Quote du jour

Mike Taht: Some level of realism regarding our energy requirements is called for. I’m not expecting any until we are reduced to watching television by candlelight. Nice back and forth in the post and comments about a Subject That Matters.


  1. Mike Warot’s avatar

    Mike Taht started with an assertion that the output of the Manhattan project was 2 bombs… it was far more than that… it was the infrastructure to build HUNDREDS of them per year… just like the Liberty Ships.
    We knew how to do mass production in this country… and I suspect there is still enough accumulated knowledge still out there, if we can recover it in time, to start cranking out a standard Mark I reactor in quantity sufficient to power the US.
    We then need to reprocess the fuel instead of throwing it away.

  2. Dave’s avatar

    Here is a great lecture by Dr. David Goodstein at Caltech on fossil fuel energy. Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil…

    Link: Caltech Today.

    waiting for a hospital meal report…


  3. mike taht’s avatar


    Thanks for noticing in your weakened state. Even when you are laid up you are still more productive and alert than anybody I’ve ever known.


    Thanks for the link.


    The first commercial nuclear reactor was Shippingport, opened in 1957, 12 years after the Manhattan project. A liberty ship style construction program of something (I tried hard to be technology neutral) is what we should be aiming for. Finding and eliminating bottlenecks, utilizing mass production techniques, and parallelizing the work should have high level visibility in government.

    For example, say America wanted to start turning out 5 nuclear plants a year – starting tomorrow. Well, we can’t, because the only facility in the world capable of building the steel pressure vessels, the Japan Steel Works, is currently limited to 4 a year.

    It currently takes over 3.5TW to operate America. The growth in demand for power is at roughly 2%. The question to ask our elected officials is – where is that power going to come from?

  4. James Webb’s avatar

    Our elected officials don’t have a clue. The radical branch of tree huggers that are blocking Yucca mountain are winning their day. It’s good and it’s cleaner than anything else in the big picture of energy. These things should be dotting the countryside and weaning us off fossil fuel. At the very least these would produce the energy for a usable mass transportation system like europe has. Electric trains, trolley, subways, and autos. We need fossil fuel now ’cause there is no alternative. With a viable nuclear energy infrastructure we can take the next step. As regards building pressure vessels. If the money is there there will emerge a manufacturer capable of churning the things out (GE could probably have an operating line for this in under 18 months). I live in SoCal and without a serious leap in energy production we can never have an efficient and clean method for moving communities of people. I HATE my car … but there is NO alternative for me other than my car. That blows.

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