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Sigma_Orionis
2005-Mar-19, 06:32 PM
Anybody care to guess when something like this (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4016995.stm) will be commonplace? (because when it happens down here in Venezuela we better find alternative means of income! :) )

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Mar-19, 06:37 PM
Commonplace? 100 years for first-world nations.

Possible? 50 years.

fossilnut2
2005-Mar-19, 07:07 PM
Ha!

I live in the heart of Canada's oil and gas industry. This year there are billions of dollars invested in drilling new wells and even more billion in what we call 'oilsand' production. :P

To quote the greatest sage of the 20th century, Alfred E. Neuman:

"What, me worry?" :wink:

We are swimming in dough. PLEASE ask Mr.Chavez to rock the boat some more...oil and natural gas prices are 'Up, Up and Away'. :D

the_shaggy_one
2005-Mar-19, 07:18 PM
I hope this technology pans out. At current rates of consumption, we're set to just about run out of fossil fuels when this becomes a economically viable energy option.

I hope they get the issue of where to build ITER settled soon. It's good news that the EU is willing to shoulder it alone if need be, too.

fossilnut2
2005-Mar-19, 07:36 PM
"we're set to just about run out of fossil fuels"

We are nowhere near set to run out of fossil fuels. The question is one of the economic incentive to explore for new sources or to bring existing sources into production.

People confuse depleting 'known reserves' with potential reserves. We would have run out of fossil fuels decades ago if we were dependent on the 'known reserves' of the time.

Alberta's tarsands...about 22% of known world oil was not once included in the world's known reserves. At $22 U.S. a barrel to develp it was not economic to do so. The economy to produce the oil is now there and almost a million barrels are now produced each day.

Many oil and natural gas wells are shut in and many coal mines closed not because they are 'empty' but because they are not viable economically. The question becomes is there any realistic energy alternative that will be less expensive to utilize than re-opening a coal mine or investing the hundreds of millions in a new mine.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Mar-19, 07:42 PM
Just to put Alberta's reserves into perspective...

There is more oil locked up in oilsands there than there is oil in Saudi Arabia.

mopc
2005-Mar-19, 08:56 PM
Fusion is the way to go. It's a crying shame that humanity is investing so little in that technology!!!

And util fusion becomes available, more fission. Why not????

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Mar-19, 08:58 PM
Because people are afraid of it. What a shame...

Glom
2005-Mar-19, 09:24 PM
They like solar, why wouldn't they like fusion. Same thing.

mopc
2005-Mar-19, 09:36 PM
Funny thing... do you know how many people died because of the Chernobyl accident? about 30, some stretch to 50.

How many die because of the pollution from fossil fuel burning? Millions over the years. How much environmental damage was done by hydroelectric plants? A lot!

If I was Greenpeace, my slogan would be "NUCLEAR OR DEATH"

Madcat
2005-Mar-19, 09:50 PM
That doesn't sound right somehow. Are you sure about that?

Glom
2005-Mar-19, 09:58 PM
Yes. 31 were killed in the short term, 29 of radiation poisoning. These deaths were among the emergency workers and plant workers. Deaths among the surrounding populations are somewhat difficult to determine, but estimates place it around 10 deaths due to complications with thyroid cancer. The UNSCEAR 2000 report didn't mention these.

mopc
2005-Mar-19, 10:07 PM
Thanks Glom

It's amazing what the anti-nucular smear campaign has done to us. I also though it was like 100 thousand people before I checked the facts!!!!

And yes, very well pointed out, Glom, the vast majority of the casualties were among firefighters and emergency teams who were poorly trained and didnt know how to deal with a nuclear leak...

NUCLEAR OR DEATH!

mopc
2005-Mar-19, 10:12 PM
And don't even get me started on Germany's Atomausstieg (Atomic "Stepout") #-o

My applause goes to France.

Bilateralrope
2005-Mar-19, 10:20 PM
Funny thing... do you know how many people died because of the Chernobyl accident? about 30, some stretch to 50.

How many die because of the pollution from fossil fuel burning? Millions over the years. How much environmental damage was done by hydroelectric plants? A lot!

If I was Greenpeace, my slogan would be "NUCLEAR OR DEATH"

After doing a quick google search I find that the 30-50 dead you quote is only people killed in the initial explosion. From http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/722533.stm

About 15,000 people were killed and 50,000 left handicapped in the emergency clean-up after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, according to a group representing those who worked in the relief operations.
and thats just from the people sent in to clean up afterwards

The exact number of dead has never been given, but it is estimated that five million people were exposed to radiation in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
So your numbers are way off. However I believe that a well run nuclear reactor isn't that much of a problem as long as you can prevent sabotage and you protect the waste shipments.

While I don't doubt your figures on fossil fuels I feel that I must say that all hydro plants do is flood the area behind them, which only will cause problems to those people living in that area.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Mar-19, 10:23 PM
As it stands, I can see only two methods of power generation being both economic and environmentally friendly. Nuclear (fission or fusion) and geothermal power. I'd be happy with either.

Glom
2005-Mar-19, 10:25 PM
Geothermal is great when you can get it, but you can't get it everywhere unless you want to drill great holes in the crust to the mantle and form new tectonic plates.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Mar-19, 10:27 PM
You don't need to drill that far down. I'm not sure of the actual depth required, but it's doable.

the_shaggy_one
2005-Mar-19, 10:34 PM
Geothermal cooling and heating systems for your home only require a 80-100ft shaft. All you need to do is get down to a level where the heat is constant year-round, then use a heat exchanger. It doesn't matter how thick the crust is in your particular location.

mopc
2005-Mar-19, 10:35 PM
Funny thing... do you know how many people died because of the Chernobyl accident? about 30, some stretch to 50.

How many die because of the pollution from fossil fuel burning? Millions over the years. How much environmental damage was done by hydroelectric plants? A lot!

If I was Greenpeace, my slogan would be "NUCLEAR OR DEATH"

After doing a quick google search I find that the 30-50 dead you quote is only people killed in the initial explosion. From http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/722533.stm

About 15,000 people were killed and 50,000 left handicapped in the emergency clean-up after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, according to a group representing those who worked in the relief operations.
and thats just from the people sent in to clean up afterwards

The exact number of dead has never been given, but it is estimated that five million people were exposed to radiation in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
So your numbers are way off. However I believe that a well run nuclear reactor isn't that much of a problem as long as you can prevent sabotage and you protect the waste shipments.

While I don't doubt your figures on fossil fuels I feel that I must say that all hydro plants do is flood the area behind them, which only will cause problems to those people living in that area.

Thanks for the links. Well, I am no expert, I just read stuff. But of those 15,000, how many died from incompetence in dealing with the situation?

Can anybody else with more knowledge (Glom?) comment on the total impact of Chernobyl?

If compared to the average radiation released by normal non-nuclear activities, how does nuclear radiation compare?

Doodler
2005-Mar-19, 11:52 PM
I think anyone who expects fusion power to replace fossil fuel plants is grossly delusional. At the current rate of demand growth, there will be coal burning plants operating hand in hand with fission, solar, and fusion reactors for some time to come. Why replace, when you can complement?

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Mar-19, 11:53 PM
Because fusion would be vastly more efficient and cheaper than any other form of power generation.

Glom
2005-Mar-20, 12:02 AM
After doing a quick google search I find that the 30-50 dead you quote is only people killed in the initial explosion. From http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/722533.stm

Those figures are wrong. Remember that website belongs to the BBC, the saints of bad journalism. That came from before UNSCEAR 2000. Apart from thyroid cancer, there is no statistical increase in any other conditions, from solid tumours to birth defects.


From chapter V: Late Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident, section A: Cancer, subsection 1: Thyroid cancer:

“(c) Summary

“308. There can be no doubt about the relationship between the radioactive materials released from the Chernobyl accident and the unusually high number of thyroid cancers observed in the contaminated areas during the past 14 years. While several uncertainties must be taken into consideration, the main ones being the baselines rates used in the calculations, the influence of screening, and the short follow-up, the number of cases is still higher than anticipated based on previous data. This is probably partly a result of age at exposure, iodine deficiency, genetic predisposition, and uncertainty that surrounds the role of 131I compared with that of short-lived radioiodines. The exposure to short-lived radioiodines is entirely dependent on the distance from the release and mode of exposure, i.e. inhalation or ingestion. It was only in the Gomel region, the area closest to the Chernobyl reactor, that Astakhova et al. found a significantly increased risk of thyroid cancer. It has been suggested that the geographical distribution of thyroid cancer cases correlates better to the distribution of shorter-lived radioisotopes (e.g. 132I, 133I and 135I) than to that of 131I.

“309. The identification of a genomic fingerprint that shows the interaction of the specific target cell with a defined carcinogen is a highly desirable tool in molecular epidemiology. However, a specific molecular lesion is almost always missing, probably because of the large number of factors acting on tumour induction and progression. Signaling via protein tyrosine kinases has been identified as one of the most important events in the cellular regulation, and rearrangements of the tyrosine kinase domain of the RET proto-oncogene have been found in thyroid cancers thought to be associated with ionizing radiation. However, the biological and clinical significance of RET activation remain controversial, and further studies of molecular biology of radiation-induced thyroid cancers are need before the carcinogenic pathway can be fully understood.”

From subsection 2: Leukaemia:

“331. Summary. Although leukaemia has been found to be one of the early carcinogenic effects of ionizing radiation with a latency period of not more than 2-3 years, no increased risk of leukaemia related to ionizing radiation has been found among the recovery operation workers or in residents of contaminated areas. Numerous reports have compared incidence and mortality from the registers described in Chapter IV with national rates not taking the difference in reporting into consideration. A case-control study would dimish this bias, and a recent paper by Ivanov et al. failed to show an increased risk of leukaemia related to ionizing radiation in 48 cases of leukaemia in recovery operation workers identified through the Russian National Registry.”

