This discussion was started in the Bio Brewers bar and grill, so I thought I would bring it here for more focused debate.
Below I list all of the reasons why I think nuclear power is a bad idea. And let's keep it civil, no personal attacks.
1. Not worth the risk: As evidenced most notably by Chernobyl and Fukushima the catastrophic effects of a nuclear disaster are so enormous, far more then any other form of energy, that it's not worth the risk. Some would argue that Chernobyl was unique because that type of accident won't happen again because nuclear plants are not built like that anymore, but Fukushima has shown us that a catastrophic nuclear accident can happen at a "modern" nuclear power plant. We still have no idea how bad Fukushima will be, or how much of an area around that plant will be uninhabitable for decades to come. No other form of energy comes with such enormous potential risk. It's simply not worth it.
2. Nuclear Proliferation/national security: The fact is that the more nuclear plants there are in the world, the more likely it is that a rogue country or group will be able to get ahold of nuclear material to make a nuclear bomb or a "dirty" bomb. Again, it's not worth the risk.
3. Nuclear Waste: Even if nuclear plants are operated safely for their entire life spans there is no proven way to safely manage the spent fuel rod waste. And spent fuel rods present their own dangers as proven by Fukushima. Also, spent fuel rods present a national security risk as well because they can be used to make dirty bombs.
4. Financial problems: Nuclear plants cost far more then original projections. A couple of examples: The South Texas Nuclear Project (STNP) was projected to cost just over $900 million to build and actually cost $5.8 billion. The Comanche Peak plant (outside Dallas TX) was projected to cost under $800 million and eventually cost over $9 billion. The International Atomic Energy Agency says that Chernobyl has already cost "hundreds of billions of dollars" iaea.org
The Fukushima disaster is certainly well into the $billions and could easily cost hundreds of billions.
5. Nuclear socialism/the Price-Anderson Act: Because of the risk of catastrophic accidents at nuclear plants, financial backers, suppliers, builders, etc. were not willing to be involved in building nuclear plants unless governments passed laws limiting their liability. Even the pro-nuclear American Nuclear Society agrees - "firms that contribute in some manner to the design, construction, operation or maintenance of covered licensees are all protected. Many of these companies, support services and equipment suppliers likely would not have participated in the nuclear industry without some liability limitation." http://www.ans.org/pi/ps/docs/ps54-bi.pdf
The US Government passed the Price-Anderson Act in 1957. The Act requires nuclear plant operators to aquire $375 million dollars in private insurance for offsite liability coverage for each reactor unit (that's right, $375 million ). In the event a nuclear accident causes damages in excess of $375 million, each licensee would be assessed a prorated share of the excess up to $111.9 million. With 104 reactors currently licensed to operate, this secondary tier of funds contains about $12.6 billion. So, if a nuclear accident exceeds the $12.6 billion, US taxpayers are left with all the rest. Canada has a similar law entitled the "Nuclear Liabiility Act" which limits the liability to each nuclear operator at $75 million
The amount of energy we waste as a society is huge. If we were to focus on transforming to a renewable energy society, with a strong emphasis on energy efficiency and conservation, we can move beyond nuclear power and fossil fuels. We will be safer, less toxins will be emitted into our environment, and we will live healthier lives. I'm not saying it's going to be easy, or happen overnight, but it is within our means.
Tsunami is a Japanese Word.
If the Fukushima plant had inadequate backup systems, then it had it for the entire lifespan of the power plant.
Spent rods have two issues.
Shortly after being taken out of production, they are "too hot to handle", which necessitates onsite temporary storage. Then one must have an adequate long-term plan for the spent fuel.
The USA is one of the few countries that does not recycle our spent fuel. So, about 10% of the Uranium is used, then the used rods are stored for all of eternity. Other countries at least recycle and re-use the spent rods.
Solar power is great. I think all new construction should have solar panels built into their roofs. However, that generally isn't the case now.
Different areas are suited differently for solar power. The African Desert is well suited to solar power.
Western USA has about 90% cloudy days in the winter, 10% cloudy days in the summer. Eastern USA has about 50/50 year around. Alaska, and Northern Canada, of course, just don't get any sunlight in the winter, but have very long days in the summer.
Anyway, for "grid-attached", perhaps the sunlight cycles are irrelevant. For "off-grid", one must have additional energy sources for in the winter.
