Re: National Geographic Peak Oil

From: Al Koop <>
Date: Tue May 25 2004 - 11:51:23 EDT

Walt Hicks wrote:

Quote from list:
> 70 GWt is surely too little to replace a million barrels of oil per
> 160 GWt might also be too little. I
> said in my original post, very optimistically, that 105 GWt might be
> necessary to replace the chemical energy of 70 GWt from oil, but
> really all I know for sure is that 70 GWt won't do it. I think your
> 160 GWt from nuclear to replace 70 GWt from oil is probably much
> more likely.
> But to repeat my original suggestion now that we are on the same
> page: A 2% decline per year in the oil available in the US would
> require roughly (probably more) one big nuke coming on line every
> week as long as the decline lasted, if economic growth is to
> continue (assumes 2% per year oil consumption growth). If it takes
> five years to build a nuke, that means that 250 nukes (or 250 coal
> plants) would have to be under construction at all times for several
> decades.

Walt wrote:

I have a friend who like to say that "figures lie and liars figure". he
would use alternate approaches to arrive at different answers. Let me
his approach and see what a lower limit might be (using your 2% loss
-- and assuming zero growth via conservation or something.

If you look at the US government page:

you see that in 1998. oil energy consumption was a factor of 5 greater
nuclear. Therefore, to replace all oil completely it takes 5 times as
nukes as we have today. That is additional 400 nukes. Since it would
take 50
years to run oil usage to zero, that means 8 nukes per year -- not 52.
many nukes per year is easily achievable and has been realized in the
By that time Glenn's Fusion reactors may happen.

Thanks for helping me figure this out, Walt. Actually we are on the
same page. First we need 5 X more nukes to replace the oil, so we need
500 nukes, not 400. (10 per week) The list was going to replace the 2%
decline in oil as well as supply enough for 2% growth (20 per week).
But what is a nuke? If you go to

and look at the 100 nuclear plants in the US you see that most have two
nukes per plant ( a few have 3 nukes and a few more than that have 1.)
Thus we will have to build about 2 reactors per plant. (40 nukes per
week) Now the rub come from comparing Btus oil with Btus nukes. The
guy I cited above says that you will need more nuke Btu's than oil
Btu's. I don't know if that is true (anyone out there know that?). But
he says it may be more than 2:1 nuclear for oil, so we may need 100
nuclear reactors built per year to replace oil and have the 2% growth.
Plus oil use has gone up since 1998 when the table you refer to was
made, and I am not sure nuclear power has increased the same amount.

Thus we are pretty much in agreement, if we define our terms and
situation in the same way.

Walt wrote:
The problem is one of starting -- It is not hopeless gloom and doom IMO.

AK: The problem indeed is one of starting, plus the question of nuclear
waste and the negative public perception of nuclear power. That is not
hopeless but neither is it anywhere near a slam dunk.


Walt Hicks <>

In any consistent theory, there must
exist true but not provable statements.
(Godel's Theorem)

You can only find the truth with logic
If you have already found the truth
without it. (G.K. Chesterton)
Received on Tue May 25 11:52:22 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue May 25 2004 - 11:52:23 EDT