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The Forum > Article Comments > A disaster we must not repeat > Comments

A disaster we must not repeat : Comments

By Christine Milne, published 3/5/2006

It may be inconvenient but Chernobyl attests to the dangers of nuclear energy.

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I continue to support the Greens because of their policies which are not dictated by profit.
The finite nature of energy resources and the escalating price of fossil fuel has created a knee jerk reaction by some as time to re-examine Nuclear as an alternative source.
I believe there are more renewable alternatives that must be explored and utilised such as solar,wind,tidal,ethanol that are safer and not potentially injurious to life on this planet way before Nuclear energy.
You will continue to get my vote and as more people come to realise that Nuclear is neither safe nor cheap, Green support will grow.
You can expect an avalanche of opposition from nuclear apologists but don't be swayed
Posted by maracas, Wednesday, 3 May 2006 10:58:53 AM
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I am not convinced: even after reading some of the information on the links provided the data does not support claims that the region was devastated or the accident resulted in death's in 6 figures

Even the epidemiological studies do not forecast death's in their thousands goinf forward - some projected increases in cancer can only be implied not proven to be Chernobyl related.

Thirty years ago the anti nuclear movement would have been classified as a creature born out of an "alternative" counter culture mind set - nothing wrong with that.

But there is something wrong with that up to the point that movements like that become the new orthodoxy - which the anti nuclear movement fast approaches -

at or near that point it should become subject to some pretty critical analysis if it stands in the way of reasoned development.

Alternative moovemens become counter productive when they adopt the new mantle of dogma; saying no to nuclear power twenty years on after Chernobyl and the development of newer generation plants is a very conservative and old fashioned way of thinking - the children of the revolution would be ashamed.
Posted by sneekeepete, Wednesday, 3 May 2006 11:04:01 AM
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Christine must know that the design faults including a positive void coefficient are unique to the RMBK reactor. Since Chernobyl important modifications have been made to this type of reactor, and together with improved operational procedures the remaining RMBK reactors are working safely.

She must also be aware of the safe operation over many years of both power and research reactors world wide. The integrity of containment structure was demonstrated in Three Mile Island accident in 1979. Over all the safety record of nuclear reactors is commendable. According to information on the UIC web site between years 1970-1992 (Which covers the Chernobyl accident) the deaths normalised to TWy of electricity generation is 8 for nuclear, compared to 342 for coal, 85 for natural gas and 883 for hydro.

Even wind generation has its accident rate and fatalities as compiled by the Caithness Wind farm Information Forum. Their data may not be complete. They point out the difficulties in obtain this information. However, it can be regarded as “the tip of the iceberg.”

Since the 1970’s there have been 273 accidents and 34 fatalities. The increased numbers of accidents and fatalities since the year 2000 may be due to more readily assessable data, or to an increase in the numbers of wind turbines.

Blade failure accounted for 91 accidents, Fire the second most common cause, is important because:
a) The turbine height make it difficult if not impossible for fire brigades
b) Flying embers can cause secondary grass and forest fires.

Other accidents with wind farms, include ice throws (20 recorded and 1 example of human injury), structural failure, lightening strikes, collusion of a parachutist with a turbine and road traffic accidents attributed to drivers being distracted by the windmills.

The Green groups must know that the bulk of the medical and scientific literature gives no support to their anti-nuclear views.
Posted by anti-green, Wednesday, 3 May 2006 11:17:55 AM
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I continue to have mixed views on this topic.

- The long term storage/disposal of Nuclear waste appears to be a real issue. Will we have a safe long term storage solution available in the near future. It is my understanding that the existing solutions do have significant long term risks.
- The bigger the nuclear industry the greater the risks of nuclear material being used for aggressive purposes.
- I tend to accept the argument that well built nuclear facilities may be safer to operate on a day to day basis than other current alternatives.
- I'm not so convinced about the safety of nuclear facilities following major disasters (man made or natural).
- I don't like some of the alternatives. What are the environmental/visual impacts of industrial sized tidal facilities placed at locations with usable tidal flows. I'm assuming that for serious generation capabilities tidal generation will only be viable in a limited number of locations. Likewise for large windfarms.
- I do get concerned that much of the opposition uses a level of spin in their arguments that puts their credibility at risk.
- I doubt that we have any viable alternatives available which address the real world issues of growing economies such as China.
- I suspect that rather than opposing nuclear energy our energies would be better spend on ensuring that plants are as safe as they can be. Is the world better off with Iran making it up as they go(and still building nuclear plants) or with them having access to the best knowledge available to build the safest plants possible?

Posted by R0bert, Wednesday, 3 May 2006 12:17:23 PM
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Well said, anti-green. It was the language used by Milne that gave her away. Terms like "the break-up of the Chernobyl sarcophagus" and "went into nuclear meltdown" are the tools of a propagandist, not those of an educator. Chernobyl was not a melt down. It was an accident that was contained before a meltdown took place. To describe it as "going into meltdown" is about as truthfull as describing a speeding ticket as "going into a life of crime".

And does this sorry excuse for a political party seriously expect the public to believe that the 30 to 40 year old technology at Chernobyl represents the current state of the art in Russia, let alone the rest of the world?

Do the Greens seriously expect the public to assume that not a single nuclear scientist or engineer of influence has spent any more than a greenie's attention span in studying what happened at Chernobyl over the past two decades?

The fact that the Greens have learned nothing over 20 years is hardly a compelling case for assuming that cutting edge engineers have done the same. But I guess the view is always pretty dark when you spend your life with your head in a paper bag.
Posted by Perseus, Wednesday, 3 May 2006 12:19:37 PM
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"Carbon dioxide reduction targets can be met without nuclear power through demand reduction, energy efficiency, co-generation and investment in and rapid deployment of renewable energy. These are cheaper, faster, safer and more sustainable."

This is the usual Greenie stuff consisting of vague uncheckable assertions with no supporting data.

Co-generation is only useful if you have a need for low grade heat, typically for space heating and water heating.

Where are these allegedly cheaper sources of energy? I have yet to find a solar cell that gets anywhere close to being economic. Even wind farms in Australia are only viable because some people are willing to pay a 'green' premium for the power. The solar tower project in Victoria is going nowhere, for the simple reason that even on the proponents own estimates (and that's before it's been built), it's too expensive. Hot rock technology may prove its worth, but it's not there yet.

People don't just die from nuclear power station accidents. They also die, in large numbers, from poverty. Economically viable supplies of power are an essential ingredient in raising and maintaining people's standards of living. Our descendants, and those in third world countries, will not thank us for delivering them a future that is nuclear free, but economically bankrupt.

Posted by Sylvia Else, Wednesday, 3 May 2006 1:01:34 PM
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