhere. Its up to the nuclear industry to PROVE its worth. So far they haven't.
My gripe is that the glowboys haven't even got to first base in providing real figures , yet put shit on EVERYTHING else. I am not pro or against nuclear. I can see situations where it would be ideal. I like to think that research is continuing and that one day solutions may be found. But its so far out there, without hard solutions right here, right now, I still say Why bother.
Glowboys is VERY funny, best putdown I have ever invented.


RE: Migrating birds
By weskurtz0081 on 7/20/2008 1:25:26 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know if I would call it a put down, it's just funny more than anything. A good put down would actually make the person being "put down" upset, and since the term "glowboy" was being aimed at me, and I thought it was rather humorous, I don't think it can be classified as a put down.


RE: Migrating birds
By andrinoaa on 7/20/2008 9:02:46 AM , Rating: 2
Also, you say there will be no waste, just glass and hey presto problem solved? The obvious questions are 1/ where do you put the glass AND where do you put the current stockpile? 2/ Not all plants will be converted to "new type" for a very long time thus putting out more waste
These are the fundamental questions I ask, yet I am told I am ignorant etc etc. Then tell me, why do I get no answers when its obvious nothing is being done about the current waste buildup!


RE: Migrating birds
By andrinoaa on 7/20/2008 9:08:38 AM , Rating: 2
Also, if its so good, why is your country trying to stop IRAN from building nuclear power stations? And if you "have " to invade, which facility will be safe from their loony fringe? I think its better to leave pandora in the box!


RE: Migrating birds
By andrinoaa on 7/20/2008 10:05:33 AM , Rating: 2
Also, I just got some interesting figures about the cost of waste storage at Yucca mountain.
The projected costs for 1981 -2117 (136 years ) was $58BILLION. A very old figure indeed! Just imagine what it would be for 1,000 years $580 billion. Do these figures make anyone else think the true costs of nuclear power haven't been factored in properly? The latest figures are $90 billion AND rising! $900billion over 1000yrs. ASSUMING no problems for the period. Stick a sock in that , masher2
I bet you can get a lot of solar energy for that money.


RE: Migrating birds
By andrinoaa on 7/20/2008 10:22:42 AM , Rating: 2
Also got some useful info from your government. It spent 14 BILLION dollars on subidies to the nuclear industry per year over the last 4 years. It makes the few million in subsidies to solar look pretty mean. Any one else still beleive all the crap about the home of the free and the brave?


RE: Migrating birds
By andrinoaa on 7/20/2008 10:37:54 AM , Rating: 2
Cleaning up the Hanford Nuclear Weapons reactor in England is estimated to cost 5.8 billion pounds but may cost 2-3 times as much. (2 us dollars per pound ). Estimates are only ever estimates because no one has decomissioned one yet. Any one see a pattern in all these hugh cost yet? Nuclear costs a hell of a lot more than what he glow boys are peddling.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/20/2008 10:26:56 AM , Rating: 2
> "Loading the stuff and transporting it leaves avenues for accidents."

Loading and transporting chlorine, mercury, or any other industrial toxin leaves an avenue for an accident as well. Somehow we still manage. And personally, I'd much rather have a truck hauling uranium through my neighborhood than one carrying deadly chlorine gas.

> "Not all plants will be converted to "new type" for a very long time thus putting out more waste"

So? Their radioactive waste can be burned as fuel in the new reactor types, solving that problem handily.

> "Also, if its so good, why is your country trying to stop IRAN from building nuclear power stations? "

Because Iran isn't trying to build nuclear power plants. It's trying to build nuclear weapons.

> "The projected costs for 1981 -2117 (136 years ) was $58BILLION."

Hrm, $58B spread over 136 years is $400 million a year. Powering our nation off wind and solar would require a multi-trillion dollar investment, and several hundreds of billions a year just in maintenance.

I'll take the nuclear option, thanks.

> "Glowboys is VERY funny, best putdown I have ever invented. "

I feel sorry for you then.


RE: Migrating birds
By andrinoaa on 7/20/2008 10:44:05 AM , Rating: 2
Are you saying there will never be an accident?
Those new plants haven't been built yet,if ever what happens in the mean time?
Its ok for your country to run nuclear weapons off the nuclear cycle but not others?
Don't need to feel sorry, just admit nuclear has a major down side. Then I may stop jumping on you.
Why do you hate everything except nuclear?


RE: Migrating birds
By weskurtz0081 on 7/20/2008 12:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
Well, glass has plenty of uses, just think about all the things you can make out of glass. This glass is no different, you can make glass products out of it, and sell it.

Secondly, Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and has also stated the desire to destroy Israel.

Third, all the depleted Uranium that is already hanging around, can be run through these reactors, and turned into glass. No big deal.

As far as the subsidies, I don't know. I don't know enough about it and will need to look into it a little more.


RE: Migrating birds
By andrinoaa on 7/21/2008 3:57:55 AM , Rating: 2
Two other things you fail to understand.
The glass is still radioactive.
You cannot run the current waste through VAPOURWARE and fix the problem, doh!

You assume , like your government, that Iran is mad enough to ensure mutual destruction. I suggest you pressure your representatives to actually talk to them and find out why they hate Israel and USA. You might find that they are tired of being kicked around some. Besides, Israel, can handle itself without your country's stupid ME policies.

My point about the subsidies was to reinforce my critic of the glowboys' every technology has major problems but nuclear has non. a bit of balance.

The glow boys are Masher2 and Ringold. Maybe not so much of a put down, more of an apt description of their mind set. Sorry guys, I just thought I would play with it for a while. I didn't really mean to offend. But your mind set is pretty fustrating.


RE: Migrating birds
By tmouse on 7/22/2008 9:24:42 AM , Rating: 2
I do not know where you get your facts but while the vitrification process does produce a glass which is inert (ie: it does not react easily with other substances) it is most definitely highly radioactive. Its just safer to store, they are not changing the atomic structure of the waste to silicon. You would not want to drink from a “glass” made from reactor waste.


RE: Migrating birds
By keiclone on 7/20/2008 2:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1) A new reactor has actually been developed that produces 0, yes, it produce NO nuclear waste. It turns the nuclear waste into INERT glass..... there goes that waste storage problem.... what what are we going to do with all that GLASS?! OH NO!!


do you have a link to the source for this?

not that I don't believe you, I'm curious about reading more on it


RE: Migrating birds
By weskurtz0081 on 7/20/2008 3:53:38 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Migrating birds
By tmouse on 7/22/2008 9:30:12 AM , Rating: 2
They are talking about the micro curie amounts of low energy medical waste, mostly alpha and beta emitters NOT the high energy gamma emitters of nuclear waste. This can also be vitrified into "glass" but you would not want your apartment furniture to be made from it.


