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

Postby Thematic-Device » Thu Aug 09, 2007 10:17 pm UTC

zenten wrote:Wouldn't just stopping subsidizing coal (and other bad systems) fix the problem?


Coal is hardly subsidized in relative to the rest of them. Hydro is probably the least subsidized.

E.g. energy companies giving people a credit for "producing" electricity, is just a subsidy, unless you are producing significant and reliable amounts of energy they aren't going to invest in the infrastructure to hook you up to the grid going the other way.

Nuclear has recently received unlimited loan guarantees in addition to subsidizing the mining of the fuel and its disposal (e.g. 60 billion dollar Yucca Mountain), ethanol only exists because of the massive amounts of subsidies, oil companies just get handouts near constantly, the coal companies have been getting their share at least in part with the republicans removing the restrictions on them.
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Postby Yakk » Thu Aug 09, 2007 10:31 pm UTC

EPA's Proposed Revised Rule

EPA proposed a revised rule [14] in August 2005 to address the issues raised by the appeals court. The new proposed rule limits radiation doses from Yucca Mountain for up to one million years after it closes. No other rules in the U.S. for any risks have ever attempted to regulate for such a long period of time. Within that regulatory timeframe, EPA has proposed two dose standards that would apply based on the number of years from the time the facility is closed. For the first 10,000 years, we would retain the 2001 final rule’s dose limit of 15 millirem per year. This is protection at the level of the most stringent radiation regulations in the U.S. today. From 10,000 to one million years, EPA proposes a dose limit of 350 millirem per year. This represents a total radiation exposure for people near Yucca Mountain that is no higher than natural levels people live with routinely in other parts of the country. One million years, which represents 25,000 generations, includes the time at which the highest doses of radiation from the facility are expected to occur. EPA's proposal requires the Department of Energy to show that Yucca Mountain can safely contain wastes, even considering the effects of earthquakes, volcanic activity, climate change, and container corrosion over one million years.


1 million year safety standards.

In case you want to do the math, on the order of 1 million years, we should expect how many dinosaur extinction level impacts?

Second, note that the nuclear industry pays into a fund to pay for waste disposal.
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Postby Thematic-Device » Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:14 am UTC

Yakk wrote:1 million year safety standards.


While they can anyone who talks about suspect water movement.

1 million years is outrageous so long as we can and intend to remove it in 100 yrs.

But then again, the predictions for what will last and will not last haven't been particularly accurate. I suspect the average times of 1 million years are the result of an absolutely massive bounding due to uncertainty.

Second, note that the nuclear industry pays into a fund to pay for waste disposal.


Then why are taxpayers footing the bill for Yucca Mountain?

Oh right, their money goes to transporting the fuel to Yucca Mountain, not the actual storage, years of geological research, or the bill if Harry Reid decides that its not going to be in his state. Or the bill for finding a new site which doesn't have a majority leader as a senator.
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Postby Yakk » Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:32 am UTC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain#Controversy

about half the waste will be from America's manufacture of nuclear weapons


The cost of the facility is being paid for by the public using nuclear generated electricity and the federal government for disposal of defense nuclear waste.


? Are those statements inaccurate?
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Postby Thematic-Device » Fri Aug 10, 2007 12:42 am UTC

Yakk wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain#Controversy

about half the waste will be from America's manufacture of nuclear weapons


The cost of the facility is being paid for by the public using nuclear generated electricity and the federal government for disposal of defense nuclear waste.


? Are those statements inaccurate?


The public using nuclear generated electricity and the federal government all comes from a single source, the American people, all of which is still not counted in the slush fund you refer to, because by disposal they refer to the shipping of the waste to sites like Yucca mountain, not the construction and maintenance of those sites.
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Postby Minerva » Fri Aug 10, 2007 6:19 am UTC

A fair portion of the cost of Yucca Mountain is paid for by the energy companies, and by extension by the consumers of the nuclear-generated electricity. The costs of such a waste facility make up a tiny portion of the overall cost to the consumer of nuclear-generated electricity.

A fair portion of the cost of Yucca Mountain is also footed by the government, as it will also be used for the radioactive waste that is not created by nuclear energy, but is the legacy of the nuclear weapons arms race over the last 50 years.
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Postby Thematic-Device » Fri Aug 10, 2007 4:46 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:A fair portion of the cost of Yucca Mountain is paid for by the energy companies, and by extension by the consumers of the nuclear-generated electricity. The costs of such a waste facility make up a tiny portion of the overall cost to the consumer of nuclear-generated electricity.

