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The Scientific Nuclear Power Debate.

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by Abaddon, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. Abaddon

    Abaddon Chieftain

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    Nuclear Power has had a lot of bad press, does it really deserve it?

    Hiroshima,Chernobyl,Blinky, the waste, the mutants.

    Some environmental groups are 100% against, others accept it the lesser of two evils.


    Is Nuclear power going to have to be more accepted as we drive the need for electricity higher?

    Is it a risk? How do we dispose of the used fuel? What are the economic costs? What if terrorists get it?

    Ok, some of this is better for OT, but I thought I would cover some of the cons to get them over with.

    Personally I do not see such pain with burying the waste, but the costs to build and maintain such factorys raises my eyebrows.
     
  2. carmen510

    carmen510 Chieftain

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    If we could recycle used fuel, I'm all for it.

    Nuclear power will probably be used by non-sunny landlocked nations later on as fossil fuels run out.

    Fuel is a risk if its not contained. We dispose of the used fuel by recycling it or burying it. If the terrorists get it, a dirty bomb is mostly psychological. The main damage would be the explosion, not the radiation.
     
  3. ArneHD

    ArneHD Just a little bit mad

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    Nuclear research is a given, and in my opinion it ought to be ought to be expanded. For commercial purposes, I think that we ought to wait and see if we can get thorium based nuclear energy on the field.
     
  4. Abaddon

    Abaddon Chieftain

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    Is nuclear power economically viable or is it propped up via grants?

    I mean, can it be run by private enterprise?
     
  5. Aramazd

    Aramazd Chieftain

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    Yes, it can be run by private companies, at least the ones already built; I don't know if it's affordable for a private company to build a new plant and sell energy without government grants.
     
  6. Irish Caesar

    Irish Caesar Yellow Jacket

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    Of course not.

    It already is; most Republican candidates mention it as a necessary option for power. Patrick Moore of Greenpeace has come around, too.

    Sure, but so's crossing the street.

    Ideally, by reprocessing it. We'd still need to bury the fission products, but those are relatively short-lived.

    The up-front cost is the issue here. Once the plant is operating, the electricity is far, far cheaper than any other commercial option; only coal is close.

    We can get a thorium cycle, but that would require a lot more investment in everything.

    The tough part is just the initial investment. Plants may cost billions up front, but after that, they're good to go for at least forty years and fuel is relatively cheap.
     
  7. Speedo

    Speedo Esse Quam Videri

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    If it was up to me, there would be some people executed for how they've twisted the public's perception of nuclear energy.

    Eg a History Channel show I remember watching not long ago ("Engineering Disasters", I think it was) - they're building up to the climax of the accident "where everything goes wrong"... cue dramatic footage... cut to footage of a nuclear weapon detonation. Fking hell.

    Most people I've seen talking about nuclear energy in the media obviously know fk all about it, and seem to be blatantly trying to scare people away from it.

    It's the only viable solution until fusion or some other technology becomes viable. Hydro, wind/sea turbines, solar arrays, etc, are good for augmenting it, but can't be the backbone of the powergrid - and we can't continue to rely on coal fired plants, IMO.
     
  8. Genocidicbunny

    Genocidicbunny Bug squasher

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    I would quote my opinion on how Nuclear energy is displayed from Penn and Tellers BS, but Im pretty sure it would get me an infraction.

    Nuclear power is a good way to provide energy, and the risks a plant poses are no worse than with any other power plant. Hell, all the debate about where the waste will go and the inability to move it is the worst problem at the moment. The argument that keeping nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain is dangerous is posing by far the biggest danger insofar.
     
  9. Ball Lightning

    Ball Lightning www.sporedum.net

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    It is not a good solution.

    1: it is very expensive to start up, and also involves alot of CO2 output

    2: It is short lived

    3: waste, what to do with it? How to keep it safe from potential terroists

    4: Not much uranium about
     
  10. aaglo

    aaglo Furioso!

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    Since it seems to be impossible to human society to lessen the amount of energy they use, the energy has to be created somehow.

    The first sources to consider should be renewable, relatively non-polluting energy sources - which include wind-power, solar-power and hydro-plants. Since these sources are far from viable in some parts of the world, nuclear power comes very viable option.