RE: Migrating birds
By iNGEN on 7/19/2008 11:28:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
They are building what.. 1 nuclear power plant right now?... the first in decades.. How is it a practical alternative?


Simple, that one nuke cooker will produce about 1.6GW at a market rate of around $.048/KW for with an investment of about $2.2B. This plant will employ about 600 people during operations.

There is a second nuke plant in Texas for which the land has been purchased and land development (utilities) is in progress, but for which construction of the plant won't begin until Spring of 2009. It will produce about 2.4GW at a market rate of around $.043/KW for an investment of about 2.6B. This plant will employ about 650 people during operations.

There are twelve more nuke plants in various stages of completion in Texas, including two owned by BP that are over 80% complete, but were stopped by a court injuction nearly 20 years ago after more than $1 billion was invested in each. I suspect, at best, only around half of the currently scheduled nuke plants will ever complete construction.

quote:
Don't you think they'd be lobbying hard for Nuclear power? How could they possibly offer Wind as power source if it was so unreliable and not cost effective? Why would they?


I can answer your question with a quote by Scott Dean of BP from June of this year when asked about why BP, being a "Big Oil" company, is interested in wind power. Dean replied, "Try to build petrol fueled electric plants and the NIMBY people make it difficult. Nuclear is even cheaper, but no one has completed a nuke plant in The States since the 1970's, because environmental groups employ every conceivable tactic to stop you, protests, wildlife protection, enviroterrorism. BP likes wind because you can get it built."


RE: Migrating birds
By 67STANG on 7/19/2008 11:34:06 PM , Rating: 2
$2.2B is about the cost of 1/3 of a single reactor-- which generally cost $6B to construct. Your math is not sound.

If you'd like to see the ACTUAL operational and maintenence costs of a nuclear reactor (circa 1998, so it's actually less than it would be today) try here http://www.nucleartourist.com/basics/costs.htm

It's quite a bit more than a lot of "alternatives". I'm not saying that nuclear power production doesn't have a splendid track record of reliability and power generation. All I'm saying is that no one is building them-- beit because of "non-technical person resistance" or environmentalist nazi's.

Another thing I'd like to see is a MW to MW comparison of Wind and/or GeoThermal to Nuclear-- with all costs (maint. and operations). I bet a lot of people would be suprised.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/20/2008 12:12:51 AM , Rating: 2
> "$2.2B is about the cost of 1/3 of a single reactor-- which generally cost $6B to construct. Your math is not sound."

Incorrect again. The most recent cost data is $2.6B/reactor...exactly what NRG is paying to build 2 new ones in Texas:

http://www.efluxmedia.com/news_New_Application_for...

> "Another thing I'd like to see is a MW to MW comparison of Wind and/or GeoThermal to Nuclear-- with all costs (maint. and operations). "

Such studies have been done countless times. I've posted many such before. Nuclear is always considerably cheaper. See the analysis by Peterson from Berkeley for just one such comparsion.


RE: Migrating birds
By 67STANG on 7/21/2008 1:26:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Incorrect again. The most recent cost data is $2.6B/reactor...exactly what NRG is paying to build 2 new ones in Texas:
Actually it is you that is incorrect... again. It costs over $2B just for a permit to construct the plant. But I actually forgot to add in the $2B-$4B it costs to eventually decommission the plant at the end of its life. (Also, the average cost is $3 to $6 billion to construct). We can keep going on and on, but your figures are dramatically... well... "made up".

quote:
Such studies have been done countless times. I've posted many such before. Nuclear is always considerably cheaper. See the analysis by Peterson from Berkeley for just one such comparsion.

Is that including the $97,000,000,000 in direct and indirect subsidies from the federal government that Nuclear has received since 1950? How about the Uranium mining and transportation? How about the Uranium storage costs? How about the Uranium disposal costs? I fail to see how the economics pencil out in Nuclear's favor over Wind-- or anything else for that matter.


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/18/2008 6:46:01 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
"They" in the US aren't expanding nuclear power production because of an uneducated populace believes nuclear power is dirty and dangerous"
Hmmm no I would say that because of the amount of NIMBY's we have in this country no one, including yourself would want a nuclear waste dump any where within eyeshot of their local corner, city, or town.

While I do believe that nuclear power will play a role as we move forward to say or imply that it's clean and totally safe is neglecting history. A few town's around Chernobyl would love to set that record straight. Just because something doesn't happen often doesn't mean it isn't dangerous. I'm sure while no one has stood has stood on the sun, I would think that it might be dangerous if one were to do so.

In terms of it being dirty, I would say so since the power it generates also generates a byproduct, a radioactive one.


RE: Migrating birds
By Fluxion on 7/18/2008 7:03:21 PM , Rating: 2
Let's see:

Chernobyl is a horrible example to use. For starters, it was a poorly run managed, understaffed, underfunded and its employees not adequately trained. To save costs, they decided against a reactor containment building, which many experts state would have contained the resulting fire and explosion that would have occurred. It didn't have adequate safety systems (if I recall, it didn't have a backup water cooling system). They had removed the control rods from the reactor, overrode the computer's automatic shut down safety controls, and the ceiling of the "containment facility" was made of combustible materials. I mean, it was one giant safety failure.

Three Mile Island occurred because the cooling pumps had failed, and so the reactor automatically shut down. A pressure-release valve had opened to relieve the reactor of increasing pressure, but when the valve was supposed to have closed, it in fact didn't. There was supposed to have been a signal that would have alerted operators do the valve still being open, but it was removed during planning, and so the operators had assumed that the valve had shut, and that it was safe (after the backup cooling pumps had activated) to restart the reactor.

When the cooling system started again, the open valve allowed coolant to escape out of the reactor, allowing the reactor to overheat. In fact, beginning the slow decline, some of the backup coolant pumps had been closed for testing, and not re-opened (due to human error). Eventually, as cooling began to fail, the system automatically signaled operators that the system was loosing cooling, but the operators ignored the warnings. Ultimately, part of the reactor melted down, but the reactor containment vessel itself remained intact, and prevented any radioactive release (although some radioactive material was vented by operators into the atmosphere).

Essentially, Three Mile Island's problems originated with a system failure, but the overall accident was almost purely due to human negligence.

Afterward, new regulations were implemented, more stringent monitoring began, and since then we've had no major issues. If you factor in that the current generation of reactors are extremely safe, efficient and very cost-effective, from almost any standpoint, there's no reason not to build new plants. The only thing holding them back are uneducated or frightened individuals.


RE: Migrating birds
By Fluxion on 7/18/2008 7:17:41 PM , Rating: 2
I should also have added in that, in regards to what other plants (such as coal-burning power plants) release into the atmosphere and dump as waste, nuclear power plants are very much "clean". A Gigawatt coal-fired power plant can release radioactive material in concentrations dozens of times greater than a nuclear power plant produces, and while it is cliche, we can simply bury the nuclear waste it produces in specialized facilities. With coal plants, much of its waste ends up in the atmosphere, while much of the solid waste produced ends up in exposed land fills.


