Science ... Nuclear / An Open Discussion ...

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator

Thanks for the input

My solar panels are guaranteed at 22% over rating. Rating of my panels are 360’s. I have a 10.8 kw grid in my roof. I have been negative only twice this year. Once I took 0.3 KWH from the grid and the second time 3 kWh

I hear what you say about batteries but they are now better than Tesla batteries.

I am still betting on solar

Plus the government is giving a 33% tax credit so imo it makes it affordable. According to my usage and what I pay each month to SDGE for just me and my wife was pushing $1000 per month. Perhaps it is a lot more affordable for you. For me it is a no brainer

My house is right on the fairway of our golf course and the roof is in s perfect direction. I’ve been using 15-25kwh over the past several week because of the cooler weather but I’ve been producing 60-70 kWh per day so I’ve been banking 40-50 kwh per day. I have banked over 5000 KWH since Oct

My ROI is 3.1/2 years.

I couldn’t be happier. The company I went with is USA made and the oldest solar company in America. It’s panels are on the Mars Rover. It has a 25 year bumper to bumper warranty andcas stated panels are 1.22 efficient

I’m waiting until end of this year as the battery development is indeed getting better. I’m a happy camper.


Member Sponsor
Nov 8, 2013
Silicon Valley
When I bought my solar the break even point was calculated to be five years. So, I have either hit it, or am pretty darn close. However, the value it added to the house sale price made it break even from day one.
Apr 14, 2018

I feel your pain on a personal level.However I am compelled to provide the truth,lack of fungible fuels is the one tonne elephant in the rectum of future sustainability.

Hydro-electric solar supported by flow batteries is the answer you seek.

Kindest regards,G.
Feb 8, 2011
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
General, it is impossible to feel the pain of another person @ the same level.
On nuclear radiation the ones who suffer the most are already dead and the ones who have cancer today due to nuclear radiation are the ones alive and suffering.

But all of us we suffer because our planet is affected, by fear.
And for the next 50,000 years it will never disappeared.

Tomorrow more are going to suffer. How many more is what we can make it less, or more depending of where scientists decide to put their efforts in. The rest automatically follows as history is our best gauge.

I have zero clue on best planet Earth management, on people living on Earth best management system. I only listen, read, watch. And Chernobyl, and Fukushima, and radio active wastes, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and other nuclear reactor accidents are not the best for the planet.

We don't use our brain, we use our power to dominate and regenerate like robots.
It does affect me a little, just a little in my brain and in my stomach, but not more than people living under radio active clouds and underground affected soil where they walk on, garden and farm and raise their families, living by the rivers and oceans contaminated. The one @ Fukushima; they are going to make more documentaries and TV series for the next hundred years to come...I believe. We won't even be here in thirty years, most of us @ WBF. But our great great great grandchildren will. Probably not in this forum but on other forums of high end science and technology from 100, 200, 500 years into tomorrow, with the info highway (telecom) @ the speed of light times twenty and with the data comparable to what is in all the world libraries and human history and planet Earth since the Big Bang.

But it don't really matter what I believe, what does is what scientists and engineers do and the risks they calculate and the consequences they account for. It's our universities and what we teach. It does not hurt, it's what we do with it that does. I'm talking nuclear here.

I almost invested in wave generated power, under the ocean, tide power.
Most companies go caput.

Wind turbines are bad close to populations but they still farm there those stubborn companies from Spain.

I thought solar power was a good solution but the more I search the more I discover it's the most toxic waste of tomorrow. I posted a video, Don mentioned it.

If the solution is as easy as you make it sounds, please provide solid scientific facts.
...Hydro-electric solar supported by flow batteries.

Best regards,

P.S. We are eternal if we want to, but immortal we are not.
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Apr 14, 2018
I am not sure you have the measure of me Sir;imagine an opium smoking "Spock" reading "Camus" and finding it hilarious.

El Hierro is a small Canarian island that has implemented the system i suggested.

Flow batteries are the least toxic and most reusable technology available.

One and done nuclear fission simply swaps one fuel for another to create the same hydro plant.

Only the nations using breeders(reactor type) have anything near a realistic future because of the scarcity of the fuel.

Try not to confuse innovative improvements with refined,re-branded engineering guff?

The middle four lines of text are facts.

Kindest regards,G.
Feb 8, 2011
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
I am not a big Star Trek fan, but the "Spock" visualisation as you just described is amusing. :)

Of course I searched around ...

