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Nuclear Power

Discussion in 'Technology' started by DanGer, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. Mar 13, 2009 at 11:28 PM
    #1
    DanGer

    DanGer [OP] Avatar approved by 98tacomav6

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    Hey TW members. I just started on my nuclear engineering degree, and have come across a plethora of myth/public opinion debunking knowledge. So I figured I would try and share some with you and help everyone see why nuclear power is the only, yes ONLY answer to our energy issues. So post any concerns you have ever heard of regarding nuclear power and I will do my best to provide fact based, statistical information to clear it up. Basically, do your best to tear apart nuclear power!
     
  2. Mar 13, 2009 at 11:31 PM
    #2
    eordonez

    eordonez Living vicariously through mjp2

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    meltdowns? chernobyl?
     
  3. Mar 13, 2009 at 11:33 PM
    #3
    brianr

    brianr go shit in your hat

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    badass, good luck on your degree.

    I dont have any concerns...so I thought I'd share some random shiite;

    I live near a nuclear plant now (Palo Verde), and before I was born my mom and sis lived about 5 minutes from Three Mile Island plant, outside Harrisburg, PA.

    They lived there during the "meltdown".
     
  4. Mar 14, 2009 at 2:56 AM
    #4
    Brunes

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    Is it true that if I live near a nuclear power plant I'll grow a plethora of testicles or arms??

    (Kidding-I'd love to see the US implementing better technology!!)
     
  5. Mar 14, 2009 at 3:23 AM
    #5
    wormhole7

    wormhole7 Well-Known Member

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    While I agree that nuclear technology can benifit us all, There are some concerns:
    Where do they store the spent fuel rods?
    What is the half life of said spent rods?
    Would you feel safe if/when Iran has nuclear capability?
     
  6. Mar 14, 2009 at 4:36 AM
    #6
    HerNameIsLucy

    HerNameIsLucy I miss Lucy. :-(

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    I'm not too far from the Crystal River nuke plant here in Fla. Not really worried about it going Chernobyl. What does worry me a little is if there really was a problem, nobody I casually talk to about it has any idea what we should do (if anything) and would we only find out we were just irradiated a month or two after it happened?
     
  7. Mar 14, 2009 at 7:18 AM
    #7
    sooner07

    sooner07 1/2 man 1/2 amazing

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    I agree that it is a viable technology for the near future, but it is not the only nor the best solution to our energy needs.

    The draw backs have been brought up. You have to fight the NIMBY aspect of it, so where do we build more plants. How soon can those plants be brought online and what route do you use to remove the spent fuel. What is done with that fuel and how is it securely stored. There are people out there that would love to get a hold of of it to do bad things to you and me with it, how do you keep them from ever getting the tiniest amounts of it?

    I think it is great tech, but the above questions are just a few of the concerns that I have with it as the best solution.
     
  8. Mar 14, 2009 at 8:26 AM
    #8
    DanGer

    DanGer [OP] Avatar approved by 98tacomav6

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    Chernobyl melted down because the Russians had designed the reactor very poorly and it was even more poorly managed. During equipment testing, the operators disabled the safety backup system. The only reason any contamination was released is that they never built a containment building. Every reactor in America has to have a containment bulding (thick concrete "tomb" encasing reactor in case of leaks), and they are all strictly supervised by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
     
  9. Mar 14, 2009 at 8:40 AM
    #9
    DanGer

    DanGer [OP] Avatar approved by 98tacomav6

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    Nuclear energy is the cleanest and most efficient power source. Mining uranium, enriching it, building of plants, decommissioning of reactors and disposal of waste creates the same or less amount of carbon than a wind turbine and solar panels. The compromise with nuclear is that instead of producing emissions, we are left with a solid waste. However, to produce enough electricity for one person to use in their lifetime, the waste would be 2 pounds and fit in a soda can. If coal was used to produce enough electricity to power a person for their lifetime, the solid waste would be 68.5 tons. If we stacked on a football field all of the nuclear waste ever produced from Americas power plants, it would be 10 yards high. The thing is, we are only able to harvest 10% of the energy stored in a spent fuel rod. In france they use a closed system, where they recycle the fuel rods. But for US it is more economical to store the spent fuel and pop in a new one every 18 months.

    If Iran had nuclear POWER capability, I would not be scared. The U238 used to power powerplants is not even close to weapons grade Nuclear fuel. To produce weapons you need highly enriched uranium or plutonium, not something that can go in a reactor, and the fuel in a reactor cannot be used in weapons. The only threat a nuclear plant has for weapons is making dirty bombs with waste.
     
  10. Mar 14, 2009 at 8:47 AM
    #10
    DanGer

    DanGer [OP] Avatar approved by 98tacomav6

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    Excellent points. The spent fuel cannot be used for weapons, It lacks the enrichment. It would be like putting 87 octane fuel in a race car. The one threat is that I could be used to make dirty bombs, where the spent fuel is put in a bomb just to spread radiation, but not harnessed for power. Did you know a Coal plant releases more radiation than a nuclear plant? The fly ash that coal plants release contains the radioactive members that are found in the ground with coal. There has even been talk about developing a way to capture it and enrich it, but there is to economical way to do so.
     
