Nuclear Power

Discussion in 'Opinions & Current Events' started by Eunos_Cosmo, Sep 19, 2019.

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Do you support Nuclear energy?

  1. Yes

    25 vote(s)
    78.1%
  2. No

    4 vote(s)
    12.5%
  3. Undecided

    3 vote(s)
    9.4%
  4. Wantonly Uninterested

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    What are your positions on splitting atoms to produce electricity?

    For me, any conversation about greenhouse gas emissions and energy production needs to involve Nuclear power. Nothing else comes close in terms of energy density. I dream of a future where everyone drives around in electric vehicles powered by onboard nuclear reactors. Short of that, I guess batteries charged by off-site reactors will suffice.

    Some great points here:



    Thoughts?

    edit: I just noticed that he didn't touch on LFTR. So...further reading here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  2. Exorcet

    Exorcet

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    I want to see more nuclear power development. Modern reactors have many improvements over the previous generations and nuclear's safety record isn't bad in the first place. Other sources like solar, geopower, etc are all welcome but nuclear out performs them in terms of output at the moment and I think that makes it the best choice for our primary energy source.
     
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  3. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    As cool as Solar (and wind, to a lesser extent) are the square footage/ mw ratio is just nowhere near what even a modest Nuclear Reactor can do. Not to mention the cost to maintain such large installations.
     
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  4. Rallywagon

    Rallywagon Premium

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    I'd rather see atoms come together than be split apart, but mostly agree with Exorcet. I'd like there to be more use of solar and wind for communities and individuals it can serve, but their are industries and large cities that need vastly higher energy outputs than solar and wind can manage.
     
  5. Novalee

    Novalee

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    do you know enough radiation in photons falls on texas every day to power the earth ? https://ag.tennessee.edu/solar/Pages/What Is Solar Energy/Sun's Energy.aspx
     
  6. Rallywagon

    Rallywagon Premium

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    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  7. Dennisch

    Dennisch Premium

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    Yes. 1000%.

    Cleanest power source compared to anything else coming from the ground, small footprint when it comes to size, compared to green power sources. It is time for humans to say **** you to coal, oil and gas to power a bulb. Combine it with green energy, and we all have healthier air to breathe.
     
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  8. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    How is your power choice in your region?

    In NorCal we are limited to one provider, but that provider does give options in terms of production methods. Right now I'm on the Nuke'n'Green (my name, not theirs) plan that is about 50% Nuke power and a split between Wind & Solar. Granted, demand in California is low (no AC or heat, mainly) but I've rarely seen a power bill over $30/mo.
     
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  9. Novalee

    Novalee

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    how many technologys were perfect on the first go around ?
     
  10. Dennisch

    Dennisch Premium

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    We have coal, new plants, you know, the clean ones. And gas. We have one nuclear power plant, which provides about 4% of the current power. And a bunch of wind mills in the sea. Solar panel fields are now popping up on former farms.*

    The choices you get are Grey power, that is the dirty one, grey green, and green. No difference in price though. Providers a plenty. Almost ridiculous how many there are.
    Solar panels on your house are somewhat helpful, it's just that if you make more power than you use throughout the year, you are earning money and that a new tax on your face. Panels on the roof of the house you bought raises the property value, raising another tax on your wallet.

    So, when you go green here to save the environment, and to lower your monthly bill, you do very little to save the environment, and your wallet feels even more nasty government fingers.


    *That causes "trouble" on the grid in the "remote" parts of the Netherlands. The grid isn't able to cope with the extra amount of electrons. And instead of investing in the grid, they are refusing new licenses to build solar farms.

    Go team Green!

    Edit.

    And the government are now trying to get everyone to stop using natural gas to warm the houses and food. It is a lot cheaper to do so than with current alternatives, apart from the induction type stove. Heating your house with anything else than a gas powered heating will cost a lot more. Something me and the missus really don't have the money for, just like a whole lot of others. But, again, instead of providing similar cost alternatives, they are just pushing current, inefficient alternatives.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  11. Joey D

    Joey D Premium

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    Yes, I'm in strong support of nuclear power in areas where other options aren't, well, options. It can then be supplemented with wind, solar, geothermal, and, as a last resort, hydroelectric. Really in 2019, there's no need for coal, natural gas, or oil power plants and they should be replaced with something else once they hit their lifespan.
     
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  12. Rallywagon

    Rallywagon Premium

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    I mean, if that's the argument, fusion still has solar beat in spades for all the boxes Dennisch just checked.
     
  13. Dotini

    Dotini Premium

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    IMO, nuclear power has many clear advantages over other sources of power. If Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl, and Fukushima had never happened, and the solution to nuclear waste was in hand, then nuclear power would have my 100% support. But as the situation stands, I must remain skeptical.
     
  14. Novalee

    Novalee

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    get fusion going im all for it
     
  15. Bealdor

    Bealdor

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    The issue is that "isn't bad" is not good enough for nuclear power, due to the extremely high damage potential of it.
    Because of that you'd basically need a 0% failure probability, which statistically isn't achievable (I'll talk about that later).

    Before I continue, some info about my background. I'm a structural engineer and I worked for more than two years on a renovation project of one of our (now decommissioned) nuclear power plants here in Germany.
    I'm not a nuclear physicist but I know quite a bit about the safety concepts used to design those buildings/structures.

    The base for building design is called a "semi probabilistic" safety concept.
    What this means is that you design load cases based on measuring data (like wind velocity or snow loads for example) for a specific period, take historical data into account and extrapolate said data for a specific design time period. And on top of that you put a global safety factor of (in most cases) 1.5 to account for load variance and uncertainty in the statistical data.
    In case of wind and snow loads this is quite easy and those load cases are designed for an exceedance probability of 2%. This sounds good on paper and seems pretty safe, but it also means that there's a 100% probability that those design loads are exceeded once every 50 years and you don't know when that event will occur in the next 50 years. It could never happen in your lifetime but it could also happen next winter.

    Now for earthquakes this doesn't work as well unfortunately. Since the variation is seismic loads is much higher and the available data (on the time scale that's actually needed) is limited, the semi probabilistic safety concept becomes less accurate.
    Here in Germany, seismic loads are designed with an exceedance period of 475 years. Now this sounds a lot safer than those 50 years wind loads are designed to and it is. But still, we don't know when this "475 year" event will happen (and it WILL happen). And additionally a 475 year design also means that there's a 10% chance that this designed load case will be exceeded in 47.5 years, which is basically the operating life of current NPPs.
    If there were no safety factors this would mean that there's a 10% chance that a NPP's structure would get damaged by seismic loads at least once in their lifetime.
    Now, the safety factors do take care of that partly but as I mentioned, the uncertainty in seismic loads is too high to lower the probability to basically 0%.
    Fukushima is the best example for this. The Japanese have much more experience with earthquakes than us Germans but the actual seismic loads STILL exceeded the design loads of 3 of the reactor buildings by ~25% and damaged one of the emergency cooling systems.

    Let's continue with the Fukushima example and take a look at the general safety concept of it.
    All NPPs have redundant backup power supplies/generators, but that redundance doesn't help you when the wall that protects the sea side is barely 6m high (which is still much higher than the compulsory height of ~3m) and a 15m tsunami floods the whole area and destroys the water pumps and generators.
    Now you could ask "Then why didn't they build a higher wall and designed the reactor buildings for higher seismic loads?"
    The answer is, because engineers (and scientists) simply didn't know better. Those structures were built according to the newest technical standards at their time.

    People learn from their mistakes and I'm sure standards will be reworked based on those, but the point I'm trying to make here, is that you only need one catastrophic event that exceeds what those updated standards will account for and a similar catastrophy will happen again.
    Now you could demand to increase the safety factors to 10(0) but then the whole issue becomes a technological and economical one, because either there's no technology available to build structures in such an extremely safe way or, if it is, it'll be so expensive that it wouldn't be economically sensible anymore.
    And just as a side note, all of this is also true for nuclear waste storage. We'll need to store away this material for thousands of years but current safety concepts don't work well for such long time periods.

    You could draw the conclusion that you shouldn't build NPPs close to the sea or in seismic zones. Well, the former one is quite difficult to achieve because NPPs need a huge amount of water for cooling and the sea obviously is the best location because of that. And for latter, just take a look at the seismic zones and NPP locations of the world's largest producer of nuclear power (USA):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    (Sorry but I don't know how to resize an image here.)

    All of the above is only about the potential technological issues of nuclear energy. I haven't even talked about human error, insufficient maintenance (talknig of experience here...), etc.
    Humans are prone to making mistakes and unfortunately nuclear power doesn't tolerate those.

    I'm not a Greenpeace activist or something similar at all, but I've seen things in person and know enough about safety concepts and building technology that I wouldn't want to see any country continuing to focus on nuclear energy.

    tl;dr:
    Due to the incredibly high damage potential of nuclear power you IMO would need to lower the failure probability to basically 0%, which isn't possible with today's technology, as past events have shown.
     
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  16. kikie

    kikie Premium

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    No! Definitely not. :mad:

    Nuclear power per se is good because it is cheap and cost effective. It is the nuclear waste that I'm against.

    I live about 4 km from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCK•CEN and the soil is saturated with nuclear waste which is buried here. Not only underground but even above ground, close to the main road. I have seen and heard enough about the dangers of nuclear power to be against it. There have been nuclear accidents in the last 40 years, enough to cause cancer for the people that work there and live close by.

    Every time a cancer patient is admitted to KULeuven, the oncologists always ask themselves: is it again a patient that lives close to Mol/Dessel?

    So no, :censored: off with nuclear power. :grumpy:

    My personal opinion which many people don't agree with and I respect that.
     
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  17. Exorcet

    Exorcet

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    Pushing the risk of a plant failure to 0 is impossible, but it is possible to have 0 failures in a finite amount of time. I agree that the damage potential of nuclear power is high (though that's not necessarily unique to it) but a nuclear failure does not have to be a disaster. Also, one reason to continue developing nuclear plants is to push the risk even lower.

    From this it sounds to me like the wind/snow issue is actually the bigger concern. 475 years would be beyond the lifetime of a reactor, and possibly beyond the lifetime of human fission energy production. While the risk of a 475 year event is always present, nuclear plants will continually become safer as time goes on and continually push the risks lower or the time to disaster further out. I also want to highlight that fission power doesn't have to be used forever. As much as I support, it's only because of the advantages that it offers now. I fully expect it to be replaced eventually. The smaller the window of fission power usage, the greater the chance that we extract the benefits without facing a disaster of significant scale. I suppose it's also worth considering that non nuclear power will either have trouble supplying our energy needs or serve to increase the risk of catastrophic weather events due to climate change. So we also need to balance the risk of a fission plant failure with the risk of increased 50 year events from other energy sources.


    Yes, but I would like to see lessons learned from this and not an abandonment of nuclear energy. Apparently there were previous studies showing vulnerability of the plant to large tsunamis that were dismissed for being unrealistic. They're harder to ignore now and could inform future reactor location or design.

    There are also newer Gen IV reactor designs available or in development that don't produce as much waste in spent fuel or long lived radiation. Like you I'm not a nuclear engineer, but I imagine that these designs will leave much smaller footprints if they're involved in similar disasters.

    True, but as we learn more, we push back the risk of disaster. There is less of a chance of Fukushima happening in a world where plants are designed to survive Fukushima. An even bigger wave might come along, but that's statistically less likely than the Fukushima tsunami. Couple that with safer reactors like I mentioned above and you get both decreased frequency and severity of incidents.



    This also depends on how much waste it produced, which is a factor of the timespan over which fission is utilized and the efficiency of fission power. Gen IV reactors can produce waste with much shorter halflives, and as alternative energy continues to improve over the years, perhaps it will eventually reach a point where we can start transitioning away from fission. If we only produce fission waste for a century or two, that's a much smaller problem than producing it for a thousand years.

    There are quite a few that seem to be in relatively safe areas. As for the rest, the only ones that look particularly bad are California's, which are being shut down. In any case, most of these have functioned fairly well. They all pose some risk, but not enough for me to want them removed.

    You raise fair points, but I'd also like to know if you have alternatives to nuclear. Do you think there is merit in improving fission technology and do you think it could reach a point where it is safe in a reasonable amount of time (~100 years)? If not what do you think is the best course of action for satisfying our energy needs?
     
  18. Danoff

    Danoff Premium

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    This is not a scene from blade runner.

    [​IMG]


    You don't think that causes cancer? You don't think people die from that? You don't think this has long-term consequences? This is called selective rigor... hold nuclear to a standard that essentially no other power source must achieve.

    Edit:
    Previous points I've made on how over-stated nuclear waste is:
    https://www.gtplanet.net/forum/thre...iscussion-thread.64596/page-107#post-12631682
    https://www.gtplanet.net/forum/thre...iscussion-thread.64596/page-107#post-12631731
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
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  19. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    Nuclear waste (storage) fascinates me to no end.

    Want to know how much?

    I did my masters degree thesis on it. :lol:

    This is a haunting and, I would say, beautiful documentary on the subject that was the inspiration for my own studies:


    The time scales of nuclear waste storage present interesting questions on how to effectively mark the danger of it. Michael Brill (and others) had some interesting concepts back in the 90s, but I don't think they are necessarily that successful.

