Forum Thread

Is nuclear power safe?

dollarbill 2,392 554 March 12, 2011 at 02:05 AM
With all the radiation being released by the Japanese power plants . I thought I'd ask the question again. Considering we have Nukes built right on fault lines and in coastal areas here in the US .Here's a vid of the Fukushima reactor exploding
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1...r_embedded

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#46
Quote from Hurricane View Post :
I will be slightly off but I remember hearing that nuclear power is 99.985% efficient while burning coal is 45-55%. So which is giving up the greater waste? It is just how we don't think twice about the 30,000-50,000 killed in a car accident but a terrorist kills half a dozen people, we are ready to surrender all of our rights and privledges. We fear what we don't understand and we put less riskier entities on a pedestal because they are foreign to us.
I believe the most-efficient nuclear reactors running now are about 70% thermallly efficient under best-case conditions, but the amount of nuclear energy converted to electricity is very low, something like <2%, but maybe that's compared to what matter-antimatter can do.

From a purely statistical standpoint, it's possible that Osama bin Laden actually saved more American lives than he killed.
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#47
Quote from pvt1863 View Post :
That doesn't make any sense. This was easily the worst set of external conditions ever imposed upon a commercial nuclear power plant and still nobody was killed and no member of the public was harmed. Yes, it is an economic disaster, but so is the rest of northeastern Japan right now.

By the logic you use, we pretty much shouldn't build anything near any faultline. If the injury/exposure of some workers during a once in a hundred year earthquake is enough to dismiss nuclear power in seismic areas, what does that say about dams, oil refineries, chemical plants, natural gas depots/pipelines, harbors handling dangerous materials, high rise buildings, and anything else that poses any risk to the public?
And by your logic you think its safe to build all these things ON a fault line. Maybe we should save the money and not build a containment vessel either.
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#48
Quote from dollarbill View Post :
And by your logic you think its safe to build all these things ON a fault line. Maybe we should save the money and not build a containment vessel either.
If we had to avoid every possible danger whenever we built anything then we'd never build anything. Japan is a very geographically small place, so it's not like there was much of a choice for placement in a seismically neutral area.
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#49
Quote from dollarbill View Post :
And by your logic you think its safe to build all these things ON a fault line. Maybe we should save the money and not build a containment vessel either.
Fault lines present engineering challenges that should be dealt with appropriately. The events in Japan will certainly have an impact on reactor licensing around the world.

It is silly to simply wave your hand and say that nuclear plants should never be built on fault lines. It simply has to be factored in to the design. Like I said, if we should stop building reactors near faults because of an accident that was triggered by an 8.9 earthquake plus tsunami and yet killed nobody, then there are dozens of industrial structures that should similarly be prohibited.

Quote from dollarbill View Post :
How many of these need to have the govt. limit the owners liability, and accept it themselves. How many of them can't get insurance. As far as deaths from nuclear accidents. This one ...or more.. isn't over yet.
The New York Academy of Sciences recent report puts the death toll from Chernobyl at closer to 1million WHO only say 4000 not to mention 24 years later it's still off limits and highly contaminated
Nuclear power is not alone in needing assistance regarding insurance. The simple matter is that, no matter how safe it is, you are not going to find private insurance for something that costs billions of dollars. In the US, the utilities pay into a fund that is used to pay for accidents. In the event of an accident, the first $12.6 billion of damage are paid for by the industry.

Quote from larrymoencurly View Post :
I believe the most-efficient nuclear reactors running now are about 70% thermallly efficient under best-case conditions, but the amount of nuclear energy converted to electricity is very low, something like <2%, but maybe that's compared to what matter-antimatter can do.
Nuclear power has lower thermal efficiencies than that. Most nuclear power plants are around 40% thermally efficient, (40% of thermal energy generated is converted to electrical energy). Fossil plants have better thermal efficiency (about 50%) because they better lend themselves to superheating steam, and that improves efficiency.

I'm not sure what "nuclear efficiency" means. If it deals with fuel usage, only about 10% of the available fissile material is used during one pass in a reactor. So if a nation doesn't reprocess fuel (some do, the US doesn't), about 90% of the available fuel simply gets put in long term storage with the waste.

