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Old Mar 13, 2011, 09:00 AM   #1
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So How Do You Regard Nuclear Power Now?

The disaster in Japan is prompting this thread (obviously). I remember when nuclear power was described as the answer to all of our problems. I turned against Nuclear when I realized there was a waste problem, a tremendous problem that won't go away for over a thousand years. My understanding is that there might be a way to recycle nuclear waste, but the U.S. does not recycle nuclear fuel for "economic and security" reasons. I remember reading something about it, that used/recycled fuel could be used as a bomb. Then there are those ten thousand barrels of waste that nobody, especially Nevada do not want. If you look at France a substantial player in nuclear power, they have a "not in my backyard" problem. Throw in unpredictable events such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and terrorist events and nuclear does not seem all that wonderful to me.

Counter views?
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 09:08 AM   #2
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What is the alternative to nuclear power? These green ways of producing electricity cost a lot more and what I've heard, they can't provide enough power. Plus they don't work everywhere (not enough sun or wind in here for example).

Whether it's a good move to build nuclear plants near tectonic plate joints, that's another question. We don't have seismic activity in here so such natural catastrophes aren't a concern.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 09:20 AM   #3
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might be better suited to the political forum

in reality nothing has really changed in my opinion it was just another event showing how the risks simply can't really be anticipated and also how the nuclear industry likes to reap the profits while not having to insure angainst any disasters _what so ever_
the society gets that burden + cost of potential failures

statistic wise: out of the 55 reactors: 5 were offline because of earlier incidents
of the remaining 51: 11 had emergency shutdowns, 5-6 had massive cooling failures, 2 (partial) meltdowns, including exploding structures

that with such a situation in japan some UK 'nuclear expert' professor goes to an austrian newspaper and talks about "how safe japans nuclear industry is" is just putting the icing on the cake
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 09:25 AM   #4
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The problematic power plants in Japan are of a very old and outdated design. Generation 3, 3+ and Generation 4 design are much much safer. I'm still a firm defender of nuclear power, and I believe with new technologies it is still the future.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 09:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takao View Post
might be better suited to the political forum
In hindsight, I'd move it if I could. Maybe the moderators will help.

It is a risk vs reward situation. Is the risk worth the reward? Until they find an answer for spent fuel rods, I'm mostly against. Here is a good question: Would you want to live next to a nuke power plant?
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 09:44 AM   #6
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Here is a good question: Would you want to live next to a nuke power plant?
Living "next" to a Nuclear Power Plant is probably better than living "near" one.

In the event of a meltdown the area that would be irradiated is very large. Those further away would suffer more long term effects, while those much closer would die a relatively quick death!

I live 10 miles (and that's driving, so it's probably less if you draw a straight line on a map) away from a Nuclear Power Station and it doesn't worry me.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 09:47 AM   #7
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I'm strongly in favour of nuclear.

The Fukushima power plants have stood up remarkably well given the magnitude of earthquake that hit them - and this is with 40 year old technology.

We mustn't let incidents of this type put us off implementing new reactors in the west - our future relies on abundant electrical power, and it really is the only viable route out of our reliance on fossil fuel.

Renewables should also play a large part, but let's not forget that both wind turbines AND wave power rely on wind. No wind, no power. Without capacity to fill in the shortfalls in renewable energy supply, we have to have something like nuclear to form the bedrock of the generating landscape.

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in reality nothing has really changed in my opinion it was just another event showing how the risks simply can't really be anticipated and also how the nuclear industry likes to reap the profits while not having to insure angainst any disasters _what so ever_
the society gets that burden + cost of potential failures
Compared to what?

Fossil fuel is a world of hurt in so many ways. From global warming to the politics of 'peak oil', Persian gulf wars, environmental damage caused by drilling, Gulf of Mexico oil spill, shale oil environmental damage etc. you could rewrite your sentence above as 'the oil industry likes to reap the profits...' and it would much more relevant. Are the oil industry paying for this? No!

Human deaths from nuclear power issues are a drop in the ocean compared to the petrochemical industry and it's massive political fallout.

