Nuclear Power - how do you feel about it?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Mike Teezie, May 27, 2009.

  1. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

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    #1
    I read a very interesting article on nuclear power plants in GQ magazine last night. It's an older issue, it's got Eric Bana on the cover. Here's a link to the online version, which admittedly is hard to read compared to the print version.

    The article is unabashedly pro-nuclear. While reading it, I realized I'd never really taken the time to get educated an form an opinion about nukes for power.

    It seems the three main downsides are security, the waste the plant generates, and the possibility of meltdown.

    I am still undecided about it. I've just been thinking about power plants a lot lately, vis a vis electric cars. I'd like to get a discussion going about it, as I respect most of the opinions of the posters in the PRSI forum.

    :)
     
  2. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

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    #2
    lift them rods baby, let's make some steam!!!!!
     
  3. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

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    #3
    I like it and I think it will be the most important source of energry post fossil fuels (which we should stop using now).

    I think all the problems waste, hot water, safety etc. can be delt with fairly easily.
     
  4. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #4
    I think the fourth and seemingly most important is the fact that there's a limited amount of uranium available. I don't remember the exact figures, but it's not a whole lot. Also, uranium mining is very, very destructive.

    Oops, let's not forget that France has to shut down a number of its reactors every year because the rivers run dry.
     
  5. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

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    #5
    I may not choose it as my favorite form of energy, but it's far less harmful than all our cars out there, day in and day out, throwing out a big carbon footprint.

    A meltdown can be a bad thing, true. But continued use of gasoline powered cars and overuse of those autos actually threatens our very existence worldwide.
     
  6. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

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    #6
    I think the safety concepts/engineering/awareness since 3 mile island has drastically improved.

    Chernobyl was and is a completely different best.
     
  7. Mike Teezie thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

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    #7
    I wondered about this when reading the article. It never mentions the sourcing of uranium (unless I missed it) - sorting of glossing the issue over here:

    Interesting to me that it made no mention of the water usage being a problem as well. The article makes it sound like the Three Mile Island is feeding clean water back into the river at the exactly the same rate it takes it in.
     
  8. shu82 macrumors 6502a

    shu82

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    #8
    As I am from a TVA utility we get all our power from hydroelectric and nuclear power. If we could enhance that capability we could put Alabama Power's coal plants out of business. I think we need to expand!!!
     
  9. MacsomJRR macrumors 6502a

    MacsomJRR

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    #9
    I rather see more investments in solar energy considering the ridiculous amounts of energy that we can theoretically harvest from sun light without any of the pollution. How can you not love that?
     
  10. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

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    #10
    so would I, since I work in a solar panel plant
     
  11. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

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    #11
    I'd like to see money going towards sources that are infinitely—or practically infinitely—renewable like solar, wind, deep-drilled geothermal, etc, however anything that gets us off of coal has my support in the shorter term.
     
  12. Sehnsucht macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Absolutely positively one million percent FOR nuclear power. The U.S. needs to get off its ass and build 500 nuclear power plants, stat. It produces no pollution and it's efficient. There are plenty of other countries like France who are implementing nuclear power all over the place. Here in the U.S., however, most of us have been brainwashed by the hippies and oil companies into believing that nuclear power plants belch radioactive waste into the environment and will catastrophically melt down and explode in a gigantic mushroom cloud, killing us all. It's a bunch of BS that needs to stop so we can join the 21st century. ;)
     
  13. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

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    #13
    The biggest sticking point for me is the need for nuclear power to have a large body of water to draw water from. In Australia, fresh water lakes aren't very common, and the anti-nuclear ads with massive cooling towers added to what was a nice scenic lakeside view would really suck. Not to mention the ecological impact of the increased temp of the water.

    As a side note: coal has trace amounts of radioactive materials (uranium, other isotopes), and we release far, far more of these materials into our environment via the burning of coal, as opposed the generation of these elements in nuclear reactors.

