Why Is Japan Not a Leader in Renewables?

6 minutes ago, ronwagn said:

 I certainly don't want to debate what could be done with nuclear energy with engineers. My hope is that natural gas can become the most used fuel for energy around the world. I believe it to be cheaper, as clean, and as desirable as any other form of energy. I believe it can eventually replace most diesel in large trucks, ships, industrial equipment, and in producing electricity. I realize that the staus quo will not change much until gasoline and diesel become more scarce and more expensive but I am one of the thousands working on it. Unfortunately, I don't get paid for it.  

That's a good option too.  It's all cheap enough; we just have to keep the government out of it.

Seriously though, game-changing nuclear tech is coming down the pipe.  We'll probably keep fossil fuels for heating & most transportation, but imagine running most of the maritime industry, mines, the electrical grid, military bases, warships, and a host of other applications on small nuclear.  It can happen. 

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8 minutes ago, mthebold said:

That's a good option too.  It's all cheap enough; we just have to keep the government out of it.

Seriously though, game-changing nuclear tech is coming down the pipe.  We'll probably keep fossil fuels for heating & most transportation, but imagine running most of the maritime industry, mines, the electrical grid, military bases, warships, and a host of other applications on small nuclear.  It can happen. 

I know next to nothing about small nuclear plants running ships. It sounds great for icebreakers, submarines, and warships but I don't think that civilian ships need it given the LNG option. I am still concerned about dirty bombs and terrorists getting ahold of nuclear fuel. You probably disagree with my concerns. 

I have heard how great thorium plants would be but apparently, no country is working on them. 

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8 hours ago, ronwagn said:

I know next to nothing about small nuclear plants running ships. It sounds great for icebreakers, submarines, and warships but I don't think that civilian ships need it given the LNG option. I am still concerned about dirty bombs and terrorists getting ahold of nuclear fuel. You probably disagree with my concerns. 

I have heard how great thorium plants would be but apparently, no country is working on them. 

One particular advantage of nuclear over Gas is that the annual fuel requirement for a large PWR takes up the space of a double decker bus. Its easy to stockpile and its also very cheap to buy so from an energy security perspective a country can buy up years of fuel supply in advance. Not so easy to do this with Gas. Coal is easier because you can just dump it in a big pile notwithstanding environmental concerns 9fly blown particulates etc)

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(edited)

10 hours ago, ronwagn said:

I know next to nothing about small nuclear plants running ships. It sounds great for icebreakers, submarines, and warships but I don't think that civilian ships need it given the LNG option. I am still concerned about dirty bombs and terrorists getting ahold of nuclear fuel. You probably disagree with my concerns. 

I have heard how great thorium plants would be but apparently, no country is working on them.  

Obviously, the military will jump all over a containerized nuke.  They don't suffer the same regulatory concerns, and their use case is perfect. 

Everyone is worried about terrorists making dirty bombs, but in-use nuclear fuel is remarkably difficult to steal.  For one thing, it's sealed inside a concrete bunker with a variety of security measures.  Good luck getting past that.  More importantly, nuclear fuel doesn't just turn off.  There's substantial "decay heat" caused by ongoing radiation.  Unused fuel in storage could feasibly be stolen, but spent fuel... terrorists are likely to get themselves killed attempting that.  The proliferation concern, while definitely a thing, has been greatly exaggerated. 

Oddly enough, civilian ships are a fantastic use case for nukes: large vehicles running 24/7.  The largest ships draw 80-110MW of power - and that's at relatively low speed.  The fuel cost is so high they slow the ships down to conserve it.  If you run that same ship from containerized nukes:
1)  You reduce your fuel costs by something like 90%.
2)  You save space because the nuke is more compact than conventional ship engines.
3)  You save space because you don't need enormous fuel tanks.
4)  You can run your ship faster because fuel cost is nil.

#1 is obvious. #2 & #3 are nice perks most people don't think of.  #4 is huge.  Container ships are excruciatingly slow.  With nukes, they could operate economically at 35+ knots instead of 15-25.  That means fewer ships can carry the same cargo ($$$).  It also reduces shipping times - a perk for which customers will pay a premium. 

Submarines are an outlier because they have the unique requirement of staying underwater.  If we look at everywhere else nukes are used, there's a consistent theme: high, constant power requirements.  The US Navy uses them in carriers because carriers have enormous, constant power demands.  Icebreakers use them because ice breakers have enormous, constant power demands.  When nuke designs achieve a certain threshold of size, safety, and cost, container ships will probably be the next application. 

Edited by mthebold
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It is curious given Japan is so resource poor when it comes to just about everything and the role energy resources played in WW2. It seems even more puzzling when it comes to lithium ion batteries for EVs. The Japanese have stubbornly resisted this trend and instead placed their bet on hydrogen fuel cells and the quote below seems to be the reason. They would finally have their energy source and one of its uses would be to produce hydrogen.

On 2/5/2019 at 2:59 PM, ceo_energemsier said:

They also have massive reserves of methane hydrates

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