Nuclear energy

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Do you support the expanded use of nuclear fission energy?

Yes
380
79%
No
19
4%
Perhaps, it's complicated.
66
14%
Lutefisk.
14
3%
 
Total votes: 479

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby EMTP » Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:39 pm UTC

Granting that the cost of fossil fuel energy to human health and safety dwarfs that of nuclear accidents, I wonder if the Gordian knot of public fears could be cut be means of HVDC. Site a few large plants in remote areas, like Iceland, or the interior of Alaska. Then pipe the power via low-transmission-loss cables to high-demand areas.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby lutzj » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:38 pm UTC

EMTP wrote:Granting that the cost of fossil fuel energy to human health and safety dwarfs that of nuclear accidents, I wonder if the Gordian knot of public fears could be cut be means of HVDC. Site a few large plants in remote areas, like Iceland, or the interior of Alaska. Then pipe the power via low-transmission-loss cables to high-demand areas.


Suppose 90% of the United States is getting its power from nuclear plants in northern Alaska and Canada, transmitted south by several major HVDC arteries. You've now got tens of thousands of miles of lines that are either vulnerable to weather/bison/terrorists/poor maintenance or else protected at extreme cost. I'm not saying that transmitting power over long distances couldn't be done on a large scale, but we might start seeing major risks if the entire world starts moving a large portion of their power needs onto such an infrastructure.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:52 pm UTC

Nem wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:
Japan Times wrote:"If the current radiation dose estimates are correct, (cancer-related deaths) likely won't increase," said Michiaki Kai, professor of radiation protection at Oita University of Nursing and Health Sciences."If there is any health impact from radiation, it would be too small to detect, and in any case it would be masked by other, much larger factors, such as smoking and diet," Kai said.


Apart from the obvious inconvenience of evacuating the area then, it doesn't sound like they screwed up that bad. Unless it'd be cheaper than the clean up to do things differently, why bother?


That's kind of my point. When people see 'nuclear accident' they automatically assume 'Chernobyl', and not even the real Chernobyl, but a sort of meta-fictional Chernobyl promoted by media and anti-nuclear organizations where millions of people died and most of Ukraine was rendered uninhabitable for millennia.

Compared to that, the reality of any real nuclear accident seems not 'that bad'. Even though the truth may be that Fukushima is an unprecedented nuclear disaster.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby morriswalters » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:36 am UTC

I question that kind of thinking from an engineering standpoint. You effectively are excusing behavior that put a large number of people at risk and saying well, it turned out ok. Fuck that. Do it right. Existing designs work well, management of the plants may be another thing altogether. Every time some bean counter makes decisions on money in the operation of these plants putting profits over safety, then we are going to have problems. I trust the technology, I don't trust the management of the plants.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby zmic » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:53 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:Nuclear power is already marginally economic


Apparently the problem with Fukushima is not only the reactors, but also seven pools with 40 years worth of spent fuel rods. Apparently the world is littered with repositories like that. Who is going to clean that up? Nobody knows. How much is that going to cost? Nobody knows. The nuclear industry kindly leaves this problem for future generations.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby Patient131071 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:51 am UTC

And this is why the nuclear power industry needs to switch to using thorium reactors-the amount of radioactive waste produced is significantly less.
The other thing is, there would be fewer worries about nations such as North Korea and Iran covertly developing nuclear weapons under the guise of nuclear power schemes, as you can't use Thorium for nuclear weapons, as it won't chain-react like uranium or plutonium. The technology is available to quiet the public's fears about nuclear energy and start to ween the world off of its waning fossil fuel reserves, and start using the cleaner and more abundant thorium.
PS And, as a final bonus, we wouldn't even have to fuck around with unstable regiemes with dubious human right records, as the abundant reserves of thorium are in countries like Australia and Norway. Barring problems with this new technology, which there probably will be I admit, though hopefully not significant ones, this seems pretty much perfect for the needs of the modern world.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby zmic » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:16 pm UTC

all that good buzz around thorium reactors, are you sure it is not originating from parties who have an interest in selling thorium reactors?

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby Patient131071 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:09 pm UTC

Some of the sources I have looked at on the subject may indeed be biased, but if they are they're hiding any motivations pretty well. However, there are also reliable and impartial purely science/tech related publications such as Focus that have done pieces about it and its possible benifits, and I doubt they'd bullshit when it comes to facts.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby lutzj » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:10 pm UTC

zmic wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:Nuclear power is already marginally economic


Apparently the problem with Fukushima is not only the reactors, but also seven pools with 40 years worth of spent fuel rods. Apparently the world is littered with repositories like that. Who is going to clean that up? Nobody knows. How much is that going to cost? Nobody knows. The nuclear industry kindly leaves this problem for future generations.


The physical mass of nuclear waste is trivial compared to the waste produced by most other types of power generation. There is plenty of uninhabited space where nuclear waste can be stored for a few centuries while we develop means to safely and cheaply eject it into outer space.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby Copper Bezel » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:53 pm UTC

Or, frankly, use our replicators to turn it into consumer-safe gouda cheese, because either plan is ridiculous but nicely underscores the point of "effectively forever."
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby morriswalters » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:16 pm UTC

In the near term storage of nuclear material may be of marginal importance. If we can't come to grips with carbon emissions then it is conceivable that nuclear waste could be the least of our problems.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:55 am UTC

zmic wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:Nuclear power is already marginally economic


Apparently the problem with Fukushima is not only the reactors, but also seven pools with 40 years worth of spent fuel rods. Apparently the world is littered with repositories like that. Who is going to clean that up? Nobody knows. How much is that going to cost? Nobody knows. The nuclear industry kindly leaves this problem for future generations.


Nuclear waste is largely a political problem. As mentioned the actual amount of waste is trivial, and there are many safe options for storage. However, due to the political intractability of building a safe nuclear waste storage facility, the waste is largely left on plant grounds, sometimes in temporary storage pools built in anticipation of the availability of an offsite options such as the now-cancelled Yucca Mountain repository.

Another option for much of the waste is reprocessing or use as part of a fast breeder reactors fuel cycle. Once again though, politics and the nebulous 'threat' of proliferation prevent these options being explored.


morriswalters wrote:I question that kind of thinking from an engineering standpoint. You effectively are excusing behavior that put a large number of people at risk and saying well, it turned out ok.


It didn't turn out 'ok', it turned out about as worse as it possibly could have. That's the thing. Short of the reactor-core spontaneously achieving super-criticality (which is impossible), a LOCA and core meltdown with fires in the spent-fuel storage pools is pretty much the worst accident that could befall a western reactor with multi-layered containment. And when it did happen (which took a truly catastrophic natural disaster), it didn't actually kill anyone.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby Minerva » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:26 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:It didn't turn out 'ok', it turned out about as worse as it possibly could have. That's the thing. Short of the reactor-core spontaneously achieving super-criticality (which is impossible), a LOCA and core meltdown


It wasn't really a LOCA, was it? More like extended LOOP (loss of offsite power) and loss of diesel generators leading to extended station blackout, and ultimately the loss of LPCI by some combination of mechanisms.

EdgarJPublius wrote:fires in the spent-fuel storage pools


To the best of my knowledge that never actually happened.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby zmic » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:30 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
zmic wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:Nuclear power is already marginally economic


Apparently the problem with Fukushima is not only the reactors, but also seven pools with 40 years worth of spent fuel rods. Apparently the world is littered with repositories like that. Who is going to clean that up? Nobody knows. How much is that going to cost? Nobody knows. The nuclear industry kindly leaves this problem for future generations.


Nuclear waste is largely a political problem. As mentioned the actual amount of waste is trivial, and there are many safe options for storage. However, due to the political intractability of building a safe nuclear waste storage facility, the waste is largely left on plant grounds, sometimes in temporary storage pools built in anticipation of the availability of an offsite options such as the now-cancelled Yucca Mountain repository.


well yes, I suppose nuclear energy would be OK if we lived in a perfect world where people are perfectly rational and competent.

If you need to wish away certain aspects of reality in order to defend nuclear energy, count me not impressed.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby elasto » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:47 pm UTC

zmic wrote:well yes, I suppose nuclear energy would be OK if we lived in a perfect world where people are perfectly rational and competent.

