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Comment Typo: NONE, not nine (Score 1) 178

I made a typo. That should say "NONE were approved for 35 years". It's expensive to get people to loan you money (or invest) for a nuclear plant, knowing that they'll probably lose all their money because some branch of the government won't approve the license. (It requires many approvals from many different government agencies).

Comment 40 years already been 20%-38% of electricity (Score 2) 178

> Nuclear isn't a viable alternative.

The last 40 years beg to differ. That's how long nuclear has *already* been providing 20% of our electricity in the US. In Sweden, nuclear provides 38%. Today, not "Elon Musk predicts that maybe 30 years from now". It's quite possibly running your house right now, and has been for decades.

Yes natural gas and coal have been a bit less expensive, in most areas, AFTER accounting for the 10-year licensing delay afor nuclear and probability of complete loss if the license isn't approved (and nine were approved for 35 years). Suppose I offer to pay you $110 tomorrow if you loan me $100 today. You get a $10 profit, so you'd probably do it, if my credit is good. Suppose I offer to pay you back TEN YEARS from now, rather than tomorrow. How much profit do you need to make *ten years* from now in order to make it worthwhile to invest today? A lot more than $10. That's a significant extra cost to nuclear - the cost of capital is much higher when you can't even start paying it off for ten extra years - and that's hoping that after ten years the license is approved. The US government didn't approve any new reactors from 1977 to 2013. It's awfully expensive to get capital for a project that will probably never be approved. Would you loan your money in a company knowing that they'd probably never be approved to begin operation? They'd have to offer you an awfully high return to make it worth that risk, wouldn't they?

With an objective, standardized approval process for the standarsized designs that we already sell to other countries, nuclear can be cost-competitive with natural gas, given volatility of natural gas prices. Stability of costs is worth something.

Comment Some won't last forever (Score 1) 194

> Are you saying all dams eventually fail?

Well, do you think do you think all 40 or so dams in Norway will be intact 2,000 years from now? Lake Homs in Syria might still be there, but it's a pretty good bet Norway will have some more failures - they have before, just as the US has. If they make a habit of building dams upstream of cities, it's a pretty good bet some failures will wipe out cities. Niagara failed at Schoellkopf power station. If a major failure at Niagara that happened today, with the number of people now living downstream, it wouldn't be pretty.

If you drive drunk tonight, you'll probably make it home okay. If you make a habit of driving drunk all the time, in all likelihood you'll *eventually* get into a major crash. The idea that long-term risk requires that bad consequences occur *every* time rather than *some* times is a major, major source of bad decisions, especially among young people. If you play Russian roulette once, you'll probably be fine. If you make a habit of playing Russian roulette, you'll be dead. Most of our decisions are about the kinds of things we'll do on a daily basis, habits, how we live life on a regular basis. They aren't really one-time events. Each is just an example of our habits, and our habits will almost certainly have consequences.

We're not talking about having one dam in one place for one day. We're talking about many dams, which will be there for tens of thousands of days - including the day tha the worst storm in a hundred years hits.

Comment Does one company need millions of programmers? (Score 1) 31

Dallas, for example, has about 100,000 IT professionals. How many does your company need? In my specific niche, IT security, over 100 people regularly attend IT security events. Our *monthly* OWASP meeting is probably 60 people, and that's maybe 1% of the IT security people in town, so there are roughly 6,000 IT security professionals for a company in Dallas to choose from. How many does your company need?

Actually more than that - my company chose me from a city three hours away. To make it worth moving, the paid me enough that I bought a 3,500 square foot house here in Dallas, yet that cost them roughly the same as an *intern* costs in San Jose.

Comment See also United Nations report (Score 1) 194

Btw the United Nations report is also pretty thorough, if you'd like to have a read. The UN conclusions are very close the WHO numbers.

Pretty much only Greenpeace sticks to their original estimates, despite them being very obviously wrong at this point. They projected by now, radiation would have killed more cleanup workers than the total who have died from all sources combined. In other words, even if we counted workers who died in car accidents decades later as Chernobyl victims, there are STILL too many workers alive today for the Greenpeace numbers to be anywhere close to correct.

Comment WHO says fewer than 50, 4,000. Doctors W/O "dozens (Score 1) 194

> So says greenpeace, the WHO, 'Doctors without frontiers

Let me copy-paste from WHO (World Health organization) for you:
--
A total of up to 4000 people could eventually die of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) accident nearly 20 years ago, an international team of more than 100 scientists has concluded.

As of mid-2005, however, fewer than 50 deaths had been directly attributed to radiation from the disaster
--
http://www.who.int/mediacentre...

The only mention I found on the Doctors Without Borders site says "dozens of lives". If you want to, you can do a more thorough search of their publications.

Comment WHO and many other sources (Score 1) 194

> Your numbers for Chernobyl are retardedly optimistic - I have no clue where you got them

Check *any* source not paid for an extremist anti-nuclear group. There was a lot of variation in projections back in the late 1980s, estimating how it might effect cancer rates in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. Now pretty much everyone is roughly in agreement. The World Health Organization did one well-known study. See Sovacool for other references. Since it's been 30 years, experts no longer need to debate about projections - the actual data exists.

There was one estimate at 6,000+, but it was pointed out that's more than the TOTAL number of deaths in the area, from car accidents, old age, etc. The concern with Chernobyl was thyroid cancer, and we now know how many cases of thyroid cancer there have been.