    Ultimately, I don't think Nuclear waste is that big of a problem, because there simply isn't that much (by volume) of it, and probably there won't ever be.
     
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  20. wfooshee

    wfooshee Premium

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    I'm not sure I understand the issue with natural gas. It's the cleanest-burning petroleum there is. You can burn natural gas in the room where you breathe the air and you won't die, or even get sick or sleepy. Is it the "carbon footprint" thing, it makes CO2? CO2 is not the evil that the folks promoting the climate madness for the last 50 years have claimed it to be.

    Where I live, we have three industries that belch vapors into the atmosphere: a natural gas power plant, a paper mill, and a waste incinerator (which also generates power from its burning.)

    In the 70s, the paper mill had thick, oily, stinky white smoke nearly all the time. You just prayed that the wind blew it away from you. In my neighborhood, if we smelled the paper mill, it was going to rain. Since then, it's been greatly reduced, I'm not sure how. Filtering, other processes done before the gases are released, I just don't know. The visible cloud is mostly water, now, but it still stinks to high heaven if it blows your way.

    The power plant has smokestacks, which I've never seen emit anything visible. In the 40 years I've been here. The plant is clearly visible from several places around town, and especially from the US 98 bridge across the bay here. There is obviously exhaust and heat from the burning of the gas, but it seems rather innocuous.

    The incinerator is more recent than both of those. It does belch some visible smoke, but they're careful to only do that at night. During the day there is little to no visible emission, and no smell, which is amazing, since it's burning our garbage; the stuff that's been sitting out in dumpsters for days at a time.

    I don't know of any coal-fired plants around here. There probably are some, I just don't know where they are. None are local. There is a nuclear power plant in south Alabama, about 90 miles north of me. A significant portion of Alabama's power is hydro-electric. All those lakes they've built shoving water through turbines, which is pretty clean, if a little rough on whatever was there before the lake filled up...

    But back to my question: why is natural gas such a Bad Thing??? I heat my house with it very cheaply in what passes for winter here, and I heat my water with it. I would love to be cooking with it, but she who was my wife at the time wanted a glass-top stove. She left, I still have the stove, and HATE it.
     
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  21. Danoff

    Danoff Premium

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    For "clean" power natural gas > oil > coal. Natural gas is very good by comparison. I still like nuclear better, but if we could convert all of our coal plants to natural gas it would be fantastic. Especially in salt lake city.
     
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  22. UKMikey

    UKMikey

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    I'll just leave these here...

    15_co2_left_040518.gif

    GlobalTemp.png

    I'd be interested to see the results of the research which shows that the greenhouse effect isn't a thing after all as its existence is very well documented "madness".
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
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  23. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    Thank you for your contribution to this thread about Nuclear Power.
     
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  24. Joey D

    Joey D Premium

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    We have six coal power stations in Utah and they're all in what amounts to the middle of nowhere, even by Utah standards. They do provide the state with a vast majority of its power though. In and around Salt Lake, we use a mix of natural gas and hydro-electric and the natural gas stations do contribute to our crap air quality. Why they don't build a big ass solar array in the west desert is beyond me though, there's nothing out there and it's not even habitable. A nuclear power station would also make a ton of sense for Utah as well considering the Great Salt Lake is pretty much useless. I assume they can use salt water to cool the reactors since power plants like Fukushima are on the ocean.

    Assuming we built a big enough nuclear power plant here, we could easily export energy to Nevada, Idaho, and Wyoming too. I know California already buys energy from a Utah company, but I'm not really sure how that even works. This, in theory, could make energy pretty reasonable in terms of costs. Also, we have plenty of huge tracts of land where there's nothing, this would make proper disposable of nuclear waste pretty easy too (I think we already store a bunch here, but I'm not sure).
     
  25. SestoScudo

    SestoScudo

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    Undecided
     
  26. TenEightyOne

    TenEightyOne Premium

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    Incomplete combustion of natural gas (which is the case in most domestic combustion appliances) creates CO. So you will get sleepy, and then you'll die. Faulty flues or gas appliances are literally a killer.
     
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  27. Danoff

    Danoff Premium

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    Oh you guys just decommissioned the ones near salt lake city (in 2016 and 2019).

    Way to go! I went searching for (and found) those when I was there during a horrific inversion. I didn't know anything had been done about that.
     
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