Why We Need Nuclear Power: The Environmental Case

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by aaronvan, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #1
    I've long believed that seriously deal with climate change we need to embrace nuclear power, which is the only power source that could provide the baseload energy that we currently get from coal and natural gas. This looks like a very interesting book. I've requested that my local public library purchase it.

    http://global.oup.com/academic/product/why-we-need-nuclear-power-9780199344574
     
  2. FreemanW macrumors 6502

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    #2
    It is not clean or sustainable, cost or waste included.

    Sure, if you ignore the exorbitant costs (negative ROI) because you're externalizing those costs on a collapsing social financial safety net for billionaires and corporations while ignoring the radioactive wastes . . . . yeah!! it is THE WAY TO GO.
     
  3. zin Suspended

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    #3
    It looks like you are misinformed. Sure the original capital costs are expensive, but the actual cost per kWh is about the same as coal and significantly less than solar and off-shore wind, whilst providing considerably more reliable energy output.

    It is sustainable. There are many plans for dealing with radioactive waste. These are safe and proven methods that store the waste away to prevent any long-term effects. This has been done for decades. It's not just a case of burying the high level waste underground and hoping that the radioactivity decreases. There are highly sophisticated facilities for dealing with high level waste, and the amount of this kind of waste, i.e. the most radioactive generated by the plants, is really not that much.

    It is clean. Barring the relatively small amounts of long-term radioactive waste, which is already managed safely and efficiently, the power plants themselves emit hardly nothing in terms of pollution and greenhouse emissions.

    It's a bit silly to say the radioactive waste is "ignored". It is not. Radioactive waste has been dealt with for many years in a safe and sustainable way. It's also one of the safest forms of energy around.

    It boggles the mind that some people still think that we could have a credible future energy plan without involving nuclear. I think the word "nuclear" scares some people.
     
  4. aaronvan thread starter Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #4
    I chuckle when people who declare mankind is in imminent danger of extinction due to climate change, also dismiss nuclear power as "too expensive."

    That's like worrying about the city water bill when firefighters want to extinguish a burning orphanage.
     
  5. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #5
    I chuckle when members here turn to straw man arguments to bolster their case.
     
  6. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #6
    The problem with nuclear power is the radioactive waste. Right now it just saved at the Nuclear plant itself!
     
  7. aaronvan thread starter Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #7
    It's a simile. You should look-up the definition of a straw man.
     
  8. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #8
    Admittedly, even the climate change worst case scenarios wouldn't be an extinction level event for us. We'd just have a few decades of super suck while we adjust to it.
     
  9. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #9
    No it usually comes up here to the NW. Hanford to be specific.

    I am paying extra money to the city because of a failed nuke plant.
     
  10. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #10
    The real problem with Nuclear energy isn’t really the waste or the radiation - that can be addressed with proper and effective technology and regulation. The problem is that it has to be treated with the care it deserves and you cannot cut corners with it and try to go cheap on them or you listen to the business owners who try to bribe their way to reduced regulation to reduce their costs.

    Most of the disasters that have happened with plants that have failed and melted down are older plants that have been kept running longer than they should (it’s hard to convince the public to allow new ones to be built with newer technology and they are really expensive). Other times it was a conflation of nasty events that the plants were not equipped to handle, or they were in countries with low standards.

    If you want to go nuclear, you have to be prepared to do it properly and not try to cut corners. It’s not easy.
     
  11. aaronvan thread starter Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #11
    Here's a capsule review from Foreign Affairs magazine.

     
  12. Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #12
  13. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #13
    We can speculate all we want, but as I've posted before, the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA's) energy projections for 2014 through 2040 indicate that nuclear power generation will not increase in the U.S. Natural gas and renewables will increase, coal will decrease, and nuclear will remain about the same.

    Screen shot 2014-11-05 at 9.15.33 PM.png
     
  14. FreemanW macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Apparently, looks are deceiving.

    For those interested in facts:

    The staggering costs of new nuclear power (2009 Think Progress article)

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2009/01/05/202859/study-cost-risks-new-nuclear-power-plants/

    I won't even bother taking a "low hanging fruit" cheap shot at you by asking you to provide the dollar conversion for the damages and property losses resulting from the General Electric failure at Fukushima.

    This really is easier than shooting fish in a barrel, arguing with the poorly equipped, half my brain and both arms tied behind my back while both eyes are closed.
     
  15. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #15
    Bringing up Fukushima as a negative to nuclear energy isn't picking low hanging fruit, so much as grabbing a rotten apple off the ground.

