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mopc
2005-Feb-26, 06:36 PM
I'm on this other bulletin board (Internet Infidels) and there was a thread on how Germany is decommissioning all of its nuclear power plants until 2020. Then I tried to defend the cause of nuclear energy being less environlmentally harmful than so many sources - citing both fission and fusion.

The thread is at: http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=116833

Im mopc there too. Can you help me with defending nuclear power production - that is, if it is defendable. If what I wrote is wrong tell me please! :)

Glom
2005-Feb-26, 07:16 PM
Reading...

Okay, the German gimp that called your recycling premise bunk is ignorant. Regular LWR spent fuel is 3% fission products (not reactor recyclable, but you can still do stuff with them), 1% plutonium (reactor recyclable) and 96% U-238 (reactor breedable). In other words, 97% of spent fuel is ultimately useable with breeding. He is using argument by sabotage. Only about 1% of nuclear fuel is produced from recycling, but that's partly because his kind won't allow us to properly recycle. Some GenIV reactor designs employ on site recycling for full actinide recycle, which can enhance the value of the fuel 100 fold. His government has moved away from recycling to direct disposal. Why should the nuclear industry be judged by the stupidity of the German administration? The anti-nuclear camp try to make things worse so they can moan about it more effectively.

Okla has showed that our concepts of waste repositories are a bit of overkill. It is perfectly possible to build good geological repositories for nuclear waste, which incidentally is only hazardous for 600 years, not 5000, when proper recycling is used. Besides, they present a far easier problem than the disposal of many, many times for volumous toxic waste from other industries. Remember, nuclear waste may remain hazardous for thousands of years, but chemical waste is hazardous permanently. Remind him to keep his perspective. Given the choice between solving the nuclear waste problem and the chemical waste problem, I'll choose the nuclear waste problem. Far easier.

9/11 attacks on nuclear reactors:
As Jon Culshaw would say, the terrorists may be suicidal, but they're not stupid. Crashing an airliner into a nuclear reactor is a waste of a perfectly good hijacked airliner. To give you an idea, consider that nearly 3000 people were killed in the WTC on 9/11. That's well over a thousand lives per airliner. If they crashed an airliner into a nuclear reactor, the best they could hope for would be a Chernobyl type event. Chernobyl has to date killed less than 50. Carry the four and you get the idea about which method would be the most effective. Besides, as Jesus rightly points out, getting through the containment vessel is no easy task. An attempt to breach containment would be unlikely to succeed.

Germany is completely deluded. Half their energy comes from coal. A third comes from nuclear. If they get rid of those, that means that they have to find a replacement for 85% of their capacity. Wind is planned to achieve less than 20%. I imagine it won't be long before we see Germany invading Arab countries for their oil. Or else, they'll simply make hypocrisy play the Italian way and buy electricity off the French, who will be producing it from some of the finest, cleanest and most modern nuclear reactors in the world.

BTW, reactor lifetime is sixty years, not thirty and getting longer with newer designs.

mopc
2005-Feb-26, 08:01 PM
Thanks Glom!!! Could some one also point good links and books on anti-nucular debunking? I felt unprepared in the thread.

Thanks again.

Glom
2005-Feb-26, 09:28 PM
An article on waste. (http://www.energypulse.net/centers/article/article_display.cfm?a_id=724) There's other articles on nuclear power there.

There's always WNA (http://www.world-nuclear.org). Shame about all the mindless AAGW alarmism. Also, check out some of the stuff at Nuclearspace (http://www.nuclearspace.com).

joema
2005-Feb-26, 09:53 PM
No matter what the US and Germany do, France currently gets 76% of their energy from nuclear power, and there are no plans to change this.

See the below fascinating PBS article on this:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/readings/french.html

People tend to think of fission reactors in terms of the 50-year old designs still in use.

However just as cars, computers, etc. have progressed in 50 years, so have fission reactor designs.

Newer reactor designs can potentially solve most problems of safety, waste, and fuel supply. Here's a good concept called the Integral Fast Reactor: http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/designs/ifr/

Regarding wind and solar power, even the most basic math shows they cannot practically provide more than a few percent of the world's energy needs.

Nuclear fission is not risk free, but should be evaluated in the context of the MANY THOUSANDS of lives lost and environmental impact of fossil fuels.

Think about all the oil spills (Exxon Valdez), etc. Black lung kills about 1,500 coal miners PER YEAR. Fossil fuels significantly contribute to acid rain and CO2 emissions.

A 1 gigawatt coal-fired plant uses about 4 million tons of coal per year. That coal ALSO contains 5.2 tons of uranium, and 12.8 tons of radioactive thorium -- which goes into the biosphere.

In fact if a nuclear plant released as much radioactivity as a coal plant, it could never be licensed.

Glom
2005-Feb-26, 10:04 PM
GenIV can markedly make waste easier to deal with.

The VHTRs use fuel in such a way that the fuel can be removed from the reactor, be put in lead lined bins and packed tightly into a repository. Easy.

The MSRs use constant and full actinide recycle with the use of their fuel-coolant solution.

Jpax2003
2005-Feb-26, 11:41 PM
Hey Glom, are there statistics on the number of people killed in accidents involving transportation of fuels? How many people killed in a coal train versus nuclear fuel train derailments or intersection collisions. How many people killed in gas leak explosions versus (nuclear) electrical power line failures.

Kullat Nunu
2005-Feb-27, 12:47 AM
Nuclear fission is not risk free, but should be evaluated in the context of the MANY THOUSANDS of lives lost and environmental impact of fossil fuels.

You're correct, vast numbers of people die of air pollution (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4283295.stm). Just in Europe, every year about 310,000 people die of ilnesses caused by inhaled tiny particles. I wonder how many people die in the most polluted places in the world.

One thing I cannot fathom is that the study of fusion energy is so limited. The new ITER reactor project costs about 10 billion dollars -- not too much when you take into account that it is international project and the promise of fusion energy is fantastic: It is basically risk free, wasteless, unlimited energy source.

Jpax2003
2005-Feb-27, 06:47 AM
Nuclear fission is not risk free, but should be evaluated in the context of the MANY THOUSANDS of lives lost and environmental impact of fossil fuels.

You're correct, vast numbers of people die of air pollution (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4283295.stm). Just in Europe, every year about 310,000 people die of ilnesses caused by inhaled tiny particles. I wonder how many people die in the most polluted places in the world.

One thing I cannot fathom is that the study of fusion energy is so limited. The new ITER reactor project costs about 10 billion dollars -- not too much when you take into account that it is international project and the promise of fusion energy is fantastic: It is basically risk free, wasteless, unlimited energy source.Joema said that not me.

papageno
2005-Feb-28, 12:47 PM
Or else, they'll simply make hypocrisy play the Italian way and buy electricity off the French, who will be producing it from some of the finest, cleanest and most modern nuclear reactors in the world.
Don't get me started on the Italian energy policies... :evil:
It would get me banned.

mopc
2005-Feb-28, 03:45 PM
Thank you all for the replies!!!

kucharek
2005-Feb-28, 04:25 PM
His government has moved away from recycling to direct disposal. Why should the nuclear industry be judged by the stupidity of the German administration?
It was actually the nuclear industry which canceled at one point their recycling plans, much to the dismay of many politicians who fought an unpopular fight for many years. The industry decided that it is cheaper not to recycle.

Doodler
2005-Feb-28, 05:12 PM
Hey Glom, are there statistics on the number of people killed in accidents involving transportation of fuels? How many people killed in a coal train versus nuclear fuel train derailments or intersection collisions. How many people killed in gas leak explosions versus (nuclear) electrical power line failures.

Remind them that there are a couple coal mines in the US that have been burning underground for a couple decades or so. Haven't seen the same in a uranium mine thus far.

http://geology.about.com/library/bl/images/blculmfire.htm

Glom
2005-Mar-01, 05:54 PM
It was actually the nuclear industry which canceled at one point their recycling plans, much to the dismay of many politicians who fought an unpopular fight for many years. The industry decided that it is cheaper not to recycle.

Fair enough. I'm sure the government was hardly helpful with the closed cycle. They never are. It's weird considering how much these "environmentally friendly" administrations are so eager to support all other types of recycling.


Hey Glom, are there statistics on the number of people killed in accidents involving transportation of fuels?

The figures I have give 8 deaths per terawatt-year over the past 50 years for nuclear, compared to around 60 for the second best, gas. It's all in my FFF page on safety.

The thing I like to point out with regards to safety is that a big deal is made out of nuclear accidents, but they are all relatively minor. Take TMI. It is often touted as the worst accident after Chernobyl (sometimes Windscale takes that honour, even though that was during the old military days). TMI harmed no-one. How many other industries can claim that their second worst accident harmed no-one? What about Chernobyl? It has killed less than 50 to date. That's unequivocably the worst accident. How many other industries can claim that their worst accident has killed less than 50?

Frankly, I don't consider the safety argument particularly legitimate anymore. Despite Jane Fonda's best efforts, she's failed to accumulate any evidence that nuclear power is extraordinarily dangerous. The only people who still make those arguments are wackos like Greenpeace, who wouldn't recognise and logical fallacy if it slapped them across the face.

Economics, waste and proliferation are the ones I consider most important to tackle for my site. Economics has actually proved the hardest, but the French have provided me with the key.

kg034
2005-Mar-02, 03:36 AM
[snip....]
Newer reactor designs can potentially solve most problems of safety, waste, and fuel supply. Here's a good concept called the Integral Fast Reactor: http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/designs/ifr/
[snip....]
Regarding wind and solar power, even the most basic math shows they cannot practically provide more than a few percent of the world's energy needs.
[snip....]


Not to argue with the rest of the spirit of your post, joema, I disagree with the above re: solar power....
For some basic maths, please see
here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=425907&highlight=solar+farms#42590 7).

Hence, it seems that solar power can provide all the worlds energy needs. Now, lets look at nuclear power....And here I'll quote some figures from prof. Nathan Lewis (http://www.cce.caltech.edu/faculty/lewis/)....

So, the world needs about 10TW of energy. This comes out to about 10K new 1GW reactors. Hmm...that's about 1 new reactor built and commissioned every other day for 50 years!

What else:
* We have 2.3 million tonnes of proven reserves.
* Assume 1TWh requires 22tonnes of U --> we have about a year or so worth of energy at 10TW level.
* we would need to mine Uranium from seawater. I have no idea how feasible/expensive this would be.

Clearly, the fission solution is not the answer to all of world's energy needs. Having said that, I think improved technology is an important research topic and helps us get to where we want.......less C in the atmosphere (unless we want to have free soda from the oceans, and fry on the land in the meantime :)).

Clearly, solar is the only number large enough to satisfy our cravings without negative immediate effects on the environment. Interestingly enough, the earth surface receives about 80900 TW of radiation. Humans energy usage is 10~15TW. Is the ratio of those two numbers large or small?

archman
2005-Mar-02, 05:59 AM
Not to argue with the rest of the spirit of your post, joema, I disagree with the above re: solar power....
For some basic maths, please see
here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=425907&highlight=solar+farms#42590 7).


I would hardly think building 19 million square kilometers worth of solar cells would even remotely be considered as a realistic option, even in the near future. Egads that's a lot of real estate.

kg034
2005-Mar-02, 06:44 AM
Not to argue with the rest of the spirit of your post, joema, I disagree with the above re: solar power....
For some basic maths, please see
here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=425907&highlight=solar+farms#42590 7).


