Free speech not a big priority for doomers

It doesn’t take long to get banned from doomer websites. They tend to quickly recycle tired old myths to people like myself that quote peer-reviewed research into nuclear power, affordable synthetic diesel, and other matters. Then, before too long, your posts just don’t get accepted. Days later, and my post is still in the ‘awaiting moderation’ stage.

For example, Alice Friedman of the Energy Skeptic blog just posted a circular argument entitled:

Coal power plants depend on railroads to deliver coal

But, of course, my reply is still ‘awaiting moderation’, so I thought I would post it here!
Eclipse says:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Alice,
again I think you’re making quite a few large assumptions and leaps.

“What’s interesting to me about this hearing is how vulnerable our system is due to this interdependency. If trains can’t deliver coal, then coal plants can’t make electricity, which would make it impossible to refuel trains (pumps are electric).”

That’s an enormous sweeping statement painting a very complex situation that requires tiny brushes to make out the detail, but you’ve simplified it all down with ceiling rollers wiping out all the details. I’ll explain why below.

“Climate change is likely to buckled rail (extreme heat), wash away tracks (extreme storms and flooding), leading to even more unreliable coal delivery.”

Yes, but it’s not like there’s just one rail system leading to one coal powerplant. There are multiple intersecting grids with multiple power sources. The grid generally has enough power back up for when a large 1 GW or 2 GW coal plant goes down, the rest of the grid picks up Gigawatts of power outage and takes over!

“Now natural gas and nuclear can still step in to keep the grid up,”

And don’t forget that many mines find their remote locations expensive to pipe power into, and are starting to find that even intermittent renewables can play a part out there, cutting the cost of diesel generators and only switching to diesel when it is an overcast day and the solar isn’t producing as much as it should. This is not necessarily ideal, but I’m just pointing out that there are multiple redundancies in a complex story that you appear to want to dumb down and over simplify.

“but as natural gas and uranium ores decrease,”

I can’t WAIT for natural gas to decrease so we stop burning the polluting stuff. But uranium ores decrease? Are you kidding me? There’s enough uranium in the world’s oceans to power a large civilisation for billions of years because it keeps getting topped up by erosion. It’s essentially ‘renewable’, especially if we use breeder reactors which get 60 to 90 times the energy out of the uranium.

“and up to half of nuclear power plants retire by 2030 with few new ones built,”

You’re assuming you know the future. China will mass produce breeder nukes cheaper than coal in just 6 years!

Do you *know*, for a fact, that the next decade/s will not see a rise in breeder reactor companies selling different reactors for around $1bn per gigawatt? Once they start coming off the line, they’ll start breeding all your waste up into higher and higher grades of reactor fuel. I’ve read some estimates that claim America’s nuclear waste will power you for 1000 years. But here’s Dr James Hansen:

“Both IFR and LFTR are 100-300 times more fuel efficient than LWRs. In addition to solving the nuclear waste problem, they can operate for several centuries using only uranium and thorium that has already been mined. Thus they eliminate the criticism that mining for nuclear fuel will use fossil fuels and add to the greenhouse effect.”

“the electric grid will grow increasingly fragile, until it isn’t always up most of the time.”

A conclusion that would seem to run against the evidence. There are not less ways of producing electricity, but far more as we move ahead. There are various solar and wind projects that can take the edge off afternoon ‘peaks’ in demand, and reliable baseload nukes keeping the baseload ‘mountain’ stable.

There are as many different ways of building a nuclear power plant as there are of building a house. There are fast reactors and thermal reactors, traditional light water reactors with once-through fuel cycles that can then feed breeder reactors, and dozens and dozens of varieties within each major category. The Russians have their BN-600 and BN-800 burning nuclear waste and gradually breeding it into more fuel to start up other reactors that can breed waste into fuel… and on and on it goes.

This entry was posted in Doomer, nuclear power, Rail, trains, Transport. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s