Author Topic: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore  (Read 2922 times)

norajean

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"Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« on: April 29, 2020, 07:57:44 AM »
Planet of the Humans was released to Youtube on Earth Day 2020.  One of my favorite film makers, Michael Moore ("Roger and Me"), is responsible.  The film shows how anti-green many renewable energy sources are at present.  It takes more fossil fuel energy to build many solar and wind installations than they actually save.  In addition, the source materials for batteries and solar panels requires some of the most environmentally damaging mining on earth. The film talks a lot about biomass, which seems like more greenwashing.  Moore is in his element, of course, in Detroit where a dingbat VP from Chevy proudly rolls out the Bolt then admits that Lansing Michigan electricity is sourced by 95% coal!

Chris22

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2020, 08:00:47 AM »
Planet of the Humans was released to Youtube on Earth Day 2020.  One of my favorite film makers, Michael Moore ("Roger and Me"), is responsible.  The film shows how anti-green many renewable energy sources are at present.  It takes more fossil fuel energy to build many solar and wind installations than they actually save.  In addition, the source materials for batteries and solar panels requires some of the most environmentally damaging mining on earth. The film talks a lot about biomass, which seems like more greenwashing.  Moore is in his element, of course, in Detroit where a dingbat VP from Chevy proudly rolls out the Bolt then admits that Lansing Michigan electricity is sourced by 95% coal!

I think Michael Moore is a blithering idiot at best, intellectually dishonest at worst, but putting that aside, it was explained to me that itís a lot easier and more efficient to clean up hundreds of power plants than millions or cars.

availablelight

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2020, 09:57:47 AM »
Planet of the Humans was released to Youtube on Earth Day 2020.  One of my favorite film makers, Michael Moore ("Roger and Me"), is responsible.  The film shows how anti-green many renewable energy sources are at present.  It takes more fossil fuel energy to build many solar and wind installations than they actually save.  In addition, the source materials for batteries and solar panels requires some of the most environmentally damaging mining on earth. The film talks a lot about biomass, which seems like more greenwashing.  Moore is in his element, of course, in Detroit where a dingbat VP from Chevy proudly rolls out the Bolt then admits that Lansing Michigan electricity is sourced by 95% coal!

That 95% figure is almost certainly false, but this is changing fairly quickly so it's easy for people's beliefs about it to simply be out of date.  According to https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=MI , Michigan generated more electricity in January 2020 from natural gas alone, and nuclear alone, than from coal.  I doubt his claims about renewable energy equipment requiring more energy than it produces are anywhere near current, either.

Biomass is indeed greenwashing, and it's fundamentally limited.  In the UK it's a way for old coal plants to run on imported timber instead and get renewable subsidies.

Overall, I don't trust Michael Moore as far as I can throw him, so I'll wait for the debunking blog post that will probably be better-sourced than his latest crockumentary.

maizefolk

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2020, 10:08:59 AM »
...I'll wait for the debunking blog post that will probably be better-sourced than his latest crockumentary.

I found this one particularly useful in that regard:

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/04/michael-moores-green-energy-takedown-worse-than-netflixs-goop-series/

bacchi

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2020, 11:40:23 AM »
This movie reminds me of the blog post about how the Hummer uses less energy over its life than a Prius.

nereo

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2020, 01:02:06 PM »
Planet of the Humans was released to Youtube on Earth Day 2020.  One of my favorite film makers, Michael Moore ("Roger and Me"), is responsible.  The film shows how anti-green many renewable energy sources are at present.  It takes more fossil fuel energy to build many solar and wind installations than they actually save.  In addition, the source materials for batteries and solar panels requires some of the most environmentally damaging mining on earth. The film talks a lot about biomass, which seems like more greenwashing.  Moore is in his element, of course, in Detroit where a dingbat VP from Chevy proudly rolls out the Bolt then admits that Lansing Michigan electricity is sourced by 95% coal!

The number and scale of the inaccuracies presented in Planet of the Humans is truly horrible.
The claims that it takes more fossil fuel energy to build many solar and wind installations is completely false. 

No, Michael Moore was not "responsible' when making this POS.

UpNAtom

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2020, 08:51:37 AM »
Planet of the Humans was released to Youtube on Earth Day 2020.  One of my favorite film makers, Michael Moore ("Roger and Me"), is responsible.  The film shows how anti-green many renewable energy sources are at present.  It takes more fossil fuel energy to build many solar and wind installations than they actually save.  In addition, the source materials for batteries and solar panels requires some of the most environmentally damaging mining on earth. The film talks a lot about biomass, which seems like more greenwashing.  Moore is in his element, of course, in Detroit where a dingbat VP from Chevy proudly rolls out the Bolt then admits that Lansing Michigan electricity is sourced by 95% coal!

