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Comment: Re:Fukushima and Chernobyl not worse case failures (Score 1) 227

It's certainly not a 'hoax'. Coal contains (to varying degrees) all of these pollutants.

Coal plants do often have filters these days, but always:

http://www.epa.gov/mats/powerp...

the emissions are significant, and not everything gets filtered out.

Also the filtering is expensive and the carbon dioxide that coal emits is becoming a *massive* problem. Although carbon capture has been trialled, it makes coal non competitive with other technologies.

Comment: Re:Fukushima and Chernobyl not worse case failures (Score 1) 227

I can't speak to the chemical plants near you but with nuclear power, you always have incredibly dirty radioactive materials inside a container, with lots of complex plumbing leading into it, and under worst case conditions that stuff can potentially always get into the air and water and get spread far and wide.

Although in principle we could make it never fail over the lifetime of human beings, in practice, we as a species, don't know how to do that, and the proliferative effects of nuclear power and their association with nuclear bombs cannot be underestimated either.

To make nuclear power completely safe, is like trying to make water not wet. It's built into the nature of what we are doing with the materials, for utility-scale nuclear power they are always on the edge of melting down.

Because of these inherent properties it's also never been cheap; the extensive containment and safety you need to engage in, seriously impairs the economics and what you have to do to get around that problem, renders it an inflexible source of power. You have to run it essentially flat out to get the kWh price down to reasonable figures. The most successful systems (like in France) have hydroelectricity or other additional flexible supplies to balance out the power. But if you have that anyway, then overall, technologies like wind power are now usually cheaper and incredibly less risky and easier to install, and compared to nuclear power which is a more mature technology, still getting significantly cheaper over time.

Throwing money at such inherently risky technology like nuclear power to try to make it less risky is not a wise investment right now, and all the signs are that it is only getting less wise with time, other technologies are rapidly rendering it moot.

Comment: Fukushima and Chernobyl not worse case failures (Score 3, Insightful) 227

In Japan, they found at one point that there was a possibility of it *seriously* going to hell in a hand basket.

If the wind had been really wrong, it would have put serious fallout over Tokyo; which would have been really, really, really bad. While few people would have died, the economic disruption would have been (without any hyperbole) unbelievably stupendous.

http://world.time.com/2012/02/...

You can tell me all you want that this kind of accident can never happen, but I just don't believe it. We have no reason to think that Chernobyl or Fukushima were the worse cases, nor that these kinds of failures cannot happen again worse.

Comment: Re:Pointing out the stark, bleeding obvious... (Score 1) 247

We already are starting to cut CO2 emissions. The installation of wind power is doubling every 1-3 years. Already it's a few percent of total energy per year, imagine how big it will be in ten years. The emissions didn't grow this year, that's probably mostly wind power, next year, emissions will probably start to come down.

So no, I don't necessarily think it will take international commitments, it will take people not blocking wind power. Wind is about the cheapest source of energy there is, that can be very widely deployed, allowing for the negative effects of fossil fuel emissions on human health, and the actual real-world medical costs of that.

Comment: Re:That's unpossible. (Score 2) 212

by WolfWithoutAClause (#49101503) Attached to: The Best, and Worst, Places To Drive Your Electric Car

> So electric cars have electric heaters; I had not thought about that aspect before. That would be a considerable inefficiency;

To some extent. The main problem is that it flattens the battery more quickly and impacts range in winter time, the actual cost of the heater for an hour or two is generally relatively trivial compared to the other costs of running the car.

The newer electric cars have much less of an issue though. Instead of using electric heaters they run the air conditioner in reverse (it's an 'air source heat pump' in fact) and most of the heat energy then comes from the external environment rather than resistive heating. The heat pump uses about 1/3 of the power.

Comment: Re:Nope, still a story. :) (Score 1) 215

by WolfWithoutAClause (#49088789) Attached to: Japan Now Has More Car Charging Points Than Gas Stations

Nope, even the worst case is not a deal breaker for most people.

The thing is, most people don't empty the battery most days. A lot of people do like 20 miles a day, so in practice, even with a conventional socket, the car is full again each morning; even on 110 volts.

If you have a 240 volt socket, which are very, very widely available, it's even less of an issue.

And the extra cost to install a higher current charging point is very low. Where I live most premises have a 30 amp, 240 volt circuit already for their electric cookers. That's about 6kW, and the Nissan Leaf has a 24kWh battery; it can do an 80% charge in about 4 hours.

Comment: Re:so (Score 1) 220

by WolfWithoutAClause (#49078227) Attached to: Obama Says He's 'A Strong Believer In Strong Encryption'

In most cases crypto is like having the worlds best lock on your door; the people that want to get in just jimmy the window instead.

The phone thing could certainly happen in theory, but in practice the NSA may have already installed a backdoor or found an accidental backdoor that was due to a bug. And they would probably copy the flashdrive in the phone and analyse it later, possibly on a supercomputer if they're really keen; a lot of commercial crypto is deliberately weak so they can crack it that way if they really have to.

Comment: Re:Nope, still a story. :) (Score 1) 215

by WolfWithoutAClause (#49060363) Attached to: Japan Now Has More Car Charging Points Than Gas Stations

A charge station at home is just a wall socket- you can literally just plug your car into the wall and charge it already.

So EVERY house that is on the grid is already EV infrastructure.

The numbers show that the existing grid can (with some exceptions) handle EV charging (which would and should be mostly at night where the grid is underutilised anyway.)

Comment: Re:This is great! (Score 1) 215

by WolfWithoutAClause (#49060273) Attached to: Japan Now Has More Car Charging Points Than Gas Stations

Actually, the electricity can come from renewables.

Some places have hydroelectricity, nuff said.

Also, wind power and solar is available nearly everywhere, and electric cars do great on that; they don't normally need to charge up everyday, and when there's a glut of wind or solar they can suck it down; and (if you have the right equipment) even sell it back again.

Comment: Michael Hastings (Score 1) 100

by WolfWithoutAClause (#49022605) Attached to: Report: Automakers Fail To Fully Protect Against Hacking

It has been claimed that Michael Hastings might have been assassinated by hacking his car:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

I'm not sure whether he actually died that way, but it's theoretically possible, if you've pissed sufficiently rich and powerful people off enough, and he may have done.

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"

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