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Author Topic: Nuclear Power  (Read 3203 times)

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Offline Malefique

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2011, 07:56:04 AM »
So, remind me, Three Mile Island, that was Russian, was it?  Or Fukushima, that's a slipshod Russian product too? Just to set the picture straight, of the nuclear power plants accidents causing multiple fatalities and/or more than $100 million in damage to property since 1961, one was in Russia - Chernobyl.  One East Germany, one Czechoslovakia.  Twelve in the US.  One in the reunited Germany; and three in Japan.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_and_radiation_accidents] [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_and_radiation_accidents [/url].  My sister died from leukemia caused by drinking milk contaminated by radiation from the leak at Windscale in 1957,  at the age of two - that's in the UK, by the way, not Russia.  I am opposed to nuclear power, and I dare say today's news about that quake on the US east coast causing multiple 'unusual events' at nuclear plants and causing the need to take some offline might change a few minds.  http://abcnews.go.com/US/earthquake/east-coast-quake-nuclear-reactors-offline/story?id=14365268  .  As for burning shit, we all do it and there's a fuel source that will only run out if we all die out anyway; and it may smell, but if crap falls all over your country at least your crops will grow better - unlike if nuclear contamination occurs.  And I would have no problems with a poo-burner in my back yard, even if it stinks.  But if they try and build a nuclear one anywhere round us, I'll fight tooth and nail to stop it.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #26 on: August 24, 2011, 08:44:15 AM »
Your own quoted source says that "apart from Chernobyl, no nuclear workers or members of the public have ever died as a result of exposure to radiation due to a commercial nuclear reactor incident."[6] Sure, more 'accidents' occurred outside Russia than inside it, but that one incident in Russia did more damage, released more radiation, and killed more people than the rest of them combined.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_and_radiation_accidents
Of your '20 major incidents', note that 10 of them didn't even register on the Nuclear Event scale, and 9 of those 10 were in the United States. No registry scale means no loss of life or radiation release, only property damage - so there've actually only been 3 US incidents, 3 Japanese, 1 Chezch, 1 German, and Chernobyl, which outstripped everything else on this list by several orders of magnitude in direct and indirect deaths. I'd have to go hunting to find the deaths and environmental destruction caused by 50+ years of strip mining for coal even without power plant accidents and coal mine collapses, but I'll bet it's more.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Mile_Island_accident_health_effects - "According to the official radiation release figures, average local radiation exposure was equivalent to a chest X-ray, and maximum local exposure equivalent to less than a year's background radiation."

Now, I'm sorry for your loss, but people die in coal power plants, oil power plants, and other energy sources too. And with proper storage and care (like not building your power plants on geologic fault lines or in Tsunami danger zones, Japan), nuclear energy will do far less damage to the environment than anything else we can cook up. Your picture isn't entirely straight, it's pretty severely slanted by your own personal experiences.

Offline Sabby

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2011, 11:44:47 AM »
So, remind me, Three Mile Island, that was Russian, was it?  Or Fukushima, that's a slipshod Russian product too? Just to set the picture straight, of the nuclear power plants accidents causing multiple fatalities and/or more than $100 million in damage to property since 1961, one was in Russia - Chernobyl.  One East Germany, one Czechoslovakia.  Twelve in the US.  One in the reunited Germany; and three in Japan.  [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_and_radiation_accidents]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_and_radiation_accidents] [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_and_radiation_accidents [/url].  My sister died from leukemia caused by drinking milk contaminated by radiation from the leak at Windscale in 1957,  at the age of two - that's in the UK, by the way, not Russia.  I am opposed to nuclear power, and I dare say today's news about that quake on the US east coast causing multiple 'unusual events' at nuclear plants and causing the need to take some offline might change a few minds.  http://abcnews.go.com/US/earthquake/east-coast-quake-nuclear-reactors-offline/story?id=14365268  .  As for burning shit, we all do it and there's a fuel source that will only run out if we all die out anyway; and it may smell, but if crap falls all over your country at least your crops will grow better - unlike if nuclear contamination occurs.  And I would have no problems with a poo-burner in my back yard, even if it stinks.  But if they try and build a nuclear one anywhere round us, I'll fight tooth and nail to stop it.

I'm very sorry for that loss, but just as sorry to see such a heavily biased stance :( Even if it's completely understandable. Radiation ain't nothing to mess with, but then again, burning coal and oil can be just as deadly. The only reason it isn't right now is because we've had hundreds of years to make it safe and effecient. Stonewalling nuclear power because its dangerous would effect the future in the same way as if we decided so long ago not to work on our burning procedures because people choked on the smoke.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2011, 12:01:48 PM »
I don't think it's proper to group monetary losses with human losses.  A reactor shutting itself down due to automatic safety procedures (like the ones in Virginia did) will inevitably cause monetary loss, due to the loss of whatever power it provided.  That monetary loss only proves that the engineers consider preventing human loss to be of primary importance.  What happens to the accident list if you separate those two categories?

