Are you living in a particularly new region?
Every time I've seen this come up, the data actually says the opposite: the median US home is better insulated, more recently built and more efficiently climate-controlled. Which is unsurprising, because they're newer, basically. Home technology over the last half century has made huge improvements in energy consumption.
It's true that the median US home is much larger than what you probably see where you are. And obviously that goes to total consumption. But it's not an issue with housing technology at all.
Economist Ed Glazer makes the argument that by not allowing more housing to be built there, more people have to live in more energy consumptive locations (Houston, for example). Housing development policy of the Bay Area has a big environmental impact.
One thing that amazed me when moving to California a couple of years ago was reading ads for apartments where the text would gush about the apartment having double glazing!!!1!!
Meanwhile, in Sweden, triple glazing has been the required minimum since the 90s, and older buildings were forced to install a third pane or retrofit new windows or somehow bring it up to code.
These days you can get quadruple glazed windows, but they offer only a very small improvements to triple glazed, so there's not much use.
Is double glazing?
Where I live now we have single panes, but behind storm windows.
On the other hand, we know a family near Boston who live in a big old house. The husband, a mathematician, calculated that they would never recover the cost of replacing the windows. I don't know how far out he calculated, but I expect it was about 20 years.
California's development by contrast has overwhelmingly occurred in the last 50-60 years (their population has increased four fold since 1950, from ~10m to ~40m today). Compare that to Ohio, which has seen a nearly flat population for coming up on 50 years. New York State's population has only slightly increased in 50 years.
The newest housing stock is in the Idaho/Nevada/Arizona region, Texas and the South East (Florida to North Carolina).
The US generally - and much of California - also aggressively uses air conditioning (central or otherwise) and has for a long time, which has further spurred efforts toward maximizing insulation.
It also seems to be a wooden construction.. so frankly I don't know what to think. I'm sorry if this seems like very unconventional evidence but then going from building codes to what people are actually building out there is a whole different story, and then you didn't actually provide any data, either.
Though you are spot on with the ridiculously oversized buildings, like a 3 door garage that is so intimately integrated into the structure you're climate controlling it year round.
Wooden construction does not inhibit insulation. Probably the opposite. It's easier to insulate the voids between studs than it is to insulate a masonry structure. Plus, "stick" building is almost a requirement for seismic reasons in California.
As far as the windows are concerned, I can't tell from the video if they're single glazed or not. Seems crazy to me to do any new construction with those.
That layer of insulation had been mandatory since at least mid-80s, and requirements for thickness have increased a few times since.
It's true that they're are houses with low energy labels, but from mid-80s on houses already have a C level - and that's default, with further improvements possible by owners. Currently, minimum allowed label for new buildings is A. But we're already slowly moving to "zero-rated": solar panels supply needed energy (on average, over a year).
And because earthquakes are also plentiful in California, we don't want our walls to be too heavy. Tensile strength is more important, as well as flexibility.
Attached garages are typically is separated from the rest of the house conditioning space. I do insulation of the garage, but only because I plan to work there. Plus water heater I am installing is actually heat pump, so it should cool garage down a bit.
The framing techniques used in a modern building are far stronger and more energy efficient than you seem to think.
There are a number of issues with front-loading washers. While they use less water, they are also worse at cleaning clothes and much worse at sanitizing them. There was a recent post here on HN where a biologist did several experiments in her own washer to show how poorly they sanitized things compared to her older one. They also tend to trap water in the bottom and it gets musty and moldy, which with my spouses allergies is a non-starter.
But I whole-heartedly agree with your other issues. Moving from the Midwest, I can't believe how poorly insulated things are in CA. Our first apartment in Santa Monica had windows that didn't even seal properly when closed. You could very easily stick a sheet of paper through the gap between the window and the frame when it was supposedly closed. Some people even have glass louvres instead of windows in their bathrooms here!
... yeah. Because it's in Santa Monica. Without even bothering to ask details about your personal temperature preference or the size or construction date of the homes, I can 100% guarantee you you're using less energy on climate control in SoCal than in "the midwest".
Trying to fix energy consumption by improving construction and code regulation in the major city least in need of climate control, like, worldwide is just a silly waste of resources.
LA is wasteful in many ways. But a city that sits at a 60-70F average basically year-round is just not in need of attention here.
In So Cal, I didn't have A/C for 10+ years and rarely used the heater (a desktop computer can double as a heater haha).