From subsection 3: Other solid tumours:

“342. Summary. The occurrence of solid tumours other than thyroid cancers in workers or in residents of contaminated areas habe not so far been observed. The weaknesses in the scientific studies, the uncertainties in the dose estimates, the latency period of around 10 years and the protracted nature of the exposures probably explain why no radiation-associated cancers have been noticed so far. Some increase in incidence of solid tumours might have been anticipated in the more highly exposed recovery operation workers.”

From section B: Other Somatic Disorders, Subsection 1: Thyroid abnormalities:

“356. Summary. Other than the occurrence of thyroid nodules in workers and in children, which is unrelated to radiation exposure, there has been no evidence of thyroid abnormalities in affected populations following the Chernobyl accident. Even the large screening programme conducted by the Chernobyl Sasakawa Health and Medical Cooperation Project in 1991-1996, involving 160,000 children, less than 10 years of age at the time of the accident, there was no increased risk of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism or goiter that could be related to ionizing radiation. Neither was an increase in thyroid antibodies noticed, which is in contradiction with some other minor studies.”

From subsection 3: Immunological effects:

“375. Summary. With the exception of the increase risk of thyroid cancer in those exposed at young ages, no somatic disorder or immunological defect could be assoicated with ionising radiation caused by the Chernobyl accident.”

From section D: Pregnancy outcome

“383. Summary. Several studies on adverse pregnancy outcomes related to the Chernobyl accident have been performed in the areas closest to the accident and in more distant regions. So far, no increase in birth defects, congenital malformations, stillbirths, or premature births could be linked to radiation exposures caused by the accident.”

From section D: Psychological and other accident-related effects

“394. Summary. The Chernobyl accident caused long-term changes in the lives of people living in the contaiminated area, since measures intended to limit radiation dose included resettlement, change in food suplies, and restrictions on the activities of individuals and families. These changes were accompanied by important economic, social, and political changes in the affected countries, brought about by the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. The anxiety and emotional stress among parents most likely influenced the children and unfavourable psychosocial factors probably explain the difference between the exposed and non-exposed groups.”

From section E: Summary

“395. A majority of the studies completed to date on the health effects of the Chernobyl accident are of the geographic correlation type that compare average population exposure with the average rate of health effects or cancer incidence in the time periods before and after the accident. As long as the individual dosimetry is not performed no reliable quantitative estimates can be made. The reconstruction of valid individual doses will have to be a key element in future research on health effects related to the Chernobyl accident.

“396. The number of thyroid cancers in individuals exposed in childhood, particularly in the severely contaminated areas of the three affected countries, is considerably greater than expected based on previous knowledge. The high incidence and the short induction period have not been experienced in other exposed populations, and factors other than ionizing radiation are almost certainly influencing the risk. Some such factors include age at exposure, iodine intake and metabolic status, endemic goitre, screening, short-lived isotopes other than 131I, higher doses than estimated, and, possibly, genetic predisposition. Approximately 1,800 thyroid cancer cases have been reported in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine in children and adolescents for the period 1990-1990. Age seems to be an important modifier of risk. The influence of screening is difficult to estimate. Approximately 40%-70% of the cases were found through screening programmes, and it is unclear how many of these cancers would have otherwise gone undetected. Taking the advanced stage of the tumours at time of diagnosis into consideration, it is likely that most of the tumours would have been detected sooner or later.

“397. The present results from several studies indicate the majority of the post-Chernobyl childhood thyroid carcinomas show the intrachromosomal rearrangements characterized as RET/PTC1 and 3. There are, however, several questions left unanswered, e.g. the influence of age at exposure and time since exposure on the rate of chromsome rearragenments.

“398. The risk of leukaemia has been shown in epidemiological studies to be clearly increased by radiation exposure. However, no increased risk of leukaemia linked to ionizing radiation has so far been confirmed in children, in recovery operation workers, or in the general population of the former Soviet Union or other areas with measureable amounts of contamination from the Chernobyl accident.

“399. Increases in a number of non-specific detrimental health effects other than cancer in recovery operation workers and in residents of contaminated areas have been reported. It is diffiult to interpret these findings without referring to a known baseline or background incidence. Because health data obtained from official statistical sources, such as mortality or cancer incidence statistics, are often passively recorded and are not always complete, it is not appropriate to compare them with data for the exposed populations, who undergo much more intensive and active health follow-up than the general population.

“400. Some investigators have interpreted a temporary loss of ability to work among individuals living in contaminated areas as an increase in general morbidity. High levels of chronic disease of the digestive, neurological, skeletal, muscular and circulatory systems have been reported. However, most investigators relate these observations to changes in the age structure, the worsening quality of life, and post-accident countermeasures such as relocation.

“401. Many papers have been published in the last decade on the immunological effects of exposure to radiation from the Chernobyl accident. Since it is unclear, however, if possible confounding factors have been taken into account, including, in particular, infections and diet, it is difficult to interpret these results.”

From the Conclusions

“402. The accident of 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, located in Ukraine about 20km south of the border with Belarus, was the most serious ever to have occurred in the nuclear industry. It caused the deaths, within a few days or weeks, of 30 power plant employees and firemen (including 28 with acute radiation syndrome) and brought about the evacuation, in the 1986, of about 116,000 people from areas surrounding the reactor and the relocation, after 1986, of about 220,000 people from Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Vast territories of those three countries (at that time republics of the Soviet Union) were contaminated, and trace deposition of released radionuclides was measurable in all countries of the northern hemisphere. In this Annex, the radiation exposures, of the population groups most closely involved in the accident have been reviewed in detail and the health consequences that are or could be associated with these radiation exposure have been considered.

“403. The populations considered in this Annex are (a) the workers involved in the mitigation of the accident, either during the accident itself (emergency workers) or after the accident (recovery operation workers) and (b) members of the general public who either were evacuated to avert excessive radiation exposures or who still reside in contaminated area. The contaminated areas, which are defined in this Annex as being those where the average 137Cs ground deposition density exceed 37 kBq m-2 (1 Ci km-2), are found mainly in Belarus, in the Russian Federation and in Ukraine. A large number of radiation measurements (film badges, TLDs, whole-body counts, thyroid counts, etc.) were made to evaluate the exposures of the population groups that are considered.

“404. The approximately 600 emergency workers who were on the site of the Chernobyl power plant during the night of the accident received the highest doses. The most important exposures were due to external irradiation (relatively uniform whole-body gamma irradiation and beta irradiation of extensive body surfaces), as the intake of radionuclides through inhalation was relatively small (except in two cases). Acute radiation sickness was confirmed in 134 of those emergency workers. Forty-one of these patients received whole-body doses from external irradiation of less than 2.1 Gy. Ninety-three patients received higher doses and had more severe acute radiation sickness: 50 persons with doses between 2.2 and 4.1 Gy, 22 between 4.2 and 6.4 Gy, and 21 between 6.5 and 16 Gy. The skin doses from beta exposures, evaluated for eight patients with acute radiation sickness, were in the range of 400-500 G y.

“405. About 600,000 persons (civilian and military) have received special certificates confirming their status as liquidators (recovery operation workers), according to laws promulgated in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Of those, about 240,000 were military servicemen. The principal tasks carried out by the recovery operation workers included decontamination of the reactor block, reactor site and roads, as well as construction of the sarcophagus and of a town for reactor personnel. These tasks were completed by 1990.

“406. A registry of recovery operation workers was established in 1986. This registry includes estimates of effective doses from external irradiation, which was the predominant pathway of exposure for the recovery operation workers. The registry data show that the average recorded doses decreased from year to year, being about 170 mSv in 1986, 130mSv in 1987, 30mSv in 1988 and 15mSv in 1989. It is, however, difficult to assess the validity of the results that have been reported because (a) different dosimeters were used by different organizations without any intercalibration; (b) a large number of recorded doses were very close to the dose limit; and (c) there were a large number of rounded values such as 0.1, 0.2 or 0.5 Sv. Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to assume that the average effective dose from external gamma irradiation to recovery operation workers in the years 1986-1987 was about 100mSv.

“407. Doses received by the general public came from the radionuclide releases from the damaged reactor, which led to ground contamination of large areas. The radionuclide releases occurred mainly over a 10-day period, with varying release rates. From the radiological point of view, the releases of 131I and 137C, estimated to have been 1,760 and 85 PBq, respectively, are the most important. Iodine-131 was the main contributor to the thyroid doses, received mainly via internal irradiation within a few weeks after the accident, while 137Cs was, and is, the main contributor to the doses to organs and tissues other than the thyroid, from either internal or external irradiation, which will continue to be received, at low dose rates, during several decades.

“408. The three main contaminated areas, defined as those with 137Cs deposition density greater than 37 kBq m-2 (1 Ci km-2), are in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine; they have been designated the Central, Gomel-Mogilev-Bryansk and Kaluga-Tula-Orel areas. The Central area is within about 100km of the reactor, predominantly to the west and northwest. The Gomel-Mogilev-Bryansk contaminated area is centred 200 km north-northwest of the reactor at the boundary of the Gomel and Mogilev regions of Belarus and of the Bryansk region of the Russian Federation. The Kaluga-Tula-Orel area is in the Russian Federation, about 500km to the northeast of the reactor. All together, territories from the former Soviet Union with an area of about 150,000 km2 were contaminated with 137Cs deposition density greater than 37 kBq m-2. About five million people reside in those territories.

“409. Within a few weeks after the accident, more than 100,000 persons were evacuated from the most contaminated aras of Ukraine and Belarus. The thyroid doses received by the evacuees varied according to their age, place of residence, dietary habits and date of evacuation. For example, for the residents of Pripyat, who were evacuated essentially within 48 hours after the accident, the population-weighted average thyroid dose is estimated to be 0.17 Gy and to range from 0.07 Gy for adults to 2 Gy for infants. For the entire population of evacuees, the population-weighted average thyroid dose is estimated to be 0.47 Gy. Doses to organs and tissues other than the thyroid were on average, much smaller.

“410. Thyroid doses also have been estimated for the residents of the contaminated areas who were not evacuated. In each of the three republics, thyroid doses are estimated to have exceeded 1 Gy for the most exposed infants. For residents of a given locality, thyroid doses to adults were smaller than those to infants by a factor of about 10. The average thyroid dose was approximately 0.2 Gy; the variability of the thyroid dose was two orders of magnitude, both above and below the average.

