backtop


Print 133 comment(s) - last by randomly.. on Sep 29 at 3:32 PM


Pelamis Wave Power Limited, based in Scotland, manufacturers 750 kW wave generators, pictured here during a test deployment. Their first commercial plant, located off the coast of Portugal, just opened, ushering in a new era of wave power.  (Source: Pelamis Wave Power Limited)

The PWEC generators undergo construction at a dock in Portugal.  (Source: Pelamis Wave Power Limited)

The finished generators are now active, providing 2.25 MW of power to Portugal, at a modest price tag of $13.1M USD.  (Source: Pelamis Wave Power Limited)
New "sea snake" wave plant will carry a price tag of around $13.1M USD and will generate 2.25 MW

With the rush of alternative energy interest, initial enthusiasm has been directed largely towards wind and solar power, while other more exotic forms were left unnoticed.  All of that is starting to change though, with alternative alternative energy finally being looked at in depth.  Google has taken the lead in exploring non-conventional energy sources, championing geothermal power and tidal power.

And now another piece of major good news for non-mainstream alternative energy.  The world's first wave power plant opened this week, off the coast of Portugal.  The new plant cost only $13.1M USD to deploy, but will offer a capacity of around 2.25 MW.  This already beats current solar offerings, for example its over twice as efficient as the Oregon Road project which is creating 104 kW for $1.3M USD.

The most promising part about the new plant is that its potential is largely untapped.  While solar has seen years of refinement, interest in wave power is just picking up.  This should help it be a competitive alternative to nuclear power in the near future, allowing for a variety of options.

The heart of the new plant is Pelamis Wave Energy Converters (PWEC).  Designed by Pelamis Wave Power Limited, a Scottish engineering firm, these converters sit three milles off the coast of Agucadoura in north Portugal and provide power 24-7.  Each converter has a modest output of 750 kW, and together three compose the 2.25 MW plant. 

A second phase of the plant, contingent upon its success, is planned, which will expand the plant with 25 additional reactors, bringing the capacity to 21 MW.  This would be enough energy to power 15,000 homes.  The project is a joint venture between a Babcock and Brown Ltd., a global specialist asset manager, Energias de Portugal (EDP),Portuguese energy group EFACEC, and Pelamis Wave Power Limited.

The new generators were named after the sea snake Pelamis.  They measure 3.5 m in diameter and are 140 m long.  They float partiall submerged on the ocean's surface.  Babcock and Brown's Anthony Kennaway explains the operation of the PWEC stating, "Effectively what you have is four long sections making up one machine. Between those sections are three small generating motors.  The four sections are all joined by hydraulic rams. As the waves run through the machine it pushes the rams in and out. The action of the rams going to-and-fro pushes hydraulic fluid into a high pressure reservoir. That high pressure reservoir then releases the fluid at a steady rate through a generating motor."

Much of the project's costs are not in the generators themselves, but in the undersea cable, which links the generators' output to a substation on shore, which then converts it into usable electricity and puts it on Portugal's grid.

Like solar cells, wave power is reliant on the weather.  However, it should be a steadier power source, producing power even at night.  Over a year, its expected to average around 20-40 percent of its peak capacity.  According to the plant owners, once the 25 additional generators are in place, a savings of 60,000 tons of CO2 yearly will be gained.  British scientists say that wide adoption of wave power could save 1-2 billion tons of CO2 yearly.

Ian Fells, emeritus professor of energy conversion at Newcastle University, UK says the new project is exciting, but he warns of one possible pitfall.  He states, "It's extraordinarily difficult to design a machine that will cope with the extreme violence of waves. Some wave machines are under the surface all the time -- but they are not as well developed as yet. Pelamis lies in the surface and it remains to be seen how successful it will be.  It's extraordinarily difficult to design a machine that will cope with the extreme violence of waves. Some wave machines are under the surface all the time -- but they are not as well developed as yet. Pelamis lies in the surface and it remains to be seen how successful it will be."

While affordable, challenges to wave power remain.  As Professor Fells raises, there's the issue of longevity and survival in extreme storms.  As the technology is very new, there's few reliable estimates on how long the best-designed wave generators could operate.  Further, it would take over 6,500 of the generators to equal the output of one nuclear power plant.  This would yield a cost of $21B USD, which does not compare favorably with construction cost of equivalent output modern nuclear plants, which typically run around $6 to $8B USD.

Still, as the tech is developed more, capacities should increase, endurance improve, and costs drop.  The future is looking bright for wave power. 


Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

As usual, it boils down to cost
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2008 11:01:43 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
The new plant cost only $13.1M USD to deploy, but will offer a capacity of around 2.25 MW. This already beats current solar offerings
At almost $6 per installed watt, it certainly beats solar. It is, however, about 2-3 times more expensive than clean-coal or nuclear technologies. And given the record of tidal power generators which experience less stress than these wave generators -- I'll bet anything the operating & maintenance costs are going to be much higher as well.




RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 9/24/2008 11:15:58 AM , Rating: 3
I don't think they are doing the math on this correctly.

It is $13.5M to deploy these first three, but how much can be saved by consolidating the cables to shore? Most of the cost is in the cable and the shore plant.

I am presuming, anyway, that as you aggregate these things, the costs start to drop off to the point where another unit becomes nominal.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2008 11:43:22 AM , Rating: 2
Twice the output means twice the cable capacity required. Furthermore, these generators can't be sited right on top of each other; they have to be spread out over a substantial rea. So you might save a little from aggregation, but not much. There's a large amount of resources involved in building these massive pontoons...I don't see the costs ever getting to the point of "nominal".


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By 67STANG on 9/24/2008 1:45:34 PM , Rating: 3
For once, I agree with masher on a renewable power issue. The cost of $13,000,000.00 for 2.25MW is a horrible value.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By SiliconJon on 9/24/2008 2:46:00 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget about maintenance and operation cost savings, and externalities such as the security and cleanliness. The cost to build a nuclear reactor completely ignores the cost to run it and then deal with that, oh just so slightly toxic, nuclear waste. What does that cost in immediate dollars alone?

Durability is important, though...hopefully this thing doesn't de-lego itself during every major oceanic event across it.

Let us also not forget this is essentially an R&D prototype which is always outside the production possibilities curve due to its immense initial development & deployment cost.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By FITCamaro on 9/24/2008 3:13:28 PM , Rating: 5
You don't think these things are going to require maintenance? The ocean is not a technology friendly place. Seaweed can drift in. Algae can grow. And you still need people monitoring the output at the point where all the cable connect to the grid.

The cost to run a nuclear power plant in terms of staff shouldn't be much more than that of a coal plant. You need some extra security and nuclear engineers. And the waste is a non-issue if modern reactors are used and reprocessing is used. We need to break this state of perpetual fear around nuclear power and all it to be all it can be. I mean c'mon do you really want to let the French keep showing us up in the realm of energy production? They're not afraid of the massive use of nuclear power. Why should we be?


By Oregonian2 on 9/24/2008 5:29:43 PM , Rating: 2
They're also mechanical with moving parts sitting in salt water (unlike the solar installation compared to that's right on an interstate highway in terms of access if needed). Long term maintenance costs may be higher. Wonder if there's any problems of ships running into them or things like that.


By Indianapolis on 9/25/2008 1:42:46 AM , Rating: 4
Don't forget about barnacles!


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By Samus on 9/25/2008 6:01:12 AM , Rating: 3
As with all other forms of hydroelectric power, maintenance costs will be substantial. In the 70's Jamaica switched from a very productive hydroelectric grid to coal, and even with soaring costs, has still saved compared to hydroelectric. It would fail constantly causing power outages, and it was especially unreliable during stormy season.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By willssi on 9/24/2008 6:33:51 PM , Rating: 2
Twice the output doesn't necessarily mean twice the cable capacity, especially if they planned additional generators.