If you need to wish away certain aspects of reality in order to defend nuclear energy, count me not impressed.
It doesn't need to be a perfect world with people perfectly rational and competent. It only needs one country (eg Australia) to decide to cash in by allocating a geologically inactive, unpopulated region to store the world's nuclear waste and it'll be sorted.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby starslayer » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:04 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:sometimes in temporary storage pools built in anticipation of the availability of an offsite options such as the now-cancelled Yucca Mountain repository.
The spent fuel must be kept in storage pools for several years after being removed from the reactor, anyway, since it's still very radioactive (mostly fission products and neutron activated isotopes). Radioactivity generates heat, and lots of it. If it isn't constantly cooled for a time after it's removed from the reactor, it will heat up and melt. After 2-3 years of sitting underwater, though, it isn't all that radioactive anymore and can be moved.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:22 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:It didn't turn out 'ok', it turned out about as worse as it possibly could have. That's the thing. Short of the reactor-core spontaneously achieving super-criticality (which is impossible), a LOCA and core meltdown


It wasn't really a LOCA, was it? More like extended LOOP (loss of offsite power) and loss of diesel generators leading to extended station blackout, and ultimately the loss of LPCI by some combination of mechanisms.

EdgarJPublius wrote:fires in the spent-fuel storage pools


To the best of my knowledge that never actually happened.


Unit's two and three are both suspected of containment damage. Unit three is especially suspicious, as contaminated water believed to be from the reactor was found accumulating outside the containment structure.

Additionally, smoke was seen to rise from Unit 3 at various times in the immediate aftermath, the source is unknown but the location and damage/debris observed in the spent fuel pools supports the likelihood of a fire or possible criticality in the spent fuel pool.

zmic wrote:\
well yes, I suppose nuclear energy would be OK if we lived in a perfect world where people are perfectly rational and competent.

If you need to wish away certain aspects of reality in order to defend nuclear energy, count me not impressed.


You don't need to magic away the predisposition of people to misjudge risks in order to educate a limited number of people about one particular risk.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:47 pm UTC

zmic wrote:Apparently the problem with Fukushima is not only the reactors, but also seven pools with 40 years worth of spent fuel rods. Apparently the world is littered with repositories like that. Who is going to clean that up? Nobody knows. How much is that going to cost? Nobody knows. The nuclear industry kindly leaves this problem for future generations.



Actually the cost has been studied in incredible depth, it's an eternal cry from certain groups "the nuclear industry has *no idea* how much it will cost to clean up a site!!!"

but the thing is that they started saying that one decades ago and kept saying it long after many nuclear sites had been decomissoned and cleaned up. when the cost was known. they still say it.

the problem of waste disposal has also been studied in incredible depth and costed many many different ways. In the US the companies have been paying the government a share of the price of every kilowatt hour for half a century to pay for the cost of disposing of and storing waste.

the engineers sat down and planned out many many pretty good options and planned out the costs decades ago. Now of course the politicians and greenpeace memebers, many of whom are too lazy to even read those analysis cry that nobody knows the cost, nobody has planned anything and do their damnedest to increase the costs and stonewall any projects to deal with the waste. They've done so so effectively that the companies who run the plants are justifiably suing the government for failing to provide the waste storage that the companies have been paying for for decades already.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby lutzj » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
zmic wrote:Apparently the problem with Fukushima is not only the reactors, but also seven pools with 40 years worth of spent fuel rods. Apparently the world is littered with repositories like that. Who is going to clean that up? Nobody knows. How much is that going to cost? Nobody knows. The nuclear industry kindly leaves this problem for future generations.



Actually the cost has been studied in incredible depth, it's an eternal cry from certain groups "the nuclear industry has *no idea* how much it will cost to clean up a site!!!"

but the thing is that they started saying that one decades ago and kept saying it long after many nuclear sites had been decomissoned and cleaned up. when the cost was known. they still say it.

the problem of waste disposal has also been studied in incredible depth and costed many many different ways. In the US the companies have been paying the government a share of the price of every kilowatt hour for half a century to pay for the cost of disposing of and storing waste.

the engineers sat down and planned out many many pretty good options and planned out the costs decades ago. Now of course the politicians and greenpeace memebers, many of whom are too lazy to even read those analysis cry that nobody knows the cost, nobody has planned anything and do their damnedest to increase the costs and stonewall any projects to deal with the waste. They've done so so effectively that the companies who run the plants are justifiably suing the government for failing to provide the waste storage that the companies have been paying for for decades already.


Pretty much. The same complaints of "waste that is going to be here FOREVER!" could be made about the heavy metals produced by CFLs or the batteries in hybrid cars.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby morriswalters » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:12 pm UTC

Perhaps you all would donate your property as a waste dump site. People are frightened of what they don't truly understand. What they do understand is that business is notoriously not good at this type of thing and the government is too subject to the whim of whoever is currently in power.

