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Author Topic: Republicans Hate Obama more then They Love America
capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
We are in a legitimate crisis. Politically motivated fools have delayed action on this for 20+ years

fools like the ones who have hindered and thwarted all efforts to create and utilize nuclear power as a means of easing the energy crisis and curbing carbon emissions?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I'm not sure what I've done to offend you but lately you seem to jump in to every debate in which I'm involved for apparently no reason but to insult me.
I'm not doing it to insult you. I'm doing it to warn you that you're being pompous and irascible and damaging the very causes you're trying to advocate for. This topic makes you very hostile, to the extent that I think you might consider trying to avoid discussing it.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
We are in a legitimate crisis. Politically motivated fools have delayed action on this for 20+ years

fools like the ones who have hindered and thwarted all efforts to create and utilize nuclear power as a means of easing the energy crisis and curbing carbon emissions?
Perhaps, but not exactly like them.

The primary reasons that nuclear power has been dead for the past 30 years are economic. Yes, many environmental groups have opposed expanding nuclear power and irrational fear of nuclear power in general has certainly had some impact, but the bottom line is that nuclear power isn't economical and has only succeeded at all because of heavy government subsidies.

I have very mixed opinions of nuclear power. I think its an option we can't afford to ignore at this time of crisis but it is far from the panacea many proponents suggest. When you consider the full life cycle of the nuclear power plant, nuclear power can't be considered carbon neutral, although it is certainly an improvement over coal. Furthermore, the supply of nuclear fuel is actually very limited. Technologies that might increase that are still at an early experimental stage. Concerns about the waste that nuclear plants produce are quite legitimate and no country has as yet implemented a remotely satisfactory solution to that problem. There are certainly some people who have opposed nuclear power for foolish reasons but there are others who have legitimate concerns about the technology.

There are places where laymen's opinions are relevant in the climate debate. The role of science is to understand the principles involved and to predict as best as possible how different alternatives will influence the climate. But given that contribution from science, there are many questions about how we should respond to this crisis that are questions of values and philosophy rather that scientific fact. For those questions, every voice should be heard. I think nuclear power and the role it should play is in that regime. The debate over whether nuclear power should be pursued on a wider scale involves far more than the scientific issues.

[ October 13, 2009, 09:29 AM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I'm not sure what I've done to offend you but lately you seem to jump in to every debate in which I'm involved for apparently no reason but to insult me.
I'm not doing it to insult you. I'm doing it to warn you that you're being pompous and irascible and damaging the very causes you're trying to advocate for.
And you think its effective to warn me about being pompous and irascible by being pompous and irascible yourself?

quote:
This topic makes you very hostile, to the extent that I think you might consider trying to avoid discussing it.
Which is something I have largely done for a couple of years now. But I will note, that this is one subject on which I have the right to be pompous and condescending. I do in actual fact have far greater expertise in this area than anyone at hatrack who has ever questioned my opinion on this subject.

It is also a subject in which I think my hostility against climate change deniers is fully justified. Everyday in the scientific literature I read more sound science that has me absolutely terrified about the future. I'm not talking about stuff coming from the media or pop science reports, I'm talking about the latest sophisticated rigorous scientific studies and they are becoming increasingly alarming on a daily basis. It is not hyperbole when I say this has reached crisis proportions. I really wish I could find some big holes in the science. I really wish I could believe its all wrong because I don't want them to be true any more than Ron or you or any one else.

And then in parallel with reading and studying the real scientists, I come by hatrack and read people like Ron spewing garbage arguments that any educated high school student should be able to tear apart. And then more sensible people like capaxinfiniti start saying there is no reason for alarm, no reason to act just yet.

And sometimes I don't care if you or anyone else here at hatrack things I'm being pompous or rude. Somethings need to be said. This is no longer an academic issue. It is critical and important.

The time for being polite to climate deniers is past. These people's ignorance is very literally threatening the welfare of billions of people on this planet. And yes, that is deserving of my anger.

I've posted calm reasoned arguments on this subject in the past. I've given references and resources that anyone here can understand. I've done what I can do from a calm rational approach. Eventually its necessary to call a spade a spade. People who are continuing to deny the severity of the climate crisis are either fools or evil. And there comes a point, when you've made every effort to teach the fools but they've refused to learn, when the difference between being a fool and being evil becomes negligible. That time has arrived.