Comment Perhaps unlikely, like nuclear catastrophe (Score 1) 194

A major dam failure may be unlikely in Norway, and as seen at Banqiao and elsewhere it can be a MAJOR catastrophe. Why mention unlikely risks? Norway gets the electricity it uses from three sources - wind, hydro, and nuclear. A nuclear catastrophe is similarly unlikely, but its certainly something people bring up! Actually nuclear catastrophe is quite a bit less likely - the type of nuclear accident they are afraid of has NEVER happened. (Chernobyl killed 38 people, and decades later probably shortened the lives of 4,000 others). Dam failures DO actually happen. They are real events, that actually kill hundreds of thousands of people. If you're going to consider the risk of a theoretical type of event that has never actually happened, certainly it makes sense to similarly consider the types of catastrophic failures which *do* actually happen in real life.

So that's the point - for the people who choose to consider worst case scenarios, who are afraid of nuclear, they should be even more afraid of hydro. Or chill out and realise that there are dams and nuclear plants all over the place, but what kills people is Corollas and Big Macs.

Comment Why there is an important difference (Score 1) 194

> Whether they sell their clean electricity abroad for others to use or they use the clean electricity themselves doesn't make a shitload of difference. The net effect is the same. Are you splitting hairs or am I missing a valid point here?

You may be "missing a valid point" because I didn't explicitly say it. That is, there IS a difference, an important difference, but I didn't say what the difference is.

On a small scale, perhaps an individual, the net effect would indeed be the same. On a broad scale, for national policy and international agreements, there is a HUGE difference. I should start by saying wind power is great. It can produce a lot of cheap clean power when the wind is right. The power available from wind is proportional to the CUBE of the wind speed. So there is a LOT of power there during a medium-strong wind, and virtually no usable power in a light breeze. That cube power law becomes even more important at higher speeds, when the extreme forces on the turbines are trying to destroy them. So within a fairly narrow range of wind speeds, wind power is great. Roughly 30% of the time, it provides a significant portion of Norway's electricity needs. The other 70% of the time, the wind isn't right - and building more turbines doesn't change that. If the world, or Europe, produced 500% of the energy they need on Saturday, and 10% of their needs on Wednesday, that doesn't work. The net effect is *not* the same. The net effect is blackouts on Wednesday.

This is why we'd love to have a practical method of storing enough energy to run a country. We don't have that yet. There are some ideas, ideas which are 10-20 years out - and have been since the 1960s. Maybe one day some very clever people will come up with a practical way to store the immense amount of energy needed to power a whole country.

Norway DOES have clean electricity (not to be confused with energy). That's awesome. Let's look at how they achieved that. Was it by spending hundreds of billions on subsidising solar-electric, handing out taxpayer dollars to "companies" who haven't actually produced any solar panels, but are run by friends of the politicians? Nope. They achieved clean energy by taking advantage of their particular geography that's especially well-suited to hydro (and taking the risk of a Banqiao) and buying clean nuclear energy (despite the risk, and mostly fear, of a catastrophic nuclear event, which is theoretically possible although nuclear has in fact been the safest energy).

Comment 36% Read your link. They buy nuclear from Sweden (Score 4, Informative) 194

I see you didn't bother to read your own link before posting an extremely obvious too-good-to-be-true claim.

Let me copy-paste from our own link:
---
the average electricity consumption mix of a Norwegian household was 36% renewable.[4]

As per the European Union's 2009 Renewables Directive (later added in the EEA Agreement), Norway has established a national goal for renewable energy - 67.5% of gross final consumption
--

So 36% of what they *use* is renewable. What they *produce* is hydro and wind. Where do they get the electricity the use? They buy nuclear-generated electricity from Sweden.

Does that mean they don't use fossil fuels? Well no, transportation and everything is still fossil fuels, but their *electricity* doesn't come from fossil fuels. It comes from Sweden's nuclear plants amd Norway's mountains by way of hydro.

Hydro IS great in places with lots of mountains far from people. When you put your hydro upstream from populations, you eventually get Banqiao (200,000 dead, 11 million displaced). So don't do that. But where you've got lots of mountains and no towns downstream, hydro is great. It's not powering 99% of Norway, though. 36%, according to your link.

Comment Can't know without examples (which is an example) (Score 5, Insightful) 354

> maybe his suggestions are crap

Maybe his ideas are crap. There is no way to tell since he didn't give / link even one specfic example.

Maybe the way he presents his ideas is a problem. A very common problem os suggesting WHAT might be done, without mentioning WHY. You always need the why, and should lead with it. Think commercials "do you have this problem ... Our product will fix that problem for you. You'll benefit in three ways, X Y and Z." Often people suggest "let's do this" without clearly stating the problem it'll solve or the benefits of their suggestion. There is no way to tell if tje submitter does this since he didn't give / link even one specfic example.

What we DO know is something about the submitter's writing style. We know he *assumes* that his ideas should be implemented, and further assumes that we'll agree - without even telling us what any of his ideas are. Likely, he does the same thing in his suggestions - assumes that they should be done, assumes that everyone will agree that they should be done, and fails to provide even one example of what he's talking about.

Comment Funny thing - that's most of us. We're the 2% (Score 1) 146

The funny thing about that is those people is that most of us on Slashdot are "those people", scaled down. $35,000 puts you in the top 2% of income - we're the richest people in the world. Yet many of us squander it, making silly purchases *daily* like spending $6.50 on a cup of coffee, when coffee at the grocery store is 25 cents.

There are a couple of Slashdot regulars who are wealthy (have a lot) with incomes below $100,000, but not many.

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