Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

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samseva
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by samseva » Wed May 25, 2016 1:47 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Accidents that kill a lot of people (such as plane crashes) or are perceived as particularly scary (such as nuclear accidents) generate more fear than the much more immediate threats that we all face every day. About 6,000 people die every year in Japan from road accidents (34,000 in the USA) and a much larger number will be injured and/or have a shorter lifespan.

I'm not convinced that the published numbers for the safety of nuclear facilities are accurate, since they may well have underestimated the deaths during mining and technology development (a number of people were killed at Los Alamos during the Manhattan project, for example). The deaths from long-term contamination may also be underestimated. So it's not as clear cut as the statistics above that nuclear power is as safe as some are claiming.

However, any risk assessment needs to be based on data and modelling, not just on impressions.
Nuclear meltdowns aren't common, but when they do happen, they have devastating effects on a global scale, like we have seen with Fukushima just five years ago. It can cost hundreds of billions simply to decommission the damaged facilities, it affects the country's economy as a whole (not just the cost of the damages, but export/import and tourism), it contaminates the soil people use to grow their food, it contaminates the water they drink, it increases the rate of cancer and it has an impact on the ecosystem across the globe—all this for many generations. I think the fear is justified.

Also, while road accidents are more common, careless driving, driving under the influence, texting while driving and many more negligent circumstances are probably a large portion of the statistic and therefore does not reliably represent the situation of a responsible driver (the possibility of death is still there though). This is possibly why the US has 200% more road deaths than Japan—6000 for a population of 127 million being very low.

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samseva
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by samseva » Wed May 25, 2016 1:59 pm

Mkoll wrote:It's not either-or. Obviously, renewable sources will play a part in the power generation going into the future. Nuclear will as well. What is certain is that burning fossil fuels has to go—and that brings up a very important issue: climate change. If we're to realistically avert as much warming as possible, we need to act now and use every available tool in our chest. Nuclear power is one of those tools.

On a longer-term scale, we will hopefully learn to control nuclear fusion which is theoretically capable of generating far more power than fission. It would also be much safer and far less environmentally detrimental than fission. So if we achieve this, we can eventually stop using nuclear fission for energy altogether.
Climate change is another pressing issue, but I still think there are better solutions. While most proponents of nuclear energy are alarmingly declaring we drastically need this (risky) source of energy, almost no one is suggesting we drastically reduce our energy use. As a race, we are manufacturing goods and consuming energy in over-the-top overdrive. Yes, "we need energy, we need energy", but maybe we need so much energy because we are consuming energy like crazy.

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Mkoll
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Mkoll » Wed May 25, 2016 5:37 pm

samseva wrote:
Mkoll wrote:It's not either-or. Obviously, renewable sources will play a part in the power generation going into the future. Nuclear will as well. What is certain is that burning fossil fuels has to go—and that brings up a very important issue: climate change. If we're to realistically avert as much warming as possible, we need to act now and use every available tool in our chest. Nuclear power is one of those tools.

On a longer-term scale, we will hopefully learn to control nuclear fusion which is theoretically capable of generating far more power than fission. It would also be much safer and far less environmentally detrimental than fission. So if we achieve this, we can eventually stop using nuclear fission for energy altogether.
Climate change is another pressing issue, but I still think there are better solutions.
To get off burning fossil fuels as fast as possible, what is a better strategy than using all the non or low carbon energy generating tools we have available? What are your better solutions?
samseva wrote:While most proponents of nuclear energy are alarmingly declaring we drastically need this (risky) source of energy, almost no one is suggesting we drastically reduce our energy use. As a race, we are manufacturing goods and consuming energy in over-the-top overdrive. Yes, "we need energy, we need energy", but maybe we need so much energy because we are consuming energy like crazy.
I emphasized the word realistically for a reason. Expecting a significant number people, enough to make a real difference in carbon emissions, in first world countries to reduce their energy consumption beyond what they've done already for the sake of slowing climate change is unrealistic. It's not going to happen.

Also, the world economy runs on perpetual growth. Even if people started buying and doing less on a vast scale, I think that would be the cause of economic slowdown or much worse (though I know little of economics and stand ready to be corrected).
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samseva
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by samseva » Wed May 25, 2016 7:18 pm

Sadly, as a species, the destruction of a large part of the ecosystem, badly damaging the balance of life forms on all the Earth, drastically increasing large-scale natural disasters and many more things are not enough to make us question our over-the-top consumption and manufacturing of energy and goods. The only solutions usually proposed are that of finding ways to meet this overly excessive level of consumption.

No one wants to change their own behaviours; everyone expects science and technology to fix everything.

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by mikenz66 » Wed May 25, 2016 7:34 pm

samseva wrote: Nuclear meltdowns aren't common, but when they do happen, they have devastating effects on a global scale, like we have seen with Fukushima just five years ago.
"Devastating effects on a global scale?". Really?

I'm not really interested in debating this, but it seems to me that you're not actually thinking out the figures. Your arguments appear to be primarily appeals to emotion.

I suggest you list the number of immediate and long-term predicted deaths from the accident, and compare it with the rest of the Tsunami disaster, and other accidents that happen all the time. Regarding your comments on road accidents, a large proportion of accidents in any area (nuclear, transport, mining, construction, logging, etc) involve some sort of mistake, if not negligence. Part of the on-going risk assessment process in any area is to reduce those,and it's worked very well in some areas, such as flying.

