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Old 06-27-2012, 01:29 AM   #361
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True that, those ****** from the 50's are worse than refrigerators of the same era in terms of motor inefficiency.
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:10 AM   #362
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I'd like to discuss this further, but I gotta go to work. I'll post at lunch.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:08 AM   #363
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Plug-in pure vehicles will become acceptable, but it will require a stepped approach. Once Bob realizes that he only ever has to put gasoline in his Chevy Volt when he's going on vacation or forgets to plug in, the plug-in pure vehicle becomes viable in his mind - but only as long as he can afford to have a plug-in pure vehicle AND a second range-unlimited vehicle for long trips...or extended power outages.

Finally, once the "trendy" people adopt the plug-in pure vehicles, and they tell their "less than trendy but well-monied" friends about it, then you'll see a slightly larger adoption of the technology.

The best way that I can think of for a manufacturer to market a plug-in pure vehicle would be to offer and promote "one-week test drives" or something on-par with a 30-day buyback guarantee. It's easy for a consumer to answer "Do I like it?" - but a lot more is required to answer "Can I live with it?"
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:31 AM   #364
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My vision would align with Joe's vision. Or rather reality.

Slowly turn the highway infrastructure into massive bike lanes and trike lanes (for the lame) and focus on protecting people in small, light vehicles rather than protecting them from large, heavy vehicles.

Hollywood is already on track here:



And I hate to say it Joe, but Nuclear isn't emission free. It emits solid waste. Maybe come up with a clever design that sticks those spent fuels into my gas tank to power my car until they're inert. Might solve the problem of electric cars having shiitty heaters?

And there's always solar. Granted it's still a baby in terms of efficiency but it'll come along like batteries have started to.


BTW for the country that wh0res the automobile as much as we do, how come we're still getting roughly the same gas mileage now as we did when the thing was invented?
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Old 06-27-2012, 12:32 PM   #365
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BTW for the country that wh0res the automobile as much as we do, how come we're still getting roughly the same gas mileage now as we did when the thing was invented?
Gov't regulations.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:22 PM   #366
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Gov't regulations.
You're saying the government regulated that car companies can't develop new technology?

Do you think they'll go after Mazda's Skyactiv design team?
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:33 PM   #367
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You're saying the government regulated that car companies can't develop new technology?

Do you think they'll go after Mazda's Skyactiv design team?
cafe helped, but when they stopped updating it we got more power vs. more economy.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:49 PM   #368
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Pure electric cars have a long way to go.
Granted, especially if it's your only vehicle. But even for comuting, they have severe limitations. I drive 26.6 miles round trip for work. That's dangerously close to the 30-35 mile limit for most of the aftermarket DIY vehicles. That and initial cost (8-12 grand is pretty common) means very long payback. In the rust belt, it's not very practical to have a 15-20 year old car for year round driving. Converting newer vehicles is not cost effective. Add in the fact that 15 grand buys a hell of a lot of gas, and it means I keep my paid for gas hog. It also precludes using that vehicle for family vacations, longer trips out to Miata meets, etc. How many people can afford multiple vehicles?

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And I am REALLY surprised that I have never actually seen a single in-home natgas compressor for the purpose of re-fueling a natgas car. (Yes, I know that they exist. I've just never seen one actually installed.)
Initial cost is the killer. I've looked into these (when my electric dreams were killed), and there are only 3 fueling stations within 150 miles of me. One each in Buffalo and Syracuse, and one south of Rochester that is DOT. Not sure if they'd let me refuel off their pump. Regardless, you need the infrastructure in place before you get the vehicles in use.

So, put a pump in the house? $4500 plus installation is what my research shows. Maybe cheaper, if you want some chinese piece of junk. Plus converting the vehicle (about 2 grand DIY), and your talking about what my vehicle is worth. Payback times are better, but still beyond most people. At least you'd probably get by with a single vehicle for comuting, towing, trips, etc.

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As an interim solution, natgas conversions of gasoline cars are extremely inexpensive, and the cost-per-mile of natgas vs. gasoline is quite favorable, especially when one considers the fact that road taxes are not applied to natgas. Add in the fact that public CNG refilling stations actually exist (admittedly, you have to search, but they're out there) and a CNG car looks pretty good.
You have to factor in the extreme laziness of the American public. Most people I know won't change their own oil because it is "too much work". People buy pre-wrapped potatoes for baking and PB&J in one jar. I have often said, that when looking to get rich, to never underestimate what people will pay for convenience.
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:03 PM   #369
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Once Bob realizes that he only ever has to put gasoline in his Chevy Volt when he's going on vacation or forgets to plug in, the plug-in pure vehicle becomes viable in his mind - but only as long as he can afford to have a plug-in pure vehicle AND a second range-unlimited vehicle for long trips...or extended power outages.
Yeah, to me this covers the same territory as folks who own a pickup truck or SUV as their primary vehicle on the basis of "what if I need to haul something?" I work with several of these folks.

