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The Nuclear Debate




TheMushyStuff

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Jun 2, 2010
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Because we are all aiming for renewable energy and nuclear power is not one of them.
 

kerdasi amaq

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Aug 24, 2009
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the tap: France Has Become A Nuclear Deathtrap

France has 58 nuclear power stations of its own, and a reprocessing industry, with its largest plant at Cap La Hague in northern France on the Channel, which imports nuclear waste from around the world.


The country has a history of nuclear accidents to make the blood run cold. Few of these are ever reported. Before bathing in rivers such as the Rhone or the Loire, or rushing into the waves that pound French beaches, people should read one or two reports of the hazards involved. There is a greater concentration of nuclear hazard in France than anywhere else on the planet. Locals know which rivers to avoid. Tourists don't.
Ooh, would make me think twice before going on holidays to France!
 

Dev__

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Jul 6, 2010
Messages
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Economics
The biggest issue facing Ireland isn't whether nuclear power is safe enough. It is but rather how cost effective it is at a small level compared to gas.

France has approximately 60 million people and approximately 60 reactors. A layman interpretation would have you suggest that 1 million people is enough for 1 reactor. This doesn't tell the whole story though. France has a huge heavy industry that Ireland simply doesn't, big countries like the UK, France and the US even at off peak times (night time) have a high minimum demand on power compared to us.

Countries with similar populations to Ireland (2 to 5.5 Million) that have nuclear power. Finland, Denmark, Armenia, Latvia, Lituania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

In short, nuclear should be on the table for discussion. It may not be appropriate right now but in the future with reasonable projected growth in both population and demand may constitute grounds for planning ahead. Which means the debate needs to happen now.

Safety
Chernobyl was a disaster from its inception.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3SKOj8LGhk
Claims made in the BBC drama documentary:

1. The person who headed the Ukrainian investigation was politically pressured to blame the staff.
2. He made attempts to undermine the integrity of the investigation afterwards saying he was pressured to a false conclusion.
3. The results of the initial conclusion mean to this day "incompetent" staff as an explanation are widely held.
3. Further independent investigation revealed it wasn't the staff but design flaws.

According to a very similar discussion on another forum (in which I've lifted some of my contributions) the Americans knew that design was flawed but never shared this with the Soviets during the Cold War for obvious reasons i.e. horizontal rods are better than vertical rods.

Further Reading/Viewing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK8ccWSZkic
Cost of electricity by source - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Economics of new nuclear power plants - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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ivnryn

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May 20, 2007
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1,304
Because we are all aiming for renewable energy and nuclear power is not one of them.
All?

Renewables cannot generate baseload power. Physics defeats idealism here.

The only way to make renewables work would be massive energy storage, and that has problems of its own, due to the massive flooding required.

Also, even then, there is a limit to how much power is actually available from renewables.

Baring fusion, fission is the only way to go.

Edit: I also agree with the above comment about the sizes of nuclear plant. However, the minimum size is decreasing all the time. Soon you will be able to buy a plant where you send the core back to the manufacture after it has used up all its fuel.
 

kerdasi amaq

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Aug 24, 2009
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Interesting post Dev, so if we're going to build a nuclear power station, we should build it somewhere in Britain, so we can sell the electricity in the British market and maybe ship the surplus to Ireland through the interconnector.
 
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fiannafailure

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May 16, 2009
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Interesting post Dev, so if we're going to build a nuclear power station, we should build it somewhere in Britain, so we can sell the electricity in the British market and maybe ship the surplus to Ireland through the interconnnector.
So although you believe that we should distance ourselves from the EU other countries are good enough to host our nuclear power stations in.

The amount of hypocrisy permeating the energy debate is really quite hilarious.

Ireland is to fund a nuclear station in Britain and receive the crumbs after the UK takes what it wants.

Are you really Chris Horne
 

BrendanGalway

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Oct 3, 2008
Messages
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A couple of things. A search on Google shows a consensus that the worlds Power consumption for one year is 15 Terawatts with over 90% of that coming from Fossil Fuels. Assuming we attempt to generate this figure exclusively from Nuclear Power plants, how long would the Worlds supply of Uranium last? At what point do we reach Peak-Uranium?

And if we switched exclusively to Nuclear, what would we do with the incredible amount of waste thats generated?
 

cry freedom

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A couple of things. A search on Google shows a consensus that the worlds Power consumption for one year is 15 Terawatts with over 90% of that coming from Fossil Fuels. Assuming we attempt to generate this figure exclusively from Nuclear Power plants, how long would the Worlds supply of Uranium last? At what point do we reach Peak-Uranium?

And if we switched exclusively to Nuclear, what would we do with the incredible amount of waste thats generated?
The truth is that nobody knows for sure.
My estimates are only a personal opinion based on very disparate information.

With the old generation of nuclear reactors, many of which are running productively today, I would say 30-50 years.
With generation IV type reactors, 100 years plus.
And if my favorite fuel, Thorium, is brought into the equation we will probably be okay for 1000 years.
[Should see me out]
 

CookieMonster

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Feb 19, 2005
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34,659
Economics
The biggest issue facing Ireland isn't whether nuclear power is safe enough. It is but rather how cost effective it is at a small level compared to gas.
Sorry to cut the rest of the post off, but to take up this issue. Wouldn't the likes of pebble bed reactors cover the cost effectiveness and safety aspect. Also an interconnector with the UK and Europe would allow us to export any excess energy.

Also, I can't understand why it's an either/or discussion between nuclear and/or renewable energy. We can have both.
 

myksav

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May 13, 2008
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23,546
Sorry to cut the rest of the post off, but to take up this issue. Wouldn't the likes of pebble bed reactors cover the cost effectiveness and safety aspect. Also an interconnector with the UK and Europe would allow us to export any excess energy.

