Thursday, January 20, 2011


The administration has put out a good deal of lip service about energy production, but has delivered little beyond looming shortages. Gas, for example was $1.60 in late 2008, but is currently just over $3/gallon. I don't use heating oil, but I'm pretty sure the price there has followed apace.

Most of the solutions we've seen so far tend to be large sums of money funneled into beta-level production of schemes that produce energy in small and unreliable squirts, such as wind and solar.

Here's a piece on two proposed nuclear options that have the advantage of being proven designs in both scalable and modular modes. At least one of the designs draws from our experience with Naval reactors which are designed to be operated by enlisted men, and be pretty much 100% reliable. The other is a bit more nebulous, or I'm too lazy to dig far enough to ferret out the details, but uses many of the same buzzwords, like small, modular, and scalable.

The other advantage of the small plants is the hardening of the power grid that stems from the dispersion of the generators. Myself, I prefer the efficiencies of large central generating stations, but in this case, the losses from lack of scale don't seem to be as great as what you would get from a similar dispersion of coal or gas-fired plants.

The biggest obstacle right now is the government, who gets to regulate nukes. The purpose of a government regulator is to see that nothing new is introduced that might inconvenience anyone already in the market. Of course you remember I did include the Department of Energy in my proposed budget cuts, right?


jed said...

Hey, they aren't just doing lip service. They've approved an increase in the amount of ethanol in gasoline.

Yay corn!

Uhhhhh ...

Anyways, yeah, we ought to be building more nukes. Not sure how to get anyone to go down that path, in the current regulatory environment.

Brad K. said...


Didn't President Obama just claim to the world to be in the process of throwing out expensive and redundant regulations?

I wonder whether he will site new plants at defunct shopping malls, ghost zone empty towns, rust belt factories - or development land that belongs to him and his buddies?