# Law against nuclear power?

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## Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi there nuclear lovers!

Myself lives in sweden, and here it is illegal to do research in nuclear power (experimental), and to build new reactors, research in new fissible nuclides and so on.

And also barley no money is invested in the reactors we do have, so they are not in good shape.. So it has become a very bad "spiral" in our country regarding nuclear power.

Do you know if any other countries have this "twisted" law against better and more safe nuclear power?

My self think it is the same as forbidding research in better medicines. Many people get killed every year due to this, that the medicines have bad effects on some etc...but not one single person has been killed due to nuclear power in our country.

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Check out the N laws of New Zealand. There is a very stong stand in that country against N weapons and many of the same sentiments exist about N power.

I'm not sure if N power is outlawed or just that the compliance costs would be that high its not worth it.

Funny considering Lord Rutherford was from New Zealand.

Morbius
Dearly Missed
Check out the N laws of New Zealand. There is a very stong stand in that country against N weapons and many of the same sentiments exist about N power.

I'm not sure if N power is outlawed or just that the compliance costs would be that high its not worth it.

Funny considering Lord Rutherford was from New Zealand.
engineroom,

Yes - New Zealand and certain ports in Japan don't allow nuclear reactors in their
jurisdiction. This creates a bit of a problem for the US Navy because the vast majority
of our aircraft carriers are nuclear powered.

Recently, when Admiral Mullens, the current Chief of Naval Operations; was named to
be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; C-SPAN ran the video of the Senate
confirmation hearings from a year ago when Mullens was named CNO.

There was concern by Sen Nelson of Florida about the aircraft carrier U.SS. John F.
Kenndedy. Evidently the Kennedy was in need of some refurbishment, and it was
stated that the Navy keeps the Kennedy around so that they have a conventionally
powered aircraft carrier in case they need to station a carrier in a port with a "no-nuke"
policy.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Andrew Mason
Homework Helper
Making laws based on imperfect, incomplete or incorrect information can be very destructive. Good intentions are irrelevant. The Swedish nuclear laws may be a case in point.

The world prohibition against all use of DDT may have been another. DDT is still the most effective means of controlling mosquitos and the malaria they carry. A reasonable program for careful use of DDT might have saved millions of lives. Millions died directly due to the DDT ban. We are only now realizing that and reintroducing DDT in a measured and careful manner.

The bottom line: if you oppose something, you have an obligation to understand it thoroughly. If you do, you will rarely advocate that a complete ban is the best solution. If something is not economic, you don't have to pass a law to ban it.

AM

StuMyers
I've always been a very enthusiastic supporter of nuclear power, but I have to admit to a certain degree of apprehension regarding naval reactors. Bottom line is, they're classified and I don't know how they work. I read that they are PWR designed, but before I let them into my harbor I'd want to study the details.

engineroom,

Yes - New Zealand and certain ports in Japan don't allow nuclear reactors in their
jurisdiction. This creates a bit of a problem for the US Navy because the vast majority
of our aircraft carriers are nuclear powered.

Recently, when Admiral Mullens, the current Chief of Naval Operations; was named to
be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; C-SPAN ran the video of the Senate
confirmation hearings from a year ago when Mullens was named CNO.

There was concern by Sen Nelson of Florida about the aircraft carrier U.SS. John F.
Kenndedy. Evidently the Kennedy was in need of some refurbishment, and it was
stated that the Navy keeps the Kennedy around so that they have a conventionally
powered aircraft carrier in case they need to station a carrier in a port with a "no-nuke"
policy.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist
Actually New Zealand banned any ship equipped with N weapons but this has extended to N power and ships carring N waste. As the US navy have a neither confirm or deny policy concerning whether their ships have N weapons on board or not they can't enter New Zealand waters. A conventional powered US navy ship that is declared as not being N weapons capabity is welcome to enter a NZ port.

After the French goverment committed an act of international terrorism in a New Zealand port by bombing the Rainbow Warrior vessel the public opinion of New Zealand became entrenched towards a No Nuclear viewpoint.