In the midwest, the A/C or heater is on pretty much 24/7 because even when the temperatures look favorable, there is humidity.
Servers are so much better...
An Athlon XP was my space heater during my gap decade.
my apartment has a heater and no a/c, but has a flow-through design that naturally keeps it cool in the summer. my heater and my portable a/c unit each get used about 2 weeks a year. the weather is really that great here.
My Bosch dishwasher in Europe does the Auto cycle in less than 90 minutes on a single change of water.
I think it's about different consumer expectations: it the US it seems people don't care so much about energy/water consumption, so other things matter.
BTW, both dishwashers get things done, the dishes do come out clean.
We typically just ventilate our home during the day and don't run AC, we've never turned the heat on (I don't know if we have heat, actually).
The door gasket is pretty bad (not sloped well enough for water to completely drain away from it), but it's also got a pull-out tray for detergent which also collects quite a bit of water each time.
I did have a top-loader that got a bit musty smelling, though that was largely my own fault- living alone as a bachelor at the time (infrequent use) and habitually starting a load late at night only to fall asleep before I took it out.
I've never had the same problem with top-loaders. My next machine will most definitely be a top-loader.
You still [probably] need to hand-dry the gasket, but according to my research it's what manufacturers recommend when pushed. I order a box on eBay every 1-2 years, approximately.
If you didn't try that before, give it a shot. Hopefully it'll help.
EDIT - for an example, their clothes washer energy/water requirements got stricter in 2015 and then again in 2018
They also have the strictest building energy codes (Title 24). https://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/
It's interesting to see it in practice too; if you move to California and bring a car, part of the registration process is to check the car and make sure it indicates it meets California requirements in design and build (not just smog testing; they do that too, but the actual registration/titling will involve them popping the hood and checking the car has the right markings). And basically every modern car does.
but if California is able to retain their own standards then these federal proposals would also hopefully be ineffective.
I can imagine forcing people to replace A/C units won’t be so objectionable, especially if it’s free to do so, but there may be some real opposition to requiring people to drive different cars. Nobody gets attached to an A/C.
I don’t drive right now - I take public transport everywhere - but I’d love a large car (a Dodge RAM). If I try to buy something small to be conscious of my carbon footprint and energy usage, I think I will end up buying the large car a few years later.
Is there anything at-all I can do to drive a large car while not being part of the problem? I’m looking into carbon offsetting, but that’s all I am aware of for the time being.
I wish Dodge would make an electric RAM 1500, that could make this much easier.
In some countries, half the price of a new car is tax.
That is why people drive little toy cars there. Everyone would like a nice big comfortable car but they are unaffordable for most.
What I’m trying to grapple with is this desire of mine while trying to be aware of my environmental impact.
If there’s no way to have my cake and eat it too, I won’t get one.
But I think it's either still in the concept stage, or maybe in fleet trials. Don't think an ordinary consumer can get one.
Still... I know they aren't good for the environment, which means I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I just drove one without greatly reducing or eliminating it's impact.
I do that with my wife for convertibles. She loves them, so any time we're on vacation and need a car I try to get one. It's just a couple hundred more for a week's vacation, at the time we'd get the most enjoyment out of it.
I do think love at first sight is a better explanation.
I like mine, but I only drive it when I have to. I don't understand people who commute in a pickup.
As far as grid operations, it's not really that exciting to see in person. Access is tightly controlled and it's pretty much like any other enterprise application shop.
The control room is pretty cool, though: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KatQ9Q_IQk
Another benefit of hybridization is that AC and other power-hungry accessories can be powered during heavy acceleration without putting any more strain on the engine. It's fun to go for a drive during a hot day, use AC the entire time, and still get (for example) 42.3 MPG.
Plus, you get the instant torque of an electric car. Maybe not quite as much as a Tesla, but you'll still beat an F-150 off the line.
I don't mind if you buy and drive a dodge ram or a Sherman tank, as long as you reimburse me for the harm it does to me and my child.
I'm being serious -- I would be willing to do something to reduce or eliminate my environmental impact. Would carbon offsetting be enough, or is there something else I can do?
Anyway, I'm talking about legislative action, rather than individual action -
[Note: I'm assuming (perhaps erroneously) that you're in the USA. If you're not, please pretend for a few minutes that you are.]
