Author Topic: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...  (Read 29311 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline apis

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1668
  • Country: se
  • Hobbyist
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #250 on: December 22, 2018, 10:03:07 pm »
The question to ask is, who ends up footing the bill for a nuclear accident?
Who ends up footing the bill for the pollution, health problems and climate change caused by coal plants? The same people. But nuclear is likely cheaper since large nuclear accidents are so rare.

I've repeatedly tried to explain the problem with the loss of the ultimate heat sink and nuclear fission reactors - the issue that caused the multiple meltdowns at Fukushima.
Other types of reactors doesn't have that problem, like Thorium MSR.

The current LWRs have backupgenerators so they are not dependent on the external power grid. Besides they produce their own power as long as they are running. At Fukushima Daiishi the problem was that the power plant was hit by a tsunami which disabled all the backup generators. They had seawalls that were designed to protect against a tsunami but they couldn't handle the record 2011 Tōhoku tsunami.

Okay, here is what could spark a huge crisis in this area. A solar storm like the "Carrington" one in 1859. (Named after the scientist who discovered it)

That could wipe out the power grid, and shortly afterward, cause a huge, global nuclear crisis. With multiple nuclear power plants losing their abilities to cool themselves
The risk with solar flare are that they can knock out large transformers in the power grid backbone, and it can take months to replace them, especially if a lot of countries in the world suddenly order replacements at the same time. But a solar flare will not damage a nuclear power plant nor will it interfere with the backup generators so it wouldn't cause a meltdown.

Being without power for months would probably be a disaster much worse than a nuclear meltdown though, since society has become so dependent on a working power grid. But since people seem to have identified this risk I'm assuming they are making plans for how to deal with it.
 

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9454
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #251 on: December 22, 2018, 10:04:52 pm »
Do you have a credible source to back up this statement that spent nuclear fuel only requires special storage for 1000 years?


(And it's about 1000 years not 100000.)

Yes.

See http://withouthotair.com/ which is lauded by everybody from the green lobby to the big energy lobby.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9454
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #252 on: December 22, 2018, 10:06:00 pm »
Could you be specific as to the scientific name of this new technology?

What kind of fission reactor are you claiming has solved this problem?

I'm not claiming it, but see the types described in http://withouthotair.com/ which is lauded by everybody from the green lobby to the big energy lobby.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #253 on: December 22, 2018, 10:12:32 pm »
You're right, as long as there is an uninterrupted source of backup power, the spent fuel can be kept from going into a thermal runaway situation.

That situation is also problematic.

I don't see such a large risk in a solar storm - this is mainly effecting large grid cells like in the US. The smaller distant grid in Europe would already help. It would still disrupt the net, but nuclear pants are made to work without the grid, unless there is an tsunami  and earthquake that also takes out the backup power. Ideally it would only need a set of new fuses to get the grid up again after a solar-storm. Though I would still expect a few fuses to fail protecting some transformers or switches.  Local installations should be much less susceptible to a solar storm - first victims could be many satellites though.

I've not read much about the situation in Europe but I do know that this problem has caused damage to transformers outside of the US. How much exposure other power systems have to this problem? I don't know but I wouldn't put much confidence in statements like "its not a problem" unless there clearly were major differences between the systems. Because its my understanding that high voltages are induced in any long conductors.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline apis

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1668
  • Country: se
  • Hobbyist
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #254 on: December 22, 2018, 10:13:37 pm »
Do you have a credible source to back up this statement that spent nuclear fuel only requires special storage for 1000 years?


(And it's about 1000 years not 100000.)
After a 1000 year the radioactivity is down to the same level as uranium ore. But as I've said multiple times now, it will never be safe, even without the radioactivity it contains dangerous elements like lead and other heavy metals that will be dangerous for eternity.

N.B. Log-log plot


https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-17434-1_20
« Last Edit: December 22, 2018, 10:21:57 pm by apis »
 

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #255 on: December 22, 2018, 10:33:11 pm »
I'm sorry. I'm not convinced on an issue of this importance without more than vague statements.

The US government, last I looked, was trying to address this problem. Not saying it had been solved by XYZ reactors. We all live here on Earth and we have to keep this planet habitable for a long time.

Presumably you guys are engineers, I am not. But I feel that my position is the more prudent one. Come on, this is a problem that could be addressed for the time being, by multiple back ups but they have to be robust enough to work in a global crisis, and not fail. Not for two weeks, not for two months, lets say two years. Can we get to having backup power that is guaranteed to work for two years? Even if society has become a total mess due to failures caused elsewhere by this same problem? Or others!

