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From: jgd@rsiatl.UUCP (John G. De Armond)
Subject: Re: Complimentary technologies (was Re: myth busting)
Keywords: nuclear capital cost vs. renewables
Message-ID: <2206@rsiatl.UUCP>
Date: 12 May 90 02:47:11 GMT

ems@Apple.COM (Mike Smith) writes:

>In article <2178@rsiatl.UUCP> jgd@rsiatl.UUCP (John G. De Armond) writes:
>> (Hofer) writes:

>For much of the best use of solar this wouldn't be much of a problem.
>Solar is best matched, both seasonal and daily, to air conditioning loads
>in the south west.

One more time, The world does not revolve around the Southwest.  (I'm
beginning to sound like a stuck record.)  While solar is attractive
for the Southwest, it will not be so nice for other parts of the US,
especially most of the East.

>The easiest backup would be a gas fired boiler sited at the solar plant.
>You already have the working fluid and generator going.  If the sunshine
>drops too low, fire up the gas burner to fill in the gaps!  That way
>you don't have to duplicate most of the capacity and plant; just the
>heat source.

Not necessarily true.  Assuming that low temperature (compared to
fossil/nuclear) solar collectors are used in conjunction with
non-aqueous working fluids (freon, [Oh No, Mr. Bill.....], etc),
substituting a combustion thermal source would be poor economics.
Almost every component, from the boiler to the turbine is markedly
different in going from a low pressure, probably saturated steam
system to a high pressure, superheated system.  While the lower efficiency
inherent in low temperature solar systems is not per se bad, it is very much
so when the fuel must be paid for.  Besides wasting gas, it would be poor
policy to allocate high quality chemical feedstock/residential fuel for
electricity generation.  This assumes, of course, that our objective is
to optimize the usage of resources.

>Oddly enough, though I have had reservations about the safety of
>commercial operations (and some bomb operations) the Nuclear Navy has
>been something I've always felt safe about.

This is a fine example of where myth and fact diverge.  The navy does
run a fine program.  But they've had more *serious* accidents than
all the commercial programs in all the countries of the world combined.
I know of several total core failures.  One that is not classified happened
at a the Westinghouse research facility in in Pittsburg.  The Navy's
reputation stems mainly from a combination of excellent public relations,
rigid military training, and mostly, secrecy.  Most aspects of reactor
operation, especially problem reports are classified.   I think we
may have hit upon the solution to the civilian nuclear program's
public relations problem :-)

>The attitude of the folks
>who run it is great.  Too bad the admiral who set the tone is gone from
>the helm ...

I had the unfortunate opportunity to share an office with His Imperial
Majesty, the Supreme Admiral Hyman Rickhover at Three Mile Island shortly
after he retired.  GPU rented him for a few months as a public
relations stunt.  He seemed totally lost in an environment where when
he grunted "shit", 2 dozen men did not squat and strain....  His stay
was ineffective (understatement).

>I still haven't quite identified why, but I don't mind
>sharing the bay with the Enterprise while I don't trust Diablo ...

You see, I look at it quite the opposite.  Besides the fact that
naval reactors use highly enriched fuel, have vastly greater reactivity
margins (to be able to override xenon posioning under all conditions),
much less stable control systems (again for rapid response), and
the existance of a "battle short" switch (a switch that bypasses all
safety systems in the event of emergency), the naval system is regulated
by itself.  Just like DOE..  Just like Hanford...

Actually I have no problem with either program.  I just wanted to point out
how the media shapes public opinion totally uncoupled with reality.


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