Also, I can't understand why it's an either/or discussion between nuclear and/or renewable energy. We can have both.
Damn, beat me to it.
 

Dev__

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Messages
31
A couple of things. A search on Google shows a consensus that the worlds Power consumption for one year is 15 Terawatts with over 90% of that coming from Fossil Fuels. Assuming we attempt to generate this figure exclusively from Nuclear Power plants, how long would the Worlds supply of Uranium last? At what point do we reach Peak-Uranium?

And if we switched exclusively to Nuclear, what would we do with the incredible amount of waste thats generated?
I assume you mean any radioactive fuel, it doesn't have to be Uranium. In which case Thorium is three times more abundant than Uranium.

In any sense:
Peak uranium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It's a worthy question and it does seem to have contradicting answers.

Optimistic predictions of peak uranium:
In 1983, physicist Bernard Cohen proposed that uranium is effectively inexhaustible, and could therefore be considered a renewable source of energy.[4] He claims that fast breeder reactors, fueled by naturally replenished uranium extracted from seawater, could supply energy at least as long as the sun's expected remaining lifespan of five billion years.[4] - whilst uranium is a finite mineral resource within the earth, the hydrogen in the sun is finite too - thus, if the resource of nuclear fuel can last over such time scales, as Cohen contends, then nuclear energy is every bit as sustainable as solar power or any other source of energy, in terms of sustainability over the finite realistic time scale of life surviving on this planet.
Pessimistic predictions of peak uranium.
1980 Robert Vance
Robert Vance[113], while looking back at 40 years of Uranium production through all of the Red Books, found that peak global production was achieved in 1980 at 69,683 tonnes (153.62×106 lb) from 22 countries.[38] In 2003, uranium production totaled 35,600 tonnes (78×106 lb) from 19 countries.
My conclusion would be that it isn't a huge concern unless I've misunderstood something as I'm more inclined to believe optimistic prediction coupled with the fact that we're probably only a few decades from getting fusion under our belts and nuclear is becoming increasingly more efficient.


Sorry to cut the rest of the post off, but to take up this issue. Wouldn't the likes of pebble bed reactors cover the cost effectiveness and safety aspect. Also an interconnector with the UK and Europe would allow us to export any excess energy.

Also, I can't understand why it's an either/or discussion between nuclear and/or renewable energy. We can have both.
I must confess that my understanding of nuclear power is limited to Leaving Cert physics and barstool wisdom. I do find this an interesting issue though. I think when it comes to nuclear power we should stick to tried and tested. Pebble beds are far from popular because they are new. Since we are planning for the future though I see no reason why they shouldn't be considered. I could be persuaded easily on this with the right evidence.

An interconnector isn't a bad idea. I'm not against it. If the scenario is that we can export excess energy. Why not? I'd just like to be assured that that is the case though. The UK/Europe would have to have a deficit of energy.

I don't think I implied that it was an opportunity cost scenario. If I did I didn't mean to. I definitely think we should have multiple sources of energy should one fail.
 
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cry freedom

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Sorry to cut the rest of the post off, but to take up this issue. Wouldn't the likes of pebble bed reactors cover the cost effectiveness and safety aspect. Also an interconnector with the UK and Europe would allow us to export any excess energy.

Also, I can't understand why it's an either/or discussion between nuclear and/or renewable energy. We can have both.
A very reasonable question!

The following mix might work:

Renewables....20%
Fossil fuels.....20/50%. 30% primary and 20% to back up renewables when
mother nature runs out of puff and decides to takes a week off.
Nuclear....50%
 

soubresauts

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Jun 2, 2007
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About peak uranium:
The truth is that nobody knows for sure.
My estimates are only a personal opinion based on very disparate information.

With the old generation of nuclear reactors, many of which are running productively today, I would say 30-50 years.
With generation IV type reactors, 100 years plus.
And if my favorite fuel, Thorium, is brought into the equation we will probably be okay for 1000 years.
You're entitled to your opinion. But shouldn't you deal with the reality of nuclear fuel and nuclear waste, like this, and this?

It really is a laugh seeing economists advocating nuclear power.
 

Dev__

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Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
31
About peak uranium:

You're entitled to your opinion. But shouldn't you deal with the reality of nuclear fuel and nuclear waste, like this, and this?

It really is a laugh seeing economists advocating nuclear power.
It's true that nuclear fuel is expensive to dispose of, it is getting increasingly smaller though. I heard from a little bird once that the waste produced by a top of the range plant is a small suitcase annually.

5,000 coal miners die every year in China. Others die/hurt of respiratory diseases from car fumes or gas explosions. Topped off with climate change, fossil fuels also have a hidden cost. Nuclear is not perfect by a long shot whats important though is to weigh them objectively.

I'm always open to changing my mind based on new evidence. If it turns out that nuclear is more expensive in its aggregate then hell no. I think evidence supports that nuclear is the lesser of the two evils.
 

heckler

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Feb 27, 2009
Messages
37
Although I'm all for nuclear power, I'm not sure I'd trust anyone in this country to run a reactor and waste management operation correctly.
 

cry freedom

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Nov 8, 2009
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2,400
Although I'm all for nuclear power, I'm not sure I'd trust anyone in this country to run a reactor and waste management operation correctly.
I'm sure that when Aer Lingus was first started back in 1936
there were quite a few people about who thought that the Paddies would not be able to run an airline.
From day one you adopt international best practice and then it is down to just two things: Training and standards.
 

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