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Nuclear energy: for or against?

  1. Jun 13, 2013 #1
    What are your thoughts on nuclear energy ? Are you for it or against?

    In my opinion the only cons are that fact that they cost large amounts to build/maintain, as well as they develop radioactive waste. But the waste can be dealt with, thing plants can power entire cities while a regular power plant is only local energy. Should we build more nuclear plants or no? Give me your thoughts!

    Thanks :)
     
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  3. Jun 13, 2013 #2

    russ_watters

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    I agree!
     
  4. Jun 13, 2013 #3
    Aside from the obvious inherent danger (see: every nuclear disaster ever), and thw radioactive waste (that can be dealt with) nuclear energy is one of the safest*, and easily (used loosely) harnessed forms of energy. I mean, if the waste (spent fuel rods, condensed cooling water, etc.) is disposed of properly, then there's virtually no pollution. I'm perfectly fine living near (about 20 miles) from the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Station.

    IOW, I'm all for it.
     
  5. Jun 13, 2013 #4
    Why should we switch from our regular sources to nuclear?
     
  6. Jun 13, 2013 #5

    russ_watters

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    It is plentiful, domestic, clean and cheaper than alternatives with similar attributes.
     
  7. Jun 13, 2013 #6
    Indeed. Besides, every other attempt to change away from it has been a dismal failure resulting in more fossil fuels being used

     
  8. Jun 13, 2013 #7

    wukunlin

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    imo risks of nuclear energy has been blown way out of proportion by the media and the so-called "environmentalists"
     
  9. Jul 6, 2013 #8

    BruceW

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    it's not like we have a choice about building nuclear power stations, since fossil fuels are running out and 'renewable energy' is not nearly enough to supply our energy needs. The new nuclear power stations should be built right, so if something does go wrong, the power station 'melts down' (or whatever the term is) in a safe way, such that the surrounding area is not at risk.

    I would really like to see nuclear fusion provide our energy, but there is not quite the technology yet. Fusion would not need uranium fuel (like fission does). Also, fusion would not create nuclear waste. Also, I would like to see other 'renewable sources' supply our energy, maybe this is possible in the distant future, if we keep funding renewable energy projects, so that the technology progresses to something that can actually provide all our energy.
     
  10. Jul 13, 2013 #9
    Yes it does, it just doesn't produce as much. Even so, the alleged nuclear waste problem is not technical (contrary to the Church of Gaia's claims) but rather it's a political problem.
     
  11. Jul 13, 2013 #10

    BruceW

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    what's the waste? Helium? that's not really a problem right? we can just use it to make balloons and have a party :)
     
  12. Jul 13, 2013 #11

    Since it's in a nuclear reaction I'm pretty sure it's going to be radioactive for a while.
     
  13. Jul 13, 2013 #12

    Astronuc

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    Fusion reactions that produce neutrons will necessarily result in activated materials, e.g., in the first wall and related structures. If there is a Li blanket, then tritium will be produced, which is fuel, but nevertheless radioactive. When parts of the first wall are removed - they will have to be sent somewhere while the radionuclides decay, or otherwise diposed as radioactive waste.

    Some concepts have a fission blanket, so that certainly would produce fission products, aka nuclear waste.
     
  14. Jul 13, 2013 #13

    lavinia

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    To me we could use nuclear energy for a short time say 50 years then switch to some other source like fusion. It would be far cleaner than fossil fuels and it would provide vast amounts of energy. Its short life span would tend to avoid any long term risks.
     
  15. Jul 14, 2013 #14

    BruceW

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    ah, right. the magnetic field can't contain stray neutrons. I guess fusion is not so great as I thought. still pretty cool, I think.
     
  16. Jul 14, 2013 #15

    Astronuc

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    There are some aneutronic reactions, e.g., d+3He or p+11B, but they are difficult from a pressure/temperature standpoint, and 3He is exceedingly rare and only available from decay of 3H or certain spallation reactions. Making fuel from nuclear spallation reactions is not practical or economical.
     
  17. Jul 14, 2013 #16

    It is, but not the reasons you first thought. Even though we have thousands of years of fissionables, we have even more fusionables. That's the real reason why the environmentalists opposed fission and will also try to scare people about fusion: Abundant, inexpensive energy.
     