A fair portion of the cost of Yucca Mountain is also footed by the government, as it will also be used for the radioactive waste that is not created by nuclear energy, but is the legacy of the nuclear weapons arms race over the last 50 years.


So they were the ones footing the bill for all the geologists who studied Yucca Mountain out of national labs? They'll be the ones footing the bill when Yucca Mountain is abandoned for some other site?

I don't think you really understand how the energy industry works, they'll pick up the phone, call their lobbyists, and not pay for a dime.
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Postby mosc » Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:41 pm UTC

the power business is a regulated industry my friend. There is money to be made but profit margins are not sky high. Essentially, you can pay for it in taxes or you can pay for it in your power bill. If you pay for it in taxes, there will be government waste. If you pay for it in your power bill, there will be profit taken out. I can't imagine them being grossly different.

Also, taxes tend to be more graduated than power consumption.
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Postby Thematic-Device » Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:07 pm UTC

mosc wrote:the power business is a regulated industry my friend. There is money to be made but profit margins are not sky high. Essentially, you can pay for it in taxes or you can pay for it in your power bill. If you pay for it in taxes, there will be government waste. If you pay for it in your power bill, there will be profit taken out. I can't imagine them being grossly different.

Also, taxes tend to be more graduated than power consumption.


Coal techniques which have largely been developed and funded privately, cannot be compared to heavily and extensively subsidized nuclear energy and then to be claimed to be vastly cheaper, when you exclude all the subsidies at varying levels of the process.

If you're paying for it in taxes, it should still be included in the Kwh price. But its not. Remove all the subsidies, IGCC coal comes out ahead, far ahead.
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Postby zenten » Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:22 pm UTC

Thematic-Device wrote:
mosc wrote:the power business is a regulated industry my friend. There is money to be made but profit margins are not sky high. Essentially, you can pay for it in taxes or you can pay for it in your power bill. If you pay for it in taxes, there will be government waste. If you pay for it in your power bill, there will be profit taken out. I can't imagine them being grossly different.

Also, taxes tend to be more graduated than power consumption.


Coal techniques which have largely been developed and funded privately, cannot be compared to heavily and extensively subsidized nuclear energy and then to be claimed to be vastly cheaper, when you exclude all the subsidies at varying levels of the process.

If you're paying for it in taxes, it should still be included in the Kwh price. But its not. Remove all the subsidies, IGCC coal comes out ahead, far ahead.


I don't believe you.

I'll buy that maybe nuclear power in the united states is more expensive, but you guys have been grossly mishandling the whole thing for a long time.
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Postby Minerva » Sun Aug 12, 2007 1:47 pm UTC

Renewable energy systems get plenty of subsidies and money in the US, and I think fossils do too. It's not just something exceptional that nuclear gets.
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Postby e946 » Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:04 pm UTC

The fact that this gas coal thing is so awesome yet is not prominent whatsoever (There's no mention of it on the "future energy development" wiki article, for example, and I've never, ever seen a technlology article that mentions it) makes me think it's not as great as you're saying it is. What are the disadvantages?
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Postby Hawknc » Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:17 pm UTC

It's expensive, and it still uses coal, and thus still emits CO2 (albeit without a fair bit of the other more immediately harmful rubbish). IGCC's on the map in Australia to appease a very powerful, very wealthy mining industry. It's also not exactly high tech nor a "future energy development", it's just one of those things that people are looking at more because the emissions are reduced compared to traditional thermal power plants. Projects like BP's hydrogen coal project at Kwinana interest me more, to be honest. If nuclear power isn't viable, I'd like to see carbon sequestration go full steam ahead.
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Postby Minerva » Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:51 am UTC

If nuclear power isn't viable?

Of course it's viable. It's been proven viable across the world for decades.
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Postby Hawknc » Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:04 pm UTC

It's a social issue more than anything else. Nuclear power in Australia is entirely dependent on who wins the next election - it's unfortunate that the two parties I am considering voting for don't support it, because on most other fronts their environmental credentials are reasonably sound. Currently only the incumbent conservative party has made clear signals that they want to see nuclear power soon in Australia.

Edit: I see you're from here as well. :P I just wish the ALP would take a stand one way or the other on the issue.
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Postby Gelsamel » Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:11 pm UTC

I don't care who wins as long as they utilize Australia's massive Uranium supplies in the form of Nuclear Power Plants.
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Postby Minerva » Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:26 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:It's a social issue more than anything else. Nuclear power in Australia is entirely dependent on who wins the next election - it's unfortunate that the two parties I am considering voting for don't support it, because on most other fronts their environmental credentials are reasonably sound. Currently only the incumbent conservative party has made clear signals that they want to see nuclear power soon in Australia.