    As I see it, nuclear power is a stopgap. Just like coal, it is a limited resource, and we will reach this point eventually. Fusion reactors and TOKAMAKs should be the power for the foreseeable future. You know, until anti-matter production becomes cheap.

    If there was someway to tether an orbital solar power station to a ground station, that would be fantastic. The technology going into the space elevator can be used to carry massive electrical cabling.

    http://www.universetoday.com/2008/06/01/harvesting-solar-power-from-space/

    Tangent: geosync is at 35800km altitude, the radius of the earth is 6400km, so a ring of solar panels has a radius of 42200km. Total circumference is ~265 000km. Lets say that the panels cost USD$500 per square meter, or $500 million per sq km, for a total of $132 trillion dollars. Rough estimate, the weight of 1 sq m of panel weighs 7kg (less than earth based panels). Another est. is $2500 to send 1 kg into space. 1.855 billion tonnes @ $2500 per kg is 4.64 quadrillion dollars ($4 640 000 000 000 000) :eek:

    That was a big tangent. Just food for thought, I still advocate nuclear power for the next 100 years. I read somewhere that plants that are now growing in the ground zero area of chernobyl are immune to cancer.
     
  14. sammich macrumors 601

    sammich

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    #14
    Saw this doco on TV where a reporter went to a Chinese protoype nuclear station. They showed off how the reactor is supposed to shut itself down (or reduce the rate of energy production/# chain reactions) when the safety/cooling systems are completely turned off. Confidently, they turn off the protection systems, and push the reactor into higher production. When the screens show the heat building up, it kinda spikes and energy production drops to near zero. Apparently it does all this by itself, "where the physics is the protection system".

    Where is the danger now hippies?
     
  15. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #15
    there are 11 reactors of the russian type RBMK (Chernobyl Block 4) still operational and actually a further one is currently built in Kursk


    if all the coal power plants were replaced by nuclear power plants the price of uraniam would skyrocket because of the low supply and thus wouldn't be a cheap alternative anymore
    currently uranium ore is mined in very low concentrations in open pit mining... which is not only enormously destructive, puts a lot of radiation dust in the air (see eastern germany case of a uranium mine), but also requires a lot of energy to be run and has a high CO2 emissions because of the low yield

    for uranium supply duration .. if the as said before coal is replace with nuclear power and growing supply (china etc.) will be met: world wide uranium would last according to estimates until 2030/2035... including uranium currently in use in nuclear weapons



    also the CO2 generation/energy usage during construction/fuel mining has to be considered in evaluations
    currently the relation of "energy produced"/"energy needed during constrution" is still in favour of a nuclear power plant with a level of 7-9 (mining not considerd) or 3-5 (mining considered)
    thus a nuclear reactor is putting out 3-5 times the energy over it's lifetime than which were used during construction/operation
    that's a rather high value end not considering downtimes for repairs/ malfunctions..like in switzerland a few years ago when a turbine had a defect and thus a nuclear power plant was out for 9-10 months

    if now hundreds of new powerplants are cosntructed and uranium gets scarce / more lesser yield mining needs to be made that number goes down faster
    some estimate that the number will hit 0 already in 2025 if now only nuclear power plants are used to compensate for the growing energy usage... not even talking about replacing coal plants
    and once you are in the negative numbers a nuclear powerplant needs more energy for construction/operation than it can ever create combined during it's lifetime

    even if you ignore all the safety & health hazards nuclear fission power simply isn't a economical and ecological long term solution

    unless you call "beyond a legislation period" long term ;)
     
  16. Queso macrumors G4

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    #16
    I've long thought that here in the UK we ought to aim for half our energy demand to be satisfied by nuclear, with the remainder mostly coming from renewables. Modern nuclear technology of the type being used in Asia produces far less waste than our working plants, with far less risk attached. We could even buy in the necessary technological expertise from just across the Channel.

    The Carbon Age is coming to an end. Either we prepare for that now or we suffer the consequences in 30 years.
     