This is a fascinating subject; renewable energy...clean, safe, healthy, non-damageable for future generations on Earth. Our hi-fi stereo systems would benefit and everything else that follows with it. It would sound healthier, more natural, more analog, less toxic, less mechanical, less chemical, less digital.

I admit, nuclear energy scares me a little.

Thanks General, Happy Father's Day.


Member Sponsor & WBF Technical Expert
Jun 23, 2010
Monument, CO
Hey Steve,

Thanks -- I should have made the disclaimer that solar energy is NOT my day job, far from it. I do follow it a little through professional and personal interest.

Sounds like you have a good solution! Last time I checked, 2-3 years ago, the breakeven was nearly ten years and the initial cost was >$20k for our house so we did not pursue further. At some point we'll look again, but a few months ago the local solar power companies had taken a huge jump in prices (did not ask why, could be the local building boom, or economic/political conditions, or whatever). We have a lot of sunlight here (house sits at ~7500' on the Colorado front range) but lose a little due to the hail shields they add (luckily we don't get big hail this high but they said we still need the shields).

I think our usage is significantly less than yours but I don't have a way to get daily data (our electric co-op says I can on their website, but only provided monthly averages for us -- drawback of living in the sticks, I guess). Our average for the past few months is ~10 to 15 kWhr with peaks around 25 kWhr. That may be partly why our breakeven is so long despite our per-kWhr costs being fairly high.

I've some friends who have added solar installations (one is a big prepper and one of the smartest guys I know; he did a massive amount of research first, so I need to talk to him again).

I've read about some interesting advancements in both solar cell and battery technology recently that seems promising. One of the issues is the availability of the raw (rare earth) materials for the cells. There are also some interesting hydrogen-based ideas out there.

There are compromises in any choice, sometimes hard to see what's right in the (very) long run. I certainly have no crystal ball... - Don

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Hi Don

I’ve akways had the greatest respect for your reokiesxas they are always filled with thought.

Yes solar has come a very long way and if anything in our neck of the woods the prices have fallen

In my due diligence there were only 3 companies that always stood at the top of the pack and I chose the only made in America solar panel company and have never looked back. As I stated my pavers are 360 watt but are rated 1.22 efficient for 22 years IIRC plus their 25 year bumper to bumper warranty was the best out there. This company did not make batteries because they said the technology is not there however 2, weeks ago I was informed they are releasing a SOTA battery end of this year.


Industry Expert
Nov 16, 2014
IMO the problem with nuclear is simply poor return on energy invested combined with both thermal and radioactive pollution.

1st, EROEI or Energy Return On Energy Invested... With nuclear it's only about 5:1 not counting the long term costs of dealing with radioactive pollution. Nuclear plants take a massive amount of energy to build, run and decommission.

To put this in perspective EROEI is probably around 20:1 for wind power by now, years ago when I was an engineer at Vestas Wind Turbines it was about 14:1.

On radioactive pollution, we don't know the energy or monetary costs of containment of waste, nor do we fully understand the result of events like Fukushima and Chernobyl on the world long-term. It's a massive risk and it's potential impacts are unknown beyond what we already know about radioactivity's effect on living organisms, which is very scary.

On thermal pollution, cooling requirements for a nuclear plant often raise the temperature of the body of water they use for cooling noticeably.
Likes: NorthStar


Member Sponsor & WBF Technical Expert
Jun 23, 2010
Monument, CO
@DaveC -- Good summary, though as you state long-term storage of the spent material eats into ROI big-time. There are claims of 10:1 or more for some modern plants (none in the USA). Last I read solar energy was running around 15~16:1 but I did not look closely into that so my numbers are probably off (memory of an article read a few weeks ago).

I do not know the ROI for hydro; at one time I checked and it was pretty high, partly due to the long-term yield (dams last a long time with relatively little maintenance).

Regulations have tightened considerably for cooling water release; again, not something I track, but a few recent articles noted most localities require cooling water to match the temperature of the water into which it is deposited.

I won't bother to go into the debate about nuclear power, though I know that is how this thread started, as the focus seems to be on alternatives. And despite actually studying it in college my memory is fallible and knowledge well out of date. At the time I was more interested in fusion experiments, another technology "almost there" that never became commercially viable.

