Jerry Pournelle Does Some Numbers on Released Radiation in Japan

March 16, 2011


His numbers show

the absolute worst case has no more global effect than did an event that many weren’t even aware of, and which didn’t have any great global effect.

His bottom line:

The important lesson from Japan is that we took obsolete reactors with old designs and safety features, and subjected them to a 9.0 quake and a very large tsunami, and the damage to the planet is an unfortunate but hardly decisive event. It is now time to stop worrying about this mess until things settle and we can see precisely what we have learned, and factor that into the next generation designs. Note that almost everywhere in the world we are building reactors with much better design and far better safety features than those being destroyed now. Concentration on how awful is the nuclear mess takes our attention off the economic and human disasters from the earthquake and tsunami.

I love this diagram. Energy Flows.

March 3, 2011

The following figure was posted on Dr. David MacKay’s, Chief Scientist at DECC, at his blog at Sustainable Energy. He announced a new version of their 2050 Calculator tool which I’ve not yet had a chance to play with. However, the following figure, which can be produced by the tool, shows how energy flows. I’ve seen similar diagrams for the USA and it’s roughly the same.

This is an important and key way we should understand energy. How often do I hear that someone state the “solution” to the energy “crisis” is to fix efficiency. “We waste so much energy in our homes! We need the government to provide more grants for better home insulation and we’d fix this problem.”

Study the following figure and see if you agree. Are there other strategy targets we should look into? I think so. Click on the figure to get a bigger image.