Edit: I see you're from here as well. :P I just wish the ALP would take a stand one way or the other on the issue.


Nuclear power in Australia is not entirely dependent on who wins the next election. Nuclear power in Australia in the near future probably is.
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Postby Yakk » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:18 am UTC

Thematic-Device wrote:
Yakk wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca_Mountain#Controversy

about half the waste will be from America's manufacture of nuclear weapons


The cost of the facility is being paid for by the public using nuclear generated electricity and the federal government for disposal of defense nuclear waste.


? Are those statements inaccurate?


The public using nuclear generated electricity and the federal government all comes from a single source, the American people,


... and the electricity costs are factored into the price of nuclear energy. Yes, it costs money to dispose of the waste -- but it is a small fraction of the price of the energy. The best estimates I have found seem to indicate that it is a fraction of even the price of buying the fuel ore, which for nuclear is the smallest fraction of the cost of making the power...

all of which is still not counted in the slush fund you refer to, because by disposal they refer to the shipping of the waste to sites like Yucca mountain, not the construction and maintenance of those sites.


Those quotes I found disagree with you. So currently I have a minor citation backing the position -- namely Wikipedia -- and currently you have nothing backing your claim that Wikipedia is wrong. Could you please provide me with any source that claims that the money being put aside for waste management isn't to be used to build or maintain the site?
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Postby dumbclown » Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:16 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:It's a social issue more than anything else. Nuclear power in Australia is entirely dependent on who wins the next election - it's unfortunate that the two parties I am considering voting for don't support it, because on most other fronts their environmental credentials are reasonably sound. Currently only the incumbent conservative party has made clear signals that they want to see nuclear power soon in Australia.

Edit: I see you're from here as well. :P I just wish the ALP would take a stand one way or the other on the issue.


Because I am currently an ex-pat I want to get in on this too.

I don't see it happening regardless of who wins. I think the liberals are just trying to drum it up as an election issue but their heart really isn't in it coal is cheap and we got just as much of it. Plus I think power is regulated at a state level. The federal government could give the go ahead but it would be up to the states to build it. I can't see any premier doing this.

I suppose the way around this would be to build them in the territories and then sell the power to the states.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby arbivark » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:18 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:This is certainly a serious-business topic, so I figured we might have a thread on it.

As a scientist, I contend that nuclear energy has a proven history worldwide as a safe, sustainable source of energy of low environmental intensity, which can readily provide scalable baseload energy needs, and i support its expanded use.

What do you think?


"As a scientist" - I'm wondering, what sort of science one needs to assess whether nukes have a proven history worldwide as a safe sustainable source? And is that the sort of science you have?

I'm reminded of a guy named Shockley who was a scientist, won a Nobel for inventing the transistor I think it was, but went on to make pseudo-scientific claims outside of his area of expertise.

"Proven history worldwide"
Grave of the Fireflies.
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Bikini, Nevada, Chernobyl, John Wayne, Karen Silkwood. I'm not seeing the same history of proven safety you are.

Kim Il Jong, Stalin, Mao, Mugabe, Hussein, LBJ,
Haliburton, Bectel, General Dynamics - you trust these guys to not misuse the technology, to safely store wastes for the first hundred or two years while they are relatively hot? I don't have a lot of trust in folks like that.
France? No, I don't trust France.

The problems with nukes aren't the technology ones; they are economic and political. Stuff like getting insurance for your nuke plant, and having the decommissioning costs in escrow, and finding investors willing to risk capital in the marketplace. I have an open mind about it; just because it's been done wrong up till now doesn't mean it couldn't be done right in the future. But the discussion so far seems naive, both as to the history and the obstacles.
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Postby Hawknc » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:53 pm UTC

It's hardly been done wrong. The fact that a Chernobyl event has only happened once in history, despite the fact that hundreds operate worldwide, point to it being done very right.
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Re: Nuclear energy

Postby TheStranger » Sun Aug 19, 2007 2:10 pm UTC

arbivark wrote:"Proven history worldwide"
Grave of the Fireflies.
Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Bikini, Nevada, Chernobyl, John Wayne, Karen Silkwood. I'm not seeing the same history of proven safety you are.


wasn't Grave of Fireflies a movie about Hiroshima (or Nagasaki, its been years since I saw it)?

