free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 295. THE NUCLEAR CONUNDRUM

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

295. THE NUCLEAR CONUNDRUM

One of the problems I have with the peak oil community is its obsession with a near term peak in conventional petroleum. I don't really see this as the main problem because there are other forms of energy which can and will take up the slack, primarily coal and nuclear.

The larger problem, I believe, lies farther in the future, at the point when oil and gas have peaked and become seriously exhausted. So let's take the longer view and assume we're already at that point. Maybe the year is 2050 or 2100 -- pick your own number -- but for all practical purposes, we're very low on oil and gas. What does the world look like?

Some say: No problem, we'll just switch over to coal. But that's screwy. If we're going to switch to coal in the post peak oil/gas period, everybody is going to be switching and sucking down the coal of coal-rich nations (like America and Australia), not just the coal-rich nations themselves. Or, alternatively, the coal-rich nations will be powering their grids and driving on coal, while the rest of the world will be struggling to keep the lights on.

So coal really isn't the long-term answer, and in the end (barring other developments) preservation of the energy status quo will lead us into one of two scenarios:

Scenario 1) A world carpeted with tens of thousands of nuclear power plants. The question here then is security. Clearly the risks of dirty bombs, terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons, accidents due to mismanagement etc. increase greatly in this situation. We could have centralized enrichment and reprocessing/waste management, but then you've got a sprawling logistical network of nuclear/radioactive materials criss-crossing the earth in routine shipments, much like oil does today. Which will clearly increase the risk of theft, terrorist attacks, acts of war etc. A good question to ask here is: When and where will the first dirty bomb be detonated? And whose facility will the radioactive material come from?

On the other hand, you could have localized enrichment and reprocessing. That would eliminate the logistical risk, but introduce the risk of proliferation of nuclear weapons. That doesn't seem like such a good idea either.

In any case, you're going to need a massive worldwide security/emergency-response apparatus to police the situation, and this is an externality whose cost the nuclear power companies themselves should be forced to bear.

Scenario 2) Due to the risks involved in 1), 2nd tier countries are forcibly barred from nuclear development, and thus from electricity. This, however, seems likely to lead to conflict, and surges of refugees into nuclear countries where the power is still reliable. This too will necessitate huge investments in security.
-- by JD

43 Comments:

At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 6:28:00 PM PDT, Blogger Avo said...

What happened to space-based solar?? Or even good ol' ground-based solar & wind?

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 7:39:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

avo, I'm discussing the status quo in this case -- i.e. the case where space-based solar is off the table because it's not a realistic option. Nuclear is cheaper. I personally believe space-based solar is a good option which should be pursued, but nobody else does. This post assumes that the situation basically stays that way.

Ground-based solar and wind are also off the table because no one has produced a credible scenario where those two can fuel the status quo. I'm talking cars -- billions of them. Long commutes. Huge neon signs blazing all night long. Hot tubs. Houses built with brain-dead architecture requiring massive power for air-conditioning.

This is the realistic, down-to-earth scenario where people will have little interest in conservation, and will regard space-power as an expensive pipe dream. In this scenario, people will be primarily concerned with their cars, not sophisticated concepts of long-term sustainability.

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 8:28:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

Is there even enough uranium on the planet to power that many nuclear plants?

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 9:17:00 PM PDT, Blogger DC said...

Yes. There is enough fissile material. We can even make more with breeder technology (already available). It is a non-issue. It is a canard of the anti-nuke zealots.

I probably can't do this entry the justice that EnergySpin could. That guy knows his stuff on the issue and I'll just defer to his response.

However, I would like to point people to the federation of american scientists' take on the issue and their conclusion regarding a nuclear energy "park":

http://www.fas.org/
faspir/2001/v54n5/nuclear.htm

The one concept under study that holds promise of being proliferation-resistant in a nuclear world 10-20 times expanded from today is the development of a hub-spoke arrangement where all sensitive activities are performed at a central, perhaps international, facility with sealed nuclear reactors, electricity, or hydrogen then sent out from the central facility to the "client" states. (By sensitive, I refer to activities in which weapons-usable materials can be isolated - for example, reprocessing of spent fuel to obtain plutonium or the isotope separation of uranium). But such a strategy faces enormous political and practical obstacles. And all the more so does the extreme of this strategy - to place all nuclear power under international control. One is led reluctantly to a pessimistic conclusion. This is that a nuclear power system worldwide of a scope to address global warming will pose unacceptable risks of nuclear proliferation without a drastic lessening of national control either over nuclear energy or over nuclear weapons.

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 9:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

The arguments aginst any form of energy are insupperable. Fortunately they are just that -- arguments.

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 10:21:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Excellent link, dc. Thanks.

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 10:41:00 PM PDT, Blogger Rembrandt said...

DC, it is doubtful if there enough uranium to fuel that many nuclear reactors. While thorium, breeders and possibly uranium from seawater may supply the gap they are still technically uncertain and can they scale up quickly enough (quite doubtful).

More likely is the scenario JD left out: Concentrated Solar Power

This is a sustainable technology and economic at oil prices of 35 dollars per barrel.

The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has done large studies into this field on behalve of the German government. One of them (300 page report) can be found here:

http://www.dlr.de/tt/med-csp

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 10:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger Avo said...

Well I think space-based solar is a good idea too! That makes two of us! Let's go change the world!

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 10:49:00 PM PDT, Blogger Chris Vernon said...

See this 12 page PDF published last week addressing the question. The conclusion is no.

Why nuclear power cannot be a major energy source:
Nuclear Energy Life-Cycle

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 10:53:00 PM PDT, Blogger Avo said...

Looks like a very interesting report, Rembrandt, thank you.

Also many thanks for your work on cataloging oil production. I completely agree with JD that your open-source study is the true state-of-the-art on this vital subject.

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 10:56:00 PM PDT, Blogger Avo said...

And another very interesting report, Chris! (Just can't keep up with this blog ...)

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 11:10:00 PM PDT, Blogger DC said...

Sorry Chris, any analysis that uses Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen is crap. This is THE ONLY person to ever promote the RIDICULOUS notion that the nuclear life cycle consumes more energy than it produces. His work on the matter is UNPUBLISHED and NON PEER REVIEWED. Furthermore, when you compare his numbers to those from actual industry examples (e.g. Vattenfall Environmental Product Declaration), they are clearly off the mark.