Most people don't understand radiation. They don't have the background or the time to acquire the knowledge. They certainly don't have the equipment to monitor it. FUD sets in and then things stall. This is a long term problem that business and government need to address. Every time there is an accident it serves to reinforce the idea that we can't do this right. The perception, unfair or otherwise is that it is dangerous, and it is dangerous if it is not handled properly. The government itself has a couple of Super fund sites that are heavily contaminated. Hanford comes to mind. Here safety took a back seat to National Security. And all this has bred mistrust.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby zmic » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:32 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
zmic wrote:Apparently the problem with Fukushima is not only the reactors, but also seven pools with 40 years worth of spent fuel rods. Apparently the world is littered with repositories like that. Who is going to clean that up? Nobody knows. How much is that going to cost? Nobody knows. The nuclear industry kindly leaves this problem for future generations.



Actually the cost has been studied in incredible depth, it's an eternal cry from certain groups "the nuclear industry has *no idea* how much it will cost to clean up a site!!!"

but the thing is that they started saying that one decades ago and kept saying it long after many nuclear sites had been decomissoned and cleaned up. when the cost was known. they still say it.

the problem of waste disposal has also been studied in incredible depth and costed many many different ways. In the US the companies have been paying the government a share of the price of every kilowatt hour for half a century to pay for the cost of disposing of and storing waste.

the engineers sat down and planned out many many pretty good options and planned out the costs decades ago. Now of course the politicians and greenpeace memebers, many of whom are too lazy to even read those analysis cry that nobody knows the cost, nobody has planned anything and do their damnedest to increase the costs and stonewall any projects to deal with the waste. They've done so so effectively that the companies who run the plants are justifiably suing the government for failing to provide the waste storage that the companies have been paying for for decades already.


When I read the wikipedia article on nuclear decommissioning, I can't say that I'm very impressed. Notice a fair amount of question marks and "postponed".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_decommissioning

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby zmic » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:38 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
zmic wrote:well yes, I suppose nuclear energy would be OK if we lived in a perfect world where people are perfectly rational and competent.

If you need to wish away certain aspects of reality in order to defend nuclear energy, count me not impressed.
It doesn't need to be a perfect world with people perfectly rational and competent. It only needs one country (eg Australia) to decide to cash in by allocating a geologically inactive, unpopulated region to store the world's nuclear waste and it'll be sorted.


Haha yes I would love to see the first politician who proposes to turn his country into the world's nuclear waste dump. It ain't going to happen in a democracy, that's for sure. Maybe some corrupt dictator can pull it off, who knows. Apparently a lot of toxic thrash is already being exported to Africa.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:04 pm UTC

It's the same situation as the carbon tax, isn't it? You need appropriate incentives and disincentives for the behavior you're trying to bring about. And sure, you need to educate the voters and policy-makers, too, and that's a struggle.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:33 am UTC

I think a large part of the problem is that the knowledge of how nuclear physics and nuclear reactors work, are almost exclusively within the domain of the nuclear industry. (Although anyone with a science degree should be comfortable with the fundamentals of radiation) The experts in the field are a part of the industry. Personally I don't have much of an issue with this at all, recognizing that there might be a slight bias.

But it seems that the public largely rejects communication form the industry on the grounds that they are a part of the industry and are obviously going to be pro-nuclear, preferring to accept communication from groups which are essentially not part of the industry, such as Green Peace. Tragically without recognizing that actual knowledge belongs firmly in the former and almost non-existent in the latter and consequently allocating almost equal weight (in truth much more weight to opposition groups) to both groups.

It would be really nice if spreading misinformation through the media, of any form, would be a civil offense. It might help cut down on a lot of issues.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby HungryHobo » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:38 am UTC

Unfortunatly that would probably create many many more issues.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby zmic » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:26 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I think a large part of the problem is that the knowledge of how nuclear physics and nuclear reactors work, are almost exclusively within the domain of the nuclear industry. (Although anyone with a science degree should be comfortable with the fundamentals of radiation) The experts in the field are a part of the industry. Personally I don't have much of an issue with this at all, recognizing that there might be a slight bias.