As for the resources involved; a few miles of cable and a substation are actually not bad. Gas / oil pipelines are very unwieldy, requiring thousands of miles of pipe and intermittent pump stations. It's unfair to deride these new technologies for their cost or logistics and ignore all the resources that were sunk into infrastructure for current generation energy.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 6:53:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's unfair to deride these new technologies for their cost or logistics and ignore all the resources that were sunk into infrastructure for current generation energy.

Its completely fair to do so. Lets face it - concrete, steel, copper, and cables are not scarce resources. They are a plenty today, and will be a plenty tomorrow. Therefore, cost, logistics, output, and efficiency should be the only thing that matters when comparing energy sources.


By farsawoos on 9/25/2008 10:51:08 AM , Rating: 3
Hey guys and gals!

I'm just throwing this out as food for thought. More than a few people seem to - understandably - stick to the idea that because of the sheer vastness of current building materials (as someone said, copper, concrete, etc.), our analysis of new and generally undeveloped energy technologies *should* be based solely on the cost of construction, general efficiency, and what basically amounts of a Return on Investment.

But one caveat I would give to this mentality is that it is often very narrow; narrow here is not synonomous with "shallow." If one gets hung up entirely on the ROI of a technology, or any product for that matter, then one loses the ability to see what opportunities the simple construction, or time invested in research, can afford. Sometimes it isn't the finished product that matters, it's the technologies and science learned in the *making* of that product that have the greatest impact on things in the long-term.

There are a lot of valid concerns here, and I certainly raise the question of the long-term effectiveness of such a system. I do, however, like to keep in mind for myself just how badly we as a race need progress in this field. Even if our supplies of concrete and copper and other precious metals and materials were literally infinite - which they, despite their vastness, are most certainly not - why is that an excuse to sit on our haunches and continue depending on them? It's just like fossil fuels; the fact they're running out now, at this point in our history, is irrelevant. Even if our fossil fuel supplies were infinite, we would still have no excuse not to try to advance to the next better, cleaner, cheaper energy source.

Just my $.02, before inflation makes it completely worthless. :D


By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2008 7:30:31 PM , Rating: 2
> "Twice the output doesn't necessarily mean twice the cable capacity"

Of course it does, if that cable is connected to generators in the same area (and thus with their output in sync). Furthermore, cabling laid in a harsh undersea environment has much higher maintenance costs than one on dry land.

> "Gas / oil pipelines are very unwieldy, requiring thousands of miles of pipe "

The primary difference is that a pipeline -- or a power cable from a coal or nuclear plant -- can run at close to 100% capacity continually. A cable from an intermittent source like solar, wind, or tidal power has to be sized to carry peak capacity, but most of the time is only carring 20-40% of that load.

That's why programs like the Pickens Plan would require tens of billions of dollars for new power lines, even excluding the (much larger) cost of the wind turbines themselves.


By MonkeyPaw on 9/24/2008 10:26:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
a few miles of cable and a substation are actually not bad.


Actually, a few miles of cable can become rather expensive. To give you a frame of reference, in terrestrial power line construction, it costs about 10 times more to build a distribution line underground as opposed to overhead. Much of that cost is in the cable itself. Most new overhead construction uses aluminum conductor with a steel center. Underground conductor is a heavily insulated and shielded cable, typically all-copper. Just looking at a cross-section of each type will give you an idea of the differences in cost. Sea cable is probably even more expensive than underground conductor, as it not only has to be shielded, but it also has to be resistant to the abuse of sea water and tides. Depending on how much cable is needed, these lines can get expensive. I'm sure installation isn't exactly a snap, either.

However, the cost of the facility's substation is moot, as all generating facilities typically have a substation to step up voltages to transmission levels in order to get the electricity to the demand efficiently. The larger the capacity of the generating plant, the larger the substation. One of these plants would require a relatively small sub, so this cost may not be that bad. However, you might need several small subs in an area to create a viable amount of MW.


By randomly on 9/27/2008 2:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
Twice the cable capacity does not imply twice the cost though. A large fraction of the cost is in laying the cable, not the cost of the cable itself. Also a cable with twice the capacity is not necessarily twice as expensive per foot.

Clearly this particular implementation is not economically feasible, but like early wind power and solar installations it will be a valuable learning tool of a real world implementation.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By ArcliteHawaii on 9/24/2008 8:17:47 PM , Rating: 2
Also, I'd like to point out that economies of scale come into effect as mass production is implemented. They cost $13m now (I'm assuming hand made), but how much when they're making them by the 1000s in huge automated factories?


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By Ringold on 9/24/2008 8:26:21 PM , Rating: 2
I have to be a little incredulous about this. Boats are still fairly expensive, and are massed produced. Aircraft are generally mass produced, but still very expensive. I think the light aircraft market is the model I think wave power would end up at. Somewhat mass produced, but still large enough and complicated enough that prices never approach what one would otherwise think. C172? 200k. Mid-size sedan? 30k. Thousands are made of one, millions of the other. One has to deal with an extreme variation in environments safely, the other has to merely survive the summer-winter transition close to sea-level.

Surely they'll become cheaper, but don't look for the mythical "economies of scale" to save the day in every situation. The scale required can be large, and maintenance can't be scaled away.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2008 10:06:49 PM , Rating: 3
> " don't look for the mythical "economies of scale" to save the day in every situation"

That's what so many people have a hard time understanding about alternative energy. Economies of scale only result in large price drops when one-time costs (R&D, setup, die fabrication, etc) are large compared to the recurring costs. When that's not true, it doesn't matter how many widgets you build-- they just don't get magically cheaper.

In fact, when you're building something like wind turbines that use a large percentage of available resources (e.g. steel, concrete, copper) large-scale implementation can actually lead to higher prices, not lower. The greater demand causes increases in the underlying prices of those raw materials.

Now, large-scale operations may bring more money into research, which may ultimately lead to cheaper manufacturing processes. That's not "economies of scale", but the end result can be the same. The problem here, though, is two-fold. First, you can't automatically assume such innovations will come to pass. Secondly, some technologies have little room for further improvements.

Solar PV panels, for instance, can theoretically be made much cheaper than they are now. It's difficult to predict if and when it will happen-- but the upside potential exists. Wind turbines, on the other hand, are about as mature as they can get. Prices for wind power have actually been rising recently-- and will likely continue to do so. Barring advances which will lower world steel prices (or magically make composites an order of magnitude less expensive) there really isn't a lot we can do to make wind turbines cheaper.


By THEiNTERNETS on 9/24/2008 11:02:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Solar PV panels, for instance, can theoretically be made much cheaper than they are now. It's difficult to predict if and when it will happen-- but the upside potential exists.


Asher on a rarely indulgent day! I do declare I thought you had all but given up on solar. :)

Of course, I'm always heartened by your steadfast defense of nuclear power on this site because you are in the right and there is an unfounded reactionary fear to nuclear solutions, which for the short term at least, are desperately needed more so than more elaborate energy alternatives.

However, as I've said before, I have been witness to several in the scientific community who are beginning to scale up cheap material and manufacturing processes for solar energy, and I can assure you that the traditional limitations of silicon panels as we know them today are already beginning to unravel.

This is not a revolution of immediate results, but in the next couple of years dramatic advances due to the coupling of nano-scale structural techniques on surface of the collectors in combination with further advances in organic solvents will be the first one-two punch to solar's problems: efficiency and cost.

