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Thread: OT: Are pre-emptive power outages normal?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Tiers View Post
    Time for nuclear....hopefully "IFR" type that use ALL the energy in the fuel, and not just 2% before throwing the degraded fuel into "safe storage".
    I fully agree.

    One of the single worst policy decisions made by any POTUS in my lifetime was Clinton cancelling the IFR project - mostly at the behest of John Kerry over the symbology of non-proliferation. Since that time (1994), three other nations have attained nuclear weapons on their own, so cancelling the IFR obviously didn't hamper nuke weapon proliferation.

    We should restart IFR development, because we have quite a bit of fuel for an IFR or two laying around this country in water pools. We can either use that fuel for power generation, or we can bury it in Nevada.

    The second type of reactor we should be pursuing is thorium. Uranium isn't that common an element, but thorium is vastly more available, and thorium cycle reactors can't be used to make fissile material for weapons.

    Alas, any time we talk of nuclear reactors as power, we run into a wall of ignorance among the public - the people who aren't smart enough to understand nuclear physics hold great sway in this country (and other countries). There is almost a cherished nobility of ignorance in this country about such things... these are also the people who think that giant pinwheels can produce base-load power.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Stewart View Post
    Ahem. Damn right people don't trust PG&E.
    Nothing new here. I was in CA in the late 70's and rumor had it the PG&E removed the logos from their trucks to prevent people from vandalizing (shooting at) them. I've worked for the power company for close to 40 years so also nothing new that customers typically hate the power company. In general, I think people hate paying for things they 'need". If your electric bill goes up $20 per month it's, "Those cheating so-and-so's!!" But that new truck I 'want' with all the latest do-dads costs $50K, "No problem!" Then there are those customers who scream at the repairs crews for not restoring their power fast enough...

    Tom

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyop View Post
    There is almost a cherished nobility of ignorance in this country about such things... these are also the people who think that giant pinwheels can produce base-load power.
    Or that there is such a thing as "clean coal." Or should I say, affordable clean coal.

    Tom

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane View Post
    Are pre-emptive power outages normal? There certainly aren't here in Saskatchewan. I was a Lineman for the provincial electrical utility for 35 years and while fires from down power lines aren't common, they do happen and they always will for a variety of reasons and the only way to mitigate such occurrences is by preventative maintenance which is expensive in all cases and impossible in some.
    Yes,and this is a point lost to most people.After Hurricane Katrina there was massive damage to distribution in the small county I live in. Nearly 20% of the wooden poles had to be replaced.A year later that 20% added up to 18,000 odd poles. Not to mention transformers,lines and all the hardware.
    Most people have little idea just how much infrastructure there is in their own neighborhood, let alone a whole,county,state or region.Trying to plan for a single small failure would be the proverbial needle in the hay stack.
    I just need one more tool,just one!

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by flathead4 View Post
    Or that there is such a thing as "clean coal." Or should I say, affordable clean coal.

    Tom
    "Clean coal" is a marketing term (aka "a myth in pursuit of commercial interests") in response to the mythology that anthropogenic global warming is going to destroy the earth. One lie begat another lie, as it were.

    My position on the entirety of these debates is this: If someone doesn't have a degree in either engineering or physics, they should shut up and thank those who do, because otherwise they'd still be in hovels, huddled around fires fueled with peat moss, coal, wood, or animal dung. That's where most of the western world was as little as 150 years ago...

    Now that people have both affluence and ignorance in large quantities, they believe that they can (and will) live a modern existence with little to no effort, that pinwheels are a source of modern energy, that nuclear power is evil, and so on. As the people of such places as Venezuela found out, keeping the lights on isn't quite as easy as it looks. Designing a modern power grid and keeping it going requires the talents of people who can master the mathematics of electrical engineering, and that's only a very small segment of the population. As my professors told us the first week of engineering school: "Look to your left, look to your right. Save time and say 'good-bye' to one of those two people today, because half of you won't be here by the end of sophomore year."

    They told no lies. They simply loaded on the math and physics in the first two years of engineering school, and half (like 49%) of incoming freshman were gone by the end of sophomore year. That math is what enables a power grid to exist and be run with the reliability that makes people have expectations of being able to flip a switch and have the lights come up with boring reliability.

    As the people of California are finding out, when one has a government run by people with a third-world mentality, you get third world results.

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