Should America Just Say No To Coal and Ban It?

Poll choices
Posted 9 years.

2 Comments

  • JJ - 9 years ago

    What most people don't realize is that coal may be half the electric use but the entire economy really runs on fossil fuels for heating, transport and industry which will also run out. All of those need to be electrified and replaced by something else which magnifies the problem several fold.

    We need to return to nuclear power which is the densest energy source of all by 100s of fold in land use. Solar and wind power only produce 6-12W/m^2 while a nuclear 1GW plant needs only a km sq or so. Nuclear plants use lots of concrete and steel for each 1GW of power but wind turbines use lots of concrete and steel for each and every 1MW of continuous power which really means a 3MW tower derated to 30% factor. Nuclear can be located near coastal cities, solar really has to be in the deserts of the west and wind has to be in the wind corridor of the US or offshore for the best winds.

    In the near future we should be moving to Thorium LFTR designs which are completely free of weapons issue and we have enough fuel for millenia. Thorium is 4x more abundant than Uranium, needs little processing to use and can be fully "burned" down to waste. That waste only lasts 300 years and is full of valuable rare earth metals too. The first LFTR was actually built in the 60s in only a few years but the cold war sent us to the weapons side for Uranium Plutonium cycle. Luckily the US, India, Norway, Canada and Australia are all blessed with Thorium supplies. It is no 36 in the most common list, far more common than many well known metals, and as common as Lead.

  • Ryan - 9 years ago

    While we need to move away from coal, we have become too dependent to just stop. Since roughly 50% of electricity comes from coal, banning coal would be like saying to just cut your electricity use in half (along with every one else). Instead, if a tax was placed on coal that continues to increase say 10% per year, then society will phase out coal. Society reacts best to predictable outcomes.

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