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Comment: Re:Competition is king, we welcome it (Score 1) 100

by HiThere (#49827139) Attached to: Mercedes-Benz Copies Tesla, Plans To Offer Home Energy Storage


Batteries can have a few problems. Exploding, e.g. (To be honest, I can't think of a form of energy storage that doesn't have a few problems.)

This probably means that there need to be construction standards for how the batteries are installed that will protect the house that they power from being destroyed if there's a battery problem. Not an insurmountable problem, but I haven't heard anyone talking about that yet.

Comment: Re:Let me put my skepticism hat on... (Score 1) 156

by HiThere (#49825585) Attached to: Cool Tool: The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Cost Calculator

Both were design problems, and both were also operator errors. Chernobyl in both cases had worse problems, but remember that in Fukishima the back up power supply was located in a trough where after the water washed over it, it remained flooded. And it was flooded in the first place because it wasn't high enough above sea level. Another design problem. Then the spent fuel rods were kept on site, and not properly disposed of. (Know any other plants that do that? Perhaps on the US coast?)

Not all things that are clearly problems have an obvious solution. The spent fuel rods is one example. But a different solution is now clearly needed, and it should have been obvious that one was needed before the incident. (It probably was, but deciding what the right answer is, and implementing it, is not going to be easy.) So I'm calling the way the fuel rods were handled a clear human error, as it wasn't a part of the design of the plant. They weren't supposed to stay there.

Of course, you can call any design error a human error also, and you'd still be correct, but I'm following what I understand your separation to be.

The problem is, you aren't going to be able to prevent human errors. You can only minimize them. So you need to count them in as a part of the cost of the incident. (And if the same series of mistakes as happened at Chernobyl wouldn't happen again, that doesn't indicate that no equally bad series of mistakes will ever happen again. And Russia isn't the only country were there are often very loose safety regulation/enforcement.)

Comment: Re:Let me put my skepticism hat on... (Score 1) 156

by HiThere (#49825475) Attached to: Cool Tool: The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Cost Calculator

If you want to understand the nuclear industry, you need to realize that its backer was not so much the corporations as the military. The civilian nuclear industry allowed to move a bunch of their budget into a different government agency, where it wasn't as subject to being cut. (When politics changed, it got moved back into the military budget.)

Think of how Crysler got bailed out by the government because it was an "essential supplier of military equipment", but how the bail out didn't come out of the defense department budget. The same thing happens repeatedly in different areas, but usually wihtout as much public notice.

Comment: Re:Insurance? (Score 1) 156

by HiThere (#49825369) Attached to: Cool Tool: The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Cost Calculator

No. The logical solution is for the government to recompense those damaged by the event, and to then bill the companies for recompense, plus a "handling charge" for their work in recompensing the damaged. Probably the "handling charge" should be a fixed charge plus a low percentage, so the government doesn't have an incentive to minimize the compensation. (They will anyway due to corruption, AKA lobbying, but to minimize the incentive.)

Comment: Re:What about the cost for enrichment waste? (Score 1) 156

by HiThere (#49825265) Attached to: Cool Tool: The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Cost Calculator

It's still not clear to me what "a lot further along" would be. Waste disposal is still, the last I heard, an unsolved problem. There are some reasonable paths that could be developed, but until there's been a least a pilot, say, fast breeder reactor that actually burns all its fuel to "nearly harmless" one can't show that it will really work. And long term storage looks both dangerous and expensive. And also like it would prevent recovery. Hot waste should at least be useable as a source of process heat. That *might* pay for storing it.

OTOH, it's also quite possible that "further along" would mean that all the extant plants were shutting down after burning their final supply of fuel....except for a few specialty plants, like reactors in nuclear subs. I can see an excellent case for using fission reactors on the moon, but cooling them could be a major problem, so it probably wouldn't pay until there was a permanent base.

The thing is, AFAIKT based on current public information we just don't know what "further along" would mean.

Comment: Re:Private Profiles (Score 1) 166

by HiThere (#49810315) Attached to: Orange County Public Schools To Monitor Students On Social Media

Well, if it teaches them that, then maybe the school is doing its job.

Seriously, most kids have no thought about how what they post will later affect them. If the school teaches them to be careful, and avoid letting "the man" know what they are up to, it may be performing an important social role....probably not the one it's intending to, however.

Comment: Re:Never should have been passed (Score 1) 212

by HiThere (#49810275) Attached to: The Patriot Act May Be Dead For Good

Ok. It could have been just incompetence. But either they were grossly incompetent, or they knew ahead of time that something quite major involving airplanes was coming quite soon, and at least some of those involved....and they just let it go forwards.

I'll agree that this isn't a "false flag" operation as normally understood, so I believe that 9/11 wasn't actually a false flag operation. But it was known about ahead of time, and some of the details were known. The question is did incompetent "superiors" ignore the operation, or did malicious "superiors" suppress the information. This is just based on publicly available information. To say eactly how much they must have known would be a guess.

OTOH, reportedly the Germans informed the US intelligence agencies that something major was coming up quite quickly (I wonder what the actual wording was), and the US indicated that they should keep quite. (And I also wonder what the wording of the response was.) Important details were missing from the news story that I read, so I don't know exactly what this means. But judging by the response after the event, it was more major than expected, but they expected something major enough that they had their ducks in a row to get legislation passed quickly.

Comment: Re:Never should have been passed (Score 1) 212

by HiThere (#49805875) Attached to: The Patriot Act May Be Dead For Good

And as someone else mentioned, if nothing shows up quickly enough, another "false flag" operation. Though actually I think it's probably usually easy enough to instigate someone somewhere in the world to do something wildly threatening. So you just don't stop them, and maybe turn a blind eye to a few of their fumbles. (E.g., see all the advance reports on 9/11, including reports by the FBI about pilot training in the US that didn't involve landing.)

It's quite rare that an actual false-flag operation is necessary. A bit of provocation and instigation by agents in place is generally all that's needed. (This, however, doesn't mean that they never happen. Sometimes someone wants quick results, or wants to be seen to be taking action.)

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.