I will change my mind the moment someone promotes the notion that nuclear energy is unsustainable in a peer-reviewed and legitimate medium. I'm tired of having to refute this kind of chicanery.

 
At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 at 11:47:00 PM PDT, Blogger EnergySpin said...

Hm I'm not exactly sure how to respond this post and the comments.
Let's start with the post per se.
The major point (or at least what I understood to be the major point), concerns the international policy/security implications of massive nuclear rollout. Two major scenarios are possible according to JD: a massive police state (if everyone is given access to NPRs) or a massive police state (if certain rogue states are left out of the loop).

First of all, let me start by sayin that no one should be left out of the loop (and they will not, the desalination market is too big to let go). So we default to the first scenario i.e. a big nuclear rollout that involves everyone. What are the technical measures that may be applied to solve this conundrum?
a) The international park solution with regional reprocessing under international control stands out. The majority of the reactors sit in parks and electricity is shuffled around over thousands of kms. (Before people start protestign about the losses let me remind everyone that my other favourite technology (wind) will also require massively connected grids over thousands of kms to deal with intermittency.)
The desalination market (mostly third world countries) are served by nuclear batteries ie. sealed, single piece equipment like the 4S and the SSTAR that only needs refuelling every 30 years.
2) a push for the MSBR. This 4th gen reactor has online reprocessing that is intrinsically coupled with the operation of the reactor and it is very difficult if not possible to smuggle material out of it.
3) a push for the thorium based cycles (they are intrinsically proliferation resistant).

But I'm not naive enough to think that these technical solutions will be enough. Which brings us to the $1M question: why will anyone (nation or group of individuals) try to obtain access and eventually use nukies/weapons of mass destruction etc? Even though the answer to such a question is beyond the scope of this thread, I merely used it to introduce the next question: Should we expect from technology to "solve or address political and societal problems?
Obviously not: technology by itself is neutral. Valium may be used to a) as an anxiolytic b) to induce anesthesia or c) kill someone. There is absolutely nothing in that particular chemical, as there is nothing in uranium/thorium/breeder reactors etc to make that particular assembly of molecules evil. The context of use depends on the humans; so if one asks how to prevent a police state from emerging in a nuclear world, then that person should really be asking the question : how to prevent any world from de-evolving down an autocracy with a democratic cloak.
That person should really be asking the question: "what will it take to ensure that there are no groups of people that will kill or get killed for a 'cause' ?"

Depending on your particular views about the world you may come up with quite an impressive list of potential political answers to such questions.
Does anyone care (enough) to discuss international politics and law around here? Or it is easier to adopt the West Coast view of building sustainable bunkers and hoard MREs?


I would like to thank chris for sharing with us a derivative work of the Storm paper :) The same old propaganda packaged in a much nicer format for the audience to follow.

Regarding uranium availability: when will we let this matter drop? There a couple of posts in this forum about the positive energy payback time of even the most dilute uranium source available on earth (sewater) to make availability a non-issue.

Regarding the rest of the available energy technologies: I have said at POCOM and here, that if there any developments that will ensure the same amount of service (constant uninterrupted electricity 24-7) from renewables then I will have no problems to scrap nuclear (for the electricity sector) and use it only as source for process heat (for the industry). But suggestions like the one from various posters at POCOM that involve businesses up and running only when the sun is out will not fly. Ensure the same quantity/quality of service and we can re-address the issue.

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 12:04:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

More likely is the scenario JD left out: Concentrated Solar Power

This is a sustainable technology and economic at oil prices of 35 dollars per barrel.


It's economic to some degree right now, at least in very sunny areas. A plant was just commissioned in Arizona, although it is extremely small (power for 200 families). LINK

More plants are on the way (#270).

The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has done large studies into this field on behalve of the German government. One of them (300 page report) can be found here:

In terms of storage, the report mentions an approach I haven't previously heard of: thermal storage. And that's about all it does is "mention" it. No description, no cost analysis -- nothing. Just: "We'll take care of it with thermal storage."

How much faith do they have in thermal storage? Not a whole lot, as you can see from this passage:

"Each of these technologies can be operated with fossil fuel as well as solar energy. This hybrid operation has the potential to increase the value of CSP technology by increasing its power availability and decreasing its cost by making more effective use of the power block. Solar heat collected during the daytime can be stored in concrete, molten salt, ceramics or phase-change media. At night, it can be extracted from the storage to run the power block. Fossil and renewable fuels like oil, gas, coal and biomass can be used for co-firing the plant, thus providing power capacity whenever required."

It's the same fraudulent game that they're playing in Denmark (see #213). The title of the report says "SOLAR", and the fine print says "fossil fuel".

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 12:32:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

businesses up and running only when the sun is out will not fly

Last time I checked, most businesses already are running when the sun is out -- 9 to 5. ;-)

Ensure the same quantity/quality of service and we can re-address the issue.

This is at the heart of it. The same quantity/quality of service means the status quo, 100%, unchanged. Like I said to Avo: Billions of cars. Long commutes. Huge neon signs blazing all night long. Hot tubs. Houses built with brain-dead architecture requiring massive power for air-conditioning. Nuclear must be pressed into service to keep this going because changes in lifestyle are not acceptable. That's the core argument for massive nuclear, as I see it.

My question for you, ES, is this: If we're going to be going whole-hog nuclear, filling up one Yucca Mountain every couple of years, why do we need to conserve, at all? I mean, if it's asking too much to ask people to operate during the daytime, why criticize people who drive Hummers? Those Hummers provide a quantity/quality of service for them which must be maintained. Right?

In fact, isn't "Ensure the same quantity/quality of service and we can re-address the issue." just another way to say "our way of life is not negotiable"?

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 2:09:00 AM PDT, Blogger EnergySpin said...

"Ensure the same quantity/quality of service and we can re-address the issue."
Hm come on JD ... give me a litl bit more credit. Last time I had the argument at POCOM I brought up the issue of the hospital I did my training a loong time ago.
We had to run MRI/CT scans ventilators and other "gadgets" 24-7. Hospitals and other kind of industrial systems need a constant level of output 24-7. Try to run one of the new 3+ Tesla MR scanners on solar and then we can re-address the issue :) Or are you going to give me the reply that I received at POCOM: "it is obvious then, that you will not be able to run these things when the sun goes down" + use UPS/storage/diesel generators.

