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(Scotsman)   Kites could generate power of conventional power stations. Yeah, that'll fly   (news.scotsman.com) divider line 117
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8599 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Jan 2005 at 1:11 PM (9 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
 
2005-01-02 11:01:29 AM
Wow, talk about your hazards to aircraft navigation.
 
2005-01-02 11:30:06 AM
It sounds like the validity of this is still up in the air.
 
2005-01-02 11:41:38 AM
I tried to fly a kite with my family last spring. Two kites.....little airtime......mangled by trees and trips to the ground.

If you were depending on my skills we would all be cooking by flame
 
2005-01-02 12:00:41 PM
And after that, we'll completely dome the moon, so no one will have to wear a spacesuit there.
 
2005-01-02 12:10:40 PM
And we can ride there in a mono-rail type train system that goes on a cable. And everyone will dress like Barbarella

Run Logan run,
 
2005-01-02 12:29:39 PM
Will this create a new category for BASE jumpers?

BASKE?
 
2005-01-02 01:00:24 PM
Some will consider the following trolling, but it is not. It's seeing farking nonsense like this article.

Someday, those of us that are objective and scientifically minded, will rise up and throw down the reigning religions of willful ignorance and environmentalism.

Then nuclear power will takes its rightful place generating most of our electrical and hydrogen needs almost endlessly and at very low cost.

I can make this flat statement with no doubt of its veracity: If you are against nuclear power, you are either ignorant or the enemy of man and need to be removed.
 
2005-01-02 01:15:46 PM
brazil:

"I can make this flat statement with no doubt of its veracity: If you are against nuclear power, you are either ignorant or the enemy of man and need to be removed."

While nuclear power is the most environmentally friendly source of electricity that is currently in large scale use, there are several other technologies known to be economical right now that can do better. The only problem is that they're restricted by local conditions and therefore cannot be used on as large a scale.

For example, where good conditions exist wind and hydro power cost substantially less than nuclear, and are more sustainable. There's also a new type of solar power (well, not exactly new as prototypes have been opperating for decades) that's cheaper than nuclear, can scale up to high capacities and provide power at night.

I forsee a future where these other technologies are supplemented by nuclear where necessary.
 
2005-01-02 01:17:14 PM
Ben Franklin jokes in 5...4...3....
 
2005-01-02 01:17:31 PM
Ummm. Doc Oc surrenders?
 
2005-01-02 01:19:47 PM
 
2005-01-02 01:20:43 PM
Yes, it's a windmill that can only be used on fair weather days, that falls to the ground and gets dirty when there's no wind, and relies on a complicated device to keep it running. That'll catch on quick.


/I get all my electricity from hydropower
 
2005-01-02 01:22:33 PM
Honestly, first pass on reading that, I thought it said "Kitties will provide power.." There would be a lot of sore wrists out there...
 
2005-01-02 01:24:39 PM
I like the references to all of the evil,
"polluting power stations" as if making power were just a side effect of producing pollution.
 
2005-01-02 01:25:02 PM
ArbitraryConstant:

For example, where good conditions exist wind and hydro power cost substantially less than nuclear, and are more sustainable.

Not true.

Without willfully ignorant and environmentally religious people interfering, nuclear power supplies are virtually infinite, cheap, and safe. Better than all competitors.

The cost of building plants is due to regulation designed to kill nuclear power. Also, the inability to reprocess fuel via breeder reactors is short sighted and just plain stupid.

Additionally, the constraint that any radioactive waste be placed in containment facilities that are stable for 100,000s of years are also designed to make such storage impossible and/or prohibitively expensive. Such storage goals defy rational sense.

All designed to kill nuclear power. All stupid.
 
2005-01-02 01:26:29 PM
Who here can really fly a kite?
let me see some hands..



oh come on, is everyone's arms glued to the table or something???


thats right...


Nobody gives a flying fark about kites, I'm still tramatized from trying to fly a kite as a kid
 
2005-01-02 01:29:54 PM
I'm kind of interested in the equal and opposite force required to keep the kite in place and extract the wind energy. If it's miles of cable connected to the ground that can withstand the tension created by this 100 megawatts, wouldn't the whole thing weigh so much that most of the energy would have to used to keep the thing at altitude?
 
2005-01-02 01:34:58 PM
Is it just me, or does Brazil sound a lot like the TimeCube guy?
 
2005-01-02 01:35:59 PM
I don't understand why environmentalists have such a bad reputation, especially coming from people who consider them ignorant and stuff. (This is only coming from reading fark threads and dealing w/ republicans...) This is not trolling, but I am really curious why people look down upon people who are desperatly trying to find other ways to power a growing, energy hungry planet.

I didn't RTFA btw. I'm sure kite power isn't very promising, but I think renewable resources as a whole are a very good idea.
 
2005-01-02 01:36:49 PM
You DUNCES!!!!!! The answer to free energy is CLEAR:

 
2005-01-02 01:37:41 PM
Professor Ockels says a few hundred of the installations, each requiring some 400 kites with 27ft wingspans, could generate enough electricity to supply the needs of a city the size of Seattle.

Assume "a few hundred" means 300. That's 120,000 kites just to power Seattle. Since the kites rotate, they must be separated by at least 13.5 feet otherwise kite A will strike kite B's line and vice versa (this assumes that the kite heights are staggered and their positions are stationary). That's going to occupy quite a bit of space.

In practice, though, the kites likely won't be stationary. They're going to move around. How do you keep the kites from getting tangled? Sounds like a maintenance nightmare.

Neat idea but not at all practical.
 
pkp
2005-01-02 01:42:32 PM
Hi -

May I join the praise of your wonderful product?

When I was young, I always wondered why clippers couldnt work with a vacuum the way your product does. When I first saw your ad, ten years ago, I thought: Wow-somebody figured it out! I ordered, mostly out of curiousity, but when I got the it in my hands and saw the clever design, I knew at once that it would work. And it did!
 