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Blayne Bradley
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Actually there's enough Uranium deposits to last humanity 100,000 years.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Actually there's enough Uranium deposits to last humanity 100,000 years.

Only if you count the Uranium that is in sea water. No technology exists that would allow us to concentrate the Uranium from sea water on a industrial scale and the laws of thermodynamics dictate that no technology ever will exist that would allow us to do that for less energy than we could get from the Uranium. And even if we could somehow overcome that basic thermodynamic barrier, it would only last about 1000 years unless you someone can get breeder technology to work on a commercial scale. Which by the way, hasn't happened yet and even the French have given up on it.


P.S. As a warning to Blayne and any one else who posts in this thread I actually know what I'm talking about here. If you are going to post this sort of thing, you better come prepared to back it up with solid references or I will consider you a fair target. Misinformation on this subject is doing serious harm. It isn't innocent. I'm not going to overlook it anymore than I would overlook child abuse.

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Blayne Bradley
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Isaac Asimov is my source, there is according to him and his sources enough minable deposits of uranium to last humanity based on predicted energy consumption rates 100,000 years. I trust his Phd more then your random internet anomynousness.
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rivka
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Of course, Asimov is (at minimum) about 20 years out of date.

Except I think you are citing a fiction book by him from 1956.

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Of course, Asimov is (at minimum) about 20 years out of date.

Except I think you are citing a fiction book by him from 1956.

Nope, I'm referring to his popular science article on nuclear fusion.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Must be because the planet is bipolar.

Most are.
I'm glad someone got it. [Smile]
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Of course, Asimov is (at minimum) about 20 years out of date.

Except I think you are citing a fiction book by him from 1956.

Nope, I'm referring to his popular science article on nuclear fusion.
I'm not familiar with that particular article on nuclear fusion, but I think you have the facts confused since Uranium isn't a fuel used nuclear fusion. Hydrogen isotopes are used in nuclear fusion not Uranium and their abundance is in fact great enough that it could theoretically fuel the planet for 100,000 years. Unfortunately, nuclear fusion is a technology that has been estimated to be 20 years a way for at least 40 years. Its safe to say it won't be feasible available for at least 20 years, probably much longer. In any case, climate change require an immediate response and that can't come from nuclear fusion.

You don't need to trust my opinion on this. Here are several sources that estimate mineable reserves of Uranium lasting for a few decades at most at current levels of demand and some of these are pro-nuclear sources.

http://www.euronuclear.org/info/encyclopedia/u/uranium-reserves.html

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf23.html

http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/1082905/the_future_of_the_uranium_industry_reserves.html

P.S. Blayne, really don't take me on on this one unless you want to be thrashed You are basing your comments on 30 + year old popular science articles that you may not have fully understood. You don't have to trust me, but I promise you that if you want to challenge me I will crush you because I do actually a great deal of expertise in this.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
You don't have to trust me, but I promise you that if you want to challenge me I will crush you...
*gently* Wouldn't it be sufficient to simply correct him?
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steven
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I'm not sure what I've done to offend you but lately you seem to jump in to every debate in which I'm involved for apparently no reason but to insult me.
I'm not doing it to insult you. I'm doing it to warn you that you're being pompous and irascible and damaging the very causes you're trying to advocate for.
And you think its effective to warn me about being pompous and irascible by being pompous and irascible yourself?

quote:
This topic makes you very hostile, to the extent that I think you might consider trying to avoid discussing it.

Tom has the right of it, Rabbit. I agree with your fervor, mainly because I think

1. We really ought to stop paying the Muslims to fly planes into our buildings. We'd be better off putting everybody in prisons and mental hospitals back out on the street tomorrow, with no meds, and give them high-powered assault rifles, than to keep buying Middle Eastern oil. It's self-destruction. The constant problems in the Middle East are made 1000x worse by giving the crazy people money to buy weapons.

2. The particulate matter and carcinogens from burning fossil fuels is making city dwellers very, very sick, in many cases.

whether or not we we be seeing real worldwide catastrophe from global warming, the above two issues are more than enough good reason to find non-fossil fuel sources of energy. However, having said that, please try to calm down. Yes, I know that Ron is irritating. Yes, I know Blayne can be annoying. If you want to reach people, you must remember that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. [Smile] No?

