[ RadSafe ] RE: Turn off nuclear power, environmentalists urge

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Wed Apr 11 13:21:57 CDT 2007

 The environmental impact of converting the solar energy to electrical
energy would be minimal (assuming the electrical energy is used close to
where it is produced), as almost all of the electrical energy will
eventually enter the environment as heat.  Of greater impact is shading
by the solar energy systems, but with a little advanced thought that
could be a positive.  Of still greater impact is the cost, in dollars
and resources, of making, installing, maintaining, decommissioning, and
disposing of the solar energy systems (solar energy is, in fact, not
free).  These vary widely depending on a great number of factors, and
I've never seen a good treatment of the topic.  I strongly suspect that
photovoltaic has the highest costs.

While I've never seen the numbers for the efficiency of a windmill vs.
the energy of the wind going through its cross-section, I suspect it is
trivial.  When compared to the energy of wind between the ground and,
say, 1,000 ft, I suspect it is vanishingly small.  Again, the costs are
in the lifetime costs of the system, plus non-trivial non-monetary
costs, such as aesthetics, noise, bird kill, etc.  

Both solar and wind are very susceptible to storm damage, though they
both lend themselves to being decentralized, which improves

I believe that both solar and wind have a lot of potential for improving
the energy situation of the United States (and elsewhere, for that
matter).  However, I also believe the people who argue against nuclear
power on the idea that solar and wind can meet all of our projected
needs usually do so by ignoring the downside of their favorites and
exaggerating (to the point of lying) about the downside of nuclear

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of Gary Damschen
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 10:13 AM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] RE: Turn off nuclear power, environmentalists urge

Has anyone studied the environmental impact of removing the equivalent
of 1000MWe of solar irradiation from a concentrated area or what would
happen to New Jersey's weather patterns if the entire state's electrical
energy needs were met by removing gigawatts of energy from the
prevailing winds?
The energy collected by wind farms is not free. If the wind's energy is
reduced, it stands to reason that thermal mixing of the near-earth
atmosphere would be affected, perhaps even cloud formation and behavior
as well. So what would happen to cooling and heating patterns? Removing
a little energy to power something relatively small probably has little
measurable effect. Remove a nuke plant from the grid and replace it with
solar/wind and I bet you might see some results at least locally. Also,
what happens to the state's power supply if a hurricane comes through
(rare, but it does happen)?


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