What I (and many others) want is, in effect, for it to be mandatory that everyone reimburse everyone else for the harmful effects of their carbon emissions, and for the IRS to mediate all of this.
If the policy is implemented intelligently then you as an individual, don't need to do anything, but as a consumer of goods and services will pay increased prices (the price difference being the amount that you owe society for the harm that your carbon footprint is imposing).
Adapted from :
- A fee is levied on fuels at their point of origin into the economy,
such as the well, mine, or port of entry. The fee is based upon the
carbon content of a given fuel, with a commonly-proposed starting
point being $10–$16 per ton of carbon that would be emitted once the
fuel is burned.
- A border tax adjustment is levied on imports from nations that lack
their own equivalent fee on carbon, increasing the cost of the goods
by an amount corresponding to the (estimated)carbon emitted in their
manufacture. This ensures that American manufacturers remain competitive
in spite of their increased energy costs, and incentivizes nations who
want to sell goods into the USA to put a price on carbon as well.
- The fees collected each month are returned to households as an energy
dividend (eg every resident over 18 years of age gets an equal share).
Returning 100% of net fees results in a revenue-neutral carbon fee-and-
But I think they're all ignoring a more important point. It doesn't need to be about changing people's behavior. To me, it's more about justice. I'm not about to tell wealthy businessmen that they can't fly across the country on a private jet every single week. But if their travels are 10% of the reason that my daughter has to live in a world where food is 10x more expensive because the oceans are dead and agricultural yields have been decimated, shouldn't they have to compensate her? It seems to me that, as long as the size of the fee is set properly, a policy like the one described above would be the fairest and most direct way to achieve that.
BTW, an organization un the USA whose sole mission is to lobby for a policy like this is the "Citizen's Climate Lobby" (CCL). To me, it seems so sensible that I can't understand why it isn't more widely discussed. It could turn out, I suppose, that implementation of the policy is difficult or impractical, but the discussion never even gets that far. Even the CCL's legislative proposal is, in my opinion, woefully lacking in implementation details.
Of large cars, Tesla makes a 7 seat SUV and will make a giant truck in about 2 years. Other manufacturers will follow them 2-3 years after that.
> I'd say quite the opposite. We paid 3.5k to have A/C changed in our house this year. Many people don't have that kind of money.
"...especially if it’s free to do so"
> would be the only way IMO.
"California's total energy consumption ranks among the highest in the nation, but, in 2015, the state's per capita energy consumption ranked 49th, due in part to its mild climate and its energy efficiency programs."
That per-capita figure results from action. Instead of just talking the talk, they've been actively building green capacity for decades.
"In 2016, California ranked ... first as a producer of electricity from solar, geothermal, and biomass resources."
Energy consumed per-capita across the US in 2016:
- Earth will have another 10,20,30 Billion people living on it
- These people, if we don't screw up and start another war, will want a house, air conditioning, a car, air travel, lots of kids, and more
- Human will inhabit more parts of the Earth that are uninhabitable (Antarctica, Siberia, Canada, Australia), which will require an order of magnitude increase in energy for heating/cooling
- Industry and manufacturing will need to provide for the leisure spending of billions of additional humans (iPhones, Televisions, etc)
- New technologies will require orders of magnitude more energy, such as flying cars, space travel, etc.
The solution to these things isn't to crawl in a hole and try to shave a few % efficiencies out of a washing machine or a pickup truck. Energy isn't a limited resource. It's one of the most abundant things in the universe. With today's technology (Nuclear Fission and one day, Fusion) you could make energy more cheaply and abundantly than the air we breathe.
People should expect to behave as if energy is free. And energy should be free. The problem is that society at large (and NIMBYs and Anti-Nuclear activists) don't have any imagination and therefore set back our civilization and post-scarcity society 50-100 years.
Luckily, we're looking at a very real possibility that we peak at 9 billion and then start to shrink from there. Which creates a whole host of other social issues, but at least gross overpopulation isn't one of them.
As a recent example, by the time China's population begins flat-lining on growth and or declining in an estimated six years or so at the current trend, we'll have known for 35-40 years that China was set to age rapidly.
For what it’s worth I think we’re still dealing with the destabilizing shock of the baby boomers outnumbering other generations, and have been dealing with that since the late 1960s.
