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Old 11-03-2011, 07:24   #31
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
BULL!

The idea that the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has created a wildlife haven is not scientifically justified, a study says.
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Chernobyl 'not a wildlife haven'

Excerpted from Despite Mutations, Chernobyl Wildlife Is Thriving

... "One of the great ironies of this particular tragedy is that many animals are doing considerably better than when the humans were there," he (Tim Mousseau) said.

"But it would be a mistake to conclude they are doing better than in a control area. We just don't know what is normal [for Chernobyl]. There just haven't been enough scientific studies done."
Well, in any case, wildlife is definitely "thriving", as the article you quoted says in its very title. Maybe with some increased mutation rates and so forth, but as the article states, this is not well understood.

I think the point is that a nuclear accident demonstrably does not cause an end-of-the-world, scorched-earth scenario as a lot of people once thought -- "China Syndrome", etc. The Chernobyl accident was pretty much the worst possible case of a nuclear power plant accident, where the facility exploded and released all of the radioactive material, and the only one of that magnitude ever in the history of that industry. It was a bad accident, which caused fifty deaths directly, and maybe a few thousand more indirectly, due to higher cancer rates.

That's very bad, but to put it into perspective, however, consider that coal mining directly kills up to many thousands of people every year (I read somewhere that just in China nearly 8,000 people were killed on average every year mining coal throughout the '90s), and how many tens or hundreds of thousands of people are killed every year indirectly due to pollution from burning coal, acid rain, and so forth, including the enormous amount of radioactivity which burning coal puts into the atmosphere. Not to mention all of the carbon dioxide emitted from burning coal, for those interested in global warming.

I think we've wandered way off topic here, but in my opinion various of the previous posts are exactly right on this topic. Nuclear power is quite clean and quite safe compared to other sources of energy we have.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:02   #32
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

Let me try this flirt. Encouraging nuclear accidents as a positive step for a better environment for wildlife, is like encouraging post apocalyptic Waterworld to take place for better parties after sailing regattas.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:09   #33
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

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Let me try this flirt. Encouraging nuclear accidents as a positive step for a better environment for wildlife, is like encouraging post apocalyptic Waterworld to take place for better parties after sailing regattas.
I don't think anyone advocated "encouraging nuclear accidents". The argument was different. The argument was that nuclear accidents, while horrible, do not cause end-of-the-world scenarios like in some movies from the 1970's. Evidence offered for this proposition was the fact that the wildlife right in the middle of the worst nuclear accident of all times is flourishing, maybe with mutations, lower survival rates of migratory birds, and other problems, but it's not like the post-apocalyptic world of, say, The Road Warrior.

The other argument was that coal power is truly awful, causing enormous environmental damage and thousands of deaths every year, and releasing huge quantities of radiation and CO2 into the atmosphere. Therefore, replacing at least a certain amount of coal power with nuclear power is likely to have a beneficial effect on the environment.

Those were the arguments. You may disagree with them, of course, but they cannot be reasonably characterized as arguments in favor of having nuclear accidents.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:10   #34
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

Wow, completely off cruising topics and allowed to go on for so long. I guess I'll add my 2 cents (change always welcome). I think that nuclear power is a very viable energy source for fixed facilities, but not very good for small boats. I do think that the prevailing technology, light pressurized water reactors, is not the correct technology to be using. First it requires significantly enriched Uranium of which it only uses about 3% for actual fuel. It produces lots of very long lived radioactive wastes which with current practices will require isolation for millions of years (230,000 years is the half life, not when its safe). It sure looks cheap up front, but that's because we're passing the cost of waste management to future generations. The better technology is fast breeder technology (called fast because free neutrons are allowed to move at high speed within the fuel matrix rather than slowed by a moderator as in light water reactors) which can actually "burn" U238 as well as U235. It also has the effect of fissioning highly radioactive byproducts into relatively harmless low level wastes. It can even use the "spent" fuel from light water reactors as fuel and reduce those wastes to relatively harmless forms. Granted that this technology is not as mature as the light water reactors, but continuing with light water technology is folly. Light water reactors became popular because that is the technolgy developed (and paid for) by the government for naval vessels. Naval vessels use much more highly enriched uranium than civilian reactors because they must be compact enough to fit aboard ships and submarines. This compactness is not needed for Civilian reactors.

