RE: Middle East oil supply

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Thu May 23 2002 - 23:44:30 EDT

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    Hi Blake,

    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: Dr. Blake Nelson []
    >Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2002 10:08 AM
    >To be accurate France gets over 70% of their power
    >from nuclear.

    As I pointed out to Shuan, they only get 75% of their electricity from
    nuclear. They only get 37% of their power.

    >Nuclear is also the interim solution to shifting to a
    >hydrogen economy, if that is to occur. It is the only
    >way to generate the hydrogen. Still not inexpensive.

    Canada uses the CANDU technology. I once did an economic model trying to
    calculate whether or not nuclear could replace oil.

    I will lay out some math so that if I am making an error, someone can
    correct me.

    6.29 bbl = 10.9 megawatt-hour
    1 bbl = 1.73 megawatt-hour
    700megawatt = 404.6242775 bbl/hour

    There are 8760 hours per year so a 700 megawatt plant produces:

    6,132,000 megawatt-hour = 3,544,508 bbl/yr

    We produce around 30 billion barrels of oil per year. So for the world to
    replace this we need:

    8463.796477 700 MW plants
    $1,250,000,000 per plant
    $10.5 trillion investment
    The US GDP is about $10 trillion. This represents about 1/3 of the global
    domestic product! Consider "Healthcare is the worldís largest industry with
    global revenues of $ 2.8 trillion or close to 9 percent of global domestic
    product (GDP). "

    Given that they take about 4 years to build The investment would mean a 10%
    tax on everyone and every corporation--and that would mean that the people
    would pay far more than 10% of their personal income. Corporations don't pay
    taxes, they pass them on to consumers.

    And these costs don't include the cost of getting rid of the nuclear waste.
    This is only for building the things. I don't think you will be able to
    replace oil with nuclear.

    >As far as I can tell, little progress in fusion power
    >has been made. Among the problems is that the energy
    >generated is currently still as difficult to harness
    >as it ever has been. And unlike fission reactors,
    >fusion reactors would have to change their reactor
    >vessels frequently due to the fact that the reaction
    >makes the surrounding vessel more brittle (and
    >radioactive) over time due to the particles being
    >kicked out. So far, it still seems as big of a
    >technical mess as ever, even though understanding of
    >the physics has progressed.


    >Fission is the only current viable medium-term
    >solution. The Europeans just came out with a study
    >about the societal/environmental/economic costs of
    >power generation. The upshot, as you might expect, is
    >fossil generators don't cover nearly as much of the
    >environmental and health effects of their generation
    >process as the nuclear plants. Nuclear power with its
    >closed fuel cycle and relatively minor environmental
    >effects looked pretty good by comparison.

    I don't see that it is viable for replacing oil.

    >I think hydrogen separated through some other
    >extraction process (fission powered, fossil powered)
    >will be the likely future of personal transportation.

    As George pointed out, getting hydrogen merely means using energy to create
    the hydrogen. And due to the second law of thermodynamics you get back less
    energy in the form of hydrogen than you put into the system.

    If we don't have fossil fuels, we won't use it for hydrogen generation.


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