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Bikini (the first successful tests of a fusion weapon) are about nuclear weapons, not power generation.

The only one you mentioned here that does is Chernobyl, which was in the Soviet Union (not the most safety conscious bunch). Its also the only incident of its kind in the entire history of nuclear power.

Nevada, John Wayne, Karen Silkwood? I have no idea what these have to do with Nuclear Energy.

Kim Il Jong, Stalin, Mao, Mugabe, Hussein, LBJ,


most of those people are dead.

Haliburton, Bectel, General Dynamics - you trust these guys to not misuse the technology, to safely store wastes for the first hundred or two years while they are relatively hot?


[sarcasm]
Haliburton makes to much money sending rich people back in time to hunt gay dinosaurs so that there will be oil in the present age
[/sarcasm]

I trust the people who are contracted to do a job to do their job.

I don't have a lot of trust in folks like that.
France? No, I don't trust France.


they can deal with a meltdown by surrendering to it.

The problems with nukes aren't the technology ones; they are economic and political. Stuff like getting insurance for your nuke plant, and having the decommissioning costs in escrow, and finding investors willing to risk capital in the marketplace. I have an open mind about it; just because it's been done wrong up till now doesn't mean it couldn't be done right in the future. But the discussion so far seems naive, both as to the history and the obstacles.


I'm not saying that there are no issues to overcome, but Nuclear Energy shows a great deal of promise as a clean source of power
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Postby ZeroSum » Sun Aug 19, 2007 3:47 pm UTC

John Wayne died of cancer ostensibly brought on by his large exposure to radiation in the Utah desert during filming.

Wikipedia, John Wayne wrote:Despite rumors that the cancer was caused by filming The Conqueror in Utah where the U.S. government had tested nuclear weapons (following which a surprising percentage of the cast and crew developed cancer), Wayne himself believed his five-pack-a-day cigarette habit was the cause. After his operation he chewed tobacco and began smoking cigars.


Nevada is often touted as contaminated and dangerous due to atomic bomb tests.

Silkwood was a nuclear fuel engineer who died while investigating wrongdoing at the nuclear power plant she worked for.
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Postby TheStranger » Sun Aug 19, 2007 4:12 pm UTC

ZeroSum wrote:John Wayne died of cancer ostensibly brought on by his large exposure to radiation in the Utah desert during filming.

Nevada is often touted as contaminated and dangerous due to atomic bomb tests.

Silkwood was a nuclear fuel engineer who died while investigating wrongdoing at the nuclear power plant she worked for.


John Wayne and Nevada are, again, talking about the testing of nuclear weapons... this is about power generation.

I've never heard of Silkwood, but again... not sure of the relevance. Are we talking about the safety of nuclear power or the saftey of poorly run nuclear power plants?
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Postby ZeroSum » Sun Aug 19, 2007 5:09 pm UTC

I was just doing some research. The quote from Wiki says that Wayne himself attributes his cancers to his many packs a day of cigarettes and subsequent tobacco chew after losing a lung to cancer.

Nevada doesn't matter in present day because that was 1. before science understood radiation and exposure as much as it does now and 2. to further a war effort, not a scientific endeavor for energy production, as you've said.

Silkwood's death is attributed to a greedy company not following the rules and causing and unsafe situation (yielding a possible reckless flight from pursuers).
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Postby bigglesworth » Sun Aug 19, 2007 9:26 pm UTC

And in any case (though slightly off-topic), today's new nuclear weapons are being designed not to need testing, so there won't be any more fallout from nuclear testing.
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Postby Vaniver » Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:58 pm UTC

"As a scientist" - I'm wondering, what sort of science one needs to assess whether nukes have a proven history worldwide as a safe sustainable source?
A background in nuclear engineering would be sufficient to make strongly supported statements. A background in any engineering or hard science (primarily physics and chemistry, possibly things like biology) would make one somewhat well-equipped to discuss the mechanics of it.

However, anyone with a knowledge of history and statistics can judge the safety situation for themselves as what it is, rather than what it should be. First, Soviet safety engineering is so tragically bad that events caused by it are off the table.

So, what are we left with? One non-event which showed how well Western reactors prevent meltdowns, and a number of accidental leakages (I believe the leakages have been getting less frequent per plant as time goes on). The number of deaths due to accidental leakages is tiny compared to the number of deaths in coal mines.

