Nuclear Energy... pwned?

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  1. #1
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    Nuclear Energy... pwned?

    YouTube - Debate: Does the world need nuclear energy?

    Awesome TED debate about whether or not we
    should embrace Nuclear Energy on a global scale.

    Against Nuclear Energy:
    Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson: a professor of Civil and
    Environmental Engineering at Stanford University.
    Mark Z. Jacobson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    For Nuclear Energy:
    Stewart Brand: A writer who has written stuff
    about things.
    Stewart Brand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I think Mark Jacobson made a much more compelling
    argument as to why we shouldn't move towards
    Nuclear Energy and instead embrace renewable sources.
    I declare him the winner of the debate.
    Staying away from General.

  2. #2
    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
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    I think they both make compelling arguments.
    I agree that renewable sources are better in that they have a much smaller footprint, wind especially. Turbines are prettier than smoke stacks, too. And it's better for the environment.
    However, it's hard to ignore that influential raw power pumping advantage that nuclear has over wind.
    I also thought Jacobson's terrorism argument was a joke.

    I personally like renewable better, but acknowledge that it's not as convenient of a choice as nuclear, as could often be the realistic choice.
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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Turbines are prettier than smoke stacks, too.
    1. They require enormous amounts of land to produce anything noteworthy
    2. They cause land pollution...in that they are a huge eye sore. Once the novelty wears off they get ugly.
    3. They are not fun to live around - the shadows created by the turning of the blades can get very annoying fast.
    4. They can be dangerous in high wind situations as evidenced by several videos where wind turbines have separated due to high stress.
    5. They require a lot of maintenance per kw/hr of production

    My home state has huge wind turbine farms along the I-55/51 North are near Bloomington and up north to just south of Chicago. They were cool at first but once constructed most people began to tire of them quickly.

    Nuclear energy produces very dangerous waste that we do not know how to deal with adequately. However having lived in a town where a nuclear power plant was I can say they have almost no effect on the surrounding environment other than the aforementioned waste which affects the area where it is taken to. Refueling causes about 1 month of downtime and there is a lot of maintenance done during this time as well. They are heavily fortified structures, and now after 9/11 they are also heavily guarded. They are not usually affected by weather and they produce enormous amounts of energy vs the amount of land they require to do so. One power plant can produce far more power than thirty giant wind farms and require less maintenance, etc. Think about the maintenance required for acres and acres of wind farms and all the gas wasted to travel back and forth between them. Most nuclear power plants have on-site maintenance and thus require less fuel to maintain.
    If the waste (spent rods) could be treated to be inert then nuclear power would rate just under fusion power as the cleanest and most efficient power available. There are rumors that spent rods can be bombarded with x-rays which reduces the radioactivity of the rods. If this is true then nuclear could definitely be the next power source for the world. Of course I am biased b/c I have friends working in the nuclear power industry but it really could be the 'perfect' power if the waste could be dealt with effectively.

    I really believe anyone touting wind power as the future has a vested interest in it and a financial reason to hype it up. It does not compare to nuclear power in any sense of the word. I would take 1 nuclear power plant over 50 state-size wind farms any day.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 06-11-2010 at 06:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    1. They require enormous amounts of land to produce anything noteworthy
    2. They cause land pollution...in that they are a huge eye sore. Once the novelty wears off they get ugly.
    3. They are not fun to live around - the shadows created by the turning of the blades can get very annoying fast.
    4. They can be dangerous in high wind situations as evidenced by several videos where wind turbines have separated due to high stress.
    Place them at sea - 4/5 solved.

    My home state has huge wind turbine farms along the I-55/51 North are near Bloomington and up north to just south of Chicago. They were cool at first but once constructed most people began to tire of them quickly.
    I bet most people wouldn't enjoy living next to a nuclear power plant either.

    I really believe anyone touting wind power as the future has a vested interest in it and a financial reason to hype it up. It does not compare to nuclear power in any sense of the word. I would take 1 nuclear power plant over 50 state-size wind farms any day.
    I will not argue that nuclear power is much more efficient than wind power in terms of space and maintenance vs. power output, but that doesn't necessarily rule it out as a viable alternative to coal and oil. It IS possible to cover parts of a country's power production with wind turbines.
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    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Having watched that video, it seems like the guy against nuclear basically put up an argument as for why we should use renewable energy sources instead of nuclear.
    The guy for mostly showed why nuclear was a good energy source. No wonder he lost supporters.
    That said, they couldn't convince me nuclear is bad. We probably need a mix of both since they have disadvantages at this point, but I strongly believe that nuclear is a good energy source.
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    3. They are not fun to live around - the shadows created by the turning of the blades can get very annoying fast.
    Could not be half as annoying as vehicular traffic, which we all seem to have comfortably adapted to.

