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Maybe we should rethink nuclear power?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by toenail, May 24, 2004.

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  1. RichW

    RichW Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    The problem is not so much in storing the waste as it is transporting it to the storage sites. A group here in Oregon tried for several years to shut down PGE's Trojan Nuclear Plant because of fears. Two years after sucessfully fighting those attacks, PGE decided on its own to shut it down due to bad economics in running the plant. The only difference between that and what the anti-nuke group wanted was that under the PGE shutdown, it got to shift teh cost to the rate-payers rather than to the stockholders. Of, course, they became an Enron subsidiary and had to reoganize anyway.And now the main man in the PGE restructing is a former governor (a liberal BTW) who just admitted he engaged in statutory rape with a family babysitter when he was mayor of Portland 30 yerars ago.

    While it may be useful to rething the use of nuke poer, I certainly don't want the likes of these PGE jerks managing the cores.
     
  2. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    You're just the kind I wrote about previously. Even though there has been extensive research by many very reliable and learned peoples, you focus on one crackpot video from nearly 2 decades ago so that you can say all of it is bullsh*t. Here are some facts that you cannot say are just guesswork: average global temperature is rising and has been doing so for the last 50 years. The artic and Antarctec ice sheets are melting at an alarming rate. The Greenland glaciers are melting so fast it will definitely be a green land in less than 100 years. With all of that fresh water entering the oceans, you'll be able to have some nice beachfront property in Philadelphia. Or perhaps you think all that melting ice, and we're talking ice that is miles thick covering millions of acres, won't have any effect? Remember it is fresh water, which will dilute the salinity of the oceans, which will cause many species of fish and other marine life to die. And the climate changes, as I've mentioned, are not just guesswork, the Gulf Stream subduction is already being observed.

    How anyone can see tons and tons of garbage thrown about, tons and tons of polution entering the air and the water and can then say, with a straight face, they don't believe it will have any effect on the planet... well, if ignorance is bliss, you're the happiest man on Earth.
     
  3. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    So because of a 20 year old video, you completely toss out study after study done since then? That's not being openminded, that is being ignorant.
     
  4. Richard King

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    Ah, but each nuke plant becomes another potential target for those same terrorists.
     
  5. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    No one is saying that man is the sole cause for global warming. The facts are that warming trends happen in a cycle and we seem to be in one of those cycles. What is being said, however, is that the actions mankind has taken for the past century or so is accelerating the natural processes.
     
  6. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    Three Mile Island was actually much more dangerous than was originally reported. While it paled in comparison to Chernobyl, there was still leakage of radioactive material into the atmosphere and there is and has been contamination over a pretty wide area. Cancers and birth defects around that area occur at a much higher rate than anywhere else, still.
     
  7. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    It stands to reason that we're accelerating a natural process. By how much is not quite known, but we cannot say we're not having a significant effect.
    How do you develope a sign that will last 10,000 or 100,000 years that will still be readable and understandable that says "Here lies some really bad stuff, stay away!"? Really think about that for a moment. There are still ancient languages that are only a few thousand years old that we cannot understand.
    In 10,000 years from now, do you think English will still be read or spoken? Very doubtful, even if we don't revert back to "cavemen". What we've buried could end up being, in the far distant future, one of the largest catestrophic events to ever happen. Imagine a future city built on top of one of these dumps. An earthquake ruptures, or digging opens it up... can you imagine something like that happening in the middle of Los Angeles or New York City? Millions would be dead.

    One of our biggest problems is our arrogance in thinking that "we" will always be here and that everyone else understands us.


    It is also quite possible that in the future we may come up with better technology to eliminate the problem. Also 100,000 years is just a blink in the eye of the earth timeline, people forget that it takes MILLIONS of years for mountains to wear down.

    Even if the worst happens and man reverts back to the stone age, and a sudden earth crust shifts this stuff the surface only the area around there would be contaminated. People would just have to learn not to live there. The land mass of North America is absolutely huge and this would be a very tiny spot.[/QUOTE]
     
  8. Danny R

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    The jury is still out for ME to believe that "man" is causing global warming when a single volcano eruption can put more into the atmosphere than man has put in over 100 year period.

    The science is definately still out on all the mechanics of warming and cooling. Solar activity is still the primary factor and beyond our control. We have experienced in recent years some of the warmest years on record. But solar spots have also been at a peak. Volcanic eruptions have been shown to have the effect of cooling our planet down as well.

    Is global warming something we should be overly concerned with and massively alter policy for at the current date? I think the jury is still out on that one. Forcing factories to curtail various gas emissions like CO2, or taxing cattle in New Zealand because of their flatulence is definately unproven science as the volcano example proves.

    But some emissions are known to be dangerous and aren't "naturally" released either. We shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Our volcano example serves us well here too. People generally don't survive for long near highly active volcanos. Our own pollution can be just as deadly, but released over a wider area.

    I think our primary environmental focus should be to limit growth in areas we know act as the Earth's atmospheric scrubbers, such as the Amazon and other rain forests. Cities and other areas where we have seen that smog is produced and concentrates should definately work to eliminate the sources. Nature can clean up the mess over time, but that doesn't mean we can't overload Her in specific areas and make them inhospitable.

    Its folly to think that our actions are NOT impacting the planet to some degree. The Dust Bowl was directly caused by poor environmental policy which hopefully we've learned from. And plenty of other examples exist. One only has to look around and see how human actions have changed the climate around certain areas. Cities have been proven to generate their own weather because of the large amount of warming from cars, factories and blacktop. The earth is large, but no so large that we can't make an impact.

    Are humans totally responsible for the current global warming? I can't say for certain, but we definately played a small part and should act with moderation in the future until such time as we KNOW what our impact is.
     
  9. Mike123abc

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    Well the point of putting it under a mountain in a geologically stable area is that would be undesireable real estate for hundreds of thousands of years. Seriously how many large cities do you see on top of mountains? Yes ski resorts are built up on top of mountains, but they tend not to be large towns. Even if a "city" were to be built on top of the mountain for some strange reason it is still a mile down and safe.

    Are you really seriously suggesting that the plate structure of north america will radically shift in less than 100k years, a city will be built on top of a mountain (not just any mountain but the poor soles pick this one), AND a sudden earthquake will suddenly open up a fissure a mile deep plunging the city into a radioactive hazard? I would think that the massive earth quake opening a hole a mile deep would kill off the entire town without worrying about the radioactivity.

    The whole point of picking this site is that the radiation will be gone long before the mountain is gone...
     
  10. Tyralak

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    I've always believed this. I've never understood those superstitious luddites who decry nuclear power, even though it's the best choice we have. There are all kinds of new reactor technologies availible, and eventually fusion will be practical for use. It's really something to explore.
     
  11. jonstad

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    Whether it's "the best choice we have" is debatable. As whiz-bang Jetsons as we imagine, it's a fifty year old technology we haven't worked out all the kinks on yet, for instance the waste transportation and disposal thing. And the thread awhile back of the gal who rode her bike around Chernobyl taking pictures shows just how nasty it can be. Oh, that's right. "It can't happen here. With new technologies, we've got it all under control.":nono:

    I suggest we proceed with caution, extreme caution. And back to the waste, even IF it remains safely buried for 100,000 years, a questionable proposition at best, so far the difficulty hasn't been burying it, it's been getting it to the burial site. Nobody, I repeat, NOBODY wants it travelling through their town or city or village or cornfield by truck or train or oxcart. And as soon as you start moving it, images of Chernobyl will be plastered on every post and pillar along the way.

    Look, I've supreme confidence in man's abilities to control our technology. But we always seem to mess up somewhere along the way. And in this case a simple mistake could mean a 200 mile radius area in California, Kansas or Connecticut could be uninhabitable for at least several hundred years. And it's not a question of IF it will happen, it's a question of WHEN, WHERE and how bad it will be.:(
     
  12. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    A lot can happen in 100,000 years. In the last 100,000 years there have been several ice ages which produced glaciers that drastically altered the landscape.

    This link explains it pretty well:

    http://www.death-valley.us/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=803
     
  13. Mike123abc

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    Note they are talking 10,000 years not 100,000 years... Also, they are worried about someone just happening to pick that spot to DRILL down to and hit radiation. Even if they drill down there and hit radiation it is not like it is going to be a volcano of radiation spurting upward contaminating the continent... It takes advanced technology to drill down that far through solid rock, it is not going to be a caveman that would not recognise that something from the hole they dug in the back yard is making them sick.

    To drill down through solid rock takes at least 1920s technology, probably much later. Yes the unlucky driller and his crew might have a problem, and it would be unfortunate, but it is not going to wipe out a city or mankind.
     
  14. Tyralak

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    The so-called "waste" is actually just partially fuel rods which can no longer be used efficiently in the same type of reaction. Kind of like a battery that's too weak to efficiently power your radio, but still has some power left in it. They can, however be recycled several ways. They can be combined with other partially depleted fuel rods to make new fuel rods. The French (who's power system is 85% Nuclear) do this all the time. They don't really have much to dispose of at all. Or, you can also convert the old fuel rods into fuel for other kinds of reactors, such as the new Pebble Bed reactors, or the newest cutting edge Molton Salt reactors. But thanks to the far sighted wisdom of our glorious President Carter, recycling spent fuel rods is illegal in the US, so we have to bury it in caves on sacred Indian mountains. Lovely, huh? :nono2:
     
  15. Tyralak

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    Yep. Pebble bed and molten salt reactors, which are cooled by helium. The reaction is of a sort that it is physically impossible to melt down.


    The French have a single standard design for all of their plants, and they work fine.

    There is, and they're used in Europe. We can't do it here, because Carter made the process illegal. :mad: Of course, any President can undo his order, so I wish Bush would get on the stick and do something.
     
  16. Tyralak

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    There's no question it's happening. The thing that's still being debated is if humans are the cause of it, or even a major contributing factor, or if this is part of the natural cycle of the Earth. Obviusly, polution has caused damage, but there are so many other factors which determine weather. Solar fluctuations, orbital wobble, etc. It's still not completly clear if we're the major cause of it or not. That doesn't mean that people should have a licence to polute. I would love to see us get away from burning fossil fuels entirely.
     
  17. HappyGoLucky

    HappyGoLucky Banned User

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    It says "10,000 years OR MORE". As to drilling, which is a scenario they mention, that would open up the containers the material is stored in, which would then pose exposure to the atmosphere and ground water. The ramifications could be extensive and not just to the drilling crew.

    Look at the ancient sites we've discovered by accident, including many Egyptian, Roman, Aztec, Mayan, etc. Some of these were only centuries old but it was only through accident we found them. Even the oldest was maybe 2000 years. Imagine if by the same sort of accident the Yucca site was breeched. In the next 10,000 to 100,000 years who knows, the Yucca site could be vastly different, a tropical rainforest even.

    Could you design a sign that would not only last that long but you could be assured would be understood by anyone that happened upon it?
     
  18. Jim Parker

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    Happy
    The sign is not that hard to design, the solution to the problem has already been worked out. Strange as is sounds, the answer is 'cartoons'. It is easy to draw pictures of the containers, showing it ruptured, showing material pouring out, the people getting sick and dying. This does not depend on language, and is quite clear about the results of rupturing the containers. The signs can be made to show whatever is required, such as no drilling, etc.

    Making the signs last for 100,000 years is a bit harder. I will leave that for somebody else to solve.
     
  19. Tyralak

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    That's true. However, nothing is going to "pour out" of containers. This kind of goes back to the media and hollywood's ignorance of nuclear "waste", which has generated a number of misconceptions. Hollywood has led people to believe that nuclear "waste" is some kind of sludge-like byproduct of a nuclear reaction. Nothing could be further from the truth. Light water reactors, (which make up the bulk of US nuclear power plants) use Uranium fuel rods to power the reactor. Eventually, the fuel rods become depleted to the point where they can no longer sustain an efficient chain reaction. This is a lot like a battery that has been drained to the point where it can no longer power a device efficiently. There is still power in the battery, but not enough to use it in the way it had been used. It's the same with fuel rods. They still are intensly radioactive, and are dangerous to humans, but they are too depleted to sustain the same kind of reaction. They CAN be recycled, by pulverising them and making new fuel rods. They can also be recycled for use in different kinds of reactors like the new Pebble Bed reactors, and the most exciting new reactor which is called a Molten Salt reactor. These are really cool, as they don't work by heating water to turn a turbine, but the molten salt mixture actually CONDUCTS electricity. It's a really exciting concept, but we don't have any in the US, and they're still in the development stage.
     
  20. Tyralak

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    Make them out of Peeps. Those damn things last forever.
     
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