Quote from larrymoencurly View Post :
In Japan, the reactor containment building didn't explode because there was no containment building but instead the reactor vessel was surrounded by a containment vessel, probably made of metal, which remained intact. There's no danger of nuclear explosion from a reactor, but free hydrogen rapidly combining with oxygen is another matter, and during the Three Mile Island emergency, that was the biggest fear, and it was estimated such an explosion could have destroyed the containment building.
Actually, TMI-2 did experience a Hydrogen burn-off. My grad school advisor got to tour the containment building for that reactor, and he said everything in the containment that was made of plastic melted as a result. The containment held.
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Last edited by pvt1863 March 13, 2011 at 02:26 PM.
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#50
When it comes to power there will always be risks, I'd like to see nuclear power remain safe until the 'next generation' power is established... I am renewing my call for placing nukes in outer space. We cannot delay IMHO.

We need to to turn around the SS Disovery quick with a makeshift launch platform.. even if that means using sheets of corrugated metal, 2x4s, explosive bolts and thrusters in haste until a more robust solution is in place... my preference is 4 orbital launch-observation platforms and 2 bases located on the moon's poles... the moon is part of this equation and we need to think big.

I am at the ready with my caulking gun to help glue on the tiles if needed.
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#51
Quote from cruizerfish View Post :
When it comes to power there will always be risks, I'd like to see nuclear power remain safe until the 'next generation' power is established... I am renewing my call for placing nukes in outer space. We cannot delay IMHO.

We need to to turn around the SS Disovery quick with a makeshift launch platform.. even if that means using sheets of corrugated metal, 2x4s, explosive bolts and thrusters in haste until a more robust solution is in place... my preference is 4 orbital launch-observation platforms and 2 bases located on the moon's poles... the moon is part of this equation and we need to think big.

I am at the ready with my caulking gun to help glue on the tiles if needed.

Amen.

Im sure Grog and the Cave Posse burnt themselves up plenty way back in the day as they were learning to harness the power of the Fire.

Im sure there were a few, weak, lesser Cave "Kittys" who bitched that the Fire was unsafe too.....

Bet Grog and the Boys cooked them first.....
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#52
No, nor is burning coal or oil which is most power. water wind sun along with sensible conservation is the only answer. hell will freeze over first though.
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#53
Quote from REDCELL View Post :
Amen.

Im sure Grog and the Cave Posse burnt themselves up plenty way back in the day as they were learning to harness the power of the Fire.

Im sure there were a few, weak, lesser Cave "Kittys" who bitched that the Fire was unsafe too.....

Bet Grog and the Boys cooked them first.....
If we are not careful enough, we'll come full circle back to the days of Grog and Company. Wink
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#54
Quote from pvt1863 View Post :
Fault lines present engineering challenges that should be dealt with appropriately. The events in Japan will certainly have an impact on reactor licensing around the world.

It is silly to simply wave your hand and say that nuclear plants should never be built on fault lines. It simply has to be factored in to the design. Like I said, if we should stop building reactors near faults because of an accident that was triggered by an 8.9 earthquake plus tsunami and yet killed nobody, then there are dozens of industrial structures that should similarly be prohibited.



Nuclear power is not alone in needing assistance regarding insurance. The simple matter is that, no matter how safe it is, you are not going to find private insurance for something that costs billions of dollars. In the US, the utilities pay into a fund that is used to pay for accidents. In the event of an accident, the first $12.6 billion of damage are paid for by the industry.



Nuclear power has lower thermal efficiencies than that. Most nuclear power plants are around 40% thermally efficient, (40% of thermal energy generated is converted to electrical energy). Fossil plants have better thermal efficiency (about 50%) because they better lend themselves to superheating steam, and that improves efficiency.

I'm not sure what "nuclear efficiency" means. If it deals with fuel usage, only about 10% of the available fissile material is used during one pass in a reactor. So if a nation doesn't reprocess fuel (some do, the US doesn't), about 90% of the available fuel simply gets put in long term storage with the waste.



Actually, TMI-2 did experience a Hydrogen burn-off. My grad school advisor got to tour the containment building for that reactor, and he said everything in the containment that was made of plastic melted as a result. The containment held.

This is a good post, efficiency of 40% is a bit optimistic Smilie! What are you in grad school for?

Anyone intrested in the some more specifics of the plant in trouble, head to http://www.nei.org/newsandevents/...at-region/ for some good graphics and information.
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Last edited by Chrisv006 March 13, 2011 at 08:26 PM.
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#55
Quote from cruizerfish View Post :
When it comes to power there will always be risks
I don't see a comparable externality risk from solar, wind, geo, and hydro (to a lesser extent I guess) to oil, coal, and gas. I'm just saying this from a purely economic stand point. Can anyone give an example of a significant externality cost of solar or wind?
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#56
Quote from loop610bob View Post :
I don't see a comparable externality risk from solar, wind, geo, and hydro (to a lesser extent I guess) to oil, coal, and gas. I'm just saying this from a purely economic stand point. Can anyone give an example of a significant externality cost of solar or wind?
I would think about the pollution required to make the products(plastics), the battery concerns(both the dangers of damage/explosion and recycling) and getting rid of old materials. I profess my ignorance of the manufacturing of both, but wind shouldn't be as bad, they're mostly steel right? We put alot of thought into "cradle-to-grave" nuclear power, but most of our other stuff just ends in a landfill.

From what I've heard from a guy I knew who was in the solar business, demand far exceeds suppliers, even though the efficiencies aren't always that great. I wish I knew more, hell when I buy my first house I'll go solar if they pay for themselves in 10-15 years.
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#57
Quote from wes View Post :
I would think about the pollution required to make the products(plastics), the battery concerns(both the dangers of damage/explosion and recycling) and getting rid of old materials. I profess my ignorance of the manufacturing of both, but wind shouldn't be as bad, they're mostly steel right? We put alot of thought into "cradle-to-grave" nuclear power, but most of our other stuff just ends in a landfill.
I'm also ignorant of the process. I'm pretty sure rare earth materials are used in solar, but I think it depends on the manufacturing process and I don't know what consequences there are (if any). I'm also curious about any future liabilities from the end of life cycle of the solar panel themselves as well.

Excellent point. Thank you sir. You brought up a point I hadn't thought of before and it's much appreciated. I post in the hopes of seeing responses like yours.
Quote :
From what I've heard from a guy I knew who was in the solar business, demand far exceeds suppliers, even though the efficiencies aren't always that great. I wish I knew more, hell when I buy my first house I'll go solar if they pay for themselves in 10-15 years.
I would gladly pay for solar if it paid itself off in under 20 years. My wife and I will be in the market for a house in about 18 months and solar potential is a major factor for us.
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#58
Quote from loop610bob View Post :
I don't see a comparable externality risk from solar, wind, geo, and hydro (to a lesser extent I guess) to oil, coal, and gas. I'm just saying this from a purely economic stand point. Can anyone give an example of a significant externality cost of solar or wind?
With Hydro the the dam can fail with catastrophic effects. The worst case was the Banqiao Dam which failed in 1975 with the loss of 26,000 lives directly and an estimated 145,000 through famine and disease afterwards. I believe a dam has collapsed in Japan destroying 18,000 homes.

Wind turbines need maintenance. Any activity that involves rotating machinery, high voltages and height has opportunities for fatal accidents. It is hard to get any statistics about wind turbine accidents but it seems that 4 or 5 people die a year. Not a lot compared to coal mining but significant if compared to nuclear.
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#59
Quote from Gotchaforce View Post :
the amount of ignorance on this forum related to this subject is astounding.
Quote from Gotchaforce View Post :
Funny how youve done zero to actually address anyones arguments
Yawn
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#60
Quote from exwhyzee View Post :
No, nor is burning coal or oil which is most power. water wind sun along with sensible conservation is the only answer. hell will freeze over first though.
Let us know how it works out for you with wind power when the wind doesn't blow, and solar power when the sun doesn't shine at night or during inclement weather, and hydro power when the environmentalists succeed in the breaching and removal of many of the dams....
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