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/19/2008 10:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Chernobyl is a horrible example to use.


If you don't like reality.


RE: Migrating birds
By Solandri on 7/18/2008 7:19:44 PM , Rating: 2
Citing Chernobyl as an argument against nuclear power is like citing the Wright Flyer as a reason why we should never attempt to fly more than a few feet off the ground. The technology used in Chernobyl was ancient by Western standards, and was never used in Western commercial reactors precisely because of how dangerous it was.
quote:
Just because something doesn't happen often doesn't mean it isn't dangerous.

Precisely! More people have died from commercial wind power generation in the U.S. than from commercial nuclear power generation. 3 wind turbine maintenance/failure deaths that I could find via google, vs zero for nuclear power.
quote:
In terms of it being dirty, I would say so since the power it generates also generates a byproduct, a radioactive one.

I hope this doesn't bring your worldview crashing down, but: Bananas and chocolate are also radioactive. Both contain large amounts of potassium. A relatively common isotope of potassium is radioactive. Enough so that a banana will set off a moderately sensitive geiger counter. So do you now consider bananas and chocolate dirty? Should we be shipping all the bananas and chocolate in the country to Yucca mountain in reinforced steel caskets?

Everything has risk. Making sound decisions means accurately assessing and quantifying those risks. You can't just arbitrarily attribute an infinite risk to something like radiation just because you don't understand it.


RE: Migrating birds
By RaulF on 7/18/2008 9:42:31 PM , Rating: 2
Well i can tell you for sure that, the Nuclear industry does have death cause by accidents. It might not be radiation related, but people have died inside power plants doing regular maintenance.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/19/2008 1:24:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well i can tell you for sure that, the Nuclear industry does have death cause by accidents. It might not be radiation related, but people have died inside power plants doing regular maintenance.
Sorry, no. No one has ever died from any accident in a US nuclear power plant -- radiation-related or otherwise.

There have been a few deaths involving research reactors, but none in commercial reactors.


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/20/2008 5:50:35 PM , Rating: 2
Nope sorry .....wrong again.


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/19/2008 9:58:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Precisely! More people have died from commercial wind power generation in the U.S. than from commercial nuclear power generation. 3 wind turbine maintenance/failure deaths that I could find via google, vs zero for nuclear power.
Maybe your Google is different from mine but nuclear deaths are far higher than 0.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/20/2008 12:19:25 AM , Rating: 2
> "Maybe your Google is different from mine but nuclear deaths are far higher than 0. "

Our Googles are the same; you're simply using yours improperly. No deaths have ever ocurred from the US commercial nuclear power industry.

In fact, in the entire Western World, no one has ever died from an accident at a nuclear power station. Two Japanese workers were killed in an accident at a reprocessing facility...the sum total of all accidental harm.


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/20/2008 9:54:21 AM , Rating: 2
WRONG!!!! YOU MIGHT WANT TO REINSTALL YOUR GOOGLE MINES WORKING FINE!!! Here is a list of every nuclear event in the U.S and there have been deaths... people would just rather make crap up instead of dealing with reality.

You and others do far more harm then solar power, wind power or any alternative energy source by making crap up and not being honest. If I can be honest by not saying stupid crap like "we all can move to solar", or "we all can move to wind" then you and people of your ilk can do the same. You can parse this to death and play one words. But sorry pal there have been deaths from U.S power plants. Try again. Here you go:

This article / material has not been compiled by me. The author of this work was done by Allen Lutins

quote:

Power Plants
The nuclear power plant is a particularly nefarious use of nuclear energy. Unlike conventional power plants, nuclear plants have a relatively short life-span -- 30 years -- before critical reactor components become irreparably radioactive. At that point the plant must be decommissioned (`mothballed'), or its entire reactor core replaced at great expense. To date, there is no solution regarding where to store spent power plant reactor cores. Compounding the storage problem is an accumulation of spent radioactive fuel rods, which have a life-span of only three years.

3 January 1961
A reactor explosion (attributed by a Nuclear Regulatory Commission source to sabotage) at the National Reactor Testing Station in Arco, Idaho, killed one navy technician and two army technicians , and released radioactivity "largely confined" (words of John A. McCone, Director of the Atomic Energy Commission) to the reactor building. The three men were killed as they moved fuel rods in a "routine" preparation for the reactor start-up. One technician was blown to the ceiling of the containment dome and impaled on a control rod. His body remained there until it was taken down six days later. The men were so heavily exposed to radiation that their hands had to be buried separately with other radioactive waste, and their bodies were interred in lead coffins.

24 July 1964
Robert Peabody, 37, died at the United Nuclear Corp. fuel facility in Charlestown, Rhode Island, when liquid uranium he was pouring went critical, starting a reaction that exposed him to a lethal dose of radiation.

19 November 1971
The water storage space at the Northern States Power Company's reactor in Monticello, Minnesota filled to capacity and spilled over, dumping about 50,000 gallons of radioactive waste water into the Mississippi River. Some was taken into the St. Paul water system.

March 1972
Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska submitted to the Congressional Record facts surrounding a routine check in a nuclear power plant which indicated abnormal radioactivity in the building's water system. Radioactivity was confirmed in the plant drinking fountain. Apparently there was an inappropriate cross-connection between a 3,000 gallon radioactive tank and the water system.

27 July 1972
Two workers at the Surry Unit 2 facility in Virginia were fatally scalded after a routine valve adjustment led to a steam release in a gap in a vent line. [See also 9 December 1986]

28 May 1974
The Atomic Energy Commission reported that 861 "abnormal events" had occurred in 1973 in the nation's 42 operative nuclear power plants. Twelve involved the release of radioactivity "above permissible levels."

22 March 1975
A technician checking for air leaks with a lighted candle caused $100 million in damage when insulation caught fire at the Browns Ferry reactor in Decatur, Alabama. The fire burned out electrical controls, lowering the cooling water to dangerous levels, before the plant could be shut down.

28 March 1979
A major accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania. At 4:00 a.m. a series of human and mechanical failures nearly triggered a nuclear disaster. By 8:00 a.m., after cooling water was lost and temperatures soared above 5,000 degrees, the top portion of the reactor's 150-ton core collapsed and melted. Contaminated coolant water escaped into a nearby building, releasing radioactive gasses, leading as many as 200,000 people to flee the region. Despite claims by the nuclear industry that "no one died at Three Mile Island," a study by Dr. Ernest J. Sternglass, professor of radiation physics at the University of Pittsburgh, showed that the accident led to a minimum of 430 infant deaths.

1981
The Critical Mass Energy Project of Public Citizen, Inc. reported that there were 4,060 mishaps and 140 serious events at nuclear power plants in 1981, up from 3,804 mishaps and 104 serious events the previous year.