“411. Following the first few weeks after the accident, when 131I was the main contributor to the radiation exposures, doses were delivered at much lower dose rates by radionuclides with much longer half-lives. Since 1987, the doses received by the populations of the contaminated areas came essentially from external exposure from 134Cs and 137Cs deposited on the ground and internal exposure due to contamination of foodstuffs by 134 Cs and 137Cs. Other, usually minor, contributions to the long-term radiation exposures include the consumption of foodstuffs contaminated with 90Sr and the inhalation of aerosols containing plutonium isotopes. Both external irradiation and internal irradiation due to 134Cs and 137Cs result in relatively uniform doses in all organs and tissues of the body. The average efffective doses from 134Cs and 137Cs that were received during the first 10 years after the accident by the residents of contaminated areas are estimated to be about 10 mSv.

“412. The papers available for review by the Committee to date regarding the evaluation of health effects of the Chernobyl accident have in many instances suffered from methodological weaknesses that make them difficult to interpret. The weaknesses include inadequate diagnoses and classification of diseases, selection of inadequate control or reference groups (in particular, control groups with a different level of disease ascertainment than the exposed groups), inadequate estimation of radiation doses or lack of individual inadequate estimation of radiation doses or lack of individual data and failure to take screening and increased medical surveillance into consideration. The interpretation of the studies is complicated, and particular attention must be paid to the design and performance of epidemiological studies. These issues are discussed in more detail in Annex I, “Epidemiological evaluation of radiation-induced caner”.

“413. Apart from the substantial increase in thyroid cancer after childhood exposure observed in Belarus, in the Russian Federation and in Ukraine, there is no evidence of a major public health impact related to ionizing radiation 14 years after the Chernobyl accident. No increases in overall cancer incidence or mortality that could be associated with radiation exposure have been observed. For some cancers no increase would have been anticipated as yet, given the latency period of around 10 years for solid tumours. The risk of leukaemia, one of the most sensitive indicators of radiation exposure, has not been found to be elevated even in the accident recovery operation workers or in children. There is no scientific proof of an increase in other non-malignant disorders related to ionizing radiation.

“414. The large number of thyroid cancers in individuals exposed in childhood, particularly in the severely contaminated areas of the three affected countries, and the short induction period are considerably different from previous experience in other accidents or exposure situations. Other factors, e.g. iodine deficiency and screening, are almost certainly influencing the risk. Few studies have addressed these problems, but those that have still find a significant influence of radiation after taking confounding influences into consideration. The most recent findings indicate that the thyroid cancer risk for those older than 10 years at the time of the accident is leveling off, the risk seems to decrease since 1995 for those 5-9 years old at the time of the accident, while the increase continues for those younger than 5 years in 1986.

“415. There is a tendency to attribute increases in cancer rates (other than thyroid) over time to the Chernobyl accident, but it should be noted that increases were also observed before the accident in the affected area. Moreover, a general increase in mortality has been reported in recent years in most areas of the former USSR, and this must also be taken into account in interpreting the results of the Chernobyl-related studies. Because of these and other uncertainties, there is a need for well designed, sound analytical studies, especially of recovery operation workers from Belarus, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the Baltic countries, in which particular attention is given to individual dose reconstruction and the effect of screening and other possible confounding factors.

“416. Increases of a number of non-specific detrimental health effects other than cancer in accident recovery workers have been reported, e.g. increase suicide rates and deaths due to violent causes. It is difficult to interpret these findings without reference to a known baseline or background incidence. The exposed populations undergo much more intensive and active health follow-up than the general population. As a result, using the general population as a comparison group, as has been done so far in most studies, is inadequate.

“417. Adding iodine to the diet of populations living in iodine-deficient areas and screening the high-risk groups could limit the radiological consequences. Most data suggest that the youngest age group, i.e. those who were less than five years old at the time of the accident, continues to have an increase risk of developing thyroid cancer and should be closely monitored. In spite of the fact that many thyroid cancers in childhood are presented at a more advanced stage in terms of local aggressiveness and distant metastases than in adulthood, they have a good prognosis. Continued follow-up is necessary to allow planning of public health actions, to gain a better understanding of influencing factors, to predict the outcomes of any future accident, and to ensure adequate radiation protection measures.

“418. Present knowledge of the late effects of protracted exposure to ionizing radiation is limited, since the dose-response assessments rely heavily on high-dose exposure studies and animal experiments. The Chernobyl accident could, however, shed light on the late effects of protracted exposure, but given the low doses received by the majority of exposed individuals, albeit with uncertainties in the the dose estimates, any increase in cancer incidence or mortality will most certainly be difficult to detect in epidemiological studies. The main goal is to differentiate the effects of the ionising radiation and effects that arise from many other causes in exposed populations.

“419. Apart from the radiation-associated thyroid cancers among those exposed in childhood, the only group that received doses high enough to possibly incur statistically detectable increased risks is the recovery operation workers. Studies of these populations have the potential to contribute to the scientific knowledge of the late effects of ionizing radiation. Many of these individuals receive annual medical examinations, providing a sound basis for future studies of the cohort. It is, however, notable that no increased risk of leukaemia, an entity known to appear within 2-3 years after exposure, has been identified more than 10 years after the accident.

“420. The future challenge is to provide reliable individual dose estimates for the subjects enrolled in epidemiological studies and to evaluate the effects of doses accumulated over protracted time (days to weeks for thyroid exposures of children, minutes to months for bone-marrow exposures of emergency and recovery operation workers, and months to years for whole-body exposures of those living in contaminated areas). In doing this, many difficulties must be taken into consideration, such as (a) the role played by different radionuclides, especially the short-lived radioidodines; (b) the accuracy of direct thyroid measurements; (c) the relationship between ground contamination and thyroid doses; and (d) the reliability o f the recorded or reconstructed doses for the emergency and recovery operation workers.

“421. Finally, it should be emphasized that although those exposed as children and the emergency and recovery operation workers are at increased risk of radiation-induced effects, the vast majority of the population need not live in fear of serious health consequences from the Chernobyl accident. For the most part, they were exposed to radiation levels comparable to or a few times higher than the natural background levels, and future exposures are diminishing as the deposited radionuclides decay. Lives have been disrupted by the Chernobyl accident, but from the radiological point of view and based on the assessments of this Annex, generally positive prospects for the future health of most individuals should prevail.”

Parrothead
2005-Mar-20, 12:03 AM
Here is some info on Chernobyl (http://www.ukrweekly.com/Archive/1986/528612.shtml).

mopc
2005-Mar-20, 12:06 AM
holy canoli Glom! thanks!!!!

I'll put aside my War and Peace and go for a really long text... your post!

Thanks

Doodler
2005-Mar-20, 12:19 AM
Nice, Glom, very nice.

Sigma_Orionis
2005-Mar-20, 10:33 AM
PLEASE ask Mr.Chavez to rock the boat some more...oil and natural gas prices are 'Up, Up and Away'. :D

No need to ask him, it's his favorite entertaintment (and THAT's about as close to politics I'm going to get in THIS board, would love to discuss it ad-nauseaum at FWIS but there seems to be some problem with my registration, I'll PM SciFi Chick about that)

Heh heh heh, looking at the responses it seems I stirred up the hornet's nest and in the meantime got some info on Chernobyl (as tragic as it was), in any case it's about the first time I see something on Nuclear Fusion Power that APPEARS to show some determination on making it a reality.

frogesque
2005-Mar-20, 11:11 AM
I say ban solar energy! (http://www.skincancerfacts.org.uk/protect.asp)

Do you realise just how many folk die or suffer because of solar radiation induced melanoma?

The point is everthing has a risk associated with it, including going back to the trees and fighting wild animals with clubs. I've said before that energy producers need to be a bit more open and honest about what they produce and how they propose to decommission when plant has outlived it's useful life (not just nuclear) We have to keep a sense of perspective, use no more than we need and clean up at the back of us whatever the prime energy source is. That means ultimately that everyone of us has to be prepared to foot the bill.

If anyone wants to know the problems left behind from just mining coal (never mind burning it) have a read of this page and the effects mining has had on our local coast. Link (http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/academic/gg/html/gg3052buck.html)

Edit:

For the cost in human terms (UK only) please also view this site (http://www.pitwork.net/disast.htm)

Especially this:


The Aberfan Disaster 21st. October. 1966. 144 killed, 116 were children. A collapse of the colliery waste tip, engulfed several houses and the Infant and Junior school.

Every country in the world that has produced deep mined coal also has their own list of casualties.

Manchurian Taikonaut
2005-Mar-20, 12:24 PM
Nuclear power might be the way to go but we need to be careful

Chernobyl was a terrible accident but could have been many times worse after I have read reports that less tha 1% of the nuke Energy escaped

From bombs we see people at Hiroshima see much higher rates of Leukopenia, Ischemic heart disease, Cancer, Liver disease
veterans groups say those who went out to watch the US atomic bombs were given placebo pills that would svae them from the Nuclear explosions, however much of Nevada, Utah and Arizona now have very high-levels of radioactive contamination, 58
In '58 nuclear criticality accident occured from a solution in a plutonium recovery operation at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico. The operator died later of acute radiation sickness.