But it seems that the public largely rejects communication form the industry on the grounds that they are a part of the industry and are obviously going to be pro-nuclear, preferring to accept communication from groups which are essentially not part of the industry, such as Green Peace. Tragically without recognizing that actual knowledge belongs firmly in the former and almost non-existent in the latter and consequently allocating almost equal weight (in truth much more weight to opposition groups) to both groups.

It would be really nice if spreading misinformation through the media, of any form, would be a civil offense. It might help cut down on a lot of issues.


yes by all means, let's introduce censorship so that people don't question nuclear energy

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby HungryHobo » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:00 am UTC

I think the point is that spreadding misinformation litterally kills people akin to shouting fire in a crowded cinema.

directly when it's things like homeopaths and faith healers telling people that they should go off their meds and switch to water or some magical miracle cure or indirectly when it causes the public to be poorly informed on a subject and eventually leads to public policy reflecting that such that people choose methods of power generation which cost more lives than alternatives.

As I said, I don't support his position because it causes far more problems in other areas and the impossition of censorship has a very large and real cost of it's own.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby morriswalters » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:55 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I think a large part of the problem is that the knowledge of how nuclear physics and nuclear reactors work, are almost exclusively within the domain of the nuclear industry. (Although anyone with a science degree should be comfortable with the fundamentals of radiation) The experts in the field are a part of the industry. Personally I don't have much of an issue with this at all, recognizing that there might be a slight bias.

But it seems that the public largely rejects communication form the industry on the grounds that they are a part of the industry and are obviously going to be pro-nuclear, preferring to accept communication from groups which are essentially not part of the industry, such as Green Peace. Tragically without recognizing that actual knowledge belongs firmly in the former and almost non-existent in the latter and consequently allocating almost equal weight (in truth much more weight to opposition groups) to both groups.

It would be really nice if spreading misinformation through the media, of any form, would be a civil offense. It might help cut down on a lot of issues.


This is bogus. It plays to the position that the opposition is completely uninformed. They are not, they just disagree. The industry is it's own worse enemy. The economics force bad decision making. Bad choices lead to bad consequences. In my opinion this is not a technical issue, it is a management issue and an oversight issue. Perhaps the Government should buy the Reactors and someone should be paid to operate them who is paid based on their safety record rather than from the profits of making power. Remove the perverse incentive to cut costs in a way the reduces safety.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby Zamfir » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:33 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:It would be really nice if spreading misinformation through the media, of any form, would be a civil offense. It might help cut down on a lot of issues.

Here's good example how the public could have panicked through misunderstandings, but luckily the experts managed to prevent the spread of it.

Since the early 1990s, it was known that the Fukushima region was hit by a large tsunami once about every 1000 years. Now, people in Japan had this weird idea that tunamis are big and destructive. It's caused by al kinds of overblown historic stories about building-high waves, and by academic geologists who like to prop up the importance of their field. The tsunami fear was further encouraged by all the media attention for the 2004 tsunami, even though it happened in a completely different part of the world.

So when the historic record suggests that a spot gets regularly hit by massive tsunamis, the public might easily start to demand all kinds of expensive countermeasures, or even the closing of plants.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120227a2.html wrote:According to interviews and documents made available Saturday, staff from Tokyo Electric Power Co., Tohoku Electric Power Co. and Japan Atomic Power Co. asked the secretariat of the Earthquake Research Committee to alter the draft of the report at a meeting on March 3, 2011.

The report suggested a massive tsunami similar to the one triggered by the Jogan Earthquake in 869 could be spawned off Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, they said. The Jogan quake had an estimated magnitude of 8.3 and killed about 1,000 people.

A final version of the report has yet to be released in light of the earthquake and tsunami that actually hit the region eight days later, but some members of the committee called the revelation "unbelievable."

The three utilities asked the secretariat in the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry to change the wording to avoid giving people the "misunderstanding" that massive quakes similar to the Jogan quake actually occurred in the past.

In reply, the secretariat told the three utilities, "We're not changing the context but we're going to do something so it may not induce such misunderstanding."

A few days later the ministry revised the draft. The reworded version said "further study" is required to decide if massive quakes similar to the Jogan quake took place because "appropriate data are insufficient."

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby HungryHobo » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:54 pm UTC

Personally I was thinking more of this kind of crap:

http://www.cieaura.com/emf.html#tab2

People who intentionally actively make the public less knowledgeable about radiation for their own financial gain.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby morriswalters » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:02 pm UTC

Some relevant data.

