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Old 03-14-2011, 06:56 AM
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Still support nuke power plants?


The Japanese are having some trouble keeping a few of theirs from failing catastrophically, which indicates we aren't able to build disaster-proof plants. Is the danger of meltdown still worth the benefit of clean(ish) energy in your opinion? The places where nuke energy would benefit us the most, namely dense population centers, would be the worst place for a meltdown to occur.
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Old 03-14-2011, 06:59 AM
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Yes. So far in this catastrophe no one has actually died and what radiation has actually escaped has been fairly low level.

Meanwhile, how many people died mining coal this year?
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:09 AM
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The Japanese are having some trouble keeping a few of theirs from failing catastrophically
This might have something to do with the earthquake that happened recently. Kinda shakes things up a bit.
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which indicates we aren't able to build disaster-proof plants.
I would have thought disaster-proof would be like bullet-proof. This actually means bullet-resistant.
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Is the danger of meltdown still worth the benefit of clean(ish) energy in your opinion?
I don't have numbers but I would have thought the amount of deaths from all nuclear power when compared to deaths from coal/oil/other major fuel source (over the same time period of course) would be lower.
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The places where nuke energy would benefit us the most, namely dense population centers, would be the worst place for a meltdown to occur.
You do know that we can build them in out of the way places (though I think Japan is populated in most places) and then transfer the power where it is needed?
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:13 AM
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Yeah. We have to at least utilize nuclear to get us to whatever the ultimate technology is for clean and safe power.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:27 AM
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Yes, as long as we continue to keep our eyes (and R&D dollars) focused on making the three phases of electricity (production, transmission and usage) more efficient, cleaner and safer. Shit, the USA already has more nuclear plants than any other country in the world, and its still not enough to satisfy our huge demand.

Production: keep refining technology for current coal-fired plants, build more nuclear plants with the most modern and safe processes and materials as possible, continue to push the envelope on renewables and areas like solar and wind, hydro, etc.

Transmission: The grid needs upgraded, badly. I'm out of my league here but don't we lose a lot of electricity just via power line travel? Can that be upgraded with different materials, processes, etc? I'm sure someone smarter than me can expound upon how we can transport electricity more efficiently than we do now.

Usage: This is another area that the USA needs to continue to address. Everything from LEET building standards, higher-efficiency light bulbs, ANYTHING that researchers can reliably develop going forward to wring more use out of our current levels of production would be extremely helpful.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:36 AM
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Absolutely. The reactors having trouble at Japan are of an outdated, 40 year old design, and were hit with conditions they were never designed for, yet still haven't killed or injured anyone who wasn't a worker at the plant site. More modern reactors elsewhere in Japan handled the quake much better. Meanwhile, I recall seeing footage of an oil refinery burning out of control just after the quake, yet nobody is saying we should shut down all oil refineries.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:45 AM
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I think there's a couple of things worth pointing out.

Firstly, the Fukushima Daiichi plant wasn't the closest plant to the epicentre. The Onagawa plant was closer, see http://msnbcmedia2.msn.com/i/MSNBC/C...col-110312.jpg. The (slightly) more modern plant coped with the earthquake and tsunami, and we build them even better today.

Secondly, the Fukushima Daiichi plant actually coped with the earthquake just fine. It shut down automatically, the diesel generators fired up and started emergency cooling. It was the tsunami afterwards, flooding the diesel generators, which has caused the problems. All the hardware inside the containment functioned as it should.

Thirdly, despite reports of meltdown and two seperate hydrogen explosions, every release of radioactive material so far has been deliberate and controlled. Steam from ultra-high purity water has been repeatedly vented to lower the pressure, and while this is techically a release of radioactive material, ultrapure water is only very mildly activated by the neutron radiation it's exposed to. The steam released was slightly radioactive when it came out and that radioactivity would have decayed away to nothing within a few minutes.

The issues now are (1) the ultrapure water has been topped up with seawater, which is a lot dirtier and so will be activated more by the neutron radiation and (2) some fuel rods appear to have been damaged with their claddings ruptured, allowing fission products to contaminate the cooling water. Venting steam is now much more of a big deal. But on the brighter side, the reactors have been shut down since Friday and are generating much less decay heat. Further venting will be limited or even unneccessary.

