Coal miners

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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kunkmiester
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Coal miners

Postby kunkmiester » Sat Jun 13, 2009 5:23 am

Most of the electricity in the U.S. is generated by coal. A significant portion of coal production goes to power plants to be burned. In time, as more and more smaller reactors are built, this demand will drop. This is one of the main political obstacles I can see, union bosses can see the future as well as we can. Thusly:

Coal to liquids will only help so far. It'll absorb some of the loss of demand, but not all of it. Steel production probably won't change much, and even with polywells, the coke cycles and the newer coal cycles will probably still be more efficient. Plastics production comes from the coal-to-liquids, but still, all of these can't keep all the miners working.

Thus, we have to deal with union bosses that will be whispering in ears about the thousands of coal miners that will be put out of work, and everything that comes with that.

The solution presents itself easily, though whether they'll be up to it or not is another story. While the polywell will probably be fairly automatic, it'll still need someone to sit there and watch it, who knows more than a little about what's going on. At the same time, demand for technicians will rise as demand for coal miners drops.

Once all the physics and engineering is worked out, a smart man can probably learn everything he needs to tend a polywell generator in a year or two. Thus, soon after the polywell gets proven and the kinks worked out, there should be a push for short one or two year courses in power plant management in coal mining regions. A miner who gets laid off from the mine gets a loan subsidized by the union to learn to run the plants that killed his old job.

After graduating, he moves his family to his new job running a recently finished polywell somewhere else, thus mitigating the job loss. A few of the very large reactors that will probably inevitably be built can be put in the mining regions, making the politicians happy, or at least satisfied.

Sound feasible?
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MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:52 am

No. Different skill set. Easier to move them into rigging. Or shield building construction.

You could probably train electricians well enough. And 6 months ought to do it. The US Navy can train a guy in electronics and teach him to be a reactor operator in less than 2 years. BFRs are a LOT easier.
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Professor Science
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Postby Professor Science » Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:00 pm

Also relocation may be an issue, I don't know how willing some people are to move to a new place because of work or safety. Some people are still living in the flood plain here in Iowa and some in Louisiana are still living in new orleans.
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