chamiya

How green is nuclear power?

>>When the time and money is limited we can't afford to waste it all on something as dangerous, expensive and stupid as nuclear energy.<<

So, you'd prefer to see the environment decimated by the massive construction projects that would be needed in order for us to be able to meet even a fraction of our energy needs from renewable sources? As I said above:

We are already seeing an extinction crisis (from Wikipedia: The 2008 Red List was released on 6 October, 2008, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, and "has confirmed an extinction crisis, with almost one in four mammals at risk of disappearing forever." The study shows at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are known to be threatened with extinction, and 836 are listed as Data Deficient). How much worse will that crisis become as we start erecting more solar panels, more wind turbines and diverting more waterways? And how much worse will it become as our cities and agricultural areas expand by 50% during the course of the next 5 decades? How long can our already depleted oceans supply fish for a population that is increasing by 1.5 million per week?

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Simon, I'd be really interested in how Sweden gets its energy too, & how come you have a surplus..

& what are the planned % of renewables..

I have written a little about that here: http://www.green-blog.org/2009/02/17/madne...clear-reactors/

I'm not supporting nuclear power per say and I hope my posts have conveyed that. I just think that saying no to nuclear should be tempered by the hard facts about renewable energy schemes. Perhaps we don't really have much choice in the matter - every solution to our energy problem has it's own mix of advantages and disadvantages, we will most likely have to settle for a compromise.

If anything should be taken away from this discussion, it's that we should push governments to adopt stronger nuclear legislation for accountancy and safety. Nuclear can be successful if well managed - look at France (the positive public opinion is astounding).

So the problems associated with nuclear that Simon mentioned must be weighed up against the problems of not using nuclear. I don't think I'm really qualified for that decision.

So what you are saying is you have no answers or ideas on how we can safely store the highly dangerous and toxic nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years?

Maybe you shouldn't go around promoting nuclear energy when neither you nor the nuclear industry have any real, cost-effective and safe storage ideas?

>>When the time and money is limited we can't afford to waste it all on something as dangerous, expensive and stupid as nuclear energy.<<

So, you'd prefer to see the environment decimated by the massive construction projects that would be needed in order for us to be able to meet even a fraction of our energy needs from renewable sources?

Here in Sweden offshore wind farms have created safe places (once constructed) for the declining fish stock in the Baltic sea. So it's really a win-win situation.

But the older upper class don't want too see any wind farms because it "clutter" their view. Instead they want to have opencast coal mines or an toxic nuclear plant placed far away from them and instead near and around where poor and middle class people are living.

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PLEASE NOTE EVERYONE: Can we please try to stay a bit on-topic, which is: How green is nuclear power? You are more than welcome to create new topics discussing all these other subjects. Thanks!

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PLEASE NOTE EVERYONE: Can we please try to stay a bit on-topic, which is: How green is nuclear power? You are more than welcome to create new topics discussing all these other subjects. Thanks!

Hmmm. I don't see anything remotely off topic in this thread. It's impossible to answer the question How green is nuclear power? without comparing it to other forms of energy production.

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Hmmm. I don't see anything remotely off topic in this thread. It's impossible to answer the question How green is nuclear power? without comparing it to other forms of energy production.

No I think we are starting to move a little bit off-topic here. It's still on an tolerant level but I am just giving some early warnings. :cute:

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And back on topic:

Nearly 370 farms in Britain are still restricted in the way they use land and rear sheep because of radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident 23 years ago, the government has admitted.

Environmentalists have seized on the figures as proof of the enormous dangers posed by nuclear power as the UK moves towards building a new generation of plants around the country.

Read more: Britain's farmers still restricted by Chernobyl nuclear fallout

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Nuclear power maybe green, but only if used in the right way. We should add the question 'and how dangerous?' next to 'how green'. One small mistake or misuse can end up to much worse problems and catastrophies than conservative sources of energy cause.

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So what you are saying is you have no answers or ideas on how we can safely store the highly dangerous and toxic nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years?