The number and scale of the inaccuracies presented in Planet of the Humans is truly horrible.
The claims that it takes more fossil fuel energy to build many solar and wind installations is completely false. 

No, Michael Moore was not "responsible' when making this POS.

It would be hard to imagine that a solar farm used more fossil fuels than it will offset over its lifespan. 

However, I did find a source (which was likely butchered) that the creation of NEW solar panels is taking more fossil fuel than CURRENT solar panels create.  (i.e., current panels are soon/or have finally -as a whole- started to generate enough energy to offset the energy required to create the ever increasing production of new panels)

nereo

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2020, 09:37:42 AM »
Planet of the Humans was released to Youtube on Earth Day 2020.  One of my favorite film makers, Michael Moore ("Roger and Me"), is responsible.  The film shows how anti-green many renewable energy sources are at present.  It takes more fossil fuel energy to build many solar and wind installations than they actually save.  In addition, the source materials for batteries and solar panels requires some of the most environmentally damaging mining on earth. The film talks a lot about biomass, which seems like more greenwashing.  Moore is in his element, of course, in Detroit where a dingbat VP from Chevy proudly rolls out the Bolt then admits that Lansing Michigan electricity is sourced by 95% coal!

The number and scale of the inaccuracies presented in Planet of the Humans is truly horrible.
The claims that it takes more fossil fuel energy to build many solar and wind installations is completely false. 

No, Michael Moore was not "responsible' when making this POS.

It would be hard to imagine that a solar farm used more fossil fuels than it will offset over its lifespan. 

However, I did find a source (which was likely butchered) that the creation of NEW solar panels is taking more fossil fuel than CURRENT solar panels create.  (i.e., current panels are soon/or have finally -as a whole- started to generate enough energy to offset the energy required to create the ever increasing production of new panels)
Thatísa really weird metric and about the growth of the industry than anything

Bottom line is that PV installed within a good location recoups the energy it cost to construct and transport within about 18 months. Given that the lifespan of new panels exceeds 25 years it will recoup the costs of production many times over. Also of note, add more of the grid is powered by renewables the fossil fuel cost of future production per panel goes down.

There are entire studies micro-analyzing these factors, none of which Moore looked at in the film.

UpNAtom

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2020, 09:53:30 AM »
Thatísa really weird metric and about the growth of the industry than anything

Bottom line is that PV installed within a good location recoups the energy it cost to construct and transport within about 18 months. Given that the lifespan of new panels exceeds 25 years it will recoup the costs of production many times over. Also of note, add more of the grid is powered by renewables the fossil fuel cost of future production per panel goes down.

There are entire studies micro-analyzing these factors, none of which Moore looked at in the film.

Any chance to butcher stats to one's own needs I guess... (Paraphrasing: "The great thing about statistics is that if you torture them enough, they will tell you anything you want")


Random sampling of sources say that it is 2-6 years to produce the energy originally needed to make a generic panel (even if 100% fossil is used, that's good on something that should last 15-25+ years)
« Last Edit: May 12, 2020, 09:58:12 AM by UpNAtom »

less4success

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2020, 01:08:26 PM »
This movie reminds me of the blog post about how the Hummer uses less energy over its life than a Prius.

In the sense that it is based on faulty analysis (e.g. that a Hummer will last 357,000 miles vs. only 109,000 miles for a Prius...)?

http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/Thoc/hummer_vs_prius.pdf

bacchi

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2020, 01:13:32 PM »
This movie reminds me of the blog post about how the Hummer uses less energy over its life than a Prius.

In the sense that it is based on faulty analysis (e.g. that a Hummer will last 357,000 miles vs. only 109,000 miles for a Prius...)?

http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/Thoc/hummer_vs_prius.pdf

Exactly.

In that case, the first warning sign is that the "study" was released by an automotive marketing group.

availablelight

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2020, 02:22:34 PM »
Biomass is indeed greenwashing, and it's fundamentally limited.  In the UK it's a way for old coal plants to run on imported timber instead and get renewable subsidies.
We need to be careful since biomass includes a lot of different technologies and isn't just limited to ethanol or power plants burning wood. Burning wood chips also ins't as bad as the documentary made it out to be, but it depends upon where you are getting the wood chips from. There's a huge difference between burning, short rotation woody crops, chipped slash from logging operations (e.g., tree farms), and old growth timber.