They say the Three Mile Island incident has caused increases in the rates of cancer , they say watch out for that radioactive Strontium-90 there were reports which said the US government study found the fallout from nuclear tests carried out by the US in Nevada has caused the death of an estimated 14,910 Americans, other studies estimates that 81,200 people who lived around Atomic test sites have contracted or will contract cancer as a result of American nuclear tests. There are others who say that the Nevada atmospheric nuclear tests had caused the deaths of thousands of American babies. The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) man Arjun Makhijani believes the study showed people living thousands of miles away from nuclear tests had been affected.. Many people think John Wayne, contracted cancer and died as a result of the fallout from a bomb tests which were about 102 miles downwind from where he was doing his movie. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC said fallout from Nevada, New Mexico testing has likely killed 11,000. There are also reports that say women, enticed by relatively high wages worked places like at the Radium Dial Company's factory and workers encouraged by management, licked their brushes, and hence the radium, to make a fine tip for applying the substance that made the numerals on watches and instruments glow. Glow in the dark watches and clocks were painted with 226Ra, the most common isotope of radium. The radium was applied with small paint brushes and the workers, mainly women, would get a fine point on the brushes by licking and molding with their lips. Many of these women developed jaw and other mouth cancers. Also the National Cancer Institute admitted that fallout from the 1950's atomic bomb tests blanketed the nation at levels far inexcess of what the government has admitted to, and in one of its reports t it said there could be between 10,000 and 75,000 cases of thyroid cancer among those exposed due to Iodine 131. There are also other studies going on with Cesium-137 Zirconium, there are more reports on this shown on atmoic veterans websites


Nuke Energy is a very powerful idea and could help us greatly and solve much of the world's energy problems, it is a very good energy source

However Nuclear power is young and has already been responsible for many deaths, safety is very important but Fusion has the potential to become a clean energy source giving an almost inexhaustable supply of power. This power source would be very good and help other sciences to develop and help other areas of technological developments. I can see why France with Chirac and Tony Blair from Uk are behind this, European Union EU stated it wants to start building the world's first nuclear fusion reactor, they say it is long-term solution to the world's energy problems, as it would be low on pollution and use sea water as fuel I can see why they are going to go-ahead and build this with or without an international agreement

I think Oil from the middle East is sometimes a total waste of time, some of those corrupt Arab nations give out the hand of friendship to the USA and then stab Americans in the back with the other hand. There is much corruption and the oil shock of the 70s should have taught us much about corruption, bleeding other economics with their hijack type oil dimplomacy that cost the US economy billions of dollars in the 70s and the dangers of such blockades. The Middle east seems to be a waste of time, and no matter what path or what USA does there seems to be growing anti-Amercanism. I think if the USA were to move away from depending so much on this area it would help America a lot. The region is high unstable and has cost America much, also Oil groups cost the US economy a lot and cost the USA's industry. IF Europe or the USA builds a Fusion reactor and no longer needs to depend so much on this area it will help them a lot.

Glom
2005-Mar-20, 01:01 PM
TMI caused nothing of the kind. The venting of radioactive gas was within prescribed limits.

Donnie B.
2005-Mar-20, 02:27 PM
But of those 15,000, how many died from incompetence in dealing with the situation?
Um... all of them. The accident occurred in the first place due to incompetence (on a number of levels, including the very dangerous reactor design, but more directly due to total idiocy on the part of the plant operators).


Can anybody else with more knowledge (Glom?) comment on the total impact of Chernobyl?
I'm no expert, but it seems to me that the biggest impact of Chernobyl (except to the direct victims and their families) was the loss of a large area of productive land for the foreseeable future.

Glom
2005-Mar-20, 02:42 PM
There are people living within the exclusion zone illegally so the land is being used.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Mar-20, 03:07 PM
Not smart, either. If they get any sort of rare cancer or the like, you can be sure that either the accident or the government would be blamed rather than their own stupidity. There is an exclusion zone for a reason.

Donnie B.
2005-Mar-20, 04:45 PM
There are people living within the exclusion zone illegally so the land is being used.
Are you willing to join them? If not, then I assume you agree that the Chernobyl accident did effectively destroy the usefulness of that land.

It seems odd that you'd make the comment you did -- unless your enthusiasm for nuclear power makes you dismissive of its potential risks.

Let me clarify my own position: I think we should be looking for better and safer ways to exploit nuclear energy, but we should never overlook or downplay its potential hazards, not even when we're touting its potential benefits.

Even if you're only considering the political/diplomatic aspects of nuclear energy, this is critical. The only way to convince an understandably nervous public is to ensure them that any new nuclear initiatives are being put forward by people who understand the reasons for that nervousness, and have made sure that their proposals reduce those risks to the vanishing point.

Statements that snort at people's fears only make matters worse.

fossilnut2
2005-Mar-20, 05:45 PM
I work in a peripheral way with some radiation processes at work (dating rocks, etc.). Although I'm a geologist, I'm a babe in the woods when it comes to understanding radiation.

One of the problems is we see radiation as some magical force in a black box. 99.99 percent of the population couldn't begin to describe the physical process...only speculate on effects of radiation exposure.

The point being we're easily swayed on the benign or on the deadly potential consequences of various types of nuclear energy. It's difficult to make any intelligent assessment other than the one I dismiss the most: "experts say.."

A discussion like the one over global warming or especially a discussion over the realistic use of other energy sources would be greatly enhanced by a population better schooled in sciences. How can one understand the basics of any blockbuster technology (ie genetic engineering) without a basic understanding of science? We live in a society that uses technology to fundamentally change our lives and I'm an advocate that a real democracy needs a science-educated population that has a clue as to what the heck is going on around them.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Mar-20, 05:46 PM
I agree entirely. That's the reason for this website.

mopc
2005-Mar-21, 05:17 AM
So it's pretty clear nuclear fission is by far the least dangerous source of power. Why isn't this information being transmitted to the public?

Enzp
2005-Mar-21, 05:29 AM
That information has been presented to the public, but the public does not sit down and carefully weigh all the evidence and make a decision. The public reacts emotionally to that scary old radiation.

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Mar-21, 05:32 AM
I've found that peoples' biggest fear is that the darn things will go off like 500 megaton firecrackers if the slightest thing goes wrong.

I wish people would at least try to understand things.

Morrolan
2005-Mar-21, 06:46 AM
IIRC, the Chernobyl reactors used a graphite core moderator and ordinary (light) water as coolant, which i think was a reason the meltdown reaction went out of control when they manually overrode all safeguards for their 'experiment'. Glom do you have any info on this? i do know the reactor was unique in that design which gave it the potential of a positive void coëfficient (see here (http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/chernobyl/voidcoef.htm) for a description), making it unlikely that a similar event will occur anywhere else.

by the way: China is investing heavily in nuclear power. they have 9 reactors several more under construction and expect to be able to quadruple their nuclear capacity by 2020. link (http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf63.htm)

kg034
2005-Mar-21, 06:46 AM
Those figures are wrong. Remember that website belongs to the BBC, the saints of bad journalism. That came from before UNSCEAR 2000. Apart from thyroid cancer, there is no statistical increase in any other conditions, from solid tumours to birth defects.


Perhaps a better site for Chernobyl aftermath is this one (http://www.chernobyl.info/)

I'll just cut and paste a small portion of it dealing with Gomel, as Glom has indicated. Perhaps that will explain better the benign-looking statement: "significantly increased risk". Here it is:



While this tumour is otherwise very rare in children and adolescents - in Belarus before the accident, seven children contracted the disease in ten years - the incidence in 1990 was already 30 times higher (41.1).

The latest report from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) shows that the number of thyroid cancer cases has also increased dramatically in Ukraine (2.6). A direct link between the accident and this type of cancer was only recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1995.

The sharpest increase in cancer of the thyroid was recorded by doctors in the area around Gomel. More than 50 per cent of the children who contracted it were under 4 years old at the time of the disaster. In view of the pattern of cases reported to date, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that one third of all the children from the area around Gomel aged between 0 and 4 at the time of the accident will develop thyroid cancer during their lifetime - a total of 50,000 children in this group alone (41.1).

The authors of a study from 2004 come to the following conlcusion: "The extent to which the monitored cases of cancer have increased is remarkable, considering the limited time interval since the nuclear disaster" (142.1).

What does this type of cancer mean for the children?
Cancer of the thyroid is normally curable. In the children living around Chernobyl, however, the disease is extremely aggressive, with metastases developing even in the early stages. In almost half of the cases in Belarus, the neighbouring lymph nodes were also affected. In three per cent of cases in Belarus, the disease also spread to other organs. The children have to take medication for the rest of their lives and undergo regular examinations. They are dependent on special clinics (2.7; 41.1).



(2.6) UNDP/UNICEF: The Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident. A Strategy for Recovery, January, 2002, p. 53
(7.2) Committee on the Problems of the Consequences of the Catastrophe at the Chernobyl NPP: 15 Years after Chernobyl Disaster, Minsk, 2001, p. 6
(41.1) Lengfelder, Edmund, et. al.: 14 Jahre nach Tschernobyl:Schilddrüsenkrebs nimmt zu. Fortschritte der Medizin, 41 Nr. 16 / 2000 (142.Jg.), p. 353
(2.7) UNDP/UNICEF: The Human Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident. A Strategy for Recovery, January, 2002, p. 54
(142.1) R. Dobson: Thyroid cancer has increased 12-fold in women since Chernobyl, BMJ, June 12, 2004, 328(7453):1394


What's also interesting are the pan-European, as well as North-American fallout maps of Cs-137. The particularly interesting part about it is not the dosage level to be aquired from the fallout. Rather, the significant part is the fact that Cs has very similar chemical properties to potassium, and thus is uptaken by the plants and the food we eat. Then it nicely gets into your body, to also nicely irradiate you directly , without shielding, with gamma rays and beta particles. Very nice, indeed! The only thing better is its half-life, only 30 years! :)





There are people living within the exclusion zone illegally so the land is being used.

Are you willing to join them? If not, then I assume you agree that the Chernobyl accident did effectively destroy the usefulness of that land.

Argh, you want Glom to struggle thru the misfortunes of the Ukranian climate? Nah, here's a better place, an exotic tropical location (http://www.bikiniatoll.com/facts.html).
:P. Discovery channel just had a show on the islands, from high above they look like tropical paradise! :)


And re: topic title, trembling......bah, the only trembling to be done is by us colectivelly as a human race. After agreeing to foot the $5bil for it, we can't even seem to agree (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4044895.stm) where to locate the thing!!!!! Mommy, mommy, me want it, me want it!!!!! Nooooo, I want it, I want it!!!!!!....Sound familiar? :D

Lianachan
2005-Mar-21, 07:42 AM
Just in case anybody is interested, here's a little something about what's being done in the UK towards making fusion a viable power source:

http://www.fusion.org.uk/index.html

Van Rijn
2005-Mar-21, 10:05 AM
There are people living within the exclusion zone illegally so the land is being used.
Are you willing to join them? If not, then I assume you agree that the Chernobyl accident did effectively destroy the usefulness of that land.