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Blayne Bradley
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Articles are you know usually long and very essay-like, and in the case of one of the more charismatic pillars of the scientific community usually have quite a bit of build up to its conclusion like y'know most essays. So while the article of ostensibly about nuclear fusion it started with a comparison with nuclear fission and how fission is already for then a sufficient valid source of energy for Humanity but goes on to say that even so fusion is just that much better.

However while it is possible I misread it I am highly doubtful, I clearly recall him mentioning Uranium lasting potentially 50 to 100 thousand years, thinking back on it maybe he said it would last 50 to 100 thousand years based on its halflife ie have that much time to use it but I don't have the article on hand and is a bitch to find online.

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scifibum
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quote:
and the laws of thermodynamics dictate that no technology ever will exist that would allow us to do that for less energy than we could get from the Uranium
I'm confused by this claim. That's like saying the laws of thermodynamics say we can't get more energy out of petroleum than we put into extracting it out of the ground.

I'd like to know what you mean. (I actually think this is an important question, in light of the last few posts on this thread.)

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TomDavidson
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quote:
However while it is possible I misread it I am highly doubtful...
Blayne, Asimov was -- he's been dead for a few decades, now -- a self-avowed polymath, meaning he wasn't an expert at much. In fact, many specialists even in his own day complained at great length about the things they believed he got wrong in his non-fiction (and his fiction).
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rivka
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[nitpick] He died 1992, and he was writing until at least 1990. [/nitpick]

Or are you one of those people who thinks "few" includes 2?

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
However while it is possible I misread it I am highly doubtful...
Blayne, Asimov was -- he's been dead for a few decades, now -- a self-avowed polymath, meaning he wasn't an expert at much. In fact, many specialists even in his own day complained at great length about the things they believed he got wrong in his non-fiction (and his fiction).
A case of Science Marches On, many of the times he included science in his fiction he cant be helped if what he wrote happened to be cutting edge at the time he wrote.

However he WAS a Professor in Chemistry which was his Phd so its not like he never specialized in something.

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fugu13
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
and the laws of thermodynamics dictate that no technology ever will exist that would allow us to do that for less energy than we could get from the Uranium
I'm confused by this claim. That's like saying the laws of thermodynamics say we can't get more energy out of petroleum than we put into extracting it out of the ground.
Yeah; that bit is not correct at all.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
and the laws of thermodynamics dictate that no technology ever will exist that would allow us to do that for less energy than we could get from the Uranium
I'm confused by this claim. That's like saying the laws of thermodynamics say we can't get more energy out of petroleum than we put into extracting it out of the ground.

I'd like to know what you mean. (I actually think this is an important question, in light of the last few posts on this thread.)

The Uranium concentration in sea water is three parts per billion. In order to use that uranium as reactor fuel, it would have to separated from the sea water and concentrated to near 100% purity. That process is one which results in a decrease in the entropy of the system. That decrease in entropy isn't some abstract incomprehensible concept, it is precisely quantifiable and depends only on the initial concentration in the sea water, the amount you recover and the final concentration required for reactor fuel.

One of the consequences of the second law of thermodynamics is that work is required to decrease the entropy of any system. The minimum amount of work required for any separation process can be calculated from basic thermodynamic principles and is independent of the process used for the separation. In other words, no advance in technology can possibly do the separation for less than that minimum amount of work. It would violate the laws of thermodynamics.

And you are right, that principle applies to oil as well as Uranium, but it doesn't mean we can't ever get oil out of the ground for less energy than we can get burning the oil. It means that if the oil is below some critical concentration in the ground, we can't get it out using less energy than could be obtained from the oil. Imagine for a moment that you took one gallon of oil and evenly distributed it over the state of Texas, can you see that collecting all that oil back together again would require more work than you could get by burning the gallon of oil.

Now you might think that this is just a technological limitation, if we could just invent nanites or something that would go about scavenging the oil or uranium we might be able to collect it all back together again for less energy. And since current technologies for separating oil from dirt or Uranium from seawater all use far more energy than the theoretical minimum, it is possible that new technologies will require less energy than existing technologies. But what we learn from the second law of thermodynamics is that there is a minimum amount of work required to do the separation, period, regardless of what technology we use. That minimum work increases as the concentration in the soil or water decreases. Below some critical concentration, the minimum amount of work required for the separation will be greater than the energy available from the fuel and at that point, no technological improvement can fix the problem.

