All sunshine makes a desert. Arabic proverb.
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45 (King James version)
The rain that on the righteous falls,
falls also falls also on that other fella.
But mostly on the just, because
the unjust stole the just’s umbrella. (Author unknown)
There is no bad weather, Only bad clothes. (Norwegian saying).
Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. (Common British lament).
The last comment is not always true. There once was a lake in Central Asia, the fourth largest lake in the world. It provided a sensitive, but functioning Eco-system for a large portion of South East Soviet Union and western Afghanistan. Then the central planners wanted to improve the productivity of the area through central planning on improving land management. In the 1960s and 1970s the Soviets started using the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya rivers to irrigate extensive cotton fields in the Central Asian plain. The results can be seen in these 6 Satellite photos
Disaster is a mild word. The lake was the source of the rains that fell up-stream. With the lake gone, the rivers dried up completely, and the whole upland became desert-like. There has been efforts to restore the upper part of the lake with a dam, but that will do nothing to stop the desertification. My suggestion to solve this is to divert the spring floods from the headwaters of the river Ob and tributaries. There is a gap in the mountains less than 600 feet above sea level, so it is very doable.
A much bigger challenge is facing the south western United States. Lake Mead is at its lowest point since it was first filled, and Lake Powell is faring even worse, with no spring flood adding to the water storage. lake Mead is at less than 40% of full pool
and Lake Powell is at less than 35% of full pool. If nothing is done both lakes will be emptied in less than 20 years, and that is counting on a stable climate. Beside the end of lawns, golf courses, swimming pools and even agricultural irrigation, the dams will no longer provide hydro-electrical storage for peak power, something that is of utmost importance when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, which actually happens from time to time. Renewable energy, wind and solar requires a large reserve of stored energy to use as peak power. How much stored energy do we have. This chart is scary:
The lithium batteries we have all over, powering cellphones PCs an all kinds of electric equipment would be able to power the U.s power grid for three hundredths of a second. Large scale electro-chemical storage used by power stations, hospitals and other facilities that need uninterrupted services, also lithium-ion based, can power up the net for almost 23 seconds. And all pumped hydro-electric storage can power the grid for nearly five minutes. This means that nearly all extra peak power up to now has to be provided by Coal and natural gas electric power, since Uranium based nuclear power works as a base load.
There must be a better way to produce electricity. My suggestion will go a long way to provide more water to the Colorado river basin and reduce dependence on fossil fuel.
The Moffat water tunnel takes water from the Colorado river basin, diverts it under the Continental divide and provides some of the water for Denver and Colorado Springs and assorted communities. The yearly water drained from the Colorado river basin is about 74,000 Acre Foot, or about 0.5% of the total rainfall in the Colorado river basin, not much, but every little drop helps. This needs to be stopped. There is one problem, though: The greater Denver- Colorado Springs metropolitan area desperately need more water too, and the Ogalla aquifer is endangered already, so we must do something drastic. The answer is to pump water up-stream South Platte River, all the way from Omaha, Nebraska, lying east of the Ogalla aquifer. To do so we have to pump water 1,300 meter higher, and that requires energy, about 4,500 kWh per acre foot. At a price of 4 cents per kWh that would be about $190 per Acre foot. For an urban dweller or a rancher without water rights it is a bargain, but for a farmer, his water cost would be $250 to $400 per acre, so say the farmer grows corn, this would add $2.60 dollars per bushel in a year without rain at the right time. Any rain during thr growing season would reduce that amount.
The project is very doable and will even allow for increased irrigation, and the draw down of the Ogallala aquifer can stop. We need to pump about 300,000 acre foot per year, requiring 1,35 TWh/year, or about 150 MW of power. But the power stations are only to pump when the electricity demand is low, so it is best to provide 500MW of nuclear power, eliminating maybe 3 TWh/year of coal powered power, reducing CO2 emissions by 3 million metric tons per year. Every little bit helps.
Here is my proposal. Take a maximum of 2000 acre feet of water per day from the Missouri river just south of Omaha, Nebraska, about 3% of the average flow in the river, and pump it up to Colorado Springs, with major tap off stations in Denver and Greely and maybe many other stations. The power will be provided by Liquid Flouoride Nuclear Reactors, maybe five 100 MW reactors. When this project is finished the Moffat tunnel can be shut off, stopping the stealing of water from the Colorado river basin.
Why LFTR? Here is 30 reasons, and the list keeps growing
1. A million year supply of Thorium available worldwide.
2. Thorium already mined, ready to be extracted.
3. Thorium based nuclear power produces 0.012 percent as much TRansUranium waste products as traditional nuclear power.
4. Thorium based nuclear power will produce Plutonium-238, needed for space exploration.
5. Thorium nuclear power is only realistic solution to power space colonies.
6. Radioactive waste from an Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor decays down to background radiation in 300 years compared to a million years for U-235 based reactors. A Limerick.
7. Thorium based nuclear power is not suited for making nuclear bombs.
8. Produces isotopes that helps treat and maybe cure certain cancers.
9. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors are earthquake safe, only gravity needed for safe shutdown.
10. Molten Salt Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors cannot have a meltdown, the fuel is already molten, and it is a continuous process. No need for refueling shutdowns.
11. Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors have a very high negative temperature coefficient leading to a safe and stable control.
12. Atmospheric pressure operating conditions, no risk for explosions. Much safer and simpler design.
13. Virtually no spent fuel problem, very little on site storage or transport.
14. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Nuclear reactors scale beautifully from small portable generators to full size power plants.
15. No need for evacuation zones, Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactors can be placed near urban areas.
16. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants.
17. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will lessen the need for an expanded national grid.
18. Russia has an active Thorium program.
19. India is having an ambitious Thorium program, planning to meet 30% of its electricity demand via Thorium based reactors by 2050.
20. China is having a massive Thorium program.
21. United States used to be the leader in Thorium usage. What happened?
22. With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like the Three Mile Island disaster will not happen.
23. With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like Chernobyl are impossible.
24. With Molten Salt Reactors, a catastrophe like Fukushima cannot happen.
25. Will produce electrical energy at about 4 cents per kWh.
26. Can deplete most of the existing radioactive waste and nuclear weapons stockpiles.
27. With electric cars and trucks replacing combustion engine cars, only Thorium Nuclear power is the rational solution to provide the extra electric power needed.
28. The race for space colonies is on. Only Molten Salt Thorium Nuclear reactors can fit the bill.
29. President Donald J. Trump on Jan.12 issued an Executive Order on Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration. Only Liquid fluoride thorium reactors can meet all the needs
30. We have to switch from Uranium to Thorium as nuclear feed-stock. We are running out of domestic Uranium.