> - These people, ... lots of kids, and more
> - Human will inhabit more parts of the Earth that are uninhabitable
> spending of billions of additional humans (iPhones, Televisions, etc)
> - New technologies will require orders of magnitude more energy, such as flying cars, space travel, etc.
World population is set to decrease. Birth rates in the US, UK, Japan, South Korea, China are all below replacement. This seems to be a general trend that happens when countries reach a certain level of development.
I think most models should show world population peaking, and then declining.
I agree that nuclear is probably our best bet. The high profile screw ups (like Fukushima) are annoying and decrease public trust. But we need to get better at creating/regulating safe nuclear solutions.
> "Most major economies saw an increase in carbon emissions, though Britain, the United States, Mexico and Japan experienced declines.
The biggest drop came from the United States, where they were down 0.5 percent"
> "Compared to Europe the US is doing better on carbon reduction seeing as the US went down and Europe went up. "
The US is doing a better job on _carbon reduction_.
Looks pretty good on what metric?
1 - https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/fossil-fuels/gas-...
2 - https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-carbon-climatechange/e...
The EU has nearly 200 million more people than the US, roughly 60% more, squeezed into an area less than half the size of the US. Whose fault is that population density? The total EU emissions are ~80% as high as the US in ~45% of the land area (a drastically worse rate of emissions per km2), due to that population density. How do you think that emissions concentration impacts the local environment? Population matters, it's why we wouldn't have to care much if Iceland had 2x the per capita emission output of the US.
If your nation has three billion people - ie vast over-population - you shouldn't have the same per capita emissions considerations or concerns as a nation with three million. I understand that sounds unfair. The earth sets the real limitations and it doesn't care about perceived fairness.
If a country like Nigeria or Indonesia somehow rapidly expanded to five billion people, would it be acceptable for them to have the same per capita emission output of the EU? Obviously not. It'd be an environmental disaster for the planet due to the overall output. Population is the other critical factor in emissions (eg in China's case their emissions would be catastrophic at US per capita levels with 1.4b people in that small of an area).
(By the way, what the hell is happening in Wyoming? 111.55 tons per person?)
First way is called demand response, and entails the operator asking some users “how much is the next MW worth to you?” If no one can supply that MW at that price or less, the customer can agree to not consume that MW. It is significant for some operators, but by design of the market, is only an option for industrial customers, really.
Some utilities also offer a limited form of this, where you can allow them to shut off your AC, receiving a discount on your bill, generally.
Both work, in their way. Would have a much larger effect if they were more universal, and of the price signal were felt more strongly by consumers. Which I think was your point.
California skates by because the big population centers need almost zero heating or cooling, relatively speaking. Other than that, our power use would make a German Green Party member see red.
Compare that to northern Europe where the outside temperature is below 0C for a lot of the winter, the payoff for properly insulating a house, installing new windows, etc, just isn't there. If you really wanted to save energy, move somewhere where you don't require so much energy to not freeze to death.
This is garbage. Just like the return to the Moon promised by Regan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump ... always "15 to 20 years from now" ... and NEVER happens.
By the way - 10% in 3 years would be a perfect milestone to 100% in 30 years.
In other words, this was a "keep investing, but new plants need to be clean" move.
33 percent by December 31, 2020,
44 percent by December 31, 2024,
52 percent by December 31, 2027,
and 60 percent by December 31, 2030.
The commission shall establish appropriate three-year compliance periods for all subsequent years.
It's just harder than people think. Same with public projects going over budget. The budget was never realistic in the first place.
This codifies that they don’t drag behind.
That would be a reduction to about 35% of the original after 30 years.
I'm reminded of Bush calling for the US to return to the moon by 2020 -- a proposal Obama quietly nixed.
I'd much rather we say, "We're going to increase renewables by X% every year, starting now, to reach the goal of 100% renewables by 2045."
Another problem is that nobody else (at this scale at least) got there so it's hard to anticipate all the challenges. Germany, normally at 36% renewable energy, managed to reach that magic 100% figure on a winter early-morning this year. But nothing close to sustained generation. And they plan to get to 100% in 2060+. So California, currently at ~44% renewable energy, could be the first to hit the sustained 100%.
Another problem is that everyone defines "100% clean energy" in different ways, by leaving some sectors out of the count. Will this target cover electrical power or also aims at replacing all non-renewable sources of power for all applications?
