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Default First Nuclear Reactors in 30 years approved for construction in US.

February 13th, 2012, 15:45
And yes, today's plant designs have significant redundant safeguards. Your "far-reaching consequences" do no exist. The main problems stifling nuclear energy are not its safety but ignorance and questions regarding waste disposal. If you wish to discuss the latter, then I'd gladly be all ears.
If you think nuclear waste disposal is the only concern, you should start listening to the people you abhor so much. For starters, Uranium mining (which is the first and perhaps least dangerous step in a long process) has had enough consequences to raise international concerns (and not simply the concerns of the 'ignorant and irrational environmentalists') by itself. While there are safe ways of nuclear waste disposal, there are NO safe ways of Uranium mining.
You are not concerned about those consequences, because you think they do not involve you. You may be right, some poor Australian sod has to get radiated and evacuate his home, because someone else wants cheap Nuclear energy and can't see how consequences of that choice ruin the lives of other people. You may ignore the severe contamination of marine life or the Japanese people. Or the countless countries advising their nationals to leave Japan. But remember, every time you visit western shores of your country, there's a chance of getting your share of radiation from Fukushima power plant and that's something you can't ignore.
That's the far-reaching consequence I was talking (and concerned) about. If you are arguing that those consequences do not exist, then we have nothing more to talk about. Let's agree to disagree .
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February 13th, 2012, 16:02
The problem with nuclear energy is that the industry oversold its cheapness and safety. When I was a kid the local power company predicted that thanks to nuclear energy power would be so cheap we wouldn't need meters any more. I am totally serious. They used to run ads like that. And then there are the execs predicting that the waste from new style plants will be so safe that "you can store it in your basement." Really? Then why don't YOU store it in YOUR basement?

When some problems occur the industry looks incompetent and obviously the whole "too cheap to meter" was stupid to begin with.

Nuclear energy can be safe but it obviously is not completely safe. They need to be upfront about the risks, don't build plants in stupid places, be pro-active in addressing new safety concerns, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE WASTE PROBLEM.
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February 13th, 2012, 17:20
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
This bit of stupidity doesn't even merit a response, but I just couldn't let it go unidentified.
Stupidity? Really now? Shall we look at who pushed environmental laws and protections and who was against such? Shall we also look at the records of right wing legislators on environmental issues as a whole (yes a few actually stood up but the majority rather deregulate and let business do what they want in essence.)

You know if the right would spend as much time, energy respecting and caring for this planet as they do arguing what created it this would be a non-issue. Just saying.

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February 13th, 2012, 17:24
Originally Posted by BillSeurer View Post
le "too cheap to meter" was stupid to begin with.

Nuclear energy can be safe but it obviously is not completely safe. They need to be upfront about the risks, don't build plants in stupid places, be pro-active in addressing new safety concerns, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE WASTE PROBLEM.
I agree it is the lesser of all the evils available. SMART design without cutting corners and proactive thinking is the best policy for the nuclear option. That said, I am not a NASA scientist but I always thought why not put the waste in a disposable rocket and launch it into the sun. Wouldn't that solve most of the waste issue?

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February 13th, 2012, 18:14
Originally Posted by Harlequin View Post
Stupidity? Really now? Shall we look at who pushed environmental laws and protections and who was against such? Shall we also look at the records of right wing legislators on environmental issues as a whole (yes a few actually stood up but the majority rather deregulate and let business do what they want in essence.)

You know if the right would spend as much time, energy respecting and caring for this planet as they do arguing what created it this would be a non-issue. Just saying.
There's quite a bit of difference between this and the hyperbolic nonsense I quoted previously. Even what's quoted here does a lot of assumed causation that doesn't hold up to scrutiny, but your previous bit of electronic diarrhea was too baseless to even be termed propaganda.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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February 13th, 2012, 18:44
Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
WTF? There is absolutely no influence of normally operating nuclear power plant on drinking water.
My guess is that it's not the plants themselves that are the problem - it's the mining and maybe the waste that are.

Of course, the main problem with nuclear energy is the waste handling in general. How much does it cost to deal with the waste produced per kW for a year, and for how many years does it have to be contained?

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
You cannot expect me to provide arguments for both sides.
That's funny - that's exactly what I expect of everyone (…to be fair, it's more of a vain hope).

Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
Safety of nuclear power plants with current technology & designs is not so much a problem as waste disposal. It is the only REAL issue in my opinion. Nevertheless, it would be greatly diminished if US companies had some sort of "green light" for developing waste reprocessing methods and facilities. Ever since the Carter ban on fuel reprocessing (and subsequent Reagan lift of the ban), little has been done along this avenue due to, primarily, the uncertainty of the future of nuclear energy in the U.S. (why dump millions of dollars into research if you won't recoup those costs, unable to build new plants).
Then again, how much do you invest in coming up with sustainable energy sources in general?

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February 13th, 2012, 22:53
Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
What does this mean? First of all, let's define the problem: energy consumption is ever increasing, so we need to build something in order to up the production.
Not necessarily. "Energy consumption increases" is not an immutable law—it relies on assumptions of population growth and certain assumptions about efficiency—but lol continue, that's a minor quibble.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
*snip*

It is important to compare the total costs of energy production over lifetime with other energy sources and it is obvious that the price of power produced in a nuclear power plant is competitive (if it wasn't, Westinghouse would have been out of business a long time ago - there are no subsidies for the nuclear power).
First, that's a silly argument, especially when you're trying to rebut a claim that the actual cost of nuclear power is ridiculously under-exaggerated. More on that in a minute.

