Engineer - Electrical, OGDCL

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What you think about Nuclear Power plants in the world...They are Good or Bad?...

in this modern age where there is need of electricity we need new power plants. what if these plants be nuclear by some percentage?...

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    Sep 30 2011: The dangers of nuclear power are exaggerated and politicians in my country have sadly given in to the mass hysteria that followed the Fukushima incident (how many people died from radiation exactly?). Nobody will deny it isn't the safest energy and it isn't a long-term solution, but it's absolutely necessary if we want to avert global warming. Everybody thinks that Germany will somehow manage to replace it's nuclear park with renewable energies only. That is certainly not what is going to happen. Let's not fool ourselves.

    Nature doesn't have a conscience, it won't care that we got rid of nuclear for a good cause. It won't just say "oh ok, I see you can't really do without coal if you get rid of nuclear so I'll just disregard the extra carbon dioxide you're now emitting into the atmosphere because you're intentions were good."

    I'd even venture to say that, because nuclear power is the recipient of more scrutiny than any other means of energy production, I'd be much more worried about the effects of coal wastage (which is radioactive in some measure too!) being transported around the country than nuclear wastage.
    • Sep 30 2011: I agree as I think we do need nuclear power. We just need to retired old reactors and improve safety.

      Nations like China and India (and to some degree United States) work on newer, efficient and safer reactor types. The difference from older reactors is quite substantial.

      More about newer reactors here:
    • Sep 30 2011: Matthieu,

      "it isn't the safest energy and it isn't a long-term solution but it is absolutely necessary if we want to avert global warming."

      This is why the media creates a crisis - to pressure you into a stupid conclusion. I watched a TEDtalk a while back by Taryn Simon that changed my perspective on this. In the talk she shows a collection of photos she has taken of 'secret sites' - one of them is a nuclear waste holding facility. In the picture you see some canisters submerged in water, a faint glow illuminates the liquid. They are barrels of nuclear waste, of course, poison to any and all living creatures and Life itself. And these canisters will sit here... for thousands of years. It is incredible to actually see them.

      Just to put it in perspective - modern humanity emerged about 200,000 years ago. Nuclear waste has to be kept in storage for 225,000 years. I do not know which is more perplexing - that some people see this as a solution or that people believe this can even be done.

      The 'need' for immediate nuclear power is overstated - just as you accuse the media of over-stating the dangers of it. I do not think giving the renewable energy industry another 25-35 years to get ready for prime time is going to throw us over any kind of AGW cliff. However, I KNOW that the continued production of uranium based nuclear power hamstrings the entire global population with a responsibility for LONGER THAN OUR SPECIES HAS EXISTED.

      Zdenek's article is encouraging but also points to another problem - bureaucratic infrastructure. That is what kept thorium from being explored further in the '60s and beyond - it would be what threatens the green industry if we go ahead and invest in nuclear now.

      All in all, I see such an investment as far from 'necessary.'

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        Sep 30 2011: so you know it is wrong because you saw a scary looking image?

        instincts and fears aside, do you have any rational points why would it be a problem that we need to keep those high activity waste safe for many years? do you think that we will forget about them? or what? if it is not a problem to keep them safe today, why would that be a problem tomorrow, with more advanced technology? can you even imagine how advanced we will be in 500 years? nuclear waste will pose no danger at all for such an advanced race we are to become.
        • Sep 30 2011: Krisztian,
          If someone were to judge you based solely on your TED comments the conclusion would be less than flattering. You typically begin your posts with a complete misrepresentation as to what has been said and you are always a smart-ass.

          First of all, I never said nuclear power was wrong. I said it was not preferable or necessary.
          Secondly, I never said the picture was scary, only that to actually SEE the nuclear waste (as opposed to theorizing about it) allowed to reality of the situation to sink in for me.

          "Do you have any rational points why would it be a problem that we need to keep those high activity waste safe for many years?"