From Wikipedia

The earthquake was followed by a 13–15 m (43–49 ft) maximum height tsunami arriving approximately 50 minutes later which topped the plant's 5.7 m (19 ft) seawall, flooding the basement of the Turbine Buildings and disabling the emergency diesel generators[74][75] located there[70] at approximately 15:41. At this point, TEPCO notified authorities, as required by law, of a "First level emergency". The Fukushima II plant, which was also struck by the tsunami, incorporated design changes which improved its resistance to flooding and it sustained less damage. Generators and related electrical distribution equipment were located in the watertight reactor building, so that power from the grid was being used by midnight. Seawater pumps for cooling were given protection from flooding, and although 3 of 4 failed in the tsunami, they were able to be restored to operation.

In the late 1990's, three additional backup generators for reactors Nos. 2 and 4 were placed in new buildings located higher on the hillside, in order to comply with new regulatory requirements. All six reactors were given access to these generators; however, the switching stations that sent power from these backup generators to the reactors' cooling systems for Units 1 through 5 were still in the poorly protected turbine buildings. All three of the generators added in the late 1990's were operational after the tsunami. If the switching stations had been moved to inside the reactor buildings or to other flood-proof locations, power would have been provided by these generators to the reactors' cooling systems.


Here is the difference between failure and success. In particular note the second paragraph. This isn't misinformation or misrepresentation. This is piss poor planning. Evidently feeling the wall would protect them they didn't make the choice to do the most important thing possible, make sure your backups survived as long as the plant did. Irrespective of anything else having the generators fail while the plant survived was stupid. This is not building the plant to survive any possible event, this is about recognizing that if the reactors survive then the systems to safe them must survive. Just as a side issue a 49 foot flood is pretty devastating even if it isn't a wave.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby HungryHobo » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:19 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Here's good example how the public could have panicked through misunderstandings, but luckily the experts managed to prevent the spread of it.

Since the early 1990s, it was known that the Fukushima region was hit by a large tsunami once about every 1000 years. Now, people in Japan had this weird idea that tunamis are big and destructive. It's caused by al kinds of overblown historic stories about building-high waves, and by academic geologists who like to prop up the importance of their field. The tsunami fear was further encouraged by all the media attention for the 2004 tsunami, even though it happened in a completely different part of the world.

So when the historic record suggests that a spot gets regularly hit by massive tsunamis, the public might easily start to demand all kinds of expensive countermeasures, or even the closing of plants.



No need to be snarky. Misinformation is misinformation. Again stating my opposition to such censorship any such law would still cover both covering up and exagerating risks from such things. Spread misinformation to cover up risks of a landslide if you build your amusement park? jail. Spread misinformation to exagerate risks of a landslide if a competitor is allowed to build one? jail.

the horrible problems this would of course lead to even more problems so it's just one reason I'd oppose such a law but don't asume that it can only go one way.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby hawkinsssable » Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:37 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I think a large part of the problem is that the knowledge of how nuclear physics and nuclear reactors work, are almost exclusively within the domain of the nuclear industry... The experts in the field are a part of the industry.

But it seems that the public largely rejects communication form the industry on the grounds that they are a part of the industry and are obviously going to be pro-nuclear, preferring to accept communication from groups which are essentially not part of the industry, such as Green Peace. Tragically without recognizing that actual knowledge belongs firmly in the former and almost non-existent in the latter and consequently allocating almost equal weight (in truth much more weight to opposition groups) to both groups.


Hungry Hobo wrote:Personally I was thinking more of this kind of crap:

http://www.cieaura.com/emf.html#tab2

People who intentionally actively make the public less knowledgeable about radiation for their own financial gain.


The analogy breaks down in the case of nuclear energy because most of the organisations and people opposing it aren't doing so for financial gain. Greenpeace, for example, doesn't like nuclear energy because they see it as a "dangerous and expensive distraction from real solutions to climate change" - it's (according to Greenpace) a solution that's more expensive and would take longer to institute than renewable energy. They also point out that nuclear energy has a surprisingly large nuclear footprint. There are also plenty of other sources with a much more right-wing ideology, like the Rocky Mountain Institute, that argue nuclear power is much more expensive than modes of carbon-free energy production. This seems plausible to me - Massive amounts of money are already funnelled into nuclear energy. Unlike the cell phone rubbish, this is all decently researched and backed up. Of course these questions are still contentious and Greenpeace isn't necessarily (or obviously) right, but it would be dangerous and IMO idiotic to defer to the nuclear industry on these questions.

