Friday, June 22, 2007

On Nuclear Energy, Cooling and the Steam Cycle

It's June, so it's time to trot out the old charge that Summer heat waves are going to shut down nuclear power plants around the world. This time, the story appeared in the Globe and Mail, so I guess I ought to link to Lisa Stiles-Shell's original rebuttal.

Then again, I wonder why we haven't seen more attention paid to the performance of wind power during California's heat wave last Summer.

2 comments:

Joffan said...

I assume this article: Will France be caught with its plants down? is the one you're referring to.

I'd think the other thermal plants are affected also but they are hardly in a position to publicize it. Given the rest of their compliance culture, they probably just run their outlet water over the heat limit and pay the fine.

Jim Baerg said...

In Lisa Stiles rebuttal she includes the option:
"--Invent a thermodynamic cycle better than the ones the world's best minds have come up with in the past two centuries or so"

This:
http://vortexengine.ca/index.shtml
*might* turn out to be just that.
The very short explanation is that it's a way to use the upper atmosphere as the cold end for a bottoming cycle. Ie: it's NOT a perpetual motion machine of either kind, but a way to improve the efficiency of any thermal engine, by lowering the temperature of the cold heat sink.