Last edited by matt; 03-14-2011 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:57 AM
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Absolutely. Nuclear remains the best option in regards to safety and cleanliness for large scale power production as of yet.
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:10 AM
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The issue with nuclear power isn't really about how safe we can build the plants. The containments of the Japanese reactors are intact. If the reactors underwent a full meltdown and formed a puddle on the containment floor, they are designed to contain that. The containment floor is known as the "core catcher" and the refractory concrete will simply take the heat. At that point the containment will be filled with more concrete to entomb the core, and we don't worry about it for the next hundred years. Additionally, modern 3rd gen reactors have passive emergency cooling that doesn't need any pumping power at all. Some 4th gen designs don't even need emergency cooling - they'll be able to just take the heat without damage. We can build them extremely safe.

The issue isn't the odds. The odds are good. It's the stakes. What happens if everything goes wrong and a whole core is both exposed and spread out over a large area? Well, we've seen it in Chernobyl and it was bad. So we have to decide how good we need the odds to be before we risk that happening again.
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:14 AM
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The issue isn't the odds. The odds are good. It's the stakes. What happens if everything goes wrong and a whole core is both exposed and spread out over a large area? Well, we've seen it in Chernobyl and it was bad. So we have to decide how good we need the odds to be before we risk that happening again.
If 40-year-old plants can survive a 9.1 earthquake and subsequent devastating tsunami and still only be releasing a very small amount of insignificant radiation to the environment, I'll take those odds. (Of course, it remains to be seen what the final environmental impact will be from this event, but at the moment it's looking like "not too bad, actually.")
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:25 AM
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The issue isn't the odds. The odds are good. It's the stakes. What happens if everything goes wrong and a whole core is both exposed and spread out over a large area? Well, we've seen it in Chernobyl and it was bad. So we have to decide how good we need the odds to be before we risk that happening again.
I think the issue, is the alternative. If it is not going to be nuclear, then it is going to be coal. And Id much rather take nuclear, with the odds and the stakes, than Id take coal, where the stakes are at least as high and the odds 100%.
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:34 AM
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If 40-year-old plants can survive a 9.1 earthquake and subsequent devastating tsunami and still only be releasing a very small amount of insignificant radiation to the environment, I'll take those odds. (Of course, it remains to be seen what the final environmental impact will be from this event, but at the moment it's looking like "not too bad, actually.")
I've never been much of a nuclear advocate but I don't see having the entire freaking island move eight feet to the left followed by a significant portion of the Pacific Ocean arriving on the site to be an argument against it intrinsically. They did okay, considering the extreme circumstances, and next time they'll do even better.
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:36 AM
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Absolutely. Nuclear power has become such a boogeyman, when, as has been pointed out, other forms of power harm many more people every year. In addition, it's worth noting that the vast majority of the US is far, far less seismically active than Japan. The odds of a major earthquake like the recent one, let alone one followed up by a huge tsunami, are virtually nil for large chunks of the country. And, again as has already been pointed out, the Japanese plants, even the ones in danger, have performed remarkably well considering what they've been through.
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:42 AM
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What happens if everything goes wrong and a whole core is both exposed and spread out over a large area? Well, we've seen it in Chernobyl and it was bad.
Which only happened because of the incredibly stupid design, which you don't see elsewhere because it is, well, stupid. Chernobyl simply is a bad example to judge nuclear power on, since the same condition don't apply elsewhere.
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:47 AM
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I think the issue, is the alternative. If it is not going to be nuclear, then it is going to be coal. And Id much rather take nuclear, with the odds and the stakes, than Id take coal, where the stakes are at least as high and the odds 100%.
Quite true.

Moving away from coal fired power plants isn't going to be simple or risk free, but the alternative is unsustainable even over the cultural short term (for example, the productive years of those currently entering the workforce). Solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric won't get us where we need to be for carbon-neutral energy production.