Instead say, "we will drop it by 10% in 3 years." Now you're telling me some useful truth to which I can hold you accountable (ooh, politicians HATE that). Incidentally, 10% in 3 years would be a perfect milestone to 100% in 30 years, so if these politicians WERE being honest (they're not), then they should have no reason to refuse the 10% in 3 years idea.
"This bill would state that it is the policy of the state that eligible renewable energy resources and zero-carbon resources supply 100% of retail sales of electricity to California end-use customers and 100% of electricity procured to serve all state agencies by December 31, 2045."
From this I take they don't plan to necessarily eliminate all carbon emitting energy sources but rather just the ones used to produce electricity. This would make the goal a little more achievable but also makes it a moving target. As different industries move from burning carbon based fuel to electricity the demand also increases which will still affect the balance between clean and dirty energy.
There are plans to ban ICE engines and other fuel burning applications so the demand for electricity will see a sharp rise. It's more that achievable to be 100% green in 2045 assuming the energy consumption trend of the past. But the future will probably see that trend go from relatively linear to something exponential for at least a few decades until the switch is done. Covering that difference will be the real challenge.
As always, devil's in the details. In the meantime, the headline looks impressive, which is frankly all these critters care about.
California is one of the more democratic (small “d” is the relevant one here) of the States, and that generally means compromise, transparency (making horse trading more difficult), accountability and compensation for the dissatisfied, no matter how small of a minority they might be.
If San Francisco and Los Angeles could just dictate terms and agreed that it is better that the 4 or so largest population centers in the State have a direct high speed rail line with each other, you could eschew all of that and get it done in a few years.
Long term infrastructure investments take a long time, and it's weird to me to think that we might not even be around to enjoy the benefit, but needing to be done is needing to be done. I think this is exactly the kind of change in thinking we need, that we should take on such efforts, even if they take a long time, now.
However, I also concur, I wish we could be even more aggressive. It would be interesting to know if there is a staggered approach and if those dates are sooner (didn't RTFA... to be honest, maybe it was in there). Maybe we'll be 65% electric by 2035 or something, that would still be pretty great, right?
The hard problem is the storage and peak handling, hopefully with 90% you could cover that too.
A real space-race goal - the kind that I would really have expected from America - would be to be carbon neutral within a decade. That would initially spur investment in natural carbon sinks whilst massively rewarding innovation in that area (which we desperately need - we have two centuries of carbon that needs removing from the atmosphere).
Heck, it would also be wise to investigate geo-engineering - to understand in detail how our planet works, and develop methods for altering it. Could we develop technology which would allow us to, say, counter a massive volcano (or a super volcano?).
I like your inspiration for setting such goals as carbon neutral in America. That's the kind of thinking we need.
In addition to the political problems, extensively noted by others here, there are also the social problems.
Power plants and the associated industries are full of low-skill/education workers. Some can be re-trained into other industries, but some cannot.
An example is happening right now in Arizona. With so many coal plants being shut down, the Navajo Nation and other nearby tribes are being devastated.
These are already people who were dirt poor, living in a place that few want to go. There's few opportunities for employment. The one industry they had was supplying coal to utilities as far away as California. They even built a pipeline to flush coal clear across the state to Nevada.
Now all those jobs are going away, and there's zero industry left.
They're trying to build solar farms, but companies like Southern California Edison aren't interested in buying the power because solar plants can be built closer to home, and don't need new transmission lines to be built.
So a bunch of left coast technocrats get to pat themselves on the backs for saving the environment, while further marginalizing the people who saved the environment for them for a thousand years.
Like all policy change, it will create winners and losers. While it's unfortunate Navajo Nation may be the latter, it shouldn't mean we stop moving forward.
I do, however, believe that green power policy should include assistance to the people and communities affected negatively by decarbonization, as the pain to those folks is much higher than it is to wealthy Californians who merely pay slightly higher taxes to get the new energy production and efficiency measures installed.
The utilities could just build the new power plants where the old ones were. Same result, without an overt handout.
You wouldn't be able to replace the annual energy output of the Navajo Generating Station just with solar farms built on former NGS land, of course, because coal can be turned into electricity in a much smaller area. But if you consider the 44,000 acre leased area of the Kayenta Mine that supplies NGS with coal, you could actually get more annual energy production from the same area by switching to solar.
Translation: It sucks to be poor. And an indian. Where did I park my Tesla?