I would hardly think building 19 million square kilometers worth of solar cells would even remotely be considered as a realistic option, even in the near future. Egads that's a lot of real estate.

hehe...i figured it'd take somebody from Texas to say that :P .... just kidding.....

so, let me now defend my "pet-theory" (Cali does seem to produce Luni's, it must be the abundant sunshine :)...

khkhmmm......
first of all, my friend, you completely MISSED THE POINT in my post! :P....Literally....:)....I said 1 POINT nine million sq. km....And even that, you'll notice, has a lot of safety factors built in....
*First, the area of the earth used to calculate the flux is overestimated....Re^2*pi is the area normal to the solar radiation flux....its just that a lot earth's real estate is not exactly perpendicular to this flux, but anyhow, I figured "4" would be a sizeable safety factor....I don't feel like looking up the cosines at the latitude of Sahara, but surely the correction factor is not more than 1/cos(pi/4) ~ 1.4142...So, the four used more than suffices :)...and we do have a large safety factor there...

* Notice that the 30TW projected is more than the double of all, not just electrical power usage on earth
Imagine what a benefit to the world would a doubling of availabe daily energy usage be? Regarding the cost, consider that the world produced more than 20 billion barrels of oil per year in 2001 (CIA estimate :) ). That comes out to be roughly a trillion dollar industry worldwide annually. Hence, if ever such a contraption of a solar farm were to be constructed, it would need to cost less than 50cents/m^2. Is this possible? Don't know.......Doubling the efficiency would even allow costs of $1/m^2
It means that the worldwide oil industry would need to invest only 10% of its sales into future projects each year for ten years, and presto, you've got it!

(anyhow, I know this point is moot, but imagine this, the largest world public works project: a trillion dollars over ten years...equals about two annual budgets of a certain deparment of defense of a certain superpower 8-[ )

* Pricing speculation aside, the Sahara is 9 million square kilometers. And its sitting there, not being used....
And it ain't the only wasteland on the planet....

* I do concede that energy storage from such a megaplant is a challenge :).

archman
2005-Mar-02, 08:04 AM
You don't happen to know what the existing acreage of solar power roughly is, do you?

I can't believe I missed a decimal place...

kg034
2005-Mar-03, 06:31 AM
You don't happen to know what the existing acreage of solar power roughly is, do you?

[snip...]

A little bit of digging yields the DOE's Renewables link (http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/infocardnew.html#RENEWABLE%20ENERGY) and a some 1998 data on power generation by source, where renewables pack around 0.3 TW ....with about 1.6E-3 TW from solar.
So this yields a rough upper bound on solar acerage at: 100km^2....
Some other data I have indicate it more to be in the 25km^2 range :)...This data also indicates that we'd need about 0.6E6km^2 of solar farms (I knew the safety factor was too much :))

Oh, and some 2002 US data on the price of energy generation:
coal: 1-4cents/kWh
gas: 2.3-5c
oil: 6-8c
wind: 5-7c
nuclear: 6-7c
solar: 25-50c :P

So, all we need to do is really, really simple 8-[ ....go from 25km^2 to ~1E6km^2......now, there's a worthy goal and a worthy legacy for the world's superpower that wishes to lead....etc,etc,etc...

Captain Kidd
2005-Mar-03, 12:45 PM
Here's a good Oak Ridge National Laboratory atricle Coal Combustion: Nuclear Resource or Danger (http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html)


Former ORNL researchers J. P. McBride, R. E. Moore, J. P. Witherspoon, and R. E. Blanco made this point in their article "Radiological Impact of Airborne Effluents of Coal and Nuclear Plants" in the December 8, 1978, issue of Science magazine. They concluded that Americans living near coal-fired power plants are exposed to higher radiation doses than those living near nuclear power plants that meet government regulations. This ironic situation remains true today and is addressed in this article.