Even moving to electric vehicles won't help much if our power comes from coal. "Clean coal" is a fiction. "Clean nuclear" power is also somewhat untrue, but only in terms of waste and production of nuclear components, not in terms of carbon emissions from the production of power. Both of those problems (fuel cell manufacture and nuclear waste containment) have technically clear mitigation avenues; it's only the politics that are difficult.
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:53 AM
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Still support nuke power plants?
Absolutely.

Quote:
The Japanese are having some trouble keeping a few of theirs from failing catastrophically, which indicates we aren't able to build disaster-proof plants.
The Japanese power plant that was 40 years old is hit with a series of disasters (including a freaking 9.0 scale earth quake...one of the 5 or 6 largest in recorded history and lasting over 2 minutes) and while having some serious issues still manages not to melt down and poison the entire world. I'd say that given what happened it actually did pretty well, though I bet that future nuclear power plants in Japan (as well as buildings in general) will use this new disaster as the benchmark for planning.

Nothing is 'disaster-proof'...you build based on what you think the disaster might be and still be affordable to construct and then you build in a bit extra as a fudge factor.

Quote:
Is the danger of meltdown still worth the benefit of clean(ish) energy in your opinion?
Yes, especially considering the fact that afaik none of these plants melted down in Japan, nor did they release a lot of radiation into the environment...and, of course, considering the scale and magnitude of this disaster.

And why is the energy only 'clean(ish)'?

Quote:
The places where nuke energy would benefit us the most, namely dense population centers, would be the worst place for a meltdown to occur.
Which makes it all the more remarkable that this 40 year old power plant, hit with an earthquake on such a scale didn't melt down, ehe? Newer power plants would have even less chance of a melt down (the pebble bed design basically CAN'T melt down at all, even if they lose all their coolant). Perhaps if the anti-nuclear neo-Luddite types would get the fuck out of the way and let us build new plants to replace the old ones we'd (and the Japanese), I don't know, be MORE secure for a disaster than relying on designs that are so old.

-XT
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:08 AM
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Still okay with nukes. To be honest, I'm more confident than I was before.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:14 AM
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I do not relish bringing this up for fear of 'giving people ideas', but, we have not experienced the nuclear industry equivalent of David Burke yet, and I am unsure of what a suitably motivated disgruntled employee could do.

This angle was not operative in the Chernobyl disaster, but to me, Chernobyl illustrates what one or a small number of individuals might do.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:15 AM
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{Oh, to clarify, David Burke was responsible for the crash of PSA 1771}
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:21 AM
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I think we have over 100 nuclear plants already and I think they are mostly centered in densely
populated areas.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:25 AM
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I do not relish bringing this up for fear of 'giving people ideas', but, we have not experienced the nuclear industry equivalent of David Burke yet, and I am unsure of what a suitably motivated disgruntled employee could do.

This angle was not operative in the Chernobyl disaster, but to me, Chernobyl illustrates what one or a small number of individuals might do.
As Der Trihs touched on, the Chernobyl design was massively, unforgiveably stupid, and only through combination with equally massive operational malfeasance was the scope and scale of that catastrophe possible.

The plant designs which we're advocating would really require a disgruntled employee to have accomplices and explosives and a lot of planning in order to accomplish something close to what we're seeing at Fukushima (very low releases of very short lived radioactive gases and a damaged but totally contained reactor core). A Chernobyl sized reactor accident would need much more than a disgruntled employee, and I'd venture that anyone who has the ability and equipment to cause such an event is dangerous enough not to need a nuclear power plant. We're talking James Bond supervillain.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:25 AM
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Absolutely. The reactors having trouble at Japan are of an outdated, 40 year old design, and were hit with conditions they were never designed for
On that note: Japan's coast is protected by seawalls, and the walls were not tall enough to block the tsunami.

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Peter Yanev, one of the worlds best-known consultants on designing nuclear plants to withstand earthquakes, said the seawalls at the Japanese plants probably could not handle tsunami waves of the height that struck them. And the diesel generators [which are supposed to power the cooling systems] at the Daiichi and Daini nuclear plants were situated in a low spot on the assumption that the walls were high enough to protect against any likely tsunami.

