Jump to content

Bill Gates interview


bargainman
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • 7 years later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Bill Gates having a chat with MKBHD:

 

 

Bill Gates talking about energy at Stanford:

 

 

Goes to show you how corrupt the world is. Nuclear Energy (a modernized version of it) IS the only viable option for a true future of clean energy. Yet we see things in politics like "The New Green Deal" that actually want to eliminate every nuclear plant there is because it wont provide jobs to boot their (politician) voter base. Not to mention nuclear energy is essentially the cleanest energy there is.

 

 

Highlights from the talk:

 

- batteries aren't efficient enough

- batteries are too expensive

- Solar is inefficient (50x50 sq mile solar field to replace a single natural gas plant. Not including the cables, infrastructure, battery storage etc)

- Solar is too expensive

- Solar is not "green" energy

- Wind is not "green" energy

- Wind is highly inefficient

- Wind and solar should be used as subsidiary energy

 

 

edit: And to clarify, I'm not against wind or solar. They are great. But they aren't the solution at massive scales.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Solar and wind are great and they keep falling in cost, as does storage (V2G tech in the future as well as smart grids with demand-response features will help a lot). But nuclear is also needed, I'm a big fan of it. I wish we'd put some serious R&D and money into LFTR tech (liquid fluoride thorium reactors) and breeder reactors. People need to be educated on the safety of modern designs, especially the passive safety measures of something like a LFTR (you would have to try really hard to make anything bad happen to it).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yep, it's a pretty sad state of affairs. The tree huggers hate it because it's not solar, the rednecks hate it because it's not coal.

 

I think it's mostly that people fear what they don't understand, and nuclear is inherently harder to understand for the average person, and this makes these people easy to scare and manipulate by both the pro-fossil fuel lobby and the more romantic/religious aisle of the environmental movement.

 

The association with nuclear weapons is also a big issue. That's another benefit of thorium reactors; you can't make bombs with them.

 

For those who are curious, this site is a good resource:

 

https://energyfromthorium.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What you call the romantic/religious aisle of environmental movement I call boneheads. And it's not like they're a small fringe either.

 

The fossil fuel guys are easy to understand. they're trying to kill a competing product. So they're working toward their goal. The boneheads are working against their goal (presumably zero emission energy). As such they're doing more damage to climate change than the fossil fuel guys on this issue. For the people that haven't looked into or don't understand nuclear, well they can easily understand the fossil fuel guys' self interest. But when they see the clean energy people also rail against it, they'll think, whoa! there must be something really wrong with this stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I disagree that green (and not only green - people in general too) are against nuclear because they don't understand it. Mostly they are against it because of possible radiation leaks/accidents. Chernobyl and Fukushima did not help. And, yeah, maybe you can argue that modern systems make the risk of accident negligible. But the counterargument to that would be that Japanese claimed Fukushima was safe. So people don't trust safety claims of nuclear industry. And unlike other industries people don't trust, nuclear does not have strong enough lobbyists and backroom dealers who would push through deals even without public support. And BTW the huge cost overruns of recent/attempted projects did not help.

 

BTW, I am pro-nuclear. But I see pretty much zero chance for nuclear development in US and mostly in EU. China/Asia will probably build nuclear. For other countries, the discussion turns to non-proliferation. (And yeah, again, potential solutions exist, but persuading people that they are good/viable is not going to be easy).

 

Also BTW, based on Wikipedia there is currently no commercial Thorium reactor and most plans are for pilot projects: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-based_nuclear_power

So the situation is not really that <insert country X> could just buy cheap (prebuilt?) thorium reactor and have it running quickly. It's not even that they could build it quickly and reliably. So assuming <insert country X or state/municipality Y> came to you and asked you for input, you could not really advise them to build thorium-based power plant, since there's no successful precedents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I disagree that green (and not only green - people in general too) are against nuclear because they don't understand it. Mostly they are against it because of possible radiation leaks/accidents. Chernobyl and Fukushima did not help. And, yeah, maybe you can argue that modern systems make the risk of accident negligible. But the counterargument to that would be that Japanese claimed Fukushima was safe. So people don't trust safety claims of nuclear industry. And unlike other industries people don't trust, nuclear does not have strong enough lobbyists and backroom dealers who would push through deals even without public support. And BTW the huge cost overruns of recent/attempted projects did not help.