Based on the predicted combustion of 2516 million tons of coal in the United States and 12,580 million tons worldwide during the year 2040, cumulative releases for the 100 years of coal combustion following 1937 are predicted to be:


U.S. release (from combustion of 111,716 million tons):
Uranium: 145,230 tons (containing 1031 tons of uranium-235)

Thorium: 357,491 tons

Worldwide release (from combustion of 637,409 million tons):

Uranium: 828,632 tons (containing 5883 tons of uranium-235)

Thorium: 2,039,709 tons

And finally:

For comparison, according to NCRP Reports No. 92 and No. 95, population exposure from operation of 1000-MWe nuclear and coal-fired power plants amounts to 490 person-rem/year for coal plants and 4.8 person-rem/year for nuclear plants. Thus, the population effective dose equivalent from coal plants is 100 times that from nuclear plants.(bolding mine)


kg034, those are wrong units, it works out close, but the industry doesn't use cents/kWh and all reports I've seen doesn't use them either. Did you convert them? Power production is measured in mils per kWh (10 mills/kwh = $0.01/kwh). Additionally, those numbers look suspect, nuclear has been cheaper than coal (even with all the security upgrade requirements) for a long time. If those numbers were correct then nobody would be making nuclear units.

Here's an article (http://www.energypulse.net/centers/article/article_display.cfm?a_id=390) with some various historical information, I didn't read the whole thing as I'm kinda on the clock and need to get some work done. 8-[ However, check out the table at the bottom of the article, (middle of the page). Those numbers are a bit more along the lines of what I've been told, but the problem is if you look in 10 different places you seem to get 10 different numbers. During a later break I'll see if I can't find some EPRI info lying around here somewhere...

kg034
2005-Mar-05, 06:22 AM
[snip....]

kg034, those are wrong units, it works out close, but the industry doesn't use cents/kWh and all reports I've seen doesn't use them either. Did you convert them? Power production is measured in mils per kWh (10 mills/kwh = $0.01/kwh).


Captain, I would hardly call a unit with a conversion factor of 10 wrong, eh? :D....see below*...



Additionally, those numbers look suspect, nuclear has been cheaper than coal (even with all the security upgrade requirements) for a long time.

They're from a presentation given by prof. Nathan Lewis of Caltech I recently attended...

I went and googled the DOE's annual energy report....*They are even worse in units than prof. Lewis...their units are in dollars/million Btu :o :D
The report offers a plethora of interesting numbers....So, I dug up that the energy production costs for the US were:
Coal: 0.31cents/kWh natural gas: 1.62 crude oil: 1.71 fossil fuels aggregate: 1.12

consumer price estimates were:
C: 0.48c/kWh NG: 2.1 Gasoline: 4.56 Jet Fuel: 2.50
Nuclear: 0.17 Retail electricity: 7.61

6% of energy comes from renewables. Solar produces 63E12 Btu's annually ===> comes out to about 2.1E-3 TW
(Increase from 1.6 in 1998 :)
Photovoltaics have a peak capacity of 112MW

So, we only need a factor of 1E4 increase in production capabilities :o...No problem, eh?
Some other interesting numbers.....Imported fossil-based energy: $153E9, domestic production: $176E9


Perhaps the money spent on imports and other chunks, like the $80E9 special request for a special place, and the DOD as by far the largest government energy consumer with a whopping budget, could justify investments into a self-sustaining, environmentally friendlier future?

Evan
2005-Mar-05, 08:02 AM
Hey Glom, are there statistics on the number of people killed in accidents involving transportation of fuels? How many people killed in a coal train versus nuclear fuel train derailments or intersection collisions. How many people killed in gas leak explosions versus (nuclear) electrical power line failures.

Remind them that there are a couple coal mines in the US that have been burning underground for a couple decades or so. Haven't seen the same in a uranium mine thus far.

I can't let this go by. A branch of my wife's family was wiped out by uranium mining. They either died from working in the mines or from living in homes constructed on or with the mine tailings. Cancer, all of them, and at early ages. Uranium mining has killed many thousands.

Please don't tell me how many have been killed in coal mines. At least the coal miners understand the risk they face. Uranium mining kills those who have never set foot in a mine, including my cousins in law.

Glom
2005-Mar-07, 01:18 PM
Is that an official conclusion? The facts do not bear out your implication. The nuclear fuel cycle is much safer than the coal fuel cycle. And why the hell are mine tailings being used to build homes?

Evan
2005-Mar-07, 05:22 PM
Is that an official conclusion? The facts do not bear out your implication. The nuclear fuel cycle is much safer than the coal fuel cycle. And why the hell are mine tailings being used to build homes?

Very good question. The use of tailings to make concrete was a widespread practice in the US, Canada and the USSR. Studies have shown mortality rates from lung cancer as high as one in five for miners and 40 per thousand for residents.


Misuse of tailings for construction purposes was widely practiced in uranium mining areas in the US. Tailings were used for foundations of homes and other purposes. High indoor radon exposures result from this practice. U.S.EPA estimates for residents living in such homes ("vicinity properties") showed an excess lifetime lung cancer risk of greater than 40 chances in 1000 for 50% of the homes sampled in Grand Junction, Colorado [EPA1983a].

http://www.antenna.nl/wise/uranium/uhr.html

Glom
2006-May-21, 03:41 PM
Bump! I can't let this go.


I can't let this go by. A branch of my wife's family was wiped out by uranium mining. They either died from working in the mines or from living in homes constructed on or with the mine tailings. Cancer, all of them, and at early ages. Uranium mining has killed many thousands.

Please don't tell me how many have been killed in coal mines. At least the coal miners understand the risk they face. Uranium mining kills those who have never set foot in a mine, including my cousins in law.

Miners' risk: The use of forced ventilation and robotic techniques keep worker exposure very low. Those in the radiation risk environment are monitored with dosimeters.

Public risk: What is described here is the misuse of waste products. Coal kills without breaking the rules.

Some reading (http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf25.htm)

Gillianren
2006-May-21, 04:51 PM
I can't let this go--the word is "nuclear."

Van Rijn
2006-May-22, 02:45 AM
I suspect that was a play on the (too common) incorrect pronunciation of the word. I have known people that honestly can't seem to hear the difference between "nuclear" and "nu-q-ler."

cjl
2006-May-22, 03:07 AM
Heck - I know people who SPELL it nucular, and are convinced it is correct :rolleyes:

Argos
2006-May-22, 01:32 PM
I believe that word makes fun of pres Bush.

http://www-csli.stanford.edu/~nunberg/nucular.html

mugaliens
2006-May-22, 04:21 PM
Germany is completely deluded. Half their energy comes from coal. A third comes from nuclear. If they get rid of those, that means that they have to find a replacement for 85% of their capacity. Wind is planned to achieve less than 20%. I imagine it won't be long before we see Germany invading Arab countries for their oil. Or else, they'll simply make hypocrisy play the Italian way and buy electricity off the French, who will be producing it from some of the finest, cleanest and most modern nuclear reactors in the world.

BTW, reactor lifetime is sixty years, not thirty and getting longer with newer designs.

I couldn't agree with you more! Wouldn't that be something, for Germany to become completely dependant on French nuclear-produced power, only to have the French say, "Hey - Remember World War II?" and yank it. No power means no food, no sanitization, no employment... The Germans would be back to a totally agrarian economy in no time - right after half of all Germans starved to death because there's not enough viable land in Germany to support the current population using 1900's farming technology.

Of course they could always burn trees - that's a renewable source. However, I think they'd run out of trees rather quickly, and then where would they be?

Having lived here for a while, I've come to realize that most Germans are pretty smart about these issues. Perhaps that's why 81% support continued operation of current reactions, and more than half support expanding their nuclear program.

Must just be the German government that lacks the capacity to understand the basics of technology.