Monday, April 4, 2011

Solar vs. Nuclear: Solar is the Better Buy

I wrote this on my new solar site:

-By Ryan Moody

Recently I posted my discontent about the Japanese nuclear crisis on Facebook, and a couple of my friends criticized me and tried to defend nuclear power for some reason. Was I being too emotional in reaction to catastrophic events? I didn't think so, because I try to base such decisions on economic reasons. But I didn't know enough to defend my position. So... I decided to do my own research to see which is actually economically better, without considering the safety risks or health hazards.

First, I found this seemingly unbiased article at
From this and some other sources, I gleaned that essentially, despite cheaper costs in China (due to labor..), the cost to build a new nuclear plant in America will be at least $3K to $4K per kilowatt (kW) of capacity, in other words $3 to $4 per watt. What does this mean? Simply, for a 1-Gigawatt nuclear plant, the "capacity" is 1 billion watts, so it will cost at least $3-4 billion for the whole plant. Usually, they build a 2-Gigawatt plant, so it will cost $6-8 billion for that, and take 3 to 5 years. And this will of course be taxpayer money backing the loans and we'll take all of the risk in case of overages, unexpected delays, etc.

Compare this to solar costs. This article ( explains how the cost of solar will soon reach $2 per watt of capacity. That site actually references this longer paper by Professor Emeritus of Economics and former Chancellor of Duke Univ, John O. Blackburn (ref: Blackburn explains that the actual cost of producing solar power is already cheaper than nuclear power, as of 2010! 

I've also found companies like First Solar who can manufacture panels at less than $1 per watt. So that's how after labor and installation it's certain we will achieve solar plant costs for as little as $2 per watt of capacity. Wind power is already comparable to these prices, too. And for time frame, to build the largest solar field in Spain took just 11 months. Remember this is for plant-sized projects. But we should keep in mind solar is modular, so you don't have to finish a 2-Gigawatt project to start getting electricity. If builders are smart about it they could start generating power within a few months, and add capacity as they go.

Back to the nuclear plant. Once it's finished being built, hopefully in less than 5 years, it will then generate a lot of reliable electricity every year. But it will involve operating costs for the fuel (uranium or plutonium) and for the highly skilled workers (like Homer Simpson ~kidding~) that should work and monitor the facility, and for the special trucks, drivers, and security personnel to transport all nuclear fuel and waste to and from the plant. OK, but it IS efficient at producing energy, and it can run all hours of the day unlike solar plants. So, when all that is said and done, it will still be relatively cheap for a kWh of electricity to reach your home, relative to coal cheap.

Coal and nuclear seem cheap for now, but according to the research I cited above, solar is already CHEAPER. Also, on a future outlook note, both nuclear and coal have something important in common: limited resources. Whether its uranium or coal, they both use fuel. With competitive interests from China, the EU, Japan, Brazil, and other developing countries, these fuel prices will continue to rise with demand, and it should be more viable for the US to be exporting coal rather than consuming it. Solar power, as far as we know, is a sustainable and virtually unlimited resource that is being given to us whether we use it or not. Plus, you don't have to be a team of nuclear engineers to monitor a field of solar panels.

So I think I've made my point that solar power is economically more viable than nuclear power, WITHOUT even mentioning the words meltdown, natural disaster threats, radiation, climate change, waste disposal concerns, terrorist attacks on nuke plants, nuclear arms proliferation.... JEEZ you get the point right?

Solar prices will continue to drop, especially as technology advances and economies of scale bring costs down. But that's actually beside the point, because we don't need to wait for better technology. Just like, even though everyone knows the next iphone that comes out will be better than the current one, they've already sold 100 million iphones. Why? The current technology is good enough and affordable enough to meet our needs. Solar power is ready and affordable. Now.

So why is our government going to spend ANY money, let alone BILLIONS of DOLLARS on Nuclear power when Solar power is right here and ready? We could easily just spend the same amount on solar and wind power. Why? It doesn't really matter. What matters is, what are we gonna do about it?

I'll say it again: Solar power is ready and affordable. Now.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Master Control Program

Google cut off my adsense! I think because I purposely posted that people should support my music site by clicking ads. Or maybe my girlfriend just got too click-happy.

Either way it made me realize how powerful they are getting and how censoring could be the next step. No one will even be able to read this since google also owns this Blogger site! I think I gotta switch over to a different web host that's a little less Master Control Program (Tron anyone?).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Republican power means the rich get richer (and the poor get...?)


Awww, the banks and wall street were having a tough time filling their swimming pools with money... Now they might be able to afford a moneyfall! Hoo-rayyy!!!

