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Nuclear Energy

lewis20
Posts: 5,093
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4/14/2011 1:58:58 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
good
"If you are a racist I will attack you with the north"- Abraham Lincoln

"Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material" - Leviticus 19 19

"War is a racket" - Smedley Butler
Indophile
Posts: 1,414
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4/14/2011 4:38:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/14/2011 1:55:15 PM, ChuckHenryII wrote:
This is really part economics too but more science so, nuclear energy: good or bad?

hmm...

nuclear - hmm...don't have any opinion about it...netural
energy - good

neutral + good = good.
You will say that I don't really know you
And it will be true.
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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4/14/2011 4:56:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/14/2011 2:19:10 PM, headphonegut wrote:
bad

Good, and I'll debate anyone that thinks otherwise.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
headphonegut
Posts: 4,122
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4/14/2011 5:09:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
it's is bad evil it's a black hole of evil whatever that means
crying to soldiers coming home to their dogs why do I torment myself with these videos?
Johnicle
Posts: 888
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4/14/2011 9:09:06 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Here is a paper I just wrote last week:

Nuclear Energy Analysis

There is no doubt that one of the greatest risks to human survival is nuclear technology. Many, of course, fear the intentional use of nuclear technology as a means of mass destruction. Although a legitimate fear, mutually assured destruction theory mitigates fear to a more realistic harm from nuclear technology. Accidental destruction of nuclear material has caused far more damage to the environment than intentional usage. The past events of Chernobyl, and now of Japan, have left many blaming nuclear technology for the deaths of countless innocent. However, the status quo of nuclear technology is satisfactory in protecting the long-term condition of the environment, but short-term harm does deserve to be addressed.

The importance of nuclear energy is evident. A considerable portion of the United States' energy comes from nuclear energy, but most importantly, it does so at virtually no cost to the environment (when working properly). Michael Grunwald supports this claim when he points out that "Global-warming fears have positioned nuclear power as a proven alternative to fossil fuels that works even when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing, producing 20% of our electricity and 0% of our emissions." (Grunwald) Not only does this prove nuclear power is consistent in providing our world with energy but it also proves it is a worthy environmental investment when considering long term effects. Providing a more precise calculation to the benefits of displacing other forms of energy with nuclear power, William Sailor adds that "In recent years, experts and non-experts alike have looked enthusiastically at nuclear power as a possible solution to the intractable problems posed by climate change and continued fossil-fuel dependence. There are good reasons for such optimism. If the world were to invest only one-half as much as France did during the last half of the twentieth century in nuclear power plant construction, about one-third of global carbon emissions would be eliminated. (Sailor 23) This really shows the veracity of an objective lens in which to view nuclear power's effect on our environment. It is vital to our environment that our current energy policies do not negatively impact the future generations of this world.

Unfortunately, problems do arise when entering into nuclear discussion. Most of these issues are subjective, but prevalent nonetheless. The most relevant example is the current situation in Japan. Jeffrey Kluger gives Japan's worst case scenario scenario when he articulates that "Sometime soon, workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will realize they can't pump seawater into the cores of the wrecked reactors fast enough to keep up with the steady heating. The temperature in the core will exceed 5,000°F, causing hundreds of uranium fuel rods to slump to the bottom of the containment vessel like melted wax. The fuel will burn through the foundation of the plant, sinking into the ground and contaminating the water table. Pressure in the cores will climb high enough that the vault like vessels will no longer be able to withstand it. Before long they will erupt in a radioactive cataclysm, spreading a deadly, carcinogenic cloud across Japan and--depending on the whims of the wind--around the world. (Kluger et. al)

Chernobyl, on the other hand, goes beyond a calculation of possible harm, but rather, gives us a realistic look at what happens when the worst case scenario actually becomes a reality. According to a Greenpeace study, "The most recent epidemiological evidence, published under the auspices of the Russian Academy of Sciences, suggests that the scale of the problems could be very much greater than predicted by studies published to date. For example, the 2005 IAEA report predicted that 4000 additional deaths would result from the Chernobyl accident. The most recently published figures indicate that in Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine alone, the accident resulted in an estimated 200,000 additional deaths between 1990 and 2004." (Greenpeace 10) Clearly the death toll as a result of this environmental catastrophe is significant. Surprisingly, however, environmental effects were not directly the leading cause of death. People were suffering from this environmental harm to such a degree that "Suicides were the leading cause of death among liquidators living in Estonia after Chernobyl." (Greenpeace 107)