I also don't see how knowledge of nuclear physics qualifies you as an expert on epidemiology and the health effects of radiation. There's plenty of evidence in peer-reviewed literature that these effects are many, varied, and will continue to affect huge numbers of people. Of course, the exact extent of the damage is contested - but it's much, much more than the "death toll of 43" pro-nuclear environmentalists like George Monbiot like to throw around.

Anyway. I don't know where I stand on nuclear power, and I definitely don't feel like I know which side of any debate surrounding nuclear energy is right. I do believe that even if you ignore the very real incentives to promote nuclear energy in the best possible light (and I doubt you can), nuclear physicists, industry spokespeople, or industry-funded spokespeople aren't necessarily the best equipped people to voice definitive truths on the expense or dangers of nuclear energy.

No need to be snarky. Misinformation is misinformation. Again stating my opposition to such censorship any such law would still cover both covering up and exagerating risks from such things. Spread misinformation to cover up risks of a landslide if you build your amusement park? jail. Spread misinformation to exagerate risks of a landslide if a competitor is allowed to build one? jail.


And how, exactly, do you determine the ACTUAL risk of a landslide? Or, more relevantly, how do you determine truths in environmental debates? The "truth" would rely on "trust" (which experts? which studies? which tests?), which is bound up in social relations. This is very, very dangerous and (in most cases) very far from "objective." (Here's a reference that's barely relevant but I really like)
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby HungryHobo » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:05 pm UTC

exactly. that's the kind of problem I was talking about and why I wouldn't actually support such a law.

Sometimes though there's blatant, clear, straightforward, factual statements which are untrue, made to mislead people but many fall into the above.

Greenpeace aren't doing it for financial gain, it's all idological, they're simply anti-human and would oppose nuclear even if there was no waste or risks of accident because they oppose anything which might facilitate economic growth or expansion of human civilization.

but greenpeace are unusual as far as eco groups go, they're one of the rare ones who have crossed the line into genuine crazy/evil.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby hawkinsssable » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:32 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:Greenpeace aren't doing it for financial gain, it's all idological, they're simply anti-human and would oppose nuclear even if there was no waste or risks of accident because they oppose anything which might facilitate economic growth or expansion of human civilization.

but greenpeace are unusual as far as eco groups go, they're one of the rare ones who have crossed the line into genuine crazy/evil.


Sure - Greenpeace's direct actions are, from time to time, pretty crazy. And they've screwed up in a huge way a few times (Brent Spar, anyone?) But dismissing an entire organisation that does quite a bit of decent research from time to time because they're "ideological" seems silly. Ideology is incredibly pervasive. A lot of things that seem natural and neutral to us are just a dominant ideology / discourse / way of seeing the world. So sure. Greenpeace is ideological. So is the nuclear industry. So are economic perspectives that prioritise economic development over all else. (I'm saying ideology, but I might mean the third definition of Discourse listed here? I'm not sure.)

I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to get at. Is it that Greenpeace is spreading misinformation, or that we should ignore anything they have to contribute to the debate because of its ideology? That seems kinda dangerous to me.

In any case, I think this is off topic because as far as I know Greenpeace grounds its criticisms of nuclear energy in terms of its health risks for PEOPLE, its expense (a very human problem), and its ineffectiveness against global warming (something a whole lot of people are keen to avoid.)
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby zmic » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:52 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:exactly. that's the kind of problem I was talking about and why I wouldn't actually support such a law.

Sometimes though there's blatant, clear, straightforward, factual statements which are untrue, made to mislead people but many fall into the above.

Greenpeace aren't doing it for financial gain, it's all idological, they're simply anti-human and would oppose nuclear even if there was no waste or risks of accident because they oppose anything which might facilitate economic growth or expansion of human civilization.

but greenpeace are unusual as far as eco groups go, they're one of the rare ones who have crossed the line into genuine crazy/evil.


Is a rant against Greenpeace supposed to be an argument pro nuclear energy?

