Category Archives: Nuclear Energy

Fake Science News: Review of Chernobly on HBO


Fake science news with respect to

“Chernobyl” on HBO.  This is why nuclear has to swim upstream.

CFACT.org  provided this review of the HBO’s presentation “Chernobly.”

Nuclear sensationalism

Friend,

HBO’s Chernobyl is great entertainment.  So is The Simpsons.  Sadly, the sensational way nuclear power is depicted in popular culture energizes the anti-science, anti-energy Left.

Nuclear energy is perhaps our best source of electricity. Nuclear also emits no CO2 (if that’s your thing).

Dr. Kelvin Kemm is an award-winning South African nuclear physicist.  Check out his detailed review of HBO’s Chernobyl at CFACT.org:

As a nuclear scientist I can tell you that the fundamental story of the sequence of events during the portrayal of the Chernobyl accident were correct. Issues around governance and procedure as portrayed were essentially correct.

But the blood and skin peeling scenes were not. Sadly the producers lied – intentionally, to gain box office income. They succeeded in the income goal. But they insulted we nuclear scientists and insulted the intelligence of those viewers who knew a bit more science than most. They also led many other viewers down a twisted path to further ignorance and confusion, which certainly should not be the objective of a history documentary…

Human bodies do not become radioactive in a situation like that. What can happen is that someone, like a fireman, leaves the scene with radioactive dust on his clothes and maybe in his hair. Any radiation protection officer present would then make him take off all his clothes and take a good shower, before going home.

Firemen were not radioactively contagious, as portrayed by HBO. A fireman could not have irradiated his pregnant wife at home as HBO claimed. Her baby could not have died of heart and liver disease as a result. That is pure HBO bunk. Something like playing a tune on the aircraft fuselage in the Andes, using human bones as drumsticks. Very good for viewer horror, but very far from the truth.

Nuclear energy has a fantastic safety record and the latest designs could not be more impressive.

Germany, however, bowing to its anti-nuke Green movement, decided to scrap its nuclear power plants and invest a fortune on wind and solar.  The result?  Germany nearly tripled its energy prices, while remaining dependent on coal plants to provide the reliable electricity intermittent “renewables” can’t provide.  Although they spent a fortune, German emissions have not declined.

France, on the other hand, went nuclear.

German households now pay around 30 Euro cents per kilowatt hour for electricity while the French pay only 17.

Americans pay around 12.83 U.S. cents per kilowatt hour (11.82 Euro cents).  State energy prices vary widely with pro-energy states paying around a dime, while states with Green regulatory regimes such as California and the New England states paying from 19 cents per kwh to over 23.

Countries such as Germany, Spain and Denmark provide perfect illustrations of what not to do, unless driving people into energy poverty is your goal.

While entertainers have the right to exaggerate for dramatic and comedic effect, Chernobyl goes a step too far.  Frightening people away from clean, abundant, safe and affordable nuclear to sell a cable channel does the world a great disservice.

The facts reveal that nuclear power is a safe, smart, affordable way to generate electricity.

People need to know.

For nature and people too,

 

cbdakota

UN Forecast Year 2100 World Population At 10.9Billion. Only Nuclear Can Provide Needed Energy


The “UN 2019 Revision of World Population Prospects” report says that by the end of this century the world’s population will be about 10.9 people. What does this mean with respect to the UN goals of having only renewable power—wind and solar –and the elimination of fossil fuels as an energy source? 

The Pew Research Center analyzed the UN report and came up with some eye-opening observations.   China will begin to lose population by the end of this century.  India will have the world’s largest population, surpassing China.   Africa will have 4.3 billion people at the turn of the century, substantially more that the 1.5 billion it has in 2020.  And Africa’s average age will be 35. The World’s median age will be 42.

Look at this chart:

By 2100, Asia and Africa combined will be 9.0 billion of the forecast total world population of 10.9 billion. We can expect that the really undeveloped populations of the world will be demanding a standard of living approaching that of Europe and North America. 

