Fears and facts

The pro-Vermont Yankee lobby in Montpelier would have us believe that the future of the nuclear power plant in Vernon is being threatened by lawmakers who insist that Entergy make a commitment to being ... Full Story
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Julie Lineberger

West Dover, VT

#1 Apr 25, 2008
Excellent piece. Thank you.
gfv

West Springfield, MA

#2 Apr 25, 2008
All I might add to this editorial is the fact that the decommissioning fund which Entergy took responsiblity for with the sale was composed of .o1 % of all our VT electric bills for the preceding 20 years.
Additionally, the cost of electricity from Entergy was negotiated during the sale agreement with Entergy... but that it niggling...
Steve

Bellows Falls, VT

#3 Apr 27, 2008
You folks are fickled. Can't wait for the arguments, of course against the millions of acres of land need to erect the wind turbines and/or solar farms needed to replace the 1/3 of VT's electrical demand met by VY. Let alone the costs.. you ain't seen nothing yet! You all forget the energy deal that brings about the lowest cost of electric to VT, let alone the cleanest in the nation!

I don't think any of you will be happy until we're back to a 19th century mode of life..
Solarman

La Quinta, CA

#4 Apr 27, 2008
Steve wrote:
You folks are fickled. Can't wait for the arguments, of course against the millions of acres of land need to erect the wind turbines and/or solar farms needed to replace the 1/3 of VT's electrical demand met by VY. Let alone the costs.. you ain't seen nothing yet! You all forget the energy deal that brings about the lowest cost of electric to VT, let alone the cleanest in the nation!
I don't think any of you will be happy until we're back to a 19th century mode of life..
I have recently seen some evidence that wind power is not all that cost effective if ALL repair and maintenance issues are added in. In the Palm Springs area of California, there have been windmills in the pass for many years. Once in a while one will fail that causes sparks and a fire. In the desert it's ususally not that big a deal,but in a forrested area? The other problem is the price of copper. I recently read an article about copper thiefts. It seems thieves stold the copper connecting wire in about 5 wind towers. The copper cost 5,000 dollars the cost to repair the wind towers to operation cost 50,000. How would one police a large area of woods to keep copper thieves away from the wind mills?
Steve

Bellows Falls, VT

#5 Apr 27, 2008
Odd how the CEO's public salary info has to be thrown into the mix. He's only running a 11 billion dollar 15,000 employee company.. It's clear the agenda is to prosecute the CEO and his 15,000 employee company as somehow socially unfair. Gosh making money is bad after all.
Deus Ex Machina

Holyoke, MA

#6 Apr 27, 2008
Steve; "happy"? If we replaced ALL current power needs with nukes, looks like there is about 40 years worth of uranium accessible to us.

Never mind then the pollution, terrorist raw materials magnified x1000, and everything else ... you figure technology will save us right?

Technology does not CREATE energy, period. It only opens new routes of consumption. With human population coming close to 7 billion now, but America having only 6% of the population yet consuming/controlling more than 50% of the planets resources. Its fairly clear this gig is up eventually regardless of what masturbatory tech fantasy's any folks have!(And *I* am in electrical engineering! How about you?)

No possible combination of even hypothetically possible energy sources on the horizon right now are going to keep Las Vegas, Disneyland, Walmart and the US Interstate system humming along at the levels they are now. Lowering of consumption WILL happen, radically, whether its by conscious forward thinking thought, or horrific strings of strife and disaster. Its inevitable.

But then, maybe if you think happy thoughts - clap your hands - Tinkerbell will come and save the day.

Me, I love my family more than that. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst ... it seems the intelligent choice.

Good luck studmuffin!
Donnie

Shippingport, PA

#7 Apr 28, 2008
Deus Ex Machina wrote:
Steve; "happy"? If we replaced ALL current power needs with nukes, looks like there is about 40 years worth of uranium accessible to us.
That is because people only look for what is needed in the near future. There is plenty of uranium available, not to mention thorium and plutonium.
Deus Ex Machina

Holyoke, MA

#8 Apr 28, 2008
Heh! Well, if fissionable material processing grows that much around the world - we won't have to worry and wonder anymore if countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria and etc have nuclear weapons. It will become pretty much a certainty. Human history is pretty consistent on a point: more access, no matter how tightly controlled WILL result in more black market materials.

But if we are that desperate to keep Walmart and the US Interstate system humming along no matter what the cost, we deserve to reap what we sow!
John

Middletown, CT

#9 Apr 28, 2008
Deus Ex Machina wrote:
Heh! Well, if fissionable material processing grows that much around the world - we won't have to worry and wonder anymore if countries like Iraq, Iran, Syria and etc have nuclear weapons. It will become pretty much a certainty. Human history is pretty consistent on a point: more access, no matter how tightly controlled WILL result in more black market materials.
But if we are that desperate to keep Walmart and the US Interstate system humming along no matter what the cost, we deserve to reap what we sow!
Energy is wealth. Is wealth always to equated with evil? I would agree that wasting wealth is a sin. I would want for the have-nots of the world, a source of energy so that they too might enjoy wealth.

Our current LWRs are not efficient. Only 0.2% of the energy in the Uranium ore mined ends up generated electricity. More than 99% is in one of two piles, depleted uranium or spent reactor fuel. New generation reactors hold promise of capturing 80% of the remaining energy with co-generation in three forms, electricity, hydrogen, and potable desalinated water. If thorium fueled these reactors, they can be placed any place in the world without fear of weapons proliferation. Rather than fear science and technology, embrace them and encourage technological development throughout the world with an eye conservation in resource management. Nuclear energy is nearly limitless, but finite resources require careful recycling as we encourage industrial development in all the nations of the planet.
Deus Ex Machina

Holyoke, MA

#10 Apr 28, 2008
You make many assumptions, and some of them I can't even see where you got the idea I was discussing it?!

No I never said wealth is always equated with evil. And, since Einstein lit the candle in the dark showing that matter and energy are the same thing - simply different forms of the same thing. We all are wealthy then if you equate energy and wealth! However, how easily *accessible* that energy is, thats key.

I would love the 'have-nots' of the world to have a better deal. But if we had 7,000,000,000 people consuming even 1/2 as much as we Americans do, we'd find ourselves in a fairly horrific fix on this planet pretty soon (if we are already not arriving there with just us 6% of the worlds population consuming this much)

You think I fear science and technology? I'm an electrical engineer, and a programmer! I love technology, but I am clear on the fact that technology does not *create* energy. And in a nation which has become stunningly technologically dependant, yet has the most now scientifically illiterate population in the industrialized world (and historically, geographically, and more illiterate). We are becoming like the monkeys seeing the obelisk in 2001 it would seem! Its becoming like magic. High powered technology in the hands of violent, superstitious idiots seems perhaps a tactical mistake for us to all make!
John

Middletown, CT

#11 Apr 28, 2008
Deus Ex Machina wrote:
You make many assumptions, and some of them I can't even see where you got the idea I was discussing it?!
No I never said wealth is always equated with evil. And, since Einstein lit the candle in the dark showing that matter and energy are the same thing - simply different forms of the same thing. We all are wealthy then if you equate energy and wealth! However, how easily *accessible* that energy is, thats key.
I would love the 'have-nots' of the world to have a better deal. But if we had 7,000,000,000 people consuming even 1/2 as much as we Americans do, we'd find ourselves in a fairly horrific fix on this planet pretty soon (if we are already not arriving there with just us 6% of the worlds population consuming this much)
You think I fear science and technology? I'm an electrical engineer, and a programmer! I love technology, but I am clear on the fact that technology does not *create* energy. And in a nation which has become stunningly technologically dependent, yet has the most now scientifically illiterate population in the industrialized world (and historically, geographically, and more illiterate). We are becoming like the monkeys seeing the obelisk in 2001 it would seem! Its becoming like magic. High powered technology in the hands of violent, superstitious idiots seems perhaps a tactical mistake for us to all make!
Please excuse me for accusing you of being anti-science. Perhaps I expect too much from science. If a technology is non-polluting and is careful to recycle non-renewing resources I think that the carrying capacity of the planet is capable of providing a good life for a human population somewhat larger than our current 6.6 billion. Industrialization brings smaller families. There is hope for population stabilization. It is possible that advanced nuclear reactor technology can produce electricty, hydrogen, and desalination so efficiently that the world will abandon dirty coal for LFTR nuclear power. This could save us from the worst of global warming and continued dependence on foreign oil. Check out Nuclear Green website for Saturday April 26. Charles Barton presents an interesting case.