(Its one of just a few potentially world changing externalities that we know 'happen' but when we can not predict when. Huge solar storms, however, likely happen more frequently than say, supervolcanoes, which can potentially wipe out crops, solar energy, wind and rainfall in an entire hemisphere or possibly throughout the entire globe, by changing the Earth's albedo until all that ash falls out of the atmosphere, which could take years. The ash could also have effects on the polar ice caps which could cause dramatic changes in the phase status of methane clathrate - frozen methane. A small rise in temperature could cause large changes in methane clathrate. Another good argument to develop new sources of energy that work, not keep on pouring money into things that don't work.)
« Last Edit: December 22, 2018, 10:35:20 pm by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9454
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #256 on: December 22, 2018, 10:39:46 pm »
I'm sorry. I'm not convinced on an issue of this importance without more than vague statements.

The answers are not vague statements; they are explicit and reasoned. I am surprised that you can't see that - or perhaps you choose not to see that.

Quote
Presumably you guys are engineers, I am not.

That is becoming apparent (to me at least).
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 
The following users thanked this post: nctnico

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #257 on: December 22, 2018, 10:45:45 pm »

After a 1000 year the radioactivity is down to the same level as uranium ore. But as I've said multiple times now, it will never be safe, even without the radioactivity it contains dangerous elements like lead and other heavy metals that will be dangerous for eternity.

Do IAEA , NRC, or similar, say we should now be celebrating the solving of this huge problem?

If so, what kind of reactor do they say has solved this problem?
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Online nctnico

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 17165
  • Country: nl
    • NCT Developments
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #258 on: December 22, 2018, 11:14:16 pm »
What kind of reactor? It says it right there in the graph!!  :palm:
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline apis

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1668
  • Country: se
  • Hobbyist
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #259 on: December 22, 2018, 11:17:01 pm »
Do IAEA , NRC, or similar, say we should now be celebrating the solving of this huge problem?
Like everything nuclear there is still political opposition so people in high positions are probably expressing themselves more diplomatically than that. But you can see this article about the Onkalo storage facility in Finland from IAEA for example:
https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/solving-the-back-end-finlands-key-to-the-final-disposal-of-spent-nuclear-fuel
 

Offline Kleinstein

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5974
  • Country: de
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #260 on: December 22, 2018, 11:21:29 pm »
Do you have a credible source to back up this statement that spent nuclear fuel only requires special storage for 1000 years?


(And it's about 1000 years not 100000.)
After a 1000 year the radioactivity is down to the same level as uranium ore. But as I've said multiple times now, it will never be safe, even without the radioactivity it contains dangerous elements like lead and other heavy metals that will be dangerous for eternity.

N.B. Log-log plot


https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-17434-1_20
The time needed for safe nuclear storage is a controversial point - it really depends on the level deemed acceptable to release and at what probability and what fraction. Depending on the level the times I remember range from 300 years to some 1000000 years.

The curve shown here is however not that relevant, as it is only for the faster decaying part of the waste after reprocessing. In more normal direct disposal, there would be a much higher (e.g. 10 times as a first guess) actinide level - like the slow dropping green curve. So something like 100000 years are than very well plausible.  The point just was the over ground storage is not a long time solution.

With underground storage there is also no sharp end to the enclosure. Even it after lets say 10000 years some of the waste is coming up, it likely would be only a small part of it. It would be a bad thing if after 10000 years all the waste would suddenly come up - but this is not going to happen.  More likely a tiny fraction might come up early like after 10000 years and most of it will stay way down even for many millions of years.
 

Online nctnico

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 17165
  • Country: nl
    • NCT Developments
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #261 on: December 22, 2018, 11:30:26 pm »
Either way storing nuclear waste is much safer than pumping CO2 in the ground. The stored CO2 can be released as a cloud of toxic gas (killing all animal life in a large area) until the earth falls apart.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
The following users thanked this post: apis

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline apis

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1668
  • Country: se
  • Hobbyist
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #263 on: December 22, 2018, 11:52:46 pm »
With underground storage there is also no sharp end to the enclosure. Even it after lets say 10000 years some of the waste is coming up, it likely would be only a small part of it. It would be a bad thing if after 10000 years all the waste would suddenly come up - but this is not going to happen.  More likely a tiny fraction might come up early like after 10000 years and most of it will stay way down even for many millions of years.
And if you were to put it in a subduction zone it would never come up!  :)
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 12:01:59 am by apis »
 

Offline apis

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1668
  • Country: se
  • Hobbyist
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #264 on: December 23, 2018, 12:01:37 am »
I'm not convinced on an issue of this importance without more than vague statements.
...
Presumably you guys are engineers, I am not.
That is important to know when trying to explain something. I, and I suspect everyone else here, has assumed a certain level of basic technical knowledge, so It's no wonder if you have found some arguments vague or difficult to understand.
 

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #265 on: December 23, 2018, 12:47:38 am »
I'm not convinced on an issue of this importance without more than vague statements.
...
Presumably you guys are engineers, I am not.
That is important to know when trying to explain something. I, and I suspect everyone else here, has assumed a certain level of basic technical knowledge, so It's no wonder if you have found some arguments vague or difficult to understand.



 :bullshit:

"Trust us, we're experts"

Shouldn't you - according to the above, know better than I what kind of proof is credible and what isn't?

Have you ever heard of the Precautionary Principle?

In particular we should take a look at the impact of combinations of low level toxicants, including radiation, on cell repair capacity and gene expression (Fyn and c-Cbl). Due to the lack of glutathione when its needed. This is particularly important during gestation.

Its a strongly non-linear relationship.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline apis

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1668
  • Country: se
  • Hobbyist
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #266 on: December 23, 2018, 01:01:30 am »
I'm not convinced on an issue of this importance without more than vague statements.
...
Presumably you guys are engineers, I am not.
That is important to know when trying to explain something. I, and I suspect everyone else here, has assumed a certain level of basic technical knowledge, so It's no wonder if you have found some arguments vague or difficult to understand.
:bullshit:

"Trust us, we're experts"
That's not what I meant.

If I'm addressing another engineer I will assume they know certain things, so I will omit those parts when making an argument. If I adress the general public I would explain things differently or it would be hard to understand. Like the plot for example, if people doesn't know what a log-log plot is then it's probably not a good idea to post it since it might not be interpreted correctly.

I certainly don't pretend to be an expert.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 01:06:15 am by apis »
 

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #267 on: December 23, 2018, 01:05:09 am »
Precaution makes sense when the costs of getting something wrong are intolerably high. We should be focusing our attention on lines of research that don't come with so many known problems.

You know what they say about the word 'assume'.

Environmental toxicants effects are non-linear. Regulators are totally in denial about this, not because that makes sense. Its because they don't want to change.  Likely, everything that damages cells via reactive oxygen species is additive.

Radiation is functionally the same in this respect as other toxicants,

Because low level radiation exposure depletes intracellular glutathione.

An important discovery - that adequate stores of glutathione are essential for normal precursor cell differentiation (impacting expression of two genes, Fyn and c-Cbl) at a critical period of gestation is fairly new makes this particularly relevant.

It should change how we regulate everything that causes oxidative stress. Action levels of toxicants should be being reduced, not increased.

Thats the main mechanism by which radiation causes DNA and cell damage.

Instead they are working particularly hard to eliminate any possibility of unexposed control groups remaining.

And decrease access to medical care. Globally.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 02:55:25 am by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9454
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #268 on: December 23, 2018, 01:13:15 am »
I'm not convinced on an issue of this importance without more than vague statements.
...
Presumably you guys are engineers, I am not.
That is important to know when trying to explain something. I, and I suspect everyone else here, has assumed a certain level of basic technical knowledge, so It's no wonder if you have found some arguments vague or difficult to understand.

"Trust us, we're experts"

The alternative is "don't trust the experts", with the implication that amateurs with the right breeding will do better than the experts.

Regrettably that is common in the UK, having been expressed by a government minister (Michael Gove). I hope and expect that the next time he falls ill and needs surgery, he asks me to do it rather than an expert.

Quote
Shouldn't you - according to the above, know better than I what kind of proof is credible and what isn't?

Yes. And that is the case.

You have been provided with comparative risks, and appear to want to concentrate on the lesser possible problem, while ignoring the major existing problem.

That is unbalanced, and characteristic of people exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger effect.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 01:15:01 am by tggzzz »
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 

Offline tggzzz

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9454
  • Country: gb
    • Having fun doing more, with less
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #269 on: December 23, 2018, 01:26:20 am »
Precaution makes sense when the costs of getting something wrong are intolerably high. We should be focusing our attention on lines of research that don't come with so many known problems.

You know what they say about the word 'assume'.

Environmental toxicants effects are non-linear.

In particular, Radiation, low level radiation exposure depletes intracellular glutathione.

An important discovery - that adequate stores of glutathione are essential for normal precursor cell differentiation (impacting expression of two genes, Fyn and c-Cbl) at a critical period of gestation is fairly new.

It should change how we regulate everything that causes oxidative stress. Action levels of toxicants should be being reduced, not increased.

