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Author Topic:   Japan
Tanypteryx
Member
Posts: 481
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 61 of 175 (609012)
03-15-2011 9:47 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by Rahvin
03-15-2011 7:43 PM


Re: "Worst case scenario"
Rahvin, thanks for the interesting and informative posts.

I find it hard to imagine what all the effects of a worst case scenario would consist of. If a full meltdown occurred the fuel would melt through the bottom of primary and secondary containment, and possibly some distance into the ground below the reactor. It is possible that the fission reaction would continue until the fuel was spent and it might be molten all that time. Some of the daughter products of Uranium such at Radium-226 are water soluble and could enter the aquifer and with a 2200 year half-life would be a serious contamination for a long time. Once the sustained fission reaction stopped there would still be a considerable amount of Uranium left that through normal radioactive decay would continue to create radioactive daughter nuclides.

At Chernobyl the loss of control of the reaction caused the core to become so hot that there was a massive explosion, and the graphite moderator that the core was embedded in caught on fire and burned so fiercely that it could not be extinguished. They tried to smother it with Boron laced sand dropped from helicopters but that did not work. I can't remember how long it burned but I think it was close to a week. The fire caused the spread of radioactive nuclides to be much worse. I actually had a very small sample of material from Chernobyl in the gamma spectrometry lab where I worked years ago and the number a radionuclides and the level of activity was pretty amazing.

An interesting effect happens when Zirconium (the tube that contains the fuel pellets) gets hot enough. It catches on fire and burns at a temperature that is hot enough to disassociate water into Hydrogen and Oxygen. And it burns readily under water. This may have been where the hydrogen bubble came from that exposed the top of the core at Three Mile Island.

I support safer nuclear power and I think the lessons learned from this disaster should guide retrofits of the existing power plants and future designs. Today on NPR I heard that Three Mile Island was the most studied accident in history and I imagine that the Japanese disaster will surpass that. I think the spent fuel and waste is still the most serious long term problem that needs a solution.


Tactimatically speaking, the molecubes are out of alignment. -- S.Valley

What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

You can't build a Time Machine without Weird Optics -- S. Valley


This message is a reply to:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 12744
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 62 of 175 (609014)
03-15-2011 10:22 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by Buzsaw
03-15-2011 8:07 PM


Re: Risk And Energy
In America it's an oddity for government to intervene in the risk factor relative to creating energy from anything. Since our republic was founded, it's been up to citizens and companies as to whether risk should be a factor in any kind of mining industry.

Mining has always been a huge factor in the welfare and prosperity of America. The '49er California gold miners knew the high risk of venturing out for their fortune. They had a lot to do with opening up the West and exploration etc.

Considering all of the benefits of coal to the nation over the centuries and the millions involved in mining it, relatively few have lost their lives. Any enterprise involves risk. That's life.

What people forget is how many millions have lost their lives due to the loss of freedom or trying to regain lost freedom. Let freedom ring and let people decide whether the risk of death or injury is worth the venture.

But the problem, my dear Buz, is that the "risk of death or injury" does not always fall exclusively on the people undertaking the venture (and receiving the profit).

If my house backs onto yours and I build a gunpowder factory in my backyard, what would you have to say about that --- "Let freedom ring"? Do I really have the freedom to put you at risk in that way?

Here's the KMK plant in the Soviet Union (as it then was).

What the people in that town were breathing was not the clean air of freedom but the stench of tyranny, or to be more prosaic, carbon monoxide. When someone else is deciding what's in the air you breathe and the water you drink, how free are you? Freedom involves freedom from someone else poisoning you or blowing you up or giving you radiation sickness, and it is this freedom that the government is protecting with "regulations", just as it has other "regulations" to prevent people from whacking you over the head with a bit of two-by-four.

President Clinton, with the stroke of a pen, declared a large portion of Utah government land ...

No he didn't.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante region was already federal land. What Clinton did was make it a national monument.

