Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cheap Electricty For Life

Tired of constantly rising costs of cooling and heating your home, keeping all of your techno-gadgets running, and lights glowing? Would you like to trade that for a fixed rate of $100 a month for essentially unlimited residential electric service for 40 years.

Are you interested? I am.

Here's how it works. We'll use my neighborhood as an example. We have 75 homes in a small subdivision. We need to set aside about 40'x40' of the common area. We will place a small steam turbine on one side. On the other side of this are we will bury a transport container that holds a small nuclear reactor...

What?...Wait!..Where are you going?...This will work!

This is the the future. Get used to it.

200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor
5 cents per kilowatt hour
40 year life

Back of the envelope numbers give us about $1.2 million for the reactor, maybe $100k for the turbine and installation, then figure in some maintenance, insurance, financing, and other incidentals. $100 a month from 75 homes over 40 years is a $3.6 million budget over that time. Compare that to $9 million that is the combined total when the average of electric bill is $250 a month per home over 40 years for that neighborhood and you have a substantial savings.

Selling this will be tough in the United States. Perhaps it will be easier in remote communities than near metro areas. In Japan and France it will be an easier sell given the difference in the way the nations have taken on and the cultures have viewed nuclear power. The militaries around the world will love these boxes.

We as a nation need to just get over our irrational fear of nuclear power. Nuclear fission has the best good:bad ratio relative to all the other options available and likely to mature in the next 100 years.

There are currently 104 nuclear plants operating in the United States. They provide about 20% of our total electrical power. In recent months the first applications for new plants in 30 years were filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. We should hope that this is the beginning of a land rush into a new era and that the year 2100 will see us with at least twice that number full size nuclear plants and hundreds of micro plants together providing 75% or more of our energy needs.