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Glom
2005-May-04, 04:06 PM
Discussion to the alternatives to nuclear power (http://www.geocities.com/freedomforfission/cyc/alternatives.html)

Please tell me anywhere you think I need to be more thorough. I'm sure there are a few.

A Thousand Pardons
2005-May-04, 04:39 PM
You might provide more detail here:

The only emissions from hydroelectric dams are small amounts of methane from decaying biomass caught within the turbines and suprastructure.
:)

Glom
2005-May-04, 04:50 PM
What don't you understand about it?

ToSeek
2005-May-04, 04:55 PM
Just to raise Glom's blood pressure ;) :

Interview with anti-nuke activist Helen Caldicott (http://grist.org/news/maindish/2005/05/03/dicum-caldicott/index.html)

Keep in mind that this is the same woman who insisted that each shuttle launch destroyed 10% of the ozone layer.

Maha Vailo
2005-May-04, 04:59 PM
I think it's a reference to the gases given off by decaying plant matter within the lake produced by a hydroelectric plant.

- Maha "water under the dam" Vailo

Lurker
2005-May-04, 05:02 PM
Keep in mind that this is the same woman who insisted that each shuttle launch destroyed 10% of the ozone layer.
Um... so, there have been more than 10 shuttle launches. if that's so, does that mean we are out of ozone now? Or is it 10% of the total ozone present at each launch?? :-k


Does she give a mechanism for the destruction of 10% of the global levels if ozone?? :o

A Thousand Pardons
2005-May-04, 05:06 PM
I think it's a reference to the gases given off by decaying plant matter within the lake produced by a hydroelectric plant.
I just assumed it was Fido, Fluffy, and Bambi

Glom
2005-May-04, 05:13 PM
She's got qualifications? Why's she so thick?


The people saying these things are not biologists, they're not geneticists, they're not physicians. In other words, they don't know what they're talking about. And that makes me very annoyed. First of all, every reactor produces about [20 to 30] tons of highly radioactive waste a year. The majority of it is very long-lived and will have to be isolated from the ecosphere for hundreds of thousands of years ... As it leaks into the environment, it will bio-concentrate by orders of magnitude at each step of the food chain: algae, crustaceans, little fish, big fish, us.

ROTFLMAO! 20 to 30 tons is a pittance of waste. Without reprocessing, it will require up to ten thousand years for its activity to fall to the activity of natural uranium so her hundreds of thousands of years statistic is wrong. With reprocessing, it is only 600 years. Notice the inevitability at which she assumes it will leak into the ecosphere. Don't you just hate it when people saying these things aren't nuclear engineers who work to provide good shielding.

This bio-concentration thing. Doesn't conservation of mass mean anything?


It takes a single mutation in a single gene in a single cell to kill you. [The most common plutonium isotope] has a half-life of 24,400 years. Every male in the Northern Hemisphere has a small load of plutonium in his gonads. What that means to future generations God only knows -- and we're not the only species with testicles. What we're doing is degrading evolution, and not many people understand that.

She's not a doctor. Anyone who was would know that it takes more than a single mutation in a single cell to kill you. That's utter crap! :evil:

Plutonium can be burnt and so this is not an issue. The appeal to the knowledge of God is hardly scientific. If she thinks it's so bad, she should know what it means. But I forgot. She's not a doctor.


They say nuclear power is the answer to global warming. Well ... the [Department of Energy] and the EPA [will tell you] that, at the moment, the process of uranium enrichment for fuel for nuclear power releases huge quantities of CO2. And that does not include releases from decommissioning of the reactor and transportation and long-term storage of the waste.

Well I find the argument irrelevant since I don't subscribe to AAGW. Nevertheless, that argument is specious. Carbon dioxide is released because the energy for these processes is provided by fossil fuels. If it were provided by nuclear power, this wouldn't be an issue. Generation IV will deal with this. This argument is also qualitative and not quantitative.


Meanwhile, the enrichment of uranium is responsible for [over 90 percent] of the CFC-114 gas released into the air in the U.S. Now, CFC is banned internationally under the Montreal Protocol because it destroys the ozone layer, one. Two, CFC gas is 10,000 to 20,000 times more potent as a global warmer and heat trapper than CO2. So the nuclear industry is lying. And advocates for nuclear power have fallen for the nuclear industry's lies. Not propaganda, but lies.

