It's About Time!!

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Read-Only, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Obama is about to announce backing the first nuclear power plant to be built in the U.S. in three decades.

    If this works out, it will mark the real beginning of the country's ability to wean it's self from fossil fuels. I've nothing against 'green' energy sources but they simply lack the ability to meet the growing need for the U.S. energy supply.

    There are currently 104 nuclear reactors in service in the country and they already supply 70% of the "alternative" (non-fossil) sources of power.
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  3. phlogistician Banned Banned

    Wow, good call. We haven't got time to pansy about hugging trees and installing solar panels. We need nuclear power, it's the _only_ solution to our energy requirements. I just wish the UK would build more.
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  5. Pinwheel Banned Banned

    I thought the UK was planning on building more. Certainly seems more work for those in the nuclear indutry at the moment, more than usual. Especially for contractors.
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  7. EntropyAlwaysWins TANSTAAFL. Registered Senior Member

    Agreed. We could use some here in Australia too, its not like were short of uranium or anything.
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Nuclear power is the most expensive and most dangerous - both politically and technologically - of the several ready approaches to weaning the US off of fossil fuels.

    It is also the one most dependent on centralized corporate power, and bureaucratic authority over daily life.

    And it is dependent, in its reasonable incarnations, on non-renewable resources found in other countries - so it's a stopgap.

    No mystery it's the one being pushed by the bankers and Wall Street interests.
    Solar power is available in variety of forms, solar panels being the least efficient, most fragile and uncertain technologically, and most expensive. The entire PR setup that compares nukes to panels is a scam, a quite possibly deliberate attempt to force the decision toward nukes.
  9. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Absolutely incorrect. We've still got PLENTY of uranium in several of the western states in the U.S. And you are also ignoring the possibility of restarting breeder reactors - which I figure will be the next major step.

    There's been some good progress lately on fusion - and the chances are pretty good that fission reactors will carry us even beyond the point that fusion becomes a practical realitity.
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    We have a lot of oil, too.

    But not at the currently already high prices - and as you know, being a rich guy, it's not the gross amount available but the amount available at a reasonable price.

    If fusion ever comes on line at reasonable cost, which is about as close to reality now as it was forty years ago, we can build fusion plants then.

    It's kind of surprising how often that particular science fiction hope is presented as a sober and reliable prospect, by people who dismiss ordinary heat capture solar in commercial-ready form as pie in the sky.

    Heat capture solar is available now for less money than any nuclear option.
  11. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    Here's another source that puts some of those numbers in doubt:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    And you are ignoring the fact that we already have a VERY large supply of both uranium and plutonium in the form of nuclear warheads that are being decommissioned even as we speak. One major installation was shut down just last week. That material can readily be converted (diluted) to fabricate commercial fuel rods.

    In addition, there is STILL breeder reactor technology available that was put into suspension immediately following the TMI incident. That factor alone could buy us a couple of hundred YEARS at least.
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Your sources and mine appear to agree, on the numbers (note that your source explicitly states the number is the very high end of the estimate range, mine are the actual "most likely" estimates. Reality is as likely to hit on the low end as the high end, if the estimates are well done).
    That's dealt with in the links - including the Russian stuff. One of the problems the market faces is that the Russian decommissioning is due to run out in IIRC 2013, and the US to tail off - there's a crunch coming, predicted to spike the prices.

    Breeder reactors impose extra costs, for security among other things, while adding only a cycle or two to the ore life.

    And the nukes are already overpriced. The most expensive alternative we have, the least secure, and a large permanent bureaucratic dependency, is not the attractive first choice for huge social investment .
  13. jmpet Valued Senior Member

    I really hate supporting nuclear because we have no exit strategy for the radioactive waste, I am happy to see new, MODERN, ULTRA-SAFE nuclear facilities opening up providing power to the US.
  14. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    "Only a cycle or two?" Evidently, you know far too little about breeders or else are pretending ignorance on purpose to suit your own personal agenda.

