Episode 30 — Longevity and Reliability — Unintended Consequences — Chapter 9 Part 7

Toxic Waste from Rare Earths

Number 5 — Longevity and Reliability

Because 33% efficient windmills only have 20-year lifespans, they must be rebuilt two times after initial construction to match the 60-year lifespan of 90% efficient nuclear power plants.

Here’s what an anonymous wind technician from North Dakota said about the usefulness of windmills:”Yeah, we all want to think we’re making a difference, but we know it’s bullshit. If it’s too windy, they run like sh , if it’s too hot, they run like sh , too cold, they run like sh . I just checked the forecast, and it’s supposed to be calm this weekend so hopefully not very many will break down, but hell man, they break even when they aren’t running. I’ve given up on the idea that what I’m doing makes a difference in the big picture. Wind just isn’t good enough.”

If it’s too windy, they run like sh , if it’s too hot, they run like sh , too cold, they run like sh . — Wind Technician, North Dakota

Former London banker Alexander Pohl worked for years for one of the world’s greenest banks. Idealistically driven he financed big wind and solar farms genuinely convinced he was making the world a better place. Together with film maker Marijn Poels created this mind blowing documentary, Headwind “21

Former London banker Alexander Pohl worked for years for one of the world’s greenest banks. Idealistically driven he financed big wind and solar farms genuinely convinced he was making the world a better place. Together with film maker Marijn Poels created this mind blowing documentary, Headwind “21

Headwind 21 Press Release 18 September 2021 (Download)

Headwind”21

Number 6 — Resources and Materials

Organizations like the Sierra Club wear blinders that exclude wind’s defects, and when I or my associates offer presentations on the safety records and costs of the various forms of power generation, including nuclear, we rarely get a reply, and my Minnesota chapter provides a case in point.

Because of those blinders, they apparently don’t know that It will take 9,500 1-MW windmills running their entire life spans to equal the life-cycle output of just one average nuclear plant. Perhaps they don’t realize that those windmills, which last just 20 years, require far more steel and concrete than just one nuclear plant with a lifespan of at least 60 years.

As a result, the carbon footprint of inefficient windmills is much larger than that of a 90% efficient nuclear power plant.

Offshore Wind Requires 63,000lbs Of Copper Per Turbine, by Irina Slav 17 May 2021

For videos of storm-fragile windmills that were stripped of their blades by Caribbean hurricanes in 2017, please see these

22 September 2017 — Puerto Rico — Wind — Solar — Cellular Structures Destroyed

22 September 2017 — Puerto Rico — Wind — Solar — Cellular Structures Destroyed

The German electric power company Energieerzeugungswerke Helgoland GmbH shut down and dismantled their Helgoland Island wind power plant after being denied insurance against further lightning losses. They had been in operation three years and suffered more than $540,000 (USD) in lightning-related damage. — Nick Gromicko

“The material in five, 2 MW windmills (10 MW total) could build a complete 1 GW nuclear power plant that will generate ~100x the power, on 1/1000 the acreage, with no threat to species or climate.” — Dr. Alex Cannara

Wind Turbines and Lightning, by Nick Gromicko

Wind Power: Our Least Sustainable Resource? By Craig Rucker 25 October 2016

Furthermore, the wind industry doesn’t know what to do with these 170-foot, 22,000-pound, fiberglass blades that last just 20 years and are so difficult to recycle that many facilities won’t take them.

Wind energy’s big disposal problem

Unfurling The Waste Problem Caused By Wind Energy

Germany has more than 28,000 wind turbines — but many are old and by 2023 more than a third must be decommissioned. Disposing of them is a huge environmental problem. — DW.com

A 1-GW windfarm needs 1300 tons of new blades per year, and because they cost USD 100k each, that’s USD 200 million every 18 years, or USD 33.6 million per year per gigawatt created just for the blades — all this for a fraud that primarily relies on carbon-burning generators to supply the majority of their rated power that they don’t supply.

Those who guide the Sierra Club or Greenpeace, etc., should know that windmills require magnets made from neodymium, which comes primarily from China, where mining and refining the ore has created immense toxic dumps and lakes that are causing skin and respiratory diseases, cancer and osteoporosis. If they know this, why are they silent? If they don’t, they should.

A visit to the artificial lake in Baotou in Inner Mongolia — the dumping ground for radioactive, toxic waste from the city’s rare earth mineral refineries. The byproduct of creating materials used to do everything from make magnets for wind turbines to polishing iPhones to make them nice and shiny.

A visit to the artificial lake in Baotou in Inner Mongolia — the dumping ground for radioactive, toxic waste from the city’s rare earth mineral refineries. The byproduct of creating materials used to do everything from make magnets for wind turbines to polishing iPhones to make them nice and shiny.

The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust, By Tim Maughan 2 April 2015

Please research “Lake Baotou, China”.

Baotou Lake, Mongolia: The Toxic side of Cleantech, by Brendan Palmer 21 September 2015

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Sciences, “a two- megawatt windmill contains about 800 pounds [360 kg] of neodymium and 130 pounds [60 kg] of dysprosium.”

The myth of renewable energy, by Dawn Stover 22 November 2011

Unlike windmill generators, ground-based generators use electromagnets, which are much heavier than permanent magnets, but do not contain rare-earth elements.

Here’s the problem: Accessing just those two elements produces tons of arsenic and other dangerous chemicals. And because the U.S. added about 13,000 MW of wind generating capacity in 2012, that means that some 5.5 million pounds [2.5 million kg] of rare earths were refined just for windmills, which created 2,800 tons of toxic waste, and it’s worse now.