The laws of thermodynamics are something of a bummer. I've heard them summarized this way. First Law: The best you can do is break even. Second Law: you can only break even at absolute zero. Third Law: you can never get to absolute zero.

[ October 13, 2009, 09:25 AM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
and the laws of thermodynamics dictate that no technology ever will exist that would allow us to do that for less energy than we could get from the Uranium
I'm confused by this claim. That's like saying the laws of thermodynamics say we can't get more energy out of petroleum than we put into extracting it out of the ground.
Yeah; that bit is not correct at all.
Fugu, If you think that is not correct, you do not accurately understand thermodynamics. I recommend you lookHere, and here, for a detailed explanation of the minimum work of separation.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
There is no assumption there, do your homework. The science behind climate change is sound. The only reason anyone has any doubt is because of bad, politically motivated science.

I dunno.
I have doubt due to scientists expert in climate change that break their self-imposed hiatus from posting on Hatrack in about six days [Wink]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
There is no assumption there, do your homework. The science behind climate change is sound. The only reason anyone has any doubt is because of bad, politically motivated science.

I dunno.
I have doubt due to scientists expert in climate change that break their self-imposed hiatus from posting on Hatrack in about six days [Wink]

I left because I needed to finish a couple of projects. I'm back for a day or two to reward myself for having completed the first of those.
[Razz]

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
There is no assumption there, do your homework. The science behind climate change is sound. The only reason anyone has any doubt is because of bad, politically motivated science.

I dunno.
I have doubt due to scientists expert in climate change that break their self-imposed hiatus from posting on Hatrack in about six days [Wink]

I left because I needed to finish a couple of projects. I'm back for a day or two to reward myself for having completed the first of those.
[Razz]

Yeah Mucus, she can stop at any time! [Wink]
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Mucus
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Welcome back anyways [Smile]
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
However while it is possible I misread it I am highly doubtful...
Blayne, Asimov was -- he's been dead for a few decades, now -- a self-avowed polymath, meaning he wasn't an expert at much. In fact, many specialists even in his own day complained at great length about the things they believed he got wrong in his non-fiction (and his fiction).
A case of Science Marches On, many of the times he included science in his fiction he cant be helped if what he wrote happened to be cutting edge at the time he wrote.

However he WAS a Professor in Chemistry which was his Phd so its not like he never specialized in something.

Blayne, Isaac Asimov was in fact a professor of biochemistry at the Boston University school of medicine. He was however essentially inactive as a scientist after 1958 when he turned to writing science fiction full time. While his science fiction was cutting edge, his science never really was. That isn't a criticism. His popular science articles for the most part very accurate even though they do not represent original scientific contributions on his part.

I have looked through indexes of Asimov's essays on nuclear power. He wrote several articles on nuclear fusion in the 1970s, nothing more recent. Unless the indexes are incomplete, he never wrote about nuclear fission, the process which uses Uranium fuel. Since I don't know which specific article you read, I can check to see whether Asimov actually talked about Uranium reserves, perhaps you could provide a more specific reference? Regardless of what was in the article, the estimate that we have enough Uranium to last 100,000 is inconsistent with what experts in the area were saying even in the 1970s. I have enough respect for Asimov to think the mistake is more likely in your understanding rather than his work but I could be wrong.

Currently, it is estimated that "proven" Uranium reserves are sufficient to last ~60 years at current levels of consumption. The most optimistic estimates are that undiscovered reserves (excluding sea water) will last between 200 - 600 years at current levels of consumption. Right now, ~15% of the global electricity comes from nuclear fission. In order to make a significant reduction in greenhouse emissions, that we would need at least 5 times that much nuclear power, possibly more if we are considering using electricity rather than fossil fuels for transportation. That would exhaust the "proven" reserves in a little more than a decade and even the optimistic estimates of reserves yet to be discovered in a little more than a century. While a number of technologies have been proposed that would increase the amount of available nuclear fuel (breeder reactors, thorium reactors, and fusion reactors for example) none of those technologies are currently viable. They are still in the research and development phase. We can't start building power plants with these technologies in the near future, we can't even guarantee that we will every be able to safely and economically use these technologies.