The quantities are insignificant for one. For two, this is diffusion enrichment and not centrifuge enrichment which is more efficient and will replace diffusion enrichment. Besides, thorium will resolve this problem.


Many countries in Europe are starting to realize that what they've done with nuclear power is ridiculous and immoral. Belgium, Germany, and Sweden have now passed laws to close down the reactors. So they're learning, but a little too late. Where are they going to put the waste?

And Finland is building a new one. And France remains the world's true nuclear power and has benefitted enormously from it.


The generals like their missiles too. One general basically said, "If you threaten our missiles and our early-warning systems, baby, that's threatening the family jewels." Got it? That's the reason they're still there. Missiles are an extension of their sexuality. There's a deep psychosexual pathology inherent in the brains of these men. "Missile erections," "deep penetrations" -- even the language they use is sexual. I've thought, in my more light-hearted times, that maybe they should all be given Viagra, and then they wouldn't need their missiles.

This is pathetic. This women has linked nuclear power to males and she's clearly a radical feminist who thinks men are bad and by implication, so is nuclear power.


Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, and Golda Meir. But you're picking three women out of millions of men. Some women -- very few -- emulate male behavior. Condoleezza Rice is one. The magic number is 30 percent [according to a U.N. report]. Below 30 percent representation [in government], women tend to please the men and vote for missiles. Above 30 percent, they say, "No, you're not getting your missiles -- we're voting for milk for children." So women need to support each other in order to do what they know is correct behavior, and express their nurturing instincts. It's got nothing to do with politics.

This is nothing to do with nuclear power. This is feminist crusade.


They practice psychic numbing

That's a big term for a pretty lady. :D

Glom
2005-May-04, 05:18 PM
I was thinking about posting a debunking on FFF but I fear that would get me labelled as pursuing low hanging fruit. Who am I kidding? Low hanging? This is subterrainian.

teddyv
2005-May-04, 05:23 PM
Glom,


Coal is thought that coal is produced by the fossilation of dead plant life. It is the oldest of all conventional power sources, having fuelled the Industrial Revolution

The start of this sentence is wrongly worded. Is "fossilation" a word?

Glom
2005-May-04, 05:25 PM
That should be fossilisation. Noted for when I next edit it.

WaxRubiks
2005-May-04, 05:35 PM
Regarding wind power

if enough wind farms where set up, at sea if necessary then the excess energy they produce could be made to produce hydrogen by electrolyzing water. So that when, as you say, the wind drops and there is nothing to power the turbines, the hydrogen could be burned in power station. Is this not a practical solution?

Glom
2005-May-04, 05:43 PM
It's more complicated. The problem is that there are losses in the electrolysing and burning.

Demigrog
2005-May-04, 06:43 PM
Discussion to the alternatives to nuclear power (http://www.geocities.com/freedomforfission/cyc/alternatives.html)

Please tell me anywhere you think I need to be more thorough. I'm sure there are a few.

References, for one. I'm not saying anything is inaccurate, just that it'd be easier to prove that if I didn't have to look up everything. :)

On the wind energy comparison, the technology is improving quickly. Wind power is already generally cheaper than natural gas, and next generation turbines (5MW offshore, etc) should be quite competitive with traditional coal and nuclear power plants. Fuel costs are about 20-25% of the cost of coal, and 10-15% of Nuclear-- and 0% for wind. O&M costs for wind are also much lower than either coal or nuclear-- and fully a third of that O&M is property taxes, ironically.

The capacity factor is a key point, and most sites being developed right now are more like 38% (the "low hanging fruit" as high as 42%). In the future, improved technology (ie blade pitch control, wind forecasting) should make the lower capacity sites more profitable as well. Also, in the US the 1.8c/kWh tax incentive is only part of the picture; there is also a 50% depreciation break on property taxes which provides a big front-loaded incentive.

For both Wind and Solar, there are a lot of energy storage technologies in the works to help with the variability problem, plus advanced power grid management software designed to handle low-wind outages by bringing up other generation (ie gas turbines) as needed.