There are many more stuff that require 24-7 "UPS": your streetcars, the internet, the power to start up CSP + wind farms. It is not about neon lights or Hummers (yeah right).

To answer your Yucca mountain question / conservation question. Within reason, one SHOULD NOT adopt a wasteful way of life. OTH one cannot conserve his way down to death (the Heinberg argument). There is a golden medium, which should be sought after within the context of the political process. (BTW Energy efficiency/Conservation is just a way to maintain quantity and quality of "system" services, a point I have been expecting you to write about, ever since you wrote about A Lovins)


To sum up: there are many more things out there that need power in addition to the fridges at home, and the neon lights. For example, in case of widespread climate destabilization (which is a distinct possibility) we will be forced to desalinate water on a massive scale (and it will not be used to water the Gentleman Only Ladies Forbidden courses :)

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 4:01:00 AM PDT, Blogger Markku said...

JD,

in your long-term scenario, you're ignoring the explosive growth trend in computing power and the emergence of strong nanotechnology.

Global demand for energy may plummet towards the end the end of this century because people can and will - and probably may have to in order to protect themselves from highly advanced bio-/nanoweapons - give up for biological bodies altogether. By the end of the century, our minds, expanded beyond wildest imaginations, will run on ultra-powerful computers requiring very little or no energy not readily available in renewable forms in overwhelming abundance with respect to need.

The point: in about the middle of this century, what seems to us in 2006 a fundamental discontinuity in the history of intelligent life on this planet will occur. Any predictions depending on the current facts of life beyond that point are utterly meaningless.

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 5:22:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

markku,
That's certainly one possible outcome. It's just not the one I'm considering in this thread. Here I'm looking at the scenario of a massive world-wide roll-out of nuclear power.

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 5:30:00 AM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

Last year I considered the singularity idea quite seriously (as might be obvious in this post I wrote for POD at the time). I'm not really so sure about it now. I think that advanced nanotech will be developed eventually and have wide effects, but I'm leaning more towards people like Ian Pearson, Jaron Lanier or Douglas Mulhall than with Ray Kurzweil. I think there's a huge philosophical conondrum about strong AI that has kind of been sidestepped here when you talk about brain uploading. You know, someone in the last post said that you need both extremes to form a consensus. Well, let's take one extreme as Richard Heinberg, and the other as Kurzweil (or someone like Michael Anissimov). Where's the middle? That's for us to work out. :-)

These days I don't think we'll be computers by 2050. Or 2100. Or even 2150. On the other hand, the global energy situation in 2050 doesn't worry me. Technology is progressing blindingly fast (though I don't know about accelerating exponentially). It can't create Gods ... but if it can't produce solar technology effective enough to power the planet, I'll eat Matt Savinar's hat. Euchh.

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 5:39:00 AM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

P.S. To JD's comment, this is why I like this blog so much. JD actually looks at the issue from different perspectives, instead of sticking religiously to a particular worldview. I think that space-based power or advanced nanotech are plausible - but what if they aren't? Or vested interests get in the way? Stranger things have happened. We need a backup plan for all reasonable eventualities.

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 8:10:00 AM PDT, Blogger Markku said...

Last year I considered the singularity idea quite seriously (as might be obvious in this post I wrote for POD at the time). I'm not really so sure about it now. I think that advanced nanotech will be developed eventually and have wide effects, but I'm leaning more towards people like Ian Pearson, Jaron Lanier or Douglas Mulhall than with Ray Kurzweil.

The concept of technological singularity was invented in the 1960's, I think, and later popularized by Vernor Vince in the 1990's. I haven't read anything written by the people you mention.

I think there's a huge philosophical conondrum about strong AI that has kind of been sidestepped here when you talk about brain uploading.

What philosophical problem do you mean? Just put the right molecules in the right order. Presto, you have an intelligent machine.

Whether or not a computer or an uploaded brain is conscious, is a philosophical question indeed, but I think it has nothing to do with whether or not strong AI is possible.

These days I don't think we'll be computers by 2050. Or 2100. Or even 2150.

Why? I think no yuck-reaction will prevent people from getting themselves uploaded if the alternative is death. Consider the eventuality that anyone can use a nanofactory to produce any objects like, for instance, self-replicating destructive nanobots or airborne viruses. I'd say mere survival will require abandoning biological bodies at some point.

On the other hand, the global energy situation in 2050 doesn't worry me. Technology is progressing blindingly fast (though I don't know about accelerating exponentially).

Some technologies are indeed accelerating exponentially. According to industry roadmaps, Moore's Law will stay on course for the next decade or so based on photolitography alone. Enough time for it to be (gradually) replaced by carbon nanotubes. Or some other technology under development. Read MIT Technology Review.

It can't create Gods

So, you're saying that superhuman level intelligence is never achievable (on a non-biological platform)? I wouldn't know, but I'm guessing that it eventually will be. I don't believe intelligence requires anything special. The requisite raw computational capacity is already there and pretty soon it will be available cheaply. The problem is, of course, inventing the software of intelligence. But we do have an example between our ears that we can reverse-engineer.

... but if it can't produce solar technology effective enough to power the planet, I'll eat Matt Savinar's hat. Euchh.

Soon enough, fossil fuels will be expensive enough for renewables such as photovoltaics competitive. I hope that happens before fossil fuels peak (though, I suppose coal won't for a long time).

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 9:32:00 AM PDT, Blogger Joe said...

If you use 2100 as a date then you should take into account what the population of the world will be at that time. World population will peak around 2050 (9 - 9.5 billion)and decline thereafter. By 2100 it will probably be back around where it is today and the population will be decreasing every year.

Currently it is difficult for efficiency gains to compensate for the 74 million people that the world is adding every year. If you add the current 1.1% population growth to 4.5% economic growth, then efficiency gains get swamped.

But by 2050, with population growth at 0% and with a much higher standard of living around the world,we should have no problem using less energy every year and still have a growing economy. By 2100, energy use could easily decline 2-3% per year - if we need it to.

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 9:34:00 AM PDT, Blogger Rembrandt said...

@JD "In terms of storage, the report mentions an approach I haven't previously heard of: thermal storage. And that's about all it does is "mention" it. No description, no cost analysis -- nothing. Just: "We'll take care of it with thermal storage.""

There is nothing wrong with co-firing with natural gas, It makes the process more efficient! This will give enough time to develop a good hydrogen / fuel cell system or invent other means of thermal / electricity storage. We should invest in this....

You can say exactly the same for nuclear, yeah we don't have working breeders / thorium / uranium from seawater yet. So let's not invest in it.

That's just a bullshit argument.

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 10:48:00 AM PDT, Blogger Chris Vernon said...

Sorry Chris, any analysis that uses Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen is crap.

Before dismissing this work as crap, think about the similarities between Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen (now) and Colin Campbell (say 10 years ago). Both retired experts with a message everyone thinks is rubbish. It’s called whistle bowing and sometimes the accepted position is shown to be in error.

We had to run MRI/CT scans ventilators and other "gadgets" 24-7. Hospitals and other kind of industrial systems need a constant level of output 24-7.

Renewables are perfectly able to run 24/7 loads. I’ve recently be designing off-grid photovoltaic systems for multi-kW 24hr telecoms equipment.

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 12:15:00 PM PDT, Blogger Thomas said...

JD wrote:
Ground-based solar and wind are also off the table because no one has produced a credible scenario where those two can fuel the status quo. I'm talking cars -- billions of them. Long commutes. Huge neon signs blazing all night long. Hot tubs. Houses built with brain-dead architecture requiring massive power for air-conditioning.

What's particularly interesting about this status quo (worst case scenario).

And JD, why do you always dismis renewable for the reason that you don't believe it can "supply 100% of our energy". No single technology is well suited for that! Nuclear is certainly not! Oil might be, if there were plenty, but that's not the case.

USA is a big enough region to justify the claim that "wind always blows somewhere". Around the clock even.

USA has some of the best solar resources in the world. Solar production potential is in almost perfect sync with demand in regions with the most "brain-dead architecture requiring air-conditioning".

Wind solar do not produce liquid fuels (to supply the status quo), but neither does nuclear. In that respect they are equally poor solutions.

Even without concerns for long-term sustainability, wind is almost, if not already, as cheap as coal. And it's much quicker to build.

JD wrote:
It's the same fraudulent game that they're playing in Denmark (see #213). The title of the report says "SOLAR", and the fine print says "fossil fuel".

Now you're almost making me mad. I already debunked most of that post in my comments to it, but since you didn't listen, I'll do it again. And this time I'll finish the job!

#213: Why has thermal generating capacity remained constant?

Because there are only 15 major power plants in Denmark and they last 40-50 years, so statistically, one is scrapped every 3rd year. Recently, scrapping of old plants have been put of because of huge export to Sweden and Norway due to low water reservoirs. That's why! (In 2003 Denmark exported power corresponding to 24.3% of our consumption. Source: The Annual Report of Eltra 2003 (same source as the Kirby crap))

All the minor power plants are less than 20 years old, most less than 10.

#213: And why hasn't there been a corresponding decrease in consumption of power generated by conventional thermal?

Coincidentally, exports to Sweden and Norway increased by the same rate as wind power.

#213: "Denmark has installed 3,100 MW of wind turbine capacity to date, which is in theory capable of generating 20% of the country’s electricity demand. Of that capacity, 2,374 MW is located in western Denmark (Jutland and Funen). The statistic is misleading because it implies that 20% of Denmark’s power is supplied continuously from its wind capacity, but the figure appears to be a promotional statistic rather than a factual representation of the supply pattern"


Totally bullshit! Denmark has 3,100 MW wind power. Our average consumption was 4,100 MW, so generating capacity is 75% of consumption, not 20%. The amount of wind power *actually generated* corresponds to 19% of total consumption in 2004 (Source: Danish Electricity Supply - Statistics 2004 [in Danish]).

#213: "There is no CO2 saving in Danish exchange with Norway and Sweden because wind power only displaces CO2-free generated power"

Norway and Sweden do not bypass free hydro power around the turbines just so they can buy Danish wind power! They import power because they need it! This again comes back to the situation of low reservoirs in Norway and Sweden.

#213: "The operation of fossil-fired capacity as spinning reserve emits more CO2/kWh than if the use of that plant were optimised, thus offsetting much of the benefit of wind."

Not true. Thermodynamic garbage. That implies that power plants run full throttle on the fuel, but bypass steam away from the turbines... That's not how it's done, period!

#213: "The result is that, while wind-generated power itself is CO2-free, the saving to the whole power system is not proportional to the amount of fossil-fuelled power that it displaces."

True. Some is lost to spinning reserve, but not all. The real figure is closer to 10-20%.

#213: "The 2003 annual report of Eltra, the western Denmark transmission company, suggests an export figure of 84% of total wind production to these countries in 2003"

So what?! That year we exported more power than produced by wind (24% export, 19% wind). When wind is strong, spot prices go down, and Norway and Sweden bought big-time. With hydro power (99% of Norwegian power and 40% of Swedish production) you can when to produce and when to import very flexibly.

Our trading with our neighbourghs is no proof that wind power doesn't work, quite the contrary. Denmark is much too small a region to function properly without energy trading with our neighbourgh, with or without wind. Our huge connections were built before wind grew five-fold around the turn of the millenium, because they made economical sense!

Let me finish with a quote from the presentation of the 2004 Annual Report from Eltra:

Since the end of 1999 - so in just three years - wind power capacity in the Jutland-Fyn system has increased from 1,110 MW to 2,400 MW. In installed capacity that is twice the capacity of the «Skydstrup» power Plant near Aarhus. Seven or eight years ago, we said that the electricity system could not function if wind power increased above 500 MW. Now we are handling almost five times as much. And I would like to tell the Government and the Parliament that we are ready to handle even more, but it requires that we are allowed to use the right tools to manage the system" Source(page 10)

The management tools mentioned are primarily shutting down priority production during periods of excess. Priority production constitutes independent wind and decentralized CHP plants, which produce twice as much power as wind turbines, often a very inconvenient times (strong wind, low power consumption, such as cold, windy winter nights).

-Thomas

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 12:57:00 PM PDT, Blogger DC said...

Before dismissing this work as crap, think about the similarities between Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen (now) and Colin Campbell (say 10 years ago). Both retired experts with a message everyone thinks is rubbish. It’s called whistle bowing and sometimes the accepted position is shown to be in error.