    I'd prefer either of these to coal, but I'll admit that I would not raise a family near a nuclear station. I suppose that means it would be hypocritical for me to support them in most cases, altho I don't see why they couldn't simply be located in isolated areas.

    Of course, that would be like an admission they are a little dangerous, but we do need energy.

    Vis. wind power, I was once involved in a project selling these in the Leeward Islands*, where there are a lot of small islands with a few thousand people living on them that still use small diesel generators as their only electricity. Those things are really annoying.

    What I thought was interesting from that experience is that you could build a single windmill for $500 000 that would power 250 average North American households, and it would then require <$100 000/year to maintain, with a 20-30 year lifespan. That's an investment of $2000 each and then $400 per year for electricity.**

    Unfortunately, I think energy regulation here favours big suppliers and makes it more or less impossible for communities to consider small scale implementations like that.

    * technically it was to sell them to the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but they (perhaps wisely) did not go for it because of worries about hurricanes.

    ** this page:
    How much do wind turbines cost? | Windustry
    claims "The costs for a commercial scale wind turbine in 2007 ranged from $1.2 million to $2.6 million, per MW of nameplate capacity installed. Wiki answers claims the average US home uses 10,000 kw/year or an average of a little over 1kw/hour. So a 1 MW turbine at $1 000 000 would be enough for 1000 homes, which is means they could have nearly free, green energy for say at least a decade or so for $1000 each.
    Last edited by MK27; 06-12-2010 at 09:39 AM.
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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    The nuclear power plant I'm speaking of has so much wildlife living around it and has some of the biggest bucks in the state since the land is usually closed. Once in a while it opens up for hunters and then you hear about huge deer being brought in. After 9/11 the area was not opened for hunting and I'm not sure if it has changed yet.

    But quite honestly I used to deliver food to the place prior to 9/11 and about the most you would hear was the gentle humming of the various systems working. All in all, without the waste and where it is stored, it has almost no environmental impact and quietly hums along while deer, squirrels, fish, and the like go about their merry way. I'm all for nuclear as long as the waste issue can be resolved or diminished somewhat.

    I'm not for wind power at all b/c I've seen them firsthand and like others here who have as well I think they are a massive eyesore and require too much land and maintenance to be a 100% viable replacement for coal and oil. Putting them in the ocean is also not a solution. The maintenance factor for these behemoths is huge. The only reason we are seeing so much about wind power is that GE seea a way to make more money with their turbines and one of the world's millionaires has invested heavily in it. The solution has been there for almost 10 years and only now we are hearing about it a lot b/c these two 'firms' just want to make money. It is not a viable replacement for what we have but it may be a viable 'supplement' for other types of energy such as nuclear. However, it is my feeling that once the waste issue is resolved or diminished it will be more cost effective to build more nuclear power plants and thus the 'attractiveness' for building very expensive wind farms which produce far less energy than nuclear plants will be gone. I just do not see it happening. Why build 10 wind farms when you can build 1 nuclear plant that will put out more energy than 100 wind farms and at about the same price?

    They are also working on cleaner burning coal which would be nice. Coal is in abundance on the earth and there is enough of it to power the earth for a long long time if we could solve the pollution impact. It certainly is not as bad as the news makes it sound b/c the state capital where I used to live also had a coal-fired power plant. The pollution is pure white and not the black sooty stuff you used to see in the old movies from the 50's. I'm assuming most of the pollutants are caught by the scrubbers. It is against federal law to eject more pollution into the air than is allowed and the amount allowed is quite ridiculous. So all of this carbon emissions crap is a load of crap for the gov't to profit off of it. We already have regulations - they are setup by the environmental protection agency. Also if equipment like scrubbers or anything else is not safe then OSHA can step in and demand maintenance and so forth.

    A word about production:
    I've worked in several factories that had stacks and for the most part the ejecta was steam. Several of the factories I worked at used steam in abundance to power the various systems. Steam is readily available at most places b/c of the production processes that produce a lot of heat. Also factories usually heat their buildings with this steam in the colder months and most do not have air conditioning or HVAC systems in the hotter months. It is almost impossible to cool such a large area and so most do not attempt to do it.

    I would not raise a family near a nuclear station.
    The beauty of nuclear stations is that you don't have to. They are normally situated far outside of town and cannot be seen from the town or city. They can only be built in heavy industry zoned areas and no town planner would ever put that right next to a neighborhood. Haven't any of you played SimCity 3000?
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 06-12-2010 at 10:15 AM.

  8. #8
    C++まいる!Cをこわせ! Elysia's Avatar
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    Ah, but from what I understand, this global warming is a myth. I wonder if I have that paper still around so I could find the sources.
    Heh, anyway, let's not assume anything about global warming. Reducing it might be a good idea, but we never know.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adak View Post
    io.h certainly IS included in some modern compilers. It is no longer part of the standard for C, but it is nevertheless, included in the very latest Pelles C versions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    You mean it's included as a crutch to help ancient programmers limp along without them having to relearn too much.

    Outside of your DOS world, your header file is meaningless.
    For information on how to enable C++11 on your compiler, look here.
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    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Ah, but from what I understand, this global warming is a myth. I wonder if I have that paper still around so I could find the sources.
    Man-made global warming is what is in question. The earth goes through several cycles of hotter and cooler periods. I believe scientists felt that we were coming out of a long cooling period but the recent solar cycle just ended as well which could explain the ridiculous winters we have been seeing. It is no longer convenient to call it global warming so they have called it climate change which is equally as absurd. But if you are referring to man made global warming that discussion is now called climate change. The term global warming now refers to other forces that could cause warming that are not necessarily man-made.

    But yes we have seen the alarmist ideas dwindle a bit and it is probably b/c the recent weather patterns do not reflect any of the claims they make. However, alarmists, doomsdayers, and wackos aside it is still a good idea to pursue other alternative ideas for energy production. We definitely need to find a source of energy that gives us more 'bang for the buck'. We need better systems to power the world and our spacecraft if we hope to move into the future. Wouldn't it be nice if we could stick a fusion reactor on a spacecraft and use it to power the thing? Imagine if it's bi-product was something that the spacecraft actually needed. Quite possibly the perfect power source.

  10. #10
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo1 View Post
    Place them at sea - 4/5 solved.
    How? And how could they be maintained?

    I bet most people wouldn't enjoy living next to a nuclear power plant either.
    I wouldn't definitely. But would eventually get used to it. Much like living near a volcano, or in a earthquake active region.

    I will not argue that nuclear power is much more efficient than wind power in terms of space and maintenance vs. power output, but that doesn't necessarily rule it out as a viable alternative to coal and oil.
    Well, I think it IS definitely a much better alternative to coal and oil. Even to dams, which forever deface a region topography especially upstream and have destroyed more ecosystems than we can count. The fact nuclear power is constantly being deigned as an evil power source is one of the greatest tragedies. Because of that, oil, coal and dams still "rule" the world, with all the problems that brings.

    It's quite sad, almost irritating, that the only power source truly capable of competing with these already 200 year old power sources is largely ignored by our societies who entertain themselves arguing over probably outcomes and potential dangers, when the right-now incidents and right-now consequences of the current energy sources are largely ignored.

    Instead we prefer to do nothing. Keep destroying our ecosystems and pollute our air, while discussing windmills and crops as alternatives. We are pathetic.
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    The 'evil' nuclear persona has been put there by news agencies who don't know anything about it. Three Mile Island was indeed a close call but I hope people realize that there are reactors working around the world right now and have been working for almost two decades with almost no incidents. For the most part we have nuclear power figured out. They are now attempting to deal with the waste issue. This is the main reason no new nuclear power plants have been built in the USA.

    Chernobyl would not happen again and would have never happened in a properly designed power plant. I'm not sure the specs for these beasts can be obtained now after 9/11 but for those who have worked on or near these plants they, too, realize that most reactors are encased in an almost impenetrable shell.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 06-12-2010 at 10:36 AM.

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    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    Everyone should be made to tick a box on their energy contract which states their preference for where the energy comes from.