New Zealand has been very consistant in its approach to Nuclear weapons and consisitly objects and protects anytime a test is (was) conducted. About 5 years ago a shippment of N watse was moved from France to Japan and this shipment was not allowed in New Zealand waters, I think the NZ navy shadowed the ship while it was close to NZ waters to be sure they stayed out.

It is fair to say that the antinuclear laws in New Zealnd are more a philispocial ideal than a technical problem.

Making laws based on imperfect, incomplete or incorrect information can be very destructive. Good intentions are irrelevant. The Swedish nuclear laws may be a case in point.
AM

Just because one can should one?? I don't mean the law by that statement.

Swedish & New Zealand nuclear laws are reflecting strongly held opinions of the majority of the population in those counties - demoracy in action. Laws against N power, N waste & N weapons are never going to be bassed on technical reasons but moral reasons. These laws are quite different to laws that place technical paramenters and restictions on the how or where. These laws ask and challenge the fundemental why?

StuMyers
How can producing electricity be a moral issue?

It seems that the problem is an entire generation whose first word association after the word 'nuclear' is the word 'bomb'.

Maybe the NucE's need a re-branding? Call it plasma-power or something, rather than next-gen nuclear. Seems to be working for NASA... nuclear pulse propulsion is re-branded external pulsed plasma propulsion. No sign of the words 'bomb' or 'nuclear'.

Just because one can should one?? I don't mean the law by that statement.

Swedish & New Zealand nuclear laws are reflecting strongly held opinions of the majority of the population in those counties - demoracy in action. Laws against N power, N waste & N weapons are never going to be bassed on technical reasons but moral reasons. These laws are quite different to laws that place technical paramenters and restictions on the how or where. These laws ask and challenge the fundemental why?
Not quite. In sweden the laws came into place after a referendum where you could vote no to nuclear power in three different ways. But there was no wat to vote for more nuclear power.

The options was.

1. Keep it as long as it is needed until it can be replaced by renewables. Finish the reactors currently beeing built, prohibit building new ones.
2. Was basicly the same as 1 except some minor twists.
3. Shut down all reactors withint 10 years.

The results where
1. 18.9%
2. 39.1%
3. 38.7%

Obviously the referendum was a big pile of ****. Atleast a overwhelming majority wanted to keep the existing reactors. But there is no telling how many wanted more nuclear power.

Today 31% wants to build new reactors, 48% wants to keep the existing ones as long as possible and 19% wants to shut it all down.

The reason things havent changed in sweden is because 2 small parties are keeping the entire energy policy in sweden hostage. The big left wing party(social democrats) are not quite big enough to get there own majority, so they have to cooperate with the communist party and the green party. But the commies and the greens want to get rid of nuclear power. The greens and commies togheter get around 10% of the votes.

On the right side 3 of the parties want to build more nuclear power while the fourth has strong roots in the anti nuclear movement. The fourth party gets around 7-8% of the votes.

So a 18 % minority is keeping sweden stuck on a nuclear phase out that has no public support anymore. Doesnt matter if right or left wins elections, it the same bull**** on both sides.

On the bright side it is no longer illegal to fund research into new reactors(previously only waste management research was legal and that included transmutation). Its also no longer illegal to make a economic comparison betwen nuclear and other energy sources. So all the brainwashing laws are gone.

Homework Helper
Azael:

Indeed, much have been better in our country, but still far away from what many other countries have.

Good post!

StuMyers
Not quite. In sweden the laws came into place after a referendum where you could vote no to nuclear power in three different ways. But there was no wat to vote for more nuclear power.

The options was.

1. Keep it as long as it is needed until it can be replaced by renewables. Finish the reactors currently beeing built, prohibit building new ones.
2. Was basicly the same as 1 except some minor twists.
3. Shut down all reactors withint 10 years.
Number one is kind of interesting. Exactly what makes a 'renewable'? 5 billion year supply? 600 million? 500,000? From what I understand, there is a nearly limitless (on human life scales) supply of uranium and thorium.

