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Solar, not nuclear energy

Regarding "Pros and cons of nuclear power " (2007-01-09), it is surprising that anyone should be considering building new nuclear power plants in the US when there is a simple mature technology available that can deliver huge amounts of clean energy without any of the headaches of nuclear power.

I refer to 'concentrating solar power' (CSP), the technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. It is possible to store solar heat in melted salts so that electricity generation may continue through the night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985 and half a million Californians currently get their electricity from this source. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world.

CSP works best in hot deserts and, of course, these are not always nearby! But it is feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity over very long distances using highly-efficient 'HVDC' transmission lines. With transmission losses at about 3% per 1000 km, solar electricity may be transmitted to anywhere in the US. A portion of the Mojave desert would be sufficient to meet the entire current US demand for electricity.

In the recent 'TRANS-CSP' report commissioned by the German government, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. A large-scale HVDC transmission grid has also been proposed by Airtricity as a means of optimising the use of wind power throughout Europe.

Further information about CSP may be found at and . Copies of the TRANS-CSP report may be downloaded from . The many problems associated with nuclear power are summarised at .

ΞEnergy efficiency | Global warming | global warming solutions | Nuclear power | Renewable energy

15 thoughts on “Solar, not nuclear energy”


    In order to insure energy and economic independence as well as better economic growth without being blackmailed by foreign countries, our country, the United States of America’s Utilization of Energy sources must change.
    “Energy drives our entire economy.” We must protect it. “Let’s face it, without energy the whole economy and economic society we have set up would come to a halt. So you want to have control over such an important resource that you need for your society and your economy.” The American way of life is not negotiable.
    Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.

    The federal, state and local government should implement a mandatory renewable energy installation program for residential and commercial property on new construction and remodeling projects with the use of energy efficient material, mechanical systems, appliances, lighting, etc. The source of energy must by renewable energy such as Solar-Photovoltaic, Geothermal, Wind, Biofuels, etc. including utilizing water from lakes, rivers and oceans to circulate in cooling towers to produce air conditioning and the utilization of proper landscaping to reduce energy consumption.

    The implementation of mandatory renewable energy could be done on a gradual scale over the next 10 years. At the end of the 10 year period all construction and energy use in the structures throughout the United States must be 100% powered by renewable energy. (This can be done by amending building code)

    In addition, the governments must impose laws, rules and regulations whereby the utility companies must comply with a fair “NET METERING” (the buying of excess generation from the consumer), including the promotion of research and production of “renewable energy technology” with various long term incentives and grants. The various foundations in existence should be used to contribute to this cause.

    A mandatory time table should also be established for the automobile industry to gradually produce an automobile powered by renewable energy. The American automobile industry is surely capable of accomplishing this task.

    This is a way to expedite our energy independence and economic growth. (This will also create a substantial amount of new jobs). It will take maximum effort and a relentless pursuit of the private, commercial and industrial government sectors commitment to renewable energy – energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, energy storage (fuel cells, advance batteries), energy infrastructure (management, transmission) and energy efficiency (lighting, sensors, automation, conservation) in order to achieve our energy independence.
    “To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.”

    Jay Draiman, Energy Consultant
    Northridge, CA. 91325

    P.S. I have a very deep belief in America’s capabilities. Within the next 10 years we can accomplish our energy independence, if we as a nation truly set our goals to accomplish this.
    I happen to believe that we can do it. In another crisis–the one in 1942–President Franklin D. Roosevelt said this country would build 60,000 [50,000] military aircraft. By 1943, production in that program had reached 125,000 aircraft annually. They did it then. We can do it now.
    The American people resilience and determination to retain the way of life is unconquerable and we as a nation will succeed in this endeavor of Energy Independence.

    Solar energy is the source of all energy on the earth (excepting volcanic geothermal). Wind, wave and fossil fuels all get their energy from the sun. Fossil fuels are only a battery which will eventually run out. The sooner we can exploit all forms of Solar energy (cost effectively or not against dubiously cheap FFs) the better off we will all be. If the battery runs out first, the survivors will all be living like in the 18th century again.

    Every new home built should come with a solar package. A 1.5 kW per bedroom is a good rule of thumb. The formula 1.5 X’s 5 hrs per day X’s 30 days will produce about 225 kWh per bedroom monthly. This peak production period will offset 17 to 24 cents per kWh with a potential of $160 per month or about $60,000 over the 30-year mortgage period for a three-bedroom home. It is economically feasible at the current energy price and the interest portion of the loan is deductible. Why not?

    Title 24 has been mandated forcing developers to build energy efficient homes. Their bull-headedness put them in that position and now they see that Title 24 works with little added cost. Solar should also be mandated and if the developer designs a home that solar is impossible to do then they should pay an equivalent mitigation fee allowing others to put solar on in place of their negligence.

    Installing renewable energy system on your home or business increases the value of the property and provides a marketing advantage.

    1. RE: Mandatory renewable energy
      Explain ‘blackmailed by foreign countries.’
      Explain ‘The American way of life is not negotiable.’

      I like your internal policy ideas but what about external policy ie logging, and import of mineral resources from non-american nations (namely Africa)?