11 February 1981
An Auxiliary Unit Operator, working his first day on the new job without proper training, inadvertently opened a valve which led to the contamination of eight men by 110,000 gallons of radioactive coolant sprayed into the containment building of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Sequoyah I plant in Tennessee.

July 1981
A flood of low-level radioactive wastewater in the sub-basement at Nine Mile Point's Unit 1 (in New York state) caused approximately 150 55-gallon drums of high-level waste to overturn, some of which released their highly radioactive contents. Some 50,000 gallons of low-level radioactive water were subsequently dumped into Lake Ontario to make room for the cleanup. The discharge was reported to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the sub-basement contamination was not. A report leaked to the press 8 years later resulted in a study which found that high levels of radiation persisted in the still flooded facility.

1982
The Critical Mass Energy Project of Public Citizen, Inc. reported that 84,322 power plant workers were exposed to radiation in 1982, up from 82,183 the previous year.

25 January 1982
A steam generator pipe broke at the Rochester Gas & Electric Company's Ginna plant near Rochester, New York. Fifteen thousand gallons of radioactive coolant spilled onto the plant floor, and small amounts of radioactive steam escaped into the air.

15-16 January 1983
Nearly 208,000 gallons of water with low-level radioactive contamination was accidentally dumped into the Tennesee River at the Browns Ferry power plant.

25 February 1983
A catastrophe at the Salem 1 reactor in New Jersey was averted by just 90 seconds when the plant was shut down manually, following the failure of automatic shutdown systems to act properly. The same automatic systems had failed to respond in an incident three days before, and other problems plagued this plant as well, such as a 3,000 gallon leak of radioactive water in June 1981 at the Salem 2 reactor, a 23,000 gallon leak of "mildly" radioactive water (which splashed onto 16 workers) in February 1982, and radioactive gas leaks in March 1981 and September 1982 from Salem 1.


I stopped the article short it does continue.


RE: Migrating birds
By Lord 666 on 7/20/2008 10:26:03 AM , Rating: 2
Please provide examples from recent decades. You are providing examples from 30 years ago.

Drove past the Oyster Creek (oldest operating nuclear power plant in the US) last weekend and everything appears that they are ready to keep it open past the 2009 license expiration.

Good for them as even though it has had its issues and times when it was shut down, it has provided much to the area in both electrical needs and economy.


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/20/2008 11:04:15 AM , Rating: 2
Here's the rest that I left out. These just go over other accidents.
I'm not saying that nuclear accidents aren't becoming less and less likely but to say no one has died in a U.S power plant is just false.

quote:
9 December 1986
A feedwater pipe ruptured at the Surry Unit 2 facility in Virginia, causing 8 workers to be scalded by a release of hot water and steam. Four of the workers later died from their injuries. In addition, water from the sprinkler systems caused a malfunction of the security system, preventing personnel from entering the facility. This was the second time that an incident at the Surry 2 unit resulted in fatal injuries due to scalding [see also 27 July 1972].

1988
It was reported that there were 2,810 accidents in U.S. commercial nuclear power plants in 1987, down slightly from the 2,836 accidents reported in 1986, according to a report issued by the Critical Mass Energy Project of Public Citizen, Inc.

28 May 1993
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a warning to the operators of 34 nuclear reactors around the country that the instruments used to measure levels of water in the reactor could give false readings during routine shutdowns and fail to detect important leaks. The problem was first bought to light by an engineer at Northeast Utilities in Connecticut who had been harassed for raising safety questions. The flawed instruments at boiling-water reactors designed by General Electric utilize pipes which were prone to being blocked by gas bubbles; a failure to detect falling water levels could have resulted, potentially leading to a meltdown.

15 February 2000
New York's Indian Point II power plant vented a small amount of radioactive steam when a an aging steam generator ruptured. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission initially reported that no radioactive material was released, but later changed their report to say that there was a leak, but not of a sufficient amount to threaten public safety.

6 March 2002
Workers discovered a foot-long cavity eaten into the reactor vessel head at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ohio. Borated water had corroded the metal to a 3/16 inch stainless steel liner which held back over 80,000 gallons of highly pressurized radioactive water. In April 2005 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposed fining plant owner First Energy 5.4 million dollars for their failure to uncover the problem sooner (similar problems plaguing other plants were already known within the industry), and also proposed banning System Engineer Andrew Siemaszko from working in the industry for five years due to his falsifying reactor vessel logs. As of this writing the fine and suspension were under appeal.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/20/2008 10:33:18 AM , Rating: 2
> "WRONG!!!! YOU MIGHT WANT TO REINSTALL YOUR GOOGLE MINES WORKING FINE!!! Here is a list of every nuclear event in the U.S and there have been deaths... "

Good god man, learn to read. Your 1961 explosion was at an experimental reactor , not a commercial power station.

My statement was correct. The nuclear power industry in the US has never generated a single fatal accident, nor has anyone ever been killed in the entire Western world in an accident at a commercial nuclear power plant.

As for the quack Sternglass who alleges many people died from the Three Mile Island accident, this is in direct opposition to the official findings of many scientific and governmental bodies. Sternglass is also well known for making wild claims about atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, and his conspiracy-theory books on government nuclear programs.

From the Wiki entry on Sternglass:
quote:
Sternglass' research has been frequently criticized by local, state and federal environmental and health agencies, when the results of his research on the health effects of low level radiation could not be verified by peer review.[2] Sternglass has been accused of using faulty methodology, including selection bias, in his research...


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/20/2008 10:58:50 AM , Rating: 2
You do not discern between experimental with nonexperimental . You said
quote:
The nuclear power industry in the US has never generated a single fatal accident, nor has anyone ever been killed in the entire Western world in an accident at a commercial nuclear power plant.


Sorry but parse a little harder. Your statement is incorrect. You generalized something that you can't generalize. Rule #1 in preventing man-made engineering disasters. No man made product has a mortality rate of 0. The moment you did that you were in the wrong. Not bridges, or roads, or even paper, someone has usually died from making the material that goes into the product, or user error, or engineering miscalculation.

quote:
As for the quack Sternglass


You think he was the only scientist/investigator that has said that???. Care to test google again?? Well if you must...

1. Gordon MacLeod, interview, October 1980; see also, Anna Mayo, "The Nuclear State in Ascendancy," Village Voice, October 22-28, 1980.

2.Statistics indicate that there was a tripling of Harrisburg's infant death rate in the three months after the tmi accident. - Harvey Wasserman, Killing our Own: The Disaster of America's Experience with Atomic Radiation, Dell Publishing, 1982.

These were just a few. There were tons of articles and studies done in regards to TMI. So I'm not going to spend my entire day looking up something that is easily found.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/20/2008 5:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
> "You do not discern between experimental with nonexperimental ."