It seems odd that you'd make the comment you did -- unless your enthusiasm for nuclear power makes you dismissive of its potential risks.

Let me clarify my own position: I think we should be looking for better and safer ways to exploit nuclear energy, but we should never overlook or downplay its potential hazards, not even when we're touting its potential benefits.


I don't think anyone is dismissing risks. The issue is that ALL choices carry risk and it is reasonable to pick the currently available options with the lowest risk. You can go without power and live in third world conditions, with the obvious high death rate. Go without any power and millions die. You can use fossil fuel - and it is estimated that many tens of thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of people die yearly due to fossil fuel pollution. Or you can go with nuclear.

And there, Chernobyl is brought out as an example of how terrible nuclear is. But Chernobyl is a bad reactor design that can get out of control quickly and easily. It was a "mixed use" reactor designed for both power generation and producing nuclear weapons fuel. That was a terrible design choice - a huge reactor with a high power density. Amazingly, as the Chernobyl reactor loses cooling water, the reaction rate GOES UP. Add to that a pitiful control rod system (they were slow and couldn't drive through obstructions) and it was an accident waiting to happen. At that, there were few immediate deaths. The number of long term deaths due to an increase in cancer rates is arguable, but even then, it doesn't compare to fossil plants in normal operation. It is entirely unlike U.S. (or most other countries') commercial reactor design. Yes, it was bad, but you cannot compare it conventional power reactor designs.

TMI didn't hurt one person. It was a mess, and the Babcock Wilcox reactor design wasn't ideal, but I wouldn't have minded living near it.

I am in favor of development of "passively safe" designs - usually meaning the reactor is smaller so it doesn't require active backup cooling systems in case of an emergency, because the reactor simply can't get too hot. The problem is that we are so paranoid about anything "nuclear" there is little incentive to work on "next generation" designs. Fusion may or may not be practical in 50 or so years, but we can build practical and very safe nuclear reactors now.

Lianachan
2005-Mar-21, 10:26 AM
Fusion may or may not be practical in 50 or so years, but we can build practical and very safe nuclear reactors now.

Actually, we're expecting to be able to use fusion to produce electricty in 30 or 40 years, subject to changes in policy and funding of course.

Van Rijn
2005-Mar-21, 10:44 AM
Fusion may or may not be practical in 50 or so years, but we can build practical and very safe nuclear reactors now.

Actually, we're expecting to be able to use fusion to produce electricty in 30 or 40 years, subject to changes in policy and funding of course.

And do so economically? I doubt it. Mind, these estimates all mean little more than "a long time from now" but there are a lot of problems to overcome. Most of the work is being done on Tokamak schemes. It isn't clear that this is all that practical for power generation. A working commercial reactor would likely have to be VERY large. There are the neutron flux and erosion issues, designing the lithium blanket system, how you maintain all that for ongoing operation, getting the permits - and there are going to be plenty of people who won't want that nasty radioactive thing in their backyard, and so on.

I'm not even that sure that D-T reactors will make that much sense for commercial use. D-D would be better, but that will take longer.

Lianachan
2005-Mar-21, 10:48 AM
Fusion may or may not be practical in 50 or so years, but we can build practical and very safe nuclear reactors now.

Actually, we're expecting to be able to use fusion to produce electricty in 30 or 40 years, subject to changes in policy and funding of course.

And do so economically? I doubt it. Mind, these estimates all mean little more than "a long time from now" but there are a lot of problems to overcome. Most of the work is being done on Tokamak schemes. It isn't clear that this is all that practical for power generation. A working commercial reactor would likely have to be VERY large. There are the neutron flux and erosion issues, designing the lithium blanket system, how you maintain all that for ongoing operation, getting the permits - and there are going to be plenty of people who won't want that nasty radioactive thing in their backyard, and so on.

I'm not even that sure that D-T reactors will make that much sense for commercial use. D-D would be better, but that will take longer.

I respectfully suggest you check the link I posted above.

Glom
2005-Mar-21, 11:31 AM
Are you willing to join them?

Not particularly, but not because of the radiation, which by now has decayed to about 1% of what it was originally. The amount of heavy metals though is more of a concern for me though.


Glom do you have any info on this?

There was a positive void coefficient in the reactor design. Light water is a neutron absorber because also has moderator properties. In most LWRs it is used as a moderator, but it's not a very good one, hence why LWRs must use enriched uranium. But in the RBMK, graphite was the moderator and a much better moderator so the moderation of the light water was insignificant. When the water boils, it loses it becomes less good at absorbing neutrons and so the neutron flux increase increasing the reaction leading to more temperature which boils more water and the thing potentially goes out of control unless corrected. LWRs and BWRs have negative void coefficient. AGRs have little coefficient either way. CANDUs have positive void coefficient, but it's small and there are other aspects of the design that make this insignificant.

The automatic shutdown system was disabled for the engineering test so when the reaction started to go out of control, there was nothing to stop it. The control rods were also tipped with graphite (probably for low friction) so that when they first entered the core, they actually increased the reaction due to increased moderator.

Most important of all, the RBMK lacked a containment vessel which would have containined any radionuclides.


Perhaps a better site for Chernobyl aftermath is this one

Just to be clear, I didn't google that up, that's is taken from the report from the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Ionising Radiation, a copy of which I borrowed from the library.

IIRC, by UNSCEAR 2001, around 1800 cases of adolescent thyroid cancer had been detected. Part of this was obviously attributable to increased screening of course, but nevertheless, this is a significant increase in incidence. It is mostly treatable theoretically although the poor economic situation makes it difficult. As I said before, I have heard of 10 cases of complications making the condition fatal, but I believe that is not entirely settled.

mopc
2005-Mar-21, 05:55 PM
I'd like to see a comparison of the hazards of the main kinds of energy production compared to their benefits.

For example, out of every gigawatt produced by hydro, how much damage is done? What about fossil fuel burning? Nuclear fission?

Glom
2005-Mar-21, 06:12 PM
Ask and ye shall receive. According to the Paul Scherrer Institute, casualties per TW.yr from 1969 to 1996:

Nuclear 8
Gas 85
Coal 342
Oil 418
HEP 884
LPG 3280

mopc
2005-Mar-21, 06:26 PM
Thanks Glom! (what is LPG?)

Then why inst Greenpeace fighting for more nuclear energy? :-k

Glom
2005-Mar-21, 06:29 PM
(what is LPG?)

Liquid petroleum gas


Then why inst Greenpeace fighting for more nuclear energy? :-k

Because for GP, it isn't about safety or the environment. As far as they're concerned, humanity is scourge on the face of this planet, one to be wiped out. Nuclear power represents a great chance to our civilisation to be sustained and to grow, which is the last thing they want.

Remember, the better it is for us, the more they hate it.

Van Rijn
2005-Mar-21, 10:14 PM
I respectfully suggest you check the link I posted above.

I assume you mean this:

http://www.fusion.org.uk/index.html

There's a lot there. Did you have something specific in mind? Off hand, I didn't see anything to change my position. ITER hasn't even been built yet, we don't know how successful it will be, and only if it is successful will we start to get a handle on what it will take to build viable fusion power reactors.

Understand, I'm not against fusion research, I just don't think we should wait for it, or assume it will be available on some specific timetable when we have perfectly good choices now.

Van Rijn
2005-Mar-21, 10:21 PM
Thanks Glom! (what is LPG?)

Then why inst Greenpeace fighting for more nuclear energy? :-k

Greenpeace has decided that nuclear power is E-Vile. They regularly print nonsense on the subject - their information is much like Moon Hoax material- half truths, facts not put in context, and often just flat out nonsense. But they believe it, and if you try to tell them different, then you are probably working for evil commercial interests.

Glom
2005-Mar-21, 10:28 PM
Well said, Van Rijn, and without the libellous accusations of genocidal motives.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-21, 10:37 PM
Thanks Glom! (what is LPG?)

Then why inst Greenpeace fighting for more nuclear energy? :-k

Greenpeace has decided that nuclear power is E-Vile. They regularly print nonsense on the subject - their information is much like Moon Hoax material- half truths, facts not put in context, and often just flat out nonsense. But they believe it, and if you try to tell them different, then you are probably working for evil commercial interests.

there ARE a lot of people in the "green" movement that don't know much about science.

but the reson that greenpeace is apposed to nuclear power is that it is appart from being potentialy very dangerous, standing in the way of alternatives(and research therin) of alternatives like SOLAR and WIND and organic alternatives(oils),

nuclear power is BIG buisness and there are powerful forces at work in that industry(just like in petrolium), ie vested interests.


Just think of a helium nucleus plasting out of a uranium atom at 10%speed of light smashing into one of your bloodcells, the next time you eat a cheese sandwich(that could be contaminated by uranium if nuclear power takes off)

Glom
2005-Mar-21, 11:33 PM
Well that last comment was puerile.

Just think of a helium nucleus blasting out of a radon atom at 10% the speed of light next time you inhale.

60% of your radiation dosage comes from radon. That's a fact of life, nuclear power or not.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-22, 12:03 AM
well people in the south of the uk, DO have to worry about radio active gasses that come up out of the ground and fill their houses.

The introduction of double glazing and bad ventelation has made things worse.

I don' t think that a few nuclear power plants is going to make much difference but if it becomes international policy then the chances of consuming radioactive particles will just be so much more.

whats wrong with solar and wind power anyway?

.

Glom
2005-Mar-22, 12:06 AM
Twice nothing is still nothing.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-22, 12:10 AM
There always has been radioactive matter in the earths atmosphere, just take radioactive carbon.

I read that that was one of the things that sped up evolution by introducing the number of errors in the gene.

