pretty self-explanatory (abbrv.) Stop worrying about nuclear power, you idiots March 14, 2011 | Matthew LynleyView http://venturebeat.com/2011/03/14/nuclear-power/ Nuclear power is still one of the safest and cleanest ways to produce electricity — regardless of the doomsaying from the public and media after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake nearly caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Nuclear power is not well understood by the general public and the media. So the results of the disaster in Japan have been completely blown out of proportion, to the point that the U.S. government is calling on the president to back off on nuclear power programs for at least a little while. U.S. senator Joe Lieberman made the call on CBS’ “Face the Nation” today. This is pretty unfortunate, because nuclear power is one of the next best alternatives to fossil fuel-fired plants. Other cleaner power sources, such as solar and wind power, are still in their infancy and are nowhere near as efficient as nuclear reactors. My understanding of the process comes from studying physics and mathematics as an undergraduate — which isn’t comprehensive. But Josef Oehmen, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has a killer explanation that goes into a bit more detail about the explosion that occurred at the power plant. This explosion was caused by slightly radioactive steam “dissociating” into oxygen and hydrogen outside the containment unit. The explosion didn’t damage the containment unit, just the outside building — which isn’t supposed to serve as an additional layer of containment. It’s basic chemistry — hydrogen plus oxygen yields water and heat. The situation hasn’t been resolved just yet — as it will take several days for residual heat to die down and ensure the reactions come to a complete halt. Because nuclear power is so sparingly used, something unexpected could still crop up. The last time a nuclear disaster occurred in the United States — the Three Mile Island incident in 1979, when a small amount of radioactive material leaked into the open air — policies were stalled for more than a decade. With rising oil prices and the ever-present concern of greenhouse gases emitted from fossil fuel-burning power plants, events in Japan — no matter how much of a frenzy they have ignited in the media and in the public — should not further delay the progress of nuclear energy in the United States.
Just put more wind farms off the coast of the Kennedy compound.
100% agree, its a completely unjust reaction. Somewhat similar to when an airplane crashes; fear of flying increases like crazy. There’s also a huge anti-nuke base that is putting out a lot of misinformation on this incident.
CFABLACKBELT Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > 100% agree, its a completely unjust reaction. > Somewhat similar to when an airplane crashes; fear > of flying increases like crazy. > > There’s also a huge anti-nuke base that is putting > out a lot of misinformation on this incident. Agreed. And I frequently cite the airplane crash analogy: just because the worst case scenario is so grisly doesn’t mean that the technology should be written off. Nuclear power is - by a wide margin - the best shot we’ve got at generating cleaner energy over the long term. I’ve found that most people who’ve done a bit of reading on sustainable energy tend to agree, but the problem is that most people *haven’t* done any serious reading on energy policies…I’m all for the truly “clean” forms of energy like solar and wind, but until we get massive improvements in efficiency, they remain cost-prohibitive. Meanwhile, France quietly has been getting something like 80% of their power from nuclear since (I believe) the 1980s, but we’re in the stone age because our public is terrified of it.
Thanks for this thread – disclaimer Im long nuke
Uh, there are three problems with nuclear power, and we don’t really have all that great answers to any of them. 1) The possibility of meltdown. This is the problem that is being highlighted now, but it’s only one of the three. We’ve had roughly one meltdown type scare roughly every 20 years over the history of nuclear power; more if you think count the 3-4 Japanese reactors as separate scares. If nukes are a long-term energy solution, we’re going to be scaling up the number of plants substantially, and we’re going to be relying on it for 100s of years. Those dangers can be catastrophic, and they are way more messy than an airplane crash. More like a Bhopal kind of incident, except you can’t move back to where you used to live if you survive. Now, that’s not a reason to completely abandon nukes, but it is a reason to be very cautious with it. We are fortunate that the Japanese are one of the most detail oriented and safety conscious cultures in the world. The Russians at Chernobyl were all very smart, sure, but there were lots of corners cut there. If we are largely nuclear, will we all be able to keep up to Japanese safety standards??? This just seems unlikely. 2) What to do with nuclear waste. Some of this stuff remains radioactive for twice the recorded length of civilization. Even if we find a place to bury it, we have to make absolutely sure that it doesn’t get into the groundwater, which requries construction of chambers able to endure (sealed) longer than any we have ever constructed in our history. 3) How to keep nuclear materials from getting into the hands of terrorist organizations or rogue states, either for nuclear weapons production or for dirty bombs. There’s also the issue of Iran and other nations deciding to build nuclear power plants that can be quickly repurposed for making bomb-grade material.