  17. Shivetya macrumors 65816

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    #17
    First off, the uranium short supply angle is just naysayers relying on omission of all the facts. Meaning, only say enough to defeat what you don't like.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-long-will-global-uranium-deposits-last


    Considering that Germany may build nukes should tell people something.

    People make the mistake that solar can replace base load plants and it cannot. It could help with peak load events but base load requires reliable sources of energy which means coal and nuclear plants. Wind is less than 20% efficient, go look at wind farm statistics versus what they were sold as doing. It is disgusting.

    Three Mile Island proved one thing, that US safety procedures work.
     
  18. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #18
    from your article:
    "at current rate of consumption" : energy demand increases + more nuclear pwoer plants demanded = that estimate will turn out wrong
    "According to the NEA, identified uranium resources total 5.5 million metric tons, and an additional 10.5 million metric tons remain undiscovered"
    wait they put 2/3 of undiscovered uranium in there ? .. how very scientific of them ...
    also do you seriously expect the Nuclear Energy Agency to release a different report
    also this report doesn't even go into the energy it would _cost_ to mine some of those uranium sources which is the whole point.. currently uranium is mined already at super low yields already (a few digits behind the zero) ...

    germany and switzerland have both built nuclear powerplants in earth quake endangered zones... also with siemens being one of the biggest suppliers of nuclear power generators/equipment don't take everything at face value

    for efficiency: wind generators bring back 30-40 times as much energy over their lifetime as used during their production/operation
    with the latest stuff denmark achieved even numbers in the 60-70 range and thsoe numbers are only about to rise

    that makes wind from the factor of the energy invested/energy gained somewhere around 5-10 times as efficient as nuclear power (and even better than coal) and those numbers will go up compared to coal and nuclear power

    on around the clock efficiency: the bigger a network of wind farms is place around a country the more it evens out as easily seen in countries like germany or spain
    wind energy will never be a silver bullet to replace another powerplant but combined with many other different sources it is
     
  19. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

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    #19

    British energy which runs our nuclear plants is now owned by EDF as of early 2009 (and recently 20% sold to centrica). British energy is planning new builds and the aim is to use the aveva EPR reactors that are being deployed in many new nuclear builds around the world, these are quite advanced and efficient.


    Nuclear energy will help meet carbon emissions, in the UK the 7 AGR and 1 PWR reactors saved about 35 million tonnes of c02 (equalivent to half the emissions from vehicles).
     
  20. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #20
    +1 Although, I think 500 is a bit of a stretch. Based on my understanding, you could power virtually the entire U.S. on only about 10 huge new modern Nuclear plants. You're exactly right about who's stopping it from happening though. By involving the government and circumventing the free market, hippies have ensured MORE pollution and more use of fossil fuels during the past 50 years.

    When will they learn... :confused:
     
  21. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #21
    that remains to be seen with the 2 current EPR in construction in europe are not even remotely close to being online

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Pressurized_Reactor

    in fact doesn't really look that good with some stuff like 3.5 years delayed and 50% over budget while reading stuff like

     
  22. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #22
    So without "hippies" you think that fossil fuels would have been left behind long ago by the free market and we'd have already moved on to clean energy sources :confused:?

    How does this work?
     
  23. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #23
    I'm for it so long as they address the potential security issues. Wind and solar aren't constant though, or not possible to power cities without a whole lot of space being taken up.
     
  24. Veldek macrumors 68000

    Veldek

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    #24
    Thanks, it's even more funny when someone doesn't recognize the irony and instead happily agrees because "he's exactly right". :p
     
  25. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #25
    I think if "hippies' hadn't derailed Atomic energy, the U.S. would be using FAR less fossil fuels than it does now. Atomic energy is far more efficient and has the potential to dramatically reduce our reliance on foreign oil. Their irrational fear mongering surrounding Atomic energy resulted in more coal, more natural gas, more oil being used in the United States.

    All thing being equal, the free market would have chosen Atomic energy as our primary energy source moving forward. Government regulation made this impossible, and here we sit.
     

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