When I have time, I'm going to write an editorial on this asshole's article. Please remind me.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Florida Election 2010 Madness


My good friend Jonathan Graessle added the following thoughtful comments about the Florida governor's race. Since I left out any meaningful analysis of that contest I endorse his assessment. Here it is:

"Please don't vote for that carpet bagging Rick Scott. Not only is he dishonest (see his depo for the largest medicare fraud in US history where he plead the 5th like 75 times), but he has zero experience in government ("resumes") and his experiences in Florida are limited to his gated community in Naples. Hell, he moved to Florida when we were juniors in HS. Also, hasn't he spent like $50 million of his own money trying to buy this thing?

Check out the November 24th Article on him...
What's your beef with Alex Sink (besides having a D next to her name)?. She's very moderate and pragmatic. If you like Charlie Crist (when he's running for Senate), I couldn't imagining you not loving her."

Well said John! And thank you for your contribution. Anyone else out there who wants to add to our discussion is welcome to comment. 

Here's what I think about...

FL Senator:
Charlie Crist, current FL governor, formerly Republican now NPA (No Party Affiliation)

Ok so Charlie has gotten a lot of flack for being a weak Republican, some would say a progressive Republican, who changes his mind sometimes to go with what he thinks is right. Sometimes he even goes with what the majority of voters think is right.

Well I ask you, what is wrong with that? Isn't the point of having a so-called REPublic to have a REPresentative who REPresents the majority? A level-headed man who keeps certain respectable principles while flexibly taking into account the sentiment of his constituents seems like a worthy politician. That means he might actually listen to the letters you send him and vote accordingly. As opposed to, well, playing the politics of your party, strictly voting along party lines and being bought by corporations.

Personally, I would have worried more about Crist if he remained a Republican and bent over for the Tea Party. His being NPA makes it much easier for me to at least expect he won't be easily roped into either side and just vote in a practical way. Let this begin a new trend of NPA power.

CFO: Ken Mazzie (NPA)
I'm voting Ken Mazzie for CFO. He's No Party Affiliation and a CPA. I like his position papers and credentials as outlined on his site as well.
NPA + CPA = CFO. It makes sense to me.

Commissioner of Agriculture: Thaddeus Hamilton (NPA)
THAD-DE-US! And look at that smile~ Need I say more?
40 years in USDA-Natural Resources Conservation. For Commissioner of Agriculture that's good enough for me.

FL Attorney General: Jim Lewis (NPA)
"REALIZE it's time to LEGALIZE!"
May I introduce Jim Lewis for Florida Attorney General.
Endorsed by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg muthaf***az!

NPA trend?

Through the internet people can easily discover all the information available about any particular name on the ballot--which is what I've done below. I'll admit, last election in 2008 I didn't carefully examine some of the smaller tickets on the ballot. But today I took a little bit of time to look at every name on the list of the following offices, and guess what? NPA's rock this year!

Who needs party affiliation for non-voting offices like the CFO or Attorney General or Com. of Ag.?? It doesn't make any sense to me. Take Thaddeus Hamilton for Agriculture for instance. Besides a resemblance to Morgan Freeman, Thad has worked in the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Services for 40 years. He has a track record with ample experience dealing with farmers and agribusiness, plus supports conserving the environment and Florida's natural resources.

These are just jobs. Look at their resumes, see who you think is more qualified, and hire them. After all, it's your money and you're the boss.

So I left out governor. Yea I'm still not sure since they all suck. Maybe you can flip a 3-sided coin in the booth.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Some new music that kicks ass!

So I was bored and had a hankering for some new music. I realized I hadn't visited Pitchfork's site in months, so I popped in and said hi. They had a welcome-back present for me: Tame Impala.

From the first track I felt like I had stepped through a portal--not back in time--but to a parallel universe where the 80's and 90's had never existed, the Beatles never broke up, and 60's and 70's arena rock had progressed to where they should be in year 2010. Tame Impala somehow takes all the best parts of Pink Floyd, psychey Beatles, and hints of present-day experimentals and trippers like Caribou, Wolfmother, Flaming Lips, Grizzly Bear... I mean, sometimes I think I'm listening to "Tomorrow Never Knows" the Album! But truly, their songs are so dynamic that they have a sound all their own. Each song has hints of nostalgia but is still fresh and beautifully formed.

Basically, this album was good enough to force me to revive my comatose blog, so check it out! These retro/prog rockin' Aussie newcomers were at the top of Pitchfork's Best New Music, and their whole album is posted on their Myspace page:

In Korean music news, the new Wonder Girls single was released called "2 Different Tears." The song isn't so good if you ask me, but the video was weird and quirky enough for me to remember it. Here's the youtube of the English vid, and they have a Korean version, too.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Living Dolls

I don't know why I like this, but I do. especially the music.