Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

A place to bring a contemplative / Dharmic perspective and opinions to current events and politics.
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Justsit
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Justsit » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:It's making take a long hard look at many technologies I support(ed), not just nuclear fission power.
Ah, Mawkish, you are actually in the enviable position of having some of your beliefs challenged. Now, after you've take that long hard look at the technology issue, you will perhaps be more likely to closely examine some other long held beliefs, in other areas of life. This is really a great opportunity to crack the containment vessel of ego - not a bad thing! :clap:

Jhana4
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Jhana4 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:52 pm

I've actually learned a lot of positive things about nuclear power as a result of engineering types standing up for nuclear power during this crisis. However, that was just the technical side of the issue. These people forgot the human failings side of it, which I believe is responsible for this crisis and why I am going to continue to be against nuclear power in my own country ( USA ).

I saw on CNN yesterday that the design for this plant was considered flawed back when it was built in 1972. Yet it was built and built in an earthquake zone nonetheless.

If people as conscientious and disciplined as the Japanese can do that, it makes very frightened with regards to nuclear power in the U.S.. Here, corporations being able to get away with selling people out is a much more normal occurrence ( example BP cutting corners on equipment and safety procedures).
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

Mawkish1983
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Mawkish1983 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:12 pm

Supply and demand. It seems that the solution is for everyone to make a joint-effort to reduce how much electricity we use. If we use less than we can generate via renewable means, there will be no need for fossil-fuel or nuclear powered plants.

In some ways I envy people who lived at the time of the Buddha.

Mawkish1983
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Mawkish1983 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:13 pm

Annapurna wrote:If you haven't yet, I recommend 2 movies to you:

The China syndrome
But even more:

Silkwood.
I'm afraid I don't have very much free time at all, but I will add them to my 'todo' list (which is growing longer by the day).

Thank you Annapurna.

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poto
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by poto » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:59 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:Emergency neutron absorbers (boron is common) should have been automatically deployed, shich would have stopped the reactor heating up by stopping the chain reaction. It seems this hasn't happened, because the core is heating up; the chain reaction may be happening still. It shouldn't be, but it looks like it is.
Boron was injected. In fact, they injected boron almost right away, writing off the reactors as a total loss. There is no sustained reaction going on in the cores. What they are dealing with is the decay heat. Within a day or so of shutting down the reactor, the decay heat is reduced to about 1% of what it was when operating. Of course, that 1% is still millions of watts of thermal energy and needs to be dealt with.

Also, I heard the fire in reactor 4 was from leaked oil, not burning fuel rods as some in the media have claimed.

It is unfortunate that a small amount of fission products were released. However, there still has not been a large release and nothing really nasty so far. Every day that goes by without a complete meltdown is a good thing. More decay heat is dissipated with every passing hour. Either in a few days or a few weeks the reactors will cool enough to be below the boiling point of water. Then they won't have any more pressure or steam building up and things will be pretty much under control.

Had this been a hydro-electric dam or a natural gas plant that failed in the earthquake or subsequent tsunami, a lot more people would have been injured or killed. Generating gigawatts of power has inherent dangers. Nuclear power takes something like 100k times less the amount of fuel of other power sources. That means less deaths and injuries all the way from the mines to the power plants. Orders of magnitude more people have died mining coal than uranium. Wind turbines kill scores of birds every year, and there have been accidents resulting in deaths (people falling off) from wind turbines. Numerous people have died just from touching high voltage power lines. Any way you look at it, there are risks associated with building and maintaining a large high capacity grid. People are unfortunately going to be killed, no matter what technology we employ. The best we can do is attempt to build more safeguards into our systems and learn from past mistakes.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this tragedy will spur the development of the thorium fuel cycle. I'd love to see us drop our existing nuclear technology for thorium. Unfortunately, I think with the fear and panic in the general population, and politicians responding to that will squash a lot of future nuclear power development. This is most disappointing to me. I want to see our civilization reach out into space and we're going to need this type of technology to survive if we ever hope to colonize that last greatest frontier. Somehow I doubt that wind turbines and solar panels will be enough to power a space-faring civilization.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis

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GIDGE
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by GIDGE » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:30 pm

I really don't understand how people can continue to defend nuclear power given the current situation.
In my mind it creates suffering and it's greedy.
:shrug:

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poto
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by poto » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:23 pm

GIDGE wrote:I really don't understand how people can continue to defend nuclear power given the current situation.
In my mind it creates suffering and it's greedy.
:shrug:
Oh, I must be an evil greedy person because I support what is still the safest form of energy that man has yet developed.

Energy Source.........................Death Rate (deaths per TWh)

Coal – world average.................161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Coal – China...........................278
Coal – USA.............................15
Oil......................................36 (36% of world energy)
Natural Gas.............................4 (21% of world energy)
Biofuel/Biomass......................12
Peat....................................12
Solar (rooftop)........................0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
Wind...................................0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
Hydro..................................0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
Hydro - world including Banqiao)...1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
Nuclear................................0.04 (5.9% of world energy)
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis

Mawkish1983
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Mawkish1983 » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:25 pm

(Source?)

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poto
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by poto » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:39 pm

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis

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Annapurna
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Annapurna » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:02 pm

poto wrote:
Oh, I must be an evil greedy person because I support what is still the safest form of energy that man has yet developed.
Just how safe it is has become obvious in the last days.

Why don't you go in with those 50 men who work 4 hour shifts there and help them if it is so safe.

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GIDGE
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by GIDGE » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:07 pm

poto wrote:
GIDGE wrote:I really don't understand how people can continue to defend nuclear power given the current situation.
In my mind it creates suffering and it's greedy.
:shrug:
Oh, I must be an evil greedy person because I support what is still the safest form of energy that man has yet developed.

Energy Source.........................Death Rate (deaths per TWh)

Coal – world average.................161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Coal – China...........................278
Coal – USA.............................15
Oil......................................36 (36% of world energy)
Natural Gas.............................4 (21% of world energy)
Biofuel/Biomass......................12
Peat....................................12
Solar (rooftop)........................0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
Wind...................................0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
Hydro..................................0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
Hydro - world including Banqiao)...1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
Nuclear................................0.04 (5.9% of world energy)
I don't know you and I would never call you an evil or greedy person.
My opinions are based on my own experience and circumstances....our home (2500 sq ft in Texas) is powered 100% by solar and wind. In fact we sell back to the grid because we produce more energy than we require. Myself, my husband our 3 teenagers live there. It's possible to meet "needs" with alternative, safe means.
I know experts keep saying nuclear IS safe - but the conditions in Japan don't appear to be particularly safe atm.

No disrespect meant
:anjali:

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Kim OHara
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:09 pm

poto wrote: Oh, I must be an evil greedy person because I support what is still the safest form of energy that man has yet developed.

Energy Source.........................Death Rate (deaths per TWh)

Coal – world average.................161 (26% of world energy, 50% of electricity)
Coal – China...........................278
Coal – USA.............................15
Oil......................................36 (36% of world energy)
Natural Gas.............................4 (21% of world energy)
Biofuel/Biomass......................12
Peat....................................12
Solar (rooftop)........................0.44 (less than 0.1% of world energy)
Wind...................................0.15 (less than 1% of world energy)
Hydro..................................0.10 (europe death rate, 2.2% of world energy)
Hydro - world including Banqiao)...1.4 (about 2500 TWh/yr and 171,000 Banqiao dead)
Nuclear................................0.04 (5.9% of world energy)
Hi, Poto,
Good list, but a couple of minor problems:
Figures seem to be a bit out of date. Renewables as a percentage of world energy supply have been going up very quickly.
Non-rooftop solar doesn't appear at all. Do you have figures for installations like the solar power farms in the American deserts, or the Spanish base-load solar power stations?
Nuclear deaths don't include longer-term deaths from Chernobyl. They could easily knock nuclear of its 'safest' perch, if non-rooftop solar hasn't already done so. Are you then going to support Wind and Solar instead of Nuclear?
:juggling:
It's all a matter of juggling competing imperatives, costs and benefits. As I said a little while ago, I think our best solution will be a patchwork of partial solutions. Nuclear power probably does have a place but I hope it's not too big a place.
:namaste:
Kim

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retrofuturist
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:12 pm

Greetings,

What are the solar deaths from... people falling off the roof?

:shrug:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Annapurna
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by Annapurna » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:17 pm

This is chiming in the end of nuclear energy.

Some things become larger than their trivializations.

nathan
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Re: Discussion of Nuclear Power and Safety

Post by nathan » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:29 pm

I would think the low figures do not take into account deaths directly related to the growing use of depleted uranium or the deaths from nuclear warheads of any other kind, all of which are still contemporary and growing uses of these radioactive materials. Among other little known facts, the overall planet-wide background radiation has increased significantly more from the subsequent uses of DU than it did from all of the previous testing of atomic bombs combined.

Sources of information quoted in this Wikipedia article are predominantly official and not as shocking as the information which has been disclosed by various industry and government whistle blowers. I will leave researching that kind of information to those with the interest to undertake such study for themselves.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depleted_uranium" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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