Thursday, August 7, 2008

More on Electricity

So where does electricity for those plug in hybrids come from? gives us this nice graph of sources of electricity for 2006. One thing that immediately jumps out at me is that carbon based fossil fuels currently account for 70.5% of energy generation. I'm confused, why were we going to start plugging in our cars again?

If you can't make out the numbers on the graph here is the larger version:

If we are truly concerned about foreign oil, fossil fuels and CO2 emissions (I'm not, actually; I am a global warming heretic, but that's a blog for another day. However, for the sake of argument I will go along with it in this entry.) then the next most abundant source of energy is clearly nuclear power. Unlike wind and solar, it is a continuous, reliable source for the whole country. Uranium is not renewable, but it is recyclable. Domestic supplies combined with reprocessing spent rods would greatly enhance our production capabilities. Reprocessing spent rods greatly reduces the need to store spent rods, and as pointed out in this commentary by Investor's Business Daily, we have a good track record of nuclear safety in this country. Many of the US Navy's ships and submarines are safely powered by nuclear technology:

Praying for the sun to come out and power you plug in hybrid is not really a good plan. However, building clean, reliable nuclear power plants for those plug in cars does make sense.

Nuclear fission is a natural phenomenon. The Oklo Nuclear Reactors are a natural geological formation located in Gabon in west Africa. A combination of uranium, percolating water, sandstone, and granite have allowed nuclear fission reactions to carry on intermittently for 1.7 million years. Furthermore, the radioactive waste has been safely and naturally contained at the site for the full 1.7 million years!

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