Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
MS-06FZ Zaku II Kai

Your opinion on nuclear power?

Recommended Posts

It's ironic that everybody here seems to ignore the cost and dirt that gets produced to even get the Uranium into the reactor. Of course this is often done far away from the places where the energy is consumed - apparently ignorance is bliss.

Uranium mining is an extremely dirty business that releases large amounts of radioactivity into the environment.

Uranium enrichment is also a very dirty business it deals with extremely toxic substances that often get left behind because proper disposal is too costly.

 

Also, disposal of spent fuel is still an unsolved problem and reprocessing also releases a lot of radioactivity into the environment.

So yes, the reactor itself is mostly clean (as long as it is operational - after that it will also become a liability) but the entire chain of production is certainly not. Of course the producers lie about that. They want to take the money while leaving the problems to society.

 

Last but not least, Uranium is, just like fossil fuel, a limited resource. It may give Humanity 50-100 years of breathing space until a better alternative is found, but putting all eggs in this basket is just as short sighted as continuing to burn coal.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

That certainly reinforces my own concerns regarding public health and the environment with the use of Nuclear power.

Share this post


Link to post
45 minutes ago, Graf Zahl said:

It's ironic that everybody here seems to ignore the cost and dirt that gets produced to even get the Uranium into the reactor. 

 

Well, why do people even consider using nuclear in the first place? Because of either 1) climate reasons or 2) running out of oil / coal. In both cases, economics and environmental pollution are the lowest priority. If neither of these problems existed, we would certainly just continue with oil / coal.

 

Problem #1 obviates economic concerns because the consequences of continued CO2 emissions threaten human activity, if you believe the worst of the global warming predictions. Environmental pollution is obviated as well, because who is going to care about a hundred square miles of radioactive land if, again, you believe the worst of the global warming predictions.


Problem #2 will manifest itself as gradually rising cost of oil / coal extraction until the point that a nuclear reactor is cheaper electricity than coal. I have no idea when this happens though, probably many hundreds of years in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
6 minutes ago, RDETalus said:

 

Well, why do people even consider using nuclear in the first place? Because of either 1) climate reasons or 2) running out of oil / coal. In both cases, economics and environmental pollution are the lowest priority. If neither of these problems existed, we would certainly just continue with oil / coal. 

 

Well, obviously. Still, some people try to pass it off as a 'clean' source of energy, which it clearly is not.

 

 

6 minutes ago, RDETalus said:

Problem #1 obviates economic concerns because the consequences of continued CO2 emissions threaten human activity, if you believe the worst of the global warming predictions. Environmental pollution is obviated as well, because who is going to care about a hundred square miles of radioactive land if, again, you believe the worst of the global warming predictions.

 

 

And yet they bet on another resource that is limited to avoid doing the needed research into forms of energy production that are actually sustainable.

 

 

6 minutes ago, RDETalus said:


Problem #2 will manifest itself as gradually rising cost of oil / coal extraction until the point that a nuclear reactor is cheaper electricity than coal. I have no idea when this happens though, probably many hundreds of years in the future.

 

The only way this can happen if the available coal resources are no longer exploitable so coal becomes very expensive. But here's the thing: Available coal resources will last a lot longer than available Uranium resources. So it'll never happen.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, RDETalus said:

Well, why do people even consider using nuclear in the first place? Because of either 1) climate reasons or 2) running out of oil / coal. In both cases, economics and environmental pollution are the lowest priority. If neither of these problems existed, we would certainly just continue with oil / coal.

There is a third reason, actually.

 

A civilian nuclear industry is a necessity to maintain a military nuclear industry. Notably the compact nuclear reactors that power submarines and aircraft carriers. To maintain the engineering skills for these advanced technologies, you need civilian nuclear power to exist, because there's no way the boats are gonna give you enough work to sustain all the engineering careers you need to maintain. One thing to keep in mind is that, while the theory of nuclear power is well understood by every country in the world, even those that don't even use nuclear power, the actual practical skills of building reliable reactors is much more complex. Those skills are hard to build and quick to lose. Same for a lot of high-technology domains. And then there's the bombs, of course.

 

Now you may be a pacifist hostile to the concept of nuclear deterrence, but ask yourself if you really think countries such as Russia, China, Pakistan, or North Korea are going to dismantle their nuclear arsenal, and if you'd want to live in a world where these four would be the only nuclear powers in the world.

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, RDETalus said:

What is the mechanism that would cause this collapse exactly? I don’t think there is any reason a technological civilization cannot survive in a +4 C warmer world, so my assumption is that we’re talking about sudden social upheaval or sudden biosphere collapse.