Of course, such an argument ignores the basic reality that you can rent trucks rather cheaply. Within a five mile radius of where I am sitting, we have two Home Depots, one Lowes, one U-Haul, one Penske, and several Hertz / Enterprise / Budget sort of places.

If I'm buying something large and heavy at the home improvement store, I'll just rent one of their flatbeds. If I need to pick up seventeen refrigerators up in Burbank, I'll grab a Penske box truck. If I'm buying a 65" TV from Best Buy, frack it- they deliver.


So my point is this:

All of these folks can't seem to comprehend this simple reality, and elect to continue driving their trucks and SUVs as primary vehicles, despite the fact that they would SAVE MONEY by owning a smaller vehicle and renting when needed. (Not to mention the whole "conserve resources and save the planet" thing.)

What, then, is the chance that these same people will buy a pure-EV, given similar constraints, and in light of the fact that under present-day cost models, they will pay quite a great deal MORE MONEY upfront.


I don't see battery-only EVs becoming a dominant force anytime soon. What WOULD work are SUVs and minivans built on the Volt concept, especially since they have plenty of space to hide things like batteries and tend to appeal to a more upscale clientele (eg, you expect to pay more for an SUV or a well-appointed minivan then you would for nearly any other vehicle of comparable performance.)




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And I hate to say it Joe, but Nuclear isn't emission free. It emits solid waste. Maybe come up with a clever design that sticks those spent fuels into my gas tank to power my car until they're inert.
This is mostly an applications problem.

For starters, nuclear reactors don't create "emissions" in the traditional sense. They don't emit anything into the air or water (when they're working properly), they simply transform one radioactive substance (uranium) into trace amounts of a number of other radioactive substances. As a whole, this process is called the Fuel Cycle.

In the US, we're doing a crappy job of managing this. Our reactors, be they BWR or PWR, are essentially of a 60 year old design which simply isn't very efficient. They require fuel which is quite highly enriched (concentrated) and they can actually consume only a very small percentage of the useful fuel in any given assembly before it becomes too impure to operate. When this happens, we pull the entire fuel bundle and declare it "used up", whereupon we set it aside and forget about it.

Now, we have the capability to reprocess this fuel. It's entirely possible to grind it up and run it through a system fundamentally similar to the system which created the original fuel rod out of raw uranium ore. This removes the relatively tiny amount of byproduct material and brings the fuel assembly back up to its original spec so it can be re-used again. Unfortunately, the cost of reprocessing is greater than the cost of setting the assembly aside and making a new one, so virtually no reprocessing at all occurs within the US.


The Canadians have an even more brilliant system. When they first started getting into nuclear energy, they lacked the industrial capability either to refine uranium to high levels of purity, or to physically construct the massive pressure vessels which US-style reactors require. So they came up with a really brilliant workaround: the CANDU reactor.

This machine hardly resembles a nuclear reactor as we know it today, looking more like the so-called "piles" built in the 1940s at Los Alamos and elsewhere during the Manhattan project. But what makes these reactors so unique is that they are essentially the peanut-oil engines of the atomic world- they'll run on damned near anything. They were originally meant to run on raw, unprocessed uranium ore, but they'll also run just fine on nearly anything else fissionable. You can grind up old nuclear bomb cores and shove 'em in, and the real hat-trick is that they will also run on the SPENT FUEL from US-style reactors. This nicely solves the "nuclear waste" problem; it's not waste anymore, it's a useful commodity.

And because they use a large number of discrete pressure tubes rather than a single huge pressure vessel, individual tubes can be shut down and re-fueled while the reactor is operating! In theory, a CANDU reactor can run at a nearly 100% capacity factor, rather than needing to be totally powered down and opened up for weeks at a time in order to swap rods in a bulk process.

Canada has sold a ton of these reactors in Asia, but we don't have a single one here in the US, nor has anyone thought of selling (or even giving) our "nuclear waste" to Canada (or China, or India, or South Korea, or Argentina, or Romania) so that they can burn it in their reactors.

Why is this? I honestly don't know.