Second, please allow me to quote from another source:

Originally Posted by Thomas B. Cochran, director of the NRDC's nuclear program
No energy generation company in the Unites States has been willing to order and construct a new nuclear plant in more than thirty years, and none have taken anything more than preliminary steps towards purchasing and constructing a new nuclear plant today in the absence of a promise of huge Federal subsidies. This is not because of public opposition; not for want of a licensed geologic repository for the disposal of spent fuel; and not because of the proliferation risks associated with commercial nuclear power. Rather, it is because new commercial nuclear power plants are uneconomical in the United States.
Source

Perhaps not an unbiased source, I fully admit, but he sheds light on cost calculations and can help explain why some sources estimate that nuclear powers is as cheap as 2.14 cents USD/kWh while others put it as high as 30—the latter estimate being some three or four times what the US pays now on average, I believe.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
Also, it is important to note that I am arguing diversification of energy production rather than reliance on the single source.
This is good and I fully support that conclusion. However, part of arguing your position is dedicated and critical analysis of the options available and the plan you support—I do expect you to present arguments for both sides if you expect to be taken seriously, or at least to countenance them instead of trying hard to dismiss them out of hand.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
It is known to everybody that the initial investment, which can range between 3000 $ and 6000 $ per installed kW, is the highest cost associated with the electricity production in the nuclear power plant, contributing about 60% to the total cost. Operating costs make around 25%, while the costs of fuel contribute about 15%.

Compare it with other conventional sources of energy, like oil, coal and natural gas where the price of fuel contributes in excess of 50% to the total price of energy. Since huge disturbances are ever present in the fuel source markets, it is reasonable to base a significant part of energy production on the source which is economically competitive (i.e. does not need subsidies to be competitive) yet is relatively inert to the change in fuel prices.

With estimated availibility of 90% and total operating time of 40 years total costs of energy production (using projected fuel prices) can be easily calculated, unlike the alternative sources, which are very fuel dependent, however even in the worst case nuclear is in the same order of magnitude of total cost as coal, oil, or natural gas.
It's not very competitive at all. That's why the US hasn't seen a new reactor in thirty years, and those countries like France that have relied on them heavily have subsidised them heavily. The rest of these paragraphs I think I've sort of covered already—where I agree and disagree.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
This is incorrect, as pointed earlier. In normal operation of the power plant, radiation is practically completely contained (0.01% increase in background radiation is negligible). In case of an accident, even 2nd generation PWRs are well equipped to contain the radiation and additional safety measures (including autonomous passive cooling systems) are being made in 3rd generation reactors to make this unlikely event even more unlikely.
As other posters have mentioned, the risk I was trying to point to was of waste handling and disposal after the enrichment process and for fuel no longer fit for use.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
*snip*
Additionally, thorium based slow breeder reactors resolve this problem completely.
Really? Thorium is an unlimited renewable resource? Also, can you just stick thorium in an existing reactor or do you have to build a new one from scratch? If the former, please tell me about this miraculous breakthrough.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
This is a real question. 3rd generation plants are equipped to survive a direct jumbo jet impact and the rest can be resolved by the on-site security.
Lol.

Your unjustifiable faith in those security measures aside, it creates additional national security risks in the increased centralisation of a country's power grid. Oh, and you know the thing about high security plants? They cost more money. It's one of those things that doesn't always get factored into "nuclear power is practically free!" cost estimates.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
WTF? There is absolutely no influence of normally operating nuclear power plant on drinking water. What do you think, that primary or secondary systems come into direct contact with environment? Actually, it is the alternatives that affect the environment negatively.
Way to be specific about the opposing positions—this is the awful argumentation I was talking about in my initial post—no matter how I might agree with you, that is just an indefensibly terrible way of talking about something important.

Leaving aside Fukushima sized fuck-ups, I'm talking again about disposal of waste radioactive products.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
Check this out (from life cycle assessment article, Paul Scherrer institute):

Your chart shows that nuclear energy is worse than hydro, slightly better than wind, and a even better than solar. That would be impressive if solar and wind were as old as nuclear and hydro.

It would also be impressive if it included radioactive waste.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
And the alternatives make property values soar? Living beside TE or NE, which is better and why?
I didn't realise that volcanoes were hot property. I didn't realise that the middle of the ocean and in the middle of sparsely populated prairies and desert were prime vacation destinations.

Meanwhile, scenic lakes, rivers, that sort of thing—those are nice real estate.

Now, this isn't a 'they make property prices fall, therefore we shouldn't build them!' argument. It's pointing out that nobody wants to have one in their backyard—people tend to value the real estate that nuclear power plants need, which can make it exceptionally difficult to get the permission and the buy the land necessary to construct them.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
So what? So is the dam rupture in an accumulation HE (except for the low probability part). Risk management still applies. The possibility has been analysed through risk management techniques and I've already stated and linked the results in this topic. Look up Paul Scherrer institute.
Lol, the point is that the US has geared is security policy for decades to defend precisely against low probability, high consequence events, like nuclear war. Policy making according to that paradigm is what's normal.

'So what?' the businesses who operate plants don't follow security logic, they follow business logic, which says "build the cheapest piece of junk you can get away with" (see Fukushima—or the recent financial crisis, lol). This can be controlled by greater government oversight and regulations, but, again, you're running into something that runs counter to US cultural norms.