I most certainly did. An experimental reactor operated by the government doesn't produce commercial power, nor is it part of the US commercial nuclear power industry.

As for your so-called accident at Surrey, it's not listed on Wiki's list of nuclear accidents, and its only reference appears to be from a few anti-nuclear sites. Without a hard reference, I'm going to treat that claim very suspiciously. The accident may or may not have happened; the fact that it isn't listed in the official NRC accident database leads me to believe that, if it did occur, it was outside the main reactor facility.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_civilian_nucl...

> "Statistics indicate that there was a tripling of Harrisburg's infant death rate in the three months after the tmi accident"

Do you even realize how nonsensical such a claim is? How many infants die in a town of 25,000 every 3 months? A total of three? Have you no clue at all about statistical significance? Do you have any idea how easily detectable radiation is, especially at a level which could kill someone within 3 months?


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/20/2008 5:45:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Surrey, it's not listed on Wiki's list of nuclear accidents,
So let me get this straight because you couldn't find it in Wiki it didn't happen. Are you serious???

There's TONS I mean TONS of sites that list the Surrey event. In fact I had to read through the regular news sights to find out how many people died (wanted to know if it was 8 versus 4).

Because I wanted to be factually correct.

Then enters Masher and his only retort
quote:
it's not listed on Wiki's list of nuclear accidents, and its only reference appears to be from a few anti-nuclear sites.
. How childish is that???

Sorry bud you decided to say something COMPLETELY INCORRECT. So I've shown my links and references... Why don't you show me one???

You strike me as another person who doesn't like reality much and that's not my fault. If you aren't man or women, enough to admit when you've put your own foot in your mouth then whose fault is that?

quote:
Do you even realize how nonsensical such a claim is?


Do you realize how nonsensical it is to say no one has died in the US within a nuclear power plant?

You might want to check out the movie Silkwood. It's based on a true story.... actually since you probably can't find it it must not have happened.... oh crap maybe the movie didn't come out at all....


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/20/2008 6:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
> "There's TONS I mean TONS of sites that list the Surrey event."

So far, you've failed to list any of them. I found quite a few myself, but all were quite dubious in nature. Many times the date or other details didn't match between claims, and those few which actually cited a source merely gave a Public Citizen Mass Energy Project report, rather than an independent news source or official government body report.

> "You might want to check out the movie Silkwood. It's based on a true story.... "

The movie The Amityville Horror was "based on a true story" also. Shall we start believing that one also?


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/20/2008 6:49:26 PM , Rating: 2
> "So far, you've failed to list any of them. I found quite a few myself, but all were quite dubious in nature"

Ok, I found the original NRC notice; the event did indeed happen. The workers weren't actually in the reactor itself, but in an outbuilding where the feedpipe burst, killing them with the resultant steam. It was, however, still on the site itself, so I withdraw the claim.


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/20/2008 7:26:32 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you. That's all I wanted. Believe it or not I'm not here to hurt your feelings or make you feel bad. I just want accuracy.


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/20/2008 11:17:37 AM , Rating: 2
In addition, I would classify someone being scalded and suffering major third degree burns as a "fatal injury". I'm not going to discuss divisions of your original generalized statement. You said something that was generalized "big time" and are attempting to back it up by discrediting actual references of which there are many. There were actually ten I found before posting and that was just making sure I had a leg to stand on before posting.

I'm sorry but you shouldn't have said that
quote:
The nuclear power industry in the US has never generated a single fatal accident,
. It's just not correct.


RE: Migrating birds
By Lord 666 on 7/20/2008 11:34:50 AM , Rating: 2
Uh, a fatal injury is the loss of life and nothing else.

Given the choice, I'll take third degree burns over loosing my life any day.


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/20/2008 11:47:53 AM , Rating: 2
A fatal injury is anything that happens that causes death either immediately or later in life as a direct cause of the injury. So if you received third degree burns on your body and you survived 10 days, 20 days, a year and then died it is classified as a fatal injury within the medical community.


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/20/2008 11:53:17 AM , Rating: 2
The accident in 1986, those workers died from their injuries.


RE: Migrating birds
By kc77 on 7/20/2008 12:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
You also have to deal with the other accidents. What are you going to do about those?


RE: Migrating birds
By tmouse on 7/22/2008 9:44:08 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know where you get your bananas from but I have never seen one set off a detector. The only naturally occurring isotope of potassium is K40 which is present at an abundance of .00117% and has a Beta-minus decay.


RE: Migrating birds
By masher2 (blog) on 7/18/2008 5:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
> "Where did you get that statistic?"

Its available from many source -- wind power requires between 700 - 1200 tons of steel and concrete per installed MW. When the US is using 3,700,000,000 Megawatt-hours per year, the total works out to about 450 million tons. A bit more if you use offshore towers. More still if you site any towers in nonoptimal areas.

> "it is quite likely that as technology improves, wind mills would use less steel/MW capacity. "

Unfortunately, we're not seeing those increases. In the years since 1990, the resources/MW figure hasn't substantially changed:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/07/per-peterson-info... (from an analysis by Berkeley Prof. P. F. Peterson)


RE: Migrating birds
By Solandri on 7/18/2008 5:39:09 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt the material requirement will decrease. Wind is volume-limited. Your power generation is proportional to the cross-sectional area of your turbine blades' orbit. So power generated increases as the square of the length of your turbine blades. But weight goes as the cube of the length, so making them bigger actually increases the steel requirement per MW generated.

So from a material cost standpoint you're better off making lots of little wind turbines. But from a maintenance cost standpoint you're better off making a few big turbines. It's not like hydro where you can keep the turbine size constant but crank up the pressure (that's what the dam does - create high pressure) to generate your power. There are regions of consistent wind and open areas where wind makes sense, but it's far from the no-brainer like hydro is. It's much easier for the construction and maintenance costs of wind to make it a net loss.


RE: Migrating birds
By Lord 666 on 7/18/2008 8:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
Honest question... why is steel used when composites and/or nanotube carbon materials would be lighter, stronger, and provide a faster rotational speed with less wind power?


RE: Migrating birds
By Solandri on 7/18/2008 10:56:59 PM , Rating: 2
Steel is the cheapest material we currently have per unit strength. Any time weight is not a concern but cost is, steel is the preferred material. There are cheaper materials which perform better than steel in compression (pretty much any rock), but turbine blades would experience considerable tension and shear.

Because the turbine blades are hooked up to a generator, almost all of the resistance to rotation comes from the generator, not the mass/inertia of the blades. So the composition of the blades is mostly irrelevant from a power generation standpoint. It's like when you pedal your bike up a steep hill - you can't really notice if the pedals are made of steel or carbon fiber, almost all your energy is spent pushing the weight of your body uphill, not the pedals.