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2011, 12:21:06 PM »
I don't think it's proper to group monetary losses with human losses.  A reactor shutting itself down due to automatic safety procedures (like the ones in Virginia did) will inevitably cause monetary loss, due to the loss of whatever power it provided.  That monetary loss only proves that the engineers consider preventing human loss to be of primary importance.  What happens to the accident list if you separate those two categories?

It shrinks by more than half, as I noted above - only 8 of the 19 "major incidents" described had any radiation release at all beyond the facility's walls (and 1 other had no release, but deaths from an exploding steam turbine). Of those 8, only 6 were rated at an INES ranking of 4+, meaning an accident with any local consequences.

The Wiki page lists a total of 38 accidents that caused damage, fatalities direct or indirect, or radiation release. Of those, only 26 happened in the last 20 years, and only 13 of those happened within the last 10 years.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 12:27:05 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline Zakharra

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2011, 01:21:49 PM »
 I'm sorry for your loss Malefique, but nuclear power is the only source of energy that promises energy growth without burning something. It's a LOT safer now to operate a nuke plant than it has been in the past and safety measures are being improved all the time. As evidence by what happened in Japan. The plant survived the earthquake very well. What they didn't expect was the tidal wave that damaged the plant. That over-site is being looked at now and will be corrected quickly.

 As to how safe they are?  It wouldn't bother me of a plant was built near where I live. They are very safe.

Offline Jude

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2011, 01:34:27 PM »
I don't think it's proper to group monetary losses with human losses.  A reactor shutting itself down due to automatic safety procedures (like the ones in Virginia did) will inevitably cause monetary loss, due to the loss of whatever power it provided.  That monetary loss only proves that the engineers consider preventing human loss to be of primary importance.  What happens to the accident list if you separate those two categories?
Both are important though when it comes down to it.

Anyone who tells you that there is zero risk or drawback associated with Nuclear Power isn't being honest.  There are two extremes to this debate, those who want to pretend that nuclear power is the golden idea that will save our faltering energy plan and those who are opposed to it any form.  In a podcast I listened to on the subject where scientists and expects weighed in, the host exemplified these sides with real world examples:  Ann Coulter playing the pro-nuclear card in an editorial by claiming that radiation is actually good for you (using bad science of course) and Nancy Grace's outburst over the Fukushima incident on network television.

There's actually a lot we don't know about the science of radiation.  We do not know if small amounts of radiation correlate to small increases in risks for cancer, or if they correlate to no increased risk.  If small amounts do correlate to increased risks, because of the way radiation travels around the globe, even a tiny incident like Fukushima can have big repercussions in a world inhabited by 7 billion people if you multiply the risk by that population.

Interestingly, one of the few outfits doing research on this (whether or not tiny amounts of radiation can truly be considered negligible to the point of inconsequential) is getting its budget axed in the latest round of cutbacks in the US.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 01:38:37 PM by Jude »

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2011, 03:16:57 PM »
In a podcast I listened to on the subject where scientists and expects weighed in, the host exemplified these sides with real world examples:  Ann Coulter playing the pro-nuclear card in an editorial by claiming that radiation is actually good for you (using bad science of course) and Nancy Grace's outburst over the Fukushima incident on network television.

Derp what derp.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #33 on: August 24, 2011, 04:39:13 PM »
Both are important though when it comes down to it.

Won't dispute that, but lumping them together is bad statistics. 

Offline bigdean777

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #34 on: August 24, 2011, 06:07:42 PM »
It is so nice to find so many pro nuclear people in one place.  It is truly rare.  I have been involved with nuclear power my entire adult life.  Involved with Navy nuclear power from about 19 till I got out.  Then 25 years of commercial nuclear experience.  I have been to five different plants over my years.

The anti nukes can mention Three Mile Island, but it proved the safety systems and back up systems worked.  Chernobyl? Bad management compounding horrible design.

Fukishima is certainly tough to explain away.  Bad location.  Unimaginable set of circumstances.

There is no free lunch.  Making power is going to cost you something somewhere.  If you are burning fossil fuels, everyone understands those risks.  Solar panels?  Gonna need a WHOLE lot of those to do the job, and the bottom line, the sun does not always shine.

Wind turbines?  Again, you are going to need a lot of them.  They kill birds, ruin views.  People want to site them near where people live and it makes them miserable.  The wind does not always blow.

If people buy a lot of electric cars they stop burning gas but burn electricity.  More will need to be made.  Anything dealing with power storage means batteries.  The materials need to be mined.  We import most of those materials, so once again depending on something out of our direct control.

Nuclear power is expensive and unpopular, but part of the expense is battling the anti nuke crowd.

My personal belief is that the solution is a mix.  Renewables should be utilized where they make sense.  States need to revisit their laws for siting wind turbines, they are currently allowed too close to where people live.  My neighborhood is fighting one that would be 900' from my neighbors house and 1400' from my front window.  I would see it outside all 9 windows on the front of my house, I would be able to hear it whenever it was spinning and there would be times in the winter when the spinning blades would be between my house and the sun.  That causes flicker, making the rooms in the front of my house uninhabitable during that time of the day.

There are issues with sound.  Even sound you cannot consciously hear can disrupt your sleep.  It would take over 1200 of these proposed turbines to replace the nuclear power plant that i work at.  Where are you going to put all these?  How many would you have to build to power a major city?

I have gone on long enough.  Thanks for listening. 


Offline AndyZTopic starter

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2011, 02:56:33 AM »
I wanted to thank people from both sides of the debate for hopping on and enlightening me ^_^

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #36 on: August 26, 2011, 04:15:37 PM »
I'm not a big fan of fission reactors.  Under normal circumstances, they're very safe, true enough.  But there are two weaknesses: human mismanagement and malfeasance (Chernobyl), and black-swan natural disasters (Fukushima).  All well and good to say you're building a reactor somewhere "safe," but the very nature of black-swan events is that they are not foreseen or foreseeable, and sometimes do hit "safe" areas.  And when they do, the resulting radiation release can be highly damaging, with effects that last decades, even centuries and beyond.

Having said that, I do believe we're going to have to build more fission reactors, as the Oil Age is coming to an end sooner than most people realize.  But what is really needed is a new Manhattan Project into thermonuclear fusion for electric power.  The reason why fusion power is "always 50 years away" is because we have that mentality.  Gather the 20 best minds on the planet, put them into a room, give them a budget of $500 billion and offer them each a $20 million bounty for successful completion of the first commercially viable thermonuclear reactor, and we could probably have it up within a decade.  That's pretty much how we got the atomic bomb sooner rather than later...Roosevelt got the brains together and refused to take "no" or "maybe someday" for an answer.

Offline Jude

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #37 on: August 26, 2011, 04:59:05 PM »
This is probably the first time I've ever said this on these forums (to you or anyone else):  I agree with you 100%.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #38 on: August 29, 2011, 05:28:50 PM »
There's actually a lot we don't know about the science of radiation.  We do not know if small amounts of radiation correlate to small increases in risks for cancer, or if they correlate to no increased risk.  If small amounts do correlate to increased risks, because of the way radiation travels around the globe, even a tiny incident like Fukushima can have big repercussions in a world inhabited by 7 billion people if you multiply the risk by that population.

To be a bit of a pedant (it is one of my favorite pastimes after all :P), you are mis-characterizing the problem. We know pretty much everything about the science of radiation and can calculate with a fair degree of precision exactly what particular amounts do to particular biological molecules at the molecular and cellular level. The calculations may suck to perform, but they are doable. Our flaw is not in our understanding of radiation.

Rather the issue comes with the [x -> large #] level of complexity stack of falling dominoes that leads to a neoplasm. The normal risk of spontaneously developing cancer in your lifetime involves a series of multiple (a minimum of 3 for benign 5 for malignant without genetic predisposition) mutations that occur with probability ~ 1/10^-8 scale. So if radiation makes small changes in that, there is no good way to contextualize risk when dealing with those probabilities. Add to that that most people are horrible at analyzing probability and risk (and really don't understand cancer) and we wind up genuinely not knowing what to do with those numbers. So it's more that we can't properly work with the risk and have difficulty comparing it to the risks from other power sources to determine acceptable levels, and then have further difficulty conveying that risk to the public.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Nuclear Power
« Reply #39 on: September 03, 2011, 11:39:51 AM »

Having said that, I do believe we're going to have to build more fission reactors, as the Oil Age is coming to an end sooner than most people realize.  But what is really needed is a new Manhattan Project into thermonuclear fusion for electric power.  The reason why fusion power is "always 50 years away" is because we have that mentality.  Gather the 20 best minds on the planet, put them into a room, give them a budget of $500 billion and offer them each a $20 million bounty for successful completion of the first commercially viable thermonuclear reactor, and we could probably have it up within a decade.  That's pretty much how we got the atomic bomb sooner rather than later...Roosevelt got the brains together and refused to take "no" or "maybe someday" for an answer.


 It's a nice idea, but impossible to implement. The US or other nations cannot afford to cough up $10 trillion to give to researchers. It would be much better spent on more immediate things.  Roosevelt was also facing something more immediate than the end of oil, which will be many decades away if not a century.