T Nation

$4 Barrel of Oil, End of ME Control


"Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. 'Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a kilowatt hour anywhere in the world,' said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. 'They will cost approximately $25m [£16m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $2,500 per home.'


Such cheap energy will cause the outright collapse of nations that depend on oil for revenue. The United States, being very dependent on oil, will enter a new Golden Age of unbounded wealth and prosperity.


I truly hope you're right. Then we could stop caring altogether about Israel, the arabs, and the Middle East.


We can only pray for a day when the unfounded fears of nuclear power disappear.


We aren't allowed to drill for oil in our own country? Why do you think we'll be able to generate cheap electric power....what if a snail darter or tree frog becomes endangered? Think of the planet man. No chance the environmental mafia ever let's this happen.

Perhaps after the breakup you'll see it in the Republic of Texas or the South but not in the East or West coast.


Its about time, I think except for the few loons out there we can all agree that Nuclear power is the way to go.


Everyone is not going to be driving electric cars any time soon. The math doesn't work.

In greater LA for example:

Say there are 2.5 million cars on the road during rush hour,
Each car is using average 25 horsepower,
746W per HP,

(2.5 x 10^6)(25)(746) = 4.6 x 10^10 Watts

or ~46 GW peak load

The two reactors at San Onofre produce about a Gigawatt each. So you are looking at 45 new nuclear reactors. Don't think so.

Edit: 10c a KWh isn't even that cheap, lots of places generate half that price. This won't change anything.

More demand + diminishing supply + inflation = higher oil prices


I remember watching either Dateline or a 20/20 episode which was about the oil industry, and the factors that influenced prices. It is an abomination when you hear the stories about price gouging, especially by larger companies. All oil is essentially the same once is leaves the refinery, so the gas from the cheap gas station is the same as Chevron or 76. The elevated price is due to paying for advertising and marketing for such companies.

Donald Trump was interviewed about oil, and he said that anything above $20 a barrel was a rip off, so last year when gas hit $140 a barrel it was ridiculous robbery.


That would be a good day. I prefer Israel over the Aarbs, but saying to all, go have intercourse with yourselves and back to banging camels would be fun.


I'm all for this. We use a lot of oil (#2 to #6 grades) to heat our homes, power plants and in industry. Cutting that alone would be a big help. I just changed my house from oil to natural gas. I'm not sure what I'll save, just sick of the woes that go with oil heat.

I can see a day when we have sealed reactors in out homes to provide heat and cooling.



Your calculation is meaningless. Obviously all the cars on the road during rush our aren't all plugged in at once and drawing power during rush hour. Also, just because a car puts out around 25 hp driving around rush hour traffic doesn't mean it will constantly draw 25 hp while it's sitting and charging. Anyway, I don't know enough about electric cars and whatnot to give any better calculation of how electric cars will affect peak loads, but I do know enough to know yours doesn't make sense.


Your electric bill will fall to $10/month, and that's with re-charging cars. The wealth that will be unleashed that formerly flowed into oil will be invested in capital formation.

Then, power will be cheap for 3rd world countries. Their standard of living will skyrocket, opening up new and vast markets. Imagine sub-Saharan Africans doing what the Chinese are doing down, becoming what we think of as middle class.

Energy has always been THE major drag on civilisation. With abundant and cheap energy, the sky's the limit. And there's next to no pollution!

This is the most optimistic I've been in decades. Leave it to science to unleash humanity!!


"This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years," said MIT's Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science. "Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon."


This came out about a year ago. Engineers and scientists are at work upon the limitations as we speak. Between solar and the fission stations, we will FINALLY have virtually unlimited energy.


No its not meaningless, its just simplified. Obviously they are all not plugged in at the same time. But maybe they are all plugged in when they get home after rush hour. You could reduce that by spreading out when people charge, but then theres way more than 2.5 million cars in LA. Either way you are talking about a huge strain on the power grid.

If you prefer:

The US uses 378,000,000 gallons of gasoline a day.

One gallon of gasoline 121 MJ

= 4.5 x 10^16 joules per day

Now 1 GW reactor running 24hours a day produces

1 x 10^9(3600)(24) = 8.64 x 10^14

Or you need ~529 large nuclear reactors to produce the same amount of energy that the US consumes in gasoline everyday. Not going to happen in the next 20 years.

Now you could say that eclectic cars are more efficient, or whatever other mitigating factors that might lead our eclectic cars to use less energy than they do in gas.

I will admit my calculations are crude, but there is no way this portable nuclear reactor is goign to give us $4 oil or let us all use electric cars.

Edit: math


There is nothing meaningless about the US taking it's balls back from the Middle East, we are at their mercy with oil.


They will if they get their cut.


So Donald Trump is the expert on oil price?


Your point is well taken that switching to all electric cars provides huge infrastructure hurtles, but I still don't think it's as bad as you are trying to make out. Consider, for example, your new calculation. Even ignoring things like a difference in efficiency, do you really think we would need the 500+ new stations? Couldn't much of the extra load just be shifted to existing stations during the night (since most people would power their cars at night anyway).

While I'm certainly no expert on our large scale distribution and use of electric, it seems that between management of the systems we already have and more efficient vehicles that the extra stations needed wouldn't be nearly the 500+ figure you quote. Add in new alternative generating methods like those being discussed in this thread, and it seems like it at least is feasible as a 20 year project or something.


Donal Trump is an expert on any financial matters?


I hope this turns out to be true.


As much as i want to see this happen...

...I'm almost afraid of what the democrats/republicans would do with all that money which normally would be pumped into the mid east. All that Isreal aid money, the aid money we give to Arab countries, the money spent on constant troop deployment, choosing sides in stupid arab conflicts, money going to oil companies...its a lot of money. I have a feeling theyre not going to simple write everyone some huge ass tax cuts or put to much use without a huge public push.

Individual income taxes make up what like just over a trillion dollars for the government (quick yahoo search could be wrong)? With the money we save getting out of the middle east we could easily do away with it.

With all the political power oil companies have in this country, i cant imagine they'll just stand by and let this happen.