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If you had to choose, would you expand coal or nuclear energy to meet demand for electricity?

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Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Comments

mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

Under the Obama administration the Deepwater Horizon got an award for safety. (Even though required monthly inspections did not take place.)

No NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) at all would probably be safer than an Obama run NRC.

Let's stick to coal until we can get a President responsible enough to regulate nuclear.

average 4 years, 9 months ago

So Bush I gets full credit for the Valdez, then? Okay, maybe Saint Ronnie, since Bush had only been in office two months.

mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

We can give Bush credit for the Valdez if he was the one who got that captain drunk; if you remember correctly that was the culprit in that particular incident.

This might really throw you (coming from me)....for the sake of honesty, from what I've read under the Bush administration the required monthly inspections weren't enforced either. But Obama has had plenty of time to change that before this disaster. So Obama didn't "change" here, he just carried on the same as George. (But then George's administration didn't award them for safety either.)

mr_right_wing 4 years, 9 months ago

Yes; he parachuted out of each of those 4 planes (which he alone piloted) at the last second; but as usual FNC did a huge cover-up.

Bush was responsible for more conspiracies than any other President of these United States. (Or to revive an old Carter administration saying "than Carter has pills!)

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

Nuclear yes; with some standardization of construction as in France and Japan. Both countries have very efficient and safe nuclear power generation. Problem with US nuclear industry, every plant was a "new" design, running up cost and safety concerns. This was due in-part to so many major players Westinghouse, GE, Bechtel trying to maximize profit. Also, need a US plan to recycle spent fuel from fuels.

Coal based is doomed to States like Kansas (Holcomb) who do not understand the eventual bypassing of this energy source. There is not a "clean Coal" technology, coal is dirty from mine, to ecology, to transportation, to pollution. EPA will eventually regulate air emissions SOX, NOX and CO2 and airborne Mercury. We, Kansas is included in the "transport zone" for air pollution issues in 30 some states. Regulations will eventually follow, when States to our East realize what is happening with their air quality and our contribution.

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

mr_right: At least he can pronounce nuclear and not nucular as Dubya did. Nothing like reducing this important issue to some dittoheaded conservative political drivel.

camper 4 years, 9 months ago

I'm going with nuclear. Nuclear can be virtually pollution free if safety procedures are followed and there are no accidents. Disposal of nuclear waste is the negative.

Coal, on the other hand, pollutes the air, water, and soil. Not to mention worker safety. Coal is the worst option. It would be better to burn our garbage. Atleast then you are saving land-fill space.

grammaddy 4 years, 9 months ago

Neither.Let's do solar and wind instead.

FreshAirFanatic 4 years, 9 months ago

We don't use them because the don't work. Even if we had the capability to store the energy collected, the power density of each of those is a tiny fraction of what natural gas, coal and nuclear offer.

werekoala 4 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, I wish those 2 were enough, but physics says otherwise. Now geothermal might have some legs, but you're talking serious start-up investments. The only solar that would really work would be orbital mirrors that could beam it down as microwave radiation.

Honestly, if this whole oil fiasco has taught us anything, it's that putting all our eggs in one basket is a bad idea. The problem is in a pure capitalist system, everything trends to the most efficient, which is generally a good thing until something unforseen happens (like god burying all our oil under those Ay-rabs). Hence, government price supports are a good idea.

But when talking energy, there are tons of neat ideas for low-impact ways to collect energy on an intermittent basis. The problem is, we have no really good way to store it. Think about the amount of energy you get out of a gallon of gasoline - less than a cubic foot in volume and about 7 pounds in weight, yet it can move a one-ton car 30 miles or more. A comparable battery is twice the size, 5 times the weight, and uses more heavy metals and toxic chemicals than you really want to think about.

We should be investing on inventing better batteries/energy storage, not the methods we use to generate the oil. Find something roughly equivalent in energy per weight/volume and our pollution woes will be largely mitigated.

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

"The only solar that would really work would be orbital mirrors that could beam it down as microwave radiation."

Now there's an idea! What could possibly go wrong?

Reducing demand is one of the best ways to manage our energy resources. Making those things we really need more efficient and punting those we don't would be a step in the right direction.

jonas_opines 4 years, 9 months ago

"Making those things we really need more efficient and punting those we don't would be a step in the right direction."

Not really disagreeing, but that is the least likely thing to happen.