So it's not ignorance that's generated opposition in the US—a 'not worth the risk' attitude that inflates the risk of problems. It's a 'not worth the consequences' and a 'free market' attitude combined to make nuclear power unattractive. Nuclear power isn't well suited to American cultural values.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
It is a long way from the low enriched uranium fuel to the weapons grade uranium. And if you mean the danger of dirty bomb, then radioactive cobalt and other isotopes used e.g. in radiology represent much higher risks (taking hospital security into account).
You're right, it's not like any country has ever developed enrichment capabilities. The point is the much increased risk of break-out, if more countries have enrichment capability and are able to get large supplies of uranium from legitimate or less legitimate channels.

Not to mention other military applications of nuclear reactors outside of bombs, which, guess what? The US is generally happier keeping as exclusive as possible.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
Could you back this up with some facts? Which nations? USA is quite rich in uranium.
Sure.

Obviously, Australia stand head and shoulders above the pack right now. Part of the reason I talk about the risks of expansion is this: the developed countries with fuel reserves 1) have high extraction costs (higher wages, taxes, they care about you fucking up their forests and rivers, etc.) and 2) have most of their uranium resources explored and claimed. Incentive is high to explore places that 1) haven't been explored much before, 2) have low operating and extraction costs, and 3) have proven reserves. Most of those places, as you can see are in African countries dealing with corruption and civil governance issues (CAR, Congo, Niger, SA) and undemocratic Eastern European countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan). Trading reliance on oil for uranium isn't a great winning strategy—we'll be trading our Saudi Arabias for Central African Republics.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
The expertise has already been widespread (for decades) and does not directly translate into nuclear weaponization.
That's retarded and you know it. It's been widespread—for decades—and we have twice as many countries with nuclear weapons and twice again as many who have had nuclear weapons programs. It's the widespread expertise and large technical community that enabled AQ Khan to assemble the knowledge and resources necessary to develop nuclear weapons in Pakistan.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
Arguments that people have been making in this topic have been addressed. You cannot expect me to provide arguments for both sides. I'd rather play chess against myself.

Of course, there are arguments for nuclear power that haven't been addressed by the opposition and some have already been stated:

- energy source diversification (as in all aspects of human life, placing all your bets on one horse is never wise)
Great! That's why nuclear is on the table. It's not an argument for using it, though.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
- relative price stability (resistant to the uranium price fluctuations)
I think I've already discussed the lake of unanimous consent about cost of nuclear power. So, yeah, price fluctuation resistant with hidden costs. Nice.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
- normal operation doesn't impact environment with respect to alternatives
Lol, your own source contradicts you on that point.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
- most concentrated source of energy with respect to spatial requirements, as well as transport requirements
Very well may be true, the first part. Transportation is silly to invoke when you're making comparisons to hydro, solar, wind and thermal.

Originally Posted by Patrick Bateman View Post
- the lowest number of deaths per produced kWh of energy
Lol, source? Does cancer count? Do people who work in fuel production and operation count or not? How many people have been killed by solar panels? Can you even quantify that when making comparisons to sources that are brand-spanking new and ones that have been around for thousands of years?

Lol.

tl;dr Nuclear power is un-American. Suck it up and quit calling people 'tards without trying to understand their positions.


Also, @Drithius: I've contributed more to discussions (of games, even) here than 90% of your non-Codex posters. But I love you anyway, jerk. Have another:

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February 14th, 2012, 02:41
@Drithius:

Skittles is a bro at the Codex, not a troll.

@Skittles:

Not necessarily. "Energy consumption increases" is not an immutable law—it relies on assumptions of population growth and certain assumptions about efficiency—but lol continue, that's a minor quibble.
Actually, in addition to population growth (which is a reality) it relies on the assumption of economic development. Economic development and increased energy production per capita go hand in hand. Unless the economic development stops, additional energy production will be needed. And we don’t want to stop the economic development.

First, that's a silly argument, especially when you're trying to rebut a claim that the actual cost of nuclear power is ridiculously under-exaggerated. More on that in a minute.
Second, please allow me to quote from another source:


Originally Posted by Thomas B. Cochran, director of the NRDC's nuclear program
No energy generation company in the Unites States has been willing to order and construct a new nuclear plant in more than thirty years, and none have taken anything more than preliminary steps towards purchasing and constructing a new nuclear plant today in the absence of a promise of huge Federal subsidies. This is not because of public opposition; not for want of a licensed geologic repository for the disposal of spent fuel; and not because of the proliferation risks associated with commercial nuclear power. Rather, it is because new commercial nuclear power plants are uneconomical in the United States.
Source

Perhaps not an unbiased source, I fully admit, but he sheds light on cost calculations and can help explain why some sources estimate that nuclear powers is as cheap as 2.14 cents USD/kWh while others put it as high as 30—the latter estimate being some three or four times what the US pays now on average, I believe.

It's not very competitive at all. That's why the US hasn't seen a new reactor in thirty years, and those countries like France that have relied on them heavily have subsidised them heavily. The rest of these paragraphs I think I've sort of covered already—where I agree and disagree.
Nope, that was not an actual rebuttal, but a clarification about the issue since you have stated the claim (which wasn’t very clear from the wording) without supporting it. Now that you’ve kind of supported your claim by presenting the arguments that show that nuclear power may be cheap or expensive and an external opinion, I’ll back my claim about nuclear energy as economically viable alternative to oil and coal with some of my own numbers.