So, Western safety engineering has had no meltdowns that resulted in a death (though it did demonstrate that Jane Fonda can cause heart attacks), and looks like it will not have one for a long, long time. As far as safety records go, that's pretty phenomenal.
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Postby Thematic-Device » Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:55 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:So, what are we left with? One non-event which showed how well Western reactors prevent meltdowns, and a number of accidental leakages (I believe the leakages have been getting less frequent per plant as time goes on). The number of deaths due to accidental leakages is tiny compared to the number of deaths in coal mines.


And a nuclear event where the pressure vessel of a plant was corroded to almost nothing due to poor plant inspection which had the odds of nuclear meltdown rated at 6 in 1000.

We got lucky that we were in the other portion but the Davis-Besse Reactor has to be counted.
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Postby Vaniver » Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:29 pm UTC

Thematic-Device wrote:
Vaniver wrote:So, what are we left with? One non-event which showed how well Western reactors prevent meltdowns, and a number of accidental leakages (I believe the leakages have been getting less frequent per plant as time goes on). The number of deaths due to accidental leakages is tiny compared to the number of deaths in coal mines.


And a nuclear event where the pressure vessel of a plant was corroded to almost nothing due to poor plant inspection which had the odds of nuclear meltdown rated at 6 in 1000.

We got lucky that we were in the other portion but the Davis-Besse Reactor has to be counted.
Ok, fair. Western safety engineering is only effective if followed correctly.

But, still, if one looks at how many near-misses there have been, and the chance of them turning into meltdowns, compared to the total number of operation-hours of nuclear plants, the picture is a good one. Improvement can always happen, and constant vigiliance must be maintained. But the risk from nuclear is a fairly low risk, so long as it is treated like it is a risk.*


*That is to say, the plant engineers need to be cautious, and the NRC needs to be cautious. Complacency on the part of either could lead to disaster. But, does the public need to worry? Not as long as those two are doing their jobs.
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Postby Thematic-Device » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:51 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Ok, fair. Western safety engineering is only effective if followed correctly.

But, still, if one looks at how many near-misses there have been, and the chance of them turning into meltdowns, compared to the total number of operation-hours of nuclear plants, the picture is a good one. Improvement can always happen, and constant vigiliance must be maintained. But the risk from nuclear is a fairly low risk, so long as it is treated like it is a risk.*

*That is to say, the plant engineers need to be cautious, and the NRC needs to be cautious. Complacency on the part of either could lead to disaster. But, does the public need to worry? Not as long as those two are doing their jobs.


But thats the problem, what happens is so disastrous if they don't do their jobs that not everyone trusts a government bureaucracy and a corporation enough to keep us permanently safe from catastrophic harm. The Davis Besse incident should have resulted in a revocation of the firms license and the sale of the plant to another corporation. I'm not overly convinced 5 million dollars is enough to put appropriate fear into the plant owners.
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Postby Minerva » Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:36 pm UTC

Thematic-Device wrote:
Vaniver wrote:So, what are we left with? One non-event which showed how well Western reactors prevent meltdowns, and a number of accidental leakages (I believe the leakages have been getting less frequent per plant as time goes on). The number of deaths due to accidental leakages is tiny compared to the number of deaths in coal mines.


And a nuclear event where the pressure vessel of a plant was corroded to almost nothing due to poor plant inspection which had the odds of nuclear meltdown rated at 6 in 1000.

We got lucky that we were in the other portion but the Davis-Besse Reactor has to be counted.


The carbon steel reactor vessel is lined inside with a further inch or two of stainless steel, which could never corrode under those conditions, even if the carbon steel corroded all the way through.

Even if the reactor head was corroded completely, you'd have radiological contamination of the inside of the reactor building, with coolant everywhere, and the emergency cooling systems would come into play to cool the reactor core following the coolant loss.

Even if the probability of a "meltdown" in such a situation is 0.6%, or whatever, what are the consequences of a meltdown, in reality?

How many people injured? How many people killed? What were the statistics from the meltdown example of TMI?

No radioactivity would escape the containment vessel, even in the event of a fully fledged meltdown. In the example of Three Mile Island, we saw that only trace amounts of radioactive gases from the coolant system were released to the environment.
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Postby zenten » Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:49 pm UTC

In terms of risk, you would need to compare number of deaths/injuries (broken down by employees and random people in the area and whatnot) over a suitably long time (say 50 years) per kilowatt (or some other measure, if that's not the right one) of nuclear and coal (or whatever technologies you want to compare for safety).

I get the impression nuclear is much more safe than coal using that.
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Postby Thematic-Device » Tue Aug 21, 2007 7:15 pm UTC

Minerva wrote:The carbon steel reactor vessel is lined inside with a further inch or two of stainless steel, which could never corrode under those conditions, even if the carbon steel corroded all the way through.