Number one is kind of interesting. Exactly what makes a 'renewable'? 5 billion year supply? 600 million? 500,000? From what I understand, there is a nearly limitless (on human life scales) supply of uranium and thorium.
It seems like it is up to the green fanatics to decide what is renewable or not :grumpy: Imo splitting energy production into renewable and non renewable is utterly pointless. Anything lasting more than 200 years should be sufficient. The whole concept of renewable is laughable since it hides whats most important. How much polutants the energy source release into the environment. I hate to se biomass burning counted as renewable energy despite its negative environmental and health consequenses.

Offcourse the greens are trying there best to fool the public that uranium will run out within 50 years. I dont know how many debate articles I have seen in swedish newspapers where the biggest swedish environmental group is pushing that message. Getting a rebuttal printed in same papers are all but easy.

Morbius
Dearly Missed
It is fair to say that the antinuclear laws in New Zealnd are more a philispocial ideal than a technical problem.
engineroom,

It's neither a "technical problem", or "philosophical ideal"; it's just plain popular
ignorance and stupidity!!!

Hey, if New Zealand doesn't want to allow a Nimitz carrier into their ports - it's their loss.

The US Navy has tried to be accomodating - that's one of the reasons for keeping the
conventionally powered U.S.S. John F. Kennedy. It is well known that the USA has
nuclear weapons in its inventories that will fit on aircraft that the Kennedy supports.

However, I believe that the US Navy has stated that surface ships no longer routinely
carry nuclear weapons. The only Navy vessels that routinely carry nuclear weapons
are the Trident subs. The Navy ackowledges that the subs have the Trident missiles;
they just decline to confirm whether those missiles actually have nuclear warheads
installed in them. [ Like who doesn't know it - but that's the policy ]

Since the Kennedy could carry nuclear weapons, but routinely doesn't - do you know
if New Zealand would welcome a visit by the Kennedy?

The USA doesn't owe New Zealand anything. Most nations welcome the
US Armed Forces because that puts them under the USA's military "umbrella".

Do you know if the New Zealanders are so ignorant as to also exclude radio-pharmeceuticals?

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Morbius
Dearly Missed
These laws are quite different to laws that place technical paramenters and restictions on the how or where. These laws ask and challenge the fundemental why?
engineroom,

I would bet that if the former USSR had designs on New Zealand; they wouldn't have had
ANY PROBLEM with the USA showing up with nuclear arsenal in hand.

The USA was the only power that could force the then expansionistic USSR to back down,
and stay in line.

The present day Russia retains and maintains the nuclear stockpile of their former
incarnation - the USSR. There are other powers out there with nuclear weapons also.

As a counter to that - there stands the USA - so nuclear armed expansionistic powers
can not use their nuclear arsenals to advantage.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Morbius
Dearly Missed
Obviously the referendum was a big pile of ****.
Azael,

Yes - you can tell that from the way the referendum was constructed - they give the
pro-nukes two options in order to spilt their votes. That way a minority position can
win.

It's no different than having an election with 3 candidates - two of which are of the same
political philosophy. Even if a majority of voters are of one political opinion - they split
their votes between the two choices - and the minority view will win because they have
only one choice.

You can truly tell that that referendum was authored by some political shills that wanted
to foist their view on the populace - so they "rigged" the election in the manner I describe
above.

Some demonstration of Democracy. NOT!!!

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Morbius
Dearly Missed
Number one is kind of interesting. Exactly what makes a 'renewable'? 5 billion year supply? 600 million? 500,000? From what I understand, there is a nearly limitless (on human life scales) supply of uranium and thorium.
StuMyers,

There's enough to last a VERY LONG time.

Long before we run out of fission fuel; scientists will have mastered nuclear fusion.

Then 1 out of every 6,000 or 7,000 atoms of hydrogen in the ocean will be nuclear fusion
fuel. That's an awful lot of energy that could carry the world until the Sun becomes a
red giant star and incinerates the Earth.

That's another thing - solar and wind don't offer our species the ability to escape the
certain destruction when the sun becomes a red giant. Nuclear power would be our
only hope for mankind to survive into the indefinite future.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Homework Helper
StuMyers,

There's enough to last a VERY LONG time.

Long before we run out of fission fuel; scientists will have mastered nuclear fusion.

Then 1 out of every 6,000 or 7,000 atoms of hydrogen in the ocean will be nuclear fusion
fuel. That's an awful lot of energy that could carry the world until the Sun becomes a
red giant star and incinerates the Earth.