2005-01-02 01:52:40 PM
brazil:

"Without willfully ignorant and environmentally religious people interfering, nuclear power supplies are virtually infinite, cheap, and safe. Better than all competitors."

All of the alternatives I mentioned can provide power in perpituity for less than $0.10/kwh. As nuclear power costs on the order of $0.35/kwh, I doubt a reduction in regulation would bring down costs sufficiently to make it preferable to those alternatives.

"The cost of building plants is due to regulation designed to kill nuclear power. Also, the inability to reprocess fuel via breeder reactors is short sighted and just plain stupid."

I agree about the restrictions on breeder reactors.

"Additionally, the constraint that any radioactive waste be placed in containment facilities that are stable for 100,000s of years are also designed to make such storage impossible and/or prohibitively expensive. Such storage goals defy rational sense."

What do you propose as an alternative?

Obviously some regulation is needed as there have been a number of incidents where loss of life has occured. Without regulation, this would happen more.

"All designed to kill nuclear power. All stupid."

Do you realize that nuclear power is heavily federally subsidized in the US through caps on liability in the event of accident? If plant operators had to purchase insurance for the damage they could cause, they would all be out of business.

I'm not religiously environmental, but I've looked into it and the alternatives I presented are cheaper. If they're cheaper, why avoid them?
 
2005-01-02 01:53:44 PM

Still nowhere near the 1.21 jigawatts I need!
 
2005-01-02 01:53:51 PM
Alternatives are fine, but I've seen models for tidal generators that appear to have a lot more promise than filling the sky with thousands of kites. I would be willing to bet the idea to shoot satellites into orbit using a huge cannon and then have them collect solar power and microwave it back to earth is more reasonable than this idea.

We might as well teather huge zepplins to the ground and put wind turbines on them. At least they will stay in the air if the wind dies down. Think of how many people would be needed just to re-launch these kites every time the wind patterns change.

Nuclear fission is the really the best way to go unless someone cracks the fusion problem tomorrow.
 
2005-01-02 01:54:29 PM
I think they're gonna' need a bigger kite. And Kevlar lines.
 
2005-01-02 01:54:56 PM
Actually, you could provide unlimited amounts of power using a very simple perpetual motion device.

The perpetual motion device would be a cat with a slice of buttered toast strapped to it's back.
 
2005-01-02 01:55:37 PM
Great idea, but we have have to weigh the risks:

 
2005-01-02 01:55:46 PM
 
2005-01-02 01:56:31 PM
I don't know if any studies have been done to evaluate this as a possible means of power generation and distribution, but I wonder what benefits a more peer-to-peer power generation and distribution system might have. Obviously a large installation such as a power plant could provide for much better pollution control and resource utilization than something like a million individual homes with generators, but I bet if everyone had some solar panels, a wind turbine or two, etc., in their home to provide power for themselves, the excess could just flow to the grid to others and we wouldn't need any additional large-scale power plants. It may just be a dream, but I would think that it could be practical.

Also, I'm pretty sure most consumer electronics and other things could be made a lot more efficient. A combination of green technologies, waste reuse, etc., could probably cut down on energy costs a good bit. For example, utilizing the near constant temperature of the ground to facilitate much of a home's heating and cooling needs as opposed to using air conditioners with power-hungry compressors, heaters, etc. Just a thought.
 
2005-01-02 01:58:42 PM
I love reading brazil's post in any thread because he has the art of "if you don't agree with me you are wrong" attitude down to a T. Any thread involving his opinion he goes straight to condemming the other person or shouting them down, looks like someone learned Ayn Rand pretty well. Don't worry that objectivism ranks right up their with scientology in the amount of bs you can pack into something and pawn it off as intelligence. The weaknesses that many people see in Ayn Rand is the same I see in almost every post of yours brazil.
 
2005-01-02 02:00:23 PM
ArbitraryConstant, with regard to the storage of nuclear waste... if I'm not mistaken, if the plants are run properly and all technologies are utilized, there's virtually no waste. Most every radioactive by-product of fission can also be used in a fission reaction. I could be mistaken, though I read this in several places not too long ago. We all know if it's on the internets, it must be true! :D
 
2005-01-02 02:01:35 PM
(Shrugs)

Once oil supplies run out, we're going nuclear, I hope we can find something to do with the waste until then.

That said, we should still try to find other methods, there's only so much radioactive material out there, and we haven't figured out fusion yet.
 
2005-01-02 02:06:04 PM
Why not just use one of these?

 
2005-01-02 02:06:06 PM
supaxi:

"Nuclear fission is the really the best way to go unless someone cracks the fusion problem tomorrow"

No, the answer is sustainable technologies where conditions make them economical, supplemented by nuclear power where necessary.

I honestly don't understand objections to things like wind power. Sure, there are a limited number of places in the world where wind power makes sense and I am not saying these conditions exist in enough places to make it a major source of power, but when it does make sense it's typically very cheap (like $0.05/kwh amoratized over 20 years). That's cheaper than any fossil fuel technology, and cheaper than nuclear fission. Put simply, where reliable winds exist, wind power can undercut everyone else easily.
 
2005-01-02 02:06:33 PM
"Get a horse, Henry!"

"It'll never work, Orville!"

Let's give it 10 years and see what he comes up with, neh?

~Rick
 
2005-01-02 02:06:41 PM
brazil:

The cost of building plants is due to regulation designed to kill nuclear power. Also, the inability to reprocess fuel via breeder reactors is short sighted and just plain stupid.

Having done work with contractors on nuclear facilities in the past, I'm very happy about some of these regulations... for instance using 3 redundant lines at all valve and sensor points.

I'd hate to die in a meltdown because some dude over at Honeywell was a little hungover on the assembly line.
 