          Yes. The main one being that the the longest lasting human civilization has lasted about 2500 years, or 1% of the time needed to store nuclear waste.

          "such an advanced race we are to become"

          You are abysmally arrogant. As is your speculation.

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          Sep 30 2011: Actually it is a bit of a logical problem to find a way to insure future generation do not stumble upon a waste cites. After a thousand or so years its likely that we will forgot where we put much of the waste. There are actually contests to figure out the best way to express an area is radio active, without using word, as language will change and pictures while lacking in clarity have more intuitive understanding. Of course it is likely that it will be read as a superstitious curse of some kind. Hopefully we are advanced enough in the future to deal with this,but civilizations do fall and knowledge is lost.
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          Sep 30 2011: I for one, am not volunteering to go in and clean up old nuclear dump sites. I don't care if we come up with new technology that allows us to store it better... there are dump sites with the old technology, and I am not going near them.

          If you are willing to go in an move an old rusted out barrel of waste, into a newer one, then there is hope for the future. But, I do not know anyone who would be willing to do the job themselves. It's all the "someone else will fix it" mentality.

          Yes, the waste that a nuclear powerplant produces now, is far far less then what it produced previously. That statement applies to coal plants as well. They are now far more efficient then they previously were.

          So should we use nuclear, because in the future we will have better technology? Or should we use coal, because in the future we'll have better technology. I would rather see investment in power that is safe NOW. Not, safe in a few hundred years, but safe NOW.
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          Oct 1 2011: Actually, I have always found Krisztián's input to be of the best quality.
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        Sep 30 2011: seth, your personal attacks are going to be ignored. please restrain yourself from them next time.
        • Oct 3 2011: Kristian,

          "so you know it is wrong because you saw a scary looking image?"

          That is not only condescending, but an oversimplification of the argument - which you address only with assurances that we will advance in the future.

          If you cannot handle someone coming back at you when you attempt to denigrate them through a childish rephrasing of their argument perhaps it is you who is in need of restraining themselves in the first place.

      • Oct 1 2011: i do agree with you mike but wat you think about the waste produced by plants run by Coal? have u ever study that?....
        reply please
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        Oct 1 2011: That's assuming we are never able to do anything with the waste. This might not always be true.
        • Oct 3 2011: Matthieu,
          So I guess the disagreement is which assumption is more dangerous.

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        Oct 3 2011: seth, i really love your signature. spot on.
    • Sep 30 2011: Very good discussion is goin on. but i think we have to be nuclear as time passes aways and we are depleted of other sources in the world we are using for our energy need today ...
      is not it?
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    Oct 1 2011: Well in the current scenario with depleting fossil fuels and the inefficient harnessing of renewable energy sources nuclear energy is the cleanest source of power. I would like to put some light on the recent incident..

    World over a lot of hue and cry has been raised due to the Fukushima incident. However we must pay attention to the fact that Fukushima disaster was not a direct consequence of Earthquake. Actually every nuclear reactor design is capable of sustaining earthquakes. Fukushima incident was triggered by the Tsunami that was caused by the earthquake. Even the Disaster due to Tsunami could have been avoided however unfortunately the electricity supply to the coolant pumps failed!! That increased the inside temperature and resulted in explosion of the reactor shell.

    Another fact with Fukushima is worth noting. In the half an hour after the earthquake struck all the fission process had stopped completely. All the radiation that leaked was due to the spent fuel. This implies that the radiation leak was a consequence of radioactive decay of spent fuel and not due to the radiations from nuclear fission. The radiations from nuclear fission are more hazardous. So Fukushima reactor design did a fair good job to avert the crisis. Worth mentioning is the fact that this particular reactor design was almost 40-50 years old.

    So what i think is nuclear power will be the solution for the energy crisis. If proper procedures and safety considerations are followed it will help a lot in our pursuit of a greener Earth!!!
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    Sep 30 2011: Nuclear power is Totally Neutral? What are you smoking? Who are you kidding? Lets look at a brief time line.