China and India have already launched programs to achieve a very much improved standard of living for their people.  Africa will surely do the same and with a relatively young population they will be aggressive.  That standard of living will only be realized through energy.

It will not come from renewables.  It probably cannot be fully realized by fossil fuels.   It will have to come from nuclear energy.  Ultimately, nuclear will dominate the energy sector.  

For the US, economics are causing some shutdowns of nuclear plants as natural gas generates energy at a lower cost.  In the long run, nukes should be the lowest cost reliable energy.

However, there are several nukes that are being shutdown because a governing body does not like them.  These are bad choices.

Germany seems to have an irrational fear of nukes that were prompted by the Japanese Fukushima nuke plants being flooded by a tsunami.  When was the last time a tsunami hit Germany?

It is my opinion that the greens opposition to nukes is that the nukes have the potential to solve the energy problem. Many leaders of the green movement have publicly announced that their goal is a one-world socialist government based out of the UN. They would prefer an energy limited world where they would be in charge.   Nukes could solve the energy problem, destroying their dream.  

Ok, will these population estimates prove-out?  Will Ebola wipe out millions of Africans?   Will there be a war or wars that slash these estimates?   Could the expectations for lower fertility be wrong and the world population grows even larger?   Of course, I don’t know answers to any of those questions.  But for the moment, I am assuming these estimates are going to be accurate.

cbdakota

New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking Part 7 Moore’s Law Misapplied.


Continuing serialization of Mark Mills’ report New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking.  This is part 7 Moore’s Law Misapplied.  Moore is well known for his prediction  that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit would double every two years.  But Mills points out this doesn’t work for renewable energy.

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Moore’s Law Misapplied 

Faced with all the realities outlined above regarding green technologies, new energy economy enthusiasts nevertheless believe that true breakthroughs are yet to come and are even inevitable. That’s because, so it is claimed, energy tech will follow the same trajectory as that seen in recent decades with computing and communications. The world will yet see the equivalent of an Amazon or “Apple of clean energy.”70

 This idea is seductive because of the astounding advances in silicon technologies that so few forecasters anticipated decades ago. It is an idea that renders moot any cautions that wind/solar/batteries are too expensive today—such caution is seen as foolish and shortsighted, analogous to asserting, circa 1980, that the average citizen would never be able to afford a computer. Or saying, in 1984 (the year that the world’s first cell phone was released), that a billion people would own a cell phone, when it cost $9,000 (in today’s dollars). It was a two-pound “brick” with a 30-minute talk time.

Today’s smartphones are not only far cheaper; they are far more powerful than a room-size IBM mainframe from 30 years ago. That transformation arose from engineers inexorably shrinking the size and energy appetite of transistors, and consequently increasing their number per chip roughly twofold every two years—the “Moore’s Law” trend, named for Intel cofounder Gordon Moore.

The compound effect of that kind of progress has indeed caused a revolution. Over the past 60 years, Moore’s Law has seen the efficiency of how logic engines use energy improve by over a billionfold.71 But a similar transformation in how energy is produced or stored isn’t just unlikely; it can’t happen with the physics we know today.

In the world of people, cars, planes, and large-scale industrial systems, increasing speed or carrying capacity causes hardware to expand, not shrink. The energy needed to move a ton of people, heat a ton of steel or silicon, or grow a ton of food is determined by properties of nature whose boundaries are set by laws of gravity, inertia, friction, mass, and thermodynamics.

If combustion engines, for example, could achieve the kind of scaling efficiency that computers have since 1971—the year the first widely used integrated circuit was introduced by Intel—a car engine would generate a thousandfold more horsepower and shrink to the size of an ant.72 With such an engine, a car could actually fly, very fast.

If photovoltaics scaled by Moore’s Law, a single postage-stamp-size solar array would power the Empire State Building. If batteries scaled by Moore’s Law, a battery the size of a book, costing three cents, could power an A380 to Asia.