There would be maintenance advantages to CFRP blades, but I'm doubtful they'd outweigh the cost disadvantages given today's technology. GFRP (fiberglass) might make sense - it's cheap enough it can compete with steel if flex is not an issue. For really big blades though, I think a GFRP design would be flex-limited, not strength limited, meaning the material is strong enough to survive the stresses but you have to add more material to reduce the amount of flex. At that point steel becomes the better choice again.


RE: Migrating birds
By Hare on 7/19/2008 4:01:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:

> "1) No emissions"
Do you think you can produce millions of tons of steel with no emissions? By some estimates, powering even half the US's energy needs with wind would require over 25% of the world's steel production.

I wonder how many wind turbines you could build with the same amount of energy/resources compared to nuclear power. It's not like a unicorn drops of a nuclear plant and it doesn't take any resources...


RE: Migrating birds
By Christobevii3 on 7/18/2008 6:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
I can actually buy 100% wind generated power now cheaper than natural gas power. My bill last year was 13c kwh, since natural gas is no double, last month was 21c kwh. Wind I can lock in at 14c kwh. I'll gladly pay 30% less. Texas deregulation was retarded.


RE: Migrating birds
By Ringold on 7/19/2008 3:19:33 AM , Rating: 1
You're still paying more locking in the wind price, you're only paying it indirectly through the higher federal taxes that make those wind farms viable.

Also, don't fool yourself in to thinking 100% of your home is being powered directly from wind. If it was, and the wind stopped blowing.. Goodbye 21st century, hello 18th century.


RE: Migrating birds
By ElFenix on 7/20/2008 12:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
texas deregulation didn't deregulate anything. it's still a highly regulated system.

and unless you live out near a wind farm you're not powering your house with wind power. you're sending money to people around the farm who are.


RE: Migrating birds
By Solandri on 7/18/2008 3:55:03 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
should learn to go around them, no? I'm sure it's not the first time something dangerous has popped up in the middle of a migration path.

They do try to go around them. The problem is almost nothing in nature swings all the way around, it swings back and forth. So the birds see one blade, recognize it as a threat, figure it'll swing away and back, move to avoid what they think will be its return path, and get smacked from the other side by the next blade.

Also, transparency is very rare in nature too. If you've ever worked with a lathe or mill, you know that your mind tends to conclude that stuff you can see through isn't really there. If the blades or tools are rotating quickly enough, they blur and you can see through them, and you kinda forget that they're really there. I've caught myself several times just about to stick my hand into rotating tools and props.


RE: Migrating birds
By geddarkstorm on 7/18/2008 5:26:50 PM , Rating: 2
Migrating birds generally don't fly that low to the ground. It's birds nesting in the area that would have to watch out. But considering the desolate nature of said areas, it's unlikely to be a real issue.


RE: Migrating birds
By cokbun on 7/18/2008 9:50:39 PM , Rating: 2
Just put scarecrows at the tip of the blades.


RE: Migrating birds
By judasmachine on 7/19/2008 1:30:17 AM , Rating: 2
In and around Amarillo, TX where many of these are going up, it's a common practice to put fake predatory birds on top of billboards and such to scare off other birds, usually pigeons though. It may work for the hoards of geese that fly over in the fall.


RE: Migrating birds
By BZDTemp on 7/20/2008 2:37:38 PM , Rating: 2
Studies here in Europe suggest that birds manage to avoid getting chopped just fine. Plus just as less pollution is good for us I am sure it is good for the birds.


Better towers??
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/18/2008 2:43:19 PM , Rating: 2
This may have been talked about before...However, would it not be a good idea to put wind turbines on top of tall buildings like the Sears tower. The blades would not to be as long and at that high up I would think they would pick up some good wind...maybe enough to power the building the turbine is on...solve the pigeon over population problem at the same time...it's a win win..




RE: Better towers??
By mles1551 on 7/18/2008 2:50:58 PM , Rating: 2
A few months back in Pop Mech (or Pop Sci) they were showing a wind turbine designed to attach to the roof of buildings hang slightly over the side and catch updrafts.


RE: Better towers??
By Etsp on 7/18/2008 3:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
I saw something about that in another place too... some small two-bit site. OH found the link, here it is: http://www.dailytech.com/New+Modular+Wind+Turbines...

(Just kidding about the "small two-bit" part =P)


RE: Better towers??
By Pottervilla on 7/18/2008 3:20:16 PM , Rating: 1
Get a couple of those guys up in the jet stream, and you could just about power a whole city--the problem being getting them up to five miles above sea level. As of now, buildings are approaching the 2 mile mark.


RE: Better towers??
By ralith on 7/18/2008 3:54:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As of now, buildings are approaching the 2 mile mark."

Um no. The tallest structures list from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tallest_structures , which I'll admit might be a wee bit out of date, has them just over 2000 ft not even half a mile. So unless you got a better list your off by about a mile and a half.


RE: Better towers??
By Pottervilla on 7/18/2008 4:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I was looking at this page, which [will] go up to 2625 ft:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World%27s_tallest_str...

However, thanks for pointing that out, as you are right. 5820 instead of 1520. That's what I get for just pulling numbers out of my head. I promise, next time I'll double check. :)

Something else to consider is that lot's of cities aren't built at sea level. I'm not sure what that does to the said wind currents, but it's a topic for discussion...


RE: Better towers??
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/18/2008 4:56:18 PM , Rating: 2
correct....Denver is already a mile high in terms of sea level


RE: Better towers??
By Solandri on 7/18/2008 5:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
Energy is equivalent to pressure times volume. So power for wind or hydro is pressure times volume flow rate (times extraction efficiency). Denver's regular air pressure is about 12.1 psi vs. 14.7 psi at sea level. So all other things being equal, you would expect a wind turbine in Denver to be 12.1/14.7 = 82% as effective as a turbine at sea level at the same wind speed.


RE: Better towers??
By masher2 (blog) on 7/18/2008 8:52:23 PM , Rating: 2
Right, but while power varies linearly with air pressure, it varies by the cube of air speed. So areas with high mean wind speeds are excellent sites for turbines, no matter how high their altitude.


RE: Better towers??
By Pottervilla on 7/18/2008 9:07:33 PM , Rating: 2
I hadn't considered the lack of air pressure up there--However I don't have a pressure for five miles high. However, jet stream wind speeds averaging around 150m/h are about 7.5 times faster (according to my math :|) than the average 20m/h(according to http://www.awea.org/faq/usresource.html ) sea level wind currents. How generator efficiency scales with wind speed, I have no idea.


RE: Better towers??
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/18/2008 4:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
Attach them to some sort of really, really, really, really big kite like thing with a steal cable that anchors to the building and transfers power to the building.
Of course I'd hate to be there or within about 4 or 5 miles the day there was no wind....