Nuclear energy, due to it's risk of impact on large populations and regions has the potential of affecting large populations and regions.

So does burning coal, alas.

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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dronester
Member
Posts: 1122
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


Message 63 of 175 (609052)
03-16-2011 9:21 AM
Reply to: Message 50 by NoNukes
03-15-2011 6:21 PM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
Thanks for the clarification Nonukes.

However, your point that the failed levee system in New Orleans was woefully inadequate (like nuclear power plant designs and safety regulations in Japan and USA), was my primary point.

I simply want systems that could potentially harm a great many people to be rigorously designed and regulated. My previous links, and the real world example in Japan, show they "aint".

Edited by dronester, : clarity

Edited by dronester, : clarity


This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by NoNukes, posted 03-15-2011 6:21 PM NoNukes has acknowledged this reply

  
dronester
Member
Posts: 1122
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


Message 64 of 175 (609053)
03-16-2011 9:31 AM
Reply to: Message 46 by fearandloathing
03-15-2011 5:35 PM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
I am not an engineer, but I think the New York Power Authority Niagara Power Project Power Vista is pretty much non-invasive. It does not damn the river (literally and figuratively), the water is sapped off the main river into a reservoir which then drives the turbines. There is type of salmon that can be caught in the river in which it thrives, not at all effected.

At least in this specific case, hydro power IS much SAFER and CLEANER than nuclear power.

I do not understand why this system is not used more.

I noted Rahvin hasn't conceded this.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=niagara+mohawk+buffalo+ny&h...


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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dronester
Member
Posts: 1122
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


Message 65 of 175 (609056)
03-16-2011 9:47 AM


micro nuclear power plants?
Anybody read this article in National Geographic? Very interesting:

Small Town Nukes
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/big-idea/08/mini-nukes

"Small reactors can't address all the problems standing in the way of more nuclear investment, but they can address the biggest barriers—the economic ones,"

"Besides costing less to build, some small reactors could be inherently SAFER, . . ."

(BTW, this was a most interesting thread/topic. Most particpants had valid thoughts and examples that were thought provoking. IMHO, this is what EvC should be about. Thanks all)

Edited by dronester, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
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fearandloathing
Member (Idle past 576 days)
Posts: 990
From: Burlington, NC, USA
Joined: 02-24-2011


Message 66 of 175 (609066)
03-16-2011 11:01 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by dronester
03-16-2011 9:47 AM


Re: micro nuclear power plants?
dronester writes:

Anybody read this article in National Geographic? Very interesting:

Small Town Nukes
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/big-idea/08/mini-nukes

"Small reactors can't address all the problems standing in the way of more nuclear investment, but they can address the biggest barriers—the economic ones,"

"Besides costing less to build, some small reactors could be inherently SAFER, . . ."

(BTW, this was a most interesting thread/topic. Most particpants had valid thoughts and examples that were thought provoking. IMHO, this is what EvC should be about. Thanks all)

Some good info on reactor tech at www.ga.com/energy/em2/ it is general atomics site, go to their home page and look under products for another type of reactor also.

I have also read that the heat from this type of reactor could also be used to produce hydrogen cheaper and cleaner than we currently can, This may be something that could help make hydrogen a viable energy alternative?

Edited by fearandloathing, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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NoNukes
Member
Posts: 5282
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.6


(1)
Message 67 of 175 (609071)
03-16-2011 11:39 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by Buzsaw
03-15-2011 8:07 PM


Re: Risk And Energy
Buzsaw writes:

In America it's an oddity for government to intervene in the risk factor relative to creating energy from anything. Since our republic was founded, it's been up to citizens and companies as to whether risk should be a factor in any kind of mining industry.

Coal mining is heavily regulated. We've had government regulation of mines since the 1890s. You have heard of MSHA haven't you?

Coal mine operators appear to be adept at evading safety regulations and the inspection/enforcement of the regulations is woefully underfunded. We don't live in 1849 anymore.

Buzzer writes:

What people forget is how many millions have lost their lives due to the loss of freedom or trying to regain lost freedom. Let freedom ring and let people decide whether the risk of death or injury is worth the venture.

Your freedom ends where my nose begins.

Buzszaw writes:

There's been no end in these last decades to the restrictive policies of government which have left us beholden to the oppressive Muslim nations of the Middle East

No rant is ever complete without a Muslim slam.


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 Message 59 by Buzsaw, posted 03-15-2011 8:07 PM Buzsaw has not yet responded

    
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 102 days)
Posts: 3943
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 68 of 175 (609075)
03-16-2011 11:58 AM
Reply to: Message 64 by dronester
03-16-2011 9:31 AM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
I am not an engineer, but I think the New York Power Authority Niagara Power Project Power Vista is pretty much non-invasive. It does not damn the river (literally and figuratively), the water is sapped off the main river into a reservoir which then drives the turbines. There is type of salmon that can be caught in the river in which it thrives, not at all effected.

At least in this specific case, hydro power IS much SAFER and CLEANER than nuclear power.

I do not understand why this system is not used more.

I noted Rahvin hasn't conceded this.

Much like nuclear plants, not all hydro dams are alike. An earthquake like the one that struck Japan would certainly destroy any dam, and depending on the location, could create more destruction and death than a nuclear disaster.

However, yes, hydro power can be extremely safe. But as I did state earlier, I don't consider hydro/solar/wave/geothermal/wind in this discussion simply because they are only supplemental power generation. No combination of those types of generators can take a primary role in modern power grids. Wind and solar and wave are both far too dependent on weather. Hydro and geothermal can only be built in specific areas.

Considering hydro/solar/wind/wave/geothermal power when discussing which method of power generation is safest is like pointing out that bicycles are cleaner than cars - of course they are, but bicycles cannot take any primary role in transportation, and so can't even reasonably be considered as an option amongst electric cars, hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, etc.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by dronester, posted 03-16-2011 9:31 AM dronester has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by dronester, posted 03-16-2011 12:58 PM Rahvin has responded

  
dronester
Member
Posts: 1122
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


Message 69 of 175 (609078)
03-16-2011 12:58 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by Rahvin
03-16-2011 11:58 AM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
Rahvin writes:

An earthquake like the one that struck Japan would certainly destroy any dam

I wouldn't recommend building a dam OR nuclear power plant on an active earthquake zone without extraordinary precautions (extraordinary regulations, extraordinary designs, extraordinary laws, and extraordinary maintenance) which apparently the Japanese Nuclear powerplant didn't have. Again, I am not specifically against nuclear power, I am just against inadequate maintenance, inadequate design, inadequate regulations, inadequate laws, corruption, and corporatism, which, unfortunately, is the greedy world we live in (it seems you do not want to consider):

Reports: Lax oversight, 'greed' preceded Japan nuclear crisis
http://www.csmonitor.com/...ed-preceded-Japan-nuclear-crisis

Rahvin writes:

However, yes, hydro power can be extremely safe.

"Can be"? Not only can Hydro be safe, but it IS safe. Do you want to compare deaths by nuclear power plants compared to deaths by hydro power?

Rahvin writes:

I don't consider hydro/solar/wave/geothermal/wind in this discussion simply because they are only supplemental power generation.

Really? from the link site below:

When the Niagara project produced its first power in 1961, it was the largest hydropower facility in the Western world at the time. Today, Niagara is the biggest electricity producer in New York State, generating 2.4 million kilowatts

Niagara Power Project
http://www.nypa.gov/facilities/niagara.htm

(BTW, the hydro power is only 20 minutes away from my home and the tours are free. Guess where I'll be visiting this month?)

I would wager it's many large turbines can compete with any nuclear power plant.

Rahvin writes:

Hydro and geothermal can only be built in specific areas.

Well, duh, but the electricity CAN be transported via POWERLINES many hundreds (thousands?) of miles to the customer.