I agree that it is foolish in the current crisis to ignore nuclear power. Its equally foolish to believe that nuclear power is the panacea that will solve the entire problem. The numbers just don't add up. The same thing is true for solar, wind, hydropower, and every other alternative being explored. No one technology is going to save us.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I'm not sure what I've done to offend you but lately you seem to jump in to every debate in which I'm involved for apparently no reason but to insult me.
I'm not doing it to insult you. I'm doing it to warn you that you're being pompous and irascible and damaging the very causes you're trying to advocate for.
I'm sorry Tom, but its gone way beyond that. You single me out even in discussions where my opponents are equally pompous and irascible. It feels like you are following me around with the mission of reprimanding me when you think I've overstepped some line of civility. Its a very condescending and arrogant thing to do and whether you consciously intend it as an insult or not, it is insulting.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
You single me out even in discussions where my opponents are equally pompous and irascible.
Because I think more highly of you than I do of them, and regard your pompous irascibility as something temporary, which can be corrected.

If you are insulted by the fact that I perceive you to have a vulnerability in this regard, I'm sorry. That doesn't mean, however, that I'm wrong.

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lobo
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Can you take your little feud somewhere else... it hurts my head.
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fugu13
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Rabbit: yes, there is a minimum energy required based on concentration, but there's a step you missed: showing that the concentration is so low that the amount of energy available from the uranium is lower than the amount required to extract it.

Funnily enough, others have done the math, and it is feasible (especially if you're already doing part of the process for another reason, anyways).

If you had run a search, you would have found things like work on efficiently extracting uranium out of sea brine from fresh water extraction plants or an Entire issue of a nuclear journal considering it.

Additionally, an extraction process can be economically efficient even if it requires more energy to get uranium out than is retrieved from it. To see why this is true, consider the example of carnivores, which eat large numbers of herbivores. For instance, if we could create a fish that sequesters uranium in somewhat higher concentrations in itself, then release the fish in the ocean and harvest their offspring, a large amount of energy involved in extraction would be transmitted directly and through the food chain from the sun to the fish. Thus, while the total energy required to extract the uranium from the water would be much greater than the energy of the uranium (since that process is very inefficient), we wouldn't have to have generated the energy in the first place; we'd be taking it from another source of energy we couldn't harness otherwise, in exchange for getting the energy we actually can use.

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
However while it is possible I misread it I am highly doubtful...
Blayne, Asimov was -- he's been dead for a few decades, now -- a self-avowed polymath, meaning he wasn't an expert at much. In fact, many specialists even in his own day complained at great length about the things they believed he got wrong in his non-fiction (and his fiction).
A case of Science Marches On, many of the times he included science in his fiction he cant be helped if what he wrote happened to be cutting edge at the time he wrote.

However he WAS a Professor in Chemistry which was his Phd so its not like he never specialized in something.

Blayne, Isaac Asimov was in fact a professor of biochemistry at the Boston University school of medicine. He was however essentially inactive as a scientist after 1958 when he turned to writing science fiction full time. While his science fiction was cutting edge, his science never really was. That isn't a criticism. His popular science articles for the most part very accurate even though they do not represent original scientific contributions on his part.

I have looked through indexes of Asimov's essays on nuclear power. He wrote several articles on nuclear fusion in the 1970s, nothing more recent. Unless the indexes are incomplete, he never wrote about nuclear fission, the process which uses Uranium fuel. Since I don't know which specific article you read, I can check to see whether Asimov actually talked about Uranium reserves, perhaps you could provide a more specific reference? Regardless of what was in the article, the estimate that we have enough Uranium to last 100,000 is inconsistent with what experts in the area were saying even in the 1970s. I have enough respect for Asimov to think the mistake is more likely in your understanding rather than his work but I could be wrong.

Currently, it is estimated that "proven" Uranium reserves are sufficient to last ~60 years at current levels of consumption. The most optimistic estimates are that undiscovered reserves (excluding sea water) will last between 200 - 600 years at current levels of consumption. Right now, ~15% of the global electricity comes from nuclear fission. In order to make a significant reduction in greenhouse emissions, that we would need at least 5 times that much nuclear power, possibly more if we are considering using electricity rather than fossil fuels for transportation. That would exhaust the "proven" reserves in a little more than a decade and even the optimistic estimates of reserves yet to be discovered in a little more than a century. While a number of technologies have been proposed that would increase the amount of available nuclear fuel (breeder reactors, thorium reactors, and fusion reactors for example) none of those technologies are currently viable. They are still in the research and development phase. We can't start building power plants with these technologies in the near future, we can't even guarantee that we will every be able to safely and economically use these technologies.

