View Poll Results: Should nuclear energy be phased out?
Yes 6 16.22%
No 30 81.08%
Maybe . . . 2 5.41%
Don't know 0 0%
Couldn't care less 0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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Should nuclear energy be phased out?

by WarrenPlatts
Tags: energy, nuclear, phased
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WarrenPlatts
#1
Jan29-06, 11:26 AM
P: 237
The last thread on this topic was shut down because it was unfair because there weren't enough choices, and there was too much editorializing in the OP. So we'll keep it simple this time.

Should nuclear energy be phased out?
  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Maybe . . .
  4. Don't know
  5. Couldn't care less
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alexandra
#2
Jan29-06, 11:34 AM
P: 603
I definitely think nuclear energy should be phased out because it can't be anything but a temporary solution. Why go the temporary route when it's going to be such a huge investment of resources (both intellectual and financial) and has a definite shelf-life when one can be investing in a variety of sustainable long-term solutions instead?
WarrenPlatts
#3
Jan29-06, 12:49 PM
P: 237
Lest anyone think it is impossible to phase out nuclear energy, keep in mind that Denmark has already done it. The Danes legally banned the construction of new nuclear power plants 1988, and their country seems to be getting along mostly OK.

The opposition to nuclear power is more than a grassroots national feeling. It's codified. In 1988, two years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, Denmark's parliament passed a law forbidding construction of nuclear plants. This is understandable. To this day, the effects of the radioactivity from Chernobyl, in the former Soviet Union, linger throughout Denmark.

Wind technology has filled the void.

Although the encouragement of wind energy wasn't written into the 1988 law, wind energy subsequently came of age. A large, lucrative industry grew up, making Denmark the leader in wind-energy technology. Now, this fourth-generation of clean-energy technology has spread globally.
article here

Azael
#4
Jan29-06, 01:02 PM
P: 324
Should nuclear energy be phased out?

Quote Quote by WarrenPlatts
Lest anyone think it is impossible to phase out nuclear energy, keep in mind that Denmark has already done it. The Danes legally banned the construction of new nuclear power plants 1988, and their country seems to be getting along mostly OK.


article here
Unfortunaly sweden has also passed folish laws like that and added that its illegal to do a cost comparions betwen nuclear power and other options. I think its also illegal to even conduct research on new reactor designs. Not even fusion research is allowed here because of those laws

IMO the most stupid descision ever made in sweden. Sweden gets roughly 50% of power from hydroelectricity and the rest from nuclear power. I would like it to stay that way.

Im strictly against phasing out nuclear power and very much want to se more nuclear power plants.
Denmark is ideal in location for wind power. Sweden doesnt have that luxury so we will be forced to import dirty power from germany.

http://www.ecolo.org/
Cyrus
#5
Jan29-06, 01:05 PM
Cyrus's Avatar
P: 4,777
Because Denmark uses soo much power that they NEED so many nuclear power plants................yea right. Denmarks power consumption is insignificant compared to the united states. All these comparisons are really stupid, quite frankly.

I definitely think nuclear energy should be phased out because it can't be anything but a temporary solution. Why go the temporary route when it's going to be such a huge investment of resources (both intellectual and financial) and has a definite shelf-life when one can be investing in a variety of sustainable long-term solutions instead?
Then I Strongly suggest you propose a viable alternative.
Orefa
#6
Jan29-06, 01:17 PM
P: 160
Yes in the grand scheme of things. As alexandra pointed out the benefits are temporary and the drawbacks are practically permanent so it's a bad tradeoff. But not today, not just yet. Such a transition is a painful one. And Azael still needs a job. I think we should first learn not to make so many babies that need to be kept warm and strive for a stable population. When you don't need to account for uncontrollable human growth, all resources become much easier to manage, electrical power included. I will now go hide in my cave to avoid tomatoes thrown by all the economists out there (who also need to grow them in exponential numbers to quell the growing number of heretic idealists like me).
WarrenPlatts
#7
Jan29-06, 01:46 PM
P: 237
In Denmark, they get by on 6,808 kWh per person per year, whereas in the U.S., the rate is 12,934 kWh per person per year (Globalis Indictors), yet the per capita GDP of Denmark ($30,940--ranked 5th in the world) is comparable to the U.S. ($35,750--ranked 4th in the world, after Luxembourg, Norway, and Ireland). This suggests one viable alternative to nuclear electricity in the United States: conservation. If America could cut back electricity consumption through increased efficiency by a mere 17%, that would cover the electricity lost by closing down all nuclear power plants.

Quote Quote by Orefa
Yes in the grand scheme of things. As alexandra pointed out the benefits are temporary and the drawbacks are practically permanent so it's a bad tradeoff. But not today, not just yet. Such a transition is a painful one.
We'll phase out nuclear energy gradually. We keep the NPPs we've got for now until their useful lifespan expires, and just not build any new ones.
motai
#8
Jan29-06, 01:50 PM
motai's Avatar
P: 496
Quote Quote by alexandra
I definitely think nuclear energy should be phased out because it can't be anything but a temporary solution. Why go the temporary route when it's going to be such a huge investment of resources (both intellectual and financial) and has a definite shelf-life when one can be investing in a variety of sustainable long-term solutions instead?
Once the investment is made, the cost of production of energy will pay itself off over time. Looking at any power company's daily usage, the nuclear plants are running as long as possible (it would be unproductive not to), and they would only use coal/gas during peak hours. Once the plant is finally paid off, the cost of energy per kilowatthour of nuclear energy is lower than say coal or natural gas.

In 1999, production costs (outlays for fuel and operations and maintenance) at nuclear power plants averaged 1.83 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh), lower than coal at 2.07 cents/kwh and still far lower than oil-fired plants at 3.18 cents/kwh and natural gas plants at 3.52 cents/kwh.

...

The 103 reactors operating in 31 states produced 571.2 billion kilowatt-hours through September 2000, compared to 543.5 billion kwh through September 1999, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration. For the full year, the nuclear energy industry in 1999 generated an all-time high of 728 billion kwh, providing 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs. Industry estimates show an expected four percent increase over that record production level for 2000.
http://www.nei.org/index.asp?catnum=4&catid=304

Nuclear energy is a long term solution, and while the supply of uranium is a finite resource (breeder reactors can help alleviate this), it is certainly more of an alternative to the predominantly natural gas based infrastructure that we have now.

Currently ~20% of US energy comes from nuclear plants. If we were to phase out this form of energy, we would have to burn more coal and oil to offset the difference (extrapolating from http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/steo/pub/10atab.html the roughly 800 billion KWH needed that nuclear power already provides). That and energy demand will most likely grow in the future.
russ_watters
#9
Jan29-06, 02:01 PM
Mentor
P: 22,288
Quote Quote by alexandra
I definitely think nuclear energy should be phased out because it can't be anything but a temporary solution.
What do you mean by "temporary"? How many years do you think we can go before running out of nuclear fuel?

I voted "no" because of nuclear power's track record and cost: it is safe, clean, inexpensive (relative to "alternative" energy sources), and plentiful.
russ_watters
#10
Jan29-06, 02:06 PM
Mentor
P: 22,288
Quote Quote by WarrenPlatts
Lest anyone think it is impossible to phase out nuclear energy, keep in mind that Denmark has already done it. The Danes legally banned the construction of new nuclear power plants 1988, and their country seems to be getting along mostly OK.
Of course it is possible, but your original question is whether or not we should.

Denmark currently gets 19% of its power from wind and all the rest from fossil fuel. Do you really consider that to be a good tradeoff?

http://www.cslforum.org/denmark.htm
Art
#11
Jan29-06, 02:10 PM
P: 1,511
Why not develop 'clean coal' power plants. The US and most other industrialised nations have massive amounts of coal available to them. Enough to last hundreds of years.

The cost of a clean coal power plant is around 25% dearer than a conventional one and the additional cost for sequestering the 750 million tons of carbon dioxide emitted each year is estimated to be around $31 million p/a.

This sounds a lot cheaper and safer than adding new nuclear power plants especially as 50% of the US electricity supply is already being produced in coal fired power plants and so the infrastructure is already in place.
Cyrus
#12
Jan29-06, 02:15 PM
Cyrus's Avatar
P: 4,777
What do you mean by "temporary"? How many years do you think we can go before running out of nuclear fuel?
There was a NOAA program a while back, its not that much. It said something to the effect that if we used all the nuclear power plants around the world, it would only last ~70? years. It would run out quite fast.

As for coal, its not enough to last hundreds of years, at most, ONE hundred years.
SOS2008
#13
Jan29-06, 02:19 PM
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SOS2008's Avatar
P: 1,554
Quote Quote by Orefa
Yes in the grand scheme of things. As alexandra pointed out the benefits are temporary and the drawbacks are practically permanent so it's a bad tradeoff. But not today, not just yet. Such a transition is a painful one. And Azael still needs a job. I think we should first learn not to make so many babies that need to be kept warm and strive for a stable population. When you don't need to account for uncontrollable human growth, all resources become much easier to manage, electrical power included. I will now go hide in my cave to avoid tomatoes thrown by all the economists out there (who also need to grow them in exponential numbers to quell the growing number of heretic idealists like me).
I brought up the matter of population control before as well. It definitely should be a part of any future planning of anything. Thanks to conservative movements, we have to do battle over something as basic as allowing distribution of condoms before we can even get around to the discussion of energy sources.

In regard to energy sources, I feel many things have been and continue to be neglected, such as providing government incentives for automakers, home builders, and of course corporations of every kind. There are already many things that could be implemented for better energy efficiency, but it’s not being done. The government must be behind it. And as I’ve said before, here in the U.S. we should have had a NASA style program for alternative energy years ago. Why are we still waiting? Go to the thread about Censorship at NASA, NOAA, etc. and see what our government has been about. What are the American people about? They are either apathetic or obsessed with distribution of condoms.