From your previous post Message 38:

Rahvin writes:

Right now we're detecting elevated but still not harmful levels of radiation in the area (2x normal is the number I've heard, and double the normal daily amount of radiation is virtually nothing).

apan officials: Stay indoors, nuclear leaks now dangerous
http://www.csmonitor.com/...oors-nuclear-leaks-now-dangerous

"We are now in a situation that is different from yesterday's. It is very clear that we are at a level six, which is an intermediate level between what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl," the ASN president said at a news conference in Paris.

Japanese officials are now ordering 140,000 people living near nuclear power plants damaged by Friday's 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami to stay indoors and seal their doors and windows.

Still not convinced Rahvin? In addition, the US aircraft carrier sensed increased radiation and has taken the precaution of moving even further out to sea. So, if you had a family with children living downstream of this exploding Japanese reactor, would you calmly tell them there is nothing to worry about and advise them to make the area home for the next thirty years?

Would you chance your children's health that you were absolutely right?

Edited by dronester, : more accurate quotes


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Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 24664
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 70 of 175 (609080)
03-16-2011 1:25 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by dronester
03-16-2011 12:58 PM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
dronester writes:

So, if you had a family with children living downstream of this exploding Japanese reactor, would you calmly tell them there is nothing to worry about and advise them to make the area home for the next thirty years?

Would you chance your children's health that you were absolutely right?

Of course that is a silly example but so far, sure.

And I really doubt that nuclear power stations have killed anywhere near as many folk as dams have.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
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Son
Member (Idle past 261 days)
Posts: 346
From: France,Paris
Joined: 03-11-2009


Message 71 of 175 (609087)
03-16-2011 1:52 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by fearandloathing
03-16-2011 11:01 AM


Re: micro nuclear power plants?
Just to be clear, hydrogene cannot be a source of energy, it's just storing energy since hydrogene produced comes from water.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by fearandloathing, posted 03-16-2011 11:01 AM fearandloathing has responded

Replies to this message:
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slevesque
Member (Idle past 1071 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 72 of 175 (609090)
03-16-2011 2:03 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by fearandloathing
03-15-2011 5:35 PM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
Don't think hydro is a non-invasive type of power generation when it comes to the environment. It changes the whole river system it is on, affects migration and breeding of some fish many many impacts that cant be denied. Although I do belive wind hydro are mostly green as they don't pollute in the traditional sense, but they do affect the environment. There will be trade-offs in anything we do.

Environmental impacts were much more important in the 70's when it comes to hydroelectricity. That is because the main concern is the mercury released when inundating huge territories of forrest, which would poison the ecosystem for up to 30 years if I remember correctly. Nowadays Hydro-Quebec cuts all the wood beforehand.

In terms of disturbing the ecosystem, this is very temporary. It adapts quite quickly and just a trip to a site would convince you. I regularly go to the 'Baie James' (incredible trip for people who like fishing, hunting and sightseeing btw) and the ecosystem is just awesome.

You also have to think that the advantage of hydro-electricity isn't in it's cleanliness; wind and solar is much better in that regard. But it is in the fact that it acts as a lever to permit you to massively use those other types of none-reliable clean energies. This is because a water turbine takes 5 minutes to get up and running and producing energy, so makes a very easily reactive system to any unpredicted losses of wind, or bursts of energy demands in the middle of the night. (contrary to coal plants who takes days to get up and running I believe)


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fearandloathing
Member (Idle past 576 days)
Posts: 990
From: Burlington, NC, USA
Joined: 02-24-2011


Message 73 of 175 (609091)
03-16-2011 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 71 by Son
03-16-2011 1:52 PM


Re: micro nuclear power plants?
Son writes:

Just to be clear, hydrogene cannot be a source of energy, it's just storing energy since hydrogene produced comes from water.

Yes hydrogen is an energy conveyor, I never said it was a source. It takes lots of power to produce it now or if it is made from natural gas then there are other by products mainly co2 if I remember right. If it can be produced as a secondary product by higher temperature reactors, then it might be a alternative to gasoline or other fossil fuels. I should've been clearer in my last post, Thanks.


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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 102 days)
Posts: 3943
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 74 of 175 (609093)
03-16-2011 2:25 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by dronester
03-16-2011 12:58 PM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
The simple fact, dronester, despite your red herrings about evacuation orders and "increased radiation" being detected, I have provided solid numbers regarding the casualties caused by nuclear power.

Those numbers objectively refute the idea that nuclear power is unsafe when compared to other main-line power generators. Again, hydro is NOT a primary form of generation, it can only ever be supplementary. There just are not enough geographical locations to build enough plants, end of story. It doesn't matter how far you transmit the power (though power transmission is limited as well), you just cannot build enough plants. Again, hydro is supplementary power only, like wind/solar/wave/geothermal. You're telling me how clean bicycles are in a discussion on the cleanest replacement for gas-powered automobiles as primary transportation.

There's a decommissioned nuclear reactor at a former Air Force base near where I live. I used to actually work at a company leasing one of the buildings there. Not 200 meters away from the parking lot stands a large tent. The tent covers a location of the base where the military dumped radioactive material, including plutonium, and simply buried it in dirt (oddly enough, another, separate company I used to work for performed the cleanup). The tent is not lead-lined - it's just canvass. Yet despite the remaining presence of radiological particulate matter (stuff too small to dig up, that's why they left the tent there), I don't have cancer or radiation poisoning.

"Increased radiation" doesn't mean you're going to die, or get cancer, any more than "increased water" means you're about to drown.

Chernobyl stands as the single, solitary true nuclear disaster in history until today with Fukushima. It's regarded as a nightmare scenario, one of the most frightening cautionary tales in history.

63 people died, with another ~200 over the next decade (the World Heath Organization actually lists only 50 fatalities due to Chernobyl, but I can be generous).

More people die in a single day from car accidents.

112 people died during the construction of the Hoover Dam (just 2 years ago, 47 people died at a Russian hydroelectric plant, which would already be the second-worst disaster ever if it were a nuclear plant...and nobody noticed or cared. If it had been a nuclear plant, it would have been the headline story on CNN for weeks).

Nuclear power seems to scare your pants off, dronester, for absolutely no rational reason. You should be more frightened of your car. Or your cholesterol. Or the natural gas pipeline running under the street. You're orders of magnitude more likely to be killed by one of those than by any event relating to a nuclear power plant, even if you live just down the street from one. What is it? Radiation poisoning and cancer seem like worse ways to die than being burned alive or blown up or crushed or dismembered? Is it because it's slower? As far as I can tell, dead is dead, and risk involves how likely you are to die, disregarding the emotional impact of the specific manner of death.

You asked what it would take for me to drop my support of nuclear power as the safest currently available feasible method of large-scale power generation. I already answered, though you seem to have overlooked it: Fukushima would have to be worse than Chernobyl, by far.

from here:

quote:
per terawatt of energy produced, hydroelectric power kills 885, coal kills 342, natural gas kills 85, but nuclear kills only 8.

Make that "8" number an order of magnitude higher, and we'll talk. Make it two orders of magnitude higher, and it's still safer than hydroelectric power.

Now either provide numbers proving my assertions wrong, or concede that you haven't looked at a single goddamned fatality statistic to back up your emotionally-spawned irrational fearmongering.

Edited by Rahvin, : No reason given.


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Replies to this message:
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Mr Jack
Member (Idle past 355 days)
Posts: 3475
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 75 of 175 (609096)
03-16-2011 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by Rahvin
03-16-2011 2:25 PM


Re: for Rahvin . . .
Chernobyl stands as the single, solitary true nuclear disaster in history until today with Fukushima.

I would have thought Three Mile Island would qualify if this event does. That goes for most of these too.

I would argue that Chernobyl stands as the single, solitary true nuclear disaster in history. And Fukushima has not changed that. It's possible the coming days will change that; but I see very little reason to think that it's so.


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