It seems that the issue of nuclear energy comes down to analyzing objective benefits verses subjective harms. Therefore, the most advantageous solution for the environment is to mitigate subjective harms as much as possible. The future is everything. Jeffrey Kluger sheds light on the future of nuclear energy when he contrasts a technological difference between the Japan incident and the Chernobyl incident. He states that "Fukushima is no Chernobyl--at least not yet. Chernobyl had no containment vessels, which means that once the external building blew, the radioactive plume blasted out everywhere." (Kluger et. al) This is one of many examples of technological advancements that have been made since Chernobyl. Yet, some of these enhancements were not present in the Japan reactors. In fact, the reactors that did have problems were relatively old and in need of updating, something that is not uncommon among reactors throughout many countries including the United States.
Johnicle
Posts: 888
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4/14/2011 9:09:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The solution to this problem is the solution to many problems. Money, as Michael Grunwald points out, would be able to make subjective problems in nuclear energy virtually non-existent. He states that "the economic and safety problems associated with nuclear energy are not unrelated. Trying to avoid flukes like Fukushima Daiichi is remarkably costly. And trying to avoid those costs can lead to flukes." (Grunwald) Although not directly stated, Grunwald implies that the lives of so many people, as well as the environment, were destroyed because of people's unwillingness to commit to necessary financial investments.

Hope, however, is not lost. There are a plethora of opportunities in the future for enhancements to be made. William Sailor establishes hope for a better future when he points out that "Several next-generation nuclear reactor designs hold the promise of almost completely solving the worst concerns about nuclear energy. There is still a long way to go, however, before we see the "ultimate reactor" in operation." (Sailor 23) Of course this does not answer all problems that current law-makers deal with (such as addressing the concern of out-dated plants). Sailor presents some of these technological innovations when he continues by stating that "Over the years, several proposed designs have attempted to achieve some, if not all, of these benchmarks—most notably, the Integral Fast Reactor, the Molten Salt Reactor, and the newer and less-known Traveling Wave Reactor. The first two systems were mothballed because of high projected development costs and unanswered technical questions." (Sailor 23) Once again this indicates a link between safety and a necessity to spend money, but on top of current innovations that have yet to be implemented on new plants, as well as possible future inventions, nuclear energy is promising.

The question still remains. Is nuclear energy worth the cost? When compared to the alternatives it seems that the answer is yes. When an occasional, yet preventable, nuclear accident occurs, it causes significant damage. This damage, however, can be recovered from. It is estimated that it takes over 30 years before a nuclear site becomes completely clear of harmful radiation. (Kluger et. al) Although this is devastating, the harm done by carbon emissions will affect life on this planet for eternity. The mitigation of subjective harm must be prioritized, but not as much as providing our youth with a livable planet in the years to come. Anitra Nelson shows us that not only does objective harm cause more harm in the long run, but even the short term impacts are unbearable. She states that, "These changing climatic conditions, on which many of the earth's life forms depend, have already contributed to an alarming rise in extinctions of animal species and extreme weather events — violent storms, tsunamis, heat waves, droughts and floods — causing widespread damage to ecosystems, including human settlements." (Nelson 268)

Ultimately, a proposition to this problem is necessary. I propose that nuclear energy be forbidden in the free-market system until a government solution can sufficiently provide a risk-free energy for the world. After all, businessmen are not out to make lives safer, but rather to make money. Therefore, it makes sense that they would not invest in a system that fails to be financially superior. Political virtues should not stand in the way of moral goals, especially when those goals could save millions of lives as well as the environment.

In the end, the United States has a choice between the lesser of two evils. On one side there is controllable harm on a controllable scale, while the alternative is uncontrollable harm on a widespread scale. While current systems in place seem adequate, averaging less than one nuclear accident per century is still too much. The future is promising as long as the people who can make a difference are willing to set aside their political beliefs in order to reach a goal that helps solve for both objective and subjective harm. More money must be invested in this problem if there is to be any hope in taking advantage of new inventions. Otherwise, we risk another incident that leaves an entire region uninhabitable for decades, as well as millions mercilessly and unnecessarily killed. Lives are always worth more than money.

Sources

Grunwald, Michael. "The Real Cost of Nuclear Power." Time 28 Mar. 2011: 39-41. EbscoHost. Web. 4
Apr. 2011.
Kluger, Jeffrey, Eben Harrell, Bill Powell, and Bryan Walsh. "Fear Goes Nuclear." Time 28 Mar. 2011: 34-
38. EbscoHost. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.
Sailor, William C. "Creating the ultimate reactor." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists July 2010: 23-
32. EbscoHost. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.
"The Chernobyl Catastrophe: Consequences on Human Health." Greenpeach 2006: 10-107. Web. 5 Apr.
2011.
Nelson, Anitra. "Carbon Emissions: Prices and Values." Journal of Australian Political Economy 66 Dec.
(2010): 268-85.EbscoHost. Web. 5 Apr. 2011.
Puck
Posts: 6,457
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4/14/2011 9:25:46 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/14/2011 9:09:48 PM, Johnicle wrote:
averaging less than one nuclear accident per century is still too much.