Disposal of used solar cells and batteries is also a nightmare but not as long-term as for radioactive fuel rods, natch. And, unlike fuel rods, the solar cells and batteries could be recycled (even if that rarely seems to happen -- why the lack of focus on recycling technology has been one of my questions for decades, but again not something I track). We have radon problems around here so I am sensitive to low-level radioactivity.

There have been a couple of articles about the cost of maintaining and disposing of solar and wind facilities and it was more extensive than I had thought, but of course most technology (energy or otherwise) suffers from a lack of proper disposal and recovery techniques. I cannot remember the numbers off-hand but was surprised at the high failure rate of wind turbines. Aside from the active tracking arrays, solar cells have the advantage of no moving parts (or few -- some systems require fans to ventilate the battery storage areas).

Another consideration is the physical footprint required for solar and wind power; some environmentalists have decried the lost growing area under solar farms (the AFA just south of us has a fairly large solar farm and there were protests when it went in).

@Steve Williams -- Would you care to state the top three and the one you chose? In a PM is fine, curious.

25 years is very impressive. When I was researching, again a few years ago, warranties were in the 3 to 10 year range, with a hefty premium for longer terms. I am thinking in my quick look I did not find the right company(ies); the local AAA and my workplace had special offers at the time but I did not do a lot of additional looking. The initial timeline and cost were enough to shut it down for us at the time (still had kids in college).

There are maybe a dozen solar panel manufacturers in the USA plus perhaps twice that number of nationwide "solar companies" that assemble and install systems, plus of course numerous local providers. I do not remember which I looked at. Most buy solar cells and/or panels from China, which is not a big deal given the global manufacturing shift, but I prefer to buy local if possible. Here is one list: -- I have not looked at these companies, just had the site bookmarked. Some of the raw materials must still be imported IIRC.

All this makes me want to look into it (solar) again... Less than a decade (I hope!) from retirement, big projects like this take on more urgency, as they are not something we would be likely to do in retirement. I am also curious about the added value to house resales; I got very mixed feedback from a couple of real estate friends. Sounds like a lot depends upon the buyer, and some even considered it a negative as one more thing to maintain and potentially cause problems. About ten or so years ago a "bad" installer had to deal with a number of folk with roof damage after solar panel installation and it left a number of people around here sensitive to that as well. Part of the problem was the heavy snow and high winds (sometimes but not always at the same time) and apparently that led to some panels rocking/vibrating and damaging the roof. But I know people who have had them for 10+ years with no problem.

Thanks to all for the discussion! It is a very interesting topic and one I am unfamiliar with so it is good to read all the pro and con thoughts.
Likes: DaveC

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
Beverly Hills, CA
. . .
I'll stick with audio, no more science, no more photos, no more TV shows, no more movies, ...just audio. . . . .
That would be great, Bob.
Feb 8, 2011
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
I like sports, I like films, I like the planet, I like everything.
Ron I wasn't serious, I was humorous. WBF is a community of people who love everything.
If you want only audio, start a thread about just that.
Relax Ron, you are too tense, you are too authoritarian, life is great, high end audio is great, people are great.
It's a forum with diversification, various people and on all topics, best of everything.
Check the archives.

Peace man. We should visit each other one day; you would be surprised how nice it would be.
I'm a very very nice person, and I got tons of music and films...very high end culturally educated.
You have something interesting to say about nuclear energy?
Feb 8, 2011
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
It is not new but it sure is interesting ... island.htm

"However, electricity is not the only thing these man-made isles can offer.

If seawater is used as the OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) working fluid, it will be desalinated through the cycle of evaporation and condensation. For each megawatt of electricity produced, an OTEC plant can supply 300,000 gallons of fresh water per day.

Moreover, the cold water pumped up from the ocean depths is full of nutrients that could support fish farms or some other form of aquaculture."
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[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
Manila, Philippines
Where is all the dilithium crystals anyway? :D

In my imagined utopia it would be solar and wind for domestic use and nuclear for industry, land and ocean transport. That would limit fossil fuels to air transport. Of course for this to happen, a very high level of global political stability would be required especially for nuke powered cargo. Not something I see happening anytime soon!

In my mind dirty coal plants are the number one enemy.

Germany is a great case study as they proceed to decommission their nuke plants. From what my german friends tell me, this is not going very well. Maybe some of our german members can chime in.
Feb 8, 2011
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
Thanks Jack, you made me search on decommissioning nuclear plants, in Germany, and in the overall world ...