The major point to be made on wind is that it simply cannot substitute for base-load nuclear plants, but they make a lot of sense as part of an overall energy plan, particularly in states and countries with a large wind capacity.

Solar power has got a much longer ways to go. PV cell efficiency is getting better, but not fast enough to make sense on an industrial scale. Residential solar power is going to be a really really hot industry in the near future; the bulk of the cost there is in the power conversion and integration hardware rather than the cells themselves. Many people are diligently working on that problem... down the hall from me. :) Your page is correct though, in pointing out that residential solar will not be enough by itself. We're getting into solar thermal here soon too, hopefully, which has better promise as an industrial-scale solar option.

(Anybody else seen Sahara? The solar tower in the movie is pretty cool, I thought it might really be Solar Two until I realized it was way too big. Very very good research and special effects work, though I think trough or dish collectors will be cheaper in the long run)

collegeguy
2005-May-04, 07:58 PM
Just to raise Glom's blood pressure ;) :

Interview with anti-nuke activist Helen Caldicott (http://grist.org/news/maindish/2005/05/03/dicum-caldicott/index.html)

Keep in mind that this is the same woman who insisted that each shuttle launch destroyed 10% of the ozone layer.

is this article for real? She evidently is biased against men. And while a quick nuclear exchange would greatly affect the world and could lead to the end of civilization, humans are still likely to survive.

Gullible Jones
2005-May-04, 11:03 PM
Hydroelectric dams have a problem bigger than emissions: they significantly alter the behavior of a river or other body of water, and generally act as a barrier to life on either side.

AGN Fuel
2005-May-04, 11:58 PM
ToSeek, we have a word - "stirrer" - to describe one who does this act .... :wink:

(BTW, is 'stirrer' in common use elsewhere? I've not come across it to the best of my knowledge outside Oz.)


The appeal to the knowledge of God is hardly scientific. If she thinks it's so bad, she should know what it means. But I forgot. She's not a doctor.

Actually, she is a doctor. She graduated in medicine from the Uni of Adelaide during the 1960's. Also, the 'appeal to the knowledge of God' was nothing like that - 'God knows' is just an expression dropped in general conversation. I use it myself frequently, despite the fact that I am an ardent agnostic.

I disagree with much (almost all, actually) of what she says, but let's not go overboard with the invective.
That's a big term for a pretty lady. for example is quite unnecessary.

Glom
2005-May-05, 11:00 AM
Actually, she is a doctor. She graduated in medicine from the Uni of Adelaide during the 1960's. Also, the 'appeal to the knowledge of God' was nothing like that - 'God knows' is just an expression dropped in general conversation. I use it myself frequently, despite the fact that I am an ardent agnostic.

You missed my point. She was simply using hyperbole about the consequences of this plutonium. "God knows what will happen" is not a meaningful statement. It says nothing. If she's a doctor, she should be able to tell us what will happen. She evidently is a doctor, but the knowledge she displays leaves much to be desired.


I disagree with much (almost all, actually) of what she says, but let's not go overboard with the invective.

Lighten up. A militant feminist such as this one who uses everything she can to further her feminist agenda deserves exactly what she gets: a smart alecky chauvenistic remark.

Glom
2005-May-05, 03:52 PM
References, for one. I'm not saying anything is inaccurate, just that it'd be easier to prove that if I didn't have to look up everything. :)

I'll try to find some good links. The page was made with knowledge I had accumulated by much reading.


On the wind energy comparison, the technology is improving quickly. Wind power is already generally cheaper than natural gas, and next generation turbines (5MW offshore, etc) should be quite competitive with traditional coal and nuclear power plants.

Capacity would still be limiting factor though. A country could support more nuclear watts than wind watts.


O&M costs for wind are also much lower than either coal or nuclear-- and fully a third of that O&M is property taxes, ironically.

I think that's the land issue I raised.


Also, in the US the 1.8c/kWh tax incentive is only part of the picture; there is also a 50% depreciation break on property taxes which provides a big front-loaded incentive.

What does that mean?


The major point to be made on wind is that it simply cannot substitute for base-load nuclear plants, but they make a lot of sense as part of an overall energy plan, particularly in states and countries with a large wind capacity.

That's my major point.

Glom
2005-May-05, 04:23 PM
I've put up my essay on environmentalism (http://www.geocities.com/freedomforfission/deb/civilisation.html). I'm sure even beskeptical will not be too critical given that I have added the qualifier that I'm describing extreme environmentalists and so I can't be taken to be generalising to all environmentalists. And yes, the characters I'm talking about consider themselves environmentalists so don't complain to me about that.

Demigrog
2005-May-05, 04:36 PM
Capacity would still be limiting factor though. A country could support more nuclear watts than wind watts.

Well—there is about 460000MW wind capacity within 5 miles of transmission lines in the US, and about 40 states have enough capacity to meet 10% of their energy needs. Aesthetic and environmental concerns will ultimately determine the upper limit of wind energy, of course.




Also, in the US the 1.8c/kWh tax incentive is only part of the picture; there is also a 50% depreciation break on property taxes which provides a big front-loaded incentive.
What does that mean?

Basically, utilities pay taxes on the value of the equipment in their power plants. The value is “depreciated” as it ages (just like car taxes, if you have them over there). In the US, the depreciation is “accelerated” as an incentive, reducing the property taxes considerably in the first year. This is important because utilities are often considering Wind as an alternative to Gas turbines in the US, and this gives wind a cost advantage up front. The 1.8c/kWh incentive takes a bit longer to add up.




The major point to be made on wind is that it simply cannot substitute for base-load nuclear plants, but they make a lot of sense as part of an overall energy plan, particularly in states and countries with a large wind capacity. That's my major point.
I’ll re-read it, but my impression was that you would not advocate wind power at all, if we could build as many nuclear plants as we needed. I can see that point of view, but so long as wind power is cheap (and it is getting there), I think it makes sense to diversify the power supply.

papageno
2005-May-05, 04:43 PM
I've put up my essay on environmentalism (http://www.geocities.com/freedomforfission/deb/civilisation.html). I'm sure even beskeptical will not be too critical given that I have added the qualifier that I'm describing extreme environmentalists and so I can't be taken to be generalising to all environmentalists. And yes, the characters I'm talking about consider themselves environmentalists so don't complain to me about that.

"Ideallic" should be either ideal or idyllic.

Glom
2005-May-05, 04:43 PM
I’ll re-read it, but my impression was that you would not advocate wind power at all, if we could build as many nuclear plants as we needed.

That's my business. I'm advocating nuclear power. The purpose of this page is to point out how nuclear has a vital role to play, not to say we don't need any of the others. I'm trying to say that other forms of power have their uses but where large scale baseload generation is involved, nuclear a key component. I should really add a conclusion paragraph really.

Nergal
2005-May-05, 05:02 PM
The people saying these things are not biologists, they're not geneticists, they're not physicians. In other words, they don't know what they're talking about. And that makes me very annoyed. First of all, every reactor produces about [20 to 30] tons of highly radioactive waste a year. The majority of it is very long-lived and will have to be isolated from the ecosphere for hundreds of thousands of years ... As it leaks into the environment, it will bio-concentrate by orders of magnitude at each step of the food chain: algae, crustaceans, little fish, big fish, us.

ROTFLMAO! 20 to 30 tons is a pittance of waste. Without reprocessing, it will require up to ten thousand years for its activity to fall to the activity of natural uranium so her hundreds of thousands of years statistic is wrong. With reprocessing, it is only 600 years. Notice the inevitability at which she assumes it will leak into the ecosphere. Don't you just it when people saying these things aren't nuclear engineers who work to provide good shielding.

This bio-concentration thing. Doesn't conservation of mass mean anything?

Not to defend her, because she's clearly out on a limb...

When she says "bio-concentrate", she means since big critters eat many smaller critters, toxins tend to concentrate in the top predators in an environment. She's correct, although her terminology is rather unconventional.

The rest of her rant sounded decidedly GreenPeace-ish.

Glom
2005-May-05, 06:36 PM
That's one way of looking at it, but of course, but only if you look at food chain pyramids in populations rather than biomasses, which is a better way of doing it.

Oh well, this is minor issue in a very illucid piece of ranting.

Nergal
2005-May-05, 07:53 PM
Oh well, this is minor issue in a very illucid piece of ranting.
Agreed.

Bean Counter
2005-May-05, 08:36 PM
Basically, utilities pay taxes on the value of the equipment in their power plants. The value is “depreciated” as it ages (just like car taxes, if you have them over there). In the US, the depreciation is “accelerated” as an incentive, reducing the property taxes considerably in the first year. This is important because utilities are often considering Wind as an alternative to Gas turbines in the US, and this gives wind a cost advantage up front. The 1.8c/kWh incentive takes a bit longer to add up.

Minor nitpick, you have the right idea but the wrong application. The incentive is at the Federal level. There is no Federal property tax, property taxes are assessed at the state and local level. What a federal acceleration of depreciation does is increase the amount of depreciation expense they can take on the equipment (in the first [few] year[s]), thus reducing their taxable income, thus reducing their tax burden. This allows the corporation to keep more of their cash (instead of paying taxes with it) than if the equipment had depreciated at normal rates.

Demigrog
2005-May-05, 08:50 PM
Minor nitpick, you have the right idea but the wrong application. The incentive is at the Federal level. There is no Federal property tax, property taxes are assessed at the state and local level. What a federal acceleration of depreciation does is increase the amount of depreciation expense they can take on the equipment (in the first [few] year[s]), thus reducing their taxable income, thus reducing their tax burden. This allows the corporation to keep more of their cash (instead of paying taxes with it) than if the equipment had depreciated at normal rates.

I forgot about that. :oops: I was looking at a powerpoint presentation about the tax incentives; there are local tax incentives in some areas that work similar to what I described, and when I saw the "50% bonus depriciation" references later I assumed it was referring to the same thing. That makes considerably more sense, as it would be a much larger savings-- over a third of the cash flow to equity on a typical wind project.

WaxRubiks
2005-May-10, 01:00 PM
What about a computer virus attack upon a nuclear power plant or are all plant operation computers not connected to the internet?

Nicolas
2005-May-10, 04:14 PM
What about a computer virus attack upon a nuclear power plant or are all plant operation computers not connected to the internet?

I don't think the plant controlling computers have an internet connection. They're dedicated computers, made specifically for controlling the plant. Not PC's.

WaxRubiks
2005-May-10, 04:18 PM
I suppose a virus could get into the system via disks.

Captain Kidd
2005-May-10, 04:19 PM
What about a computer virus attack upon a nuclear power plant or are all plant operation computers not connected to the internet?

I don't think the plant controlling computers have an internet connection. They're dedicated computers, made specifically for controlling the plant. Not PC's.
Nicholas is right. Regardless of what the producers of 24 want you to think, an accident isn't going to happen due to a hacker or the W32.Drivus.A worm.

(Yes, I've been informed that via the internet wasn't quite how it was suppose to have happened on 24.)

Nicolas
2005-May-10, 04:25 PM
What about a computer virus attack upon a nuclear power plant or are all plant operation computers not connected to the internet?

I don't think the plant controlling computers have an internet connection. They're dedicated computers, made specifically for controlling the plant. Not PC's.
Nicholas is right. Regardless of what the producers of 24 want you to think, an accident isn't going to happen due to a hacker or the W32.Drivus.A worm.

(Yes, I've been informed that via the internet wasn't quite how it was suppose to have happened on 24.)

Nicolas :roll: :wink:

The only data link to the outside world I could possibly see, would be an alarm output to a telephone central or something like that. But that connection does not allow for input, and certainly can't read digital data.

the most dangerous and feasible thing you could try to do is getting the power to the control desk shut down, but this too can't be done from the outside (it has it's own power groups of course).

Captain Kidd
2005-May-10, 04:25 PM
I suppose a virus could get into the system via disks.
No, it couldn't. These are dedicated operating systems, it'd be like uploading a computer virus your wrote in a few minutes through a wireless connection to disrupt the computers aboard an alien mothership as other alien vessels are death-raying the world's cities.

It's kinda hard for a virus to affect a relay for another reason.