That turned out to be a fatal miscalculation. The tsunami walls either should have been built higher, or the generators should have been placed on higher ground to withstand potential flooding, he said. Increasing the height of tsunami walls, he said, is the obvious answer in the immediate term.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:30 AM
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Who was it that used to post the video of the jet plane hitting a mock up of a containment dome? IIRC, it was a doper whose dad had been in charge of the test, and was literally looking to see if a containment dome would withstand the strike. The plane simply crumbles into dust.

It would take a LOT to compromise the containment dome of a nuclear power plant, and, if I understand correctly, until that happens, any sabotage is going to be a huge, ugly, expensive mess, but not a danger to public safety.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:50 AM
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The Japanese are having some trouble keeping a few of theirs from failing catastrophically, which indicates we aren't able to build disaster-proof plants.
Well, let's see - the Fukashima complex was hit by one of the worst quakes on records anywhere, any time, the worst ever recorded in Japan, then had 30 feet of ocean dumped on top of it... you know the odds of THAT happening again any time in the near future is minuscule. On top of that, they survived the quake just fine even though it was greater than what the plants had been engineered to withstand. It was the ocean swamping the emergency cooling that caused the problem and that still took the better part of the day to start a meltdown, after which they dumped more ocean on top of it and completely killed the problem.

Meanwhile, refineries and petroleum storage areas are STILL burning out of control, pumping enormous quantities of smoke and toxic fumes into the air and probably setting other things on fire, to cause more toxic smoke. Smoke which can also make you sick, kill you, or cause cancer down the line.

You know, I actually feel better about nuclear power right now, and wonder why we don't build the coal and oil fired power plants that robustly.

No, we can't make anything truly "disaster-proof" because the universe can always just drop a giant rock from space on top of us, or blow the cork off Yellowstone or otherwise create problems which simply can't cope with, but we CAN engineer to withstand 9.0 quakes and design things so that if something does go wrong the damage will be less rather than more.

As has been pointed out, no one outside the plants themselves have been harmed. This is not a Chernobyl. Even if the cores had completely melted down (which they didn't) there's a containment vessel directly below that will catch the mess and keep it out of the environment. More recently built plants have even more safety devices, including ones that require no power whatsoever to operate.

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The issue isn't the odds. The odds are good. It's the stakes. What happens if everything goes wrong and a whole core is both exposed and spread out over a large area? Well, we've seen it in Chernobyl and it was bad. So we have to decide how good we need the odds to be before we risk that happening again.
The easiest way to prevent another Chernobyl is don't build that reactor design again. The PWR's and BWR's of the west just can't explode like Chernobyl did. Worst case is the core melts and falls into a pit designed to hold it. It won't blow up the core itself and scatter fuel around the local area.

Obviously, yes, you can get an explosion out of a PWR/BWR but it's just an ordinary chemical reaction and the threat is poses to the environment is minimal and goes away in days. Everybody will be able to move back to their homes and keep their stuff. This won't render vast swathes of real estate uninhabitable for decades.

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In addition, it's worth noting that the vast majority of the US is far, far less seismically active than Japan.
The rest of the US? Pretty much most of the rest of the world is less seismically active than Japan. And has fewer volcanoes. And fewer typhoons. And fewer tsunamis. In a sense, Japan is the worst place to build a nuclear power plant, yet despite TWO major the disasters within an hour half the 40 year old, obsolete plants at Fukushima are STILL working and STILL able to cool down, and the two that were most troublesome will be contained no matter what.

As I said - why don't we build all our power plants that robustly?
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:31 AM
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I do not relish bringing this up for fear of 'giving people ideas', but, we have not experienced the nuclear industry equivalent of David Burke yet, and I am unsure of what a suitably motivated disgruntled employee could do.

This angle was not operative in the Chernobyl disaster, but to me, Chernobyl illustrates what one or a small number of individuals might do.
There is no "melt the power plant" button in a reactor complex.

There are numerous safety systems and backups to those systems. There are all sorts of alarms to indicate if something is amiss.

I seriously doubt a single person could initiate a catastrophe at a power plant with no one else noticing and stopping it before it got anywhere near bad enough to be a danger.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:34 AM
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It's the big read 'so called' button called the 'atomic corrah' (or 'Atomic Core' if you read the actual button). If you push it then you best finish the epic final fight with the blade wielding bad guy on the roof in 5 minutes or it's curtains for you...