Should I also think about the similarities between him and Stanley Pons/Martin Fleischmann? There is a system of checks called peer review that works very well. He has not gone through this process with his work. Until he does, it would do just as well to tout Dilithium crystals or the Viper Mark II. It's been 4 years since he started floating this "report" on the web. Isn't it about time it shows up in some conference or journal for review? He's a hack, not a whistleblower.

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 4:42:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

The concept of technological singularity was invented in the 1960's, I think, and later popularized by Vernor Vince in the 1990's. I haven't read anything written by the people you mention.

Douglas Mulhall is an author. Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist and composer who invented virtual reality, and wrote the most intelligent (and scathing) refutation of the singularity ever. Ian Pearson is an AI scientist who doesn't believe in "hard takeoff".

What philosophical problem do you mean? Just put the right molecules in the right order. Presto, you have an intelligent machine.

Put the molecules in the right order, and you have a starship or a dinosaur - it's just really hard. The brute force power of computers may be increasing exponentially, but their intelligence is not. We can create tools, but not agents. Maybe eventually we will have them, but I think we're getting there in a linear way rather than an exponential way.

If computers are self-improving, then obviously we'll get to superintelligence eventually. But why does a computer need to be intelligent before it can self-improve itself?

Whether or not a computer or an uploaded brain is conscious, is a philosophical question indeed, but I think it has nothing to do with whether or not strong AI is possible.

Well it does, because nobody's going to upload themselves if they're not sure they'll be conscious on the other side!

Consider the eventuality that anyone can use a nanofactory to produce any objects like, for instance, self-replicating destructive nanobots or airborne viruses. I'd say mere survival will require abandoning biological bodies at some point.

Well, this is a worry. But our defences against weapons have so far evolved in step with the weapons themselves - Robert Freitas makes some good suggestions about how this could be done. And overall, the amount of conflict in the world seems to be on a long-term downward trend, partly because modern weapons are so lethal. As for bioweapons — antivirals were only invented ten years ago, so we've only scratched the surface of what they can do. They just found a compound in wallaby milk that is 100 times more effective than conventional antibiotics. Obviously some of this technology is really dangerous, and I accept that at some point in the future we'll pretty much have to give up on the idea of privacy (read "The Transparent Society"). What worries me more though is the "overabundance economy".

Some technologies are indeed accelerating exponentially. According to industry roadmaps, Moore's Law will stay on course for the next decade or so based on photolitography alone. Enough time for it to be (gradually) replaced by carbon nanotubes. Or some other technology under development. Read MIT Technology Review.

I just don't think you can apply that to the whole of human society. It's too subjective.

So, you're saying that superhuman level intelligence is never achievable (on a non-biological platform)? I wouldn't know, but I'm guessing that it eventually will be. I don't believe intelligence requires anything special. The requisite raw computational capacity is already there and pretty soon it will be available cheaply. The problem is, of course, inventing the software of intelligence. But we do have an example between our ears that we can reverse-engineer.

Even if it is intelligent, what would the implications be? What if the technology to integrate humans and computers doesn't progress as fast as AI does? When was the last time you saw God?

Ray Kurzweil:
"What will the Singularity look like to people who want to remain biological? The answer is that they really won't notice it, except for the fact that machine intelligence will appear to biological humanity to be their transcendent servants."
(Source).

Here's a wacky idea for you: I think superhuman intelligence exists now, as we all become more interconnected on the web, and as software gives us more power to make calculations and assess things. As we sit here on this blog we're part of a growing global consciousness that's greater than the sum of its parts — sorting through ideas, drawing conclusions, finding the middle point between Kurzweil and Deffeyes, whatever. This network has existed as long as there have been humans, but modern communication makes it far more effective. Imagine if this problem-solving network also included the billions of people in the third world, thanks to cheap IT? We already have strong AI — the internet is the artificial part and people are the intelligent part.

Anyway, this is all off topic. I think we need backup plans for everything. For example, we could all be wrong and nanotech, biotech, solar and wind power could all fall through ... then what? The nuclear conundrum. That's what I was trying to say in that article for POD: it wasn't just about the singularity, it was about how complicated the future is. It will exceed our expectations, but probably not in the way we imagine.

 
At Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 8:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger Jon said...

JD, sorry this is a little off topic for this post, but I thought you might find it intersting.

I was watching the news this evening here in Calgary and they had an article about a company called Whitesands Insitu that is testing an extraction process for the Athabasca oil sands which sounds pretty interesting.

What they are planning to do is light a slow burning, controlled smoldering fire in the ashphalt like Bitumen which will heat the material in the direction of the burn so that it can be pumped out.

They said that they project they can get between 60-80% of the recoverable oil this way versus only up to 50% of the other methods. I am guessing this also mitigates the use of natural gas and water as you are using oil sands themselves to do the heating.

Pretty spiffy...

See:

http://www.petrobank.com/ops/html/cnt_heavy_white.html

 
At Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 4:50:00 AM PDT, Blogger Markku said...

Douglas Mulhall is an author. Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist and composer who invented virtual reality, and wrote the most intelligent (and scathing) refutation of the singularity ever. Ian Pearson is an AI scientist who doesn't believe in "hard takeoff".

Lanier wrote:

Cybernetic Totalist Belief #1: That cybernetic patterns of information provide the ultimate and best way to understand reality.

What else is there? Is there understanding without knowing patters of information? Is there another way to use the word "understand" while making sense?

Belief #2: That people are no more than cybernetic patterns

Every cybernetic totalist fantasy relies on artificial intelligence. It might not immediately be apparent why such fantasies are essential to those who have them. If computers are to become smart enough to design their own successors, initiating a process that will lead to God-like omniscience after a number of ever swifter passages from one generation of computers to the next, someone is going to have to write the software that gets the process going, and humans have given absolutely no evidence of being able to write such software. So the idea is that the computers will somehow become smart on their own and write their own software.

My primary objection to this way of thinking is pragmatic: It results in the creation of poor quality real world software in the present. Cybernetic Totalists live with their heads in the future and are willing to accept obvious flaws in present software in support of a fantasy world that might never appear.


It seems to me that basically Lanier is saying here that since humans have so far never written software than comes anywhere near humans in general intelligence, it will never be done, which proves that humans have a mystical quality that sets them apart from mere information processes and that is somehow relevant to capacity for intelligent behavior. I'd call that a premature conclusion.

Belief #3: That subjective experience either doesn't exist, or is unimportant because it is some sort of ambient or peripheral effect.