    Nuclear power has been around for essentially 60 years (3 generations) Plants are generally licensed for 30 years (1 1/2 generations) however few have lasted longer than 20 years (1 generation). Meanwhile the waste (plutonium) must be kept "safe" for 11,250 generations or 225,000 years.

    For perspective the United States has been in existence for less than 12 generations (240 years), while those indigenous to this country have been here perhaps 500 - 750 generations.

    The Faustian bargain of Nuclear power represents one generation of benefit (assuming no major accidents) and
    11, 250 generations to guard the waste with no benefits and liabilities in spades.

    How can anyone suggest Nuclear power represents anything but inter-generational suicide?

    Lets get real boys and girls. If you love your kids and grand kids, DO NOT saddle their future with these consequences.

    How anyone can say this does not lead to either good nor bad consequences must not be playing with a full deck.
    • Sep 30 2011: Well... the point is, nuclear power is not a conscious being with intentions. So it can't be good or bad. Consequences of nuclear power can be good or bad in the point of view of human beings, but the energy itself is neutral.Of course nuclear waste management is a serious issue, and we won't able to just burry everything indefinitely like we're doing now. But imagine we find a way to neutralize the wastes, or get rid of them by sending them into the sun or something (lol), then nuclear power wouldn't be that bad anymore. Can technology turn something bad into something good?

      So again, nuclear power is neutral, it's the way we use it that decides from the good or bad consequences.
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      Oct 1 2011: so your concern is that long after the current civilization collapsed, nuclear waste might leak and cause problems for ... the next civilization? or not even the next, but the 50th from now? that is the argument against nuclear plants?

      i think i can admit that i don't give a damn what will happen after the human civilization is no more. that's how immoral i am.
    • Oct 4 2011: It is common for anti-nuclear activists to cite (literally) incredibly long storage requrements for nuclear waste. This is nonsense (or at least highly misleading) on two counts.

      The first is physics. The half-life of Pu-239 is 24,000 years. Multiply that by 10 half-lives and you get a big number. But so-called "fast" spectrum reactors can burn Pu-239 as fast as it is formed, along with many of the intermediate half-life actinides which make waste dangerous. A number of technologies exist today to reduce the volume and activity of high-level waste dramatically and cut storage requirements to the order of a few centuries, which is quite feasible. More feasible, to my thinking, than sequestering hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 not for hundreds or thousands of years, but forever. Geology doesn't like 'forever' as a concept. Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair, and all that.

      The second is history. What we fear from low levels of radiation is cancer. If that weren't true, we'd be falling all over ourselves to embrace nuclear power -- no carbon, small footprint, fantastic energy density, tiny (relative) volumes of waste.

      We are near the beginning of a biotechnology revolution which will be at least as big as the electronics revolution which started with the transistor. A mere few hundred years ago, the Black Death stalked Europe and people flagellated themselves in the streets to placate an angry deity. A century ago, smallpox killed one in three children under the age of 5 in parts of South Asia. Now, we understand infectious disease much better, and nobody even thinks about these former killers.

      What makes you think cancer will be as feared a century or two from now as it is today? Our descendants will either laugh at us or curse our short-sightedness (if the worst AGW predictions turn out to be correct) while robotically mining our nuclear waste dumps for valuable energy.
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        Oct 4 2011: Dear Mr Mott,
        It's amusing how flippantly you say nonsense to any legacy of poison and death to our kids and grand kids. Not acceptable even for one generation. Our lack of wisdom understanding the 'precautionary principal' has leads us down a path filled with externalizations and unintended consequences unaccounted in our analysis. This fundamentally flawed thinking leading you to conclusions like;

        "A number of technologies exist today to reduce the volume and activity of high-level waste dramatically and cut storage requirements to the order of a few centuries, which is quite feasible."

        which remains a pipe dream toward the most dangerous experiment ever perpetuated upon ourselves. Everything is connected, nothing happens in a vacuum. We are a part of Nature, yet we buy and sell her privatizing the profits and socializing the liabilities then passing the restoration on to future generations with impunity.

