Sunday, May 11, 2008

Nuclear Power and the Cost of War

While doing a little BSing with a friend on IM about the costs and merit of war for oil, started wondering what it would look like if we instead spent this money on nuclear power plants. Now perhaps this isn't exactly your favored solution, but relax, I don't make policy, and this is just a thought experiment.

According to the ever popular Wikipedia we in the US consumed 29000 TWh of juice in 2005, equivalent to an (average) consumption rate of 3.3 TW. Likewise we are informed that the capital costs of a new plant are in the 5,000-6,000$ range per kilowatt, or lets say 5.5$/w capacity. Now, in our little war on Iraq we are likely spending around 4 trillion dollars (see past posts for references). A little math reveals that would buy us $4,000,000,000,000/$5.5 * 1w ~ 730GW of capacity. Given we consume around 3,300GW of energy, that would be about 730/3,300*100 = 22% of our needs. Now obviously we would have to pay to run the plants, guard them, and dispose of the wastes, I will lead it up to the reader to figure out those costs as I need some sleep now.

In summary, we could crank out a lot of nuclear power plants for the cost of this war for oil. Food for thought.