Thats the main mechanism by which radiation causes DNA and cell damage.

You know what they say about the word "troll" and the words "tinfoil hat" and "pseudo-science"? :)

Where, exactly, do you live?
How much radon comes out of the ground and accumulates in your house. Some places near me have levels that are the equivalent of smoking 20 fags/day.
What is the altitude where you live? If you fly in commercial airliners, what radiation dose do you get?
Will you refuse XRays, even though experts tell you they are safe?
Will you refuse diagnostics if you get cancer?
Will you refuse treatment if you get cancer?

You are going to die. Deal with it.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
Glider pilot's aphorism: "there is no substitute for span". Retort: "There is a substitute: skill+imagination. But you can buy span".
Having fun doing more, with less
 
The following users thanked this post: apis

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #270 on: December 23, 2018, 01:42:54 am »
The UK is not very large. The options available to Britons after a serious nuclear accident would be quite limited.

That problem really applies almost everywhere.

Thats why its not covered by virtually any kind of insurance. Including health insurance. Insurers really didn't want to cover survivors of the two atomic bombings.

So they were/are? given care by Japanese doctors who made yearly trips to the US.

Lloyds of London, not exactly a radical environmentalist organization, estimated the costs of a severe space weather event to businesses as being in the trillions of dollars, the main "if" which would effect that total is likely the vulnerability of the nuclear power infrastructure to the loss of the ultimate heat sink problem. Loss of the grid would cost huge amounts of money and likely result in major problems for everybody but those costs would compound if the loss also triggered additional nuclear accidents.

Since radiation is invisible and the health costs so great, groupthink would likely kick in on a major scale.


"The day before the launch, Morton Thiokol engineers
warned that  the
flight might be risky. As the team responsible
for the performance
of the rocket booster, they worried about the below-freezing
temperature
that was forecast
for the morning of the launch. The 0-ring seals had never been tested below 53 they worried about the below-freezing
temperature
that was forecast
for the morning of the launch. The 0-ring seals had never been tested below 53
degrees Fahrenheit, and as Thiokol engineer
Roger Boisjoly later testified,
get­
ting the 0-rings to seal gaps with the temperature
in the 20s was like "trying to
shove a brick into a crack versus a sponge."3
The 0-ring seals had long been classified
a critical component on the rocket motor, "a failure point-without back-up-that could cause a loss of life or ve­hicle if the component failed."


Yet when Thiokol engineers
raised the safety issue in a teleconference,
NASA personnel discounted their concerns and urged them to reconsider their recommendation.
After an off-line caucus with company executives, Thiokol engineers reversed their "no-go" position and announced that their solid rocket motor was ready to fly.
---

What I am saying is it makes sense to focus on things we know bring environmental benefit, and not things we know could potentially be far more problematic than they acknowledge, if anything goes wrong.

let me give you an example, Brexit coverage is leaving out the major danger to the UK, totally. The WTO has very specific rules on services, an endpoint of privatization. The 'governmental authority" exception for public services wont apply unless service sectors are carved out explicitly. The NHS is likely to run into this.

Are they doing carving it out? No, as far as I know they would have to have done in back in the 90s and didnt. So now its going to be up to >150 other WTO members.

If they refuse to tell you the truth about something as important as that, (The US government hasnt told Americans about this issue either) I wouldn't trust them on responsibly managing the risks of nuclear power.

If you do, thats your prerogative, being British.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 02:02:41 am by cdev »
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline apis

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1668
  • Country: se
  • Hobbyist
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #271 on: December 23, 2018, 02:09:26 am »
We should be focusing our attention on lines of research that don't come with so many known problems.
Exactly, that is why we should get rid of coal. Air pollution from coal power plants kill more people every year than what Chernobyl did in total. On top of that Coal plants emit greenhouse gasses which causes climate change, sulphur dioxide which causes ocean acidification and many other nasty chemicals. Did you know there is mercury in tuna? It comes from coal power plants and it is very toxic.

Environmental toxicants effects are non-linear.
Many believe the body is capable of repairing low level radiation damage (since we have evolved in an environment with low levels of radiation). That would mean it's in fact less dangerous than what the linear-no-threshold hypothesis suggest. That means the damage from Chernobyl is much less serious than what is currently assumed. We have no proof of that though, so it is assumed it is linear. Even so, coal is far more dangerous.
 

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #272 on: December 23, 2018, 03:17:17 am »
Cell division and repair is a finite resource. Look up "Hayflick Limit".

