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Nuclear energy?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by baba, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. I grew up in the era of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl so nuclear energy has always been a dirty word(s).

    I'm starting to wonder whether nuke is the way to go. I've heard a lot of anecdotal info about it being safer now and our best bet in the future, but no real facts on how or why.

    Obviously, waste storage, public safety, and plant security are all huge issues.

    Do you think this is our best future option?
  2. vbsurfer3001


    Jul 25, 2005
    We have already been relying on Nukes to power our Navy for years, the technology has been made much more safe. The issue is waste disposal and so long as we use fission (no one has been able to tackle fusion) the problem remains.

    My personal feeling is that we should look to many, MANY, sources to replace fossil fuels, and Nukes should be a part of that picture in the short term. The lion's share should, however, come form hydro, solar, biofuels(from sugars not starches), wind, and waves & tides.
  3. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI

    Yes, I believe the future is unclear.
  4. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I think it's the best until we've come up with something better.

    Finland is building its 5th nuclear power plant right now and there's discussions about a 6th one too. Sweden and Germany going in the opposite direction without really knowing what their doing, IMO.

    Anyway, I think the mods might consider this thread too political and might close or delete it..
  5. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    No matter how hard we try, and how much we advocate "conservation", energy use will continue to rise. Nuclear energy like others here have said, does satisfy some of our energy needs.

    I have few fears of it. But it still pays to keep inventing.
  6. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2007
    Alta Loma, California

    wave power
  7. Fusion yes. Fission not so much.
  8. Very cool!

    I can see the jet skis towing surfers out there already. Maybe they can put a net in front of the wave gatherer part.:D
  9. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I think it's the way to go, at least in the short term.

    If anyone has studied Chernobyl in any depth, they would come to realize that it was utter stupidity that resulted in the disaster. The reactor was an RBMK-1000 that was built without a containment structure so that plutonium could be more easily extracted. Additionally the reactor was being run at an unsafe level with all of the safety systems intentionally disabled for an experiment.

    Three mile island is pretty interesting. It was nowhere near the level of accident of Chernobyl. In fact, no one was killed or injured as a result of the accident and the report on the accident indicated that the amount of radiation exposure due to the event would increase the number of people to die of cancer by 1. It was a very big public relations accident for the American nuclear power industry.

    Generation III+ reactors are very safe designs with passive safety systems. Generation IV reactors (the first of which is anticipated by as early as 2021) will be even safer, more economical and will produce little nuclear waste.

    Fusion... well it would be nice. I did my MSc. working in fusion technology on a tokamak. I'm waiting to see whether ITER is successful at meeting it's design goals before I start predicting a time-line for fusion based electrical power generation to become a reality.
  10. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    We can just launch the nuclear waste into Jupiter. Problem solved.
  11. I spent lots of time windsurfing right off Indian Point in the Hudson river and I'm fine. :confused: :ninja:
  12. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan

    You know, I've always been fascinated with nuclear technology. I was probably next in line to become the Nuclear Boy Scout, however David Haan has me beat on this feat. I don't know if you've read anything about him but a google search of the Nuclear Boy Scout will bring up the small neutron-type experiment he did in his tool shed with smoke detectors (Americium-248) in Detroit. recently he was arrested on Felony Larceny charges for stealing smoke detectors. He is being watched by the FBI prior to this for this behavior as well.

    Sidetrack aside, Nuclear power is something that should be harnessed. The problems aside are getting rid of the nuclear waste, which I have become a STRONG supporter of Yucca Flats, which is located in the same general area as the Nevada Test Site and Area-51.

    The more research you do on Chernoybl and Three Mile Island, you find that we were very immature in the technology of nuclear power and as a country we realized that by not sharing the knowledge we gained on Fission designs with other countries that Chernobyl was bound to happen, and may again happen in other countries as well as they gain nuclear technology.

    The problem wish sharing the fission designs are that people can easily modify them to create a breeder reactor and create plutonium-239 from stray neutrons from the uranium fission process. The other problem is responsible waste disposal that will need to be guarded strongly. The other problem with waste disposal is that the reactor itself becomes radioactive from the process, requiring that the entire reactor be removed from the ship/building/ect and treated as waste. Transporting these across the country literally exposes people to radiation above background levels as they pass them. You would not see one on a highway though, your talking about something that moves at 5mph and is carried by a 96 wheel truck.

    There are Pro's and Con's to every power scheme. The issue is that we need to make renewable sources of energy more accessible and cost effective. Solar power will be the way to go. For example, replacing your roof with solar panels can easily produce enough power to put some back into the grid.

    I'd be pro-nuclear and do away with polluting fossil fuel designs, but really solar/wind/water power is the way to go for the future. We would run out of Uranium quicker than coal which is a big reason why they do not say it is the complete wave of the future.
  13. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    On nuclear powered rockets, no less! :D
  14. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    Regardless of any facts on the pollution caused by nuclear power generation, it has been nuclear weapons proliferation that has caused more than 75% of the radioactive pollution in the world, a fact that is becoming more and more apparent today as we are now just discovering what we have done as a race.

    Just look up "the most radioactive place" on google. Russia has everybody beat in this regards. The US has its own disaster area near the Columbia river in Washington. Countless test sites that will remain radioactive for thousands to millions of years. And let us not forget Hiroshima, Nagasaki and anybody else that was killed by a weapon either in development or in testing.
  15. Why would you come up from Florida to windsurf the Hudson :confused:
  16. I'm with you. What's the hold up with these technologies? I know some of it's out there, but why isn't it ubiquitous at this point? Is it technological, cost efficiency, political, all of the above, other?

    If it's political, I really don't need to know the why's. I'd rather keep the thread open.
  17. Other nations rely heavily on nuclear power without negative effects...I don't see why those models can't be explored.

    The main thing that stands in the way is the government. The oil industry basically has a stranglehold on the politicians, and anytime someone would try to start up a nuclear power plant, a senator from that state would stand up "and protect the residents from the dangers of a nuclear winter", or some such nonsense.
  18. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    I've heard that the designs cost a lot to manufacture. However doesn't everything in its infancy? Since when did a prototype cost less than the line-manufactured version? Stupid politicians play the word game when representing the facts.

    Oil = big money for a lot of people.
  19. funkydjembe


    Apr 5, 2007
    we live on a planet which moves with great momentum. Astronomical amounts of energy move through the universe. The amount of energy we use on earth is just a tiny fart in comparison. I'd like to think that we would manage (eventually) to come up with ways of harnessing the flow of energy that aren't so primitive as nuclear. Nuclear has just as much finess as gunpowder and the internal combustion engine.
  20. Human Bass

    Human Bass

    Aug 26, 2005
    If the person stops to think about...nuclear energy probably has saved us from a much worse global warming by now. Try to imagine how much CO2 would be in the atmosphere if the USA, England, France, Russia and Germany didnt use any nuclear energy for the last 50 years and instead had gone with fossil energy only?

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