Help imagine or find dream job...

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by lakedude, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. lakedude

    lakedude Well-Known Member

    I've got a good job but it doesn't hurt to dream.

    Dream job ideas:

    1) Work without direct supervision or at least with a boss you respect.
    2) Job related to clean/renewable energy somehow.
    3) Face new challenges regularly.
    4) Not too demanding physically or at least not every day.

    Well so far that is it. Number 2 is a biggie, I'd love to work with wind or solar power somehow. Biofuel would be another good one. If not working for clean power, working against dirty power or nuke power would be almost as good. Working with hybrid or electric cars would be great.

    Anybody got more ideas?
  2. hobbit

    hobbit He who posts articles

    Funny, after studying the prius and lots of related issues, I've
    been feeling almost exactly the same way. But nobody in
    alternatives/renewables seems to be hiring, or even answering
    mail in the MA area. I've had my "seeking a job" hints stuck
    up amidst all the other doc plastered to my car at various shows,
    and nobody's taken the bait there either.
    There's no f*ing way I want to go back into the "internet
    insecurity" biz, because people simply refuse to learn best-
    practice and keep clicking on the nasties and getting themselves
    0wned. And insisting on running that microsoft garbage. So
    I can't help them anymore. But after realizing that understanding
    about hybrids and power conversion and more sustainable thinking
    seems to come to me fairly well, there's *got* to be someplace
    I could put that to good use and actually get paid for it.
    With these industries supposedly poised for some serious takeoff
    and advancement, why the heck aren't they talking to people
    who are passionate about making a difference??
  3. lakedude

    lakedude Well-Known Member

    Wow, you are farther along than I am. I was just wondering what kinds of jobs were even out there, none appearently.

    As far as security goes I've been thinking of the perfect virus proof solution. A Knoppix CD based system with no hard drive or anywhere else to store a virus. Turn it off and everything goes poof like new again. The only problem I'm having is that the Knoppix disk does not like my modem so I've been thinking of getting an external.
  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Lakedude and Hobbit:

    ___Although both of you may not agree, working in the nuclear industry is rewarding to me for a number of reasons. All except the absolutely horrendous hours anyway :( I really do enjoy my job and knowing the electrical power generation is done so with a minimum of SMOG and GHG related output makes it one of the best non-renewable positions I could ask for at this time. All the requirements posted above have been met with the exception of #4 some of the time. Some jobs in the heat are really tough but for the money, I have to say it’s not bad?

    ___IIRC, Gpsman1 was a school teacher as of last year and recently became employed in the Ethanol production field in Colorado somewhere. I do not know if any or all the requirements would be met but I have not heard him complain about his new field of employment yet?

    ___Hobbit, although I do knot know if the ethanol industry could use your particular skills, you may want to consider it until you find your own future dream job in whatever field that may be? As for Windows and Internet Security, taking care of the mindless pays the bills no matter if you believe it to be garbage or not?

    ___Good Luck

  5. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    i wish i can drive a hybrid and make money, that's my dream job at the moment. I would be happy with less than 5 low figures a year since all my dreams are completed when I'm going to work wee!!!!

    ahhaa joking i'll continue going to school bleh ;(
  6. lakedude

    lakedude Well-Known Member

    Wayne a few questions if I may....

    1) Is the nuke plant you work at advanced to the point it generates no long term radioacive waste? (I'm guessing no)

    2) Assuming the plant does generate long term radioactive waste what is currently done with it?

    3) Since you are a direct financial beneficiary as well as a user of the power your plant produces can they put the waste in your backyard? (assuming again that there is any)

    4) Why not? (world's stupidest question)
  7. lakedude

    lakedude Well-Known Member

    My yard is not a good spot to put a windmill but I'd be happy to have a windmill in my backyard if it were feasible. I could make some room for some solar panels. Wouldn't it be better to have a hydro lake as a backyard then a backyard full of radioactive waste?
  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Lakedude:

    A few questions for you.

    1. When you throw the light switch, does the lights come on? Can’t rely on that with wind.

    2. See below.

    3. See below.

    4. NRC won’t let them.

    ___Take the effluent from a coal plant and run it through your house. You might live 30 seconds. If you were to live off Hydro, you would have power for ~ 1.7 hours per day as hydro is just about tapped in the US. What you do with the other 22.3 hours is up in the air? Wind. At a CAP factor of ~ 30%, it might get awfully cold waiting for the power to come back on to run the furnace fan.