Numbers are from France, the country you’ve mentioned yourself. 79% of electrical energy in France is generated by nuclear power plants. Also, France is the biggest exporter of electricity in the world, with net 3 billion dollars worth of exports. Obviously, the total cost of produced electric energy by France is smaller than the costs of other countries, otherwise France wouldn’t be the biggest exporter of energy in the world.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

France's nuclear power program cost some FF 400 billion in 1993 currency*, excluding interest during construction. Half of this was self-financed by EdF, 8% (FF 32 billion) was invested by the state but discounted in 1981, and 42% (FF 168 billion) was financed by commercial loans. In 1988 medium and long-term debt amounted to FF 233 billion, or 1.8 times EdF's sales revenue. However, by the end of 1998 EdF had reduced this to FF 122 billion, about two thirds of sales revenue (FF 185 billion) and less than three times annual cash flow. Net interest charges had dropped to FF 7.7 billion (4.16% of sales) by 1998.

* 6.56 FF = EUR 1 (Jan 1999)
In 2006 EdF sales revenue was EUR 58.9 billion and debt had fallen to EUR 14.9 billion - 25% of this. EdF early in 2009 estimated that its reactors provided power at EUR 4.6 cents/kWh and the energy regulator CRE put the figure at 4.1 c/kWh. The weighted average of regulated tariffs is EUR 4.3 c/kWh. In 2011 a report commissioned by the prime minister put costs at 4.6 c/kWh, and this was confirmed following review by the national court of auditors, with the comment that it could increase by 0.3c to account for higher back-end costs. Power from the new EPR units is expected to cost about EUR 5.5 to 6.0 c/kWh.
Those are actual, not projected, costs. Now, those costs have been confirmed by official audits, and they corroborate my claim, which is that the costs are within the same order of magnitude as those for oil, natural gas and coal (which also differ among themselves).

With that it seems that we’ve gone over the question of costs.

This is good and I fully support that conclusion. However, part of arguing your position is dedicated and critical analysis of the options available and the plan you support—I do expect you to present arguments for both sides if you expect to be taken seriously, or at least to countenance them instead of trying hard to dismiss them out of hand.
I think you should read the thread from the beginning. There was an article. I expressed my opinion, nothing more, nothing less. An opposing opinion was expressed, backed by certain claims. I addressed those claims in as brief manner as possible. While I would like to present the whole debate, doing so even from a general standpoint (disregarding country and project specifics) would take writing pages of text I have no time to write and that maybe two people would read anyway.

As other posters have mentioned, the risk I was trying to point to was of waste handling and disposal after the enrichment process and for fuel no longer fit for use.
OK, it wasn’t clear initially. Let’s not forget, fuel rods can be recycled (17% of electricity generated in France comes from recycled nuclear fuel). However, highly active waste is a serious concern. Temporary solution, which obviously works, is storage inside the plant (inside the secondary containment) itself. This approach works, but permanent solutions are necessary, which is the biggest long term concern with nuclear power.

Really? Thorium is an unlimited renewable resource? Also, can you just stick thorium in an existing reactor or do you have to build a new one from scratch? If the former, please tell me about this miraculous breakthrough.
It is three times as abundant as Uranium, which means that it is a good mid term solution (as I stated originally). Since they are using slow neutrons like U-235 reactors, slow breeder reactors can be based on the existing reactor technology (all types with intrinsically high conversion factor: PWR, HWR, HTGR, MSR, where modifications are made to increase the conversion factor further, with similar costs involved, with primary difference in the fuel cycle. Yes, you need new reactors, which, at least (haven’t examined the issue thoroughly) according to some experts (Kulisic, Knapp: New Energy Sources) you can build with no more costs than existing U-235 based reactors.
The biggest problem with Thorium based slow breeder reactors is the initial fissile material need (Th-232 is not fissible itself).

Your unjustifiable faith in those security measures aside, it creates additional national security risks in the increased centralisation of a country's power grid. Oh, and you know the thing about high security plants? They cost more money. It's one of those things that doesn't always get factored into "nuclear power is practically free!" cost estimates.
No, it does not, past the inherent centralisation of the EES itself (meaning that operating standards must be observed at all times to achieve production = consumption, i.e. stable voltage and frequency all over the EES). Security measures can be enforced privately, as long as they conform to the necessary (high) standards. Also, costs of keeping a small team of highly trained security personnel are just a drop in the ocean of the total operating costs, which have been quantified previously.

Way to be specific about the opposing positions—this is the awful argumentation I was talking about in my initial post—no matter how I might agree with you, that is just an indefensibly terrible way of talking about something important.

Leaving aside Fukushima sized fuck-ups, I'm talking again about disposal of waste radioactive products.
You weren't clear about that. It is wrong to assume that the waste is currently left somewhere where it can reach the environment unattended. It is being stored in spent fuel pools and dry storage facilities inside the reactor building. So, under normal operation it doesn't affect the environment. Long term disposal is, as I've acknowledged, an unresolved issue.

Your chart shows that nuclear energy is worse than hydro, slightly better than wind, and a even better than solar. That would be impressive if solar and wind were as old as nuclear and hydro.