-XT
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:39 AM
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Absolutely. The reactors having trouble at Japan are of an outdated, 40 year old design, and were hit with conditions they were never designed for, yet still haven't killed or injured anyone who wasn't a worker at the plant site. More modern reactors elsewhere in Japan handled the quake much better. Meanwhile, I recall seeing footage of an oil refinery burning out of control just after the quake, yet nobody is saying we should shut down all oil refineries.
Last I heard the only person who died at the site was killed by a crane. I guess we should ban those, since the are obviously more dangerous than nuclear power plants.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:50 AM
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My opinion hinges on the design and building faults from the 1970s. I've posted before about the San Onofre plant in which a reactor was installed backwards, and the Marble Hill plant that was found to have cracked welds and inferior concrete.

As long as things like that don't happen, I'd be okay with nuclear power, although I'm still iffy on what to do with both the nuclear waste and the decommissioned reactors.

But if the Japanese plants can do as well as they have under an 8.9 earthquake, then I'd say that's pretty damned good.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:58 AM
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Meanwhile, how many people died mining coal this year?
48 in the United States in 2010. There are no good official figures from China in 2010 (not that too many people in the industry believe them anyhow) but expect upwards of 2,000.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:04 PM
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You know, I actually feel better about nuclear power right now, and wonder why we don't build the coal and oil fired power plants that robustly.
Why on Earth would we need to? Are you aware of coal power plants which have created this level of danger after being hit by an earthquake/tsunami/hurricane/?

And pretty much no one, anywhere, is building oil-fired power plants anyhow.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:07 PM
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Which only happened because of the incredibly stupid design, which you don't see elsewhere because it is, well, stupid. Chernobyl simply is a bad example to judge nuclear power on, since the same condition don't apply elsewhere.
I recommend you read Chernobyl Notebook, which you can now find translated from Russian and is often available for free online. My copy was a hardcopy given to me by an actual Engineer at Chernobyl, who had a lot of stories to tell. The design was flawed, badly, but the real situation which led to the disaster was a human one. One can argue that humans shouldn't be able to cause a disaster, but...well, I don't know how valid that would be. People break shit.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:11 PM
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This is the power generation discussion equivalent of the knucklehead who comes up after a major plane crash and says "So, you still going to fly to X on your vacation? No thanks, I think I'll drive. Huh huh." like somehow the very rare and spectacular occurrence of a plane crash somehow makes long distance driving safer than a plane crash.

Nuclear energy's safer than coal and fossil fuels, even if the accidents and loss of life are more spectacular, and it's still the best bet.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:12 PM
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I don't support nuke power plants. I am ambivalent about them, and will continue to be so as long as properly disposing of nuclear waste remains an issue.

But unless something serious happens in the coming days, I agree with those who say that the Japanese plants have dealt quite well with the problems that a major earthquake and it's aftereffects have caused.

And so while I wouldn't say I support nuke power plants, I am not more opposed to them now than I have been in the past.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:13 PM
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...and yes I support nuclear power, but goddamn it, people need to get serious about hardening backup power systems. Here in the US and from what I've seen at power plants in Europe, Asia, and South America, backup power is treated as almost as an afterthought, an annoying capital and O&M expense which doesn't return anything to the investing company (sort of like hardhats). I would assume the Japanese probably feel the same way. This must change.

I know the industry has black-start backup power systems which can run submerged, and they can also elevate them well above any conceivable storm surge or tsunami; I've seen them. If nothing else, moving forward there needs to be a serious improvement in backup power systems for a black or brown situation.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:18 PM
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The disaster is not over, and there is a tendency for the numbers to go up on disasters over time. So I am adopting a "wait and see" attitude. However, should Japan get out of this with nothing more than a release of (relatively) mildly radioactive steam (1000 times normal background levels according to the US Navy, which does not strike me as that freaking mild, but apparently it is) then I think this will be a HUGE win for the nuclear power industry. This is a worst-case scenario if ever there was one, and getting out of the worst-case scenario with no Chernobyl-like results would be a great demonstration that we know how to design safe nuke plants. But I would not say the nuclear industry is out of the woods yet.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:20 PM
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I'm still pro-nuke.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:34 PM
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Last I heard the only person who died at the site was killed by a crane. I guess we should ban those, since the are obviously more dangerous than nuclear power plants.
Good article today in Slate about this very issue.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:35 PM
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You can be sure the spokesmen for the Japanese plants are telling the truth about the problems they are facing. They would never lie to the people.
Of course sailors on the Reagan are getting exposed to the completely contained radiation.
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:48 PM
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I still support it. For many reasons.

Una, can you give an estimate on how much radioactive material is released by a coal fired plant on a yearly basis? How about during an accident like we are seeing with the burning refinery? I know that there is a lot of trace radioactivity that is released during these kind of events, and I would like to just compare the radiation release by the two different technologies.

I do agree that they need to make backup power a priority, and that we need to deal with the waste better, but nuclear seems like a better deal with risk, pollution, and sustainability than coal and natural gas.
  #40  
Old 03-14-2011, 12:56 PM
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People are being a bit too sanguine about what this says about nuclear power. Sure, this was a really bad and unlikely series of events, and it was also one of the worst and oldest plants in Japan. That doesn't change the fact that it's not in a good place right now, and viewing nuclear power most generally it's exactly the one you'd expect to be dangerous. If you threw in some human error, we'd be talking about a genuine catastrophe, one that could cost many lives.

That said, the discussion shouldn't be whether nuclear power has risks--it obviously does. But it should be about comparative risk. And we're not given a choice between nuclear power and magical fairy power; it's a choice between nuclear power and fossil fuels.

Something to consider: take all the emissions of radioactive isotopes we can expect this year from the generation of power, including those from this disaster. The vast majority of them still come from the burning of fossil fuels (all these are, of course, in relatively minute quantities and not really a significant threat to human health).

Toss in the fact that a hypothetical marginal thousand nuclear plants added today collectively have a very small chance of killing thousands (let's say 1%, which is probably generous to critics), and compare this to the fact that a comparable number of coal plants are almost certain to kill hundreds of thousands at the margin. When framed this way, the nuclear power question pretty much answers itself. Even Chernobyl, which was several orders of magnitude worse than the current situation and simply could not happen even in our worst nuclear plants, is estimated at having caused 4000 excess deaths by the UN and IAEA; this, though terrible and tragic, is dwarfed by the potential number of excess deaths that will come from use of fossil fuels in the next century.

So my takeaway from the disaster is that we should look into decommissioning or retrofitting older plants and work to build new ones of a safer, more modern design.
  #41  
Old 03-14-2011, 12:57 PM
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You can be sure the spokesmen for the Japanese plants are telling the truth about the problems they are facing. They would never lie to the people.
Of course sailors on the Reagan are getting exposed to the completely contained radiation.
gonzomax, you kept making the same sarcastic little "nothing to see here" comments in the Pit thread, and I didn't call you on them. I think, considering the venue of this thread, I'll push:

Where exactly do you think Tokyo Electric Power and/or the Japanese government are being dishonest or inaccurate in their statements? Could you provide actual quotations and cite actual evidence contradicting the pronouncements?

And what do you mean about the sailors being exposed to radiation, other than stating the obvious? Right now, you are being exposed to radiation as well. Do you think you've said anything meaningful or significant?
  #42  
Old 03-14-2011, 01:29 PM
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Best of a bad lot? Likely so. I've been trying to adjust to nuke power because, just as is said, it may very well be unavoidable. And I must take a moment to remind you guys, once again, that if you had listened to us crazy ass moonbats forty years ago, and started plowing some serious bucks into alternative energy resources, we might not be in this mess. We didn't, because there was no profit to be had. Oh, sure, some gestures were made, a bit of research here and there, looks good for the PR front.

And thereby hangs the tale.

We are a capitalist/consumerist nation, and that presents us with certain inherent weaknesses. Our science follows money. Just for instance, we know a whole lot about viruses that cause cancer, we are pretty thoroughly researched on that. Why? Because tobacco companies cheerfully funded such research, hoping to get out from under lung cancer. Turns out, viruses don't cause very much cancer, but we know lots and lots about it! Yay!