    ___We here in the US do not recycle our fuel like the European’s do. If we did, there wouldn’t be 40 swimming pools worth of high level radioactive waste from the entire 40 years + of Nuclear electrical generation, there would be 1 pool of high level radioactive waste for the entire US Nuclear power generation industry over those same years! Because fuel reprocessing was outlawed here in the states back in the Carter admin, we have ~ 40 swimming pools worth and if someone were to place it in a swimming pool in my backyard for a few million $’s a year, sure! I would receive ~ 100X’s less dose from the spent fuel then I do from the sun on a yearly basis let alone the trace elements spewed in the burning of coal.

    ___The real question then is can you live a comfortable lifestyle with < 2 hours of power a day all the while there is a non GHG emitting solution that can give you power 24/7?

    ___Good Luck

  9. lakedude

    lakedude Well-Known Member

    Did you answer my questions or change the subject and avoid the issue? I'm well aware of the shortcomings of most sources of power and I personally find long term high level waste and the risk of another Chernobyl alarming. Keeping the lights on with renewable power might be a challenge but it is a challenge we will face someday reguardless because all non-renewable sources INCLUDING NUCLEAR will be used up someday. Even if you converted me to being a nuke power fan (unlikely to impossible) nuke power (fission) is still only a stop gap measure on the way to renewable energy.

    Keep in mind that I'm an educated person with a physics background and friends that work in nuke plants, one as a trainer. I've heard the stories of all the unreported near misses, sometimes it is better not to know.

    Can you honestly tell me that the people running nuke plants don't make mistakes (Think Homer Simpson)? And that those mistakes could have dire consequences? Is there an endless supply of fissionable material? What if they didn't pay you a million dollars to store the waste? Should we just give up on renewable energy because it might be difficult?
  10. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    New nuke-industry worker and some-time nuke skeptic checking-in.

    A Chernobyl-type event can only happen at a Chernobyl-type reactor, which only vaguely resembles plants that are currently operating in the US, Europe, Japan, Canada, Mexico, etc. Yes, even when you count those built in the 60s. I suppose you could find a way to overheat a core and fail fuel, a la Three Mile Island (TMI). But the radiation exposure resulting from that event was relatively small. If anything, TMI should be viewed from the perspective of what didn't happen due to careful plant design. And the new reactors are even better. I am familiar with at least one design (that may be built in the US) that goes into a fully passive mode of cooling in an extreme accident, requiring nothing more than natural circulation to keep the fuel intact while dissipating the decay heat immediately following a reactor SCRAM.

    Wayne isn't changing the subject, he's stating fact. Last time I visited a nuclear facility, the dose I received from flying coast-to-coast was orders of magnitude higher than anything I might have picked up at the plant itself. It's not good for you, but radiation is literally everywhere. Nuke plants don't even weigh in when you start to tally up public exposure.

    On the topic of Homer Simpson, human factors are the reason that the entire nuke industry is so heavily regulated and scrutinized. The reason that those near misses were only near misses is that we recognize how important safety is, and do our utmost to keep the drama to a minimum. Some of the stories may scare you, but that's the system working as it is designed. Humans make mistakes, the other humans keep them from turning in to an accident.

    Of course it would be better to use clean, renewable ways to generate power without the radioactive waste. Some day I hope we will get there. But we won't if we can't support our own society while we develop that technology. Nuclear is the best option we have at this particular moment.
  11. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Lakedude:

    ___I did not know how to softball this reply as I have little if any couth as compared to Tim’s response. Anyway, here goes …

    ___I can only hope you will someday visit a Nuclear Plant - Training Facility to watch both a static and dynamic casualty set(s). Not only are the guys and gals trained to run the plant so far beyond any level of training you can possibly label on anyone in this country, they are all great a their job with backups upon backups in the way critical decisions are made through a casualty scenario(s) as well as normal operating routine. Nuclear plants in the West (US and Europe) are run to such a high standard, I can only think of a brain or heart surgeon having more skills and or capabilities when and or if something were to go wrong where split second decisions have to take place. I am a Nuclear Plant Operator but not a Licensed Plant Operator … A few years to go for that myself and I would not wish that ordeal on anyone. Of the ~ 50 or so operations candidates that have attempted License school in the past 4 years at Braidwood, maybe 10% have made it far enough to actually obtain their licenses from the NRC. This is inside of a company that hires some the best and brightest Mechanical, Electrical, and Nuclear Engineers as well as Navy Nukes on the planet! Anyone even mentioning the term “Homer Simpson” in the same sentence as a Licensed Nuclear Plant Operator or in the way a Nuclear plant is run, hasn’t a clue and should not bother speaking/writing with ANY authority on the topic. Again, not to be harsh because you have skill sets far beyond my own in any number of other areas but you do not have the facts wrt Nuclear Power at this point in time.

