The Instigator
tmar19652
Pro (for)
Winning
25 Points
The Contender
goldman
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Nuclear Power VS. Solar Power

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
tmar19652
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,654 times Debate No: 29315
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (5)

 

tmar19652

Pro

I feel that Nuclear Power is superior to Solar Power (Solar Cells) at generating cheap renewable* energy, for the future electrical needs of the United States.
Pro:Nuclear Power is Superior
Con:Solar Power is Superior

*-For the purposes of this debate, lets assume that Nuclear power is renewable, as that is a major topic of debate.We will also limit this debate to technology that is commercially available as of January 2013.

The First Round is for acceptance only
.No new arguments in round 5.
goldman

Con

I accept the debate.
I believe that Solar Power is superior to Nuclear Power as a new source of energy.

Solar Power will be widely introduced in the developed countries in the future because it has a number of advantages
compared with Nuclear Power.

I look forward to an enlightening debate.
Debate Round No. 1
tmar19652

Pro

To start this debate, I will begin by fabricating a nuclear power plant, and a solar array for comparison purposes.


El-Cheapo Nuclear Plant (1,2,3,4)



  • Gross Power Capacity 1500 Megawatts (1443 Sustained 24/7)

  • Capacity Factor 91.2%

  • Cost to build ($5500/kWh*1500000) = $8.5 Billion+$300 Million Decommissioning Fund

  • Life Span 45-60 Years

  • Giga-watts produced per year (1.5 per hour*91.2% capacity factor*24 hours*365 days)=11900gWh

  • Giga-watts produced over plant life span=535,000-714,000

  • Cost per Mega-watt over lifespan (8,800,000,000/535,000,000)=$16.44


El-Cheapo Solar Plant (2,5,6)



  • Gross Power Capacity 1500 Megawatts

  • Capacity Factor 17% (Average of Massachusetts-(15%) and Arizona-(19%) Capacity Factor)

  • Cost To Build ($.74/watt *1.5 billion watts +50% for installation) 1.665 billion

  • Life Span 20-30 years

  • Giga-watts produced per year(1.5 per hour*17% capacity factor*24 hours*365 days)=2250gWh

  • Giga-watts produced over plant life span=45,000-67,500

  • Cost Per Megawatt over lifespan (1,665,000,000/45,000,000)=$37


Arguments



  1. Cost: A Nuclear Power Plant will cost less than half of a comparable solar power plant per megawatt. Even factoring in fuel, security and maintenance, nuclear power costs about 4 cents per kWh, and solar power costs 22 cents per kWh produced (7). This means that if nuclear power were more widely used, it would cut energy costs for businesses to 18% of what their bills would be if solar power were more widely used.

  2. Capacity: It would take more than five el-cheapo solar plants to produce the same average energy as one el-cheapo nuclear plant. Energy is not needed only when the sun is shining, but also at night, meaning that for solar power to be a feasible alternative, dozens of Giga-watt battery arrays would have to be built, further driving up the price of solar energy. Not only that, but what do you do about several cloudy or rainy days in a row? However, a nuclear plant can simply run at full load all night or during cloudy/rainy days.

  3. Life Span: A nuclear power plant can be used for twice as long as a solar plant. Why build 2 solar plants over 60 years if you could just build one cheaper, more reliable nuclear plant?

  4. Safety record: Events such as Chernobyl and the Fukushima disaster gives nuclear power in the United States a bad name. Nuclear power ranks among the safest industries in America (8), for 2008, the industry hit a new low of 0.13 industrial accidents per 200,000 worker-hours, as compared to 1.3 per 200,000 worker hours in all private industries.