Sure, but legitimate biomass (burning wood that would have gone to waste and such) is even more fundamentally limited.  There just isn't enough fuel for it to go around.

nereo

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2020, 02:28:06 PM »
This movie reminds me of the blog post about how the Hummer uses less energy over its life than a Prius.

In the sense that it is based on faulty analysis (e.g. that a Hummer will last 357,000 miles vs. only 109,000 miles for a Prius...)?

http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/Thoc/hummer_vs_prius.pdf

Exactly.

In that case, the first warning sign is that the "study" was released by an automotive marketing group.

From the synopsis:

Closer inspection suggests that the reportís conclusions rely on faulty methods of analysis, untenable assumptions, selective use and presentation of data, and a complete lack of peer review. Even the most cursory look reveals serious biases and flaws: the average Hummer H1 is assumed to travel 379,000 miles and last for 35 years, while the average Prius is assumed to last only 109,000 miles over less than 12 years. These selective and unsupported assumptions distort the final results. A quick re-analysis with peer-reviewed data leads to completely opposite conclusions: the life-cycle energy requirements of hybrids and smaller cars are far lower than Hummers and other large SUVs.


TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2020, 12:09:52 PM »
Biomass is indeed greenwashing, and it's fundamentally limited.  In the UK it's a way for old coal plants to run on imported timber instead and get renewable subsidies.
We need to be careful since biomass includes a lot of different technologies and isn't just limited to ethanol or power plants burning wood. Burning wood chips also ins't as bad as the documentary made it out to be, but it depends upon where you are getting the wood chips from. There's a huge difference between burning, short rotation woody crops, chipped slash from logging operations (e.g., tree farms), and old growth timber.

Sure, but legitimate biomass (burning wood that would have gone to waste and such) is even more fundamentally limited.  There just isn't enough fuel for it to go around.
That goes back to my original point though, there's more "legitimate biomass" than wood and even if you are looking at wood, not all of it is the same. To the bigger point nobody thinks that biomass is going to cover all of our energy needs, but anyone that's actually done any real study in the area knows that everything is part of a portfolio of renewable energy sources (including biomethane). In short, this tends to be really complicated and anyone feeding you bullet points is likely trying to sell you something.

Indeed. Any practical solution to the waste and energy sustainability problem will feature multiple strategies that take the needs of the region and its people-- and the availability of alternatives-- into account. There are places where biomass could be a very legitimate strategy for at least some heat or energy generation. Realistically, though, the only solutions that get my attention involve significant reductions in consumption especially by people in wealthier nations, in conjunction with an acknowledgement of the impact of unchecked population growth and lifestyle inflation.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2020, 07:58:01 AM »
Realistically, though, the only solutions that get my attention involve significant reductions in consumption especially by people in wealthier nations, in conjunction with an acknowledgement of the impact of unchecked population growth and lifestyle inflation.
Neither of which is very practical though. As you see developing nations transition to developed (i.e., China) people want a tangible benefit of their sacrifice and schadenfreude from watching other nations collapse (i.e., Great Britain) isn't going to cut it. Conversely, fertility is inversely related to income, so developing nations tend to be more responsible for unchecked population growth than developed nations (higher income + educated women = fewer children).

You really can't talk about population control in academic and political circles (well, you can talk around it) since nobody really wants to critique developing nations. Likewise, you also really can't tell developing nations that as they develop they need to consume less... since most indicators of developed status are tied to consumption.

Most people that have seriously studied sustainability tend to either be really pessimistic people, or really optimistic people.

Population control and prosperity go hand in hand. Realistically, the only place where significant reduction in consumption is possible is in the wealthy and well developed nations. The poorest people in the least developed nations don't consume much to begin with, and reducing that just doesn't make sense especially in the context of energy. But if the middle class and affluent people in richer countries were able to find ways to dial down their energy consumption by about 10% per capita-- and it will be easier for some than for others-- that would make a tangible difference environmentally and I believe it is extremely viable.

With me, the biggest contribution to my carbon footprint has been travel. By cutting that by 75% about five years ago I think I created some positive change. It hasn't gone to zero, and it isn't going to, however I do believe that the average middle class or upper middle class person can be intelligent about what they buy and consume.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2020, 09:34:46 AM »
Realistically, though, the only solutions that get my attention involve significant reductions in consumption especially by people in wealthier nations, in conjunction with an acknowledgement of the impact of unchecked population growth and lifestyle inflation.
Neither of which is very practical though. As you see developing nations transition to developed (i.e., China) people want a tangible benefit of their sacrifice and schadenfreude from watching other nations collapse (i.e., Great Britain) isn't going to cut it. Conversely, fertility is inversely related to income, so developing nations tend to be more responsible for unchecked population growth than developed nations (higher income + educated women = fewer children).