There is a new moral struggle taking shape over the question of when "souls" should be attributed to perceived patterns in the world.

Computers, genes, and the economy are some of the entities which appear to Cybernetic Totalists to populate reality today, along with human beings. It is certainly true that we are confronted with non-human and meta-human actors in our lives on a constant basis and these players sometimes appear to be more powerful than us.


The existence of subjective experience is an immediately obvious fact that only a jester would deny. However, there is no evidence of subjective experience being anything but a peripheral effect. There is no documented case of mind without a brain. I believe in jackhammer psychology. My personal intuition is that it arises from certain type of information processes that take place in the higher regions of the human brain. But that's merely a guess and is as good as anybody else's.

Belief #4: That what Darwin described in biology, or something like it, is in fact also the singular, superior description of all possible creativity and culture.

Cybernetic totalists are obsessed with Darwin, for he described the closest thing we have to an algorithm for creativity. Darwin answers what would otherwise be a big hole in the Dogma: How will cybernetic systems be smart and creative enough to invent a post-human world? In order to embrace an eschatology in which the computers become smart as they become fast, some kind of Deus ex Machina must be invoked, and it has a beard.

Unfortunately, in the current climate I must take a moment to state that I am not a creationist. I am in this essay criticizing what I perceive to be intellectual laziness; a retreat from trying to understand problems and instead hope for software that evolves itself. I am not suggesting that Nature required some extra element beyond natural evolution to create people.


What evidence is there for a special force of creation? On the other hand, genetic algorithms have proven capable of generating very complicated novel solutions to well formulated problems that no human has ever thought of. To me, it looks as if the difference between human creativity and machine creativity is merely that currently we have little idea what goes on under the hood in human creativity. Would such a detailed understanding of the neurophysiology of human creativity take the fun out of human creativity? I don't think so. Again, Lanier seems to be jumping into conclusing prematurely.

Belief #5: That qualitative as well as quantitative aspects of information systems will be accelerated by Moore's Law.

I've never read anyone suggest that this be the case, the least of all Kurzweil.

Belief #6, the coming cybernetic cataclysm.

Here Lanier discusses the increase of problems caused by ever more complex but flawed software. He also mentions how in the field of biotechnology vast databases are collected but how they are likely to remain fragmented, unstandardized, and heavily reliant of overworked human scientists to be useful. I think Lanier is correct in that integrating all that jumbled mess will require a lot of intelligence.

"What philosophical problem do you mean? Just put the right molecules in the right order. Presto, you have an intelligent machine."

Put the molecules in the right order, and you have a starship or a dinosaur - it's just really hard. The brute force power of computers may be increasing exponentially, but their intelligence is not. We can create tools, but not agents. Maybe eventually we will have them, but I think we're getting there in a linear way rather than an exponential way.

Before making any conclusions, I'd wait until the architecture of the entire human brain is mapped and understood in detail.

If computers are self-improving, then obviously we'll get to superintelligence eventually. But why does a computer need to be intelligent before it can self-improve itself?

You mean improve it's own intelligence? It's a matter of taste, but I'd prefer calling such computer intelligent.

"Whether or not a computer or an uploaded brain is conscious, is a philosophical question indeed, but I think it has nothing to do with whether or not strong AI is possible."

Well it does, because nobody's going to upload themselves if they're not sure they'll be conscious on the other side!

Some people are sure. And those who are about to die anyway are very likely to take their chances.

Moreover, you're confusing two issues here: the philosophical problems of uploading and creating artificial intelligence (a machine whose outward behavior is firmly in the realm of what humans would call "intelligent").

By the way, would you personally agree to the Moravec transfer, that is, having your brain cells replaced by functional equivalents while you are fully conscious and capable of observing the process?

"Some technologies are indeed accelerating exponentially. According to industry roadmaps, Moore's Law will stay on course for the next decade or so based on photolitography alone. Enough time for it to be (gradually) replaced by carbon nanotubes. Or some other technology under development. Read MIT Technology Review."

I just don't think you can apply that to the whole of human society. It's too subjective.

What do you mean? What is subjective?

"So, you're saying that superhuman level intelligence is never achievable (on a non-biological platform)? I wouldn't know, but I'm guessing that it eventually will be. I don't believe intelligence requires anything special. The requisite raw computational capacity is already there and pretty soon it will be available cheaply. The problem is, of course, inventing the software of intelligence. But we do have an example between our ears that we can reverse-engineer."

Even if it is intelligent, what would the implications be?

Well, if a machine were to be built whose cognitive capacity matched that of humans, it could be instantly copied as many times as necessary. Raw processing power could quickly be used to amplify it's memory capacity and speed. Unaugmented humans would be quickly out of work for starters.

What if the technology to integrate humans and computers doesn't progress as fast as AI does? When was the last time you saw God?

I've never seen God. It's very hard to predict what would happen.

Ray Kurzweil:
"What will the Singularity look like to people who want to remain biological? The answer is that they really won't notice it, except for the fact that machine intelligence will appear to biological humanity to be their transcendent servants."
(Source).

Here's a wacky idea for you: I think superhuman intelligence exists now, as we all become more interconnected on the web, and as software gives us more power to make calculations and assess things. As we sit here on this blog we're part of a growing global consciousness that's greater than the sum of its parts — sorting through ideas, drawing conclusions, finding the middle point between Kurzweil and Deffeyes, whatever. This network has existed as long as there have been humans, but modern communication makes it far more effective. Imagine if this problem-solving network also included the billions of people in the third world, thanks to cheap IT? We already have strong AI — the internet is the artificial part and people are the intelligent part.


Well, that's nothing new. Human culture has always been way smarter than any individual human.

Anyway, this is all off topic. I think we need backup plans for everything. For example, we could all be wrong and nanotech, biotech, solar and wind power could all fall through ... then what? The nuclear conundrum. That's what I was trying to say in that article for POD: it wasn't just about the singularity, it was about how complicated the future is. It will exceed our expectations, but probably not in the way we imagine.

I'm in favor of building more nuclear power plants. Fossil fuels should all be replaced by nuclear power in electricity production. The use of fossil fuels in transportation should be minimized by taxing motor fuels more heavily. Plug-in hybrids are a great idea. If people can afford SUVs instead of cars, they can afford plug-in hybrids.

 
At Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 5:33:00 AM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

What else is there? Is there understanding without knowing patters of information? Is there another way to use the word "understand" while making sense?

Well no, if you define human understanding in a cybernetic sense (see belief 2). You can listen to a piece of music and understand it on a deep level. Having it in a digitalized form doesn't make it any easier to understand if you lack the capacity to understand it.

It seems to me that basically Lanier is saying here that since humans have so far never written software than comes anywhere near humans in general intelligence, it will never be done, which proves that humans have a mystical quality that sets them apart from mere information processes and that is somehow relevant to capacity for intelligent behavior. I'd call that a premature conclusion.

I believe a human will eventually be convincingly simulated. In fact they have been already. As Lanier points out, a "reverse Turing test" occurs when someone lowers their own intelligence to that of a bad piece of software.

I just don't agree that a human simulation is that significant, or that it is a prerequisite for self-improving intelligence. It may be too early to rule such a computer out, but it would be just as premature to assume that we understand consciousness just because we understand the brain.

We'll see.

"Nobody's going to upload themselves if they're not sure they'll be conscious on the other side!" —Some people are sure. And those who are about to die anyway are very likely to take their chances.

I don't agree that we're all likely to die because of bio- or nano-technology. And of all the future technologies I've read about, uploading seems the most implausible. We're more likely to go into space.

Human culture has always been way smarter than any individual human.

Yes, but its intelligence has been limited by factors such as small population, isolated communities, slow communication, low level of education and restrictions of free speech. Now the boundaries are coming down. This blog, for example, has dozens of people forming one tiny part of a collaborative solution to Peak Oil. Several years ago we would not have had anything to do with one another, and now here. Even now, 95% of the potential power of this global mind is missing, because IT has not reached full penetration and most people lack basic necessities anyway.

So, why wait around for a global superintelligence when we've got one already? Who cares if a computer can simulate the human mind, when real human minds are doing the job so well? If you like the idea of being inside a computer, then just think a thought and your wish is granted. :-)

 
At Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 5:48:00 AM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

I'd say mere survival will require abandoning biological bodies at some point.

Come to think of it, if there really were infinitely-intelligent compassionate computers they would be quite likely to figure out how to protect us from one another and let us go about our business in our normal bodies. They'd basically be like God, in that case - hence my question, when did you last run into God?

Anyway, I think that whole scenario is pretty implausible so it doesn't really matter.

I'm in favor of building more nuclear power plants.

I think nuclear is a crappy idea. Assuming the extremely unlikely situation that alternative energy cannot scale up long-term to replace oil, I guess you have to ask what's better: a more violent world without nuclear weapons, or a slightly more peaceful world with nuclear weapons everywhere. I agree with you that plug-in hybrids are an excellent idea though.

I think that in 15-20 years the decentralized solar-electricity lifestyle will start to be financially viable for people in urban areas, though, which'll solve a lot of problems.

 
At Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 7:19:00 AM PDT, Blogger Markku said...

"What else is there? Is there understanding without knowing patters of information? Is there another way to use the word "understand" while making sense?"

Well no, if you define human understanding in a cybernetic sense (see belief 2). You can listen to a piece of music and understand it on a deep level. Having it in a digitalized form doesn't make it any easier to understand if you lack the capacity to understand it.

I think you narrowly understand "knowing a pattern of information" as possessing a formula describing a regularity. When I listen to music, I receive information via the auditory sense. Then I come to know the features and structures of the piece of music. I'm not able to enjoy music in written form because I can't read notes fluently. Clearly, there can be no "understanding" of the music without knowledge of the patterns of information therein.

"It seems to me that basically Lanier is saying here that since humans have so far never written software than comes anywhere near humans in general intelligence, it will never be done, which proves that humans have a mystical quality that sets them apart from mere information processes and that is somehow relevant to capacity for intelligent behavior. I'd call that a premature conclusion."

I believe a human will eventually be convincingly simulated. In fact they have been already. As Lanier points out, a "reverse Turing test" occurs when someone lowers their own intelligence to that of a bad piece of software.

I just don't agree that a human simulation is that significant, or that it is a prerequisite for self-improving intelligence.


I never said it's necessary to simulate a human for that particular purpose.

It may be too early to rule such a computer out, but it would be just as premature to assume that we understand consciousness just because we understand the brain.

No such assumption is necessary.

"Nobody's going to upload themselves if they're not sure they'll be conscious on the other side!" —Some people are sure. And those who are about to die anyway are very likely to take their chances.

I don't agree that we're all likely to die because of bio- or nano-technology. And of all the future technologies I've read about, uploading seems the most implausible. We're more likely to go into space.

I'm saying is that each one of us is very likely to die at some point in the future owing to the fact that our bodies become fragile as they age. Suppose you are lying in your deathbed. Would you give permission to the hospital staff to scan your brain after you die to run a simulation of you in a computer? I would, since it would be the best hope available at that point to continue living.

"Human culture has always been way smarter than any individual human."

So, why wait around for a global superintelligence when we've got one already? Who cares if a computer can simulate the human mind, when real human minds are doing the job so well? If you like the idea of being inside a computer, then just think a thought and your wish is granted. :-)

I don't want to die. I know I will eventually become very frail and ill and die (in a matter of about half a century should life expectancy remain constant) if I remain in my original biological body. I'd like to body (including the brain) to be kept in perfect working order indefinitely. Should biological immortality result in some kind of adverse psychological consequences in the long-term, I'd like to have to ability to remedy them.

 
At Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 3:29:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

Suppose you are lying in your deathbed. Would you give permission to the hospital staff to scan your brain after you die to run a simulation of you in a computer?

Hmm. I personally have a very strong aversion to anything that messes with my brain - mechanical or pharmacological. I would be happy to receive all manner of biological enhancements to enable me to live longer, once they are available, but my brain is my personal space and I would think very carefully before letting anyone mess around with it. Plus being on a "server" with access to infinite amounts of intelligence brings up the tricky question of whether I am still an individual person. Humans were not meant to live as software; if you wanted to live as software you would no longer be human.

People uploading to avoid death requires two things to be true beforehand:

1. Biological immortality is inadequate
2. Complete uploading is possible

Regards the first, I wonder how anybody could not be satisfied with living 500 years. You'd get bored. You'd need the Singularity Fun Theory. But I don't know if this will be an issue anyway because I'm very spectical about the second one.

