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samotage
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Post Comments - The Renewable Energy Hoax

Radioactive isotopes are also what drives geothermal energy. Also, nuclear power drives solar energy from the sun. Terrestrial nuclear power (including uranium, thorium, and fusion fuels such as deuterium) are extremely long lasting and sustainable on this planet. The author is uninformed on the matter.

Nice one Susie, hot salt thermal is a fantastic, nearly low tech answer that can provide base load solar AND even allow our antiquated coal boilers to be "repatriated" to their museum and still operate their turbines - most of which are sited close to HV transmistion assets.

Sam,

@samotage

This article omits the dominant renewable energy system that would leave Luke without an answer - concentrating solar thermal power generation, with storage (molten salts), which delivers electricity 24/7, like they have in sunny spain courtesy of german company Solar Millenium. You should visit their website, Luke W. How does Luke suggest humanity deal with an ever increasing pile of deadly waste from reactors? The same way we do now? By leaving it to cool for 10 years in open air ponds emitting radioactivity? Luke has become sidetracked and thinks a lesson on the solar system a billion years from now provides the answers to the earth's energy crisis today. sorry Luke, you wouldnt sound convincing to my three year old let alone anyone else. Go back to your telescope and leave the solutions to those who have them.

 

PS.: I may have come across as a little bit vitriolic above; that was *not* directed at Sam or anyone else associated with this site, but exclusively at the original author of the piece.

"Radiant energy"!? "fuelless, self-running devices"!?

You've got to be bloody kidding. Let's just come right out and say it; you're promoting absurd charlatan perpetual motion machine claims as something we should be backing to provide our future energy needs. Do you seriously think we should go and invest in Steorn or Lutec?

I'm new to this online community, but is this kind of ridiculous nonsense commonplace here?

You can do exactly the same thing - pumped storage hydroelectricity - using electricity from wind or solar or anything like that, and this method is one of very few technologies that can be used for practical large scale, scalable, storage of energy from these sources of energy. For that reason, pumped storage is a really important technology with lots of important potential to improve the usability of low capacity factor sources of energy, such as wind and solar. If the energy is generated by burning coal, then it is the coal-fired generation which is "not renewable", not the stored water.

Now, onto nuclear energy. Saying that nuclear energy is no good because "it's not renewable!" is just a weak attempt to eliminate nuclear energy from the discussion, and hence promote the religious dogma of opposition to nuclear power, without any real substance or scientific integrity to the argument.

Solar energy comes from the fusion of hydrogen into helium within the Sun, as within the other main sequence stars. There is only a finite amount of hydrogen within the Sun, however, and it like the other stars has a finite lifetime.

As the Sun starts to evolve towards the end of its life, its luminosity will increase, and temperatures on Earth will become so hot that all life on Earth will become permanently extinguished. This is completely independant from any process in Earth's atmosphere, it's purely to do with the age of the sun. This will occur on a timescale of around 1 billion years from now. Life on Earth will not exist beyond about one billion years from now.

The resources of uranium and thorium in the Earth's crust (no substantial amount of plutonium exists in nature on Earth), and the uranium dissolved in the oceans (no significant amount of dissolved thorium exists in the oceans because it lacks solubility in that chemical environment) and hydrosphere, are fully sufficient to supply all the energy needs of our civilisation in meaningful, practical terms, for a billion years. On top of that, you've got the vast energy resources of deuterium and lithium on the Earth from which energy is generated by nuclear fusion.

In meaningful, practical terms, nuclear energy, both fission and fusion, is a completely sustainable resource over the future of life on Earth. There is no lack of abundance of these materials.

"But it's not renewable!" is just a complete non-argument. "Renewable" is just a trendy catch cry, a feel-good marketing buzzword without any real scientific rigor to its meaning or how it is used. Many so-called environmentalists hold an immutable dogma of opposition to nuclear energy, therefore they set up the poorly defined set of "renewables" so that nuclear energy is not in the set.

Geothermal heat comes from the radioactive decay of uranium (and thorium and potassium) within the Earth. How is it that the energy from geological in-situ radioactive decay of uranium is "renewable", but the energy from the fission of uranium in a nuclear reactor is not?

Stars are born, they live, and then they die. The massive, heavy stars die violently, in supernovae, and in the lives and deaths of stars, the atoms of matter - including, but not limited to, uranium, thorium, plutonium, etc - are formed. Those atoms accrete into new stars, planets and planetary systems. That sounds pretty "renewable" to me - or at least just as renewable as the light radiating out from the stars.

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