      You seem to conveniently ignore that the ‘cosy’ American and European lifestyles are dependent on the import of deregulated goods. African nations have been offered help (by the Washington based WorldBank) on the proviso that they ditch nationalisation and state-interference – often being forced to end state-benefit schemes that help the poorest. How humanitarian?! (sarcasm intended). They are then forced to devalue their currencies – sometimes by half – so that rich industrialists pick up the same tonnage for half price. (They say this makes them more competitive – yeah right!!). In other words the US and Europe laugh all the way to the bank, Mr and Mrs Smug get cheap goods, and poor Joshua Mbezi carries on starving like he did the previous day.
      Americans blame African governments and left-wing political regimes for all manner of ills in the blighted continent but don’t mind the fact that western ways of life are maintained by the very corruption that they supposedly hate. No one says boo when bent African leaders have driveways full of Ferraris donated by Texas Oil and Conneticut Minerals Inc.
      So tell me, denizens of the New Colonial Power on Earth, who is holding who to ransom?
      Loggers move in: clear ground so that MacDonalds get grazing ground and if they’re lucky, Joshua and his family might get thrown the odd acre or two. All the while the planet’s largest giver of oxygen, thus life, gets pulled down and America says: Who cares! It’s not our fault…It’s never gonna affect deepest Tennessee anyway!! Tell me, how much American wood comes courtesy of the Amazon and Congo?
      So you see, it doesn’t matter what energy we use while rainforests are still being decimated. You say: ‘Our continued dependence on fossil fuels could and will lead to catastrophic consequences.’ I couldn’t agree more. But add –
      and Our continued dependence on materials that break down into fossil fuels will lead to catastrophic consequences.’
      For all adherents of capitalism I suggest the goose that laid the golden egg has had its birth channel well and truly welded. Capitalism has to work for everybody, or it doesn’t work at all. At the moment it only truly works for those making a packet from the abuse of energy. All your schemes will never work while ignorant people keep relying on timber, cheap foreign produce to maintain their “way-of-life” – try explaining that one to St Peter at the gate, and while greedy human-beings, convinced of their own mortality, continue to make obscene profits from the exploitation of fossil fuels. You see, as we say in Old Blighty, we’re not against a fellow earning a bob a two, but there comes a time when people start to take the piss…
      The super-capitalists, by refusing to entertain the notion of a problem are making the problem far worse. And they know it.
      I hope you get your dream of an energy self-sufficient USA and I look forward to seeing it happen. But when it does, would you mind recalling all your business empires from around the globe – them that give the good old USA its ‘unnegotiable way of life’ – stop making cheap profits from other peoples misery and stop the endless bullshit that the sixth fleet are out there protecting the democracy loving hordes from tyranny while conveniently glossing over Haliburton’s and the US armies true roll on planet Earth. If you didn’t already know, they’re there to protect US business interests. PERIOD.
      Global warming and the energy crisis is ubiquitous and should be addressed by all for the benefit of all, and hiding behind flags in isolation is not going to solve this problem. The sooner we agree that we are all guilty in one form or another, the sooner we win the battle of hearts and minds. And please, all you jingoists out there, stop trying to absolve your nations of responsibility. Hey, just because I love the English football team doesn’t mean to say I have to love its attitude on green issues.

      1. what would you suggest?
        what would you suggest instead of capitalism? or if youre against fossil or other polluting fuels then dont just sit there! do something about it!!!

  2. I hate nuclear power and
    I hate nuclear power and everyone that likes it. don’t you know it lets super villians get super powers and there are not many super heros left, apart from decaying limbs man.

    1. ya? well why don’t you go
      ya? well why don’t you go and burn in hell? nuclear energy isn’t necessarily the right choice for an alternative energy but that doesn’t mean you have to hate people who like it. god what a moron…

      1. You didn’t get it
        You didn’t really get it, did ya:) Nice one Anonymous 1

        1. Nuclear and solar power aren’t our only alternatives
          we can use way more than just nuclear energy: we can use geothermal energy, bio-organic energy, wind powered energies, our dams could be switched to hydroelectric and so on. We have many different ways to use natural energy to our needs.

          1. solar power drives most energies
            dams are hydroelectric genius, its pretty much their definition. what is bio organic energy? maybe you’re talking abou biomass? which is capable of supporting about 10% of world energy needs, if we replace every scrap of the lands currently used for food crops, but then we might just have another problem

      2. solar
        its not just nuclear we’ve got to worry about its cars, why dont people think about them as well, they are ruining the enviroment, stop being lazy and walk, run, or cycle, get a bus, seen how much it is to keep a car, nowadays, your best off stoping them and thinking about them as well, but as well all nuclear power stations should be changed to another green energy soloutions, ways of generating power. Lets think who was here first, animals, and us the humans who came millions of years after them are killing off them, so make a change for animals, and all this pollution from these polluters are causing us to get ill; so make a change now, because i think all the governments should think about losing a bit of money from these polluters and changing, also the government in all countries waste money on unnessecery things, we want our kids and their kids to have a good life so do it for them, for everyone on the planet.

        1. we can’t just base our whole
          we can’t just base our whole economy/world on one thing because if we don’t have sun in the future what will we do? What if there is no more uranium to produce solar energy

          1. If you are trolling, mighty
            If you are trolling, mighty fine job there, good sir. If not, wow what a retard, thinking we use uranium to produce solar energy.

          2. i hope you realize (even if you were trolling)
            i hope you realize that the sun will last for like 4.5 billion more years and hopefully we will have come up with something by then

            1. like interstelllar travel
              by the time the sun is dead we should have found and colonized another solar system.

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