Secede
By dagamer34 on 7/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Secede
By hellokeith on 7/18/2008 2:57:07 PM , Rating: 1
That whole "Texas can secede" is an urban legend, but I'm a proud native Texan and lifetime resident, and it wouldn't bother me a bit if we just became our own country. Great things about Texas:

* State (and most county/city) government runs on a balanced budget.. we don't owe anyone anything.
* Best electric grids in the country.. if the whole US power grid went down, Texas electricity would keep on flowing.
* Oil and gas refineries.. the US would grind to a halt without our energy production.
* Guns.. like them? Great, own as many as you want and shoot them as often as you like, just don't commit a crime with them.
* Wide open spaces.. carpet-baggers from California and New York are astounded at how large of homes and property you can get with little money.. and you can drive for hours and hours and hours and still not see it all.
* Women.. Texas has the best looking women around, and we attract extremely hot foreign exchange student girls too (don't know why, but c'mon girls keep comin).
* Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Stars.. two great teams with great role model players and money-making franchises that benefit the fans, the community, and local businesses.

I could keep going, but I'm getting a bit winded.


RE: Secede
By mles1551 on 7/18/08, Rating: 0
RE: Secede
By rcsinfo on 7/18/2008 6:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
George W Bush was born in New Haven, CT. He is as much as Texan as Hilary Clinton is a New Yorker.


RE: Secede
By mles1551 on 7/20/2008 1:48:11 PM , Rating: 2
And that was the funny part. I guess humor isn't your strong suit.


RE: Secede
By ricleo2 on 7/18/2008 3:20:14 PM , Rating: 2
I almost fully agree with you. Except where I live, in Arlington, the city is in debt; even when the new cowboy's stadium funding was voter approved. And the city council is rearing towards the liberal side in some of its decisions.
I do fully agree on the beautiful women, in that I married one.


RE: Secede
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/18/2008 3:21:15 PM , Rating: 2
If Texas were to secede, you would no longer be allowed to play football. Sorry. :)


RE: Secede
By ricleo2 on 7/18/2008 3:29:25 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, high school football is a lot more popular than the Cowboys or any other sport in the state.


RE: Secede
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 7/18/2008 4:39:57 PM , Rating: 2
yep, I know that, that's why I said, Texas would have to stop playing football. I figured that would keep the state part of the union. :)


RE: Secede
By mholler on 7/18/2008 3:36:24 PM , Rating: 2
Having a closed(basically) grid can be both a positive and a negative. Yes, it provides a safety net from problems with in other states, but it also prevents us from leaning on those states when there are problems in Texas. "Best" is certainly a debatable term when referring to the ERCOT region, just ask the companies put out of business this summer due to transmission constraints.


RE: Secede
By OxBow on 7/18/2008 4:42:11 PM , Rating: 3
As a Texan, let me just say that wind power is a natural resource for us. We have all that hot air, might as well put it to good use. :)

Seriously, I was pretty skeptical about electricity deregulation here. The dereg. bill was a classic old school, behind closed doors, smoky room good old boy hash job. Suprisingly, however, we actually came out ahead for some reason and deregulation has worked well here (except for the fly by night prepaid electric companies that prey on the poor in the inner cities of Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston).

Deregulation has opened up the opportunities for new, alt energy capacity. The wind farms, while forever changing the West Texas landscape, are producing cheap, renewable clean energy. So much so that a couple electric companies in Texas can sell solely renewable energy contracts (my electric company, Green Mountain Energy, is one). Not only can you buy clean electricity in Texas now, it's competitively priced with the major market leaders here.

We still have a long way to go here, but the idea of Texas being solely big oil is going the way of the dodo. Even the folks who work in the oil business here are for the wind farms. The petrochemical industry is hurting with the high price of oil. They need that raw stock to make the plastics that are a center cog in the South Texas economy. Dow, BASF, etc. are all interested in reducing demand for oil, since they have to buy it also.

Not everyone in Texas is green these days, far from it. However, the state is not nearly as oil-philic as it used to be, and everyone can agree that's a good thing.


RE: Secede
By Cheapshot on 7/18/2008 4:40:46 PM , Rating: 1
Don't worry... with the massive influx of imigrants these days you may do just that.


Another reason why...
By TxJeepers on 7/18/2008 3:16:30 PM , Rating: 1
We like to refer to our state as the Great State of Texas. No offense to those in our suburbs.




RE: Another reason why...
By SavagePotato on 7/18/2008 5:34:16 PM , Rating: 3
I like to refer to myself as the dark lord of the sith.

Sadly It doesn't go over so well either.


RE: Another reason why...
By Solandri on 7/18/2008 5:58:58 PM , Rating: 3
Hey, did you hear Alaska is considering dividing into two separate states? That would make Texas the third largest state. ;)


Capitol?
By Justin Case on 7/18/2008 8:51:33 PM , Rating: 2
Oil Capitol? Does it have two combustion chambers, then?




RE: Capitol?
By nineball9 on 7/19/2008 4:09:21 AM , Rating: 2
lol - After reading the headline I wondered if anyone else had picked up on the incorrect use of "capitol" so I searched the thread. I think your joke went over DT's collective heads!


RE: Capitol?
By Justin Case on 8/31/2008 9:27:08 PM , Rating: 2
That seems to happen a lot, no matter how low I aim. :P


Who else here thinks
By blwest on 7/19/2008 11:53:40 AM , Rating: 1
Masher2 is an idiot?




RE: Who else here thinks
By dubldwn on 7/19/2008 10:42:20 PM , Rating: 2
Great post, blwest! You know what would be really cool, though? If you responded to his claims with theories and facts that made him denounce nuclear power altogether and support your solution for power generation.

You know, the large-scale one that lowers emissions, isn’t dependent on the weather, and has the least impact on our world. Go get ‘em!


RE: Who else here thinks
By blwest on 7/20/2008 3:42:40 PM , Rating: 2
I forgot to mention references. Scroll up, there's my proof. I love how he cries "omg windmills use energy" Honestly, a weak argument.

I can't argue with an idiot, he's got too much experience; I'd never win arguing with an idiot.


land use
By Screwballl on 7/18/2008 3:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
at least they're putting the unused land to use... since it is not much good for anything else... maybe also add some solar to the land below and double the power output??




RE: land use
By teckytech9 on 7/19/2008 6:19:36 PM , Rating: 2
Better yet, also include a location that is ontop of a well-known geothermal hotspot. Call the complex a combined renewable energy power station (wind-solar-geothermal). This would make the best use of the land to generate power, as one could supplant or extenuate the other based on daily weather conditions.