You really can't talk about population control in academic and political circles (well, you can talk around it) since nobody really wants to critique developing nations. Likewise, you also really can't tell developing nations that as they develop they need to consume less... since most indicators of developed status are tied to consumption.

Most people that have seriously studied sustainability tend to either be really pessimistic people, or really optimistic people.

Population control and prosperity go hand in hand. Realistically, the only place where significant reduction in consumption is possible is in the wealthy and well developed nations. The poorest people in the least developed nations don't consume much to begin with, and reducing that just doesn't make sense especially in the context of energy. But if the middle class and affluent people in richer countries were able to find ways to dial down their energy consumption by about 10% per capita-- and it will be easier for some than for others-- that would make a tangible difference environmentally and I believe it is extremely viable.
I think you might have missed the point of what I was writing. Developed nations do need to keep doing things to cut their consumption. However, long-term the biggest problems are actually going to come from developing nations! That's a counter-intuitive point that most people don't really appreciate.

Here's a rough example. The per capita GDP of the United States is about 63,000 USD while the per capita GDP of China is about 10,000 USD. If everyone in the United States cuts their consumption by 10% then the GDP per capita would be 56,700 USD. A meaningful reduction that most people would tolerate and total reduction across the population would be about 2.1 trillion USD. However, China is is trying to lift more of the country to middle class where the median income for that bracket is about 20,000 USD, so already you are getting a doubling in consumption. However, when you look at that across the population of 1.393 billion you end with an increase of 14 trillion USD in consumption! To balance that increase you would need to drop the per capita GDP in the United States by 44,100 USD, which would cause massive disruptions both domestically and globally.

Those figures aren't even accounting for the impact that India (population of 1.353 billion) becoming increasingly middle class would have. Things look even more grim if we continue to expand the population we are looking at and the bottom line remains the same: the most aggressive consumption reductions in developer nations are not enough to offset increased consumption as more people are lifted out of poverty.

Which is why-- as I stated-- the only solutions that get my attention involve significant reductions in consumption especially by people in wealthier nations, in conjunction with an acknowledgement of the impact of unchecked population growth and lifestyle inflation.

You responded with information about the lifestyle inflation that goes along with the transition from developing to developed country. I agree completely, and I'll also note that the consumption increase occurs immediately, long before women gain control over their reproduction and no longer have large families. The change in reproduction rates requires a change in culture, and you don't change culture simply by adding money. Case in point: Saudi Arabia and other oil states that got a big influx of money in the 1970s.

Overall I don't see that we're in disagreement, except that I think I see an opportunity to scale down the harmful effects of overconsumption. As long as people in wealthy countries overconsume, they set an aspirational standard that people in other nations want to live up to. One way to slow that process down is for the people at the top 10% to consume less and for the rest of us to stop advertising or accepting hyperconsumption as a cultural goal. This initiative has to be led by wealthier people in wealthier countries, otherwise it's just one more round of "I got mine, so forget you".

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2020, 11:08:31 AM »
... in conjunction with an acknowledgement of the impact of unchecked population growth and lifestyle inflation.
I think you might be missing the nuance there though. Even if we reduce consumption in developed nations and births are kept to replacement value (2.1 children per woman) then you still have to confront increasing consumption as economic development increases. Note that I didn't say "lifestyle inflation" there since that is such a nebulous term. Installing flush toilets is technically "lifestyle inflation" for someone that doesn't have them, but good sanitation is a reasonable thing for someone to want. However, depending on the type of toilets you either have a lot of infrastructure to support them (pipes, sewers, sewage treatment, etc.) or you are looking at trying to manage septic fields, plus the material costs of producing and installing those toilets. Running water and indoor toilets have historically been considered luxuries for a reason.

That's the real crux of the problem - a lot of people want to "acknowledge" things and then try to find ways of reducing consumption in developed nations. That's actually a fairly easy problem though that lots of people are working on, some even inadvertently. However, unless we can figure out innovative solutions to bring people out of poverty without massive ecosystem burdens, the increase in resource consumption by people slightly above poverty will offset any reductions in consumption by the more affluent nations.

Much depends on the population consuming those resources. I believe that the way to bring people out of poverty without the massive ecosystem burdens is to be intelligent about infrastructure development and to emphasize waste management along with consumption. There's no reason other nations have to reinvent the wheel. But without a substantial dip in the aspirational McMansion lifestyle in wealthier countries, people in developing countries are not going to willingly stop at the just-above-poverty level.