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

Can't disagree with your not really disagreement.

if only we could use fear mongering tactics as well as the fox nation does, we might be able to pull it off. wow, what if glen beck were to get behind it and spread productive information instead of his ludicrous drivel? eventually, it will be mandatory due to circumstances that we will allow to get totally out of control with our inaction now.

jonas_opines 4 years, 9 months ago

Fearmongering doesn't work anywhere near as well when it requires you to change and make sacrifices, rather than the type that requires Other people to change or make sacrifices.

imastinker 4 years, 9 months ago

Only because it really only works in principle and costs a lot of money.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 9 months ago

Unicorn whizz & troll dung. Don't forget that brownouts are supposed to be a good way to enforce energy conservation, according to a poster right on this very board.

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

Solar and wind are good supplements; but neither can be considered a major contributor; both rely on the fickleness of Mother Nature.

labmonkey 4 years, 9 months ago

Where's both?

All you that talk up wind.....read this http://www.slate.com/id/2264111/ .....and this from a left leaning site even. Pay special attention to the recent problem in Texas with wind.

kernal 4 years, 9 months ago

And also pay attention to the posts on that site with references to work being done to store unused wind energy.

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

but it makes me feel so good and green to pay for high cost wind generated electricity. It's less filling and tastes better.

newmedia 4 years, 9 months ago

How far will the Chevy Volt run on solar and wind power?

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

Small nuclear plants would work; the technology is there having been developed and deployed by the Navy for all the nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers. They could be developed to be like package units, inexpensive by not requiring redesign of each facility.Those reactors are designed to produce steam which could be routed to turbine/generators for power production. The big issues, cooling water, security and spent fuel disposal. I am not aware of any major nuclear mishaps from those units in some 50 years of operation. The problems that have occurred with the Russian reactor mishaps are due to the type of reactor they have deployed. The two nuclear powered submarine the US Navy lost in the 1960's (Thresher and Scorpion) were not due to nuclear issues but to unrelated mishaps.

These reactors do not use highly enriched (weapons grade) Uranium 235 or Plutonium and therefore would be of little valuable for weapons production.

average 4 years, 9 months ago

The Navy nukes do use much more highly enriched Uranium than commercial plants. Both for compact size, and so they only need to be re-fueled every 20 years (it's a lot more of a hassle than down at Wolf Creek). Not weapons-grade, though, AFAIK.

The problem with small reactors is that they don't really need fewer man-hours than big ones. Even in the Navy, with somewhat less strict NRC oversight, there's a lot of man-hours standing watch to keep a reactor going. The staffing at Fort Calhoun (30 miles north of Omaha) is basically the same as at Wolf Creek, even though Wolf Creek produces well over twice as much energy as Fort Calhoun.

The economies of scale strongly point toward reactors of a gigawatt or more, and preferably multiple units sharing a site.

Bob Burton 4 years, 9 months ago

Use a Pebble reactor no water required!! As blindrabbit says build small untis & add more if you need more power..

beatrice 4 years, 9 months ago

Deep sea nuclear.

What could possibly go wrong?

camper 4 years, 9 months ago

We really do need to begin looking at green energy. Problem is, oil is so darn efficient. If we have reached peak oil, the supply line is going to be trending down. It may be 100 years from now, but many predict when/if we need to change our major source(s) of fuel, it may take 25-50 years to convert our infrastructure.

This just might be a bad problem we leave for those coming after us.

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

camper: Agreed, but what energy do you consider Green? All have some pros/cons!

camper 4 years, 9 months ago

Wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric are the most benign. But I don't know if they can produce more than 10-20% of our energy demand. Maybe just maybe if we invested more in R&D, our best and brightest coming thru the ranks can advance energy storage, grids, and battery technologies.

We may also consider rethinking our perceptions of mass transit. This could really reduce our demand for oil and create US jobs. But I'm afraid most of us would be reluctant to give up the convenience and affordability of driving our gasoline powered automobiles. And because mass transit is synonymous with the word "public" and "taxes", I just don't see it happening.

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

meanwhile, those darned communists in china are creating a world class mass transit system. and those darned socialists in europe can travel to walkable cities anywhere by train. And our enlightened best country in the world is ripping up roads we can't afford to fix and turning off street lights in crime prone cities. It would be just horrible if we looked at the benefits of thinking about our country as a civilized society that must take care of our resources, people and communities.

wdl 4 years, 9 months ago

Tuff question. I believe we could eventually have the kind of technology to allow us to clean up the coal emissions. This would of course cost some bucks, but then again so will a nuke plant if you can get it certified. The problem I have with nuclear is what do you do with the spent fuel? It remains a problem for hundreds of years, no one wants it in their backyard, and I can't blame them. To be totally green about it you have to reuse, or recycle it. If you could answer that question then nuclear would have my vote. Coal has it's dirty problems but it is cheap and very very plentiful. One of our largest resources in the US. To just say ban coal because we think it may contribute to global warming, or what ever, will not keep your butt warm in January.

camper 4 years, 9 months ago

I would think that they could improve emission filtration at coal burning plants. However there is the problem of extracting coal and the harm it does to the water supply and soil. The LJW has been running an interesting piece about how several towns in SE Kansas and Oklahoma have been devestated by the aftermath of mining. People who live near mines and work in mines will simply face many health problems namely from mercury, lead and other heavy metals that are released as a result of mining activity.