While storage will remain an issue until nano-scale solutions begin to be more feasible for "ultracapacitors" and so on, the changes in manufacturing the panels may render these concerns less serious. Drastically reduced manufacturing prices are already becoming possible through increased reliance on organic compounds for both materials and manufacturing; the cost difference could be a factor of 100s or more as these develop. With such advances, panels for every home is not a pipe-dream to be reinforced with economic subsidizing but rather a more cost effective approach than the relying fully (or even at all) on the grid.

Given the rate at which research on these new techniques is progressing, solar independence from the grid could become the norm within our lifetimes.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By nah on 9/25/2008 4:02:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Now, large-scale operations may bring more money into research, which may ultimately lead to cheaper manufacturing processes. That's not "economies of scale", but the end result can be the same.


This is not correct--R&D is part of economies of scale--it falls under internal economies--look up any good textbook--as wikipedia is obviously biased towards economists ;)

quote:
In fact, when you're building something like wind turbines that use a large percentage of available resources (e.g. steel, concrete, copper) large-scale implementation can actually lead to higher prices, not lower. The greater demand causes increases in the underlying prices of those raw materials.


Believe it or not--there is actually a term for these--it's called diseconomies of scale


By masher2 (blog) on 9/25/2008 11:11:06 AM , Rating: 2
> "This is not correct--R&D is part of economies of scale--it falls under internal economies"

Actually what I was referring to would be, in most textbooks, an "external technical economy of scale". The entire industry grows in size, leading to more investment in R&D as a whole, as opposed to the internal economy of simply developing better processes or using better machinery.

However, my post was directed towards non-economists. The idea that industries like wind power will greatly benefit from economies of scale isn't borne out by the data.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By Starcub on 9/25/2008 2:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In fact, when you're building something like wind turbines that use a large percentage of available resources (e.g. steel, concrete, copper) large-scale implementation can actually lead to higher prices, not lower. The greater demand causes increases in the underlying prices of those raw materials.

Materials costs are only one aspect of economies of scale. Developer led efforts to construct large scale wind farms have benefitted from economies of scale in the UK already and probably do in the US as well:

https://www.lcd.state.or.us/ENERGY/RENEW/Wind/OWWG...


By Amiga500 on 9/24/2008 11:24:02 AM , Rating: 2
To be fair, for something in a relative infancy, 3 times the cost is not too bad.

Obviously it is no-where near as effective as nuclear for wide-spread introduction. But for what is essentially a prototype/pilot program, it is not too bad. Certainly better than the while elephants that are wind and solar.

I'm still firmly in the camp of using nuclear fission to power us until fusion, but credit where it is due, this wave effort isn't too bad.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By swizeus on 9/24/2008 11:35:35 AM , Rating: 2
Just wonder, why everybody never put maintenance cost in the long term and the worst case scenarios ever be.

So, okay, i do agree building large nuclear reactor in each country will end energy crisis but nuclear is hazardous. What if it leaks ? How much money should the company spent to recover it, if it can be recovered. How much a wave generator costs in maintenance ?


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2008 11:57:49 AM , Rating: 2
> "What if it leaks ?"

What if it does? You go in and clean it up. Nuclear waste is less hazardous than quite a few toxic industrial chemicals we deal with on a daily basis.

Furthermore, given the US has operated over a hundred commercial and military nuclear reactors for over half a century without a single radiological death or illness, the risk is obviously very low. Far lower than wind or solar power, in fact, in termsl of total fatalities.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By fibreoptik on 9/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 1:05:11 PM , Rating: 5
Lets see, 442 nuclear plants in 32 countries, operating for over 10,000 reactor years has only accumulated 28 deaths - all from the Chernobyl accident.

The building of the Gran Coulee Dam on the Columbia River System amassed 75 deaths.

Go ahead - you do the math in regards to nuclear safety.

quote:
can you please explain to us what we should do with all the nuclear waste that all these new reactors will produce?

What is "all the nuclear waste"? Considering new reactors reprocess 97% of the fuel, it shows you have no clue what you're talking about. The rest of the 3% would take up less space than a small bathtub after a few years.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By FITCamaro on 9/24/2008 1:19:58 PM , Rating: 5
Next he's going to try to say "What about the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of Japanese who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki!?!?"

To which we'll counter "What does that have to do with nuclear power?"

Next he'll go into some diatribe about how evil nuclear power still is because what if the plants exploded.

To which we'll say that can't even happen.

And it will continue. So hopefully I've staved off a lot of wasted time of listening to his gibberish that makes normal people's brains hurt.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By Rodinx on 9/24/08, Rating: -1
By brickd007 on 9/24/2008 2:47:39 PM , Rating: 5
Facts are pretty funny. They crack me up too.


By MatthiasF on 9/24/2008 4:43:39 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, anyone who shares an opinion with someone else is their fan. Do you villianize everyone with even the slightest difference in opinion from you?

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, we're willing to make a massive investment into unproven technologies that will most certainly adversely affect a large portion of the planet's surface (massive wind, solar and tidal farms taking up space and adjusting the weather around them) yet won't accept the slight risk that a relatively tiny plant that provides more power per square food and per dollar spent because of the superstitious fear of something horrible going wrong.

A position doubly as hypocritical when the prevalent form of energy generation (coal) produces significantly more radiation (not hundreds, not thousands, but hundreds of thousands of times more) on a constant basis and that other nations (France, a nation most Americans regard as pansies) have relied almost solely on nuclear energy for the more than 50 years.

With French companies buying nuclear plants in Britain and even here in Maryland recently, perhaps they should try a new marketing slogan.

Grow quelques balles. Aller nucléaire!


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By ATWindsor on 9/24/2008 4:10:19 PM , Rating: 2
While i agree the danger of nuclear power is highly overrated, and that nuclear is a wise way to produce elctricity, your comparison is a bit unfair, you are comparing accidents when the plants are running vs accidents while building. There is no chance in hell nobody has died during construction work of a Nuclear Power Plant. (probably far more than accidents whle they are running)


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By Ringold on 9/24/2008 8:19:07 PM , Rating: 1
Um, construction is construction. Everything must be constructed. Beyond that, all things require resources to be constructed with that had to be extracted from the ground, and mining isn't exactly the safest job on Earth either. Not sure the relevance of how many are killed building something, thats fairly universal.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By ATWindsor on 9/25/2008 1:40:17 AM , Rating: 2
The relevance ist that he is comparing deaths from accidents during operation, to construction. He is indicating that total death toll from nuclear is less than that from a single hydrooelectric powerplant, wich is not true if you actor in deaths from construction (wich he did with the hydro-plant), eithet keep constructions deaths out of both types or include them in both types, or you are comparing apples and oranges.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By Amiga500 on 9/25/2008 4:18:40 AM , Rating: 2
OK, go google the Banqiao Dam failure of 1975.

I think nuclear wins by between 25,000 (conservative) and a quarter of a million.


By ATWindsor on 9/25/2008 10:38:33 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the tip, although I'm already aware of that event, but not at least there is an apples to apples comparison. People seem to forget tha accidents happen in all types of power-production. The fear against nuclear power is overblown compared to the consequences we have seen.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By nofranchise on 9/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By masher2 (blog) on 9/25/2008 4:55:53 PM , Rating: 3
> "The disaster had great consequences to animal and plantlife"

Wildlife Thrives inside Chernobyl Exclusion Zone:
quote:
Dense forests have reclaimed farm fields and apartment house courtyards. Residents, visitors and some biologists report seeing wildlife - including moose and lynx - rarely sighted in the rest of Europe. Birds even nest inside the cracked concrete sarcophagus shielding the shattered remains of the reactor...