In this case I believe it means carbon-free, so Nuclear is still technically viable though very unlikely any new Nuclear will be built. Will be mostly existing hydro, nuclear and geothermal with new solar & wind phasing out gas plants.
With space, everything that was created and invested was brand new. There was not too much worrying about existing infrasture. Often, there would be thousands of people working to make 1 individual mission happen. Energy in the US is a lot different. For instance, you have to keep the massive machine that is the electricity transmission and distribution grids running.
Here's a scope of the challenges of 100% renewables, for anyone without a background in this (one should view challenges as opportunities):
First, there's a lot of existing generation that would need to be sunsetted and even more that would need to be created. In fact, given the intermittency of renewables, there would need to be a multiple more of capacity than there is now given the capacity factor, usually divide 1/CapacityFactor (see more on that here: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/57582.pdf). So, 4 GW of installed wind capacity is really only expected to output ~1 GW at any point in time, given the intermittencies.
Second, there will have to be a lot of upgrades made to the transmission grid (sending power long distances from large scale renewable generators to population centers), and the distribution grid (sends power to all the buildings and homes in a city). The distribution grid upgrades to be made will have to help it handle a lot more rooftop solar, home batteries, and electric vehicles.
Third, there will have to be a lot more storage installed. Electric vehicles can have a large impact here, but there will still be a need for in-home and grid-scale batteries. Batteries are also just getting to the point where they're economically-feasible in some uses. There is still a ways to go for batteries to be economical enough to be widespread, especially grid-scale. Physical storage of electricity will likely have to grow too (think: pump to a higher lake when prices are low, and let it flow back down and turn a turbine when it's needed).
Fourth, and this is definitely my opinion (and what I'm working on), is that we are going to have to make everything work together more. We can't have all these batteries, solar panels, and other connected appliances and thermostats do whatever they want at the distribution level. We will have to change to time-varying rate structures for end-consumers, but this won't be enough either. Communication and coordination will yield the best results.
I tried to be brief. If anyone has any more questions or thoughts about this, I would love to hear them!
The real agenda has a lot more to do with impressing your neighbors with how eco-conscious you are (ideally via cheap signals like signs and bumper stickers) than it does with costly and difficult initiatives like figuring out how to meet the world's energy requirements in a sustainable way.
This tired bullshit again?
Yes, we understand that everyone could be doing more to help some cause, and that some people care more about appearances than improving the world, and some people do legitimately good deeds for ‘selfish’ reasons like increased self-esteem.
The “virtue-signaling” “every decent action in the world is done just to impress one’s tribe” meme is getting old.
What action are you taking to demonstrably promote the reduction of virtue-signaling?
It seems like much of the calling out of alleged virtue-signaling is virtue-signaling itself.
Saying "We should treat the environment better" while being honest about your own [lack of] contribution is perfectly fine.
By the same token, I can complain about a group, and as long as I don't claim that my complaints magically fixed the problem, that's fine.
That's not at all how people use it colloquially.
Nobody is claiming that bumper stickers, Priuses, statements of "thoughts and prayers," or changing one's Facebook profile picture magically fix any problem. And yet those are the exact things that get labeled virtue-signalling.
In this thread alone, jaredhansen mentions "ideally via cheap signals like signs and bumper stickers" - though admittedly doesn't say virtue signals. x220's definition is also at odds with yours. https://hn.algolia.com/?query=virtue-signalling is rife with examples.
The incessant cries of virtue-signalling on the web absolutely do not require someone claiming that they've "magically fixed" any problem, and are almost entirely gate-keeping, goalpost-moving, ad hominem attacks, simple partisanship, and general lazy argumentation.
A bumper sticker signals "I care".
A prius, in theory, signals "I am actively helping, a lot".
They're both kinds of "virtue signalling", but they're very different in scope.
The 'maddening' thing is not when people signal they care a little bit. It's when people signal they care a lot, but their actions contradict that.
The reason why more plants aren't being built is because they are not cost effective compared to other options. You can argue that maybe the government or whoever could do more research to change this, but every company that wants a nuclear plant in the U.S. has one already. Until the engineering and regulatory situation changes so that it's easier to build a nuclear plant than it is to build a solar one, they're going to keep building the latter instead of the former.
How have you decided you can speak for all prius owners?
If people ARE trying to "keep up with the Joneses" by buying priuses instead of SUVs and Corvettes that would be a great agenda.