Captain Kidd
2005-May-10, 04:27 PM
Nicolas :roll: :wink:


mur. The rare instance I don't copy paste and I get bit. :D

Glom
2005-May-10, 04:29 PM
That's something new for the reactor safety page.

Humphrey
2005-May-10, 04:30 PM
Are they even windows based machines? Wont they have specific programming only made for those machines?

Glom
2005-May-10, 04:32 PM
All nuclear facilities are Macintosh compliant. That was the problem for Chernobyl. The operators were so busy downloading music from the system onto their iPods that they didn't notice the reactor had blown up.

Captain Kidd
2005-May-10, 04:36 PM
Are they even windows based machines? Wont they have specific programming only made for those machines?
That's what I was getting at with my rather vague Independance Day comment.

Van Rijn
2005-May-10, 07:58 PM
What about a computer virus attack upon a nuclear power plant or are all plant operation computers not connected to the internet?

I don't think the plant controlling computers have an internet connection. They're dedicated computers, made specifically for controlling the plant. Not PC's.

Most reactors have dedicated electronics for control functions, not even a computer in the conventional sense. A few years back I read an article on a reactor where the the designers had initially decided it would be easier to use a dedicated computer to control the system (btw, the article may have been in Science News, but I'm not sure). As it turned out, it was far more difficult. They brought in a special team that carefully went through all the logic paths in a way that you never see in conventional debugging or walkthrough sessions, including validating that the processor itself did not have bugs that could occur with particular instruction sequences. There was no real OS, of course. It came down to this: A computer is inherently complex. While they were able to simplify the hardware surounding the computer substantially, the total complexity of the system was dramatically increased. Afterwords, the designers said they would have gone with discrete control systems if they realized how difficult it would be.

I'm not too worried about a virus causing a nuclear meltdown. And a meltdown in a U.S. commercial reactor, while messy, is unlikely to kill anyone.

Demigrog
2005-May-10, 09:12 PM
A lot depends on the type and age of the control system; a whole lot of them predate the invention of general purpose computers and modems. :)

In a modern control system like the ones I've helped design, there isn't any way that a virus could cause an accident-- the backup systems are not general purpose computers-- but a well written virus might trip the primary controls or a related system and force the reactor to shut down. However, that problem isn't unique to nuclear plants, and it is only "dangerous" in its effect on the power grid. Take out a few plants simultaniously at a bad time and you could trigger a cascading grid failure. Writing such a virus would require a lot of "insider information" on the system architecture. I doubt that there is any one person with all of the knowledge write it, and certainly not with the access to deploy it.

As for external connections to the power plant, rest assured that they are very limited (isolated from anything important) and very secure (electrically as well as physically in big, locked metal cabinets :) )

Physically getting the virus onto the plant computers would take a small army. If you've got a small army sitting around, you're probably better off just stealing the fuel rods than trying to sabatoge the software.

Nicolas
2005-May-10, 09:21 PM
It might seem easy to get deep into a power plant indeed. And if you have some explosives, you could cause a severe power outage if you get reasonably deep into the power plant. But try to get where things really matter. Or better DON'T try it, because you'll find yourself handcuffed before you get to see where the real security starts.

I've done some guided visits in my neighbours 2800 MW nuclear powerplant. While we could get quite deep into the plant then (past about 5 electronically controlled and guarded safety fences), and even got into the underpressurized part of the reactor, we still could not go where the magic happened (duh) and only saw the control equipmment from a distance. And that was a group of school children on an announced guide with two internal guides/guards, one of them dedicated to the reactor complex.

Open as they may seem, power plants are fortresses. If you're able to get inside, you'll need to infiltrate really good. And even then you'll need to use lots of brains and/or force to make things go dangerous by yourself.

Greenpeace once managed to climb a cooling tower by infiltrating from the water. As you may know, the towers are of realtively little importance (and mighty hard to destroy :)). The fact that they could infiltrate was partially a fault of the security, even though they did not reach really important parts of the plants (they did not try to, by the way). Security could have gotten them off the tower if they had wanted/needed to. They didn't because of the risk, and because they knew that the activists weren't going to attack things.