Van Rijn
2005-Mar-22, 12:31 AM
but the reson that greenpeace is apposed to nuclear power is that it is appart from being potentialy very dangerous, standing in the way of alternatives(and research therin) of alternatives like SOLAR and WIND and organic alternatives(oils),


Most of modern technology is potentially very dangerous, that's why you design things right. You also don't compare apples and oranges. You don't condemn air travel because of the Hindenburg - it was dramatic, but it isn't a useful example for modern flight. Likewise, Chernobyl isn't a useful example when discussing power reactors.

Nuclear doesn't "stand in the way" of alternatives. In turn:

Wind is actually becoming reasonably economical. In the U.S. though, there are only so many places to put wind turbines, and wind power isn't constantly available. It could perhaps supply 5% or so of our electricity needs.

Solar: PV has come a long way, but is still insanely expensive. I have hopes for thin film PV in the next couple of decades, but assuming you get the cost down you hit the second problem: It is only available in the day. Solar could supply perhaps 15-20% of electricity requirements before you need to have some serious power storage capability - at heavy cost.

Biofuels: The energy balance is a big problem - it is tricky getting more energy out than put in. It takes up a lot of land area that competes with regular agriculture, and isn't all that clean.



nuclear power is BIG buisness and there are powerful forces at work in that industry(just like in petrolium), ie vested interests.


If they are so powerful, why isn't the nuclear industry doing better?



Just think of a helium nucleus plasting out of a uranium atom at 10%speed of light smashing into one of your bloodcells, the next time you eat a cheese sandwich(that could be contaminated by uranium if nuclear power takes off)

Most likely coming from ground, rock walls, or the emission of a coal power plant. And utterly swamped by the quantity of carcinogens produced by fossil fuel power plants.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-22, 12:41 AM
Biofuels: The energy balance is a big problem - it is tricky getting more energy out than put in. It takes up a lot of land area that competes with regular agriculture, and isn't all that clean

I have read that you can convert cars to run on a cookingfat/petrol mix, and Shell is doing a lot of research into biofuel. I suppose the fossil fuel companies know that the game is up and are trying to find other options.....
In this way I suppose it is good to look at nuclear because it puts some pressure on companys like Shell to do the reseach..

I heard an estimate of 5years from a UK politician for when solar would become ecconomical, but you HAVE to start somewhere with this.
Solar cells will for a longtime keep increasing in their efficiency.

mopc
2005-Mar-22, 01:03 AM
An ideal world would be a vast supply of fission later supplanted by forthcoming fusion;

wind energy where possible and where those huge propellers don't ruin tha landscape

solar energy to diminish the need for earth-made power when it's sunny.


But solar and wind are not and never will be a permanent reliable source of energy because it's not always sunny and it's not always windy - and if you store that energyin batteries, its expansive and batteries are not environmentally friendly because of those metals (at least that's what I know).

The world could be 90% nuclear and 10% wind/solar, maybe 80%-20%.

mopc
2005-Mar-22, 01:09 AM
Well that last comment was puerile.

Just think of a helium nucleus blasting out of a radon atom at 10% the speed of light next time you inhale.

60% of your radiation dosage comes from radon. That's a fact of life, nuclear power or not.


Well, how much radiation do we get normally and where does it come from? Does fossil fuel burning generate radiation? What other non-nuke energy production process generates radiation?

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-22, 01:11 AM
How about covering the Sahara Desert with solar cells, surely enough energy falls on that, and most of the time, to supply most of europe and africa. And america has its desserts.

You don't need batteries to store energy, you can use reservours.
When there is plenty of energy you pump water up into a reservour and then when its cloudy or nighttime you let it out through turbines..

They do this already.

Glom
2005-Mar-22, 01:23 AM
I've heard AAGW alarmists of all people making recommendations like that. It's funny really. The change in albedo of an area that big could bring about some noticeable climate changes.

But you have to consider what it would take to cover an area that big. Highly dangerous chemicals are used to make PV cells. I'm not saying it's bad, but turning the Sahara desert in a power station is hardly free energy. Fission and fusion can do the job in a far more compact way. Compact is good for the environment and easier to use.

Besides, do you really think GP would cooperate? Bait 'n' switch is their game. They advocate these alternatives, but they turn on them when they actually get implemented.

mopc
2005-Mar-22, 01:24 AM
How about covering the Sahara Desert with solar cells, surely enough energy falls on that, and most of the time, to supply most of europe and africa. And america has its desserts.

Not more than 50% of the time! And it would be very expensive. Think about the distance; the transmission lines would be very expensive too.



You don't need batteries to store energy, you can use reservours.
When there is plenty of energy you pump water up into a reservour and then when its cloudy or nighttime you let it out through turbines..

They do this already.

Interesting, I didn't know

Glom
2005-Mar-22, 01:28 AM
What other non-nuke energy production process generates radiation?

Coal power stations throw out around twice as much activity in the form of uranium and thorium, which would yield more energy if burnt than the coal itself.

Van Rijn
2005-Mar-22, 01:46 AM
How about covering the Sahara Desert with solar cells, surely enough energy falls on that, and most of the time, to supply most of europe and africa. And america has its desserts.

Not more than 50% of the time! And it would be very expensive. Think about the distance; the transmission lines would be very expensive too.


Exactly, and there are efficiency losses when transmitting power over long distances. It makes more sense to keep the PV panels close to where they are being used, but many places just aren't that well suited for solar power. But, as you said, the key issue is that it is expensive. It costs several times as much as conventional power production today.




You don't need batteries to store energy, you can use reservours.
When there is plenty of energy you pump water up into a reservour and then when its cloudy or nighttime you let it out through turbines..

They do this already.

Interesting, I didn't know

Yes, it is done, but it isn't all that efficient and there are only so many places this can be done. You want storage as efficient as possible because you need more expensive panels to make up the efficiency loss. If solar were to supply all our electricity, you would need truly vast power storage capacity, and that would be an expense IN ADDITION to the cost of the PV panels and electrical distribution.

I am hoping that PV will eventually make up a significant portion of the supply, but it isn't "the" answer to the energy supply problem.

[Edited to add]

Found this site on power storage -

http://zebu.uoregon.edu/disted/ph162/l8.html

Regarding hydro power storage -


Hydropower is 80% efficient (uphill or downhill). So to pump uphill and the get energy downhill, efficiency is 0.8x0.8 = 64%

That's an additional 36% you need to make up. Ouch.

mopc
2005-Mar-22, 01:50 AM
What other non-nuke energy production process generates radiation?

Coal power stations throw out around twice as much activity in the form of uranium and thorium, which would yield more energy if burnt than the coal itself.

So coal power stations are twice as radioactive than fission stations, in normal operation conditions?

Glom
2005-Mar-22, 01:57 AM
Yes, although as I said before twice nothing is still nothing.

Van Rijn
2005-Mar-22, 02:05 AM
So coal power stations are twice as radioactive than fission stations, in normal operation conditions?

More than that, Uranium and Thorium aren't the whole picture. Nor does that count all the other nasties that aren't radioactive. This link will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about coal radioactivity:

http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

mopc
2005-Mar-22, 03:37 AM
Yes, although as I said before twice nothing is still nothing.

So a nuclear power plant operating normally, doesnt release any radiation?

Maksutov
2005-Mar-22, 05:19 AM
holy canoli Glom! thanks!!!!

I'll put aside my War and Peace and go for a really long text... your post!

Thanks
You'd think that with such an important topic, he'd supply some detail to support his arguments!

BTW, Glom, here's an illustration that was on some air filters I bought for my house's HVAC system. When I saw this, I returned them to the store, and fired off a nastygram to the manufacturer.

http://img227.exs.cx/img227/8677/airfilter11ew.th.jpg (http://img227.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img227&image=airfilter11ew.jpg)

Morrolan
2005-Mar-22, 05:49 AM
and we actually thing that Greenpeace would allow us to plow under all the forests left in the world to produce oilseeds for biofuels? (cos we sure as hell can't remove existing farmland given that we'd starve)

or let countries 'cover up' entire deserts with solar cells? that's nature too, you know! think about the endangered Gila monster or the horned viper! won't work.

in Europe environmental activists have successfully blocked the construction of more wind parks due to the horizon pollution and noise pollution and migrating birds may fly into them.... =D>

i'm begining to suspect their real aim is make us go back to candles and horse and carts and to ultimately get rid of humans altogether. :roll:

[edit typo]

Maksutov
2005-Mar-22, 07:08 AM
[edit]

i'm begining to suspect their real aim is make us go back to candles and horse and carts and to ultimately get rid of humans altogether. :roll:

[edit typo]
Hey! Someone else "gets it"!!!

8)

Too bad we can't get Lrrr (from Omicron Persei 8 ) over here to chow down on a few of 'em.

http://i160.exs.cx/img160/9820/016dx.th.jpg (http://img160.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img160&image=016dx.jpg)

http://i160.exs.cx/img160/2952/021sf.th.jpg (http://img160.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img160&image=021sf.jpg)

http://img11.exs.cx/img11/1703/0313iu.th.jpg (http://img11.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img11&image=0313iu.jpg)

http://img11.exs.cx/img11/1284/047re.th.jpg (http://img11.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img11&image=047re.jpg)

http://img11.exs.cx/img11/3695/059bz.th.jpg (http://img11.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img11&image=059bz.jpg)

http://img11.exs.cx/img11/6360/0610od.th.jpg (http://img11.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img11&image=0610od.jpg)

http://img40.exs.cx/img40/9391/078yy.th.jpg (http://img40.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img40&image=078yy.jpg)

mopc
2005-Mar-22, 07:17 AM
I understand that the common populace doenst understand that 'nucular' energy is much safer than any other... but the German government? Why did Germany decide to phase out all of their nuclear power plants? What are they gonna replace it with? Wind? COAL for chrissake?!

How much is Germany investing in fusion by the way? My god it must be tough a country where the Green Party is the third largest!!!!