For perspective, our nuclear industry, which creates 20% of our electricity, produces only about 2.35 tons of spent nuclear fuel (commonly called “waste”), per year, which they strictly contain, but the wind industry, while creating just 3.5% of our electricity, is making much more radioactive waste where rare- earths are being mined and processed — and its disposal is virtually unrestricted.

Windmills also use 80 gallons [300 litres] of synthetic oil per year, and because there are at least 60,000 US windmills, this means that the windmill industry requires 500,000 gallons [1.9 million litres] per year plus even more crude oil from which synthetics are derived.

Get me a mask!

Wind Turbines Generate Mountains of Waste, by Carol Miller, 3 October 2020

We know that it takes several thousand windmills to equal the output of one run-of-the-mill nuclear reactor, but to be more precise, let’s tally up all of the materials that will be needed to replace the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear plant with renewables.

Dr. Tim Maloney has done just that, writing, “Here are numbers for wind and solar replacement of Vermont Yankee.

Let’s assume a 50/50 split between wind and solar, and for the solar a 50/50 split of photovoltaic (PV) and CSP concentrated solar power, which uses mirrors.

  1. Amount of steel required to build wind and solar;
  2. Concrete requirement;
  3. CO2 emitted in making the steel and concrete;
  4. Money spent;
  5. Land taken out of crop production or habitat.

To replace Vermont Yankee’s 620 MW, we will need 310 MW (average) for wind, 155 MW (average) for PV solar, and 155 MW (average) for CSP… Using solar and wind would require:

  • Steel: 450,000 tons. That’s 0.6% of our U.S. total annual production, just to replace one smallish plant.
  • Concrete: 1.4 million tons; 0.2% of our production/yr.
  • CO2 emitted: 2.5 million tons
  • Cost: about 12 Billion dollars
  • Land: 73 square miles, which is larger than Washington DC, just to replace one small nuclear plant with solar/wind….

Offshore windmills use up to 8 tons of copper per mW.

The Nuclear Alternative

a.) Replace Vermont Yankee with a Westinghouse /Toshiba model AP1000 that produces 1070 MW baseload, about 2 x the output of Yankee.

Normalizing 1070 MW to Vermont Yankee’s 620 MW, the AP1000 uses:

  • Steel: 5800 tons — 1 % as much as wind and solar.
  • Concrete: 93,000 tons — about 7% as much.
  • CO2 emitted: 115,000 tons [from making the concrete and steel] — about 5% as much.
  • Cost: We won’t know until the Chinese finish their units. But it should be less than our “levelized” cost. [Perhaps $4–5 billion]
  • Land: The AP1000 reactor needs less than ¼ square mile for the plant site. Smaller than CSP by a factor of 2000. Smaller than PV by a factor of 4,000. Smaller than wind by 13,000.

b.) Better yet, we could get on the Thorium energy bandwagon. Thorium units will beat even the new AP1000 by wide margins in all 5 aspects — steel, concrete, CO2, dollar cost, and land.“

Nuclear Power Versus Renewable Energy by Richard Matthews, 20 July 2022

Ten, 3 MW wind generators’ use as much raw material as a 1-Gigawatt nuclear plant (Think of their carbon footprints.)

PV electricity generation requires 10,000 pounds of copper per megawatt. Wind needs 6,000, but highly efficient, CO2-free nuclear power needs only 175, which provides a huge financial saving and the smallest impact on the environment.

Full energy chain CO2 equivalent emissions — Markandya and Wilkinson

This was the last episode in our series Unintended Consequences. It’s been a wonderful experience and thanks to everyone in our team. Everyone has done a tremendous effort to put it all together. 30 weeks has gone by too fast.

A special warm thanks goes out to Dr. George Erickson for creating all of this wonderful material in the first place.

Thank you Dr. Erickson.

Stay tuned for the next series where we promote key, factual information relevant to a world focused on producing clean, green, safe energy from Molten Salt Fission Technology powered by Thorium.

Links and References

  1. Previous Episode — Episode 29 — Methane Blows Up Wind’s Gains
  2. Launching the Unintended Consequences Series
  3. Dr. George Erickson on LinkedIn
  4. Dr. George Erickson’s Website, Tundracub.com
  5. The full pdf version of Unintended Consequences
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RgyLDVlAg4
  7. https://www.marijnpoels.com/headwind
  8. https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Offshore-Wind-Requires-63000lbs-Of-Copper-Per-Turbine.html
  9. https://www.linkedin.com/in/irina-slav-a2569293/
  10. https://www.nachi.org/wind-turbines-lightning.htm
  11. https://www.masterresource.org/windpower-problems/wind-power-least-sustainable-resource/
  12. https://www.dw.com/en/wind-energys-big-disposal-problem/a-44665439
  13. Unfurling The Waste Problem Caused By Wind Energy
  14. Baotou toxic lake
  15. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20150402-the-worst-place-on-earth
  16. https://www.linkedin.com/in/britishjournalistjapan/
  17. The myth of renewable energy
  18. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/baotou-lake-mongolia-toxic-side-cleantech-palmer-mba-ba-law-mciwm/
  19. https://www.citizensjournal.us/wind-turbines-generate-mountains-of-waste/
  20. https://thegreenmarketoracle.com/2022/07/20/nuclear-power-versus-renewable-energy/
  21. https://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(07)61253-7/fulltext
  22. https://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/the-nuclear-sell-why-one-swedish-town-welcomes-a-waste-dump-a-763081.html

#UnintendedConsequences #GeorgeErickson #FissionEnergy #NuclearEnergy #TheThoriumNetwork #Fission4All #RadiationIsGood4U #GetYourRadiation2Day #WindTurbines #Solar #RareEarthWastes

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store