That's another thing - solar and wind don't offer our species the ability to escape the
certain destruction when the sun becomes a red giant. Nuclear power would be our
only hope for mankind to survive into the indefinite future.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist
And nuclear bombs will protect us from asteriods :) [from Bruce Willis - Armageddon]

russ_watters
Mentor
Laws against N power, N waste & N weapons are never going to be bassed on technical reasons but moral reasons. These laws are quite different to laws that place technical paramenters and restictions on the how or where. These laws ask and challenge the fundemental why?
StuMyers said:
How can producing electricity be a moral issue?
This is the engineering forum, but I would say it is quite clearly morally wrong to subject your populace to pollution, war, and even higher prices based on an irrational fear of the unknown. Killing people because you don't understand the alternatives should not be morally acceptable.

Morbius
Dearly Missed
And nuclear bombs will protect us from asteriods [from Bruce Willis - Armageddon]
malawi_glenn,

Yes - actually if the orbit of the asteroid is eccentric enough so that we won't have
a large lead time - a nuclear bomb is the ONLY thing that might save us.

If the orbit of the asteroid is such that it is near by and we determine that it is going to
hit many, many orbits in the future - and hence many years in the future; then there are
a number of technologies that can be employed; because we have many, many years
to give the asteroid a gentle push.

However, if an asteroid comes screaming out of the Ort Cloud beyond the orbit of Pluto;
and this is the first we see it, and it is going to impact the Earth on THIS orbit - then
we don't have many years to give it a gentle push. We have to give it a BIG push NOW!!!

We have to provide the ENERGY that is needed to put this asteroid into a different orbit.

If it is a big asteroid, what is the one thing that can carry a LOT of energy in a package
that is light enough for us to send into space? A nuclear bomb!!!

You also have to understand HOW a nuclear bomb is used. Don't listen to the idiots
in the media that say "Oh - nuclear bomb - you're going to blow it up and that's going
to make matters worse". Those people are IDIOTS!!!

The idea with a nuclear bomb is you want to PUSH the asteroid into a new orbit; just like
the rockets and gravity tractors. You explode the bomb NEAR the asteroid. The
radiation from the bomb ablates the surface and pushes the asteroid. The push will
work even if the asteroid is a "rubble pile" because all the pieces are irradiated. [ You
can't push on a "rubble pile" with a rocket that "docks" with the asteroid.]

So YES - nuclear weapons may be our only hope!!!

Let's just hope that the asteroid is not too big for a nuke to push!!!

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Andrew Mason
Homework Helper
However, if an asteroid comes screaming out of the Ort Cloud beyond the orbit of Pluto; and this is the first we see it, and it is going to impact the Earth on THIS orbit - then we don't have many years to give it a gentle push. We have to give it a BIG push NOW!!!

We have to provide the ENERGY that is needed to put this asteroid into a different orbit.

If it is a big asteroid, what is the one thing that can carry a LOT of energy in a package that is light enough for us to send into space? A nuclear bomb!!!

You also have to understand HOW a nuclear bomb is used. Don't listen to the idiots in the media that say "Oh - nuclear bomb - you're going to blow it up and that's going to make matters worse". Those people are IDIOTS!!!

The idea with a nuclear bomb is you want to PUSH the asteroid into a new orbit; just like the rockets and gravity tractors. You explode the bomb NEAR the asteroid. The radiation from the bomb ablates the surface and pushes the asteroid. The push will work even if the asteroid is a "rubble pile" because all the pieces are irradiated. [ You can't push on a "rubble pile" with a rocket that "docks" with the asteroid.]

So YES - nuclear weapons may be our only hope!!!

Let's just hope that the asteroid is not too big for a nuke to push!!!
Interesting possibility.

Here is a quick calculation to see if it is possible:

Let's assume that an asteroid is about 1 km in radius and has the density of iron. I calculate that it would have a mass of about 3x10^13 kg. (4x10^9 m^3 at 8000 kg/m^3).