 

Same Mechanisms that took down the Roman Empire :)

 

- Europe mostly hasn't really harsh climate hazards.

In the last Decade warm Summers made Farmers a hard life.

- We are becoming more and more Storms

The Flood we had this Summer is a Combination of the Effect of Storms and Rivers that are forced into a "Corsette" .

 

These Examples will not destroy any Country in Europa, but are generating Problems.

 

Now other Regions of the World will suffer way more.

This will lead into more Immigation and Jealosy about Ressources (Water, Food).

Instable Politics to former economic Trade Partners will also force Problems within European Coutries.

 

Fragile Countries even european ones, could fail when a bigger Event happens than.

 

If the Roman Empire can fail, every other Country can.

Don't forget, the Romans had Aquaducts and Canalisations as an Example, something that was missing thousand Years later.

 

Civilization, Knowledge and Technology can disappear.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

re Nuclear Weapons, I tend to think of them like this: if we manage to avoid a large-scale nuclear exchange, nukes will end up being one of the biggest life-savers in human history, since it was the threat of MAD that made industrial wars impractical. Without them, a conventional war between NATO and the USSR would almost certainly have occured, and that would have cost millions of lives. A full-scale war between India and Pakistan would also be a near-certainty, and such a conflict could easily eclipse WW1 or even WW2 in terms of bodycount.

Share this post


Link to post

It's theoretically "awesome" but I know too little to make a profound guess about it's reliability. I once saw an interesting clip on youtube where a dude just ate radio active material and said it's way less harmful than what official sources say. He argued that the bad rep stemmed from big money being made to have it stored/handled "carefully". Always cracks me up thinking about this.

Share this post


Link to post
36 minutes ago, _bruce_ said:

It's theoretically "awesome" but I know too little to make a profound guess about it's reliability. I once saw an interesting clip on youtube where a dude just ate radio active material and said it's way less harmful than what official sources say. He argued that the bad rep stemmed from big money being made to have it stored/handled "carefully". Always cracks me up thinking about this.

 

That dude should tell that Marie Curie, who suffered from radio active Material before a big Money Industry existed ;)

Share this post


Link to post
39 minutes ago, _bruce_ said:

I once saw an interesting clip on youtube where a dude just ate radio active material and said it's way less harmful than what official sources say.

Eating radioactive sources seems like a thoroughly bad idea.

 

So there are three types of radioactivity: alpha, beta, and gamma. They're named in ascending order of penetrative power: gamma rays are photons (at a much, much higher frequency than visible light photons) and they can get through just about anything. You need some very thick layer of lead to stop them. Beta rays are electrons, so they're already much bigger than photons and therefore easier to stop. A thin sheet of aluminum is enough. (Well, there's still the problem that absorption of beta rays by your shielding material will release gamma rays...) And then there's alpha rays. Those are practically harmless. They're helium nuclei (two protons, two neutrons, but lacking the two electrons that would make them a full-fledged helium atom), that makes them the largest radiation particles, and therefore the easiest to stop. A sheet of paper is enough to stop them. Your mere skin is enough to stop them. Exception: really soft tissue, like your eyes or, say, the inside of your digestive tract, will not stop them. So basically if you have an alpha emitter, the only way it can really be dangerous to you is if you eat it.

 

Beta and gamma are bad news regardless.

 

Also I'll point out that Youtube people are really, really, really not a reference about what's safe and what isn't. Cf. Leslie Lawrenson.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, _bruce_ said:

I once saw an interesting clip on youtube where a dude just ate radio active material and said it's way less harmful than what official sources say. He argued that the bad rep stemmed from big money being made to have it stored/handled "carefully". Always cracks me up thinking about this.

 

Oh my. Remind me to nominate him for the Darwin award when he finally dies - which may take a few months or years depending on the substance and the amount he consumed.

 

Like this guy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eben_Byers

Share this post


Link to post
15 hours ago, Gez said:

There's also been disasters involving pesticide plants, like in Seveso or Bhopal, and yet where's the outcry against pesticides?

 

I can only talk for Germany, but here we have social movement against and debate on pesticides.

ackergift-nein-danke-planetbox-du-entsch

Share this post


Link to post
6 minutes ago, Tetzlaff said:

I can only talk for Germany, but here we have social movement against and debate on pesticides.

Top three largest pesticide companies in the world: Syngenta (Switzerland), Bayer (Germany), BASF (Germany). Good luck to the activists!

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

@GezNo one said it would be easy... but nuclear power also had a powerful lobby in Germany and yet a broad social movement plus democratic choice achieved that the last nuclear plant will be shut down in 2022.

