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Comment: Re: American car companies... (Score 1) 413

I'm from Europe myself (well, Britain), so I know about the kind of models we get. It's not clear what "fault rate" means - does this refer to number of faults discovered at legally required inspections (like the UK MOT)? A simple percentage is a bit vague as it doesn't give any indication of how costly the faults are to fix.

I was basing my original comments partly from the figures from here,as that tries to take into account cost of repairs too.

Comment: Re: American car companies... (Score 1) 413

Do you have a link to those statistics? I'd genuinely like to know, because everything I've seen suggests that the German brands are not as good as Ford for reliability these days. Especially BMW, which may be nice to drive but can have some expensive problems (cooling systems that break after 60k miles, high pressure fuel pumps, diesel engine swirl flaps which can come loose and destroy the entire engine...). The Japnnese brands are typically better than both though.

It's debatable to what extent Ford of Europe can be considered American cars anyway - they have traditionally had completely different models and manufacturing plants.

Comment: Re:not big in UK (Score 3, Informative) 120

by Rising Ape (#47651667) Attached to: Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

Especially in this case since Windscale was also gas-cooled.

Air-cooled. Which is indeed a gas, but very different to the CO2-cooled reactors described here. Windscale was an air-cooled, open-loop plutonium production reactor designed in the 1940s. It didn't generate electricity and has very little relation to the later electricity-generating reactors.

Comment: Re:Not unheard of (Score 1) 442

by Rising Ape (#47610593) Attached to: Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

I didn't complain about them, I was making a more general point. Jealousy is indeed not a good reason to stop someone from earning money, but accusations of jealousy are often used to stifle legitimate complaints about wealth distribution in the world. Few people would expect everyone to be paid the same, but having CEOs earning 1000 times an average employee is hardly reasonable either, given that that money only exists thanks to the work of those lower down. It's not jealousy to question that.

Comment: Re:Not unheard of (Score 1) 442

by Rising Ape (#47609783) Attached to: Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

Unequality is not a bad thing - it's natural

Most wealth inequality is far from natural - it's the result of it being easier to get more money when you already have it, thus favouring those from wealthy backgrounds. It's no more natural than the old feudal system, where those who inherited land and titles had the power.

Comment: Re:Nuclear power is in decline (Score 1) 343

Power purchase agreement prices are not the whole story as they ignore the effects of any extra, separate subsidies (such as the federal tax credit for wind). If the PPA was the whole story, why is there such a large variation (factor of 3) in prices for the same year? The nuclear price is an "all-in" levelised cost of electricity (plus an element of profit for EDF) - the relevant comparison is to the equivalent for wind, which your own link shows to be $80 to $100 per MWh. Unless the Energy Information Administration have got it wrong, but I trust them more than the AWEA's carefully selected figures. Would you trust nuclear figures from Areva?

And as I said before, what they can *sell* power for isn't necessarily what it costs to produce. Germany often now has negative wholesale electricity prices - is that because they can genuinely afford to pay people to take it away? No, it's because they get a separate feed in tariff for anything produced. There are many factors determining the sale price, which is why I'm trying to compare based on the actual costs of installation. And that shows nowhere near as rosy a picture as you're trying to paint.

With the cost of wind falling, the fairer comparison would be for future wind PPA's where we might see a factor of 12 or 14 rather than seven.

Can I borrow your crystal ball when you've finished with it? Your own link shows that the cost does *not* consistently fall - there's a significant increase from 2000-2008, for example. There's a recent fall since that peak, but if it went up before it can do so again.

Comment: Re:Nuclear power is in decline (Score 1) 343

If you think there's a flaw in them - or you know of somewhere where you can install wind for about $500 per kW - then please feel free to point it out. Your profile says you're an astronomer, so finding the flaws in such a simple calculation shouldn't be too hard for you.

Comment: Re:Nuclear power is in decline (Score 1) 343

Lovins does seem to have his facts straight on wind and nuclear costs that you object to taking 1.68 dollars to the pound we get about 2.3 cents/kWh which is mid-range for recent wind contracts in the Midwest.

In which case that's the amount they can sell the power for, not the amount it costs to produce. 2.3 cents per kWh -> $200 per year at 100% capacity factor, $60 per year at a more realistic one, implying a needed installed cost of ~ $600 per kW to get a commercially acceptable rate of return. With maintenance costs, that'll need to be much lower still.

Comment: Re:Nuclear power is in decline (Score 1) 343

That looks like yet another vague non-technical report lacking in quantitative analysis.

Nevertheless, after skimming through it it disagrees with your claim that "the need for storage is a myth". For example, on page xviii:

"Some key technologies, which are critical for deep decarbonization in all DDPs, are not yet technically mature or economically affordable. They include:
Advanced energy storage, flexible load management, and integrated portfolio design for balancing power systems with high penetrations of variable renewable energy"

And you also might not like page 166:

"To be realistic, nuclear power and fossil-fuel power generation with CCS each offer the largest scope for decarbonization of the energy system to 2050."

I've found it impossible to take Lovins seriously since he claimed that UK new nuclear cost was seven times that for wind in the US - for that to be true, you'd need to build, install and maintain a wind farm while selling the power it makes for 2 cents per kWh. That's either just plain lying or, if he truly believes it, a sign that he hasn't checked his facts carefully. Or indeed at all.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken