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Where do you stand on nuclear power (fission)?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Sue Pertwee-Tyr, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    It's unsafe - there have been two meltdowns already, with hot material leaked. Ok the number of immediate deaths in those accidents are known, but how many slow deaths from cancers over years? How many cancer deaths here in Wales are from the Chernobyl blow-over that happened? How many are still occurring?
    It's much more expensive than renewables. And there's still plenty of renewable potential to exploit.
    Add up the energy input over the lifetime of spent fuel care. Still looking good? Or is it more borrowing which the future will be paying back, forever? Nuclear PFI.
    Any civilisations that have lasted as long as spent fuel care and monitoring needs to be ongoing for? No, because the half life is 159,200 years.
    Way to go is home generation, home hydrogen production and home batteries. Into a grid backed by renewables. Hey, even now the guy across the fields from me has a PV array and a home battery, no electric bills and he even does some heating from his system.
    Finally, look at the political ghouls who are in favour of this technology...a bit like brexit, it is very easy to form an opinion based on its adherents.
    Dozey likes this.
  2. mansr

    mansr Objectionist

    Nuclear is still at least 350x safer than coal:
    RJohan likes this.
  3. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    Only because the amount of cancers caused by nuclear accidents, spills and wind spread is unquantifiable and largely unstudied.
    I notice the page you linked to is happy enough to quote deaths from air polution, but completely ignores the above.
  4. mansr

    mansr Objectionist

    You must have missed this bit:
    Rana, RJohan and x21 like this.
  5. Dozey

    Dozey Air guitar member

    No one is suggesting substituting coal for nuclear. Renewables are the way to go.

    I don't think uranium mining is any safer than coal mining by the way.
  6. mansr

    mansr Objectionist

    The statistics say otherwise, at least per unit energy produced.
  7. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    That includes estimates for Wales due to the hot sheep post Chernobyl, for example?
  8. Cav

    Cav pfm Member

    Chernobyl was due to poor deign and poorly trained staff; Fukushima by poor placement and unprecedented weather.

    Nevertheless, deaths due to fission reactor accidents is a tiny fraction of those in and caused by the energy sector generally.

    Why should there be any "energy input over the lifetime of spent fuel care?"
    RJohan likes this.
  9. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    Tell me why there wouldn't be?
  10. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    Some years ago, when I studied this stuff, I was directed to a paper which showed that the amount of radiation emitted into the atmosphere routinely from coal-fired power plant exhaust, far exceeded that from nuclear, including accidents. This isn't widely known.
    Rana likes this.
  11. dweezil

    dweezil pfm Member

    Radiation levels in coal are very low; one statistic that shocked me though is that India consumes about 1 billion tonnes per year!

    That's about an eighth of world consumption, coal contains about 2.5ppm of Uranium and similar of Thorium. I think we can thus say coal burning also burns about 20,000 tonnes each of Uranium and Thorium.

    The fly ash from some power stations is more radioactive than some low level nuclear waste.
    Sue Pertwee-Tyr likes this.
  12. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    I'm not advocating burning fossil. I'm advocating cheaper and cleaner renewables that don't need their by products curating for geological time periods.

    It's not either or for coal or nuclear. There is an alternative better than both.
  13. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    The only renewables currently proven are wind turbines, solar PV and hydro. They all have their issues, as does tidal, which remains an outlier for lots of pretty tough technical and environmental reasons.

    There's not much hydro resource that isn't already exploited, and creating new reservoirs is massively ecologically damaging, and rotting vegetation creates huge quantities of CO2 and methane that creates a spike in greenhouse emissions for the first couple of decades (IIRC).

    Wind remains a growth area, but you can't escape the intermittency issues, and it's not without its own ecological concerns (risks to migratory birds, disruption of the seabed).

    Solar PV, if you put it in desert areas, and provided you don't disrupt the local climate by overdoing things, looks likely to be the great way forward. Most continents have large, arid, sunny areas you could exploit. But PV capacity isn't currently running at anything like the rate to meet that sort of demand, and PV technology is still evolving so there's no current front-runner, and some of the emergent ones might be a no-brainer in a few years, but not yet.

    So when you say 'there is an alternative better than both' we should perhaps qualify that statement a bit.

    My view is that renewables, long term, will be the answer (possibly alongside fusion), but as part of a portfolio of bridging technology to get us from here to there, nuclear fission has a place - indeed my view is that the bridge won't be complete in sufficient time, without it.
    chiily, mansr, IanW and 2 others like this.
  14. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    I'm ignorant about these things, but vaguely remember Israel having had sustainable tidal schemes (in the sea, I guess) for quite a long time. I also gather, from what I've read in recent years, that the Severn barrage is ready to be implemented, would create very low or negligible ecological problems and, due to the unique (I believe) properties of this estuarine tidal flow, would yield good v.f.m.
  15. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    Severn and Cardiff Bay have been mooted for tidal power for years but always seem to get knocked back. Perhaps their time will come.

    As far as I recall there was a tidal scheme working in France - I wonder if that is still going?

    I remember back in the 70s as a Uni student there were various ideas for sea/tidal power generation. Salters Ducks I seem to recall got a lot of publicity. Don't forget, when I was a school student, early 70s, there were very confident predictions of the oil running out before the yr 2000 AND we were well overdue another ice age. Hmm, how well did that go?
  16. dweezil

    dweezil pfm Member

    I think it's still going, on the Rance estuary in Brittany; i drove over it a few years ago.

    There seem to have been loads of sea going projects, most struggle with salt water, electricity, storms and metals being poor partners.

    Used to hear loads of debate in the 70s being in Ian Fell's domain, i think he eventually thought we'd have to use nuclear for a base generator.
    Sue Pertwee-Tyr likes this.
  17. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    You forgot tidal - there are several UK sites that could generate significant amounts - Bristol and the Menai Straits, for example. Not without ecosystem drawbacks though.
    The Hydro potential is by no means exhausted - plenty of small local scale generators around here that have gone in in the last decade, I can think of at least four within ten miles of me. Possibly someone Scottish will chime in with tidal and loch sites under consideration. We also have locally two pumped storage schemes, originally built to deal with nuclear's disadvantage that it likes to produce all the time and storage was needed for off=peak generation. But this would work equally well for renewables.
    Creating new reservoirs with rotting vegetation? Not needed, at least in the UK.
    There was an interesting item on R4 a few days ago about a company installing floating PVs on reservoirs - a very efficient proposition as they are able to be optimally angled, are not overshadowed, and the cooling of the water makes the PV run more efficiently. They had a number of large schemes under their belt already.

    Deserts yes, but understand transmission of generated electricity is problematic over long distances. Make hydrogen and pipeline that possibly? A water supply would be needed...twin pipeline, water in Hydrogen out?

    No bridging needed, just digit extraction. The UK has already had days when all energy was provided by renewables. Why **** about with nuclear PFI when the technology already exists to leapfrog this liability for future generations.
  18. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    I didn't forget tidal, I'm talking about 'currently proven' renewables and it's just that, as dweezil notes, the technical issues for tidal are difficult to address because the environment is so darned hostile. Bristol and the Menai Straits also have strong ecological downsides as you note, as do virtually all estuarine options. Arguably as strong as yours for nuclear, given that the tidal barrage downsides are real and actual, vs hypothetical and probabilistic for nuclear. It's that risk assessment matrix thing of harm vs probability.

    On the digit extraction thing, there's an argument that diversification permits more digits to be extracted. If the whole world wants solar PV in the next 5 years, everybody is going to be disappointed because the supply just ain't there. If they agree that some will go solar, some will go nuclear, more will get built.
  19. ff1d1l

    ff1d1l pfm Member

    But PV isn't the only game in town. As outlined above. Nuclear is expensive and a future liability. Wind, wave and hydro are nowhere near full exploitation. Diversification yes, but not including nuclear. I'm getting fed up of using the PFI comparison, but it is such a good fit - expensive, plenty for your tory mates to trouser, and never finishes getting paid for. Oh yeah, and little bonus, this particular PFI scheme isn't connected to mains sewage and in the small print the taxpayer has volunteered to look after the excrement for the next 250,000 years. And pick up the bill for the clean-up when it's decommissioned.
  20. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    We're done, the argument is now circular so let's agree to disagree.
    Rana likes this.

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