Edited by Tetzlaff

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, Graf Zahl said:

 

Oh my. Remind me to nominate him for the Darwin award when he finally dies - which may take a few months or years depending on the substance and the amount he consumed.

 

Like this guy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eben_Byers

I really wish i didn't looked that one up, as it mentions an article describing what happened. Curse Google Images for highlighting a black and white picture of how a surprised face without jaw looks like. Absolutely #creepypasta material.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

There's a few questionable things about nuclear power that I observed, having studied a bit of it:

 

- it's only accessible to a limited amount of countries for various reasons. Some of the reasons are obvious: some countries simply don't have the uranium deposits to harvest, some countries don't have decent personnel and education for that, some countries don't have an opportunity to fullfill the IAEA rules and conditions (or simply disagree with them). That leads to conflicts between countries that are in completely different positions, including the arms race that used to be very highly prioritized. 
- as an attempt to solve that conflict, many "peacemaking" organisations and conventions were created. They didn't magically solve the above problems of "non-nuclear" countries, but created a ton of them for the leading nuclear states. Making more progress in that field became very difficult, there's a lot of misunderstanding and anti-nuclear bias.
- there's a lot of secrecy and control involved in this field. Both IAEA and the nuclear states themselves are concerned about securing and monitoring all information, all personnel, resources and intelligence needed for this field. 

So: it has a lot of potential up to destroying the entire earth, and it will most likely happen eventually. The attempts to limit its potential are pretty questionable, as well as its initial goals. There's a lot of choosing between evils. Casual application of nuclear power will probably never be a thing, only aerospace and restricted-access facilites maybe.

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Gez said:

Your mere skin is enough to stop them. Exception: really soft tissue, like your eyes or, say, the inside of your digestive tract, will not stop them. So basically if you have an alpha emitter, the only way it can really be dangerous to you is if you eat it.

 

Another way to look at the radiation "stopping power" of materials: radiation being "stopped" means that the radiation carrier has lost all its energy in impact. In other words: transferred its energy to the impacted. Gamma radiation isn't harmful when it flies through you. It is harmful when it accidentally hits something inside your body, because then it will transfer part of its energy to the impacted structure, eg a cell's DNA, and disrupt it before flying on.

 

When an alpha particle is stopped by impacting your skin it means ALL its energy gets transferred to that skin. The outer skin being comprised of a layer of dead cells, it does no harm to living material. Ingested alpha particles are not stopped by a layer of dead skin absorbing its energy, but by living material. And there it can do harm by derailing the cellular genes.

 

When I was still working in isotope labs, there was never a worry about gamma or beta emitters. They are easily detected, so any spill sets off the most simple precautionary alarms. Alpha emitters on the other hand... Only way to detect a spill is to swipe down a surface and use special enhancer fluids. This means spills don't get noticed until potentially much later. So while touching it may not do harm, inevitable you will touch your mouth or eyes with a contaminated hand and just got yourself irradiated.

 

Occasionally routine swipes would detect an alpha emitter spill and you can start tracing the path the person who made the spill through the building, finding residue on door handles, tools and all sorts of fun stuff....

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

We need all of it, Nuclear, Solar, Wind. (And definitely not more hydroeletrics)

Share this post


Link to post

In my opinion, we will still destroy the Earth day by day, regardless of where our power comes from. So even if there are benefits to nuclear power, I don’t think it will ultimately make a major difference in hindering us as a species in our quest to destroy this planet and ourselves. 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, ClumsyDoomer said:

it has a lot of potential up to destroying the entire earth, and it will most likely happen eventually.

There is not enough nuclear ordnance on earth to eradicate humanity, America and China would not even be able to totally annihilate each other.

Share this post


Link to post
14 minutes ago, ChopBlock223 said:

There is not enough nuclear ordnance on earth to eradicate humanity, America and China would not even be able to totally annihilate each other.

China's nuclear arsenal is quite small. They're in the 200-to-300 warheads range, similar to France and the UK. India, Pakistan, and North Korea are estimated to have just a dozen or so each. Israel, who knows, but probably also not that many.

 

Now the US and Russia, on the other hand, both have over 6000 warheads. That's perhaps not enough for total annihilation, but it would be far more than enough to destroy each other and all their respective allies as functioning nation states.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

Most of the discussion here has been about oldschool uranium-fueled nuclear plants, and their well-known dangers, which include meltdowns and nuclear waste with half-lives measured in tens of thousands of years.

 

They are not the future.

 

The future pretty clearly belongs to Thorium Molten Salt Breeder Reactors. China and India are going big into this technology, which was originally invented in the USA back in the 1960s, after having been proposed in 1946. Various technical roadblocks kept it from being further developed as it would have been more expensive than the standard uranium-fueled reactor. But China has apparently solved these problems, and India is also gearing up for Thorium reactors.  