But only in the world of comic books does the physics of propulsion or energy production work like that. In our universe, power scales the other way.

An ant-size engine—which has been built—produces roughly 100,000 times less power than a Prius. An antsize solar PV array (also feasible) produces a thousandfold less energy than an ant’s biological muscles. The energy equivalent of the aviation fuel actually used by an aircraft flying to Asia would take $60 million worth of Tesla-type batteries weighing five times more than that aircraft.73

 The challenge in storing and processing information using the smallest possible amount of energy is distinct from the challenge of producing energy, or of moving or reshaping physical objects. The two domains entail different laws of physics.

The world of logic is rooted in simply knowing and storing the fact of the binary state of a switch—i.e., whether it is on or off. Logic engines don’t produce physical action but are designed to manipulate the idea of the numbers zero and one. Unlike engines that carry people, logic engines can use software to do things such as compress information through clever mathematics and thus reduce energy use. No comparable compression options exist in the world of humans and hardware.

 Of course, wind turbines, solar cells, and batteries will continue to improve significantly in cost and performance; so will drilling rigs and combustion turbines (a subject taken up next). And, of course, Silicon Valley information technology will bring important, even dramatic, efficiency gains in the production and management of energy and physical goods (a prospect also taken up below). But the outcomes won’t be as miraculous as the invention of the integrated circuit, or the discovery of petroleum or nuclear fission

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Upcoming is Part 8 Sliding Down the Renewable Asymptote.

cbdakota

Can Ocean Going Ships Be Battery Equipped?


Wind and Solar energy assumptions by the warmers greatly exceeds these sources actual capability.  Let’s look at how renewable energy plays out as a possible replacement of diesel fuel for container ships.  This is discussed in a 27 Feburary 19  IEEE Spectrum  posting by Vaclav Smil  titled “Electric Container Ships Are Stuck on the Horizon”.   It opens up with the following:

Just about everything you wear or use around the house once sat in steel boxes on ships whose diesel engines propel them from Asia, emitting particulates and carbon dioxide. Surely, you would think, we can do better.

Why not get electric container ships? Actually, the first one should begin to operate this year: the Yara Birkeland, built by Marin Teknikk, in Norway, is not only the world’s first electric-powered, zero-emissions container ship but also the first autonomous commercial vessel.

When warmers quote emissions from battery powered engines, they always tell us that such engine is “Zero-emissions”.  Most batteries charges are provided by fossil fuel power plants.  So the real emissions are never zero but rather those emissions from the fossil fuel plant that created the energy to charge the batteries.  And more from the posting:

Containers come in different sizes, but most are the standard twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU)—rectangular prisms 6.1 meters (20 feet) long and 2.4 meters wide..  Maersk’s Triple-E class ships load 18,000 TEUs.   At the “super slow steaming,” fuel-saving speed of 16 knots, these ships can make the journey from Hong Kong to Hamburg in 31 days.

Now look at the Yara Birkeland. It will carry just 120 TEU, its service speed will be 6 knots, its longest intended operation will be 30 nautical miles—between Herøya and Larvik, in Norway—and its batteries will deliver 7 to 9 megawatt hours. Today’s state-of-the-art diesel container vessels thus carry 150 times as many boxes over distances 400 times as long at speeds three to four times as fast as the pioneering electric ship can handle.

 The author makes a comparison with a hypothetical battery powered container ship and an actual diesel-powered container ship:

Load the ship with today’s best commercial Li-ion batteries (300 Wh/kg) and still it would have to carry about 100,000 metric tons of them to go nonstop from Asia to Europe in 31 days. Those batteries alone would take up about 40 percent of maximum cargo capacity, an economically ruinous proposition, never mind the difficulties involved in charging and operating the ship. And even if we push batteries to an energy density of 500 Wh/kg sooner than might be expected, an 18,000-TEU vessel would still need nearly 60,000 metric tons of them for a long intercontinental voyage at a relatively slow speed.

