Posted by Jeff Id on September 22, 2010
Oliver K. Manuel left this version of Sutton’s law in a comment last night.
Like the bank robber who robbed banks because “that’s where the money is,” I am absolutely certain that mankind will return to nuclear energy because “that’s where most of the energy is!”
On this we think alike. Today we have the ability to make safer better nuclear plants than ever before, and the more we implement them, the less pollution we emit. Theoretically of course.
My opinion is that even with massive money spent on implementing nuclear power worldwide and regulations made on CO2, humanity will still burn the coal. Even if we have all the nuclear power we want in the US and cleaner thorium reactors or some kind of fusion reactors are built everywhere, the coal will still be heavily burned. If Mr. Fusion is developed for $1000 tomorrow and we can simply chuck old beer cans in it, then we can save the coal, if not, the coal is toast.
I still laugh when I think about Pielke’s ‘decarbonization’ paper. He and his coauthors outlined a process by which slightly less carbon is emitted per joule generated each year as the path to green salvation. With China and India as building hundreds of new plants with 40 or 50 year expected lifespans. I don’t care if they are slightly more efficient — the difference in efficiency of a coal plant is entirely, completely and without any question — moot. It takes an amazing twisting of reality to imagine anything different. My god man, it’s burning coal, it does release CO2 in proportion to the amount of H-C bonds broken. Duh!
My opinion that CO2 has not been shown to be dangerous aside, there is probably a limit to what we can dump in the atmosphere each year and still be happy monkey’s. In the meantime, coal plants are cheap, efficient, and clean generators of electricity. This remains true despite the sandwich board claims of certain doom and endless exaggeration by climate science. It is a near certainty that we will find out one way or another exactly how much emission we can tolerate. Fortunately, God and Sutton have conspired to create a perfectly workable solution that we can start on right away.
It would be a great day though if US industry were allowed to lead the world toward nuclear power. Deregulation of some aspects is required in exchange for increased regulation of others. For instance certain Thorium reactors don’t need the same controls on the fuel source as the Uranium and Plutonium ones. Several versions have already been built and operated and even India is already doing it for god’s sake. Different regulations are required for fuel handling and licensing considering vastly reduced risk of meltdowns. Not all reactor designs can Chernobyl on you. Just allowing companies to have the opportunity to build them will be enough. They will spring up everywhere and the zero emission energy that our lovable green government leaching climatologists demand will happen all by itself. Of course not much different will happen in the repressed communist ‘developing’ nations, because coal is cheap and very low tech and as long as people oddly continue to embrace these forms of government, low tech will be required.
But no, as we all know, the greens have other goals which include the limitation of our economies and way of life. I can still remember when I first realized they were serious about forcing us to not eat meat — for climate change!! What a bunch of idiots. Rather than the silly cost balances of capitalism that force limited consumption and lift people from poverty, they see sustainable living as being regulated by government to what one can have, where one can go, which lights can you use, all through failed wealth redistribution methods. Cost does a pretty good job of telling me what to consume already.
It doesn’t matter though, like capitalism, nuclear power and coal use don’t need government to make them possible. They will happen through the natural forces of capitalism even in the most dictatorial countries. The only power government really has is to hold them back – which they have done very effectively here in the US in recent decades. Oddly, we can still sell our coal to the rest of the world though.
Did you know that California’s VOC policies have forced companies to manufacture boats in other states yet they still can buy an unlimited number of boats? How does that help the environment? It’s the same kind of thinking the left has with respect to coal.
Of course there is also the possibility, or even likelihood, that low cost workable solar power will be developed in the next 30 years. Local generation at the home with good storage technology, doesn’t sound like a bad way to live to me. Even cost effective panels without storage can reduce daytime peak load enough that less power plants will be needed, I’d love to see the power and phone lines go away. Try and work that method for global transportation or even bigger aluminum or iron processing plants and you probably aren’t gonna make it.
What’s more, is that in the future we will need more energy, not so others can achieve the US lifestyle, but so that everyone’s lifestyle can improve beyond that. We often forget what we humans had 120 years ago. Imagining that change, which was unquestionably caused by technology and capitalism, will stop suddenly, requires a leap of imagination beyond my capability. We need more power, and cheaper power, not less and more expensive. We need bigger industrial processing centers, not smaller. We need desalination plants in California not water limitation. The very concepts of ‘water shortage’ or ‘energy shortage’ are so asinine that people who utter the words should not be allowed to vote. Our planet has more water than land or air folks, if you’re thirsty, go get some. Yes that sometimes takes energy but in a universe-wide conspiracy, energy is more plentiful than even water. Shortages of these two things are caused by only one thing, stupid government policies and greenies (reds) who see government forced limitation as a utopia.
So that is my long winded way of saying, nuclear power is the future of energy generation, because that’s where the energy is. If we won’t build coal plants, we should change policy and begin implementation of new safer, lower cost nuclear designs so we can lead the world toward cost effective emission free energy production, if we don’t do coal or nuclear, we can watch others do it for us and rightfully reap the benefits. Either way, we are all heading to the same energy generation destination, because God didn’t give us a heck of a lot of choice in the matter.