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Did Tesla Just Kill Nuclear Power?

Discussion in 'Tesla Energy' started by mspohr, May 1, 2015.

  1. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    Interesting article in Forbes:
    Did Tesla Just Kill Nuclear Power? - Forbes
    A few quotes:
    “We all know that the wind doesn’t blow consistently and the sun doesn’t shine every day,” he said, “but the nuclear industry would have you believe that humankind is smart enough to develop techniques to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, but at the same time human kind is so dumb we can’t figure out a way to store solar electricity overnight. To me that doesn’t make sense.”

    “So the nuclear argument that they’re the only 24-7 source is off the table now because Elon Musk has convinced me that industrial scale storage is in fact possible, and it’s here.”

    Solar power costs six to seven cents, he said, and wind costs four or five cents. Add 2¢ for the cost of a utility-scale Tesla battery, and renewables with reliable storage are still at half the price of new nuclear power.
     
  2. mmccord

    mmccord Member

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    I thought one of the major problems with nuclear power was the inability to scale up/down quickly to meet demand. It seems to me that huge batteries would allow utilities to operate nuclear plants far more efficiently.
     
  3. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Or coal.
    Or natural gas.
    Or any combustion plant, basically.

    The answer is not yet, because there are plenty of places "cheap-renewable-challenged". But in North America, and the USA in particular, the high potential for renewables combined with fracking loads of cheap natural gas means that nuclear and coal's current high capital costs and current lack of scalability will make them extremely risky.
     
  4. hockeythug

    hockeythug Active Member

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    People just needs to get on board with breeder reactors like molten salt reactors. But companies like GE are still scaring the public in regards to nuclear energy.
     
  5. vdiv

    vdiv Chief Grump

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    No, I get a feeling that nuclear power and fuel combustion power are doing a mighty fine job killing themselves... Eventually that is, we still need them and they know it.
     
  6. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

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    Correct, we fear the big price tag for nuclear. That's what you meant right?
     
  7. mwulff

    mwulff Member

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    I believe what is really stopping nuclear is lack of education. People see the news-stories about Chernobyl and Fukushima and conclude that all kinds of nuclear power are dangerous, wasteful and the by products will last for a million years.

    When asked nobody I asked (except to physics guys) knew what a breeder reactor was. Nobody had heard of a liquid flouride thorium reactor. Worse than that everybody thought that we had 500.000 tons of nuclear waste to deal with. Everybody thought that all reactors were the same lightwater design as used in Chernobyl and that they all were just as dangerous (Think about the terrorist one person said).

    This is in a country with a high standard when it comes to education, it is just sad.

    Denmark is powered mostly by coal and it is killing thousands every year. We are in one of the most geologically stable places on the planet. We have a metric ton of isolated islands that are suitable for nuclear power stations. But if you mention nuclear out comes the torches and the pitchforks.

    Since we can't get people onboard with nuclear, maybe we should get cracking on filling islands with Tesla Power units and setting up a few thousand 50 MW windturbines. That would work as well.
     
  8. Kbra

    Kbra Member

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    No they should go hand in hand. You will still need a stable base load power that's always there. Nuclear has a very small foot print (wonder how many pixels those are :p ) and is very clean. Like mwulff said people are sadly uneducated on nuclear. Fossil fuels should be first to go away INCLUDING GAS. They are destroying the environment. Once they are gone and the grid is stable then you can consider a nuclear phase out. But there should be no nuclear plants shut down instead of coal and gas plants which are ACTUALLY harming the planet on a daily basis and killing people.
     
  9. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Coal and gas plants should be shut down before nuclear power. Actually, solar and nuclear should be with us for a long time because there are likely many houses like mine where solar can't do the job until solar panels can collect about three times as much energy as they do today. Right now a high electric bill for me is $150-175 (a low one is around $110). As of a few months ago the most solar can do is 40% of my power requirements. I don't believe there is any solar system that could be installed for $45 to $70 per month. I'd really like to go solar, but the economics just don't work for me. Solar would have to supply at least 80% of the power required.
     
  10. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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  11. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    What's killing nuclear power is the high cost. 2x to 4x the cost of renewables.
     
  12. mwulff

    mwulff Member

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    I would have disagreed with you, right up until the point where Elon Musk walked on stage and introduced the scalable powerpack. Now we have an option of powerpacks + renewables or nuclear for our base load.