It would also be impressive if it included radioactive waste.
Solar and wind are out of the question by their intermittent nature – read my earlier post (I'll elaborate about the operation of EES if it is necessary – I hope it isn't). Hydro has been utilized almost to capacity, there is no much space for growth. Realistically, we are choosing between natural gas, oil, coal and nuclear for significant future growth. So concentrate on those when reading the charts. Effects of the radioactive waste, which is stored inside the plants as it is currently, is incorporated.

I didn't realise that volcanoes were hot property. I didn't realise that the middle of the ocean and in the middle of sparsely populated prairies and desert were prime vacation destinations.
Are we talking real alternatives or science fiction (geo, wind, solar, tides) now?

Meanwhile, scenic lakes, rivers, that sort of thing—those are nice real estate.

Now, this isn't a 'they make property prices fall, therefore we shouldn't build them!' argument. It's pointing out that nobody wants to have one in their backyard—people tend to value the real estate that nuclear power plants need, which can make it exceptionally difficult to get the permission and the buy the land necessary to construct them.
The same argument can be applied to coal power plants or oil power plants. Additionally, nuclear power plant needs the smallest real estate space out of all energy sources.

Lol, the point is that the US has geared is security policy for decades to defend precisely against low probability, high consequence events, like nuclear war. Policy making according to that paradigm is what's normal.
Hello, mr. Strawman. Comparing nuclear war with nuclear power plants? Defend? Don't you mean deter, there is no defense against nuclear war?

'So what?' the businesses who operate plants don't follow security logic, they follow business logic, which says "build the cheapest piece of junk you can get away with" (see Fukushima—or the recent financial crisis, lol). This can be controlled by greater government oversight and regulations, but, again, you're running into something that runs counter to US cultural norms.
You mean imposing standards of airline safety and security is OK with US cultural norms, but imposing standards on nuclear power plant safety is against them? How about waterworks safety and security?

So it's not ignorance that's generated opposition in the US—a 'not worth the risk' attitude that inflates the risk of problems. It's a 'not worth the consequences' and a 'free market' attitude combined to make nuclear power unattractive. Nuclear power isn't well suited to American cultural values.
Unfortunately, ignorance perpetrated by the media feeding on fear of the unknown is a large factor.

Obviously there is at least some interest in building nuclear power plants in the US (as one is actually being built). Government shouldn't impede the process, but impose realistic safety and security standards and let the market decide for itself. French example shows that a lot of money can be made.

You're right, it's not like any country has ever developed enrichment capabilities. The point is the much increased risk of break-out, if more countries have enrichment capability and are able to get large supplies of uranium from legitimate or less legitimate channels.

Not to mention other military applications of nuclear reactors outside of bombs, which, guess what? The US is generally happier keeping as exclusive as possible.
That genie has been out of the bottle a long time. If a country wants to get uranium, it will get uranium, regardless of US efforts on making more efficient fuel cycle. Also, enrichment to weapons grade lasts long enough to be identified and prevented if deemed necessary.

Obviously, Australia stand head and shoulders above the pack right now. Part of the reason I talk about the risks of expansion is this: the developed countries with fuel reserves 1) have high extraction costs (higher wages, taxes, they care about you fucking up their forests and rivers, etc.) and 2) have most of their uranium resources explored and claimed. Incentive is high to explore places that 1) haven't been explored much before, 2) have low operating and extraction costs, and 3) have proven reserves. Most of those places, as you can see are in African countries dealing with corruption and civil governance issues (CAR, Congo, Niger, SA) and undemocratic Eastern European countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan). Trading reliance on oil for uranium isn't a great winning strategy—we'll be trading our Saudi Arabias for Central African Republics.
I've already addressed how much (i.e. little) extraction and enrichment costs of uranium affect the price of nuclear energy. In comparison oil, „reliance“ on Uranium is negligible. Is there actually an abundant and viable energy source that would completely eliminate the US reliance on imported fuel?

That's retarded and you know it. It's been widespread—for decades—and we have twice as many countries with nuclear weapons and twice again as many who have had nuclear weapons programs. It's the widespread expertise and large technical community that enabled AQ Khan to assemble the knowledge and resources necessary to develop nuclear weapons in Pakistan.
So, in order for the „bad guys“ not to develop their nuclear weapons (which they already have the expertise for), let's stop our research and development on the uranium fuel cycle and nuclear technology, right?

Lol, your own source contradicts you on that point.
No. Comparison to the viable alternatives is what interests me. See above and below.

hydro, solar, wind and thermal.
In short, because I've said it a few times already.

Hydro: utilise it fully (with regards to environment). There is not much space for large plants left though, so the potential for future production is low.

Solar, wind: intermittent, hence needs conventional backup, hence not viable.

Geothermal: too sparse and /or definitely too expensive at the time: may have local use, like in Island.

So the real question to answer is how much of the new built energy production potential should be nuclear, how much should be oil based, how much should be coal based and how much should be natural gas based.

This is already a huge amount of text, so I'll just respond quickly to the concern about environmental impact of uranium mining: it, along with the whole fuel cycle, has been included in the graph I linked. Of course, extraction of coal and extraction of oil have environmental impact (included in the graph) of their own.

Lol, source? Does cancer count? Do people who work in fuel production and operation count or not? How many people have been killed by solar panels? Can you even quantify that when making comparisons to sources that are brand-spanking new and ones that have been around for thousands of years?
Yes. Delayed fatalities included. Era 1970-2001. Workers and civilians accounted separately. I've already (my 2nd post in the thread, I think) linked a PDF with the charts and even mentioned the page, but here's another one, more direct source: http://manhaz.cyf.gov.pl/manhaz/szko…ls/ENSAD98.pdf

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_7M3yQupnJk…8/FuckYeah.jpg
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February 14th, 2012, 04:26
The Hell is this, I'm no Argentinian.