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

The pollution at the end of the coal use chain is only part of its 'dirty' process. You have to rip up whole mountains to collect it, or send people to their death in tunnels to pick it out. Then you have to transport it hundreds or thousands of miles. Then you have to store it...often on areas of land that were once productive farm land. There's a lot of dirt in the coal industry, scrubbing smoke stacks is just one part of the solution.

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

Spent nuclear fuel reprocessing is a viable solution to the fuel/waste issue. If properly done, you can close the cycle, eventually (in theory) utilizing all of the energy output of the fuel. This is done in Europe (especially France) and was operated in the US at one time. The process is a "hot potato" because part of the waste fuel is uranium 235 and plutonium 239. These materials can be enriched to weapons grade materials either in centrifuges or breeder reactors. Plutonium is also highly toxic. Because of the security issues, these processes are very costly, but they do help reduce the waste issue.

Fusion is a viable long term addition to energy generation if plasma containment can be worked out.

tbaker 4 years, 9 months ago

If the need was dire and time was a factor - coal would be the fastest and easiest way to produce electricity, but natural gas would be my first choice (cleaner, can be cheaper) in this scenario.

If we are talking long term expansion of US power generation, nuclear is the only real choice right now. I think the government should offer a $1 billion dollar prize and zero income taxes for 10 years to whoever comes up with the first commercially viable battery that can store 3 days of electricity made from a wind farm. That would make wind-generated electricty actually viable. As it is, the cost p/kwh out of a wind farm is nearly double that of traditional means, plus wind farms actually generate more polution becuase they have to be slaved to a traditional power plant. A battery that could store production on site, and reliably discharge the plant's rated production for three days (average length of time wind doesn't blow) would / could replace nuke and fossil fuel electricity production entirely.

overthemoon 4 years, 9 months ago

There have been some really successful projects using methane gas from landfills for local power. If not used, its just burned off. We have vast amounts right near every city in the country.

hipper_than_hip 4 years, 9 months ago

A gas fired combustion turbine plant can be up and running in 36 months, a coal fired unit is more like 72 months, and a nuc plant is 120 months to complete. Personally I think gas is too precious to use for electricity production and we need to reserve it for heating homes and for cooking with.

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

Natural gas is clean and renewable.

Natural gas needs to be on table for internal combustion machine fuel.

We must conserve and exploit our natural resources for energy plus nuclear option. It sure would be nice to use moving water more, it almost always runs downhill.

There's no leap forward on the horizon for battery/storage technology.

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

Hipper - Think your right on about using natural gas in electricity production; too valuable a commodity for that..

Independent: Tell me how natural gas is renewable; it is a fossil fuel just like coal and petroleum. Moving water is a good idea if you you don't dam too many free flowing streams; pumped storage has worked where the terrain is suitable. Extra electrical generation during off-peak demand is used to pump water to up-hill storage and released to turbines during peak demand. Really works well with nuclear, as these plants work best when a continual demand is placed on them.

Mac": Fusion solution, best idea yet, but this scares the crap out of the monied electric generation industry.

Nuclear fission for now!

Olde King Cole is not a Merry Olde Solution.

independant1 4 years, 9 months ago

methane, one can capture it from agricultural enterprises and waste disposal, solid and liquid. Most just blows away with the wind.

blindrabbit 4 years, 9 months ago

Cattle are big methane contributors (from the front end, not the rear) but how do you put a capture collector on them? Need long hoses!

beatrice 4 years, 9 months ago

Pullmyfinger Corp. -- Making methane with the help of grandfathers for decades.

justoneperson 4 years, 9 months ago

Have you seen Gasland? I don't know much about utility of Natural Gas, but seems like polluting the water to do so may not be such a good plan...

Hempseed Oil! HAHAHA

budwhysir 4 years, 9 months ago

I see more future in production of more industrial fans to increase wind. This would create a great enviroment for wind energy windmills that could be used. Burning coal causes heat. This is providing a problem with global warming. Years ago we didnt have as many power plants and there was alot more ice in the icebergs.

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