But I'll still stand by my argument that even with the highly inefficient fuel cycle which we use in the US today, a few kilograms of "spent" uranium sitting around not emitting anything into the air is a lot better than tons of CO2 and particulate matter spewing out of the local fossil-fuel plant.





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BTW for the country that wh0res the automobile as much as we do, how come we're still getting roughly the same gas mileage now as we did when the thing was invented?
Because we instead focused on improving the performance of the vehicles and decreasing their emissions.

A 1927 Ford Model A might have gotten 25 MPG, but it also produced a peak of 40 HP and protected the environment by covering it in a thin film of soot as it drove by. A C6 Corvette gets 26 MPG on the highway, produces ten times the torque and HP, and emits happiness and baby foxes out the tailpipe.
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Old 06-27-2012, 02:23 PM   #370
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Initial cost is the killer. I've looked into these (when my electric dreams were killed), and there are only 3 fueling stations within 150 miles of me. One each in Buffalo and Syracuse, and one south of Rochester that is DOT. Not sure if they'd let me refuel off their pump. Regardless, you need the infrastructure in place before you get the vehicles in use.
Indeed.

I only know of one place here in San Diego that sells CNG, it's a Shell station near the airport. But they have two pumps (one each for the two common pressures) but they are self-serve. I'm sure there are more, I just don't know where they are.

But home re-filling has got to be the key. I understand that the presently-available niche products are both costly and complex. But if someone like Ford or GM adopted the Tesla model (sell the car AND provide the "charger"), that would fix the problem. Don't focus on DIY and conversions- sell people brand new cars which are plugin CNG hybrids, and include the filling station. More importantly, make it cheap, simple, and standardized. Design it such that the same plumbers who do all the rest of the natgas work in residential homes (connecting water heaters, furnaces, etc) can easily set the box in place, plug it into a standard power outlet, and connect it to the home's NG system using the same tools and fittings that they are familiar with.

Presupposing that range-extended plugins (like the Volt) represent the next logical step in the evolution of transportation, fueling them with CNG rather than gasoline represents the next logic step in the way we use fossil fuels while we wait for electrical storage technology to catch up.

It'll never happen, of course.
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:06 PM   #371
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I am almost the perfect candidate for a Volt. I do find stopping for fuel an inconvenience and could probably go a year and only have to fill up a few times. My round trip commute is less than 20 miles and is all surface streets. I can park two small cars in my garage and still have space for bikes, tools, a workbench, etc. I put more of a premium on the fact that electricity is derived from domestic sources versus any environmental benefit. Etcetera, etcetera, etcera.

However, I'm a car enthusiast that wants even his daily driver to be sporting and I don't find the cost premium worth paying.


As for nat-gas vehicles, those are more likely to continue expansion with commercial vehicles that run a lot of miles and a consistent route that includes a refilling station (think delivery vehicles, municipal buses, trash trucks, etc).
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:35 PM   #372
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[joe explainng candu]

Why is this? I honestly don't know.

I'm sure we could go round and round on this forever, but IMHO from what I have read there are 3 issues.

1. Heavy water (deuterium-oxide) used as the moderator is kind a b!tch to make, and drives up cost.

2. We are jelly the canadians may have dome something cooler than us.

3. heavy water reactors can lead to proliferation, whatever that is . Canada got very pissed at india for using the candu tech to build their bomb. FWIW, they could have basicaly done the same thing with a LWR and low enriched material (NB, u235 is about 0.5% in nature, about 2% in us commercial LWR's, ie not much enrichment)

What they DONT tell you is that heavy water reactors can use the thorium fuel cycle, and basically power the world extremely cheap for the next few hundred years. Now why wouldn't we want that?
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:54 PM   #373
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You're saying the government regulated that car companies can't develop new technology?

Do you think they'll go after Mazda's Skyactiv design team?
The regulations that increase weight. (crash, airbag, etc etc)
And NOx regs, which tend to decrease MPG.
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Old 06-27-2012, 04:55 PM   #374
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The need for heavy water does drive up the initial cost, as does the need for a physically massive calandria (and related structures) to house the thing. On the plus side, the heavy water is not a consumable, so once the initial load is done it is not necessary to produce any more of it except as make-up water. The ECCS doesn't require heavy water, as in the event of an accident you're going to want to deliberately flood the tubes with light water anyway.

Which is an important safety feature- CANDUs are almost totally meltdown-proof. They are the only reactor design in existence in which the "pressure vessel" (the tubes containing fuel and heavy water) are themselves completely enclosed in ANOTHER tank of water. In the event of a LOCA which caused the fuel bundles to melt and penetrate their pressure tubes, they simply drop into the bottom of the calandria, whereupon they are totally immersed in light water and thus completely incapable of criticality. This isn't even an "active" safety system, it's just basic physics.