Look, I see a point of agreement between us and I'd rather step from there than engage in source spam (though… eh, I still feel this is a short and worthwhile article for you to read).

The major point of agreement is the need to move away from fossil fuels to a cheaper alternative—in terms of money, environmental impact, and above all human impact. Diversification, as you call it.

I'm making these claims based on the sources you and I have both identified in this thread:

1) Power generating capacity world wide, and in the US, needs to be increased.
2) Nuclear energy is generally preferable to gas, oil and coal.

So far, so good for both of us, I think.

3) The construction of new nuclear power plants requires extremely large and often subsidized (or essentially nationalized) start up costs ($8.3 billion/$14 billion is a healthy subsidy), which are generally under represented.
4) Due to the high start up costs, it takes decades for companies to recoup their losses and pay off their debts after initial construction. (Can't help but point to the scuppered Constellation project, which was abandoned because they couldn't get low enough loan fees from the US Federal Government)
5) For nuclear power to remain viable (cheap, fuelable) in the long run—say, in 100 years—several key technological advancements need to be made, including the development and implementation of reactors capable of using thorium based fuel and effective disposal of harmful by-products. At the moment, the full costs of either endeavour are not known.

Again, I think these are things we both agree on—even in the French case that you chose, it took two decades to reach a decent revenue/debt ratio for Électricité de France.

Those reasons alone are sufficient, I think, to explain why American companies have been reluctant to build new reactors. I think political opposition is based on American cultural values—no nationalized projects and limited kinds of the necessary subsidies (the ones that helped the US nuclear industry get started in the first place)—security concerns & global agenda with respect to the spread of nuclear power, and simple NIMBY attitudes. Neither position is as retarded as it's been described in this thread, with insulting accusations like "the ignorant," "the unwashed masses," and "enviro-nuts."

That was what spawned my initial remark that this thread was, well, masturbatory in its 'evaluation' of the dearth of nuclear energy projects in the US, and the basis on which I was holding you (you in particular, PB, but the thread's posters in general) to a higher standard.

Beyond this, I want to raise some questions about the assumptions being held in this thread—not because I assume they're wrong, but because I think the issue is more complicated than it's being treated in this thread. Roughly, those questions are:

1) If nuclear energy has a limited total lifespan—maybe a few hundred years, assuming thorium is widely used, our estimates of reserves are the same, and we neither increase efficiency nor increase usage—are the high costs of continuing to develop the technology worth it when there are potential longer-term solutions?
1b) Is it more ridiculous to plan on innovations like SMES and increasingly efficient solar panels or fusion reactors and safe waste product disposal? Which is science fiction?

2) Is increased reliance on nuclear power compatible with goals of a nuclear weapons free world? If we had to pick, which should be prioritized?

3) What is the social cost of uranium extraction (this is what I was trying to get at, not the fluctuating market price)? The low human impact of the nuclear fuel cycle has relied on tight control over the cycle and its limited demand. What happens when you start extraction in places with poor worker protection and environmental protection? What happens when you start funneling money to corrupt and broken regimes? In the past, we've said "them's the breaks" and gone ahead—with oil, especially—but is that the decision we want to make again? Especially if we might have alternatives?

Eh, there's always more to say, but for now I'm pissed you called me Argentinian.
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February 15th, 2012, 20:37
Originally Posted by Skittles View Post
The Hell is this, I'm no Argentinian.
It seems I have failed my Codex lore check. I've associated your 'dex avatar with Argentina, among other things. I usually do not make memorisation errors like that.

Look, I see a point of agreement between us and I'd rather step from there than engage in source spam (though… eh, I still feel this is a short and worthwhile article for you to read).
I've read the article and it provides a useful perspective why rational enterpreneurs may choose to avoid investing in nuclear. More on that in one of the following paragraphs.

The major point of agreement is the need to move away from fossil fuels to a cheaper alternative—in terms of money, environmental impact, and above all human impact. Diversification, as you call it.

I'm making these claims based on the sources you and I have both identified in this thread:

1) Power generating capacity world wide, and in the US, needs to be increased.
2) Nuclear energy is generally preferable to gas, oil and coal.

So far, so good for both of us, I think.
Yes (of course, I don't want total abandonment of those sources, just lessening of strategic dependence). In fact (and the articles you've linked point to that) if there was no environmental concern, coal would have been the best option, as it is the cheapest.

3) The construction of new nuclear power plants requires extremely large and often subsidized (or essentially nationalized) start up costs ($8.3 billion/$14 billion is a healthy subsidy), which are generally under represented.
4) Due to the high start up costs, it takes decades for companies to recoup their losses and pay off their debts after initial construction. (Can't help but point to the scuppered Constellation project, which was abandoned because they couldn't get low enough loan fees from the US Federal Government)


Again, I think these are things we both agree on—even in the French case that you chose, it took two decades to reach a decent revenue/debt ratio for Électricité de France.

This (structure of costs and profit, in addition the size of the investment being an obstacle in itself) is the main reason why a rational enterpreneur would choose to build say an oil based power plant or two instead of the nuclear power plant. Essentially, you are making a huge investment that you yourself may or may not see profit from, but the next generation will. This is of course in clash with the short term shareholders gratification that seems to drive most of the business those days.

