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Mehdi Azhari

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How do you see the world without nuclear energy ?

Today, nuclear power is used for civil and military purposes but its heavy impacts on environment bring us to reconsider the use of this energy. My question is what are consequences if we had to break away with nuclear energy socially, economically and ecologically speaking ?

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  • Jul 26 2012: Economically: Nuclear energy is low cost way to meet base load electricity. By removing this option nations will need to find alternative and more expensive energy sources to meet the ever growing demands. The extra costs will be passed on to consumers either directly through energy bills or indirectly through the rising prices of the products they buy.

    Ecologically: The replacement of nuclear energy will more likely be fossil fuel based such as natural gas or coal. This will cause an increase in pollution levels and a deterioration of human health. It is true that nuclear reactors produce radioactive wastes but if stored correctly they have far less impact then fossil fuels.

    Socially: There will be a positive reaction at first, but this will change once the public starts understanding and feeling the above problems.
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      Jul 26 2012: "Nuclear energy is low cost way"

      due to crazy level of regulations, this is no longer the case. in recent years or a decade, nuclear climbed in price above fossils. and this trend can only continue, considering the public pressure against nuc.
    • Jul 27 2012: It will only get more expensive, but as our understanding and standards increase, safety and overall production will eventually become better and cheaper.
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    Jul 25 2012: There are no long term consequences. There is an inconvience. There is a need for replacement to supplement the grid.

    Probally not much different than doing away with TV, cell phone, etc ... Gripes for a while and then get on with life.

    All the best. Bob.
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    Jul 25 2012: IN MY VIEW:
    It all depends on availability of better alternative. People are not going to wake up and say "Ok, we don't have nuclear energy so I will consume less". I don't think spreading awareness instantly is also not possible. For me problem is in general habit of people. If people can be directed towards better future due to some action even for that it is necessary to satisfy their need or even greed. So we will need to find an option which is both better and safer.
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    Jul 24 2012: I see a safer world, a less unnatural world, a world more motivated to reduce electrical demands. I see a more relaxed world.
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      Jul 24 2012: respectfully,I disagree. There would be several times more pollutants in the air and a sped up greenhouse effect. That would just give people something far more sinister than a nuclear meltdown to worry about. Besides, burning fossil fuels actually gives off radioactive material that, if the atomic energy commission knew about, would be banned. A well run nuclear power plant with smart and responsible workers is far safer than a coal or natural gas plant.
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        Jul 24 2012: I know nuclear is not without advantages Kevin. And I know non-nuclear power generation is not without disadvantages. It's the magnitude of the results of catastrophic malfunction that led me to my answer to Mr. Azhari's question. I have no doubt demand could be reduced significantly without negative impact on the economy. I think using less and using it more economically is a better solution than building more facilities, nuclear or conventional.
  • Jul 28 2012: We do not go further. The world is nearly 2 % nuclear. This is almost no nuclear power.
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    Jul 25 2012: persisting.
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    Jul 25 2012: The fukushima reactor came online in 1971 so it is hardly a modern design. The sequence of events that occured there required a physical failure of the systems followed by immersion in water to produce the failure of the monitoring system. It's not hard to place a nuclear plant far enough above sea level to avoid immersion. The failure of chernobyl was due to design flaws including the ability to shut down safety systems. The resulting failure is literally impossible in modern reactor designs so a million times is probably an understatement.
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    Jul 25 2012: Lets take a minute to consider the actual impact of nuclear incidents. The vast majority of known casualties resulted from Chernobyl. Peer reviewed studies give numbers from hundreds to thousands. Unreviwed claims of up to 1million based on a general decrease in life expectancy in the area only show how rediculous the fear-mongering can get. The credible claims top out at 10000 and thats over nearly 30 years and includes people who died of cancer at 90 years of age. Thats about one tenth of the death toll from coal mining in China but we're not all scared of coal. The most recent event in Fukuoka is covered in the press as though it was a nuclear accident, no one mentions the second most powerful earthquake in history or the 40000 people washed out to sea by a tsunami. Modern reactors are a million times safer than the Chernobyl design and if you don't build them on the coast in places that are tsunami prone we should be able to avoid that too. If you go all out and build an LFTR design you don't even have spent fuel rods to deal with, and they're meltdown proof. Its a pity we ever thought of nuclear explosives. I really don't think we would be having this discussion if nuclear was only ever used for energy.
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      Jul 25 2012: I agree, Peter, that coal mining has never been a very safe occupation. I also agree that if there had not been a nuclear power plant on the coast of earthquake prone Japan there would not have been yet another nuclear accident. But there was one there and it went very badly. Anyway, what does "a million times safer" mean? The Fukishima reactor was "modern" and its triple-redundant cooling system failed with dreadful results. Was it a million times safer than Chernobyl? I don't think we would be having this discussion if nuclear had never been used for energy. I also do not think it is justified to label questions about the acknowledged dangers of nuclear power plants as "fear mongering."
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      Jul 25 2012: two additions to that:

      first, you are talking about impact on people. the environmental impact is even less. relatively safe to say that the environmental impact of nuclear accidents is negligible.

      second, we don't even need more advanced design an better places to be safe. just look at fukushima: 40 years old reactor, even older design, built on seashore in a cunami zone, built irresponsibly, safety measures were a joke, and it was handled stupidly. then this entire mess was hit by a superearthquake, followed by a supercunami. result? 2 dead, 50000 had to leave their homes, some square miles contaminated. that's it. that is what you get if *everything* goes wrong.
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    Jul 24 2012: what heavy impacts?
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      Jul 25 2012: I was referring mainly to the increasing risk of accident a nuclear power plant is exposed to. I disagree with a comment below who says that if we run it smartly and responsibly it is far safer. Sorry but history told us that the two big accident involving a nuclear power plant ended up tragically and not to say how big the consequences are. We can not permit to live such a nightmare again. Scientists say that even if all the safety procedures are followed, we can NOT eliminate the risk of having an accident again, because responsibility is hard to assume.
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        Jul 25 2012: I don't know any scientists that say we can't eliminate the risks. Which two big tragedies are you referring to? The confirmed deaths from Fukushima (5) are trivial compared to the 40000 killed by the Tsunami! Even Chernobyl has resulted in maybe 10000 deths after over 25 years. As industries go nuclear power is comparatively safe.
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          Jul 25 2012: Check out what Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) says about this topic. Fukushima is a tragedy because of all the damages caused to wildlife, to people surrounding the power plant, to air quality, to water...and beside considering that every human loss is a tragedy. If we can't avoid to be swept by Tsunami, we can avoid to be slashed by nuclear catastrophes. If it has to be replaced, a more eco-friendly energy has to take over.
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        Jul 25 2012: what was the heavy impact on environment of any nuclear accidents?
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        Jul 25 2012: I'm pretty sure there was no damage to wildlife from fukushima. The wildlife had just been hit by a series of seven tsunamis so was probably not doing so well. Iknow if I had just been washed 20 miles out to sea a bit af radiation would be the least of my worries.
        Re UCS they seem to be mostly concerned about following safety protocols and terrorism, not nuclear energy itself.
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    Jul 24 2012: A faster greenhouse effect and a dead future.
  • Jul 24 2012: Yes, Edward Long has it right.