Esoteric EV ramblings.

Esoteric EV ramblings.

Very msc. EV topics. Freewheelling, where decorum to "stay on topic" is not so critical.

Ramon123 | April 11, 2011

Whenever I hear anyone worry about the safety of nuclear reactors
in a general way, I know that their knowledge of same matches the knowledge of most in this country - zero. We have used nuclear reactors for over 60 years in this country, producing over 20% of our power using very small amounts of land and for very low costs - currently less than 5 cents per kilowatthour which is even cheaper than coal. As for safety, I ask those worried about same : "Where are the corpses?" "Where are the invalids?" The answer is, there have been very, very few human casualties as a result of nuclear power - over 60 years, probably fewer than one single day of the Iraq war. Chernobyl was the worst case possible and that resulted in less than 30 dead. The "thousands" quoted by the anti-nuke folks were young children who were inexplicably not warned by the Russian govt to avoid locally produced diary products. They contracted thyroid cancers, but virtually all were cured. Three Mile Island resulted in exactly zero casualties. Exactly what the outcome of the Japanese plant will be is unknown, but it won't be large.
How one can blithely accept a natural disaster killing over 10,000
Japanese and then get concerned because a few dozen plant workers may be adversely affected by a nuclear accident tells you a whole lot about human behavior - things that are readily understood (floods, earthquakes) don't fighten, but things that are mysterious
and not understood have the ability to frighten people out of all
proportion to the actual danger involved. People don't know what a nuclear plant accident can do, but since they connect them with atomic bombs, they assume the worst. The sales of geiger counters even skyrocketted from those ever-ignorant Americans. Can you imagine? We used to detonate atomic bombs in New Mexico!!! Talk about total ignorance!! And people wonder why the US isn't producing scientists anymore? The country's educational system is not producing people who can think at any level.
The biggest casualties suffered as a result of nuclear accidents have been the financial losses incurred by the plant owners. In all cases, they deserved those losses. It's clear that the Tokyo Power company executives ignored US warnings about the obsolete nature of the safety aparatus in their plants, but did nothing. In this case, a simple extra backup power generator would have saved billions of dollars. Talk about penny-wise, pound-foolish. Ditto for Three Mile Island. What's ironic is that the public is going to learn, if anything, the status of nuclear safety precautions and design that existed 30 years ago or more. Modern designs are so unlikely to have problems and so unlikely that any that do occur be very significant, that one can say that safety is the last
issue anyone should worry about with respect to fission plants. Breeder reactors are the next big thing, mostly because they can
make use of all that nuclear waste we are now storing and make it relatively inert. There's still enough energy in that nuclear "waste" to provide all the power this country needs for the next 1000 years, and transform the waste into low level debris easily stored and achieving total inertness in a few hundred years.
It's amusing watching this country fumble with technologies and
make stupid decisions without the slightest knowledge at hand.

VolkerP | April 11, 2011

why do I have to be an atomic engineer to be frightened about nuclear disasters? Any simple soul understands the consequences of some government forces pulling up in your doorway and summoning "you have 30 minutes to leave your home. Forever." Imagine a densely populated industrial country where an 80mi radius becomes uninhabitable. Lots of homeless people, lots of economic downturn.

I think breeder technology is promising, and energy amplifier (subcritical reactor) is even more promising to eat up all our wasted fuel rods. But obeying to all the required safety procedures to handle a plutonium fuel cycle calls for a military-like organization. So far, communism + capitalism have failed to perform to the level of diligence required to operate nuclear power. What's left? dictatorship?

qwk | April 11, 2011

If you think that Chernobyl only caused 30 deaths, you are either very ignorant or simply know nothing about the subject.

The fact is that hundreds of thousands died way too early and millions of people were affected, and will continue to be affected for thousands of years.

Please do some simple research before spouting off nonsense.

searcher | April 13, 2011

Ramon123, Not getting into the nuclear discussion pro or con but would you please adress the issue: Could your potential enemy use nuclear reactors in the present day mode or set up as a weapon against you. Do you think they maybe be set up in a better way to avoid natural disasters or enemy attacks? What would be some good options very scure underground or what?