When I talk about reduction in consumption, I'm not just talking about individuals. Developed countries need to put the same effort into maintaining and modernizing their infrastructure as they do into building it. A great deal of the waste and pollution that occurs in industrialized countries is related to lapses in maintenance that result in spills, leaks, and such. Sadly, industries have displayed a stunning lack of ability to self-regulate.

pecunia

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2020, 11:22:38 AM »
I saw the movie.  He kind of ignored nuclear power.  Nukes are expensive, but can last for 60 years.  Newer nuke types will have much less waste.  It won't be a huge volume to store the high level waste from a newer plant.  They do not produce greenhouse gases, can be used to create ecologically friendly liquid fuels and we can both maintain and enhance our standard of living.

The sun does not have to be shining, the wind does not have to be blowing, you don't need to chop down a forest and your refrigerator will be able to keep your beer cold. 

It's odd - This is a major thing that can help with the global warming issue and there are a lot of people out there that will not even consider it. 

nereo

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2020, 12:58:08 PM »
I saw the movie.  He kind of ignored nuclear power.  Nukes are expensive, but can last for 60 years.  Newer nuke types will have much less waste.  It won't be a huge volume to store the high level waste from a newer plant.  They do not produce greenhouse gases, can be used to create ecologically friendly liquid fuels and we can both maintain and enhance our standard of living.

The sun does not have to be shining, the wind does not have to be blowing, you don't need to chop down a forest and your refrigerator will be able to keep your beer cold. 

It's odd - This is a major thing that can help with the global warming issue and there are a lot of people out there that will not even consider it.

Itís considered.  Oh boy is it ever considered.  Anytime a thread (here or elsewhere) is focused on climate change the topic of more nuclear energy capacity comes up, and those in favor seem to gloss over the hurdles and keep repeating ďbut Nuclear!!Ē

Hereís the cliff-notes version:  nuclear plants are indeed a great source of green energy once they are in service.  However (the part that gets glossed over), they take an enormous amount of capital to build, take well over a decade to construct not including the design phase, are vulnerable to NIBY litigation since few want a reactor in their neighborhood and local rights carry legal weight, and we have no repository solution for spent fuel, burdening every plant with storage and security issues not just during operation but in perpetuity.  Consequentially, we have not built a new plant in the US in 30 years, and we are rapidly decommissioning those that are at end-of-life (I believe 6 went offline in 2018/19).

Donít misunderstand me - I believe we absolutely should consider next gen nuclear reactors.  But the simple fact is if we started today and removed a lot of barriers and provided tens of billions in funding we wouldnít have additional capacity until 2035, and those are pretty ideal circumstances.  Even then the cost-per-kw*hr is going to be higher initially due to the massive upfront cost.


pecunia

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2020, 03:26:09 PM »
I don't think it has to take that long to build these things.  Having worked at several, I've seen many administrative hurdles.

It didn't used to take as long as it does today. 

https://www.ci.monticello.mn.us/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7BD9519C23-CFCC-4D2A-B1CD-602766F3B941%7D

The link says it took 5 years to build Monticello which still operates today.

nereo

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2020, 06:18:19 PM »
I don't think it has to take that long to build these things.  Having worked at several, I've seen many administrative hurdles.

It didn't used to take as long as it does today. 

Yes, this is a frequent response.  Perhaps we could build them faster, but most experts seem to disagree, as Gen III (and the still hypothetical Gen IV) reactors are completely different beasts and orders of magnitude more complex than the Gen I BWR like Monticello.

Worth noting that the last two attempts at building Gen III reactors in the US both were mothballed after a decade of construction, far from commission.

No one has built that kind of reactor in that time frame... not here, not in Europe, and even in China. Frankly I donít want us rushing to build new plants based on new designs in record time... thatís a recipe for disaster.

Also important is construction is just the final step in the process.  Each reactor design is unique, and that alone adds several years to the project.

Iíll reiterate - Iíd love to see more nuclear power in our arsenal, and I worked as an analyst on two decommissioning projects.  But itís unrealistic to think we can just build them safer and faster and without opposition and with some untold funding source without serious consideration to how, exactly, we do that.


pecunia

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Re: "Planet of the Humans" film by Michael Moore
« Reply #21 on: May 15, 2020, 07:41:05 PM »
Yes - Probably won't happen in the US.  Pilot plants should be built first.  Maybe, they can be built in Tuva or someplace like that, but there will not be enough time for the global warming thing.