The conclusion is obvious. To have an electric ship whose batteries and motors weighed no more than the fuel (about 5,000 metric tons) and the diesel engine (about 2,000 metric tons) in today’s large container vessels, we would need batteries with an energy density more than 10 times as high as today’s best Li-ion units. 

That’s a tall order indeed: In the past 70 years the energy density of the best commercial batteries hasn’t even quadrupled.

I have read accounts of “fuel anxiety” that electric car drivers get as they wonder if they can make the next recharging station before the batteries are totally discharged.  Can you imagine the anxiety the ship’s captain might have knowing there are no recharging stations in mid ocean.

If the container ships were equipped with a nuclear reactor as in our navy’s submarines, we could probably match the performance of the diesel container ships and actually have a no carbon emissions ship.

cbdakota

 

Paris Agreement—Are the Germans Leading the Developed Nations?


It looks like Chancellor Merkel believes that now that Ex-President Obama has been replaced by President Trump, she is the developed nation’s leader regarding the Paris Agreement.

So, is Germany leading the way? The Chancellor’s plan “Energiewende” (transition to renewable energy) has set out goals with a timetable to reduce CO2 emissions and switch the national’s energy supply to renewables that can replace fossil fuels. The table below summarizes these goals:

The Greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals are spelled out in the table. The goals, for the years 2014 through 2050, are shown as an amount of reduction based away from the1990 emissions of CO2.  That was the year of the reunification of East and West Germany.  The goal in 2050 is a minimum reduction of greenhouse gases of 80 to 95%.

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Why Did ExxonMobil Lobby To Stay In The Paris Agreement?


ExxonMobil lobbied President Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement. Can you figure out why that company would wish to do so?

Here are some pickings from the most recent ExxonMobil global energy forecast:

·         Total energy demand by 2040 will be 25% higher than in 2015.

·         Global energy supply in 2040 will be 55% from oil and natural gas. Wind, solar and biofuels will supply only 4% in 2040.

·         Coal use will decline but will still be the third largest supplier of global energy.

·         Global electrical energy demand for transportation will only be 2% of the total global energy demand in 2040.

·         Wind and solar electricity supplies will approach 15% of total electrical energy supply by 2040

·         Although utilization improves over time, intermittency limits worldwide wind and solar capacity utilization to 30% and 20% respectively.

·         By 2040 US and Europe combined CO2 emissions will be about 8 billion tonnes.  The total global emissions in 2040 will be about 36 billion tonnes,

·         Electric cars are a very high-cost option, at about $700/tonne of CO2 avoided.

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Media Not Providing The Real Facts About Wind And Solar Energy


It is likely that a great many people in the US have been led to believe that solar and wind play significant roles in supplying domestic energy.  Further and even more incredibly they are led to believe that solar  and wind will replace fossil fuels in the not too distant future.  The Paris agreement demands that no fossil fuels  be used after 2050

I am too old to make it to 2050,  so I will not be around to see if no fossil fuels are being used at that time.  If you make it to 2050, I will bet that fossil fuel will still be used.

The Energy Information Administration’s(EIA)**, chart on the primary energy sources for the year 2015 is shown below.

Petroleum, natural gas, coal, renewable energy, and nuclear electric power are primary sources of energy. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is generated from primary sources of energy.

 

Note that renewable energy is only 10% of total energy produced in the US.  And of that 10%, solar is 6% and wind is 19%.   Putting the solar and wind as a percent of the total energy consumed in the US has solar at 0.6% and wind at 1.9%.  So, in  2015 only 2.5% of the US energy came from those two sources. Is this compatible with what you are learning from the media?   And those two are the ones that the greenies are banking on to replace coal, natural gas and petroleum.  And though it is counterintuitive, the warmers want to shut down the nuclear plants as well.

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