Brian H | April 15, 2011

False, beyond any hope of correction. Those projections are based on layers of flimsy and disproven assumptions.

But fear-mongers have too much to lose to ever admit they're blowing smoke.

Timo | April 15, 2011

Thing with Chernobyl is that uranium that blow up there emits quite low level of radiation, you might have much worse radiation in your home in form on Radon radiation. Unless you are very close to the source you just don't get much radiation from Chernobyl accident. Yes, probably millions are affected, but dose is so small that effect can't be measured in any meaningful way. Way more people get cancer from Sun every year than all of those combined.

Tiebreaker | April 15, 2011

Well - Chernobyl... I am kind of a victim.

VolkerP | April 15, 2011


why do you think 1/2 cent/kWh from LPP would solve our energy problems? Back in the 70s nuclear was promoted as "too cheap to meter". Here and today, nuclear plants sell their electricity at 5 Euro-cent per kWh. Brown coal fired plants achieve similar prices. Meter prices are 20-25 Euro-cents per kWh. So if you replace nuclear fission with LPP plant, consumer prices can drop 4.5 cent at most (you still pay a mix of energy sources).

Note to self: go find the guys that stuff their pockets with the delta...

Timo | April 15, 2011

Thing with LPP is that it is very portable. You can have one as house generator in apartment buildings. No need or dependency from the grid. You could even put one in container truck to provide electricity in disaster areas. It's 5MW power plant in very small size.

Tiebreaker | April 15, 2011

I'll chime in too. It is the economies of scale, but in reverse.

For nuclear power plants to be profitable (or coal to a lesser extent, and even hydroelectric), they have to produce huge amounts of electricity, be very large, require a lot of resources. Coal plants also need to be close to the coal mines (transport expenses), and hydroelectric - well, must be where the hydro power is. So they are remote from the major consumer centers. Then the electricity needs to be transported to the consumers, thus the power grid. And there is the bulk of the delta. Of course, add the resellers and the local utilities and heir networks...

With LPP's Focus Fusion, a plant of any almost size can be made, close to the final consumer. And it can still be connected to the grid. Heck, the final consumer can own the plant, as Timo pointed. A city can have a number of redundant power plants, connected to the regional, connected to the global grid. Like a parallel supercomputer, built with failover protection. Pennies to make and transport.

One paradox: Edison's DC system needed a power plants at every few blocks, DC cannot be transported far. Tesla's AC system removed that need. Now LPP may bring it back, but in a completely opposite context.

searcher | April 17, 2011

What are the electric power companies saying about the rush to all electric by soo many major players. re they saying they will have enough power on present grid. Is the old 'supply and demand" thing going to get us here to. Know I am running the risk of sounding really nutty here but could some kind of hand crank device or pedal assembly be utilized with EV in case of running out of power on road and just produce enough power to get to next charging point. Don't know how much juice could be produced by such devices, if really nutty, have a good laugh anyway.

qwk | April 17, 2011

@Brian H

look up the term "liquidators". Most of them are dead, while the rest live with massive health problems.

If working around a leaking nuk plant is so safe, why don't you volunteer to go to the Fukishima site?

searcher | April 18, 2011

Hope not getting too many different questions going on at one time but I think everyone can kind of sort through it. Seems that the LPP thing with its great stand alone capability and it's size effeciences sounds very promising. I was wondering in days to come could poosibly better overall size effeciinces evolve and everybody knows where I am trying to go here. For those who don't you get three guesses and the first two don't count.

Brian H | April 19, 2011

Two tries at "efficiencies", both clean misses.

searcher | April 20, 2011

Yeah, I thoght I could get under the radar with the spelling and not have to pull my dictionary out. Would you believe I used to be a good speller, but kind of atrocious{sp?} lately.Well what do you think of where I was trying to go. Never doable, or medium to long range doable? Thats the LPP thing. Was the emrgency crank thing not a doable but a good laughable?