        Nuclear power was sold to the American people as a power source too cheap to meter. The reality is that "its too expensive to fully comprehend". However had we taken the path of Solar, wind and all we could have been there today, with energy too cheap to meter.

        Think about it... and cry when you look into the eyes of your offspring.
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          Oct 4 2011: your world view would largely profit from learning the facts.

          the fact for example that nuclear plants emit near-zero radioactivity. nor they affect nature in any way. and they pose much smaller danger than hamburgers, cars and factories.

          btw i hope you don't write solar with a capital S because you worship it, though there are some suspicious signs.
        • Oct 5 2011: "Legacy of poison and death", eh?

          Here's what it takes to make the magnets in the rotors for the wind power you think is the answer:

          Like nuclear, the costs of wind and solar power are entirely in capital construction and maintenance. But because wind is intermittent, and has a best capacity factor of only about 30% or so vs. nearly 90% for nuclear, it takes at least 3 times more of these rare earths for the same generating capacity. (Actually a larger factor, because large generators are more efficient than many small ones.) The same kind of ratio applies to the basic construction inputs of concrete and steel, both of which take significant energy and pollution to produce. Radioisotopes aren't the only carcinogens out there.

          I know when I'm talking to someone whose opinions have ossified years ago, but the reality is that the entire country of France gets most of its electricity from nuclear. It is not coincidence that it is one of only 6 countries (out of 175 or so) to meet its Kyoto target. And it stores all its nuclear waste in one big room, because it sensibly uses reprocessing to recycle the spent fuel and cut the waste volume enormously, instead of the once-through regime the US has saddled itself with. This is not a pipe dream, it is technology in current use. And we haven't even talked about the potential of thorium reactors, which have no proliferation risk and a much more abundant fuel supply.

          You fear low levels of radiation far too much, and the air and water pollution emitted today from coal generation far too little even if we ignore CO2. I am fine with wind and solar, but we also need to replace coal as the base-load foundation of the electric grid.
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    Oct 4 2011: Decay chain of U-238
    Isotope half-life particle emitted
    URANIUM–238 (U238) 4.468 billion years alpha
    thorium–234 (Th234) 24.1 days beta
    protactinium–234 (Pa234) 1.17 minutes beta
    uranium–234 (U234) 245,000 years alpha
    thorium–230 (Th230) 80,000 years alpha
    radium–226 (Ra226) 1,602 years alpha
    radon–222 (Rn222) 3.823 days alpha
    polonium–218 (Po218) 3.05 minutes alpha
    lead–214 (Pb214) 26.8 minutes beta
    bismuth–214 (Bi214) 19.7 minutes beta
    polonium–214 (Po214) .000164 seconds alpha
    lead–210 (Pb210) 22.3 years beta
    bismuth–210 (Bi210) 5.01 days beta
    polonium–210 (Po210) 138.4 days alpha

    It's Russian roulette with our kids and grand kids lives. It's not worth the ounce of convenience for generations of pain and suffering as they unsuccessfully deal with the wastes.
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      Oct 1 2011: i invite you to go live in bhopal, or work in a coal mine, live next to a cement factory. but no, in fact i propose to stop being manipulative, and be more factual instead. if global warming is a real danger, billions will suffer from your ignorance. but it is okay, since you won't admit it. ah, btw, the term "idiocy" is not acceptable in a debate. but it nicely shows that you don't think, you actually refuse to think, and just take sides based on animal instinct.
    • Oct 1 2011: i think there is nothin in living near Fukushima... look it was an accident .. how many people died in this earthquake? the you can argue that wedont have command on earthquake and tsunami's ok well i do agree with u in that case too but if u search on net and goole for comparison of deaths in any other type ofplant and Nuclear power plant you will find that its almost 1%.
      i hope you will google and will post comment here..
    • Oct 1 2011: Look, there are 400 nuclear power plants around the world and the only one people talk about are Fukushima and Chernobyl? What about all the other plants that are working well and where the safety measures are respected?

      Yes it was idiotic to build a nuclear power plant in a seismic area + tsunami risk area. Yes it's a shame and a scandal that people didn't think about it before. But the root of the problem is greed, a very bad management, very very bad risk assessment. But do you want to ban cars and planes as well just because there are accidents?
      • Oct 2 2011: i do agree with you bro...
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    Sep 30 2011: Love it or hate it, nuclear is the only answer we have right now to cope with the power demands and the CO2 emissions of 6 billion people and rising...

    Having said that, I hope that fusion takes over from fission as quickly as possible.
  • Sep 30 2011: I think that nuclear power is totally neutral. It's what people make of it, and how people manage it that leads to either good or bad consequences. And I'm not talking about H-bombs, even in the way nuclear wastes are dealt with, how much security is a priority over profit. It's a powerful tool and it's our responsibility to use it wisely.

    Of course the zero-risk doesn't exist, but if the nuclear plants are managed correctly, they don't involve more risks than some old dam who is beginning to show weaknesses, or building huge cities between two tectonic plates.
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    Sep 30 2011: In fifty years we'll be mocked for having used such a stupid energy source, dumping nuclear garbage in hidden places, radiating radioactivity in the whole world whenever an accident occured...
    They're better than coal, maybe, or firewood or even animal fat. But we have the technology to do better, now.
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      Sep 30 2011: even chernobyl didn't cause global contamination. facts are good. gotta love them.
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        Sep 30 2011: okay, okay... but still...
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          Sep 30 2011: so your point is that you are wrong, but still...? we can say that your point is valid, if we ignore facts?

          let me ask you a simple question: do you fear chemical plants too? for example pesticide manufacturing plants.
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        Sep 30 2011: But still... nuclear power can't be that great, is what I meant.

        I don't know the first thing about pesticide chemical plants, so I'm not afraid, I suppose. It seems I don't know anything about nuclear plants either, and yet I am afraid.
        Bring it on, Krisz, explain it to the hippy layman.
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          Sep 30 2011: nuclear power is not great. it is very uncomfortable, inconvenient, cumbersome, dangerous and expensive. but it is carbon neutral, still cheap compared to solar, wind and bio, and can provide a very useful temporary solution until we can master solar and/or fusion.

          about the chemical plants: i'm quite sure you'v heard about the bhopal disaster.
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      Sep 30 2011: Chernobyl is the only incident that just about fits your criteria. I have never seen "whenever" used to denote one event.
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        Sep 30 2011: Thanks for correcting me whenever I state erroneous BS.
        I checked the facts.
        But still, and I don't mean to sound like a hippy, isn't nuclear power "dirty"?
        Or do I sound like a redneck now? In any case, I appreciate a little education.
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          Oct 1 2011: Sure it's dirty, but so is coal. Let's put it this way, if I thought that solar, wind and hydro were viable solutions now, I would totally forget about nuclear. I think however we're not there yet. Germany illustrates it well, only a portion of its nuclear park will be replaced with renewable, the rest being covered by coal. Between coal and nuclear, it feels like nuclear is the obvious choice. The only carbon emissions you get from nuclear is in building it.
        • Oct 2 2011: i agree with matthieu miossec... solar,wind and hydro are the best sources of energy but we dont have that much resources yet or you can say it will take us time to have all our energy needs to be met from these sources so till then in comparison nuclearis good rather than plants run by coal bro....
    • Sep 30 2011: ahmmm but why we forget the fact and figures? in this world if you look in to deaths from other power plants in the world and compare it with nuclear, you will find that nuclear is harmless...yes one think you have to take extra measure and be a little more viglant in nuclear and thats what the world is doing...
      waht you think?.. comments please