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Bill Barhydt

CEO, Founder, Boom Financial

TEDCRED 100+

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Nuclear Energy vs Other Non-Fossil Fuel based energy sources

I believe that we need to invest in and deploy nuclear energy. We have a much better chance of innovating and surviving our way through a nuclear energy era than we do through the current fossil fuel era extended for a couple of hundred more years. What do you believe?

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    Mar 18 2011: I appreciate your forthright declaration of belief. I do not agree with you. If we are going to talk about energy production with no conversation about the unspoken mantras that drive forward our tremendous consumption of it, then let's be clear about that to start off.

    If we aren't going to talk about efficiency and conservation, either, than let's be clear about that too.

    Here is an example of an alternative to fossil and nuclear fuel that has real promise to meet the modern world's needs without the modern world dieting its energy consumption. Deep Off-Shore Wind. There is almost 4 times as much energy available 50 nautical miles off the United States shores as the country uses. I highlight the United States, because this article does and because we are the current model for modern development. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/how-much-will-offshore-wind-really-cost/
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      Mar 18 2011: I'm glad someone with clout has posted such an interesting link - we should employ common sense too -
      on a basic approach 'tsunami' or 'hurricane' or 'earthquake' or 'global warming' really means 'water'. Looking at the feats of engineering achieved already in Japan, China & in the world as a whole - it would seem that however we respond or risk-manage, water is the key.

      I will read your link with enthusiasm as every time I see a disaster emerge, the 'common sense' voice in my head says wouldn't it be great if we GENERATED power during the most fragile time instead of it 'crippling' the infrastructure & relative energy grid?

      I am sure the Japanese would take an incredible hydro-project over reactor 7+ being built at Fukushima right now.
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      Mar 18 2011: Adam, my working assumption when I initiated the debate was that few people would (at least publicly) agree with me. The public has not disappointed! ;)

      You, correctly in my opinion, insinuate that we have a resource-abuse problem. I couldn't agree more. I don't know how to solve that problem. Maybe when our generation dies off our kids and their kids will be smarter about conserving resources then we were.

      For better or worse I've seen nothing of any realistic nature in the many great postings here to convince me that any other technology can scale to meet our needs on a global basis, to replace fossil fuels, the way nuclear can.

      I read the article you sent on off-shore wind. If one country would deploy it at scale it would sway my thinking. Your probably saw Gate's TED talk from last year on building better, cheaper and even more productive nuclear reactors (that he is investing in). In case you missed it: http://paul.kedrosky.com/archives/2010/02/bill_gates_goes.html
      • Mar 19 2011: Bill, you keep saying that nuclear could scale - which I obviously do not believe as can be read in my part 2 / 5 posting (which refers to current - available and non-breeder - reactor technology only) - but aside possible projects in development like the thorium reactor, the small reactors B.G. funds, fusion, liquid fuel reactors, etc., what evidence or logical conclusion can you give?

        I'm not against development and research in nuclear, though I'm very skeptical about pressure to actually apply those technologies which might arise as an economical imperative from high investments, as it is claimed by the BBC documentation mentioned earlier to have been the case in the ninteen-sixties.

        But as far as I know, there is a long record of highly promising, yet unsuccessful research projects which stretches through the past decades. Thus, I have come to the conclusion that it is common for such projects to be portrayed as the future of energy, without ultimately being able to deliver on that promise so far.

        Because of this, I believe enthusiasm for such ideas does not help a rational weighing of options. ;-)
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        Mar 19 2011: Bill,

        Regarding your comment: "For better or worse I've seen nothing of any realistic nature in the many great postings here to convince me that any other technology can scale to meet our needs on a global basis, to replace fossil fuels, the way nuclear can."

        How does the evidence that there is enough wind energy 50 miles off the coast of the United States to produce 4x the energy currently used in the entire US, not provide evidence that the opportunity exists to scale wind turbine technology to meet the world's energy needs?

        If scaling of alternative energy is largely funded by government streams, and government funding is largely determined by political will (and hopefully some common sense and logic), then don't we the people need to make sure we are helping to set the course for our energy future?

        Regarding your comment: "You, correctly in my opinion, insinuate that we have a resource-abuse problem. I couldn't agree more. I don't know how to solve that problem."

        We need to make this correction in our own lives and choices, and demand policies that will also realign us to fundamental ecological truths we exist within. Do these solutions not seem reasonable to you?
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          Mar 19 2011: Good question.

          Just because the energy is there does not mean it can be easily tapped and brought to people at scale. As I said, if one government were to run a real world test and show that it works at scale, I'd probably become a supporter. I'm skeptical, but always open to a better way.
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          Mar 23 2011: The wwf have recently published a report (feb, 2011) outlining how all the worlds energy needs could be provided cleanly, sustainably and economically by 2050.

          http://www.wwf.org.uk/wwf_articles.cfm?unewsid=4584

          It basically argues what most people have already stated: "Before pouring billions into creating a new generation of nuclear or gas power stations, we need to ask whether that money would be better invested in other, more sustainable energy technologies"
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          Mar 23 2011: Andrew, this is really interesting. I'm going to read this with a little skepticism given the source (WWF) but I am genuinely excited to see what they have to say!

          Thanks for posting this!

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