The real benefit of heavy water, however, it that it allows the reactor to more fully consume its fuel, so beyond the fact that lower purities of fuel can be used, the physical mass of fuel which the reactor consumes per unit of electrical generation is far lower, leading to less "waste" in the end-stage of the fuel cycle.




Proliferation is a way of saying that the reactor can be used to make nuclear bombs. (Which is ironic, as it can also consume nuclear bombs as fuel.) The CANDU is a special class of reactor known as a breeder reactor, which is actually capable of producing more fissile material than it consumes, by converting what are known as "fertile" materials. Inside a breeder, thorium-232 (as one example) can be converted into plutonium-239, which is of course the key ingredient in building a modern thermonuclear weapon.


What's even more ironic, of course, is that we Americans seem to be the only ones actually restricting ourselves from actively using breeders for energy production. Why is this ironic? Well, because we already have so many thermonuclear weapons lying around that it's not even funny. Well, it's kind of funny when read in the context of Marvin the Martain's Illudium Pu-36 Explosive Space Modulator. But you know what I mean.

The fact is that we're not keeping nukes out of anybody's hands by refusing to build breeders, especially in light of the fact that our bloodthirsty, warmongering neighbors to the north are selling nuclear bomb factories to anybody who wants them. They've sold them to both India AND Pakistan, for instance, which sounds like a plot element from an old Star Trek episode.


If anything, America is one of the few nations that SHOULD be using breeders for energy production, since we already have so much of the scary, evil stuff they produce that having even more of it isn't going to change our military posture one bit. We'll just burn most it as fuel, and discretely ship the rest to Israel in crates labeled "machine parts."
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:02 PM   #375
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However, I'm a car enthusiast that wants even his daily driver to be sporting and I don't find the cost premium worth paying.
And there's no reason you couldn't build a CNG sports car that wasn't a hybrid. This stuff has the equivalent of about 130 octane, so I wouldn't be surprised if you could reliably make 400 HP on a street-driven Miata engine with it.

I've actually diverged here a bit, but the key point is that CNG > gasoline in pretty much every measurable way.

Sadly, the state of California prohibits me from burning this clean, abundant, inexpensive, domestically-produced fuel in my Miata because nobody has a CARB EO sticker for a CNG conversion kit, and probably never will.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:17 PM   #376
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The need for heavy water does drive up the initial cost, as does the need for a physically massive calandria (and related structures) to house the thing. On the plus side, the heavy water is not a consumable, so once the initial load is done it is not necessary to produce any more of it except as make-up water. The ECCS doesn't require heavy water, as in the event of an accident you're going to want to deliberately flood the tubes with light water anyway.

Which is an important safety feature- CANDUs are almost totally meltdown-proof. They are the only reactor design in existence in which the "pressure vessel" (the tubes containing fuel and heavy water) are themselves completely enclosed in ANOTHER tank of water. In the event of a LOCA which caused the fuel bundles to melt and penetrate their pressure tubes, they simply drop into the bottom of the calandria, whereupon they are totally immersed in light water and thus completely incapable of criticality. This isn't even an "active" safety system, it's just basic physics.


The real benefit of heavy water, however, it that it allows the reactor to more fully consume its fuel, so beyond the fact that lower purities of fuel can be used, the physical mass of fuel which the reactor consumes per unit of electrical generation is far lower, leading to less "waste" in the end-stage of the fuel cycle.




Proliferation is a way of saying that the reactor can be used to make nuclear bombs. (Which is ironic, as it can also consume nuclear bombs as fuel.) The CANDU is a special class of reactor known as a breeder reactor, which is actually capable of producing more fissile material than it consumes, by converting what are known as "fertile" materials. Inside a breeder, thorium-232 (as one example) can be converted into plutonium-239, which is of course the key ingredient in building a modern thermonuclear weapon.


What's even more ironic, of course, is that we Americans seem to be the only ones actually restricting ourselves from actively using breeders for energy production. Why is this ironic? Well, because we already have so many thermonuclear weapons lying around that it's not even funny. Well, it's kind of funny when read in the context of Marvin the Martain's Illudium Pu-36 Explosive Space Modulator. But you know what I mean.

The fact is that we're not keeping nukes out of anybody's hands by refusing to build breeders, especially in light of the fact that our bloodthirsty, warmongering neighbors to the north are selling nuclear bomb factories to anybody who wants them. They've sold them to both India AND Pakistan, for instance, which sounds like a plot element from an old Star Trek episode.