Manchurian Taikonaut
2005-Mar-22, 08:56 AM
Yes there are dangers in using Wind power for workers, Coal, and Tidal energy, but the difference is when things go wrong in one of these places the workers can die. However when things go wrong in a Nuke plant not only do workers die but there is a chance you may see a scorched earth, where thousands of people from miles around can die of radiation induced cancers, and leaving a large exclusion zone around the area of accident. Glom can sometimes seem a bit of a nuke fanatic, but he has much rational logical debate but other nuke-fans are sometimes not so rational and try to hide dangers that people fear. Church Rock in the USA had uranium leaks causing local water to become 6,500 times as radioactive as safety standards allow. Trying to tell a nuke fanatic the dangers of nuclear power may be like try to convice a religious zealot reading adam and eve is point less, or wasting time trying to argue with a fundamentalist Arab that bowing to Mecca won't do his spine any good. We have to look at things logically and with objective thought, nuclear power may be a fantastic solution to the World's Energy problems. Nuclear power might help us move forward and solve many energy needs but there are real dangers.

Vega115 has also posted some info telling us of Chernobyl: winds in the region carried it to Byelorussia, the Baltic republics, and the boundaries of the USSR. (G. Medvedev 7 Take into account that the Hiroshima Bomb only detonated about 4.5 tons of material, and Chernobyl spewed nearly 50 tons. That is equivalent to ten Hiroshima Bombs (minus the firestorm and mushroom cloud), plus about 70 tons of fuel and 700 tons of radioactive graphite, which settled in the area of the reactor, or was spewed into the atmosphere as evaporated fuel. (G. Medvedev 79) Once the engineers in the control room realized what happened, all of the consequences started to set in. Beskeptical visited Nagasaki and I can toldl us it is extremely emotional, you can image the devastation and trama a Nuke accident may have in light of our recent deaths on Earth, and Nuclear Energy has only been here a short time and already caused much trouble. Nuclear power might become the fantastic Energy source we need, but we also need much higher safety standards if we are to us nuke Energy to supply the nations.

They say that much of Nevada, Utah and Arizona now have very high-levels of radioactive contamination, and in'58 nuclear criticality accident occured from a solution in a plutonium recovery operation at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico with the operator dying later of acute radiation sickness. A US government study found the fallout from nuclear tests carried out by the US in Nevada has caused the death of an estimated 14,910 Americans, other studies estimates that 81,200 people who lived around Atomic test sites have contracted or will contract cancer as a result of American nuclear tests. Female workers at places like at the Radium Dial Company's factory were to suddenly see their teeth falling out and their jaws dropping out of their heads, radium was appliedto watches and clocks with small paint brushes and these women developed jaw and other mouth cancers. There was also much trouble at Windscale, Mayfield or Sellafield - it seems these guys may go through frequent name changes to avoid corporate responsibilty, one of the worst cases where a fire destroyed the core of the reactor and released large quantaties of radioactive fumes into the UK and around Europe. In the USA the National Cancer Institute admitted that fallout from the 1950's atomic bomb tests blanketed the nation at levels far inexcess of what the government has admitted to, and in one of its reports t it said there could be between 10,000 and 75,000 cases of thyroid cancer among those exposed due to Iodine 131. As Donnie B said -
I think we should be looking for better and safer ways to exploit nuclear energy, but we should never overlook or downplay its potential hazards, not even when we're touting its potential benefits. and I think he is right.
and as I have already commented

I think Oil from the middle East is sometimes a total waste of time, some of those corrupt Arab nations give out the hand of friendship to the USA and then stab Americans in the back with the other hand. There is much corruption and the oil shock of the 70s should have taught us much about corruption, bleeding other economics with their hijack type oil dimplomacy that cost the US economy billions of dollars in the 70s and the dangers of such blockades. The Middle east seems to be a waste of time, and no matter what path or what USA does there seems to be growing anti-Amercanism. I think if the USA were to move away from depending so much on this area it would help America a lot. The region is high unstable and has cost America much, also Oil groups cost the US economy a lot and cost the USA's industry. IF Europe or the USA builds a Fusion reactor and no longer needs to depend so much on this area it will help them a lot.
Nuke Energy is a very powerful idea and could help us greatly and solve much of the world's energy problems, it is a very good energy source

However Nuclear power is young and has already been responsible for many deaths, safety is very important !! and sadly we have already been let down many times by safety records

mopc
2005-Mar-22, 07:25 PM
Yeah but the question is: nuclear fission seems to be by far the safest of all. Coal burning releases more radiation, even with no accidents. Dams destroy nature and burst.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-22, 08:05 PM
Did you ever watch The China Syndrome?

Glom
2005-Mar-22, 08:16 PM
Did you ever hear of Three Mile Island? It showed how that movie was pure Hollywood bunk. Jane Fonda should stick to acting.

(Well you all knew that wouldn't go unchallenged.)

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-22, 08:20 PM
Did you ever hear of Three Mile Island?

Who's in that then? :)

Glom
2005-Mar-22, 08:22 PM
BNFL now I believe. They bought the remaining units for a bargain.

Van Rijn
2005-Mar-22, 08:26 PM
Did you ever watch The China Syndrome?

Bad fantasy movie, as realistic as Armageddon.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-22, 08:28 PM
Chernobyl was just symptomatic of how the rest of the USSR was run.
I heard that they had bits of coke bottles and stuff fixed onto their control panel(improvising) because they couldn't afford proper instrumentation.
The whole site was probably run on that kind of shoestring approach.

Glom
2005-Mar-22, 08:30 PM
Indeed. I know it's easier to say this with hindsight, but it wasn't considered safe by Western standards even before the accident. For one thing, all reactors in the West have containment vessels.

Captain Kidd
2005-Mar-22, 08:31 PM
Dang looks like I've missed a good thread. I'll have to read it tonight and throw in my ringside comments later. :)

Van Rijn
2005-Mar-22, 09:01 PM
There is a detailed review of the Chernobyl accident here:

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter7.html

Some of the points noted:



1. A reactor which is unstable against a loss of water could not be licensed in the United States.
2. A reactor which is unstable against a temperature increase could not be licensed here.
3. A large power reactor without a containment could not be licensed here.
4. In contrast to the laxity at Chernobyl, regulations are strictly enforced here. Violations like operators cheating on examinations or falling asleep on the job,failing to report promptly on minor malfunctions, or failing to carry out a required inspection have brought large fines, plus lots of bad publicity to the utility. Flagrantly violating rules of reactor operation, and disabling important safety interlocks, are essentially unthinkable in U.S. plants.

He says U.S., but this applies to Western power reactors in general. There's plenty more ...

mopc
2005-Mar-22, 09:14 PM
There is a detailed review of the Chernobyl accident here:

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter7.html

Some of the points noted:



1. A reactor which is unstable against a loss of water could not be licensed in the United States.
2. A reactor which is unstable against a temperature increase could not be licensed here.
3. A large power reactor without a containment could not be licensed here.
4. In contrast to the laxity at Chernobyl, regulations are strictly enforced here. Violations like operators cheating on examinations or falling asleep on the job,failing to report promptly on minor malfunctions, or failing to carry out a required inspection have brought large fines, plus lots of bad publicity to the utility. Flagrantly violating rules of reactor operation, and disabling important safety interlocks, are essentially unthinkable in U.S. plants.


So maybe we finally know where exactly is Homer Simpson's Springfield: northern Ukraine!!!!

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-22, 09:28 PM
Here is the future of Nuclear power,


http://www.eurekalert.org/features/doe/2004-07/dlnl-net071204.php


it will start off being just for non-nuclear countries but I bet that the west will be using them in the end.

VTBoy
2005-Mar-22, 09:39 PM
I hope this technology pans out. At current rates of consumption, we're set to just about run out of fossil fuels when this becomes a economically viable energy option.

I hope they get the issue of where to build ITER settled soon. It's good news that the EU is willing to shoulder it alone if need be, too.

One project with the 6 countries is better than 2 projects with 3 countries each.

Captain Kidd
2005-Mar-23, 01:23 AM
Here is the future of Nuclear power,


http://www.eurekalert.org/features/doe/2004-07/dlnl-net071204.php


it will start off being just for non-nuclear countries but I bet that the west will be using them in the end.

It'll have to be for non-nuclear countries, it'll take the NCR 50 years to get the forms and studies preparred to study the feasibility of a study. (Sadly I'm not completely joking. The "streamlined" approval to apply for a license is still measured in double digit years.)

Maksutov
2005-Mar-23, 11:16 AM
Did you ever hear of Three Mile Island? It showed how that movie was pure Hollywood bunk. Jane Fonda should stick to acting.

(Well you all knew that wouldn't go unchallenged.)
Back in the 80s when I was working for a company manufacturing sub power units, a certain bumper sticker was very popular with us folks. Its content was simply

http://img224.exs.cx/img224/3029/thescore5cy.th.jpg (http://img224.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img224&image=thescore5cy.jpg)

Grendl
2005-Mar-23, 01:14 PM
Donnie B: Even if you're only considering the political/diplomatic aspects of nuclear energy, this is critical. The only way to convince an understandably nervous public is to ensure them that any new nuclear initiatives are being put forward by people who understand the reasons for that nervousness, and have made sure that their proposals reduce those risks to the vanishing point.

Statements that snort at people's fears only make matters worse.

Interesting thread—I’m glad I waited a while to read it. Oil industry people who I’ve talked to tell me that oil’s days are definitely numbered, though I’ll be dead by then. From a layman’s view, I don’t have a problem with fission or fusion, because I’m already dying from the fossil fuel pollution outside my window. In Houston proper it’s ironic that thousands of people run every day along a 3-mile track that has been tested for terrible ground-level air quality; it is evident when I go elsewhere just how bad this ground-level pollution is here. I think a combination of energy sources strategically used with environmental concerns is the way to go. I’m against the drilling in Alaska and I believe, at least in the U.S., we have a serious, serious collective mental problem about consumption and that needs to be seriously addressed. We have NOT seriously addressed it.

My concern about nuclear plants is about competence. A year or so ago I read a number of articles about mock terrorists drills on nuclear plants in the Northeast and the results were abysmal. I’m not paranoid about terrorists, just incompetence.

I think coal is dirty stuff and not very worker-friendly.