    The Fukushima reactor was severely out of date, and in need of a goodly bit of maintenance. And even then, it took a natural disaster of biblical proportions to cause a meltdown. It's a bad example because the circumstances surrounding its failure are so freakish and singular.
     
  16. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030

    Wild-Bill

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    #16
    Natural gas isn't a viable long-term solution either. Never mind the fact that fracking pollutes water tables and it's concoction of hazardous chemicals are detrimental to human health, methane is far more efficient than CO2 in trapping heat in the atmosphere.
     
  17. pdjudd macrumors 601

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    #17
    That’s a very valid point - nuclear can be a lot safer than the disasters that we focus on - the problem gets to be the point that I addressed, you cannot go cheap and you cannot cut corners (like with keeping plants operating long past their expected lifetimes or avoiding upkeep).

    Nuclear has a lot of bad PR from people who want to make it sound like an obvious bad investment (usually because they want to promote their own elegy source like coal which is just as bad) by making it sound really dangerous. Thats why they talk about the rare disasters like 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl, or Fukushima and they just focus on the radiation aspect to scare people. Rarely do they look at the circumstances of the disaster or rarely do they look at the solutions that are available or could be. They just reject it because the nature of the energy source is scary and hard to understand.

    I recall a ton of panic, FUD and outright lies when Fukushima went bad. It was all “this is why we need to never use nuclear” versus what we should have been hearing is “this is not how we should do nuclear, we should be doing it like X”. What’s worse is that it’s very rare for us to discuss the disasters related to other energy sources and other major problems with coal, natural gas, oil, etc.

    We shouldn’t be basing our energy policy on the most extreme disasters of one source. And we shouldn’t be trying to be idealistic and say that we can solve all of our energy problems with solar, wind, geothermal or just one source. We need to look at energy needs responsibly and honestly. No hype and no FUD.
     
  18. FreemanW macrumors 6502

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    #18
    If you are anticipating a serious argument, how about addressing the facts.

    So far, I've seen little more than dismissive straw man, farcical, unsubstantiated dodges at the real issue brought up by the OP.

    If we need radioactive wastes and energy that is obscenely expensive compared to any other known, proven, and practical method of production, do tell.

    Tell us all what the real costs are of a modern nuclear power plant and how building one is not only feasible, explain just how it is a slam-dunk success.

    I've not seen anything here that counters my posts and backs up the counters with facts.

    Show how nuclear power is a Return On Investment WINNAR and how dealing with the radioactive waste is a solved issue.
     
  19. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #19
    If only people were that levelheaded.

    Now I'll admit that nuclear power does have two deep downsides that everyone should bear in mind at all times, but it's track record has shown it to be one of our safest, and most efficient sources of energy available. Of the hundreds of nuclear plants in the world that have been operating over the last 60 years, we've had only three failures so far. Of those three, two were caused by gross ineptitude, and one was caused by an unforeseeable outlier event that's so unlikely to happen, it can be accounted for.

    We shouldn't be shuttering our current best bet energy source due to a few extreme what-ifs.

    ----------

    They're incredibly expensive to build, no doubt, but from what I understand, they're relatively inexpensive to maintain once running. Until we have a breakthrough in fusion, there are no other technologies that can produce as much power as cleanly and efficiently as nuclear.

    As for radioactive waste, which is one of the biggest bugbears of nuclear energy, Generation IV/Fast Neutron Reactors are much more efficient at consuming uranium, which means more up time with lower waste over longer periods, and they can, in theory, consume the old waste rods from earlier nuclear reactors.

    Plus there are other technologies that use some fissile material besides uranium, though damn if I can't remember exactly what it is, or what its upsides are.
     
  20. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #20
    Short of nationalizing all the power companies "we" wouldn't have much direct control over decisions about energy production choices, on nationwide basis.
     
  21. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #21
    Slight change of wording then.

    We shouldn't be advocating shuttering our current best bet energy source due to...
     
  22. FreemanW macrumors 6502

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  23. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #23
    And you're great at throwing out unsubstantiated dismissals without backing yourself up.

    I can hit up Google and give you a link to each and everything I've claimed above. But all you'd do is...

    "NUH UH! YOU'RE WRONG! THAT'S AN...whats the next thing on my list of logical fallacies...AD HOMINEM ATTACK! THAT MEANS I'M RIGHT!"
     
  24. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #24
    Unfortunately, getting any for profit company to act in the best interest of society is usually a challenge.
     
  25. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #25
    Nah, that's easy. All we have to do is make acting in the best interest of society profitable.

    And the only reason why we haven't found a way to do that yet is because we're not beating our scientists hard enough.
     

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