2005-01-02 02:07:11 PM
ArbitraryConstant,

I assume you drive. Do you have enough liability insurance to cover ALL the damage you could possibly do, or just what you are required to carry? I just checked mine: bodily injury of 100k per person, 300k total, property damage of 50k per occurance. If I wreck your (hypothetical) Ferrari, my insurance aint going to cover it entirely. The government has said I dont have to buy insurance to cover EVERY POSSIBLE EVENT that could occur.

This is also true of every regulated and unregulated industry. Not nust nuclear power.
 
2005-01-02 02:10:05 PM
mystic1423:

"ArbitraryConstant, with regard to the storage of nuclear waste... if I'm not mistaken, if the plants are run properly and all technologies are utilized, there's virtually no waste. Most every radioactive by-product of fission can also be used in a fission reaction. I could be mistaken, though I read this in several places not too long ago. We all know if it's on the internets, it must be true! :D"

There's a number of technologies on the horizon that would make waste more radioactive (and thus radioactive for a shorter period of time), but the economics haven't been worked out yet.

I wouldn't be all that surprised if cheap space travel happened first and we could just dump all the waste into Jupiter and forget about it.
 
2005-01-02 02:12:40 PM
Am I the only one who read this as "Kitties could generate power of conventional power stations."? Solve the energy crisis with boobies links!
 
2005-01-02 02:12:48 PM
Cute headline. Props, submitter.
 
2005-01-02 02:13:20 PM
brazilWithout willfully ignorant and environmentally religious people interfering, nuclear power supplies are virtually infinite, cheap, and safe. Better than all competitors.

"At the current rate of consumption (35,000 tonnes per year) and prices, known uranium resources of four million tonnes represent about 65 years consumption at current rates" -- http://www.magma.ca/~jalrober/Chapter14c.htm

And that's from a pro-nuclear site...

Unless of course you meant fusion too :)
 
2005-01-02 02:14:44 PM
Enigmamf,

Breeder reactors, reprocessing, and more breeder reactors extend that 65 years by a huge amount. It also uses up the big piles of depleted U lying around.
 
2005-01-02 02:15:35 PM
ArbitraryConstant:

I wouldn't be all that surprised if cheap space travel happened first and we could just dump all the waste into Jupiter and forget about it.

We could shoot it into the sun with current techonolgies... wouldn't even need good guidance systems... the sun has a huge gravity well.

That said, would you want to risk it exploding on the launch pad?
 
2005-01-02 02:17:44 PM
Enigmamf:

""At the current rate of consumption (35,000 tonnes per year) and prices, known uranium resources of four million tonnes represent about 65 years consumption at current rates" -- http://www.magma.ca/~jalrober/Chapter14c.htm"

Breeder reactors would allow currently useless isotopes of Uranium (and I think Thorium?) to be used. For all intents and purposes, this would give us unlimited power.
 
2005-01-02 02:19:24 PM
the whole problem with nuke power is it isn't cheap, both socially and economically. Just trying to find a place to store the radioative waste has been a nightmare for the US and other countries.

Ontop of that, building the reactos and structures and keeping them mantained is not economical, as it cost more to run plant, then to not. hense the high prices, and little use for them. The government, before the public outcry, acctually substidized nuclear power plants, and even them the faced the same problems.

Infact, the whole idea of using nuclear technology for peace was a huge PR campaign started by the government in the 1950's to put a "niceness" on nuclear research because of the history of only using it to make bigger bombs. They wanted to change the idea that all it was good for was destruction, to allow more money to be put into research programs for weapons (which could lead to peace time uses). After 3 mile island and chernobal, public outcry killed the PR campaigns efforts, and effectivly put nuclear power plants in a bad eye, as they should be.

the risks are just too great, for something more costly then oil and/or alternative clean air ideas.

I do like the idea of beaming microwaves from space back to earth thou, it seems like a good technology that could produce cheap energy. Theres also plans (not aproved yet) to build space elevators, which use this techonogy for power. The space elevator would have more cargo room then the shuttle, and could drop payload prices down to $10/lbs making putting satilites in orbit much cheaper. making the costs of this energy idea much smaller then originally were.
 
2005-01-02 02:20:39 PM
The main issues with nuclear power are o do with spent fuel and the like. Not everything can be done by reprocesing and the FBRs, and there are always dangerous by-products that need to be stored safely for extended periods of time. A lot of the discussion regarding the cost of nuclear power takes very wide liberties with the safety costs and restrictions. What the industry claims are safe limits and what independent experts claim are safe limits are wildly different, with attendant differences in cost factors.

Ultimately however, we have to err on the side of caution when dealing with something that is as dangerous as nuclear power when it operates within the only biosphere we currently have available to support human (and all other) life. We can't afford to be wrong.

That said, I do think there are situations where Nuclear power is advantageous over alternative forms of energy. Far space explorations (beyond Mars or the asteroid belt) pretty much mandate nuclear power, to start with. Surface based nuclear power has massive advantages with regards to power-grid drain factors and instant respose to energy demands.

I don't think that nuclear power is advisable as the sole energy source for the planet for one single reason: it is bad practice to put all of your eggs in one basket on something so important to (modern) life as this. This is the same reason I likewise think that a pure Wind, Hydro or Solar solution is the optimal respose to the issue. Instead, I think that a combined power source strategy is the best course to aim for, as the redundancy factor in case of accidents and emergencies makes for a much more stable power infrastructure.

Cost is not the only issue to be considered. All posible forms of energy production really need to be investigated so we can make a balanced strategy to go forward.

On the subject of these kites (yes, the actual article), it occurs to me that this could be conceptually similar to the theory from a few years ago that 'dipped' parts of orbital facilities into the upper atmosphere (in the case of the proposal I am think of, it was part of a transport system). If my understanding of orbital mechanics is correct, you could anchor an upper atmosphere kite rig not to the ground, but by a counterbalance in an orbital path. In the event of a line break between the orbital facility and the kite, the orbital facility would go up, and the kite would burn on a re-entry path.