Which equals what exactly? :P

http://www.euronuclear.org...
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,325
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4/14/2011 11:38:45 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
There is so little information available why the backup diesel generator was not elevated and made tsunami proof. The backup generator is a fraction of the cost of the entire nuclear plant, and could have kept the reactor cooled after the shutdown.
Greyparrot
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4/14/2011 11:43:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Also, the very idea that a shut-down reactor could explode and release more than a small fraction of Chernobyl (which blew at full power) radiation particulate is about as inaccurate a source as you can get. Especially when engineers are monitoring containment pressure and relieving it.
Ogan
Posts: 407
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4/15/2011 3:43:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Believe it or not, I will tell you the future for the whole of the world's energy supply – it is Fusion! Go to the link:

http://www.iter.org...

Get informed about fusion at ITER and find out who is funding it. For those, who like me, are interested in the wonderful structure of the Tokamac Fusion Vessel itself and it functions, click on ‘machine' on the top menu and go through the Graphic image and click on it and study. There is lots of information throughout the website for who have doubts or questions – happy hunting.

N.B. Check out the ‘science' tab and click on ‘progress in fusion'. It seems to date the highest ratio of energy output to input achieved is a 70% return – that's a 30% debt for creating it. BUT, the new Tokamac will return an energy profit of 1,000%!!
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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4/15/2011 5:12:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/15/2011 3:43:04 PM, Ogan wrote:
Believe it or not, I will tell you the future for the whole of the world's energy supply – it is Fusion! Go to the link:

http://www.iter.org...

Get informed about fusion at ITER and find out who is funding it. For those, who like me, are interested in the wonderful structure of the Tokamac Fusion Vessel itself and it functions, click on ‘machine' on the top menu and go through the Graphic image and click on it and study. There is lots of information throughout the website for who have doubts or questions – happy hunting.

N.B. Check out the ‘science' tab and click on ‘progress in fusion'. It seems to date the highest ratio of energy output to input achieved is a 70% return – that's a 30% debt for creating it. BUT, the new Tokamac will return an energy profit of 1,000%!!

Fusion is the future if we ever plan on leaving this planet and venturing into space.

While Solar works wonders the closer you get to the sun (so Ideal for space station colonies, rather than planet dewellers), Fusion can power deeper into space.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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4/15/2011 10:37:47 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Chernobyl used graphite as the moderator, and there was no containment vessel. The graphite caught fire and the smoke from that spread the radiation unimpeded. Western reactors do not use graphite, and there is nothing to catch fire to spread the radiation.

A Chernobyl-type accident is impossible in Western designs, because there is nothing to burn. When water is used as the moderator, loss of water causes the reactor to shut down. "Shut down" doesn't mean it goes cold. The radioactive material is still plenty hot and can make steam.

The radiation leaks from Fukushima were steam, which is must less of a problem than smoke. The likely radiation death count from Fukushima is zero.

The Fukushima plant was protected from tsunami by a wall 20 feet high. That, alas, was not enough for the worst tsunami in 1000 years, between 20 and 30 feet. The diesel generators for backup power were located in the basements of the plants! Might want to rethink that one.

Press coverage of Fukushima was terrible. CNN did nothing but run in small circles screaming "meltdown!" Fair and balanced Fox would provide one incompetent nutcase and one physicist to discuss the events. Physicists tend not to know much about the engineering, which was the real issue. The did get a few knowledgeable people in the mix, but not many.

The Senate is holding emergency hearings on nuclear safety. The tsunami killed 25,000 people, and there is a gigantic fault line off the coast of Northern California and Oregon that could produce a similar tsunami. Never mind that, the important thing is the nuclear accident that killed no one.

I'll debate anyone who is anti-nuke and up for it.
ChuckHenryII
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4/16/2011 11:46:40 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/14/2011 11:38:45 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
There is so little information available why the backup diesel generator was not elevated and made tsunami proof. The backup generator is a fraction of the cost of the entire nuclear plant, and could have kept the reactor cooled after the shutdown.