Biologist Robert J. Baker of Texas Tech University was one of the first Western scientists to report that Chernobyl had become a wildlife haven ...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic...

> "thousands of people were struck with thyroid cancer.(I know it is treatable..."

It's not only extraordinarily treatable, it's preventable. Had the Soviet government simply conducted timely evacuations, and issued iodine pills to the townspeople around the reactor, those cases could have all been prevented. Instead, the government hushed up the accident-- people were fishing in the reactor's containment pond three **days** after the accident itself.

> "it is a bad idea to simply shrug the Chernobyl disaster off as inconsequential"

We're not shrugging it off as inconsequential. We're shrugging it off as both overblown and irrelevant. Far more people die each year from coal-related accidents and illnesses than were killed in the Chernobyl accident, an accident that couldn't possibly happen in the Western world. Yet it's being used as some sort of warning symbol for why we shouldn't continue to invest in nuclear power.


By nofranchise on 9/29/2008 4:56:17 AM , Rating: 2
As always your reaction is incredibly predictable.
Yes, yes. Poor nuclear. People are stupid. Yada yada yada.

If you think taking that stance will help you get more nuclear plants, knock yourself out.
As anybody with just a small knowledge of PR knows, the first step to winning the population over, is to admit you were wrong(even if you weren't) and then present the improvements.

It doesn't matter that the accident wasn't as bad as people think. Because that IS what the people think now. You can't change that with facts Masher. It's been over 20 years for God's sake!

But again. I know it is difficult being a Vulcan/android in this weird illogical world of ours. And I don't mind a little robotic despair being thrown at me. So please: Ridicule me and my views to your metallic hearts content. :)


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By tallcool1 on 9/24/2008 4:03:44 PM , Rating: 3
If you wanted to live in your dream world of only Wind and Solar power, do you have any idea how much real estate solar and wind farms would take up to provide enough power for everybody??? It is not an end all solution, you have got to have other means of power generation.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By nah on 9/25/2008 4:17:47 AM , Rating: 2

quote:
do you have any idea how much real estate solar and wind farms would take up to provide enough power for everybody???

http://www.ez2c.de/ml/solar_land_area/
Not even a million sq km of unused waste land-- in this case deserts


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By PlasmaBomb on 9/25/2008 11:29:21 AM , Rating: 2
That is over 8 times the amount of area covered by every highway, street, parking lot, building and solid structure in the 48 contiguous United States...

Yeah that will be cheap ;)


By masher2 (blog) on 9/25/2008 1:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
That also doesn't account for transmission, conversion, or energy storage losses. At current efficiency levels, that would more than triple the needed area.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By andyjary on 9/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 5:58:06 PM , Rating: 4
Seeing as how the Chernobyl design was rejected by the US even before it was built, then yes...you are just being liberal again.

Everyone knew that was a bad design, and poorly run.

10,000 reactor years, and outside of Chernobyl, no deaths. But hey, I'm sure there was an automobile out there that caused deaths due to a manufacturing defect that someone drove on, despite recall, without servicing. Maybe we ought to stop all automobiles too, right?


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By andyjary on 9/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By rcc on 9/25/2008 11:34:47 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, so here is one of "REST OF THE WORLD" that thinks you are full of horse feathers and balloon juice. Please don't try to speak for us as a group, because regardless of content, you are wrong. In the opinion of someone, somewhere.

We like logic here, for the most part, feel free to come back and bring some. Simple diatribes and attacks on individuals are worthless.

IMNSHO, of course


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By BZDTemp on 9/24/2008 7:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
Outside of Chernobyl no deaths!

It may not be so obvious but there are statistical studies suggesting that just in the UK the number of children dying in their first year rose significantly in the first years after the disaster. And then there all the extra cancer victims, birth defects....

And that was just in the UK!

Radiation problems do not only come the plants and their waste - also the factories making the fuel are a big problem. For example the Sellafield plant in the UK managed to pollute the fish found in the waters of Norway!


By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2008 7:40:03 PM , Rating: 4
> "statistical studies suggesting that just in the UK the number of children dying in their first year rose significantly in the first years after the disaster"

Given that the dose outside the immediate area was far less than one would receive from a single transcontinental plane flight (from high-altitude cosmic rays) and even less than one would get from eating one extra banana a week (from the radioactive potassium-40 found naturally in bananas) any such conclusion is, of course, utter bunk.

Run 20 studies at the 5% confidence level and one will show a positive hit on **anything* you can think up. Wearing baseball caps backwards causes birth defects? Listening to reggae causes tooth decay? Chlorine in drinking water causes AIDS? Actually that last one will show up as a positive correlation in 19 out of 20 such studies. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to understand why.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By nah on 9/25/2008 4:10:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What if it does? You go in and clean it up

Not as easy as it sounds--
quote:
The amount of waste can be reduced in several ways, particularly reprocessing. Even so, the remaining waste will be substantially radioactive for at least 300 years even if the actinides are removed, and for up to thousands of years if the actinides are left in.[citation needed] Even with separation of all actinides, and using fast breeder reactors to destroy by transmutation some of the longer-lived non-actinides as well, the waste must be segregated from the environment for one to a few hundred years, and therefore this is properly categorized as a long-term problem. Subcritical reactors or fusion reactors could also reduce the time the waste has to be stored.[55] It has been argued that the best solution for the nuclear waste is above ground temporary storage since technology is rapidly changing. The current waste may well become a valuable resource in the future. France is one of the world's most densely populated countries. According to a 2007 story broadcast on 60 Minutes, nuclear power gives France the cleanest air of any industrialized country, and the cheapest electricity in all of Europe.[56] France reprocesses its nuclear waste to reduce its mass and make more energy.[57] However, the article continues, "Today we stock containers of waste because currently scientists don't know how to reduce or eliminate the toxicity, but maybe in 100 years perhaps scientists will ... Nuclear waste is an enormously difficult political problem which to date no country has solved. It is, in a sense, the Achilles heel of the nuclear industry ... If France is unable to solve this issue, says Mandil, then 'I do not see how we can continue our nuclear program.'"[ 57] Further, reprocessing itself has its critics, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists.[58]


wiki on nuclear power--as usual


By masher2 (blog) on 9/25/2008 11:19:57 AM , Rating: 2
Quoting Wikipedia as an authority on any political hot-button subject is like quoting crazy Aunt Mabel. Let's take just a few of the points:

> "Even so, the remaining waste will be substantially radioactive for at least 300 years even if the actinides are removed"

Most industrial pollutants remain toxic forever. They never decay. The notion that nuclear is somehow "more" dangerous because of lengthy half-lives is flawed to the core.

> "Subcritical reactors or fusion reactors could also reduce the time the waste has to be stored"

We have reactor designs on the books that could entirely burn current high-level waste into a nonradioactive end product-- generating both energy and eliminating the problem. So far no government has seen interest in building them...partially because of anti-nuclear activists, but primarily because the risk from waste storage is already so insanely low that it doesn't make sense.

> "Today we stock containers of waste because currently scientists don't know how to reduce or eliminate the toxicity"

Sure we do. Remove the actinides, grind up the remainder, and disperse it in the ocean. Compared to the millions of tons of natural radioactive isotopes already found in the ocean, we could do this for millions of years and not appreciably affect background radiation levels.

Of course, simply storing it in the ground somewhere is an even easier and better idea. Sure, we can only say with 99.9999% certainty that none will leak in the next 10,000 years-- but so what? If it does, we go in and clean in it. No big deal.