David70 | April 20, 2011

On the LPP thing, who knows. Controlling high temperature plasmas is not an easy thing. In the distant future who knows what improvements can be made. But even their target of a 5 MW unit within 5 years would be a major (although not necessarily impossible) miracle.

The history on controlled fusion development has been that for at least the past forty years they've been predicting that it would be forthcoming within a decade. The theory looks good on the focused fusion, but who knows what practical problems will still occur.

As for human cranking, IIRC someone in good shape can produce 200 W for extended periods. (And that's more likely with using leg power rather than arm power). Keeping your speed between 15 and 30 mph could get you about a mile with that much energy. Overall average speed (counting cranking time) would be less than one mph.

Timo | April 20, 2011

I have a exercise bike with watt display. 200W is a lot. Maybe some professional cyclist could keep that running for some time, but us normal people that would be real pain in less than 15 minutes.

David70 | April 20, 2011

Yes. And I neglected to say (although it was implied), one hour of cranking time is required for the needed for 200 W-hr. !5 min. might get you 1/4 mile.

searcher | April 20, 2011

Thanks for the replies on the laughable one. I just had no idea of how much energy transfer was in discussion here.On the LPP thing I was thinking onboard system {of course I would be}. What would be the, if any, safety considerations if such a system ever evolved?

VolkerP | April 20, 2011

It appears you have to go with the TopGear solution: pull out the lads sitting in your car and make them help you push it.

searcher, this will make me pass you as the most disputed poster in this forum, ha.

searcher | April 20, 2011

@Vawlkus, Back on my rambling thread now. Hope this makes you happy. Oh yes how many threads have you started , what are they, and where are they?

searcher | April 20, 2011

VolkerP,Yeah I thought one of my questions was possibbly laughable but wasn't sure about how the enrgy transfers worked. And of course the laughable aspect hasn't hindered me much thus far. I think some of the most disputed rnkings might have changed around some during the TG wars, or were you in that fray to,ha. I was in a limited way{if you can believe that} but I felt kind of weird as I think I was on the semi-majority as I am usually one against all,ha. Do you remember ever seeing any of the old Charlie Chaplain movies how he would get in rows with everybody. I just got spammed by Vawlkus for getting on my "soapbox" under "American Made" thread in model s forum. Of course I had some kind words in response. Will have to contact ole valwlkus because I really like his posts. Been trying to do a little pr lately and better my image but I get ahead and then it all gets set back for one reason or another. But we will just call it "peer review", even though I am not a peer, but it's nice to know I am in good company anyway with my most disputed aspect,ha.

searcher | April 20, 2011

@Vawlkus, I did go on a bit on the other thread "many pardons" and I hope all is cool.

David70 | April 21, 2011


Any danger would be release of a great deal of energy (I have no idea how much) in a small space. The danger wouldn't be in the form of nuclear energy but very high thermal energy. It would be of short duration, but conceivably do a great deal of damage to the car and its occupants. Two things I like the most about the pH11 process are the direct conversion to electrical energy and the ready availability of both hydrogen and boron 11.

Brian H | April 21, 2011

The LPP plant requires a couple of tons gross weight, including the "water shell" shield. Not feasible for an auto, but possible for big rigs etc. The major advantage would be unlimited range. The problem would be drivers never stopping to eat or sleep and driving off cliffs and into walls and poles and ...


Timo | April 21, 2011

Ships, locomotives, and obviously movable charging point for heavy electric workmachines.

BTW, that water shell would be unnecessary if the side-reactions could be controlled which would miniaturize the reactor to really small space. Main reaction is totally (radioactive) radiation-free.

