Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Life Arts

Unplug Your TV: Help End Nuclear Power

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Interesting 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to None 7/31/11

Become a Fan
  (7 fans)
- Advertisement -

Can You Hear Me Now? by Mouthnews

Due to the ongoing Fukushima disaster, Japan today has but 17 of its 54 nuclear reactors online (a little less than one-third). Nuke dependent Japan--30% of its electric power is nuclear--had to act quickly. In greater Tokyo, the target is a 15% reduction in electricity use during weekday hours of 9 am to 8 pm. Conservation targets mandated by the shutdowns have were met and exceeded, according to a report by Norimitsu Onishi in the New York Times.

Surprise, surprise (for everyone but your parents or grandparents): conservation works. Why is "do more with less" the slogan for everything but electricity?

US nuclear power plants generated 807 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 2010, close to 20% of the total. What if we took two-thirds of US nukes offline? We'd lose a little less than 14% of all electricity generated or about 532 billion kWh/year.

How might we survive that loss? One big step would be to unplug (not merely turn off) our televisions and their associated cable and satellite boxes.

A recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that a high definition cable/satellite set-top box plus a high definition digital video recorder (DVR) together used 10% more juice than an efficient 21-cubic-foot refrigerator. This is without counting the television. This is an extraordinary finding. Refrigerators were the largest household electricity suck for decades.

The problem is hyped a bit by the NRDC study's methodology. More and more folks with DVRs these days have them as built-in components of their set-top boxes (a recent development; just a few years ago DVRs were exclusively stand-alone), although percentage estimates differ.  

NRDC goes on to complain about the lousy design of set-top boxes, which use two-thirds of their electricity when turned off. So much for EPA's Energy Star standards. Naturally, there are superior European designs that reduce consumption by 95%.

- Advertisement -

NRDC would have televisual entertainment consume less electricity, an eminently sensible goal. But let's push a little harder than NRDC (generally not very difficult). We can also try to be fairer with assumptions while at the same time engineering an eye-opening mash up.

A.C. Nielsen Company claims that 99% of American households have at least one television. The "average household" contains 2.24 TVs. Sixty-six percent of households have three or more televisions. Televisions are on about seven hours per day in the "average" US home. 

The Census Bureau reckons there are about 312 million persons in the US. Given the Nielsen stats, and the popularity of sports bars, let's assume everyone has their own television. But what kind of TV? Let's go with the one that appears in a comparative graph in the NRDC report: an "Energy Star Version 4.1 42" LCD TV model."

It takes 181 kWh per year to power the 42-incher, according to NRDC. Let's couple it to a combined HD-DVR set-top box that requires 275 kWh to keep on for a year. With the advent of "multi-room set-top box configurations," it's no longer the case that each boob tube requires it's own set-top box. NRDC believes there are some 160 million set-top boxes currently in use in the US.   Let's do the math (this calculation omits video games consoles, and all the other devices we connect to our televisions):

(312,000,000 televisions) x (181 kWh/year) = 56,472,000,000 kWh/year

- Advertisement -


(160,000,000 HD DVR set-top boxes) x (275 kWh/year) = 44,000,000,000 kWh/year

56,472,000,000 kWh/year + 44,000,000,000 kWh/year = 100,472,000,000 kWh/year.

Over one hundred billion kilowatt-hours per annum to keep that quality television programming streaming our way. That's nearly one-fifth of the power that would need to be 'replaced' were two-thirds of US reactors offline (as in Japan). 

Next Page  1  |  2


Steve Breyman teaches peace, environmental and media studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -
Google Content Matches:

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Inside the Fanciful World of Stratfor: Robert D. Kaplan's Geopolitical Bunkum

Gay Marriage and History

Explaining Obama: It's the Re-election, Stupid

The Return of Debtors' Prisons

The Real Conservative in the Race: How a Republican Wins in 2012

Illegal Immigration and Other Criminality


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Here are the symptoms for a diagnosis in the DSM I... by Ed Martin on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 3:54:47 PM
TV is THE most abused and most addictive drug on t... by mrk * on Monday, Aug 1, 2011 at 6:48:18 PM
Back in the early 90's, I purchased a big dish sys... by Greg Campbell on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 at 3:52:28 PM