If anything, America is one of the few nations that SHOULD be using breeders for energy production, since we already have so much of the scary, evil stuff they produce that having even more of it isn't going to change our military posture one bit. We'll just burn most it as fuel, and discretely ship the rest to Israel in crates labeled "machine parts."
I agree with all that. Its a great design. The US nuke energy policy is beyond retarded.
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:45 PM   #377
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But home re-filling has got to be the key...sell the car AND provide the "charger
Exactly. You need the infrastructure before the cars, but simultaneous would work as well. We already have the distribution in place, just need the pump. I'd pay for a compressor if the cars were available, and not just a conversion I had to do everytime I got a new vehicle. I'm not messing with a brand new car to convert it, but factory available would be worth the premium.

For me, it would be a win-win. I convert the Jeep, maintaining my paid-for DD. I also keep my towing capacity, and I am not restricted by the low electric range limits. When the Jeep is ready for retirement, I go out and get another CNG car, factory converted.

I do know, in reading up on this, that the Honda refueling station is supposed to be coming back on the market. Not sure of the timeline for that.

As an aside, I wonder how reliable those things are, and how dangerous they could be if Billy Redneck decides to open one up and "fix" it. Granted, we already have 20# propane tanks in every yard, but I'd really hate if a neighbor's house errupted in a fireball some evening.

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It'll never happen, of course.
Possibly not in the forseeable future, but electric cars haven't happened, either. I'm willing to bet the vast majority of electric stuff is still homemade. And if things keep going the way they are in the ME, maybe gas prices will rise again, making them more viable.

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Sadly, the state of California prohibits me from burning this clean, abundant, inexpensive, domestically-produced fuel in my Miata because nobody has a CARB EO sticker for a CNG conversion kit, and probably never will.
Not sure what NY has to say on the matter, but we do have pretty draconian emissions testing. If I pump less crap out the tailpipe, that's all they should care about.
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Old 06-27-2012, 06:51 PM   #378
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And there's no reason you couldn't build a CNG sports car that wasn't a hybrid.
Why a hybrid? A straight up CNG car should get pretty good mileage, and have a range suitable for most people. Provided they could actually refuel someplace. It should be the same as buying gasoline.

It's the old chicken and egg thing. Gotta have enough cars to make the refueling stations worth gettting/installing. Gotta have the refueling stations before anyone will buy the cars.

This is one place where a gov't mandate helps. Our govenor is installing electric charging stations across the state. 325 New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Across New York State | Hybrid Cars It the perfect use of gov't to jump start the electric car bizz.
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:48 PM   #379
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I agree with all that. Its a great design. The US nuke energy policy is beyond retarded.
"Policy" makes sense if you look at the personal incentives of the policy makers.

And said incentives are only superficially aligned with the people's.
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Old 06-28-2012, 04:01 AM   #380
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But I'll still stand by my argument that even with the highly inefficient fuel cycle which we use in the US today, a few kilograms of "spent" uranium sitting around not emitting anything into the air is a lot better than tons of CO2 and particulate matter spewing out of the local fossil-fuel plant.
The massive, dramatic, unprecedented increase in carbon in the atmosphere is the single greatest threat to humanity today.

We are the only country that still believes greenhouse warming is a subject of dubious scientific merit. But, hell, we treated Michelle Bachman as a viable political candidate. What is happening to the earth's atmosphere today quite simply has no historical precedent in the history of the planet. Geologically significant quantities of coal, petroleum, natural gas, etc are being converted from their stored state into airborne carbon. There is a direct correlation in the historical record between the amount of airborne carbon and the global average temperature. And each year we continue to decrease the forest cover across the globe.

Nuclear power has its problems. Those problems have solutions. It is the only viable carbon-free power technology that scales to meet the needs of the modern industrialized world. Don't get me wrong, I fully support all efforts to get as much wattage as possible from wind, solar, and tidal sources. But nuclear is the only one that can back-end all the others when they aren't producing. Fusion ... yeah ... that will happen someday ... maybe when monkeys fly out of my buttocks. Without the enormous gravitational well of a star I'm not sure we'll ever see sustained power-producing fusion reactions. It's been "20 years away" for about 50 years now.

Not to mention the fact that all, I mean all, of our paints, lubricants, adhesives, plastics, and other things I can't even think of come from petroleum. All of these vital products come from a non-renewable resource that we are burning as a fuel. The "cost" of petroleum is artificially low, and will only be truly realized once it starts running out.

But I do love my track days and will be burning more of it soon.
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