    But I don't see a country going completely to solar + wind. Imagine a month of cloudy and windless days if you will. That would spell big trouble.

    At the current prices nuclear is very expensive, the next generation reactors might be cheaper and easier to build. Or maybe we could do what France did. Standardize the reactor and build them on an assembly line.

    We need a safe and clean base-load provider.
     
  13. Johann Koeber

    Johann Koeber Member

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    Long term the sun is that safe provider. It is the source of all renewables, as it is responsible for wind, precipitation and tree growth.
    It will just take quite a while for us to get there.
    Nuclear appears too expensive if you take into consideration the long term costs of keeping the atomic waste safe. And the security issues discussed elsewhere.
     
  14. mwulff

    mwulff Member

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    Running a large country with solar is more feasible than running a small one. The U.S. Has plenty of sunny areas so that if one is cloudy the others can take over. Denmark is so small that the entire country can be cloudy at the same time. Clouds and no wind = no power. And storage is finite.

    I think we will need a few plants to keep us supplied.
     
  15. Johann Koeber

    Johann Koeber Member

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    Electricity need not stop at state borders. Southern Europe: plenty of sun. North: plenty of hydro.

    I see it as a question of time frame.
     
  16. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    In the US every nuclear plant is a nuclear waste dump. Plus there is the mortality of uranium miners/processors to consider.

    Nuclear is killing itself, actually.
    --
     
  17. Breezy

    Breezy Member

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    The techniques to store nuclear waste for a quarter-million years or longer are already developed (thank you, nature), and grid storage is not a new concept. Still, it's nice to see chemical battery energy storage getting this kind of profile because it helps build awareness of the possibilities.

    The first step is to stop burning coal, then stop burning natural gas. Way down the list somewhere is phasing out nuclear, but ultimately renewables (including hydro) with local and grid storage are the answer.
     
  18. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    OK, let's step back and try to get the big picture here. . .

    If we ultimately move away from fossil fuels (which I think is only a question of when, not if), then your major sources of clean power are: hydro, wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal. Of these, hydro and wind are not really scalable to the extent needed to power our whole society -- they'll contribute, but they're limited and geographically constrained resources. The same might be true of geothermal, although its real potential is still a subject of speculation. That leaves two sources that are both proven and scalable: solar and nuclear.

    Solar and nuclear are very different. They're about as different as you can get. The idea of one killing off the other seems very far-fetched to me. I can see solar and nuclear together becoming dominant, though.

    The other thing that we must remember is: Nuclear fission is a stopgap technology. It will, ultimately, be made obsolete by nuclear fusion power plants. The economics and practicality of fusion are still up in the air, depending on which approach is successfully commercialized. In the most optimistic scenario, we get polywell or focus fusion type reactors that are inexpensive and efficient, and they begin rapidly replacing most other forms of power generation. Even solar would have a tough time competing with that. In the less optimistic scenario we get tokamak-type reactors derived from ITER, which would be huge and costly affairs, but would at least be able to displace conventional nuclear fission plants and sidestep all the meltdown fears, and most of the nuclear waste fears.
     
  19. ZsoZso

    ZsoZso Member

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    The problem with fusion is NOT that it is estimated to be 20 years into the future until it becomes practically viable as an energy source. The real problem is, that it has been constantly 20 years in the future since the 1960s...
     
  20. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    #20 Skotty, May 3, 2015
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
    No. Public perception killed nuclear power. Musk is just providing a viable alternative.

    "but the nuclear industry would have you believe that humankind is smart enough to develop techniques to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years"

    And this is part of that incorrect perception that seems to be unstoppable. A proper nuclear reactor produces waste that only lasts a few hundred years, not to mention how miniscule an amount it would be.

    Nuclear will never go away completely. Without it, we can't explore deep space (the New Horizons space craft heading to see Pluto up close for the first in human history this summer is essentially nuclear powered). While I'm sure bad public perception could also kill off space exploration, I'm pretty sure the Navy isn't going to give up nuclear power for their colossal ships and submarines.

    "The real problem is, that [fusion power] has been constantly 20 years in the future since the 1960s..."

    I hear that a lot too. It's said as if that will always be the case. But that is looking at it the wrong way. What you do is look at whether or not they are making progress on fusion power. They are, and have been since the 1960s. That is what is truly important. Now if progress stalls for 20 years, then maybe consider dropping it.
     

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