    So on a still december night when there is neither wind nor sun, and the power goes off - they can rue on their choices, and throw another evironmentalist on the fire.
    Some literal cold reality may make them change their tune, when they realise their fantasy world DOESN'T BLOODY WORK.


    France seems to have figured it out.
    Nuclear power in France - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    > What I thought was interesting from that experience is that you could build a single windmill for $500 000 that would power 250 average North American households
    Infoplease.com
    So accordingly, for 116,000,000 housholds, you would need about 0.5 million of the damn things.
    Placing 5 every square km, and you carpet Kentucky.
    And that's just domestic use, what about industrial use as well - what then? Carpet Texas maybe?

    A few hundred scattered here or there are just a wet dream for the environmentalists. Their usefulness to anyone is basically zero.

    Deployed on an industrial scale, other problems would no doubt emerge.

    Yes, I'm talking about the bleaters' use of the word "free" energy.
    Well it isn't free.

    Do you think that taking Tera-Watts of power out of the atmosphere (in terms of wind momentum) would have ZERO impact on weather patterns?

    If the average speed of your rain patterns decrease, then one area is going to get flooded more often, and another area up-wind is going to experience drought more often.
    Oops - replaced one atmospheric distubance (CO2) with another (turbine carpets) - that's real smooth


    I'm sure they would counter that it's only a tiny fraction of a percent of the total energy in the atmostphere to begin with. This may be true, but then the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is only a tiny fraction of a percent, but that doesn't stop them raising taxes and spreading FUD.
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    spurious conceit MK27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    The 'evil' nuclear persona has been put there by news agencies who don't know anything about it. Three Mile Island was indeed a close call but I hope people realize that there are reactors working around the world right now and have been working for almost two decades with almost no incidents.
    Communities near older reactors in NY state (eg, Indian Point) still have cancer rates 50-100% higher than national averages, which they did not have this before they had reactors.

    And I have seen too many lies made by energy companies (eg BP) about their "saftey standards" to believe they could possibly ever be responsible enough to honestly deal with those problems, which is why I said I would never live near one for any prolonged period of time, or have children there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salem View Post
    A few hundred scattered here or there are just a wet dream for the environmentalists. Their usefulness to anyone is basically zero.
    This is the problem. People see green energy, saving the planet, etc, as a "leftist" thing, therefore as a good right winger you must engage in pollution with zeal. The worse your activities are for the planet, the better a conservative you are (kind of a sad ironic joke).
    Last edited by MK27; 06-12-2010 at 11:07 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    The beauty of nuclear stations is that you don't have to. They are normally situated far outside of town and cannot be seen from the town or city. They can only be built in heavy industry zoned areas and no town planner would ever put that right next to a neighborhood. Haven't any of you played SimCity 3000?
    Ah but this holds true with wind turbines as well then doesn't it?

    Wind turbines require maintenance, as does almost everything man made. What makes you think that wind turbines at sea would require so much maintenance that they would be pointless though? That is not the case.
    Also after watching the debate, i wonder where the pro-nuclear guy got his information regarding the danish power grid, i've never heard of any such problems whatsoever? I wonder if he got his information from the CEPOS Report?

    And if my memory serves me right, wind turbines would also ruin a neighborhood in Simcity 3K

    Edit:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario
    How? And how could they be maintained?
    Don't ask me, ask the maintenance workers and engineers. This isn't some fantasy you know, it's real.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mario
    I wouldn't definitely. But would eventually get used to it. Much like living near a volcano, or in a earthquake active region.
    Or perhaps like living near a wind turbine ;-)

    Edit2:

    Quote Originally Posted by Salem
    Their usefulness to anyone is basically zero.
    This is simply not true!

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

    1/4th of the power running my computer as i type is from wind. I would say that is quite useful.
    Last edited by Neo1; 06-12-2010 at 12:09 PM.
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  15. #15
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neo1 View Post
    Don't ask me, ask the maintenance workers and engineers. This isn't some fantasy you know, it's real.
    Right. That only serves to give a hard on to the type of environmentalist that gets them from such *cruel* images.

    But we are talking here about real energy production to large cities. Not Kodak moments sponsored by governments to grab the votes of the environmentalists.

    So, again how exactly do you plan to plant, say half a million of those on the sea? And how expensive will that become in Kw/h considering the no doubt very high installation, maintenance and energy transportation costs?
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    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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