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What do you have against nuclear?
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STG



Joined: 07 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:28 pm    Post subject: What do you have against nuclear? Reply with quote

So like the title says, I'm wondering what drives you against nuclear. Is it the waste? the supply? economics?...or do you just wanna go back to a more stone age type of era (not pun intended, I have a friend who uses this as an argument)?

And if fusion would be available some day would you embrace it as great thing (even though it has some radioactivity associated with it...see [url]www.iter.ogr[\url] for more information) or would you break it down like nuclear fission?[/url]
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goslow



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, the problems with nuclear fission are mainly the intrinsic high toxicity of radioactive material especially in a major accident, and the ever present possibility of its mis-use for terrorism or war. I know some designs are safer than others, but we have always the human error/corruption factors. Also our nuclear industry has had a long term culture of cover up, even recently, can we really trust these guys in the future?

As I said before I have just about accepted that a bit of nuclear in our energy mix might be a necessary evil, but boy if there were other options then certainly I would drop it like a stone. Fusion should in theory be a much safer option with lower radioactivity as I understand, and more plentiful starting materials.

Nuclear fission will never meet a large part of our energy needs. Currently in the UK its just 20% of our electricity, and 0% of the road transport. I can't see there ever being enough fissile material in the world to power our civilisation by nuclear fission. Its a dead end after a few more decades.
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Andy Hunt



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am pretty much resigned that we will be getting a new generation of nuclear power stations.

What worries me is that this will be promoted by the powers that be as a panacea, and people will be lulled back to sleep in the mistaken belief that nuclear is going to solve all our energy problems, which is far from the truth.

The twilight of industrial humanity may well be marked by a resurgence of nuclear power keeping the late lights burning, but our long-term future lies with the development and deployment of renewable energy.
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21st_century_caveman



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To add to what i've said in the other thread, yes its the waste, the (un)economics of it, and yes we need to get used to living with less (maybe not a stoneage existence but certainly taking some inspiration from past ways of living).
Nuclear also doesnt seem to be a solution to the UK energy crunch because the new stations will not be commisioned in time, therefore the money and energy would be better spent on renewables and energy efficiency.

Also, i value the opinion of one the greatest thinkers of the 20th century R. Buckminster Fuller, who liked to think of the earth as a spaceship (with no escape pods i might add), his opinion of nuclear power was that it was like burning parts of your ship to keep it going.
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STG



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

21st_century_caveman wrote:

Also, i value the opinion of one the greatest thinkers of the 20th century R. Buckminster Fuller, who liked to think of the earth as a spaceship (with no escape pods i might add), his opinion of nuclear power was that it was like burning parts of your ship to keep it going.


Seriously you believe an architect/philosopher on nuclear technology? I would believe Van Leeuwen before him...

But in the end I don't believe any of those two...

And the time to introduce renewables isn't there either, so whatever we do we are probably already late at doing so!
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clv101
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STG wrote:
And the time to introduce renewables isn't there either, so whatever we do we are probably already late at doing so!

Of course it's too late to maintain business as usual. That isn't an option, as soon as everyone realises that things aren't going to stay the same the better. The question is how are they going to change and what will the impact be.

Spending around ?16bn on 4 EPRs delivering 6.4GWe (45TWh per year @80%) that won't come online until 2021 seems a bit pointless to me. There are cheaper ways to have a greater impact on the supply/demand balance in less time. ?16bn/45TWh/13 years - we can do better than that.
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21st_century_caveman



Joined: 23 May 2007
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Location: Still on this feckin island

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STG wrote:

Seriously you believe an architect/philosopher on nuclear technology?


I'd rather believe someone with some actual technical knowledge rather than someone like Bernard Ingham who has no technical qualifications and seems to spout complete rhetoric.
Incidentally, he seemded to be foaming at the mouth rather more than usual yesterday on Newsnight.

Edit: If i was in the nuclear industry i'd be most embarrassed to have someone like Ingham representing me, the bloke is a complete nutter.
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Last edited by 21st_century_caveman on Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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STG



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem is that nuclear technical knowledge is way different and way more sophiticated then "normal" technical knowledge...
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21st_century_caveman



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesnt require detailed technical knowledge of nuclear power for someone to like Fuller to make the analogy that nuclear power is like burning bits of your car or ship to keep it going.
If you were on wooden steam boat you wouldnt start chopping chuncks out of the hull to put in the boiler when you ran out coal would you?