Let's also suppose that it is moving toward the earth at a speed of 25 km/sec (2.5x10^6 m/sec)

In order to move it an earth radius (6x10^6 m) from a path heading for the centre of the earth, at a distance from the earth of 2.5 lunar orbits (10^12 m), you would have to move it that far in 10^12/2.5x10^6 seconds = 4x10^5 seconds. So you would have to make it move at an average speed (perpendicular to its path) of 6x10^6/4x10^5 = 15 m/sec.

That means imparting an energy of .5mv^2 = .5*3x10^13*(15)^2 = 3*10^15 Joules.

Now, assuming that a nuclear explosion is 1% efficient in converting nuclear energy into actual kinetic energy of the asterioid, you would need a bomb that produced on the order of 3x10^17 Joules of energy. Considering that the bomb dropped on Hiroshima released about 5.2 x 10^13 Joules of energy, you would need a bomb roughly 10,000 times as powerful to move the asteroid.

I hope my calculation is wrong, but I am afraid that even nuclear bombs might not do the trick.

AM

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Morbius
Dearly Missed
.
Now, assuming that a nuclear explosion is 1% efficient in converting nuclear energy into actual kinetic energy of the asterioid, you would need a bomb that produced on the order of 3x10^17 Joules of energy. Considering that the bomb dropped on Hiroshima released about 5.2 x 10^13 Joules of energy, you would need a bomb roughly 10,000 times as powerful to move the asteroid.

I hope my calculation is wrong, but I am afraid that even nuclear bombs might not do the trick.
Andrew,

A 1 Megaton H-bomb puts out an energy of 4.186 x 10^15 Joules.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaton

You are low on your estimate of the energy conversion. The asteroid is going to
subtend a certain solid angle with respect to the bomb - and any radiation from the
bomb that is in that solid angle is going to be absorbed by the asteriod. That energy
is going to end up as "blow-off".

In any case, if a nuclear weapon doesn't have enough energy to deflect the asteroid;
nothing else is going to have enough energy.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Andrew Mason
Homework Helper
Andrew,

A 1 Megaton H-bomb puts out an energy of 4.186 x 10^15 Joules.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megaton

You are low on your estimate of the energy conversion.
Actually, I think I am high. Most of the energy will be in the form of heat. Assuming that it is reasonably efficient in converting heat into kinetic energy of the bomb mass - 50%, and half the bomb mass strikes the asteroid (the other half has to blast off into space), that means that 1/4 of the energy of the bomb is converted into kinetic energy of matter striking the asteroid.

If the bomb weighs 4 tonnes, then 1 tonne of matter containing 10^15 joules of kinetic energy strikes the asteroid. This means the asteroid received an impluse of:

$$mv = m\sqrt{\frac{2KE}{m}} = M\Delta V$$ (M = mass of asteroid; V = speed of asteroid)

$$\Delta V = \frac{m}{M}\sqrt{\frac{2KE}{m}} = \frac{10^3}{3x10^{13}}\sqrt{\frac{2x10^{15}}{{10^3}}} = 3x10^{-10}*1.4x10^6 =4.2\times 10^{-4} \text{m/sec.}$$

It will barely move the asteroid at all.

AM

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Morbius
Dearly Missed
Actually, I think I am high. Most of the energy will be in the form of heat.
Andrew,

You have to be careful which formulas you use. A lot of the formulas from the
weapons effects handbooks tell you how much heat is put out by a bomb exploding
here on Earth.

However, a lot of that heat actually started life as radiation. It was transformed into
heat as a result of interactions with the air.

However, in space; there is no air - so the radiation component will be higher than
what is usually quoted.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Morbius
Dearly Missed
If the bomb weighs 4 tonnes, then 1 tonne of matter containing 10^15 joules of kinetic energy strikes the asteroid. This means the asteroid received an impluse of:...
Andrew,

The mechanism is not the bomb mass hitting the asteroid.

The mechanism is that the radiation from the bomb ablates the material of the
asteroid itself, and the blowoff of that material is what gives the asteroid the
impulse.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

Morbius
Dearly Missed
It will barely move the asteroid at all.
Andrew,

Depending on when and where you alter the asteroids orbit; even a very small change
in velocity can alter the orbit enough to miss the Earth.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist