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I’m not sure about the cost but this seems to make sense –

November 3, 2009

One estimate is that 500 nuclear power plants would make America energy independent. I think that is optimistic in that an abundance of electricity doesn’t mean we won’t need to import oil for transportation needs, but it would certainly take us a long way toward independence. The cost would be in the order of 2 billion per plant (I would think less; that is the first one might be 4 billion, but the 400th would be considerably less than a billion; but call it 2 billion). That is one trillion dollars, comparable to the TARP or stimulus — and for once a deficit would be financing something real.


So why aren’t we doing it? A European program that actually works and might be worth emulating and we won’t copy it, but anything that is broken and failing we will copy with the attitude of we’re America we can make it work. The simple answer – Energy independence isn’t really about energy independence. It is about punishing oil companies and forcing social change in the name of environmentalism, as well as allowing the chosen few to get rich through approved methods such as carbon offsets. If we were serious about energy independence we could be there in 5 years.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2009 6:28 am

    Not to mention the fact that we are awash in thorium for fuel.

    But with no carbon-dioxide emissions, that means no money for the cap-and-trade crowd, and we can’t have that, can we?

  2. November 3, 2009 6:52 am

    Exactly. Any serious proposal to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels would involve a major program of nuclear plant construction. We already know nuclear power works well. Rather than spending billions on pie-in-the-sky dreams we could be building plants right now.

  3. Portlandic permalink
    November 3, 2009 2:21 pm

    The First Blogger, literate conservative and rocket scientist Jerry Pournelle (M.S., Ph. D., and a Husky, too) has noted time and again, when it became apparant the Neocons were hankerin’ for (someone else’s) blood, satellite solar power or nuclear would allow total energy independence for a fraction of what a war was alleged to cost. Now, PG&E has welcomed a privately-bankrolled solar power 400MW+ satellite system, and SoCal Edison will receive another privately-bankrolled solar farm 400MW+ using solar-powered Sterling engines.

    The reference to thorium deserves comment, since we have much more thorium than uranium. A thorium-powered reactor can be far simpler, and run for far longer than current designs to more completely burn up nuclear waste, leaving far less high-level waste to dispose of. One design flows a thorium-flouride fluid, about the weight of water, through a reflector array; only within the reflector area of the tank does the fuel go critical and make heat, and changing reflector panel angles speeds up or slows down the reaction. The reactor tank is covered by helium, picks up the heat and directly drives turbines, getting more electricity from the same amount of fuel. Simple, simple design, which will be far cheaper and safer than current designs to run. {/rant off}

  4. November 3, 2009 8:55 pm

    Nuclear power is one of my thangs. It’s a good balance between emissions and efficiency, and the future of real space travel, which is going to be necessary if we plan to live on as a species. People can be as green as they want; there are a variety of factors and eventualities not involving pollution by which living on earth could be made untenable, not least of which is time itself re: the sun. It’s obviously got to be introduced to the world slo-o-o-o-wly, but nations like the US, France (they continue to add nuclear plants), China, and Russia are natural candidates for that sort of research and improvement.

  5. Portlandic permalink
    November 6, 2009 10:20 pm

    Or, we could give up automobiles, for….. that thing

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