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by samseva » Wed May 25, 2016 7:45 pm

mikenz66 wrote:"Devastating effects on a global scale?". Really?

I'm not really interested in debating this, but it seems to me that you're not actually thinking out the figures. Your arguments appear to be primarily appeals to emotion.
The only aspect you seem to take into account is the number of deaths (there is a good chance that is why what I say "appears primarily as appeals to emotion").

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by mikenz66 » Wed May 25, 2016 7:47 pm

No, the number of prompt deaths, and deaths by long term pollution are important. The latter is why coal kills so many people.

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Mkoll » Wed May 25, 2016 7:50 pm

Mkoll wrote:
samseva wrote:
Mkoll wrote:It's not either-or. Obviously, renewable sources will play a part in the power generation going into the future. Nuclear will as well. What is certain is that burning fossil fuels has to go—and that brings up a very important issue: climate change. If we're to realistically avert as much warming as possible, we need to act now and use every available tool in our chest. Nuclear power is one of those tools.

On a longer-term scale, we will hopefully learn to control nuclear fusion which is theoretically capable of generating far more power than fission. It would also be much safer and far less environmentally detrimental than fission. So if we achieve this, we can eventually stop using nuclear fission for energy altogether.
Climate change is another pressing issue, but I still think there are better solutions.
To get off burning fossil fuels as fast as possible, what is a better strategy than using all the non or low carbon energy generating tools we have available? What are your better solutions?
Again, what are your better solutions? Your last post did not address this question.
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samseva
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by samseva » Wed May 25, 2016 7:59 pm

Mkoll wrote:Again, what are your better solutions? Your last post did not address this question.
I already said that I didn't have them before you even asked the question. Are you actually expecting me to have solutions or are you falsely trying to undermine my position?
While I don't have the solutions (I wouldn't be here if it were the case), all this isn't an either-or;

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Mkoll » Wed May 25, 2016 8:06 pm

samseva wrote:While I don't have the solutions (I wouldn't be here if it were the case), all this isn't an either-or;
samseva wrote:Climate change is another pressing issue, but I still think there are better solutions.
:shrug:
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Kim OHara
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Kim OHara » Wed May 25, 2016 9:46 pm

The discussion seems to have become rather muddled while I was busy sleeping.
My main interest here is, in fact climate change. In that context, the question is a comparison between possible energy sources: which ones cause most harm, which ones may be scaled up, etc. Fossil fuels are clearly by far the most dangerous, since they will cook us and lead to perhaps tens of millions of deaths if we don't stop using them. Anything else must be better!
The other question then becomes whether nuclear fission has benefits, as compared to anything-but-fossil-fuels, which outweigh its dangers. I don't think it has, although I do think we may have to tolerate it for a while for the sake of decarbonising.

I would like to suggest that these two issues are split so the climate change discussion continues in the appropriate thread, http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 97#p264725

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by chownah » Thu May 26, 2016 5:57 am

Again, what are your better solutions?
Birth control would lower the world wide demand for energy to a level where nuclear power would not be needed....and to facilitate birth control one of the best things is to empower girls/young women....and to empower girls/young women it is education which seems to be most effective.

In short...the best way to avoid the dangers of nuclear power is to educate girls/young women especially in the third world countries where fertility rates are highest.
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Fri May 27, 2016 11:37 am

chownah wrote:
Again, what are your better solutions?
Birth control would lower the world wide demand for energy to a level where nuclear power would not be needed....and to facilitate birth control one of the best things is to empower girls/young women....and to empower girls/young women it is education which seems to be most effective.

In short...the best way to avoid the dangers of nuclear power is to educate girls/young women especially in the third world countries where fertility rates are highest.
chownah
Education for the purpose of population control has been a very ineffective solution over evolutionary epochs. The most effective means seems to be mass extinctions and predation. So, until the next mass extinction event, perhaps it would be best to adopt a culling system such as that proposed in the movie "Predator", or "Hunger Games"!

Of course we would first have to abandon The First Precept.

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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri May 27, 2016 3:36 pm

chownah wrote:In short...the best way to avoid the dangers of nuclear power is to educate girls/young women especially in the third world countries where fertility rates are highest.
chownah
What? Like those young girls married off as teenagers to husbands ten years or more older than them? To change attitudes regarding large families requires educating everyone, but least of all the young girls who have the least influence in when they get married.

One of the major factors lifting the poor out of poverty is access to cheap energy.
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Mkoll » Fri May 27, 2016 4:06 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Education for the purpose of population control has been a very ineffective solution over evolutionary epochs. The most effective means seems to be mass extinctions and predation. So, until the next mass extinction event, perhaps it would be best to adopt a culling system such as that proposed in the movie "Predator", or "Hunger Games"!

Of course we would first have to abandon The First Precept.
Fertility rates decline in a country as it becomes wealthier. Some reasons for this are that people in poor countries tend to have a high child mortality rate and rate of illness from infectious disease. Therefore, they must have lots of children to ensure some grow up to be healthy adults. There is no government-sponsored social safety net so you need your kids take care of you when you get old. Access to education and birth control are also important factors. Then there are more variable factors like culture.

Image

Interestingly, a study cited in the website that graph is from found that at very high levels of development, fertility goes back up. However, it doesn't rise to as high a level as in poor countries with high child mortality.
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