We can’t win a fair fight. Us pop is somewhere around 330million(I swear I last read 360) China is 1.7b. Usually our technological advantage is touted as how we maintain the upper-hand. Or the pop disadvantage is only alluded to in ways that don’t explicitly State it’s an issue.
In military news on my Google feed or elsewhere its put something like “the US takes heavy losses if personal are actually killed or the US can not afford to lose service members. Which judging by the ones I’ve known and rheir shared experiences didn’t fully click because it seems we’ve been anything but how we should be to them and that
starts with the services they join.
problem as i see it is that the moment we hit an active sustained conflict with a super power or more so the moment we need to replace our advanced tech war machines (let alone the people in them) the us is toast.
Budget issues have also produced a situation that history notes was part of what did Germany in during ww2
Part of the German issue was said to be supply chains and energy shortage. The other issue is said to be their obsession with wonder weapons. Ot more throughly described, advanced weapons systems so complicated and costly to produce you end up with gold plated systems and not enough of them to counter a advisory that has population and mass production advantage.
The US has quite a bit of domestic energy production capability. even more so if environmental concerns go by the way side. Even more if environmental concerns stay but the NRC auditions to regulations were audited (more on that bellow). The issue is really in getting it where its needed and reliably doing so. Our power grid is ancient, a mess and last i checked the interconnects that produce the appearance of otherwise are something we gave up the tooling to reproduce if damaged or destroyed
Japan is said to be who we would go to. Massive transformers are the specific thing i speak of. IIRC the search phrase is like massive grid interconnect transformers. How safe are we in a conflict with China… esp if japan is who we need to replace this bit of critical infrastructure how long do you think that remains feasible? We’ve also let a lot of our heavy industry go completely. If what remains was further hampered by rolling blackouts…
Until around ww2 heavy production plants usually made their own energy. The genius of Nicola Tessla had disconnected the need for them to do so early turn of 1900 but it took some time for the new model to standardize and or grid to allow it.
Flash forward to 2020 and America’s power grid is tied together by 4 transformers so large we no longer possess the equipment to manufacture replacements.
On the plus side the laws of physics and resistance of wire…. the highest demand consumers in general are still located closer to power generating stations but i wouldn’t call this a saving grace.
With out grid interconnects you may chose between the hospital savings the populous needed for sustained war effort having power and the plant making the planes having the power.
its not just the production pause its also disruption to mobilization of the labor force we would need to kick into high gear and or retrain.
I think that’s the tip of the iceburg though. Imagine fighting that conflict reduced to compute power and machines not much better than the Vietnam Era military hardware. What? why? Rare earth elements.
The name is a misnomer. It was given before we knew much about their abundants on earth. While not incredibly scarce over all or in the mainland us, the mining operations for them are. Intact there is one mining op in northern California. We import the rest or never deal with them letting outsourcing produce what is needed.
Basicly all the wonder of modern consumer electronics and more importantly military tech depends heavily on having these elements avalible.
The us not only lacks the wide spread existing mining operation and wide spread knowledge of how to set them up.. the nrc and legislation poses the first hurdle. An element called thorium is usaly found intermixed with the rare earth elements modern tech requires.
Unlike uranium thorium is abundant in the earths crust. Uranium is actually more scarce than platnum. Thorium is not very good for bomb production. Thorium reactors are what should have been the realized promise of safe abundent energy too cheap to meter..
melt down free energy from an abundant element with out long-lived waste. Thorium is intermixed with rare earth elements. The reason we aren’t mining rare earths here is the mining left overs known as tailings get classified as nuclear waste. Its prohibitively expensive to deal with them.
I have to look this up but I would too of my head wager radon is far more dangerous than those tailings. Many places in the US its also something many are exposed to daily in their indoor air.
Nuclear sounds all around crazy dangerous but the reality is with many things in the details and specifics. Anyone can handle uranium bare handed even when enriched with out risk to health. Just don’t eat it or snort it.
Thorium is way less of a emitter in either state.
Many people don’t know that every house in the US has a radioactive human produced pellet of decayed plutonium(iirc) or multiple. Its called americium in that state its emissions are of the type where 99.outmyass percent are of the type that won’t pass through skin. Every once in a while a gama ray flys off but odds are its not enough or freqent enough to outlay the benefits it provides installed in your home.