Of course, the problem with that is that it would need an ultra-hard material like spun carbon.

Interesting idea though.
 
2005-01-02 02:21:42 PM
Tjos Weel:

"I assume you drive."

No. I'm a penniless student and had to choose between my parents basement with a car and an apartment without. But I'll respond anyway.

"Do you have enough liability insurance to cover ALL the damage you could possibly do, or just what you are required to carry? I just checked mine: bodily injury of 100k per person, 300k total, property damage of 50k per occurance. If I wreck your (hypothetical) Ferrari, my insurance aint going to cover it entirely. The government has said I dont have to buy insurance to cover EVERY POSSIBLE EVENT that could occur."

The difference is that the vast majority of accidents result in much less liability than the amount of insurance that you carry.

One meltdown or significant release of radioactive material can cause the essentially permanent destruction of an entire region, with an economic cost that could easily go into the trillions and liability that probably exeeds the gross world product. We know this can happen, so the insurance would be astronomical.
 
2005-01-02 02:22:54 PM
Professor Wubbo Ockels (correct)

I love the fact that they felt it necessary to say 'Yep, that's really his name. It's not a typo.'.
 
2005-01-02 02:26:19 PM
FUBuddy,

Its nice to see somebody else shares my contempt for Ayn Rand.
 
2005-01-02 02:26:48 PM
brazil:

Someday, those of us that are objective and scientifically minded, will rise up and throw down the reigning religions of willful ignorance and environmentalism.

Then nuclear power will takes its rightful place generating most of our electrical and hydrogen needs almost endlessly and at very low cost.

I can make this flat statement with no doubt of its veracity: If you are against nuclear power, you are either ignorant or the enemy of man and need to be removed.


Holy shiat, dude!

Ranting like some mad scientist character in a '50s horror flick is not the way to gain credibility.

I'm not "for" or "against" nuclear power. I'm not willfully ignorant, just ignorant. Most people will never know enough about nuclear power to be able to judge its safety independently. We have to go by what the experts tell us, and then evaluate whether they are trustworthy. Such is life in a complex, technologically advanced society.

If you want to argue that nuclear power is cheaper, safer, and cleaner than the current alternatives, I'll listen. On the other hand: Chernobyl. I am not an expert on power plant technologies, and never will be, but I know that the consequences of the experts being wrong about the safety of nuclear power are catastrophic. If the experts are wrong about wind power, on the other hand? Meh. Maybe we waste a lot of money. I'm pretty sure a wind turbine isn't going to kill tens of thousands of people and pollute an area of hundreds square miles for generations if it fails.
 
2005-01-02 02:31:09 PM
The difference is that the vast majority of accidents result in much less liability than the amount of insurance that you carry.

You've never seen me drive. Actually, that is of course true, although I did 3.5k worth of damage to my own car 2 weeks ago. That is BY FAR the most damage I have ever caused with my car though. However, it would not be very difficult at all for a driver to cause 50k in property damage or 100k in injury damage.

One meltdown or significant release of radioactive material can cause the essentially permanent destruction of an entire region, with an economic cost that could easily go into the trillions and liability that probably exeeds the gross world product. We know this can happen, so the insurance would be astronomical.

Hmmm, the closest this has ever come to happening was TMI, and did neither permanent destruction of an entire region of economic damage in the trillions. It would be very, very unlikely to have an accident of even the TMI level with modern nuke plant designs.

BTW, I refuse to consider Chernobyl as a reasonable scenario. It takes both a communist government and irrationally bad design to make a Chernobyl style accident. I consider Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be the same level of relevance to western designed nuke accidents.
 
2005-01-02 02:31:57 PM
I really should use preview. Pretend I typed everything correctly.
 
2005-01-02 02:32:15 PM
Calvin Hobbes:

"We could shoot it into the sun with current techonolgies... wouldn't even need good guidance systems... the sun has a huge gravity well."

Wouldn't that vaporize and then get blown back out by the solar wind? I suppose it doesn't really matter if you shoot for the poles.

"That said, would you want to risk it exploding on the launch pad?"

Well I kinda doubt it would be in the form of conventional rockets. I'm thinking those orbital tether things combined with rocket planes like the one that won the X-Prize are probably the way to go for the near future. Those are safer, and containers that can survive a plane crash are easier to build than containers that can survive being blown up by a fully fueled rocket.
 
2005-01-02 02:33:47 PM
Heh, I wrote my chernobyl paragraph to prevent that argument. I hadnt seen superdudes post yet. Dude - it isnt relevant.
 
2005-01-02 02:34:48 PM
Ok everyone, it seems like I have to dispel some myths here.

Myth 1. Wind and Solar Power can become dominant energy sources.

No, the amount of energy this country intakes grows exponentially every year, sooner or later, it will become very impractical to expand windfields and solarpanel fields. It will be impractical because they are reliant on land area to determine their power output, and therefore will require an exponential scaling of land area.

Myth 2. All radioactive waste can be reused until there is no more.

Radioactive waste is something we have to live with, even with fusion plants when they come around as well. However, there are technologies that exist and are still being developed that make full use of the Uranium fuel (which the Us is intent on wasting by storing fuel after the first use) and cut down the halflives of any remaining junk. These technologies also provide the medical industry with radioisotopes to treat patients with.

Some other thoughts: The cost of building nuclear reactors is decreasing as new designs are being drawn up and approved for consrtuction all over the globe. There are even some designs so safe that the reactorcan shut itself down int he event of an emergency without any external input or power source.

Something else I would like to bring to everyone's attention is that nuclear power is key in cutting down our oil dependence. Although hydrogen can replace gasoline with time, the only way to extract it not using oils is through zapping water with electricity, and the best way to keep that clean and continue to expand our energy capacity efficiently is nuclear power.
 
2005-01-02 02:35:45 PM
mystic1423 No NO NO All forms of peer-to-peer are evil! Haven't you been listening to the RIAA at all??
 