    ___I was not running from the subject matter or questions you proposed above but tried to show you the facts as the nuclear industry works in and around. I wanted you to consider your own choices as well. You can setup a solar array and/or a small windmill in your yard w/ Pb-Acid storage and go off the grid for a few tens of thousands of dollars not including ongoing preventative maintenance, repair, and or replacement. Or you could rely on non-renewable, non-GHG producing, Nuclear Power - electrical production for < $0.01/kWh all in costs at the 345KV output disconnects. Not that you will receive anywhere near that rate as there is the wires company involved but that is what we actually produce a kWh of power for and can swing the plant around so that you have it 24/7. Just as the coal and gas plants do although at a much higher expense including the issues surrounding those 2 sources of energy. Here is another example you may find interesting? The average EV can travel ~ 1 mile on < 250 Wh of electricity. At the wholesale level, you can travel > 400 miles on just $1.00 and both your SMOG related and GHG related emissions would be nill. Multiply that x 2.5 for coal, 6 for Wind, maybe 8 for Solar + the wires, storage, maintenance, and repair costs … Until the costs, reliability, and cap factor rises for Solar/Wind, you, I, and the rest of the consuming public will purchase for the lowest available cost with the maximum reliability and this is where the two main renewables fall completely apart up to this point in time.

    ___There are issues of waste disposal but when compared to any of the others, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages until such time solar, wind, and or a storage medium that absorb and store the supply can replace it cost effectively.

    ___Tim, where do you work as you have a good handle on the nuclear industry from what sounds like an outsiders perspective?

    ___Good Luck

  12. lakedude

    lakedude Well-Known Member

    Your plant may indeed have highly skilled and trained people running it but the plant I know about is evidently not as well staffed. This info comes straight from the lips of the trainer. He is very smart and if the plant were filled with people of equal brains many of my fears would be satified.

    Getting back to the waste. You pro-nuke guys amaze me in you ability to spin all the good aspects of nuke power into a reason not to worry about radioactive waste. Yes I know all about the clean and "reliable" power the plants produce but I also know our local nuke plant is down for months at a time. Those near misses shut the plant down if anybody from the NRC finds out about em, hence a reason to fly under the radar. The plant goes down for refueling as well and not just for a couple days. Don't even try to tell me the plants have 100% up time so my light switch always works because of nuke plants. Sorry I ain't that much of a nuke nubie. True a nuke plant will work if it isn't windy or when the sun goes behind the clouds or even in a drought (unless the cooling pond/lake gets too low).

    Do you pro nuke folk have such limited imagination that you can't see how to combine renewables into 24/7 power? Here is an example: you build more windmills and solar plants than you need, you take the extra power and use pumped storage hydro to store up the extra during the sunny and windy peroids for use later when it isn't sunny or windy. Solar one stores heat in the form of liquid salt for use hours after the sun goes down. Zero pollution, zero long term radio active waste, renewable for ever.

    I see no one has addressed the fact that we have a limited supply of fissionable material.........

    And what of the terrorists everybody seems so worried about? Would you rather have terrorists take control of a windmill farm or a nuke plant? (this is actually not a major worry of mine but since we are talking about such things anyway...)

    Here is a nice example of what I'm talking about:
  13. Geek Gal

    Geek Gal Member

    Mind-boggling thread... it begins as someone ostensibly looking for a job in an environmental/renewable energy field, and then turns into that same job seeker slamming one of the various jobs (nuclear power generation) and turning it into a "you pro-nuke guys..." attack.

    Ok, so rule out nuclear power. Clearly not a job area you should look at. But listen to these folks. All forms of life, energy and employment have a positive side and downsides.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2006
  14. Tochatihu

    Tochatihu Well-Known Member

    This thread has gone elsewhere, and I feel the urge to reply to both separately.

    Lakedude started by looking for some 'meaningful' job that would not involve heavy lifting, nor stupid bosses. This resembles my current effort, which is to tell Bill Gates' Foundation that they should hire me for a variety of reasons. The details of my application I see no need to discuss here; it's not the point.