  18. Jul 14, 2013 #17

    BruceW

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    that's why they oppose fission and fusion?!? You mean that they are worried their funding will be given to nuclear power projects instead?
     
  19. Jul 14, 2013 #18
    There is a certain influential bunch whose dream world has 95% of the current population somehow disappearing, with the remainder living kind of like the Amish but with the Internet. Oh , and they are in charge and get to decide who survived and who gets shunned.
     
  20. Jul 14, 2013 #19

    BruceW

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    who is this bunch? are you yanking my chain? :)
     
  21. Jul 14, 2013 #20
    Just google "environmentalist population". Start with Paul ehrlich. There's plenty more after him.
     
  22. Jul 15, 2013 #21

    jim hardy

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    I worked thirty+ years in a plant and used to say at dinner conversations, when asked:

    The Lord gave us fire which got us through the ice ages
    and when machinery age began ~1700 we found the coal He'd thoughtfully left near the surface
    which was a much better fuel for our steam boilers than the wood we'd grown up on.

    When boilers got really good ~1900 we stumbled on the oil He'd thoughtfully left also near the surface
    and we moved our fire from the boiler into the working cylinder. Hence the age of internal combustion.

    Internal combustion was mighty good by 1940, and about that time we learned to split the uranium He'd also left near the surface . He left thorium for us as well, and between them we've enough fissile fuel in the crust of the earth to keep present lifestyle perhaps another 500 years.
    By that time somebody should have fusion figured out.

    So - in my humble opinion,
    we need to bite the bullet and do a proper job of waste management.

    Else civilization will crumble as carbon fuel becomes scarce and increasingly unviable.


    old jim
     
  23. Jul 20, 2013 #22
    I'm for nuclear energy. Who wouldn't like carbon neutral energy!
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013
  24. Jul 22, 2013 #23
    Yes, but not soon. There is enough coal for about 300 years...

    Plainly untrue. Solar alone is enough. Do the math.

    The problem isn't so much technical, but organizational.
    As a recent example, TEPCO management was willfully ignorant of tsunami danger.
    So, the new stations will be declared safe... until we discover that management again lied to us (and to itself, probably) about something.
    How do you propose to fix that?
     
  25. Jul 22, 2013 #24

    jim hardy

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    Ahh you nailed that one.
    I watched bureaucracy at work for thirty five years.
    C Northcote Parkinson's books on that subject should be required in all business and science curricula. Even Gorbachev quoted him, and in reading "Peristroika" his influence on the Russian leader is obvious.

    That was (and still is) correctible.


    Long ago I became a fan of the three guys quoted above because of their insight into human behavior.
    I didn't object when, after TMI, Carter scrubbed our breeder program. I honestly thought at the time we needed a generation for management science to catch up with technology. (I did often quip though, that anti-neutrinos from fission must somehow interact with human neurons to produce self defeating behavior. More at Barbara Tuchman's "March to Folly" )


    Twelve step programs work for individuals because they insist on honest behavior.
    When one lives an honest life things just go better.
    Same is true for organizations.
    I watched a choking, dying bureaucracy turn around and become quite effective.
    It was done by a top manager who came down into the ranks and insisted on old fashioned rigorous honesty from the bottom up. He fired a couple of middle managers for trying to 'pull the wool'.
    A year after his arrival we were walking out to the parking lot one evening and he said to me "Plants are running a lot better now, aren't they Jim?" (We'd just set a performance record.)
    Then he added "With the same working folks as before, eh? "

    His point was obvious.

    old jim


    ps: thanks mentors for recent cleanup of thread.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2013
  26. Jul 22, 2013 #25

    BruceW

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    you wouldn't be able to use electricity at night. There are ways around this, but they are not efficient. Also, is solar alone really enough? I mean with today's efficiency, and taking into account that we can only put solar cells on a tiny fraction of the Earth's surface. Most is water, or terrain that is hilly, rocky, covered by vegetation. And a lot of the 'nice' land is used by humans already for farming, housing, e.t.c.
     
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