A recent development in the nuclear fusion inertial containment efforts shows promise. The problem with fusion so far has not been creating a fusion reaction, but a big enough one. So far it takes more energy to create the fusion reaction than it gives. The nice thing about a fusion reaction is that it creates fast neutrons. A few years ago someone proposed creating a fuel pellet out of U238 (and perhaps in the future from spent light water reactor fuel) with a deuterium-tritium core. When the pellet is hit by a powerful laser it sets off a fusion reaction in the core which in turn causes a fission reaction in the U238 in the pellet. I've not been following the progress closely and this may have already happened. In any case, the wastes produced are very low level. It's still not going to be small enough to fit on a boat.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:26   #35
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

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Wow, completely off cruising topics and allowed to go on for so long. I guess I'll add my 2 cents (change always welcome) .
It's been mostly quite civil so far, so tolerance has been shown.


Quote:
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I think that nuclear power is a very viable energy source for fixed facilities, but not very good for small boats. .
Oh, you just cleverly wrenched it back on topic. Thanks!
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:59   #36
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

The Russians developed and used small portable nuclear powered generators for field use. Small enough for use in a yacht. All be it, a relatively large yacht.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:00   #37
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

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Having been in nuclear power for 11 years in the past I can say that it is already cheap and safe.
No offense, but that's exactly what the people in the offshore oil drilling industry were saying about deep-water wells a year ago. Then we had the Gulf disaster.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:39   #38
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

I, too, believe that our energy future is going to be tied to nuclear power. There is the problem of disposing of the waste, and accidents are a very real concern no matter how safe the proponents claim it is, but it is still the least polluting way to produce significant amounts of power that we have. Putting it onto a boat, though... I have my doubts.

Someone mentioned the Russians developing portable reactors. Did some googling and what they mean by "portable" is that it can be carried on a truck and set up in the field. The size is still in the 15-20 meters long range, and weight around 200 tons. Hardly going to be putting that on any of our sailboats, I don't think!
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:12   #39
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

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I, too, believe that our energy future is going to be tied to nuclear power. There is the problem of disposing of the waste, and accidents are a very real concern no matter how safe ...
Indeed.
Just today, part of a Japanese Nuclear Generating plant caught fire, and the cooling system has failed.
As of right now, officials say there is no immediate danger of a radiation leak but the reactor core remains hot even after shutdown.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/12/wo...12nuclear.html
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:21   #40
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

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No offense, but that's exactly what the people in the offshore oil drilling industry were saying about deep-water wells a year ago. Then we had the Gulf disaster.
And so far the biggest complaint I'm hearing from the Gulf is how old boom anchors are fouling shrimping nets...just like after the Exxon Valdez whining a year after the incident...
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:29   #41
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

I've been interested in the pebble bed reactor since I saw a PBS show of a German test reactor. They don't have the cooling failure problems that water cooled plants have. They did a test of complete cooling failure and nothing happened. The individual tennis ball sized pebbles are ceramic coated to contain the radioactive material and prevent contanimation. I thought I read somewhere that China is going to build 200 powerplants based on this technology.

From:
Pebble bed reactor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


A pebble-bed reactor thus can have all of its supporting machinery fail, and the reactor will not crack, melt, explode or spew hazardous wastes. It simply goes up to a designed "idle" temperature, and stays there. In that state, the reactor vessel radiates heat, but the vessel and fuel spheres remain intact and undamaged. The machinery can be repaired or the fuel can be removed. These safety features were tested (and filmed) with the German AVR reactor.[6]. All the control rods were removed, and the coolant flow was halted. Afterward, the fuel balls were sampled and examined for damage and there was none.
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:33   #42
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

Amazon.com: Leonard Fleisig "Len"'s review of Wolves Eat Dogs (Arkady Renko Novels)

Here's a pretty good novel that paints a stark picture of the realities of Chernobyl. Nuclear powered surface vessels and submarines seem to me to be much safer than land based reactors which are statistically much more prone to catastrophic failure. I, for one, will never attempt to minimize the horrors of the calamity of such a failure to living things.
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:53   #43
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

Obviously not an economic reality for cruising boats, but are there not reactors on some satellites? I would think they would have to be a lot smaller than 200 tons!
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:57   #44
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Re: Nuclear Energy Density

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Amazon.com: Leonard Fleisig "Len"'s review of Wolves Eat Dogs (Arkady Renko Novels)

Here's a pretty good novel that paints a stark picture of the realities of Chernobyl. Nuclear powered surface vessels and submarines seem to me to be much safer than land based reactors which are statistically much more prone to catastrophic failure. I, for one, will never attempt to minimize the horrors of the calamity of such a failure to living things.

then be ready to pay the price of all the other issues of NOT using nuclear energy till a better solution is found....including highrer costs for everything in the long run....cause it takes electricity/power for the whole world to run....
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:01   #45
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pirate Re: Nuclear Energy Density

Well... not encouraging a 'nuclear accident' but there's an interesting one courtesy of the Tsunami.... just on news... "Concerns as heat continues to rise at Japanese Nuclear Power Station".... evacuation area spreading....
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