Unfortunately that is not possible with current tech, but maybe in some distant future

Brian H | April 22, 2011

The side reactions are a function of the statistical spread of energies in the plasmoid; very unlikely to be able to eliminate them. Maybe with a different element for fuel, like nitrogen, but I have no idea whether it's even theoretically possible.

searcher | April 22, 2011

This is pretty interesting stuff. I think someone has a thread going concerning marine applications of electric power. Sounds like the LPP thing might be a good option for yachts on up. Military marine application sounds like it might be good. And since we are in marine mode roughly how is the nuclear power configured on these ships and wonder if anyone knows what kind of safety factors are built into these systems that obviously have to be engineered to go into harms way with at least some concern for safety built in, or maybe not. Just the risks of war, baby.

ggr | April 23, 2011

I hope LPP (or something like it) works. I really do. But at the moment it is fantasy. We've been bitten once with cold fusion, I would rather waste brain cells figuring out how to make something work than how to use something that doesn't (at the moment, or the near future) work.


Brian H | April 23, 2011

What's your definition of the near future? If the LPP project continues on schedule, its units could be hitting the market before you could commission and build a single fission plant.

grenelntrn | April 25, 2011

While I have been following Tesla for a while I am a now little disappoineted. I have seen and driven a Roadster and was very exited about the possibility of purchasing a Model S. When I first started following... the Model S seemed like the perfect commuter/family replacement. Finally, an electric car with a decent range (300 miles) that will get me to work and a few errands around town with almost the same range as a gas powered vehicle.

Most importantly, for the regular middle class the Model S was possibly affordable. At $45-50K (original Price est.) it was at the top of an upper middle class(100K or more) budget. With college educations and the cost of living I might be able to squeeze out the cost. Alas my dream is dashed by the added cost of the expanded battery packs. 160 miles is not enough for today's commuter. At an average of 35-40 mile commute, with traffic and detours, the 160 mile car seems like a second generation leaf? While the styling can not compare, I had great hopes for a start up, I always wanted to back the little guy. I try to go to the local hardware store as much as possible and avoid Home Depot.

With a 20-30K premium on the 300 mile battery pack... I will not be a Tesla owner. While I know I would save about $2500/ year in gas and maint. The layout is just too much. I guess I and the other poor working guys will have to wait until the massed produced leaf goes to 300 miles. I guess I am stuck with Home Depot...A shame though... Mike

Timo | April 25, 2011

Brian H, do you know what has happened to site? I get rerouted to some googlesyndication "page expired" page from

David70 | April 25, 2011


I get the same thing. This happened to my site a few years back. IIRC it was a mistake of the service provider, or someone jumping the gun on what was about to expire. Hopefully it'll be cleared up satisfactorily.

Brian H | May 2, 2011

Yeah, seems fixed. Don't know what was going on there.

Ramon123 | May 4, 2011

Fusion reactors, who knows when?
In many ways the preferred future path will include lots of fast breeder reactors. They can make use of existing "nuclear waste" (which isn't really waste-it still contains enormous amounts of energy, as everyone probably realizes). The math shows that
just be using nuclear wastes now on hand, breeders can produce all the electrical energy this country would need for the next 1000
years. In the process, the nuclear waste material becomes a
relatively low level radiactive problem. Right now there are, I believe, 3 or 4 working breeders. None, of course, are located in this "high tech" country of ours, which seems to have abandoned
all thoughts of leading the world in any technology. Or even being in second or third place. The former Communist countries seem to be leading the way with a rising standard of living. They more or less own the USA.

VolkerP | May 5, 2011


fast breeder reactor technology was discontinued by most OECD countries: USA, UK, France, Germany. Mostly for economic reasons. Energy for 1000 years is not desirable if it costs significantly more than other sources.

Japan sticks with all options of nuclear (is that a former communist country?) but their risk management shows room for improvement.

China is in desperate need of electricity.

The remaining countries (India, Russia) breed for their nuclear weapons, so cost is secondary issue here.