My biggest fear is that global warming may have lowered the carrying capacity too much already. Human history of national conflicts is also disheartening.

To end on a high note, let's not underestimate human ingenuity.
Deus Ex Machina

Holyoke, MA

#12 Apr 28, 2008
Good comments John. Well, I guess perspectives of what is "good" or "bad" can vary greatly. Personally, thinking that mass die offs of humans, back to a couple of billion - are not a "bad" thing in the larger planetary scheme of things.

From a selfish standpoint, and a compassionate one -- I have kids. I don't want to suffer, or any other kids on the planet to suffer. And I don't want to suffer. But, 35000+ children die of starvation every day on earth, while people in this country grow fatter all the time, turn food into gas for their SUV's, and think that a god answers THEIR prayers ... but lets all those kids die everyday.

Add into this sickness the fact that our species is negatively impacting a disproportionate # of other species on the planet. Ands its clear we need to get knocked down a notch.

And, regardless of what you or my opinion is -- biological history shows that any species which outgrows its resource base eventually has mass die offs. History, she is a *itch, she repeats herself over and over again and we mostly don't notice (and since Americans now are the most historically illiterate folks in the western world ... we don't notice ANYTHING about patterns of history anymore).

So, if human ingenuity lets us consume disproportionately for even longer ... meaning the higher we fly the further we fall. Its not a "high note" for me to think we'll pull such a trick. We need to get knocked down a notch.

I have great hopes that humanity will survive, and will grow to be wise and powerful stewards of our planet. And perhaps even more than just our planet. Technology holds the promise of making us able to even transcend our physical forms perhaps someday. However, power corrupts and absolute power .... if I were an external betting god, I'd not put my $ on endless human survival.

But I hope I'm wrong! However, I don't confuse HOPE with observable data.
BDV

Baltimore, MD

#13 Apr 29, 2008
Deus Ex Machina wrote:
... mass die offs of humans, back to a couple of billion - are not a "bad" thing in the larger planetary scheme of things.
That would be very bad, indeed. Why not take your line of thought and push back human populace to a few million semi-starving stone-age cannibals? That would leave the environment pristine.

We can accomodate the population level to the technological level - or try to develop new technologies to answer the challenges. How are we to move forward if we're not pushed?
Deus Ex Machina

Holyoke, MA

#14 Apr 29, 2008
BDV I see your cute simplistic need to throw me into a mold of your choosing (pats him on the head and hands him a cookie). Nope, I understand that we humans are also part of the "environment". There is no matter of "pristine" or not. Hell a meteor, or pornographically vengeful Biblical god could smite earth and kill all the cute animals and plants ... the future is never certain.

But earths history is full of species who overran their resource base, and had mass die offs as a result. We humans are not immune, even slightly. Its not a matter of thinking we better radically scale down consumption to save cute fuzzy deer and stuff. Its about saving our own butts, our children's butts. The current path simply isn't sustainable. We can either be smart enough to look ahead and adapt as a species to what we see available. Or reality will hand our butts to us on a platter.
Donnie

Shippingport, PA

#15 Apr 29, 2008
BDV wrote:
<quoted text>
That would be very bad, indeed. Why not take your line of thought and push back human populace to a few million semi-starving stone-age cannibals? That would leave the environment pristine.
No need; there are already people and organizations working on that.
Deus Ex Machina

Holyoke, MA

#16 Apr 29, 2008
You people are stunning twits! So you think that folks honestly want to hurt their own futures and children? Yeah, sure some are like that, they are called psychotic sociopaths - but the vast majority of people, righties, lefties and folks in the middle - really want the best for America and all its citizens, and just have different ideas how to do it. If you honestly believe that folks you disagree with politically WANT to harm America/Humanity - why do you bother reading/talking to others at all, nothing will ever change your mind!