They are a company to pay attention to IMHO.
Worrying about nuclear waste at the beginning of the nuclear age when most of that waste is actually valuable fuel is downright idiotic.
Personally I don't think this is the biggest problem with nuclear power, and it's certainly not in and of itself a reason to switch to alternatives. But it's not an issue to ignore either.
Why don’t we? Politics and the lack of military uses.
As opposed to all those military uses of dams and wind turbines. Right. And of course, I wonder what the fuss is all about with Iran, then...
The reason nuclear is in decline is the track record of spectacular disasters: Three Mile, Chernobyl, and now Fukushima. Get at least a generation without massive failures, and people might be willing to give nuclear a chance; but there have been 3 in my lifetime alone!
(Plus, in any country not as big and isolated as the US, any plant is a massive weakness from a defense perspective...)
Nuclear is nowhere close to that over the past half century of use, even if you toss in fatalities caused by nuclear weapons, which is a whole different category.
Realistically, installation of solar and wind is actually more dangerous than Nuclear, because of falls.
Also the fact that we use uranium instead of the safer and more abundant thorium is because you can’t make thorium bombs.
The reactors that have failed are these military derivative designs that lack safety features because there is no space for them in a submarine. No modern design has had such a failure, or could have such a failure since they have no reliance on active cooling and have safeguards to structurally prevent a core meltdown.
Nuclear has its issues, but everything else does too.
Zero? How many people have died making manufacturing computers, tvs, toys, or appliances; all of which have all the same heavy metals as solar panels by virtue of being electronic goods? This is essentially FUD. A single PV panel can generate 5-10 Mwh over its service life, conservatively. On the low end that is equivalent to about 2 tons of coal. Since coal contains a broad cross section of heavy metals and they become more bioavailable when burned, I think you're better off with the panels.
It has little to do with nuclear waste for civilian use today and is in no way comparable to civilian nuclear waste and how it is stored.
Also, Fukushima is the exception of the exception, it is a bit of land that can not be used for long while its not a lot of land and its in a nuclear exclusion zone anyway.
I don't want to ignore the issue, but I will just say that the amount of time, ink and energy spend on it is way out of proportion to how much it matters
People keep making the argument that climate change is a existential issue but then saw, well, nuclear is not a solution because of this nuclear waste problem. That is insane reasoning in my opinion.
Soon it will be possible to use most of the waste as fuel:
"...Fast reactors can "burn" long lasting nuclear transuranic waste (TRU) waste components (actinides: reactor-grade plutonium and minor actinides), turning liabilities into assets. Another major waste component, fission products (FP), would stabilize at a lower level of radioactivity than the original natural uranium ore it was attained from in two to four centuries, rather than tens of thousands of years"
While there are issues with nuclear power, the worry people have about nuclear waste is greatly overblown to say the least. The amounts generated are manageable and in a relatively short amount of time we can use most of this "waste" to generate electricity. (The same can't be said for coal waste - like just about everything else associated with burning coal, coal waste is an environmental diaster.)
Well, it's not, and there doesn't seem to be much focus by the DoE to do so. Therefore storage of waste is still a major problem if you want to generate electricity with nuclear power plants in the US.
The politics around nuclear waste are preventing the construction of reactor designs which exist today which could take waste that exists today and use it with an output with a much more manageable half-life than the waste we have just sitting around right now.
Right... The only technical problem, how to store waste indefinitely, is only a problem because there's a larger political problem that prevents the waste from being recycled/reused. Since the political problem is highly unlikely to be resolved within a few decades, that leaves us with the technical problem of how to deal with the waste as we are currently generating/storing it.
The is a great place that has been identified, tested and evaluated in the US. Most experts agree that it is a site that would work perfectly fine.
But guess what, its insane political battles that stopped this from being used and that is still the case.
Even so, without a end solution, there is no problem with storing it in a different place for a couple 100 years as it has a tiny volume.
There's a huge difference in nuclear going from a small chunk of our present day power generation to eras where some see it as being the primary generator for whatever exponential increases in energy we'll be using in the future. This change in scale really should affect how you look at things. Nuclear in particular has some pretty catastrophic fail scenarios, major decommissioning issues, and other problems. These can kind of be hand-waved away at current levels, but can't when you start talking about increasing operations on the order of magnitudes.