Then again, energy sector needs to be strategically driven.

This explains why the countries like France or China, where the energy production is in hands of the state, are world leaders when it comes to building nuclear power plants.

Another question is, can the United States (or any country that aspires to technological world leadership) afford to lag behind the competition in the field of nuclear technology?

Given the need for energy related strategy, I consider energetics an area where some state involvement may be beneficial, the key is finding the balance and eliminating unnecessary state involvement in other sectors of non-strategic nature.

The least the state can do is to remove the administrative obstacles and make the process of assessing whether a project meets necessary standards quick (and controlled by the experts, rather than the politicians).

5) For nuclear power to remain viable (cheap, fuelable) in the long run—say, in 100 years—several key technological advancements need to be made, including the development and implementation of reactors capable of using thorium based fuel and effective disposal of harmful by-products. At the moment, the full costs of either endeavour are not known.
It is indicative and kind of frustrating that exactly the same sentence could have (and has) been uttered in the 1980s and there were very few R&D efforts on that front (a similar thing could be said about the nuclear fusion). However, the experience of current projects in India will be useful.

Those reasons alone are sufficient, I think, to explain why American companies have been reluctant to build new reactors. I think political opposition is based on American cultural values—no nationalized projects and limited kinds of the necessary subsidies (the ones that helped the US nuclear industry get started in the first place)—security concerns & global agenda with respect to the spread of nuclear power, and simple NIMBY attitudes. Neither position is as retarded as it's been described in this thread, with insulting accusations like "the ignorant," "the unwashed masses," and "enviro-nuts."

That was what spawned my initial remark that this thread was, well, masturbatory in its 'evaluation' of the dearth of nuclear energy projects in the US, and the basis on which I was holding you (you in particular, PB, but the thread's posters in general) to a higher standard.
Consider it a knee-jerk reaction based on the experience. That experience (especially in the light of the Fukushima accident) is: too many educated people know very little about nuclear energy and base their opposition exactly on the rediculous presumptions that were bashed in the beginning of the thread. I don't even want to imagine what the uneducated people think about the issue.

1) If nuclear energy has a limited total lifespan—maybe a few hundred years, assuming thorium is widely used, our estimates of reserves are the same, and we neither increase efficiency nor increase usage—are the high costs of continuing to develop the technology worth it when there are potential longer-term solutions?
1b) Is it more ridiculous to plan on innovations like SMES and increasingly efficient solar panels or fusion reactors and safe waste product disposal? Which is science fiction?
Strategic energy decisions are made for the following few decades. Relying solely on longer term strategic decisions, that span multiple generations, is impossible due to potential significant technological changes and of course due to needs of the moment. Making short term tactical decisions while neglecting the strategy ("going with the flow") is suboptimal as well, because the inherent inertia of the energy related project implementations and because of the potential changes in energy source availibility and market fluctuations.

Given this, and the fact that the problem of developing thermal breeder reactors is fully within the engineering domain (i.e. considerations are fully practical), they seem to be a viable option to develop.

Energy storage projects like SMES are also a way to go in order to make intermittent energy sources viable, but given their current size and limited capacity, they are at least decades away from the requirements of practical implementation, barring significant technological breakthroughs.

The similar thing can be said about the fusion related projects, because a fusion power plant that is a net producer of energy is yet to be built, so it is very far from the economic considerations.

Since energy strategic policy needs to take into account both mid term and long term, it makes sense to develop all three, but the biggest attention (i.e. funding) should be given to the solution with the potential immediate impact.

2) Is increased reliance on nuclear power compatible with goals of a nuclear weapons free world? If we had to pick, which should be prioritized?
I'd say yes. Peaceful use of nuclear energy and military use of nuclear energy are in competition (they use the same fuel, more or less).

But nuclear weapons are a separate issue (actually they represent more than one issue: their role as a deterrent, their proliferation, possibility of sabotage, possibility of malfunction) that is complicated enough on its own.

3) What is the social cost of uranium extraction (this is what I was trying to get at, not the fluctuating market price)? The low human impact of the nuclear fuel cycle has relied on tight control over the cycle and its limited demand. What happens when you start extraction in places with poor worker protection and environmental protection? What happens when you start funneling money to corrupt and broken regimes? In the past, we've said "them's the breaks" and gone ahead—with oil, especially—but is that the decision we want to make again? Especially if we might have alternatives?
I think that needs to be considered in comparison with the currently viable alternatives. Right now we need to compare the social cost of uranium extraction with the social cost of the extraction of oil, coal and natural gas.

There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable… I simply am not there.
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February 15th, 2012, 20:44
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
There's quite a bit of difference between this and the hyperbolic nonsense I quoted previously. Even what's quoted here does a lot of assumed causation that doesn't hold up to scrutiny, but your previous bit of electronic diarrhea was too baseless to even be termed propaganda.
Nice right wing rose colored glasses you have on. My bad the right isn't pushing like mad to deregulate and gut environmental laws. The financial crisis CERTAINLY was not due to the rights push to deregulate that industry. Gods what am I thinking… You are correct the right is the champ of the environment.

On a serious note, shall I start posting links to articles showing how full of it you are? Because your talking points do not stand up actually.

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February 15th, 2012, 21:04
I previously lived in Astoria, NY. Astoria is a town with Queens, New York City. Some time in the 60's or 70's, as NYC needed more power, they decided to build a power plant at the north tip of Astoria (it's the north west corner of Long Island).