'Renewables' are hardly without issue either. To make a decent amount of power you have to do it on a massive scale. What are your thoughts on the Chinese Three Gorges Dam?
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 10:03 AM   #8
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I'd be willing to bet that our crusades for oil have costs thousands of more lives than nuclear power accidents ever have.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 10:07 AM   #9
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It todays world as fossil fuels become more scarce and more expensive, nu.clear power is a great alternative. This was a huge and rare natural disaster that caused the problems. Under anything close to normal circumstances they are 100% safe
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 10:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firestarter View Post
I'm strongly in favour of nuclear.

The Fukushima power plants have stood up remarkably well given the magnitude of earthquake that hit them - and this is with 40 year old technology.
i recommend thinking about what the results might have been if the earthquake hadn't been dozens of miles away, but in closer proximity (even at a lower magnitude)
and emergency cooling systems not working on 6 reactors and 2 meltdowns are now considered "stood up well" ? those reactors just had saftey improvements/reworks done last year

Quote:
Originally Posted by firestarter View Post
We mustn't let incidents of this type put us off implementing new reactors in the west - our future relies on abundant electrical power, and it really is the only viable route out of our reliance on fossil fuel.
uranian isn't limited: with current nuclear plants and those in construction the point of running out of easy usable uraniam for nuclear electricity is perhaps 30 years away
economical that point might be reached faster since uranium mining will become more and more expensive with oil/fuel becoming more expensive

that's why nuclear plants are actually worse than estimated in the past, in terms of energy produced in lifetime/ energy used during construction + operation. Vattenfall themselves actually found that out.

i'm no fan of the oil industry either but talking about how an other industry is 'just as bad as the oil industry', doesn't exactly help


the Three Gorges Dam is perhaps on the same scale of impact compared to Assuan or the one planned in brazil but i can easily ask: what is your opinion on the Hoover dam ?
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 10:44 AM   #11
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I'm all for nuclear power. It's the cleanest and usually the safest type of electricity available that can produce energy on a large scale.

There are inherent risks with nuclear power and there is the waste issue yet to be solved. But likewise, there are risks for other types of power, whether it's gas, oil, coal or even hydroelectric. Choose your poison.

As for the safety of nuclear energy, there are only two disasters that I know of, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. I think there was a 3rd more minor one once, but I don't recall.

I'm sure there have been more disasters with all the other types of energy plants that have happened over time. However, when a nuclear plant has a problem, it's always going to be a big one.

Despite the risks of nuclear power, I still support it's use in countries that are responsible.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 11:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takao View Post
i recommend thinking about what the results might have been if the earthquake hadn't been dozens of miles away, but in closer proximity (even at a lower magnitude)
and emergency cooling systems not working on 6 reactors and 2 meltdowns are now considered "stood up well" ? those reactors just had saftey improvements/reworks done last year
Well, this is still playing out. If they avoid a containment breech, then they'll have stood up as well as needs-be.

Safety has to be designed in to reactors from the ground up. 40 year old technology is 40 year old technology - no matter what tweaks you do at a later date.

Pontificating about the fate of nuclear power stations on seismic fault lines isn't any sort of argument against using them in Western Europe or in much of the USA.

Quote:
uranian isn't limited: with current nuclear plants and those in construction the point of running out of easy usable uraniam for nuclear electricity is perhaps 30 years away
economical that point might be reached faster since uranium mining will become more and more expensive with oil/fuel becoming more expensive
Figures I'm reading say we have 80 years of identified deposits with more to be discovered.

Main sources countries are politically pretty stable (more so than the Middle East!)
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf75.html

Australia 31%
Kazakhstan 12%
Canada 9%
Russia 9%

Canada's supply is especially high quality.

Quote:
that's why nuclear plants are actually worse than estimated in the past, in terms of energy produced in lifetime/ energy used during construction + operation. Vattenfall themselves actually found that out.

i'm no fan of the oil industry either but talking about how an other industry is 'just as bad as the oil industry', doesn't exactly help
Why doesn't it help? Unless you're advocating massive depopulation, we have a growing requirement for energy, and by not choosing nuclear, you are choosing fossil fuel - whether you like it or not! My opinion is that the oil industry and it's political ramifications are much more damaging than nuclear!

Just watch as the Europe and the US supports the Saudi royal family in the oppression of their people over the next few months. Democratic government is fine in Egypt, but there's no way we'll support it in Saudi - we care about their oil too much!

Quote:
the Three Gorges Dam is perhaps on the same scale of impact compared to Assuan or the one planned in brazil but i can easily ask: what is your opinion on the Hoover dam ?
The Hoover dam has a lower impact than the Three Gorges by a long shot.

