Nnadir at dailykos has another great observation which compares the increased power per year from 1993 to 2005 of non-fossil fuel sources in the United States
The rate of increase in units of energy, delivered as electrical power per year in the period between 1993 and 2005 (12 years). The units of this calculation will be thousand megawatt-hours/per year.
Wood (biomass): 96 thousand megawatt-hours/per year.
Waste: – 259 thousand megawatt-hours/per year. Negative number.
Geothermal: – 190 thousand megawatt-hours/per year. Negative number.
Solar: (Usually everybody’s favorite): +8
Wind (Another favorite): 1345 thousand megawatt-hours/per year.
Overall, renewable energy in the United States has increased at a rate of 1000 thousand megawatt-hours/per year.
The nuclear energy figure is 16,203 thousand megawatt-hours per year for nuclear even without building a new plant. Where did all this energy come from if no new plants were built? Improved operations mostly.
So nuclear power has been the fastest way to displace fossil fuels by a large margin. It will and should still be a major part of the solution to the problem of displacing fossil fuel.
Recent work from MIT indicates that existing nuclear plants could be modified to safely generate 50% more energy. This can be done by changing the shape of the fuel from rods to cylinders and by adding nanoparticles to the water. A power uprating application takes about a 18-24 month to be processed.
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