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Anyone think these people sound contradictory?

  1. Mar 11, 2005 #1

    Pengwuino

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    Ya know what ive always found weird and possibly contradictory? People who protest nuclear power plants. Why? because usually these are the 'hippies' who protest anything and everything that pollutes or causes CO2. Doesnt it seem contradictory because the only pollution nuclear power creates is the relatively small amount created when the material is mined. I dunno, just sharing my thoughts.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 11, 2005 #2
    While I agree with you in principle I disagree with your facts. Nuclear plans produce a little more than mining waste. Kim-wipes, primary samples, secondary samples, spent fuel, waste water, etc are all waste byproducts of nuclear power which needs to be stored for long periods of time. Granted most waste is low level (really not contaminated but exposed to potential contamination) however, once classified as waste it must be treated as such for 1923798127598 years(just kidding about the time frame).

    I was an operator at a plant for about 4 years and I know we produced more than mining waste as a byproduct.

    Additionally, there's also the chernobyle (spelling? too lazy to look up) disaster as well as 3-mile island. We don't use positiove alpha-T plants in the US or in most of the world so that type of disaster should be virtually impossible but it still scares people. Nuclear plants do have accident(Fermi II released low level waste water into lake Erie a few years back, Davis Bessie was shut down for a near primary rupture, Fermi II was just shut down Fermi I almost took out the SE Michigan/NW Ohio region) which scares people. The fear of drinking water that contains deuterium(GASP) is frightening while a little CO2 never killed anyone w/ cancer. That's the mentality IMO.

    I'm all for a few more plants but as long as fuel prices stay reasonable and coal fired plants supply enough power then we'll not see a nuc plant built any time soon.

    My 2 cents.
     
  4. Mar 11, 2005 #3

    Pengwuino

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    Oh yah i was way too general but really, spent fuel and samples nad waste water and such are pollutants and all but we can control their dispersal... but these people usually never know about their existance anyway. And these people are protesting it mainly because the possibility of a meltdown when hell, the other option (besides incredibly expensive and unreliable wind and solar) is emitting CO2 through other methods which guarantees problems. I dunno, i hate hippies :D
     
  5. Mar 11, 2005 #4

    mathman

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    A meltdown did happen - Three Mile Island. That incident stopped the U.S. nuclear power industry in its tracks. There have been no more nuclear power plants started since then.
     
  6. Mar 11, 2005 #5

    Morbius

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    mathman,

    Of course the nuclear industry was in trouble BEFORE the accident at TMI.

    The last reactor that was ordered that was completed was one that was
    ordered in 1974.

    So the accident at Three Mile Island II wasn't the death blow that some
    claim. The nuclear industry was already "mired" 5 years before TMI.
    [ TMI didn't help, of course ]

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Physicist
     
  7. Mar 11, 2005 #6

    ohwilleke

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    But, while the last reactor that was ordered thta was completed was 1974, there were a whole lot of orders (on the order of a dozen or so in an industry where only about 110 ever got completed), that were cancelled, with TMI playing an important part in that decision, and several more where TMI was a factor in a decision to convert existing nuclear power plants in process to conventional fuels.
     
  8. Mar 11, 2005 #7

    Pengwuino

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    I thought it wasnt an actual meltdown, just an overheating of the reactor.
     
  9. Mar 11, 2005 #8

    Astronuc

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    Staff: Mentor

    Core damage was severe (fuel and stainless steel components melted) and there was partial melting of the pressure vessel. However, the core debris did not melt through the pressure vessel.
     
  10. Mar 12, 2005 #9
  11. Mar 14, 2005 #10

    Morbius

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    ohwilleke,

    I'm afraid not.

    There was ONE other plant that was ordered post-1974 - and that was
    cancelled.

    The dozens that were cancelled, were cancelled pre-TMI accident.

    Some utilities had plans to order reactors - like Consumer's Power's
    Midland plant - but they never were ordered in the wake of TMI.

    No existing nuclear power plants were converted to coal.

    One nuclear power plant that was under construction - the Zimmer
    plant in Ohio, was completed with a natural gas boiler following
    cancellation of the reactor portion of the plant.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Physicist
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2005
  12. Mar 14, 2005 #11

    Morbius

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    Pengwuino,

    No - it was what engineers would call a meltdown - extensive melting of
    the zirconium cladding that holds the fuel pellets in position.

    What is was not was the "fantasy meltdown" - the unsubstantiated claims
    that a loss of coolant would lead to the fuel melting through the reactor
    vessel, and through the concrete floor of the containment building, and
    down into the ground to the water table; and culminating in a massive
    steam explosion with dispersal of radioactivity.

    This latter case doesn't have any science behind it - it is pure speculation
    designed to frighten people.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Physicist
     
  13. Mar 14, 2005 #12

    ohwilleke

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    I'll quote Astronuc here:
    whom I'm incline to agree with as I've seen similar numbers myself. The industry claims that sixty nuclear reactor orders were cancelled after Three Mile Island and makes a rather unpersausive claim that Three Mile Island had nothing to do with it (neglecting the fact that while fossil fuel plants were also cancelled that those cancellations were replaced by many new orders for fossil fuel plants since 1979 as well) www.nei.org/documents/Fact Sheet_Three Mile Island Myths and Facts_0304.pdf See also, e.g., http://www.ieee-virtual-museum.org/collection/event.php?taid=&id=3456831&lid=1

    The Hartford Courant puts the number at 35 cancellations. http://www.unplugsalem.org/new_plants.htm

    I was conservative and put the figure in the dozens.

    Zimmer was the conversion example most prominently in my mind wrt the conversion (as I grew up near there), but I had forgetten that it was converted to natural gas rather than coal.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2005
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