Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Nuclear Power Required

Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu, who is also the director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, echoes the desire to rethink nuclear. He reasons that despite the fears and concerns about the energy source, nuclear power must be considered because it does not produce greenhouse gas during generation. Anything, he said, would be better than carbon-spewing coal plants. [emphasis added]

And what of the people who don't want to consider nuclear energy in the hope that less controversial solutions like renewable energy and conservation will be enough?

"If you start thinking like that, then you doom yourself," he said.

Yes, yes, Dr Chu is my boss' boss' boss' boss' boss. However, I happened to agree with him even before coming to the Lab or he took that position...and he's not a lowly puter grubber like I am.

1 comment:

RobertP said...

There is absolutely no need for nuclear power in the US because there is a simple mature technology available that can deliver huge amounts of clean energy without any of the headaches of nuclear power.

I refer to 'concentrating solar power' (CSP), the technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. It is possible to store solar heat in melted salts so that electricity generation may continue through the night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985 and currently provides power for about 100,000 Californian homes. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world.

CSP works best in hot deserts and it is feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity over very long distances using highly-efficient 'HVDC' transmission lines. With transmission losses at about 3% per 1000 km, solar electricity may be transmitted to anywhere in the US. A recent report from the American Solar Energy Society says that CSP plants in the south western states of the US "could provide nearly 7,000 GW of capacity, or about seven times the current total US electric capacity".

In the 'TRANS-CSP' report commissioned by the German government, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. A large-scale HVDC transmission grid has also been proposed by Airtricity as a means of optimising the use of wind power throughout Europe.

Further information about CSP may be found at www.trec-uk.org.uk and www.trecers.net . Copies of the TRANS-CSP report may be downloaded from www.trec-uk.org.uk/reports.htm . The many problems associated with nuclear power are summarised at www.mng.org.uk/green_house/no_nukes.htm .