No, for starters stainless steel is merely corrosion resistant it is not corrosion proof. Further it is significantly weaker then carbon steel.

Even if the reactor head was corroded completely, you'd have radiological contamination of the inside of the reactor building, with coolant everywhere, and the emergency cooling systems would come into play to cool the reactor core following the coolant loss.


The core gets too hot, pressure builds up, breaks the pressure vessel, radioactive steam vents into the containment vessel, the reactor gets hotter, emergency coolant vaporizes on contact to the reactor core.

Its not that hard to imagine things going wrong when you have companies completely ignoring inspection standards.

Even if the probability of a "meltdown" in such a situation is 0.6%, or whatever, what are the consequences of a meltdown, in reality?


You risk breach of the containment dome, and radioactive waste being spread along a massive area, the agricultural area will be destroyed permanently, and thousands of people will die.

No radioactivity would escape the containment vessel, even in the event of a fully fledged meltdown. In the example of Three Mile Island, we saw that only trace amounts of radioactive gases from the coolant system were released to the environment.


The fact is not everything will be like 3 Mile Island. There will be Chernobyls. It is better to have a host of small scale accidents from which we can easily recover, then to have the a single large scale accident, even if the total amount of devastation through the years is equal in cost.
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Postby Gunfingers » Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:00 pm UTC

Thematic-Device wrote:The fact is not everything will be like 3 Mile Island. There could, if dozens and dozens of unlikely conditions are met be Chernobyls..


Fixed.
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Postby Thematic-Device » Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:20 pm UTC

they still happened didn't they.

The list isn't that short, a bunch of near misses doesn't exactly enhance my confidence in the system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ci ... _accidents
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Postby space_raptor » Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:31 pm UTC

Thematic-Device wrote:You risk breach of the containment dome, and radioactive waste being spread along a massive area, the agricultural area will be destroyed permanently, and thousands of people will die.

No. This is not risked. Even if containment does fail, this is impossible. This is not something that makes a big random scary boom. The nuclear engineers know how it works, and the plants are engineered so that this can't happen. At least, the ones in Canada are. But I would not be surprised if the new ones in the States were similar in that respect.

Seriously. Nuclear power is not scary. It could be hazardous for the employees and operators, sure. They just have a vested interest in making sure safety regulations are followed and they pass inspections. Every other kind of power plant, and oil rig, and mining operation is dangerous. How many coal miners have to die for you to see the folly of coal power, I wonder?
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Postby Jesse » Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:43 pm UTC

Thematic-Device wrote:they still happened didn't they.

The list isn't that short, a bunch of near misses doesn't exactly enhance my confidence in the system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ci ... _accidents


From my memory Chernobyl only occurred because they turned the security off to test something. Which seems pretty damn stupid.
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Postby Thematic-Device » Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:48 pm UTC

space_raptor wrote:
Thematic-Device wrote:You risk breach of the containment dome, and radioactive waste being spread along a massive area, the agricultural area will be destroyed permanently, and thousands of people will die.

No. This is not risked. Even if containment does fail, this is impossible. This is not something that makes a big random scary boom. The nuclear engineers know how it works, and the plants are engineered so that this can't happen. At least, the ones in Canada are. But I would not be surprised if the new ones in the States were similar in that respect.


No its not impossible, you risk steam explosion which will cause incredible havoc, because it is a big explosion. Its what was worried about in three mile island that if the core had melted through the containment facility and got to the ground water it would have caused a massive steam explosion capable of breaching the containment dome.
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Postby xhuzm » Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:48 am UTC

I just read this article about a new type of nuclear reactor funded by the GNEP and thought it was interesting enough to post.

http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/691f6912e3022110vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html
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Postby e946 » Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:00 am UTC

xhuzm wrote:I just read this article about a new type of nuclear reactor funded by the GNEP and thought it was interesting enough to post.

http://www.popsci.com/popsci/science/691f6912e3022110vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html


We talked about this earlier, I think. Either this or another thread. It's not really new, the french and possibly some other countries use it regularly, but the US has yet to build any.

Thematic device - Yes, there may be a .001% per year chance that a plant might possibly have a severe accident, but even then your predictions of thousands dying are worst-case scenarios.

Countless coal miners die from respiratory problems and mine collapses every year. Wha't's worse, even more people live near coal plants whose emissions still aren't cleaned or even regulated in any way. Even if you don't consider worst case in the problems those people may suffer, that still counts for a lot.
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