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By iNGEN on 9/27/2008 1:21:28 PM , Rating: 2
That's not entirely true. Two DOE engineers died from radiation exposure and on Army Corp. Engineer died from heat exposure after accidentally opening a small experimental nuclear reactor while it was active. It happened during the Eisenhower Administration, but I forget the exact year. 1957 comes to mind. The details of the deaths were not released until the 1980s.

It's important to note, this was a maintenance accident that could not be repeated in a modern nuclear facility, and was the byproduct of failing to follow safety guidelines.


By randomly on 9/27/2008 5:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
To say that there have been no radiation related deaths or injuries during the operation of US reactors is a misleading statement.

That there have been no fatalities from reactor operations in the US is literally true. However there have been a number of criticality incidents resulting in fatalities, amputations, and radiation related illness in the US. These were mostly related to fuel reprocessing and/or fuel fabrication accidents. The rate of these incidents has diminished over the years with better processes, equipment, training etc. The most recent fuel processing criticaliy incident was in Japan in 1999 resulting in 2 deaths and 1 injury.

Since these are part of the process of running nuclear reactors they should be included under nuclear power related deaths.

However the number of people killed and injured is only a handful. Many more radiation related deaths result from lost radiography sources, radiotherapy accidents, and exposure to stolen sources. Historically there is much more danger to the public from radiography and medical sources than from reactors and fuel reprocessing which are more closely designed, monitored, and controlled.

One of the more interesting cases was in Ciudad Juarez where 400 curies of Cobalt-60 from a used medical teletherapy machine ended up scattered around in a scrap yard. Between 500-900 tons of contaminated steel ended up in the US, and was only discovered when a truck loaded with contaminated rebar took a wrong turn at Los Alamos labs in New Mexico and set off radiation sensors. The contaminated steel also ended up in a St. Louis table manufacturer. Radioactive tables ended up in 40 states with some recovered from restaurants. Mexico demolished 109 houses built with contaminated rebar. At least 10 people suffered significant exposures and one died of bone cancer.

Nuclear power does have risks and they need to be carefully dealt with. To white wash them is irresponsible. Can they be dealt with safely and effectively, I think so.

The advantages of Nuclear power though are very attractive. reliable 24/7 power at a reasonable cost, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and reduced generation of CO2 (which may or may not be important climate wise, the jury is still out on that one).

You keep referring to the number of Wind and solar power related fatalities, can you please site your sources on that info.


By kattanna on 9/24/2008 4:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
any word on how much they are receiving in government subsidies?


RE: As usual, it boils down to cost
By fxyefx on 9/24/2008 8:40:57 PM , Rating: 2
How do the costs of maintenance for these alternative energy sources compare to the costs of resources (coal, processing of nuclear material) plus maintenance for traditional power plants? Are your numbers assuming a specified period of operation?


Nuclear
By Hellfire27 on 9/24/2008 10:55:43 AM , Rating: 5
Why are we wasting time beating around the nuclear bush? None of these alternatives come even close to the power output of a nuclear power plant. And most are comparatively more expensive to reach an equivalency. In my opinion the only real promising alternative for the near future is geothermal power. The rest will take years and years to refine. Lets just pull the trigger on nuclear right now, until we can deploy better ways of harnessing power.




RE: Nuclear
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 11:04:25 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Lets just pull the trigger on nuclear right now, until we can deploy better ways of harnessing power.

Cmon Hellfire, you know that logic just makes too much sense. The environmentalists and animal activists are too concerned right now with trying to force Ben & Jerry's to make their ice cream with breast milk to worry about energy and national security.


RE: Nuclear
By sweetsauce on 9/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: Nuclear
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 11:23:25 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
How do you pull national security out of your ass in an article about alternative energies? Typical right wing tactic, every chance you get take a shot at the left.

In case you havent realized, energy has everything to do with national security. National Security does not just encompass the military.

And as for your rambling of "right wing tactic", I suggest you read up on own your left wing presidential candidate who's own website has a headline of "Energy Security is National Security".
http://www.dailytech.com/PostComment.aspx?newsid=1...


RE: Nuclear
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 11:24:41 AM , Rating: 4
RE: Nuclear
By sigilscience on 9/24/2008 11:37:19 AM , Rating: 1
From: "How do you pull national security out of your ass in an article about alternative energies?"

To:
"I suggest you read up on own your left wing presidential candidate who's own website has a headline of "Energy Security is National Security"."

Wow, talk about a body punch. Sweetsauce is down for the count!


RE: Nuclear
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 11:44:57 AM , Rating: 1
hehe. I thought so too.


RE: Nuclear
By fibreoptik on 9/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: Nuclear
By William Gaatjes on 9/27/2008 6:04:27 PM , Rating: 2
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

I like Ben & Jerry's icecream. Please tell me that it is a lie. I feel the need to vomit all the ben & Jerry's icecream i devoured 7 months ago up till last week. And that has been a lot !.

And to all the nuclear haters :
But i too say yay to modern nuclear power plants. Even though they won't build me an ADS or rubbiatron i am still dreaming about it. Nuclear is not that bad as it seems. When the proper rules and guidelines are inforced and regular random visit time inspections are made there is nothing to worry about.


Better reporting this time
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 11:12:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Further, it would take over 6,500 of the generators to equal the output of one nuclear power plant. This would yield a cost of $21B USD, which does not compare favorably with construction cost of equivalent output modern nuclear plants, which typically run around $6 to $8B USD.

I appreciate that this part was included in the story. Now, if only this part was included in all environmentalists & green energy pushers informational sites and pamphlets.




RE: Better reporting this time
By fibreoptik on 9/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: Better reporting this time
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 1:08:16 PM , Rating: 2
Sure why not? Build me a glass enclosure like France has and you can put whatever you want in there.


RE: Better reporting this time
By FITCamaro on 9/24/2008 1:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
Think of all those storage fees you'd rack up too!


RE: Better reporting this time
By Rhaido on 9/24/2008 2:48:39 PM , Rating: 2
Since you consistently refer to radioactive waste being a dealbreaker, please provide a link to a reputable agency telling us all how much unusable radioactive waste in kilograms is annually produced by an average plant. Thanks.


RE: Better reporting this time
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 2:52:25 PM , Rating: 2
The existing plants differ much from new designs. Go ahead and look up new designs...then tell me the year when we last built a nuclear plant.

Your argument is like complaining about the emissions of cars as if the only thing available is a 1980 Oldsmobile.


RE: Better reporting this time
By Rhaido on 9/24/2008 2:59:19 PM , Rating: 2
mdogs444, I am not sure if you are replying to me but my post was dotted lined and aimed at fibreoptik. Perhaps I should have addressed him/her by name.


RE: Better reporting this time
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 3:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
whoops - sorry Rhaido. I hit reply too soon - didnt notice which post you were replying to.

My fault, retract my statements :-)


RE: Better reporting this time
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2008 5:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
> "what to do with all that radioactive waste."

All what waste? Your average reactor generates a couple cubic meters of high-level waste a year...more than a million times less waste than a coal plant generates. That's why, even though environmentalists have barred the use of any permanent waste disposal site, we still don't have a problem in the US. Reactors simply store their waste on site...and could continue to do so if needed for the next several hundred years. The bulk is just so small.

Point of fact, if you live in a New England or Rocky Mountain state, you already have several thousand pounds of radioactive waste stored in your backyard...radioactive potassium, thorium, and even uranium left over from when Mother Nature made the planet. Radon-- the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers- is one of the primary health risks from this natural "waste".