I like solar and wind power and I don’t mind the windmills (pardon me for calling them that, but they look like giant pinwheels). I am concerned about birds, but as the movie “Winged Migration” so beautifully shows, we can plot out large migratory patterns of birds and that’s what I mean about using a complement of energy sources strategically placed with environmental concerns. As it is, cows don’t mate much around power lines, so we already are dealing with those kinds of problems. I don’t find the windmills visually unappealing—they look like a big Christophe project. I’ve never heard what they sound like, so I don’t know about that.

Why is solar still so expensive? I find that extremely disappointing. When I was young (maybe it was all that early 70’s Earth Day stuff they taught us in school) I expected that we would be using much more solar energy; I thought most houses would be equipped with solar panels by now. I NEVER expected people would be driving SUVs and getting less than 20 mpg. Therefore, I am for the cleanest energy source that gives us the biggest bang for our buck. Radiation is scary, but from where I stand, the risk/benefit comparison leans on the side of nuclear power.

I will defend Green Peace for many things (along with their gorgeous yearly calendar), but I can’t agree with their stance on nuclear power. Tanker spills can ruin an area for decades. Toxic sludge from factories that pours into rivers and seeps into soil is the scourge of mankind, imo. Dams can really screw up things too.

I want the cleanest source of energy. I think a nice Excel sheet listing all the energy sources available with columns listing their effects on humans and the environment, cost analysis and risks would be helpful to the public who doesn’t understand the ramifications of each energy source. Something like:

Energy Source/ Human Risks/ Environmental Risks/ Cost / Amount of Power Supplied

Wind turbines/ None/ Chops up birds; noise pollution/ ?/ ?


That’s just a crude example. If I sound like a simpleton, it's because I believe many scientists need to learn how to talk to the public. :D

Captain Kidd
2005-Mar-23, 05:35 PM
My concern about nuclear plants is about competence. A year or so ago I read a number of articles about mock terrorists drills on nuclear plants in the Northeast and the results were abysmal. I’m not paranoid about terrorists, just incompetence.

Hmm, I hadn't heard that about that, maybe our guys need to teach them some things. :D

But the main reason for my response is this; the world's worst industrial accident happened in 1984 in Bhopal, India. A leak at the Union Carbide pesticide factory allowed methyl isocyanate gas to escape. It killed at least 2,000 people and injured over 200,000 others.

How many chemical plants are located in, near, or upwind of urban areas? What is their security system like?

mopc
2005-Mar-23, 07:57 PM
I've been trying to find information on the two Brazilian commercial nuclear power plants, but I havent found anything useful. How do Brazilian plants compare to US, European and international standards???

Van Rijn
2005-Mar-23, 09:38 PM
My concern about nuclear plants is about competence. A year or so ago I read a number of articles about mock terrorists drills on nuclear plants in the Northeast and the results were abysmal. I’m not paranoid about terrorists, just incompetence.


I get annoyed at the constant news focus on possible terrorist action with a nuclear power plant. There is a legitimate concern, but compared to other potential danger spots, nuclear plants are very hard targets. You CAN crash a plane into a nuclear plant without it going through the containment shell, let alone the reactor shell. It would be very difficult for terrorists to manage another TMI (a mess, but not a threat). To go beyond it would require a major military operation.

Meanwhile, in my city there are giant gas tanks, a dam and many resevoirs holding drinking water. Blowing the tanks, the dam, or putting chemicals in the water could kill hundreds or thousands. There are things like that all over the country, and there are much softer targets than these.




I think coal is dirty stuff and not very worker-friendly.


Ditto. It is a mess taking it out of the ground, transporting it, using it, and dealing with the vast amounts of waste. The only good thing about coal is that it is better than doing without electricity.



Why is solar still so expensive? I find that extremely disappointing. When I was young (maybe it was all that early 70’s Earth Day stuff they taught us in school) I expected that we would be using much more solar energy; I thought most houses would be equipped with solar panels by now. I NEVER expected people would be driving SUVs and getting less than 20 mpg. Therefore, I am for the cleanest energy source that gives us the biggest bang for our buck. Radiation is scary, but from where I stand, the risk/benefit comparison leans on the side of nuclear power.


The key issue is energy density. Solar energy is a very low density power source. It is completely unavailable about half the time. Even when available, peak power is only available for a short time on sunny days. Trackers can improve power production but at additional cost and complexity. Then there are efficiency issues when producing electricity. Crystalline silicon solar cells are the most expensive (they're made much like conventional ICs) but also are the most efficient. Commercial cells can get perhaps 15% efficiency. Mass production can lower the costs somewhat, but there are limitations. The two other types of cells commonly discussed are polysilicon and amorphous silicon PV panels. Amorphous probably has the most potential for lowered costs through mass production, but are also the least efficient. Commercial triple layer panels only run at about 8% efficiency and for electricity produced are at least as expensive as crystalline panels today.

After all this, you have to consider power storage. Up to a point, the power grid can be used for backup, but power companies prefer to pay wholesale prices for electricity they buy and sell electricity at retail. You can argue this, but they do have to maintain the power grid, and that costs them money. If you need battery backup, this is another substantial expense, and often involves potentially dangerous chemicals in large quantities. There is also an efficiency issue, requiring still more power production to make up the difference.

For all that, there has been a great deal of improvement in the last decade. If you want to see what it takes to live off the grid, take a look at Homepower magazine:

http://www.homepower.com/

I don't care for their politics, but they have excelent information on running a home on PV electric systems. These days you can buy excellent DC to AC power inverters and other equipment so a solar electric home is doable, if expensive. If you read the magazine, don't be surprised to feel a bit of shock at what some people do without so they can stay within the energy budget.



I want the cleanest source of energy. I think a nice Excel sheet listing all the energy sources available with columns listing their effects on humans and the environment, cost analysis and risks would be helpful to the public who doesn’t understand the ramifications of each energy source. Something like:

Energy Source/ Human Risks/ Environmental Risks/ Cost / Amount of Power Supplied

Wind turbines/ None/ Chops up birds; noise pollution/ ?/ ?


I've seen tables like that, as well as tables of risks in general:

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter8.html

The problem is that there is a great deal of debate. For instance, since solar is a low energy density source, there is more chance of someone getting hurt maintaining the hardware (falling off a roof, getting zapped working with the electrical hardware, and so on). The much higher cost means you aren't spending the money on something else - perhaps better health care. The figures are arguable, as are the figures for every other power source including nuclear. In my book, I'd rate nuclear, solar, and wind fairly high on safety, solar as much more expensive, and wind as having limited availability. I'd put coal, oil and gas as less available LONG TERM, and lower in safety.

§rv
2005-Mar-24, 12:45 AM
The first oil well drilled in the western hemisphere was in Trinidad and we the first set of oil exploration took place here. As a result, our oil reserves are running out and we are depending more and more on natural gas. It is estimated that our oil reserves will run out in 20 years time and there is currently a drive by some of the more intellectual members of the population for the government to re-shift the industry's focus from oil refining to oil products and other ventures.

mopc
2005-Mar-24, 01:05 AM
I thought Azebaidjan was the first place of oil extraction, oh, but that's eastern hemisphere...

JohnOwens
2005-Mar-24, 02:23 AM
Explosion kills 42 miners in northern China; 27 missing (http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Explosion_kills_42_miners_in_northern_China%3B_27_ missing)

March 20, 2005
Forty-two miners are confirmed dead and 27 are missing, after an explosion at the Xishui Mine in Shuozhou, a city in China's Shanxi province.
Six rescue teams are working at the site to rescue the missing personnel, according to Liu Jiwen, an onsite rescue consultant. Two miners were rescued earlier in the day.
Xishui Mine is licensed to produce 150,000 tons of coal per year. But the mine was ordered closed in 2004 for safety violations.
"In defiance of the order, however, mine owners have restarted production this year," stated a province-level official.
...
Thousands of miners die in mining accidents each year in China. Today's accident comes just one day after 19 coal miners were killed in a mining accident in the Sulongsi mine in Chongqing, and one month after the largest accident in recent history killed 214 miners, in Fuxin, Liaoning Province.
:-k

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-24, 02:33 AM
Uranium has to be mined as well....

.

JohnOwens
2005-Mar-24, 02:46 AM
Uranium has to be mined as well....
:evil: 's advocate? Does uranium explode when powdered & combined with air? Not that that's going to happen much in the first place, considering the extra hazards of the uranium and how panicky people get about it. But you also don't have the huge industry with hundreds of thousands of miners; less labor-intensive, less labor-risky. And I don't think we're going as deep, into as poorly-constructed shafts, to get at it, though I'm not sure about that.

WaxRubiks
2005-Mar-24, 02:54 AM
Oh well, Uranium might be open cast mined.....

mopc
2005-Mar-24, 04:02 AM
What is the exact kind of fusion to be used in ITER? How far is ITER-tech from Helium3 tritium-tritium fusion?

JohnOwens
2005-Mar-25, 12:13 AM
And here in the US, Texas City, at least 15 dead in the refinery explosion yesterday.... How many times more than TMI is that?

Captain Kidd
2005-Mar-25, 01:02 AM
And here in the US, Texas City, at least 15 dead in the refinery explosion yesterday.... How many times more than TMI is that?
Well, 0 technically. 8-[

There's a ton of softer targets than nuke plants, but one will have to be hit first before anything serious will be done. Then it'll be all hindsight and accusations.

Sigma_Orionis
2005-Mar-25, 04:56 PM
Living in an Oil producing country I ought to be against any other form of Energy production. :lol: But seriously, I have no beef at all with fission, however I have been taught since I was a kid that Nuclear Fusion was THE way to produce cheap energy, later on (while at College) I was told that the raw energy produced by fission was more or less the same than that produced by fission can anybody around here confirm or correct this?

Launch window
2006-Mar-11, 11:52 PM
Euros are looking at fusion
http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=14199

'Largest oil spill in Alaska'
http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_1896178,00.html

An oil spill discovered at Prudhoe Bay field is the largest ever on Alaska's North Slope region, US officials say.
They estimate that up to 267,000 gallons (one million litres) of crude leaked from a corroded transit pipeline at the state's northern tip.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4795866.stm
The spill was detected on 2 March and plugged. Local environmentalists have described it as "a catastrophe".