Oahu in energy self delusion

SUBHEAD: But one underground nuclear reactor at Schofield Barracks could power the entire island.

By Juan Wilson on 23 October 2016 for Island Breath -

Image above: Lego nuclear power plant workers photo illustration from 2008 article advocating mini-nuclear reactors be built over the next five years (by 2015). As if! From (https://cleantechnica.com/2008/11/09/mini-nuclear-power-plants-for-your-neighborhood-in-five-years/).

We follow Henry Curtis' blog Ililani Media. A recent article asked whether a nuclear power generation plant on Oahu would be a good idea. See (http://www.ililani.media/2016/10/would-nuclear-power-be-good-for-oahu.html). The article opens with.
A comment received for a recently blog post dealt with nuclear power.

“One small modular, nuclear reactor (same as reactors in Navy ships at Pearl Harbor) in an underground facility on Schofield Barracks could power the entire island without the need for inter-island cables.”

While the comment is easy for many to dismiss, it raises questions about the AES coal plant in Campbell Industrial Park that are worth exploring.

Legislative bills have been introduced at the State Legislature to get pass the Constitutional nuclear power hurdle, but they not have come close to passing.

Article XI, Section 8 of the Hawai`i State Constitution states, “No nuclear fission power plant would be constructed or radioactive material disposed of in the state without the prior approval by two-thirds vote in each house of the legislature.”
The article demonstrates many of the problems associated with such an endeavor but does not breach the subject of learning to live without the dependence we have on fossil fuels or exploring a life on Oahu using less energy.

I commented on the article with this:
Nuclear power is literally a dead end. Fukushima is the poster child for the end of that technology. Japan will continue the intensification of radioactive poisoning of the Pacific Ocean for millennia.

Hawaii is and will be further damaged as a result.

There is no sustainable way to keep Oahu in the power it is accustomed to. Discretionary use of fossil fuels use for consumers is closing out over the next few decades as more important industrial use will have  higher priority

There are no substitutes for fossil fuels. Even large scale wind farms are unlikely to be much of an alternative (see http://nawindpower.com/siemens-turbine-fails-at-sempras-auwahi-wind-complex and http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/ID/6350/Broken-promises-The-rusting-wind-turbines-of-Hawaii.aspx).

Solar power is the real alternative, but it will provide only a fraction of what we use today. Storage and distribution are big limitations - but life can go on.

Here on Kauai my wife and I cut of ties to KIUC (including them taking the meter and cutting their cable) and are heading into our second winter with nothing but solar and battery storage. Over several years installed over time seven small systems to take on specific (and partially overlapping) functions. Our largest system just barely takes care of our refrigerator and freezer.

We have only modest retirement incomes so it consequently took us almost 8 years for us to afford the system. About forty batteries and 40 panels are involved. Most of the batteries are deep cycle marine batteries from Walmart. We think we will be ale to replace them over time as long as they are available.

If we live long enough the panels will fail likely from either water corrosion or flying debris. As our power capability diminished over time we hope that we'll be accustomed to lower energy consumption end eventually live on rural Kauai like the Hawaiians did in the past.

Oahu is unsustainable. It's population will likely have to partially re-emigrate back to the Mainland and be distributed partially to Hawaii's outer islands. A rough estimate would be about doubling of population in Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties.

It will be tight but with concentrated effort to provide food and water we may get through the upcoming bottleneck of economic failure and climate catastrophe with some kind future to look forward to. 

It is critical no to move quickly and embrace a lower level of power consumption. It won't be comfy and it won't be suburban but it can be livable.
Having visited Oahu recently for a few weeks I must conclude that people there, for the most part, are living in an shiny bubble of media reinforcement that denies reality. And that's how they like it. Nuff said.


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