As regular readers know, I have been involved with a company installing gas turbines in Ghana. Our next plan is to collect the exhaust heat, generate steam from it, and feed that into a steam turbine to generate more electricity for no added fuel cost.
That is a sensible way to boil water. It can go wrong – any large machine operating with high forces can do damage. But even the worst disaster would be localised and over in an instant.
All nuclear power stations do is to boil water to make steam for a steam turbine. Given the massively disproportionate potential forces at play, the capacity for a Chernobyl style disaster killing thousands, and the long term dangers from nuclear waste, that really is a very very silly – and enormously expensive – way to boil water. You have to be slightly deranged to see nuclear power as sensible.
Those massively disproportionate potential forces in play lead to nuclear power always bringing in its train government lies, secrecy, restrictions on liberty and increase in state power. For those reasons politicians find it attractive. As it involves massive capital cost, there is a big industry lobby that backs it. As many of the full costs are met by the state, the corruption possibilities are good too. That is why the lobby for this crazed option is so strong.
Here is another better way to boil water:
Within 6 hours deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consumes within a year. An area of around the size of a living room, covered by mirrors for concentrating solar thermal power plants, would suffice to cover the electricity need of one person day and night – carbon free.
Thanks to Ingo for the desertec link.