I do believe that subsidy programs for developing countries should consider the benefits of local energy generation vs building centralized power generation and a "grid".
What I meant, but didn't clarify, was that Fukushima is modern in that it is not of a similar design to Chernobyl, but is similar to most nuclear plants operating around the world.
One of the reasons I oppose nuclear power, but failed to list above, is human error. We can never eliminate human error from the equation, and human error at a nuclear power plant, as we've seen at most nuclear disasters, is by far more dangerous then human error at any other type of power plant.
So how many "small scale" nuclear plants would be required to power New York City? Thousands? I can't imagine having thousands of small nuclear plants scattered throughout New York City, and all other cities. Here's the math - If New York City were to get half its power from small nuclear plants (I'll say 6 MW each on average) over 2000 of those plants would be required (assuming NYC uses 25,000 MW, which is on the low side based on this article http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/23044/). Wow!
The point is to replace nuclear power with renewable energy and efficiency and conservation, as you pointed out with Abu Dhabi. I don't think anyone has defended coal power here, I certainly haven't.
And the public will to allow thousands/tens of thousands of small nuclear reactors to be placed all around the US will happen?
The point is that Japan sits on one of the most active fault lines in the world. Earthquakes and Tsunamis are common. This was a big one... but one should plan for the big ones.
While you might consider maintaining the world's Nuke Plants like maintaining a 30 yr old pickup on its last legs... the plant was equally unprepared for a large tsunami when it was only 10 yrs old.
Many industries including hospitals in flood plains route their entire power system through the basement. Had a redundant power system been built at roof level, then the entire problem would have been avoided.
Diesel Pumps with snorkels could be built to run just fine while completely submerged.
It is difficult to differentiate foreshocks, aftershocks, and the main quake, but the Nuke Plant should have been shut down 2 days before the quake, and it would already have begun cooling. Unfortunately their grid may not be able to withstand preventative shut-downs.
As far as micro-nuke plants.
They are common on college campuses.
However, if you replace one nuclear plant with 1000 nuclear plants, it just causes that much more room for error & disaster.
A 2 to 10 MW installation is well within the realm of other renewable resources.
Stumbled on this debate- was debating self in enviro;
Interesting that no installations carry any meaningful insurance-
-When I was new to this forum, a study was released claiming that if the $80 billion US earmarked for Iraqi "reconstruction" had been spent on bioiesel infrostructure- including algae, US would produce all it's own tranpsort (diesel) fuel.
We definitely have the technology, though reduction and efficiency need to be foremost.
The US Navy has made jet fuel substitute out of seawater (with lots of electricity) So we can even fly jets without Bio D or fossil Jet.
Energy can be transmitted (power lines), or in the case of woodpellets, shipped- to scandinavia as BC does- for thermal generation.
Could send energy back north in the pipelines!
How many thousand hectares of grass is maintained and mowed along the highways that could be producing canola or other biomass fuels- stored solar energy.
Lots to do-
So much waste wood in my area it gets stacked by excavators and burnt, right by road access---
Just need to shift, maybe the people need to show their governments what to do.
I value this forum.
-People everywhere need to realize that energy as we know it is xpensive in direct and hidden costs-
The more expensive fuel and electricity, the better alternatives look.
Solar PV is coming down in price to the point where rising grid bills make it attractive; offshelf windmills available at big box stores, and finally GM will release plug in electric vehicles-
I'm an optimist.
And once governments see the light they can shift policy to favour the people.
Germany appears to lead the way in dumping nuclear- will be interesting to see how the innovative and industrious Deutchlanders make out:
"If you take all external costs into account, the conclusion is inevitable: Nuclear power is not economically viable," Hohmeyer said. "The risk is only bearable if you externalize it on the wider society."
But Dieter Marx, of Germany's Nuclear Forum, an industry lobby, says no industry has prices reflecting all of its risks, adding that the risk of a meltdown was very low.
"Ultimately, it comes down to the question of how big a risk the society is ready to bear," he said.
The majority of Germans and the political parties have concluded that the potential damage outweighs the benefits, and the country now stands alone among industrialized nations in its determination to overcome nuclear power.
Phasing out nuclear energy — which like in the U.S. produces a quarter of the country's electricity — was meant to happen slowly over the next 25 years. But in the wake of Fukushima the government seems determined to speed things up, possibly pulling the plug on the last reactors within a decade, gradually replacing them with renewable energies.