I agree that it is foolish in the current crisis to ignore nuclear power. Its equally foolish to believe that nuclear power is the panacea that will solve the entire problem. The numbers just don't add up. The same thing is true for solar, wind, hydropower, and every other alternative being explored. No one technology is going to save us.

I'm pretty sure he was active as a scientist past the 1950's if we include his full time teaching position as him also being active as a scientist.

The article was included in one of his popular science anthologies, I think one of the other articles included also had his article on Judo Arguments against Intelligent Design and an article on Skewes Number.

As I said, the article is about nuclear fusion but the first one third was about nuclear fission.

A nitpick he wrote an article in the late 80's on Tritium.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I'm pretty sure he was active as a scientist past the 1950's if we include his full time teaching position as him also being active as a scientist.
According to wikipedia, he didn't not teach full time after 1958. Wikipedia could be wrong about that I guess, but it is consistent with information from other sources.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I left because I needed to finish a couple of projects. I'm back for a day or two to reward myself for having completed the first of those.
[Razz]

Yay! A bonus visit!
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
You single me out even in discussions where my opponents are equally pompous and irascible.
Because I think more highly of you than I do of them, and regard your pompous irascibility as something temporary, which can be corrected.

That's not unlike something you said to me recently, and I find it a little heavy handed, especially since you've been talking to me in much the same way (on and off) for years.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

The laws of thermodynamics are something of a bummer. I've heard them summarized this way. First Law: The best you can do is break even. Second Law: you can only break even at absolute zero. Third Law: you can never get to absolute zero.

Heh.

I think Bill Bryson quoted somebody else as saying: 1. You can't win. 2. You can't break even. 3. You can't get out of the game.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
That's not unlike something you said to me recently, and I find it a little heavy handed, especially since you've been talking to me in much the same way (on and off) for years.
Oh, I'm not denying it's heavy-handed.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
I think Bill Bryson quoted somebody else as saying: 1. You can't win. 2. You can't break even. 3. You can't get out of the game.

That's always been my favorite version. (And Google reminds me that it's usually attributed to C.P. Snow.)
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
That's not unlike something you said to me recently, and I find it a little heavy handed, especially since you've been talking to me in much the same way (on and off) for years.
Oh, I'm not denying it's heavy-handed.
It's not just heavy handed, its pompous and condescending. I'm surprised that you don't see the irony in what your doing.
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Noemon
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While it does come off as pompous and condescending, Tom does have a point. I can understand why you adopt the tone that you often do when it comes to this topic, but I don't think that it is often helpful.

You wouldn't deny, would you, that there is a certain arrogance to statements like "if you think that is not correct, you do not accurately understand thermodynamics"? Fugu's a bright guy. You know him, or if you don't, you should, given how long both of you have been involved in this community. Generally, when he says something, it's worth paying attention to. I certainly don't always agree with him, but I pretty much always give the things that he says consideration. If you're going to argue with him, it's a mistake not to; chances are, what he's said is considered, and backed up by something solid, as it was in this instance.

What would have been wrong with saying something along the lines of "Fugu, that goes counter to my understanding of the second law of thermodynamics" and then going on to explain why? What does the contemptuous tone you adopted when addressing him serve?

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Rabbit: yes, there is a minimum energy required based on concentration, but there's a step you missed: showing that the concentration is so low that the amount of energy available from the uranium is lower than the amount required to extract it.

Funnily enough, others have done the math, and it is feasible (especially if you're already doing part of the process for another reason, anyways).

If you had run a search, you would have found things like work on efficiently extracting uranium out of sea brine from fresh water extraction plants or an Entire issue of a nuclear journal considering it.

Interestingly, I could find anything in those reference about the minimum energy of separation.

I think the problem here is that we are mixing two different issues. It is possible to purify some Uranium from sea water using less energy than can be obtained from the fission reaction. My objection is to those who calculate the total amount of Uranium available in sea water and claim that is all potentially usable Uranium. It isn't. I've done the calculations and it simply isn't possible to recover any significant fraction of the Uranium in sea water in an energy efficient manner.

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fugu13
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I make the minor assumption that a journal-full of nuclear scientists aren't overlooking a well-known limitation taught to undergraduates.