    But all might notice that today, that Foundations' endowment has doubled to what is now Lotsa Billion$. This, I should think, poses them some major problems. See their mission statement: bring health care to a billion poor ones, and improve education for millions. There is nothing at all wrong with those goals, but here we are in a world that is rapidly changing. Achieving their stated goals might require attention to related matters. Of course I refer to global change; effects of new temperature and rainfall patterns on disease vectors, desertification, availability of potable water, viability of populations living near sea level, and all the rest of it.

    For those of us who, um, may have lost hope that the US govt intends to address such matters soonest, I suggest that the Gates Foundation is now in the right place at the right time. If you read their open jobs, you will see that MBAs are now the most wanted. It is for us, potential job seekers, to offer refocusing as we may. Poor Foundation they, to have all that money and not necessarily the best plan in place to apply it. Write to them! Say what's better, and show compellingly how you might help to deliver it.

    OK, now back to the nuclear power generation side. For brevity (perhaps too late for that!) I would like to set the waste disposal issue aside, for later discussion. There are several reactor designs which would inherently avoid the problems encountered at Chernobyl and TMI II, and a few other exciting earlier examples. In my opinion those newer designs ought to be aggressively explored under US govt funding. At the same time, it seems to me that nuclear power generation can only be one component of a rational total energy policy, and that other components should include higher enforced CAFE standards for vehicles, terrestrial CO2 sequestration (deep-water marine sequestration still scares me too much!), and striving for energy efficiency and non-fossil fuel energy generation in several other areas.

    So to all those who wish to write to Congress, do it! But fair warning, some ears there might be closed to sensible discussion on these matters until about 8 November.

  15. lakedude

    lakedude Well-Known Member

    You know you have my respect but "listening to these folks" who both work in the nuclear industry (unless I read wrong) would be like listening to old tobacco talk about how cigarettes will not give you cancer. They have a vested interest in their way of generating power. My trainer buddy made twice what I do and I have a good job.

    Also it didn't turn in to a slam against nukes, it started out as one when I said that working against nuke power would be nearly as good as working for renewable energy.

    I don't at all dislike Wayne or Brick but I do dislike who/what they work for. Kinda like hating the war but not the soldiers.
  16. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    I work for a large nuclear fuels and services supplier. I'm not a degreed nuclear engineer, but rather a mechanical engineer working in a set of more "peripheral" roles. So your assessment is right on, as I consider myself more of an outsider than an insider at this early point in my career. They have given me a good fundamental education in nuclear (primarily PWR) operation, but most of my 'tribal' knowledge comes from interaction with guys like yourself who use some of the products that I help to develop.

    Before I got into this I was a skeptic of nuclear power, and felt like it was a 'necessary evil' that could do us in but we need to survive. I still believe that we need it to maintain our civilization, but I no longer subscribe to the 'evil' part. High-level nuclear waste is a concern that everyone in the industry recognizes, but I don't think that it's has to be quite as terrifying as it's made out to be. Yes, we need a way to dispose of it permanently. And maybe we have not yet found an adequate means. But there is no physical or technological reason that I am aware of preventing it.

    Anyway, to paraphrase a particular individual who posts at GH:
    I am NOT the official voice of my employer.
    I am NOT the official voice of my employer.
    I am NOT the official voice of my employer.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2006
  17. lakedude

    lakedude Well-Known Member


    Awesome reply to the original idea. There is actually little chance that I'd leave my current job but it doesn't hurt to look around and dream. Man I don't know about working for Gates, isn't he the devil or something? :)

    Maybe he is just the man to get some meaningful things done. God knows he can afford it.

    Perhaps I'm too narrow in my thinking, watched too many episodes of "engineering disasters" on the history channel? Or maybe the rest of you should watch that show?
  18. krousdb

    krousdb Defiant NX-74205

    I watched the one about the "???? narrows bridge" somewhere in the NW that collapsed due to resonance caused by the wind rushing past it. The footage is awesome. Watching a bridge twist and flop around like that was both fascinating and horrifying. I was surprised that it held together as long as it did.
  19. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Oh, I don't know about that. Tobacco execs don't have to use their own product if they don't want to. Wayne and I and the countless other nuclear workers, however, do have to live on this planet. Preferably for a long time! So there is a vested interest in nuclear power, but there is also a vested interest in keeping our world healthy.
  20. lakedude

    lakedude Well-Known Member

    Tacoma narrows in Washington.


    Crazy video footage. The bridge was plenty strong for the vehicle load but they didn't plan for the wind so good.

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