Originally Posted by Wormhole
I believe it would be better to develop small scale nuclear power ala nuke subs and airplane carriers, I think we've built a few of those. A small reactor can run a district or a town and will not need long transmission lines which are another potential problem. Copper isn't getting any cheaper either. Combined with other sources small reactors can supply communities with the power they need and can be owned by same. We would be looking at a nice sturdy energy supply.
The ideal, of course, is to encourage micro-scale power generation, and help alleviate the strain on the grid, by reducing demand on centralized, large scale power generation.
13,000 times more energy than we consume arrives on the Earth's surface from the Sun... and its all for free, yet how much investment has there been in developing ultra-mass-produced (hence extremely cheap) PV technology, compared to the $trillions we waste on empire-building and slaughter in the middle east to insure a steady supply of a substance which is not only putting the planet (and our health) at risk, in multiple ways, but also has a very finite lifetime? Utterly pitiful.
One square yard of PV panel can yield up to 150 watts (during periods of high insolation).. a 200 square foot roof area (very modest size) is thus capable of yielding >3000 watts. If an "average" home at draws about 15 amps of current (or approx 1600 watts, averaging out the variable demand)...common sense should tell us the rest. If we were serious about energy, where's the all-out effort into developing the most efficient PV panels, and battery/capacitor storage devices to take up the slack during the nighttime and cloudy days? If we were serious about energy, which is the foundation of our industrialized society.... especially here in the Southwestern US, with 300+ days of bright sunshine annually.... then we should be taking advantage of not just solar, but ALL sources, especially those which are essentially free, once the initial investment is made. The sun and the wind will still be there 2,000,000,000+ years into the future, unlike fossil fuels. Just like many corporations only have the next quarterly statement in mind, politicians only think as far forward as the next election campaign.
Re. modern safe(r) nuclear technology: There is some potential hope® in the wings: If it's possible to convince a majority of Americans that (a) the Earth is only 6000 years old, (b) we are being regularly visited by extraterrestrials, and (c) the laws of nature can be arbitrarily suspended when it is politically expedient, then it should be a breeze to convince the public (given the will and wherewithal, of course), that they have nothing to fear from a modern, well-regulated nuke on their doorstep.