Environmental toxicants effects are non-linear. That is the current opinion. And new discoveries have been made which should make us view glutathione availability during pregnancy as all important.

If a government can't be truthful to its own people about important health care coverage related side effects of anti-democratic trade agreements which they apparently are hiding from your whole country---



"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline cdev

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5082
  • Country: 00
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #273 on: December 23, 2018, 05:48:25 pm »
We should be focusing our attention on lines of research that don't come with so many known problems.
Exactly, that is why we should get rid of coal. Air pollution from coal power plants kill more people every year than what Chernobyl did in total. On top of that Coal plants emit greenhouse gasses which causes climate change, sulphur dioxide which causes ocean acidification and many other nasty chemicals. Did you know there is mercury in tuna? It comes from coal power plants and it is very toxic.

Environmental toxicants effects are non-linear.
Many believe the body is capable of repairing low level radiation damage (since we have evolved in an environment with low levels of radiation). That would mean it's in fact less dangerous than what the linear-no-threshold hypothesis suggest. That means the damage from Chernobyl is much less serious than what is currently assumed. We have no proof of that though, so it is assumed it is linear. Even so, coal is far more dangerous.

The arguments you're making about coal and mercury are sound, and you'll find that I also make them. I just don't think more nuclear fission is the answer to this problem. I think a sound policy would attempt to reduce usage while increasing the number of energy options available, focusing on renewable sources as much as was possible.

Nuclear fusion may be better than fission in terms of waste but it will still require retiring equipment, which will be radiologically hot, but the volume of waste material I think would be much reduced.

What do you think of the decision by Germany to phase out fission power plants in the wake of the Chernobyl accident?
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline apis

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1668
  • Country: se
  • Hobbyist
Re: My country is going to commit economic suicide ...
« Reply #274 on: December 24, 2018, 03:00:05 am »
Once we have gotten rid of coal power it is a good idea to replace nuclear with e.g. solar, but not before. As long as we have coal we need to replace it with something safer and sustainable, currently nuclear is often the only/best option.

Solar panels (like wind) are great but they only generate electricity when the weather and time of day/year permits. We need electricity 24 hours a day to keep society going. I'm at about the same latitude as Scotland, or southern Alaska. Today the sun rises at 8:30 and sets at 15:30, the suns altitude at noon is about 10 degrees over the horizon. So we only have about 7 hours of sunlight and when we do it's pretty dim. I.e. we couldn't hope to rely only on solar during the winter. There are all kinds of proposals of how you might work around that, but at the moment it's a bunch of more or less fanciful theories and ideas. One of them might turn out to be practical, but no complete solution exists today.

Science/engineering isn't magic, we can't just pull the technology we want out of a hat when we need it, so you can't just assume that if we throw more money at research and development we will get a solution in a timely fashion. Fusion power is a good example of that. We have been investing enormous amounts om money on fusion for a long time, hoping it will solve all our energy problems. Despite that, while fusion researchers are making some progress, they still have no idea when, if ever, they will have a working fusion reactor.

We could try and be more energy efficient, and we should, but that requires large sacrifices that not everyone appears to be willing to make right now. And there is a limit to how much energy we can save: we need some power, it's not just a convenience, it's what makes all the machines, factories and hospitals work. They produce our food, delivers drinking water, medicine and healthcare. It's essential to society.

Besides, making all these changes (energy saving, solar power, etc) will take a long time, even if everyone would agree to do it (which they currently do not). We should have begun 30 years ago. Look around you: nothing is happening we are using more and more energy, the amount of coal burnt isn't just increasing, it's accelerating!

So while we are waiting for people to begin saving power and inventing solar power storage solutions we should use whatever methods are available right now to replace coal. The most obvious choice is nuclear. It exists and we know it works and as a bonus it's actually pretty safe (contrary to popular belief), as I've pointed out it's even safer than water power if you look at the statistics.

While it's true what someone said: it takes a long time to build a new nuclear power plant, and we couldn't possibly replace all coal plants with nuclear quickly enough. What is happening right now is that people are irrationally shutting down nuclear reactors and replacing them with more coal and gas (that's what Germany did recently for example). When building new power plants people choose coal instead of nuclear (like South Africa decided to do recently). That is really bad for all of us; it's bad for our health, it's bad for the environment, it's bad for the climate (which in turn, in the long run, might even be catastrophic for us).

In order to get rid of coal as fast as possible we should expand nuclear power as fast as possible (while still maintaining a high safety standard of course), just as we should be expanding solar and other renewable options as quickly as we can. Then once we have replaced all the coal power plants we can begin replacing nuclear.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2018, 03:22:22 am by apis »
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf