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View Full Version : Anti-nuclear activists: something, nuclear power: something else + 1



Zachary
2005-Oct-30, 09:23 PM
In the scheme of things this development may not seem like much but as I played a part in it I feel entitled to brag about it somewhere ;)

Anyway, at the risk of making this sound political I've just been attending the Liberal Democrat Youth and Students autumn conference in Lincoln (the youth wing of the 3rd largest British political party), and in a bout of heady idealism about maintaining scientific integrity and all that jazz I submitted a motion entitled "Freedom for fission" (ripped off Glom's website of the same name, but it isn't plagarism, it's research :o) which was basically a fat endorsement of nuclear power and its place in Britain's overall energy policy.

Well due to my *ahem* superb oratory skills [/sarcasm], producing a load of aesthetically pleasing leaflets and waving around the global warming boogey man I got it to pass with only 6 votes against (in a hall of around 50 people), which was quite unexpected as the motion wouldn't even have been debated as little as 5 years ago.

It's also a bit of delicious irony as the main branch of the lib dems recently voted to outlaw nuclear power completely, so next year I'll be taking this issue to the main party conference with the endorsement of the youth branch and hopefully making some waves. We're currently (and unfortunately) the only major political party in Britain which is against nuclear power as a method of civil power generation and it is my sincere hope to put an end to this situation.

Cheers,
Zachary Williamson.

p.s. super massive big thank you to Glom as it's mainly down to his ranting on this forum that I took up the issue and I completely ransacked his website for statistics and information to throw at people (literally, I was mobbing people to take my leaflets :P )

Glom
2005-Oct-30, 11:33 PM
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Fantastic job! You have humbled us all with your excellent work.

I think there is something very telling about this. I remember reading a comment a while back about the nuclear renaissance being partly due to the passing into the West of baby boomers' generation and the rising of a new generation less entrenched in the dogma of the sixties. The fact that the LibDem youth would endorse nuclear power while the crotchety old guys want to outlaw it (I had never heard of this before. I didn't realise the LibDem establishment was so dangerous) seems to agree with the idea that a new more enlightened age may be upon us for the most part at least in this particular issue.

Any chance of an image of the leaflets? I could put a note up on the website to let the glory of this victory be known far and wide... to the dozen people who actually read the website.

Good luck at the next conference. I hope to see you with Andrew Neill soon.

Joff
2005-Oct-30, 11:49 PM
Good job Zachary. Nice leverage to go to the youth group with this, get a bit of independent thinking, rather than go head-on to the main party. You may actually get a hearing there now!

Zachary
2005-Oct-31, 07:46 AM
Any chance of an image of the leaflets? I could put a note up on the website to let the glory of this victory be known far and wide... to the dozen people who actually read the website.

Good luck at the next conference. I hope to see you with Andrew Neill soon.

thanks, you can get the leaflet here (http://www.blorktronics.com/fff.pdf) (1mb!). I copied a couple of sentences from your website to put on it, I hope you don't mind :o

Glom
2005-Oct-31, 12:43 PM
Now that's a good leaflet!

Argos
2005-Oct-31, 12:51 PM
Now that's a good leaflet!

So you admit CO2 is a problem.

Glom
2005-Oct-31, 12:53 PM
So you admit CO2 is a problem.

I ignored that bit. When dealing with LibDems, it's fair game since they're already convinced of the falling of the sky. Besides, reducing dependency on fossil fuels through nuclear is a good idea for other reasons. Energy security is big on the agenda at the moment.

publiusr
2005-Nov-02, 10:19 PM
Good job. Now we just need you to come to Marin County California.

I hope you like whipped cream (the biotic brigade... brigands).

LurchGS
2005-Nov-02, 11:32 PM
an additional little tidbit that never seems to make it to either side of the argument: You experience more damaging radiation from a coal plant than you do from a first generation nuclear plant.

There was a recent ballot here to cause the state to force the local power company to provide more power via "non-polluting" means. Completely ignoring the fact that solar cells are MUCH more poisonous to the environment than fossil fuels, and that we already get some 10% of our elecvtricity from wind...
Fortunately, it was soundly defeated

Glom
2005-Nov-02, 11:42 PM
I assume by the inverted commas around "non-polluting" you mean forms that were arbitrarily declared to be environmentally correct rather than ones that can be scientifically shown to be non-polluting.

