Gas Price Outrage!

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Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:53 am

Here is a bit more about nuclear by-product disposal.
Quod scripsi, scripsi.
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Postby Catmando » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:54 am

Shap,

I'm going to have to start calling you Encyclopedia Shapley. :)
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Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:02 pm

Thanks, but it's all the magic of Google. :D

I remembered reading the Argonne article a year or so ago, and I stumbled on the other while Googling for it.

Looking through the list of articles brought up in the search, there seems to be about as many environmental groups opposed to nuclear recycling as there are in favour of it. The Bush administration is leading the charge to change the Carter-adminstration policy prohibiting recycling, which will probably automatically make many people oppose it.

V/R
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Postby Schmeelkie » Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:05 pm

grumble, grumble lowest I've seen is $2.78 - just in the past couple of days. Stupid NY state taxes.

Though the last time I filled up the minivan (only the second time I've done it) - the prices had dropped enough to save me $4. Now, if it can get down to $2.60 by the next fill-up - I'll save another $4 and having bought the minivan will seem like less of an extravangance. Although, I'm determined to convince my husband to get a hybrid sedan when his Saturn needs replacing (probably not for another 4-8 years, though). Maybe 10 years from now they'll have hybrid minivans....

used to have the mindset to buy American, especially for cars, but other countries seem to be making much better ones lately, with better gas mileage and are at the forefront of new technology. Besides so much of 'American' cars are built in other countries, making that distinction hardly matters.
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Postby Shapley » Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:11 pm

Even the full-size pickup-truck market - once the exclusive domain of the American Auto Industry - has been invaded by high quality foreign-made vehicles. At my place of work there are nearly as many Nissans and Toyotas in the parking lot now as Dodge, Ford, and Chevrolet trucks.

Gas is still available here at under $2, but only at the 'cash only' stations. most facilities offer it at $2.15 to $2.20 for self-service unleaded.
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Postby Catmando » Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:12 pm

Even Honda has trucks now! :?
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Postby BigJon » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:26 pm

analog wrote:Barfle - i didn't mean to dodge your question about spent fuel, just as i said i don't think i'm unbiased.

Here's a photo of the little reactor where I went to school.

Image

To me the blue glow is beautiful. Even though it's radiation induced. The spent fuel from a power reactor is almost as active as in this photo. It's not something a terrorist is likely to sneak home.

Wind and solar electricity are I feel still in the toy stage. I personally think wind will stay there, but solar cells have made a tenfold jump in efficiency since I started paying attention. Aren't some pushing two percent?

Cool pic! Most spent fuel is stored on-site. It may turn out to be the best place to keep it too. Studies are on-going.

The best solar panels are up to almost 7%. But they are wery, wery expensive. Wind will always be a niche player. Physics and aesthetics will insure that.
Last edited by BigJon on Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nicole Marie » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:36 pm

analog wrote:Thanks NM --

The really high level stuff, ie spent fuel, is indeed recyclable. It's a messy job, but as you said other countries are doing it. I was led to believe it was non proliferation issues that made Carter opt out, though I always wondered if he didn't suspect we'd be consumed by profit motive and get sloppy about it - after all it was the early eighties, when people were chopping off their catalytic converters. He may have felt we needed to mature a little, wait for the "Greening of America" so to speak.

The low level stuff - like mop heads and paper towels used in cleanup isn't nearly so dangerous but shouldn't be treated cavalier-ly. The industry got better at handling low level waste during my career. There's no money in that stuff, you just gotta handle it right as part of being decent human beings. Believe it or not, we bottom-of-the-pyramid line workers care about those things, our friends and families live downwind.

AS OT said there's some messes out west in Idaho and Washington left over from WW2 era. Until we tackle those my industry is living with its scarlet letter, IMHO.

a. - a true believer


Hello Analog-

That's what I learned too from this discussion over drinks with Mike the Clean up guy. (Radio-active waste discussion was more fun when I had a few in me at the bar...) According to Mike, Carter started the policy but did not look down the line at how changes in technology and world policies would factor in. The policy Carter designed is not set in stone and can be modified but no real effort has been made.
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Postby OperaTenor » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:36 pm

BigJon wrote: Wind will always be a niche player. Physics and ascetics will insure that.


Do tell. Especially the part monks have to play in this.
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Postby BigJon » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:53 pm

OperaTenor wrote:You wanna talk about nuclear waste?

Idaho National Engineering and Ecological Laboratory

890 square miles, and don't take a shovel.

My wife worked on some projects for that site. They have to assemble buildings away from the site and carefully move them into place. They can't take the risk of a dropped bolt or tool. Weird.
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Postby OperaTenor » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:58 pm

BigJon wrote:
OperaTenor wrote:You wanna talk about nuclear waste?

Idaho National Engineering and Ecological Laboratory

890 square miles, and don't take a shovel.

My wife worked on some projects for that site. They have to assemble buildings away from the site and carefully move them into place. They can't take the risk of a dropped bolt or tool. Weird.


That's because anything man-made found lying in the desert has to be assumed potentially contaminated until proven otherwise, thanks largely to dirty little not-so-secrets buried out there like SL-1. 55 years later, you don't dare even stand over the burial sites, let alone dig anything up. And that was a mere 3MW reactor.

Doesn't that seem just a little crazy?
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Postby BigJon » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:03 pm

OperaTenor wrote:
BigJon wrote: Wind will always be a niche player. Physics and ascetics will insure that.


Do tell. Especially the part monks have to play in this.