There's an inherent bias in our information. That is not the same as saying the books are cooked, or the science is faked, not at all. But if a scientists approaches these issues from a strictly non-biased viewpoint, he is a fool if he doesn't know that one set of results will be greeted with glad cries and hosannas, and another set of results might ensure that he never gets another research grant as long as he lives. TL:DR - we don't pay for non-biased research, we demand practical results. Results that cost us money and/or profitability are not welcome.

And how much are we willing to pay for safety? Sure, the engineers can cook up a plan with double, triple safeguards. What is the cost of implementing those safeguards, at what point will a bean-counter say "Well, really, this is going to cost us 10 percent of our profit margin, we probably don't need it, why, Ive got research right here from Unbiased University that says the odds are a million to one against! And we know the research is good because we paid for it!"

Unbiased decisions cannot meaningfully exist where profit is a motivator.

And then there's Catch 22, where "22" is an exponent: water. I am compelled in the direction of nuke plants largely from the threat of global warming. But nuke plants must have water. And brothers and sisters, pals and gals, the next big fight isn't going to be about oil. Its gonna be about water. If we're gonna build a buttload of nuke plants, well, where?

The middle of American used to be called the Great American Desert. (Take a moment to plug a history by Jonathon Raban, Badlands, helluva story, true story, grim story....) So there's plenty of places to put nuke plants where hardly anybody lives. But the reason nobody lives there is because there's no water. So we either build in highly populated areas, with another set of concerns, because that's where the water is, or we find water we there is none. Maybe we could build them all in Canada? Canada has lots of water, they won't mind. The love us to pieces up there, they'll be happy to take on our risk. Besides, give us any shit, we raise their rent.

The only answer is the Holy Grail of Cheap, Clean Energy. The Green Goblet. But nuke power isn't a cure, its a crutch. And sure as shit, if we get a bunch of nuke energy, we most likely will squander it just like we squandered all the others. Its what we do, we're consumers. We consume.

Anyway, I'm trying to adjust to what appears to be the Inevitable. I was heartened by the admirable safety record. I'd have to be, I've been beaten about the head and shoulders with that safety record for years. "Look at France! Look at Japan! Shuttup, you Luddite moonbat, and look at France and.....OK, look at France!"
  #43  
Old 03-14-2011, 01:41 PM
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Best of a bad lot? Likely so. I've been trying to adjust to nuke power because, just as is said, it may very well be unavoidable. And I must take a moment to remind you guys, once again, that if you had listened to us crazy ass moonbats forty years ago, and started plowing some serious bucks into alternative energy resources, we might not be in this mess. We didn't, because there was no profit to be had. Oh, sure, some gestures were made, a bit of research here and there, looks good for the PR front.
And if you moonbats hadn't gotten your panties in a twist over evil nuclear energy perhaps we wouldn't have 40 year old designs still in commission, and instead we'd have a lot more NEW designs in use that would be a hell of a lot safer. And perhaps we'd have fewer coal fired plants in production, ehe?

Quote:
Anyway, I'm trying to adjust to what appears to be the Inevitable. I was heartened by the admirable safety record. I'd have to be, I've been beaten about the head and shoulders with that safety record for years. "Look at France! Look at Japan! Shuttup, you Luddite moonbat, and look at France and.....OK, look at France!"
Yeah, 'cause if a nuclear power plant can't survive a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tidal wave intact without killing thousands of people then...oh, wait! They DID survive. Intact. Even though it was 40 years old, and not the safest design. And, oh yeah, did I mention that this was one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history? And that it was also hit by a tidal wave?

Quote:
The only answer is the Holy Grail of Cheap, Clean Energy. The Green Goblet. But nuke power isn't a cure, its a crutch. And sure as shit, if we get a bunch of nuke energy, we most likely will squander it just like we squandered all the others. Its what we do, we're consumers. We consume.
Yeah. Sadly, the ONLY Clean Energy that actually can be scaled up to meet our needs is...nuclear. Ironic, no?