^ Good points. totally agree with #2 How about this: don’t build nuclear plants near water or fault zones
The thing is if you don’t use nuclear power then what are our other options. How long can we be dependent on fossil fuels.
Nuclear power has major disads as bchadwick mentioned. However, there are limited options and developing countries just have too many mouths to feed, and thus I think it’s disads will continue to be overlooked. Remember, this is just the start of a long period of time when developing nations will greatly increase their energy consumption.
http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html Deaths per terawatt-hour by energy source. Nuclear is the safest by far. Coal is evil.
fossil fuels aren’t clean, efficient or safer. don’t be so quick to forget about the mining incidents in Chile and West Viginia and the BP oil spill in the past year. i agree that nuclear power does have its drawbacks, but its by far the most powerful, clean and efficient fuel source we know of. Meltdowns: we know about them and have innovated new methods and containment designs to thwart them. the problem isn’t knowing how to contain them, its getting the practices into place -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GE_Three Waste: so far it has been dumped into oceans, landfills and buried in mountains. if/when nuclear energy is used there does need to be dedicated space for the waste. possibly this is another market China can lead the world in. Terrorism: having nuclear materials fall into the wrong hands is always a possibility, but its the world’s problem to deal with, not any one country or company. global associations like iaea, oecd and nea have prominence and are able to independently monitor these groups and rouge nations.
I intend to become super-mega rich by figuring out a beneficial use for spent nuclear fuel rods. Remember, gasoline was once an unwanted byproduct of kerosene production.
Nuke baby nuke!
What bugs me is when people say that we need to REPLACE our nuclear energy with renewables. A windfarm and a nuclear plant are completely different animals. If you look at it from a reliability viewpoint (reliability as in always having power available to you at any time during the day) wind gives you just about nothing. The fact that wind is intermittent (uncertain as to when it will be available throughout the day) is often brought up, but the fact that many energy companies have a legal responsibility to have reserve energy to ensure power will be available is not often brought up. As an example, take a HUGGGGGEE windfarm that can produce up to 1000 MW vs a normal sized nuclear plant that can produce up to 1000 MW. From a planning perspective, legally you can apply nearly 1000 MW of the nuclear plant to your reliability, whereas you can apply MAYBE 5% of your windfarm. You would need 20,000 MW of wind to be on the same playing field. My take on the current situation regarding Japan is that it is way overhyped (an earthquake-> tsunami combo isn’t going to hit any US nuclear reactors), but looking at the way the US administration reacted to the BP spill (extra regulation on deepwater drilling, etc) energy companies with heavy nuclear weighting could be hurt. It isn’t much of an issue with building new nuclear right now, since none is being built anyway due to high cost.
Why do people keep quoting this Josef Oehmen guy? He is not even a nuclear/physics/engineering guy. He is some sort of operations/supply chain researcher.
Mmmm… Tokyo water is now radioactive, and parts of the food supply too. That’s at least 12 million people affected. And these plants aren’t even in a full-blown crisis/meltdown. Yes… nuke failures are way messier than airplane crashes. Even the ones that don’t go all Chernobyl on yo’ azz.
Tokyo is also affected by smog from coal/gasoline plants. This kills more people than the radiation will.
What I find odd is that no one ever talks about the costs of nuclear power. On an unsubsidized basis, nuclear power is probably the most expensive form of energy out there on a utility scale, excepting tiny technologies like wave and solar. The list goes something like this: Wind, Geothermal, Nat Gas (CC), Conventional Coal, Nat Gas (CT), Nuke/IGCC/Coal CCS. Everyone one of these technologies has pros and cons, but nukes are off the charts expensive relative to other technologies.
But it’s about the future! The future! The future! We will run out of Dino juice and Dino nuggets (coal) in this century. However, nuclear power is theoretically infinite.
NakedPuts Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > What I find odd is that no one ever talks about > the costs of nuclear power. On an unsubsidized > basis, nuclear power is probably the most > expensive form of energy out there on a utility > scale, excepting tiny technologies like wave and > solar. The list goes something like this: Wind, > Geothermal, Nat Gas (CC), Conventional Coal, Nat > Gas (CT), Nuke/IGCC/Coal CCS. Everyone one of > these technologies has pros and cons, but nukes > are off the charts expensive relative to other > technologies. You’re right in that Nuclear is uneconomic right now. The fixed costs have sky rocketed and with all of the new natural gas deposits being found, it is definitely second rate. There really aren’t many new nuclear projects under way, which is why this is being blown out of proportion. I think more of the issue is people saying we need to shut down our current nukes and replace them, but energy companies hate that because after putting up huge capital costs they want to get some return on them.