 

The advantages of Thorium Molten Salt Reactors are enormous. No meltdowns, ever. No blasting of radioactive material into the environment. Massively more efficient burning of fuel, with consequent vast reduction of waste, and that waste has a much shorter half-life, a few hundred years vs. more than 100,000. Further, it's much harder to produce weapons-grade plutonium from Thorium reactors. This has no bearing on such production in the USA, Russia and other major nuclear powers, who have reactors specially-designed for that purpose. It is, however, very important in the export of this technology to nations desperately in need of electric power, since this lowers the regulatory barrier for export. Further, Thorium reactors can be built in any size from small to large, allowing them to scale up or down the power spectrum. They can also theoretically work in concert with renewable energy sources thanks to "load-follow" technology, which allows them to take over when the renewable source, be it wind or solar, dies down.

 

Thorium reactors can come in many types, as noted in this Wiki article I haven't fully read. However, I have read this LiveScience article about China's Thorium Reactor and this one from Skeptoid and this rather long article that's highly positive about the technology. 

 

Obviously, Thorium reactors are not 100% clean, but neither is wind or solar, as the below documentary, Planet of The Humans, points out. A lot of people were angered by this film, but it's worth watching, especially for the biofuels section, to see what we're up against. Basically, it takes dirty technology -- especially mining -- to produce clean energy. Assuming China has all their ducks in a row on Thorium Molten Salt Breeder Reactors -- and breeding means we can have Thorium plants for thousands of years -- they are liable to take the lead in giving substantially clean energy to the world in the decades ahead.

 

 

Edited by Steve D

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Gez said:

China's nuclear arsenal is quite small. They're in the 200-to-300 warheads range, similar to France and the UK. India, Pakistan, and North Korea are estimated to have just a dozen or so each. Israel, who knows, but probably also not that many.

 

Now the US and Russia, on the other hand, both have over 6000 warheads. That's perhaps not enough for total annihilation, but it would be far more than enough to destroy each other and all their respective allies as functioning nation states.

 

Israel is suspected of having about 300 neutron weapons, according to sources I've read. Neutron bombs can also be described as "low-yield" and even "dial-a-yield" weapons. Importantly, the Israeli arsenal is meant to stop large armies at their border. Thus, they cannot use high-yield weapons with massive blasts and fallout.

 

As for the amount of death and destruction the existing arsenals of the USA and Russia can dish out, keep in mind it's not all about the initial blast. It's the fallout, the poisoning of the oceans, and the nuclear winter which will follow. The devastation of nuclear winter would depend on when it starts and how long it lasts, i.e. whether it took out a full summer growing season in half of the world, or only part of it, or whether it lasts for years. Mass extinctions will follow in any case, hitting first at the tops of the food chains. Bye-bye elephants, whales, lions, and rhinos. We humans thus have an enormous responsibility to avoid being foolish.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm all for nuclear power plants. Beyond submarines and aircraft carriers and stationary long term power units...possibly space ships, I am generally opposed to miniaturizing reactors.

Share this post


Link to post

We don't want to destroy our planet with fossil fuels, and renewable/green energy sources aren't efficient enough with our current technology. It's the best option we have.

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Gez said:

China's nuclear arsenal is quite small.

Now the US and Russia, on the other hand, both have over 6000 warheads. That's perhaps not enough for total annihilation, but it would be far more than enough to destroy each other and all their respective allies as functioning nation states.

That's a fair point, China does have an anemic arsenal.

 

2 hours ago, Steve D said:

It's the fallout, the poisoning of the oceans, and the nuclear winter which will follow. The devastation of nuclear winter would depend on when it starts and how long it lasts, i.e. whether it took out a full summer growing season in half of the world, or only part of it, or whether it lasts for years. Mass extinctions will follow in any case, hitting first at the tops of the food chains. Bye-bye elephants, whales, lions, and rhinos. We humans thus have an enormous responsibility to avoid being foolish.

Though some global cooling would probably happen, nuclear winter is a rather exaggerated concept, instead nuclear autumn is a more apt name.

Not that I'm looking to argue that a full scale nuclear exchange wouldn't be an unprecedented ecological disaster (on top of the immediate death and destruction), but I really don't think that we as a species have a realistic means of extinguishing ourselves.

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, Steve D said:

and that waste has a much shorter half-life, a few hundred years vs. more than 100,000.

 

 

Uh, sorry, but no. Fission does not work like that. Size of the fragments is random and no matter what you use as your fuel, you'll always end up with a mixture of the same longer lived nuclides. You may get less of some of them, but you'll still get them.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×