The Instigator
tmar19652
Pro (for)
Winning
23 Points
The Contender
jh1234l
Con (against)
Losing
1 Points

Nuclear Power Vs. Solar Power (Future Electrical Needs)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
tmar19652
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/22/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,671 times Debate No: 29450
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (4)

 

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.

Terms
1. The First Round is for acceptance only
2. No new arguments in round 5
3. For the purposes of this debate, lets assume that Nuclear power is renewable, as that is a major topic of debate.
4. Pro: Argue that Nuclear Power is Superior
5. Con: Argue that Solar Power is Superior
6. No Semantics
7. We will also limit this debate to technology that is commercially available as of January 2013
8. Contesting Terms 1-8 is an automatic forfeit
jh1234l

Con

I accept. Please post your arguments.
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...

jh1234l

Con

Thanks to my opponent for taking his time to write his argument.

Solar plant

Cost: $100 million[4]
Capacity factor: 33%[1]
Net capacity: 370.0 MW[2]

Nuclear plant:

Cost: $12.1 billion to
$17.8 billion, two 1100 MW plants.[5] ($6.05-$8.9 billion for 1, if divided by 2)
Capacity factor: 60.1%(2007-2011 UK average)[1]
Net capacity(one unit): 365MW[3]

As you can see, solar plants wins from every way except for the capacity factor.

Safety

The unsafe factors are not only Fukushima and Chronobyl. Here are some accidents that have happened:(from wikipedia)

Serious nuclear and radiation accidents include the Chalk river accidents (1952, 1958 & 2008), Mayak disaster (1957), Windscale fire (1957), SL-1 accident (1961), Soviet submarine K-19 accident (1961), Three Mile Island accident (1979), Church Rock uranium mill spill (1979), Soviet submarine K-431 accident (1985), Goiânia accident (1987), Zaragoza radiotherapy accident (1990), Costa Rica radiotherapy accident (1996), Tokaimura nuclear accident (1999), Sellafield THORP leak (2005), and the Flerus IRE Cobalt-60 spill (2006).[6]

Arguments

Capacity: It would take more than five el-cheapo solar plants to produce the same average energy as one el-cheapo nuclear plant.

However, from my imformation above, nuclear power does less net power than solar.

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).

The cost for building is lower with solar plants though, which is 100 million[4], 1/10th of a billion. Therefore there is no problem financially to build more to increase power output to lower the money consumers have to pay for the power.

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?

Your source says that PV installation should produce electricity for 30 years or longer, and the effects of age on performance is limited.[7]Notice the "or longer".

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

Many solar plants are built or will be built in deserts, like the one in California. [8] This is because deserts have lower cloud cover, making them good places to build solar plants. [9] Deserts have less than enough precipitation to support growth of most plants.[9]
Plants are scarce in deserts.[9] Only few animals inhabit deserts, they are adapted to the dehydrated place. Therefore, solar plants do not destroy much habitats with lots of animals and plants.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]http://www.nrel.gov...
[3]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4]http://www.metaefficient.com...
[5]http://www.synapse-energy.com...
[6]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7]http://info.cat.org.uk...
[8]http://www.wired.com...
[9]http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
tmar19652

Pro


First, the solar plant my opponent cites is a 14 megawatt solar plant that cost $100 million to build. For this cost to power ratio to be extrapolated to the size of the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant That I cited it would cost ((1500megawatts/14megawatts)*$100 Million) over $10 billion, and it would still produce less electricity because it is a solar cell, solar plant (20% capacity factor at best).


Second, My opponent then cited a concentrating solar plant that produces 365 Megawatts. However this plant will not be operational until October 2013 (2), and it cost 2.18 billion to build, with a capacity factor of only 28%


My opponent then completely skews the statistics about nuclear power plants. They Cited the cost for 2200 megawatts worth of nuclear power, and then a capacity factor from outside the US (Capacity Factor in the us-90%+). They then cite a 365 Megawatt reactor built in the late 1960’s as the Nuclear reactor’s capacity. After all of this, My El-Cheapo Nuclear and Solar plants still stand as factual, because the nuclear plant is a real and operational one (4), and the solar plant was extrapolated from the cheapest cost per kilowatt hour I could find.