So what do we do now? Unfortunately we find ourselves in a position of little choice. We will have to go on using what ever is realistically at our disposal—though some may be the lesser of evils, such as the clean coal Art suggested.

In another forum the topic of methane arose. It is becoming a great energy source in China, and I recently saw a program about a recycling plant here in the U.S. that is powered with methane from the nearby landfill. This would also help reduce a greenhouse gas, no? I say we should all install stoves with pipes to the sewer.
Cyrus
#14
Jan29-06, 02:28 PM
Cyrus's Avatar
P: 4,777
Quote Quote by sos
In regard to energy sources, I feel many things have been and continue to be neglected, such as providing government incentives for automakers, home builders, and of course corporations of every kind.
Yes and no. While its true that the American auto makers clearly don’t give a damn about fuel consumption, look at all the SUV's people drive, (and don’t get me started on that I cant stand SUV drivers), allot of factories these days are much more environmentally friendly. i.e., paper mills and logging companies will use the saw dust and burn it to power the machines in the factory, instead of just throwing it away. *Some* factories have gotten allot better in this sense, although some have not. (But overall compared to 1970 it is alot better)

Things like wind power, solar energy, cleaner coals, are all great, and should be built and used. But an informed person would know that these will in no way, I repeat, no way replace nuclear or fossil fuels. We can do allot to alleviate the usage of resources, as we are the most wasteful nation on the planet. Not wasteful in the effect of careless, but wasteful in terms of everything we make is disposable. We don’t build anything to last anymore. This is why we waste so much. Everything is one time use, and comes in excessive packaging that wastes allot of material.
SOS2008
#15
Jan29-06, 02:43 PM
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P: 1,554
Quote Quote by cyrusabdollahi
...a llot of factories these days are much more environmentally friendly. i.e., paper mills and logging companies will use the saw dust and burn it to power the machines in the factory, instead of just throwing it away. *Some* factories have gotten allot better in this sense, although some have not. (But overall compared to 1970 it is alot better)

Things like wind power, solar energy, cleaner coals, are all great, and should be built and used. But an informed person would know that these will in no way, I repeat, no way replace nuclear or fossil fuels. We can do allot to alleviate the usage of resources, as we are the most wasteful nation on the planet. Not wasteful in the effect of careless, but wasteful in terms of everything we make is disposable. We donít build anything to last anymore. This is why we waste so much. Everything is one time use, and comes in excessive packaging that wastes allot of material.
I'm not talking about pollutants; I'm talking about energy use and efficiency. And as I said, because of our neglect, we now have no choice but to use energy sources at our disposal (which unfortunately includes nuclear). I completely agree about wastefulness, and packaging gets back to corporations, not just individuals.
Art
#16
Jan29-06, 02:45 PM
P: 1,511
Quote Quote by cyrusabdollahi
There was a NOAA program a while back, its not that much. It said something to the effect that if we used all the nuclear power plants around the world, it would only last ~70? years. It would run out quite fast.

As for coal, its not enough to last hundreds of years, at most, ONE hundred years.
According to this article there's enough coal left to last 300 years. By that time I imagine we will have developed completely new energy sources. http://www.nrdc.org/onearth/05fal/coal1.asp Also some rough studies done in the 90s found there were already sufficient known geological areas identified, suitable for storing 50,000 billion tonnes of CO2 - more than will be produced in the next several hundred years.

The waste CO2 is also already being used in Canada and other places to extend the life of otherwise dead oilfields by pumping it down under pressure to force more oil out.

So although coal is a fossil fuel and fossil fuels have a bad name it seems it doesn't have to be that way. Coal burning power plants can have zero harmful emmisions, as demonstrated by some of the proto type plants already built.
Azael
#17
Jan29-06, 02:48 PM
P: 324
Quote Quote by SOS2008
I brought up the matter of population control before as well. It definitely should be a part of any future planning of anything. Thanks to conservative movements, we have to do battle over something as basic as allowing distribution of condoms before we can even get around to the discussion of energy sources.
Trying to controll the population of the rich countries would be totaly wasted effort since many of those countries already have aging and diminishing populations. Only imigration keeps the numbers up.

In china, india, middle east population controll would help to prevent a explosion in power usage. But in the western world I se no need for it at all, it would probably hurt our societs alot to try and keep population growth down.

Goverments need to step in and restrict energy consumption if anything is to be done.
But if the people have a chooise betwen giving up some quality of life or wanting more nuclear power plants no one would vote no to nuclear power. I sure as hell wouldnt.
Cyrus
#18
Jan29-06, 02:50 PM
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P: 4,777
Well, nuclear power was not out of our neglect. It really was thought at one point that ALL our power would be nuclear, and we would use NO fossil fuels.

With the industrial revolution, we really never had any choice on our use for fossil fuels for the last 200 years. Japan is a country to take notice at. They have more than doubled in terms of technology in the last 30 years, but reamain nearly the same in total energy consumption. We, however, have doubled in energy use for the same amount of technological change.


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