Another point of fact, coal power plants release far more radioactivity into the environment than do nuclear plants...all from the radioactive elements found naturally within coal.


RE: Better reporting this time
By oab on 9/24/2008 6:18:06 PM , Rating: 2
I must remember to use that next time the Greenpeace greenies come recruiting on campus again.

I love science.

New this week: Wind farms are killing bats. The low-pressure areas created near the wingtips of the spinning turbines cause the blood vessels inside bats lungs to literally explode. This only occurs with *new* wind farms, old ones which were lower to the ground did not have this problem.

Radioactive waste that is not re-used can be dumped into the ocean because the radiation it emits is so small compared to the background radiation that exists already that it won't make any difference, and it is so cold down there you don't need to worry about cold water circulation tanks.

Solar plants because they require such large acreage to get any real wattage destroys environments on the same scale as strip-mining (in terms of surface area).


True cost of nuclear power
By jiminmpls on 9/25/2008 10:07:04 AM , Rating: 2
You people are incredibly ignorant on the cost of a new nuclear power plant. Current bids are the $12-18 billion range in "overnight" costs - meaning the cost of financing is not included. Then you have to add the average 300% cost overun to the proposed price.

Fuel costs are another problem. Uranium pricing has doubled since 2006 and 2017 contract prices are already five times higher than the current price.

Finally, 92% of the fuel for civilian nuclear power plants is imported.




RE: True cost of nuclear power
By Xavitar on 9/27/2008 11:49:09 PM , Rating: 2
Somebody's been drinking the greenfleece Kool-Aid.

quote:
You people are incredibly ignorant on the cost of a new nuclear power plant. Current bids are the $12-18 billion range in "overnight" costs - meaning the cost of financing is not included.

I am having trouble finding anything to back this claim up. Westinghouse claims an installed cost on their new reactors of USD $1,000 per kWh. They were originally $1,400 per kWh, but China was kind enough to eat the design overhead on 4 new reactors and the cost has since come down.

The way you phrased your statement, it would appear that your astronomical figure of $12 Billion does not include cost overruns. This figure is completely out of line with the actual costs experienced by countries that have installed recent, standardized reactors. Even if you allow for cost overruns due to the awful regulatory hoops that the nuclear industry in the United States must jump through, your figure of $12 Billion is roughly 20% more than the highest installed cost for a plant that I can find by extrapolating the cost of anti-nuclear loopholes from past nuclear installations in the United States and allowing for inflation.

All that being said, the cost of doing business in nuclear is one that we will need to address if we are ever to get a new nuclear program off the ground in the United States. Standardizing our reactors around tested designs, like those offered from Westinghouse, and then streamlining the approval and inspection processes for such plants would be a huge step. Historically speaking, no two reactors in the US have ever been identical, and the wild design variations resulted in a lot of overhead with respect to approval and oversight. Among other things.

quote:
Fuel costs are another problem. Uranium pricing has doubled since 2006 and 2017 contract prices are already five times higher than the current price.

The cost of fuel is an almost negligible component in the cost of generating power from nuclear fission. It is roughly one third the cost of coal at current prices. If the cost of purchasing fuel ever exceeded the cost of reprocessing it, then all we would need to do is start a wide-scale reprocessing initiative using our cache of processed fuel. Our current stores of fuel, if reprocessed, could allow continuous operation for decades without ever purchasing uranium on the open market. In short, this portion of your argument is totally flawed.
quote:
Finally, 92% of the fuel for civilian nuclear power plants is imported.

Yep. Total cost: Roughly US $250 Million, or a little more than one half of one percent the cost of imported, foreign oil. Uranium imports are definitely a major source of dependence of foreign energy. By the way, Canada, Australia and Russian nuclear weapons are our primary sources of fuel. Oh, and the United States has lots of known uranium deposits that the enviroterrorists(tm) have blocked access to.

You mook.


RE: True cost of nuclear power
By randomly on 9/29/2008 3:32:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing the $18 billion dollar cost came from the 2008 Georgia Power Company contract with Westinghouse for the Vogtle facility. The cost was actually for two AP1000 1100Mw reactors and included $3 Billion for transmission line upgrades.

The more realistic cost for a single AP1000 reactor based on contracts in the US and China is around $7 Billion USD (not including financing) for an 1100 MW reactor.

That puts the cost per Kwh at around $6,500 per Kwh. That's more that 5 times more than the $1,000 USD per Kwh that Xavitar is quoting.
I'd be interested to know where you got your $1000 USD per Kwh numbers from?


Unintended consequences...
By Fnoob on 9/24/2008 10:41:59 AM , Rating: 4
So you are ripping along at 50knots in your multi-million dollar yacht... who would have thought there would be speed bumps in the ocean? Someone is going to spill a martini or two because of this.




20-40%?
By SoCalBoomer on 9/24/2008 2:06:56 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Over a year, its expected to average around 20-40 percent of its peak capacity.


This is 20-40% of 2.25MW? that's 450KW-900KW.

Isn't that a bit LOW. . . that should bring its cost/watt way up, no?




Competitor of nuclear?
By Comdrpopnfresh on 9/24/2008 10:26:53 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think a 25MW plant can compete with nuclear power plant




RE: Competitor of nuclear?
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2008 10:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
It's actually a 2.25 MW plant. And when one calculates in it's in its CF (capacity factor: the percentage of power it averages compared to peak), it actually works out to be only around a 700 kilo watt plant.


That's a HUGE snake!
By Sunrise089 on 9/24/2008 12:52:59 PM , Rating: 2
"The new generators were named after the sea snake Pelamis. They measure 3.5 m in diameter and are 140 m long."

That's like the biggest snake ever :)




RE: That's a HUGE snake!
By FITCamaro on 9/24/2008 1:16:38 PM , Rating: 1
I've got one bigger. ;)

j/k


By SilthDraeth on 9/24/2008 10:54:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
He states, " It's extraordinarily difficult to design a machine that will cope with the extreme violence of waves. Some wave machines are under the surface all the time -- but they are not as well developed as yet. Pelamis lies in the surface and it remains to be seen how successful it will be. It's extraordinarily difficult to design a machine that will cope with the extreme violence of waves. Some wave machines are under the surface all the time -- but they are not as well developed as yet. Pelamis lies in the surface and it remains to be seen how successful it will be."




By Quantem on 9/24/2008 11:59:16 AM , Rating: 2
These snake generators are the future of natural environmental power for nations that can't do what the Icelanders do, and tap the infinite source of heat inside the Earth!

Tidal generators have massive environmental impact, and are very difficult to maintain; windmills are too variable, expensive, and unsightly.

Snakes can be decoupled and taken away individually for repair, and they aren't in anybody's way. The incremental unit cost will become minimal, and as the article stated, the snakepit to shore cabling is the major component anyway.

Nuclear is essential for now, too - so is anything that gets us off dependence on Arab oil - although until fusion comes along, the main cost of fission is hidden because it doesn't show up for 25 years - after which it costs for another 100,000.

The carbon issue is just another political boondoggle like freon. If there might be real a problem ahead, it will come from the 400 gigatons of methane in the Arctic tundra.




Google?
By Hare on 9/24/2008 12:00:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Google has taken the lead in exploring non-conventional energy sources, championing geothermal power and tidal power.

Geothermal power has been used for ages e.g. in Iceland (majority of power comes from thermal sources) and tidal power has also been researched for quite a long time. Google invest a lot of money but "lead" in researching alternative energy sources? I'd be curious to know exactly what Google does that makes them the leader. I have only seen a few concepts that won't definately be viable for ages due to cost per MW. They are funding a few startups but what else?