:rofl: :rotfl: Darn spell checker! At least I didn't write Psychics and Ascetics
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Postby BigJon » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:15 pm

OperaTenor wrote: That's because anything man-made found lying in the desert has to be assumed potentially contaminated until proven otherwise, thanks largely to dirty little not-so-secrets buried out there like SL-1. 55 years later, you don't dare even stand over the burial sites, let alone dig anything up. And that was a mere 3MW reactor.

Doesn't that seem just a little crazy?

Crazy in what way? Crazy like many things we humans try before we understand the science of what we are testing?
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Postby OperaTenor » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:15 pm

Hey, INEL has a snazzy new website, and they seem to have assimilated Argonne in the process.

Be sure and read between those carefully crafted lines of propaganda when they talk about "cleanup".
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Postby Nicole Marie » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:32 pm

I like the section they have for subcontractors. You can make $1 million to upgrade the cafeteria!

http://idahocleanupproject.inel.gov/Def ... ?tabid=101
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Postby BigJon » Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:27 pm

OperaTenor wrote: Be sure and read between those carefully crafted lines of propaganda when they talk about "cleanup".

It's only propaganda if you disagree with it.
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Postby OperaTenor » Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:54 pm

BigJon wrote:
OperaTenor wrote: Be sure and read between those carefully crafted lines of propaganda when they talk about "cleanup".

It's only propaganda if you disagree with it.


Really? Do you see them speaking in glowing terms(pun intended) about contamination levels around the old SL-1 site? About how the S1W prototype remnants are perfectly safe to make flatware out of? How about that nuclear bomber? Maybe we can take it up for a spin!

It's propaganda if they don't tell the whole story, but only the parts that cast them in the best light.
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Postby piqaboo » Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:02 pm

BigJon wrote:All other sources of heat are from the sun. Some has been brought forward to current days, but they all started with the power of the sun. Nuclear is different. We are releasing heat that was never output by the sun, making the net thermal balance of the globe increase. Significant? I'll let that for the science types to decide


Equilibrium plays a part here.
The sun may have shone on plants that fed dinosaurs and both plants and dinos became coal and oil, but ... that happened slowly.
The re-release is coming fairly quickly, therefore no chance for equilibrium. Is it an actual problem? Dunno. But its not quite like having a savings acct.

Nuclear - where DO fissionable materials come from?
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Postby piqaboo » Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:24 pm

I found that a hard site to get any solid info from.
What sections were most meaty to those of you who had better success?
I'd like to go back, in a more focussed fashion. I hate fighting websites to get them to yield their content.
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Postby analog » Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:26 pm

piqaboo wrote:
Equilibrium plays a part here.
The sun may have shone on plants that fed dinosaurs and both plants and dinos became coal and oil, but ... that happened slowly.
The re-release is coming fairly quickly, therefore no chance for equilibrium. Is it an actual problem? Dunno. But its not quite like having a savings acct.


Ahhh yes - you stated it succinctly. Let's try to put a number on that energy equilibrium......

Energy arrives on the planet mostly as sunlight. It leaves the planet mostly by radiant cooling, the earth shining like a heat lamp into space at night. That's the balance CO2 is expected to upset.

Googling 'sun insolation' will get various numbers about how much energy hits the earth as sunlight.
Around 1.7X10^25 Joules/year would be a sorta concensus.
Don't short out on that big number, let's ratio it down by 10^22 and think of it as seventeen hundred dollars (1.7X10^3) for the moment.

Googling 'world energy consumption' gets various numbers.
Around 500 quadrillion BUT's/year seems a fair estimate. (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/world.html)
Convert 500 quadrillion BTU's to Joules yields 5.3X10^20, and tripling that to account for inefficiency of our machines yields 1.7X10^21 joules/year.
Ratio-ing that down the same as we did for incident sunlight, we get 1.7X10^-1, seventeen cents.

Hmmm - we are four magnitudes down.
Seventeen hundred dollars a year from sunlight,
seventeen cents a year from mankind.

As big as our machines are, puny ol' mankind is swamped by the daily cycle of solar energy. We amount to one ten-thousandth of what is going on around us. Clearly if we're upsetting the equilibrium it's not by our direct input of heat. To upset earth we'll have to push one of Mother Nature's buttons.

CO2 is known to block infrared radiation. Mother Nature worked real hard for eons and eons breaking CO2 into carbon and oxygen, hiding the carbon underground. Now in the geological blink of an eye we're putting the carbon back in the atmosphere and it's perfectly logical to expect some equal and opposite reaction. That's what Chrichton and the climatologists are arguing about.
Any speculation on Mother Nature's reaction? Your ideas are as good as the climatologists'. (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/ar ... /#more-332)

Sorry - that's the dinner talk I use to put it in perspective. I'm not so eloquent as most of you. Please nobody feel offended by the simplicity, some lay audiences have enjoyed that little talk. Maybe something here will help you with your dinner talk.





Nuclear - where DO fissionable materials come from?


They are in the crust of the earth like coal and oil, so for earth's short term energy equilibrium they are like coal and oil. They are large heavy atoms that originate when smaller atoms get squashed together so hard they stick. That happens when an old star somewhere collapses in on itself and its gravity gets so intense it can cause enough fusion to make those heavy elements. The resulting nova hurls them into space and they wind up in a drifting rockpile somewhere like early Earth. So they are a form of solar energy, just they probably came from a star different than our sol.
I think of them as stored stelllar energy that didn't go through photosynthesis.

Gotta be simple for me.

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Cogito ergo doleo.
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