"No society has to bear the potentially enormous risk of a nuclear disaster," Hohmeyer said.
Frank Jordans in Geneva, Camille Rusticci in Paris, Yu Bing in Beijing, Jon Fahey in Washington and Shino Yuasa in Tokyo contributed to this report.
Factoring human error, war/terrorism and the unforseeable, nuclear catastrophes are inevitable.
On Being Greener:
Fit, fun & healthy. Beats being stuck to a screen-
Give chase to the twin plagues of obesity and ennui!
Both the GTO and TDI need to be fueled, and produce waste-
And like the fly and the foot, they both crash fine.
If they were all 96 million miles away it would be grand.
I can out cheap them with my independent system anyways-
Got 3 30 watt PV panels rainchecked at Canadian Tire today $ 125 each- quadruple the PV input here which on 1 30 watt almost holds it's own with current load/sun.
2 Listers awaiting my patient care-
Jack Layton could sure turn things around!!
Cut the fossil subsidies and give us proactive incentives-
I'm hoping that a change in Canadian government will make it cheaper and or easier to be green-
Small Scale Nuke Questions:
What fuel will they need?
Where will it be mined and processed?
How will it be transported?
How safe are they?
How will the spent fuel be transported and disposed of?
Will they carry adequate insurance?
What will it all cost?This message has been edited. Last edited by: SUB,
Old nuclear power plants and new nuclear technology still have the same problems - no place to safely store the nuclear waste, possibilities of nuclear disasters (mother nature and human error cannot be eliminated from the equation), nuclear proliferation threat, expensive to build, and require heavy government intervention to help keep costs down and to incentivise private investment. No matter how "safe", or small, a new nuclear design might be the downsides listed above are always going to exist.
The difference is that we are debating nuclear power, not VW cars. There's a huge difference.
Who is that personal attack directed at?
Your question has been answered. What people who oppose nuclear power are saying is that nuclear is as bad or even worse then fossil fuels, ergo nuclear is not an option to replace fossil fuels.
Like in most places that are not 100% renewably powered (is anywhere?) we focus on efficiency and applying renewables where we can, and keep renewables as the priority. Inuvik etal can be far more efficient then they already are, and employ far more renewables. And I hardly think putting nuclear reactors, no matter how small, in the harshest environments on earth is a good idea, even for those who support nuclear power. They're risky enough in the best climates.
Even tho you have said that, you have also said "The 'arguments' listed are quite valid for large [1000-4000 MW] nuclear plants, that's why none have been built for more than a decade , however they do not apply to small scale [2-10 MW] nuclear power plants." and
"It's my opinion that the amount which can't be provided by renewable sources should be provided by small scale nuclear instead of fossil fuel. I hope that clears up any misunderstandings."
These two statements indicate that you support the use of small nuclear wherever renewables are not 100% of the power supply? Are you saying that you do not support small nuclear except for places like Inuvik etal?
I decided to chime in on this debate not just because of the Fukushima disaster, but because of the response by some to the disaster, especially by those on the political "right". I listen to talk radio and watch the cable talk shows on MSNBC, CNN & Fox. What really confused me is how people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz and many on Fox News, etal, all small government free marketeers, were so fast to defend nuclear power in the immediate days following Fukushima. After all, nuclear power would not exist in the US if it weren't for heavy government intervention (The Price Anderson Act) and subsidies. Nuclear power requires heavy government intervention because the free market said no to nuclear power early on because of the huge potential financial liability. Fukushima validates that early concern.
So, if there are any free marketeers reading this I would like to hear a response to this point.
I think your questions have been answered. Other then the fact that you think small nuclear is safe, would you care to answer the other points that have been made in this debate? Nuclear proliferation,
nuclear waste storage, cost, government intervention etc.
It's a personal attack meant to try to minimize the arguments of others by writing them off as over emotional. Do you consider your position so weak that it cannot withstand debate, without digressing to character assassination? Let's keep the personal attacks out of it.
So you don't care to address my points about proliferation, cost, government intervention, nuclear waste storage etc.?
...Some claim to have a monopoly on facts-
Another Mini Nuke Question:
Who wants one in their back yard?
Looking forward to reading through above page as time allows:
|Powered by Social Strata||Page 1 2 3|