Proper positioning
By bobsmith1492 on 9/24/2008 12:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
They should place these around developed coastlines. They should reduce wave intensity which would reduce wear and tear on beaches or housing areas which should in turn reduce the amount of maintenance and dredging required.




By fezzik1620 on 9/24/2008 12:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ian Fells, emeritus professor of energy conversion at Newcastle University, UK says the new project is exciting, but he warns of one possible pitfall. He states, "It's extraordinarily difficult to design a machine that will cope with the extreme violence of waves. Some wave machines are under the surface all the time -- but they are not as well developed as yet. Pelamis lies in the surface and it remains to be seen how successful it will be. It's extraordinarily difficult to design a machine that will cope with the extreme violence of waves. Some wave machines are under the surface all the time -- but they are not as well developed as yet. Pelamis lies in the surface and it remains to be seen how successful it will be."

Emphasis added.
Mick, buddy, do us all a favor and proofread a little. I know you are all trying to get these articles out as fast as possible, but c'mon. In my observation you are consistently the worst offender on the DT team. Almost every article has some blatant mistake that could have been easily caught. But nice article otherwise.




It's not Agucadoura in the article
By V3ctorPT on 9/24/2008 2:54:14 PM , Rating: 2
It's Aguçadoura... but i believe that this "plant" is closer to Póvoa do Varzim, a small city near Aguçadoura... I'm portuguese, and this is one of the commitments of the Portuguese Government... heavily investing in renewable sources... As if someone remembers, they compromised to have a electric network ready by 2010 fot the electric cars... this weekend they already inaugurated 7 points of electric power to charge cars, in the capital (Lisbon). Guess they are really trying hard to become green...




Looking bright?
By srue on 9/24/2008 4:50:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The future is looking bright for wave power.


One might even say this technology is the wave of the future.




Wow!
By MrWho on 9/24/2008 5:33:23 PM , Rating: 2
It's refreshing to see good tech news mentioning Portugal twice in such a short time on DailyTech. I, for one, wouldn't believe it if someone said it to me a year ago!

Way to go, PT! \o/




comparison to nuclear
By Andy35W on 9/25/2008 2:02:39 AM , Rating: 2
Jason says

"This would yield a cost of $21B USD, which does not compare favorably with construction cost of equivalent output modern nuclear plants, which typically run around $6 to $8B USD"

Does that $6b to $8b include the decommissioning costs?
Does it also include the long term storage costs as well?

Regards

Andy




Uranium from coal vs nuclear
By ayat101 on 9/25/2008 7:01:26 AM , Rating: 2
Speaking of energy... can someone remember the discussion here from a few months back where links for figures on the amount of uranium released from coal were posted? The point was that burning coal releases more radioactivity than was contained in US nuclear reactors, by a large factor. I know it is not exactly on topic, but related... and I need the info for another discussion. Thanks.




A better idea
By cokbun on 9/26/2008 2:20:47 AM , Rating: 2
A device is being made to increase fuel efficiency by 20 %. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-09/tu-... it's supposed to work on all combustion engines.




Initial premis
By andrinoaa on 9/24/2008 5:18:47 PM , Rating: 1
I don't want to get into nuclear vrs alternatives today. Masher2, if you want to keep posting to your fan club, fine, just don't expect any respect because you are starting to shrill.




Does it kill whales?
By Bateluer on 9/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: Does it kill whales?
By Hieyeck on 9/24/2008 10:46:09 AM , Rating: 4
Welcome to tree-hugger hypocrisy.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By JasonMick (blog) on 9/24/2008 10:47:07 AM , Rating: 4
I'm sure someone asked that, but its not going to kill any whales. The thing doesn't move -- it just sits there swaying up and down with the waves. Whales (and fish) are typically killed by collisions with ships traveling at high speeds over the sea.

Any whales killed by this had it coming from natural selection, you'd have to be pretty dumb by whale standards to run into an almost immobile object.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By xti on 9/24/2008 10:49:31 AM , Rating: 3
forgive my ignorance, but would something as large as a whale normally be that close to where these things are located?


RE: Does it kill whales?
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 10:58:32 AM , Rating: 3
Wales are known to come up into very shallow water close the shores to feed & give birth. Although, that depends on the type of whale.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By therealnickdanger on 9/24/2008 11:50:45 AM , Rating: 5
Wales is also known to be originally (and traditionally) a Celtic land and one of the Celtic nations, a distinct Welsh national identity emerged in the early fifth century, after the Roman withdrawal from Britain.

;-)


RE: Does it kill whales?
By jimbojimbo on 9/24/2008 11:25:47 AM , Rating: 2
That thing is 3 miles off the coast. Whales come much much closer to shore than that.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2008 11:07:22 AM , Rating: 2
Given the immense environmentalist outcry against tidal power stations, I think objections to wave power will not be long in coming.

In fact, I'll make you a bet that well before total global installed capacity of wave power hits even 1 GW (1/5 of what a single large nuclear site generates), we'll see objections to these stations from a number of different environmental organizations.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By JasonMick (blog) on 9/24/2008 11:16:25 AM , Rating: 3
Not all environmental protection groups are illogical. Many support tidal power and I'm sure will support this tech. I mean I don't know about every meaningless environmental lobby, but green bloggers LOVE tidal/wave power -- I see regularly glowing posts about it on their pages. I think these people are much more in touch with the pulse of the green movement, than some old board member with some environmental lobby.

Additionally many organizations such as the Sierra Club are so vast that they are virtually doomed to have some high-ranking members take some wild stances. While these may not reflect the opinions of the organization as a whole, these individuals try to represent them as such. Often times there's a lack of organization to stop this from happening. Thus for all the logical stands, these organizations get blasted for a few idiotic ones thanks to a couple of their high-ranking members with radical opinions.

Anyways, I look at alternative energy with optimism, not the pessimism you reference. It would be great if we can learn to exploit wind, nuclear, solar, geothermal, and wave power to their fullest as this will allow us to meet our ever expanding power needs. I believe level-headed members of environmental organizations will agree on this. I hope you agree as well.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 11:19:38 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
It would be great if we can learn to exploit wind, nuclear, solar, geothermal, and wave power to their fullest as this will allow us to meet our ever expanding power needs.


I think we both agree on this. However, I view these as something that should be more on a research scale, while expanding Coal and Nuclear right now for our needs. I just don't agree with using technology that provides little power and several times the cost for a so called "green movement", especially when peoples pocket books are already maxed out. From an economic perspective, they just don't make sense to push out into production yet.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By afkrotch on 9/24/08, Rating: -1
RE: Does it kill whales?
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 11:43:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Increase coal burning simply leads to buying more coal from other nations.


Where do you people come up with this stuff? I suggest you divert your attention to the IEA.

From the EIA: The United States has the world's largest known coal reserves, about 263.8 billion short tons. This is enough coal to last approximately 225 years at today's level of use.
http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/no...


RE: Does it kill whales?
By fibreoptik on 9/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: Does it kill whales?
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 12:57:19 PM , Rating: 2
Outside the fact that we can invest in "clean coal technology", and outside the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming (which isn't proven), its the most abundant form of energy materials that we have.

No, lets not use what we have, that works, and is cheap. Lets spend several times the amount, for several times less power!

Knob!!!


RE: Does it kill whales?
By UNCjigga on 9/24/2008 1:41:20 PM , Rating: 2
Nuclear > Coal

There, I said it. All the hicks in Appalachia and Pennsyltucky who refuse to acknowledge this fact be damned!!