2005-01-02 02:36:51 PM
Tjos Weel:

"Hmmm, the closest this has ever come to happening was TMI, and did neither permanent destruction of an entire region of economic damage in the trillions. It would be very, very unlikely to have an accident of even the TMI level with modern nuke plant designs."

Low probability event with high cost means high insurance rates, and any kind of fuel reprocessing increases the risk substantially.
 
2005-01-02 02:41:09 PM
GrySovCob :
Actually, have you seen these new pebble bed reactors i think theyre called? Basicaly, theyre designed so that if the coolant boils off, the reaction stops, period. The coolant is an intergal part to causing the reaction, so it simply cant continue. They seem so idiot proof as to defy even the new advanced idiots we keep breeding.
 
2005-01-02 02:41:19 PM
The solution to all this, is the Motionless Electromagnetic Generator



Interesting reading, nonetheless.
 
2005-01-02 02:41:38 PM
BTW, I refuse to consider Chernobyl as a reasonable scenario. It takes both a communist government and irrationally bad design to make a Chernobyl style accident. I consider Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be the same level of relevance to western designed nuke accidents.


The first bit is right. The US plants are nothing like Chernobyl.

The second part is off. If you want to see what happens when everything goes wrong in a nuclear power plant, an excellent case study is Three Mile Island. US plants can't explode the way a nuclear bomb does because the critical mass isn't anywhere near dense enough.
 
2005-01-02 02:45:39 PM
GrySovCob:

"US plants can't explode the way a nuclear bomb does because the critical mass isn't anywhere near dense enough."

I think it's more because they use volatile moderators (volatile meaning boils at low temperatures) instead of graphite.

That doesn't mean nothing can go wrong. For a start, the volatile moderators that boil away if something goes wrong tend to be quite radioactive.
 
2005-01-02 02:45:48 PM
Ontop of that, building the reactos and structures and keeping them mantained is not economical, as it cost more to run plant, then to not. hense the high prices, and little use for them. The government, before the public outcry, acctually substidized nuclear power plants, and even them the faced the same problems.


Running a Nuclear plant is FAR cheaper than maintaining any other plant in exsistence. I have no idea where you got the idea that running the plant is very expensive.
 
2005-01-02 02:46:10 PM
Okay, I am confused now. How does reprocessing increase the risk substantially? The reason Carter shut down the reprocessing was due to terrorist threat. The risk is of terrorists stealing Pu after it is reprocessed. There wouldnt be a meltdown risk from reprocessing.

Low prob * high cost does not necessarily mean high rates. It depends how low and how high. Like I said, all industries (and individuals) have caps on how much insurance they need. The nuke industry's cap may be too low, but it isnt rediculously too low. If you want to throw a fit over a stupid government regulation, how about them not requiring coal plants to have the same standards of radiation release that nuke plants do? Make coal plants trap and store the radiation they are releasing currently and watch nuke plants become relatively cheap overnight.

The government has decided that the small risk from that radiation is worth it to keep power production relatively cheap.
The government has decided that the small risk of a massive scale nuke accidnt is worth it to keep power production relatively cheap.
The government has decided that the small risk of me causing a 100 car pileup is worth it to allow most people to afford driving.
 
2005-01-02 02:48:33 PM
GrySovCob,

That was my point. Nuke bombs are completely irrelevant to nuclear power. Of course they cant blow up like bombs.

Chernobyl != US Nuke plants
Hiroshima != US Nuke plants

^^^^
That was my point, not well stated.
 
2005-01-02 02:50:03 PM
They claim one Laddermill could generate 100 megawatts of electricity, compared with only a few megawatts from a conventional wind turbine.

This part bugged me. They're comparing an array of these kites with one wind turbine. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to compare in a 1:1 scale?

The big downside seems to be that kite farms would consume more space; not only do they need a certain area on the ground, but in the sky as well.
 
2005-01-02 02:51:51 PM
That doesn't mean nothing can go wrong. For a start, the volatile moderators that boil away if something goes wrong tend to be quite radioactive.


A lot of new plant designs include the boiling of the moderater in the safety design itself. The advanced BWR I believe is designed so that the natural convection of boiling water can be used to trigger a core shutdown in the event of an emergency, cutting out the human factor (what caused three mile island) altogether.
 
2005-01-02 02:54:49 PM
volatile moderators?

The moderators in US plants are H2O. IN BWRs they are already boiling, boiling away is a requirement :). In PWRs the pressure is high enough to prevent boiling.

BTW, graphite as a moderator isnt inherently dangerous. The chernobyl design using graphite mods was though, well maybe not so much at full power, but while doing a partial power test they were.

BTW, for interesting design, the US Navy wins for the Seawolf. Ah, liquid sodium coolant.
 
2005-01-02 02:55:42 PM
GrySovCob:

Running a Nuclear plant is FAR cheaper than maintaining any other plant in exsistence. I have no idea where you got the idea that running the plant is very expensive.

You have to factor in the resistance of ignoeconuts and NIMBYs. That adds considerably to the cost.
 
2005-01-02 02:57:24 PM
Sloth,

Initial construction of nuke plants is very expensive, and thats where most of the NIMBY and econut costs come in. Once built, they are much cheaper to run than a coal plant, for example.
 
2005-01-02 02:59:16 PM
Hmmm...combining kites and electricity cables, eh? What could possibly go wrong?

/Yes, I know.
 
2005-01-02 03:03:47 PM
My understanding is that no nuclear plant in America has ever paid for itself. Even operating ones will not break even financially before the are too old to operate.
That is to say, all nuclear power in America is subsidized by the government it is not profitable.
 
2005-01-02 03:04:05 PM
Brazil is absolutely right. Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactors NOW!

/engineer
 
2005-01-02 03:05:55 PM
<i>Wouldn't that vaporize and then get blown back out by the solar wind?</i>

By my very quick, back of envolope calculations, if all the nuke material was blown out, about 0.0000001% of it would intersect the earth. Considering the total amount of radiation the sun is alreading sleeting thru us, I dont think this would affect anything.
 
2005-01-02 03:08:30 PM
Tjos Weel:

"Okay, I am confused now. How does reprocessing increase the risk substantially?"

Lots of highly radioactive materials being shuffled around in facilities that have to change their state to work...

"Make coal plants trap and store the radiation they are releasing currently and watch nuke plants become relatively cheap overnight."

No one's defending coal power.

"IN BWRs they are already boiling, boiling away is a requirement :). In PWRs the pressure is high enough to prevent boiling."

The risk I refer to is that of volatile moderators under pressure being released into the environment. If there's a leak, the pressure will drop allowing the water to boil.
 
2005-01-02 03:09:02 PM
Boloxor,

I dont know if it is true or not, but even if it is, it means that nuclear power is subsidized by shareholders of power companies, not by the government.

I also dont think it is true. Power companies get to pass their costs on to the customers in the form of higher rates. It is hard for them to not make money.
 
2005-01-02 03:10:02 PM
My understanding is that no nuclear plant in America has ever paid for itself. Even operating ones will not break even financially before the are too old to operate.
That is to say, all nuclear power in America is subsidized by the government it is not profitable.


Yes, the construction costs are high now, but they are getting cheaper every year because of the new designs. We are running off of '70s plants right now, would you expect anything less.

Also, no nuclear plant will ever be too old to operate for a looong time (they may become obselete and replaced, but not too old to operate). A lot of licenses are expiring now, but all are up for renewal and will most likely be approved for another 20 years of operation.
 
2005-01-02 03:12:10 PM
That sounds beautiful, and fantastic.
 
2005-01-02 03:13:33 PM
Water isnt a volatile moderator. Well, it depends what definition of volatile you mean. I am assuming 3 from dictionary.com:

explosive - water aint explosive.

If you mean 1b: That can be readily vaporized.
Yes, it is volatile, release the pressure and it would be vaporized. Well, unless you are standing right there, so what? Yes, its radioactive, but it leaking from the containment vessel is unlikely. Even TMI had less radiation that was predicted in advance because the concrete absorbed more radiation than was assumed.
 
2005-01-02 03:16:55 PM
Tjos Weel:

"By my very quick, back of envolope calculations, if all the nuke material was blown out, about 0.0000001% of it would intersect the earth. Considering the total amount of radiation the sun is alreading sleeting thru us, I dont think this would affect anything."

Does that assume an even distribution of emmisions from the whole surface of the sun?

What I am worried about is the container vaporizing before it gets to the photosphere, and being blown back to the Earth (or other planet that we may someday like to live on) by the solar wind in a fairly cohesive way. With the amounts of waste we're talking about, any significant amount of waste returning is unacceptable.

If we could get the waste to the photosphere more or less intact, then it would be trapped by the Sun's gravity and we'd never have to worry about it again.

This is why I suggest Jupiter. It's easier to get to than any of the other gas giants or interstellar space.
 
2005-01-02 03:17:37 PM
We could shoot it into the sun with current techonolgies... wouldn't even need good guidance systems... the sun has a huge gravity well.

I think this is wrong; if you just 'throw' something at the sun, in will assume an orbit with an energy equalling earths minus the amount of energy you used to throw it. Thus, it takes energy to reach the sun, stuff doesnt just fall into it. This is because the the starting frame [earth] is in orbit around the sun and is not motionless relative to it.
 
2005-01-02 03:17:39 PM
we are stuck with reliance on fossil fuels for the forseeable future. The world needs ever more energy, and all of the alternate sources put together can barley make up 5% at best.
nanotechnology will give us some new efficiencies but no one knows how much. I think we should be working on building a new generation of zero emmisions coal gasification plants.
They would produce energy and fuel using a resource we have a large amount of. If designed from the ground up they can be very clean and efficient.
 
2005-01-02 03:17:56 PM
Lots of highly radioactive materials being shuffled around in facilities that have to change their state to work...

The facilities have to change their state or the materials?
Reprocessing is no more (and probably less) dangerous than the initial processing done on natural U to increase the U235 percent. Chemical separation of Pu from U238 (the primary goal of reprocessing) is much easier than the separation of U235 from U238. Reprocessing allows us to do less of the 2nd.

This relative ease of chemical separation is what made it a terrorist threat. A terrorist org might be able to separate Pu from U, but they wouldnt be able to build the centrifuges necessary for separating U235 from 238.
 
2005-01-02 03:19:44 PM
My quick opinion: Blasting nuclear material into space is impractical andvery expensive. There is nothing wrong with long term storage facilities like Yucca Mountain.
 
2005-01-02 03:20:37 PM
Tjos Weel: "Well, unless you are standing right there, so what?"

Tritiated water can be very nasty. It gets into everything.
 
2005-01-02 03:22:09 PM
I assumed even distribution for 2 reasons, ease of calculation and because if it is non-even, we can have the container approach the sun while we are on the opposite side. The amount of waste we are talking about is tiny compared to the radiation coming from the sun. Nothing wrong with the Jupiter idea.

You seem to have problems with relative risk - an accident on launch is a far, far, far, far bigger danger than any risk from a vaporized container in space. Space is big, the earth is small, therefore the cross-section is tiny.
 
2005-01-02 03:24:41 PM
Out of curiousity, Boloxor, since I cannot find it, do you know where I could find the numbers on that?
 
2005-01-02 03:29:01 PM
To clarify, I meant the break even costs on nuclear reactors in the US. If they do not break even, why not? Most sources I have seen show them to be barely more expensive to build than equivalent production capacity coal or oil plants, and are cheaper to operate. Is there a hidden environmental damage factor that is applied to nuclear but not coal or oil? Where does the huge cost of these things come from?
 
2005-01-02 03:30:04 PM
Tjos Weel:

"I assumed even distribution for 2 reasons, ease of calculation and because if it is non-even, we can have the container approach the sun while we are on the opposite side."

That has the potential to contaminate some other planet that we may like to live on, which is why I said to use the poles of the sun. If the waste was blown away by the solar wind, it would leave the solar system traveling normal to the planet that the planets are in.

"The amount of waste we are talking about is tiny compared to the radiation coming from the sun."

Right, but the magnetic field and the atmosphere protect us from the vast majority of that because it's otherwise harmless things that happen to be going fast. Uranium traveling at lower speeds with the solar wind could infiltrate the atmosphere and actually affect us on the surface.

"Nothing wrong with the Jupiter idea."

Yeah, I figure waste heat from the waste could power ion engines or something, it doesn't really matter if it takes decades to get there.

Oh well. It's a long way off no matter what.
 
2005-01-02 03:31:38 PM
tritium aint the danger in a nuke plant release. Tritium is a beta-decayer so it is only dangerous on ingestion. HTO is of course easily ingested, but its half life is much longer than the time it will be in the body, limiting the danger somewhat. Unless you were drinking a strong concentration of HTO or living in an area with significant HTO in the water supply, it would be hard for it to cause much damage. There just isnt enough in a nuke plant for the HTO to be a wide spread problem.

The "cure" for ingestion of HTO is to drink as much H2O as possible to flush it out of the body.
 
2005-01-02 03:36:10 PM
Brazil:

You are correct. Nuclear power is the most reasonable and safe source of power.
 
2005-01-02 03:37:06 PM
AC,

I dont think you realize the scale of the radiation that reaches the earth. Or the contents of waste (there wont be any U in waste sent to the sun, reprocessing would occur before we send any off planet). Or the size of the solar system. Or the size of the planet for that matter.

Do the math.
 
2005-01-02 03:43:11 PM
Tjos Weel:

We disagree on this risk of shooting waste into the sun, but it doesn't matter because there are alternatives (poles of the Sun, Jupiter, permanent orbit somewhere out of the way) that will be equally available when we have the technology to do it economically and safely in the first place.
 
2005-01-02 03:43:12 PM
Here is another free energy device!!




Kohei Minato and the Japan Magnetic Fan Company
 
2005-01-02 03:50:23 PM
 
2005-01-02 03:53:06 PM
I think some of you are missing the point of this whole "Laddermill" idea, so lemme high-level it for you.

This is a very simple idea... it's basically an extension of a windmill with high flying kites instead of regular blades or sails.

A single installation (ie, 1 laddermill chain) is basically the same idea as a very tall tower with a conventional windturbine on it. At higher altitude, there's more wind, and more consistent wind, so therefore more energy density.
1 Laddermill = 100 Megawatts. 1 regular tubine, 1 Megawatt

With the Laddermill, you don't have to build the tower. You use cables instead. Kevlar/Dacron or similar lightweight materials.

The kites should fly in most weather, day and night, and would only need to be taken down when expected windspeeds are too high to operate safely.
Since they're designed to work at the higher windspeeds of high altitude, only extreme weather patterns should cause any problems.
Remember, an adjustable angle of attack means that the kites could "feather" and reduce the energy they extract from the wind just like a stationary wind turbine can feather its blades in high winds.
I imagine a reusable tethered helium balloon could be used to automatically relaunch the kite train whenever needed.

Because the system is intended to take advantage of the consistently higher windspeeds at altitude, this approach is usable in a much wider variety of locations than those where the "conventional" wind turbines are economical.

As far as hazards to navigation go, I don't see a brightly colored, radar reflective relatively stationary object as much of a problem for aircraft. Maybe each kite will have a red strobe just like towers are required to have.

All of the technical problems I see in this proposal seem totally surmountable, and I hope this guy has all the success in the world.

Not every municipality in the world can afford a nuclear plant, but I bet most could afford a few miles of Kevlar and some nylon kites.

~Rick
 
2005-01-02 03:55:45 PM
Tjos Weel:

Water isnt a volatile moderator. Well, it depends what definition of volatile you mean. I am assuming 3 from dictionary.com:

ArbitraryConstant:

I think it's more because they use volatile moderators (volatile meaning boils at low temperatures) instead of graphite.

It helps if you actually read the original post.
 
2005-01-02 03:59:53 PM
Nuclear power is very safe, but plants can cost billions of dollars to build. (If I remember correctly, the last plant to enter operation in the US cost several billion dollars)

We have technology to make plants that are pretty much immune to meltdowns, the only problem is that they are not really economical to build. Also, security concerns in this age of terrorism where people, mainly right-wingers, will complain about fears of terrorism, making construction unlikely.

On the 'environmentalists' side, yes, you have groups like Greenpeace who will protest nuclear power, but they are not going to cost much money. The only thing possibly adding cost is government regulations designed to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants. And these regulations are absolutely 100% necessary. Most corporations, when left to police themselves, will not fully comply with regulations. With something as potentially dangerous as nuclear power, the government must police the power plants to ensure their safety.

I would like to see more power plants built, because they are cleaner than other power sources, but they are too expensive to build. When they become economical, maybe they will be built.

Until then, we should be investing in alternative power sources. Solar power is not really that great of a source on the large scale, but wind turbines have great potential, and are economical to build. But again, one of the factors is that they are somewhat expensive to build. Actually turbines are not that expensive, but the high voltage lines necessary to move the power are located away from the rural areas where potential for wind power is the greatest.

The state of North Dakota alone has enough potential to provide a third of the nation's electrical needs. The only thing stopping additional turbines from being built is a lack of new transmission lines.
 
2005-01-02 04:23:58 PM
 
2005-01-02 04:33:54 PM
Kites != safe. Remember kids, hundereds of people die at the kite festivals every year with beheadings from kite strings being the most common injury received directly from the kits.
 