And when you start talking about things like this you're also implicitly alluding to breeder reactors, salt-water extraction, and other technologies that not only add substantial complexity (and side issues) but also greatly increase the costs relative to present day nuclear, which poses even more issues in terms of sustainability.
For all intents and purposes solar is pretty much a flawless method of energy production. The one issue is night time production, but there are countless ways to store energy even if we ignore more utopic scenarios like global high energy direct current lines constantly transiting energy to where it needs to go. Given the practically unlimited generation possibilities the loss of energy involved in either storage or transit are not really that big of a deal, and would not affect expected pricing the same way as dealing with nuclear's practical problems of scale will.
If you're comfortable eating food grown in the soil grown around uranium processing plants then by all means go ahead.
You do realize we can detect contamination by radioactive elements in quatities many orders of magnitude lower than could conceivably cause any harm right?
On the other hand, I live in Europe and our local government has yet to produce a complete environment monitoring fail such as the Flint incident in the USA.
Nope. I always keep my phone in airplane mode when I'm not using it.
You should be more worried about wearing sunscreen every day than the amount of energy you get from any wireless antenna. The sun puts out vastly more electromagnetic radiation than any wireless device ever will per cubic foot/meter/whatever.
You vote for Jill Stein.
1 - https://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-power/nuclear-power-accidents...
Union of concerned scientists is nothing but an anti-nuclear lobbying group the same as Greenpeace and others. All they do is spread FUD or outright lies.
The latest generation of nuclear power plants are very safe and have passive nuclear safety which requires no active measures to shut down a reactor safely which significantly reduces the risk of a meltdown. The biggest problem with nuclear power is old generation power plants that fail and cause negative sentiment towards nuclear power. I really hope we invest in generation IV nuclear power plants which deal with reducing nuclear waste and adds even more safety.
The current generation has its problems but shutting down before end of life is a absolutely insane idea in every possible way.
You can't magically replace 20% of the nations energy production with GenIV reactors. That not how technology works.
GenIV reactors are great and the companies building them will hopefully do it in the 2020 but to even then, the focus should be on replacing coal not existing nuclear.
Management of the plant does not discount the safety concerns with the plant location and design, of which there are many critics 
1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diablo_Canyon_earthquake_vulne...
I hope not. For a similar cost you can actually turn coal power into massive carbon storage.
This is actually pretty ingenious, if it works at industrial scale then it's better than even wind and solar power.
> I hope not.
Care to explain why you have changed your mind?
Invest that money in geothermal, hydro, solar, wind and eventually tidal power and you get far more bang-for-your-buck.
Convert coal plants to burn biomass combined with carbon capture and geological storage and you get power which - whilst more expensive - removes carbon from the air. The more you use it the more carbon it removes.
Given these developments, why build new nuclear plants?
Closing down plants which are still viable on the other hand seems like pure madness.
If (when?) we can design nuclear plants which are both economical, safe and don't have the externalized decommissioning costs then it would also be foolish not to include them in the mix.
Nuclear is very cheap for producing the base load. You also shouldn't compare the price of different energy sources in isolation. If an electricity market goes 100% solar and wind for example, it will get power outages soon. Storing the energy of varying power generators is expensive with current technology.
>Given these developments, why build new nuclear plants?
You can create cheap and clean eletricity.
>If (when?) we can design nuclear plants which are both economical, safe and don't have the externalized decommissioning costs then it would also be foolish not to include them in the mix.
Nuclear plants are economical and safe.
Your hypothetical biomass burning coal plants are still that: hypothetical. If they work at scale, add that to the list.
Damming up rivers has its own problems, but this is largely moot: the majority of lakes in California are dam lakes and damn near every river with good capacity in the State is already dammed up.
Tidal power is likely to have other environmental concerns. If mitigating these concerns still makes it cheaper than nuclear plants, fine, but I’m not going to support the installation of any new tech that screws with coastal ecosystems the same way we screwed up prior river and lake ecosystems.
Windmills would be extremely expensive as well if each one was designed with a custom generator and custom blades.
At this point, people have, apparently rightly, concluded that the need for profit is fundamentally incompatible with running a nuclear reactor.
San Onofre is a good example. It has been plagued by operational and mechanical problems over the years simply because nobody is willing to spend enough money to do it right. Given that, shutting it down is pretty much the only option.
When I last looked at the stats a few years ago we were importing about 30% of our power from other States and it was trending upwards.