Thursday, October 26, 2006

Build More Nukes

In an otherwise good article on the up coming elections and what it will mean to have a Democrat House and Senate, Pete Du Pont says:

"Reducing dependence on foreign oil" is a good Democratic goal, and there are a number of ways to accomplish it. Building more nuclear power plants is one.
Could some one please explain how building more nukes will reduce our oil consumption or increase its production?

I'm an energy engineer. I have been looking at this question for a very long time. I still can't figure out the connection.

America gets its electricity from coal fired plants, natural gas fired plants, and hydroelectric dams with wind coming on strong. Not very much oil in the mix. So how will building nukes help?

H/T Instapundit


Don Radlauer said...

Ummm... Maybe Champagne Pete is figuring that we'll take all the laptop batteries that Dell and Sony recalled, install them in electric cars, and use nuclear power plants to charge them on the assumption that once you're driving with a bunch of these batteries under your butt you won't worry about nuclear meltdowns?

Anonymous said...

Maybe he's thinking of hydrogen power. It would take a lot of electricity to dissociate hydrogen from water, and nuclear power wouldn't add to the depletion of fossil fuels or carbon dioxide emissions.

San Diego

M. Simon said...


Good thought.

Except we are 10 to 20 years away from a commercially viable hydrogen fuel cell.

In fact a methanol or elthanol cell might be preferable despite the lower energy/unit mass because of the ease of fueling, lower explosion risk, and a century of experience with liquid fuels in transportation.

In addition the first commercially viable methanol cell for lap tops is due in two years or less.

Of course it has been due in two years or less since about 2003.

A viable hydrogen cell will not be out there until the plants are nearly worn out.

A better mix is wind and permissive charging of plug in hybrids. i.e. The hybrids are charged when there is excess wind energy available.

Whitehall said...

The first commercial-scale hydrogen producing nuke is not scheduled to startup until 2019.