It appears to me that capitalist countries behave - well - capitalistic here. I would be happy if there is a viable technology and it is used to burn up all our nuclear waste in a safe and economic way. perhaps rubbiatron?

searcher | May 10, 2011

Well I'm back folks, hope you all enjoyed the respite. Anybody want to hear any tornado stories? We came out preety good, one tornando filmed touching down about amile from my house and another one caught with a picture from the airport about 3 miles form my home. Only damage here was all the electical activity prior to the tornados knocked out the modem on my PC. Of course I realize by some this may have been more under the boon catergory than damage, ha.
Most unusual storm story to me was baby picked up by storm in Tuscaloosa and delivered in Decatur,Al near a hospital relatively unharmed, distance of about 65 miles. Parents and child reunited I understand. Think University Of Alabama is temporarily closed. Understand Coach Sabin, his wife and family are all out working to help out as well as the Alabama football team. Heard the devastation is undescrible. Storm so strong in one place pulled up blacktop off the road. Understand several celebrities have come in to help out.
Strange thing I heard storm system coming, sounded like the classic rumbling train sound, very ominous but when actually hitting all around us was very still outside and sun actually trying to come out.
See the Top Gear wars are still going on. Heard last night on the radio that all world communications and media are owned by five companies with interlocking board of directors. Wonder if this is really true?
Good to be back chatting with you guys. Some of my friend in adjoining states couldn't get in touch with me and sent the sheriff out to check on me as they could get me on email or land line and didn't know my new cell number. Glad they cared enough to check on me.

searcher | May 11, 2011

Clarification: The baby was picked up and carried 65 miles by tornado and put back down with little or no physical harm from the tornado near a hospital. My friends could not get in touch with me on land line or email.

searcher | May 11, 2011

Heard recently that one of the main problems with the reactors in Japan were just too big and hard to shut down. Seems that smaller reactors would be easier to shut down. Think the reactors in Japan were american made.

Tiebreaker | May 11, 2011

Searcher, good to have you back, healthy and the usual self! :-)

searcher | May 11, 2011

Well "thnkyuvermuch" Tiebreaker. Good to be back. TCB

As I was rereading my tornado story I began to wonder if anyone had ever tried to duplicate the physics of a tornado in any kind of controlled lab experiment? Wonder what the inputs and outputs as far as energy would be and what the effeciences etc would be? Seems we are basically talking about cold air and hot air and the physics of the sudden combination of the two? Maybe a good way to lose a labratory, huh!

searcher | May 12, 2011

Have been doing some "catch up reading" and was intrigued by post of Ramon123 in which he states there is enough energy in waste nuclear materials to last this country 1000 years with "fast breeder reactors". Would like to hear this discussed further as in all matters there are most likely pros and cons.

I posted somewhere last night that I heard recently that the Japanese reactors were to big to shut down as quickly and easily as smaller reactors. Would like to here comments on this to. Incendently the Japanese reactors were american made.

searcher | May 12, 2011

Oops! not enogh catchup reading on this thread. See the 1000 year thing has been discussed some. So is the answer why use it when you have something cheaper?

VolkerP | May 12, 2011

Hi searcher, welcome back!

good to know you escaped these tornados.

Cost of nuclear power is widely disputed, as is cost of any other source when it comes to factoring in external cost (that the society and the tax payers bear). In case of nuclear, there was a new study published in Germany that quantifies the insurance sum for covering a Fukushima like devastation here in densely settled central Europe to 6 thousand billion Euros. (beware: billion in English is Milliarde in German.) Building up an insurance stock for that over 50 years would increase cost per kWh between .50 and 8 Euros (depends on pooling and cooperation of the insurers). Compare that to 0.05 Euros that a kWh from nuclear is sold today.

The problem with shutting down a nuclear reactor is dealing with the residue decay heat. As a rule of thumb, decay heat production is 7% of thermal output in the second the reactor is scrammed, decreases to 1% within 1 hour. So bigger reactors have bigger decay heat.
Older reactors are smaller but have outdated emergency coolant systems that cannot be updated in all circumstances. That may be the reason why Fukushima Daiichi #1 (1.38GW thermal, built in 1967) blew up as well as #3 (2.38GW th, 1970).

searcher | May 12, 2011

Yeah VolkerP good to be be back, thanks. I used to have a friend at work who would visit his grandparents in Germany and he would talk of the dense population. I used to get him to try living over there for awhile as his grandparents seemed to be fairly affluent at any rate they ran a very disciplined and tight ship and he desperately needed that at the time in his life.

So then more advanced reactors,easier to shut down etc. would certainly be a good way to be safer in these areas. Well anyway guess the fact we have the materials at least eliminates "we are going to run out of energy" thought, even though the price may be somewhat prohibitive and probably lifestyles and demographics would possibly have to be alterered some ,especially in the states. Good to know that improvements can be made over the current generation of reactors.

searcher | May 15, 2011

Well my theory is as a country if the working men and women of the country have relatively high employment and some jingling money{discretionary spending power} then all will be well, for them as well as the professional classes. So governments, private companies and all involved move in concert toward this goal then very good. Now give the working folks an electic vehicle to get around in and everything will be extra very good. Was delighted to hear Tesla shooting for a 15k car eventually. What prestige if they are able to pull it off even sooner than they thought. What profit to as people tend to stick with what works for them and if they can beat some of the big boys out of the chute this would be a big plus for Tesla, so maybe they might want to tweak their overall original plan a bit. Maybe have high end price and low end price at the same time and just follow the profits. The new german 1400 hundred dollar, 30 year, 6 minute charging battery could easily put this simultaneous fast track in their strategy. That is, if the information on the german battery is legit. Sounds almost too good to be true. What about this battery, Timo? Know you are watching this one like a hawk. Just seems like Tesla is going to have to speed up to point of working folks electric car to stay viable as all the other companies diving in are not slouches either. Make it high as possible off ground to make it a global contender to. That's one of Volvo's plus points in days gone by as a global seller, just simply high off ground for rough terrains.

searcher | May 16, 2011

As of today I have determined that Tesla needs more attention from our government and I have decided to call or write again and give them the Tesla messege. When I do I worould like to have a rough consensus of what you guys would say to our USA President if you were sitting in his office in a one on one conversation about Tesla. So send some thingsyou would like expressed and I will condense it down to several universal points and list them on this thread and then make the call. Keep it in as gracious a content as possible. Because that is the way it wil be presented. Of course I wont be talking to the president but just one of the people that answers the switchboard but would necessarily have to be as gracious as possible. Would relay this same consensus on to any other appropiate departments you all might deem relevant. Just seems that as election season approaches everybody needs to be more aware of Tesla and what they are undertaking. Feel like many in government due to the press of other issues are somewhat uninformed about Tesla. So just send in those letters boys and girls and we will get a consensus ready for presentation. All other countries please contribute to if you will.

Same as above bascically for BBC, but this would just be a consensus of fans of Tesla worldwide. Although you may not be in frame of mind with them to be gracious please force yourself and do it anyway. We will see if we can get them in our fold.

Seperate what you want to say either to Whitehouse or BBC.

searcher | May 16, 2011

Now another totally different train of thought. Suppose the new german battery turns out to be fully legit and Tesla found themselves in position they could move very fast simultaneosly{sp} both highend and lowend if they just had the capacity. In this case do you see any positives with them going in with some of the big producers to the great benefit of both companies or do yo see this as a negative strategy, wont call anyone on this one but would like to get a consensus of opionion on this just out of personal curiosity.

Brian H | May 16, 2011

Musk wants to retain flexibility, which means quick use of in-house or external advances. Its market position will depend on "leading the pack" technologically. This is very hard to do as a sub of a major. The rough outlines of the arrangement with Toyota seem to be pushing drive-train tech, and producing specific models on a kind of contract basis.

Remember, Elon is in it for the challenge and the fun. Hard to do as a division of a major. Unless you're amused by the "pok!" of heads bouncing off walls.

searcher | May 17, 2011

@BrianH, Again thanks for the insight on Elon Musk. Just suppose he did decide to go full bore with simultaneous fronts highend and lowend {just for the fun and challange} because it looks like he is going to be definitely challenged by the big boys on the mass lowend mass production front. Think he might think it a challenge to work out a deal with a big capacity producer, retain technological leadership etc, etc. In other words car come out with Tesla name but say Susuki or someone actually making it to his specs. Much like Susuki does or did the Geo's for Chevrolet much to the bottom line advantage of both. You know that bottom line thing is fun to.