# What climate change is not

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by billvon, Jan 28, 2020.

1. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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And that more accurate history is a problem why?
AOC did not say that bolded part.

That is your misrepresentation of an accurate observation - we are probably going to cross another couple of serious tipping points in 12 years or so, to add to the couple we have already crossed as per the warnings of the past (similarly dismissed as "alarmist" then, accepted by most as common knowledge and dismissed in significance on other and even more spurious grounds now). The more such points we cross, the greater the unavoidable misery and the larger the risks of unlikely but possible catastrophes.
In a few thousand years.
One hopes whatever remains of human life will have the necessary means of enjoyment - ships, agriculture, colonization capabilities in general. And that Antarctica is not the only remaining forested region humans can inhabit.
If we take into account the alarmism so far, the amount of burning will be underestimated and the amount of regrowth will be overestimated.
That's the track record to date.
Bullshit.
The diversion of resources alone probably killed dozens of Japanese people - the situation in the wake of the tsunami was desperate over a wide area - and the side effects of that will continue to kill and injure for many years. Add the radiation exposure to the other effects, and "0" becomes an absurdity.

If there is one lesson everyone should have learned by now about civilian nuclear disasters, it's that the official information will be wrong. Official nuclear power proponents are liars, flat and simple, in every country and under every government. There are no exceptions - no major nuclear power plant accident has ever been reported honestly by the technocrats at the scene or the government involved.
I agree that coal is very bad stuff, very dangerous, etc. But there's no reason to compare nukes with coal - neither recommends itself to common sense, both are among the most expensive as well as dangerous options available.

Meanwhile, calculated odds would be more reassuring if any nuke proponent had ever calculated them properly - or even plausibly.

Risk , when calculating odds, is central - and even after making more reasonable estimates of casualties and costs we got lucky with Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima: flat out lucky. As Richard Feynman put it in his evaluation of the engineering reports on the O-rings: repeated narrow survival of unexpected events via mechanisms indistinguishable from luck is not something from which safety can be inferred. That's exactly how we got those three disasters. Yet we see such arguments to this day - the melted core of TMI stopped six inches short of breaching the last containment barrier and dumping itself into the Ohio River Valley, Chernobyl did not quite melt to the aquifer or water tanks and render a third of continental Europe uninhabitable, Fukushima's disaster response crew managed to run an adequate cooling line for water from a source thousands of feet away by hand and muscle and near superhuman effort despite having only the resources available in the wake of a huge tsunami, etc etc etc.

Again: narrow survival of unexpected events via mechanisms indistinguishable from luck is not something from which safety can be inferred. And that warning is applicable to the entire public discussion of AGW - bad as things are looking to be, we are simply lucky they haven't been worse. Our luck's probably going to run out.

Side point: One major reason nukes have proved deceptively attractive to naive technocrats is that such folks are no better than average at intuitive assessments of unlikely catastrophe - especially if it involves maintenance and long term care and other analogs of housework - but they are more vulnerable than average to thinking they are. Their very expertise, their record of being correct when others are not, seems to lead them to underestimate or even overlook entirely their areas of ignorance. A child with a crayon and a historical map of Japan's major earthquakes would have put an excluding X over the Fukushima coastline as a site for a nuclear power plant - it took an expert to ignore the obvious, overestimate the knowledge gained from the exactly two large earthquake tsunamis modern science had ever been able to monitor live, and declare that site to be a good location for a nuke. Likewise with the waste handling problem - any intelligent janitor would know better than to generate mass quantities of that stuff under the assumption that somebody would figure out how to deal with it later. It takes an expert to overlook such things.

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3. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Ah! So we can count "diversion of resources" as deaths due to something.

How many people have been killed by diversion of resources to renewable energy research, incentives, subsidies and tax breaks?
OK. Then the same applies to renewables. (See above.)
You mean, other than one generally replaces the other when it is shut down? What that means is you have a choice, since few people are willing to freeze in the dark. Which is the better choice?
Again, you can argue the same thing with renewables. Creating solar panels, for example, requires tons of very toxic materials. A partial list includes cadmium telluride, copper indium selenide, cadmium gallium selenide, copper indium gallium diselenide, hexafluoroethane, lead, polyvinyl fluoride and silicon tetrachloride. If you had a spill you could easily see mass casualties. So if POTENTIAL risks are a big thing, then you've got a huge risk due to the toxicity of renewables manufacturing.

Now, you might reasonably say "but manufacturers take precautions, and history has shown that spills aren't so dangerous, so the risk is low!" Good argument - and the same applies to nuclear power.

Exactly. And that applies to renewable manufacture as well as the nuclear industry. Best response to both problems - use criteria other than "repeated narrow survival" to validate a technology.
When we bought our house we had a seismic survey done. We got three. One showed faults under nearly every area in San Diego. A second showed a fault nearby that had a low probability of motion. A third just showed the major faults. A "child with a crayon" would determine that 90% of the homes in San Diego are at dire risk of earthquake damage, and are therefore all uninsurable. Fortunately, we had better advice than a child with a crayon - as modern renewables manufacturing plants, and nuclear reactor siting teams, do.

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5. ### Quantum QuackLife's a tease...Valued Senior Member

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Hey billvon perhaps you could start a pro nuke topic and discuss it properly?

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7. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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Perhaps, if there's enough interest.

8. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,994
Dunno. Very little has been diverted like that
Deaths visibly due to diversion of resources. Of course - it's a major risk factor in nuclear accidents especially. They are emergencies, and take a lot of focused effort.
They don't.
Almost all the other choices - from natural gas to conservation to thermal solar - are both cheaper and safer (cheaper because safer, for starters).
All risks are "potential", of course, by definition. Did I mention how strange your posts are becoming?
But adjusting to what you appear to be trying to talk about: Yep. That's manufacturing risk, of course, not operational risk, but you are welcome to expand the discussion beyond my posting here like that. (It's one of the smaller but still significant advantages of thermal solar, a specialty interest of mine - lower risk manufacturing of the power plant).
So let's see the honest comparison - starting with something a bit less goofy than "0" for a casualty estimate from Fukushima's meltdown, and a realistic assessment of the casualties expected in the course of an emergency evacuation of a third of eastern Europe (at least) for the entire foreseeable future.
What's good about stupidity with an agenda?
1)The same argument does not, in reality, apply to coal or nukes. The order of magnitude of the severity is not comparable, and in consequence the lies are much less damaging.
2) History shows that "spills" are very dangerous, and that manufacturers do not take adequate precautions unless forced to do so. (Theory also shows this, btw.).
3) So?
You are welcome to correct any post of mine that tries to sell bullshit casualty statistics in the wake of major accidents involving "renewables" - as soon as you have corrected yours, above, and posted less ludicrous implausibilities.
It doesn't. The potential severity is not realistically comparable, and the risk is much differently sourced and located in time and space both - much easier to handle, usually (the Polymet mine infrastructure currently threatening Lake Superior, for example, can be blocked, relocated, differently designed, more strictly regulated, and otherwise made much smaller in affordable and feasible ways - meanwhile, the share of its product projected to go to renewable energy production is small, as well).
Also: There haven't been any Chernobyls, TMIs, or Fukushimas, involving renewable-power plants. So a reasonable assessment of the unknown risks being run is much smaller than the equivalent entry in the nuclear power plant books.
Too bad Fukushima didn't have such good advice.
Nuclear siting teams have a history of failure and fuckup, and their rhetoric reinforces the impression that they have learned very little from it.
Nuclear power plants are uninsurable - partly because insurance companies are informed about the advice available from the siting teams and other professionals involved, partly because the scale of possible disaster is so bankruptingly huge that even the reinsurance market won't touch it, and partly because they may well be forced to actually pay out (unlike much homeowner's insurance, which can simply fold and vanish if the disaster is too big).

So what does all this have to do with AGW? It illuminates the worldview of the more sophisticated or higher end denial, and the source of the rhetorical tactics its advocates employ:

which turn out to be associated with, or even identical to, those same as involved in high end denial of nuclear power risk, GMO risk, financial deregulation risk, and so forth.

9. ### Michael 345New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldlValued Senior Member

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I wrote the bold part because you appear to be indicating the 12 years to correct the problem was incorrect but after that it will be to late and Earth will die (and us) soon after

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10. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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So you are positive that diversion of resources away from 'normal' causes results in deaths. But when asked about diversion of resources, your answer is "dunno."

Why don't you do a little research so you can speak to this from a more informed position? You can start with the ~$300 billion in world investment in renewable energy each year, and the$14 billion in direct subsidies/incentives the US alone drives. See how many people that would feed.
A natural gas pipeline to a power plant in New Mexico exploded in 2000, killing ten campers in a remote camping area. Also in 2010, a PG+E pipeline in San Francisco exploded and killed 8. Thus making the death toll for natural gas far higher than the death toll from nuclear power in the US from those two incidents alone. So safer? Definitely not.

Thermal CSP solar? Great idea - in theory. In practice they are having some trouble. Ivanpah, for example, is generating less than half of its expected output due to "clouds, jet contrails and weather" (per the CEC) Those are factors that will likely not go away. And after 36 years of installing CSP, there is a worldwide total of 6 gigawatts. And since they have a 20-25% capacity factor, that's equivalent to a single 1.2GW nuclear plant.

By all means, we should keep researching thermal solar, and include looking at things like molten salt thermal energy storage. But for now, if it's that or freeze in the dark, you will be very cold indeed.

Sure, we could compare imagined outcomes - as long as we compare it to large areas of China and Malaysia being rendered uninhabitable from also-imaginary toxic waste spills from solar-PV manufacturing plants.

Or perhaps you'd like actual data rather than imagination? Here are the actual death rates per petawatt-hour generated, including deaths from mining, refining, transporting, pollution, industrial accidents etc:
Coal 100,000
Oil 36,000
Natural gas 4000
Hydro 1400
Rooftop solar 440
Wind 150
Nuclear 90

statista.com/statistics/494425/death-rate-worldwide-by-energy-source/
True for renewable manufacture as well as nuclear and coal accidents.
Nor have there been gas line explosions regarding nuclear power plants. And gas line explosions kill hundreds of people every single year.

Nor have there been hundreds of thousands of deaths from breathing nuclear power plant exhaust, as there are from breathing coal power plant exhaust.

Nor do nuclear power plants exhaust CO2, which is driving temperatures upwards and causing a higher death toll each year.

These are people who are really, actually dead; not people you imagine might be killed in an imaginary nuclear power accident.

So any reasonable assessment of the known risks puts nuclear far ahead - from both a safety and reduction of CO2 perspective.

Of course, if your goal is to push a specific political agenda, none of the above matters - nuclear is evil and run by the man who is trying to keep you down.

11. ### SchmelzerValued Senior Member

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5,003
If climate change happens as predicted, then there will be, in the average, more precipitation. If this played a role up to now is not clear. But without more precipitation the climate change would be restricted to the 1 degree per doubling of CO2, which is not really impressive.

By the way, one effect of more CO2 is that some plants can reduce the channels they have to gain CO2 from the air. These channels are, at the same time, channels for loss of water. Thus, some plants need less water if there is more CO2.
Whatever, all what matters here is that there is some vegetation in those deserts, so that one can compare how that changes over time. So, the attempts to question the results of the paper have failed.
That they get worse is your fantasy. The paper shows something different.

The paper does not distribute fantasies about "sustainable plant growth" or so, it simply describes what has changed.

12. ### sculptorValued Senior Member

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8,334
Perhaps your reference is to stomata.
The stomatal response to changing CO of the ginkgo tree(a living fossil) has been used to reconstruct paleoclimates.
(more CO2 =fewer stomata)

13. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,994
As always in these discussions with rightwing media victims, the syntax is eroding - 'resources diverted from causes' doesn't actually mean anything.

Let's assume you were referring to the expected necessity faced by any society reliant on nuclear power - that of devoting critical and badly needed life-saving resources from disaster relief to dealing with a suddenly threatening nuclear power plant damaged by the same disaster.

In the case of nuclear power plant accidents that is not only expected risk but documented event - Fukushima being a prime example, when the Japanese were forced to deal with a nuclear plant meltdown at the same time as every resource they had was maxed out to deal with a tsunami, with thousands of lives on the line - some of which were (statistically, since no better compilation is available) lost. (Chernobyl, also, diverted resources that were otherwise saving lives - especially medical - but that lower proportion of the casualty toll was less typical of the risk in that it was not triggered by a natural disaster as most serious nuclear power plant mishaps are expected to be).
Uh, natural gas is not a renewable energy source. You appear to have lost track of the discussion.
Have I mentioned how strange your posts are becoming?
Bullshit
(By which I mean technically bullshit, as in heedless of fact - it's quite possible that natural gas power has killed more people than nuclear power in the US specifically, so far, but that's irrelevant here and not a concern of yours - your attempt is to misrepresent the risks of nuclear power).
For starters, an overview of the quality of the immediate and never corrected official estimates from Three Mile Island: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/people-died-at-three-mile_b_179588
The odds are quite high that many people - many more than 18 - died from the TMI meltdown. Reasonable estimates range into the hundreds easily.

One problem with engineering types being nose-led by the silly official casualty estimates from the official sources is that they incorporate them into a kind of alternative or fictional history - they don't correct them later, when more realistic numbers become available.
In practice everyone in every field is having some trouble. So?
"Keep"?
We should begin to research and develop thermal solar with an effort at least comparable - in order of magnitude - with that wasted on nuclear fission reactors. It's cheaper and safer and quicker on line.
More problems with fossil fuel power.
You seemed to be trying to discuss renewable power sources, at first. What happened?
Now you have lost track of the concept of "risk" altogether, and are posting the space shuttle error mentioned above (torched by Feynman in the famous hearing: repeated and fortunate survival of events not predicted or prevented is not something from which safety can be inferred) https://www.globalresearch.ca/fukushima-and-the-mass-media-meltdown/25334

The vulnerability of rightwing engineering types to this kind of confusion is one of the strangest aspects of the entire renewable power discussion. My best guess for explanation is that their political and sociological stereotypes have prevented them from making even obvious deductions and inferences which would align them with people they assume are wrong on sociological grounds - as evidence, look at this bizarre irrelevancy:
Where in hell does that kind of bus stop rant come from?

Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
14. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,994
The global effects of precipitation depend on its global distribution in time and space - its average amount is almost meaningless.
That is true -
and yet another indication of the meaninglessness of the "average amount" of global precipitation.

15. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,994
This seems worth separate mention:
Yep. We would of course include realistic assessments of the probabilities of such events - and by using the ordinary terms, words like "probability" and "expected value", instead of odd and nontechnical terms such as"imaginary", we would avoid certain errors of reasoning.
1) Omitting - as always (I did mention it as a particular interest of mine) - thermal solar (and other solar not dependent on climbing around on roofs).

But moving on:

2) As noted, those numbers begin by accepting some quite unlikely estimates of past casualty totals from nuclear power (as well as underestimates of oil, coal, etc, casualties).

And we are not talking about the more esoteric considerations, such as the military and war casualties attending the global spread of nuclear power (the estimates of the deaths from the US invasion of Iraq alone run over a million - an invasion explicitly launched on the basis of a threat directly derived from the spread of nuclear power to Iraq. Of course some percentage of that toll must be credited to the fossil fuels that were the more honest or realistic basis, but still - - - there remains Pakistan/India, NK/SK/, etc). We are talking about the willful obliviousness of such compilers to the more realistic assessments of Chernobyl, Fukushima, TMI, etc.
But never mind - a more central matter pertains here:

3) "Imagination" vs "data"? WTF? The notion that what has not happened yet, what may not happen, etc, is "imaginary", is difficult to explain in arguments from supposedly educated and technologically adept people. One would have thought technical risk assessment would be a routine matter among the technological elite.

When engineers are being schooled by poets and journalists and hippies and so forth in such matters - as they have been and continue to be, repeatedly, in the arena of nuclear power (and a couple of other fields) - explanation of this mental malfunction, this breakdown of reason, becomes a matter of some urgency:

We depend on these people to have better sense. What is going on?

16. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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20,869
Yes. That list only includes significant sources of power. Like I said, I am all for research into making solar thermal more efficient/cost effective

But moving on:
Nope. They are actual deaths.
Right. They do not include indirect costs. Just direct deaths.
They are imaginary. They have not happened. You imagine they might. That's fine - but when you have two data sets, one of which is based on actual studies of actual populations, and the other is based on what might happen due to estimates and guesses, the actual data wins.
They do not hew to your agenda.

17. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,994
Neither do they make sense.
It's already cheaper and more efficient than nuclear - and that's with the meagre and ill-funded research money already So money for deployment and development as well, right? At least, no more wasted on nuclear until the safer and cheaper and faster options have been exhausted.
- - - - -
The concept of risk is too complicated for engineers, apparently.
They do not include all direct deaths. Just those acknowledged by the official sources in the immediate aftermath of various disasters, the nuclear ones (among others) never updated.
(Most are estimates, btw - the coal and oil obviously, hydro as well, the rest by inference. )
In whose view?
? That would be: "Yep, they are some of the actual deaths".
?
We don't have "two data sets" - that makes no sense.
We have one data set, which an ordinary risk analysis would take complete advantage of.

Seriously - what the hell is going on?
The space shuttle argument, which Feynman all but mocked in public hearings, is famous for its invalidity. It's not just wrong, but blatantly so - a famous way of making a basic, elementary, school-boy level error of reasoning.

When and why did engineers lose the ability to assess risk?

18. ### SchmelzerValued Senior Member

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You obviously don't like the predicted average increase of precipitation. No wonder, given that it is clearly positive.

Of course, the size of the positive effect depends on the distribution. But this does not really help you. It is only a cheap excuse which allows you to avoid the obvious, namely that more precipitation will have, in the average, positive results too. Of course, in principle one can imagine that even despite an increase of precipitation this may be distributed in such a way that the deserts and almost desert areas gain even less precipitation than now. But this gives not much, at best some small areas, comparable to the area which is red on the maps I have posted.

Moreover, there will be no areas with too much precipitation. The worst thing you can construct is that all the additional precipitation will be localized in some very short time, with extreme rainfall events. But this is also only a problem if the infrastructure is not prepared to handle them. And once we have a climate change, we have some time to adapt and to build the appropriate infrastructure to handle such extreme rainfall too. The problem itself has been successfully solved already in Ancient Egypt.

Different from investment to decrease CO2, which will be harmful given that plants need it, investments into the infrastructure remain positive even if, because of the hysteria, there will be invested too much. It simply means too much security against extreme rainfall events - so it may be unnecessary but is not harmful in itself.

19. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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20,869
Great! So we are there already and don't need more research since it's already competitive. What solar thermal plant can produce what a nuclear plant can at night?
OK no more research for any energy solutions. Doesn't sound like a great idea, but if you insist . . .
They include all direct deaths. They do not include indirect deaths.
And we have another data set, which are the deaths you imagine might happen under certain accident scenarios. One real, and expressed in the chart above. One imaginary.
Agreed. NASA was arguing that since they never had a failure, they effectively never will. "Historically this high degree of mission success. . . ." begins one of their analyses of risk.

Since we have had three major nuclear power plant failures, and over a dozen minor problems - and since those problems have been analyzed, with corrective action being taken and new procedures written - we are looking at a different paradigm than the NASA 'working backwards' approach. NASA assumed that since they never had any failures they never would; nuclear engineers know that failures have occurred, they understand them, and they design new plants with that knowledge in mind.
Engineers lose the ability to assess risk when they are guided by emotion (fear of imaginary accidents) rather than facts (data from actual operational experience.)

20. ### Quantum QuackLife's a tease...Valued Senior Member

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23,311
As Chernobyl continues to prove we can not stop something we started.
Solve the Chernobyl puzzle first before you declare Nuclear Power stations safe enough.
Radiation has long term genetic impacts.
Solve this problem before you declare nuclear power stations safe enough.
It will only takes one so called accident to change your mind.
Fukushima was an accident waiting to happen. We ( the world) were lucky.
Next time we might not be...
Is it really worth the risk?

21. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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The Chernobyl problem is solved; no more RBMK reactors will be built. So we can declare nuclear power safe enough, eh?
It absolutely does. And coal power plants emit hundreds of times the amount of nuclear waste that nuclear power plants do. Before you say you want to keep coal plants in favor of nuclear power plants, solve that problem.
And I bet it would take only one death in your family from emphysema or lung cancer for you to decide "gee, maybe coal isn't the best option."
Everything is a risk. Coal is a high, and known, risk. Nuclear power is a very low risk. Again, not because of my imagination, but because of decades of real world experience.

22. ### Quantum QuackLife's a tease...Valued Senior Member

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23,311
The real problem is short sighted-ness...
The real cost of fossil fuel use is the climate change we are and will experience. That liter of petrol didn't just cost $1 or 59 cents or$2 it cost billions of animals and human misery and tragedy. That economic growth and short term prosperity comes with a price, a cost hidden by human arrogance and folly. That 10 cent plastic bag or wrapping cost a hell of a lot more than and short term benefit we may gain for it's use.

The same applies with Nuclear Power. Stock piling waste with out any ability to appropriately store or recycle into environmentally benign substances. All because we delude ourselves into thinking that we are getting cheap energy when the real cost is hidden behind our short sighted-ness.

We are creating a poison but have no way or properly disposing of it, nor any guarantee that due to some sort of natural disaster we won't lose control of it.
So until we know how to properly deal with Nuclear materials, don't you think it unwise to employ it?

Perhaps finding a proper way of disposing, recycling or neutralizing radioactive waste and by products in a way that benefits our environment should be mandatory prior to utilizing it to generate this delusion of cheap energy.

Are Nuclear power stations really cost effective when all the not so hidden costs are included?
Certainly fossil fuel use has proved to way too costly...

Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
23. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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30,994
Any with properly designed storage, which would be an intrinsic part of all thermal solar power setups of course.
Are you going to be quoting Trump next, complaining about not being able to watch TV when the sun isn't shining? Has it come to that level of discussion?
? Money spent where the payoff is greatest and most likely, rather than stingiest and least likely. Don't throw good money after bad, bet on the better idea, that kind of thing.
1) My imagination is not involved.
2) That's not a data set. (Normally, you would know what a data set is.)
3) Risk analysis routinely involves estimations of the probabilities and consequences of events that haven't happened - especially if they have almost happened, as with nuclear power.

Routine. Ordinary. Always done. Every plane, every car, every bridge design, every single engineering project on this planet, every financial investment, every drug developed, the entire materially engineered world of industrial manufacture.

Imagine what people must think, when they find themselves having to explain the basic principles of elementary risk analysis to the people telling everyone that nuclear power is low risk.
Joke?

Nuclear power has been - historically, by experience - an extraordinarily high risk illustrated and highlighted by several truly enormous disasters barely avoided by sheer and simple luck (consider Fukushima, or the current situation involving Pakistan, India, and Iran).

The main lesson of experience from all these near misses has been that the risk (and therefore the cost) of nuclear power has been and is underestimated, officially, by the technocrats who should be the best estimators, by orders of magnitude. (And that cost has been high officially - its being a dramatic underestimate makes the bad worse, not bad).

Again: strings of unexpected and unprepared for events that did not become disasters for reasons indistinguishable from luck are not something from which safety can be inferred. Luck is going to run out.

Waste disposal alone has remained so intractable that the main official tactic for dealing with it has become pretending it doesn't exist. For example: We didn't hear much about the specific contribution of waste disposal inadequacy to the narrowly avoided disaster of Fukushima. Japan almost lost Tokyo in part because nobody had figured out what to do with the spent fuel rods from that reactor. And they still haven't.

The parallel would be the O-rings that had almost - but not quite - burned through in the shuttle launches before the Challenger.

The people who cited that history of non-disaster as evidence of low risk were making a bad, and very basic, error of reasoning.

The lesson of history is: don't make that mistake.