RE: Does it kill whales?
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 1:54:19 PM , Rating: 2
Not arguing that point - but both are acceptable uses considering the amount of cheap coal that we have.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By tallcool1 on 9/24/2008 3:58:33 PM , Rating: 4
Nuclear > Natural Gas > Coal > Hydro > Geo Thermal > Oil > Tidal > Wind > Solar
(Others?)

That would be my preference in order, based on various factors such as costs, available fuel, real estate required, polution, enviromental impact, etc...

A combination of all complimenting each other though is the best solution. Taking a stance like "no coal plants at all" (I think Joe Biden mentioned that recently), is just plain ignorant considering the abundance of coal fuel supply available, just continue to work on making it cleaner, not ignore it.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By geddarkstorm on 9/24/2008 11:58:37 AM , Rating: 2
Change doesn't usually happen over night. It takes little increments, bit by bit. One has to start somewhere, so it is very good they are making little test projects like this.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By MozeeToby on 9/24/2008 2:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is you don't really learn anything new from a research scale project. The obstacles to these technologies are not making them work, they are implementation, construction, manufacturing, and maintanance issues.

There will come a time, maybe not any time soon, that we will need these technologies to be mature. If for no other reason than to improve American independence. Without pushing these technologies into production, we won't ever learn what we need to know about them.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By bobsmith1492 on 9/24/2008 11:53:11 AM , Rating: 2
We'll see if they still support it after the first massive storm destroys the thing releasing thousands of gallons of hydraulic fluid into the ocean...


RE: Does it kill whales?
By wookie1 on 9/24/2008 12:01:56 PM , Rating: 2
It only takes one radical group to launch the lawsuits to delay the installations. Even if 99% of the greenies really liked this source, the 1% is what blocks it. Of course, this 1% (probably more than 1% actually) is really a group of misanthropists and don't want humans to survive anyway.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By mattclary on 9/24/2008 1:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not all environmental protection groups are illogical.


Unfortunately, the vocal ones seem to get all the press and mind-share.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By Suntan on 9/24/2008 2:02:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, about the time it is discovered that the first of these things have a failure of a piston seal and pump a couple hundred gallons of hydraulic fliud out into the ocean.

Then some Enviros fly over and take a picture of the generators floating there, surrounded by a slick of oil... Won't take long after that.

-Suntan


RE: Does it kill whales?
By HinderedHindsight on 9/24/2008 2:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
Might you be confusing environmentalist groups with the animal rights groups? It's easy to understand how you might conflate the interests of the two groups, but an organization like Greenpeace typically advocates various hydro based means of energy production. I believe they have advocated tidal energy projects in the UK and India.

This is of course providing that the technology used does not have harmful elements that could contaminate the water. But for the most part I have not seen any green group protesting this, and have heard of few animal rights groups protesting it.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By masher2 (blog) on 9/25/2008 1:28:51 PM , Rating: 3
> "Might you be confusing environmentalist groups with the animal rights groups?"

quote:
Some of Britain's most influential environmental groups strongly oppose plans to construct the 10-mile long tidal barrage across the Severn Estuary
http://www.tidalenergy.eu/severntidalbarrage.html

quote:
Plans for a large-scale tidal power project in [Australia's] Derby in the Kimberley have been strongly opposed by conservationists,
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/earth/stories/s16...

quote:
Some of the very same environmental groups who for decades have called for new forms of renewable energy to emerge are already opposed [to the tidal project].

They say the turbines would weigh too heavily on a sensitive ecosystem that is home to endangered salmon and orca.
http://www.bluefish.org/tidehold.htm

quote:
Jen Kovecses, of the environmental group Baykeeper, said the area beneath the Golden Gate Bridge is a popular migration route for fish and other creatures and that a poorly designed [tidal] turbine could kill the animals or disturb them with never-ending noise
http://www.examiner.com/a-1259551~Ridge_near_bridg...


RE: Does it kill whales?
By Jedi2155 on 9/24/2008 11:27:38 AM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't a whale cause it to generate more power swinging up and down?


RE: Does it kill whales?
By FastInAtl on 9/24/2008 10:49:39 AM , Rating: 5
How do you know the fish are innocent? Maybe only fish that have yet to be convicted of rape earlier in their life are brash enough to swim up to the generator. Maybe they figure they got away with that crime against the clown fish, what's to stop them from slipping through the turbines untouched as well?


RE: Does it kill whales?
By DASQ on 9/24/2008 2:52:17 PM , Rating: 3
The millions of pounds of innocent krill and plankton. Won't someone think of the crustaceans!


RE: Does it kill whales?
By Solandri on 9/24/2008 3:54:15 PM , Rating: 4
We tend to anthropomorphise the existence of other animals. We have a 9-5 day job, then spend the rest of our time relaxing with family and friends. We continue this for 40 years until we retire, then spend the next ~20 years doing whatever we want during retirement, until we die of old age after having lived a pleasant and fulfilling life. We figure because we do this, other animals must do the same thing.

One of the things about the sea is that almost nothing there just dies. The eventual fate of almost every fish in the sea is to be eaten, alive, by something bigger. I've seen baitfish get cut in two (or three) by a barracuda in an flash. I've seen them have their tails chomped off while the front end still struggles to swim to escape its eventual demise. I've pulled still-wriggling anchovies from the stomach of a tuna we caught and immediately butchered for sashimi. I've seen bears skin salmon alive, and leave them there to die after only eating the skin (most of the fat is attached to the skin, and when there's plenty of salmon the bears want only the fat). There is a reason they're called animals.

If your determining factor is lessening the suffering of the fish, then killing them quickly is probably the most humane thing to do. OTOH, if your determining factor is a sustainable fish population, then the small number killed in an operation such as this is negligible.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By Starcub on 9/25/2008 11:25:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
How do you know the fish are innocent?

In the life to come, all the innocent fish that are killed will become rich oil drilling tycoons.
quote:
Maybe they figure they got away with that crime against the clown fish, what's to stop them from slipping through the turbines untouched as well?

They'll all become earth worms...


RE: Does it kill whales?
By xti on 9/24/2008 10:51:52 AM , Rating: 2
i hear ceviche is awesome.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By FITCamaro on 9/24/2008 11:02:36 AM , Rating: 2
Because there are so many whales that are only 10 feet in diameter. Dolphins, yes. But they're smart enough to go around the giant tube floating in the ocean.

And you can't have it both ways. All forms of so called "green" energy have their environmental drawbacks. Solar covers vast amounts of land displacing wildlife. Wind also covers large amounts of land and can kill birds. Tidal power can kill fish.

So which do you want? Save the animals. Or "save the planet".

Personally I'd just build a big ole nuke reactor which as even this article says, is cheaper per MW by a factor of around 3.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By fibreoptik on 9/24/2008 12:36:36 PM , Rating: 3
Fish sticks! :D


RE: Does it kill whales?
By Shawn on 9/24/2008 12:45:37 PM , Rating: 2
Forget about the whales. What happens when a hurricane hits?


RE: Does it kill whales?
By phatboye on 9/24/08, Rating: 0
RE: Does it kill whales?
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2008 3:29:07 PM , Rating: 2
He also asked:
quote:
What happens to the innocent fish that get killed in the generator?


Well what do you think happens to them - they die. After all, he said they were killed by the generator already.


RE: Does it kill whales?
By FITCamaro on 9/24/2008 5:09:37 PM , Rating: 2
I shall kill you until you die from it!


RE: Does it kill whales?
By ShaolinSoccer on 9/24/2008 5:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
What is the actual design for this? It's kinda hard to say from the article whether or not fish can get inside this and "get killed"... I tried to find some sort of schematic on the internet with no luck.


"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki