Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Science Forum

Science Forum

  1. Standard member CalJust
    It is what it is
    25 Jul '11 11:58
    Haven't checked this forum in a while, so don't know if this topic has been discussed recently.......

    What do the RHP'ers think about the future of nuclear power:

    - pro: being the advantage of much lower (than fossil fuels) Carbon emissions. (NOT zero, due to manufacturing, mining, etc)

    - con: waste disposal, Fukushima, Chernobyl......

    Any views??
  2. 25 Jul '11 12:43
    If you are talking about the future of nuclear power you have to include nuclear fusion as part of the discussion.
  3. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    25 Jul '11 13:29
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    If you are talking about the future of nuclear power you have to include nuclear fusion as part of the discussion.
    That is probably the real road to nuclear power. Fission power is a bust, the downside is way too dangerous. In California, they actually built a couple of plants on an earthquake fault line. Kind of like building the unsinkable Titanic.

    If it went Chernobyl on us, half of LA would become uninhabitable. And that is just one plant.

    Fusion plants would not be exactly radiation free either but the radioactive byproducts would have a lot lower halflife and not be generating those extremely poisonous heavy elements as the end product.
  4. 25 Jul '11 13:36 / 1 edit
    The radioactive by-products from fusion are trivial,
    plus as opposed to fission reactors which takes months to fully shut down and are a constant high wire act to keep stable,
    fusion reactors shut down instantly,
    are almost impossible to meltdown,
    and in the event of a catastrophic loss of containment,
    the radiation levels drop below safe levels by the time you reach the perimeter fence.

    In other words fusion power production is the safest form of power generation yet devised by man.

    And if we were prepared to invest 1 tenth of what we spent on the Iraq/Afghanistan wars on it we would have a working electricity generating power plant by now.


    EDIT: That said the dangers from fission reactors are typically grossly overstated.
    Nuclear power has one of the best safety records of any power generating system. (as measured in deaths per TWHr) Its not that nuclear power isn't dangerous and doesn't kill people its just that almost all the other methods of power generation we have are way way worse.
    The biggest fallout from Fukashima is likely to be China building more coal power plants instead of nuclear.
    And that harms all of us.
  5. Standard member CalJust
    It is what it is
    25 Jul '11 15:41
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    If you are talking about the future of nuclear power you have to include nuclear fusion as part of the discussion.
    Too far away.

    We need to make urgent energy decisions to prevent the 2degC rise (if it is still possible, which I doubt.)

    If it were, of course it would be the obvious choice, but fusion is no contender in this debate.
  6. Standard member CalJust
    It is what it is
    25 Jul '11 15:47
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Fission power is a bust, the downside is way too dangerous.

    .

    Fusion plants would not be exactly radiation free either but the radioactive byproducts would have a lot lower halflife and not be generating those extremely poisonous heavy elements as the end product.[/b]
    Excuse me, but THAT is the crux of the debate. many say: not so.

    Germany is shutting down their nuclear plants, while France's programme (current per centage around 60?) is continuing unabated.


    If it went Chernobyl on us, half of LA would become uninhabitable. And that is just one plant

    The spectre of Chernobyl is often raised, but today's plants are ultra far removed from that archaic design. Better to call up Fukushima....
  7. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    25 Jul '11 19:55 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by CalJust
    Excuse me, but THAT is the crux of the debate. many say: not so.

    Germany is shutting down their nuclear plants, while France's programme (current per centage around 60?) is continuing unabated.


    [b]If it went Chernobyl on us, half of LA would become uninhabitable. And that is just one plant


    The spectre of Chernobyl is often raised, but today's plants are ultra far removed from that archaic design. Better to call up Fukushima....[/b]
    However you want to spell it, there will be nuclear disasters in the future. I don't see such accidents happening from fusion plants. Of course there is that tiny detail we haven't gotten one to put out more energy than it takes in. Picky Picky Just give us another hundred years and they will be in you own Delorian.....

    BTW, I fully agree with you on the wars. 4 trillion bucks and counting. Wonder what that would have done for the space program, education, infrastructure, energy, medical research? That would have been 800 billion for each one of those programs.
    Sigh.