Also, by your logic Ingham should not be allowed to talk about nuclear power since he a journalist and PR man, actually why not go further and make anyone that wants to debate nuclear power do a degree in it.
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STG



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

actually to have a truly honest discussion, you have to study it for a rather long time. Both scientific, green and lobbiest literature.

Seriously before my studies I was against nuclear, I just wanted to know more about it (and being a technician, try to solve it). I actually was aiming for fusion, but ended up with a lot of fission. And now I know more, and I know certain things can not be solved...because they aren't problems...
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Totally_Baffled



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, the main reason I am now am against nuclear is mainly the cost, and the very serious danger that these reactors will NOT be completed due to the impending economic crisis (post 2012).

I think the money could be better spent , for example- demand management will happen by default if we dont by design. Also renewables.

For what it is worth I agree with you on the following points

1. Uranium/Thorium resources - IMO the arguments are weak for the reasons you outline (low prices, no exploration , recycling , thorium etc)

2. Safety: Coal kills far more, and will continue to kill far more than nuclear ever will (via mining, climate change)

3. Scale: When you consider the largest wind turbines are 1 MW, and nuclear reactors can be x GW's+, the feasibility of building 10 nuclear reactors as opposed to 8000 wind turbines seems far better!

4. Reliability: Dynamic demand to deal with variability in wind/solar/tidal supply is a real problem - that we may or may not solve in the timescales required.

5. Security of Supply: OK, uranium is imported, but a single boat load of uranium (which also comes from friendly countries), is far less a risk than pipelines of gas from Siberia, or hundreds of boats of coal when you consider the amount of comparable energy it delivers.

One final thought, I thought Renewable Candy's comments about France providing baseload where interesting. Maybe we should pay the French to build 10 more reactors and import the electricity from them. We can then concentrateon renewables and use the french reactors as the back up baseload Smile
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Andy Hunt



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

STG wrote:
Seriously before my studies I was against nuclear, I just wanted to know more about it (and being a technician, try to solve it). I actually was aiming for fusion, but ended up with a lot of fission. And now I know more, and I know certain things can not be solved...because they aren't problems...


Presumably your studies will give you some nice career opportunities in the industry, especially if loads of new reactors get built all over the place . . . ?
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STG



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy Hunt wrote:

Presumably your studies will give you some nice career opportunities in the industry, especially if loads of new reactors get built all over the place . . . ?


I haven't decided what to do yet...but I think research in some next-gen reactors would be the most fun and ethical..
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isenhand



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:53 am    Post subject: Re: What do you have against nuclear? Reply with quote

STG wrote:
So like the title says, I'm wondering what drives you against nuclear. Is it the waste? the supply? economics?...or do you just wanna go back to a more stone age type of era (not pun intended, I have a friend who uses this as an argument)?


My main argument against is not so much concerned with the technology as such but with its sustainability. I don?t see it as a sustainable method of producing energy. It runs on a finite resource, like oil, and will one day run out. Depending on you view of how much raw material we use that could be this century.

I think we would be better investing our time and resources into something more sustainable.


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WolfattheDoor



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2008 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. At some point, the world will have to switch from fossil fuels to something else.

2. If the (whole) world switched to nuclear, there simply wouldn't be enough uranium, whatever the pro-nuke lobby like to believe.

3. Therefore, by definition, the world needs to change to something which won't run out: sun, wind, tide, etc.

4. The more we put it off, the worse it will be when we do it since fossil fuels are declining as we know.

5. The time seems about right now, economically and politically, to start that big switch to energy conservation and renewables.

6. Going back to nuclear now will simply stall the process. If a Government thinks there is plenty of power coming online in the future, they won't be inclined to put money into renewable research.

(And fusion might be a great thing in principle but there is no guarantee that it will ever happen. We could spend billions of pounds and years of time researching something and end up with nothing. At least we KNOW that renewables work.)
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