    There was about 5 years ago a big debate about wether to build a nuclear power plant over here in Finland. The government decided to build a new plant - and it's going to be the most powerful nuclear plant in the europe (maybe in the world) when it gets finished - but there are already more powerful plants to be built - in France I guess.
     
  11. Brighteye

    Brighteye intuitively Bayesian

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    I was under the impression that there was plenty of uranium around, for our purposes.
    Would it cost too much to throw waste into space on a rocket? Put all our waste on the moon and then in a few thousand years' time we can go and mine it all up again.
    Why is nuclear energy short-lived?
     
  12. Genocidicbunny

    Genocidicbunny Bug squasher

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    True that the production of Uranium does output a lot of CO2, but that cannot be avoided as the vehicles that are used run on gasoline.

    Short lived? What do you mean?

    Waste: put it into Yucca mountain as opposed to just keeping it on the power plants premises as they do now.

    There's plenty of Uranium for what we are trying to do.
     
  13. Falcon02

    Falcon02 General

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    yes, it would cost way too much to throw the waste into space...

    Normal launch costs now adays is ~$10,000 per kilogram to LEO (Low Earth Orbit)

    Also, add onto that the high density of Nuclear Waste, and required protection for contingencies (ie. catastrophic failure during launch creating radioactive fallout).

    For Nuclear Reactors that go on deep space probes it's more pratical to encase the materials in protective shell designed to survive a catastrophic failure at launch, since it's only a few kilos. But for "waste disposal" you're talking sending up thousands of kilos and providing protection against a launch failure.

    As for "Moon" vs. Earth Orbit...

    Well Earth Orbit will eventually fall back down (in general a no-no for radioactive material), and going to the moon orders of magnitude more expensive (particularly for such large payloads)
     
  14. Disenfrancised

    Disenfrancised Beep Beep

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    Less than coal (and less radioactivity released to the air too).

    Not sure what you mean by this?

    Pebble bed and breeder reactors, less waste and faster degrading waste and no way to meltdown.

    I'm suprised an Australian would think that ;). There is enough know reserves for at least 70 years of current usage, and consider no one has bothered doing much prospecting for more since 1985, there is probably more about. Plus the transistion to thorium seems doable.
     
  15. Serutan

    Serutan Eatibus Anythingibus

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    No, it's an excellent solution, provided that you don't used a
    graphite moderated design for the reactors (e.g. Chernobyl). The
    Western design was vindicated by Three Mile Island, where the
    accident was contained despite the saftey systems being deliberately
    overriden
    . The board of directors of the power company should have
    been summarily executed for that happening.

    It is expensive to start up. And has been mentioned, it's cheap to run.

    And there's going to be no CO2 generated
    constructing / starting up any other sort of power plant?

    Please clarify this statement. What is short lived?

    A lot of it can be reprocessed; the rest can be buried. And it's not like
    nuclear fuel is the only thing we have to worry about getting into the hands
    of terrorists...

    Don't need much if you build breeder reactors.
     
  16. Masquerouge

    Masquerouge Chieftain

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    Nuclear power has killed far less people worldwide than oil and coal. Mining accidents happen yearly all across the globe, they're deadly, and yet no one gives a freaking damn.

    have a lightbulb go out in a nuclear power plant, however, and we're in Defcon 1.

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/361189/relative_dangers_of_nuclear_power.html


    Ridiculous.
     
  17. wicshade

    wicshade crazy, militant farmer

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    The worst thing about Nuclear plants is the amount of fresh water they need to operate the turbine, in fact this is probably the main reason we have so few nuclear power plants.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power#Economics
     
  18. aaglo

    aaglo Furioso!

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    Who cares, we have more than enough of fresh water here in Finland. :p
     
  19. Abaddon

    Abaddon Chieftain

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    Why not use all that heat?


    Up in Newcastle we have a lugworm farm using the affluent water to heat sandbeds, breeding millions of worms for the bait industry and shimpfarming industry!
     
  20. xienwolf

    xienwolf Chieftain

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    To my knowledge, the closest anyone has come to thinking of actually sending a Nuclear Reactor on a space probe is still just a Nuclear Battery.

    Currently, we have utilized Radioisotopic Thermoelectric Generators, but that is just the decay of radiative material, not a full on nuclear reaction.
     

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