The emissions won’t pass through a cloud of smoke either. When smoke obscures the radiation the human perceived chain of events is somthing like: it gets really loud and your family runs out of the house.
By only powering the detection apparatus rather than creating the signal to do the detection directly.. a 9v battery keeps the device working for months to years making it much more effective at saving lives than one that was wall power dependent or ate through battery quickly.
How good is a smoke detector with no hardwire and a battery thats always dead? How about one dependent on wall power when the line to it burns before smoke enters the room?
The danger is as always in specifics and quantities. After all even too much water can kill a person.
Why thorium situation is both sad and what likely does us in if ww3 starts is because it should be producing electricity for us not acting as regulatory hurdle to mining non nuclear needed for our weapons systems materials.
More sad because its not a hypothetical one might make a power generating plant on a uranium cycle… the us did… about 60 years ago.
The airforce wanted a nuclear powered nuclear bomber aircraft. Which by all accounts is nuts. The father of the uranium reactors had actually intended thorium for civil power generation. He was tasked with the nuclear powered bomber idea and he thought it was nuts but used it as an excuse to build a thorium reactor.
Which was in no way a swindle because the design requirements didn’t suite uranium reactors and aparentlyno0ti9nal sanity requirements didnt either. The task /what they wanted was a jet engine producing thrust from heat created by nuclear reactor not jet fuel.
Thorium was what he intended for civil power gen because it can be engineered to turn to solid rather than melt down. Ie circulation stops reactivity and heat production drops.
His idea was molten salts in pipes create the circulation and the thorium is mixed in. To start the process one must heat via external generated power. Once the salts are liquid/molten circulation allows reactivity to sustain heat required to keep them molten and excess is used for power generation or propulsion. Power cuts and you end up with solid crap in reactor pipes. Pump stops so does reaction and heat produced. Solid gunk in reactor but no boom after water boils off and steam mixes with fuel clading to produce hydrogen (what actually makes uranium plants go boom..well..that and a spark).
Even the ruined reactor is preventable you put a freezer cooling loop at bottom of reactor around a drain orface. chill a molten salt block as a drain plug. Put a cach basin under it. Now if power stops, cooling on drain plug stops, reactor melt the salt plug. contents empty out bottom into a catch basin and turn to solid, both plant and world are safe.
Its also not as easy to make weapons grade aka there is a theoretical path but in practice it remains non existent where as uranium breeder cycles have enabled x countries to make nuclear weapons (x is to remind me to fill it in later)
In the 1960s the program doe the airforce produced working thorium reactors. Then icbm tech rendered the need non existant and the program was canceled. We simply shelved the tech. The joke about fusion being 10 years away in 10 years.. thorium has most of the advantages and was demonstrated in the late 60s. It might even be able to recycle uranium plant waste into things with more human scale half lives. Only thing its not great at is weapons and profit from scarcity.
Its actually not the only working thorium reactor we built either
Now as the ancient drumbeat gets louder the fact that the materials needed to produce war hardware are supply constrained by regulation of what could produce energy negating the need for war or to power the effor strengthen the grid and reduce carbon emissions.
The sadder part yet is its theorized these can recycle spent uranium fuel into places on the decay chain or transmute (i havent looked specificly) …into waste with more human time scales of lethality or risk from exposure. With current waste piled outside of plants we are looking at how to write fucking hyroglifs to warn the rebuilds after a social reset or mass extinction that the stuff in this cave will hurt them. Does this seem sane?
Also in the event of traditional war… an enemy doesn’t have to nuke us. Drop large convential explosives on the fuel s y ored in casks outside the nuke plant.. we basicly give half of what’s needed for a dirty bomb to anyone who can slip a plane or traditional explosive missle past our defenses and heaven forbid they nuke a spent fuel facility.
None of the outside above ground storage vessel’s are designed to withstand a nuclear blast. If your aim was destruction and terror and you don’t care if its considered a s ar crime later… nuking one of these is a multiplier on the fallout of your device… plus the stuff in the now spread everywhere reactor because building containment for that possibility / scenario … prohibitively expensive would be a laughable understatement.
