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Hansen Presents At Cornell: Dubious On Cap-And-Trade, Supports 4th-Gen Nuclear

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 09:10 AM
Original message
Hansen Presents At Cornell: Dubious On Cap-And-Trade, Supports 4th-Gen Nuclear
EDIT

We could get back below 350 , especially with the help of improved forestry and agricultural practices which can be used to help store in the forest and the soil. So it is technically feasible to do this, and it makes sense, Hansen said. However, as oil reserves around the world are tapped and new coal factories are built, policy makers are not adhering to pledges to reduce global warming emissions, he added. There is a huge gap between the reality and the rhetoric Its basically business as usual, Hansen said.

Hansen said an across-the-board carbon fee should be created in America, with the money being returned to the public which he said is both beneficial to local economies and acceptable in the international community. However, Hansen differs significantly from many large environmental organizations, which push for the creation of a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. "The big environmental groups are supporting the cap-and-trade approach. But you look at it and you see that it is not going to be that effective, Hansen said. They say it might be imperfect but the train has left the station. Well, actually nothing has left the station here. Boy, these big organizations have become part of the problem, he said.

Hansen is no stranger to controversy. One introductory speaker at Mondays lecture, Prof. David Wolfe, horticulture, highlighted how Hansen risked his career as a government employee under the Bush administration when his research was censored. Hansen also has recently reversed his previously anti-nuclear position and now supports fourth generation nuclear energy, which burns past todays nuclear powers 99 percent efficiency.

EDIT

http://cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2010/04/20/hansen-clari%EF%AC%81es-realities-global-climate-change
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
1. Glad to see another anti-nuker come around however this sentence makes no sense:
Edited on Tue Apr-20-10 10:41 AM by Statistical
"now supports fourth generation nuclear energy, which burns past todays nuclear powers 99 percent efficiency."

Obviously the reported doesn't know what he is talking about. Just writing down words without understanding the meaning.

Reactors are not 99% efficient. There are different ways to look at efficiency.

Thermal efficiency on reactors (like any thermal plant) is 30%-40% efficient. 1 unit of heat = 0.3 to 0.4 units of electricity. No heat engine (nuclear or otherwise) is 99% efficient.

Then you have fuel efficiency. How much energy per unit of fuel (tons of uranium equivalent):
Current reactors achieve 45 to 60 GWd/MTU. That is 45 to 60 Gigagwatt days (1GWD is 24,000 Megawatt hours) per metric ton of uranium.
90GWd per MTU is possible in next gen commercial reactors. Experimental reactors have achieved 200 GWd/MTU. Gen IV reactors are expected to achieve 200 to 500 GWd/MTU. Still even Gen IV reactors aren't 99% efficient. The potential energy in a ton of uranium is about 2500 GWd/MTU if you fission it completely and fission and fertile and fissionable products.

So to say nuclear power (current or future) is 99% efficient simply makes no sense. Also even if they were 99% efficient you can't "blow past that". 100% efficiency would be the limit. :)
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I think you may be trying to explain a typo
Catching one's own writing errors requires an understanding of the subject being reported on, and most reporters have only rudimentary scientific skills; science journalism is a specialty in itself. Even scientists can make dumb language mistakes, and often do. Chances are good that the reporter heard that current reactors were hard-pressed to use even 1% of the available energy in the nuclear material, did some quick math, and left in a typo or left out a preposition. That's all it takes.

--d!
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I guess. I would consider
Edited on Tue Apr-20-10 05:15 PM by Statistical
"Current reactors convert less than 1% of the potential energy in uranium into electricity. Gen IV reactors should produce substantially more electrical energy from the same amount of fuel"

vs

"now supports fourth generation nuclear energy, which burns past todays nuclear powers 99 percent efficiency."

to be a larger mistake than a typo. Of course that might not even be what he/she was trying to say.

I make a lot of typos. Nobody is perfect but when the typo is so bad you need to sit around speculating on what the dang sentence means, well that isn't good. Sadly I have learned science reporters were the first ones cut when reporting biz went downhill.

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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Zero-point energy systems burn WAY past 100% efficiency
It doesn't sound like a typo, it sounds like some reporter trying to sound smart and failing miserably.
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Dead_Parrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. "science reporting" is pretty much an oxymoron, these days. nt
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