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The Forum > General Discussion > Nuclear power why not

Nuclear power why not

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Come tell me why not.
We sell fuel for such power plants to just about anyone.
We know surely while we say we will not use it some of our biggest trading partners will.
Far too often we fall for extremism, green, conservative and just madness.
Lets not kid ourselves the world is going to use this fuel so to will we.
Paul Howe's today opened what should be nation wide debate.
Those opposed to coal need to understand while it will cost this country billions coal will indeed in its present form not be used forever.
Posted by Belly, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 5:45:04 PM
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Dear Belly,

You ask - "Nuclear power - why not?"

There are several reasons - the biggest being high costs -
and perceived dangers that have given nuclear reactors
such a bad reputation. One of the main fears is that
a "meltdown," at a nuclear reactor could release a great
deal of deadly radiation into the atmosphere, perhaps
before people in surrounding communities could be warned
and evacuated. Despite consistent assurance that nuclear
reactors are safe, opinion polls show that the public is
unconvinced - especially since the serious nuclear
accidents like Chernobyl.

There was a much greater accident that happened
near - Kyshtym in Russia in the late 1950s, spreading
radioactive debris over a wide area which is now believed to
be uninhabitable for centuries. The full story has never
been told, but the names of about 30 small towns in the
region have disappeared from Russian maps, and an elaborate
system of canals has been built, presumably to carry
rivers and other water systems around the contaminated area.

Another reason is that -
nuclear reactors produce notoriously hazardous wastes. Storing
this waste is a serious problem. Aging containers tend to leak.
What is needed is a place that will safely contain the waste
for at least 10,000 years, which supposedly is long enough
for most of it to decay. However the location of such a site
is a big problem, the obvious reason - that people are generally
unenthused about the prospect of having a radioactive dump
in their own neighbourhood.
Posted by Foxy, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 10:32:16 PM
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cont'd ...

The following website may be of interest:

http://www.logtv.com/films/chelyabinsk/

Chelyabinsk - the most contaminated place on the planet.
Posted by Foxy, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 10:42:14 PM
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Nuclear power is a thing of the past, just like coal and oil. All three have no lengthy future. And just like coal and oil it is a serious pollutant. This is because there is NO technology yet developed that neutralises nuclear waste. Nuclear power is non renewable, it's finite, just like oil and coal, and this is the main reason why it has no future. Let's stop depleting planet Earth. The future lies with the sun and wind. The technology to take advantage of these renewable resources gets better year after year. Renewable energy will eventually supply all of our energy needs. Within 100 years oil, coal and nuclear energy will be viewed 'universally' as old fashioned, wasteful and polluting. By then the world would have moved on.
Posted by MaryE, Thursday, 20 August 2009 2:13:28 AM
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Well said MaryE.

Belly, a nuclear power in this country would be a particularly bad idea largely because it will be implemented in a rush, once rising fuel prices really start to have an effect on our economy and quality of life. Corners will be cut, left, right and centre, in order to bring it online as quickly as possible.

We wont even start to develop a nuclear power industry until conventional energy sources become highly stressed. This will very much be the wrong environment in which to develop such an incredibly dangerous power source.

It will then exist in a period of much social turmoil. You can bet that once peak oil really bites (and that means rising prices that affect the price of everything else, long before actual shortages of supply), things are going to get very ugly. Operating a nuclear industry in this situation would be enormously dangerous.

Even if a start was made this year, wed probably well and truly be within this period of turmoil before the industry became established.

But the biggest problem of all is that the continuous rapid growth paradigm remains entrenched, which means that if we did develop a successful nuclear power industry, it would facilitate continuously increasing population, energy consumption and everything that goes with them.

Then, given that it is a finite resource with only a relatively small period of operation at a high and constantly increasing rate of consumption, it will leave us in need of new energy sources just a few years down the track.

If within a genuine sustainability paradigm, we needed an extra power source, after pulling right back on fossil fuels, developing alternatives to the best of our ability, and becoming a whole lot more frugal, then and only then there might be some merit in developing nuclear power, at a small scale of operation, as part of a mix of power sources. And only within a socially stable environment.
Posted by Ludwig, Thursday, 20 August 2009 7:34:49 AM
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Belly, this one is an extreme case including plenty of the mistakes of the past but have a read of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanford_Site

and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_waste

There are still a lot of problems associated with disposal of the waste which is not just spent fuel, it's the reactor itself when it's decommissioned, it's the equipment used to work on the fuel and reactor, it can be the material used to cool the reactor, it can be soil from around the site, it can almost be almost anything involved in the process.

I'm concerned that we may find ourselves forced to use it at some stage but its non an option to take on lightly and it has the potential to leave massive problems for the future.

R0bert
Posted by R0bert, Thursday, 20 August 2009 8:49:22 AM
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