You need to visit northern Europe. Socialized, longer living, HAPPIER, healthier, less violent, better educated ... and yep, they have strong rules regarding businesses and individuals not doing stupid stuff!

America is no longer #1 in anything but weaponry and media. Oh yeah, and ego. But we can FIX that, if we don't arrogantly cling to the past, and instead work towards the future. We have change happen positively with hard work and ingenuity, or it can happen to us through blood and fire.
BDV

Baltimore, MD

#17 Apr 29, 2008
Deus Ex Machina wrote:
(pats him on the head and hands him a cookie).
Oh, atheist-social uberman, thank you for letting a supperstitious unterman like me bask in the glory of your intelligence.
But earths history is full of species who overran their resource base, and had mass die offs as a result. We humans are not immune, even slightly. Its not a matter of thinking we better radically scale down consumption to save cute fuzzy deer and stuff. Its about saving our own butts, our children's butts. The current path simply isn't sustainable. We can either be smart enough to look ahead and adapt as a species to what we see available. Or reality will hand our butts to us on a platter.
Yes, yes, oh sage one. But I think you forgot one itsy-bitsy thing that makes us crucially different from crocodiles and wolly mammoths. We can CREATE technology, and thus expand our resource base. History is littered with the civilizations and cultures where people looked around and said - "That's it - this is as good as it gets" - and stopped.

So yeah, today's non-nuclear technology maybe maxes out at 15 billion humans, and the nuclear technology maxes out at say 100 billion. What-if fusion becomes available? What if space travel becomes commonplace and we can Terraform Mars? Venus? The large planet sattelites?

Yes, we can take the "easy" way out, have a huge planetary russian-roulette and get the populace down to 1 billion - who will live a "good" life by today's standards. That's the Stalin way "You have a man, you have a problem. No man, no problem."

Is this how we got here? Or we got here by finding the real solutions for our problems?
Donnie

Shippingport, PA

#18 Apr 29, 2008
Deus Ex Machina wrote:
So you think that folks honestly want to hurt their own futures and children? Yeah, sure some are like that, they are called psychotic sociopaths
And some are called environmentalists. The difference is that the psychotic sociopaths keep quiet about it, while the environmentalists state that it is their goal.
Susan

Holyoke, MA

#19 Apr 29, 2008
Where the hell are you getting 15 billion from?!

All of your other points are irrelevant if you think earth can sustain this level of consumption at that population! Most, even conservative, physicists feel that even at our nearly 7 billion human level - if current consumption levels continue, we need another earth in about 30 years to keep it up.

And thats assuming we fat ass AmeriKKKans still remain the only ones consuming at this level for that time. If the folks that Reagan sold our businesses to (like China, India and such) continue growing - its going to hit the fan much more quickly than that. Of course I suspect you feel that non-Christian non-white folks don't deserve to consume at the levels we do?(Look inside yourself)

Anyways. I live in a unique situation: high tech with off-the grid farm supporting us. We will be ok regardless of what happens, and are looking forward to eating popcorn and enjoying watching whatever show unfolds. How about you? Debt? Mortgage? Adjustable? Get all your energy from external suppliers? All your food from the grocery store? <g> Don't worry, I won't be laughing with you --- I'll be laughing AT you. <g>

Give it a few months kiddo, its unfolding fast at this point.
BDV

Baltimore, MD

#20 Apr 30, 2008
Susan wrote:
Where the hell ... fat ass ... its going to hit the fan ... pornographic God
Them libr'l uber-humans know how to keep a conversation out of the gutter.
Of course I suspect you feel that non-Christian non-white folks don't deserve to consume at the levels we do?(Look inside yourself)[QUOTE]

Where did you get the impression that I was:
- White?
- Christian?

anyways?

[QUOTE]I live in a unique situation: high tech with off-the grid farm supporting us. We will be ok regardless of what happens, and are looking forward to eating popcorn and enjoying watching whatever show unfolds.
Good for you.

While I maintain that the current AVERAGE level of consumption is sustainable for a population of 15 billion, I did not say that the current level of WASTE that happens in US and Europe is sustainable for a population of 15 billion.

That the western world would have a few pillows knocked from under it by economic competition from the poorer countries - well, that'd be a much needed correction.

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