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby morriswalters » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:23 pm UTC

There doesn't really need to be an argument for the expansion of Nuclear energy. I can't think of anything to replace it. At the rate of expansion of China and India, it won't be a matter of coal or alternative or Nuclear. More than likely it will be all three at the same time to keep up with the demand. Imagine China and India consuming the way the US does.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby zmic » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:55 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:There doesn't really need to be an argument for the expansion of Nuclear energy. I can't think of anything to replace it. At the rate of expansion of China and India, it won't be a matter of coal or alternative or Nuclear. More than likely it will be all three at the same time to keep up with the demand. Imagine China and India consuming the way the US does.


apparently China is commissioning 11 new plants in the next 3 years and that is kind of worrying, given their track record on environmentalism and their tendency to do things fast and sloppy.

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby Yakk » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:17 pm UTC

See, I like belonging to a (relatively) high-energy society. While my nation is a net exporter of energy sources (electricity, petrochemicals and uranium), with the rising costs of energy globally I wouldn't mind investing in some difficult-to-move energy production facilities with low fuel costs.

Then I, and my children, will be isolated against energy price inflation as more and more of the world wants to move to a high-energy society. Plus, a huge chunk of the costs of building an energy factory are energy costs -- by investing while energy is relatively cheap now, I hope that we can pull off a recursive advantage with new energy plants built that use the cheap local energy.

Of course, the problem is that the other goods that such an action would take might be better spent in high-energy cost areas. Which would be sad. But even so, it would insulate the local area from energy cost increases for 20-50 years easily.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:30 am UTC

Greenpeace is trying to ban chlorine, even in drinking water, they have been trying to do so for a long time. To be fair they do recommend other methods of water treatment, not sure how practical they are, or expensive. It just demonstrates how disconnected they are with reality to actually adopt such a position. Further, in just about every argument they make against nuclear power, they do so while comparing it to renewable energy sources, ignoring many realities and difficulties associated with renewable power. On a very idealistic level, I am sure all of us here would prefer renewable energy sources over nuclear power, assuming cost wasn't an issue.

I just cannot take them seriously as an organization. They don't have a vision for how things can or should be, they don't present a working model for anything that can work within the realms of reality. They are a protest organization, borne out of protest and blossomed when there was a need for it, but protesting is not enough, we need working solutions. Unfortunately, there have always been and still are many people in this world who just want to protest. And its easy to start a protest about anything, one science school project gone very wrong (or very successful) in attempting to ban hydrogen monoxide, notably causing.


In 2001 a staffer in New Zealand Green Party MP Sue Kedgley's office responded to a request for support for a campaign to ban dihydrogen monoxide by saying she was "absolutely supportive of the campaign to ban this toxic substance". This was criticised in press releases by the National Party[citation needed], one of whose MPs fell for the very same hoax six years later.

In March 2004, Aliso Viejo, California almost considered banning the use of foam containers at city-sponsored events because dihydrogen monoxide is part of their production. A paralegal had asked the city council to put it on the agenda; he later attributed it to poor research.[17] The law was pulled from the agenda before it could come to a vote, but not before the city received a raft of bad publicity.

In 2006, in Louisville, Kentucky, David Karem, executive director of the Waterfront Development Corporation, a public body that operates Waterfront Park, wished to deter bathers from using a large public fountain. "Counting on a lack of understanding about water's chemical makeup," he arranged for signs reading: "DANGER! – WATER CONTAINS HIGH LEVELS OF HYDROGEN – KEEP OUT" to be posted on the fountain at public expense.

In 2007 Jacqui Dean, New Zealand National Party MP, fell for the hoax, writing a letter to Associate Minister of Health Jim Anderton asking "Does the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs have a view on the banning of this drug?"
[/i]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dihydrogen_monoxide_hoax And to be fair it doesn't seem to have been a completely original idea to Nathan Zohner.

Basically, if an organization is protesting anything, it has to offer up a better way of doing things, and well Greenpeace does do this,but its solutions are so detached from reality that it mightn't have bothered. For me Greenpeace is an entirely discredited organization.

I offer up instead another environmental group, GreenSpirit, which incidentally was founded by one of the founding members of Greanpeace, who became disillusioned with the organization. http://www.greenspirit.com/home.cfm

/end Greenpeace Rant

I still do like the idea of spreading misinformation being a prosecutable offense. In my view it would be somewhat like jaywalking, in the sense that people do it all the time and it only ever gets prosecuted in the most egregious offences.


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