Arguments:


Cost: The fact stands that I showed Solar Power costs twice as much per megawatt as nuclear over its lifespan ($37 Vs $16). Also, after extrapolating the solar plant you cited to 1500 Megawatts, it actually cost more than $10 billion (more than the 1500 megawatt nuclear plant cost), and it would still produce 1/5th the electricity per year.



  • You must also remember that solar plants do not produce power at night, so the cost of multi-gigawatt hour batteries must be factored in for use at night. At $250 per kilowatt/hour, gigawatt batteries would cost more than a billion dollars. A Nuclear plant can simply run all night.


Capacity: My opponent sites a reactor from the 1960’s as the Capacity of nuclear power plants, although I cited a fully operational nuclear plant that produces 1500 megawatts (4 times what my opponents $2.18 billion solar plant produces), and it would only cost $8 billion to build. Also the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant has a capacity factor of 90%, but my opponents solar plant has a capacity factor of less than 30% (2,3,4).


Life Span: Nuclear Plants have been known to run for 60+ years, and they have done so in real life (5). There is not one commercial solar operation in the world that has been used at full capacity for longer than 30 years.


Land Use: The Fact still stands that 6x as much land would have to be destroyed for the comparable solar plant to be build. That means 6x as many plants and animals would lose their habitats, and many desert animals are already endangered, so solar would further endanger these species. Also, solar plants built in the desert would have to transmit their power for thousands of miles, whereas Nuclear plants can be built close to the source of demand. This means that 7%+ of the solar energy generated could be lost to transmission losses (6).


Safety: Nuclear power is actually the safest power source in the world.



Comparing deaths/TWh for all energy sources (7)


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)




Nuclear power kills less people per terawatt produced than any other form of power in the world, 1/10th of the people per terawatt that solar kills!


Conclusion: I have proven that Nuclear power is cheaper, can produce more electricity, lasts twice as long in real life, uses less land, and causes less deaths per terawatt produced. I have used completely honest statistics to do so, and my opponent has mixed and matched data to prove their case (such as listing the cost of a 365 Megawatt solar plant, as the cost of a 14-megawatt solar plant).






Sources:



  1. 1. http://www.metaefficient.com...

  2. 2. http://www.nrel.gov...

  3. 3. http://en.wikipedia.org...

  4. 4. http://en.wikipedia.org...

  5. 5. http://www.businessweek.com...

  6. 6. http://en.wikipedia.org...

  7. 7. http://nextbigfuture.com...

  8. 8. http://green.autoblog.com...

jh1234l

Con

Sorry, but it looks like that my debting skills are not good enough for this debate, I concede and ask all votes to go to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 3
tmar19652

Pro

Thanks for conceding in person, it means a lot that I dont have to wait 9 days for this to end! Please come back to DDO and Debate again soon.
jh1234l

Con

I forfeit this round, and again all votes should go to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 4
tmar19652

Pro

Vote Pro!
jh1234l

Con

Again, you should vote for my opponent because I conceded.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by tmar19652 3 years ago
tmar19652
They wouldn't have won anyone. Nuclear is a no-brainer choice over solar.
Posted by jbeh 3 years ago
jbeh
??? What the heck! The Con freakingly forfeited!
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Deadlykris 4 years ago
Deadlykris
tmar19652jh1234lTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Conceded
Vote Placed by youmils03 4 years ago
youmils03
tmar19652jh1234lTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Con concedes.
Vote Placed by likespeace 4 years ago
likespeace
tmar19652jh1234lTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made strong arguments for nuclear power and his opponent gracefully conceded. Arguments to Pro, Conduct to Con. Hope to see more from Con here.
Vote Placed by 1Historygenius 4 years ago
1Historygenius
tmar19652jh1234lTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: FF