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Comment: Re:Nuclear is a dead end (Score 1) 169

In 75 years all of the low hanging fruit reserves will be mined out... according to current estimates that leaves 125 years of increasingly harder to get (i.e. more expensive) ore.

Then what? I guess develop the clean energy that we should be working on now.

No. Using proven fast reactor technology, we could supply 100% of the world's energy needs for 10,000 years just using the depleted uranium sitting unused in storage barrels at enrichment plants. Not to mention the huge amounts of raw uranium ore, tailings, reserves in localities that have previously banned mining, and seawater extraction. Nuclear fuel availability is purely a political and social problem, not technical.

Comment: Re:the problem with how nuclear works in the USA (Score 4, Insightful) 169

It also takes pressure off nuclear power companies to invest in reclamation and reprocessing technologies and frees them to simply consume fresh nuclear fissile materials without concern for their total lifespan.

While most of your post I would disagree with, this part is especially wrong. The reason why power companies do not invest in reprocessing and consume fresh fissile material is because by federal law bans it. Remember Jimmy Carter's Non-proliferation deal? Yeah.

Comment: Re:If only it were POLITICALLY and SOCIALLY sound (Score 5, Informative) 169

Nuclear waste disposal isn't an engineering problem

The folks in Japan working the #4 unit of the Fukushima Daiichi plant would like to have a word with you about this. It was shut-down and defuelled before the tsunami struck, and despite this its spent fuel pool's contents blew the building apart.

You are misinformed. While the stability of the fuel pools was unknown and a concern at the time of the disaster, it was later determined that they were in fact not leaking, damaged, or in danger. No fuel in storage was compromised. The damage to Unit 4 was caused by the hydrogen explosion of Unit 2.

Comment: Car Analogy (Score 1, Insightful) 113

by QuantumPion (#48908135) Attached to: NVIDIA GTX 970 Specifications Corrected, Memory Pools Explained

A particular high performance car has a premium 8 cylinder engine and 32 valves at 400 hp. They also sell a non-premium version which is also 8 cylinders but only 30 valves and makes 350 hp but is a lot cheaper. The difference is that one cylinder is missing two valves which lowers its maximum power compared to the premium version. The engine's computer correctly controls the engine to compensate for the one weird cylinder, but someone in the marketing department sold the car as having 32 valves when it only had 30. The 350 hp figure is accurate, but some people complain because if they reprogram the engine control chip to force the one 2-valve cylinder to run at the same conditions as the other 4-valve cylinders, the car only makes 300 hp. But in all normal circumstances the car performs as advertised, only it was initially sold with incorrect details as to how the engine was put together to make it nearly as fast for much cheaper than the premium version.

Comment: Re:Inconsistent fuel? (Score 1) 289

by QuantumPion (#48496447) Attached to: Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

The Endurance itself was large and heavy and full of fuel, requiring a large rocket to get to orbit.

The Ranger was a small, lightweight spaceplane which probably used something like a SABRE engine.

Here is a delta-V map of the solar system. According to it, you would need 6300 m/s delta-V to return to Earth from Mars. Which is about 2/3 the delta-V required to get to Earth orbit.

Comment: Re:The Internet answer (Score 1) 516

by QuantumPion (#48466159) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

The reason why no one switches energy providers whom put their cables underground because if such a utility did exist, its electric prices would be much higher and almost everyone would chose the cheaper, slightly less reliable option and drive them out of business. The problem isn't capitalism. The problem is people like low prices and our current system is good enough not to warrant voluntarily paying more.

Comment: Re: Market forces don't work on essential utilitie (Score 1) 516

by QuantumPion (#48466135) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

On the contrary, market forces work fine. The problem is simply a case of the leaky roof problem. You can't fix the roof it when it's raining, and when it's not raining there is no need to fix it because it isn't raining. When people's lights are on and working it's hard to convince them to voluntarily pay more to upgrade transmission systems.

Comment: Testable Prediction (Score 0) 427

by QuantumPion (#47861853) Attached to: UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

On the global scale, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reached 396.0 parts per million in 2013. The atmospheric increase of CO2 from 2012 to 2013 was 2.9 parts per million, which is the largest annual increase for the period 1984-2013. Concentrations of CO2 are subject to seasonal and regional fluctuations. At the current rate of increase, the global annual average CO2 concentration is set to cross the symbolic 400 parts per million threshold in 2015 or 2016.

Oh good, they actually have a testable quantifiable prediction that CO2 will continue to increase at the same rate and exceed 400 ppm in the next two years. If their prediction proves to be correct that will lend credibility to their models. But if CO2 does not do this, will they admit they don't know what exactly is going on with the environment? Or will they still claim that the less than expected raise in CO2 is also proof of climate change due to some previously undisclosed factor?

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