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Friday, August 01, 2008

Friday night environmentalism.

* Researchers at MIT have apparently achieved a major breakthrough in battery technology, making solar that much more practical as a potential alternative energy source for the post-cheap-oil world. More at MeFi and Daily Kos.

* Unprecedented warming, melting forces Arctic tourist evacuation. Global warming is a myth.

* How much oil can be found in Americans’ car — through more efficient driving and better vehicle maintenance? Using current numbers from the Bush DOE and EPA , the answer appears to be some 2.5 to 3 million barrels a day — 20 times what could be found if we ended the congressional moratorium on offshore drilling and three times the oil we are likely to find in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

* And Climate Progress demystifies the French nuclear power system, elaborating on just what it would mean for the U.S. to adopt a similar program here:

"If France can produce 80% of its electricity with nuclear power, why can’t we?"

McCain seems to forget we are a much, much larger country than France. Heck, we already have more nuclear reactors than they do. To achieve McCain’s goal, we’d need 500 to 700+ new nuclear reactors plus 5 to 7 Yucca mountains, at a cost of some $4 trillion. Not to mention the soaring electricity bills Americans would have to suffer through, with electricity from new nukes projected at some $0.15 a kilowatt hour — some 50% higher than current national rates — not even counting transmission (or reprocessing).
There's more at the link, particularly some needed stats on the subject of nuclear fuel recycling and nuclear safety. I've been warming to the possibility of nuclear energy as an unavoidable component of our attempts to keep technological civilization afloat; maybe I'll have to rethink that...