Me personally I am a little concerned with the Pacific Ocean, the wildlife, the humans, the world, my planet.
Not much, just enough to want learning more. ...Chernobyl, Fukushima ... when is the next one, and how long till we learn something good.

Perhaps I don't have a good reason to be a little concerned, and instead I should plan a visiting tour of Chernobyl and its surroundings...organize a field trip with family and friends and go check the local culture with their residents. /// Go taste their local cuisine and bring the kids to the amusement parks.

Germany, yes I would love to hear from German WBF members. Rainer is a hiend turntable designer, maybe he has some valuable info. There are few more living in those necks of the woods.

The first link above mentioned Fukushima and its impact for Germany to decommission ...

''Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) accident in March 2011, the German Government decided to end the use of nuclear energy for the commercial generation of electricity by gradually phasing it out. This decision resulted in an amendment of the German Atomic Energy Act (AtG) on 31 July 2011, withdrawing the authorization to operate an installation for the fission of nuclear fuel for the commercial production of electricity for the seven oldest NPPs and NPP Krümmel on 6 August 2011, and setting end dates for the authorization for the remaining nine NPPs in a phased approach ending in 2022."

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Article on solar panels and such (I have not had time to read it yet but saved it for later):

Hi Don

A very interesting link. Thank you for sharing it

Here is an actual report of my system since starting last year. It shows the increased efficiency of my panels

Hi team,

DA result below and attached is the lifetime production and performance index of the system since 10/4/2018 to 7/6/2019.
Let us know should there be any concern.


Module: (30) SPR-X22-360-D-AC
Year 1 Estimated Electricity Offset: 119.0%
Year 1 Target Production: 17,152 kWh
Energy Start Date: October 04, 2018

A. No performance modeling issue, the system is performing as expected:
Target Production (10.4.2018-7.6.2019) = 11,160.1 kWh
Actual Production (10.4.2018-7.6.2019) = 12,077.3 kWh
Lifetime Performance Index = 108.2%

B. Component check on 7/7/2019:
1. No active alert flag observed in SMS Partner UI.
2. All (30) microinverters are reporting.
3. Updated PVS5 Firmware version on 7/7/2019.
4. Consumption CT installed and configured correctly.
5. Turned on Production CT on 7/7/2019.

C. Evaluation of Maxfit Design and Actual Installation:
1. Maxfit Design - roof dimensions and site obstructions (chimney, trees, house next door) properly modeled in the Maxfit Design.
2. Module Layout - the number of modules per array matches the final EDDIE Layout but the module positioning is a bit off. The discrepancy is very minor and will not cause underproduction.

D. The system is expected to meet the Year 1 Target. Barring system failure and excessive soiling, the system is expected to produce ~6,700 kWh from July to Oct.

1. The system is performing as expected and there is no active system failure. No action required for this site.

1. Keep all nearby trees/shrubs/hedges trimmed annually to ensure that the modules will receive as much sunlight as it did upon installation.

2. Wash the modules regularly (bi-monthly during dry season) to avoid performance issue due to soiling.

3. Maintain a functioning indoor internet connection and keep the SunPower Monitoring System connected to internet at all times for proper system monitoring.

Energy Production ComparisonThis workbook is intended to provide a method to compare output of SunPower Residential sites to expectationsFor sites with PEGU (lease, etc), go to SPEAR and pull the last 12 months of dataRevision v0.2Site Performance Metrics Past 30 Days Past 90 Days Lifetime Produced1,657.6kWhProduced4,768.0kWhProduced12,077.3kWhModeled1,599.3kWhModeled4,374.5kWhModeled11,160.1kWhPerf. Index103.6% Perf. Index109.0% Perf. Index108.2% Combined Data AreaDate
Likes: DaveC


Member Sponsor & WBF Technical Expert
Jun 23, 2010
Monument, CO
Looks good, Steve! Did they show you a chart of how power output changes over time for a typical array?

Are your panels accessible to wash (I assume that is mostly a hose-off, do they suggest using some sort of detergent or other cleaner?) I had forgotten about that; part of my cost included ~$500/year maintenance including cleaning the panels. Our roof is high and cleaning panels is not something I would want to do.

I still need to contact Solar Power, last few workweeks averaged 70+ hours so just no time. Working from home this afternoon and getting ready for our younger son's birthday tomorrow.

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