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Comment Re:We could start by ending the double standard. . (Score 1) 564

We are talking about one particular method here. I have no problem with people helping others to get around censorship and get communications. On the other hand, *attacking* others to deny them free speech (e.g. taking down their website), I can essentially almost never agree with.

Comment We could start by ending the double standard. . . (Score 5, Insightful) 564

Perhaps it would send a clearer message if we stopped celebrating some groups for hacking and DOS's websites of people, governments or companies we don't like?

After all, if it's ok for Anonymous to harass websites who don't conform to "our" cultural preferences, then I suppose it's ok for anyone to harass any website they don't agree with. . .

Comment And not being allowed to return home (Score 1) 124

In many parts of the evacuated zone, the "contamination" is so small and insignificant that health experts have stated that people could safely return home. However, the government of Japan, instead of trying to educate people about the true risks (or lack thereof) decided they were going to keep the area empty until it could all be "cleaned up" at enormous expense.

So, the public is left with the impression that the government must know it's too dangerous to return, so it must be, right? So, they are depressed that a nuclear accident evicted them from their family home (which may have belonged to the family for generations - in Japan, a home staying in the family for very long periods of time is not uncommon) and they won't be able to return in their lifetime.

The government should just let people return to the very low contamination areas, which ARE SAFE for human habitation, educate them about the risks, and let them get on with their lives.

Comment Re:Pardon Turing, convict us? (Score 1) 231

Honestly, it depends on how the laws are written that legalize a former crime. It's perfectly possible (and I suspect this may be part of the Washington and Colorado initiatives, though I haven't checked) for a new law to state that a former law is repealed, and also that any prior convictions under the previous law shall be vacated.

Comment Re:Irony of "affordable" German solar panels (Score 1) 735

Here in the States, all nuclear power plants are required to put a certain amount of the revenue for each kWh sold into a decommissioning fund. I've heard it comes to around a penny per kWh (which isn't a large increase in power rates, by any means).

The thing about nuclear power plants is they produce epically large amounts of power, over a long period of time, and the fuel costs are close to zero on a per-kWh basis. So, even though a plant might cost Billions to build, and another Billion or two to decomission, it's still cost effective.

Here in the States, one of the utilities called The Southern Company is building a new two-reactor NPP at the Vogtle Power Station site. It's estimated to cost $14Bn. Nuclear plants typically seem to get cost overruns, and this is a first-of-it's kind design (well, first in the US anyhow; the AP-1000 reactor). So, let's say it runs to $18Bn and another $2Bn for decommissioning and fuel disposal, for $20Bn total cost (maybe it'll be a little more, maybe a little less; you can argue with the accuracy of my numbers, but this should get us to a reasonable approximation of the actual figures within say 5 or 10%).

The AP-1000 is rated at 1117MW per reactor output (in the future, this may be able to be retrofit to higher output; that has commonly happened at other NPP's, but we'll assume constant power output over the life of the plant).

So, assuming a 60 year life for the reactors and 90% Capacity Factor, how many kWh would each reactor potentially be able to generate and sell?

1117MW * 1000 KW per MW * 24 hours per day * 365.25 days per year * 60 years * .9 capacity factor = 528,747,588,000 kWh.

That is a LOT of kiloWatt-hours. So, assuming a market price of around 5 cents per kiloWatt-hours, how much total revenue is that?

528,747,588,000 * .05 = $26,437,379,400

That's $6Bn per reactor of gross profit. Of course, there's fuel costs, insurance costs, operation and maintenance costs, which could really add up to a few Bn (particularly if there's any very expensive maintenance that has to be done in the future, such as being faced by San Onofre or Crystal River nuclear plants).

Still, that's affordable energy - much more so than solar power or wind.

Comment Re:Irony of "affordable" German solar panels (Score 1) 735

Most of the "cost" of a nuclear accident is largely imaginary. What do I mean? The Government of Japan has convinced people that it's not safe to return to their homes and businesses in the areas around Fukushima. The science indicates that the levels are so low in the vast majority of the area, it *is* safe for people to go back, live their lives, and they'll be fine. However, when there's a small release of material from a nuclear plant that spreads over a very wide area, we say that all the property owners have to be evacuated and compensated for the property.

I'm sorry, but I don't accept that imaginary damages make nuclear power too expensive. If people had a rational, realistic knowledge of the real risks (or lack thereof) of living in the "Evacuation Zone".

Yes, there will definitely be some very real costs associated to cleanup - but the bulk of the "cost" apportioned to Fukushima are going to be imaginary damages for compensating people for their perfectly find and safe property.

Comment Irony of "affordable" German solar panels (Score 5, Insightful) 735

"In the case of my parents' house (southern Germany, pretty high electricity prices of ~0.25 Euros/kWh), I think a small photovoltaic installation might amortize itself within a few years."

So, the solar panels are cost effective because the cost of electricity is high. The next logical question is, why is German electricity so expensive?

In large part, because of Solar power feed-in tariffs which German utilities are required to pay people who generate surplus solar power with their power panels (so, yeah, it's cheaper to buy your own solar power, than buy solar power from someone else's roof or solar farm, and pay a middle man to markup the power and transmit it).

If they had planned to build a few more nuclear plants a decade or two ago, instead of planning to shut down their existing nuclear plants in a few years, they'd likely have cheaper power by now.

But, yes, if cheap power isn't available from the grid, then you may as well generate your own expensive electricity instead of buying someone else's expensive electricity. Grids make sense only when the power the grid can provide you is cheaper than making your own, or you can get it in quantities larger than you can produce with reasonably priced equipment of your own.

Comment That's only partly true. . . (Score 1) 55

"considering the "waste" of power plants is what you put in bombs."

Not in general - spent nuclear fuel from a reactor that's been running for 18 months has a lot of fision products and decay products which make worthless for use in weapons. If you really want to create weapons grade plutonium, you put fuel slugs in the reactor and only run the reactor for something like 30 days, then pull the fuel out - you breed enough plutonium to extract, while not producing much of the "junk" which ruins it for weapons use. But, you can't breed much in 30 days. So, you need to do this over and over and over, then take all that fuel, run it through a PUREX type reprocessing plant to seperate the Plutonium, and enrich the PU up to 90%+ purity.

Because of this, no nation has EVER made bombs from spent nuclear fuel - they use dedicated-purpose reactors for making bomb material. Now, on the other hand, *enrichment* facilities are of great concern, because if you can enrich uranium to 5%, you can enrich it to 99%, and make a Uranium bomb. But, for a uranium bomb, you don't need a reactor at all.

Comment Speed of light. . . (Score 1) 114

If your trading needs so little latency that you have a problem with the latency added by the speed of light over a fiber cable to somewhere maybe a couple miles away in NYC on higher ground, of 10-20 miles away on mainland NY, NJ, CT, etc, maybe you're abusing the stock market, and we shouldn't bend over to help you ruin our financial system.

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