I'm not sure what you mean by "significant fraction". If even .1% of the uranium in seawater could be extracted with moderate efficiency, that would be a huge source of additional energy. Could you provide your calculations? A quick back-of-the-envelope approximation is fine. I note that this is also a weaker statement than your original one, which professed that it was impossible for all seawater:

quote:
the laws of thermodynamics dictate that no technology ever will exist that would allow us to do that for less energy than we could get from the Uranium
Also, see the rest of my post: even if it cannot be done without more energy put in than is taken out, that does not mean it is a bad idea. It is only required that the energy over the amount made available is not energy we could otherwise harness for useful work.
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fugu13
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Ah ha, here's someone who has run the calculation.

The key quotation:

quote:
The concentration of uranium in ocean water is
about 3 parts per billion (Uranium Information
Center, 1999). From Eq. (3), the minimum work
required to separate one atom of uranium from
seawater is about 0.5 eV. This energy is minute as
compared with the energy release from nuclear
fission of about 200 MeV. Thus, the separation
process could be exceedingly inefficient and yet still
yield a large net energy gain in fission energy
technologies.

He also mentions that this seems to already be in range for at least one process (on commercial scales).
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Jhai
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While I think The Rabbit's tone wasn't necessary (and, yeah, she was off on some of the nuclear stuff, at least as far as I understand the industry), I understand her frustration in dealing with some of the misinformation out there.

For example, a coworker of mine just emailed our group this lovely piece he received from some industry list he's on. (He consults on the private side of environmental energy, I'm on the public side with the EPA Clean Air Division as our main client. I think I'll let them know that they shouldn't label CO2 a pollutant.)

quote:
Why would labeling CO2 as a pollutant be such a catastrophic decision?

Claims that CO2 is a pollutant are a myth and are absolutely false. In fact, lowering levels of carbon dioxide would actually inhibit plant growth and food production. What we see happening in Washington right now is the replacement of politics for science in conversations about CO2.

www.co2isgreen.org



Good News


Earth and it's inhabitants need more, not less, CO2.


More CO2 means:

More Plant Growth
Plants need less water
More food per acre
More robust habitats and ecosystems
CO2 is Earth's greatest airborne fertilizer. Without it - No Life On Earth!

P.S. Their site is amazing. AMAZING!
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Lyrhawn
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Wow, I had no idea that Obama's EPA was trying to end all life on earth.

Now I'm totally against the EPA!

You have to, well maybe not admire or respect, but at least be impressed by the brazenness of that kind of hatchet job. I sort of have a tiny problem with labeling CO2 as "pollutant," at least as far as any traditional thoughts as to what a pollutant is, but for regulatory purposes, it's a necessity. An email like that however would be hilarious if I didn't think that a lot of people would actually take it seriously.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Ah ha, here's someone who has run the calculation.

The key quotation:

quote:
The concentration of uranium in ocean water is
about 3 parts per billion (Uranium Information
Center, 1999). From Eq. (3), the minimum work
required to separate one atom of uranium from
seawater is about 0.5 eV. This energy is minute as
compared with the energy release from nuclear
fission of about 200 MeV. Thus, the separation
process could be exceedingly inefficient and yet still
yield a large net energy gain in fission energy
technologies.

He also mentions that this seems to already be in range for at least one process (on commercial scales).
What he calculated is the energy required to remove one atom Uranium atom from seawater. What I have calculated in the past is the minimum energy required to remove all the Uranium from 1 mole of seawater.

Its been sometime but the calculation goes something like this. The minimum work = RTlna, assuming a temperature of 273 K (0°C) and 3 ppb by weight Uranium which is 0.7% U235, that gives 68 kJ per mole of water which translates to 440 GeV per atom of U235 recovered.

(edited to add that I didn't this calculation by the seat of my pants, its been some time since I've been through this in more detail and I can't guarantee I haven't made some fundamental mistake).


I believe the difference between his calculation and mine is that I am looking the energy required per atom to recover all the Uranium from seawater and he is looking at the energy/per atom to recover a negligible fraction of the Uranium in seawater.

My objection is when his number is used along with the total amount of Uranium in seawater as though combined they represent a reasonable estimate of accessible reserves. They don't. If my original statement made it seem that I was claiming that no net energy could be obtained from any Uranium in seawater, it was not intended to do so.

I haven't found anyone who has estimated how much Uranium could be recovered from seawater at the break even point and I don't really have the time to do that myself.

