Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I'm reading more and more the last year or so, that nuclear power is going to expand dramatically to meet the needs for power generation for homes and offices.  I had not realized how much power is nuclear today--78% of power provided by nuclear plants in France, 20% in the US.  I just didn't realize it was that big.  And many people make the point that it has been extremely safe--though I don't think the issue of disposal of spent rods has been adequately addressed, and of course that is a huge issue.

Transportation seems to be the problem, in the sense that their is no clear, it works now, kind of solution to replace oil.

by wchurchill on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 05:55:32 PM EST
Electric cars and trains?
by asdf on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 09:50:40 PM EST
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I guess I'm not knowledgeable enough.  In the case of nuclear power, my understanding is it works well, it is very cost effective, and it can be rolled out immedeatly--except plants take a while to build.

How does the electric car & train compare on those same three points?  I don't know.

by wchurchill on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 10:29:21 PM EST
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Well, it's true that nuclear plants can be built pretty quickly if there's a standardized design and a streamlined approval process--neither of which is in place in the U.S. today. But even so it takes a few years to do the construction.

Electric cars with moderate range (100 miles) are completely practical today. Recent progress in battery technology has been very rapid, and there's nothing particularly difficult about making the car itself.

Electric trains are already in use. It would be very expensive to electrify the railways in the American west because of the distances, but again there's nothing particularly difficult about it.

A big problem would be to migrate from our current goods hauling system based on trucks, which give flexible point-to-point pickup and delivery, to a rail-based system that requires two intermodal transfers (from truck to train, then from train to truck.) Ideally all the big warehouses would be on rail lines, like they were until about 1950.

by asdf on Tue Feb 28th, 2006 at 10:54:19 PM EST
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Electric cars use electricity guys - so, again we are facing with the question of nuclear energy. And though it is environmentally friendly during operation, mining and disposal of uranium is not.

About the edvanced battery technology - this is probably one of the few technologies that hasn't moved a lot during the past 100 years (i.e. since are used). Batteries are still using the same design and the only new thing is that they now come in different shapes and sizes (mind you, this is hard as well).

Be careful! Is it classified?

by darin (dkaloyanov[at]gmail.com) on Wed Mar 1st, 2006 at 02:18:06 AM EST
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