  11. Mar 14, 2009 at 8:54 AM
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    steelerfan7p

    steelerfan7p My other car is a Bugatti

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    I'm very pro nuclear. I work for a contractor that builds and maintains coal and gas plants, but we have talked about bidding on some nuc projects. I do know that in AMERICA only two people have died from nuclear accidents, in Idaho I believe. Therefore, I think that AMERICA should build more of them. What do the Russians know anyways :rolleyes:? The technology will come for disposing of spend nuclear waste, if it isn't already here yet and we just don't know about it.
     
  12. Mar 14, 2009 at 10:32 AM
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    sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    I disagree that Nuclear is the ONLY solution to the US, or world's energy needs, regardless of how "safe" it is. Its still an non-renewable resource. There is enough wind on the planet to power 100X the current world use. And thats with todays wind turbine technology. Another alternative is wave generators, which are a lot more efficient then wind because of water being much more dense then air. A diversified power network is needed, including nuclear, wind and solar. The best solution is to reduce our power consumption. Some problems I see with nuclear are that they are a target for terrorist acts, they supply a tremendous amount of power through a limited transmission network, meaning if the plant has to shut down for whatever reason, a hole lot of people go without power. Nobody really wants them close to their community, as with all power generation(NIMBY).

    A couple questions, what do nuclear plants do with the water they use for cooling? I've heard something about "heavy water" what do you do with that stuff? What about the disposal of the spent rods as asked above? I read that there is no long term storage solutions yet, and mostly they store the spent rods in giant cooling pools? Where they can't be placed to close or else they could go critical. Anything to stop coal power plants is a plus, nuclear power from what I understand is a clean, relatively safe power, but I believe there are other options, take BC I would never want to see nuclear power here in BC. Not because of the whole NIMBY thing, but because we have so many other ways to generate power here, if only our politicians and damn BC hydro would allow it. I think nuclear should be used in conjunction with other alternatives like wind, solar, and wave technologies.
     
  13. Mar 14, 2009 at 11:02 AM
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    wawireguy

    wawireguy Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure that wind or solar are viable ways to generate power. It seems that the cost is prohibitive for the amount of power you get from them. Wind has to be maintainance intensive also. Hydro is one of the best methods for generating power as it is renewable and produces no waste. Some fish do suffer but I can live with that myself. I'm hesitant about nuclear as we don't have any long term storage solutions for the spent fuel. Where do we store it? How long do we store it? What is the cost of storing it over the life of the spent fuel? Will it cost more to store the fuel for 500 years or whatever it is than the power is worth? How safe is storing spent fuel?
     
  14. Mar 14, 2009 at 1:15 PM
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    HerNameIsLucy

    HerNameIsLucy I miss Lucy. :-(

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    I thought they were carving out some big storage area underground for spent fuel, Nebraska or Utah or some western state like that?
     
  15. Mar 14, 2009 at 1:29 PM
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    DanGer

    DanGer [OP] Avatar approved by 98tacomav6

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    The problem with wind is that to match the production of a nuclear plant on 1/3 or a square mile, you would have to cover 200 square miles with wind turbines to even compare to giving a reliable amount mass electricity.
     
  16. Mar 14, 2009 at 2:52 PM
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    Evil Monkey

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    I saw this a couple of days ago. HVDC grids can solve a lot of problems with fluctuating supply of wind turbines. They're based on DC voltage instead of AC. A sufficiently large grid can act as a huge battery which can compensate for power shortages.

    The biggest problem with some alternatives is you can't use them everywhere. Wave generators reside off the coastline, wind generators need sufficient steady windsources (e.g. a mountain pass) and another good one, geothermal, can only be used where volcanic activity is close to the surface.

    My guess the biggest concern with Nuclear is waste and accidental spillage. Yucca Valley is where the big nuclear disposal site is being built but it still needs to go through the licensing process. My understanding is most sites store their waste on-site at the nuclear power facility.
     
  17. Mar 14, 2009 at 2:59 PM
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    chris4x4

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    If nuclear power is So good.....How do you explain THIS!?

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Mar 14, 2009 at 3:00 PM
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    cereal.killah

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    it was a training drill with 2 junior techs, by the time
    they figured it out that something was really wrong
    it already reached critical mass
     
  19. Mar 14, 2009 at 4:39 PM
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    HerNameIsLucy

    HerNameIsLucy I miss Lucy. :-(

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    nd is doing fish now?
     
  20. Mar 14, 2009 at 5:05 PM
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    sonjay

    sonjay Well-Known Member

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    Wind, solar, and wave generation are relatively new forms of energy production. Technology on solar panels has done leaps and bounds in the last few years. Solar panels now are much less expensive now then they were 5 years ago. The more resources we put towards developing green alternatives such as wind, solar and wave, the sooner they will work on the large scale. I agree they won't work everywhere, some places nuclear would be the only option.
     
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