My original point, however, that Nuclear energy can't be seen as a panacea for our energy/climate problems stands. Based on the Nuclear industries own estimates of proven reserves that are accessible using existing technology, we have 60 years of nuclear fuel at current levels of consumption. Exploration and improved technologies are likely to significantly increase that number, but very unlikely to change the over all picture which is that we can't meet our energy demands with nuclear power alone over the long term. Nuclear energy isn't a panacea.

[ October 13, 2009, 07:07 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Jhai:
While I think The Rabbit's tone wasn't necessary (and, yeah, she was off on some of the nuclear stuff, at least as far as I understand the industry), I understand her frustration in dealing with some of the misinformation out there.

For example, a coworker of mine just emailed our group this lovely piece he received from some industry list he's on. (He consults on the private side of environmental energy, I'm on the public side with the EPA Clean Air Division as our main client. I think I'll let them know that they shouldn't label CO2 a pollutant.)

quote:
Why would labeling CO2 as a pollutant be such a catastrophic decision?

Claims that CO2 is a pollutant are a myth and are absolutely false. In fact, lowering levels of carbon dioxide would actually inhibit plant growth and food production. What we see happening in Washington right now is the replacement of politics for science in conversations about CO2.

www.co2isgreen.org



Good News


Earth and it's inhabitants need more, not less, CO2.


More CO2 means:

More Plant Growth
Plants need less water
More food per acre
More robust habitats and ecosystems
CO2 is Earth's greatest airborne fertilizer. Without it - No Life On Earth!

P.S. Their site is amazing. AMAZING!
The really facinating thing about this claim is, that like many of the climate change deniers arguments, it isn't something that has been overlooked. Its known as CO2 fertilization and it does in fact happen in green house situations. The hypothesis that it will happen in nature and offset the green house effect has been investigated by several researchers using both model calculations and controlled experiments and the answer is -- No. The hypothesis is wrong.

In the real world, CO2 is only one of many nutrients plants require to grow. CO2 fertilization only works in green houses because you can also increase the concentration of all the other nutrients plants needs. But in the real world, CO2 is very rarely the limiting nutrient for plant growth. In the oceans, where a very large fraction of photosynthesis occurs, the limiting nutrient is usually iron. On land, its typically water, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which is why irrigation and artificial fertilizers have been so successful in increasing farm productivity.

The bottom line is, that the scientific method has been used to test this hypothesis and proved it is invalid.

Which highlights what constitutes "good science" and why what's coming from climate change deniers is so bad. Good science requires more than generating plausible hypotheses, it requires testing those hypotheses with rigorous experiments. The real scientists who are studying climate change didn't just take this hypothesis and throw it out because it didn't support their case. That's what they would have done if the accusations that they are doing bad politically motivated science were true. No they took this hypothesis and subjected it to rigorous experiments, and unfortunately for all of us it turns out to be wrong.

The climate change deniers on the other hand, do exactly the opposite. They take hypotheses like these and because they fit their political motives they not only fail to test the hypotheses themselves, they also ignore the results of all the studies which show the hypothesis is wrong.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
I think Bill Bryson quoted somebody else as saying: 1. You can't win. 2. You can't break even. 3. You can't get out of the game.

That's always been my favorite version. (And Google reminds me that it's usually attributed to C.P. Snow.)
Its clever, but not really all that accurate, particularly for the 3rd law.
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rivka
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If "getting out of the game" = absolute zero (and it's as reasonable an explanation as any), sure it is.

Anyway, it's meant to be an amusing classroom mnemonic, not a summation of the laws.

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Juxtapose
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quote:
What I have calculated in the past is the minimum energy required to remove all the Uranium from 1 mole of seawater.

Its been sometime but the calculation goes something like this. The minimum work = RTlna, assuming a temperature of 273 K (0°C) and 3 ppb by weight Uranium which is 0.7% U235, that gives 68 kJ per mole of water which translates to 440 GeV per atom of U235 recovered.

Question from an utter layman:

How does it change the results if you're only trying to recover, say, 75% of the U235 in the water, rather than all?

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Ron Lambert
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Fugu13, when you speak of removing uranium from sea water, are you talking about the U-238 isotope, which is the most common and cannot be used to produce a fission reaction, or the U-235 or U-237 isotopes, which are fissionable and present in much smaller amounts?
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