The backup generator was in fact tsunami-proof. However the protection was only meant to stand a 7.5 earthquake and got hit with a 9. Also the wall to protect the generator was only meant to withstand a 5.5 meter tsunami and they got hit with a 14. On top of all that, the plant was sitting right on top of a fault line. It was an accident waiting to happen.
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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4/17/2011 3:28:16 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/16/2011 11:46:40 AM, ChuckHenryII wrote:
At 4/14/2011 11:38:45 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
There is so little information available why the backup diesel generator was not elevated and made tsunami proof. The backup generator is a fraction of the cost of the entire nuclear plant, and could have kept the reactor cooled after the shutdown.


The backup generator was in fact tsunami-proof. However the protection was only meant to stand a 7.5 earthquake and got hit with a 9.

Yet they did withstand the 9.0 Earthquake (which is about 30 times more powerful than they were designed for). And the generators were functioning up until the tsunami hit.

As for (to Roy) being poorly placed in the basement, it is kind of a catch 22. Put them low, and there is the risk of a Tsunami. Put them high, and there is the risk of a Typhoon.

Really, they should have multiple backup energy systems.

Also the wall to protect the generator was only meant to withstand a 5.5 meter tsunami and they got hit with a 14. On top of all that, the plant was sitting right on top of a fault line. It was an accident waiting to happen.

Hindsight is nice, isn't it?
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
PARADIGM_L0ST
Posts: 6,958
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4/17/2011 3:33:32 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/14/2011 1:55:15 PM, ChuckHenryII wrote:
This is really part economics too but more science so, nuclear energy: good or bad?:

Exceptionally good with the capacity to be exceptionally bad.
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
Rob1_Billion
Posts: 1,300
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4/17/2011 9:07:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Fission is limited, creates nuclear weaponry, and just isn't potent enough to offset its regulatory and insurance obligations. Hopefully fusion is completely divorced from this tainted array of issues. It would solve a lot of problems, that's for sure!
kfc
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,325
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4/17/2011 9:16:18 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/17/2011 9:07:37 PM, Rob1_Billion wrote:
Fission is limited, creates nuclear weaponry, and just isn't potent enough to offset its regulatory and insurance obligations. Hopefully fusion is completely divorced from this tainted array of issues. It would solve a lot of problems, that's for sure!

I assure you it will be heavily regulated. Fusion energy will certainly be applied to weapons. Accidents may happen, but there will be no radiation danger.
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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4/18/2011 10:59:34 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 4/17/2011 9:07:37 PM, Rob1_Billion wrote:
Fission is limited

Everything is limited to one degree or another.

creates nuclear weaponry

Fusion is also used to create nuclear weapons, namely hydrogen bombs and neutron bombs.

and just isn't potent enough to offset its regulatory and insurance obligations. Hopefully fusion is completely divorced from this tainted array of issues. It would solve a lot of problems, that's for sure!

Most regulations are not needed (at least many) and do not really provide any additional safety, however, the current regulations do not really offset the potential of Fission.

One thing to note, is that Fusion accidents will be much more magnificent and flashy. When Fission goes wrong, we get melt down risks with the release of radioactive steam and water. When Fusion goes wrong, because it is already a gas (rather than a solid) and because it must be done under extremely high temps and pressures, we would see a much more dazzling explosion, with a release of the nuclear material (most likely Deutrium and/or Tritum, though I hope someday we take it for element manufacturing, namely to obtain Lithium) into the air (which will likely mix with oxygen to form radioactive water, but the half life of D and T is significantly shorter than the materials in Fission).
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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4/18/2011 2:03:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
There is no problem protecting backup generator from typhoons. Just put them in a strong building.

Fusion power is probably 75 years away, optimistically. Getting a net positive output is just a step. For example, "Developing materials for fusion reactors has long been recognized as a problem nearly as difficult and important as that of plasma confinement, but it has received only a fraction of the attention. The neutron flux in a fusion reactor is expected to be about 100 times that in existing pressurized water reactors (PWR). " http://en.wikipedia.org...
After it is perfected, assuming it is, it would take at least 50 years to transition into it. We are not going to build a thousand plants overnight.

Still, fusion is one of a number of long-term solution. My favorite is solar power collected in space stations (where the sun is 24/7) and beaming it down with microwaves. The engineering for that is solved, but the cost is now prohibitive. It probably requires manufacturing on a moon base, or maybe a stretched-cable "elevator" to orbit. Bioengineering of microrganisms to turn cellulose into gasoline and reversible fuel cells for energy storage and recovery are also in the future.

There is no long term problem with energy supply. We nuclear and fossil fuels for the relative short term. Preventing their use is suicide.