Joff
2005-Nov-02, 11:55 PM
...solar cells are MUCH more poisonous to the environment than fossil fuels...Interesting - I haven't heard that one - do you have a rationale you can share with us?

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-03, 12:06 AM
I'd be interested to hear such as well

Glom
2005-Nov-03, 12:13 AM
I believe it has something to do with the materials required and produced in the manufacture of PV and the quantity in which they are produced to give energy returns. I don't know enough to either confirm or refute the argument.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-05, 08:55 PM
Glom - Exactly..

I grant that *in use* solar cells are pretty darn clean.. (We'll ignore efficiency issues) But the manufacturing process is nasty (and no, they are not alone in this)

Solar cells are made from Silicon with an alloy of aluminum, gallium,or indium combined with nitrogen and/or arsenic. Working with these, creating the crystal lattice for solar cells, creates a goodly bit of waste that is not biodegradable.

Thus, the combination of the heavy metals in the wafer (which has a limited life-span) and the metals and other fun things in the production process make them more poisonous over all than fossile fuels.

I do grant, also, that the difference between a solar cell and any given computer chip is pretty much meaningless in this regard.

Joff
2005-Nov-05, 10:13 PM
It's an argument that requires scale, and size matters in the case of considering a PV cell as against a computer chip. To make enough PV cells to produce appreciable power contribution will require a lot of material, partly because of efficiency but mostly because the world's power requirements are pretty damned high and getting higher. So toxicity of the manufacturing process and longevity of the cells are vital considerations. I would find it surprising if, under current technologies, PV power was more toxic than burning brown coal.

Solar power from heat (reflector fields) doesn't require a lot of exotic materials but probably requires more area. Also I don't know whether this has been used on more than a demonstration scale.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-05, 10:35 PM
It's an argument that requires scale, and size matters in the case of considering a PV cell as against a computer chip. To make enough PV cells to produce appreciable power contribution will require a lot of material, partly because of efficiency but mostly because the world's power requirements are pretty damned high and getting higher. So toxicity of the manufacturing process and longevity of the cells are vital considerations. I would find it surprising if, under current technologies, PV power was more toxic than burning brown coal.


it isn't just scale - it's also a matter of time span. The pollution from soft coal looks nasty, but is essentially gone in a human lifespan... the toxins from chip manufacture stick around a lot longer, and are a lot more poisonous in the remainder concentrations (what's left as trash)



Solar power from heat (reflector fields) doesn't require a lot of exotic materials but probably requires more area. Also I don't know whether this has been used on more than a demonstration scale.

True, true... and if you consider non-PV, there are ways solar IS being used - most commonly for water heating. That, to me, makes a lot of sense - and I'll probably add a solar water heater to my house, soon.

but, keeping to the most common interpretation of solar power, I'll stand by the statement.

Joff
2005-Nov-05, 11:41 PM
it isn't just scale - it's also a matter of time span. The pollution from soft coal looks nasty, but is essentially gone in a human lifespan... the toxins from chip manufacture stick around a lot longer, and are a lot more poisonous in the remainder concentrations (what's left as trash).I think you'll find - in the quantities required to generate useful power - that brown coal generates a ludicrous amount of toxins (and radioactivity of course). The sparsity of the undesirables in the original coal is easily offset by the amount that must be burned. The scale argument would go like this:

100 m2 of PV cell will generate the following toxic waste:
- some grams arsenic and whatever
and produce X MWh of electrical power over its mean lifetime:

To generate the same X MWh you will need to burn Y kg of brown coal which will emit the following toxins:
- some grams of brown-coal trace elements
PLUS a swack of carbon dioxide to push the global CO2 balance further out.

For now I'd ignore the cost of building and decommissioning factories/power stations and the consequences of mineral extraction. I freely confess that in choosing brown coal electricity generation to measure against I have given the "lowest hurdle" for PV cells to jump - but there's an awful lot of brown coal in use in power generation so I think it's fair.


but, keeping to the most common interpretation of solar power, I'll stand by the statement.By all means stand by it - I just seek after information, oh wise one.