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Moghrey Mie

Liberal Democrats Favour Nuclear Power

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Whilst I agree it is a U-turn from the Lib Dems I think we all need to ask what sources of power we use in future. Gas, oil and coal are all finite resources. Wind and solar power seem to have their critics. Biomass plants are being constructed in the UK but they have a relatively small output.

 

The possibilities of using the sea for power have not been adequately explored as far as I am aware. Wave technology was dismissed as inefficient based on poorly calculated government figures.

 

Nuclear waste is the major headache from Nuclear power which otherwise seems a reasonably safe solution.

 

So what do we do? There are very few power sources which have no negative effects (although wave power and geo-thermal seem pretty good).

 

Back to the Lib Dems. They are now in a position where they must make decisions rather than just generate party policy. That means that those ideals may no longer be viable as consideration is given to the real impact.

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So what do we do? There are very few power sources which have no negative effects (although wave power and geo-thermal seem pretty good).

 

Solar!

 

I read in a book somewhere that the amount of solar energy landing on the earth each day is equal to the world's energy consumption for a year. Current energy policy is analogous to ignoring rainfall and mining a glacier in order to get drinking water. I'd convert Saharan sand into photo-voltaic solar panels, and set them up there. Sahara is just under 2% of the Earth's surface area, so with efficiency of about 16% your energy crisis is solved. I accept that it's a massive engineering project, and all calculations have just been done in my head, without even resorting to the back of an envelope, but surely it's worth thinking about?

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@wrighty Interesting post, prompted me to read up on solar. Problems seem to be:

1. Its still cheaper to use fossil fuels, for the moment.

2. Uses a lot of land and a lot of pure silicon, which is part of the reason for 1.

3. Intermittency - can be addressed by the reflector/molten salt type, rather than photovoltaics, but I think efficiency goes down.

4. Transmission losses and the requirement to build a completely new transmission grid, back to 1 again!

So it would seem as if there arent any absolute technical showstoppers, but its more of a huge economic disadvantage while fosils are still relatively cheap.

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How about we just lower the population.

There should be a law that anyone who makes such a statement should shoot themselves first first to kick things off.

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Population reduction is a necessity for the future if consumption of resources isn't vastly reduced.

 

Or perhaps the other solution is to find a way of producing the required resources (in this case power) without causing environmental damage or necessitating "population reduction" (whatever that may mean).

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Even if we had unlimited energy, we'd still need to sort out overpopulation... In fact, unlimited energy would worsen the problem.

Edited by Thomas Jefferson

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Ignoring the fans of "population reduction" and getting back to the matter of Nuclear Power...

 

I do like Wrighty's suggestion about solar energy, however, I would imagine that the cost of construction would be considerable given the inhospitable environment and following on from that maintenance may also be expensive. That would mean that a return on investment could take many many years (just look at the arguments EDF are having over the return on new nuclear powerstations as an example) and could result in the cost of power to the consumer increasing. As is also mentioned there would be a need for a massive change in infrastructure.

 

Nuclear power is far from the answer as I acknowledged earlier and is really only storing up major headaches for future generations who will have to deal with the waste produced as well as decontaminating the sites of the power stations.

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Population reduction is a necessity for the future if consumption of resources isn't vastly reduced.

 

That statement makes no sense whatsoever. In fact, it's just plain silly.

 

Behind your unthinking regurgitation of this nonesense is the belief that resources are finite and therefore will one day run out if we keep using them at the rate we are today. Even if this is correct, cutting population or consumption of resources would only delay the fatefull day. So what if, say 6 billion people per year use up all the earth's resources in 20,000 years time or 3 billion use them up in 40,000 years time? Still amounts to the same number of people enjoying similar consumption for the same total number of years and an end date when they would run out.

 

No, if the view that human consumption uses irreplacable finite resources to the point that they will run out, and we don't want them to run out, then we have to 1) exterminate the human race and so leave the resources unused or 2) Useup all the resources until people die out because of lack of resources. (See, even in this case it makes sense to use the resources while they're available).

 

Alternatively, we could stop thinking of consumption as using up finite and irreplaceable resources and make more of an effort to find renewable replacements.

 

Repeat - "lowering" the population or reducing levels of consumption do not solve the problem.

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