Why laugablr? Why was nomad literally under a mountain? Also see Tessa bomb for further explanation
Usually a ground burst is the dirtiest nuclear attack there is. The more soil and other material directly touching the explosion the more irradiated now radioactive soil ground water and building material there is. Nuke a nuclear plant and … oh the humanity is even an understatement.
That waste by its nature is a huge issue even if traditional explosives spread it.. the issue is how long its lethal.
Countries like France at least use uranium a bit more efficiently. 75 percent of their energy is nuclear and its all uranium but the difference is their company called Areva does reprocessing so a significantly higher percentage of energy is extracted per unit of fuel before it becomes a hazard to life for 10s of thousands of years.
But if I understand correctly thorium reactors could do this and leave byproducts only hazardous for more like 100 years. Aka human life span apropriate time scale.
I don’t see the news talking about any of this. We don’t directly vote and none of the politicians we elect with our vote seems to be concerned. I don’t see it changing until we realize its needed and by then its too late.
If we need rare earths in a conflict its likely the end. The knowledge on how to mine them isn’t wide spread. The work force is non existant/would have to be mobilized and trained while the land is procured and the mines set up..but none of that would get the go-ahead until congress got rid of the regulatory issues.
Disseminating the info to train may be hard at that point. We take hope in the car or call friend on other side of the planet between hitting Wikipedia for anything for granted. Or some of us replace search learn and explore knowlege with consume through the oneway tv box. Either way it all requires electricity and energy.. its all interrelated to how one sets up a mining industry finds then trains labor. Its all fragile as can be in the us at the moment.
Food, workers, mines, info about demand, news, fidget spinners, you name it..in America its done with electricity, and or fossils fuel.
Sometimes in readily apparent forms though…aka radiowaves .. electricity, the light through a fiber optic cable. Or more accurately both are electromagnetic radiation and we give certain parts of the spectrum different titles like radio waves, electricity and light .
Gov needs workers for new private mines. Or private mines need workers one of the two need to communicate this opertuinity/need/demand right?
No power to local news station let alone your house. Or rilling black outa how often is your house and the news traitor on at the aame time? The moment its less than the normal comfort of today at best dissemination of info is going to slow. Which intern will slow procurement of almost everything needed for survival on a personal or national level
How many people in the us walk to the town hall to read the bulletin board? Oh yeah … if there was one distances usually require a car. This layout /Surbia was all post ww2 and only really possible due to the ice cheap petro/fuel, electricity generation and distribution and mass com/tech
Keeping the pop fed would be a concurrent issue with creating the mines , getting the info and assets to them and training the workers. The surban model of existence is not suited for survival with out electricity gas, tv broadcast radio, internet and phone.
If we have attacks on us soil they will likely target the power grid as well as military assets. Non conventional nuclear could black out most of the us in one high altitude detonation. Even actors like north Korea may posses this ability.
Imagine trying to do all that with rolling black outs , cut internet and even intermittent radio and TV reception let alone broadcast. This would be the reality even if an actor like North Korea took a pot shot with a high altitude emp nuke. Boom those transformers we can’t replace are gone many generating stations get knocked out and even if sufficient generation of electrical power is left… with out the grid interconnects the odds it gets to where its needed are low. Rolling black outs or total blavk outs would be the likely reality. Disseminating info to the public or mobilizing the required work forces just went back to about how it was turn of 1900.
The odds off that are made worse by an increasing attitude that we don’t need frequency alications for ham radio. Hams are a weird group but in the sanario above… many not only have a license and radio but a decent percent have some tools to generate their own power. Ie its not a perfect drop in replacement but its better than the alternative with out them.
Realize it or not most of modern life is enabled by electricity and ease of passing info and communications over distances that an unaided human would take days to months to cover on foot.
Your local supermarket..aka what keeps most Americans fed, with out power… in general if supply chains break ive heard 2 days of food is what they handle. With out refigeration…. if gas shortages are a thing at the same time… nothing in this country works with out power gas elevtonic mass com and car in general. Trying to retain citizens to create the mines essential to replacing military hardware during rolling black outs food and gas shortages with out tv cell internet or radio.. bahaha good luck.