ETA:

Quote:
And then there's Catch 22, where "22" is an exponent: water. I am compelled in the direction of nuke plants largely from the threat of global warming. But nuke plants must have water. And brothers and sisters, pals and gals, the next big fight isn't going to be about oil. Its gonna be about water. If we're gonna build a buttload of nuke plants, well, where?
I assume you mean 'drinking water', since water on a planet composed of 70% oceans isn't a major problem. Have you been following the big floods happening on the East Coast by chance?

(I do agree that water is going to be a big deal, especially in the desert regions...but I'm not particularly worried about building nuclear power plants next to water, especially if you moonbats ever get out of the way and allow newer designs to be built...some of which don't have near the same water requirements for cooling at least)

-XT

Last edited by XT; 03-14-2011 at 01:44 PM.
  #44  
Old 03-14-2011, 01:47 PM
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It did not survive. it will have to be shut down. It suffered a meltdown. That is bad. That is not a point for its safety.
It will take about 10 years to construct a new nuke plant with the normal huge cost over runs. Who knows what the next decade will bring in alternative energy improvements.
Nuclear is yesterdays answer. It is not the energy of the future.
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:49 PM
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.... ehe?....
You promised. Never again with that annoying affectation. Look, you need some sort of mild, hamless eccentricity to show how individual you are, wear a bow tie, ok?
  #46  
Old 03-14-2011, 01:52 PM
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Folks might want to Google "Thorium reactor" to see where we might head technology-wise.
  #47  
Old 03-14-2011, 01:53 PM
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It did not survive. it will have to be shut down. It suffered a meltdown. That is bad. That is not a point for its safety.
It survived INTACT gonzo. If it didn't, then it would be a huge radiating nuclear disaster. It is finished as a power plant most likely, but it did what it was built to do...contain the radiation in even such a disaster as a huge earthquake and tidal wave.

Quote:
It will take about 10 years to construct a new nuke plant with the normal huge cost over runs. Who knows what the next decade will bring in alternative energy improvements.
I can pretty confidently say that in 10 years alternative energy will still not make up a majority of any major nations energy mix. And in Japan they won't be able to build the same capacity alternative power plant using alternative energy means as a new nuclear plant....so the 'alternative' would be a large coal fired plant.

Quote:
Nuclear is yesterdays answer. It is not the energy of the future.
And yet technologies that scale up to the same level as coal today don't exist EXCEPT for nuclear. Maybe the other will in the 'future'....if we want to wait around another couple of decades or a century or so.

-XT
  #48  
Old 03-14-2011, 01:55 PM
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/0..._n_835279.html
Yep, XT this is a roaring success. The plant has blown the top off of 2 containment buildings. That is still intact only in your world.
  #49  
Old 03-14-2011, 01:56 PM
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You promised. Never again with that annoying affectation. Look, you need some sort of mild, hamless eccentricity to show how individual you are, wear a bow tie, ok?
I did promise that, but in my defense I only trot it out on special occasions these days...or when I'm feeling particularly mischievous or exasperated.

As for the bow tie...have you ever seen a fat, balding Hispanic male wearing a bow tie? Yikes!

-XT
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:59 PM
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Yep, XT this is a roaring success. The plant has blown the top off of 2 containment buildings. That is still intact only in your world.
From your own cite:

Quote:
SOMA, Japan -- The second hydrogen explosion in three days rocked a Japanese nuclear plant Monday, sending a massive cloud of smoke into the air and injuring 11 workers. The blast was felt 25 miles (40 kilometers) away, but the plant's operator said the radiation levels at the affected unit were still within legal limits.
So...it is intact. It did what it was designed to do which is to contain the radiation. What part of this are you NOT getting, gonzo?

Here, perhaps your own cite can explain it in terms you will be able to grasp:

Quote:
The inner containment shell surrounding the Unit 3 reactor was intact, Edano said, allaying some fears of the risk to the environment and public. But the outer building around the reactor appeared to have been devastated, with only a skeletal frame remaining.
I helpfully bolded and underlined the key phrase for you. Let me know if you are still having trouble grasping the point.

-XT
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