/ politics

Ban Solar and Wind energy

Via the No Agenda Show I came across this highly recommended rant:
(For those in China, I put up a mirror on Youku)

Two thoughts:

  • I'm glad to be living in one of the very few countries that sees nuclear energy for what it is: the best, and currently only, solution for clean energy
  • I interned at a company that builds low-cost solutions for coupling electricity networks. Low-cost means one installation cost just a couple 100k.

All those mini-producers (wind, solar, etc) feeding in to the net are destructive due to the differences in frequency and impedance. Minuscule differences in frequency can lead to harmonics in the wave-form that can
lead to blowups.

Frequency matching is incredibly hard and costly to do. And I haven't even started on fail-over and load-balancing when producers invariably go offline. When a substantial producer goes offline, it potentially can bring
down the entire network.

Besides all these problems caused by too many producers on a network, wind and solar are also not consistent or on-demand. Electricity nets will actually spin-up or dial-up plants to be able to cope with peak consumption.
You can't simply dial up the wind a bit, or switch off the sun, so you have to budget for peak consumption all the time and buffer the excess electricity into batteries or water reservoirs. Any excess over that? You'll have
to burn it somehow.

There has been far too much fear mongering and false information about nuclear energy. Think about it, the handful of problems with nuclear power plants have been with first generation installations, half a century old
installations. Look at your mobile phone and try to imagine what it looked like half a century ago.

The nuclear power plants that are built today have virtually nothing in common with those built many decades ago. They are built so that a meltdown is impossible. Not due to complicated systems, but due to the simple physics
involved.

But what about all the nuclear waste? What about it?, I say. Waste from a nuclear reactor historically amounted to about a cubic centimeter per person per year of electricity. But modern Thorium reactors actually consume
more nuclear waste than they produce.

You read it right, they consume existing Uranium waste to reach criticality. Once depleted, it does produce some waste, but within a few hundred years that waste would already be less toxic than low enriched uranium.

Finally Thorium is far more readily available than Uranium or Plutonium, not only in quantity (it's more abundant than lead or tin, for example), but also in the stability of localities. As a kicker, Thorium is a common
by-product from the mining of rare-earth minerals.