Maybe you shouldn't go around promoting nuclear energy when neither you nor the nuclear industry have any real, cost-effective and safe storage ideas?

This is a trick question. I can pose many ideas for storing nuclear waste, but obviously all of them will have a flaw of some kind. I'll simply say that there are many places in the world where neither you nor I are allowed to go. I think that with good oversight and regulation these problems can be overcome.

Here in Sweden offshore wind farms have created safe places (once constructed) for the declining fish stock in the Baltic sea. So it's really a win-win situation.

But the older upper class don't want too see any wind farms because it "clutter" their view. Instead they want to have opencast coal mines or an toxic nuclear plant placed far away from them and instead near and around where poor and middle class people are living.

I think you are somewhat underestimating the sheer size of land that will be required for renewable energy gathering. A wind farm the size of Wales could power 1/3rd of a very energy efficient Britain. Good luck persuading every social class, RSPCA and a hundred other environmental groups that it's a good idea.

This is not an argument about aesthetics, but practicalities. The necessary volume of renewables will have their own environmental and social impacts, you cannot avoid that.

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This is a trick question. I can pose many ideas for storing nuclear waste, but obviously all of them will have a flaw of some kind. I'll simply say that there are many places in the world where neither you nor I are allowed to go. I think that with good oversight and regulation these problems can be overcome.

Still no answer I see... :rolleyes:

I think you are somewhat underestimating the sheer size of land that will be required for renewable energy gathering. A wind farm the size of Wales could power 1/3rd of a very energy efficient Britain. Good luck persuading every social class, RSPCA and a hundred other environmental groups that it's a good idea.

This is not an argument about aesthetics, but practicalities. The necessary volume of renewables will have their own environmental and social impacts, you cannot avoid that.

Yes and I think you are somehow overestimating the sheer size of land that will be required for renewable energy gathering.

But yes I agree with you that renewable energy will have great environmental and social impacts. It will create millions of new green high-tech jobs while saving the climate and our environment.

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Yes and I think you are somehow overestimating the sheer size of land that will be required for renewable energy gathering.

Read the book and find out, this is very easily quantified.

Let’s be realistic. What fraction of the country can we really imagine covering with windmills? Maybe 10%? Then we conclude: if we covered the windiest 10% of the country with windmills (delivering 2W/m2), we would be able to generate 20 kWh/d per person, which is half of the power used by driving an average fossil-fuel car 50 km per day. Britain’s onshore wind energy resource may be “huge,” but it’s evidently not as huge as our huge consumption. We’ll come to offshore wind later.

I should emphasize how generous an assumption I’m making. Let’s compare this estimate of British wind potential with current installed wind power worldwide. The windmills that would be required to provide the UK with 20 kWh/d per person amount to 50 times the entire wind hardware of Denmark; 7 times all the wind farms of Germany; and double the entire fleet of all wind turbines in the world. Please don’t misunderstand me. Am I saying that we shouldn’t bother building wind farms? Not at all. I’m simply trying to convey a helpful fact, namely that if we want wind power to truly make a difference, the wind farms must cover a very large area.

and so on...

The entire essence of the argument is this:

Because Britain currently gets 90% of its energy from fossil fuels, it’s no surprise that getting off fossil fuels requires big, big changes – a total change in the transport fleet; a complete change of most building heating systems; and a 10- or 20-fold increase in green power. Given the general tendency of the public to say “no” to wind farms, “no” to nuclear power, “no” to tidal barrages – “no” to anything other than fossil fuel power systems – I am worried that we won’t actually get off fossil fuels when we need to. Instead, we’ll settle for half-measures: slightly-more-efficient fossil-fuel power stations, cars, and home heating

systems; a fig-leaf of a carbon trading system; a sprinkling of wind turbines; an inadequate number of nuclear power stations. We need to choose a plan that adds up. It is possible to make a plan that adds up, but it’s not going to be easy. We need to stop saying no and start saying yes. We need to stop the Punch and Judy show and get building. If you would like an honest, realistic energy policy that adds up, please tell all your political representatives and prospective political candidates.

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Read the book and find out, this is very easily quantified.

So you have no answers for the deadly and toxic waste problems? Do you even care about it or will you just ignore it and hope other generations will deal and pay for the nuke-mess you are so strongly promoting?

Or maybe you are just here to promote this book of yours... <_<

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So you have no answers for the deadly and toxic waste problems? Do you even care about it or will you just ignore it and hope other generations will deal and pay for the nuke-mess you are so strongly promoting?

Or maybe you are just here to promote this book of yours... <_<

:huh:

When considering a national energy policy, we should make the most informed decision possible. How is this achieved? By weighing up the costs, benefits, dangers and so on. As I have clearly pointed out to you, I believe the benefits of nuclear power (namely due to the lack of a viable alternative) outweigh the costs and dangers.

However, your point is valid so we'll address it. In keeping with the numbers theme:

Isn’t the waste from nuclear reactors a huge problem?

As we noted in the opening of this chapter, the volume of waste from nuclear reactors is relatively small. Whereas the ash from ten coal-fired power stations would have a mass of four million tons per year (having a volume of roughly 40 litres per person per year), the nuclear waste from Britain’s ten nuclear power stations has a volume of just 0.84 litres per person per year – think of that as a bottle of wine per person per year.

Most of this waste is low-level waste. 7% is intermediate-level waste, and just 3% of it – 25ml per year – is high-level waste. The high-level waste is the really nasty stuff. It’s conventional to keep the high-level waste at the reactor for its first 40 years. It is stored in pools of water and cooled. After 40 years, the level of radioactivity has dropped 1000-fold. The level of radioactivity continues to fall; after 1000 years, the radioactivity of the high-level waste is about the same as that of uranium ore. Thus waste storage engineers need to make a plan to secure high-level waste for about 1000 years.

Is this a difficult problem? 1000 years is certainly a long time compared with the lifetimes of governments and countries! But the volumes are so small, I feel nuclear waste is only a minor worry, compared with all the other forms of waste we are inflicting on future generations. At 25ml per year, a lifetime’s worth of high-level nuclear waste would amount to less than 2 litres. Even when we multiply by 60 million people, the lifetime volume of nuclear waste doesn’t sound unmanageable: 105 000 cubic metres. That’s the same volume as 35 olympic swimming pools. If this waste were put in a layer one metre deep, it would occupy just one tenth of a square kilometre.

There are already plenty of places that are off-limits to humans. I may not trespass in your garden. Nor should you in mine. We are neither of us welcome in Balmoral. “Keep out†signs are everywhere. Downing Street, Heathrow airport, military facilities, disused mines – they’re all off limits. Is it impossible to imagine making another one-square-kilometre spot – perhaps deep underground – off limits for 1000 years? Compare this 25ml per year per person of high-level nuclear waste with the other traditional forms of waste we currently dump: municipal waste – 517 kg per year per person; hazardous waste – 83 kg per year per person.

People sometimes compare possible new nuclear waste with the nuclear waste we already have to deal with, thanks to our existing old reactors. Here are the numbers for the UK. The projected volume of “higher activity wastes†up to 2120, following decommissioning of existing nuclear facilities, is 478 000m3. Of this volume, 2% (about 10000m3) will be the high level waste (1290m3) and spent fuel (8150m3) that together contain 92% of the activity. Building 10 new nuclear reactors (10GW) would add another 31 900m3 of spent fuel to this total. That’s the same volume as ten swimming pools.

And how much does this cost?

The nuclear decommissioning authority has an annual budget of £2 billion for the next 25 years. The nuclear industry sold everyone in the UK 4 kWh/d for about 25 years, so the nuclear decommissioning authority’s cost is 2.3 p/kWh. That’s a hefty subsidy – though not, it must be said, as hefty as the subsidy currently given to offshore wind (7 p/kWh).

You have been making a lot of assumptions about this book. You've suggested that it's pro-nuclear, and I have responded that it is simply pro-arithmetic. I have no agenda and neither does the author. We simply want to see Britain realise it's goal of sustainable energy independence. If you are interested in sustainable energy independence, then I recommend it. If you want to keep your head in the sand, then carry on.

I think the next question we should ask is "How can we make private companies adhere to strict safety standards?" instead of a blanket refusal to consider what could of great benefit to a sustainable future.

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>>I think you are somehow overestimating the sheer size of land that will be required for renewable energy gathering.<<

From this thread:

To meet even a small proportion of current energy needs, you'd need to cover an absolutely enormous amount of space with wind turbines (to meet completely meet current US consumption, you'd need to cover the whole of Texas). To replace the energy produced by Canada's nuclear plants with hydroelectricity, you'd need to damn an area that was roughly the same size as the Province of Ontario.

To put it simply, large scale renewable energy production would have a substantial impact of the environment.

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There was a discussion panel on Slovenian TV the other day... The journalist was asking several 'older white men' about energy...

some even made sense with some comments, but said absolute rubbish in the next sentence..

Slovenia has pledged a bigger percentage of renewable energy by __________ to EU & one man said: 'Do you know how many solar panels you'll have to build to achieve that % if you build the 2nd nuke powerplant?!!'

/The minister gulped a bit lol!/

& also, when someone talked about how important renewable energy is, the journalist said, 'And the nuclear powerplant is the most important thing then?' :) lol!! /She rocks!! :)/

Everyone is talking of renewable energy, & in Slovenia they are still soo focused on the coal plant, block 6 - & nuke, block 2 (2nd nuke)!

And the coal plant alone is responsible for the whole budget for the next 10 years!!

'So there will be no money for the nuke then?' the journalist asked.

'Noo, we're looking for strategic partners' - apparently many have been walking around, asking to be 'strategic partners/investors!

So why is this a good opportunity for Slovenia? Why can't we be an investor somewhere else too? & let them deal with toxic trash & problems that may arise??

France is one of the dirtiest & most toxic & most polluted states in EU - please don't give them as example!!

& guess who is asking to be 'strategic investors'?! The French & the Japanese - where the main builders of the nuke technology are!! This is like the McDonalds franchise almost!! :(

& guess who is building the coal plant extension? The French!

& it's supposed to be 'much greener'?! (hmm, I wonder..?!)

The contract has been signed by the previous government & will cost us too much, because prices of energy were higher then!!

Why is the government telling German people to go solar & giving subsidies? Cause they banned the nukes!!

Who will subsidize solar if they plan to build nukes & coal plants?!

Personally, I don't think a solar panel on the roof would be 'ugly' - we have water solar heating panels & it's beautiful!

I'd just love to see some research if it affects health of inhabitants first.. If not, you can put solar cells on my roof anytime!! There are lots of roofs & barns to put the solar cells on, & interested people!! - if only the technology were cheaper or more subsidized!

It seems everyone would have to find own investors like the nuke people-?!! :eek:

Oh wait, the investors find them!! wonder why!!

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What do you mean about antimatter, arctics_huha?

as far as I know that is still in 'science fiction' stages..? any idea when they intend to make it feasible & how dangerous it could be?

Simon & others, can you take a look at this blog & comment? - it's about nuclear in USA, & how new nuke plants are supposed to be cheaper? http://www.buildbabybuild.com/uncategorize...ean-equal-green

The second article posted there is interesting too: it's about what the Obama administration is discussing?! http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/nuclear-0519.html

(Of course Obama is from a nuke state, & it's expected of him to sort of go into the nukes, though he was dancing a fine line of not saying no or yes in the elections!)

I wonder where he will turn!! (& fear that unless something really unexpected happens, they will go the nuke route too? though it sounds interesting where the article says no new ones have been built for 25 years-?! wow..!!

Maybe that is part of the reason for the 'new wave' - older plants might need to be recommissioned or closed down? I wonder..)

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hm..

i've heard that CERN are developing the antimatter now using the LHC...

but i think the antimatter will be a horrible mass of destruction...

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