Zero Zero Zero!
Like prairie dogs, the optimists are poking their heads out and peering into the clear skies, googly eyed. Green energy is on the horizon - Green coughnuclear Energy!
I'd considered smashing through the slate article in particular, debunking their art fantasy with panache. Heck, if I get mad, maybe I still will. One gets the impression that it would be more effective to simply TP the authors respective houses. They aren't listening.
So this great article from Past Peak is very timely:
A Question of Scale
Consider nuclear. To replace oil with nuclear, it would be necessary to build thousands of nuclear power plants, costing untold trillions of dollars. Even if that were desirable, it's an undertaking of unprecedented scale. As Cal Tech physicist David Goodstein, author of Out of Gas, has said:
[I]n order to make enough nuclear energy to replace all of the fossil fuel we burn today, you would have to build ten thousand of the largest nuclear plants possible. Ten thousand. That's not impossible but it is certainly a daunting task. Even if you did that, the known uranium reserves would last at that burn rate for only one or two decades. [My emphasis]
Aha - got some numbers I can apply my fifth grade math skills to.
We'll ignore a peak in uranium production and imagine there is enough for 500 years.
We'll ignore building a new transportation infrastructure. (Electric planes? hmmm.)
We'll ignore the as yet unknown costs of disposing of nuclear waste. (Never been done.)
How much does it cost to build a reactor? Well, if it cost 7 billion in the eighties, it is gonna cost us 10 billion now. ("Largest possible"). That is a round number I pulled out of my ass. It is probably more expensive.
10,000 by 10,000,000,000 - I think we know where this is going! That is DANG expensive, and frankly, it is inconcievable. I do not think we have the available energy resources to build 100 of those plants worldwide before depletion kicks like a mule.
One hundred trillion dollars. Now we know why the fed is printing money, no?
So, the next time someone starts spouting off about green nukes, kick 'em in the nuts.