    To anyone interested - and to show iceaura's ignorance - please study the following link. You will then understand that breeder reactors could easily carry us forward for HUNDREDS of years.
  15. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    You will be happy to know that in addition to providing nuclear fuel for centuries to come, breeder reactors will also greatly reduce the amount of radioactive waste we have to deal with. That's due primarily to the fact that the spent fuel rods are 'recycled' into new fuel.
  16. sly1 Heartless Registered Senior Member

    I see this as a step in the right direction for now. Obviously the US and world rather are in a situation where the luxury of waiting for the perfect fuel source is no longer practical.

    The green alternatives while practical just don't allow for the type of energy needed to keep the US lifestyle the way it is currently.

    Maybe further in the future when appliances and energy USES are refined to the point simple energy production like the green ones will be a practical reality. But so long as places like Vegas exist....I don't see green options as practical on a big scale.

    However there are still options that are GREEN that society can migrate toward making the ammount of Nuclear reactors needed less. Green power can provide the average home with a % of energy that would otherwise be coming from power plants.

    The sum of more energy efficient products/appliances + individual level green energy + nuclear energy could possibly relieve alot of the current issues that makeup the "energy crisis". For now anyway.

    100 years should be enough time to find that luxury perfect fuel source we keep smashing our heads against.
  17. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

    Due to nuclear waste, our descendants will curse us for several centuries.
  18. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    HA, your joking right? let the rest of the world turn into a nuclear waste dump, NOT AUSTRALIA.

    We have some of the best geothermal energy sources in the world. Further more there IS technology avilable produce base load solor (its called solor thermal), the cities (which all lie of the coast i might add) have an abundant access to wind from the ocean and lastly of course there is biomas.
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    From the link:
    And recall the point:
    Again: heat capture solar, in several forms, is ready now and cheaper than current nuclear power - let alone future, ore-short and tech heavy, dangerous setup nukes.
  20. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    The main problem with Nuclear power has always been that the generation that installs the stations doesn't take into consideration the eventual costs for cleanup, or the impact it will have on future generations.

    If backing is going to be given for the building of a station, then I would ask for the paperwork on what they plan to do when the site gets shutdown in 40-50 years, of course for most short-termers, they won't be thinking that far ahead.
  21. Cris In search of Immortality Valued Senior Member

    Back in the 1960's/1970's I think, there was a sci-fi TV series called "Space 1999". This was about a colony on the moon that had the task of receiving all the nuclear waste from Earth and spreading it around the moon. Of course eventually the vast quantities of toxic material explodes sending the moon on a journey out of the solar system and beyond.

    So while at the moment the cost of escaping the pull of the Earth's gravity is huge that is likely to change in the future. The universe is also huge and perhaps just sending all our nuclear waste into the sun might be a good place for it. But the cost of the delivery mechanism must be low. It will always likely be much more expensive than dumping it local, so perhaps legislation would be the key to forcing power companies to find more exotic off world dumping sites.
  22. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

    No, the MAIN problems with nuclear power is people who are stuck in 1960s mentality. First, they fail to realize the advancements that have been made in reactors over the past four decades. Second, they fail to understand that breeder reactors will greatly reduce the amount of nuclear waste produced by conventional reactors. Third, they have no idea that chemical means can be developed that will GREATLY reduce the material that breeders cannot handle. The latter simply has not been pursued by governments because the currently accumulated radioactive waste is FAR, FAR less than the average citizen imagines it to be.

    The real problem, short and simple, is the ignorance of people.
  23. sly1 Heartless Registered Senior Member

    Im curious about something. What impact in the big picture would 50 years of nuclear waste have on the universe? If we were to package up all that waste and shoot it into space no particular direction.

    My theory is 50 years worth of nuclear waste shot into space would be the equivalent of a spec of dust in a mansion. No effect and no damage especially when space is composed of already deadly amounts of radiation.

    Just curious from a scientific/FACTUAL perspective what negative effects would nuclear waste in space have??

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