 

Nuclear is way safer than other forms of power, even despite all these decades old plants and some plants that were built near seismically active zones (not the best idea). Probably safer than wind and solar, if you count accidents building and maintaining these things. It's similar to how people fear air travel more than car travel even if one is much safer than the other, it's a cognitive bias. Chemical spills and exploding natural gas plants and mercury poisoning from coal fly ash and such have killed and contaminated way more people, but it doesn't get people's imagination going quite the same way...

 

I remember this book being a good introduction to some of the science and technology behind it:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Save-World-Nuclear-Energy-ebook/dp/B001FA0J0U

 

BTW, I am pro-nuclear. But I see pretty much zero chance for nuclear development in US and mostly in EU. China/Asia will probably build nuclear. For other countries, the discussion turns to non-proliferation. (And yeah, again, potential solutions exist, but persuading people that they are good/viable is not going to be easy).

 

Also BTW, based on Wikipedia there is currently no commercial Thorium reactor and most plans are for pilot projects: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-based_nuclear_power

So the situation is not really that <insert country X> could just buy cheap (prebuilt?) thorium reactor and have it running quickly. It's not even that they could build it quickly and reliably. So assuming <insert country X or state/municipality Y> came to you and asked you for input, you could not really advise them to build thorium-based power plant, since there's no successful precedents.

 

Yeah, that's why I said we need to do R&D into thorium. I'm thinking long term. It was always among the very best approaches, but it was put aside because you couldn't make nuclear bombs with these reactors, and back when the nuclear industry grew up, the government really wanted more bombs. But this isn't like fusion, we know how to make thorium reactors and have built working ones in the past, we just need to build big ones. These things are so safe, it's basically that you have to keep them in a precise equilibrium to get the reaction, and if anything at all changes (any kind of failure, a rise in temperature, a lack of power, etc), the molten salt just drains into a big underground container and the reaction stops by itself. Orders of magnitude less waste too, and breeders can generate their own fuel from thorium, so no enrichment process.

 

"Comparing the amount of thorium needed with coal, Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia of CERN, (European Organization for Nuclear Research), estimates that one ton of thorium can produce as much energy as 200 tons of uranium, or 3,500,000 tons of coal"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that the problem with thorium back then was that this stuff was/is extremely corrosive so for practical purposes it would have needed some serious spend to find new materials. Whereas water cooled solid fuel reactors were ready to be built. Now, I don't know if we're there yet, but I know that we've made some serious advances in materials science since the 60s so we're definitely a lot closer. Promising.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that the problem with thorium back then was that this stuff was/is extremely corrosive so for practical purposes it would have needed some serious spend to find new materials. Whereas water cooled solid fuel reactors were ready to be built. Now, I don't know if we're there yet, but I know that we've made some serious advances in materials science since the 60s so we're definitely a lot closer. Promising.

 

It's a challenge, but it's not like there aren't challenges with any reactor design. Since thorium has had a fraction of a fraction of the attention of other fuels, it's not surprising that some questions remain open while other questions with U or P have been solved over time as they were implemented... I doubt it's a show-stopper:

 

"Using high Nickel and Molybdenum content, experimenting with Manganese and other additive content, and reducing Iron and Chromium content has proven to be relatively effective for reducing corrosion. For MSRs to become a viable option, a more effective alloy or material should be used to lengthen the life of the containment structure and to maintain relatively pure salts."

 

http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2017/ph241/sunde1/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting these.  I think Gates is onto the key behind this whole climate debate.  If focus is made on developing new technologies that will make fossil fuels less economic versus newer products then the issue of change by government fiat (which IMO is one of the largest objections to the whole climate issue in the US) will be overcome by events.  It is too bad politicians are focused on imposing gov't fiats versus funding/encouraging with tax credits some of the more feasible solutions (like Gates is pursuing).  I guess these guys lack patients & have to come up with doomsday scenarios to sell there ideas.  What a waste of resources.

 

Packer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 6 months later...
  • 10 months later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...