The original plan was to build a nuke. Apparently, they got pretty far along the way of planning before the eco-nutjobs got it killed. Instead they built a gas turbine plant. When they finally shit down the plant a few years ago, it was revealed that it had majorly polluted the are. The air quality was apparently some of the worst in the city. We lived about two blocks from it and in addition to those lovely benefits, it made some horrendous noise every once in a while.

So glad the eco-nutjobs saved us from the horrible effects of a nuclear plant!

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February 15th, 2012, 21:08
Instead, you are now able to procreate easily. Well… maybe they should have built the nuke plant.
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February 15th, 2012, 21:22
Originally Posted by Harlequin View Post
As for the right, they won't be happy until every tree, clean lake and mountain is spoiled, harvested and they wonder why they can't eat, drink or breath their money they made on said exploitation.
Originally Posted by Harlequin View Post
On a serious note, shall I start posting links to articles showing how full of it you are? Because your talking points do not stand up actually.
Yes, by all means, please post some documentation for your quoted statement. I'd be particularly interested in something that documents "they" being ALL "the right" as well as anything that documents "every". Good luck with that.

Or maybe it would be easier to admit that, like I said, you got rather carried away with the hyperbole and all your subsequent squawking can't really hide that basic fact?

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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February 15th, 2012, 21:32
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Instead, you are now able to procreate easily. Well… maybe they should have built the nuke plant.
Actually one of the side effects of the gas plant was decreased procreation and increased birth defects according to the report. Not saying it was the cause, but it took my wife and I two years (two wonderful years! ) to knock her up. We moved to Brooklyn and two months later she was pregnant.

And besides, those tree huggers denied me of the opportunity to have a mutant baby. Who knows what kind of super powers my child could have had?

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February 15th, 2012, 21:35
Yikes. Amazing that environmental hazards like that were and continue to be allowed.
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February 20th, 2012, 11:15
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
The AP1000 is a solid reactor however if the US was smart it would be looking to increase it's partnership with India which is already manufacturing cheaper PWHR reactors and will be the world leader in Thorium based reactors in the not too distant future.

The cleaner nuclear power gets the more acceptance it will gain. I am certain this is the future for our energy needs.
You are correct. India PHWRs are cheaper.
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February 20th, 2012, 13:26
A few comments here.

1. Deaths from the Fukushima incident.
I assume that it's correct that there haven't been any fatalities. But that would be fatalities from acute radiation injuries (in addition to non-radiation related injuries). We won't see much long term effects for a couple of years. Leukemia is among the racers of cancers and can develop in 3 years. Most cancers take much longer to develop. (Lung cancer for instance usually takes 20 years)

2. Risk of cancer caused by radiation.
We have little exact knowledge about hoe strong a carcinogen radiation is. We know that it causes cancer (radon is responsible for 3-4% of lung cancers iin Norway. We also know that damage to DNA is random, you throw the dice everytime for every particle that passes into your body. There's no safe level (but of course the accumulated risk increases by the total dosage and therefore also the intensity of radiation). Three years after Tchernobyl, the incidence of leukemia doubled in the northern parts of Norway, the region most exposed to radioactivity from there. This may seem like a huge increase, but in absolute numbers the increas was from 8 pr year to 16. Hard to say how much of that was related to radiation.

Another thing that makes it difficult to assess the significance of radiation as a cause for cancer is that in most (all) cases there many contributors.

All in all we can safely assume that there are cancers from radiation among people involved in the production line from mining of uran to handling of waste. It's difficult to assess precicely the magnitude. We may overestimate it or we may underestimate it.

3. My personal opinion
I believe that the health risk of nuclear power all in all, considering both normal production and accidents is lower than carbon based energy production, and afaik it won't affect climate as much.

For me the main problem is disposal of waste. We have to store it for a very long time and we can't be sure that any technology available today will be safe, say 2000 years from now. We can make models/estimates, but they're only estimates, we haven't tested it. So, basically we leave this problem to our descendants. I'm not sure we're allowed to do that.

EDIT: One more thing (!). regarding the suggestion of sending rockets with spent fuel to the sun. According to Wikipedia "about 10,000 metric tons of high-level spent nuclear fuel each year." From the same source we see that the might Saturn V rocket was capable of sending 45 tons to the moon. I assume that the possible payload towards the sun would be less, but at the very least we would need 22 launches per year. In 1969 each Appollo launch cost $185 milllion, corresponding to $1.1 billion today. I would guess that this makes the rocket solution not very feasible (although I like the thought). Comments?

EDIT2: I made a miscalculation above, we would need slightly moe than 22 launches per year, more like 220.

4. I resent the use of words like enviro-nuts in a discussion which I assume is meant to be serious. I'm sure there are siimilar invectives from the … eh .. enviro-nuts. I resent those as well.

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February 20th, 2012, 20:05
I use the term to differentiate people with an environmental agenda from people that are nuckin futz. I don't feel it's fair to lump them all together. If you have terms to accomplish that goal that would make you feel better, do share and I will endeavor to comply.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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February 20th, 2012, 20:15
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
I use the term to differentiate people with an environmental agenda from people that are nuckin futz. I don't feel it's fair to lump them all together. If you have terms to accomplish that goal that would make you feel better, do share and I will endeavor to comply.
Actually, that makes sense.

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