Clearly, with a wind only farm, there are added inefficiencies of land use. I'm all for an upgrade of the transmission lines which is the most important factor in delivering this power, without losing a big percentage of it in the process.
quote:
Land use planning is the term used for a branch of public policy which encompasses various disciplines which seek to order and regulate the use of land in an efficient and ethical way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_use_planning


Fusion power is the answer
By Darkk on 7/20/2008 12:47:32 PM , Rating: 2
I see money being thrown at wind power and nuclear power but what about fusion power?? Fusion will solve so many problems that are present in other power sources. Yes I know fusion is about 20-30 years away from actual commercial use but if we spend more money on it maybe they can bring it closer to reality faster say 10 years?




RE: Fusion power is the answer
By andrinoaa on 7/21/2008 4:09:47 AM , Rating: 2
After 50 odd years and untold wealth spent on Fision, what makes you think Fusion will be any better? Its all VAPOURWARE. What makes you think it won't have its own problems anyway? Just remember, its not working as of 21/07/08. When it is shown to work without problems, I will change my tune, but until...just call me Thomas.
We need to work on right here, right now.


West Texas Saying
By Mclendo06 on 7/18/2008 4:26:56 PM , Rating: 3
So a northerner was passing through West Texas on a long drive and stopped at a small town for gas and for a rest from his battle to keep from being blown off the road. As he stepped out of his car, he asked the attendant, "Does the wind always blow this way in West Texas?" The attendant smirked and replied in his drawn-out West Texas drawl, "No sir, sometimes it blows the other way."




Here's a revolutionary idea.....
By eickst on 7/18/2008 7:42:03 PM , Rating: 3
How about we put solar panels on the ground next to all of these freaking wind stations? Seems like an ideal use of space to me and the transmission lines are already in place...

Am I missing something?




A little fact checking is needed
By JustTom on 7/19/2008 1:19:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And Texas needs it -- Texans consume the most energy in the country, both per capita and as a whole.


Um, no. Texas does lead in total consumption of energy but Alaska is way ahead per capita. Texas is 5th, after Alaska, Wyoming, Louisiana, and North Dakota.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/states/sep_sum/plain_h...




Daaaamn.
By Xenoterranos on 7/19/2008 1:58:44 AM , Rating: 2
That's almost enough juice to send FOUR DeLoreans careening through time!




By LemonJoose on 7/19/2008 6:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's not really a bad use of land, because Texas has plenty of open space, and there's no reason that the land can't be used for raising crops or livestock at the same time it's generating wind energy.




Hardly double the cost...
By Karandar on 7/20/2008 8:15:26 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone honestly believing that wind is twice the cost of coal or natural gas electrical generation these days is misinformed. That statement was pretty close 24 months ago. ALL energy - Coal, nat gas, oil, and Uranium has all at minimum doubled over the last 12 months. and that is up 50% plus from the year before that.

Up in oil & gas blessed Alberta Canada, we are also our countries largest wind producer. We also have over 9000Mw of additional applications for more wind production. Our biggest independent energy provider guarantee's that for 100.00 per year, all my power consumption equivalent will be produced by renewables like wind. A far cry from double...




By rockhopper on 7/22/2008 2:13:45 PM , Rating: 2
Texans have always been leaders in the hot air department.




By phxfreddy on 7/19/2008 10:07:16 PM , Rating: 1
So Texas is the backward state whilst you can't build a wind mill off of Martha's Vinyard because Teddy K. doesn't want his view spoiled.

Same old liberal crap. Different day.




OPINIONATED CRAP FROM DT AGAIN!
By JonnyDough on 7/18/08, Rating: -1
RE: OPINIONATED CRAP FROM DT AGAIN!
By masher2 (blog) on 7/19/2008 11:28:44 AM , Rating: 1
Why should Texans lower their standard of living to please you?


RE: OPINIONATED CRAP FROM DT AGAIN!
By andrinoaa on 7/20/2008 9:19:53 AM , Rating: 2
Me thinks you make just as many assumptions as the person you just criticised. ie you have to lower your standard of living to use renewables.


RE: OPINIONATED CRAP FROM DT AGAIN!
By weskurtz0081 on 7/22/2008 2:01:35 AM , Rating: 2
I think you have a hard time comprehending written English.

He didn't say you had to lower your standard of living to use renewable energy, he said to use less energy would lower your standard of living. IE, if the technology existed today (more efficient), at a competitive price, then it would be lowering your standard of living. But, to use less energy right now would mean to do just that.....


RE: OPINIONATED CRAP FROM DT AGAIN!
By andrinoaa on 7/22/2008 3:29:46 AM , Rating: 2
I miss interpreted? No, I went off on a tangent. Ok, so sometimes the brain is working in two speeds. What you just said sounds like Rumsfeld speak. I think you need to re read what you just wrote. You must have been in a hurry like myself, I shall read more carefully, but
I think what he meant was that using renewables forced you to use less energy lowering your standard of living.

I don't think Its all that clear that you can totally equate energy use with standard of living
and I think you are under the misconception that to have a high standard of living you need to have a lot of spare energy to waste
eg Is eating a good size meal a high standard of living or is supersizing a better standard? I wouldn't equate dying early to be a very good standard.
Hense, assumptions and generalizations.


By weskurtz0081 on 7/22/2008 11:42:52 AM , Rating: 2
Rumsfeld? Where did that connection come from?

I did go back over what was typed, and still view it the same way.

Guy A says, you shouldn't produce more, you should use less.

Guy B says, why should I lower my living standard because you want me to?

It seems to me that guy be thinks that using less energy would be lowering your standard of living.

I never said I agreed or disagreed with what he said, I simply said that I thought you misunderstood his post and attempted to clarify it for you.

As far as the rest of your post, I am not going to argue the semantics about the standard of living in comparison to energy usage, I don't really care.


RE: OPINIONATED CRAP FROM DT AGAIN!
By JonnyDough on 7/22/2008 5:51:52 PM , Rating: 2
You ALL misinterpreted. What I was saying is that it was the article author's opinion that Texas needs "mo powa!"

As such he should leave it out of a NEWS BRIEF. I was sarcastically playing Devil's advocate when I wrote that it was my opinion that they should use less. My actual opinion is that they should all Texan's should die and be eaten by buzzards...

Apparently DT readers are not American, because if they were then I would hope that they would understand sarcasm and debate, and be able to pick out the true point of what is being said instead of arguing over semantics.


By JonnyDough on 7/22/2008 5:53:42 PM , Rating: 2
Nevermind anyway, once again Jason Mick's story got moved to the blog section. It wasn't originally posted there. He just can't keep his elementary opinions out of his stories.


RE: OPINIONATED CRAP FROM DT AGAIN!
By weskurtz0081 on 7/22/2008 9:31:49 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't talking about what you said... I was clearly responding to what masher2 said. Jease, why is everyone so confused?


By andrinoaa on 7/23/2008 2:17:31 AM , Rating: 2
Rumsfeld: "the things I don't know I don't know" is how I read your posting. never mind, it obviously wasn't an important point anyway ( more sarcasm ) I guess we both stuffed up.


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