2005-01-02 05:08:32 PM
2005-01-02 04:33:54 PM nih-: Kites != safe. Remember kids, hundereds of people die at the kite festivals every year with beheadings from kite strings being the most common injury received directly from the kits.

Shenanigans! Can we have a little critical thinking here?
"most common injury" is probably either bumps and bruises or string-cuts/rope-burns.

Feh.

There are _occasionally_ beheadings. That same "little girl got decapitated" story has prolly been rolling around the 'nets as long as Craig Shergold has been collecting business cards.

If you were trying to be funny... well, can you maybe play the piano?

~Rick
 
2005-01-02 05:10:00 PM
dsmo

On the 'environmentalists' side, yes, you have groups like Greenpeace who will protest nuclear power, but they are not going to cost much money.

Wrong. Nuke plants can't even put salt on their sidewalks (like we do with millions of acres of road surface) when it snows. Why? The greenies. You can salt the sidewalks of a coal fired plant, though. The nukes can't even use calcium chloride. They have to use urea.

The econuts have added huge expenses onto the costs of operating a nuke. They've gone over every nut and bolt in their operation and won thousands concessions, few of which are related to safety. Their scheme was to make 'em too expensive to run. To a large degree it has worked. Their other scheme is to make it impossible to deal with the waste. It's pretty much worked, too.

And so we'll burn fossil fuels for the next four or five decades. Which the greenies also want to stop. They're trying to build a natural gas generating plant near my folks home and the utility company has to do a two year background study on air quality for starts (baseline data). Meanwhile, everybody around where the plant is proposed burns the natural gas inside their houses to cook their food and heat their water and houses.

It's insane. And leftists embrace this insanity.
 
2005-01-02 05:17:20 PM
I bet.
 
2005-01-02 05:24:19 PM
Anyone remember 2 1/2 years ago when good old private industry [url=http://www.anbex.com/new_page_21.htm]almost let a US nuclear reactor leak, in a form that has not even been contemplated in all the proponent's statistics about how "safe" US reactors are?[/url]. It was given primo safety marks that same quarter and this problem was YEARS in developing and the danger signs were clearly visible.

I'm no eco-nut but pretending there is no risk with reactors is BS. Pebble-bed sounds great but there is always some unforseen circumstances, there is no magic bullet. We were told current reactors were perfect too and this story demonstrates quite well why they are not, so don't whitewash this stuff
 
2005-01-02 05:24:59 PM
 
2005-01-02 05:43:14 PM
well it all comes down to this, everyone biatching about envio's and NIMBYS.

GrySovCob, sure Yucca Mountain is fine, but what happens if it was 2 miles away from your home, and your family. You'd be pretty pissed as your chances for an accident increased, and your property values dropped like a kite with no wind :p

The problem is neuclear technogy, to be safe, costs billions and billions of dollars. Keeping track and transporting radioactive material alone is on a budget that could be used to build other types of electric plants. In 1953 the AEC promised to deliever atomic energy "too cheep to meter", 50 years later were still waiting, with coal/oil being far cheaper.

the real winners are the electric and industrial companies that build the reactors, because of the high prices they ask for. Consumers are then stuck with the bill, as the government subsidises the facility and it pumps out higher costing electricity
 
2005-01-02 05:49:27 PM
-GrySovCob

Radioactive waste is something we have to live with, even with fusion plants when they come around as well.

Actually it just takes H and makes He, harmless He :D It is the energy of tomorrow, and always tomorrow as they say :P.
 
2005-01-02 05:52:08 PM
I'm not religiously environmental, but I've looked into it and the alternatives I presented are cheaper. If they're cheaper, why avoid them?

Because then we'd be enemies of man, and have to be "removed"?

/no hyperbole in this thread
 
2005-01-02 05:59:03 PM
Shino:

Actually it just takes H and makes He, harmless He :D It is the energy of tomorrow, and always tomorrow as they say :P.

Not true. The containment vessel will become radioactive. It will also become brittle and pit with age requiring replacement.

Strangelovian:

Because then we'd be enemies of man, and have to be "removed"?

/no hyperbole in this thread


Those against cheap and clean energy are the enemies of man. Nuclear is the anser. There is no hyperbole.
 
2005-01-02 06:12:35 PM
 
2005-01-02 06:16:04 PM
Kite Eating Trees.
 
2005-01-02 06:44:37 PM
Tjos Weel:

BTW, for interesting design, the US Navy wins for the Seawolf. Ah, liquid sodium coolant.

Interesting. I read a paper on sodium cooled reactors written by some guy, which I initially went into, then realized was pointless and deleted. I'll have to check that sub out later.

On another note, nuclear power is going to be around, but it would be insane to utilize it blindly. We should exploit whatever is most appropriate in a given region. Additionally, we should be employing more sensible building strategies. This can be done easily and economically, but requires breaking historical habits.

Molten sodium is also what allows concentrating solar power plants to store heat and keep generating electricity after sundown.

Hippies at Sandia National Lab on Concentrating Solar Power
 
2005-01-02 07:02:36 PM
If we're going to run cables into the heavens, why not run something that we can plug into solar energy with? Providing we have something that could withstand the heat, that is.
 
2005-01-02 08:18:22 PM
2005-01-02 07:02:36 PM tonguedepressor

If we're going to run cables into the heavens, why not run something that we can plug into solar energy with? Providing we have something that could withstand the heat, that is.


...

What?
 
2005-01-02 10:57:25 PM
I know a little bit about nuclear generation, and a little bit about a bunch of other energy sources, but I'm not qualified to say whether nuke power is cheaper, or the safties are warranted, et cetera. I know FOR CERTAIN, though, that there will always be accidents; it's just a question of when, and what kind.

What kind would YOU prefer?
 
2005-01-03 03:34:03 AM
Let's go fly a kite!

Up to the highest height!

Sounds like an idea straight from a Harvard mind.
 
2005-01-03 05:14:41 AM
Great idea, just don't tell the Pakistanis.
 
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