I think it's more likely, at least in the next 100 years, that dumb but omnipresent computers will cater to all our needs, while full-immersion virtual reality will allow us to exist in virtual spaces and biotechnology will extend our lifespans to several hundred years. Once I can go swimming at a virtual beach whenever I want I'd love to go live in space for a while. They say the food is really good there.

 
At Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 9:14:00 PM PDT, Blogger Glenn said...

I believe that technological progress demands energy. If we are going to have to gradually decrease our energy usage then I see our technology declining with it, or at least relegated to the upper echolon of society.

Only if population decreases enough to the point where renewables alone can restore the kind of lifestyle we take for granted today will we be able to continue where we left off.

People have this blind faith in technology because of the rate of change we've seen in computers, but not all technology moves at that rate. Computers can not make our cars go 1000 miles to the gallon. They can't create fertilizer for our crops. They can't fuel power plants.

 
At Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 10:47:00 PM PDT, Blogger Joe said...

Sorry Glen but you said:

People have this blind faith in technology because of the rate of change we've seen in computers, but not all technology moves at that rate. Computers can not make our cars go 1000 miles to the gallon. They can't create fertilizer for our crops. They can't fuel power plants.


I just chatted with a co-worker in Singapore via my computer. I definitely got more than 1000 miles to the gallon.

GPS technology, using computers, is being applied to reduce the amount of fertilizer applied to crops. Genetic research being done, using computers, is increasing crop yield wihout requiring additional fertilizer.

Finally, we can use computers/technology to monitor and reduce our energy usage. These "negawatts" are better than any power plant.

 
At Friday, April 28, 2006 at 12:33:00 AM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

I just bought a Prius, and now I hear that Toyota hopes to double its efficiency within two years using new battery technology. Kind of like the fast product-cycle of a computer, isn't it? Because we've barely scratched the surface of possible efficiency improvements, I think we'll see very swift increases in efficiency over the coming years if oil prices provide an incentive. I can't wait for when you can easily go out and buy a plug-in hybrid that gets 250 miles to the gallon.

 
At Friday, April 28, 2006 at 2:43:00 AM PDT, Blogger Thomas said...

Roland said:
I just bought a Prius, and now I hear that Toyota hopes to double its efficiency within two years using new battery technology. Because we've barely scratched the surface of possible efficiency improvements, I think we'll see very swift increases in efficiency over the coming years if oil prices provide an incentive. I can't wait for when you can easily go out and buy a plug-in hybrid that gets 250 miles to the gallon.

Right on, Roland! :-)

Nice to see people who put their money where their mouth is!

-Thomas

 
At Friday, April 28, 2006 at 10:00:00 AM PDT, Blogger Rik said...

I think you're all forgetting the extended 3D-printer, read: replicator. Let's say that you have one which can - in principle - make any structure. Then what's to keep you from replicating all the oil the world will ever need? Why, with tech like that earth could support, say, 50 billion or more. Not necessarily all on this planet, of course.

ps. what happened to those tests with sequestrated CO2? Were they unsuccesful or uneconomical?

 
At Friday, April 28, 2006 at 6:10:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

I think you're all forgetting the extended 3D-printer, read: replicator. Let's say that you have one which can - in principle - make any structure. Then what's to keep you from replicating all the oil the world will ever need? Why, with tech like that earth could support, say, 50 billion or more. Not necessarily all on this planet, of course.

Where would you get the energy to power the replicator? It would have to be solar powered. So why not just make solar panels and not bother with oil? In the future every surface could be coated with invisible solar cells, constantly providing power. And then, you're right, we could support a whole load of people.

 
At Friday, April 28, 2006 at 7:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger Mel. said...

Not to pretend like I know what I'm talking about, but.. couldn't a replicator just replicate fuel for itself?

 
At Saturday, April 29, 2006 at 2:42:00 AM PDT, Blogger Roland said...

Not to pretend like I know what I'm talking about, but.. couldn't a replicator just replicate fuel for itself?

You could, but you would get a much greater return on energy if you used it to make a solar panel which can produce energy for many decades for the same investment. (-:

 
At Monday, November 17, 2008 at 3:13:00 AM PST, Anonymous Soylent said...

"Before dismissing this work as crap, think about the similarities between Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen (now) and Colin Campbell (say 10 years ago). Both retired experts with a message everyone thinks is rubbish."

Why would I go through all the trouble when I can simply point out that he's a recalcitrant douché bag?

Energy consumption and uranium concentration for the production of yellowcake uranium is known for the Rössing mine in Namibia. If you plug in the numbers into Storm van Asshats formula you get a result that is 2 orders of magnitude too large; in fact it's more than the entire energy consumption of the nation of Namibia. He is well aware of this, but unfortunately he choose to reject reality and substitute his own formula.

He's unwilling to consider any other kind of mining technology than directly excavating and crushing the rock into a fine powder; an energy intensive process that is generally only performed when there are other minerals of economic importance that can be co-mined with uranium. One example of a much more efficient alternative method is in-situ leaching. He has been made aware that it exists but persists in not considering it.

Enrichment with gas centrifuges is over an order of magnitude more efficient than gaseous diffusion and has all but replaced diffusion as the means by which commercial nuclear fuel is enriched. Storm van Asshat considers only gaseous diffusion; even when the fact that it's obsolete and what little remains is being quickly replaced is pointed out to him.

Enrichment uses only electrical power. Since nuclear power provides baseload there is no inherent need to use ANY fossil fuels here. Instead of simply deducting a few MW from the output of a 1 GW nuclear plant as being dedicated to enrichment Storm van Asshat picks the grid mix as used in the US, which involves a whole lot of dirty coal power(which is exactly what nuclear replaces) and exclaims that enrichment produces a lot of CO2.

Storm van Asshat is also unwilling to consider heavy water reactors that run on natural uranium without enrichment like CANDU.

His unwillingness to correct or respond to any of these obvious mistakes justified dismissing the lying sack of crap with contempt.

The lying dutchman is forever doomed to wander the shady reaches of the internet where even the most basic sanity checking is beyond the drooling morons that constitute his target audience.

 
At Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 2:01:00 AM PST, Blogger Andreya said...

Hi Nice Blog .ipod battery share the characteristics common to Lithium-based technology found in other devices. Like other rechargeable batteries, these batteries may eventually require replacement.

 

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