Personally, I believe in a balanced approach to energy production, but with a diminishing reliance on fossil fuel. In that context both nuclear and renewable power expansion is essential.

The point I was making is that the environmental argument against nuclear and for renewable is bogus. All forms of power generation have negative environmental impact.

Here's an interesting paper by the eminent Green advocate James Lovelock:

Nuclear power is the only green solution
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 11:05 AM   #13
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I'm pretty happy with nuclear power. Those reactors have stood up to more than they were realistically ever expected to have to. Contrast that with the sort of thing that happens when oil platforms go wrong.

It's a bit like those who dislike or are afraid of air travel asking what do I think of it after that engine explosion on the A380. I say it makes me more sure of the safety, not less, as in that case just like this the safety features prevented catastrophic failure even when pushed beyond the expected.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 11:08 AM   #14
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More people have died in hydroelectric or coal generated power production. Nuclear is relatively safe and clean.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 11:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firestarter View Post
Well, this is still playing out.
a japanese meterology institute estimates the chances of 7.0+ earthquake within the next 3 days at 70% so we will see how well they hold up

(even in europe some nuclear power plants are build rather close to minor seismic fault lines: for example in switzerland and germany)
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 11:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takao View Post
a japanese meterology institute estimates the chances of 7.0+ earthquake within the next 3 days at 70% so we will see how well they hold up
I'm still waiting for the other Icelandic volcano to burst, which is supposed to be much bigger than the one which caused global chaos. All those experts said it will happen "very soon" after the first one but we are still waiting.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 11:30 AM   #17
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 12:24 PM   #18
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 12:34 PM   #19
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I am inland of two, on the shores of Lake Ontario, one East one West, both at ~20 miles.

BUT, the prevailing wind is from the North-West, so Rochester, Northern New York will probably get the fallout.

Candu reactors are reasonably safe.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 12:36 PM   #20
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NIMBY. I'm okay with nuclear power as long as it's far far away from where I live. Of course, it's not like my town is prone to natural disasters or anything.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 12:36 PM   #21
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I guess it depends on your perspective of 'clean'. Yellowcake mining is one of the filthiest ugliest long-term polluting human endeavours ever invented.
Good post.

To be fair, though, sometimes Americans give themselves a good **** as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingsto...h_slurry_spill
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 12:37 PM   #22
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The disaster in Japan is prompting this thread (obviously). I remember when nuclear power was described as the answer to all of our problems. I turned against Nuclear when I realized there was a waste problem, a tremendous problem that won't go away for over a thousand years. My understanding is that there might be a way to recycle nuclear waste, but the U.S. does not recycle nuclear fuel for "economic and security" reasons. I remember reading something about it, that used/recycled fuel could be used as a bomb. Then there are those ten thousand barrels of waste that nobody, especially Nevada do not want. If you look at France a substantial player in nuclear power, they have a "not in my backyard" problem. Throw in unpredictable events such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and terrorist events and nuclear does not seem all that wonderful to me.

Counter views?
Japans main problem, at this time, seems to be that someone thought it was a good idea to build the plants on the Pacific Rim (Yes, I am well aware that the West Coast of the United States lies on the Pacific Rim). A majority of the problems Japan faces currently appear to stem from the earthquake and the fact that the plants were dated and not built to withstand the magnitude of the quake (they were built to within a 7.5 quake, no?).
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 12:46 PM   #23
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with all hope that things stay under control in Japan ... Nuclear power is still the way of the future.

we can learn from this disaster ... for instance future cooling generators need to be built where failure is not an option.

Things will be learned and we will be better moving forward.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 12:49 PM   #24
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The only change to my opinion is thinking that Nuclear energy may not be the best for areas that are at high risk of earthquakes unless they have some sort of cooling system that can survive with no power. But Nuclear is still the best viable option we have for most places.
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Old Mar 13, 2011, 12:50 PM   #25
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Japans main problem, at this time, seems to be that someone thought it was a good idea to build the plants on the Pacific Rim
Japan doesn't really have a choice BUT to build plants on the Pacific Rim, since that's where the country is located.

That, the lack of domestic oil and gas (90% of oil used in electric power is from the Middle East), plus a small highly populated country (rules out big hydropower) and they haven't got many options left. Linky.
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