  • I do not wish to get overly technical with reactor safety, but the Fukushima, and Chernobyl reactors were not in the same league of safety as American reactors. The Fukushima reactors had a containment dome capable of withstanding 60psi of internal pressure, whereas United States Reactors can withstand up to 200psi, and the force of a commercial-airliner crashing into them. Also remember the Chernobyl power plants used a ludicrously stupid graphite rod assembly (I would need 20,000 characters to explain why) which caused a reactor meltdown. Also, remember, the Japanese placed their emergency backup generators and pumps below sea level! The Nuclear Regulatory Commission would never approve this system (9,10,11,12)



  1. Nuclear Waste: Nuclear Waste could easily be disposed at the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, which was deemed safe for 1,000,000 years, however it was closed and defunded by the Obama administration for “political, not technical or safety reasons” (13). So the nuclear waste problem can be solved, but Washington refuses to act upon it.

  2. Land Use: It would take almost 20 square miles to build a 1500-megawatt solar plant, however a 1500-megawatt nuclear plant only takes 3 square miles. The nuclear plant therefore further reduced environmental ramifications for animals, by disturbing fewer habitats (1,14).

  3. I have shown that nuclear power is safe, cheaper than solar power, more durable than solar power, and more feasible than large-scale solar power, good luck to my opponent.





Sources



  1. 1. http://en.wikipedia.org...

  2. 2. http://en.wikipedia.org...

  3. 3. http://www.synapse-energy.com...

  4. 4. http://www.businessweek.com...

  5. 5. http://www.economist.com...

  6. 6. http://info.cat.org.uk...

  7. 7. http://nuclearfissionary.com...

  8. 8. http://www.reuters.com...

  9. 9. http://en.wikipedia.org...

  10. 10. http://en.wikipedia.org...

  11. 11. http://en.wikipedia.org...

  12. 12. http://en.wikipedia.org...

  13. 13. http://en.wikipedia.org...

  14. 14. http://en.wikipedia.org...

goldman

Con

Let me start my arguments. These days people and industry are interested in creating a new energy source which is not only friendly for the environment but can produce enough power to sustain homes and businesses.
There are number of benefits of solar power.

First is that it is cleaner. ``Producing solar energy doesn`t require the buring of fossile fuels, currently the most common sources of energy in the United States.``(http://www.livestrong.com...) This is a result of research by the U.S.Department of Energy. The important thing is that buring fossile fuels contributes to releasesing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, ``producing electlicity with solar technology releases no such gases`` which is harmful for the environment and human beings. (http://www.livestrong.com...)

Second is that solar power is renewable. ``The World Coal Institute estimates that there is enough coal to last more than 130 years at current production levels, enough oil to last 42 years and enough gas for 60 years.
The sun, however, is an inexhaustible energy source, and from it solar technology can produce unlimited amounts of energy.``(http://www.livestrong.com...)

Third is that solar power contributes to reducing oil imported from the oil producing countries. For example, ``the United States imports more than 50 percent of the oil it uses, and spends more than 20 billion dollars each year on oil from the Middle East.``( http://www. livestrong.com)

Fourth is that solar power is beneficial for human health. The important thing is that ``solar energy provides an essential vitamin for the human body, vitamin D. With the influx of articifial lighting and in-home technology, many Americans are not getting enough exposure to the sun.``( http://www.livestrong.com...)
Therefore, ``natural absorption of vitamin D comes from the sun`s ultraviolet rays, and solar energy - especially in sun rooms or sky lights - is an abundant and effective source.``(http://www.livestrong.com...)

That are all my arguments for Round 2. I continue on my arguments for Round 3.

Good Luck.
Debate Round No. 2
tmar19652

Pro


I am really hoping you posted this argument to the wrong debate; however I will try to make fun of your mistake as much as possible.



  • First, Solar power is no cleaner than nuclear power, as neither produces greenhouse gases or burns fossil fuels

  • Second, We both also agreed before that both nuclear and solar power were renewable, so this argument is also invalid

  • Third, this argument has absolutely no bearing on nuclear power.

  • Fourth, I really hope you know that solar panels do not produce vitamin d. I can walk outside and get vitamin c with or without solar panels.


I want to thank my opponent for contributing absolutely nothing to this debate, and I forward all of my arguments to the next round. Also, all of cons sources simply link to the live-strong home page.


goldman

Con

Rebuttals: I will try to present rebuttals regarding the Pro`s arguments for Round 2.
1. Cost : Pro points out that a Nuclear Power Plant cost less than half a comparable solar power plant per megwatt.
However, a new technology which contributes to producing a solar power with less cost is being seriously studied and will be introduced into it in the future. At this time one of the benefits of a nuclear power plant over solar power will be faded away. In fact many companies have been challenging for developing a new technology for solar power for many years.

2. Capacity and Safety : It is true that a nuclear plant can simply run at full load all night or during cloudy/ rainy days. However, in case of Japan, people must take a natural disaster into consideration. For example, it is predicted that a great earthquake might happen in Japan. Therefore, in that country a nuclear power is not a safety and dependable energy source. If the natural disaster or technical accident at nuclear power plant might take place, the soils around the plant would be contaminated with nuclear waste for many years.
The important thing is that the the accident of a nuclear power plant brings about the devastation of the local economy and the life of people as we have experienced in the Fukushima reactors.

The continuation of my argument will be made for Round 4.
Debate Round No. 3
tmar19652

Pro

However, a new technology which contributes to producing a solar power with less cost is being seriously studied and will be introduced into it in the future. At this time one of the benefits of a nuclear power plant over solar power will be faded away. In fact many companies have been challenging for developing a new technology for solar power for many years.

  • This argument is null because we agreed to limit this debate to technology that is commercially available as of January 2013.

Capacity and Safety : It is true that a nuclear plant can simply run at full load all night or during cloudy/ rainy days. However, in case of Japan, people must take a natural disaster into consideration. For example, it is predicted that a great earthquake might happen in Japan. Therefore, in that country a nuclear power is not a safety and dependable energy source. If the natural disaster or technical accident at nuclear power plant might take place, the soils around the plant would be contaminated with nuclear waste for many years.
The important thing is that the the accident of a nuclear power plant brings about the devastation of the local economy and the life of people as we have experienced in the Fukushima reactors.”

  • I already demonstrated in round 2, that American Nuclear reactors are built to much higher standards than Japanese nuclear reactors, The American Nuclear society even went so far as to say that a Fukushima-style disaster could not happen in the US (1).
  • Also, Solar Power produces 10 times more deaths per Terawatt hour than nuclear power (2), so essentially Nuclear power is 10 times safer for everyone involved.

Comparing deaths/TWh for all energy sources

Energy Source Death Rate (deaths per TWh)

Coal – world average 161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)

Coal – China 278

Coal – USA 15

Oil 36 (36% of world energy)

Natural Gas 4 (21% of world energy)

Biofuel/Biomass 12

Peat 12

Solar 0.44(less than 0.1% of world energy)

Wind 0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)

Hydro 0.10 (Europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)

Nuclear 0.04 (5.9% of world energy)

  • On to my opponent’s economic argument, Nuclear Plants can contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to local economies (3).

Sources:

  1. http://www.usnews.com...
  2. http://nextbigfuture.com...
  3. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com...
goldman

Con

Arguments :
1. Generally, it is believed that we can not use solar energy after sun sets. However, epoch-making technology is emerging. That is to store the sun`s heat in molten salts.(Scientific American, August 4,2010. http:blogs.scientificamerican.com) According to it, ``the power plant can harvest enough heat to generate five megawatts of electlicity, day or night, and can store enough energy to keep producing power even at night or during cloudy daytime hours.``(http:blogs.scientificamerican.com)

2. According to the Scientific American, ``solar power plants could supply 69 percent of the U.S.`s electlicity and 35 percent of its total energy by 2050.``(January, 2008 Issue) For example, ``a vast area of photovoltaic cells would have to be erected in the Southwest. Excess daytime energy would be stored as compressed air in underground caverns to be tapped during nighttime hours. Large solar concentrator power plants would be built as well.
A new direct-current power transmission backbone would be deliver solar electlicity across the country.``(January, 2008 Issue)

We must admit that a new energy revolution is going on these days.
Debate Round No. 4
tmar19652

Pro


  1. My opponent makes the argument that a whopping 5-megawatts can be stored in molten salt, however this is the amount of energy that new York city uses in less than 30 seconds, so this is not a feasible idea

  2. My opponent then cites technology that is not commercially available as of January 2013, a clear violation of the terms of this debate.


In conclusion, I have dismantled my opponent’s entire case, and every one of my points have gone un-rebutted. I have used more sources, and more reliable sources (Most of my opponent’s sources link to the live-strong home page). I urge the voters to vote pro on this debate (2)!




Sources:



  1. 1. http://engineering.mit.edu...

  2. 2. The rest of this debate

goldman

Con

In conclusion, I found it difficult to argue the solar technology which is commercially available as of January 2013.
I believe the important thing is that we must choose the new energy source which is available and effective by taking the environmental and economical situation into consideration.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by KroneckerDelta 4 years ago
KroneckerDelta
Well I don't think the instigator has free reign to make up contradictory terms that make it so that it is impossible to debate. Sorry, but I don't think you can both say, what is best for the future and we have to base this on the assumption that technology will not change. Just because you feel that makes this a difficult debate is irrelevant to me. Besides, based on what Con argued, you still would have won.
Posted by tmar19652 4 years ago
tmar19652
It was an open challenge. They did not have to accept if they did not like my terms.
Posted by KroneckerDelta 4 years ago
KroneckerDelta
I realize that Pro made the stipulation that no future technology should have been allowed, but this was a completely unreasonable stipulation and Con should have explicitly not accepted it in round 1. Arguing that we should build nuclear reactors that will be in use for the next 50-60 years based on current technology vs. what solar will develop into is a completely ludicrous argument to make.
Posted by KroneckerDelta 4 years ago
KroneckerDelta
This debate was addressing the future, as Pro said: "... for the future electrical needs of the United States."
Posted by Deadlykris 4 years ago
Deadlykris
I know, I just said "if" such arguments were allowed, not that they should be allowed. I agree that any debate should always stick to current technology unless it's specifically addressing the future.
Posted by tmar19652 4 years ago
tmar19652
@Deadlykris-I know the thorium reactors look awesome, but allowing future advancements would open a theoretical can of worms, and I might have to refute hundreds of possible advancements.
Posted by Deadlykris 4 years ago
Deadlykris
I was looking forward to an interesting debate. It's certainly interesting, though not quite for the reasons I expected.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by KroneckerDelta 4 years ago
KroneckerDelta
tmar19652goldmanTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: I only give conduct to Pro because Con offered virtually no direct rebuttals of Pro's arguments. Pro obviously supported their arguments with sources and thus wins on convincing arguments and source.
Vote Placed by Davewerty 4 years ago
Davewerty
tmar19652goldmanTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Nuclear energy is certainly the more feasible energy source.
Vote Placed by jh1234l 4 years ago
jh1234l
tmar19652goldmanTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro has made better arguments, while con conceded at the end because it was too difficult to argue.
Vote Placed by anonynomous 4 years ago
anonynomous
tmar19652goldmanTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Ok so reliable sources pretty obvious as con only uses live strong or sources that where completely irrelevant to this debate. Arguments because con failed to refute a single one of pro's points and pro completely dismantled cons case. Now i was debating whether to give con conduct as i feel limiting this debate too technology in 2013 was kind of abusive and pro called con stupid but as con broke the rules of the debate i decided to leave this tied.
Vote Placed by Deadlykris 4 years ago
Deadlykris
tmar19652goldmanTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made the better argument, and backed it up with sources. Con went outside the confines of the debate more than once, citing future technologies in solar power, an argument which, if allowed, could easily be countered by thorium-based nuclear power technology which is an emerging type of nuclear power generation.