Nuclear Future

As my readers know, I do not lose much sleep over any likely shortage of grid power anytime soon. There is just too many ways to improve utilization and to produce this power load. Surprisingly, the least costly source of new power available to us will continue to be nuclear, provided we continue our perfection of process.

Fear of something has crippled the industry for thirty years. Yet the industry needs only to advance the engineering a little to make the technology bullet proof, permitting containable accidents only.

More importantly, the advent of breeder reactors will allow fuel to be reprocessed and essentially reused until the uranium itself is fully consumed. This will eliminate the spent fuel storage problem. (which is why the utilities keep the stuff) It is just that this whole cycle will take many decades to totally implement, but we will get there.

Again we have to struggle with the public relations problem presented by plutonium. And again the security protocols must be bullet proof. Engineering can do this.

We are now expecting a three fold increase in nuclear plants to take the place of non existent hydro plants. This inventory should be sufficient for the globe with additional grid power needs fulfilled by the range of alternates.

These alternates properly include volcanic geothermal. a little hydro,wind and tidal, and a lot of fossil fuel for decades to come.

I do not think that solar will ever be a good choice for grid power. It really wants to be operated off grid because of the space requirement. It really shines on the roof of a building suppling that building. On the other hand, it may become so much in surplus that we have to feed it into the grid.

My own sympathies are to take the excess solar energy and use it to harvest atmospheric water for the local trees. This will be a great choice in most places except the occasional rain forest.

My real point is that the advance of technology will put us in an ocean of electrical energy. Imagine the Sahara desert totally forested and watered through stand alone solar panel driven water collectors. The surpluses would be unbelievable. To say nothing of the likely surplus of water that will build up and develop drainages. Recall that the Sahara used to be covered with large lakes.

The difficulty is that electricity does not transport very well. It was the increase in transmission distances by several hundred miles that permitted the development of James Bay in Quebec. Any protocol that could eliminate the transmission by wire system we have with a truck friendly containment system would be a revolution in energy and would at least double our current available energy supply. It would also lead to a possible fix in transportation energy.

Right now, it is a possibility in theory only, with the implementing technology still too undeveloped. And if biodiesel from algae pans out, we will never really need to go there except as an intellectual exercise.

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